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Luxury of the Ancients in Roses.
to that period which in ordinary cases of human development lies between ten and fourteen years. A most critical period of boyhood! A time when the mind and heart are receiving a bias which may, and which often does, determine the whole course of after life.
I think I hear one of the young readers of The Guardian say: “That is my age, I am in that period.” Well, then be careful. Let me give you, my boy, a couplet for your school-book, which I will make myself, and which I have no doubt your mother will say is better than the other. Thus :
Robert Brown, his hand and pen,
May I be good, like all good men. What think you of that, my boy? It reads smoothly, it rhymes, well, and contains good sense. To begin to be a good man, is to begin to be a good boy. The poet has thus truly said
“ The child is father to the man." You study well what that strange line means. When you once get the true and full idea which it contains, then you will agree with me that the best thing you can do, my noble boy, is to think a great deal of Jesus who also was once a boy, to learn prayers and hymns about him, and long to be so gentle, innocent, as you know he was. Do not think, even if you are twelve years of age, that you are too big to say that beautiful little prayer :
• Blessed Jesus, meek and mild,
And make a pious boy of me.” Here we must stop for this time, asking again the privilege of carrying on our history of unpublished literature next month.
LUXURY OF THE ANCIENTS IN ROSES.
To enjoy the scent of roses at meals, an abundance of rose leaves were shaken out upon the table, so that the dishes were completely surrounded. By an artificial contrivance, roses, during meal times, descended on the guests from above. Heliogabalus, in his folly, caused violets and roses to be showered down upon his guests in such quantities, that a number of them being unable to extricate themselves, were suffocated in flowers. During meal times, they reclined upon cushions stuffed with rose leaves, or made a couch of leaves themselves. The floor, too, was strewed with roses, and in this custom great luxury was displayed. Cleopatra, at an enormous expense, procured roses for a feast which she gave to Antony, had them laid two cubics thick on the floor as the banquet-room, and then caused nets to be spread over the flowers in order to render the footing elastic. Heliogabalus caused not only the banquet-rooms, but also the colonnades that led to them to be covered with roses, interspersed with lilies, violets, hyacinths, and narcissi, and walked about this flowery platform.
THE FIRM RESOLVE.
This hour my better years "begin their date,"
-But my heart,
A change Decided, firm, unfaltering withal, Not unobserved, nor wanting comment from Lips that speak no guile, shall mark my future course.
So long by passion tossed at will, and often
With resolution strong,
Enrobed with armor from on high, I shall, by aid of him from whom my weapon comes, My selfish heart subdue, and break the subtle Tempter's power, and win at last a home among The ever-blessed throng.
THE JUST MAN.
They are not just because they do no wrong,
Abuse of Genius.
ABUSE OF GENIUS.
BY J. V. B.
By the word genius we understand, in general, a man endowed with uncommon vigor of mind-and in particular, that peculiar structure of mind given by nature to an individual which qualifies him for a particular study, employment, or course of life. Any individual who exhibits an uncommon aptitude of mind or wit in any employment, or upon any subject, is called a genius. Bnt it is generally used with reference to a person's wit, skill, and aptitude in the arts and sciences, and also in mechanics.
One person may be a genius in history, another in art, another in science, another in mechanics, another in trade, and so on. There are many persons who, perhaps, are but little known to the popular world, and yet are real geniuses. They have been raised and they move in rather secluded neighborhoods, pinched perhaps also by poverty, and hence have not come in contact with a stimulus to action or thought, and are consequently out of the reach of circumstances for the cultivation and display of their extraordinary talents. Doubtless for the want of proper circumstances and stimulus, many a bright and noble mind has been left to exercise its powers on unworthy subjects and in uncongenial toils.
A genius mostly reveals himself to the world by his originality. He bursts forth in the scientific or mechanical world unexpected, like a wandering meteor, that startles men of skill and talent. Or he rises, slow and sure, by the power of thought, from the quiet glen, to stand with kings and the honorable. Such are the results of genius when properly directed.
The genius of Franklin drew from the angry tempests, harmlessly, the subtle fluid which bursts forth in the thunderbolt. The genius of Fitch and Fulton enables us to plough the mighty deep at a rate unknown to the world before. The skill of genius has led us into the secret of sending news at lightning speed. It has given us machinery to spin our wool and cotton, to weave our cloth and linsey, to sew our garments, to seed our grain, to reap our harvests, to hull our wheat and shell our corn, to prepare our flour, to traverse the land at almost flying speed, to mount with the eagle into the first heaven, and to do many other wonderful things and works. Indeed every facility we have gained above our ancestors was not the work of dull, stupid minds, but the labor of geniuses—that is, by geniuses not made alone by nature, but made such by deep thought, constant labor, and unconquerable determination.
Superior power and skill of mind has also written our histories, and thus presents before our minds, in panoramic view, the various events of men and nations. It has also perfected science, beautified the fine arts, and rendered mechanical skill more successful and valuable. It has set on foot great schemes of political, social, moral and religious reform; and has caused the light of civilization and peace to shine to distant and forsaken lands.
But it is to be regretted that eminent abilities have not always been directed to worthy and profitable pursuits. While the genius of man has blessed the world, the abuse of that genius, on the other hand, has been the source of many curses to man. An able writer, in allusion to one of these forms of perverted talent, says: “I am the more disposed to dwell a little upon this subject, because I am persuaded that it is not sufficiently attended to—nay, that in ninety-nine'instances out of one hundred, it is not attended to at all: that works of imagination are perused for the sake of the wit which they display; which wit not only reconciles us to but endears to us opinions and feelings and habits at war with wisdom and morality, to say nothing of religion. In short, that we admire the polish, the temper of the sword, and the dexterity with which it is wielded, though it is the property of a lunatic or a bravo; though it is brandished in the face of wisdom and virtue, and at every wheel threatens to inflict a wound that will disfigure some feature, or lop off some member, or with masterly adroitness aims a death-thrust at the heart!"
Again he says: “I know not a more pitiable object than the man who, standing upon the pigmy eminence of his own self-importance, looks around upon the species with an eye that never throws a beam of satisfaction on the prospect, but visits with a scowl whatever it lights upon." This was said with reference to one who stood high on the intellectual eminence of the Old World, but is just as applicable to men of high intellectual training and wit in this country. How many who are endowed with a high order of talent by their Creator, delight only in using them as a scourge instead of a blessing to society? They have genius, but the abuse it; they have learning, but they sacrifice it upon unholy altars ; !!ey have wit and skill, but they have consecrated them to the god of this world. What a pity. Think, dear reader, for a moment, of the al ise of genius in the case of Lord Byron, Voltaire, Rousseau, Paine, and others! Think of the prolific source of human error which has obtruded itself upon our attention through the learning and abused genius of these men. And think, lastly, of the streams of moral poison that flow in the world, whose fountains were the polluted hearts and unsanctified talents of such gifted men, then you can form a faint idea of the curse of abused genius. Had these men been men of integrity and piety, as they were men of talent and learning, nations and individuals might well have rejoiced over their existence, who now groan and mourn because they lived. They might have stood as high on the mount of God and human honor as Baxter, Bunyan, the Reformers, and others, had it not been for abused genius.
Young reader, are you marked out by the Almighty as one from whom the world may expect much on account of your superior order of mind ? Are you looking forward anxiously to the day when you will make your mark in the world, be it on a large or a small scale? If so, we beseech you to not suffer yourself to be modeled after the fashion of men that have abused their skill, sacrificed to unlawful ends their talents, and have written with poisoned pens and spoken with wicked tongues.
Jesus the Desire of all Nations and of all Hearts.
JESUS THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS AND OF ALL
BY THE EDITOR.
On one occasion, when Simon and some others found Jesus in a solitary place praying, they said to him, “All men seek for thee.” In so saying they uttered a far deeper and broader truth than they intended. All men do seek for Christ : we do not mean that they do it consciously, and in the true way; they seek something of which they feel a deep need, and which can be found alone in Him. All the seekings of men are impelled by that eternal restlessness of want which can only be satisfied in Christ. Unconsciously, all men seek for Christ.
Men seek wealth, pressed by an inward want which hopes to satisfy itself in this way: but the true riches are in Christ-in Him alone is this desire satisfied. Out of Him it only ever increases ! Men seek happiness; but He alone is its fountain. Away from Him, every cup emptied only increases the thirst.
Men seek knowledge; but in Him alone dwells all the fulness of wisdom: away from Him all knowledge is a lie, that disappoints at the last.
Man is restless; he feels that he wants something which he has not, and which will quiet his spirit: he goes seeking he knows not what he is diverted and allured by various promises which meet him by the way; he tries them and finds them wanting, and goes to seek farther. Now ask such seekers, what do you seek ? One will answer truth, knowledge. Another will say, I seek a key to the mystery of my own spirit—the ideal of my desires—rest and peace for my heart—the goal of those longings which consume me. Thus each one will give a different answer, which is however in its ground the same; and each spirit will be seeking in a different way, and in a different direction, that which will answer to its wants and longings. This can only be found in Jesus. Him all hearts unconsciously seek. Such restless hearts may be properly addressed, as Paul addressed the idolators at Athens, “Jesus, whom you ignorantly seek, Him declare I unto you."
This unconscious seeking after Jesus, as the only rest and home of the ever restless heart, has in all ages been strong in the bosom of heathen. ism. Long before Christ came in the flesh did the sighs and groans of helpless and exhausted humanity gather themselves up in a kind of unconscious hope and prophecy of some coming help. Though they knew not Christ, yet their wants cried after one; and hence, truly, is Jesus called “the desire of all nations." Here in the desires of heathenism we have the first and faintest dawn of the advent of Christ.
The prophet, in speaking of Christ as the desire of all nations, recognizes the fact that humanity, before Christ appeared, and even among those to whom He had not even been announced and promised, felt the need of just such a Saviour as He is, and unconsciously longed for Him, and desired Him.
To this thought we invite attention in this article : Jesus, the true