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Family Reunion.


were greetings and welcomings, and inquirings, and joy from the least to the greatest, and from the oldest to the youngest. The forenoon was spent in a general mingling of all, from room to room, inside and outside of the house; the children meanwhile ringing their unrestrained joy around. As the sun rose nearer to its noon, it became every moment more certain that the bodily comforts of the happy company were not to be overlooked. That was no day for fasting; and consequently at the good old orthodox hour of twelve, the company was seated around long and loaded tables. Grace was solemnly said, for it had been said there for more than fifty years, and it was no time now to turn heathen and forget the Great Giver of every good and perfect gift.

After dinner a few hours were again spent in the most delightful social intercourse. At about three o'clock the whole company collected in the entry and the largest room adjoining, all the children being seated in rows with the venerable patriarch at the head. Religious exercises were then commenced with a hymn in German, beginning thus :

“Bis hieher hat mich Gott gebacht

Durch Seine grose Gute ;
Bis hieher hat er Tag und Nacht

Bewahrt Hertz und Gemuthe.
Bis hieher hat er mich geleit,
Bis hieher hat er mich erfreut,

Bis hieher mir geholfen.”

After the hymn was sung the Pastor read the promise and covenant made by God to Abraham. Gen. 17: 1-10. Also the account of Jacob's lonely journey, his sleep in the wilderness, his glorious vision of the mystic ladder, God's promises to him, and his own vow of new consecration. Gen. 28: 10–22. Closing with David's joyful thanksgiving, in the one hundred and third Psalm. This was followed by a familiar address in which were remembered the changes of the past as exhibited in the history of the family, God's goodness, faithfulness and love, and the happy influence which christianity excites upon families, life and love, and joy. Then, all kneeling down in prayer, we praised God for his goodness in the past, and implored His protection and guidance for the future, closing with the Apostle's creed and the Lord's Prayer. After prayer all joined again in singing the beautiful German hymn, beginning

“ Bin ich eins deiner Kinderschaar,

O Gott, in deinem Reich,
So sind mir Leiden und Gefahr

Und Gluck der Erden gleich."

After the singing, it was interesting to see the countenances of the little folks, as the venerable patriarch passed from one to the other, dropping a gold dollar into the hand of each one of his grand-children, as a memorial gift. Not merely on this account, but from the impressions made upon their young hearts by the interesting occasion itself, will they remember this joyful day to the last hour of life. After the gifts were distributed, the children were handsomely addressed by the Rev. J. W. Hoffmeier, who was also present on the occasion; and the benediction closed the religious services of this hour-exercises charac

terized by deepest devotion, and mingled with many tears of sacred joy and love.

What a blessed power—50 we mused in our own mind, on the way home at the close of this happy day—what a blessed power is christianity in family life. How it perpetuates its glorious fruits-how it makes parents and children better and happier-how it turns the hearts of parents towards their children, and the hearts of children towards their parents! How dreadful is the thought of a family in which there is no higher power than mere natural affection, pure as it may seem in the eyes of mortals! How awful the thought of a family without a God. How blessed are the words of gracious promise to the families of the Lord. “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them."

We cannot forbear making a few reflections from the history of this family reunion.

I. How impressively does it show us the solemn importance of personal piety. The venerable father of this family over fifty years ago, came as a young man and as a stranger from a distant land. Suppose now he had commenced life here, as many young men do, without religion, casting off its holy restraints, caring only for this world, plunging into a life of flesh, and sense and sin. Is it not almost certain that the wrecks and the ruin, which are the sure results of such a course, would now be found in the families that have sprung from him. The branches would have been as the vines—and in the blood, and in the bodies, and in the souls of children and children's children would now be madly coursing the poison of the parent's sin! A thought, the very truth of which makes one's heart tremble. Are there not hundreds of families in whose history all this dreadful picture is realized. Fifty years ago the parent held the destinies of a numerous offspring in his hands and his heart; as he goes they go, as he breaks loose from God they fall with him, as he chooses the way to hell they move in a flock around him. Young reader, just entering on life, look before you fifty years, ask yourself shall scores of souls gather around you as the heirs of life or the heirs of death. These results, glorious or awful, now hang upon you as grapes hang upon a stem.

“If pure and holy be the root,

Such are the branches too." II. What serious and everlasting consequences flow from the spirit of family life. Whether piety or worldliness and sin reign in the family is everything to the children. The spirit of the family molds the children, silently but surely for good or for evil. It is a true proverb, "the apple does not fall far from the tree.” Had Abraham remained amid the idolatry of Chaldea, where would have been Isaac and Jacob, and the twelve patriarchs! They would have been idolators, and the pagan spirit would have reigned in all their families. The family spirit is to children what soil is to plants—the growth will be as the soil. If grace be in it, the plants will thrive. If sin be in it, its fruits wilt be unto sorrow and death. Let home be ever so homely- let the paternal cot 1856.]

They All Say So.


be ever so lowly—let the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be in it, and it is a bosom of powers that shall reign in the earth-a source of harmonies that shall sound down into everlasting ages.

III. How blessed and hallowed is the reign of the church in hearts and families. On the day of this family reunion we could not fail in tracing all the joy back to the church as its gracious mother. In every joyful countenance we saw the heavenly smiles of the church; in every tender word of love we heard her blessed tones. She had blessed the father, and had given him such a heart. She had trained the mother, now glorified in heaven, and made her what she was. She had sprinkled every child with “the water and the blood.” She had nursed this bun. dle of fellowships, in her own great, holy bosom of life and love for years. This vine, now so fruitful and flourshing-part of which, like the mystic Joseph, has already grown over the wall into the heavenly side—has grown in her soil. Surely within the walls of Zion, the Lord preserves the dwellings of Jacob. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion!

“ Thus to the parents and their seed

Shall His salvation come;
And numerous households met at last,

In one eternal home."

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I saw a little infant babe, all innocence and glee,
Reclining on its mother's breast, sit on its mother's knee,
And on that little infant's face I read the sentence plain :
“The burthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain."
I saw a child of riper years, more sportive still than this,
And in its little eyes there beamed an overflowing bliss ;
Yet ever and anon it spake in simple, child-like strain:
“ The burthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain.”
I saw a youth of finest form, with spirits strong and high,
Life seemed to him a pleasant dream, a constant flow of joy;
But on his manly brow I traced the mark of sin's domain:
“The burthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain."
I saw a yet more lovely maid, with blushing cheeks and fair,
Her eye was full of tend'rest love, her heart as light as air;
Yet she, the sweet and lovely maid, could not the sigh restrain :
“ The burthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain.”
I saw a man of riper age-full thirty years and ten-
Whose visage fair and noble mien gave vigor to my pen ;
Yet as I wrote him “HAPPY” down, he cried to me “ refrain:
The burthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain."
I saw an aged pilgrim now, with silvery locks and gray,
And heard him, leaning on his staff, with deep emotion say,
“Lo! infancy and childhood fair, and youth and age complain :
The barthen of this mortal life is sorrow, grief, and pain.”'



WHITSUNTIDE is the great festival on which the Christian Church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles. It is sometimes called Pentecost, although this name more properly applies to the whole season of holy festivity between Easter and Whitsuntide the feast of forty days, which is the meaning of the word Pentecost. When our Saviour had risen, He remained yet forty days on earth before His Ascension; and ten days after He ascended He shed forth the spirit of promise, while the disciples were together with one accord “when the day of Pentecost was fully come.”

There is great meaning in the fact that the christian festival which celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Ghost is thus planted upon the Jewish Pentecost, as it is its true fulfilment. Pentecost was the fiftieth day after the Passover; on it the Jews commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The law is only truly fulfilled in the work of the Holy Spirit; because He takes the law that was only written on tablets of stone, and puts them in our minds, and writes them in our hearts. He makes the law, which was to the Jews an outward code, an inward power, and enables us to keep it by infusing into us the spirit of grace.

On Pentecost also the Jews celebrated the ingathering of the harvest. A sheaf of barley was waved before the Lord, as an offering of the first fruits of the harvest, in the name of the whole people: a ceremony which was required to be accompanied with a special sacrifice, and it was necessary to introduce the harvest of the year.” So, on Whitsuntide, begins the harvest of saints which the church is gathering in under the mission of the Holy Ghost. The ingathering of the three thousand on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) may be regarded as a presentation to the Lord of the first fruits of the Spirit's work. Thus did the Holy Spirit introduce the beginning of the great harvest of saints which shall at last fill heaven with the hosts of the redeemed. Thus in our Whitsuntide does the old Pentecost receive its true fuifilment.

The name Whitsuntide is derived from White Sunday. Bingham says "some learned men think it was called White Sunday, partly because of those vast diffusions of light and knowledge which upon this day were shed upon the Apostles, in order to the enlightening of the world; but principally because, this being one of the stated times of baptism in the ancient church, they who were baptized put on white garments, in token of that pure and innocent course of life they had now engaged in."'*

* The Rev. Charles Wheatley, though he approves of this derivation of the

derived from the French word 'Huiet,' which signifies .eight, and then Whitsunday will be 'Huiet-Sunday'-i. e., the Eighth-Sunday, viz., from Easter: and to make his opinion more probable, he observes that the octave of any feast is in the Latin called “Vitas,' which he derives from the French word 'Huictas.' In a Latin letter I have by me of the famous Gerard Longbrain, I find another account




When we seek for the origin of the commemoration of Whitsuntide, we are led back into the very beginnings of christian history. Some think the beginning of it can be found in the apostolic times. “Epiphanes,” says Bingham, “was of opinion that St. Paul meant it in those words, when he said, "he hastened to be at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, Acts 20: 16. But because interpreters generally take that in another sense, we will lay no stress upon it. However, it is certain this feast was observed in the time of Origin, (born A. C. 185,) for he speaks of it in his books against Celcus; as does also Tertullian before him (born A. D. 160,) and Irenaeus before them both (born A. D. 140) in his book concerning Easter, as the author of the Questions under the name of Justin Martyr informs us, where speaking of the custom of standing at prayers on the Lord's day and Pentecost, he says: This custom obtained from the days of the Apostles, as Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons and Martyr, testifies in his book of Easter, where he also makes mention of Pentecost.'

Anciently, the whole period of fifty days from Easter to Whitsuntide was one continued season of holy festivity and solemn joy, in which the devout hearts of christians were continually recalling the triumphs of the resurrection, and looking forward to the Ascension, and the advent of the Holy Ghost. During this time the Acts of the Apostles were much read, because the miracles wrought by the Apostles, and the wonderful victories gained for christianity by their preaching “Jesus and the resurrection," were regarded as the great confirmations of the Saviour's resurrection from the dead. During this time all fasting was forbidden, because it was a season of joy and lively hope. So, also, there was no kneeling in public worship—they worshipped standing, triumphing in Christ with uplifted head, and singing hallelujahs to God and his Christ. All public games and diversions as well of the theater as of the circus, were strictly prohibited during this season indicating that the joy of the resurrection of Christ, and the hope of ascension with him, is the only joy any christian heart can desire. How true! Who can doubt that if the hearts of christians were always filled with holy joy in Christ and the hope of heaven, all desire after such low pleasures of sense would of themselves drop away like worn-out garments.

It is worthy of note that the natural world, in this season of the year, when this holy festival occurs, is in striking correspondence with the great facts which are commemorated. We are surrounded with instructive analogies which call our hearts to the contemplation of higher things. Nature, that long lay torpid in the cold bosom of winter, has put on its beautiful garments, and has adorned itself to the highest, for this glorious festival. He, the Spirit, who of old moved upon the face of the waters to call forth order, and life, and beauty, is again moving over the earth, and lo! gardens and fields, woods and plains, hills and

of the origin of this word, which he says he met with accidently in a Bodleian manuscript. He observes from them that it was a custom among our ancestors upon this day, to give all the milk of their ewes and kine to the poor for the love of God, in order to qualify themselves to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: which milk being then (as it now is in some countries) called White-Meat, &o. ; therefore this day, from that custom, took the name of Whitsunday.”

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