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the same ideas of merit ; and it is quite possible that an examiner, eqally able as ourselves, might present a very different list. Some names that we have inserted he would have rejected; others that we have rejected he would have inserted. We carefully examine all the papers that are sent us, and decide as justly as we are able. It is not a pleasant task to reject so many papers ; but where we have two hundred competitors, and only four prizes to award, we must of necessity reject one hundred and ninety-six. Therefore, we are of opinion that the Young Scholar will have to depend for success upon its own merits rather than the hopes of its readers to gain prizes through it. If they think there is a pennyworth of reading in it for their penny, they will doubtless continue to subscribe ; if they think it is not worth the penny they will devote their penny to some other purpose.
We are anxious to insert a few short essays every month, contributed by our young readers. Thus the Young Scholar will be their own book in two ways: it is a book compiled especially for their use, and containing papers written by them. But these short essays must be of such a nature as to interest the other readers of the magazine. Most boys and girls know something that other boys and girls don't know : and by this means, if it is worth telling, they can tell it. Papers on Scripture cannot be inserted under young scholars' compositions, as most boys and girls have Bibles of their own, which they can read at home when they like.
If a boy or girl in the first class would like to write a longer essay than would be inserted under young scholars' compositions, we will undertake to examine them, and insert such as would be suitable. Such essays will be inserted as distinct articles in the magazine, printed in the ordinary type. They must be certified as honestly written, and we should be better pleased if they contained at the end a list of the books that had been consulted. A sensible paper might be written from only one book, but the facts should be arranged in a different manner, and the language not the language of the book, but of the writer of the paper. Scholars must consider it a great honour if one of their essays is inserted in this manner; so they must not be disheartened if the first or second they send is rejected. It is only by constantly trying that we can succeed ; and most successful men have only obtained their success after patiently bearing failure after failure.
These essays should contain sufficient matter to fill from two to three pages of this magazine; they should be well divided into paragraphs, and contain the account of some personal adventure or excursion, the biography of some distinguished man, or a description of some interesting animal.
Our aim is the same as it was at the commencement of the Young Scholar— to produce a magazine that would be useful without being dull, and interesting without being worthless. We appeal to all parents and teachers to help us in the present year, so that the Young Scholar may attain a circulation that will ensure for it a long and healthy existence.
Lay Sermons. -New Series.
No. 1.--ON CRUELTY.
The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.
Psalm lxxiv., 20.
OST boys and girls know how hard it is to break
loose from bad habits if they once become bound by them. It is very easy to form habits of cruelty, and many children have formed such habits already. Their homes have become what they
described in the text, “habitations of
cruelty." They begin with catching flies on the window-pane, and pulling off their legs; then they torture some poor little kitten by bolding its neck so tight as to nearly strangle it, or lifting it up in the air by its tail. When they get a little bigger, if there is a common near their homes, and they can find a donkey grazing on it, they take a great delight in teasing this poor animal. Catching butterflies and pulling off their wings they think fine sport ; and robbing poor birds of their eggs or young
; ones they regard as notable performances. Thus day by day they are acquiring a taste for cruelty ; and thus, through the cruelty of children and the indulgence of their parents, many Christian homes are transformed into “cruel habitations."
As the Psalmist says, the earth is full of cruelty. How many thousands of horses are at work to-day in the fields and streets, and how many of these are forced to work when they are not able, and worked beyond their natural strength! How many butchers, not content with the necessity of killing cows and sheep, inflict on them needless torture ! How often we meet droves of sheep going to a fair in such a state of exhaustion that they are ready at every step to sink down through fatigue! We need not say anything further on this point; everybody knows who knows anything that the earth is full of cruel habitations.
We believe, however, that a certain reckoning remains for cruel men, and that the same pain they have caused to others they will one day receive themselves. Joab, who killed many men better than himself, was not suffered to die in peace ; he was slain clinging for safety to the horns of the altar. Cruel men are mostly cowards; the pain they delight in inflicting on others they shrink from bearing themselves. There is something hateful and abominable in cruelty.
It can only dwell in the dark places of the earth. It shrinks from light, because in the light it looks so ugly and loathsome. We shun cruel men as we would shun a wild beast. They have few friends ; they make all men enemies; and thus, as a natural result, their cruelty falls back on themselves.
Our Lord has pronounced a blessing on the merciful : "Blessed are the merciful,” saith He, “ for they shall obtain mercy.” And one of our great poets says he would not mix up his pleasures with torture of the meanest thing that breathes. God has made all living creatures, and therefore those who fear God will not hurt them or destroy them without a cause. If it is necessary to destroy them, we should do it in the way that will cause them the least pain, and we must guard against becoming indifferent to their sufferings. There are some people worse than heathens, who actually take pleasure in the dying agonies of creatures which God has created. We should pity them rather than hate
consider the dreadful sin they are committing.
We do not suppose any boy or girl is so bad as this ; neither were they so bad when they were boys and girls. They began maiming flies and butterflies, torturing kittens, teasing donkeys in the usual style, and now they have grown into monsters of cruelty, and, as the Psalmist says, “violence covereth them as a garment.” If we are anxious to avoid the fearful state into which they have fallen, we shall take care day by day to become more and more merciful ; to delight in the happiness of all God's creatures in the singing of birds, the purring of cats, the frisking of dogs, and even the harsh bray of the donkey will please us, as that is his notion of music, though it is not particularly good, we must all acknowledge.
Poems to be Remembered.
ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
PART I. This is a difficult poem (generally placed in reading books), with many beautiful thoughts in it, but in some places the meaning of the writer is not easily found. The poet sees in the distance the old spires and towers of Eton College, that form the crown, as it were, of the meadow land in the district. This college was founded by Henry III., who was a very religious man. He also sees another remarkable building on the heights of Windsor-i.e., Windsor Castle. From the towers of Windsor Castle may be seen groves full of trees, smooth lawns, and meadows, with turf, shade, and flowers, among which the river Thames winds
his silvery way.
E distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade,
Her Henry's holy shade !
His silver winding way!
The poet.Gray, having been educated at Eton, calls these hills harpy, the shades pleasing, the fields beloved ; because, at the time his careless childhood wandered among them he was happy himself,
the gales of wind that blow over them seem to make him rejoice for a moment. They remind him so strongly of joy and youth, that his weary soul is soothed; and, though he is in the autumn, or perhaps winter, of his life, he feels as if Le vere enjoying a second springtime-another period of boyhood and youth.
Ah, happy hills ! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields beloved in vain !
A stranger yet to pain !
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring ! He playfullyasks Father Thames--w ho has seen many generations of St mins playing on his banks-who are the most active boys in the school wisho are the chief rowers ? the bird-catchers ? the hoop-players? the cricketeis!
Say, Father Thames (for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace),
The captive linnet which enthral ?
urge the flying ball ? While some engaged in these pursuits continue their sports, talking as they play, others disdain to find any amusement so near the college. They dare to discover unknown regions for themselves, and go long distances away, 1.204.png more frightened the farther they proceed.
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murmuring labours ply
To sweeten liberty,
The limits of their little reign,
And snatch a fearful joy.