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“Justice,” he cried, " what are thy demands, that Mercy may enter, and stay this carnival of death ?”—“ I demand,” said Justice, “pain for their ease-degradation for their dignity-shame for their honour-death for their life !" “I accept the terms ; now Mercy enter.”_"What pledge do you give for the performance of these conditions ?" “My word ! my oath !”—“When will you fulfil them ?” “Four thousand years hence, upon the bill of Calvary.” The bond was sealed in the presence of attendant angels, and committed to Patriarchs and Prophets.
A long series of rites and ceremonies, sacrifices and oblations, were instituted to preserve the memory of that solemn deed. And at the close of the four thousand years, behold, at the foot of Calvary, the incarnate Son of God! Justise too was there ; in her hand she bore the dreadful bond; she presented it to the Redeemer, and demanded now the fulfilment of its awful terms. He accepted the deed, and together they ascended to the summit of the Mount. Mercy was seen attendant at his side, and the weeping church followed in his train. When he reached the summit of the mount, what did he with the bond ? Did he tear it in pieces, and scatter it to the winds of heaven? Ah! no: he nailed it to his cross; and when the wood was prepared, and the devoted sacrifice stretched out on the tree, Justice sternly cried, “Holy fire, descend and consume the Victim,” “I come! I come ! and when I have consumed this sacrifice, I will burn the universe." The fire descended, and rapidly consumed his humanity-but when it approached his Deity, he expired. Then did the heavenly hosts break forth again in rapturous strains—“Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good-will towards men !"
CRISES OF LIFE.
A LATE traveller in South America tells us that in ascending the Andes, he often crossed the head waters of the Amazon. When he reached the summit, the springs trickled forth beneath his feet, and shot away down the sides of the mighty range, gleaming afar like bands of
silver. A short distance farther, he passed the crest of the Sierra, and came upon waters which flowed to the west, bearing the melted snows to the Pacific, which lay on the distant horizon. How suggestive the proximity of these widely parting waters! Here, on the same mountain-top, were the sources of mighty rivers,-near and yet divided, ---starting from the same point, yet flowing in opposite directions, and emptying their waters into far distant
This is an illustration of what often occurs in human life. Two persons that start from one domestic circle, from the same paternal roof, in a few years diverge to opposite points of the horizon. At first they are divided but by a hand's-breadth ; but their ends are as far apart as the east is from the west. Two brothers start in the race of life together. One becomes a merchant, the other a missionary. The former dies at home, the latter in India. How wide the contrast presented in their separate careers! Yet not greater than is often found in the characters of members of the same family. One child is mild and gentle, and easily persuaded to good; another is violent and self-willed, and defies control. How far apart will they be at the extreme points of life !
What serenity will crown the old age of the one; what a gulf of despair will yawn beneath the other !
At the same family altar may kneel a brother and sister, who, when they pass that threshold, shall meet no more, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Thus are mankind divided,—by nature, by disposition, by course of life, and by future destiny. One is taken, and another left.
But this dividing line applies not merely to different individuals, taking each his separate way, but to the turning-points in the same perscnal history.
In the pilgrimage of life, there is many a peak which the traveller climbs, - mounts of vision on which he stands, and looks far behind and before, and decides which way to turn, and where he can make an election of his own character and fate. There are points to which he comes
as to the shore of an ocean, or the brow of a precipice, where the action of an instant, the step of a foot, may decide the question of life or death. The act is done in a moment, but the consequences last for ever.
This decisive step is sometimes taken in childhood. The character is fixed, never to change. Or the turningpoint may be a little later, when the child passes into youth, or when at last he steps upon the stage of active life. The farther he advances, the more definite and pronounced his character must become.
So even in later life. There are certain marked crises, at which the interests of years, or of a lifetime, seem to converge, and on which to depend,-points where, though the slightest impulse may turn the mind in either direction, years may not suffice to recover its position.
We do well to mark these turning-points in life, for tremendous issues may hang on an instant's decision. The influence of a moment may be felt through life; the influence of time through eternity.
THE OLD TOMBSTONE.
“ Sacred to the Memory of -." Yes, those are the only words legible on this old tombstone. It had a long inscription once, but you cannot make it out now, for time has worn it all away; there is not even the name left! Many, many years have rolled past since this stone was put up; and no one in the village, I dare say, but myself, could tell whose remains lie beneath it.
Shall I relate to you the story which I heard from my grandfather about it? It is a short one, and a very simple one; but it may, perhaps, do you good.
My grandfather was a woodcutter. His name was Ralph Price. He was a truly good man, and had received a better education than his neighbours, so that he was much looked up to by them all. And he was a great favourite, too, at the Grange, where Squire Belton lived. Squire Belton was the master for whom he worked, and a kind master he was; one who knew how to value a good servant. But it is his son, Master Harry, as he was called, whom I am going to
talk about. He was a fine, clever lad, full of health and spirits; and very fond of my grandfather. He used often to run down to our cottage to watch my grandfather at his work, and to have a merry chat with him. They got on very well together. Master Harry used to like to talk about what he should do when he was a man ; sometimes it was one thing, and sometimes it was another; but it was always something which was to make him famous in the eyes of the world. He had such a deal of ambition in his disposition. He wanted to be a great man, so that he should not only be thought a great deal of while he lived, but be treasured up in people's memories for years and years after his death. Sometimes he would bring a book with him, and read to him the history of one of his favourite heroes, and when he had finished, his eyes would brighten, and his colour would deepen, and he would exclaim, “ There, Ralph, now that is just what I mean to be. I intend to win for myself a name as he did ; and, perhaps, Ralph, some day your children, and your grandchildren, will be talking about that wonderful man, General Belton, who did so much for his country.”
It was impossible to help being amused with such speeches as these, and my grandfather loved the lad so dearly, that he was interested in all his boyish plans and fancies. Only while he listened to them both with patience and willingness, he often tried to edge in a word which might draw Harry's thoughts to better things, and give him a nobler object of pursuit.
Well, time went on, until Master Harry was Master Harry no longer, but a tall, handsome young man, who had made up his mind to go into the army. And so he became a soldier, and he looked, as you may suppose, very well in his gay uniform. After a time his regiment was ordered abroad, and he came to bid my grandfather goodbye. “Good-bye, Ralph,” he said, "I hope I shall have done something worth hearing of before I come back again. I want to make my name famous.”
(To be continued.)
WONDERFUL ISLAND BUILDERS.
AMONGST the wonders wrought in our world, few are of such an imposing character as that produced by the little family of Zoophites, called polypi : a mere speck in the ocean, an apparent fragment of gelatinous matter separated from its parent mass, and yet doing work on such a scale of magnitude as to astonish the world. “God made the country, but man made the
town," is a common remark; and we may apply it, a little altered, and say, God made the polypi, but the polypi made the islands."
Our conjectural hypothesis very often supply the place of argument in the developed formation of the earth, but