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into its bosom all the thunders of the lurid sky, lashes into fury the
lazy elements, torments the putrescent waves into spray
m and foam, whirls the ship along with the noise of waterBreaking a spouts, kindles electric fire upon its masts, making the
e ship's crew pale their features with fear-drunken, or
slumbering, or careless as they are. And even such a storm-centre of moral force was St. John the Baptist. For a brief time he cleared the air of a religion heavy with imposture, but it was too late. A few pure souls prepared by him had listened in the hush which followed to the voice of Christ ; but the heavy pall of formalism and insincerity fell again upon the nation, fold by fold, and when the hurricane burst upon it once more, it was not the purifying storm of spiritual regeneration, it was the tornado of final destination.”-F. W. Farrar.
THE NEED OF REVIVALS.—There is need of reformations and revivals, political and religious, which stir the community to its very depths, and throughout its whole extent. The ordinary means of grace are most important, but there is also need of other and sudden powers to make men see more clearly both their needs and their hopes, and to bring them to action.
Prof. E. W. Scripture, of Yale, in his book of psychological experiments, “ Thinking, Feeling, Doing,” proves that in order to realize feelings, as of hot and cold, there needs to be a sudden change. In holding a spoon on the flame of a lamp, “when the heat was gradu
ally increased, it was scarcely noticed, but when suddenly Professor increased it was clear at once.” Although a frog jumps
readily when put in warm water, yet a frog can be boiled Experi.
to without a movement if the water is heated slowly enough. Home In one experiment the water was heated at the rate of 0.002C (1066 of a degree Fahrenheit) per second; the frog never moved, and at the end of two and a half hours was found dead. He had evidently been boiled without noticing it. “From psychological writers we have heard it repeated ad nauseam that there is no consciousness without change. These facts illustrate the necessity of sudden impulses, of great revivals, reformations, political excitements, unexpected results, to awaken a community to its needs or its dangers."
TESTS OF REVIVALS.-In studying the value of revival work, such as Mr. Moody's, wrong tests are often applied. It is not fair to judge
BAPTIST. WILDERNESS OF JUDEA.
of the value of a shower by the amount of water that remains visible on the surface; nor of the
A.D. 26. value of an enrichment of the soil by looking for JOHN THE a harvest the next morning. It leads to great errors if we test a farm by the weeds, and not by the harvests. A desert has fewer weeds than a garden.
Prof. Amos R. Wells, of the Golden Rule, has written a modern fable concerning the animals wishing to choose a king. The Lion roared the loudest, and thought he should be chosen ; the Lark sang the sweetest ; the Eagle soared the highest ; the Kangaroo leaped the farthest. The latter insisted that leaping should be the test and he be the king. Wrong tests, partial tests, are unsafe guides. For every great good there is need of many and varied tests.
These facts illustrate the need of sudden impulses, revivals, reformations, political overturnings, unexpected results, to awaken the community to its needs and its wrongs. John the Baptist produced such a sudden impulse and change.
REFERENCE. Carlyle's “History of Frederick the Great," on the Value of the Reformation.
PREPARING THE WAY OF THE LORD.—“In the mountain regions, the washing of the hillsides by the heavy winter rains destroys, each year, a large portion of the best laid roads. In the desert regions the shifting sands, and in the more fertile regions the abundant growth of weeds and shrubbery, make Eastern roads well-nigh impassable, unless care is exercised for their frequent or special clearing. In many parts of the East the ancient roads were prepared or repaired only at the special call of the king, for his special service on an exceptional occasion.”—H. C. Trumbull, D.D.
On the ist of April, 1886, the boy Emperor of China set out on his first journey beyond the confines of Peking, to visit the Eastern tombs, fifteen miles away, to worship his imperial ancestors. “For weeks before the eventful day, hundreds of men had
The Way been at work preparing a road for His Majesty to travel ;
Prepared repairing the ancient stone road between Peking and
for the the city of Tungchou, fifteen miles distant, throwing up
Emperor of a highway across the country, when his course diverged
China. from this road; building bridges where rivers were to be crossed, and putting up eating halls, huge structures of matting at
which the Emperor and his followers could refresh themselves with a cup of tea and whatsoever more substantial they required."
-Mrs. H. P. Beach.
“On going from Cairo to the pyramids, over an exceptionally good road, the traveler will not fail to be told that it was built for the Prince of Wales, or for the Empress Eugenie, or for the Khedive himself, or even, rarely, for Napoleon the Great."--Prof. Isaac Hall..
“Formerly the soft sand of the streets of Cairo gave back no sound of chariot-wheel, hoof, or footstep; now the paved roadway of the Muski is a din worthy of Regent Street or Broadway. It has The Way
lost in dignity and quiet, but much gain is made, in Prepared some respects, by the improvements of Ismail Pasha. for the Instead of donkeying to the pyramids, or perching on a
1 back-breaking camel, you ride in an open barouche to Wales.
the very foot of the Great Pyramid. It is a delicious drive, eleven miles on a raised causeway, under the shady acacia trees, sacred in our eyes to poetry and song. The highway was built for the Prince of Wales, according to an immemorial compliment in the East, which orders a new road made for a guest the king delights to honor. Verily, Ismail Pasha builded better than he knew, when he ordered this for the Prince of Wales. His it is now.”
- Mrs. Gen. Lew Wallace.
Another method of preparing the way is mentioned by Dr. Trumbull. In his “ Studies in Oriental Social Life,” he speaks of the narrow streets of Alexandria packed with half-naked cripples, blind
beggars, veiled women, men in bright-colored garments, The Herald
children in none, donkeys trotting through the crowd, dria. when, suddenly, out of all this confusion, a sharp, clear
voice was heard, “Take care; to thy right, to thy left," from a lithe-limbed young Egyptian, gayly dressed, with his loins girded, coming on the run, swinging a light staff in his hand, and repeating his cries to the throng in the street to make way for those who were to follow. Close behind him came an open carriage, drawn by a span of showy horses, containing an officer of the government. Thus John came to bid men, and customs, and prejudices, and useless forms, and sins of all kinds to stand aside and let the Prince of Peace come to their hearts and to their nation.
BAPTIST. WILDERNESS OF JUDEA.
TEMPERANCE PREPARING THE WAY.-Dr. Justin of Edwards says that the great revival of 1825-28 was
A.D. 26. preceded by a temperance revival, and that, of 300
JOHN THE towns through which the temperance reform swept, in 275 there followed a revival of religion. The revival of 1865 in Dr. Cuyler's church, in te Brooklyn, began in the same way. Repenting of this sin of intemperance prepared the way for Christ. The same truth may be illustrated (1) by the clearing away the brush and wood in a new country, in order that crops may be planted; (2) by the cleansing of the house, in order to receive friends.
HOW TO PREPARE THE WAY.—The voice comes to us, “ Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” (1) Fill up the valleys, the sins of omission, defects of prayer, of faith, of love, of work. (2) Bring down the mountains of pride, sin, selfishness, unbelief, worldliness. (3) Straighten out all crooked places, crooked dealings with others, crooked ways of sin, settle difficulties, confess sins. (4) Smooth the rough places, -the harshness of temper and manner, the lack of courtesy, the coldness, the fault-finding, which are the little foxes that spoil the vines, the flies in the precious ointment, the spots in our feasts of charity that mar the beauty of holiness.
WIDER APPLICATIONS.—“To the Oriental mind a road, a way, the king's highway, includes primarily the idea of a kingdom ; of a kingdom planned and a kingdom controlled ; again, it includes the idea oi a personal sovereign; of a sovereign whose plan is back of that highway and whose purpose is before it; yet, again, it includes the idea of the king's commandment, in the building of that road and in the keeping of it in repair; of a sure course to one's destination by means of that road; of safety while on that road; of duties which grow out of being on the line of that road; of the duty of watching for the king's coming and of making the road ready for his passage; of the duty of following in the train and in the service of the king when he is moving along that road. And this covers everything that we understand by the way of duty, the way of privilege, the way of safety in our moral and spiritual life course.'
-H.C. Trumbull, in Sunday-School Times.
4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
4. His MEAT WAS LOCUSTS.—These locusts resemble our grasshoppers. “The Piutes (Indians) have been busy for some time harvesting grasshoppers. The savages get together in the vicinity of a
mu lake or pond and form a ring around it. When everyEating Lo. custs and thing is ready they beat tom-toms and sticks and begin Grasshop. to close in. The hoppers, startled by the noises, jump
pers by toward the water, and finally fly into it. When the InIndians.
Alamo dians have the surface of the pond well covered, they dip the insects out in baskets, and, going to the shore, spread them out to dry. After the hoppers are well dried the savages roll them gently, so as to break off the wings and legs, and the bodies are then thrown into a pile by themselves, At the close of the day's work the hoppers, dried and assorted, are stored away in caches for winter. The Indians of the coast very highly prize the dishes made from these insects. They make soup of them first, and finally, when they will no more answer for soup, they are eaten.”
- Western Correspondent of Boston Journal.
“Prof. C. V. Riley, the Government entomologist, was found breakfasting on fried cicada, or seventeen-year locusts, the other morning. They resemble fried oysters. “I spent an hour last night,' said the host, 'gathering them, and they were very beautiful when fresh. I took them just as the pupa began to break. They were creamywhite and plump, and looked good enough to eat raw, but I didn't venture. I think these should have been stewed instead of fried, stewed in milk. I presume they would be nearly as good as grasshoppers. 'Do you eat grasshoppers ?' •Certainly. I once ate nothing else for two days, and I found them delicious when properly cooked.'"-Boston Journal.
Locusts are so abundant in this region that, according to the London Daily News, in 1881, 250 tons of locusts were buried in Cyprus, each ton numbering over 90,000,000 of these pests.
LIBRARY.-David A. Lyle's “ Locusts as Food for Man" in Popular Science Monthly, XXIII., pp. 531-535.