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position, shows that the lady has considerable intelligence, showing that this kind of folly is not confined to the ignorant. This letter was among those already referred to as seized by the police of Philadelphia, and fell into our hands through Mr. Geist, of the Lancaster Saturday Evening Express, who had in his possession a large number of these letters, and who published them in an able expose of this kind of imposition. Here is the letter and the reply:
"HOLIDAYSBURG, December 2, 1850. DEAR SIR: Your letter was received with much pleasure. Mother still thinks that you can bring it back. The girl that was blamed for taking it has gone to Pittsburg. Mother dreamed the other night that the money was in a house in town, and this girl stole it and gave it to the other girl to keep for her. Also, that some one had gave mother power to get it. So that must be you. Every one laughed when she told them that she was a going to send money to you, for you could bring the stolen money back. But she believed so firmly in you, that she did not listen to them. Do you think it is in town? Do please try and get it. Yours, respectfully,
Here is the ignorant scoundrel's reply, verbatim:
"phil'a December 3 '50 I have notice your Remarks; the money is in your Town; and your mother will Get them back but in som cases, it takes Longer time than in others.
This very impostor, as was ascertained by official inquiry, in the space of a few years, cleared at this business the enormous sum of FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, after paying immense sums besides for advertising. At the time of his capture by the authorities of Philadelphia, he had $15,000 deposited in one bank. When his letters fell into the hands of the officers, and The Sunday Globe began to publish them as an expose of his impositions, he called on the editors and offered them $1000 if they would let him alone. They nobly refused. By the authorities and the public papers he was at last driven from Philadelphia; and yet, in the face of this exposure, he settled down afterwards in New York, Boston, Baltimore, and lastly in Cincinnati, and did a large business— riding out in his splendid carriage, and enjoying himself in the highest style, a very king in the "Paradise of fools" which he had gathered
A SACRED MELODY
Be thou, O God, by night, by day,
Pure as the air, when day's first light
And active as the lark that soars
So may my soul upon the wings
Of faith unwearied rise,
Till at the gate of heaven it sings
THE TREES OF THE BIBLE.
NO. XVIII.—THE OAK.
BY THE EDITOR.
THE Oak has been a sacred tree among many nations. The Greeks, Romans, Germans, Gauls, and Britons, all held it in the greatest veneration. The Druids celebrated their sacred rites under oaks. It is such a noble tree that Cowper could well say,
"It seems idolatry with some excuse,
"We have reason to think," says one, "that this veneration was brought from the East; and that the Druids did no more than transfer the sentiments their progenitors had received in oriental countries. It would appear that the patriarch Abraham resided under an oak, or a grove of oaks, which our translators render the plains of Mamre; and that he planted a grove of this tree. Gen. 21, 23. In fact, since in hot countries nothing is more desirable, or more refreshing, than the shade of a tree, we may easily suppose the inhabitants would resort for their enjoyment to
"Where'er the oak's thick branches spread
Oaks, and groves of oaks, were esteemed proper places for religious services. Altars were set up under them: Josh. 24, 26; and probably in the East, as well as in the West, appointments to meet at conspicuous oaks were made, and many affairs transacted, or treated of, under their shade, as we read in Homer, Theocritus, and other poets. The heathen made idols of oak. Is. 44, 14. The oracle of Dodona stood in a grove of oaks, which was sacred to Jupiter. Celebrated in the scriptures are the "Oaks of Bashan." Is. 2, 13; Zach. 11, 2; Ezek. 27, 6. Orientalists tell us that this is a peculiar kind of oak. The leaves are smaller and the acorns larger than those on our oaks. The acorns and nut-galls of this tree are an important article of exportation in Syria.
The Hebrew word, ALLON-oak-is sometimes translated plain in our English bible. Thus in Judges 10, 37: "The plain of Meonenim," is in Luther's translation "The Magic Oak;" supposed to be called the magic or wizard oak, because it was the spot where Jacob had hid the gods of his wives. Gen. 35, 4. So also in 1 Sam. 10, 3: "the plain of Tabor," is in German "the oak of Tabor." As these trees lived to a great age they naturally became celebrated as the representatives of the localities in which they stood. It was under an oak that Joshua held solemn assemblies of the people, and there also he erected the stone of testimony to remind the Jews of their covenant with God. Joshua 24, 26. Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under an oak. Gen.
35, 8. The angel of the Lord that appeared to Gideon sat under an oak. Judges 6, 2. Prophets were also wont to sit under this tree. 1 Kings 13, 14. Abimelech was made king "by the plain (oak) of the pillar that was in Shechem." Judges 9, 6.
Besides its great age, there is a solemn grandeur about the oak that inspires in us feelings of respect. A friend of ours is wont to take his hat off when he meets a majestic oak. He learned it from the fifth commandment, the spirit of which he piously thinks extends to aged trees. We respect him the more on this account.
What astonishes us most of all when we look thoughtfully at a large oak is, that such a thing of a hundred “mighty arms" should come forth from a small acorn. Verily, if it should spring up at once into such dimensions it would be a miracle, and we should praise the great God because of it! Is it not just as wonderful-and more so-that it should have become what it is through long centuries of slow, silent growth, encountering the frost of many winters and the rage of a thousand hurricanes and storms. Yes it is a miracle to the thoughtful.
Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball,
Which babes might play with; and the thievish jay
A SHADOW FROM THE HEAT.
How oppressive is the weather! Our blood boils, our lips are parched, our heads ache. We pant for rest, how sweet to recline under some cooling shade! "Thou hast been a shadow from the heat," says the prophet Isaiah to the God of Israel. And what kind of a shadow is He? We read in the scripture of the shadow of a cloud, of the shadow of a tree, of the shadow of a rock, of the shadow of a tabernacle from the heat. The shadow of a cloud in harvest is grateful; but it passes quickly by. The shadow of a tree under which we sit down is grateful, but it covers only a small space, and the rays often pierce through the boughs. The shadow of a great rock is dense and cool, but it befriends only a little way. The shelter which the soul finds in God is far more than they all together. In the shadow of the tabernacle is a cool and refreshing resting-place. No burning heats are there; no storms of wicked passions are there; no parching droughts are there; no harm of any kind can come there. "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." He that dwelleth in the sacred place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Will you not come and dwell under this broad and blessed shadow?
BY THE EDITOR.
THE reader will please call to mind one thing which we said last month in regard to "scraps of unpublished literature" found on the blank leaves of school books. This, namely: "We are of opinion that these sentiments, when properly arranged, do truly exhibit not only the intellectual, but also the moral and religious history of the scholar's mind and heart even in the same way, and by the same philosophy as the history of a nation's poetry shows its development." So we now repeat.
We brought our history of unpublished school-boy literature up to the first efforts of the "larger boys." We now proceed to the examination of a specimen which exhibits a certain one-sided development common to boys at a certain period in boyhood:
Bobby Brown, his hand and pen,
He will be good, but dear knows when.
We do not at all like the spirit of these lines. We are sorry that it is so common with boys of a certain age to write them in their schoolbooks. The thoughtful reader will at once recognise in them a certain peculiar bravo spirit which is not at all beautiful in children. We do not like to see him write down his own name, in nick-name style. It is a bad sign when a boy, or a man, receives a nick-name. He ought to avoid giving occasion for it; and if some weakness or wickedness in him draws it upon him he ought to mourn over it in deepest shame. It is a NICK-name. The word nick, the reader no doubt knows, means in some languages, "the devil"-an evil spirit. A nick-name is a devil-name: that is, a name given by some evil-disposed person, and generally occasioned by some evil trait in the one who receives it, of which it is the mark. It ought to be regarded with earnest disapprobation; and it pains us to see the boy adopt it, and record it with his own hand.
You say, perhaps, "Bobby" cannot be properly regarded as a nickname, because it evidently comes from Robert. Yes, you know it to be so derived; but pray, could you tell it from the words themselves. It is purely a nick-name; and there is no law of language by which it can be derived from Robert. We are sorry to see this boy adopt his nick-name; it sinks him in our estimation.
You think it strange that we should so strongly censure this feature in the couplet. But hear us. The boy received a name in his baptism, Robert. That is his christian name. Before that he had only one name, and that was the name of his parents, the name in the flesh, the name in nature; but when he was christened he received another name, the name in grace. Every time he or others call him by his christian name, it is to remind him of the new relation he now sustains to Christ of which the name is the symbol and mark. This christian name is Robert; but see now the boy prefers his nick-name, his devil-name to his true christian He calls himself by this evil name, which is as much as to say
he does not wish to be regarded as a christian, but names himself after the evil spirit.
Are we not right in disliking, yea in being horrified at the spirit of the boy who can so deny his christian name. Say we not truly that no greater insult can be offered any one than to give him a nick-name. It is indeed to insult and mock his baptism, and deny to him a title to the highest and most honorable name which a mortal can bear.
We say, then, that the boy whose taste falls in with this couplet is developing in an unlovely direction. If he does not change he may yet turn out to be, what is familiarly known as a rowdy. The elements of this character are evidently working in him. We already picture him to ourselves as somewhat rude in his manners and rough in his words. He may not yet fight or swear, but he begins to be uncourteous in some of his intercourse with other boys, and his words begin to show a great Ideal of the bold sauce-box. His eye and his cheek begin to lose that beautiful modesty which all good people love so much to see in children. He begins to delight in a slouching hat, and a swaggering air. He even sometimes answers rudely when his mother gives him tender and good advice. This, and more too, we expect to find in a boy who has so far lost his christian self-respect as to hear and even write with pleasure his nick-name. Again, we say, we are sorry to see this spirit growing in the boy.
What is thus implied in the first line of the couplet, is fully brought out in the second. See how irreverently he speaks :
He will be good, but dear knows when.
In this line he even makes light of piety. It is only too true, what he here implies, that he is not now good. He acknowledges this, not humbly and sadly, as he ought to do; but lightly and carelessly. It seems to be the same as if he had said, "he will be good, but cares not when!"
The boy, moreover, seems to have lost the feeling of his true relation to piety or being good. He looks upon it as something to come to him in the future. He forgets his vantage ground as he was placed upon it in the covenant in which he received his christian name. He forgets that he is to grow in grace, and vaguely expects some time or other to grow into it. God, through his christian name, says to him: You are mine by the covenant of grace, depart not from me. But he virtually says: I am not now God's, but I may become such in the future. Here is the very same spirit of frivolous unbelief and impiety which caused him to prefer his nick-name to his christian name.
Look closely to the words: "He will be good." They contain a seed of serious evil. They are spoken in the spirit of presumption. They imply that his becoming good depends upon his own will-upon what he will choose to do in the future, rather than what has been done for him already. He does not seem to feel and acknowledge gracious influences before and behind him, upon which he is to fall back for strength, and hope, and safety, but in bravo style proposes to dash into his future history on the strength of his own will and resources.
These lines belong evidently to that period which may be called full boyhood. There is not in them, either the innocent simplicity of the earlier, nor yet the earnest consideration of the later stage. They belong