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'O no! O no!' sweet Jesus said,
For there are many of those infants' souls
THE POOR CHILD'S CHRISTMAS-TREE.
FROM THE GERMAN OF RUECKERT.
BY THE EDITOR.
-A STRANGER child, on Christmas eve is walking through the town. It looks at the lights that are burning so beautifully along the streets. Before every house it stands still, and gazes into the brilliantly illumined rooms. Those within look out. It sees the Christmas-trees within hung full of bright wax candles. A deep sadness comes over its heart.
The child weeps, and says to itself: Christmas-tree, and a candle on it; poor and have none.
"Every child this evening has a and this gives it joy: only I am
When I was at home, where I sat at Christmas eve with my sister's hand in mine, I also had a tree, and a candle that burnt brightly for me; but here I am forgotten, and wander lonely in this strange land. Alas! will no one invite me in, and give me a spot in the circle of this Christmas joy? In all this row of houses is there no little bright corner for me, be it ever so small?
Alas! will no one call me in? I do not wish any gift for myself. I
will only sit alone and look at the Christmas gifts of these strange children; and I will be happy while I look."
It knocks at gate and door, at window and shutter; but no one comes to call in the stranger child. Those within have no ear for its knocking.
Every father bestows all his attention on his own children. Each mother gives gifts to her own loved ones, and thinks of nothing more nor less. No one cares for the poor, little stranger child without. "O, lovely, holy Christ! Neither mother nor father have I-if thou be not such to me. O, be thou my consoler, because all others forget me!" The little child rubs its hands: they are stiff with the cold. The cold creeps into its garments. It stands still in the street, and looks away into the distance.
There comes toward it, wandering along the street, slow and gently, another child. It is clothed white garments, and bears a light in its hand. How lovely are the tones of its voice, as it says:
"I am the holy Christ! I was also once a little child such as you are. I will not forget you, though all others do.
I am with all alike through my word. I give my protection and care, as well here on the street, as yonder in the brilliant rooms.
Stranger child! I will make your Christmas-tree glitter here in this open space. It shall be so beautiful that those in the houses shall not excel it."
NOW CHRIST-KINDLEIN pointed up to heaven! And there stood a Christmas-tree with many branches, all glittering as if hung full of beautiful stars.
So far off and yet so near! How the bright tapers sparkled. O, how the stranger child's heart grew quiet, when it saw its beautiful Christmas-tree.
It was as a dream!
Angels bending down from the tree to the child drew it up to them, and to the bright regions where its Christmastree was.
The stranger child has now gone home! It lives with its holy Christ. It now longs no more for the gifts that on earth are hung for rich children upon the Christmas-tree.
NEW YEAR'S EVE.
BY ALFRED TENNYSON.
If you're waking, call me early, call me early, mother dear,
Then ye may lay me low in the mold, and think no more o' me.
To-night I saw the sun set; he set and left behind
The good old year, the dear old time, and all my peace of mind;
Last May we made a crown of flowers; we had a merry day!
There's not a flower on the hills; the frost is on the pane;
I wish the snow would melt, and the sun come out on high;
I long to see a flower so, before the day I die.
The building rook 'll caw from the tall elm-tree,
And the swallow 'll come back again with summer o'er the wave,
Upon the chancel-casement and upon that grave of mine,
A constellation in the heavens.
When the flowers come again, mother, beneath the waving light,
Ye 'll bury me, my mother, just beneath the hawthorn shade,
I have been wild and wayward, but ye forgive me now;
If I can I 'll come again, mother, from out my resting-place;
Good night, good night, when I have said good night for evermore,
She 'll find my garden-tools upon the granary floor;
Good night, sweet mother! call me when it begins to dawn;
THE TREES OF THE BIBLE.
NO. XV. THE APPLE TREE.
BY THE EDITOR.
"Comfort me with apples."-SONGS OF SOLOMON.
THE apple tree is rare in Canaan and the surrounding country; and the few that do grow bear very indifferent fruit, such as is scarcely fit for use. The finest apples are imported into Palestine and Egypt from Damascus and Rhodes, and are sold at high prices.
From this fact, it has been supposed by some commentators, that the Hebrew TAPHUAH, translated apple-tree, must be some other kind of fruittree; some say the citron, others the orange, others the pomegranate, and some all kinds of luscious fruit trees. This, however, must be regarded as a conclusion that is not based upon proper consideration. The apple tree is spoken of as a very precious, desirable tree. It is, by Solomon, placed in contrast with "the trees of the wood," to show the great superiority of "the beloved" above all others among the sons of men. Its shadow and its fruit are said to be a great luxury. Songs of Solomon, 2. Its destruction is mourned over as an important loss. Joel 1: 12. All this agrees better with the fact of its being rare, than if it were abundant. Had it been common its enjoyment would not be so emphatically pronounced a luxury. Keeping in mind, however, the excellency of its fruit, and its extreme scarcity in the Holy Land, there is beauty and force in the passage: "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons: I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples." Songs 2: 1-5. 8: 5. 7:8.
Nor does the fact that the most excellent specimens of this fruit were of foreign trees militate against the position that the apple tree is intended. Having ourselves, for instance, tasted oranges or pine-apples from the south, we may with great propriety, speak of the superior excellence of one thing over another by saying as "an orange tree among the trees of the wood;" and we may also poetically speak of the luxury of sitting under the shadow of these trees as a great pleasure. Indeed it is this which gives true applicability to the allusion of the royal poet. The "beloved" who came from another, even a heavenly country, is so much more desirable than all the sons of men, as the apple tree is above the trees of the wood.
Begone now, ye fastidious critics! A veritable pack of irreverent book-worms are ye all. When ye have differed from the common translation of the Bible, then ye go about differing among yourselves. To each one of you we say sharply, Go your way, agree in your wisdom quickly, or we will deliver you to the tormentors. When once you are at peace among yourselves, then come and offer your gifts of critical skill. For while one says it is a citron, another a pomegranate, another an orange, and still another all fruit in general, are ye not carnal?
We are against all this "ungracious projeny" of over-wise critics. Long and hard have many of our critics labored to show us what is not in the Bible; and what is in it do they not touch with one of their fingers? We claim a place for the apple tree in the Bible. The editor of Calmet at least favors our way of thinking. He says: "The corresponding Arabic word tyffach signifies not only apples, but also generally all similar fruits, as oranges, lemons, quinces, peaches, apricots; and it is a common comparison to say of any thing, 'It is as fragrant as a tyffach.' The Hebrew word may, perhaps, have been used in the same general sense. There is, however, no need of such a supposition. Apple trees were not very common in Palestine, and their comparative rarity would naturally give them a poetical value." Thus naturally would they be referred to in the highly poetical style of the Song of Solomon.
Let this most noble of trees, so delightfully familiar to our early life, and which lives so pleasantly in our memories and associations, remain in the Bible unless it is made absolutely certain that it has gained a place there by foul means. This last vice we are loath to attach to this kindest and most innocent of trees. Let us treat it as we would our best friend, against whom ungracious insinuations have been made— construe everything as far as possible in its favor. It is irreverent, and not pious, to endeavor to root out of the Bible a tree which has grown into christian affections there, even a longer time than it has grown in our father's orchard. This is not the charity which suffers long, is kind, believing and hoping all things, and is not easily provoked even against a sacred tree.
Solomon says: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Prov. 25: 11. This somewhat obscure allusion is fully explained by Roberts. He remarks: "Some suppose this alludes to fruit served up in filigree-work; but I believe it does not refer to real fruit, but to representations and ornaments in solid gold. The Vulgate has, instead of pictures, in lectis argenteis,' 'in silver beds.' The Tamul translation has, in place of pictures of silver, velle-tattam—i. e., salvers or trays of silver. The Rev. T. H. Horne, Apples of gold in network of silver.' In the 6th and 7th verses, directions are given as to the way a person ought to conduct himself in the presence of a king: and words fitly spoken are compared, in their effect on the mind, to ap ples of gold in salvers of silver, when presented as tributes or presents to the mighty. When eastern princes visit each other, or when men of rank have to go into their presence, they often send silver trays, on which are gold ornaments, as presents to the king, to propitiate them in their favor. Thus, when the governor-general, and the native sovereigns, visit each other, it is said, they distributed many TRAYS of jewels or other articles of great value. Golden ornaments, whether in the shape of fruit or any other thing, when placed on highly-polished silver salvers, or in net-work of the same metal, have a very beautiful appearance to the eye, and are highly acceptable and gratifying to him who receives them. As, then, apples or jewels of gold are in 'salvers,' or "beds,' or 'net-work' of silver, to the feelings of the receiver, so are words fitly spoken when addressed to the mind of him who is prepared to receive them. To confirm this explanation, the next verse is very