Billeder på siden

Provided with a small basketfull on my arm, I started out one day in painful anxiety as to the result of my first direct effort to help the family. There was a responsibility resting on me that made my boyish shoulders bend, and childish features settle down with care-worn lines. How often have I seen such since! God pity the poor! Oh, if the thoughtless sons and daughters of wealth and affluence knew the greatest joy, there would be less suffering!

"Will you please buy some apples," I at last said to a woman in a house I was passing, after having gone down street a good way, and met many persons whom I had not the courage to ask.

"Yes, my little son-they are proper fine ones too. How much do you ask for them?" said she, taking hold of the basket, which I now found getting heavy on my arm. "How do you sell them?"

"Oh, I don't know-any way you like, ma'am," I stammered out. "You do not seem to understand much about the business yet." Then looking me in the face she inquired, "How old are you?"

"Six, in August," and I began to feel like moving away. She saw my embarrassment, took the apples, paid me fifteen cents, and with a glad heart I hastened home.

"There!" shouted I, as the money was thrown into my mother's lap, where my head has often nestled. It was all I could say, and my heart would not keep still. It was the first violent fit of palpitation in my experience; and its throbbing pulsations of triumphant joy are not yet forgotten. Years have passed by since, bringing in their course vicissitudes of trials and success, but none are half so fresh as these. What would have been the pleasure of eating the fruit ourselves in comparison with the satisfaction now experienced in being able in this small way to assist the family!

Again and again, with a lighter heart was my basket filled by cheerful hands, while I was required to rest between the trips down street. How eagerly my feet pattered home, while the cash was tighly grasped in my hand sunk deep in my pocket. Yes, I had a pocket made for the occasion. That itself was then some reward to a boy of six.

A tin box was our bank. There was soon money enough in it to jingle. And it was part of the evening's recreation to feel how heavy it was to shake it till it rattled, and count it as it increased from day to day. Sometimes the apples were dull sale. At such times the task seemed heavier. At retail and wholesale, for eating, for pies and for sauce we sold them. A regular trade was established, my customers looked for me regularly, and the apple-boy as regularly came.

One of my best customers was a widow lady who made her living by sewing. She always bought some, if it was only one cent's worth. But at the private residence of the Mayor I was always sure to sell. His two daughters would call me "a dear little fellow," and treat me so kindly that I feel now like writing them a letter of acknowledgments, if I knew how or where to address them. They will doubtless have their reward.


My basketfull generally sold for ten, or twelve, or fifteen cents. fruit, however, could not last forever. The last trip was made, and when the money was counted the proceeds were four dollars and sixtyseven cents. Money sometimes is worth more than its par value-at

least our little treasury seemed to be worth much more to the family then than the same sum multiplied is now. I have earned larger amounts since, that have not afforded me as much satisfaction.

Removed far from those scenes we have been called to struggle and strive in other ways, and yet success has Providence vouchsafed to us. Honest, faithful effort meets with its reward. Though distance and years have intervened, on revisiting those scenes of my early struggles with adverse fortune, I recognized the streets, the houses-but the faces, these were gone-perhaps to eternity. Looking at my own checkered pathway, the hand of the Lord is plainly seen, turning me now to the right hand and then to the left. Truly, "He hath brought me by a way that I knew not." Our whole family have reason to bless Him for the adversity that has probably been the chief means of bringing us all into His fold. He alone does all things well.



"Woodlands around me roar-
Wavelets do lave thy shore--
Sing me much-sing me more-
O Conestoga!"

SATURDAY evening! What a peculiarly interesting time is Saturday evening. Still more especially peculiar is Saturday evening in summer. How sweet to see the wave of business and care retire; and await the spirit of Sabbatic peace as it comes silently on, and broods like a joyful earnest over every limb of the body, and every faculty of the soul. How silently the shadows lengthen over the fields-how calmly the sun sinks in the west-how softly the night steals on, while the hopeful farewell light yet lingers upon the red evening sky. Then we think of absent friends with a kind of solemn cheerfulness, and send up to God a silent prayer that we, with all life's wayfarers, whom we love, may safely find the way through the wilderness and the night, into the land of eternal morning.

It was such a Saturday evening in and around Franklin and Marshall College, of which we speak. The studies of the week were over. There was no sound of recitative voices in the halls, nor did any echo of footsteps roll through the corridors. The students were gone-some sitting with book in hand, or in silent meditation, at the windows of their study rooms; some cheerful in social circles, some strolling, two by two, in the rural walk, far in the fields and woods. One group was winding its way to the banks of the calm Conestoga. In this company was one more buoyant than the rest, stronger than the rest, with apparent promise of longer life than the rest. On still they go, cheerfully and joyously. The bank is reached-clothes are thrown aside-preparation

is made to plunge into the cool waters-and the youth of whom we speak is ready sooner than the rest.

"Awhile he stands
Gazing the inverted landscape, half afraid
To meditate the blue profound below;
Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
His ebony tresses and his rosy cheek

Instant emerge; and through the obedient wave,
At each short breathing by his lip repelled,
With arms and limbs according well, he makes,
As humor leads, an easy-winding path;
While from his polished sides a dewy light
Effuses on the pleased spectators round."

It is young WoMMER,* the buoyant, healthy sophomore. See how he lays his strong arms upon the yielding wave, and moves in triumph upon the dark depths! His companions fear and warn. But his young heart is courageous, even as his arm is strong. Now he passes into the deepest part of the stream. See, he sinks-disappears-hush! it is only a playful dive. He appears again, with a shriek for help! He sinks again he appears again, throwing his hands violently over the water, his face disfigured with an indescribable look of anguish and horror. His fellow students in consternation run to and fro, and look unutterable things at one another. He is gone again!-he appears again. One student is near enough to reach him a pole-he takes it, but his grasp is too feeble to hold it fast. He lets it go, and sinks again! Rails are cast in towards the place. A bold swimmer, from another part of the stream, hurries towards the spot;

"But all was still-the wave was rough no more,
The river swept as sweetly as before."

Behold it was all over! Life's solemn experiment was at an end; and young Wommer, the strong, buoyant, hopeful sophomore, has no more any portion forever in all that is done under the sun!

In a little while, all that remains of Wommer is laid a lifeless corpse upon the shore, where but a few minutes ago he had stood in the full strength and hope of life. Again in a little while a small wagon moves toward town, on which lies the cold body of the student-on, over the same ground which but an hour before he had measured with firm and manly step. And now-see!-they carry him in at the door of his boarding house, amid the shrieks of the family and neighbors, and the silent tears of the stricken company who went with him so happily, and have now returned with him so sadly. The subdued whisper goes from lip to lip, from house to house, from street to street, from student to student, from professor to professor, "A student has been drowned!— they have carried young Wommer dead to his boarding place!" His fellow students think of him as they saw him in the class, as they met him in the social circle; and many through town remember the healthy,

"This young man, a student in Franklin and Marshall College, was drowned in the Conestoga on Saturday evening, June 28, 1856.

manly form of the young student, and say: "Can it be!-carried home dead!"

How suddenly, how awfully, in that sad hour, came death to young Wommer! DEATH came to him, the "last enemy," the "king of terrors," the terrible rider of the "pale horse," who gives no release to those whom he meets in war. The merciless, relentless conquerer, whose stern uncompromising features melt not into pity at the tearful pleadings of youth and beauty, and who listens not to the earnest supplication of the unwilling and unprepared-this grim enemy met, and fought, and conquered young Wommer in the dark waters of the Conestoga.

"O sight
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!
Black as night he stands,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,
And shakes a dreadful dart!"

Was he prepared for the conflict? Was he ready for the passage? If he was, well, for there was no time then. The fig-tree has no more time to bear fruit, when the axe sounds at its roots. If more favorable seasons have been neglected, and failed to secure the hope which smiles in the arms of death, how shall this great boon be secured in such a moment of terror! "If thou hast run with footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses! and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan?"

Let the living lay it to heart. A bolt from heaven has fallen into the College, and its fearful glare has lit up with sudden consternation the faces of students and professors. A voice from heaven has cried: "As thy soul liveth there is but a step between thee and death!" And to all the young, to whom The Guardian shall bring these doleful tidings, there is the sounding of a heavenly voice: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little."

Alas!—and thou, lone Conestoga! thou hast another sad note added to the ceaseless song of thy waters. The winds will now wail more dolefully along thy dreary banks in winter-the willows will sigh more sadly in the summer breeze-and the moonbeams will play with a calmer smile in thy wavelets in the holy night. Future students, to whom tradition will bear the sad story, will grow more quiet when they stand upon thy shore, and hear anew in thy murmuring flow the dying shrieks of Wommer, whom sudden, fearful death met, fought, and conquered in the lone Conestoga.

"Still roll these waters on,
Still do they sing me;
As roll these waters on

Thus do they sing to me:
Life, like the summer leaves,
Fades once, forever!

Life, like this gliding stream,
Flows backward never!

On to the silent sea,
On to eternity!
Thus sing thy scenes to me,
O Conestoga!"



THE laying on of hands is called "a doctrine"-a truth, important to be taught and known. Heb. 6: 2. It is ranked among "the prin ciples of the doctrine of Christ;" it is one of the starting points in religion; it belongs to the fundamentals of christianity; it is, therefore, in religion what a foundation stone is in a building; or, perhaps we may better say, it is what the elements are in science.

It is ranked among such doctrines and principles as repentance, faith, baptisms, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. We are impressed with its solemnity by the company in which it appears. This shows us the importance of the doctrine. This should create in us a desire to understand what this doctrine is.

I. Let us look at the history of this doctrine and ordinance.

If we look into the history of this ordinance, we find it first practiced by pious parents in behalf of their children, and by patriarches to their generations. Thus Jacob blessed his own sons (Gen. 49: 28,) and also his grandchildren, the two sons of Joseph. Gen. 49: 13-21. It was done to the sacrifices which were to be offered for sin. Numb. 8: 12. It was done by Moses to Joshua when he became his successor. Num 27: 18-23. It was done by our Saviour to little children, which were brought to Him for that purpose. Math. 19: 15. It was often done by our Saviour to the sick and afflicted, when he healed them. Mark 6:5; Luke 4: 40; 13: 13. The disciples were directed to do the Mark 16: 18. We find also that it was done by Paul to a sick Acts 28: 8.



It was done to christians after they had believed and had been baptised, by way of confirming their faith, and completing their baptism, through the communication of the Holy Ghost. Acts 8: 17; Acts 19: 6. In the latter case it was done immediately upon baptism, that baptism might not be only a "washing away," but also a "putting on."

It was done in setting apart sacred persons to office. Thus it was done to Paul and Barnabas. Acts 13: 3. So also was Timothy set apart and endowed. 1 Tim. 4: 14. So also did Timothy endow others. 1 Tim. 5: 2J. Such is the scripture history of this ordinance.

We find that in all these different ways has the "laying on of hands" been continued in the practice of the church.

The act of blessing children, by laying the hand upon their heads, after the manner of Jacob, has been imitated by many a dying parenta solemnity of which we have all read, and which we have perhaps all witnessed. It is an act prompted by piety and parental love, sanctioned by scriptural precedent, and wonderfully significant, solemn and impressive.

The custom of blessing little children, after the manner of Christ, though it has never been a formal ordinance in the church, has always existed in the familiar practice of the pious. Many a child has felt

« ForrigeFortsæt »