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THE MAN WITH THE APPLE TREES;
OR, THE SABBATH BREAKER ARRESTED.
BY REV. B. T. HOPFHEINS.
It was a beautiful morning, the 20th of October 185–. The sky was clear as crystal, not a cloud was visible. The sun risen in splendor from his nightly repose, shedding his golden rays over nature's placid woods and streams, gave life and light to all around. All nature was quiet-a death-like stillness reigned over hill and dale, which was only broken by the occasional shrill voice of the wood-pecker whilst hammering with its horny bill against the limb of some old tree. All else seemed to be at rest: and well it might, for it was nature's holiday—the sabbath of the Lord, emblem of eternal rest.
In a retired but lovely spot, in a rural district of Penna., stood a house—whose builder has long since slept in the dust of the earthsacred to the worship of Almighty God, venerable for its age—the church where many of the fathers worshipped. The day above referred to was the day for religious service, and as the appointed hour drew nigh, the happy worshippers began to assemble themselves from every direction. There could be seen flocking to the house of God, like doves to their windows, young and old, rich and poormen, women and children-young men and maidens— with happy hearts and smilling faces, each one seemed to say
How did my heart rejoice to hear,
My friends devoutly say,
And keep the solemn day. To this happy throng there was one exception. It was the man with the apple trees. True, he was not loitering about at home, as the manner of too many often is, spending the precious hours of the Sabbath-day in idleness and dissipation. Yet, was he not found among his neighbors and friends wending his steps up to the sanctuary of the Lord. Where then was he and what was he doing on this lovely sacred morning ? Instead of remembering the Sabbathday to keep it holy, he loaded his wagon with young apple-trees, which he had dug up the day before and started off to the nearest county town-some fifteen miles distant—to dispose of them to such persons as wished to purchase choice young fruit trees! Just think, kind reader, of a man—the head of a large family, once a member of the church-hauling apple trees to market on the holy Sabbath, and all this in a christian land! What a conscience such a man must have. Yet the incident here related is a fact-a stubborn fact-a fact such as makes one blush.
While this man (we will call him a man, though we are ashamed
of his kind) was trudging along with his trees, unexpectedly to him he saw some person riding towards him with a quiet and solemn mien. Who can it be? Was the doubtful question with the apple tree man. When lo! as they approached each other more nearly, he was recognized to be the minister who was to minister in holy things that day in the old church. Thunder struck and smitten with shame and guilt, he made motions with his hands toward the minister, as though he should not approach him (which reminds one strongly of an incident recorded in Mathew 8. 29) saying in a very excited manner, “0, pastor ! pastor! I am doing wrong—I know I am doing wrong, O dont say any thing to me-don't reprove me, I won't do it any more.”.
After a few remarks from the lips of the minister, the nature of which it is not necessary to state, they both pursued their course, the minister toward the house of God, and the man with the trees, instead of repenting and forsaking his wicked ways—continued his course, though with painful and mortified feelings.
But scarcely had he proceeded a quarter of a mile before the divine judgment overtook him. His wagon broke down, his apple trees were much injured, and he sustained much loss. He had to unhitch his horses, leave his broken wagon and trees stand by the road side, and return home, having himself barely escaped with his life. Thus was the Sabbath breaker arrested. Truly, the way of the trans
gressor is hard.
COME AND I'LL GIVE YOU REST.
WHEN storms of sorrow darken
My soul with earthly ill,
By death's unflinching will,
My soul with sweet behest,
“Come and I'll give you rest.
Of tender ones long dead,
Ere transient life had fled,
So sweetly with the blest,
“ Come and I'll give you rest.
Nor long on earth I stay,
I soon must pass away,
And take me to the blest,
“ Come and I'll give you rest."
THE DOVE AND THE CHURCH.
BY THE EDITOR.
" The Dove, with her eyed meke.”
CHAUCER. The mildness, meekness, tenderness and loveliness of doves are frequently referred to in the holy scriptures. The church, which like a loving mother, regards her children with the utmost tenderness, is several times called a dove; and the sweet light of her love is compared to the soft influence of dove eyes. Compassion beams in her beautiful and attractive face. “ Behold,” exclaims the spouse, “thou art fair my love; behold thou art fair; thou hast dove eyes. The light of love which beams in the eye, is the faithful expression of that which fills the heart. Hence the church is poetically represented as looking with mild eyes of love upon her confiding children.
In this connection we cannot but refer to and admire the innocent arts of love which this bird practices for the preservation of its nest and its young. A young man, the son of a farmer, related to me the following. One day he climbed an apple tree for the purpose of destroying caterpillars, which were spreading their deadly webs over its branches. After he had reached the first limbs he saw a dove fall down from above him through the branches, to the earth. As it lay on the ground beneath the tree, it seemed to struggle, as if in the act of dying: Sympathy and curiosity led him to descend. As soon as he reached the ground, the dove began to limp lamely away; and it was not until he had followed it far from the tree, that the thought occurred to him that it was merely a ruse or art of the bird to'allure him away from its nest on the tree. He left off pursuing the lame bird, and returned to the tree, when he found its nest of
doves! Are not the acts of the church, as a loving mother, even in this respect also like those of the dove. We do not mean that she feigns or pretends-neither in truth did the dove, for she acted under the power of the true instinct of self-preservation to herself and offspring-but the church, in a thousand ways, resorts to holy arts, by which she confounds her enemies, and preserves her children. With the harmlessness of the dove, she associates the wisdom of the serpent.
We are here reminded of the following fact in the history of religious persecutions. An eminent saint, who was pursued by his enemies, fled to the mountains, and sought refuge in a cave.
Soon after he entered, a spider began to spin
a web of net-work over the mouth of the cave. Scarcely had the insect finished its work when the furious persecutors came along. They stood and looked at the mouth of the cave!
That was an awful moment to the hidden saint who heard the approach of their feet! “He is not in this cave," said one; “see the mouth of it is covered with the web of a spider!" They passed on, and he was safe! That spider was in the employ of the Head of the church. That insect was not able to guard the entrance by strength, but he did it by an art; he did not drive them away, but he allured them. There was no lion near, to sit firm and fierce at the entrance, so the Saviour employed a spider, who did it just as effectually, by means of a little art, which so covered the providential act that those who were shown away from the cave did not even see the hand that directed them. This is but one of a thousand of those holy arts, by which the church, like the mother dove protects her children against those that would injure them: “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."
ADVERTISEMENT-A LOST DAY.
Lost! Lost! Lost!
A gem of countless price,
And graved in Paradise,
Large diamonds, clear and bright,
All changeful as the light.
Lost! where the thoughtless throng
In Fashion's mazes wind,
Leaving a sting behind;
A golden harp to buy,
To deathless minstrelsy.
Lost! lost!! lost !!!
I feel all search is vain ;
Can ne'er be mine again.
For, till my heart-strings sever,
Is reft away for ever.
And wben the sea and land
Like burning scroll have fled,
Who judgeth quick and dead;
Mortals can ne'er repair,
What shall I answer there?
DESECRATION OF THE PULPIT. ONE of the worst features of our times, is evidently the prostitution of the pulpit to mere seculary purposes. There was a time when that was a place sacred to religious teachings. This is still its honorable position in many churches, into which the fashion of the age has not been permitted to intrude its unhallowed presence. In some churches, alas ! its honor lies in the dust. Anything and every thing is discussed there, and this on the Sabbath. Hungry souls that go there, are fed upon the wind and vanity of any subject which the restless bosom of society may turn up at the time. “The religious character of Tom Paine,” is announced as a subject for discussion on a Philadelphia Pulpit. “The advent of Kossuth and Christ compared !" appears, with brazen profanity and blasphemy, as the subject of a discourse in a pulpit in New York.
The discussion of political matters upon the pulpit, is becoming a matter of weekly occurrence; and the time bids fair to be near when the people need lose no time as regards the excitement of political news, for the same subjects which are reported in the dailies as under discussion in Congress during the week, will be continued over Sabbath in the pulpits. Read, as an example full of baneful promise, the following, taken from a religious paper !
“ The Boston PULPIT.—Rev. E. N. Kirk, in his sermon at the Mount Vernon church in Boston, pointedly condemned the Nebraska bill. The Christian church, he said, should not close her eyes to the reckless ambition of trading legislators, nor cease to pray for their conversion to honest and enlightened principles. He (Mr. Kirk) had given in his adhesion to the compromise of 1850, though hardly with a clear conscience, for the sake of the permanent peace and unity of the whole country. The passage of the Nebraska bill would, in his opinion, constitute a revolution. He regretted that the author of the bill should have been born in New England. In conclusion, he invoked the prayers of the church for our legislators at Washington, and especially for Senator Douglas and Franklin Pierce.
“The Rev. Theodore Parker also made the Nebraska bill the subject of his morning discourse, denouncing it and its author with eloquence and sarcasm."
This we hesitate not to pronounce a shameless desecration of the pulpit. What makes the matter still worse is the fact that the religious press, at least a portion of it, does not only fail to reprove this wickedness, but seems to smile a silent approval. tion we give above, we have taken from a religious paper published in Maryland, in which it appears as an item of news without a word