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THE BRITISH OAK.
AMONG the traditions of this wonderful tree, the following will, we have no doubt, prove interesting to our readers.
The large Golenos Oak, which was felled in the year 1810, for the use of his Majesty's navy, grew about four miles from the town of Newport, in Monmouthshire; the main trunk, at ten feet long, produced 450 cubic feet; one limb 355, one ditto 472, one ditto 235, one ditto 156, one ditto 106, one ditto 113, and six other limbs of inferior size averaged 93 feet each, making the whole number 2,426 cubic feet of sound and convertible timber. The bark was estimated at six tons; but as some of the heavy body bark was stolen out of the barge at Newport, the exact weight is not known. Five men were twenty days stripping and cutting down this tree; and a pair of sawyers were five months converting it, without losing a day (Sundays excepted). The money paid for converting only, independent of the expense of carriage, was 821., and the whole produce of the tree, when brought to market, was within a trifle of 6007. It was bought standing for 4051. The main trunk was nine feet and a half in diameter, and, in sawing it through, a stone was discovered, six feet from the ground, above a yard in the body of the tree, through which the saw cut; the stone was about six inches in diameter, and completely shut in, but round which there was not the least symptom of decay. The rings in its butt were carefully reckoned, and amounted to above four hundred in number, a convincing proof that this tree was in an improving state for upwards of 400 years; and as the ends of some of its branches were decayed, and had dropped off, it is presumed it had stood a great number of years after it had attained maturity. Time's Telescope.
THE BLIGHTED ROSE.
How gay was its foliage, how bright was its hue, How it scented the breeze that blew round it! How carelessly sweet in the valley it grew,
Till the blight of the mildew had found it!
Its branches are bare, like its thorny alarms,
'Tis a wizard, whose touch withers beauty away,
THE MORNING LARK. Feathered lyric! warbling high, Sweetly gaining on the sky, Opening with thy matin lay (Nature's hymn) the eye of day, Teach my soul on early wing Thus to soar, and thus to sing. While the bloom of orient light Gilds thee in thy tuneful flight, May the day-spring from on high, Seen by faith's religious eye, Cheer me with his vital ray, Promise of eternal day!
THE BEAR WITH THE TEA-KETTLE. THE following anecdote evinces the hardihood of the bears. Fish, which forms their chief nourishinent, and which they procure for themselves from the rivers in Kamtschatka, was last year (1823) excessively scarce. A great famine consequently existed among them, and instead of retiring to their dens, they wandered about the whole winter through, even in the streets of the principal town. One of them finding the outer gate of a house open, entered, and the gate accidentally closed after him. The woman of the house had just placed a large tea-machine, full of boiling water, in the court; the bear smelt to it and burned his nose; provoked at the pain, he vented all his fury upon the kettle, folded his fore paws round it, pressed it with his whole strength against his breast, to crush it, and burnt himself, of course, still more and more. The horrible growl which rage and pain forced from him brought the whole neighbourhood to the spot, and poor Bruin was soon dispatched by shots from the windows. He has however immortalized his memory, and become a proverb amongst the town people; for when any one injures himself by his own violence, they call him the bear with the tea-kettle."
A kind of urn in use throughout all Russia, called a Samowar, or self-boiler. It generally stands in the middle of the teatable, and is furnished with a large kettle for water, and a space filled with fire to keep it boiling.
Against listening to evil speaking.—"Far be it from you to take pleasure in hearing others spoken against, whether unjustly, or it may be some way deserving, let it be alway grievous to you. It is the devil's delight to be pleased with evil speaking. The Syriac calls him Akal-Kartza, eater of slanders or calumnies. Did the law of love possess our hearts, it would regulate our tongues, and make them most tender of the name of our brethren. It would teach us the faculty of covering their faults, and blunting the edge of our censures upon ourselves "—Leighton.
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SHOEMADOO, THE TEMPLE OF GUADAMA AT PEGU.
SHOEMADOO, or the Golden Supreme, is a splendid pagoda at Pegu, a kingdom in the East Indies. Mr. Symes, in his account of the "Embassy to Ava,' describes Shoemadoo as an extraordinary pile of buildings, erected on a double terrace, one raised upon another. "The lower and greater terrace is about ten feet above the natural level of the ground, forming an exaet parallelogram: the upper and lesser terrace is similar in shape, and rises about twenty feet above the lower terrace, or thirty above the level of the country. I judged a side of the lower terrace to be 1391 feet; of the upper 684. The walls that sustained the sides of the terrace, both upper and lower, are in a ruinous state; they were formerly covered with plaster, wrought into various figures; the area of the lower is strewed with the fragments of small decayed buildings, but the upper is kept free from filth, and is in tolerable good order.
"The terraces are ascended by flights of stone steps, which are now broken and neglected. On each side are dwellings of the Rhahaans, raised on timbers four or five feet from the ground; these houses consist only of a large hall; the wooden pillars that support them are turned with neatness; the roofs are covered with VOL. 1.
tiles, and the sides are made of boards; and there are a number of bare benches in every house, on which the Rhahaans sleep; but we saw no other furniture.
"Shoemadoo is a pyramidical building, composed of brick and mortar, without excavation or aperture of any sort; octagonal at the base, and spiral at top; each side of the base measures 162 feet; this immense breadth diminishes abruptly, and a similar building haz not unaptly been compared in shape to a large speaking trumpet.
Six feet from the ground there is a wide projection that surrounds the base, on the plane of which are fiftyseven small spires of equal size, and equidistant; one of them measured twenty-seven feet in height, and forty in circumference at the bottom. On a higher ledge there is another row, consisting of fifty-three spires of similar shape and measurement.
"A great variety of mouldings encircle the building; and ornaments somewhat resembling the fleur-de-lys surround the lower part of the spire; circular mouldings likewise girt it to a considerable height, above which there are ornaments in stucco, not unlike the leaves of a Corinthian capital; and the whole is crowned by a tee, or umbrella, of open iron-work, from which rises a rod with a gilded pennant.
"The tee or umbrella is to be seen on every sacred building that is of a spiral form; the raising and conR
secration of this last and indispensable appendage is an act of high religious solemnity, and a season of festivity and relaxation. The present king bestowed the tee that covers Shoemadoo. It was made at the capital; and many of the principal nobility came down from Ummerapoora to be present at the ceremony of its elevation.
"The circumference of the tee is fifty-six feet; it rests on an iron axis fixed in the building, and is farther secured by large chains strongly rivetted to the spire. Round the lower rim of the tee are appended a number of bells, which, agitated by the wind, make a continual jingling.
"The tee is gilt, and it is said to be the intention of the king to gild the whole of the spire. All the lesser pagodas are ornamented with proportionable umbrellas of similar workmanship, which are likewise encircled by small bells.
"The extreme height of the edifice, from the level of the country, is 361 feet, and above the interior terrace, 331 feet.
"At each angle of the interior and higher terrace there is a temple sixty-seven feet high, resembling, in minature, the great temple: in front of that, in the south-west corner, are four gigantic representations, in masonry, of Palloo, or the evil genius, half beast, half human, seated on their hams, each with a large club on the right shoulder. The Pundit who accompanied me, said that they resembled the Rakuss of the Hindoos. These are guardians of the temple.
Along the whole extent of the north face of the upper terrace, there is a wooden shed for the convenience of devotees who come from a distant part of the country. On the north side of the temple are three large bells of good workmanship, suspended nigh the ground, between pillars; several deers' horns lie strewed around; those who come to pay their devotions first take up one of the horns, and strike the bell three times, giving an alternate stroke to the ground: this act, I was told, is to announce to the spirit of Guadama the approach of a suppliant.
"There are many small temples on the areas of both terraces, which are neglected, and suffered to fall into decay. Numberless images of Guadama lie indiscriminately scattered. Some of those idols are made of marble that is found in the neighbourhood of the capital of the Birman dominions, and admits of a very fine polish; many are formed of wood, and gilded, and a few are of silver; the latter, however, are not usually exposed and neglected like the others. Silver and gold is rarely used, except in the composition of household gods."
The Peguers are said to be among the most superstitious people of the East, and their manners correspond with their modes of worship. Their abominations are too gross to be mentioned in our columns; and which may be inferred, not only from their idolatry, but from the facts, that "the men here, as in most eastern countries, buy their wives-offer their daughters to strangers, and hire them out for a time: some say they hire out their wives in the same
Who can estimate the value of the Gospel of Christ, and the advantages of Christianity, which not only command, but secure the practice of "whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good "If there be any virtue, and if there be any report? praise, think on these things." Phil. iv, 8.
"In yielding ourselves to events, we leave ourselves in the hands of Providence; in opposing them, we throw ourselves into our own."—Anon.
IDOLATRY OF THE ISRAELITES.
HUMAN apostacy and depravity are demonstrated and illustrated by the history of every nation. But it is doubtful whether any proof can be adduced more striking and humiliating than that which is afforded by the Idolatry of the Israelites, the chosen people of God.
Divine revelation had been granted to them, and ordinances of divine worship had been appointed for them; yet they frequently abandoned the service of Jehovah, the only living and true God, Creator of the universe, and their special benefactor as a nation, to prostrate themselves before the works of their own hands!
Egyptian idolatry had corrupted many of the sons of Israel but confusion and destruction fell upon that guilty land, on account of their impiety. And to his chosen people God said, "Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me," saith the LORD; "they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt." Ezek. xx, 7, 8.
On the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, although Moses, by the Divine command, had solemnly forbidden that practice, and given them such a religion as no other nation possessed, and notwithstanding all their laws were directed to prevent it, yet almost immediately after their deliverance from captivity, they turned to the worship of idols. They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.' Psal. cvi, 19, 20.
Following their history, after their entrance into Canaan, under the Judges, we find the Israelites from time to time sunk in the absurd abominations of idolatry. They forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth, and followed the other gods of the people round about them." Judg. ii, 12, 13.
Solomon's folly and shame, in marrying so many wives, led to the worship of numerous false deities by the people of Israel. "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: Solomon went after Ashtaroth, the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom (called Moloch), the abomination of the Ammonites. Then did Solomon build an altar for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem." Kings xi, 4-7.
Idolatry occasioned the extravagant exactions which led to the revolt of the ten tribes from the house of David; after which, that accursed evil was made the established religion of Israel. Nineteen kings in succession reigned over the ten tribes, neither of whom was a man of piety; and the nation was therefore destroyed by the Assyrians, executioners of the righteous vengeance of God, seven hundred and twenty-one years before the incarnation of Christ.
Judah was but little more loyal to the true God; for though several pious monarchs reigned over that people, their efforts toward a reformation in religion were almost useless, so inveterate was the evil of idolatry among the people. Ahaz, the most impious prince that had sat upon the throne of Judah, was not content with "walking in the ways of the kings of Israel, and making molten images of Baalim" (2 Chron. xxviii, 2); but he carried his wicked inclinations still farther, and imitated the old inhabitants of the land in cruel and idolatrous practices; for it is said of him, that "he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire." Ver. 3. Hezekiah, his pious son, destroyed the idolatries of his father: but his abandoned
son Manasseh restored them, and "shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another." 2 Kings xxi, 16.
The valley of Tophet and Hinnom, on the east of Jerusalem, was the principal scene of the horrid rites performed in honour of Moloch, which is thought to be the same as the Baal, Bel, or Belus of the Carthaginians, Sidonians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Jeremiah testified with floods of tears against these abominations; on account of which, the weeping prophet lived to see Jerusalem, with its glorious but profaned temple, levelled with the ground. "Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons, and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” Psal. evi, 37, 38.
Jeremiah records part of his ministerial complaints in the following passage. "Hear ye the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold I will bring evil upon this place, because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents; they have built also the high place of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal!" Jer. xix, 3, 4, 5.
Rollin describes the manner of this diabolical mode of sacrificing human beings, as follows: "This custom prevailed long among the Phoenicians and Canaanites, from whom the Israelites borrowed it, though forbidden expressly by Heaven. At first, children were inhumanly burnt, either in a fiery furnace, like those in the valley of Hinnom, so often mentioned in Scripture; or in a flaming statue of Saturn. The cries of these unhappy victims were drowned by the uninterrupted noise of drums and trumpets. MOTHERS made it a merit and a part of their religion to view this barbarous spectacle with dry eyes, and without so much as a groan!"
For these abominations Jerusalem was destroyed, and its guilty people carried captive to Babylon, which was the means of correcting their idolatrous propensities. There they poured forth that divine prayer, which we should use in relation to the Heathen-" Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty." Psal. lxxiv, 20.
After the seventy years' captivity in Babylon, the Jews, except in a few cases, never again fell into the sin of idolatry.
"THIS IS NOT YOUR REST."
SUCH is the language of divine admonition, which the Christian at all times addresses to his soul. It includes a promise of eternal rest. The vanity of life, the vicissitudes of fortune, and all that numerous catalogue of human sufferings which it is the portion of many to undergo, have power to wean him from the world: and as he looks upon the miseries and distresses to which flesh is heir, a fervent ejaculation proceeds from his heart, thanking the all-wise Ruler of the universe for having promised him some more secure habitation.
It is however of infinite importance rightly to understand who they are to whom this promise is made. Many deceive themselves most grossly in this point; and by striving to effect a compromise between God and the world, barter away their own eternal happiness. It will therefore, I think, be profitable to inquire who are, and who are not the persons, who in truth and sincerity say to their soul-"This is not your rest."
1. Those who place no dependence, and seek no consolation from pleasure (falsely so called). It is a grievous sight to watch the progress of a son of dissipation through all the stages which lead to his final destruction.
The syren Pleasure has for him mixed up a poisonous draught, and greedily does he drain it to the very dregs. Life to him is a scene of torpor and inquietude, save when "the harp, the viol, the tabret, lute, and wine are in his feasts," and he wonders how the simple plodding man can endure the insipidities of a regular life in the active discharge of the duties of his station. Time, however, before whom all things,must fall, renders by repetition all his imaginary pleasures dull and heavy. Dissipation, which he once thought would last for ever, takes to itself wings, and flies away; and health, ruined by innumerable and fatal excesses, has also vanished. Friends, who hovered round him in the heyday of his recklessness, and joined in all his cad pursuits, fall away in the time of adversity; and all the gilded pros pects which led him astray from the paths of rectitude are found to be no more than the imaginations of a heated fancy. Sickness, poverty, and distress have come upon him, and there is no arm outstretched to administer consolation. In this wretched and agonizing condition the remaining period of his existence is spent. The past presents only the fairy vision of joys gone by, never to return; and the future seems to be a confused mass of dark and dreary forebodings. Such is the effect which the world has on its votaries-such the consolation which it administers: we are surely then entitled to argue, that the being who is fettered down to such transitory enjoyments, is not the character fitted for heaven. Oh no! The Christia, knowing that the world must end in vanity, has been led to look for happiness beyond its narrow confines. Having never sought out the pleasures of dissipation, he is able to look back on them with contempt; and when old age and gray hairs cover him, to smile and say, "This never was my rest, and therefore the separation which must shortly take place, is to me joyous rather than grievous. The gayspent festive night to me had no delights. I have loved to meditate on the works of my God, rather than on those of vanity. I have loved to sing his praises, in preference to the noisy and tumultuous chorus of the bacchanals: my talking hath been of his wondrous works, and not of the doings and the sayings of some weak inconstant man; and now that the solemn realities of eternity will shortly be opened before mine eyes, I find no cause to repent of my course of life, and shall willingly quit this world to go to my restfor "this is not my rest."
2. But we well know that men need not run to all the extremes of vice to bring themselves under the curse, since actions, in themselves right and proper, may by misuse become most detrimental. Such is the case with those whose affections are placed on amassing wealth and procuring honour, who long to rise in the world, and to prosper. Now sentiments such as these are very well in their place; but it is in their place alone, and under proper restrictions, that they can be considered harmless. For the commission of crimes men have always an excuse at hand, and seem to think that God deserves less attention than any of his creatures. The wants of their families and their own necessities are an adequate excuse for sabbath-breaking, and neglecting the ordinances of religion. Who but infidels can act thus? I wish not to speak with harshness, or to seem more severe than necessary; but in all reason and calm expostulation, I repeat the inquiry, who but infidels can do this? For shall, nay, can a being, who believes that it is in the power of God to make all things work together for good to them that love him, at the same time act so inconsistently with hi: belief, as to do those things which God disapproves ? Will the Almighty sanction attention to business on Sunday, in opposition to his commandment, on the weak and paltry excuse of the wants of our families!
Is the great Creator of the universe so weak that he is unable to assist those who need his help or is he so unjust as to promise his aid, and then refuse to administer it? Men deceive themselves most grievously on this point, and therefore it is that I would earnestly and humbly desire to set them right. No excuse cun justify disobedience. Men who believe the providence of God, must surely believe also that he will bless no work which is carried on in opposition to his will; and "except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it." Men therefore, who, knowing this, still persist in their frivolous excuses, can be called by no lighter name than that of hypocrites: though I fear infidel is their real character, for who but an infidel would rush fearlessly into the hands of the living God.
There was a time (recorded in the book of God), when the descendants of Abraham forsook their Almighty Father, and made to themselves an idol to worship before. Full oft, alas! did these delinquencies recur: but were they unnoticed by the Creator of the universe? Let the history of that ill-fated people speak-let that warning voice be heard, which their presence in every part of the habitable globe loudly proclaims. "For unbelief they were cast out." And what does that voice say to us? Does it not teach a lesson of faith, humility, and trust in God? He who spared not his chosen people, will assuredly not spare you if you neglect his ways. You think, mayhap, that fortune is smiling upon you-that you cannot be so very bad, because you are prosperous; and in your mind you are resolving how best to pull down the old barns, and erect new ones, that you may have room where to bestow all your fruit and your goods. Pause! Behold "he that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh you to scorn: the Lord shall have you in derision:" from the towering height of your imaginary greatness, the breath of the Lord shall hurl you down, and put to flight all your fairy dreams, and nicely-woven webs of sophistry. Doubtless the builders of that tower which was destined to force an entrance to the habitation of Deity itself, rejoiced as they gradually beheld their immense pile hide its head in the clouds; but dire was the tossing, and deep were the groans, when the Lord sware in his wrath that these blasphemous people should not enter into his rest. Remember their sad fall, and be wise;-consider these things, and provide for your own safety. He whose resting place is not below, will never let the things of earth prevent his attention to those of heaven. When great calamities appear, and times of deep distress, he will place his whole trust in God. Earthly joys and earthly dependencies are fickle, transitory, and insecure that which wears the brightest appearance, may resemble those sepulchres which outwardly looked white and cleanly, but which were full of dead men's bones; and surely on such an uncertain foundation, no man of sense would be disposed to build his hopes for futurity. He therefore may conclude that he is walking in the road to Zion, who,
3. Depends on Christ. A perfect conviction of our state by nature, is of itself enough to lead a reasonable being to conclude, that of himself he is unable to help himself: and when such a one finds in Christ the very Saviour and Helper whom he needs, doubtless he will nost cheerfully rely upon him. Let this be the chief study of us all. How often shall we be forced to repeat that awful saying, Life is short, eternity is long? Will men never listen to the admonitions of conscience before they are wrung in their ears in trumpet blasts, which the groanings of the lost shall neither drown nor interrupt? It is easy enough for me to write, We live in awful times-it is far more difficult to make men think so. Nevertheless, let the sinner tremble now, lest it should be his fearful doom to tremble at the
judgment day. Let him weep now the bitter tears of repentance, that he be not forced to weep and lament when none shall be able to comfort him. Let him now seek the Lord, and feel after him, if haply he may find him; for there is neither knowledge, nor device, nor repentance in that tomb which ere a century is elapsed shall have closed upon every human being now living in the world. Well indeed may it be said, "This is not your rest!"
But the Christian says, "This is not my rest." As much as to say, that something else is. And will he be deceived in this? When the trumpet of the archangel sounds on the resurrection morn, and when all the now still, cold inhabitants of the tomb are in the presence of their God, ONE shall say, whose face exceedeth the sun in brightness, to those who by patient continuance in well doing, have fought the good fight, Come up hitheR! And he shall point upwards to a blissful region, where the spirits of the just made perfect dwell-where the angelic hosts choir the praises of God; and as the humble Christian ascends to his REST, a sound as of the rushing of mighty waters shall be heard every tongue in heaven shall sing, and what? a song of welcome to the humble follower of the Lamb. "Soldier of Christ, well done, Praise be thy new employ ; And while eternal ages run, Rest in thy Saviour's joy."
ELEGY ON A GRAVE DIGGER
Of Bunhill Fields, who died in 1806. He caught his death from infectious air in opening a tomb, after having been fifteen years in that employment.
I weave not now the cypress-wreath,
Who earth'd up many a lump of clay.
Had pierc'd old Bunhill Fields around;
Beneath unconsecrated ground.
Less honour'd your employ is found;
Nor Death would his old servant spare ;
Pour'd on him pestilential air.
And quitted soon the dark domain;
Till dust and ashes live again.
But how or when we cannot know,