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What now avail those triumphs of an hour,
Pride, pleasure, fortune, honour, praise, or power?
How like a shade their vanities appear,
A rumour passing by some listless ear,—
The light ship gliding o'er her watery, way,
Whose waves scarce own the moment of her stay,
So swift they hasten to their old embrace,
Her path forgotten, and unknown her place,—
The busy bird, whose sounding pinions fly
Along the deep abysses of the sky,
Which scarce the impress of her form retain,
Ere closing instant on her track again,—
The arrow darting through the laggard wind,
Leaving no traces of its flight behind,
Quick from whose sides rebounds the parted air,
Till not a breath can tell its passage there;
So, fann'd by pleasure, fled our winged years,
Through earth's wild labyrinth of smiles and tears,
Nor left one sign of virtue done below,
One record for eternity to show." E. B.
(To be continued.)
THE "BIDDING PliAYER" AS APPOINTED BY THE FIFTY-FIFTH
Let us pray,
For Christ's holy Catholic Church; particularly for that pure and reformed part of it established in these realms:
For our gracious Sovereign Lord, King William, by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, in all causes ecclesiastical and civil, within these his dominions Supreme : for our gracious Queen Adelaide, and for all the Royal Family.
And let us pray for all the Clergy of the land, 'whether Bishops,
Priests, or Deacons; but especially for the Right Reverend ,
Lord Archbishop of this province, and the Right Reverend ,
Lord Bishop of this diocese; that they may shine like lights in the world, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things: for the Lords, and others of His Majesty's most honourable Privy Council:
For the great Council of the nation now assembled in Parliament:
For all the Nobility, Gentry, and Magistrates of the land:
And herein for the Judges of the land; for the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Recorder, Sheriffs, and all others who bear rule in this ancient city.
And, that there never may be wanting a supply of persons duly qualified to serve God in Church and State, let us pray for a blessing on all seminaries of sound learning and religious education; particularly the two Universities of this land.
Let us likewise pray for all the Commons of the realm; that they may live in the true faith and fear of God, in dutiful allegiance to the King, in unfeigned communion with the Established Church, and in christian charity one with another: that all these in their respective stations may labour to advance the glory of God, and the present and future welfare of mankind; remembering always that strict and solemn account which they must one day give before the tribunal of Christ.
And as we pray to God for future blessings, so let us praise his holy name for those already received; for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for our redemption in Christ Jesus; for the means of grace afforded us here, and the hope of glory hereafter.
Finally, let us praise God for all his servants departed this life in his faith and fear; beseeching him to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that, this life ended, we may dwell with them in life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord; in whose words we further pray, saying, " Our Father," &c.
FAMINE IN THE TIME OF PHARAOH.
"And the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread."—
(Genesis xli. 54.)
In the reign of the Emperor Ching Tang, there was no rain for seven years together. According to computation, this happened in China at the same time that the seven years' famine was in Egypt, which the Scripture speaks of Gen. lxi. 54. And the famine prevailed over all the earth 1131 years after the Flood, and above a thousand after the foundation of the Chinese monarchy. The diviners advised to mix human blood in the sacrifices which were offered to heaven and earth. The emperor answered, "I ask water of heaven that my people may live; if I kill men for sacrifices, it is contradicting myself; killing those for whose lives I pray." The emperor fasted, cut his hair* and nails, (the Chinese put great value upon,them both ;) he put his chariot into mourning, and clothed himself in white\ lambskins.—Fernandez Navarette's Account of China. Churchill's Coll. Vol. I. p. 114.
The following is the account given from other authorities collected by the learned writer on Indian Antiquities.
"An universal barrenness, arising from continual drought, having for seven years together desolated China and thinned the inhabitants, the venerable monarch Ching Tang was told by the priests, who interpreted the will of heaven, that its vengeance could only be appeased by a human sacrifice, and he readily became the devoted victim of that
• Jer. vii. 29. t 2 Chron. v. 12.
Vol. xvir. No. xi. 4 s
vengeance. The aged king having laid aside his imperial robes, and submitted to the preparatory ceremonies, esteemed indignities in China, barefooted, covered over with ashes, aud in the posture of a condemned criminal, approached the altar of sacrifice, where with suppliant hands he entreated heaven to launch the thunderbolt of its wrath, and accept the life of the monarch, as an atonement for the sins of the people.
"The Chinese historians add, that after he had finished his prayer, and for some time devoutly waited the awful stroke, which was to crush the sovereign and save the people, the sky became suddenly black with clouds, and the rain descended in torrents; so that the sterile earth shortly resumed its wonted fertility, and unbounded plenty reigned over the whole empire. In the annals of China, this solemn fact is recorded to have happened in the eighteenth century before Christ; and it is very remarkable, that in the very same century, according to Usher, and the chronology of our Bibles, the seven years' famine in Egypt happened."—Maurice's Indian Antiquities, Vol. V. p. 425.
CELEBRATION OF BIRTH-DAYS.
"The third day, which was Pharaoh's birth-day."—(Gen. Ix. 20.)
There is not a Chinese, though never so poor, but keeps his birthday with all the greatness he is able. All the children, kindred, neighbours and friends, know every man's birth-day; a mandarin's is known by all under his jurisdiction; that of a viceroy, or supreme governor, by all the province. It is an ancient custom to celebrate birth-days, but not for private persons, nor is it so universal as it is in China. The women keep their birth-days, but the men are never with the women in any rejoicing whatsoever.—Fernandez Navarette's Account of China. Churchill's Coll. Vol. I. p. 71.
The celebration of the birth-day of the Great Mogul is thus described by Sir Thomas Roe:—" He and all his nobles made merry; I was invited to the ceremony too; and drinking his health in a noble cup of gold, set with emeralds, turquoises, and rubies, he entreated me, when I had drunk the wine, to accept of the cup as his present. There were several chargers of rubies and almonds made in gold and silver, which were brought in and thrown amongst the nobles, and them that stood about him. His majesty appeared in all the height of pomp, and richness of dress that day, and his elephants were set out in all their most glorious furniture too. They all passed before him in great order, and bowed very handsomely to him as they marched along; which (all things considered) I thought one of the finest and most agreeable sights that day afforded."—Harris's Coll. Vol. I. p. 160.
Amongst all the Persian festivals, each individual pays particular regard to his birth-day, when they indulge themselves with better fare than usual. The more rich among them prepare on this day an ox, a horse, a camel, or an ass, which are roasted whole; the poorer sort are satisfied with a lamb or a sheep; they eat but sparingly of meat, but are fond of the after dishes, which are separately introduced.— Herodot. Clio.
BITTER WATERS OF MAI1A1I.
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: tlterefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet."—(Exodus xv. 23—25.)
The Wady Gharendel, between Suez and Mount Sinai, contains amongst other trees the thorny shrub Gharkad, the Peganum retusum of Forskal, which is extremely common in this peninsula. Its small red berry, of the size of a grain of the pomegranate, is very juicy and refreshing, much resembling a ripe gooseberry in taste, but not so sweet. The Arabs are very fond of it; and I was told that in years when the shrub produces large crops, they make a conserve of the berries. The Gharkad delights in a sandy soil, and reaches its maturity in the height of summer, when the ground is parched up, exciting an agreeable surprise in the traveller at finding so juicy a berry produced in the driest soil and season. Might not this berry have been used by Moses, to sweeten the waters of Marah? The Arabic translation of the passage in Scripture gives a different, and perhaps, more correct reading: "And the Lord guided him to a tree, of which he threw something into the water, which then became sweet."
"Continuant nostre chemin, et estans arrivez d'assez bonne heure aux douze fontaines, posasmes la. L'eau en est moult salee et amere, et dit-on que ce sont les douze fontaines dont il est faut mention en la Bible; car mesmement ils les nomment les fontaines do Moyse. El les sont du tout en lieu sabloneux et sterile, en une tres grande campagne nitreuse, fort large et spacieuse: et sont distante l'une de l'autre plus de cinquante pas, non toutes fois d'une mesme mesure: car l'une est a cent pas, l'autre a cinquante, tant du plus que du moins. Toutes les sources sortent de terre, ayant un petit tertre ou promontoire; desquells l'eau s'espand en plusieurs ruisseaux qui sont en maniere de fontaines d'eau courante, qui peu de temps aprfc& avoir couru, se perdent dedans le sable."—Les Observations de plusieurs Singulariles, fyc. en. Grece, Asie, Indie, fyc. p. 276.
PERPETUAL LAMPS BEFORE ALTARS.
*'. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: . . . and thou shalt put water therein, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord."— Exodus xxx. 7,17—20.
"The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, it shall never go out.''— Leviticus vi. 13.
The keeping up of a sacred fire has always been a part of religion, in different nations. "Such a fire as that mentioned in Lev. vi. 13, was preserved in the temples of Ceres, at Mantinea, of Apollo, at Delphos and Athens, and in that of Diana, at Ecbatana, among the Persians.—Setinus committed the care of the sacred fire of the temple of Minerva, and of the statue of Pallas, to a society of young women, similar to that of the Vestals. The Magi had the charge of keeping a fire always hurning on altars erected in the middle of these temples, which Strabo calls nvpade~ia. A lamp was always burning in the temple of Jupiter Ammon; and according to Diodorus Siculus this custom came from the Egyptians to the Greeks, and from them to the Romans, who made it a principal point of their religion.
However, to omit nothing, I must take notice, that coming out of Nagaski, we saw the idol Dsisos, who is the god of the roads, and protector of travellers, hewn out of the rock in nine different places. Another of the same sort stood not far from the village Urakami, being about three feet long, adorned with flowers and fannaskibba, and placed upon a fathom-high stone pillar. Two other smaller stone pillars, hollow at top, stood before the idol. Upon these were placed lamps, which travellers light in honour of this idol. At some small distance stood a bason full of water, for those to wash their hands, who had a mind to light the lamps, or offer any thing to the idol.
Not far from Miaco, we saw another temple, with upwards of twenty smaller mias, or chapels, with lamps or dishes of victuals placed before them.
We also saw the temple of Sotoktois, where the chief idol was raised in the middle, and had another idol to the right, which was a yard and a half high, and surrounded with the idols of the four elements, and a double cloth. The whole temple was black with smoke, from the numbers of burning lamps hung up within and without.—Kampher's Japan, Vol. II. pp. 452, 600, 604.
SANCTITY OF NUMBER SBVEN.
"And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light oyer against it"—(Exod. xxv. 37.)
"And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood teve» times before the Lord, before the vail of the sanctuary."—(Levit iv. 6.)
"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times." —(2 Kings v. 10.)
Every reader of the Scriptures must be well aware of the mysterious importance attached to the number seven; there is scarcely an event or circumstance of any celebrity with which it is not found connected, from the creation to the final and awful scenery exhibited in the Revelation: and every person at all conversant with the languages of antiquity, and the customs and habits of those nations who have any pretensions to remote eras as their date of existence, will in like manner be familiar with this hallowed number, so constantly alluded to in the celebration of their most sacred rites.
The Hindoos suppose that there are various heavens, or states of existence. They reckon seven ascending in perfection from our earthly state. Of these, the Swerghlogue, or third heaven, is the first paradise, and general receptacle for those who merit a removal from the earth. The Sutteelogue, or highest sphere, is the residence of the great Brahma himself, to which only the most perfect are admitted. It is worthy of