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SWIFT TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK. “What chapter did the minister read this morning, James ? " said Mr. H
“ He read the first chapter of James," was the prompt reply.
“What was in the chapter that particularly engaged your attention ?
“I attended to the whole of it, but this verse made the most impression on my mind," James opened the Bible he had in his hand, and read, “Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."
“That is a very important precept,” said Mr. H-“ What is meant by being swift to hear ?"
“ I suppose it means that we should be ready to hear what any one has to say to us."
“Suppose a person wishes to talk nonsense to us, or to pour slander into our ears, are we to be ready to hear ?"
“ No, sir."
“That is true. We must always be ready to hear the truth, especially truth connected with duty. What is meant by being slow to speak, Henry ? "
“Does it mean that we should speak slow?” said Henry, with some embarrassment. James laughed, but a look from his father reproved him.
“ It is well,” said Mr. H.-, “to speak with deliberation. James often speaks so fast, that it is difficult to understand what he says; but the apostle here means to tell us what we should think before we speak. If we always think over what we are about to say, and consider whether it is proper and timely, whether it will be agreeable to those present, and, above all, whether it will be pleasing in the sight of God, we shall obey the command of the apostle, and be slow to speak.”
“ The apostle says, we must be slow to wrath," said James. “Does he mean that we should think the matter over before we get angry about it?"
“In that case we should not get angry at all ; for when we do get angry, the feeling always comes before we think."
“ If the result you mention should take place, that is, if we never were to get angry, it would not be a bad thing, would it?"
“It would not displease God if you were never to get angry, would it ?
“No, sir. When the minister read the passage this morning, I thought it contained a sort of permission to get angry.” “How did you come to that conclusion?”
“ If we are to be slow to speak, it implies that we have to speak sometimes, does it not?”
“Well, if we are to be slow to wrath, does it not imply that we are to get angry sometimes ?”
"I do not object to your interpretation. We are to consider what we are about to say, and never speak except when it is proper to do so. And so we are to consider the matter when we are tempted to be angry, and are never to get angry except when it is proper to do so.”
" When is that?” “When we can be angry and sin not." “It will be pretty hard to find out when that time comes.”
“So I think; but till it is found we must not be angry at all. This is a precept that you ought to consider well. You know you are given to anger. You need of all things to take care to be slow to wrath.
You give pain to your friends, and displease God almost every day by not being slow to wrath."
In what respect does the reader differ from James in this matter ? Has he no need to give attention to the exhortation of the apostle, or rather the command of the Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle ? “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
I WILL NOT TELL A LIE."
“I WILL NOT TELL A LIE.”
So said a sweet and lovely child ;
ON TAKING GOD'S NAME IN VAIN. IT grieves me much to hear the blest Supreme Rudely appealed to, on each trifling theme ! Maintain your rank, vulgarity despise, To swear, is neither brave, polite, nor wise :You would not swear upon a bed of death; Reflect! your Maker now could stop your breath.
CRONSTADT, AND THE WAR WITH RUSSIA.
UNHAPPILY, at the present time, Great Britain, France, and Turkey, are engaged in war with the great Russian Empire ; and powerful fleets of English and French warships, and many thousands of sailors and soldiers have been sent into the Baltic and the Black Sea, to fight against the Russians. The Baltic is, next to the Mediterranean, the most important inland sea, or immense lake, in Europe. Its entrance from the German Ocean, or North Sea, is opposite to the east side of Scotland. The Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Bothnia, is more than 600 miles long, and its general width is about seventy-five miles; though in some parts, it is as much as 150 miles broad. It washes the shores of Denmark, Prussia, Sweden, and Russia, and at the upper end of the Baltic Sea, besides the Gulf of Bothnia, there is the Gulf of Finland, which runs towards the east. At the eastern end of the latter gulf stands the City of Petersburgh, the capital of the immense Russian Empire ; and about twenty-two miles from Petersburgh, in the Gulf of Finland, is a long narrow island, about seven miles long, and averaging about one mile in width. The west end of the island tapers to a point, and at the east end
stands the town of Cronstadt—a name which signifies the Town of the Crown, Cronstadt is a very strongly fortified place, and contains several large docks, in which many
hundreds of vessels of the largest size can safely ride.
Cronstadt was founded by Peter the Great, in the year 1703. The streets of the town are regular and well paved. It contains a large number of stone buildings belonging to the Emperor. It is the Russian great naval arsenal, or repository for stores employed in naval warfare. We are told that Cronstadt contains a hospital for seamen, having 2500 beds. Ships of war are built there, and it is, on many accounts, a place of great importance. Cronstadt is very strongly fortified; strong forts have been erected, not only on the island, but also opposite thereto, on the main land, and upon large masses of piles, in the shallow places, forts have been erected between the island and the main land. Upon these forts many hundreds of large cannons are placed, so that they may be made to pour awfully destructive volleys of very large shot upon any hostile vessel approaching the island, or attempting to get near to Petersburgh. Since the English and French fleets have been in the Baltic, a large number of Russian ships of war, have been kept in the Port of Cronstadt, where they are strongly protected by the fortifications, against hostile attacks.
It has been expected, during the last two or three months, that the English and French would make an attempt to take or destroy Cronstadt. If it should be attempted, we fear there will be most dreadful loss of life-many thousands will be slain. Such is the strength of the defences of Cronstadt, and the means which it possesses of repelling an invading force, that it would be a daring enterprise to attempt its capture or destruction, or even to pass by its forts. If, however, the war be not soon brought to an end, it is generally believed that orders will be given to attack Cronstadt. Most earnestly do we desire that peace may soon be restored; and that thus the awful consequences of a protracted war may be avoided.
In Cronstadt there are churches and chapels, and the population in the summer, inclusive of sailors, in time of