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A VENERATED friend of ours, lately entered into rest, published some few years back a little volume, entitled "Lessons of Life." And we are forcibly reminded of the suggestiveness of that phrase as we take up our pen to close the Nineteenth Volume of the Bible Class Magazine.
"Lessons of Life!" Life has its lessons, however obscure and uneventful it may seem. Every day and every hour are full of impressive instructions, and speak words of encouragement or warning, which we too often fail to hear, and still oftener to heed.
To our country at large-and, we might add, to many others-the year now closing has been one of shadows and gloom. A leaden sky; an almost uninterrupted succession of wet weather; flooded meadows and injured crops; general depression of trade; a murrain among our cattle; and, finally, a mysterious but fatal pestilence alike in the crowded city and secluded hamlet,-these are among the events of 1866 which it behoves us to ponder well. Their lesson is one of solemn admonition. Whence come these chastisements? Is it blind chance or blind law that smites us? Is it not He whose authority we, as a people, have too much despised? Wickedness is in our streets; therefore the Lord our God hath brought this evil upon us. Let us be wise, therefore, and repent.
But have we not lessons of encouragement also in the events of the year? Many have fallen, but we are still spared. Life is ours, though thousands have been cut down around us. Health of body, vigour of mind, and many of the comforts of life, if not of its luxuries, are still continued to us.
have had disappointments and sorrows, how much more numerous have been our pleasures and privileges! God has delivered our souls from death; let us humbly but heartily resolve to walk before Him in the land of the living!
To the Editor, in his official capacity, a review of the year just ending affords cause for no little thankfulness that he has been permitted to discharge without intermission his pleasant duties to his numerous readers, and that the Bible Class Magazine has reached, in 1866, the highest circulation yet realized. A larger share of labour, perhaps, than usual has fallen to his lot; but he has at the same time been aided by the valuable co-operation of many fellow-helpers. To Mrs. Dammast and K. L. G., who have furnished tales of sustained and varied interest; to Mr. Clifford, for his admirable articles on entomology; to "Uncle Harry," for his pleasant papers on "Outof-the-Way Places;" to Mr. Fisher, and an esteemed American friend, for musical compositions; and to all our other contributors, we tender our hearty thanks for their valued aid; and beg a continuance of their efforts on behalf of our young readers.
If permitted to renew his labours, the Editor will spare no pains to render the Bible Class Magazine-now no longer a novelty as attractive, as diversified, and as useful as the youngest of its contemporaries; seeking at all times His aid and blessing, "without whom nothing is strong, or wise, or holy."
LONDON, December, 1866.
UP WITH THE HOLLY BRANCH.
P with the holly-branch, laurel, and mistletoe;
For this of all seasons the heart ought to cheer!
Up with the holly-branch; home for the holidays!
Up with the holly-branch; quaff from joy's crystal cup;
Young and old once again join in the happy strain,
MEN OF THE MONTH.
BY COUSIN WILLIAM.
IN a former volume the readers of the Bible Class Magazine were entertained with a series of portraits of "MEN WORTH IMITATING;" to their pleasure, I know, and to their profit, I hope. A somewhat similar set of papers has been projected for this new year, and the task of preparing them has (wisely or unwisely) been allotted to me. My claims to the office of chief biographer are, I fear, but slender; still I can at least boast of being an old friend; and if the head be less completely furnished than I could wish, the heart is at any rate in its right place. My theme is to be "EMINENT MEN AND WOMEN"-whether "worth imitating" in all respects, or not; my guide, an old almanac; my listeners (I hope), a goodly throng of young men and maidens; my aim, to provide something which will interest them, find a secure lodging in the chambers of memory, and promote true progress, both mental and moral.
The lives of distinguished persons are not always to be taken as models. Some may serve as guide-posts, but not a few are fitted rather for beaSee vol. for 1863. Ed.
J. E. W.
cons,-those to point us onward, and these to warn us back. Indeed, it often happens that the same career affords something to deter as well as to encourage, when tried by that only perfect standard-the Word of God. The first name which strikes our eye as we take down the old almanac furnishes a memorable illustration of this truth.
FRANCIS BACON, Lord Verulam, was born in the month of January, in the year 1561, at York House, Strand; a London mansion long since pulled down, but originally a bishop's palace. At the time of which we write it was occupied by Sir Nicholas Bacon, father of the philosopher, and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to Queen Elizabeth.