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QUESTIONINGS v The Mysteries of God Past Finding Oat. BY THE "HIGHWAY AND BYWAY" PREACHER ^Copyright, 1M0, by Ike Author, W.8. lUnou.) Apocryphal Books:—2 Esdras, chap ter 4. i First Book of Esdras.—The name Es dras Is but another form of Ezra. As re gards the antiquity of this book and the rank assigned to it in the early church, it may suffice to mention that Josephus quotes largely from it, and follows its au thority. It is quoted also by Clemens Alexandrlnus, by Cyprian, Augustine, Athanasius and other fathers. Nothing can be clearer on the other hand than that it is rightly Included among the Apocrypha. That it was never known to exist In Hebrew and formed no part j of the Hebrew canon is admitted by all. A two-fold design is ■ discernible in the compiler of the book. One was to intro duce and give Scriptural sanction to the legend about Zerubbabel; the other to explain the great obscurities of the Book of Ezra, in which the author has signally failed, As regards the time and place when the compilation was made, the orig inal porticAh is that which alone affords much clew. This seems to Indicate that the writer was thoroughly conversant with Hebrew, even if he did not write the book in that language. He was well acquainted too, with the Books of Esther and Daniel, and other books of Scripture. SERMONETTE. "Canst thou by searching find ? out God? Canst thou find out s the Almighty unto perfection?" ? Such was the question pro- $ pound by Zophar the Naama- ? thite in his controversy with 8 Job, and it is the question which ? comes some time or other to 8 every seeking heart. Esdras was troubled by the 5 mysteries of God and sought to t fajhom the Infinite. How hope- S less was the taskf And rest t and quiet could not come to his ^ heart qntil the angel of God had jj come and led him to realize that 5 he could not do more than to j, rest content with the thought that God was, and was a re- J warder of them that diligently * seek him. Esdras was troubled, as was $ David of old, by the prosperity < of the wicked. He knew that f the misery of his people, the 8 Jews, was the result of sin, but $ the question arose in his heart: } Are not the people of the world i transgressors of God's law also, $ and are not they the masters of l the Jew? Where was the Jus- | tice of it all? But he forgot, like many oth- J era of God's children, that it is j "the son whom the .'Father i chasteneth." They who are not $ of the household live and work $ and reap and sow and pass away * without special care or discip- < line at the hands of the Father, * but not so those who have } yielded their hearts and lives to J God and come into the house- £ hold of faith where God. is J Father and Jesus Christ is elder | brother. Then begins a new re- J lationship of love and care \ which is no more strongly mani- | fest than in the chastening < which comes. It is thus that \ the gold is tried out and the 1 dross destroyed. It is thus that ? > the life is purified and made fit j 5 to abide in the presence of the j j Father and to enjoy the bless- < ! ings of the eternal home. THE STORY. SDRAS was troubled. Scribe and priest though he was, there had crept in his heart honest question ings. Was God a reality? Was he just? Did it pay to be called a child of his? E PROOF OF VALUE OF MISSIONS •Caused Spending of Immense Sum of English Money in the United States. The following from the Wall Street Journal presents a commercial argu ment in favor of missions. The in stance mentioned is but one of a long list which have appeared in mission ary history. From the standpoint of business it pays to send missionaries. The government of Japan in fur therance of its South Manchurian rail way scheme went into the English money market and borrowed $50,000, 000. When the British found out that this money, borrowed in London, had been spent in the United States for railroad supplies, they kicked up a pretty row in the house of commons. But there was nothing to be done about it, so the question was dropped. The reason why the Japanese gov ernment spent English money in the United States was due solely to the fact that the Japanese engineers in | charge of the work had been educated is Here was the nation of Israel and their city of Jerusalem in distress, and here was the godless Babylon holding dominion Over them. Where was God that such things could be? Are their deeds any better that inhabit Babylon, that they should therefore have dominion over Zion? Such were the doubts and troubled thoughts which stirred the heart of Esdras as he walked alone in the quiet of the midnight hour. "I have seen how thou sufferest them sinning and has spared wicked doers, and has destroyed thy people and hast preserved thine enemies," exclaimed Esdras. He spoke not irreverently, but the anguish of his heart forced him to give expression as though talking to God, for he felt if God were in the heavens he must speak to him the thoughts which _were in possession of his heart. "Are they of Babylon better than 'Or is there any other people that are thy chosen people? For what generation is there which hath so believed thy covenants as the children of Jacob? And yet their reward appeareth not, and their labor hath no fruit. For I have gone here and there through the heathen, and I see they flow in wealth and think not upon thy com mandments. Weigh thou, therefore, our wickedness now -in the balance, and theirs also that dwell in the world; and so shall thy name no where be found but in Israel. Or when was it that they which dwell upon the earth have not sinned in thy sight, or what people hath so kept thy commandments? Thou shalt find that Israel by name hath kept thy precepts, but not the heathen." As the complaining voice of the rcrlbe ceased and he sat in moody silence there came a slight rustling of garments at his side and he shook with fear, for he knew that he was not alone. "Who art thou, and why thy pres ence here?" questioned Esdras with trembling voice. "God hath heard thy questioning's and hast sent his angel. It is Uriel who speaketh and bringeth a mes sage from God, who would say to thee: it j they of Zion?" he went on. " 'Thy heart hath gone too far in this world, and thinketh thou to com prehend the way of the most high ?' " "Yea, my Lord, that I might under stand," faltered Esdras. "I am sent unto thee to show thee three ways and to set forth three similitudes before thee. Wherefore, if thou canst declare unto me one I will show thee also the way that thou desirest to see and I will show thee from whence the wicked heart cometh." "Tell on, my Lord," eagerly ex claimed Esdras, for the yearning in his heart was after the truth of God. Then said Uriel the angel: "Go thy way; weigh me the weight of the fire, or measure me the blast of the wind, or call back again the day that is past." "What man is able to do that, that thou shouldst ask such things of me?" exclaimed Esdras in amazement. "If I should ask thee how many great dwellings are in the midst of the sea, or how many springs are in the beginning of the deep, or how many springs are above the firma ment, or which are the outgoings of paradise, peradventure thou wouldst say unto me: 'I never went down into the deep, nor as yet into hell; neither did I ever climb up Into heaven.' Nevertheless, now have I asked thee but only of fire and of wind and of the day where through thou hast passed, and of things from which, thou canst not be separated, and yet canst thou give me no answer of them." A long and painful silence followed, in which there were peculiar stir rings in the heart of Esdras and a pricking of his conscience as he realized the wicked blindness of his own heart. Then the angel again broke the silence and said: in the United States at the expense of the American missionaries, and had there imbibed Yankee notions which made it Impossible for them to build a railroad along any other than Amer ican lines. Therefore at one fell swoop American commerce reaped a direct return of $50,000,000 from mis sionary effort. of in of for a the the in Your Work and Your World. You are never worth much until come one needs you. Happiness de pends on being useful, or, at least, be lieving that we are. The superfluous person is always in danger. He is out of place in a universe so ordered that Its perfection depends on each one taking his place and doing his work. There never was a normal life of which It could not be truly said that the world had need of him. It is better to make the vain man's error of thinking that the fate of the world hangs in suspension, dependent on your existence, than to fly to the opposite extreme and to lie inert, be lieving that it makes no difference whatever whether you are alive or "Thine own things and such as ar* grown up with them thou canst not know; Upw bhouldest thou then b« able to comprehend the way of the Highest, and the world being now out wardly corrupted, to understand the corruption that Is evident in thy sight ?" "But It were better that we were not at all than that we should live still in wickedness and to suffer and not to know wherefore," exclaimed Esdras. "I went out into a forest,' said the angel, "and the trees took counsel and said: 'Come, let us go and make war against the sea, that it may depart away before us and that we may make more woods.' The floods of the «>ea also in like manner took counsel and said: 'Come, let us go up and Bubdue the woods of the plain, that there also we may make us another country.' The thought of the woods was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it. The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to naught, for the sand stood up and stopped them. ' If thou wert Judge now betwixt these two," continued Uriel, "whom wouldst thou begin to justify? Or whom wouldst thou con demn?" "Verily it is a foolish thought that they both have devised," spoke up Esdras, thoughtfully, "for the ground is given unto the wood; the sea also hath his place to bear his floods." "Ah," replied Uriel. "Thou hast given a right judgment; but why judgest thou not thyself also? For like as the ground is given to the wood and the sea to his floods, even so they that dwell upon the earth may understand nothing but that which is upon the earth, and he that dwelleth above the heavens may un derstand the things that are above the height of the heavens." Over the soul of Esdras there swept a flood of contrition and of a need of greater wisdom, and he cried out in eager pleading: "I beseech thee, 0 Lord, let me have understanding." "The more thou soarchest," re sponded Uriel, "the more thou shalt marvel; for the world hasteth fast to pass away and cannot comprehend the things that are promised to the righteous in time to come. For this world is full of unrighteousness and infirmities. But of the things con cerning which thou hast asked me I will tell thee. Listen: The evil is sown, but the destruction thereof is not yet come. By measure hath God measured the times and by number hath he numbered them. He doth not move or stir them until the said measure be fulfilled." Queer Disposal of the Dead. The Sese islanderB have attained a peculiar notoriety in Uganda because of a secret society called the Bachi chi, which is not a burial society, al though its members take a deep and intelligent interest in all deaths and burials. In the more retired villages, although greatly discouraged by the British authorities, it is said to be still the custom for the sorrowing relatives to bear the body of the deceased wrapped in bark on a rough bier to some forest thicket, desolate ravine or other unfrequented spot, where It is left unburied by the bearers never revisit the place again. The Bachichi, who are denizens of a neigh boring village and distant relatives of the deceased, avoid the necessity of burial or cremation and show their re spect for the deceased by simply eat ing him.—National Magazine. who We Touch One Another on All Sides. No individual can be happy unless the circumstances of those around him be so adjusted as to conspire with his interest. For, in human so ciety, no happiness or misery stands unconnected and independent. Our fortunes are interwoven by threads in numerable. We touch one another on all sides. One man's misfortune or success, his wisdom or his folly, oft en by its consequences reaches through multitudes.—Blair. not, whether you do your work or not. The value of any life depends much on its sense of being essential to all lives. Siberia's Awful Cold. Siberia has the coldest weather known anywhere In the world. Verkhoyaonsk, Siberia, 90.4 degrees below zero was observed in January, 1888, which goes below anything ever known In the world before or ever since. At that point the average tem perature for January is nearly 64 de grees below zero. This town is 330 feet above the level of the sea, and during the entire winter the weather is calm and clear. At On Missionary Tour. Miss Rachel Costello and Miss Elinor Rendell are two English girls in this country lecturing on woman suffrage. They are described as beautiful young women, fine and gracious, and only dif fering from Raccliffe or other college girls in the United States in their genu inely delightful English accent. They will take a graduate course at Bryn Mawr. Robert 6. Coe's memorial Ode 0 <) His was the Norman's polish And s briety of grace; All the Goth's magnetic figure. All the Roman's noble face; And he stood the tall exemplar Of a grand, historic race. Truth walked beside him always From his childhood's early years; Honor followed as his shadow, Valor lighted all his cares; And he rode—that grand Virginian Last of all the Cavaliers! o d) m n o o o o o 0 U . o n m —James Barron Hope. The South's Triumph of Peace Its Economic Regeneration After Appomattox One of the Most Amazing Achievements of Modern Times. They have bullded anew with the strength of might, In the face of defeat and a yielded right, The mantle of gold from the cloth of night. S N THIS year is the forty fourth anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox Va., of Gen. Robert E. Lee, of the Army of Northern Virginia. In his last order to the veterans whom he led through years of varying fortunes. Gen. Lee as sured them that they could go to their homes with the consciousness of duty well and faithfully performed. He exhorted them to accept the re sults of their resort to the ar bitrament of arms in good faith and to devote their energies thence forth to restoring the waste places In the south and to develop its resources. Gen. Lee was not a man of many words. But what he said came from his heart, and was strengthened by a calm judgment and exalted pur pose. His counsel sank deep into the hearts of the southern people. He was after Appomattox, as well as in the days of his greatest triumphs in the field, the most powerful influence for peace and rehabilitation in the south. Mr. Charles Francis Adams of Boston, an officer in the northern army, a stu dent of history, a deep and broad 1 k [Jj 'f MW'/, i mm u, « < v 4 i ff:>, I W Mill,! ■■ J. pfsSiljiii r II 4T-: 1 'V likSuMlA > K u *7 * \.Vn 'H 4** Monument to the Soldiers of the Confederacy, on Appomattox Battle Ground The Last to Leave the Field on the Day of Surrender. minded thinker, has in several ad dresses declared that the nation owes an almost incalculable debt of grati tude to Gen. Lee for his refusal to en courage guerrilla warfare after the south was no longer able to'maintain organized armies. The force which Gen. Lee surren dered at Appomattox was only a tat tered remnant of the once powerful Army of Northern Virginia—that artay of which Swinton, the historian of the Federal Army of the Potoma$, wrote in terms of discriminating praise and admiration. It is said that Stonewall Jackson declared on one occasion that Gen. Lee was "the only man he had ever met whom he would follow blind folded." That spirit appears to have animated every soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia. The last charge Lee's soldiers made, when surrender stared them in the face, was as bril liant and valorous as the charges which made the Army of Northern Virginia famous when victory seemed to be assured. And having followed Lee to the last extreme of loyalty and courage to the climax at Appomattox, they followed his counsels faithfully in the years succeeding the war. The survivors of four years' war proved to the admiration of the world and to their everlasting honor, that the sol dier who has done his duty faithfully in war will not shirk his duties and re sponsibilities in the trying times fol lowing defeat. It should be said that the personnel of the Army of Northern Virginia and of the other southern armies was probably superior to that of any other army of modern times. Having demonstrated its prowess in war, the south has equal cause for pride in the inflexible determination with which it labored to repair the havoc wrought by war. There is a "new south" since Appo mattox, but it is only "new" in the sense that amazing progress has been made in the development of its re sources. The southern states have now a white population nearly twice as great as they had in 1865. They have developed extraordinary industrial ac tivity and efficiency. Agriculture is flourishing as never before because it has been diversified. The cotton mills of the south have increased wonder fully in number and production in the last 15 years. This is the south 43 years after Ap pomattox. The men of the old south women after Appomattox. went to their homes after the surrent der and set to work in grim earnest They laid the foundations of restore tion firmly and deeply. Their sons and grandsons have carried on the work with intelligence, energy and efficiency. To-day the south is the most American part of the union o! 46 states. There are no outward evi dences of the havoc and ruin wrought The by four years of civil conflict, economic regeneration of the south it one of the most amazing achievements of modern times. Aided substantially as it has been by the capital and busi ness men of other sections, the general result is, nevertheless, an enduring monument to the invincible spirit and the inflexible determination of the men, who, many in rags, surrendered 43 years ago at Appomattox, accepted the results of the war in good faith and guided by the wise counsels ol their leader, Gen. Lee, buckled down to work on the farms and in business and in the professions in the spirit ol brave and true men. Peace hath Its victories no less renowned than war. One of the finest pages in the history of the United States Is that which r* cords the work of southern men an!