Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 To the boys of America: A kindly...
 The Bible the book for boys
 Cain and Abel - the world's first...
 Ishmael the outcast
 Esau and Jacob - the twin...
 Joseph - the young dreamer
 Moses - the emancipator of the...
 Samson - the strongest and the...
 Samuel and his mother
 David's conflict with the giant...
 Rizpah and the seven sons of Saul:...
 Absalom - the beautiful rebel...
 Elisha and the Shunammite's...
 Jeremiah and Ezekiel - the young...
 Daniel and his friends
 The birth and boyhood of Jesus
 The lad with the loaves and...
 Lazarus and the sisters of...
 The youthful Timothy
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Group Title: Boys of the Bible : a book for the boys of America
Title: Boys of the Bible
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082321/00001
 Material Information
Title: Boys of the Bible a book for the boys of America
Physical Description: 315 p. : col. ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Handford, Thomas W
Werner Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Werner Company
Place of Publication: Chicago
Publication Date: 1893, c1891
Copyright Date: 1891
Subject: Children in the Bible -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bible stories, English   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1893   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre: Children's stories
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas W. Handford.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082321
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231121
notis - ALH1489
oclc - 12298720

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Table of Contents
        Page 9
        Page 10
    List of Illustrations
        Page 11
        Page 12
    To the boys of America: A kindly greeting
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    The Bible the book for boys
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Cain and Abel - the world's first brothers
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Ishmael the outcast
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67-68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Esau and Jacob - the twin brothers
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    Joseph - the young dreamer
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Moses - the emancipator of the Jewish race; the lawgiver of the world
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Samson - the strongest and the weakest of the boys of the Bible
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
    Samuel and his mother
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    David's conflict with the giant of Gath
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    Rizpah and the seven sons of Saul: A story of a mother's deathless love
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173-174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
    Absalom - the beautiful rebel prince
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    Elisha and the Shunammite's son
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    Jeremiah and Ezekiel - the young prophets of sadness and exile
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
    Daniel and his friends
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
    The birth and boyhood of Jesus
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
    The lad with the loaves and fishes
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
    Lazarus and the sisters of Bethany
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
    The youthful Timothy
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
    Back Matter
        Page 316
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


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A Book for the Boys of America

Editor of "The Home Book of Poetry and Song," "The Home Instructor," "Pleasant
Hours," "Favorite Poems," "Life of Beecher," "The Elmo Series,"
"Sands of Time," etc., etc.

Children are God's apostles, day by day
Sent forth to preach of love, and hope, and peace.
-fames Russell Lowell.

In noble array, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Saviour's throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain:
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train.
-Regznald Heber.

ualtg aIltstratea











By cool Siloam's shady rill
How fair the lily grows!
How sweet the breath, beneath the hill
Of Sharon's dewy rose!
Lo! such the child whose youthful feet
The paths of peace have trod,
Whose secret heart with influence sweet,
Is upward turned to God.

By cool Siloam's shady rill
The lily must decay,
The rose that blooms beneath the hill
Must shortly fade away.
And soon, too soon, the wintry hour
Of man's maturer age
1Will shake the soul with sorrow's power
And stormy passions rage.

0 Thou who givest life and breath,
We seek Thy grace alone,
In childhood, manhood, age and death
To keep us still Thine own.


I. To the Boys of America: A Kindly Greeting 13

II. The Bible the Book for Boys 22

III. Cain and Abel-the World's First Brothers 34

IV. Ishmael the Outcast 62

'V. Esau and Jacob'-the Twin Brothers 73

VI. Joseph-the Young Dreamer 96

VII. Moses-the Emancipator of the Jewish Race; the Lawgiver of the
World --- 119
VIII. Samson-the Strongest and the Weakest of the Boys of the Bible 133

IX. Samuel and His Mother 150
X. David's Conflict with the Giant of Gath 159

XI. Rizpah and the Seven Sons of Saul: A Story of a Mother's Death-
less Love 166

XII. Absalom-the Beautiful Rebel Prince -191

XIII. Elisha and the Shunammite's Son 209

XIV. Jeremiah and Ezekiel-the Young Prophets of Sadness and Exile 217
XV. Daniel and His Friends 230

XVI. The Birth and Boyhood of Jesus 245

XVII. The Lad with the Loaves and Fishes 295
XVIII. Lazarus and the Sisters of Bethany 303

XIX. The Youthful Timothy 310


"They wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger"

Exiled From Eden -

Cain and Abel-Martyr and Murderer -

"We Shall Die! We Shall Die!"

Isaac Blessing Jacob -

Jacob and Rachel -

Joseph Sold into Slavery -

Joseph Interpreting Pharaoh's Dream -

Joseph Makes Himself Known to his Brethren -

Moses Rescued from the Nile -

"And he rent him as he would have rent a kid" -

Fall of the House of Dagon -

"So Saul Died" -

Joab Hastens to Assassinate Absalom -

"O Absalom, my son, my son!" -

"The Chariot of Israel and the Horseman Thereof" -

"Yet Forty Days and Nineveh shall be Destroyed"

"Behold and See if there be any Sorrow like unto my Sorrow"

The Valley of Dry Bones -

"Mene! Mene! Tekel! Upharsin!" -

The Fire would not Burn Them -

The Wise Men and the Star -

The Journey into Egypt -

" It is Finished" -

The Lad with the Loaves and Fishes -

"Lazarus, Come Forth!" -

Timothy, his Mother and Grandmother -
















S 207










S 307



"The angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads."-Genesis xlviii., 16.
It is better to be a boy in a green field than a knight of many orders in a state
ceremonial."-George Macdonald.
"I long to have the children feel that there is nothing in this world more
attractive, more earnestly to be desired, than manhood in Jesus Christ."-Henry
Ward Beecker.
"They are idols of hearts and of households,
They are angels of God in disguise;
His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
His glory still gleams in their eyes.
Task not a life for these dear ones,
All radiant as others have done,
But that life may have just enough shadow
To temper the glare of the sun."
-Charles M. Dickinson.

A good many years ago-more than the writer cares to
tell-a group of boys, five in number, were resting in the shade
of a wide-spreading maple. They were very tired, for they
had been playing rather vigorously all morning. It was in the
second week of vacation-one of those hot July days when
about noon-time there comes a strange silence in the heated air,
and birds and beasts, as well as boys, are glad to seek the shel-
ter of the trees. a
"Well, boys," said the oldest of the group, "do you know
Wednesday next is my birthday, and at breakfast this morn-
ing father and mother talked the matter over, and said that if
I desired to have a birthday party they were quite willing. So


if you will consider yourselves engaged for Wednesday next,
I shall esteem it a favor, as they say in books."
The invitation was heartily and unanimously accepted,
and the merry group constituted themselves a committee to
arrange for the festivities of the coming day. The most prom-
ising arrangements were made. Early in the morning there
was to be a fishing excursion, in the afternoon there was to be
boating on the river, and the rest of the day was to be spent in
home delights, winding up with a garden party and a grand
display of fireworks. YVhat could be better?
The boys were so thoroughly absorbed in planning and
arranging that they were not at all aware of the approach of Dr.
Sutton, the oldest inhabitant of Enderby, till he stood right in
the midst of them. Not that his presence was in any way
objectionable, for Dr. Amos Sutton was one of those happy old
gentlemen whose good fortune it was to be loved and respected
by all the young people of the neighborhood. He had spent a
great many years in India as a missionary, and had many
strange stories to tell of what he had seen on the banks of the
Ganges, of the wonders of Calcutta, and of the sad, gloomy
lives of the poor Hindoos. He had been present at one of the
processions of the idol god Juggernaut, and had seen misguided
devotees throw themselves under the ponderous wheels of the
idol's car. He had wonderful stories to tell, and he knew how
to tell them. But it was not for his Indian stories that Dr.
Sutton was so much beloved. He was venerable in years, but
he wasoyoung in heart. His hair was white as snow, but his
sympathies and his affections were like the unfading evergreen
pine. The children all had a friend in Dr. Sutton. It was not
at all an uncommon thing to find the grand old missionary in
the very midst of the noisiest groups of children, as merry and
as jubilant as the rest. And when his friends would suggest


that the young people would weary him with their noise and
play, he was very apt to quote those happy lines of N. P.
"I love to look on a scene like this
Of wild and careless play,
To persuade myself that I am not old,
And my locks are not yet gray.
For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart,
And it makes his pulses fly,
To catch the thrill of a happy voice,
And the light of a pleasant eye.
Play on, play on; I am with you there,
In the midst of your merry ring,
I can feel the thrill of the daring jump
And the rush of the breathless swing.
I am willing to die when my time shall come,
And I shall be glad to go;
For the world at best is a weary place,
And my pulse is getting low.
But the grave is dark, and the heart will fail
In treading its gloomy way;
And it wiles my heart from it dreariness
To see the young so gay."

So you may be very sure that the sudden presence of Dr.
Sutton amongst the boys was not unwelcome, though it was
just a little startling.
"Good morning, Doctor," said the boys with one accord,
as they looked up from their solemn conclave, for they were
as serious and earnest about this birthday party as though
they were making laws for a State.
Good morning, boys," responded the venerable gentle-
man, "I should just like -to know what mischief you are
plotting. I'm sure there is something in the wind. Are you
planning to go out and fight the Indians, or has some one
fallen under your righteous displeasure? Just before a storm


there is silence in the air, and when half a dozen boys are
so quiet and mysteriously confidential with one another, that
an old man can come right upon them without being heard,
then I know there's a storm brewing! Now boys, tell me
what it's all about. You may trust me, I won't betray you;
perhaps I may want to be a partner."
Upon this the boys roared out aloud, and rolled upon
the summer grass in the perfect abandon of merriment, at
the thought of Dr. Sutton becoming a partner in some reck-
less scheme of mischief. So after binding the Doctor by
every solemn consideration not to breathe a word to saint
or sinner, the story of the birthday party was unfolded, and
you may be sure Dr. Sutton received a very hearty invita-
tion. The invitation was as heartily accepted, on condition
that he should be excused the river excursion, and should
be allowed to leave early.
For a while the Doctor lingered; he congratulated the
boys on the good record they had made at school the last
term, and after further pleasant talk, he said he had a
conundrum for them. A riddle that he had been asked ten
thousand times, and he thought would be very likely to be
asked very earnestly as long as the world endured.
"Ask us the riddle, Doctor," said one of the boys, "we
are great on conundrums."
"WVell," said Dr. Sutton, "here are five of you boys, and
my riddle is composed of five little words; the riddle is not
of the funny or curious sort, but it is of vast importance,
and of the greatest importance to each one of you. This is
my conundrum:-
"What are boys good for?"
"Now answer that if you can, and don't all speak at


Oh, that's not much of a riddle," said one of the boys,
evidently a little disappointed.
It's not funny anyhow," said another.
"No," said the Doctor, "I agree with you; it's not
much of a riddle, as riddles go, and it certainly is not
funny, but it is a great riddle after all-a riddle that your
young lives will best explain."
"I'll tell you what boys are good for," said the leader
of the group.
"Bravo!" broke in his nearest companion who lay full
length upon the grass, half buried in its verdant wealth. I
know! Boys are good to have birthday parties and to
invite their friends! Put down a good mark for me!"
"Bravo!" shouted the rest in merry chorus.
"What were you going to say?" asked the Doctor of
the boy of the birthday party, as soon as the laughter had
"I was going to say that boys are good to make men
of," was the answer.
Good! Very good!" said the Doctor. That's the best
answer I have ever heard to this grand conundrum, for it is
a grand conundrum, though as you say-and rightly too-it's
not particularly funny. Good to make men of!-so you
are. I shall not live to see you grown to manhood, but I
pray God you may grow to be noble, patriotic, faithful
Just then a squirrel started along a fence just on the other
side of the road. The boys were up and after it like a shot,
bidding the Doctor a hasty "good-bye" as they rushed along
The Doctor stood for a moment watching the merry
group; his face became radiant, and he murmured half aloud:


"Good to make men of!-Excellent! -Excellent! So may it
be! The angel that redeemed me from all evil bless the

The birthday party was a grand success. The young
fishermen were out very early, and they returned well-laden
with the spoils of the river, as was proved when the fish they
caught formed quite an ample part of the evening's feast.
The boating in the afternoon was enchanting; a gentle breeze
made the river cool. In the evening quite a large party
gathered; the Chinese lanterns made the garden look quite
romantic. A little before ten o'clock Dr. Amos Sutton made
a little congratulatory speech, and told in quite a pleasant way
the story of the morning's talk with the boys under Wilson's
maple tree, and wound up by saying that truthful, honest,
earnest boys were the only materials out of which it was pos-
sible to make upright, honest, godly men.

How the years have come and gone since the night of
that birthday party! For full twenty years Dr. Sutton has
been in his quiet grave in the church-yard on Enderby hill.
Dead-and yet ever living in the tender memories of those
who knew and loved him!
What of the five boys who met that July morning long
ago, and rested under the shade of Wilson's big maple? What
sort of answers did their lives give to Dr. Sutton's conundrum?
Two of them gave their lives for the land they loved so well.
In the hour of her peril they went forth to fight for her flag.
One was shot dead at Gettysburg; the other died of wounds
in the Wilderness; the third of that group is a judge in one
of our Western courts; the fourth is engaged in the service
of our public schools, and the last has spent many happy years


in writing books for young and old; but his chief joy has
been in service for the young.
This story of Dr. Sutton's conundrum will serve as a
word of greeting to the boys of America. It may be presumed
that many of the boys who read this book will range from
twelve to sixteen years of age. You are the materials out
of which the future men of America must be made. What
you are now and in the years to come, America will be.
Nine years more and the nineteenth century will have run its
course. With all its treasures and trophies, with all its gifts
and legacies, it will have become part of that shoreless sea-
the eternity of the past. The great bell of time will boom
out the year 1900! The twentieth century will have dawned!
And you, the boys of America to-day, are to be the men of
the twentieth century. Its fortunes and its fate will be largely
in your hands.
You have received a glorious heritage! The world has
made wondrous strides since those five boys met under Wilson's
maple in the July morning long ago; indeed, it hardly seems
like the same world. The privileges that are as common to
you as violets in the spring were not born then. You have
comforts and luxuries that kings could not command a century
ago. You have educational advantages, without money and
without price, that the princes and nobles of the old world
never dreamed of. The poorest boy in America can have an
education free to-day that will fit him for any walk in life.
The poorest boy in America can buy a library of books to-day
for five or ten dollars that could not be bought a hundred
years ago for a million dollars!
Boys of America! It is a grand thing to live in this
free land in the old age of the nineteenth century. We-
have received a glorious legacy! Poets have sung for us,


artists have painted for us, men of science and enterprise and
invention have made life a luxury, scholars have gone down
into the mines of knowledge that we might be enriched. All
the past has brought its tributes to our feet.
"We are heirs of all the ages
In the foremost files of time."

It is a grand world to live in, let the grumblers com-
plain as they will. It is God's world! And the best place
in all God's world to live in is America.
But the America of the next century ought to be a
still grander place to live in, and it rests with you to
make it so. Everything in America depends upon its men
and women. We have material wealth enough and to spare;
gold and silver and coal in our mines, timber in our forests,
corn on our prairies. Our chief wealth is in men-
They are the chief crop of our lands."

The men who made America what it is to-day, were
men "with Empires in their brains," with the fear of God
in their hearts, and with ceaseless industry in their hands.
They were the men so fitly described by the poet who, in
an outburst of patriotic pride, said:
The noblest men I know on earth,
Are men whose hands are brown with toil;
Who, backed by no ancestral graves,
Hew down the wood and till the soil,
And thereby win a prouder fame
Than follows a King's or a Warrior's name."

You will never have the up-hill work to do these pio-
neers did so bravely. But the twentieth century will expect
to see you worthy of your immortal sires, worthy of
your heirship vast." They dug through countless difficul-


ties that the foundations of your freedom might be laid
securely. It will be your grand privilege to rear the temple
in beauty, course on course, to the very heavens.
The home looks to you to build up a beautiful ideal
home life, which is the chief hope and surest safeguard of
the State. The Church looks to you to fill its pulpits and
guard the sacred fires upon its altars. Justice looks to you
to fill its judgment-thrones, and to hold the scales with a
righteous, impartial hand. Science and Art and Literature
are offering to you the high places of honor and the secrets
of learning. The State waits to see in you the dream of a
perfect patriotism fulfilled, the type of citizenship that scorns
alike the briber and the bribe, that counts all duties sacred
privileges, and every burden a badge of honor.
Boys of America! Accept this sincere and earnest
greeting. Remember Dr. Sutton's conundrum. Remember
that boys are the only material out of which men can be
made. And remember, too, that the most real of all real
things is Life!

Life is beautiful, its duties cluster round us day by clay,
And their sweet and solemn voices warn to watch, and work, and pray.
Only they its blessings forfeit, who by sin their spirit cheat;
And to slothful stupor yielding, let the rust their armor eat."



Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."-Psalms cxix., zo5.
"One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles from earthly streams."-
Robert McCheyne.
If there be anything in my style or thought to be commended, the credit is due
to my kind parents, in instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures."-
Daniel Webster.
So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to
read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to
their country and respectable members of society."--'ohn Quincy Adams.

"Lord, I have made Thy words my choice,
My lasting heritage.
There shall my noblest flowers rejoice,
My warmest thoughts engage.
I'll read the histories of Thy love,
And keep Thy laws in sight,
While through the promises I rove
With ever-fresh delight.
'Tis a broad land, of wealth unknown,
Where springs of life arise,
Seeds of immortal bliss are sown
And hidden glory lies.

There are not many things of more importance in a
boy's young life than his selection of books. It is certainly as
important that a boy should read good books, as that he
should eat wholesome food, breathe pure air, and keep good
company. This is so, because books are food, and breath,
and companionship for the mind. The importance of a wise
selection of books is made very clear when you come to


think what a wonderful influence on the whole life, the books
we read in our early days exert. The authors whose books
entranced us in the morning of life may not have been great
masters of literature, but they hold us still in unbroken
magic bonds. The first hymns, and poems, and recitations
we learned, may not have been of the very highest order of
poetry or prose, but once committed to the stewardship of
our memory, they remain. And while we go on, learning
and forgetting, learning and forgetting, in later years, the
things we learned in early youth are remembered without
an effort.
This of course is easily accounted for. In youth the
mind is, to a large extent, free and unburdened. Memory
is more retentive, because less engrossed with larger cares;
and the impressions made upon the mind are deeper, and
become fixed and permanent. The things that go in one
ear do not rush out at the other, because the brain is not
too busy to entertain them. The books a boy reads, he
reads often, without skipping a single line.
We do not quite know how the books a boy reads
help or harm. The influence of a book is wonderful, never-
theless. We do not know how food, and air, and water,
enter into our being and become part of us, making bone,
and tissue, and blood; but they do. The rose of the garden,
or the flowers of the wildwood, could not tell you how the
sun and the rain and the wonderful chemistry of the earth
all unite to create their perfume and their beauty; but they
do. And just as truly the life of a book-for every book
has a life good or bad-enters into the thinking life of a
reader and helps or harms him.
With all our heart, without a moment's hesitation, we
commend the Bible as the best of all books for boys. We


have often thought the Bible was the best of all books for the
sorrowful and troubled; we have thought of that beautiful text
that describes God's word as "a lamp to the feet" and a light "
to the path, and then it seemed as if the Bible was the very
book of books for the perplexed. When that divinely tender
invitation, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-
laden, and I will give you rest!" has been repeated, it has
seemed as if the Bible was of all books the book for the sin-
weary and the sad. The Bible is a book for all, for all peo-
ples, all nations, all ages. Of this we are sure beyond all
question, that the Bible is the best of all books for boys.
What a wonderful book it is! By far the most wonderful
book in the world; a book that is really a library in itself.
It is made up of sixty-six different books, and has between
thirty and forty different authors. Kings, and priests, and
poets; fishermen, farmers and physicians, have all had a hand
in this book. Very learned men, such as Solomon and Saul,
of Tarsus, have written many pages in it, and others, who
never knew the advantages of a careful education, wrote sim-
ply what they had seen and heard of the mighty power of God,
in the person of Jesus Christ.
This marvelous book deals with the history of thousands
of years, from the earliest records of the human family to
the advent and history of the Son of God. From the gar-
den-home of Eden to the garden of Joseph of Arimathea, in
whose unhewn sepulchre Jesus of Nazareth was entombed. If
it were not for this book the world would know very little of
the history of the ages. Even modern history comes to us
in fragments. Much of the history of the old world, by which
we mean the world before the days of Greece and Rome, is
absolutely lost. If it were not for the Bible, the early history
of the world would be almost entirely a blank.


It may be interesting to boys to know how widely the
Bible has been circulated during the later years of this century.
Up to the year 1800 only about five millions of copies of
the sacred Scriptures in about twenty-seven different lan-
guages had been produced since the world began. Since the
dawn of this wonderful century 165,000,000 Bibles, Testa-
ments and portions of Scripture have been distributed by
Bible societies alone, to say nothing of the vast numbers
that have been sold by booksellers in the regular way of
trade. And now, instead of thirty or forty different transla-
tions, there are more than three hundred. Wherever there
is a language that can be written or printed, there the
Bible is sure to be found. The word of God has gone forth
to the ends of the earth. There is no voice nor language
where the gospel of His love is not heard.
But why is this Bible the best of books for boys?
Because it is of all books the most helpful. There is no
other book in the world that has so delightful a way of
helping a boy to understand what true life is, and how to
live it.
A few years ago the editor of an American magazine,
called The Forum," invited a number of scholarly gentle-
men-authors, preachers and others-to write a series of
papers that should tell what books these gentlemen had found
most helpful in the course of a busy, studious career. These
papers were exceedingly interesting, and sometimes not a
little surprising, for sometimes the most unusual books were
spoken of as proving helpful, while books you expected to
hear of seemed forgotten or overlooked. All these writers,
with one accord, took it for granted that the Bible was the
most helpful of all books. They did not stop to discuss that
question, but wrote as though they supposed the supreme


helpfulness of the Sacred Scriptures was a matter on which
all sensible men were agreed.
One of these writers told a very interesting story. He
said that when he was young he was very poor, books were
dear and money was very scarce; newspapers were not
much known and magazines were hardly known at all. By
dint of great self-sacrifice this poor boy secured a second-
hand copy of a classical dictionary. A strange choice, this,
you will think for a boy whose days were passed amid the
quietude and monotony of farm life. And so it was. Per-
haps, however, it was more a matter of accident than choice,
or it may be that the few crude illustrations had something
to do with his selection.
The writer goes on to say, that he found this old, worn,
classical dictionary to be a perfect enchantment-a source
of endless delight. It opened a new world to him. The
dull life of the farm was never so dull after he began to
read the stories of the classic age, the wonderful stories of
the gods and goddesses of the old mythology; their conflicts
by land and sea, and in the upper air; their victories and
defeats, the awful nod of Jove and the trembling of Olym-
pus. It seemed as if his whole life was filled and peopled
with romantic thoughts of them and their heroic deeds.
The old dictionary lifted him up into a region of heroism
and courage. The classic companionships of his early youth
helped him his whole life long.
This illustration will serve to show, in part, what is
meant by the Bible being the book of all books for boys,
by reason of its real helpfulness. The Bible cannot be other
than a helpful friend to every boy who will study it; not as a
task book, but as a book full, from Genesis to Revelation, of the
grandest object lessons tobe found anywhere in the world.


The boy who thinks the Bible is a solemn book of laws
and commandments, of restrictions and threats, with Thou
shalt not" standing at the head of every page, to make
life awful instead of happy, is wholly mistaken. He does
not know his Bible. He has perhaps been made to read it
for a punishment; perhaps he has been kept at home when
his heart was in the fields hunting squirrels, or by the river-
side fishing; and he may have been compelled to commit
passages of Scripture to memory that were least appropriate
to his years or to his state of mind. If this has been the
case, it is not to be wondered at that the Bible has come to
be regarded as a dreary book. It is a sad mistake to make
the Bible a mere task book; saddest of all to make it a
means of punishment to the young. It must be admitted,
we fear, that there are many thousands who never read the
Bible in their mature years, because they were turned
against it when they were young.
Such neglect is not blameless. The claims of the Bible
remain the same, notwithstanding the folly of those who made
it a rod of correction instead of a lamp of beauty. Those
who neglect the Bible do not know its worth. They pass by
the fountain, but if they knew how cool and sweet the waters
are they would stop and drink; they pass by the treasure-
house of the great King, but if they really knew what glories
fill every chamber of this great Palace of Truth, they would
enter in, only to be filled with admiring gratitude.
Martin Luther had almost reached the estate of manhood
before he ever saw a copy of the Word of God. One day,
while looking through the library of the great German Uni-
versity of Erfurt, he came quite accidentally across two huge
folio volumes, printed in the Latin language. This was the
Bible-one of the very few Bibles then in existence. Luther


was then more than twenty years of age. He was one of the
best scholars in the university. He knew a great deal about
philosophy, logic and languages, but this was the first time
he had ever had a Bible in his hands. He happened to open
the first volume at the place where Hannah was dedicating
her son Samuel to the Lord. The young student was enchanted
by the simple romance of the story. He read till the sun
declined and the shadows deepened in the grand old library;
he put the book back in its place, and then, returning to his
study, he clasped his hands and expressed a desire that almost
took the form of a prayer, saying: "Oh, that God would give
me such a book for myself." What he would have gladly
given for a copy of these Scriptures it is hard to tell.
One thing we know, he became from that time a diligent
student of the Scriptures. The Bible was his daily companion.
It changed the whole course of his life. It made of him one
of the grandest men the world has ever seen. It helped him
to be great, and to do such grand work for the world as will
never, never be forgotten.
The Bible is the best of all books for boys, because it will
help them, not only by precepts and commandments, but by the
most wonderful array of examples to be found anywhere in
the world.
Some wise people say that one well-illustrated book will
help a boy to understand what he is reading about better than
a dozen good books that are not illustrated. All of which is
very true. Boys love pictures, and so do men and women for
the matter of that. The Bible is full from first to last of the
most wonderful and beautiful of word pictures to be found
anywhere; so beautiful that the greatest artists of all the ages
have found no subject so worthy of their canvas as the living
pictures of the Bible. If you travel through Europe you will


have the opportunity, in London and Paris, in Berlin and
Vienna, but especially in Rome and Florence and Venice, to
see in churches, and galleries, and palaces, miles on miles of
pictures, the work of the greatest artists of a thousand years;
and while you would perhaps be a little disappointed in some
respects, you would be sure to be impressed with the fact that
the Bible has furnished these men of genius with more material
for their tasks than all the other books and histories in the
world beside.
The Bible is the grandest picture gallery in the world.
What enchanting scenes it presents! Beginning with the
garden-home of the first parents of our race, and ending
with visions of the New Jerusalem, the City of God, standing
on foundations laid in jasper and sapphire, in amethyst and
emerald and gold; a city whose gates stand always open to
welcome the pilgrims of all ages and lands; a city through
which the river of the water of life is flowing, on whose
banks the tree of life waves its unfading blossoms and its
unfailing fruit for the healing and comfort of the nations.
These pictures in Genesis and Revelation stand at either end
of this great Bible gallery; but how can we speak of all
the pictures that go between? Pictures of the patriarchal
age; of those great peans when Israel came out of Egypt,
and followed Moses through the wilderness; of the eventful
times when Judges ruled in Israel, till Israel asked for a
King; of the Kings and the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel;
of the exile and the return; on to those greatest of all days,
when Jesus trod the blessed fields of Palestine and brought
the light of God to the darkened earth, and the love of God
to a weary, sinful world! Was ever picture gallery so
crowded with enchanting scenes? To a boy, seventy years
seems a large stretch of life to look forward to, but the


pictures of the Bible would find food for thought, if a man's
life should reach out to seven times seventy years.
But the Bible is a great storehouse of history. It is
crowded with great events and with men and women whose
heroism can never die. And it is just here, in the study of
the lives of these Bible characters, that American boys at
the close of the nineteenth century will find the Bible so help-
ful and inspiring. They will learn from the lives of the boys of
the Bible more of the true meaning and worth of life, than
from any other source, or all other sources put together.
These boys of the Bible, dead and gone these many
centuries, are living teachers, each with his own great life-
lesson to impart. The first brothers of the world's young
morning; the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, rocked in the
same cradle, and yet so unlike; the boy of many dreams
and boundless ambition; the young Hebrew rescued from
the Nile; the boy of the sanctuary of Shiloh; the son of
Jesse and his gifted sons; the brave lad who was not
ashamed to pray; and, greatest of all, the Boy of Nazareth,
the great Rabbi and Teacher of the World, will each and
all be found with a wise and helpful lesson for the thoughtful
and inquiring student.
SBefore passing on to the study of the character and
career of some of these boys of the Bible, one word more
may be said concerning the helpfulness of the Bible. That
the Bible is a blessed and helpful book, is the universal
testimony of all those who have made it the "man of their
counsels," the "guide of their youth." Good men and
women by thousands, in all the walks of life, have taken
great joy, on proper occasions, to confess their indebtedness
to the Word of God. The best and most useful men and
women in the world have been, and are, proud of the Bible,


and grateful for its influences. He would be a strange being
indeed who should be ashamed of the Bible. Most boys
have probably heard how, on one occasion, the Queen of
England, being asked by some great Eastern Prince, what
was the secret of England's greatness, pointed the Prince to
a Bible and told him that England's reverence was the
secret of all that was really great in England. It was a
grand reply to a simple question. It is a grand thing for a
nation, or a city, or a boy, to reverence the Word of God.
No harm ever comes of that, but help in a thousand
unexpected ways.
But if the testimony of the good and great runs in this
direction, so does the testimony of the wicked and the disso-
lute. Eliza Cook, in that charming little poem, "The Old
Arm-chair," pictures a child at her mother's knee, and calling
up the memory of that mother's tenderness, the poet says-
"She taught me that ruin would never betide
With truth for my shield and God for my guide."
If we could ask those unhappy ones, whose lives have been
darkened and stained by sin, what brought them to their sad
state, they would tell us, if they spoke truly, that it was
because they had cast away the shield of truth, and turned
away from God's guidance and care. If you could visit every
cell in the prisons and penitentiaries of the land, you would
not be likely to find one solitary case in which a prisoner
would say: "I am here through reading the Bible! The Bible
has brought me to this at last!" No man can say the Bible
taught him to steal, to commit murder, to bear false witness,
or to break the Sabbath, or to despise his parents. On the
other hand, the wail of sorrow that goes up to heaven from
tens of thousands is the wail of agony and regret-" Oh that
I had kept the Sabbath; that I had obeyed my parents and


teachers; that I had made the Bible the lamp of my feet, then
I should not be walking in the darkness of despair!
There never was a time in the history of the world when
there were so many good books for boys. Authors and artists
are busily and joyfully at work writing and illustrating books
for boys and girls, but especially for boys. This is the golden
age of books. But the Bible is the best of all books for boys.
There is no poetry so sweet as the Psalms of David; no elo-
quence to compare with the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel,
of Jeremiah, and Zachariah, and Habakkuk; no philosophy so
terse and practical as that of Solomon; no words in all the
world so full of tenderness and love as the words of Jesus,
for He spake as never man spake, with the wisdom that cometh
down from heaven.
Boys of America, make the Bible your daily companion!
You will have no wiser, no more helpful, no more faithful
friend. It will never fail you; it will brighten the glory of
your sunniest days; it will illumine the darkness of your sad-
dest hours. When other voices are dumb, it will speak to you
words of promise and hope; it will make your youth glad,
your manhood strong, and your old age beautiful; it will lead
you through "green pastures" by gently-flowing streams; it
will help you to walk all day long in the light of God, and,
when you come to the valley of the shadows, it will mark
for you, in lines of light, a pathway to the great white throne.

Great God, with wonder and with praise,
On all thy works I look;
But still thy wisdom, power, and grace,
Shine brightest in thy Book.
The stars that in their courses roll
Have much instruction given,
But thy blest word informs my soul,
And points the way to heaven.


Here are my choicest treasures hid;
Here my true comfort lies;
Here my desires are satisfied,
And here my hopes arise.

Here would I learn of Christ my Lord,
Who loved me passing well;
Not all the books on earth beside,
Such heavenly wonders tell.
Then let me love my Bible more,
And take a fresh delight
By day to read these wonders o'er,
And meditate by night.


"Am 1 my brother's keeper?"-Genesis iv., 9.
"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that
which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor
preferring one another."-Romans xii., 9, 1o.
"Come to me, 0 ye children!
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.
In your hearts are the birds with sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklets flow;
But in mine is the wind of Autumn,
And the first fall of the snow.
Ah! What would the world be to us
If the children were no more?
We should tread the desert behind us,
Worse than the dark before.
Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For grave the living poems,
And all the rest are dead."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

This strange, sad story of the world's first brothers,
carries our thoughts back to the very dawn of human
history. Like all the other stories of this book, we shall
find this record a mere outline, a fragment of biography.
But fragments are full of instruction to those who carefully
study them. It was said of a great sculptor, that if you
gave him the merest fragment to work from, he could, from
the fragment, construct a perfect statue. We cannot hope,


from these fragments of Bible stories, to construct complete
biographies; much must be left to, the imagination, and much
more must be left unknown. But every story, fragmentary
though it may be, will prove well worth the study.
The very mention of these names of the first boys of
the Bible, sets us thinking, of their parents and of the early
home in Eden. God's goodness begins at the very beginning.
The very first page of the book of Genesis records not only
the might and majesty of the great Creator, but the kindly
thoughtfulness of the divine Father. He who made us loved
us from the very beginning.
Before God called Adam and Eve into life, he prepared
for them a beautiful home in one of the fairest gardens the
world has ever seen. A garden richly wooded, generously
watered with flowing streams, and abundantly provided with
all that could make life glad and beautiful. Where that
garden was is hard to tell. Some tell us that it was not
far from the ancient city of Damascus, but no man knows
of a certainty where the Garden of Eden was situated.
According to Genesis ii., 8, it "lay in the east," in the
highland of Central Asia. It was said to have been enclosed
by four rivers, and two of these, Hiddekel and Phrat, have
been identified as the Tigris and Euphrates respectively, but
the identity of the other two is much disputed.
There seems to have been everything almost that heart
could desire in this garden-home. Abundance of trees good
for food; flowers for beauty, in tangled groves and by the
river banks; the songs of birds and the murmuring waters
blending, to make music all day long. And when night
came and spread her dewy mantle over the scene, the stars
came out and set the firmament ablaze with splendor..
What language can describe the beauty of Paradise?


When you boys get a little older, and take to the seri-
ous study of literature, you will have your attention called
to the works of John Milton, who was Secretary of State,
in the days of Oliver Cromwell, the. uncrowned King of
England. Milton was a great genius, in an age crowded
with deep thinkers and delightful writers. His matchless
poem, "Paradise Lost," will live as long as any language of
the world endures. In that poem the gorgeous fancy of the
poet has wrought its best to describe the beauty of Para-
dise, and has failed. This failure is not a reflection on the
genius of the poet, but a revelation of this great truth, that
God's handiworks are above the power of mortals to describe.
There is more beauty in a vernal wood, more music in a
waterfall, than all the words men speak are adequate to
describe. When men attempt to describe the Alps of Swit-
zerland, the Falls of Niagara, or some majestic canon of our
western world, they become aware that, rich as language is,
it is very poor when it sets itself to portraying the wonder-
ful works of God, and can only sing as Milton did:
These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair. Thyself, how wondrous thee!
Unspeakable, who sittest above these heavens,
To us invisible or dimly seen
In these, thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine."

But the beauty of the Garden of Eden was not its chief
glory. The personal presence, the friendship and fellowship
of God, made Paradise sublime. When this was lost, Para-
dise was lost indeed! What the exact nature of that fellow-
ship we do not know. Adam and Eve seem to have had
constant, unhindered fellowship with God. Think what all
this means! The privilege of seeing God face to face, and


talking with Him as freely as one might talk with a father
or mother, a brother or a friend. The Lord God walked
and talked with them in the garden in the cool of the day.
To return to this glorious fellowship with God, would
indeed be Paradise regained!
But that Paradise eastward in Eden, where God caused
every tree to grow that was good for food and pleasant to
the sight, and where he walked with his children in the cool
of the dewy, balmy evenings, lacked something! Even Para-
dise was not perfect.
Can anybody tell what was lacking in the Garden of
Think a little. Fruit and flowers, broad rivers and
mossy dells; birds and beasts, and a thousand living things.
What was lacking?
There were no children there! No boys making Eden
echo with their play; no girls filling the glades of Paradise
with merriment and music.
Who would care to live in a world where there were
no children? When the Pied Piper of Hamelin, with the
shrill notes of his mystic pipe drew all the children after
him through the mountain-side, he left Hamelin a poor, dull,
miserable city. So any city, any home, is dull where there
are no children.
Some years ago the writer of this book spent a little
time visiting the penitentiary at Joliet, Ill. Anxious to know
the condition of mind of the less depraved among the con-
victs, he asked a few questions of one of the prisoners who
had been accustomed to the refinements of life before his sin
and folly had landed him in a State prison.
"What do you suffer most from in this sad place?" was
one of the questions asked.


The convict was quite ready with his answer.
"There is really very little to complain of," said the hap-
less prisoner. "The food is wholesome and ample; we are
not overworked; our cells are clean and not wholly devoid of
comfort; we have plenty of books to read; but I have ceased
to be a man. I have now no name; I am only a number in
striped clothes. One thing I suffer from very much is the
absence of children. I was always fond of children; my young
life was spent amongst happy boys and girls, and now I never
see the sweet young face of boy or girl. Oh, sir, it's terrible!
You don't know what it is to be days, and weeks, and months,
and never see a child! Many of us here are young-much
too young-but we seem so old! Oh, how I long to see a
group of merry children! Thank God the day is coming
soon when I hope once more to see boys and girls at their
This is not the common feeling of convicts, perhaps, but
the answer of this poor fellow left a lasting impression on the
mind, and when Sunday came, and hundreds of these striped-
dressed, numbered men-many of them comparatively young
in years, but old in crime-gathered for worship, the absence
of young faces in that sad assembly was very marked.
Even Paradise without children was Paradise imperfect.
The Garden of Eden soon became a desolation. Sin
entered, and with sin came fear and shame. Adam and Eve
preferred their own way to God's.
God said: "Thou shalt not eat of the tree that is in the
midst of the garden, for it is not good for thee; therefore
thou shalt not eat of it."
But our first parents heeded not. God warned them
tenderly and kindly. He did not say: "I command you not
to eat of the fruit of this particular tree. Never mind why.



It's enough for you that I command." He might have said
that, and, if He had, obedience would have been both wise
and dutiful. But He begged them for their own sakes not to
touch it. He told them it was not good for them, and that
therefore He wished them not to touch it. God did not com-
mand for the mere sake of commanding, but for the good of
His earth's children that he loved so well.
But Adam and Eve-like most of their countless progeny-
preferred their own way. They were willful and wayward, and
willfulness and waywardness had their reward. They sold
themselves for naught; they bartered Paradise for an empty
fancy, and, when the voice of God was heard in the garden,
shame and fear came upon them, and they tried to hide them-
selves from God!
"And the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of
Eden totill the ground from whence he was taken. So He
drove out the man, and IIe placed at the east of the Garden
of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every
way to keep the way of the tree of life." .
How sad was that exile from the glories of Paradise.
Shame and humiliation, and a future dark, with gathering
clouds, was the reward of transgression.
And yet, in the midst of all this gloom and darkness,
there are lines of light and stars of hope. Our first parents
are driven out into the desert, not to die, forsaken of God,
and cut off from all mercy. The mercy of God was not
bounded by the Garden of Eden. God is God of the desert
as well as of the garden. Adam and Eve were exiles from
the garden, but not from the grace of God. They were to
go forth-still under his eye, still under his care-and learn,
in the sufferings and sorrows of the wilderness, what they
would not learn amid the glories of the Garden. Wanderers


upon the face of the earth, they were to find, in their way,
in their new and strange experience, what our own poet
Whittier has so sweetly sung in these later years, that, wonder
as you will, you cannot get beyond the mercy and the care
of God.
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
But this I know, we cannot drift
Beyond His love and care."

When you boys grow a little older, you will do well to
read carefully a very beautiful poem, by Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, entitled "A Drama of Exile." In that poem you
will find much food for thought and many charming fancies.
But the great lesson of the whole poem is that our exiled
parents were exiled but not lost! In beautiful strains the
poet sets all the spirits of Eden singing in chorus a song'of
hope to the poor wanderers. Down the shining path, where
the tall angel stands with glittering sword, the happy music
Future joy and far light
Working such relations.
Hear us singing gently
Exiled is not lost !
God, above the starlight,
God, above the patience,
Shall at last present ye
Guerdons worth the cost.
Patiently enduring,
Painfully surrounded
Listen how we love you-
Hope the uttermost-
Waiting for that curing
Which exalts the wounded
Let us sing above you-
Exiled, but not lost !

We do not follow these exiles far into the wilderness
before we find them rich in blessings that Eden never knew.


Adam and Eve had a strange life in Eden, but how much
more strange their life became, when, in due time, God gave
to Adam and Eve two boys, first Cain then Abel, to break
up the loneliness of their lives, and fill their desert home
with new delights.
Only mothers know the thoughts, and feelings, the
desires and hopes, the prayers and anxieties of mothers.
Boys at best, can only make poor guesses at these things.
And yet we cannot help thinking how strange and wonderful
it would all appear to the first mother, when she looked
into the face of her baby-boy and saw his half-unconscious
smile answering back her gaze of wondering love. And
when Adam came back that day from his hard toil and saw
a new face, and heard the feeble voice of his first-born son,
how strange and changed the world would appear! We are
quite safe in such fancies; for the same thing is happening
all over the world every day; first-born sons are filling
homes with brightness, and are enriching parents with
heaven's rarest gifts-the living treasures of love.
Adam and Eve had something to talk about now!
Something to live for now! This first-born son, stout of
limb, lusty of voice, was now heard making music in the
morning-making music all day long. Music sweeter than
all the songs of Eden's birds, or the murmurings of Eden's
streams. The world with this boy Cain in it, was a new,
glad world, a grand world, a world well worth living in
for the sake of this child, even though it was a desert world.
The home of Adam and Eve was no doubt a very
lovely one. Probably more of a large hut than a home, dug
out from some overhanging rock, with leafy shelter, and
great reaches of verdure-like boundless lawns, spreading far
and near. Their life was rude and simple. Civilization


invents wants very often, before providing for them. But
civilization had not yet been born, and our first parents were
not cultured enough to have many wants. But with work
to do, and health, and all their needs met every day, and a
prattling baby in the house, we are inclined to think that
Adam and Eve were, or ought to have been, tolerably
happy. Of the mother's happiness we have little doubt.
There was a whole world of unspeakable joy for her, in her
growing, beautiful boy. As then, so now; and as now, so
then-one little child was quite enough to fill a mother's
whole horizon with unspeakable delight.
All in good time came another boy to share with Cain
the love and care of the first parents. Of the early years
of Cain and Abel we know scarcely anything; we can only
dream, and fancy, and -guess. They would almost surely
be dressed in the skins of beasts. That was the only
clothing possible. For their delight and amusement, Nature
would be all sufficient. The young lambs in the meadows,
the birds building their nests, the fish darting along in the
shallow streams, would afford them occasions of rare delight.
Childhood passed on to boyhood, and boyhood into youth,
and youth to early manhood. There were no books, no
schools, no teachers. The home was the school, the college,
the university. What a happy, busy life Eve had with her
two boys! What long pleasant talks they had in the dewy
eventime. How her heart yearned toward her two boys!
How she doated on them! How she dreamed of their future!
An English writer, long since dead, who wrote much for
boys, draws the following picture of these early years of
the world's first brothers:
"May we not picture before our imagination this first
mother of the world and her two boys, herself seated on a


moss-clad bank, and they standing before her, on some calm
eventide. See that bigger boy, from his own shoulders taller
than his brother. He is now but twelve, and yet he has all
the outlines of a man. Look at those broad shoulders and
.strong limbs. Why, if he grows thus till he is twenty he
will surely be a giant! Watch his restless eye as it glances
hither and thither, overshaded by the black curls flowing
,over his noble forehead. He will assert his right of lord-
ship, depend upon it, with either man or beast. But that
*other, his younger brother-what a contrast! If Cain gives
pledge of being the image of his father, and something
more, Abel is his mother's own. Mark his slender and
delicate yet graceful form. How beautiful in its formation
and symmetry. And how gracefully those auburn ringlets,
parted from his fair forehead, flow down over his marble-
like shoulders. Observe how those deep blue eyes seem to
drink in, with meek intelligence, the lessons of his anxious
.and much-loved mother. What promises of piety and peace,
of hope and heaven, seem already to dawn forth in the angel-
like features of that loving boy. He is his mother's mirror;
in him she sees herself. He is her hope and her joy."
The wide difference in character between these two
-boys is very marked. And yet we shall often have occasion
to note in our study of these Bible stories that the children
born of the samf mother, and nurtured in the same home,
.are often as unlike each other in character and disposition as
children could well be.
If the gentle Abel was his mother's favorite, we may
surely forgive this first mother, for was it not very natural?
He was the baby of the house, and mothers always have a
very tender side to the youngest and the gentlest. If Abel
'was his mother's pet, we may be sure Cain was his father's


pride. And it is not at all unlikely, that much sooner than
is commonly the case, Cain became a companion for his
father Adam. We think of them both starting forth in the
morning to break up the ground, to fell the timber, or to
hunt for food, leaving the little child Abel at home to keep
his mother company. What a strange companionship! There
would be more than enough to occupy their attention in the
scenes and occupations of the day; for Nature, like a great
book, is as varied as it is beautiful. And when evening came
and the two returned, what wonderful tales of adventure Cain
would have to tell his mother and his young wondering
brother! The boys grew older; they would hear much from
father and mother of the early days in Eden. You see,
these people had not so many subjects for conversation as
we have. They had no books, and therefore could not talk
about the books they had read; they had no neighbors, and
could not talk of their neighbors; they had not traveled much;
indeed, their only journey was this journey of exile, so there
was not very much to say about their travels. If, as the
boys grew older, Adam talked of the Paradise so sadly lost,
we may be very sure that his stories would fill their young
minds with the most curious questioning. It would be easy
for them, as it always is for boys, to ask more questions in
an hour than fathers can answer in a week. They would
want to know everything-all about the trees, and the birds,
and the rivers.
The author from whom we have already quoted-the
late Joseph F. Winks-and to whom we shall often have
occasion to refer, draws a pleasant, poetic picture of one of
these scenes of happy fellowship between Adam and his first-
born son. Wandering through a pleasant glade, they come
at last to the foot of a lofty eminence, and Adam says:


But first ascend with me
The summit of this mountain.
Seest thou up yonder valley in th distance,
A higher range of mountains circling round ?
Within its bosom is the holy garden,
Where first thy father waken'd up to life;
His body formed of dust from out the ground
In the image of his Maker; lifeless until
God breathed in his nostrils breath of life,
And he became a living soul. Thy mother,
By a like miracle divine, came forth,
The workmanship of God.
How can I tell thee, child, what first we felt
When conscious of existence? All around,
And all above, beneath, seem'd full of GOD.
GOD we beheld in sun, and stars, and flowers;
In trees and plants; in birds, and beasts, and fish;
In creeping things, and light-winged insect tribes;
In living things that moved, and in those things
That could not, we beheld, as in a lake
Clear and unruffled, the full face of GOD.
Oh, how delightful, father!
Delightful! ah, it was indeed, my son.
But these alone made not our happiness:
Our Father in high heaven oft sent down
His holy angels as our visitants;
And often, at the close of day, we saw-
When the sun sunk behind the mountain tops
And gilded every fleecy cloud with gold--
Descending towards us a fair troop of'them,
Which looked in the distance, to our eye,
As if one of those golden-tinged clouds
Was coming to convey us on a journey
Up to the courts of heaven. On they came,
And as they near approached, their outspread wings,
Spangled with gems, floating on ambient air,
Shed generous perfume; and all around
Was fragrant with rich odors brought from heaven.

So days and years pass on. And the boys work and
play together, and at night say their prayers at their


mother's knee. It is quite evident that Cain and Abel were-
brought up in the fear of God. Worship was as truly a
part of that early home life in the desert, as work. How-
ever imperfectly the training may have been, they were at
least trained in the nurture and fear of God.
Naturally enough, Cain became a farmer, and 'as.
naturally Abel became a shepherd; and it is very clear that
from their earliest days these boys were taught to offer
praise and sacrifice to God; not of that which cost them
nothing, but of that which was most precious. Cain was to,
offer the first fruits of the field and Abel the firstlings of
his flocks and folds.
It is sad to think that all the trouble of this early home-
turned on the question of religious duties. We must not,,
therefore, conclude that religious duties were the causes of
this trouble. They were only the occasion of the sad.
conflict. The probabilities are, that if there had been no,
religious training in that home, no religious duties to
perform, the trouble would have come much sooner, and for
anything we know, might have been much more disastrous..
The envious, wicked spirit of Cain would have found
some excuse. And a very poor excuse is all an envious.
wicked spirit needs. Nay, it is easy for such a spirit to,
make excuses when no reasonable excuse exists.
How early in life Cain began to manifest his unhappy
disposition we are not told, but it is quite fair to conclude'
that he did not leap all at once into a murderer. Wicked-
ness, like everything else, takes time to grow. The man
who is in the state's prison for stealing thousands of dollars,,
did not begin by stealing thousands, or even dollars; he most
likely began by stealing dimes, or even cents. And perhaps
even then he did not really mean to steal. He meant to


put the cent or dime or dollar back again in its place. But
the "meaning" is not enough, we must "do;" or all will go
wrong. There must be a thousand wicked thoughts in the
mind; a thousand wicked feelings, a thousand cruel purposes
in the heart, before the murderer plunges the fatal knife into
the bosom of his bitterest foe, much less the bosom of his
friend or brother.
When these dark thoughts oegan to brood in the mind
of Cain, we are not told. Probably when quite a boy; for
we are thoroughly persuaded that if a boy cherishes a spirit
of kindness, and gentleness, and love, in his young days, his
manhood will be kind, and gentle, and loving too. That
poor mother in the desert had a thousand heartaches of
which no one knew but God. The fierce, resentful scowl of
Cain never escaped her. How often she sought to soothe
and calm his turbulent spirit, but all in vain. Cain was not
a gentle spirit. l-e set but little value on his mother's tears;
he had no reverence for his mother's entreaties and prayers.
If he had lived in these days, he would have boasted that
he was not going to be tied to his mother's "apron-strings."
We have the most loving admiration for noble, manly,
independent boys. We do not think there is much room and
use for milk-sops," in this busy world of to-day. But we
are sure of this, that the bravest, noblest, most worthy men
the world has seen in any age, are the men who have all
through life set a priceless value on their mother's "apron-
Years pass on, those primitive years of boyhood which
have so much to do in making up the character of the
coming man. Cain grows more and more envious, jealous,
overbearing and self-willed.
At last we reach the crisis of this history. Cain offers


his sacrifice, and Abel offers his. One is pleasing in the
sight of God, the other is not. Why this was so is not diffi-
cult to tell. All the real value of sacrifice lies in the spirit
in which it is given. The sacrifice God delights in is not
the offering that is laid upon the altar, but the spirit in
which it is given. A man who has come by his wealth in
a cruel way-and that is quite as bad, and often much worse
than a dishonest way-may give ten thousand dollars to
God's cause by way of a religious offering, and God will not
care as much for all those thousands as he will for the five-
cent piece some poor widow, or some hard-working boy
puts on the collection plate on Sunday morning. The true
worth of all offerings is not in the amount given, but in
the spirit of the giver. The sacrifices of God are not in
the lambs, and goats, and doves, the first fruits of flock
*or field. The sacrifices of God are a lowly and a contrite
But Cain's heart was lofty, not lowly; it was proud,
and envious, and arrogant, not contrite. And because this
spirit was in Cain, and a gentle, lowly, contrite spirit was in
Abel, therefore, and not because of the kind, or character,
,or amount of either sacrifice, God had more regard to the
sacrifice of Abel than to that of Cain.
"And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
How simply this story is told! Cain was angry, very
angry, and his countenance fell. What a wonderful thing is
the human face! "Your face is like a book," said the wicked
queen to Macbeth. A face is almost always a good index
to the mind and heart. It may be like Stephen's, lustrous
as "the face of angel," or like Cain's, dark as a night full of
storm and tempest.
Be you sure the sad mother of that early home read the


dark lines on the brow of Cain, and trembled at their
Cain was angry. This was not a case of ruffled temper
merely. He was wrath-filled with passionate, malicious
anger-but why? That was just what God wanted to know.
"And the Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wrath?
And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt
thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth
at thy door."
You see how God in His mercy comes to talk with Cain
-comes to reason and plead with him, as though He would
save him from himself and from the evil thing that was in
his heart.
And so God would have done, if Cain would only have
yielded his stubborn will. But Cain was masterful and per-
verse. He little thought to what an awful tragedy that
perverse spirit would lead. There was murder in his heart,
but he knew it not. \Ve do not think of the awful possi-
bilities of evil, and how soon these possibilities may become
facts, or we should be more mindful not to give evil any
quarter. To God's question about Cain's unreasonable anger,
Cain makes no reply. There was no reply to make. There
is a righteous anger that may lead to noble deeds, but Cain's
was the anger of malice, of wounded vanity, of selfishness,
and pride, and that anger leads to death.
At last came the fatal day. Cain and his unsuspecting
brother were out together in the fields. They had a long
talk. How it begun, how it proceeded, we know not; but
how it ended forms one of the saddest pages in the world's
early history. Cain was resolved to have it out with Abel.
But what had Abel done? There was no cause for anger
against Abel, except such cause as envious malice provided.


We can well imagine that Abel stood upon his defense. He
may have pointed out to his brother the true secret of his
anger, and perhaps urged him to a course more worthy of
himself, and more pleasing in the sight of God. Sometimes
if two people who have a difficulty, and talk over it, especially
if they are wisely inclined, that talk will do much to explain
and do away with the difficulty. Sometimes talking over a
quarrel makes the trouble worse. So it was in this case. The
fire of Cain's passion burned to fury, and in a moment of
supreme hatred he rose against his brother Abel and slew
In that sad, awful hour, the world's first brothers became
martyr and murderer!
What an awful day was that for all concerned! The
victim-martyr suffered least of all. He saw the morning
rise in beauty; he saw the noontide blaze in splendor; but
when the night fell in awful darkness on that terrible home,
Abel was at rest beyond the stars. From his sheep-folds
and the altar of sacrifice he had gone to dwell* forever in
that fairer land, where
Beyond earth's angry voices
There is peace!"
Think of that broken-hearted mother when the news
came to her. For we cannot but believe that the news soon
reached her, and that she went forth to the scene of the
tragedy. What a sad, wild, awful cry shook the silence of
that desert home! And when she found her latest-born, his
flowing hair all dabbled in his blood, dead!-dead, by his
brother's hand-her agony would be terrible to behold. Her
fair, her beautiful Abel, slaughtered by the hand of Cain, who
should have been the young man's boldest defender, not his
cowardly, cruel murderer! When her eyes met this awful



sight, do we wonder that she should fall prone upon the life-
less boy, and, kissing his cold lips, moan and moan, begging
her Abel to speak to her just once again! The thought of
all this is terrible, but not a thousandth part as terrible as
the reality.
So, boys, we have this picture to look upon and think
about. The world's first mother, broken-hearted and bereaved,
all through the waywardness and envy of her first-born son.
God only knows what a comfort a boy may be to his
mother. A bi-ave, true-hearted, noble boy, may make his
mother's life a very heaven on earth, no matter -how lowly
the home and all its surroundings. There are thousands of
boys in America to-day who are just such blessings in the
home-living comforts to their mothers. The world may
not know them, but God does, and He has graven their
names on the palms of the everlasting hands. And there
are, alas! too many boys of the spirit of Cain who make
their mothers' lives long-drawn agonies of anxiety and grief.
How sad the lot of this first mother of the race! It
was bad enough to be driven out of Eden; bad enough to
see that great angel with awful wings draw his glittering
sword and point the way to the desert; and the early home
in the desert was sad and lonely. But all the humiliation
and shame of those days seemed to be forgotten when God
gave her these boys. And as they grew in strength and
beauty it seemed to her great mother-heart as if the loss of
Paradise was more than half redeemed by these new-born
treasures of her desert home.
What a sad home that was on the outskirts of Eden
when the night closed on the awful tragedy! Adam, too
dumbfounded to speak a word; Eve too broken-hearted even
for sighs! Death had entered the world indeed; death in


its darkest, saddest aspect. Abel dead, Cain a wanderer,
and they two, smitten with a sorrow strong enough to dry
up the fountain of their tears!
But what of Cain, the murderer!
It may be that the boys who read this book will feel a
touch of sorrow for Cain, as well they may, and they may
be ready to ask:
"Was not this dreadful deed done in haste? Surely this
murder was the result of quick, hot, ungovernable passion.
Surely Cain had no thought when he went out into the
field with Abel that morning, that murder would end the
interview. Was it not an act of quick, thoughtless passion?"
We fall right in with a boy's natural feeling of sorrow
for Cain, and we hope that this view of the case is not too
What then? Where Cain got wrong, was in allowing
his temper to get the master of him. Then his passion was
ungovernable. But it did not become ungovernable all at
once. There was a time when if he had curbed his hot,
hasty temper, he would have been master of it; but instead
of that he had fanned the flame so constantly, and fed the
furnace fires with the fuel of envy and jealousy and hatred,
that when at last the flames burst forth at white heat, he
was powerless to control them.
If it be admitted that Cain's awful deed was largely
the result of thoughtlessness-which we do not think is really
true, for Cain was evidently of that sullen nature that
"bides its time,"-but if this crime was largely the result
of thoughtlessness, it should be remembered that thoughtless-
ness is not a reasonable excuse for crime. "I did not
think-I did not mean to do it," is no excuse. Thought-
lessness is sin, because it leads to the saddest possibilities of


evil. Of a thousand murderers who have died upon the
scaffold, probably not a score of them meant to commit
murder in the beginning. Thomas Hood never said a truer
thing, than when he said:

Evil is wrought by want of thought
As much as want of heart."

What horror must have possessed the soul of Cain as he
looked into the face of his dead brother!--dead by his own
wicked hand. What worlds he would have given, if they
had been his to give, to have recalled that cruel blow!
He had hardly realized the terrible situation, when the
voice of God broke upon his ear.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy
Of all questions that could possibly be asked, could any
question have cut to the heart like a knife, as this question
must have done.
There is an old legend, but of little worth, that says
that after the murder Cain was at his wit's end to know
what to do with the dead body; and that after carrying it
about from place to place, he grew weary and fell asleep on the
side of the mountain, and that when he awoke, a huge bird,
with a dead bird near, came to Cain and said he would
show him what to do, and at once began making a hole
with his beak, and when the hole was large enough, he put
the dead bird in it and covered it over with loose earth;:
and so, the legend goes on to say, Cain was taught how to
bury his brother. But the legend is very clumsy and
unnatural, and at best only serves to give force to the-
thought that Cain had tried to hide his brother from all
mortal sight. And if Cain had sought to hide his brother


in the grave, the question would be all the more searching
and painful.
"Where is Abel thy brother?"
How quickly, and almost helplessly, one sin leads
on to another! An evil thing done, requires another evil
thing at once to cover it up. A murder committed, the
next thing in order is to begin a long series of falsehoods
to cover up the tracks of blood.
"And he said, I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?"
There was arrogance in this reply. The heart of Cain
was untamed. He had rushed into a vortex of crime, and
the awful results were whirling round him like waves of fire
that could not be quenched. He had sown the wind, and
now the whirlwind was gathering round him in awful fury.
Better a thousand times in this hour to be the dead and
martyred Abel than the living, tortured, Cain.
What hast thou done?" God asks; not in anger, but
in Divine pity. What hast thou done?"
What had he done? Quenched a young life in the
morning of its hope and power, stained the fair earth with
his brother's blood, broken his mother's heart, furrowed and
wrinkled his father's brow with a hopeless sorrow, clouded
all the sunny promise of his own life, and now he stands
before God with a shameless lie, and an impertinent question
on his lips. That is what he had done.
"And God said, the voice of thy brother's blood calleth
unto me from the ground."
And then there came the awful doom of Cain. He was
henceforth to be a homeless wanderer upon the face of the
earth. Over mountain, and crag, and fell he was to wander
homeless and friendless-a vagabond upon the face of the
earth. He was not to die; that would have been a merciful


release. And God set a mark on Cain, by which he was
to bear the strongest kind of a charmed life. For whoso-
ever saw this mark should be careful not to slay Cain, lest
vengeance came upon him seven-fold.
It matters little that we are not told what the mark
was, or whether it was on his cheek or on his brow. The
mark was prominent, so that it might be easily seen, and a
mark that could never wear out. Years would come and
years would go, the firm face would become wrinkled, and
the stalwart form bent low; the eyes would lose their lustre
and the raven locks turn gray, but the mark of the mur-
derer would still be upon him.
There are wounds of the body that leave scars that
never wear out. The soldier, who having fought for his
country, comes home battle-scarred and weary, is proud of
his scars-proud that he will carry them to the grave-for
they tell more truly than golden medals ever can, of his
courage and patriotism. But there are wounds also of the
soul, that leave their scars; they go deeper down and have
a sadder meaning than the scars of the body. The grave
cannot hide them; only the mercy of God can make the soul
whiter than snow, and free from the deep, dark marks of sin.
"And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord,
and dwelt in the la.d of Nod, on the east of Eden."
May we not hope that this marked murderer-this
branded beacon of the eariy world-may have found in this
strange land of Nod, east of Eden, time and place for
repentance; and that, though exiled from his early home, he
was not lost to the mercy of God. The dreadful mark of Cain
would then become to him, at least, something less terrible
than at first; it would be the sign of how much he had sinned,
and also the blessed sign of how much he had been forgiven.


This first story of the Boys of the Bible is sad enough.
But it is full of wise counsel. It is rich in its many lessons,
though these lessons take mostly the shape of solemn
There is hardly a sadder story in all the Scriptures, or in
all the realm of literature outside the Bible, than this story
of the first murderer and his victim brother.
Anger, and malice, and envy will darken the fairest lives,
and bring sorrow into the happiest homes. Alas! that these
elements of character should so often cloud the beauty and
destroy the peace of young lives and happy homes! So deep
is the impression that this early Bible record has made upon
the world, that, while some mothers are willing to call their
sons by the name of the first martyr, Abel, none name their
children after Cain. It is sad so to live that your very name
becomes a beacon light to warn, rather than an example, in
some respects at least, worthy of imitation.
But we may safely trust a book that dares to tell the
dark side as well as the bright. Of all books in the world,
the Bible is about the only book that dares to tell the evil
as well as the good. The Bible is a safe and blessed guide,
for it lights beacon-fires to warn of danger, and gives exam-
ples worthy of universal imitation. Its great object-lessons are
so plain and simple that, he who runs may read, and, reading,
The story of Cain is like a lesson written backward. He
teaches, by his cruel, unbrotherly life, the beauty and value
of brotherly love. The shadows bear witness to the glory of
the sun, and Cain's life in the dark shadows teach, by con-
trast, how beautiful that life might have been in the sun.
And this story speaks another to every boy who reads it.
It bids him remember that he must be the master or the slave


of his temper. God has given us a kingdom to command.
He wants us to be kings, not slaves. Concerning this king-
dom Louisa M. Alcott has written one of her sweetest, sim-
plest poems-a poem that a child may easily learn and
understand, and yet so full of pleasant, useful teaching that
children, and boys, and men will all be the better for drink-
ing in its spirit and living out its prayers.

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard I find the task
Of governing it well;
For passion tempts, and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads;
And selfishness its shadow casts
On all my will and deeds.
How can I learn to rule myself
To be the child I should--
Honest and brave, nor ever tire
Of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul
To shine along life's way?
How can I tune my little heart
To sweetly sing all day?
Dear Father, help me with the love
That casteth out all fear!
Teach me to lean on Thee and feel
That Thou art very near;
That no temptation is unseen,
No childish grief too small,
Since Thou, with patience infinite,
Doth soothe and comfort all.
I do not ask for any crow a
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within;
Be Thou my guide until I find,
Led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in myself,
And dare to take command.


And God was with the lad."-Genesis xxi., .so.
And the angel of the Lord said behold thou shalt bear a Son, and shalt call his
name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild
man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he
shall dwell in the presence of his brethren." -Genesis xvi., zI, i2.
There is much that may be done
While the glittering lifesands run;
If ve be but earnest minded,
If ye go not weakly blinded
By a momentary pleasure,
Or a love of ease and leisure;
Lured not by flitting beauty
From the narrow path of duty,
Much there is that may be done
By an earnest minded one.

The story of Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham
the Friend of God, and of Hagar the bond-woman, is very
brief, and very romantic. It hardly occupies a page in the
sacred Scriptures, but that page is full in every line, and
between the lines, with deep and lasting interest.
There is a good deal in the e.irlh' part of the story that
we need not stay to inquire into; matters that can have but
little interest for boys, further than to make them thankful
that they did not live in those early days, when slavery
wrought much of its saddest work, in the most favored
homes of men. It was really because of the curse of slavery
that Ishmael became an outcast. His mother, Hagar, was a


*slave, but she had a mother's heart. She was Sarah's slave,
Sarah's property, and so Sarah could do with her as she
would. It was all very well to be born in the house of so
:great a man as Abraham, the Father of the Faithful. But
:slavery was a part of the life of those days, and wherever
,slavery has shown its hateful head in any age of the -...ld,
it has always brought a curse in its train. Better to be born
in the home of the lowliest American citizen, where freedom
is in every breath of life, than to be born in a palace
where slavery may lay its awful hand upon you.
Ishmael was a fiery-spirited lad; there was very little of
the gentle and winning about him. He was a good deal
more likely to make enemies than friends. He was impul-
sive and headstrong, and, if not absolutely of a quarrelsome
disposition, he never missed the opportunity of a fight. *He
most likely would always "play fair and fight fair," a phrase
which, if not grammatically correct, is quite good enough to
'express a very honorable code amongst honorable boys. Ish-
mael was born to battle and strife. Before he was born,
the angel told his mother that her boy would have "his
hand against every man, and every man's hand against him."
And so it came to pass through many a stormy year.
WVe may be quite sure that Ishmael was no great favorite
with Sarah. She was the mistress of the house, and he was
the son of her slave, and perhaps she expected Ishmael to
render not only the respect due from youth to years, but that
:servile homage that slaves are expected to show to those who
,own them, as they own the cattle in their fields. There was
nothing servile or bending in the character of this lad, who,
doubtless in his very boyhood, gave signs of that strange dis-
position that made him in after years the wild man of the
"woods and the hills.


And then, again, it may be that the fact that Ishmael
did not get along with the mistress of the house was not
entirely his own fault. Sarah was an elderly lady, nearly a
hundred years old; and it does sometimes happen that elderly
people are not always as gentle and forbearing with noisy,
mischievous young people as they might be. Grandmothers
are not all angels, and many grandfathers have a habit of
being very cross with young people for very small causes.
They seem to forget entirely that they were once noisy and
Moreover, Sarah had a secret prejudice against the boy-
a hidden dislike, for which he was in no way to blame. This.
being the case, it was hard for them to get along pleasantly..
Boys know well enough how prejudice acts, even among them-
seltes. The way you can forgive, and excuse and overlook
almost anything in the boy you really like is wonderful. But
the boy you do not like-well, it's very difficult indeed for
him to look, or speak, or do anything right. The more he
tries to please you, the less he will be able to do it. So it
was with Ishmael and Sarah. Ishmael did not try to please,.
and Sarah did not want to be pleased, and so there was con-
stant strife.
A boy need not have a very wonderful imagination to.
suggest what sort of a life Ishmael would lead his venerable
mistress. When a bright, smart boy starts out to be a thorn
in anybody's side, he generally succeeds. If, at seven years.
of age, Ishmael was an annoyance to Sarah, what would he
be at ten, and what at fourteen? Mark, we' are not justifying
Ishmael's waywardness. No boy should make himself dis-
agreeable to his friends or relatives. And especially ought
bo5s to be respectful to their seniors. We are simply trying
to get to the heart of this romantic story.


For thirteen or fourteen years Ishmael had been' a greater
worry to Sarah than ever "Topsy was to "Miss Ophelia"
in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." But now there is a great stir in
the household-a baby boy is born-and so great is the joy
of Sarah over her son Isaac, that she almost forgets the mis-
.chievous young Ishmael. The new-born Isaac had few charms
for Ishmael. Girls have a way of being wonderfully enthusi-
astic over babies, but boys, especially when they get to be
fourteen or fifteen, have very little interest in the helpless
tenants of the cradle.
The coming of Isaac furnished Ishmael new opportuni-
ties for mischief. From the first, Ishmael's hand was against
him, the end of which was, that Ishmael and his mother
were driven forth into the desert to live or die, as the case
might be. When Isaac was between two and three years
.old Abraham and Sarah made a great feast in honor of
Isaac, and all the people of that countryside were invited.
At this feast Ishmael was caught making fun of the baby.
Of course Sarah thought that Isaac was the most wonderful
baby that had ever been born. What Ishmael thought, we
don't know; what he said, we don't know; but we know
that he mocked and made fun of Isaac, and Sarah caught
him in the act. Ishmael had gone too far. No mother in
the world will have her first-born son made fun of, and
especially before people, without getting angry. And Sarah
was very angry. She had borne too much; she was resolved
she would bear no more; there must be an end to this
thing once for all. And so she demanded of Abraham that
Hagar-who had lived in her house almost half a lifetime-
.and her insolent son should be banished from the home.
Sarah was a woman of strong mind and will; she .was
not a little to blame that things had come to the pass they


had, but "now she was determined to make an end of it,.
and Hagar and Ishmael must go.
"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian mock-
ing, wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this
bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman
shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac."
This was a sad blow to Abraham, for he loved that:
wild impulsive lad. But he saw there would never be any-
more peace in the tents as long as Hagar and Ishmael
lingered there. And so he sent them forth. It is a sad
piece of business altogether. Neither Sarah nor Abraham
are to be greatly admired. We need shed no tears for
Ishmael, for he shed none for himself. He was just as glad
to get away from Sarah, as Sarah was to get rid of him,.
with his mocking and his mischief.
Of all that family, the poor slave mother Hagar was-
most to be pitied. The shame and disgrace of being driven
away from home was bad enough, but the future of her
boy was the one sad question that filled her heart with
anxious care.
The morning of departure came. The venerable Abraham;
rose up early, and having provided for their immediate
wants, sent them forth, and they wandered into the wilder-
ness of Beer-sheba. Of that sad wandering and the perils
through which Hagar and Ishmael passed, Dr. Talmage
draws the following graphic picture:
"The scorching noon comes on. The air is stifling and
moves across the desert with insufferable suffocation..
Ishmael, the boy, begins to complain and lies down, but
Hagar rouses him up, saying nothing about her own weari-
ness or the sweltering heat; for mothers can endure anything.
Trudge-trudge-trudge. Crossing the dead level of the








desert, how wearily and slowly the miles slip! A tamarind
that seemed hours ago to stand only just a little ahead,
inviting the travelers to come under its shadow, now is as
far off as ever, or seemingly so. Night drops upon the
desert and the travelers are pillowless. Ishmael, very Vxeary,
I suppose instantly falls asleep. Hagar-as the shadows of
the night begin to lap over each other-Hagar presses her
weary boy to her bosom. A star looks out and every
falling tear it kisses with a sparkle. A wing of wind comes
over the hot earth and lifts the locks from the fevered
brow of the boy. Hagar sleeps fitfully and in her dreams
travels over the weary day and half awakes her son by
crying out in her sleep: 'Ishmael! Ishmael!'
"And so they go on day after day and night after night, for
they have lost their way. No path in the shifting sands; no sign
in the burning sky. The sack empty of the flour; the water
gone from the bottle. WVhat shall she do? As she puts her
fainting Ishmael under a stunted shrub of the arid plain, she
sees the blood-shot eye, and feels the hot hand, and watches
the blood bursting from the cracked tongue, and there is a
shriek in the desert of Beer-sheba: 'WVe shall die! We
shall die!' Now, no mother was ever made strong enough
to hear her son cry in vain for a drink. Heretofore she
had cheered her boy by promising a speedy end of the jour-
ney, and even smiled upon him when he felt desperately
enough. Now, there is nothing to do but place him under
a shrub and let him die. She had thought that she would
sit there and watch until the spirit of her boy would go
away forever, and then she would breathe out her own life
on his silent heart; but as the boy begins to claw his tongue
in agony of thirst, and struggles in distortion, and begs his
mother to slay him, she cannot endure the spectacle. She


puts him under a shrub and goes off a bow-shot, and begins
to weep until all the desert seems sobbing, and her cry
strikes clear through the heavens; and an angel of God comes
out of a cloud and looks down upon the appalling grief and
cries: 'IIagar, what aileth thee?' She looks up and she
sees the angel pointing to a well of water, where she fills
the bottle for the lad. Thank God! Thank God!"
So in the moment of their direst need God appears.
And, as we read, "God was with the lad; and he grew, and
dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer."
Ishmael became the founder of a great tribe, known as
the Bedouin Arabs, a tribe whose hands have been against
every man, and every man's hand has been against them.
The desert wanderers, who for centuries overran the waste
places between the peninsular of Sinai and the Persian Gulf,
may be regarded as the direct descendants of Ishmael.
There are many things in this son of the Egyptian bond-
woman worthy of admiration; there was a bold, free, inde-
pendent spirit about him that, rightly guided and wisely con-
trolled, might have made of Ishmael one of the grandest men
of the early age. He became embittered and hard, and
there was some excuse for this; but whatever wrongs he
had been called upon to endure formed no justification for
that resentful spirit that became the master spirit of his after
An outcast from the tents of Abraham, he became a
willing voluntary outcast from the homes and haunts of the
whole human family. He dwelt apart from his fellow men,
with the exception of his own tribe, and he was able to so
imbue followers with his own dark, brooding spirit, that to
be an "Ishmaelite meant not so much to be a descendant
of Ishmael, as to be a representative of his unhappy dispo-


sition. Beyond the narrow limit of his own tribe, an
Ishmaelite had no friends-he wanted none. His sword was
always ready to leap from its scabbard, his quiver was
always full of arrows, poison-tipped, and he himself eagerly
watchful for foes.
Who would care to live a life like this? Ishmael's was
largely a wasted life, and but for the romantic and pathetic
passage in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba, would almost be
For the sake of boys who are fond of reciting to their
friends, we quote part of N. P. Willis' beautiful description
of that scene where God opened the eyes of the heart-
broken slave-mother, Hagar, to see the well in the

The morning pass'd, and Asia's sun rode up
In the clear heaven, and every beam was heat.
The cattle of the hills were in the shade,
And the bright plumage of the Orient lay
On beating bosoms in her spicy trees.
It was an hour of rest but Hagar found
No shelter in the wilderness, and on
She kept her weary way, until the boy
Hung down his head, and opened his parch'd lips
For water; but she could not give it him.
She laid him down beneath the sultry sky-
For it was better than the close, hot breath
Of the thick pines--and tried to comfort him;
But he was sore athirst, and his blue eyes
Were dim and blood-shot, and he could not know
Why God denied him water in the wild.
She sat a little longer, and he grew
Ghastly and faint, as if he would have died.
It was too much for her. She lifted him,
And bore him further on, and laid his head
Beneath the shadow of a desert shrub;
And, shrouding up her face, she went away,
And sat to watch, where he could see her not,
Till he should die; and, watching him, she mourn'd :-


God stay thee in thine agony, my boy !
I cannot see thee die; I cannot brook
Upon thy brow to look.
And see death settle on my cradle joy.
How have I drunk the light of thy blue eye !
And could I see thee die?

"' I did not dream of this when thou wast straying,
Like an unbounded gazelle, among the flowers;
Or wiling the soft hours,
By the rich gush of water-sources playing,
Then sinking weary to thy smiling sleep,
So beautiful and deep.
Oh no and when I watch'd by thee the while,
And saw thy bright lip curling in thy dream,
And thought of the dark stream
In my own land of Egypt, the far Nile,
How pray'd I that my father's land might be
An heritage for thee !

"'And now the grave for its cold breast hath won thee !
And thy white delicate limbs the earth will press;
And oh my last caress
Must feel thee cold, for a chill hand is on thee.
How can I leave my boy, so pillow'd there
Upon his clustering hair !'
" She stood beside the well her God had given
To gush in that deep wilderness, and bathed
The forehead of her child until he laugh'd
In his reviving happiness, and lisp'd
His infant thought of gladness at the sight
Of the cool plashing of his mother's hand."


Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help."-Psalm cxlvi.,5.
"Esau, a profane person, who, for one morsel of meat, sold his birthright."-
Heb. xii., 14.
He who spends all his life in sport is like a man who wears nothing but fringes,
and eats nothing but sauces."--Thomas Fuller.
We get back our mete as we measure-
We cannot do wrong and feel right;
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight.
The air for the wings of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight for the children of men.
How beautiful is youth-early manhood, how wonderfully fair! what freshness
of life, clearness of blood, purity of breath! What hopes? There is nothing too
much for the young maid or man to put into their dream, and in their prayer to hope
to put into their day. 0 boys and girls! 0 young men and maidens! there is no
picture of ideal excellence of manhood and womanhood that I ever draw that seems
too high, too beautiful, for your young hearts.-Theodore Parker.

In our study of the tragic story of the world's first
brothers-Cain and Abel-we were called to note the remark-
able difference in character and disposition between the two
boys. Born in the same home, nursed on the lap of the same
mother, they were as unlike as two boys well could be. But
in this story of the world's first twin-brothers, Esau and Jacob,
the difference was even greater. If you could think of a dark
Italian boy, with beetling brows and keen, black eyes, and a


fair young German, with flaxen hair and pale blue eyes, you
would not have a greater contrast in personal appearance
than was presented by these twin brothers. These boys, born
in the same home, the same day, of the same mother, seem
to touch the very opposite poles of character.
As they grew up, Esau had a rough, red-bearded face,
and his very hands were shaggy with hair, while Jacob was
fair and beardless, with a face as smooth as a girl's. Esau
was a boy of the hills and mountains; he was bronzed and
brown with the Syrian sun, but Jacob was a plain man, who
preferred to linger near the tents. The sacred record says:
"And the boys grew; and Esau was a cunning hunter, a
man of the field: and Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents.
And Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison;
but Rebekah loved Jacob."
Esau from his early boyhood loved the fields and the
mountains. He was bold, fearless, daring. A home life would
have been altogether too quiet and uninteresting for him. He
was full of adventure, with a large, impetuous nature that
scorned the very thought of difficulty; he would turn what
would have been stumbling blocks in the way of Jacob into
stepping stones for his ambition. Ready for every bold task
or endeavor, he would have made a splendid man for pioneer
work-just the kind of man who, in these later days, would
have gone out West, and would have eminently succeeded in
beating out the wild, rocky difficulties of that romantic region
into an orderly civilization. A strong, frank, self-willed sort
of Pagan was this same Esau-a manly fellow in his way--
who seems to have had little fear of God before his eyes,
and no fear of man. He was not his mother's favorite, and he
knew it, but his father was proud of him, and that was enough
for him.


"Jacob was a plain man," the Bible says. And he was
a very mean man, too, as the Bible proceeds to show. The
probabilities are that these boys were not very much together
after their very early childhood. They had no tastes in com-
mon, the same toys would not please them, supposing there
were such things as toys in those early days. They would not
have played at the same games; they would not have chosen
the same companions; they would not have read the same
books, if they had known the luxury of books. Their paths
were very wide apart, and in these ever-widening ways the
opposite elements of their character grew.
Esau was a cunning huntsman, but Jacob was cunning
everywhere and in everything-cunning in the most objec-
tionable sense of that word. He was a shrewd, cunning
schemer. Full of policy, he would plot and counter-plot.
He worked like a beaver in the secret and in the dark. He
could "bide his time." Hie could be patient and wait, if
there was anything at the end of the waiting worth waiting
for. And more than this, Jacob was one of those mean boys
who would take advantage of his brother's weaknesses for
his own advantage. And a boy can hardly be meaner than
The first marked instance recorded in the Bible of Jacob's
meanness was when he persuaded his brother Esau to
sell his birthright for a savory meal. The story is very sim-
ple, and as significant as simple. Esau was a hunter, and
he often came home from the hunt half famished with hunger.
Most boys have some idea of what it means to be as "hungry
as a hunter," and they will have a good deal of sympathy
with Esau. It was just like the meanness of Jacob to take
advantage of this ravenous appetite of his brother. So one
day, when Esau was more than usually late, Jacob prepared'


a most delicious meal. There was red pottage, steaming
hot-and if there was one thing more than another that
Esau loved it was red pottage. Then there was bread and
wine, and everything that Jacob could think of to tempt the
appetite of the huntsman. The savory odor of that meal
reached Esau as he drew near the tent, and gave a keener
edge to his hunger. Jacob had got everything in order, and
he was quite ready for the trying moment. He knew Esau
would be half famished; he knew how he loved pottage and
lentiles, and he stood by the tent door and waited.
"And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with
that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his
name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy
birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to
die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And
Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him:
and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave
Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and
drink, and rose up, and went his way: and Esau despised
his birthright."
We can only understand this story, as we remember
that, of all thing counted sacred in these old days, the
birthright was most sacred. If Jacob was mean in bargain-
ing for this priceless inheritance after this unbrotherly
fashion, Esau was foolish-nay, as we shall see shortly-he
was "profane" in the real deep meaning of that word, for
so easily parting with his treasure. A young man who
could buy his brother's birthright in such a manner was
mean, to the very uttermost verge of meanness. But it is
also true, that a young man who would sell such a treasure
for a meal, no matter how hungry he was, had a very poor
estimate of his birthright.


Years pass on and Isaac's eyes grow dim-dim even to
blindness. The weary patriarch longs for rest, and with one
of those fancies that sometimes stir the desires of old age,
and perhaps are sometimes to be regarded as signs that the
end of life's pilgrimage is not far off, Isaac yearns for a
savory hunter's meal, and sending for his son Esau, he begs
him to go forth to the fields and bring him venison. This
is to be a kind of farewell feast. And when the feast is
ended Isaac will give Esau his dying blessing.
The shameful manner in which Jacob, aided by his
mother, deceives his blind old father, and robs his brother of
the old man's parting blessing, is so simply and so beauti-
fully told in the Bible narrative that we cannot do better
than quote the story as told in the book of Genesis:
"And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his
eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his
eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto
him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am
old, I know not the day of my death; now therefore take,
I pray thee, thy weapons., thy quiver and thy bow, and go
out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me
savory meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I
may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. And
Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And
Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
And Rebekah spake unto Jacob, her son, saying, Behold,
I heard thy father speak unto Esau, thy brother, saying,
Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, that I may
eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death. Now
therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I
command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from
thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them


savory meat for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou
shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he
may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said to Rebekah,
his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and
I am a smooth man. My father peradventure will feel me,
and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a
curse upon me, and not a blessing.
And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse,
my son; only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And
he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother; and
his mother made savory meat, such as his father loved.
And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau,
which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob
her younger son: and she put the skins of. the kids of the
goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
and she gave the savory meat and the bread, which she
had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and
he said, here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said
unto his father, I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according
as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my
venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto
his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my
son? And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to
me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee,
that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son
Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father;
and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but
the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him
not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands:
so he blessed him.
"And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he



said, I am. And he said, Bring it near to me, and 1 will
eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he
brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him
wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him,
Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the
smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the
smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord
hath blessed:
Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the
fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee:
be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow
down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and
blessed be he that blesseth thee."
There is but one comment to be made after reading this
story, and that is, that the whole affair was as mean and
shameful as it possibly could be. This cunning and deceit
was as unworthy of Jacob as a son as it was contemptible
in Jacob as a brother.
Esau's conduct on his return marks one of the brightest
pages of history. He is not heart-broken. Esau was not that
kind of young man. He was humiliated; his proud spirit
was crushed. But instead of seeking instant vengeance on
his supplanting brother, he turns to his blind old father and
breaks the silence of the tents of Isaac with the exceeding
bitter cry:
"Bless me, even me also, O my Father!"
To which pathetic plea Isaac answers, with unutterable
"Thy brother came with subtlety and hath taken away
thy blessing!"


Who could wonder if Esau felt badly! Jacob had well
earned Esau's contempt. And Esau said:
"Is he not rightly called Jacob? For he hath supplanted
me these two times: he took away my birthright; and behold
now he hath taken away my blessing."
And then, with rare tenderness, he pleads with his father
for some farewell, tender benediction.
"Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? .
Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, bless me,
O my Father! And Esau lifted up his voice and wept."
Esau was not given to tears, or to tender moods generally,
and this exhibition of his deep sense of the wrong he had
suffered touched the heart of the dying patriarch.
"And Isaac his father answered and said unto him:
Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth: and
of the dew of heaven from above: and by thy sword shalt
thou live, and shalt sever thy brother: and it shall come to
pass when thou shall have the dominion, that thou shalt break
his yoke from off thy neck."
Then Esau went forth from his father's tent with the
solemn determination that as soon as his father was dead he
would kill his cunning brother Jacob.
Happily that vow was not kept. Esau became the chief-
tain of the Edomites, the wandering, unstable dynasty that
came forth from Idumea. Esau's career suggests some grave
lessons well worth our careful thought.
It was Esau's own fault that his name was not insepar-
ably linked with that of Abraham and Abraham's God through
all the generations of men. The true order would have been
to have spoken of God as "the God of Abraham, and of
Isaac, and of Esau." But Esau sold his birthright-the
dearest heritage of the Hebrew youth-for a mess of pot-


tage, and so through Esau's own fault the order was changed,
and God will now be spoken of through all the ages of time
as "the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob."
Esau's name did not slip out of this divine association; it
was not dropped out through any one's caprice; it was sub-
stituted by another name, because Esau, in an hour of hun-
ger, would be fed without delay, though the meal cost him
eternal fellowship with the Divine.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Esau is spoken of as a
"profane person." Profanity does not simply mean the
taking of God's name in vain, or the indulgence in the use
of language that is as foolish and vulgar as it is profane.
The really profane man is he who does not recognize the
sacredness of sacred things. There are not a few men to
whom there is nothing sacred. Faith is only superstition,
they say; religion at best is a dream. They laugh at our
Sabbaths; they jest at our worship, and make a mock at
prayer. These are really the profane among men. A soul
that knows nothing sacred is like a temple without an altar.
Such a man was Esau to some very considerable extent.
Not a bad man by any means, a much better man than his
brother Jacob was then, or indeed, than he was for many a
year. It was not until that awful night by the rushing
fords of Jabbok, that Jacob gave any sign of noble man-
hood. Esau was a huntsman; he loved the chase, and his
mistake was that he made of what should have been a
passing recreation, the whole of life. Hunting is all very
well in its way, but life is more than hunting. Life has
great duties as well as pleasant recreations. And the man
who thinks so mnch of passing gratifications that he will
sacrifice life's grandest purposes for them, is a profane man,
and such a man was Esau. But this was not all. There


came a time when Esau would have bought back that birth-
right, but it was too late. He sought, but found not.
He found no place of repentance, though he sought it dili-
gently and with tears. There are some stern facts that we
should be brave enough to face like men, and here is one:
You can never buy back the sacred things you sell. If for
the delight of an hour we are fools enough to sell some
golden opportunity, we can never buy it back; not with a
mint of gold, or a whirlwind of sighs, or a river of tears!
Once gone, gone forever! Though we may search diligently
and with tears, the crooked can not be made straight. The
golden hours of time squandered upon folly can never be
recalled, though, like the dying queen, we should offer
millions of dollars for a moment of time. We can not turn
the sunshade back upon the dial, the water that is spilt on
the ground God will take care of, but we can never gather
it up again. The young man who sells health for dissipa-
tion, and barters the birthright of a noble manhood for the
painted bubbles of passing pleasure, may go tottering on to
a gray old age, searching with tears for his lost treasures,
but his search will be all in vain.
And now we turn again to Jacob. He had the birth-
right and the blessing; he had also the fixed, firm hatred of
Esau. His only safety was in flight, and so the supplanter
became a wanderer and a fugitive. In fear and terror he fled
from his father's house, and as he went he heard the voice of
his father Isaac for the last time, and happily the last words
were words of blessing. And this was the parting benediction
that Isaac breathed upon his wandering son
"And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged
him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the
daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house


of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from
thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And
God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply
thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give
thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with
thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a
stranger, which God gave unto Abraham."
A great future lies before this wanderer. The young
man who leaves his father's home under so dark a cloud will
yet make a great maik in the world. It is a matter of fact
that, if you would count twenty of the best-known names in the
world, you would have to count Jacob's name amongst the rest.
This young wanderer, we feel sure, would have a great
homesickness in his heart. Esau would have enjoyed the
adventure, but Jacob was altogether of another disposition.
He had been his mother's favorite, and it would be hard wan-
dering from her love and care.
First nights from home are awful nights. Some of you
boys have that experience to come, and you will remember
it after you have forgotten a thousand other things. If, in the
darkness and sadness of that first night from home, the tears
should flow, don't be ashamed of them; they will be as worthy
of you as most things you will ever do. If you cry yourself
to sleep, and sob yourself awake, it won't be because you are
a baby, but because you have a tender heart; and, while you
weep and while you wake, your mother will be most likely
on her knees weeping too, and praying, with many tears, that
God will guard and bless her absent boy.
Jacob wandered on. And the night came at last-his
first night away from home. He found a convenient spot,
and throwing his robe around him, he lay down upon the
yielding earth, and with a -nossy stone for a pillow, he was


probably soon asleep; for youth bears trouble lightly, and
among all common gifts, God has bestowed few blessings
which are more to be prized than His great gift of sleep.
Jacob slept, and as he slept he dreamed.
Never forget that God who is God of the day is aloo
God of the night. The God of our sleep is also the God of
our dreams. God took the hand of the sleeping wanderer
and led him gently into the world of dreams. What a
dream Jacob had! He had seen at home probably, or in his
wanderings, mountains rising slope on slope till their loftiest
crests seemed to touch the very heavens. Or he had seen
at sunset, as we may often see, clouds of burnished gold, or
of fleecy, filmy beauty, rising like a grand august stairway
to the sky. Some such vision as this crowded in on the
young sleeper's brain, and he saw passing up and down this
grand highway of light and splendor, the gracious forms of
tall, white angels, coming and going, ascending and descend-
ing the glittering stairway; and above them all he saw a
radiant form in matchless light and awful splendor, and from
that mysterious presence, the presence of the Lord, a voice
was heard-for it is quite as easy to hear as to see when
once you are in dreamland-and the voice said:
I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father,
And the God of Isaac.
The land whereon thou liest,
To thee will I give it, to thy seed.
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth;
And thou shalt spread abroad to the West,
And to the East, and to the North and the South,
And in thee, and in thy seed
Shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And behold, I am with thee,
And will keep thee in all places whither thou goest,
And will bring thee again to this land,
For I will not leave thee
Until I have done that which I spoke to thee of."


Then the voice became silent. The luminous presence
grew less and less clear, the angel forms began to fade into
dim outlines, the mountain ladder shimmered and trembled
in the growing dawn. Jacob awoke, wondering, fearing,
astonished, as well he might-and he said, "Surely God is
in this place and I knew it not! How dreadful is this place;
this is none other but the House of God, and this is the
gate of Heaven!"
The story of this memorable night at Bethel inspired Mrs.
Adams to sing that sweet, sacred song, "Nearer My God to
Thee." Outside the sacred Scriptures there is scarcely any-
thing more touching and beautiful than this tender Christian
hymn. It is sung in hours of sorrow, and in hours of deep,
quiet joy. We sing it in the sanctuary and the home, in the
hour of sacred consecration, and when the solemn death-bell
tolls. It is sung in all lands, and will be sung by devout
souls to the very end of time. The whole story of that blissful
night, of the ascending and descending angels, and of the
morning bright with new-born hope, is told so tenderly that
it will never be forgotten.

Though like a wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I'd be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

There let my way appear
Steps unto heaven;
All that Thou sendest me
In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!


Then with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
And when on joyful wing
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
Upward I fly;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

It may be interesting to American boys to be told that
some people believe that that very stone which Jacob used
for a pillow, nearly four thousand years ago, is yet to be seen.
If you should find yourself some happy day in that stateliest
of all stately fanes, Westminster Abbey, in London, be sure
and ask to see the Grand Coronation Chair, in which the kings
and queens of England for many generations have been crowned.
The chair will not charm you by its beauty. It is old, and
awkward, and very grimy; but underneath you will see a stone
about the size of an ordinary pillow, and you will be told
that this is the identical stone on which the weary head of
Jacob rested that memorable night in Bethel. Take a good,
long, careful look at the stone, and then believe just as much
of the story as you please.
But we must now return to Jacob. It is morning among
the mountains-bright, and clear, and lustrous as eastern morn-
ings are. How changed all seems since the sun set the night
before! Jacob has been face to face with God, if only in a
sacred dream. All the world seems brighter. The dark
clouds that hung before, and made his future seem so sad, are
all gone, and lines of living hope have taken the place of yes-


terday's gloom. So Jacob set the pillow up for a rude altar,
and, pouring oil on the top' of it, called the place Bethel, which
means "The House of God."
"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with
me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me
bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again
to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my
God. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be
God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely
give the tenth unto thee."
Jacob's vow had much that was beautiful and devout in
it, but it was not altogether what a vow should be. There
was too much of Jacob's bargaining disposition in it. He would
build an altar "if" God would take care of him, and feed
and clothe him and bring him back in peace. There should
never be an if" in any vows we make to God. Vows
that are vows in earnest, are hard enough to keep, but
vows that are half bargains are sure to be broken.
Jacob went on his journey and came to Padan-Aram, to
the house of Laban, his uncle. And here the history grows
in interest. The boy has become a man, and at almost
every turn of his strange career Jacob suffers from the very
evil that had marred and destroyed the beauty of his young
life. A deceiver when young, the shadow of deceit seems
to have followed him everywhere. In the house of Laban
see how he was made the victim of over-reaching and
deceit. Be sure your sin will find you out," is an eternal
truth, and Jacob found it so over and over again to his
The love story in the life of Jacob is very beautifully
told. What happy hours Jacob spent with Rachel in those
far-away times! Busy among his sheep, Jacob thought the


fairest sight in all the world was the sight of Rachel with
the water-pot upon her shoulder, going to or coming from
the well. How shamefully he was deceived about Rachel!
And what a grand loyal lover he was! What are all the
classic tales of love compared with this story! What were
the lovers sung of by Homer compared with Jacob?
Leander for the sake of Hero swam the Hellespont, but
what was that compared with such enduring love and ten-
derness as Jacob bore toward Rachel.
"And Jacob loved Rachel, and said I will serve thee
seven years for Rachel, thy younger daughter. And Laban
said, it is better that I give her to thee, than that I should
give her to another man. Abide with me.
"And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they
seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her."
Seven happy years of pure and gentle love! Perhaps
these were the happiest years of all the patriarch's life.
But we must part company with Jacob now. His boy-
hood and youth are passed. As the years rolled on there
came an opportunity for reconciliation with Esau. And at
the fords of Jabbok Jacob has a repetition of the Bethel expe-
rience, only in another form. This scene at Peniel was
memorable for the fact that Jacob's name is changed, and
he is no more Jacob, but Israel. The dreaded meeting with
Esau passed more pleasantly than Jacob had dared to dream.
How earnestly Jacob prayed!
"And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God
of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return
unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal with
thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and
of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant;
for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am



become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand
of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for* I fear him, lest
he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy
seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered by
The costly gifts with which he desired to conciliate Esau
went on before-" two hundred she goats and twenty he goats,
two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels with
their colts, forty kine and ten bulls, twenty she asses and
ten foals."
Then came the long, dark night, the wrestling with the
angel, the mysterious conquest of Jacob, and with the gift of
the new name, we are told that "the sun rose on Israel"-
not on the hills and vales, but on Israel. It was a sunny
day for the wanderer; for on this day he met Esau, and was
reconciled. There was to be no intimate brotherly fellow-
ship; that could never be in the very nature of the case.
But the feud was ended. Jacob and Esau parted forever,
but the old enmity was to cease; they were to part friends.
Esau leaves Jacob to his inheritance, and passes on to the
solitudes of the dark mountains of Seir.
Jacob the supplanterr," now changes into Israel the
"Prince of God." A new world and a new life is before
him. We shall meet him again when we come to talk of
that wonderful son of many dreams and large ambitions.
The old age of Jacob was calm and beautiful as an Indian
summer, the clouds were no longer dark and lurid, but
beautiful with the light that tells of peace after a life of
storm and care.
With the last scene in Israel's life we close this story.
From the day he left his father's house a fugitive, till the


day he died in Egypt, his life was full of care and anxiety
and trouble, much of which he brought upon himself. The
last end of this changeful life was as calm and peaceful as
the early years had been stormy and restless. He lived to
see his son Joseph-the boy of the coat of many colors-
Prime Minister of the greatest kingdom on the earth. He
saw his children and his children's children, and one of the
most touching scenes of his old age was that which occurred
shortly before his death, when Manasseh and Ephraim, the
sons of Joseph, were brought before Jacob to receive the
patriarch's dying benediction. The whole story is beautifully
told in the forty-eighth chapter of the book of Genesis.. It
is evident that Jacob's eyes were growing dim, and when
the two boys were brought to him the old grandfather said,
"Who are these?" And Joseph said, "They are my sons,
which God hath given me in this place." And Jacob said,
"Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, that I may bless them."
Jacob's sight was so feeble that he could not see the boys,
and so he drew them to his aged breast, and kissed them
very tenderly, and then he blessed them. But, now, mark the
character of the benediction. He did not pray that they might
have wealth and power and dominion so much as that they
might have divine guidance, and so the narrative proceeds.
"And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see
thy face, and lo! God hath showed me thy seed.
"And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it
upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left
hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands willingly, for
Manasseh was the first-born.
"And he blessed Joseph and said, God, before whom
my father Abraham did walk, the God which fed me all my
life long unto this day.


The angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the
lads; and let my name be named on them, and the names
of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into
a multitude in the earth."
This was a glorious ana comprehensive benediction.
When we think what God was to Jacob, how he guided his
wandering steps, and out of a deceiver and supplanter made
a man of him, crowning his years with goodness, and
dying, cast the mantle of holy peace about him, we can
understand what the psalmist means when he says: "Happy
is he that hath the God of Jacob for his guide."


Behold, this dreamer cometh."-Genesis xxxvii., Ig.
I thank God for my happy dreams, as I do for my good rest."-Sir Thomas
If we can sleep without dreams, it is well that painful dreams are avoided."-
Benjamin Franklin.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of
his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors."-Genesis xxxvii.,3.

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob. He was the son
of Jacob and Rachel, doubly dear to them, because he was
the son of their old age.
When first we meet this young dreamer in the Bible
record, he is seventeen years of age. Between himself and
the elder brothers of the household there was the difference
of many years, so that it is quite easy to understand that
the grown men in Jacob's household would be very apt to
regard Joseph as a mere child. But instead of treating him
with tender, gentle care, they were hard with him. If in
the study of Joseph's character, we come to the conclusion
that he might have been less childish and vain, we shall also
have abundant reason to conclude that the elder sons of
Jacob might have been much more manly in their treatment
of the boy.
Joseph was unfortunate in being a favorite child. Mere
favoritism in a family is never wise, it is generally unjust,
and almost always brings evil consequences in its train.


Sometimes we have seen a very beautiful form of favor-
itism in a household. When some one member of the
family has been sick or afflicted, then every member of the
household has vied with each other in a happy rivalry as to
which should do the most to cheer the solitude or brighten
the lot of the sorrowing one. We have seen sick boys and
girls so loved and cared for and tended, because of their
sickness, that we have wondered if it would not almost be
worth while to bear such a burden for the sake of the love
it awakens. We can never lavish too much love upon our
troubled ones. If this be favoritism, it is the very best kind
of favoritism, and the more we have of it the better.
Surely it is pardonable if the youngest member of the
household should receive a little special attention. Only a
childish, miserable spirit could object to that. A child is a
child, and should have all the sunshine possible poured into
its young life.
But Joseph was not a child. He was seventeen years
of age. Think of that! Any boy who reads these pages
who is seventeen years of age knows very well that a boy
of seventeen is anything but a child. Seventeen is a glorious
age! It is just the age when the garden of youth is full of bud,
and blossom, and promise. But it is a very unfortunate age
for the exercise of fovoritism. It is just the age when petting
so quickly leads to spoiling. At this age very trifling honors
will awaken vanity. And when boys of seventeen begin
to over-estimate themselves, then the trouble begins.
It was so with Joseph. Both Jacob and Rachel thought
there was not another boy in the world like Joseph. They
thought nothing was too good for him, and so they must
buy for him "a coat of many colors." There may not have
been so many colors in the coat after all; but it was quite


a fancy coat, and the costliest coat Joseph had upon his back.
Was Joseph foolish enough to get proud and show off just
because he had a fine coat? Could he, a grown young man
of seventeen, be so weak and foolish? you may ask. Well,
let boys of seventeen answer that question, and let them
answer it honestly. One thing is quite certain-this fine coat
that came down almost to Joseph's feet, and made him quite
conspicuous in the family-for the coat was more like a royal
-robe than a coat-made the elder brethren cross, and angry,
and jealous. You will say it was very foolish of them. So
it was; it was foolish all the way round. It was very weak
of these up-grown men to get envious, and to entertain the
sentiment if even they did not express it-that if home-spun
was good enough for them it was good enough for Joseph,
too. That fine coat caused a world of trouble in that whole
family, just as fine clothes from that day to this have caused
trouble in tens of thousands of families, and will go on caus-
ing trouble to the end of time.
We cannot blame Joseph wholly for being vain. Those
who fed his vanity were more to blame than he; but we do
blame him for being foolish enough to be a tattler in the
family. We know there are times when it becomes a duty
not to keep silence, but these occasions are only few and far
between. The tale-bearer is not always moved by a strong
sense of duty, but more frequently from pure mischief, bab-
bles and babbles like a shallow brook, and unfortunately
succeeds too often in turning the melodies of life into most
unhappy discords.
There were other reasons that need not be entered upon
here, that helped to widen the breach between Joseph and
his brethren. Already there was little love lost between
them, and right upon all this the young dreamer, who seems


to be almost a poet in his dreams, tells the story of his
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his breth-
ren: and they hated him yet the more.
"And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream
which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves
in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright;
and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obei-
sance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou
indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over
us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and
for his words.
"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his
brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more;
and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made
obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his
brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What
is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother
and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee
to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father
observed the saying."
It is hardly needful to say that, in the days of Jacob and
Joseph, much store was set by dreams, and we need not blame
the people of these old times, and upbraid them as being
unduly superstitious. Dreams are mysterious things, and
because they are mysterious they have great influence over
certain minds. Perhaps we are all influenced by them, to some
extent at least. It may be a matter of surprise, but it is a
matter of fact, that tens of thousands of so-called intelligent
people in America, as well as in less-favored lands, keep dream-
books by them to consult when they have had any special
dream. Now, if this is done in the nineteenth century, in the

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