Wednesday, February 14, 2018

May's Valentine


"It's up we'll get!"
Cried Nurse Jeannette,
"To feel the sun a- warming.
St. Valentine
Will feast and dine,
And bring you something charming.'
Then dressed they fast
In ruffles vast
This best of little creatures
But at the pane
She watched in vain,
And ah, the sorry features!

His laughter done,
The sober sun
Behind a cloud went straying.
A heavy snow
Began to blow;
The boys ran in from playing.
"Twill be here yet,"
Said Nurse Jeannette,
"Perhaps at noon, my deary,"
The postman passed,
In snow and blast,
And May's blue eyes were teary.
"It's dark and wet,"
Said Nurse Jeannette,
" St. Valentine is groping;
So May, my dear,
Wipe off that tear,
And don't you give up hoping!"

When twilight came,
The little dame
Still peeped from out the curtain.
The sleet came pelt!
She was, she felt,
Forgotten now, for certain.
But candleshine
Brought Valentine -
A valentine so rosy!
Nor dreamed the miss
T would look like this,
Surpassing song or posy.
She jumped for joy:
A baby boy
Lay blinking up to greet her.
A brother! May,
You darling, say
What valentine were sweeter ?

Agnes Lee.

To My Daugher


Her kiss is warm upon my cheek,
She is not coy nor shy;
Her arms were clinging round my neck
When she bade me good-bye.

She whispers soft her love for me,
And I tell her of mine;
Sweetheart, no other maid could be
So dear a Valentine.

She loves me more than all the world;
Yet sadly I foresee,
As time rolls on, some other swain
May be preferred to me.

Were she sixteen, instead of three,
This little Daughter mine,
Another's vows might prove more dear
Than Papa's Valentine.

Walter Learned.

Mamma's Valentine


Baby came toddling up to my knee,
His chubby features all aglow,
" Dess I 'se doin' to be 'oor beau,
See what oo' dot from me!"
A valentine from my baby boy!
A crumpled sheet and a homely scrawl,
In a baby hand - that was all -
Yet it filled my heart with joy.

Broken my heart and white my hair,
And my mother's eyes are used to weep;
My little boy is fast asleep
In the churchyard over there.
What shall be mamma's valentine? -
The spirit touch of the baby hand,
A baby voice from the spirit land
Singing a song divine.

Eugene Field.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An Elizabethan Valentine

An Elizabethan Valentine
In an old Album dated 1583

When Slumber first undoudes my brain,
And thoughte is free
And Sense refreshed renews her reigne,
I thinke of Thee.

When next in prayer to God above
I bende my knee,
Then when I pray for those I love,
I pray for Thee.

And when the duties of the day
Demande of mee
To rise and journey on life's way,
I work for Thee.

Or if perchance I sing some lay,
All that the idle verses say,
They say of Thee.

For if an eye whose liquid lighte
Gleams like the sea,
They sing, or tresses browne and brighte, 
They sing of Thee.

And if a wearie mood, or sad,
Possesses mee,
One thought can all times make mee glad, 
The thoughte of Thee.

And when once more upon my bed,
Full wearily,
In sweet repose I lay my head,
I dream of Thee.

In short, one only wish I have
To live for Thee;
Or gladly if one pang 't would save
I 'd die for Thee.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Egg Hunt Silhouettes for Easter

A little girl and the Easter bunny hide eggs in straw nests.
A little girl dumps dyed eggs from a large pot at the feet of the Easter bunny.
The Easter bunny paints eggs while a little girl collects them in her basket.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Two Brothers: A Story of Forgiveness

       Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. The two boys were very, different in looks and in character, and, as sometimes happens in families today, one was the favorite of his father, and the other the favorite of his mother. Esau, the elder, was a rough, hairy fellow who grew up to be a famous hunter, while Jacob was content to stay at home and take care of his father's flocks. Esau would go into the fields and kill deer, and then bring back to his father the delicious venison. But the homeloving Jacob was the favorite of his mother. In those days the eldest son was the most important of all the children. He received the greater share of the cattle and other property when the father died, and was favored above all the other sons. This special favor was called the birthright. As Esau was older than Jacob, he was entitled to the birthright, but he did not appreciate it as he should have done. One day, after he had been out hunting, he came home faint and hungry. Jacob had just cooked a savory vegetable food called pottage, and when his brother saw it he said, "Give me, I pray, the pottage to eat, for I am very faint." But Jacob said, "Sell me this day thy birthright." Now Esau thought only of satisfying his hunger, and he said to himself, "If I do not get food to eat at once I will die, and what good will my birthright be to me then?" Thus he weakly yielded to the temptation and sold his precious birthright.
Jacob receiving the blessing.
       As the years passed by Isaac became feeble and his sight grew very dim. One day he said to Esau, "Take thy bow and kill a deer, that I may taste again the venison that I love. Then I will give thee my farewell blessing." This special blessing was bestowed in those days, on the eldest son, and was one of the privileges of the birthright. Esau gladly departed to do his father's bidding. Rebekah, however, had overheard Isaac's words, and she was displeased that Esau should be placed above her favorite, Jacob. Therefore, as soon as Esau was out of sight, she told Jacob to bring to her two small goats from the herd. When he had done so she cooked the meat and made it taste like the venison of which Isaac was so fond. Then she had Jacob dress himself in Esau's clothes, and she put the skins of the goats on his hands and his neck, that he might seem to be a hairy man like his brother. When Jacob told her he feared that a curse would come upon him for deceiving his father, Rebekah replied, "Upon me be the curse, my son: only obey my voice." Then Jacob presented himself to Isaac, and the aged man felt of the hairy hands and believed that his eldest son was before him, though his voice was the voice of Jacob. When he had eaten of the meat which Rebekah had prepared, Isaac drew his son close to him, smelled of his garments, which had the smell of woods and fields, and gave him the prized blessing.
       On Esau's return from the hunt he prepared a savory piece of venison for his father, and offered it to him, begging for his blessing, as had been promised. Trembling and dismayed, the old man cried out, "Who art thou?" And when Esau told him that he was his first born son, Isaac knew that Jacob had stolen his brother's blessing. Exceedingly bitter was Esau's sorrow when he found out that he had been cheated, and in his anguish he cried, "Bless me, even me also, my father." Isaac was indeed glad to bless him, but he had promised the best things to Jacob, and he dared not revoke his solemn words. Esau could not control his feelings of disappointment and anger, and it was soon reported to Rebekah that he had threatened to kill his brother. Therefore the mother advised Jacob to go away to the home of her brother Laban, in another country. And in due time Jacob departed. So we see that his selfishness and greed sent him into exile and separated him from all that he loved.
       It was many years before the brothers met again. At the home of Laban Jacob received a kindly welcome, and he fell deeply in love with Rachel, the younger of his uncle's two daughters. Laban promised him that if he would serve him for seven years he could have Rachel for his wife, and so great was Jacob's love for her that the seven years of service seemed short, indeed. But when the time was up Laban consented to the marriage only when Jacob promised to serve him another seven years. As time passed by Jacob prospered greatly, and many sons were born to him. Then, at the end of twenty years, he decided to return to his own country. So he gathered together his flocks and herds, and departed with his family and servants.
       In all these years Jacob and Esau had never been reconciled, and as Jacob approached the place where his brother was living he sent men ahead with a friendly message, for he still feared his anger. The messengers told Esau of Jacob's prosperity during his sojourn with Laban, and of his hope that the past might be forgotten, but they returned with bad news. Instead of a message of friendship they came with a report that Esau was planning to meet his brother with four hundred men. That night Jacob prayed earnestly to God to save him from his brother's wrath, and the next day he sent his servants ahead of him with presents of goats and camels. When Jacob saw Esau approaching with the four hundred men he ran to meet him alone, and bowed down on the ground before him. All of Esau's anger melted away at sight of his brother, and he embraced him tenderly. Then they wept for joy that all was made right between them, and Jacob had his children come forward and greet their uncle. Esau asked about the droves and herds which had been sent ahead, and when Jacob told him they were gifts for him, he replied, "I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself." But Jacob insisted that he keep them, for he wanted his brother to know that the old spirit of greed had left his heart. The same day Esau departed to his own home, but Jacob journeyed on and came finally to Hebron, in Canaan, where his old father, still alive, was sojourning. The land of Canaan became his home once more, and there he reared twelve sons who became founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Marriage of Isaac

       In the course of time Sarah died, and was buried in a cave which Abraham bought as a tomb for his family. Then, as he felt himself growing old, and saw his son Isaac grow to manhood, he said to himself that he would like to have Isaac married. Now most of the people who lived in the land of Canaan worshiped idols, and Abraham decided that his son ought to seek a wife in Mesopotamia, where several of their kindred still lived. These far-away kinsmen believed in the true God, whom Abraham and Isaac worshiped. So Abraham called his oldest servant, the one who took care of his flocks and herds, and bade him go into that country and find there a wife for Isaac. Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and some beautiful gifts, and journeyed to the land in which Abraham had lived so many years before.
The servant meets Rebekah.
       After a time the servant came near to a city in Mesopotamia which had a well outside the gate. It was just at the close of day, and the women were coming out of the city to draw water. The servant had his camels kneel down by the well to rest, and then he prayed to God to show him which one of the women that came to draw water should be Isaac's wife. It was revealed to him that he should ask one of them for water to drink, and if she answered kindly he would know she was the one to be chosen. While he was praying, a beautiful, dark-eyed girl named Rebekah, carrying a pitcher on her shoulder, came up to the well. And when she had filled her pitcher the servant ran up to her and said, "Let me, I pray, drink a little water out of thy pitcher." She answered, "Drink, and I will draw water for the camels also." Then she let down the pitcher from her shoulder and gave the servant a drink, and afterward she carried water to the camels. When Rebekah had performed these services the servant gave her a gold earring and two gold bracelets. He inquired whose daughter she was, and asked whether he and his men could sleep at her father's house. The young woman told him that she was the daughter of Bethuel, and that there was room at their house for all, and food for the camels. The servant rejoiced greatly when she told him these things, for he knew that Bethuel was a kinsman of Abraham, and that God must have guided him to their place.
       Then Rebekah ran home and told her people all that had happened. Her brother Laban, when he saw the earring and bracelets, hastened at once to the well and invited the servant to come to their house and to bring his camels and their keepers. And they were all treated most kindly and made welcome. But before the servant would accept any food he told Rebekah's family who he was and why he had come to their city. And he begged them to say at once whether they would let Rebekah go home with him. As Bethuel and Laban listened to the story they felt it was God's will that Rebekah should be the wife of Isaac, and they at once consented to her going away. The happy servant, on hearing these words, brought out costly jewels of gold and silver and beautiful garments, and he gave Rebekah and her mother and brother many handsome gifts. Then they had a merry feast, and the next morning the travelers departed, taking with them Rebekah and her nurse.
       As they were passing through the land of Canaan one evening, they came near to the place where Isaac was. He had gone into the fields to walk about by himself, and when he saw the train of camels he hastened toward the travelers. As he came nearer Rebekah noticed him and said to the servant, "Who is this man walking to meet us?" When the servant told her that it was Isaac, she covered her face with a veil, and as soon as he came up to her she climbed down from her camel and Isaac took her into the tent his mother had lived in. He made her his wife, and he loved her so dearly that he was comforted for the loss of his mother. After the marriage Abraham gave all his herds and flocks to his son, and when he died Isaac buried him in the cave where Sarah rested.

Abraham and Isaac

       In the early days of Bible story there lived in the land of Ur of the Chaldees a man named Abram. Ur of the Chaldees was a city of Mesopotamia, which is the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, in Western Asia. There is today a ruined temple on the west bank of the Euphrates River, at the place where a canal joins that stream and the Tigris, and Bible students tell us that in the time of Abram Ur lay at the point where the temple may be seen. Abram was a rich man; he owned large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and he had many servants. But there came a time when it was revealed to him that he must depart from the country of ^Mesopotamia and go to a land called Canaan, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It would be interesting to trace on a map that long, toilsome journey over desert, stream and mountain. After he had settled in his new home, God told him that he was to be the father of a chosen people, and that his descendants were to possess all the land of Canaan. Kings were to come from his race, and he himself was to be called Abraham, which means "father of a multitude." A son, too, was promised him, for Sarah, his wife, was childless.
       When, at last, a little son was born to Abraham and Sarah, they were so happy they named him Isaac, for Isaac means "laughing." The child became a great comfort to his parents, and Abraham loved him above all other things. In those days men offered up sacrifices as a part of their religious duty. Very often they would kill a choice lamb out of the flock, and burn it on the altar as a sacrifice. One day God spoke to Abraham and said, "Take thy son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go to the land of Moriah; thou must offer him there as a burnt offering, upon a mountain which I will tell thee of." There is nothing in the Bible record to make us think that Abraham rebelled or complained when he received this strange command. Early in the morning he saddled his ass, gathered the wood for the offering, and departed with Isaac and two young men-servants. On the third day he saw a summit in the distance that he knew to be the place of sacrifice, and he said to his servants, "Wait here; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and will come again to you." Then Abraham and Isaac went on together; Isaac carried the wood, and his father bore the fire. The lad did not understand why they were going up to the mountain, and he said to Abraham, "Father, here is fire and wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" "My son," was the reply, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering." When they came to the place of sacrifice, Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood upon it, and then placed his boy on the wood. But just as he was about to lay his hand on him he heard a voice saying, "Abraham, Abraham." He answered, "Here am I." Then the voice said, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad: for now I know that thou fearest God." And Abraham knew then that God was testing him, to see whether he was willing to give up the dearest treasure he possessed. But he was not required to give up his son, for as he looked about him he saw a ram caught in a thicket by the horns, and he took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering. But because he had been obedient to the divine voice, and had not refused to give up that which he loved most dearly, Abraham received greater blessings than ever before.

The Bible as Literature

       Macaulay says in one of his essays, "If everything else in our language should perish, the English Bible alone would suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power." There are so many passages of high literary quality in the "Book of Books" that innumerable citations could be made to show the beauty and power of its language. Several passages from Isaiah, for example, were used by Handel as a setting for the matchless music of his Messiah, and the rhythm in each case is perfectly adapted to the noble melody The Psalms, too, have been chanted and sung for centuries.
       There are countless examples of beautiful figures of speech in the Bible, and practically every form of literature is found in its pages - the epic, the allegory, the parable, the short story, the historic narrative, the song of rejoicing, the dirge, and so on. Secular literature is permeated with allusions to the Bible, and whoever would aspire to a general culture cannot afford to ignore this great literary monument.

King James's Version

       In the reign of James I a Hebrew scholar, Hugh Broughton, insisted on the necessity of a new translation, and at the Hampton Court Conference (1604) the suggestion was accepted by the king. The work was undertaken by forty-seven scholars, divided into six companies, two meeting at Westminster, two at Oxford and two at Cambridge, while a general committee meeting in London revised the portions of the translation finished by each. The revision was begun in 1607 and occupied three years, the completed work being published in folio in 1611 and known as King James's Bible. Through the general accuracy of its translation and the purity of its style, it superseded all other versions. In response, however, to a widespread desire for a translation even freer from errors, the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 appointed a committee to consider the question of revising the English version. Their report being favorable, two companies were formed, one for the Old Testament and one for the New, consisting partly of members of the Convocation and partly of outside scholars. Two similar companies were also organized in America, to work along with the British scholars. The result was that the revised version of the New Testament was issued in 1881; that of the Old Testament appeared in 1884. An American Revised Version appeared in 1901.

Bible Versions

       The earliest and most famous version of the Old Testament is the Septuagint, or Greek translation, executed by Alexandrian Greeks, and completed probably before 130 B. c. This version was adopted by the early Christian Church and by the Jews themselves and has always held an important place in the interpretation and history of the Bible. The Syriac version, the Peshito, made early in the second century after Christ, is celebrated for its fidelity. The Coptic version was made from the Septuagint, in the third or fourth century. The Gothic version, by Ulphilas, was made from the Septuagint in the fourth century, but mere insignificant fragments of it are extant. The most important Latin version is the Vulgate, executed by Jerome, partly on the basis of the original Hebrew, and completed in A. D. 405.
       The printed editions of the Hebrew Bible are very numerous. The first edition entire was printed at Soncino in 1488.
       The books of the New Testament were all written in Greek, unless it be true, as some critics suppose, that the gospel of Saint Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, Most of these writings have always been received as inspired; but the Epistle to the Hebrews, commonly ascribed to Saint Paul, that of Saint Jude, the second of Peter, the second and third of John and Revelation have been doubted. The three oldest manuscripts are:
  1. The Sinaitic manuscript, discovered by Tischendorf in a convent on Mount Sinai in 1859, assigned to the middle of the fourth century 
  2. The Vatican manuscript at Rome, of similar date
  3. The Alexandrian manuscript in the British Museum, assigned to the latter half of the sixth century. 
Each manuscript contains also in great part the Septuagint Greek of the Old Testament. The division of the text of the New Testament into chapters and verses was introduced later than that of the Old Testament, but it is not precisely known when or by whom.
       Of translations of the Bible into modem languages the English and the German are the most celebrated. Considerable portions were translated into Anglo-Saxon, including the Gospels and the Psalter. Wycliffe's translation of the whole Bible (from the Vulgate), begun about, 1356, was completed shortly before his death, 1384. The first printed version of the Bible in English was the translation of William Tyndale, whose New Testament was printed in quarto at Cologne in 1525, a small octavo edition appearing at the same time at Worms. He also published the Pentateuch in 1530 and translated some of the prophetical books. Our translation of the New Testament is much indebted to Tyndale. A translation of the entire Bible, undertaken at the instance of Thomas Cromwell, was published by Miles Coverdale in 1535 and, being made from German and Latin versions, was inferior to Tyndale's.
       The first Bible printed by authority in England was an edition with a preface by Cranmer, hence called Cranmer's Bible. A royal proclamation in 1540 ordered it to be placed in every parish church. This continued, with various revisions, to be the authorized version till 1568. In 1557-1560 an edition appeared at Geneva, based on Tyndale's - the work of Whittington, Coverdale, Goodman, John Knox and other exiles, and commonly called the Geneva, or Breeches, Bible, from "breeches" standing instead of "aprons" in Genesis III, 7. This version, the first printed in Roman letters, and also the first to adopt the plan, previously adopted in the Hebrew, of a division into verses, was for sixty years the most popular in England and was allowed to be printed under a patent of monopoly in 1501. It omitted the Apocrypha, left the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews open and put words not in the original in italics. The Bishop's Bible, published 1568 to 1572, revised by Archbishop Parker and eight bishops, succeeded Cranmer's as the authorized version, but did not commend itself to scholars or people. In 1582 an edition of the New Testament, translated from the Latin Vulgate, appeared at Rheims, and in 1609-1610 the Old Testament was published at Douai. This is the version recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Apocrypha

       There are a number of sacred books not accepted by Protestants as authorized parts of the Bible, and to these the name Apocrypha has been applied. They are, however, accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. These books were written during the two centuries preceding the birth of Christ: The first and the second books of Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the rest of the book of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus, Baruch the Prophet, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and the Elders, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasses and the first  and second books of Maccabees.