Page images
PDF
EPUB

At this school he learnt no more than reading, writing, and arithmetic, and did not then show any remarkable ability.

When twelve years old he was put apprentice to a carpenter, and though he had no particular inclination for the trade, he pursued it with diligence. As he grew up he began to find pleasure in reading, and devoted his spare hours to the study of any book that fell in his way. In some of these books he at times met with Latin sentences, and was much mortified that he could not understand them. This led him to come to the determination that he would make himself acquainted with the Latin language; and at the age of seventeen he procured a Latin grammar, and a few easy books.

books. About this time he had a little money, which he employed in buying some more books, and by these means became master of the

Latin tongue.

Having finished his term of apprenticeship he resolved to set to work to acquire Greek. He purchased a Greek grammar and lexicon, and was soon able to read several authors in that language. He next made himself acquainted with Hebrew in the same way, and was able to read the Bible in the original, and the notes of learned Rabbins. He also learnt Syriac, the language which was spoken in Palestine in our Saviour's time.

All this wonderful progress was made without a single instructor, and without any hope of profit or of distinction, from a mere love of knowledge. Meanwhile he steadily carried on the carpenter's business, which was his only means of support. His friends often advised him not to give up all his leisure hours to such hard study; but he found in his books the most agreeable rest after the labours of the day.

In 1811 he married, and now thought it right to give himself up more entirely to his business; and perhaps he might from a sense of duty have abandoned his studies, but for an event which seemed at the time a most unfortunate accident, but appeared in the end to be an instance of God's providential care. Shortly after his marriage his house was burnt down, and he lost all his stock in trade.

Having now to begin the world anew, he thought of applying for the post of a village schoolmaster, and turned his particular attention for a time to English grammar and arithmetic. But while he was in a state of poverty, and anxiously seeking some humble employment, it happened providentially that Archdeacon Corbett heard of him. The archdeacon, after inquiry, found that his ability and learning were fully as great as had been stated, and obtained for him the mastership of the Blue School at Shrewsbury. He also introduced him to Mr. Scott, a man very learned in Eastern languages. Mr. Scott was astonished at the powers and acquirements of this humble student. He lent him some books in Persian and Arabic; and Lee soon mastered these and other Eastern languages. He now had full employment in his school, and in teaching some private pupils the languages of Hindostan in leisure hours.

The talents and learning of Sanuuel Lee were by this time better known. By his knowledge of Eastern languages he was admirably fitted to preach the gospel in the East; and the managers of the Church Missionary Society determined to place him at the university, as a step to sending him out as a missionary. He entered Queen's College, Cambridge: while there he studied especially the languages of the East, and was employed to edit an edition of the New Testament in Syriac, and also one in the Malay language.

It now became clear that he could do more good by remaining in England, and translating the Scriptures, for the use of the heathen, than by going abroad to preach himself.

The professorship of Arabic becoming vacant in Cambridge University, he was elected to that office,

some time afterwards made Professor of Hebrew; and the poor but industrious carpenter was known in Europe as the talented and distinguished Professor, Dr. Samuel Lee.

and was

LESSON 38.

THE IVY.

Dost thou not love, in the season of spring,

To twine thee a flowery wreath,
And to see the beautiful birch-tree fling

Its shade on the grass beneath ?
Its glossy leaf, and its silvery stem,
Oh! dost thou not love to look on them ?

And dost thou not love, when the leaves are greenest,

And summer has just begun,
When in the silence of moonlight thou hearest

Where glistening waters run,
To see, by that gentle and peaceful beam,
The willow bend down to the sparkling stream ?

And oh! in a lovely autumnal day,

When leaves are changing before thee,
Do not Nature's charms, as they slowly decay,

Shed their own mild influence o'er thee ?
And hast thou not felt, as thou stood’st to gaze,
The touching * lesson such scene displays ?

It should be thus at an age like thine,

And it has been thus with me,
When the freshness of feeling and heart were mine,

As they never more can be;
Yet think not I ask thee to pity my lot,
Perhaps I see beauty where thou dost not.
Hast thou seen, in winter's stormiest day,

The trunk of a blighted oak,
Not dead, but sinking in slow decay

Beneath Time's resistless stroke,
Round which a luxuriant | ivy had grown,
And wreath'd it with verdure $ no longer its own?

a

Perchance thou hast seen such sight, and then,

As I at thy years might do,
Pass'd carelessly by, nor turn'd again

That scathed wreck $ to view;
But
now,

I can draw from that mouldering tree Thoughts that are soothing and dear to me.

Oh! smile not, nor think it a worthless thing

If it be with instruction fraught;
That which will closest and longest cling

Is alone worth a serious thought!
Should aught be unlovely, which thus can shed
Grace on the dying, and leaves not the dead ?

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* Touching.] Which moves the heart.

Luxuriant.] Flourishing. I Verdure.] Greenness. § Scathed wreck.] Injured remains.

Now in thy youth, beseech of Him,

Who giveth, upbraiding not,*
That his light in thy heart become not dim,

And his love be unforgot;
And thy God, in the darkest of days, shall be
Greenness and beauty and strength to thee!

BERNARD BARTON.

* Upbraiding not.] Not reproaching.

LESSON 39.

MISSIONS TO THE HOTTENTOTS.- PART I.

QUITE in the south of Africa there is a tract of land, as large as Great Britain and Ireland joined together, which takes its name from the Cape of Good Hope, and is called the Cape Colony; and the capital of the colony, which is forty miles to the north of the Cape, is called Cape Town. Three ranges of mountains run across this country-the Long Kloof, the Black and the Snowy Mountains. The Snowy Mountains are the farthest to the north, and they are much higher than the others ; snow often lies upon them. A great wilderness of rock and sand reaches all the way from the Snowy to the Black Mountains; it is

s three hundred miles long and one hundred broad, and not a green bush or a blade of grass is to be seen there, excepting after heavy rains; this is the Great Karroo. (Karroo in South Africa means a desert.) Between the Black and the Long Kloof mountains there are some deserts, but there is also a great deal of fruitful land ; and between the Long Kloof and the

« PreviousContinue »