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THE SPARROW ON THE
BY THE FATHER'S
N the province of Hesse, in named in the Bible, though
Germany, there is a village the Hebrew word which is
named Witteborn, in which so translated frequently
there lived a pastor named occurs. The word “spar
Segbert, who had won the rows' is found twice in the
love of all who knew him by Psalms of David. In Psalm
his holy life and conversation lxxxiv, 3, the sparrow hath and by bis earnest preaching of the Gospel. found an house,' and Psalm His wife, too, was a good and faithful soul,
cii. 7, I watch, and am as the joy of her husband and the blessing of a sparrow alone on the house-top.'
her house. Though poor they yet kept Yet the Hebrew word, which in these something over for the relief of others verses is translated sparrow,' and which
poorer than themselves. may be sounded like tzippor, is often used Thus the good couple might have lived in the Old Testament, but it is translated happily and contentedly together; but they merely bird ;' for though it is the proper had one son, their only child, who had name for a sparrow, yet it is used also for become a cause of sorrow to them. Both
Many writers think that in parents had done all they could to bring Psalm cii. the verse should be ‘I watch, up their child in the nurture and admoniand am like a bird alone on the house-top;' tion of the Lord.' They taught, they en
a for they say that the sense requires not a treated, they warned, and punished, as it lively chattering bird, fond of company, was needful.. They never neglected to like the sparrow, but rather some dull, pray for their son; but everything seemed moping bird, such as the owl, which sits to be in vain. There was a giddiness and
a watching solitarily on the house-top in the vanity in the lad which knew no bounds. night season. In Psalm lxxxiv. 3, the sense Though he had good gifts from God, yet seems to fit well with the narrower mean- he was, in his hours of study, so lazy and ing of the word, and sparrow' is rightly idle that he could only be made to learn by used; for, bold and pert as the sparrow is stern severity. Whenever a wild and misin other countries, it is still more so in the chievous prank was to be done, he was East: and even at the present time both sure to be at the head of his companions; sparrows and swallows fix their nests among so that the pastor's son, Wilhelm, was soon the beams and rafters of the sacred build- known and feared throughout the village. ings, and are to be heard twittering about The boy was sent by his father to the in the domes of the churches and of the public school at Fulda. Here matters were mosques at Jerusalem.
no better, but much worse, indeed, now that In his day David had often noticed these he was removed from his parents' oversight birds in his visits to the tabernacle, and and discipline. Wilhelm was lazy in school, when he was banished and desolate he and wild and giddy out of school. Only longed for the privilege ‘of being in the the sympathy which the head-master felt courts of God's House, from which even for his worthy parents saved the lad from these little birds were not shut out. being expelled. When he came home for
bis holidays, the cupning fellow knew so and escaped. For a long time he wancleverly how to behave himself that his dered about the Bohemian and Saxon fronfather found little occasion to punish him; tiers, in the ravines of the mountains, but when he returned to school he began where he met several like-minded comhis pranks again with fresh zest.
rades, who had fled from the same fate. Under such circumstances the boy made These fellows had no money; they were scarcely any progress at school.
too lazy to work, so they began to steal, very slowly from one class to another, after The pastor's had already often he had sat in each for long over the usual cheated and stolen at college, and he soon time. At last he went to college, and the became the chief of this robber-band, father hoped that he would now.conduct which spread terror in the towns and vilhimself better; but his hope was vain. lages far and near. All the efforts of the The youth gave himself up to gaming and police to capture the band, or to drive it dancing, drunkenness and riot. All that
away, were in vain. Segbert knew so well his faithful parents sent him out of their how to choose his hiding-places, and so hard savings was quickly squandered in the often changed them, that the police could circle of his bad friends. And what they never catch him or his men. The band exdenied him he managed to get by bor- tended their plundering expeditions from rowing, by cheating, and by lying.
Dresden to the neighbourhood of Prague. One morning this undutiful son suddenly Thus they went on for several years, with vanished, after he had stolen all the money increasing boldness. Louder
Louder and louder of a fellow-student, who lived in the same became the lamentations of the country house with him. After a time, the news at these robberies, which destroyed the came that he had entered the Imperial peace and security of the inhabitants. Austrian army as a recruit, and had gone At last, Segbert thought it better to to Prague, where the regiment in which leave those districts where he was so narhe was to serve had its head-quarters. The rowly watched, and to seek a new field for poor parents sacrificed the last remnant of his evil deeds. The band dispersed, in their little property in order to pay the order that they might more safely meet debts their graceless son had made, and again at an appointed spot. This time thereby to preserve their own good name; they had chosen the lands on the Rhine, but the grief weighed upon their hearts. and here they soon began their plunderings. Their house had become silent and desolate. Of his parents, in whose neighbourhood The father wandered about afflicted and he had now established himself, Segbert heart-broken, while the mother wept bitter scarcely ever thought. Thus the unhappy tears for her graceless son.
man sank deeper and deeper in wickedness. Wilhelm Segbert did not at all like the Soon a cry of dismay at the murderous band severe discipline which then prevailed in the
arose throughout the lands on the banks of army, and so he drew upon himself one pun- the Rhine. The most horrible stories of ishment after another. At last he committed their deeds were related; but it was espea crime which was always punished by the cially of their captain, whose name was a terrible running through the rods. Before, terror to all who had anything to lose, and however, the court-martial pronounced sen- was used even to quiet naughty children. tence upon him, he broke out of prison
(To be continued.)
THAT shall I render to Thee, Lord,
For all Thy gifts so kind!
Which in Thy truths I find.
But what's already Thine,
To Thee I now resign.
From morning unto eve,
For blessings I receive.
In forming me from clay,
Throughout each livelong day,
Redeeming me with such a price,
Which ne'er was understood : What love contained that sacrifice
Which shed my Saviour's Blood ! Thy praises I'll for ever sing
In canticles of love,
To Thee who reigns above.
Each grateful note to swell, The chord of all my melodies
Is-Christ did all things well.
Throughout all ages be,