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Address to our Readers.
THE Christian Pioneer has now been in existence for more than thirty years. This is a long time in the life of any man, but it is longer still in the life of a periodical. During these thirty years we have been able, we know from various sources, to speak a word to him who was weary; to help the discouraged; to warn the unwary; and to strengthen those of fearful heart. And for all this we heartily thank God.
We hope, however, that our many readers will give us their help still further to widen our influence during the present year. They may easily do this, by showing our humble periodical to those of their acquaintance who do not at present see it, and by lending it to those who are their nearest neighbours. Its cheapness should be one of its recommendations to our new friends; but we hope that the character of its contents will prove to be another and even more weighty reason for giving it a welcome. We will do our best that, on this score, there shall be an increase of attraction in its pages.
Our older readers will notice that we have introduced three changes in the contents of this Number; and we would call their special attention to them.
One is, the "Notes and Queries," in which we propose to insert brief answers to questions by correspondents, chiefly on matters connected with the Scriptures of the New Testament, but open also to general subjects, especially such as should interest Christian men and Englishmen.
Another is, a change in the general character of the items usually put under the heading "The Fireside."
“The Children's Corner" will in future be made more attractive: an Engraving will be introduced, consisting of domestic and historical scenes, or sketches in natural history. Children always like pictures, and grown up people do not object to them.
We confidently throw ourselves on the sympathy and help of our friends, who may largely help us in making this old and welltried favourite still more popular, and wish them, one and all, A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR; happy in the work they do, and prosperous in the highest of all senses, growing in truth, and righteousness, and love for the Master and Lord.
VOYAGE OF A MONOLITH.
VOYAGE OF A MONOLITH.
A LEAF of the old Egyptian history is to be inserted into the British annals of our times. A memorial of Thothmes III. and Rameses II. is to stand in the capital of Victoria I. The Christian city of London is to be adorned with an imperishable record of the oppressive rule of that old Pharaoh "who made the children of Israel to serve with rigour" before the days of Moses.
While we write there is on the way to England from Egypt a notable present, which was given to the British Government fiftyseven years ago by Mehemet Ali, the regenerator of Egypt, and grandfather of the present Khedive, but which has remained untouched for over half a century. It is one of the two famous obelisks at Alexandria, popularly known as Cleopatra's Needle and Pompey's Pillar. They are of red granite from the quarries of Syene or Assouan, on the Nile, near the borders of Nubia, from which they were floated to the famous city of Heliopolis to stand as sentinels before the Temple of Neptune fifteen centuries before Christ. After fifteen hundred years they were again dislodged and removed to Alexandria to adorn the palace of the Ptolemies. It has been supposed that they were removed by Cleopatra, but two inscriptions upon the one that has recently been shipped to England, one in Latin, the other in Greek, show that it was erected in Alexandria in the eighth year of Augustus Cæsar's reign, or about thirty-two years before the birth of Christ.
The gift of the distinguished Viceroy was indeed a valuable one from its historic interest and its intrinsic worth, but it was none the less embarrassing. The old proverb forbids a recipient to look a gift horse in the mouth, but in this case it was no trifling thing to accept the stately offering. It lay, where it had been buried for centuries, in the sand, a single shaft sixty-six feet in length, and seven feet square at its base. How to excavate it, and how to remove it when excavated, was a problem involving engineering skill and no little expense, The obelisk that adorns the Palace de la Concorde, in Paris, had required nearly half a million of dollars to place it in its present position. That might not be a grievous burden to a wealthy Government like Great Britain, but it showed that the present was not a free gift. The Government did not feel justified in undertaking its removal, and it has at last been left to private generosity and skill to secure it.
The obelisk lay about sixty feet from the shore of the MediterA short length was completely excavated, and a sec
THE WORD "OUGHT."
of wrought iron cylindrical pontoon was built around it. When that portion of the obelisk was securely fixed to this part so as to rest upon it, another length was excavated, and another section of the pontoon built, till the whole cylinder was constructed, ninetytwo feet long and fourteen in diameter, tapering at each end to a vertical edge, with the obelisk securely fixed in the centre. At the top of the pontoon, which is water-tight and hermetrically sealed, is a small deck-house, with steering wheel and accommodation for three men; above it there is a long, narrow hurricane deck and a mast with two sails. An inclined roadway was dug to the sea-wall, down which the pontoon, when finished, was rolled to the sea-a kind of launching that would not be popular in our navy-yards. Afloat on the waters of the Mediterranean, it was ready to be towed its long voyage to London. Where it is to stand when it reaches there, and whether English engineers can equal the skill of the old Egyptians in handling such gigantic masses of stone, are yet to be seen.
THE WORD "OUGHT."
TAKE the single syllable ought and weigh it, my surprising sceptical friends, and do so according to the sternest rules of the scientific method. How are we to ascertain what this word weighs unless it be by experiment? What experiment shall we try with it, if it be not that of weighing over against it something very heavy? What shall we weigh against the one word ought? Here is a soldier with an empty sleeve. There was a day when the question arose whether he ought to go to the front in the war. He had to maintain father and mother; and the word home is supposed to be a very weighty one. Heavier than the word father or mother is the word wife. He weighed that word, and the others with it, against the one word ought; and father, and mother, and wife went up in the scale, and ought went down, and he went to the front. Is ought scientifically known to weigh anything? Here is another soldier who has father, mother, wife, and children to weigh against that insignificant syllable; and he weighed them, in the morning, and the noons-in both the sacred twilights, as they say in India, —and in the midnights. Father, mother, wife, and children were words to which he allowed their full weight. He was the only support of his family; but the one word ought again and again carried up the weight of these weightiest contradicting syllables. What if this soldier and that could have put into the left-hand
scale all that men value in wealth, and honour, or reputation? I will not suppose the word honour to have any other meaning than reputation, for I cannot weigh ought against ought; and a man ought to maintain his honour. We must not be so unscientific as to weigh a thing against itself. But we put it here, outward standing among men, and wealth, and life. If you please, sum up the globes as so much silver and the suns as so much gold, and cast the hosts of heaven, as diamonds on a necklace, into one scale, and if there is not in it any part of the word ought-if ought is absent in the one scale and present in the other-up will go your scale laden with the universe, as a crackling paper scroll is carried aloft in a conflagration ascending towards the stars. Is it not both a curious and appalling fact, this weight of the word ought—and yet a fact absolutely undeniable? Where is the materialist or the pantheist who dares assert that I am making this syllable too heavy? You may weigh against that word everything but God, and it will outweigh all but Himself. I cannot imagine God weighed against ought. Precisely here is the explanation of a mystery. God is in that word ought, and therefore it outweighs all but God.-Joseph Cook.
THE wife of Louis XIV., writing to her friend Madame de la Maisonfort, says, "Why can I not give you my experience? Why can I not make you sensible of that uneasiness which preys upon the great, and the difficulty they labour under to employ their time? Do you not see that I am dying with melancholy in a height of fortune which once my imagination could scarce have conceived? I have been young and beautiful—have had a relish of pleasure-and have been the universal object of love. In a more advanced age I have spent years in intellectual pleasure. I have at last risen to favour; but I protest to you, my dear madame, that every one of these conditions leaves in the mind a dismal vacuity."
God, who made the human heart, so formed it that while many things can please, only one can satisfy, and that is God Himself. To think of peace and rest without Him is folly and madness. The experience of ages is, man tries the world, exhausts its joys and pleasures, and cries out, All is vanity and vexation of spirit." Thirst is not quenched by sand; hunger is not appeased by gold; pain is not cured by merchandise; and a sinful, ruined world, with