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As the weights of a clock run down slowly but surely to their lowest point, and remind the owner that another day or week has nearly ended, so our Magazine, having once more completed its annual course, reminds both its editor and its readers that another year has well-nigh reached its close. The monition is a serious, though it needs not be a saddening one. It is a fact of solemn interest, whenever another link is struck from the chain of life, leaving it shorter than ever it was before, and therefore able to compass so much less. The oil in our life-lamp was never so low as it is to-day. The light may long continue to burn with bright and steady flame, or it may soon grown dim and expire. We cannot tell ; we only know that there is less to sustain it than when this year began. We have planned and imagined and desired many things, but space and opportunity for their realization are daily and hourly becoming less. The foundations of character have been already laid, and a noble structure may yet be reared upon them ; but the day of labour is swiftly speeding on; the night, though still perhaps distant, is surely approaching; and with some of us, though all unconsciously to ourselves, the shadows of the evening are stretched out and the sun is hasting to his going down.
As the editor looks at the long array of twenty-two volumes of this Magazine for youth, and more particularly at the twelve which have been issued under his supervision, he is impressed with the fact that work, like time, is irrevocable. The years are ended; the volumes are closed; and that which each contains is beyond all human power to recall or modify. Should not the reader as well as the writer ponder this ? Each year as it closes passes from our grasp, and like the roll in the prophet's vision, is “ sealed up until the time of the end."
The editor would in these parting words affectionately ask all his young friends, if they are so living as that they can contemplate that time without fear? Are they shaping their course according to the principles of the gospel of Christ, while looking to His finished work as their only ground of acceptance with God ? Many and varied are the subjects which this Magazine brings under their notice from time to time; all are designed to be instructive and profitable; but the editor and his co-workers will feel that it has fallen short of its highest object if the young people, who read its pages with so much acknowledged interest and pleasure, do not earnestly seek to realize by happy experience that “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding."
To all who have aided him by their sympathy, their counsels, or their contributions, the editor tenders his heartiest acknowledgments; and asks an enlarged measure of this friendly co-operation on behalf of those who shall hereafter guide the onward, and he trusts increasingly prosperous course of the Bible Class and Youth's Magazine.
Bible Class & Youth's Magazine.
LAKE CONSTANCE AND ITS MARTYRS.
BY JAMES CROWTHER,
HE purifying fires of wrapped in contemplation, when the Reformation which a violent storm came
on which burst forth in Germany threatened him with destruction. in the year 1521 were With death and judgment before
first kindled in Eng- him, he vowed that if his life land in 1360. Smouldering for were spared he would consecrate nearly a century and a half, they it wholly to God; nor was he unwere revived in Bohemia in 1405; faithful, he was alarmed by the but, unquestionably, they are of terrific outbursts of nature, and English origin, and are amongst the awakened to newness of being. many remarkable events which made Exactly at the same time of life, the reign of the third Edward one in the twenty-third year of his age, of the most notable in the long about a hundred and fifty years list of kings. During his life there previous to this event, another were fifty years of military successes, young student was equally busy the great battles of Cressy and in his search after truth in one of Poictiers both belonging to that the rooms.of his college at Oxford. period, when the kings of France His application of the Word of God, and Scotland, and many other illus- and his views of the good news of trious men,
were amongst bis the kingdom of heaven, had earned prisoners. Nor were the achieve- for him the honourable appellation ments of the time confined to mili- of “The Gospel Doctor,"and he, like tary prowess alone, for commerce Luther, was startled into activity was greatly extended, and there was and decision by a national visitation a general revival of literature, good which equally affected his after taste, and intelligence amongst the life. people.
The reign of Edward the Third, It was during the year 1505 that so distinguished for military darLuther, then in his twenty-third ing and success; for the heroism year, was passing through the fields of the Black Prince, the king's in the neighbourhood of Erfurt, eldest son, and for his death;
for the birth of English poetry by tions of the papacy both at home and Chaucer, who courageously broke abroad. through the Latin language, in which The German Reformer was surmost seholars of the age were accus- rounded by heroic friends and comtomed to write, and who was the panions in the grand work abroad ; first to give to posterity English but Wycliffe stood, like a giant oak, poetry in the vernacular language, - alone in his works; while the results also was remarkable forthe prevalence were spreading all over the civilized of a pestilence, the most destructive world. They reached the shores of in the annals of the world. Origina- the glorious old Danube, and the ting in Tartary, it spread through German youth became a thoughtAsia, ravaged the greater part of ful disciple of the English ReEgypt, decimated the inhabitants of former, when the storm of 1505 the Grecian Islands, and finding its decided him for life. way along the shores of the Mediter- Who would have thought that ranean it visited every city, falling the “Gospel Doctor" of Oxford would with terrible force upon Italy. It be the forerunner of John Huss, the crossed the Alps and scourged almost "John the Baptist” of the Lutheran every nation in Europe. After wasting Reformation ? the inhabitants of many lands, for About this time there was two years it was accompanied in its general outcry in the European desolating work by a succession of nations at the enormities of the earthquakes which shook the Con- “Holy Roman See,” and no wonder; tinent to its very foundation. It true bits of Noah's Ark; soot from was during this period of convul- the burning fiery furnace of Nebusions abroad and the rapid spread of chadnezzar; hairs from saints' beards; the plague at home-when the breath of St. Joseph as it was caught weakest and the strongest were in a globe; and thousands of other falling down together; when the equally ridiculous relics were exhicattle were affected; when all agri- bited to the people or hawked about cultural employment was suspended, the streets for their inspection and and the courts of justice closed ; adoration, by one whose head was when the land groaned under the adorned with a large feather taken desolating hand of the black fever, from the wing of the Archangel that John de Wycliffe resolved that, Michael.* Besides all this, the imif his life were spared, the remainder morality of the clergy and their of his days should be devoted to God wholesale traffic in indulgences in proclamation of the truth of His stirred up the people; while the word.
fires of the Reformation The pestilencesubsided in England smouldering on. In the meantime, in 1348, and soon after Wycliffe's the doctrines and writings of first work appeared, and from that Wycliffe had spread from Oxford time till 1384, when he died, like throughout Christendom, having Luther, his whole life was devoted made the greatest way in Bavaria to preaching the gospel and publishing invectives against the abomina