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he was taken sick, and died in a few days. His widow being left in poor circumstances, came to live in our neighbourhood, where, I am happy to say, she enjoys a peace the world can neither give nor take away. Previous to her husband's death, she had been a gay and thoughtless woman; but her misfortunes have been sanctified to her, and she is now enabled with resignation to say, • Thy will be done ! ”
The next house which met my eye, was the property of an old bachelor, named B
“ He is a very singular man," continued my friend, "and although generally considered a good christian, he never seems satisfied with his situation. He is constantly finding fault with the manner in which the affairs of the Parish are managed, and takes every opportunity to tell our good Rector, how swimmingly things went on in the town where he lived formerly. But as no one else is able to discover the defects of which he complains, his efforts to make a disturbance are unavailing.” Being very litttle interested in the character of this man, the conversation was broken off, as soon as we came in sight of the next house, which showed by the neatness of its appearance, that it was inhabited by at least an industrous family.
“ Here,” observed my companion, " is the residence of a Deacon of the Presbyterian Sect in this village. I believe him to be very sincere in every thing that he does, but he certainly is guilty of some indiscretions. You will better understand what I mean, after having heard a little more about him.
“ From sunset on Saturday evening until Monday morning, a shade of gloom settles over his whole establishment, and in this way he thinks to obey the Divine command, to 'Keep holy the Sabbath Day.' Early on Sunday morning, his whole family ar collected for religious exercises, which continue until the hour for meeting draws near, when they hasten to the village, to attend preaching. The intermission is occupied by a prayer meeting, and the afternoon finds them sitting under' another sermon. The children are then hurried home, that supper may be despatched in time for a temperance or abolition lecture in the evening. The effect of these proceedings on the minds of the young, is to give them a distaste for any thing like religion, and leads them always to associate piety with a sanctimonious exterior, and gloom, and disquietude within. How different is this from the pleasant and peaceful ways in which God would have His children walk! The particulars I have just mentioned, may be considered as forming a part of every Sunday in the year. During the winter,
however, other duties are added to these. A revival then begins, and I have been forced again and again to witness the deplorable effects of these unnatural excitements. The worthy deacon regards them as 'hot-beds, where true piety is engendered, and uses all his influence to keep them in operation. He frequently supports several poor families during the winter, on condition that they constantly attend these meetings: but when spring returns, they go back again, more confirmed than ever in their allegiance to the evil one. Did the bad effects of this system stop here, there would not be so much reason to complain. There are however several inmates of the Lunatic Asylum, in—, whose insanity was brought on by revivals in our village.”.
We now reached a turn in the road, and saw the venerable Rector, slowly riding towards us. He stopped his horse as he came up, and informed us that he was going to visit Mrs. B-, in a distant part of the Parish, whom he understood was dangerously ill.
Some further conversation on various subjects brought us to the village, where my friend transacted his business, and we set out on our return. He then resumed his conversation as follows: “I really feel a good deal of anxiety about poor Mrs. B
and am somewhat curious to know in what state of mind our good Clergyman will find her. She is a person concerning whom I shall only allow myself to say a little, though I know a great deal.
“Mrs. B- is a widow with two children, a boy and a girl, the one twelve and the other fourteen years of age; her husband left her a large fortune, consisting of a fine landed estate, and a handsome sum at interest; yet were you to visit her establishment, you would hardly credit what I have stated. She drives to Church in a miserable waggon, drawn by a broken down old horse, which ought to have been liberated from bondage long ago. The smallest number of hands that can possibly get through with the farm work, is all that she employs, and the in-door arrangements are conducted on a similar scale. After this account of the rigid economy, which extends to every branch of the widow's concerns, you have doubtless pictured to yourself a very charitable person, giving much to feed the poor, clothe the naked, and advance the interests of the Church of the Redeemer. But this is not the case. It is true among persons but partially acquainted with her, she enjoys this reputation; but she really does not deserve it. Mrs. B- is one of those who lay great stress on faith, as if faith alone could save them. Whereas St. James expressly says, ' faith without works is dead, and by works a man is justified,
and not by faith only.'* Our article (xii.) on this subject, declares that “Good works are the fruits of faith. In order that the poorer members of the congregation may feel no embarrasment in casting their mite into the treasury of the Lord, when the rich give of their abundance, as God expects them to do, our Clergyman requests that all contributions to Missionary and other charitable objects, should be enclosed in a piece of paper before being dropped into the plate. You will hardly believe it when I tell you, that the smallest silver coin is all that Mrs. B- allows herself to give, and the children are taught to hand in coppers, wrapped up in the way I have described. The larger portion of her income, as you will perceive, lies in her hands unexpended, and is suffered to accumulate, for what purpose none can tell. I have said more than I intended when I began," observed my companion, as we left the road and turned up towards the house, “for it is a subjeet which I seldom talk about, and when I do, it always pains me.”
Late in the afternoon, the Rector returned from his ride, and halted a few moments by the gate, to answer our inquiries concerning Mrs. B. The old man was unable to conceal his emotion, when he told us that she was dead. Finding that he was much fatigued, my friend insisted on his coming in and passing the night, and after some importunity he was induced to do so. “I have seldom been called upon to witness a more distressing scene,” said he, seating himself by the parlour window, “ and God grant that it may quicken my diligence in the performance of the work He has given me to do. I found Mrs. B- much lower than I ant ted, and according to the directions of the Church, went through the office for the visitation of the sick. I gently reminded her (as the rubric directs,) that in this hour of extremity, she should not be forgetful of the poor and afflicted, but administer to their necessities.
“She appeared much distressed and said, “Oh Sir, this is what I have been so long neglecting—this is what my children have learned from my example to do.' The little boy and girl stood by the bed side weeping; calling them close to her she continued ; 'My dear children, I have been doing you a great wrong, which may prove your ruin. God has given me abundant wealth, which I have neither enjoyed myself, nor suffered others to benefit by. Take my dying advice, and live moderately upon the property that I shall leave, and be liberal according as God has blessed
* St. James ii. 20—24.
you; our Minister here has always been very kind to us, and he will tell you how to act when I am gone. Oh what a time is this to begin to bring forth the fruits of repentance !
“I saw that she was exhausting herself by this exertion to speak, and begged her to be more composed. I spoke of the exceeding love of Christ for sinners, and all that He had done and suffered that they might be saved.' 'Oh sir! she exclaimed, this you have told me a hundred times; but what have I been doing for this Saviour's cause? What was my money bestowed upon me for, if not to promote His glory? As often as she would allow me to say anything, I pointed her to the cross of Christ, and she breathed her last in calling upon Him to save her. God grant that we may all so number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.'”
The next Sunday I found myself in Church some time before the hour for morning prayer. The congregation had not assembled, and I began to prepare myself by a little medi ion for the solemn service about to be performed. For this purpose, I opened my prayer book and commenced reading that beautiful exhortation, by which our Church worshippers are reminded of their duty and privilege.—“Although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God, yet ought we most chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits which we have received at His hands, to set forth His most worthy praise, to hear His most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul.” At this moment my attention was attracted by a noise in another part of the Church, and on looking round I saw several men collected together in a pew, 'engaged in earnest conversation. “ Mr. J-" said one of them, “have you heard anything from Canada lately?” “Why, yes,” answered J“I noticed some little news about the failure of the crops.” “Will not that be apt to raise the price of our wheat, Mr. D- ?" inquired another. “Yes, I should think it would,” replied D“Do you know how much wheat is selling for now.” Coming along this morning by the miller's, I stopped to ask him, and he said he was giving eight-and-six.” “Well, I dont know but this is a very fair price, but I have such a good crop this year, that I think I shall hold on a little longer.”
Here the clergyman came out of the vestry, and interrupted this profitable conversation. Is the temple of the great Jehovah, thought I, a suitable place to discuss the affairs of the nation and the state of the markets ? Is a house consecrated to the
service of the Lord, separated from all unhallowed and common uses, and dedicated to His service, for reading His holy word, for celebrating His holy sacraments, for offering to His glorious majesty the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, for blessing His people in His name, and for the performance of all other holy offices, to be desecrated in this manner? I was so much discomposed by what I had heard, that I almost forgot where I was, until the voice of the clergyman, reading the sentences, reminded me that we were indeed in the presence of the Most' High. In alluding to the mournful event of the past week, the Rector besought his people to employ the present to fit them for the trying hour of death ; that then they might have recourse to God, not as a Judge to be appeased, but as a Father already reconciled. He also reminded them of these passages :-"Be merciful after thy power. If thou hast much give plenteously; if thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little, for so gatherest thou thyself a good reward, in the day of adversity.”
Years have rolled away since the events recorded in this little history took place, and many of the actors have gone the way of all the earth.
The venerable Pastor is numbered with the dead, but has left behind many deeds of his ministry, the fragrant memory of an able minister of Jesus Christ, and a faithful steward of the mysteries of God.
THE POOL OF SILOAM.
The pool of Siloam is a reservoir of artificial construction, fifty-three feet long, by eighteen broad, into which a small stream flows, and is led off to irrigate the gardens of fig and fruit trees that lie along the slope of the valley of Jehosaphat. The stream enters the pool through a subterranean channel cut in the solid rock, and comes from the fountain of the virgin, higher up in the valley. The irregular flow of the water is first distinctly mentioned by Jerome, in one of his commentaries, towards the close of the fourth century, who remarks: “Siloam is a fountain at the foot of Mount Zion, whose waters do not flow regularly, but on certain days and hours, and issue with a great noise from hollows and caverns in the hardest rock.” An earlier record, in the same century—that of a still extant Itinerary from Bourdeaux to Jerusalem-magnifies this circumstance into a flowing for six days and nights, and a resting on the seventh day; an
* Tobit iv. 8, 9.