Page images

it were on the mirror-like surface of the transparent river, and immediately below me the fishing-nets drying in the sun, and the little boats drawn up on the beach ; all forming as lovely a picture of still life as ever soothed the spirits, or charmed the fancy. At such moments of exquisite enjoyment, when not a sound broke the stillness, save the silvery rippling of the waves against the pebbly shore, there has seemed a sort of quiet enchantment over the whole scene, and I have scarcely dared to breathe lest I should break the spell. Then in the evening when the tide is out, and all the little fishing-boats are astir, and the nets taken down from their long poles, how busy is the scene! What a hum of voices rises from the beach ; how eager is the look-out, as the net is dragged ashore, for the glancing scales of the salmon, leaping and struggling in its mesbes; what disappointment in the impatient gesture with which it is fung down when nothing has been caught! Many an interesting scene in holy writ, and thoughts of Him who once stood by Gennesaret's lake and watched the toils of the lowly fishermen, rise up at the sight. And now the picture darkens: the shades of night begin to fall, and 'sweet Glanmire' has faded away in the distance. Bright and high beams the watchlight on the castle-tower, and the far-off town shines out like a terrestrial constellation with the united radiance of its many lamps. Along the shore, from every isolated villa there gleams a light whose bright reflection trembles in the deep dark waters; and on the river too are many tiny fires, flashing into momentary brilliancy from the deck of some little vessel at anchor, dancing and sparkling in the waves below, and then subsiding into sudden darkness.

Not always is the scene from the terrace of this calm and placid character. Oh no! And beautiful it is to see the tossing waves, crested and tipped with white, and the sea-birds wheeling over-head, or breasting the billows, rising and sinking on their swelling surface. And spirit-stirring is the sight when the majestic brig, the graceful sloop or schooner, with its bright red sails and slanting masts, comes bearing on under a press of canvass ; walking the waters like a thing of life,” while the sun-beams glance from its polished sides, and a cloud of milkwhite spray is leaping and playing around the prow. Or when the superb steamer sweeps rapidly by, leaving behind it a sable pennon of curling smoke overhead, and beneath a foaming track in the disturbed and heaving waters. But let me not forget the witching moonlight hour: then indeed does the Lee look her loveliest. The heavens one canopy of splendid purple,—the silver moon mirroring herself in the flood; earth and sky full of soft shadowy light, excepting in that one bright spot where the moon-beams are sleeping on the river, and the waves are glittering in their silver sheen.' Truly it is an enchanting hour! A holy calm seems shed abroad; the heavens are telling the glory of God, the firmament shewing his handy-work; not a breath disturbs the aspirations of the soul towards her Creator, not a sound is heard, save the measured swell of the tide, the soft rushing of the night breeze through the tall cypresses, and the long, wild, plaintive cry of the curlews answering each other along the shore.

To-day all is wrapped in gloom, and a thick December mist overhangs the lovely view from my favorite terrace. I would not it were otherwise. Many

hearts around are sad, and when the spirit is in heaviness, the smiling earth and brilliant sunshine jar painfully against it: we seek for sympathy even in inanimate objects, and that of unconscious nature soothes us in our hour of distress. My eyes are fixed on yonder gliding stream, but my thoughts have taken their mournful way across the fields to Douglas church, and they are busy with the scene within its walls this morning at the hour of prayer. Well I ween that many a tearful eye was there, and many a faultering voice, when the hymn was raised, refused to do its office, and many a heart was wrung with anguish at the sight of that pulpit. Well may they mourn, that little flock! their beloved shepherd is gone ! Sudden and stunning was the blow. His sun went down at noon. Three Sabbaths since he was in his place, full of life and youth, in all the pride of intellect, rejoicing in his bright and useful career, doing his Master's work with all the energy and zeal of his most gifted mind; now that place shall know him no more: three Sabbaths since bis elastic footsteps trod those courts, and there he administered to his people the Lord's supper; (Alas ! how little did they then imagine it was the last time they should receive it from his beloved hands !) now the dast has returned to the earth as it was, and the spirit unto God who gave it. Oh well may they mourn! Well may the desolation caused by the sad news be wide and far-spread as it is. Never was minister so prized, so loved as the Rev. Horace Tnever was confidence more endearing than that which subsisted between him and his parishioners. Their friend, their guide, their counsellor; the delightful companion of their social hours, adorning every sub

ject he touched upon with the rich stores of bis highly-cultivated mind; his conversation full of animation, gracefully blending the sparkling intelligence of the man of refined intellect, with the deep spirituality of the Christian minister. The voice of mourning sounds from every house and cottage ; rich and poor, all have lost a friend :-one who entered into their every joy and sorrow, and sympathised with them in all their difficulties and afflictions. Truly he was made for sympathy. I never heard a voice so full of tenderness,- -so finely modulated to express the kindliest feelings,—so affectionate in its rich, sweet tones. It was indeed the faithful echo of a heart overflowing with benevolence and Christian love.

Mr. T- was as distinguished a preacher as he was indefatigable in the active labours of his parish. The numbers that flocked from all parts to hear him were so great that it was found necessary to increase the accommodations of Douglas church, by erecting galleries and making additional pews. His sermons were of a very high order, appealing forcibly as well to the reason as to the affections, by the clearness and beauty of the arguments, and the touching tenderness of the imagery throughout. They evidently flowed from a heart full of the kindliest feelings, combined with a masterly intellect; and were delivered with so much life and animation, such an earnest and intelligent conviction on the part of the preacher of the value, the reality of what he uttered, that the effect was irresistible. And then his countenance,so bright, so animated, so full of holy joy and Christian love, so indicative of the character of his religion; that he served the Lord with gladness, and

rejoiced in him alway. Truly the Irish church has lost a distinguished ornament, and her members a living epistle, known and read of all men, preaching by example as well as doctrine.

But among the many whom this calamity has weighed down with sorrow, there is one before whose bitter anguish every other sinks into nothing. Oh who can think of her without a bleeding heart ! widowed and desolate in her early youth ; the bright morning of life darkened by such a cloud,-such smiling prospects marred ! hers is indeed a heavy trial: the cup of domestic happiness scarcely tasted when it was dashed from her lips,-left with an orphan babe, and soon to become mother of one on whom no father's smile can ever rest, for whom no father's heart can ever leap with joy when tidings are brought that “ a man is born into the world.”

This is one of those events that exercise the faith of the Christian, and force us to confess that the Lord's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. Short-sighted man would have pleaded for the continued life of this young and gifted minister, and have pronounced that the church could but ill spare his valuable labours at such a time as this. New duties, new responsibilities, a new career, as it were, was just opened before him, and he had hardly embarked in it, with all the characteristic energy of his zealous and buoyant mind, when he was cut down as a flower. But a few short months since he was appointed to the living, where for some years past he acted as curate to the former incumbent. On the death of the late rector it was destined to another than Mr. T-, but so strong, so unanimous, so irresistible was the petition for

« PreviousContinue »