페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

their vocabulary) could yet hold preferment in a church professedly protestant, and so recklessly practise the very rites they were bound by their own vows to renounce as idolatrous and superstitious. It was therefore more in sorrow than in anger, that he heard Emma's avowal.

"I must love the Cross, uncle, when I think, as who can fail to do, of all its mournful and yet delightful associations! I must love it." Then raising her eyes and clasping her hands, she whispered audibly, " O Crux! Ave spes unica!"

"Emma!" said Mr. Singleton, rising in his emotion, and seizing her clasped hands, as if by this proceeding he hoped to neutralize an act of idolatry, for which alone the heart was responsible-Emma! my dear Emma! you can hardly be aware of the enormity of your guilt in offering to a mere piece of wood, the honor and worship which are alone due to God. If an angel, specially commissioned to open to the eyes of John in Patmos, as full a view as he could bear, of the glories of that great city, the holy Jerusalem above, could in a voice of thunder, denounce an act of worship paid to him, how can you be guiltless in thus calling on a shapeless piece of wood as your only hope?"

"But, uncle,” replied Emma, "we look beyond the symbol to the symbolized."

"As a catholic, you cannot do this," said Mr. Singleton, again taking up the little book and rapidly turning over its pages. Then, having found the chant required, he read as follows:

Crux Fidelis.

"O faithful Cross! O noblest Tree!

In all our woods, there's none like thee:
No earthly groves, no shady bowers,
Produce such leaves, such fruit, such flowers;
Sweet are the nails, and sweet the wood,
That bear a weight, so sweet, so good!

*

*

*

"Bend, towering tree! Thy branches bend!
Thy native stubbornness suspend;

Let not stiff nature use its force,

To weaker sap have now recourse;
With softest arms, receive thy load,
And gently bear our Dying God."

"If this, Emma," he continued, "be not idolatry of the grossest kind, I know not what is; especially when its use is preceded by all those forms connected with it in the Romish church. The priest, as you know too well, had previously uncovered the symbol, and carried it to a place before the altar, where the feet of the crucifix, having been first kissed by himself, were kissed by all the clergy and laity, two and two, kneeling thrice on both knees. And, here, is the paraphrase of your own very ejaculation. "Hail Cross! our Hope, on Thee we call, Who keep this mourning festival:

Grant to the just increase of grace,
And every sinner's guilt efface!"

Emma knew not what to say. Her conscience could not excuse the act; for she had really sunk the unseen and eternal, in the thing seen. But grieved as she was to witness the deep sorrow of her uncle, it can scarcely be wondered at if she attempted farther evasion. Like a practised Jesuit, though this was far from being her real character, she said,

"But, uncle, we do not understand the term 'adoration' as you do. Its meaning must be ascertained by the nature of the object, and the intention of the person who employs it."

"Its human meaning may, perhaps," rejoined Mr. Singleton; "but we are speaking of the sense in which God, and god-taught men, employ it. The word, then, signifies, as you yourself confess, that mark of respect which is shewn by the application of the hand to the mouth, from the latin words ad and ore. In this way it was understood by pious Job, who shuddered at the bare idea of paying such reverence even to the most glorious created symbol of the Great Unseen

"If I beheld the Sun when it shined, or the Moon walking in brightness,
And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand,
That also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge,
For I should have denied the God that is above."

The earnestness, tempered with genuine feeling, with which this last argument was uttered, convinced Emma that she was altogether unequal to measure lances with her uncle. She quitted her ground, and acknowledged her inability to carry on the contest unprepared. But hoping that Mr. Singleton might concede something, she spoke of the aids to devotion derivable from the

fittings up, and ornaments, and decorations of the sanctuarythe decencies and proprieties of worship as she called them.

"Your church, my dear Emma," said her uncle, "is in this, as in many other things, most inconsistent. At Easter, as you know, your altars are denuded, stripped of all ornaments, and left bare, or covered only with a plain black cloth. And why? To prevent,' as you, yourselves admit, all interruption in devotion.' Your aids,' therefore, on your own shewing, are interruptions, leading away from, and not towards, the only proper object of worship. They are distractions, and lets and hindrances, in your religious services, and lamentably calculated to divide or draw off those affections which belong exclusively to the Altogether Lovely."

The deep silence which followed these remarks, rendered audible the ticking of the time-piece upon the console-table near which Mr. Enderby was seated, and naturally induced him to turn round. It was near midnight. As he rose to take his leave, he said,

"Emma, my dear child, I need not tell you how deeply pained I am by your disclosures. You have seen it, and have felt with me, and for me. Of course you cannot remain here; I shall at once make arrangements for your removal, and in the mean time I would affectionately remind you that all the distressing anxiety you have caused me is due to one error only—a great one it must be confessed; but still an error, that if once rightly understood, may by God's grace be yet repented of and renounced. This awful mistake cannot be better set before you than in the words of Inspiration- Cursed is the man that trusteth in man.' A deference to human authority is the rock on which you have split. If God be God, follow him, but if man be God, then follow him.' The door once opened, the citadel must fall.”

We need not describe the parting scene. Her uncle was no sooner gone, than Emma rushing to her own room, again gave vent to her feelings in a copious flood of tears. Overcome by the struggle which her mind had that evening passed through, she soon retired for the night, but it was some time before she could obtain that rest in sleep she so much needed.

Mr. Singleton walked thoughtfully towards the town; his heart, no less than that of his niece, had been overtasked, and he

was meditating what arrangements he must make for her removal from the house where she had been so treacherously betrayed into the errors of a false creed and practice, when he heard the clatter of hoofs in the direction whither he was going. Looking up, he saw some hundred yards before him, though faintly through the cold haze, the form of a small low vehicle with four or five figures in it. The most conspicuous of these were two seated in the front, and trolling out some low tune. As the pony-chaise, for such it proved to be, drew nearer, the party acting as coachman leaned forward, and flourishing his whip, called out impertinently, in a feigned, querulous voice, to Mr. Singleton.

The night sees many things that the day would be ashamed of. The facetious coachman was no other than the Reverend Silenus Glossenfane, returning from the ball! And yet this conscientious clergyman would repair on the morrow" duly at clink of bell to morning prayer," that day being sacred to the H. R. E. memory of St. Simeon Stylites.

(To be continued.)

To H. R. E.

(See page 110.)

Your poor gipsy tramper a Sinner was born,
Like Bunyan, and all of his race,

To an heritage wretched, and poor, and forlorn-
Our glory and pride to abase.

But Bunyan, a Saviour most graciously found,
And we trust that your story will prove,
Like grace in the poor gipsy boy may abound,
Thro' a dying Redeemer's rich love.

Yet perhaps 'tis unfair, till the sequel I hear,
To risk giving cause of complaint-

Though your "Three Words" to me it would plainly appear,
Are Sinner, and Saviour, and Saint.*

Saffron Walden.

T. P.

* Our correspondent must either "guess again," or "give it up." H. R. E.

WHAT IS THE USE OF LEARNING GEOGRAPHY? "I am looking for my geography book," said Jane Grant, with a sigh, as she was rapidly inspecting the contents of a book-stand in her grandmamma's drawing room; "not that it is at all likely to be here, but I must look everywhere, I suppose, till I find it.”

The search was unsuccessful, and Jane left the room; but in a few minutes she returned, with a gleam of hope on her features, as addressing me, she said; "Do you think, Miss Smith, that I need mind about my geography book? perhaps I shall not require it at Oaklands: do you know if Mrs. Walters is particular about geography; because I have learnt through mine again and again ?”

My reply was, that I knew Mrs. Walters wished Jane and her sister to take all the books with them that they had been accustomed to use, though of course I could not answer for her desiring them to continue to learn out of the same: but as to geography itself, I could assure her that there were few branches of education to which Mrs. Walters attached greater importance, and I knew very well that her acquaintance with the subject was far too limited to admit of her indulging a hope of being allowed to discontinue it for a long time to come.

"I never liked geography," was her reply; "and I never shall. There is nothing I dislike so much as learning long lists of places, and I am sure it is of no use."

"But when you find the places in a map, surely you do not find it so difficult to commit them to memory?"

"But I never do find them in a map, it is so troublesome; and Miss Turner used to say it was a much greater exercise of memory to learn them without."

Poor Jane! I thought,—no wonder that you do not like the thought of commencing a new course of geography! Then thinking aloud, I said, "Well Jane, by the time I come to Oaklands I have no doubt I shall find that you enjoy your geography lesson as much as any other; for Mrs. Walters exerts herself to make everything she teaches, interesting; and where there is any desire for improvement, I never knew her unsuccessful."

I must now tell my young readers something about Jane Grant, as to many of them it will no doubt appear strange that she should have expressed such dislike to what is generally a favorite study.

« 이전계속 »