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immediately behind that white church, with its spire cutting into the sky before you. You descend on the other side, and, having advanced a few perches, look to the left, where you see a long thatched chapel, only distinguished from a dwellinghouse by its want of chimneys, and a small stone cross that stands on the top of the eastern gable ; behind it is a grave-yard, and beside it a snug public-house, well white-washed ; then, to the right, you observe a door, apparently in the side of a clay bank, which rises considerably above the pavement of the road. What! you ask yourself, can this be a human habitation ? But ere you have time to answer the question, a confused buzz of voices from within reaches your car, and the appearance of a little gossoon, with a red close-cropped head and Milesian face, having in his hand a short white stick, or the thigh bone of a horse, which you at once recognise as 'the pass' of a village school, gives you the full information. He has an ink-horn, covered with leather, dangling at the button-hole (for he has long since played away the buttons) of his frieze jacket—his mouth is circumscribed with a streak of ink—his pen is stuck knowingly behind his ear-his shins are dotted over with fire-blisters, black, red, and blue-on each heel a kibe-his 'leather crackers,' videlicet, breeches, shrunk up upon him, and only reaching as far down as the caps of his knees. Having spied you, he places his hand over his brows, to throw back the dazzling light of the sun, and peers at you from under it, till he breaks out into a laugh, exclaiming, half to himself, half to you
“You a gintleman!—no, nor one of your breed never was, you procthorin'thief you!"
You are now immediately opposite the door of the seminary, when half a dozen of those seated next it notice you.
“Oh, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse !--masther, sir, here's a gintleman on a horse, wid boots and spurs on him, that's looking in at us.”
“Silence !” exclaims the master ; “ back from the door -- boys, rehearse every one of you rehearse, I say, you Bæotians, till the gintleman goes past !"
“I want to go out, if you plase, sir."
“What! is it afther contradictin' me you'd be ? Don't you see the 'porter's' out, and you can't go."
“Well, ’tis Mat Meehan has it, sir ; and he's out this half-hour, sir ; I cant stay in, sir." “ You want to be idling your time looking at the giutleman, Phelin."
No, indeed, sir.”
Phelim, I knows you of ould go to your sate. I tell you, Phelim, you were born for the encouragement of the hemp manufacture, and you'll die promoting it."
In the mean time the master puts his head out of the door, his body stooped to a “half bend"-a phrase, and the exact curve which it forms, I leave for the present to your own sagacity-and surveys you until you pass. That is an Irish hedge-school, and the personage who follows you with his eye a hedge-schoolmaster.
41.-THE RISING OF THE WATERS.
GALT. [JOHN GALT, a man of decided genius, though very unequal in his efforts, was born in Ayrshire in 1779. He died in 1839. It was late in life before he discovered the proper direction of his talents—that of quiet fiction, founded upon a faithful observation of the domestic characteristics of the humbler classes of his own countrymen. "The Annals of the Parish,'--the work which at once established his reputation, - was published in 1821.• Lawrie Todd,' from which the following is an extract, appeared in 1830, after Mr. Galt's return from an official station in Canada. As a picture of the Scotchman in America, there is nothing superior in homely truth and quaint humour.]
About daybreak it began to rain, and continued to pour with increasing violence all the morning ; no one thought of stirring abroad who could keep within shelter. My boys and I had for task only to keep the fire at the door of the shanty brisk and blazing, and to notice that the pools which began to form around us did not become too large ; for sometimes, besides the accumulation of the rain, little streams would suddenly break out, and, rushing towards us, would have extinguished our fire, had we not been vigilant.
The site I had chosen for the shanty was near to a little brook, on the top of the main river's bank. In fine weather, no situation could be more beautiful ; the brook was clear as crystal, and fell in a small cascade into the river, which, broad and deep, ran beneath the bank with a swift but smooth current.
The forest up the river had not been explored above a mile or two: all beyond was the unknown wilderness. Some vague rumours of small lakes and beaver dams were circulated in the village, but no importance was attached to the information : save but for the oecasional little torrents with which the rain sometimes hastily threatened to extinguish our fires, we had no cause to dread inundation.
The rain still continued to fall incessantly : the pools it formed in the hollows of the ground began, towards noon, to overflow their banks, and to become united. By and by something like a slight current was observed passing from one to another ; but, thinking only of preserving our fire, we no farther noticed this than by occasionally running out of the shanty into the shower, and scraping a channel to let the water run off into the brook or the river.
It was hoped that about noon the rain would slacken ; but in this we were disappointed. It continued to increase, and the ground began to be so flooded, while the brook swelled to a river, that we thought it might become necessary to shift our tent to a higher part of the bank. To do this we were, however, reluctant, for it was impossible to encounter the deluge without being almost instantly soaked to the skin ; and we had put the shanty up with more care and pains than usual, intending it should serve us for a home until our house was comfortably furnished.
About three o'clock the skies were dreadfully darkened and overcast. I had never seen such darkness while the sun was above the horizon, and still the rain continued to descend in cataracts, but at fits and intervals. No man, who had not seen the like, would credit the description.
Suddenly a sharp flash of lightning, followed by an instantaneous thunder-peal, lightened up all the forest ; and almost in the same moment the rain came lavishing along as if the windows of heaven were opened ; anon another flash, and a louder peal burst upon us, as if the whole forest was rending over and around us.
I drew my helpless and poor trembling little boys under the skirts of my great coat.
Then there was another frantic flash, and the roar of the thunder was augmented by the riven trees that fell, cloven on all sides in a whirlwind of splinters. But though the lightning was more terrible than scimitars, and the thunder roared as if the vaults of heaven were shaken to pieces and tumbling in, the irresistible rain was still more appalling than either. I have said it was as if the windows of heaven were opened. About sunset, the ground floods were as if the fountains of the great deep were breaking up.
I pressed my shivering children to my bosom, but I could not speak. At the common shanty, where there had been for some time an affectation of mirth and ribaldry, there was now silence : at last, as if with one accord, all the inhabitants rushed from below their miserable shed, tore it into pieces, and ran with the fragments to a higher ground, crying wildly, “The river is rising !"
I had seen it swelling for some time, but our shanty stood so far above the stream, that I had no fear it would reach us. Scarcely, however, had the axemen escaped from theirs, and planted themselves on the crown of a rising ground nearer to us, where they were hastily constructing another shed, when a tremendous crash and roar was heard at some distance in the woods, higher up the stream. It was so awful, I had almost said so omnipotent, in the sound, that I started on my feet, and shook my treasures from me. For a moment the Niagara of the river seemed almost to pause—it was but for a moment—for, instantly after, the noise of the rending of weighty trees, the crashing and the tearing of the rooted forest, rose around. The waters of the river, troubled and raging, came hurling with the wreck of the woods, sweeping with inconceivable fury everything that stood within its scope ;—a lake had burst its banks.
The sudden rise of the waters soon, however, subsided; I saw it ebbing fast, and comforted my terrified boys. The rain als) began to abate. Instead of those dreaded sheets of waves which fell upon us as if some vast ocean behind the forest was heaving over its spray, a thick continued small rain came on; and, about an hour after sunset, streaks and breaks in the clouds gave some token that the worst was over ;-it was not, however, so, for about the same time a stream appeared in the hollow, between the rising ground to which the aiemen had retired, and the little knoll on which our shanty stood ; at the same time the waters in the river began to swell again. There was on this occasion no abrupt and bursting noise ; but the night was fast closing upon us, and a hoarse muttering and angry sound of many waters grew louder and louder on all sides.
The darkness and increasing rage of the river, which there was just twilight enough to show was rising above the brim of the bank, smote me with inexpressible terror. I snatched my children by the hand, and rushed forward to join the axemen ; but the torrent between us rolled so violently that to pass was impossible, and the waters still continued to rise.
I called aloud to the axemen for assistance ; and, when they heard my desperate cries, they came out of the shed, some with burning brands and others with their axes glittering in the flames; but they could render no help; at last, one man, a fearless backwoodsman, happened to observe, by the firelight, a tree on the bank of the torrent, which it in some degree overhung, and he called for others to join him in making a bridge. In the course of a few minutes the tree was laid across the stream, and we scrambled over, just as the river extinguished our fire and swept our shanty away.
This rescue was in itself so wonderful, and the scene had been so terrible, that it was some time after we were safe before I could rouse myself to believe I was not in the fangs of the nightmare. My poor boys clung to me as if still not assured of their security, and I wept upon their necks in the ecstasy of an unspeakable passion of anguish and joy.
About this time the mizzling rain began to fall softer ; the dawn of the morn appeared through the upper branches of the forest, and here and there the stars looked out from their windows in the clouds. The storm was gone, and the deluge assuaged; the floods all around us gradually ebbed away, and the insolent and unknown waters which had so swelled the river shrunk within their banks, and, long before the morning, had retired from the scene.
Need I say that anthems of deliverance were heard in our camp that night ? Oh, surely no! The woods answered to our psalms, and waved their mighty arms; the green leaves clapped their hands ; and the blessed moon, lifting the veil from her forehead, and looking down upon us through the boughs, gladdened our solemn rejoicing.
ROBERT HALL. [The following ‘Half Hour' is from a Sermon entitled “The Advantages of Knowledge to the Lower Classes,
' preached (in recommendation of a school) at Leicester by the Reverend Robert Hall, and published by him in 1810. Robert Hall was the son of a minister of the Baptist persuasion, and was himself educated for the same course of usefulness. He was born in 1764, and died in 1831. His various Tracts and Sermons were collected by Dr. Olinthus Gregory, and published in 6 vols. They have recently been reprinted in a cheap form. Some of his works are of a polemical nature; but many of them recommend them selves to all Christians by their fervent piety and their flowing eloquence. He may be considered the most celebrated man, amongst the Dissenters, of modern times,-a man fitted to adorn the Ministry, and elevate humanity, by the holiness of his life, as well as by the splendour of his talents and the force of his character.]
Religion, on account of its intimate relation to a future state, is every man's proper business, and should be his chief care. Of knowledge in general, there are branches which it would be preposterous in the bulk of mankind to attempt to acquire, because they have no immediate connection with their duties, and demand talents which nature has denied, or opportunities which Providence has withheld. But with respect to the primary truths of religion the case is different; they are of such daily use and necessity, that they form not the materials of mental luxury, so properly, as the food of the mind. In improving the character, the influence of general knowledge is often feeble and always indirect; of religious knowledge the tendency to purify the heart is immediate, and forms its professed scope and design. “This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." To ascertain the character of the Supreme Author of all things, to know, as far as we are capable of comprehending such a subject, what is his moral disposition, what the situation we stand in towards him, and the principles by which he conducts his administration, will be allowed by every considerate person to be of the highest consequence. Compared to this, all other speculations and in. quiries sink into insignificance ; because every event that can befall us is in his hands, and by his sentence our final condition must be fixed. To regard such an inquiry with indifference, is the mark not of a noble but of an abject mind, which, immersed in sensuality or amused with trifles, “deems itself unworthy of eternal life.” To be so absorbed in worldly pursuits as to neglect future prospects, is a conduct that can plead no excuse, until it is ascertained beyond all doubt or contradiction that there is no hereafter, and that nothing remains but that we “eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” Even in that case, to forego the hope of immortality without a sigh ; to be gay and sportive on the brink of destruction, in the very moment of relinquishing prospects on which the wisest and best in every age have delighted to dwell, is the indication of a base and degenerate spirit. If existence be a good, the eternal loss of it must be a great evil; if it be an evil
, reason suggests the propriety of inquiring why it is so, of investigating the maladies by which it is oppressed. Amidst the darkness and uncertainty which hang over our future condition, Revelation, by bringing life and immortality to light, affords the only relief. In the Bible alone we learn the real character of the Supreme Being ; His holiness, justice, mercy, and truth; the moral condition of man, considered in his relation to Him, is clearly pointed out; the doom of impenitent transgressors denounced ; and the method of obtaining mercy, through the interposition of a divine mediator, plainly revealed. There are two considerations which may suffice to evince the indispensable necessity of scriptural knowledge.
1. The scriptures contain an authentic discovery of the way "of salvation." They are the revelation of mercy to a lost world; a reply to that most interesting inquiry, What we must do to be saved. The distinguishing feature of the gospel system is
the econemy of redemption, or the gracious provision the Supreme Being has thought fit to make for reconciling the world to himself, by the manifestation in human nature of his own Son. It is this which constitutes it the Gospel, by way of eminence, or the glad tidings concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ, on the right reception of which, or its rejection, turns our everlasting weal or woe. It is not from the character of God, as our Creator, it should be remembered, that the hope of the guilty can arise ; the fullest development of his essential perfections could afford no relief in this case, and therefore natural religion, were it capable of being carried to the utmost perfection, can never supersede the necessity of revealed. To inspire confidence an express communication from heaven is necessary ; since the introduction of sin has produced a peculiarity in our situation, and a perplexity in our prospects, which nothing but an express assurance of mercy can remove,
In what manner the blessed and only Potentate may think fit to dispose of a race of apostates, is a question on which reason can suggest nothing satisfactory, nothing salutary : a question, in the solution of which, there being no data to proceed upon, wisdom and folly fail alike, and every order of intellect is reduced to a level ; “who hath known the mind of the Lord, or being his counsellor, hath taught him ?" It is a secret which, had he not been pleased to unfold it, must have for ever remained in the breast of the Deity. This secret, infinite mercy, he has condescended to disclose : the silence, not that which John witnessed in the Apocalypse, of half an hour, but that of ages, is broken ; the darkness is past, and we behold, in the gospel, the astonishing spectacle of “God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing to them their trespasses," and sending forth his ambassadors to “intreat us in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God." To that strange insensibility with respect to the concerns of a future world, which is at once the indication and consequence of the fall, must we ascribe the languid attention with which this communication is received ; instead of producing, as it ought, transports of gratitude and joy in every breast.
This, however we may be disposed to regard it, is unquestionably the grand peculiarity of the gospel, the exclusive boast and treasure of the Scriptures, and most emphatically “ the way of salvation,” not only as it reveals the gracious intentions of God to a sinful world, but as it lays a solid foundation for the supernatural duties of faith and repentance. All the discoveries of the gospel bear a most intimate relation to the character and offices of the Saviour ; from him they emanate, in him they centre ; nor is any thing we learn from the Old and New Testament of saving tendency, further than as a part of the truth as it is “in Jesus.” The neglect of considering revelation in this light is a fruitful source of infidelity. Viewing it in no higher character than a republication of the law of nature, men are first led to doubt the importance, and next the truth, of the discoveries it contains ; an easy and natural transition, since the question of their importance is so complicated with that of their truth, in the Scriptures themselves, that the most refined ingenuity cannot long keep them separate. “It gives the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” While we contemplate it under this, its true character, we view it in its just dimensions, and feel no inclination to extenuate the force of those representations which are expressive of its pre-eminent dignity. There is nothing will be allowed to come into comparison with it, nothing we shall not be ready to sacrifice for a participation of its blessings, and the extension of its influence. The veneration we shall feel for the Bible, as the depository of saving knowledge, will be totally distinct, not only from what we attach to any other book, but from that admiration its other properties inspire ; and the variety