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MARY AT THE CROSS.

BY MISS MINERVA CATLIN.

AMID that gathering throng of vengeful men,
A pale-browed band of Jewish matrons stood
In all the anguish of impassioned grief;
Yet one amid that weeping train appeared,
Of noble mien—a being strangely bright
And fair, though girlhood's early grace had fled,
And the warm flush of maiden beauty gone;
Whose burning eye no cooling tear-drop dimmed,
For the hot fever-flame of speechless wo
Had scorched her soul and dried up every fount
Of healing wave.

No wail of

agony Her white lip moved, and yet the pallid cheek And fervid glance betrayed th' unwonted weight That pressed the life-blood from her bursting heart, And sent it raging through her fevered brain. Pale mother! on the cold and marble form That writhed with more than mortal

pangs

she gazed, Till the pure meekness of his holy look Her unnerveà spirit with sustaining strength Girt up, and wnen the iciness of death Was at his heart's life-stream—its cold spray drops On his unsullied brow, one living spring Of filial tenderness, unfrozen, gushed And warmed the stagnant current of her veins; For with a look of silent eloquence, His pleading eye in sweet compassion turned On one whose life's best heritage had been The bleeding sorrows of his Lord to share, And “ Son, behold thy mother,” fell like balm Upon her withered heart ; for felt she not In the stern conflict of that fearful hour How deep his love was rooted in her soul ? Oh! ye who lightly hold the nameless woes That wring the breast which nursed your infancy, Go witness how a God, though shrined in dust, 'Mid all the horrors of that torturing hour, When grasping from Perdition's wave a world, Could put the gall-cup from his lip to smile, And bless the lowly form that bore for him The well-spring of maternal love.

And thou, Pale mourner, drooping o'er the cheerless wreck Of thy heart's earthly idol, or who pour’st Thy bitter tears o'er half imagined woes, Perchance, go learn a lesson of meek trust From that unshrinking mother at the cross ; Who through the fearful elemental strife, When paled and quenched the sun went out in blood, THE CHRISTIAN PARLOR MAGAZINE.

266

And more than midnight blackness wrapped the sky,-
When earth convulsive shook, and tombs released
Their cold stark forms to walk the reeling earth,
All fearless in her master's strength could stand,
And yield—a sacrificial offering-
Her first-born on the altar of the world.
So learn thy wayward heart to subjugate
And bow submissive to a Father's will,
Till puiged from every stain of earthly dross
It shall be thine-life's ordeal passed, to wear
The victor-crown of Heaven,

VICTORIA, QUEEN OF ENGLAND.

Not many wise men, not many noble, not many mighty are called, said the great apostle, when commenting upon the worldly standing of the early converts to Christianity ; and with few exceptions, it has been true in all ages and countries that distinguished moral excellence has been found, not among the worldly great and honored, but in the humblest walks of life. Not to the biographies of nobles and princes, of kings and queens, must we usually look for illustrations of that religion which is righteous. ness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and whose chief ornament is a meek and humble spirit, but rather to the “ cottage and the vale," to the ignoble and the unknown. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings God has ordained strength that he might still the enemy and the avenger; and he has hid these things from the wise and prudent and has revealed them unto babes, even because it seemed good in his sight.

In examining history for the lives and characters of the long line of English Monarchs, what do we behold ? Among them all, with two or three exceptions, can we select one exemplary religious, one decidedly benevolent character even, whose yearning sympathies regardless of all difficulty, like Howard's, went forth under irrepressible impulses of compassion and love to relieve and bless afflicted humanity ? Where for one thousand years is there a Howard among her kings, or an Elizabeth Fry among her queens ? England for centuries has been producing multitudes of minds of the first order of human excellence, intellectual and mo. ral, but it is striking to observe how uniformly these minds have been drawn from the lower and often lowest classes of society, from the

bench of the shoemaker, the loom of the weaver, and other yet humbler occupations of life.

The young Queen now on the throne of Eng. land, must certainly be regarded as one of the very best specimens of royalty, if we can form any correct estimate of her character through the mass of adulation and incense offered her by the English press and people. Seldom has it fallen to the lot of sovereign, male or female, to be so universally and warmly beloved. The Princess Charlotte, daughter of George the Fourth, and heir presumptive to the British throne, was, a few years ago, the idol of the nation, the admiration and pride of high and low, rich and poor, and when Providence was pleased to remove her by an early death, there was scarcely a cottage in England that did not become a house of mourning.

Queen Victoria, who is a cousin of the Princess Charlotte, seems to have imbibed the spirit and disposition of that illustrious lady, as well as to have succeeded to her place in the affections of the nation. Both of them were born to the highest temporal heirship on earth, the sovereignty of the British Empire, stretching from sea to sea and from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same; both were trained amid all the luxury and pomp of a worldly court, and exposed to all the blinding and infatuating influences that can assail the heart, and yet both seem to have remembered that they were but part and parcel of humanity, and to have cultivated the kindly feelings towards their fellow beings without regard to rank in society.

It is difficult to determine how far religious principle may have sway over the conduct of

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persons so differently educated from ourselves as the Royal Family of England. The standard of piety constantly exhibited there is so low, so much an affair of forms and outward observance, and of mere abstinence from heinous sin; and natural amiableness and kindness is so rarely distirguished from that love and its manifestations which are the fruit of the Spirit, that it is not easy to say whether religion has found a lodzment in the palace and the heart. In estimating the character of Victoria it would be difficult to find such evidence of evangelical piety, as would be regarded satisfactory in the case of any female in common life in this country. Indeed it is quite possible that the necessity of a change of heart to her personally is a truth that has never been deemed fitting for the royal ear by her spiritual advisers. Royal families have always been the worst instructed families, and we should not be surprised if the English Queen had been taught many other truths much more distinctly and thoroughly than the doctrine of human depravity, entire and universal, the doctrine of regeneration by the Spirit, and of salva. tion by grace alone.

And yet we discern occasional glimpses of a thoughtfulness, a sincerity, an earnestness in the path of duty, which speak loudly in her favor. The desire to be and to do right, as she understands it, manifests itself often as it would not in a mere worldling. She appears unwilling to shun her responsibilities as a woman, a wife, a mother or a sovereign. If report speaks truly, her late visit to Scotland disclosed many beautiful traits of character. Excellent common sense, a kind and amiable interest in others, a forgetfulness of self, are particularly manifest. She is evidently a reflecting woman, and for one of her years the faculties of her mind seem remarkably well balanced. It is surprising that in a country where the press is free even to li. centiousness, and ever ready to catch up everything like scandal, we never hear of the queen

saying or doing a foolish thing. This indicates a very exemplary circumspection of manners. Her character, as it strikes us, may be summed up in few words. She is a woman of good sense, of good native principle, and of benevolent disposition. We would hope also that she is not an entire stranger to religious impressions and inclinations. She is by no means a brilliant woman; she has none of the masculine genius of queen Elizabeth, and it is probably for the interests of her kingdom that she has not. If she has little of the genius, she possesses also but little of the miserable vanity of Elizabeth, and is every way a far more interesting character.

It is chiefly as an example of domestic virtue in the most elevated earthly circumstances, that Victoria becomes an object of interest. Such examples have been “ few and far between,” a fact to be sure not to be wondered at when we consider that royal marriages have usually been based, not upon mutual affection, but upon“ reasons of state." Victoria and Prince Albert married because they loved each other, and they are happy in each other and in the offspring with which Providence has blessed them, and in which they find their principal enjoyment.

The example of the Queen is a beautiful and forcible recommendation of the superior character of domestic enjoyment to any other of a temporal nature. With the whole range of worldly pleasure before her, she enters the little circle of home, and finds her happiness there. Her children and her husband are worth more to her than crown and kingdom and regal pomp.

Let the young wives and mothers in humble life consider this, and remember that all the trappings of royalty and all the wealth of a kingdom are shallow sources of joy compared with a virtuous and loving home, however homely and humble : and that this resource is theirs if they choose to improve it.

REMINISCENCES OF A COUNTRY

CONGREGATION.

rest.

Driven about for many and weary years on

might not be out of the way to do so, as the the world's wide sea, I have at last made har- natural course to matters of more public intebor here in this goodly city of Gotham, better There was a stream close by the door known as New York. But my heart turns that was my resort in the trout season, and often and fondly to that spot away up in the there was a grove of pines but a short distance country, where my boyhood and youth were off, into which I often in childhood wandered passed, where those dear to me are buried, alone, and long before I ever heard of Cole. where I first learned to read and to pray, where ridge, or his Hymn in the Vale of Chamouni I thought to live and to die. It was in the old

where he says, town of L-n, in the county of W-n, in the State of M—, and those who know

“ Ye pine groves, with your soft and soul-like

sounds, not the geography of that part of the world, must be told that the town is a wide fertile I had loved to sit down on the moss, and listen plain, some ten or twelve miles across, circled to the spirit-inelody of the still air among the with hills, watered by lovely and gentle streams, tree tops: sighing to my soul and saddening, I and peopled by a set of independent farmers, could not tell why, my young heart. There I who are well to do for this world, and the used to think of communing with God and the most of them have been wise enough to make spirits of the good in heaven, and in the solemn provision for the world to come.

twilight of those deep shades, I had thoughts It was in this town that I had my“ bringing of loving and serving God which are now up,” such as it was; this was the scene of a working themselves out in life's struggles, and thousand youthful adventures in school-boy will never be fully answered, till he who called days, and of a thousand incidents of social and me then, shall call me to himself. Then there domestic life, that now come back to the call of was the old school house, and a hard set of memory, like the spirits of those we have love boys, and I might spend an hour or a week in ed, pleasant to meet again, but mournful as the making chronicles of the first dozen of them truth comes with them that they are gone to that now leap up before the mind's eye, like return no more.

young tigers, begging me to draw their portraits, But there is little that is mournful to the and send them down the stream of time with reader in these sketches. He shall find noth- these rough sketches. But the boys must wait. ing but pleasure in the reminiscences, and as 1 We have no room for them. Some of them tell him of the “ Old White Meeting House,” will come in by the way, and we shall here and the Minister and his family," and the and there set up a stone to the memory of some “ Elders and Deacons,” and “a few of the poor fellow, at whose fate we drop a passing tear. neighbors,” and then go abroad in the congre- It is the religious life of the people that I want gation and speak of the habits of the people, to bring out for the entertainment and instructheir business and amusements, and enter into tion of those who may read, and unless I greattheir church matters, and mention the quarrel ly mistake, the history will not be without its they had about the old minister, how they all

uses, although I feel full well that it will suffer loved him till one of them took offence at the much from the insufficiency of him who has truth and stirred up strife and drove him away, ventured to be the historian. how they quarrelled about a new minister, what kind of a one they finally got, and how they

THE OLD WHITE MEETING House. have never been prospered since—as I go over So it was called, and by this name it was all these and fifty other things, which these known all over the county. Not but that there will suggest as we go along, the reader will were other white meeting houses in that region, not be tempted to the melancholy mood. We but this was by way of eminence the White will keep clear of that, though we speak of Meeting House, as the largest, and oldest, and serious things in a serious way.

most respectable, and when a political meetI could spend some time in describing “our ing, or general training, or a show, was to be house,” and the things in and around it, and it } held at the tavern opposite, the notice was

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REMINISCENCES OF A COUNTRY CONGREGATION. 269

given that the gathering was to be at the White would make, coming down with the minister Meeting House corners, and everybody for a in it. And this reminds me of one of the dozen miles around, knew at once where it minister's boys, an arch rogue, about five years was to be.

old, who was so much in the habit of misbeIt was a large square building, with a steeple having in meeting, that he had to be punished whose lofty spire gave me my first and strong- often and soundly but with no sanative conseest impressions of “ amazing height;" and now quences. His father threatened frequently to as I look at “ Trinity” here in Broadway, and take him into the pulpit with him if he did not the men dwindled into dwarfs on its all but behave better, but the youngster never believed “cloud-capt towers,” it does not look half as that he was serious in the threat, or if he was, tall as that steeple, with a fish for a weather- Dick had a very natural idea that there was as cock, wheeling in the breeze. How often have much chance for fun in the pulpit behind his I lain on “ the green” in front of that church, father's back, as there was in the pew before and wondered how in the world they ever got him. At length the pastor was as good as his that fish away up there; or who hitched the word, and one Sunday morning, to the surprise lightning rod to that spire, and how any one of the people, he led his roguish boy up into ever dared to shingle the roof of that awful the pulpit, and proceeded with the service. steeple almost to the very summit. And some- Richard began to be uneasy, but remained comtimes in the night when I had a bad dreams,” I fortably quiet until the long prayer began; fancied that I was clasping that steeple in my then he fidgeted up on the seat, and peaked little arms, and sliding slowly down, the stee- over upon the congregation below; and, finally ple widening, and my hold relaxing, till at as a sudden thought struck him, he threw one length down I came, down, down, and just as I leg over the pulpit, and there sat astride of the was to strike the ground, I would wake in ter- sacred desk, drumming with his little heels ror, and be afraid to go to sleep again, lest I upon the boards. The good pastor was at should repeat that terrible slide.

prayer, and could not turn aside to dismount The church had square pews, with high par- his hopeful hoy, but between his fears that the titions and sash-work between, which were child should fall, and the indications of mirth great inlets of amusement to the children who among the young folks in the church, the min. would be always thrusting their arms through, ister had more than he could do to keep his and sometimes their heads, in the midst of thoughts on the service, and he therefore speedsermon, but more particularly in prayer-time, ily brought his petitions to a close, and seized for then they were more likely to escape obser- the youthful Richard in the midst of his ride. vation. These square pews the minister always We never saw Dick in the pulpit again, and a was free to say he regarded as an invention of marked improvement in his manners gave us the devil, and there was some reason to believe reason to believe thåt certain domestic applithat the devil had the right to a patent. As ances were resorted to, which have the recomhalf of the congregation must sit with their mendation of the wisest of men, as useful in backs to the preacher, it was customary for the cases of this desperate natu re. parents to place the children in this position, The old church was the haunt of swallows and it is easy to see that thus situated, it would that built their nests under its eaves; and it be next to impossible to secure their attention was no unusual thing for one of those swiftto the services of the sanctuary. Of course the winged birds to dart into the open window on devil would be pleased with an arrangement

a summer Sabbath, and by some strange perwhich so effectually prevents the young from versity, to persist in flying everywhere but out becoming interested in divine truth, and I do of the window again, till wearied with flying not therefore wonder at the good minister's no- to and fro it would light on the sounding-board tice of the origin of the plan.

These gyrations The pulpit was like unto an immense barrel were quite an amusement to the children, and I supported on a single post. Its interior was remember that on one of these occasions, the gained by a lofty flight of steps, and the preach- same young Richard, who has already been er once in possession, had certainly a most introduced, thought he had hit upon something commanding position. I can recollect often { smart when he turned up the 84th Psalm in thinking how easy it would be with a saw to Watts : cut away the pillar on which this old pulpit “ And wandering swallows long tottered, and then what a tremendous crash it

over the minister's head.

To find their wonted rest."

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