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But that pulpit or that house was no place for mirth. Never in all the wanderings of after life, in splendid temples, where the wealth of princes has been lavished, to make honorable the house of God, where the stained windows shed dim religious light over the solemn courts, and the great organ poured its deep thunders on the ear, never there, or elsewhere, have I seen or heard so much of God as in that old white meeting-house. It was a plain house, it is true. Except the pulpit and the front of the gallery, the whole interior was innocent of paint, and the bare floor rung under the heavy tread of the substantial farmers as they came up the narrow aisles, with their horse-whips in their hands : and they were a plain people in that church; some of them in hot weather sat with their coats off, and some stood up in sermon-time when they became drowsy by sitting ; it was all the plainness of a country congregation in a country meeting-house; but God was there. I have heard Him in his preached word, when the strong truths of the gospel were poured with energy from that sacred desk, not in enticing words of man's wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and with power. 1 have felt Him when the Holy Ghost has come down on the congregation as on the day of Pentecost, and strong men have bowed themselves under the mighty influence of subduing grace.
But all these I shall have occasion to speak of hereafter, when the minister and his preaching and its fruits come up in review.
young people would stroll into the yard, the gate of which was always left open on the Sabbath, and at such time there was never heard the slightest indication of levity or irreverence for the holy day.
But observance of the Sabbath was a strongly marked feature of that place and people. A simple fact will show the state of public opinion on this subject. On one occasion, several young men, chiefly from some mechanical establishments lately set up in the neighborhood, not having the fear of God or the laws of man before their eyes, made up a party and went off to the mountains to pick whortle berries. The minister and a few of the good men held a consultation, and it was determined to put the statute of the State into execution and make an example of them, to prevent the per. nicious influences which might result to the whole community, if such a flagrant breach of morals were suffered to go unpunished. Accordingly the whole party were arrested, brought before 'Squire Jones, and fined one dollar each. There was no help for them, and they paid the fine; but they watched the opportunity for revenge. And it soon came in a small way, for on the next Sabbath afternoon they saw the Squire's daughter, a fine girl of seventeen, in the garden picking a few currants, and they complained of her to her own father, had her arrested, and the fact being too clearly established by proof to admit of any evasion, the 'Squire was compelled to impose the fine and pay it himself! This was quite a triumph for these low fellows, who, however, were very careful not to go after whortle berries on the Sabbath again. But this is wandering out of the old grave yard.
There was a simple beauty and solemnity in those country funerals that I have not observed for years. A death in the country is a widely different event in its relations and effects, from one in the city. The other day I observed an unusual gathering at the house of my next door neighbor, a man whom I had never known even by sight. Presently a hearse stood in front of the house, and I soon learned that it had come to take away the body of my neighbor to his burial. It was sad to think of, that I could have been living with only a thin wall between me and a brother-man, who had been for weeks struggling with disease, and who had finally sunk in the arms of death, while I bad never even felt the tenderness of sympathy with him or his, in the days and nights of suffering and sorrow which they had known. Yet
THE OLD GRAVE-YARD. In the rear of the meeting-house was the grave-yard, and all my early recollections of death and the grave, are associated with that quiet and solemn spot. It was a large enclosure which had never been laid off in “ lots to suit purchasers,” but a decent interval was left between families, and all came there on common ground. A few pines of a large growth were scattered in it, and with the exception of here and there a rose bush, the place was unadorned. But it had attractions. Sabbath day, during the interval of divine worship, the people from a distance, who remained at church,“ bringing their dinner” with them, were in the habit of walking among the tombs, meditating upon themes suggested by the inscriptions they read upon the headstones, and speaking to one another of the virtues of those whom when living they had known and loved. And often of a summer Sabbath evening, the
REMINISCENCES OF A COUNTRY CONGREGATION. 271
so it is in this city. Your nearest neighbors tenart carried off by the doctors. The appearare utter strangers, and may sicken and die and ance of the grave led to suspicion that there be buried, and you will know nothing of it, un- had been foul play; it was examined, and the less you happen to be at home when the hearse suspicions were found to be too true. The comes or goes. It is not so in the country body of a girl some fourteen years of age, of There in L-, when one was sick all the respectable family, had been stolen from the neighbors knew it and felt it; kindness, like sepulchre to be cut up and made into a “natbalın, fell on the heart of the sufferer from omy,” as the people expressed it. The whole every family near, and when death came, so- town was aghast. Such an outrage had never lemnity was on every heart. All the country- been heard of in that part of the world, and side, from far and near, without being invited, the good people could scarcely believe that came to the funeral, and filled the house and such monsters lived, as men who dig up corpses the door-yard, and when the services were con- to hack them in pieces. They met in righteous cluded, the coffin was brought out in front of indignation, and appointed a committee of inthe house, and the multitude were permitted to vestigation, who never gave sleep 10 their eyes take a farewell look of the departed. Then or slumber to their eyelids till they got upon the remains were borne away to the grave, fol- the trail of the hyenas. They never rested till lowed by a long train, not of hired carriages, the perpetrator of the deed was in prison, and but of plain wagons filled with sympathizing the instigator-Dr. who escaped by some friends, and the procession moved on slowly flaw in the indictment-was compelled to reand silently, often many miles, to the place of move from the town. burial. As it reached the yard, those who liv- These events naturally led to great appreed near, would drop in and join the crowd that hensions respecting other graves, and many was now gathering at the open grave, and the were searched by anxious friends, who now children of the neighborhood, especially, were watched the tombs with more vigilance than sure to be present at such times. Frequently did the guards set over the holy sepulchre. have I been deeply moved by the scenes around The impression became very strong that a certhose graves—for there in the country, nature tain grave had been robbed. It was the grave revealed itself in its simple power—and the of a lovely woman, the wife of a drunkard, deep but half-stifled groan that has come to my and the fact that he was dead to all feeling, soul when the first clods fell on the coffin, was and consequently would not be likely to care as if they fell on the warm breast of a sleeping what became of the body of his wife, seemed friend. We see no such funerals here in this to confirm the grounds of suspicion, and finally great city-itself a mighty charnel house. We it was determined to make the examination. It take our dead to the narrow cemetery, and for was the afternoon of a warm day in the midst thirty pieces of silver purchase the privilege of of summer when I, a mere child then, was atputting the precious dust into a great cellar. tracted into the yard by seeing a number of Some time ago, a friend of mine wanted to re- men around a grave.
I soon learned what move the ashes of his wife from one of these
was going on, and creeping between the feet receptacles, and he applied to the keeper for of those who were standing nearest, I was that purpose; the man objected on account of
soon immediately over the head of the grave the time that would be consumed in the under
which they had now opened down to the coftaking; my friend offered to defray all the ex
fin. Having cleared off the earth and started penses, and reward him liberally besides, but
the fastenings of the lid, which were all found it was of no avail; and he was finally told that
secure, they raised it, and the full light of the it would be impossible ever to find or recover sun flowed upon the most horrid spectacle the remains. These are city burials. Rural which my eyes before or since have seen. Cemeteries are now becoming more fashiona
“ Corruption, earth and worms” were there. ble(!) in the neighborhood of cities. Let them be encouraged. Dust we are, and when we I waited not for a second look, but ran from die let us go back to our mother's bosom and the spot in awful terror, and have, from that rest there till mortal puts on immortality. time, had an image of " death's doings” which This last thought reminds me of the great
I never could have obtained but for the loathexcitement which once pervaded the community some revelations of that grave-yard scene. when it was reported that a grave had been These are not the things that I intended to violated in that peaceful yard, and the lifeless record of that hallowed spot. Yet they are,
young people would stroll in gate of which was always, Sabbath, and at such time ty the slightest indication for the holy day.
But observance of marked feature of simple fact will opinion on thi several youns cal establis! hood, not of man went ries he
But that pulpit or that house was no place for mirth. Never in all the wanderings of after life, in splendid temples, where the wealth of princes has been lavished, to make honorable the house of God, where the stained windows shed dim religious light over the solemn courts, and the great organ poured its deep thunders on the ear, never there, or elsewhere, have I seen or heard so much of God as in that old white meeting-house. It was a plain house, it is true. Except the pulpit and the front of the gallery, the whole interior was innocent of paint, and the bare floor rung under the heavy tread of the substantial farmers as they came up the narrow aisles, with their horse-whips in their hands : and they were a plain people in that church; some of them in hot weather sat with their coats off, and some stood up in sermon-time when they became drowsy by sitting ; it was all the plainness of a country congregation in : country meeting-house ; but God was there. have heard Him in his preached word, v the strong truths of the gospel were with energy from that sacred desk, not ing words of man's wisdom, but wit' monstration of the Spirit and with have felt Him when the Holy GH down on the congregation as Pentecost, and strong men h' selves under the mighty inf' grace.
But all these I shall } of hereafter, when the ing and its fruits com
sis' treacheries annals swell;
till on the guillotine nine eyes have feasted well.
The days of old, the days of old,
Oh, sigh not to recall, Nor dream of retrogression, while
The Lord is God of all.
Or if thou fain wouldst turn and sigh
Still for the olden time, Oh, pray that we may never know,
Such days of blood and crime.
The past, a shadow lost in shade,
No cheering hope affordsThe living present is our own,
To-morrow is the Lord's.
Then pray that when to-morrow's sun,
Its banner hath unfurled, Thy heart may beat more righteously
And in a better world.
ay after day,
with the zily his
ogled long vs, fought many und scorn; and all for uream when a school-boy,
a in life. It was not wealth, it vasure, that had wooed him to our a in the lore of ages. utad he sought antiquity? It was before him. Temples whose ruins had grown old, long before the Parthenon had whitened the Acropolis–Pyramids that were “ baptized to immortality in the deluge”_Obelisks that had pointed their taper fingers upward to the God of Egypt when the Pharaohs shrank from his withering curse. Halls that in their labyrinthine wanderings so awed the sage Herodotus that he went to the grave bowed down with the weight of their awful mysteries.
But the young American looked not long on these. Awhile he paused on Elephantina ; and awhile sat silent and thoughtful in A pollinopopolis. He held communion with the gathered ages, beholding their record on the pillars of Thebes and Carnac. But he turned from them; and lying beside the Nile, his heart went forth upon its waters. “ The Pyramids are timeworn and hoary,” said he, “but the Nile rolled here long before the shadows of the royal tombs lay on its waters. Kings have lived and died, and the heedless river rushed on. I have sought knowledge in the past, even where my faint call for light was lost in the roar of the deluge, and imagination itself, like the dove
from the ark, has found no resting place save it be a writhed and broken limb thai has floated down, the only earthly record of the years before—but I found it not there more than my fel. low man had already. I sought it in myself, but was lost in the dark tide of passions in my own soul. I sought it in books—but I must now something new. I must add to the sum of un wisdom. Before me rolls the father of whose waves have been waked with the of the Shepherd Kings. I will know mes, and over what sands he has
wanderings. And when, ages
stand beside the river of Egypt, they »peak of me.” His ear caught the roar of we cataracts, and he was in hastc to be gone.
It was then, in the spring of his hopes, that strength suddenly forsook his limbs, and the pilgrim lay down to rest. It is hard to die in youth. Hope has a fair face, and life's lessons come not yet harshly. Memory has become the sepulchre of few dead affections, and the living are very strong. The thoughts go not wearisomely through the mind; and the smile of joy has not yet withered. Yet, sustained by a high faith, and trusting in Him who died for him, the young American murmured not ; but yielding the hopes of his warm heart, lay down in a convent, once the palace of a noble, and there his pilgrimage ended.
How had that heart been bound by the spell of Fame? The island-home of his mother had been almost forgotten. Her voice sounded faintly in the ear of her wayward boy. The world had been his mother; and a bitter nursing was his. He had stood in palaces often since he left his mother's cottage. Often had his voice held princes in listening pleasure. But a few days before the sudden attack which brought him to his grave he had written a letter to his noble patrons expressive of the highest hopes and most daring ambition. Now came back to him dreams of his childhood, a thousand happy thoughts of innocent days on the banks of the Connecticut, or the shore of Nassau, mingled sadly with the crushed hopes of a high heart. His last sickness was brief, although he had long been feeble. A few days, and his time was spent. He would lie for hours in the intervals of his pain, his quick gaze wandering restlessly from pillar to pillar, tracing out the
perhaps, among the most vivid impressions that gard for sacred places, and times, and things I retain of it; unless it be my fears to pass it which we felt in our childhood, might return. alone after dark! And I should as soon have It had its faults and its weaknesses, but they thought of setting fire to the church, as of play- were better than the care-for-nothing, dare-devil ing within the enclosure. I looked upon it spirit of the rising generation now-a-days. But with reverential awe as “ God's acre;” and I I shall have more to say of this hereafter. wish with all my heart that that feeling of re