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ened; the little Island where the malefactor suffers his doom, an object to impress a lesson of his country's penal code; Staten Island with its hospitals and quarantine ground, to elicit important instruction concerning these benevolent institutions, and their abuses in ill-governed countries; the telegraph, the light-house, and the ship, the most striking illustration of man's intelligence, industry, skill, and courage; the lovely shaded walks of Hoboken, over which the sisters Health and Cheerfulness preside; and, finally, the Narrows, the outlet to that path on the great deep, which the Almighty has formed to maintain the social relations and mutual dependence of his
There may be some who think that these are not strictly religious topics, nor perfectly suited to the Lord's-day. But perhaps a little reflection will convince them, that all subjects involving the great interests of mankind may be viewed in a religious light; and, if they could have listened to Mr. Barclay, as, leaning over the Battery railing, he talked to the cluster of children about him, they would have perceived that the religious light, like the sun shining on the natural world, shows every subject in its true colors and most impressive aspect.
At half past one, the Barclays returned invigorated and animated by the fresh sea-breezes to a cold dinner prepared without encroaching on the rest of Martha's Sabbath. The dinner was only distinguished from that of other days by being rather simpler and more prolonged, for
they dedicated a part of this day, in the emphatic words of Jesus, "made for man," to social intercourse. That, to be happy, must be spontaneous and free.
"I wonder," said a lady, on one occasion, to Mrs. Barclay, "that you don't take your children to church Sunday afternoons. It is the best way of keeping them still."
Mrs. Barclay smiled; and Mary answered, "I am sure you would not think so, Mrs. Hart, if you were to see Willie; -he fidgets all the time.
"No, no, Miss Mary," spoke up Willie, "mother says I sit very still when they sing; but I do get tired with the preaching part, I wish they would leave that out!"
"So do I," said Mary; "I own, when I go the afternoon I cannot help going to sleep.' you never sleep in the morning,
"I thought you never went in the afternoon." "Sometimes," said Mrs. Barclay, "when I am not well, I send her with the little ones, as I suppose other mothers do, to get them out of the way, and into a safe place. I am sorry ever to do this, for the heart is apt to be hardened by an habitual inattention to solemn truths, - by hearing without listening to them."
"You must have a pretty long, tiresome after
"Tiresome!" exclaimed Mary, "I guess you would not think so, if you were here, Mrs. Hart.
Sunday afternoon is the pleasantest of all the week. Is not it, Willie?"
Yes, indeed, 'cause mother stays with us all the time."
"And reads to us," added Mary. "And shows us pictures," said Willie, lets Patrick and Biddy come and see them too." They are Bible pictures, Mrs. Hart, and so mother reads something in the Bible that explains them."
"And sometimes she tells us Bible stories,' said Willie; "and sometimes stories of real live children, — real, not book children, you know." And sometimes," continued Mary, still eager to prove to Mrs. Hart, that the Sunday afternoons were not tiresome, "mother writes a little sermon on purpose for us, not a grown-up sermon. Then she teaches usa hymn; then she teaches us to sing it; and when she wants to read to herself, she sets us all down, Willie and Biddy, and all, with our slates to copy off some animal. I wish you could see Willie's, his horses look like flying dragons.
"O Mary!" interrupted Willie; "well, you know mother said your cow's legs were broken, and her horns ram's horns.'
"This is a singular occupation for Sunday,"
said Mrs. Hart.
Mary perceived the implied censure. "O, but, ma'am," she said, "you don't know what we do it for. After we have finished, mother tells us all about the animal, — how its frame is contrived for its own happiness, how God has prepared its food, for you know the Bible says the
young ravens cry unto him and he feedeth them; and then she explains what she calls the relations between man and animals, and Pat Phealan says mother makes him feel as if the dumb creatures were his first cousins, -Pat is so droll. He says he never throws a stone at a dog now, and he can't bear to see the men cruelly whip their horses, - 'he won't, plase God he ever owns one;' you know Pat is Irish. No, Mrs. Hart, you would not think it was wicked for us to draw pictures Sunday, if you were to hear mother teach us about them, or to see our little books of natural history, where we write down what she says.'
"Wicked, my dear! I did not say it was wicked."
"No, ma'am, — but
"If I did think so, "added Mrs. Hart, rightly interpreting Mary's hesitation to speak, "I think so no longer. I too am learning of your dear mother, Mary. I should like to know how the rest of your family pass the Sunday afternoon. May I question Mary, Mrs. Barclay?"
Certainly, we make no secret of our mode of passing Sunday, though we do not wish to proclaim it. We do not expect to reform the world, even if we should be satisfied with the result of our experiment. To tell you the truth, Mrs. Hart, we have long thought it would be better to have but one religious service on Sunday, that people satisfy their consciences by just sitting down within the four walls of a church, no matter how languid their attention,
how cold their hearts, when they get there, that much most precious time is thus wasted, the only time that the great mass of the working world have to consecrate to spiritual subjects and active charities. We think clergymen would preach better and their people hear more, if there was but one sermon. These being our opinions, our duty is plain, and we therefore quietly follow the course conscience dictates to us, hoping to be kindly judged by those from whom we differ with all humility, and being well aware that those, who depart from the received usages of the religious world, should be diffident of themselves. D Do not, I beseech you, think that we underrate or distrust the value of public worship. reverence it as one of the most important and dearest of all social institutions, and we are therefore most anxious that its effect on our children's minds should not be impaired. Now if you are not tired out with my long preface, ask Mary what questions you please; if she cannot answer them, I will."
"Thank you. Well, Mary, what do Charles, and Wallace, and Alice, Sunday afternoon?"
Mary bridled up with the conscious dignity of a witness giving testimony in a matter of high concernment. "Father says, ma'am, that as Sunday is the Lord's day, we ought to be faithful servants and spend it in his service; and he thinks that those who have more knowledge than others, should give it to them, just as the rich give their money to the poor. So we have a