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rance, and no longer wondered; for neither could I perceive the connexion between the season and its observances.
I remembered Mrs. T******'s pious observations, and wondered what they could have meant; for I bad not seen a single illustration of them in the practices or occupations of the family in the interval. One good effect, however, came of my medi . tations: they put me on good terms again with myself: for whatever might be the intention of our Church in instituting this fast; whether, that in order to our being made conformable to our Lord in bis life, it was judged necessary that we should have a season of self-denial and abstraction from the ordinary occupations and innocent delights of life; or whether, he having fulfilled for us the law, and by his sufferings done away the need of a similar penance on our part, this was rather meant as a time of grateful remembrance than of imitation; a time of humiliation before God, and pious commemoration of his love. In either or in any case, it ap: peared to me that the intentions of the Church had been as well fulfilled by my forgetfulness as by their observance of the season. Whatever mistakes may be in this comparative estimate of wrong, I beg may be attributed to my inexperience and ignorance of the world.
THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM.
And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet?
I was travelling once over a distant land—a land it had been, by the way I travelled, of bleakness, and barrenness, and danger. If sometimes I had loitered where there were flowers budding, fair as the first and fairest of our Spring; while I yet waited in expectation of their blowing, I saw them wither in the sunshine, fade, and pass away. If ever, amid the parched and thirsty soil, I had looked upon the bursting of a pure, clear spring, quickly there came to it some unclean thing, and muddied and polluted, what had risen so pure. And often, as, beneath some shadowing tree, I had laid down to rest, before I had prepared myself again to hasten forward, the cold north wind had come and stripped that tree, and robbed it of its beauty and its shade. It was a wretched land, and they that dwelt in it were like the land they dwelt in. Their well-seeming virtues rarely bore the bloom they promised, but failed at the moment of expected fruition: their wisdom, however abounding it seemed to flow, flowed not far before it became mixed with error and empoisoned: their enjoyments were the evanescent verdure that could not outstand the first cold touch of sorrow. And surely I had felt
pity for them as I passed, and mourned that they had not a better land to dwell in.
Having travelled thus some considerable way, I reached a spot, seeming more fair for the rude path that led to it, and beautiful in the contrast of its fertility, with the coldness and barrenness of the land I had passed over.
There was no barrier, that I perceived, between them; and yet were they distinct, as the darkness of night from the broad light of noon. Why the inhabitants of the adjacent country did not pass on to it, I perceived not : but I concluded it was appropriated property; the hereditary possession, probably, of a people too powerful to: need a landmar or an armed outwork against the encroachments of their neighbours. Certainly I saw that no desire was manifested, on either part, to take possession of the other's land; and, unequal as seemed to me, the destiny of each, each appeared contented to abide their portion. I entered with delight on the rich scenery of this pleasant land. I do not know that I need particularly to describe it. It was like the best spots in our native country: those that industry has toiled to cultivate, and some tasteful hand has taken pleasure to adorn. It was like to those wide estates, that, being appropriated to some powerful and rich possessor, who finds pleasure in them, and does with them what he will, manifest in every part the influence of his interference. It was no fairy land I speak of, where magic suns gave birth to golden fruits, or necromantic power charmed the elements to stillness. But it was one where forethought had provided every thing ; caution had secured every thing, and whatever were the natural ills to which it lay exposed, some defence against their influence, or remedy for their mischiefs, had carefully been provided.
The blossoms of their gardens died like others; but their departing beauty left the fruit to ripen richly on the stem. The sun of their day-time went down like others, and often went down in clouds ; but the damps of their night were like the waters of affliction to the bosom of submission, the better for its tears. When the tree that adorned it withered in the blast and passed away, there came a friendly watcher and planted another as lovely in its place. The menacing weeds sometimes came up, indeed; but quickly the eye of the inspector marked them, and put in his keen-edged tools to their destruction. Like our most highly cultured grounds, its paths were made straight, and its rough places were made smooth. The threatening tempest passed it over harmless, and the winds that rocked its habitations to their base, found them too strongly founded for destruction: the dwellers in them slept secure in danger.
The inhabitants of this happy region, I observed, were many; and they seemed to know the value of their estates. They did not live on them in idle luxury, waiting the productions of a soil that, rich as it was, would surely so have disappointed them; but they cultivated it in cheerful expectation of no uncertain harvest. Though they enjoyed its good in common, it was not in wild misrule, the lawlessness of promiscuous possession. Each one had his place, and each one had his task; and if the
proportion of each was not the same, it showed a fair adjustment to his powers, his industry, or his deserts ; it was enough to suffice him till time and circumstance should bring him elevation in the scale; there was enough for all; and all were secure that they should not be deprived of the possession, unless they willingly departed to some other residence.
When I had staid some time with this people, I found that they too had a character something in conformity to the features of their country. They evinced the infirmities and dispositions of other nations; and this appeared to be the chief taint that sullied the lustre of their state, and marred their happiness. Yet even this was not without a palliative and a corrective remedy: the laws were so good, and the administration of them so good, the punishment ensued so quickly on misconduct, and the pardon so quickly on the effectual repression of the wrong, that order and peace were the general characters of the kingdom, notwithstanding the liability of its subjects to sin, and the frequent interruptions of their enjoyment by the obtrusion of their faults. I became, after a time, very anxious to know who these people were, and how they came to be in possession of so beautiful a territory, while all around it and about it, as I have told, remained so bleak, and so bare.
“ Tell me,” I said to one I thought could inform me," from what great line of ancestry these people are descended; the children, doubtless, of some pristine hero, who conquered for them this pleasant land, or perhaps the generation of its first possessors, who, when the inhabitants of earth were few, found it and took possession, and by their industry and wisdom made it what it is, and bequeathed it, with all its blessings, to their posterity ?"
“ This land,” he answered, “ was not originally theirs who hold it now: their fathers did not conquer it, their progenitors did not possess it. They dwelt yonder, in the lands you passed through.”
“ Indeed!" I said, “ most happy are they, then, in the exchange. But by what rich purchase is it theirs ?"