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Allusion was made to the beneficial effects of Sunday Schools. A question of grave importance was opened by the Vicar as to the duty of parents being responsible for the good behaviour of their children in church. Who so fitting to lead the child's devotions as the parent? With many the moral and religious training of the child was committed solely to the clergyman and Sunday-school teacher, and instances were adduced where the teacher's influence over the child was greater than that of the parent. Could parents listen to so startling a fact without shame? Was it even so that the child's affections vastly preponderated with its teacher, with whom it came in contact only once in seven days. The true cause of this lamentable state of things lay in the neglect of parental spiritual training Parents stood in the place of God, and it behoved them to train up their offspring in the fear and love of the LORD. Let them pray with and for the child, convince them that they have as dear a friend at home as at school, by loving restraints and godly conversation, and the parent would soon regain his or her influence. After many other remarks of a like character, and exhortations to love and adhere to the Catholic Church of CHRIST, the festival concluded with the singing of Bishop Ken's Evening Hymn.
The Children's Corner.
TWO MAIDENS, AND HOW THEY WERE CLOTHED.
The rays of the rising sun sloped pleasantly and cool across the beautiful land of Bunah, when the angel Uriel wandered in the early morning through the dewy fields; and coming where a solitary pathway passed, he sat him down to see what mortals should go that way. He had not sat there long, beneath the shadow of a flowering myrtle, before a maiden passed along the path, towards the city which lay about a mile distant. She was dressed in beautiful garments, and walked with a lofty and haughty step. The angel seemed to her to be a poor errand boy, and in her heart she despised him for his meanness; and she wondered in herself that he could be so rude as to sit by the wayside and look at her, for he did look at her, as she passed by. Upon her head she wore a white bonnet, made of lace over silk, with a rich feather from the bird of paradise, bending gracefully over it: it was adorned within with flowers more beautiful than grow in our degenerate gardens, and over all a transparent veil was gracefully disposed. The dress she wore was of the palest blue satin, wreathed round with small white scented roses; and over her shoulders was cast a mantle of embroidered work, clasped with a beautiful brooch of rubies set in gold. A chain of purest gold was round her neck, and from it hung a little coral amulet in the shape of a heart. Her shoes were satin clasped with pearls set in gold, and her stockings of finest open work in silk. Her gloves of softest kid, and ornamented with rich broad lace, were confined around her wrists on the right with an amethyst bracelet clasped with a crescent, and on the left with a serpent represented in chased gold. In her right hand she bore a small nosegay of choicest flowers, and behind her walked a little page with a parasol, and
overwrapper in case of need. She was scarcely out of sight of the place in which the angel sat, when another maid came up in the same direction. Her dress was very plain, but very neat. It was a purple cotton frock, and over it she wore a simple woollen shawl; and on her head a very coarse straw bonnet, tied close round her face. The only other visible article of dress except her shoes and stockings, was a clean white apron. Her flesh was pure and clean, but burnt brown in the sun. She carried a neat little basket in her left hand, and with her right she guided her little brother in the path. She also was journeying towards the city. The angel looked at her as she advanced, and when she saw him, he seemed to her a venerable and noble old man, with hair of silvery whiteness, and eyes as bright and pure as a child's of three years old. And so she passed, and the angel followed; and when they came to a brook which was to be crossed with stepping stones, she took her little brother in her arms, and stepping lightly over, set him down on the other side, and the basket by his side, and then she passed again over the brook, and said very gently and timidly to the old man, “ Please let me help you over; for I know father never likes to cross without help, and I think you are about as strong as he.” So the old man (that was indeed the angel) thanked her very heartily, and accepted her help. But as soon as ever his hand touched hers, a bright light from heaven shone upon her face, and gave a sweetness to it which never left it again that day, and perhaps never at all. Thus they came to the city, into which the richly dressed lady and her page had entered a few minutes before them. Then the angel, assuming the form of a bird, took his station upon a high pillar which overlooked a part of this city; and he saw the richly dressed lady, who was named Letitia, enter a beautiful house, where she was kindly welcomed with great joy.
That day was a very long day; it was as it were a little picture of a whole life. And as the day passed away, music and dancing? and feasting provided successive amusements for this beautiful lady. Every one noticed her, every one tried to please her. They watched all her wishes, and strove to fulfil them. All her relations and friends made her handsome presents; and whatever she fancied besides she bought for herself, for she was very rich. Yet the angel did not think her happy, for he often saw clouds pass over her face, and he heard many fretful and discontented words. But soon these moods of sadness passed away, when some new amusement was found, or some noble prince spoke flattering words in her ears.
Then the angel turned to look upon the poor maiden, whose Christian name was Agnes. As soon as she was within the city walls, she turned into a narrow street, and entered a poor desolate-looking room on the ground floor. There were a wooden table and two chairs, several partly broken plates, and two or three cups and saucers. In the corner stood a bedstead without curtains, and on it lay a poor woman pale and thin. “O mother,” exclaimed Agnes, as she entered the room,“ are you ill? You never sent me word; and I never knew, or I would have come home long ago.” “My child,” replied her mother, “I did not like to distress you, nor bring you home again before your time; for I knew you would have plenty of food where you were gone, and there would be little enough for you at home. But indeed, my child, I would have sent for you at any rate if I had known how bad I was to be.” “But how long have you been ill, mother ?” “More than a week, but I was not very bad till the day before yesterday. The neighbours have been very kind to me, but I am very glad to see you home again, that I may be nursed by my own child. Thank God, Who has given you grace to be a good child to your mother, Agnes, at all times."
“O, mother !” said Agnes, “ please don't speak so, you make me cry so.” Then her mother answered, “But I feel as if I never loved you so much before, and I think it will not be long before I leave you.” Then Agnes sat down upon the bed, and took her mother's band in hers, and talked for a long time. They spoke of the days that were passed, and her mother again said how good a child Agnes had been to her. But Agnes knew better, for her conscience was tender, and she remembered many little faults which her mother had forgotten; and calling them to mind, she asked and obtained her mother's forgiveness. Then they spoke of another world, and the hope they had of living there for ever, and of their merciful SAVIOUR Who dwelt there.
And that day was very long. And Agnes spent it in waiting upon her mother. First she made her bed-clothes as comfortable as she could, and then she made her a cooling drink. And when she had done all that she could to ease her sickness, she sat down
till a very
upon a little stool and read the concluding chapters of S. John. Then she took her Prayer-book, and knelt down at the bedside, and read some prayers from the evening service, and added several more from the service for the sick; and thus she was employed till the shades of evening closed in.
Meanwhile Letitia was in the ball-room. The brilliant lights were lit, and company arrived from all parts of the city, richly dressed as for an evening party. Letitia came in more gorgeously arrayed than in the morning ; so splendid indeed that I cannot attempt to give you a description. But all the company were dazzled with her wonderful beauty. She laughed and talked with every one, and seemed highly pleased with herself; and many who were there envied her beauty and her riches, and the splendour of her dress. The dancing proceeded, and the party was brilliant, and gay, and merry
late hour in the night. But that day and that evening had been very long for Letitia. She was thoroughly weary. Šick at heart, with burning temples and an aching head, sise retired to her bed-chamber. Undressed by her waiting-maid, she lay down, without bending her knees or saying any prayer to God, and her maid read some amusing story-book until she fell asleep. But her sleep was broken; she started up several times and stared wildly round her, and asked strange questions, and then lay down again. At length she settled into a deep and motionless slumber.
Whilst Letitia was dazzling all spectators in the ball-room, Agnes, by the light of one pale candle, was watching at the side of her sick mother's bed. She, poor woman, was very restless, for the fever was high. She tossed from side to side, called frequently for cooling drinks, and sometimes sat up in bed, and leaned her head upon her daughter's shoulder. Thus the long and weary evening passed away, and Agnes was pale and wan and weary with watching and anxiety. Her clothes too were stained with the medicine she had given to her mother. At length she sat down to read by the light of the feeble lamp. All was still and calm, and it was far advanced into the cold night. About four o'clock her mother fell asleep. Agnes looked hopefully upon her, and then turned again to her book, which was the best of all books; and as drowsiness began to overcome her, she read, “ In this tabernacle we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” When she had read this, she laid the book down, laid down beside her mother, and soon fell into a calm deep sleep.
The night was very very long, yet all the sleepers slept without moving, Ăgnes and her mother and Letitia, and the angel watched them. At length the morning began to dawn. First the day-star
appeared, and then the grey light began to break over the mountain tops. The moment the first rays of the rising sun shot through the heavens the sleepers awoke. All who were sleeping that night awoke at the same instant, and arose. The angel kept his eyes on those two; and, wonderful to behold! he saw Agnes and her mother rise together, more glorious than the light. A beautiful crown of gold was upon their heads, and their garments were white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them. Moreover in their faces joy inexpressible, peaceful and ever-enduring, was painted. No trace of pain was there, or sorrow or fear. But love and hope and adoration mingled with contentment, beamed there as long as he was with them, and that was for ever.
But far other was it with Letitia. She awoke and arose in some respects like what she was before. It seemed as if, at the first glance, she was clothed exactly in the same garments that she wore before she went to sleep. But it was not so—the angel knew otherwise, and so did she. The clothes that she wore, the exact likeness of those she wore at the ball, silk, and satin, and muslin, and gold, and jewels, were now all made of sulphur, which burnt its way into her flesh, and yet her flesh was not consumed. Hour after hour, hours long as thousands of years, passed by, and yet no change took place. Her clothes appeared the same; her flesh was not consumed, and yet the living sulphur was eating its way through to the very bones. And in her face was seen mingled hatred and anger,disappointed pride, and longings ever unquenched.
The angel who had been her guardian, turned his face away, and looked at her no more. He flew through the soft balmy air to where the light was most glorious, and there, having six wings, with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly, and said, “ Holy! holy! holy !".
And Agnes and her mother knelt beside him, with palms in their hands, singing gently the same words.
OF ADOR NING THE CHURCH WITH FLOWERS AND BRANCHES. There was one way more of adorning Churches, which I should not have thought worth mentioning, but for its innocency and natural simplicity, that is, the custom of garnishing and decking them with flowers and branches; which was not done at any times for any pretended mystery, but only to make them more decent and fit for a body of men to meet in. S. Austin takes notice of the custom,
speaking of one who carried away with him some flowers from off the altar. And Paulinus in his poetical way refers to it likewise. But s. Jerome does it the greatest honour to give it a place in his Panegyrick upon his friend Nepotian, making it a part of his commendable character, that he took care to have everything neat and clean about the Church, the altar bright, the walls whited, the pavement swept, the gates veiled, the vestry clean, and the vessels