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sanctifying the creature; for as God needs not those things which proceed from us, so are we (too) poor to offer anything to God. As Solomon says: “He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord.' (Prov. xix. 17.) For God, Who needs nothing, takes to Himself our good works to this end, that He may render to us the recompense of His own blessings. As our Lord said : “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you. For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” Not, therefore, as needing these things, He yet wishes them to be done on our own account, that we may not be unfruitful: and so it is in this very thing. He gave the people in His word a commandment for the making of oblations, though He did not need them, that the people might learn to serve God. So, therefore, He would have us offer a gift at His altar, frequently, without intermission. There is therefore an altar in heaven, for thither our prayers and oblations are directed; and to His temple, as John saith in the Apocalypse, ' And the temple of God was opened, and the tabernacle; for behold the nacle of GOD (he saith) in which He will dwell with men.' (Rev. xi. 19.)"
“ TIME brings about many changes, Mary, and it may, perhaps, one day restore you to our dear home again.”
So spoke the dearest and best friend I have on earth some years ago, when with many tears and a heavy heart I took leave of the mountain home where our happy childhood was passed, and of which every tree and rock was dear; dear for their own sakes, and dear for the sake of those whose memories lived in them. But childhood was passing away, and life beginning in stern reality. Of the happy band of brothers and sisters once gathered together, none remained save myself, and Philip my senior by several years ; he was at Oxford, hoping in a few years to take upon him the solemn office of the priesthood ; and I, the solitary one, must leave the land of hills and streams, and try to learn to like flat lands and south-country ways. Little did we think, when Philip cheered my drooping heart, as we lost sight of our “muckle blue hills,” that we should indeed once more find a home in Kirkbeck,-and a yet dearer home; for the ties between a devoted parish priest and his cure, have surely a foretaste of the abiding home, which we look to, and which shall not be annihilated when those of birth and inheritance are swept away.
The years which intervened were years of discipline, and in many respects of trial; but there was chastened, sobered joy in the hearts of both, when my brother informed me that he had accepted the living of Kirkbeck, offered him by the Bishop of R-, and, reminding me of his words, as we left our home years back, asked me to go there with him, and watch over his motherless children.
It was the spring time of the year when my brother took possession of his living; accompanied only by his two children Willie and Alice. I was to join them as soon as I could be freed from the claims of a sick relative. At that time Elter Hall was empty, as indeed it generally was, except for a few autumn months, when a large and gay party was wont to assemble there. We had known Sir John and Lady Elter formerly, though not intimately; of their children we knew but little. They were amongst those whom the world regards as in every way happy and estimable. Possessed of all that position and fortune can give, in high public estimation, and from his polished fascinating manners an universal favourite,
-Sir John had never known any real sorrow; for although be grieved sincerely at the loss of his youngest daughter, an interesting child of ten years old, he had too many external engrossments to dwell long upon this sorrow, and soon ceased to mention, or even to think upon the subject : his pride and affection were concentrated in his only son.
Wilfrid Elter was indeed a fit object for a father's pride, handsome, buoyant in spirits, kindly in disposition, and recklessly intrepid in all manly sports, in which from his earliest age he had been his father's chosen companion. To him, life was all a sunny dream. Pleased and pleasing on all sides, Wilfrid needed a warning voice to speak in his ear the solemn words of the preacher,
Rejoice, o young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”
This year, the London season being over, Sir John and Lady Elter, accompanied by their only surviving daughter, left England for a continental tour. To their surprise, Wilfrid's first letter was dated from Elter Hall, where he had gone, he said, in consequence of feeling rather knocked up with the season's gaieties, and after a short rest he said he should proceed on a round of visits in Scotland. His letters continued to speak of his health as not quite good. In one he said, “ There have been great changes since you were here. I suppose you may have known our new Vicar, Mordaunt, in former days. I must say that for my part I regret poor old Hartley, whose quiet old-fashioned ways I liked much better than these extravagant doings, which Mordaunt has introduced. He has made all manner of new arrangements in the parish, has Church going on all day long, and I know not what besides ! No doubt we shall hear plenty of complaints soon, though at present he gets on tolerably well with the people. Mordaunt has called upon me: he is a gentlemanly man enough, and I took a great fancy to his little boy, one of the finest fellows I ever saw. I think the son would suit me better than the father.” Another letter mentioned that Wilfrid found great pleasure in this little boy, whose companionship he often obtained in his walks; and he said that but for his high-flown visionary notions about the Church, and so on, he should like Mr. Mordaunt well enough. “But I suppose,” he added, “that illness disposes a man for quieter companions, and I am by no means sorry to see Mordaunt." This sentence startled Sir John. “ Can Wilfrid be really ill ?” he said anxiously; but it was soon decided that he was only a little overtired with the season's amusements, and would be quite well again before they returned home. So the Elters continued their tour.
It was soon arrested. The next letter was from my brother, and informed Sir John that his son having burst a blood-vessel, was in the greatest danger, in fact, was not expected to live many hours. This painful intelligence was conveyed in clear but considerate language, and an assurance was added that as far as lay in his power, the writer would do all to supply the place of those whose natural office it would have been to soothe and watch over poor Wilfrid's last moments. The next post told that the solemn scene had closed, this short life over, an endless one begun.
Why should I seek to describe the bitter and intense anguish of the parents to whom this most overwhelming and unexpected intelligence thus came ? Grief in its first burst often recks not of consolation, and would even shrink from all attempts to offer it, as though they did but add bitterness to the bleeding wound.
Poor Ellen's grief was hardly less deep, though different in character.
Her gentle yielding mind was strongly imbued with religious feeling, although untaught and unfostered, save by the remembrance of her little sister's death, and an earnest hope to meet her again in heaven. Thoughts of her absolute happiness had soothed Ellen under that loss; but now, intensely as she loved Wilfrid, it was impossible to hide from herself that his life had not been like her sister's, pure and innocent; and ill-defined thoughts of misery pressed upon her, until they produced a burst of tears, which for the time exhausted even sorrow itself.
At the time of receiving the mournful intelligence of Wilfrid's death, the Elters were too distant from England to return in time for his funeral, but they immediately began their homeward journey, although the return to that home, loved chiefly for his sake, had now little attraction for the bereaved parents.
A temporary ailment of Lady Elter's compelled the travellers to stop for a few days at a small town in Germany, and Ellen tried to beguile some of the sad hours by wandering about the beautiful
friedhof' or grave-yard, her own grief giving her a warm sympathy with the mourners,—some solitary, some in little groups, who were continually coming to hang fresh flowers and wreaths of “immortals” on the low wooden crosses which marked the graves ; and then, with few exceptions, entering the neighbouring chapel to offer up their prayers to the God of the living and the dead. There was something soothing to Ellen in it, and she could not help internally contrasting it with what she was accustomed to in England,—the overgrown churchyard with its beds of nettles and weeds, and the desolate damp Church opened once a week : and though she had never before thought much upon the subject, Ellen now felt that it was a relief, she could hardly tell why, to steal into that simple, but well appointed chapel, and rest her aching head against its marble pillars, even though she scarcely tried to pray. “ The Roman Catholics must be much better than we are," she thought to herself; “ they are always accustomed to pray so much oftener. Perhaps if we were taught so too, it would not be so difficult to pray, as we want, when trouble comes.” Ellen did not then know that the branch of the Holy Apostolical Church into which she had been admitted a member, inculcated upon her children no less frequent prayer and meditation than the sister Church, or that even at that very time, her own parish church was open at all times as a refuge for the oppressed, the penitent, or the mourner, who might there lay his grief before God's altar, without fear of disturbance.
At the same time that my brother restored the daily services of the Church, (which was one of his first measures, inasmuch as he considered himself pledged by his ordination vow to“ minister the discipline of Christ according to the orders of the Church, not being reasonably hindered,”) he also caused the Church to be left open from an early hour, so as to admit of the labouring men entering even before their early hours of work, until evening; and though at first people wondered, and some few who had imbibed some newspaper ideas and phrases, called it popish, yet gradually one after another felt the object to be a good one; and a sermon preached upon King Hezekiah's going up into the temple of the Lord, and spreading before Him there the letter which troubled him, seemed to make the subject tolerably clear to them. The Church has been rendered a little more what the “ place where prayer is wont to be made” should be; the whitewash had been removed, the pigeon-house pulpit, with its three stories, taken down from its position in front of the altar, and two open desks substituted, one on either side; the school children removed from the chancel, where they could hear nothing under the old arrangement of the desk, and where they only learnt irreverence by being allowed to lounge over the altar rails, and even throw their hats and caps within them; the fine old painted glass window was freed from the numerous panes of white glass with which the fractures had been replaced, and two neat stone tablets had taken the place of the great boards which seemed intended to make much more prominent the fact that the Rev. W. Hartley was curate, and Samuel Parker, clerk, than the Decalogue, its professed purpose. The shabby wooden font and its earthenware basin too had been removed from its improper position near the chancel, and a handsome stone font been placed near the west door, that entrance being so arranged that the light from the rose window in the tower should fall upon it; and teach the people to consider the belfry as part of the consecrated building, which seemed almost to have been forgotten, the ringers often keeping on their hats, and talking and laughing loudly. Many other improvements my brother had in view, as time and circumstances might admit of them; but these be thought it his duty to effect at once.
The Church, which had been so chilly and damp when only opened once a week, was found to be quite different now, when the fresh air was admitted all day long, and when a regular congregation gathered within it, always twice, and on certain days, three times. It is surprising how much may be effected by firmly, but gently enforcing what is right, and leading people to see it for themselves; a few months brought the parishioners of Kirkbeck no longer to think it a great hardship that their new Vicar refused to baptize their children except at the appointed hours of service, when there was a congregation into which to receive them, and that except in cases of real danger he would not encourage private baptism : where it was administered, always urging the completion of the ceremony in the Church at the earliest opportunity.
The village choir, always a matter of difficulty at first, had fortunately been dismembered just before the death of the late incumbent, which smoothed my brother's way greatly in establishing a simple, correct Church music, unaccompanied by any instrument, and unadorned with questionable tunes and hymns; his own efforts and some good instructions, joined to a considerable turn for music amongst the younger parishioners, has enabled us now, after the lapse of a few years, to perform all such parts of the service as are directed to be sung, in a respectable, devotional
But all these commencements of the restoration of pure Catholic discipline had been made during the absence of the family from Elter Hall; and all that Ellen knew of them was from the casual expressions of contempt in her brother's letters. No wonder then that she frequently thought during the sad homeward journey, that it would be much easier to be religious, and find