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mentator, for their view of the subject. He says that " phenomena which are not
pensions of the laws of nature; rather, they are themselves comprehended
When so many able men lave proposed this scheme of harmonising scientific
Thus, if the Scripture miracles are to preserve their place in the Church theory,
a temporary suspension of the known laws of Nature; or, a deviation from the
rectly, of that department of the Universe which constitutes our own system;
by no power short of that which gave the Universe its being, and its constitu-
tion, and its laws.” I There is at least a consistency in the maintenance of
(To be continued.)
Comment. Gospels, i. n. 236.
+ Wardlaw on Miracles, p. 24.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY M. PATTIE, 31, PATERNOSTER Row, AND GEORGE
GLAISHER, 470, New OXFORD STREET,
OUT OF THE CLOUD;
A TALE; BY P. W. P.
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. Doctor MOULE was not partial to archæology, so there was not much in Crosswood which he cared to see, or that Lester, under present circumstances, cared to show ; but, as usual when leading a visitor, the latter, from habit, took the way to his church, of which he was somewhat proud. Like the town itself, it was compounded of parts which had been built at wide intervals of time, and each portion bore the peculiar impress of its age. Saxon, Norman, and Florentine architecture, with all their most marked contradictions, were strangely blended ; but although there was no sameness in the different styles of building, the architects of the various portions seemed to have been unanimous in resolving to make everybody who attended the service as uncomfortable as possible. Here a pillar shut out the reading desk from view, there the echo of the singing was intolerable. At one place the draught was bitter, and at another there was no light; some of the pews were very high-backed, while others were very narrow; and, in fact, there was no part of the building without objectionable points, when considered as a place wherein people were to be taught and were to worship. On the walls there were a goodly number of tablets and monuments, but, as is commonly the case, none that repaid the lover of art for the trouble of inspecting them. There were angels bending and weeping over tombs, and other similar emblematic monumental groups, but the figures were as devoid of character as the designs were of common sense.
Doctor Moule, pointing to one of the ugliest, asked, “Why should the angels be represented as weeping? or why,” and here he pointed to a massive tonb," why should those—angels, I suppose they call them, be represented as fat boys with chubby cheeks, who, in a fit of anger, because they cannot obtain toffy-money, are sticking their knuckles into their eyes ? If I, for one month, were the despot of England, among the first of my acts of despotic VOL. VI, NEW SERIES, VOL. II.
power, there would appear an order for purging all our ecclesiastical edifices of the rubbishing, ungainly monuments which now disfigure their walls."
“But you would not prohibit all sepulchral monuments ?”
“On the contrary, I would promote their erection, but only when a few conditions had been complied with. First, I would be sure the deceased was worthy of being held in remembrance; next, sure that the monument was worth erection; and, finally, I would have its site so chosen that the work should neither be a nuisance to those who have sittings in the building, nor be erected at the expense of damaging a much superior piece of work. I remember being very much annoyed when going through Westminster Abbey at seeing how ridiculously great and small men are mingled together. In a common crowd we expect to find both heroes and cowards, both wise men and fools, or even honest men and knaves; but we ought not to have the same mixture in our 'Temple of Fame. But when a great man is buried there, the sculptors imagine that he cannot be supplied with a tomb unless barbarian nudity, Roman togas, or some other equally foreign and false features are introduced. Not that it matters much, for, as a rule in our churches, the monuments of the dead are erected so as to annoy the living, and to that end bad designs work better than good ones. Look, for instance, at that projecting mass of ugliness near the communion rails. Who and what was Jacob Masters,
of this parish,' that he should have been endowed with the right, as a dead man, to annoy everybody sitting on the left of the gallery, by shutting out, with that ugly figure, the view of the proceedings ?”
'I wish it were away,” said Lester, “ for it is a great eyesore, and there are no reasons against its removal, for no relicts of his family remain in England. But if I were to touch it to remove it, the whole parish would be in arms about the desecration, and just at present it will be best to withhold that bone of contention.”
Yes, I suppose yours is a quarrelsome parish. I have had a pretty character of it from my old friend Henley, and Barrington declares that, like the Connaught Irishmen, the people are never at peace unless when engaged in a brawl.'
“They are not so quarrelsome as they are captious and suspicious. They seem to look upon every word I utter in a false light, and each hearer remembers the discourse by parts only. If I venture upon any strong statement, and furnish reasons strong enough to justify my words, they remember and repeat the statement, but not the modifying clauses or the explanations. I have been bored to death by letters containing condemnatory criticisms of my sermons, and, in many instances, when I have put a case hypothetically, I have been written to about it upon the assumption of its having been given as a fact, and the more careful I am to avoid mistakes, the more frequently they seem to be fallen into.”
Of course they are. The best plan for a preacher is, as a rule, to pay little or no attention to the critical letters of his correspondents. They don't know what they are writing about, for, in nine cases out of ten, they have never studied the matter at issue, and probably never even thought of it until they heard the sermon. Go on in your own way, without thinking or caring for criticism ; always endeavour to reach your best, and then all these mere meddling scribes will soon be induced to save their paper and time. But what have we here ?. This, I suppose, is a specimen of the Crosswood poetry,” said the Doctor, reading from a slab on one of the pillars :
666 She yt lies here, was while she stood,
A very glorie of womanhoode:
Which surely shall rise with the just.' The lines halt most intolerably, and the sense is somewhat obscure. But your people seem to entertain the notion that the dead are to rise from the graves in precisely the same form that they were laid there, for here is another to the same effect;
God formed them from the dust, and He once more
As winds can waft them, or the waters bear.'
church through hinting, in one of my sermons, that the idea of a bodily resurrection is at variance with what science teaches. They waited upon me, to learn my real sentiments upon that vital question, as they phrased it; and when I had told them my conviction that the dead wait not in their graves, but are instantly borne away to their new sphere of being, although I urged it was a matter of no practical importance how much men differed upon such subjects, one of them, an old gentleman, flew into a towering passion, declaring that he had taught his children to believe that the bodies will rise with every mark, every speck, and finger-nail upon them, and he would not be contradicted in the presence of his children. Moreover,' said one of his companions,' we are not going to be led to the devil by any rector; ours is the high road to heaven, and so, Sir, we bid you
farewell.' “A fair hit that," interposed Moule.
Yes, so I felt," continued Lester, “but I knew the speaker to be notorious for giving short-weight, so I quietly told him that his belief upon such points would do nothing towards saving his soul; but that proper balances, and a fair turn of the scale when dealing with the poor, would be more likely to gain him a passport into blessedness. That, of course, made matters worse, and I lost them all."
At one end of the Churchyard, Stevens was busily employed digging a grave, but being so far advanced in years, and somewhat scant of breath, his progress was slow. Advancing ahead of the Doctor, Lester made up to the old man, saying, " Kere, Stevens, is a much-valued friend of mine who wants to see how you manage to get your graves so neatly dug."
“There's no great art in it, Sir, but practice does a great deal," answered he from the pit, "and, perhaps, there may be, as people say, a little of a gift in it. I knows men who have tried hard enough and yet after all they couldn't dig a grave fit for a dog to lie in. And for the matter of that there's many of 'em who follow the purfession who are not much better. They have no idea o' digging it neatly and in order. I'd be ashamed to leave the sides and edges so ragged as they leave 'em."
“So you consider that your business belongs to the professional class," observed the Doctor.
“Yes, Sir, I does,” said Stevens. "And what else is it? It's not a trade I've been told, it's not a calling, and what else can it be but a purfession ? "
“Well, then, as we are both professional gentlemen,” said Moule, “you will not take it amiss if I ask whether yours a thriving one. ticularly busy at this season ? ” "No, Sir, for as Solomon says, “there is a time for all things,' and I'm
Are you par.
sure that this is not the time for grave-digging. Things is very dull just now, very dull; indeed what the papers say about the general dullness of business, is true just now of grave-digging, for altho' I've been gravedigger here for above thirty-five year, I never knew things to be flatter than they are just now."
“How do you account for that ? ” asked Moule. “Have the people hereabouts given up drinking beer, have they taken to baths, or have the doctors emigrated ?”
• Neither, that I knows of, Sir,” said Stevens, throwing up a shovelful of earth, and deliberately proceeding to light his short black pipe," I accounts for it all by the weather. The best time for us is when there has been a few days pretty sharp frost, followed pretty closely by a sudden thaw, then the weak ’uns goes off like rotten sheep-business becomes quite brisk again, and I'm amost taken off my legs, for I can't get through digging so many of a day now as I could thirty year ago.'
“You speak of grave-digging in a light, off-handed business tone,” said Lester, “just as though you were a man of no feeling, and no sense of the losses death makes for a family. Do you believe it to be a proper cause for rejoicing that men die ?”
"I see no good in living, Sir. What have I got by it beyond hard knocks, a poor pension, and rheumatiz? When I buries a man I feels that I ha' done him a kind action, for the poor fellow is put out of the reach of all trouble, and that's more nor I can hope for myself until somebody buries me, as I suppose they will do, very soon now.”
“But at your age you should have no trouble. Young people are full of troubles because of not understanding the course of life, but with your experience
should know better. And having been parish clerk so many years, you ought, by this time, to have learnt not to murmur at the little difficulties of life.”
“That may be, and I dare say, Sir, as it 's right enough; but somehow, and I can't help it, I must grumble a little, and be a bit discontented. When I was a little boy I learnt the catechism, and ever since I ha' tried, uncommon hard, to make myself right content in my station, but somehow or t'other I never could do it rightly. I always wanted to get on a bit better, and tryin' seemed to do me good. All my neighbours seems to want to do the same, though they make but a poor hand of tryin'. I never did feel contented and when anybody had served me out badly, I always hated 'em, and was terrible discontented if I couldn't get the chance of paying 'em back in their own coin. I dare say it's not right, but somehow it runs in my blood."
Here Lester read his clerk a short but pointed lecture upon the sin of hating, and the great virtue of forgiveness, closing up with the remark that we are taught in the Scriptures to love and not hate our enemies."
Oh, that verse always ha' troubled me, 'specially when I was a soldier,” put in Stevens," for I couldn't do it. I fought against the French, and our Chaplain used to preach it into the regiment that we was to forgive and love our enemies, which was as good as saying we was to love the French soldiers first, and then obey our orders in killin' 'em as fast as possible directly arterwards."
“Come away, and let us walk farther,” said Moule, "for that old man is not to be deluded with mere words. You cannot remake him, but may cause him to become miserable. Besides, what is the use of telling him to love