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unloving a thing, as to forget, and to live apart from, the ennobled and the happy dead.
And if, as Christians, we mean what we say, often as we repeat those words, "I believe in the resurrection of the body;" then, over and above all that partakes of what is selfish and individual, must our Churchyards be very near and dear to us, because they are so many separate leaves in that Book of Life, to be put together and deciphered, not one missing, on the resurrection morning. In that day of trembling limbs and failing hearts, there will indeed be a dissolution of all that we now call "national and historical records," whether those that are contained in deep books, or bound up in wise laws, or embodied to the eye in those vast and ancient buildings which look as if they had been set up so solidly on purpose to meet the fires of the judgment day. But when all these shall have passed away as a scroll, fitly indeed and necessarily so; because all that is national and social will then and there be absorbed in the one great family of God, our Churchyards will not even then lose their interest, as having been, what they are now, the last earthly restingplaces of the just; whilst yet the shadow of the great white throne was falling deeper over us, and the night was nearer to its close, and the day nearer to its dawn.
THE LITTLE CROSS-BEARER.
Whom Christ hath blessed, and called His own,
He tries them early, look and tone,
Bent brow and throbbing heart;
Tries them with pain, dread seal of love.
WE are very proud of our pretty School-house. It is built of tinted stone with white mullions, and pointed gables, and a curious mosaic roof of red and purple tiles, that shine just like polished marbles in the sun. And it stands on the very edge of a beautiful Down, always covered with short, soft turf, of that dark deep green peculiar to Gloucestershire, the smooth surface dotted by many a great hawthorn, which scent the air all round with their sweet pearly blossoms, and broken here and there by curious hollows that are quite a little study for the naturalist, for in them the golden cistus, and the pink heath, and innumerable wild flowers peep out from between the grey-moss stones and the sheltering blackberry bushes, forming soft nests for the loveliest things, such as the
delicate grasshopper, the small azure-blue butterflies, and the grand peacock moth. All is so small, yet so infinitely full of life in multiplied forms, that one almost expects to see the mushroom table of the fairies set under the shadow of the elegant fern leaves, as it used to be in days of old.
But since this world was overshadowed by the tree which bare a twofold fruit, good out of evil, and evil in good, we have never been short of hard contrasts, set side by side, even in the visible creation, a sort of sacramental sign of what it must be within, till we come where there are no clouds, nor any more shadows. So, by a short cut we leave the flowery dingles, and in less than five minutes we are in the heart of our parish, in very close contact with much that is offensive, even abhorrent, to both eye, and ear, and heart. We call part of this district "the Quarry," for it is built in an enormous stone quarry long since deserted; and, as might be expected, the cottages that have grown up, almost by accident, within it, have not been constructed with much regard to cleanliness or comfort, far less to external beauty. Here, by a sharp flight of broken steps, in the furrows of which the rain leaves eddying circles of black water, we get access to a line of low hovels, their walls of dingy, smoked brick, their broken panes stuffed with old rags, suggestive
of little that is decent or respectable within. Or, literally perched upon a lime-kiln, smoking and hot, we come upon a cluster of tumble-down cottages, that is to say, if we are not first knocked down ourselves by a rough troop of unbridled donkies, carrying sacks of coal from door to door.
The impression left on the mind after a walk through our parish is altogether one of unhappiness, of dark shadows of woe, and a general atmosphere of gloomy recklessness. Perhaps much of this is traceable to the nature of the work in which most of our poor men are engaged. They are employed in the numerous quarries, blasting, and mining, and boring the stubborn rock. For this they rise up early and late take rest, (often in the dark winter mornings they are abroad with their lanthorns by five o'clock) and at last earn but a scanty subsistence, contingent moreover, to a great extent, on weather and other accidents; and it is well known how a life of perpetual hazards is apt to issue in a living only for to-day, not in the Christian sense of quiet faith and trustful love, but in the heathen acceptation of the same doctrine, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die" They look picturesquely odd, these quarrymen of ours, so very like Red Indians, as in an evening they stand in groups up and down the village street; for the curious red
clay of our soil dyes them and their clothes all over one strange shade of copper-colour; and one pities them too, for they look worn and weary, as if it were no light thing to live; and then one's eye wanders involuntarily to what must be the end of all, the little Churchyard lying below, its surface fast swelling with green graves and the rank luxuriance of that soil of mortality, and can we lay these there "in sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection?" It may be that one by one they will be gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd, even as one by one, when least perhaps they knew it, diverse in age, and rank, and sex, His messengers have been among them, with calm faces, and firm hearts, and gentle ministries sowing their seed beside all waters, till wearied with their burden, the heavy burden of unkindness and slowheartedness, as children of a King they were taken home to the Master whom they loved, and their works do follow them; though the world (seeing no fruit of their labours) said that they were "thrown away."
"Then I said, I have laboured in vain. I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain. Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God."
There was one poor cottage, endeared to us by these holy memories, and not less so because the