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ON THE CUSTOM OF PLANTING FLOWERS AND
EVERGREENS ON THE GRAVES OF DEPARTED
Sir, I AM situated in a mountainous district of Monmouthshire, where the scenery is at once delightful and grand. Last summer, I had been rambling over the hills for some time, when I heard at a short distance the mournful solitary sound of a village bell ; and continuing my walk to the point whence it proceeded, I soon found myself in a parish church-yard, just as a funeral procession was entering the church. As I can participate in scenes of sorrow, where there is always something to awaken the better feelings, and as I think with Solomon, that " It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,” I joined the sorrowing company,--heard the impressive service read, and shed a tear over the corpse so soon consigned to the tomb, for it was that of a female of sixteen. I then left the melancholy spot, my mind filled with such reflections as naturally arise from such solemn occasions.
A few evenings afterwards, I again took the path leading to the village church which I had before visited, and soon arrived at the scene of my former meditations. It was a beautiful evening; to describe all I felt would be needless ;- your readers - know what it is to enjoy a serene evening in the church-yard of a retired village. Here the hoary mountains and the deep vallies rendered the scenery more than commonly interesting. I had not wandered long among the graves, before I saw a little girl, about twelve years of age, carrying a wicker basket, filled with flowers, roots, &c.-the daisy--the lily--the violet-the box---rosemary and yew; and, having separated them, she planted them on the grave, in which I had lately seen the body deposited." She wept while she performed the task ;-it was the grave of a sister. She related to me instances of her kindness, of her piety, and of her attention to the instructions of the good Curate ; and finally said, she must have gone to Heaven, where sickness would be no more. This custom of planting flowers and evergreens is an ancient and a pleasing one. We may suppose that its original intention was to offer a tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased, and at the same time to serve as an emblem of the resurrection.
THE LAST DAY. To every thing beneath the sun there comes a last day,--and, of all futurity, this is the only portion of time that can in all cases be predicted with certainty. Let the too confident then take warning, and the disheartened take courage; for to every joy and every sorrow, to every hope and every fear, there will come a last day, and man ought so to live by foresight, that, while he learns in every state to be content, he shall be prepared for ano- ther, whatever that other may be. When we set an acorn, we expect it will produce an oak; when we plant a vine, we calculate on gathering grapes: but when we lay a plan for years to come, we may wish, and we can do nothing more, except pray, that it may be accomplished; for we know not what even the morrow may bring forth ; all that we do know before hand of any thing is,--that to every thing beneath the sun there comes a last day. From Adam to Noah sixteen centuries elapsed, during which men multiplied on the earth, and increased in wickedness, and gumber, till to the forbearance of mercy itself, there came a last day, and the flood swept away a world of transgressors. The pollutions of Sodom and Gomorrak long insulted the Majesty of Heaven, but a last day came, and the Lord rained fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, that overthrew them for ever, and erased the very ground on which they stood from the face of the earth. The children of Israel groaned for ages under the yoke of the Egyptians; a last day came, the hands of iron were burst asunder, and the Red Sea opened its flood gates to let the redeemed of the Lord pass through, but' closed them in death on their pursuers. For almost 2000 years, the law and the covenant of works, delivered from Mount Sinai, were honoured and violated by the same rebellious and stiff-necked. people; but a last day came to that chosen people,
-the sceptre departed from Judah, the Holy City was made a desolation, and the covenant of Grace, universal and everlasting, was proclaimed to all mankind. The wali's of Babylon were built to outstand the mountains, which they rivalled in
grandeur and solidity; as last day came, and Babylon is fallen! She has so fallen, that there remains, of her unexampled magnificence, no more vestige on the soil, than of a foundered ship on the face of the ocean, when the storm is gone by. 3. Every year has its last day, which arrives amidst the festivites of Christmas, to remind us of the end of all earthly enjoyment. The most sinful men desire to die in peace; on the last night in December, therefore, we should lie down with the same dispositions as if we were making our bed in the grave. The few facts here recorded can hardly pass through the mind without exciting feelings of awe, apprehension, and humility, prompting us to immediate self-examination. From this there can be nothing to fear; from the neglect of it, every thing: for: however alarming the discovery
of our sinfulness may be, it had better be made now, while there is time for repentance, than in that day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, and when it will be of no avail—that day which of all others is most strikingly called “ The Last Day."
From a work called “ Prose," by a Poet.
ON THE DUTIES OF THE MARRIED LIFE.
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
July, 29th, 1822. SIR, As the end you propose from the publication of your very valuable work, is utility, I trust the fol. lowing extracts from Mrs. H. Bowdler's Sermons may not be thought unworthy of insertion
N. L. H. This world affords no happiness equal to that of two pious and virtuous people, united for ever by. marriage, as well as by faithful and pure love, constantly trying to make each other happy, and joining in the practice of those duties which lead to hapo piness in heaven, Their tempers regulated, and their conduct secured by religion, no quarrels, no jealousies will disturb their peace. Their interest being för ever united, their greatest pleasure is to assist each other. With what delight will the hus- . band labour for his wife, if he is sure to be rewarded by seeing her Happy! With what delight will she prepare his cheerful fire and comfortable supper, and meet him with smiles of affection and duty ! Surrounded by their children, with what pleasure will they unite in forming their infant minds to piety and virtue. Such ought to be the happiness of the married life, but I am very sorry to say, it is.
not always thus. If we expect happiness in marriage we must be careful in our choice. Do not be guided by the eye or the fancy of the moment, but inquire what is the real character of the person with whom you are to pass your life. Has she been educated by Christian-minded parents ? Is she industrious and frugal? Is she respectable and religious? --Secondly, do not expect too much from each other. The best of us are, often, in the wrong; and we shall find a great deal to bear and forbear. A man may be off his guard and speak hastily; but a gentle and tender wife will not contradict him in the moment of anger and ill-humour. Should he even be guilty of greater faults, however she may grieve at it, she will not reproach him, but will make use of kindness and gentleness to lead him back. The gentle influence of a virtuous wife is very great over every heart which is not hardened in vice. Let her try to preserve that influence by copstant good temper, by neatness and industry, Let her always try to make bim happy at home as the best way to prevent his going into bad company abroad. Let the husband never forget what he owes to his wife. Let him guard her from every danger and tenderly watch over her happiness. Let each consider the other as the friend, from whom they never should have any secrets, and of whom they should never complain to any other person. It is impossible we can be perfectly happy in this world; there will be moments of discontent and disappointment, but they are generally caused by our own bad tempers; and those who are guided by a sense of duty will always be ready to take the first step towards being reconciled.
Thirdly, Never dispute about trifles.-Fourthly, Never dispute before your children. This is a very common fault, but it is the ruin of all parental authority. If one parent is to encourage and humour a child, while the other reproves it; or if, while