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'It is singular,' said my uncle, as he turned over a fragment of a Newspaper in which some small article appeared to have been wrapped : 'it is singular and sad, and a bitter reproach upon us all; yet it sets in a clear, unmistakeable point of view the whole infernal machinery by which the great enemy is quietly but effectively working our destruction. Here is no date to this fragment; but I perfectly recollect the event to have taken place within a few weeks, and under the circumstances described. Her Majesty and the Prince Consort visited the exhibition of works of art, in Westminster Hall, about a week before it was opened to the public : here are the details of that visit, and with the following paragraph the article ends :
“Upon the departure of the Queen, a perfect rush of members of the House of Commons took place at the doors ; it having been arranged that the members of both Houses of Parliament should be admitted during the remainder of the afternoon. At three o'clock a large number entered the ball. From the hour above quoted until seven o'clock the hall was literally crowded with members; and, as a proof of the interest manifested by the senators of the country' in the exhibition, it may be mentioned that, at six o'clock, just at the period when a division was expected upon the Dissenter's Chapels Bill in the House of Commons, so few members were present that messengers were immediately despatched to the hall to request the attendance of a large number, when about 100 slowly and with apparent reluctance withdrew from the ball to the performance of their legislative functions.” Do you remember having seen this statement ?'
• Yes; I read it at the time, with shame and indignation, as I do most things connected with the recent proceedings of the two Houses ; but I confess that it wears on repetition an aspect of deeper criminality than at the first reading. Uncle, how can these men answer to God and to their country for so fearful a dereliction of sworn duty-for the heartless betrayal of a responsibility so solemn, when matters directly touching the Divine honour and glory were being legislated upon ?'
• As stewards of an important trust, they must account to Him to whom every knee shall bow; but as regards the country, by which I presume you mean their constituencies, may we not ask how they will answer for the guilt-it is no less—of choosing a body of representatives of whom the great mass may be men utterly devoid of sound religious principle, for aught they know : some of whom are notoriously so, and others open opposers of the truth as it is in Jesus. That a Popish constituency should avail themselves of their power to select a Papist is not to be wondered at, neither are they to be blamed for it but that a majority of electors being Protestants, comprising perhaps the bulk of the clergy resident among them, and men whose dearest temporal interests are bound up in the preservation of our institations that such should give their suffrages without even satisfying themselves that the person chosen is rightly impressed with the extent and importance of the duties devolving upon him, is to me a marvellous thing and a cruel one; and one which cannot but bring us to speedy ruin.'
· The plan appears to be for a certain number, and that the greater part, to decide beforehand how they will vote on a given question, irrespective of any arguments, howsoever weighty, that may be adduced on either side; and having so settled it, to follow their own pleasure, wherever, and however inclination may prompt; only taking care to be within call when the division comes on, in which they take part as mechanically as do the pieces on a chess-board, arranged and displaced at the option of the players.
* Alas that it should be so ! yet so it is, and the fact is notorious-none more ready than themselves to proclaim it.'
• Yet there are exceptions; witness Lord Ashley's majority.
"Witness, indeed! a fearful witness it will bear against the system by which our destinies are now ruled. English feeling was roused ; manly generosity was moved; and for the time, the short, memorable time, England bad her Parliament, her own, honourable, constitutional, upright, independent Parliamentary majority of representatives won by the simple eloquence of truth and humanity to exercise their right, to fulfil their duty, to cast off the servile yoke of party, and to act as men possessed alike of reasoning faculties, conscientious minds, and unfettered wills. Let us not dwell upon it—that flash of bright
ness, glorious as it was brief, revealed too painfully the thick darkness in which we habitually abide.'
'I confess, uncle, that it surprises me to see you so perfectly composed, so quiet and seemingly acquiescent, under circumstances that would, not long ago, have excited you to great vehemence.'
• Nothing calms a man like the extinction of hope.'
• But we have a hope that nothing can extinguish : to that we will turn. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherd of the earth ; let man, if he dare to do it, strive with his Maker, and take the consequences: let those whose business it now is to sow the wind, watch over the work of their hands, until the whirlwind suddenly springs up, and scatters them like chaff on the summer tbreshing-floor. What have we to do with these! Our eyes, I trust, are directed to the Lord; we wait upon His will, we watch for His coming; we see the signs, of old predicted, thickening around us, and seeing them we lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigb; and what matters to as the ultimate fate of this chased roe, this rolling thing before the whirlwind, which could never be to us an abiding city, seeing that we seek one that hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God ?
Ay, now you speak to the purpose, and my heart warms to bear you ; but indeed, my dear, the very blood seems to have frozen in my veins where the pulse of nationality, yes, I will say it, of true Christian patriotism, was wont to bound so cheerily, so vigorously. I feel a deadening to earthly things, such as I never felt before : yet not so—for I look to see this earth brightened with the presence of the glory of the Lord; all things that offend being gathered thence, and the children of the kingdom
shining forth as the light of day after a dark dreary night season. No, I am not weaned from earth, which is still God's footstool; but from the world, which is His enemy and fights against Him.'
"What a deal of confusion and error arise from the indiscriminate use of those two words, earth and world!'
'I have been a happier man since I comprehended the distinction ; but I never felt as now I do the extent and importance attached to it. “ The earth is the Lord's, and all the fulness thereof: He hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods." Man could sell, and did sell himself to Satan, though not so as to baffle the glorious purposes of the Most High in his first creation—not so as that the earth which He hath made for the children of men should ever be divested of its predestined race. But for that earth itself, when did, when could man barter it, or wrest from the sovereign disposal of its Creator one atom of its material frame? He brought a curse upon its surface, but only so far as regarded its serviceableness to his guilty self; and when sinners are cut off, as ere long they will be, and the world of ungodliness destroyed from its face, “then shall the earth bring forth her increase,” the curse removed, the enemy chained, the darkness dispelled, the glory restored, and every thing that hath breath joining in one universal, unbroken song of praise.'
Now, uncle, turn once more, and through the medium of this glorious hope, as through a clcar rectifying glass, look upon the nations.'
• Yes, if I am raised, as now, blessed be God! I am, above the turmoil, I can indeed take an unimpassioned view; and with solemnized feelings be