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HIS little Volume comprises twenty-four
Papers, reprinted—with additions and cor
rections—from “The Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine.” Already, the Writer has been permitted to bring out two similar publications, entitled respectively “ About Footsteps” and “Looking Upward: a Country Pastor's Reveries;" and, hereafter, he may be enabled—in completion of the Series—to make two or three other gleanings from his contributions, extending over many years, to the above-named Serial.
Several local, or ministerial, allusions are scattered through these pages; and some identifying explanation, therefore, may be deemed desirable. Chapters III., IV., XIII., and XVI. were written at Youghal, Co. of Cork, and have reference to that place and its neighbourhood. The remainder of the Book was penned at Glenville, a little hamlet, lying midway between Cork city and Fermoy—in a cottage-home, which the Writer acquired and beautified as a residence for himself and his successors in the benefice of Ardnageehy. Far away now is that secluded Parish, with its unpretending Parsonage; but (along with the perusal of proof-sheets, setting forth the thoughts of other days) olden feelings return. Perfumes from smiling parterres again float in the atmosphere. Gleams from glancing rivers once more flash on the sight; and, in panoramic distinctness, pass again before the beholder, vivid glimpses of mountain heights, now steeped in sunshine, now fading away in murky shadows. Memories of these objects of former contemplation must continue, so long as the Mind may retain its impressions.
But the brightest thought, connected with his Book, is the permission the Author has received to associate with it—in the way of Dedication—the name of his beloved Diocesan, whose beautiful life and Apostolic labors supply the Clergy with the daily example of ministerial fidelity, which they cannot hope to equal, yet—if they love their Master-must endeavour to imitate.
January 27th, 1872.
PAPERS FROM A PARSONAGE.
Oh, happy homes! where Thou art loved the best,
Dear Friend and Saviour of our race,
Where none can ever fill Thy place ;
goes forth to meet Thee,
From the German of SPITTA.
MONG the dreamings of an imaginative
childhood was the sweet fancy, that the
homes of the clergy were hallowed places. If now I seek to analyze the impression, it seems to have had a two-fold origin. First, since "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” was engraven upon the meanest things employed in His service, so were consecrated in my sight the abiding-places of His ambassadors. Who could look upon the men with reverence, and not deem favoured the dwellings, where at night they rested from toil, and whence in the morning they issued for their daily ministration about holy things ?
I remembered, too, that, by the provision of God in His ancient Jewish service, the houses of the priests encircled Jehovah's temple; and I saw, continually, nestling under the shadow of the old grey church, the welcomed rooftree of the officiating minister. Often the dwelling lay so near, that directly under the pastor's eyes, were scattered the low resting-places (until the Resurrection) of those whom he had counselled in life and comforted in death. At other times, there only intervened a small garden or low copse, with a communicating walk
“A pathway, by perennial green, Guarded and traced, and fashioned to unite, As by a beautiful yet solemn chain,
The pastor's mansion with the house of prayer.' Years have come and gone; but the dream of my childhood remains unfaded. In a clergyman's home, chiefly of my own fashioning, I trace these lines; and I bless my God that the place is to me consecrated. My tent is for a little while pitched, and I have not forgotten to erect Jehovah's altar. If I think of
. houses occupied by brethren in the Lord, I seem to behold so many Bethels, where often in rapt communion I appeared to be standing at the gate of heaven. In dear old England, in equally dear but most sorrowful Ireland, how many a beautiful Christian home arises to my mental sight, teaching me that God's ministers bring with them a blessing!
my thought-wandering, whether I flit from queenly Durham to my ancestral Somerset, or from the hills
* Wordsworth's “Excursion." Book VIII.
of Downshire to the lovely shores of Cork harbour, I find the like things. I know of homes, where God is honoured, where His blessing is sought, where His Word is delighted in, and whence a sweet savour of His salvation in Jesus is being daily diffused. Our isles may boast of their stately palaces, of lordly castles, and old feudal homes; but, in the light of Eternity, the houses of the clergy are worthier far. The great day of the Lord alone will reveal what blessings to the people were the praying households, provided by the National Church in each parish or hamlet of our beloved country.
These are high praises, and may appear like the advocacy of a too-partial friend. I would support my views by the testimony of a foe. He is brought to curse the people of God, and he is compelled to bless them altogether. Cobbett, once oracular and now forgotten, thus speaks :
“Get upon a hill, if you can find one, in Suffolk or Norfolk—and you may find plenty in Hampshire, and Wiltshire, and Devonshire -look at the steeples, one in every four square miles, at the most, on an average. Imagine a man, of some learning at least, to be living in a commodious house, by the side of one of these steeplesalmost always with a wife and family—always with servants, natives of the parish, gardener, groom, and all other servants.
A huge farm-yard, barns, stables, thrashers, a carter or two, more or less glebe, and of farming. Imagine this gentleman having an interest in the productiveness of every field in his parish, being probably the largest corn-seller in the parish and the largest rate-prayer ; more deeply interested than any other man can possibly be in the happiness, morals, industry, and sobriety of the people of his parish. Imagine his innumerable occasions of doing acts of kindness, his immense power in preventing the strong from oppressing the weak; his salutary influence coming between the hard farmer, if there be one in his parish, and the feeble or simple-minded labourer. Ima