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AN AUSTRALIAN HOME. The word “ Home,” it has been noticed, is peculiarly English—it has no synonyme in any other language. And until of late years it had no “ local habitation” elsewhere. But in these days of emigration, our countrymen are taking their homes with them to all parts of the earth. The Canterbury Settlement, in New Zealand, has furnished a novelty in the theory of our ultra-marine migrations; and its success may very materially affect the mother country. The principle is an old, just, and merciful one, and if the materials be congruous, the measure will end well.
Our engraving this month awakens somewhat different feelings. It is the home of a family whose acquaintance and Christian fellowship we once enjoyed here, but whose early trials and sufferings in South Australia were unmitigated by the companionship or counsel of any friends beyond their own immediate circle. But patience and perseverance at length triumphed, and we trust a long life of happiness and usefulness is now before them in their beautiful “ Australian Home."
Two little boys one afternoon returned from school. The evening meal was not quite ready, and their father, who happened to be at home, proposed a short walk. joyful news to the little fellows; they hastily put down their books and skipped away, light-hearted as young fawns
“ Turning to mirth, all things on earth,
As only boyhood can,"— after the restraint of “fagging hard" all day in the school-room.
Heedless and merry they laughed and talked, while their father watched them with a loving smile-till in the exuberance of glee, one stooped down, and lifting up a pebble, tossed it to and fro in the air. Presently he lost it; but, nothing concerned, he picked up something else, he noticed not what, but jerked it as before. Alas, for his fun!—it proved to have a sharp edge, and glancing sideways, struck his little brother's eye! The pain was not severe, but the father said there was serious mischief, and lost not a moment in conveying him to the surgeon, whose careful examination revealed the sorrowful fact, that the visual lenses were irrevocably destroyed !-sight, in that eye, gone for ever !-A shadow for life had descended upon his prospects.
Poor little boy! none but the sufferer can know the inexhaustible fountain of sadness, opened by irremediable physical infirmity. The lame and the blind, the halt and the maimed, the deaf and the dumb, with all their thousand varieties, constitute one vast "clique" of humanity, who, almost unconsciously, regard each other as bound together by peculiar bonds; and it is touching to trace the glance of sympathy which often passes between the casual and temporary associates of the physician's waiting-room, or the mineral water saloon. It is only those who have never endured an eclipse of their beauty and brilliancy, who could turn a scornful eye upon others less highly privileged in externals than themselves. Let such beware, for “when God with rebukes doth correct man for iniquity, he maketh his beauty to consume away like a moth.” Apt and striking illustration of the insignificance of the agent oftentimes employed; like the pebble to the little boy's eye-or those numberless trifles, called accidents, which in some cases instantaneously, -in others, by slow degrees, effect the purpose.
Not only do personal sufferings cast a shadow over the path of life, but relative afflictions also dim the brightness of our own skies. Often does bereavement produce unlooked for changes in the character, transforming the giddy worldling into the petulant blasphemer,—the cheerful young Christian into the grave and pensive pilgrim. Those who often tread the shores of Jordan form a truer estimate of the things of time, and cannot easily forget the solemn scenes enacted there; or the unutterable difference between the two worlds, to which it alike opens the passage for eternity.
Other calamities also cast a shadow over the spirits, if less sombre, perhaps more abiding. The loss of property, of position, or of prospects in life, are all trials, more or less marring our peace, and diminishing the sources of enjoyment. In fact, these calamities frequently so obscure the sufferer, that he loses the sympathy which sickness and bereavement call forth in a lively degree; but compelled to retire from the circles of prosperity, his absence is soon forgotten, whilst the new society into which he is thrown, from the want of his former experience, of course, have little or no compassion for the loss of luxuries they have never known. This too is often times a life-long shadow, needing large supplies of Christian principle to sustain gracefully, and high attainments in Christian practice, to endure with unmurmuring content.
But physical infirmities, and relative afflictions are nothing to those still deeper shadows which affect the character, and compel the victim to exclaim,—"I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul!" A young lad, during a school boy quarrel, stabbed his companion in a frenzy of passion! After days of anguish, the injury proved mortal; and the youth who
gave the blow was arraigned at the bar of justice, tried, and convicted of manslaughter! The two years' solitary confinement to which his judges sentenced him, however it might be regarded as an expiation to society for his crime, could not efface the stain of blood-guiltiness from his conscience; and even when cleansed from that in the only sufficient purifying fountain,--the blood of the Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world, we know from the inspired testimony of similar transgressors, eren David and Paul, that no right minded individual could forgive himself. Ever and anon does the aged patriarch reiterate the heart-rending cry, "Oh remember not former transgressions,” and the great Apostle of the Gentiles, our own peculiar messenger, declares himself, in his latter years, "the chief of sinners.”
We grant, however, that comparatively few have their hearts burdened with this particular phase of guilt; yet we appeal to you, young men and maidens, whether there lingers not a shadow of evil influences towards your associates; which, in the hour of self-examination, occasions remorse? Only a few weeks ago, a pious youth lamented to the writer, that he had once quenched the sparks of contrition in a companion's mind, by ridicule ; and had “ laughed him out” of visiting a godly minister, whose sermon had sent the arrow of conviction, and whose converse and prayers might have fanned the little flame, ere the spark had been thus extinguished—and it was never rekindled! Here was a shadow upon Christian experience ; who could wonder at the pensiveness, which thenceforward characterized that young man's piety!
Many walk in shadow all their days from an unsubdued temper; an unsanctified will ;-sinning and repenting, they have no participation in “the joy of the Lord."
Ever tripping themselves, and a stumbling block in the way of their fellow pilgrims,—they water their couch with tears, and can but just hope they may not be shut out from heaven, while conscious that through them, Jesus is wounded in the house of his friends.
We have lingered long enough among gloomy shadows ! There is another class described in Holy Writ, and these are all gilded with such bright celestial radiance, that they must be welcome as tokens of our Father's loving kindness. Under any of the shadows of earth, how inexpressibly sweet and full of meaning is the Psalmist's petition,—“Hide me under the shadow of thy wings!" Who would not gladly respond,—“In the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” “How excellent is thy loving kindness, oh God; therefore the children of men put their trust in the shadow of thy wings,” like the little halffledged nestling, secure of comfort and protection there! And