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Again, in the Great Exhibition of last year, who did not hear around them the glad expression of rejoicing, that a way bad been found for the peaceable gathering of men of all nationsthat the Exhibition was a common ground, whereon rival nations might contend without rousing feelings of national jealously and hate?
Again, literary men are greatly rejoicing at the free intercourse of men's minds by books, and travelling, thinking that much of strong national prejudices must give way the more we study other nations, and learn their institutions and ways of thought.
And when we look at the differing schools of religious feeling among us, who has not heard of an alliance, which, poor and weak and partial as it is, and very unlike the world-wide sympathy which our two texts imply, yet is, nevertheless, interesting as an indication of a strong feeling existing, that all Christians should be one in their common LORD?
Who that is acquainted with a certain line of religious teaching but would point at once to a strong expression of the same feeling existing there? Witness the great efforts which the Bible Society and the Missionary also (so long in their hands exclusively) made to spread what they consider “the Gospel" wherever they could, and their earnest belief in the literal fulfilment of the words, not only that the Gospel shall be preached as a witness in all nations, but also “ that the knowledge of the LORD shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
There is yet another school, calling itself the liberal one, rejoicing in an eclectic philosophy, by some called also the German school; having among them some great and good men, who, sick at heart at the illiberality and narrow-mindedness of expression of other schools among us, aim at the development of a more universal liberal and kindly feeling.
And surely Churchmen, true Churchmen, as we trust we are, have not been one whit behindhand, but rather have (as we are accused of having in too great a degree) made much point of the deep longings for unity. How many were led to leave our Church because they thought that there were no indications of that one LORD, one faith, one Baptism, that they felt to be essential! But -not to speak of those who have left us
-is it not, that among us, are found the most ardent breathings after unity, the strongest echoings back of our beloved Master's words, that they may be one? Witness the forms of weekly, or even of daily, prayer for unity; witness the craving for more frequent acts of common worship,-not merely of private prayer, but the assembling of ourselves together ; witness the more frequent communions, because the highest source of unity, with our great Head, and in Him one with another; witness the observance of saints' days, as realizing the communion of saints, and that, though our means of holding intercourse with them is broken through, yet that we are all still members of one Body. But surely I need not proceed; it is the very thing we are accused of. What led people's minds to inquire into the forms of worship in the Western or Eastern Churches, but the feeling that the Holy Catholic Church could never consist of small communities of Christians, separate, and divided, and condemning one another ?
But my object in writing this paper is not simply to point out the growth among us of a craving for the fulfilment of our Master's prayer, but a desire to point out, however feebly, how one may help forward the great work of Christian unity. We may first pray for it, add our petitions to those of so many others, who are pleading with our LORD His own blessed promises ; next we may strive to meet all our fellow Christians as far as we can, looking out for points of union more than points of difference.
So many divisions among us seem to arise from misunderstanding one another. How often do we hear things said, or motives imputed to those who strive to act on Church principles, which they never held,—which are clean contrary to what they do hold; and “ we seem to have no words to set ourselves right with those we live with.” Now I believe that if we strive to root out feelings of opposition, of "variance and strife,”—two of the works of the evil spirit,-out of our own minds, we should not so rouse them in others. I do not mean that we should not rouse them in the irreligious; the evil must always hate the good, and our LORD and Master, Love itself, was hated, and the servant is not to expect to be above his Master ; but it seems to be a great work to break down the barrier of prejudice in the minds of those who love the truth as far as they know it,-yea, are ready to sacrifice what is dearest to them for that portion of it they have got. Charity hopeth all things, and if we feel we have the truth with us, it should make us more forbearing to those who have it not in its fulness. We want to cultivate that feeling which so distinguished S. Paul, and fitted him to be a missionary to all nations,—that power of being all things to all men, if so be we may win some; a feeling beautifully expressed in a hymn I lately met with,
“I ask thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise,
And to wipe the weeping eyes ;
It was Saturday night, in the streets of a great city, where glaring lamps and a smoky atmosphere seemed to shut out the deep blue sky, with its quiet stars, as if that were no scene for them; and the confusion of many tongues drowned for a time the “ voices on the winds," perhaps only to speed them more swiftly to the bedside of a fair young child, in whose ears the city's murmurs sounded like the waves of a very distant sea, until they ceased altogether as he yielded to the power of sleep, and in his dreams recalled the childish memories of the past week. Again he fancied himself waking on the joyful Christmas morning, with merry bells ringing, and his mother's kiss on his forehead, as she welcomed her darling's commencement of a new year; for it was his birthday. O! how brightly each loved face and kind greeting rose before him, and fading slowly, slowly away, gave place to the story of the martyr, first,
" Whose eagle eye Could pierce beyond the grave, Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called on Him to save;'
and in close succession came the memory of the “beloved disa ciple,” who has recorded the Great Shepherd's charge for the lambs of His flock. But the thrilling interest of these sacred stories died away, as the days themselves passed from Cyril's mind; and he almost woke in the eagerness with which he listened to the words which next seemed to fill the very air,—"And madest infants to glorify Thee by their deaths.” The selfsame words which had so excited bis busy mind in waking hours, now haunted his sleep ; ever and again the rustling wind bore them on its wings, and whispered them in his ear. Now they were repeated by a choir of childish voices, and ere he could discover whence the sounds proceeded, shadowy forms were taking their places round him.
He pressed his hands upon his eyes, and for one moment dared not look up; but the magic of that soft, low music chased away all fear, and timidly venturing a glance at his visitants, he thought it possible that the spirits of the holy innocents, whose martyrdom had that day been commemorated, might still be hovering near, ready to perfect the praise of the Holy Child Jesus, Whom they had once been permitted to glorify by their sufferings.
While these thoughts were speeding like lightning through his mind, he was unconsciously united with the band of infant angels, and borne by an unseen power far away from the city to a quiet spot in the open country, where night had vanished, and a rich Autumn light fell in thousand mellowed rays upon the fading foliage of some noble chestnut-trees. There were voices beneath their shade, and a sweet little girl, full of life and spirits, was picking up the fallen fruit, and prattling to her mother on the possibility of a large avenue like that in which she stood, rising from so small a nut. “ Let us try, dear mamma," cried Maude; and with childish glee she hastened home to deposit her treasures in the dark, deep earth. There was no doubt in her little mind, as she watched her father's careful planting of the seed; and as he in his turn watched his “only one on her way home again, beneath the shade of a spreading acacia, he prayed that she might, by faith, realise the truth of that better resurrection, the emblem of which she had so fully believed.
But Maude had vanished from Cyril's sight; the Autumn leaves withered and fell; Winter and Spring had passed ; tiny green shoots marked the places where the chestnuts had been buried; the acacia was in full leaf again, waving in the light summer wind; and Maude, ah! where was she ? There was a small oak coffin, with its slender, brazen cross, laid in a narrow resting-place. The merry nursery was very quiet; the little trees were never visited by the tiny feet of her who had trusted to see them peep above the ground; and there was a desolate home, and bereaved hearts, where all had been love and joy. Cyril turned to his companions, and one who stood close beside him, beckoning him to advance and follow her, bore the same bright look, the arched forehead, and fond smile of Maude. He was just about to ask how God could be glorified by so much grief, but she placed her finger on her lips, and led him on. The air grew hot and sultry ; strange bright birds and insects flitted past, before they paused, and all unseen stood beside a dying bed; the faithful Priest of Christ's Church was there also, and his gentle voice alone broke the stillness. He was telling the sufferer how the trials of life may be sanctified and turned to God's glory; then, pointing to the chalice and paten of wrought silver, with the jewelled spoon which lay near, he spoke of desolate parents far away, who, in memory of a departed child, had devoted to God's service of their silver and gold, and thus had enabled the missionary, in a strange land, to celebrate that solemn service to the sick, as became a minister of Curist's holy Church. There were words too engraven on the paten, which cheered the sick man's heart; for they told of angels who do always behold their Father's face in heaven ; and, thus recalling the bright images of his own little ones who were gone before, he longed to be with them in their home, and the more thankfully listened to the consoling words with which the Church prays for the rting soul, “that it may be presented pure and without spot before God." Then came a solemn silence; Cyril beheld a glorious light streaming through the darkened room; the sweet music he had before listened to was heard again, and the spirit had departed.
Once more the wanderers were carried forward, and found themselves in the same green spot where the young trees were growing in their first verdant beauty; but the spirit guide did not pause to notice then. She beckoned Cyril to enter a quiet room, with open windows, through which the breath of a summer's evening bore the scent of roses and many sweet flowers; while the graceful acacia bent its feathery foliage in the breeze, just as it had done in years gone by, before the parents had become childless. And now, as they sat in the still twilight, the memory of their lost one was very vivid; for they were speaking of a lonely and neglected spot, where many souls were almost destitute of knowledge, and yet thirsting to obtain it. Recently, too, a light had shone upon them, for they had been blessed by the labours of a faithful 'Priest, who now made one of the evening group; and speaking with the energy of a holy cause, proposed the means by which a fair temple might be raised for the worship of God in that isolated district; and did any heart respond? Yes; (for though the unseen visitants could not pierce the veil which hides the future) how did they rejoice when they heard the father's voice in acquiescent reply, as, still remembering his Maude, and willing to glorify her heavenly Father, even by her death, he dedicated the Church to the holy innocents. Cyril would have hastened to the spot immediately, but was withheld by his angelic companion, who could not so soon quit the loved parents, over whose well-being she so constantly watched; and while waiting her departure, Cyril fancied that the young Priest could not feel the same sympathy with the infant martyrs as those who had their own little ones in heaven. But there was no time for doubt or query; they were once more on the wing, and alighted near a small grassy tomb, in a cemetery, where the well-known sounds of a distant city were very faintly heard, and his guide whispered, in a low voice, some few words of a sleeping infant form below,
“ For seven short months,
Its little life was given,