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The title seems a very
old one, and many. of us
a content just to glance at it, and turn over to the new story,
or the little contribution of our own, for the appearance of which
we have been anxiously longing. And yet, after all, the New Year may give us a few thoughts more deeply interesting than all else in the Month's periodical, and if they be very old thoughts, and very commonplace, they may, for that very reason, be the more practical,
Doubtless, as Churchmen, we began our year four weeks ago, and we keep the Circumcision rather than New Year's Day; and yet, the first of January brings with it a distinct idea of its own as a Festival.
We have to write a New Year's date on our first letter, and people greet us with New Year's wishes; then, it is often a day for children's !༆། 1:ut),! festivities, and so we mark it as a new era.
It may, indeed, be very new to many. Last New Year's Day may have found us bound by many family ties; this, may find us alone. Last New Year's Day we may have been rejoicing in the success of some cherished plan; this, may find us cast down and dispirited, and, in countless ways, we may feel a great change between this and last first of January.
Certainly, looking out upon the Church and the world, the prospect seems different. There is little doubt that there is a stronger undercurrent of antagonism between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil, than has been for some time. Men are beginning to see that they must take one side or another; that the time may be very near when they must have very definite opinions upon certain matters; that, however much they may wish to "hold the faith in unity of spirit and in the bond of peace," it is next to impossible. God forbid that, through partizanship or false zeal, any one should dare to begin the strife! The responsibility would be too awfully great; and yet God may so allow the course of events that even we may be obliged to fall into the ranks on, one side or the other.
At any rate, we must be prepared. Without going very deeply into matters which may be too hard for usmatters of detail and technical difficulty-we must make up our minds about such things as the Creeds, the Sacraments, and the Priesthood; not in the way of being able to understand every difficulty about them, which would place us nearly, if not quite, on the rationalistic side of the controversy, but with a view to establish our faith in them.
Let us be quite sure we know who Christ is, as well as what He has done for us. Let us be quite sure we can say the second part of the Catechism, which touches upon the Sacraments, with something like an intelligent faith. Let us be quite sure we recognise the Ordination Service in our Prayerbooks, and, in consequence, the delegated authority of our parish priest.
There ought to be nothing startling to us in the effort to be in truth, rather than in name, Churchmen; only let us take care that we are ready if the battle begin in earnest in our days. It has begun, in a measure, though it may not have reached us in our quiet country homes or busy lives. It may be that not one of us will be allowed to depart hence without joining in it.
Thank God, there is much on the other hand to cheer. The Church is waking up. Deeds of self-devotion, munificent almsgiving, and lavish works of love are rife; [and though dark clouds hover over at times, the sun will break through and disperse them; meanwhile, as long as we have done each one his duty, as long as we have striven and kept alive the faith, the storm when it has passed away will have left no traces of harm. In sluggishness and indifference lies our danger. The New Year now breaks upon us. Let us be up, and be doing.]
THE JOURNEY OF THE THREE WISE MEN.
N lands remote from Palestine there lived
This beauteous world around, and starry sky?
Till now nought of these tidings, and now deemed
Chief Priests and Scribes, thinking they could declare
The birth-place of Messiah, Israel's King.
They knew it, but alas! in vain, for faith
Had in their hearts no place. They knew it well,
Thou, Bethlehem, In Judah's land art not the least among
Its princes, for from thee a King shall come
To rule My people, Mine own Israel.”
Then Herod did of these wise men enquire
When first they saw the star, whose guidance they
Of their best gifts-gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
They incense to a Mediator brought,
And myrrh in token that His body blest
Should with it be embalmed. This done, in faith,
With thankful and glad hearts. They have found Him,
E. A. M.
CLEMENT FAUVEL; OR, THE LOYAL JERSEYMAN.
A STORY OF TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
(Continued from Vol. XIX., page 299;)
"This will even be a better way, if we manage it deftly. I know that room well. One of the bars in the window is loose, for I took it out myself, when I climbed after a daw's nest just above. The wall below is of no such height as to make a descent impossible, and there is but a grassy slope at its foot. Once down there, he could easily get off."
"Ay; that sounds well; but remember Master Bandinel and his son. They met their death by such a descent."
"They were two stories higher up in the Castle, and the trial they made was simply madness. This is no such foolhardy notion. With a strong cord, and brave heart, and steady head, the Captain may do it well." "But how will you provide him with the cord ?"
"For that I must trust to fate. But if I don't manage it, working at the very door of his room, this shall be my last enterprise."
So, when morning dawned, the two young men returned to the Castle, Clement's precious cord rolled up and hidden in the depths of his basket of tools. They had to spend the early part of the day in
the lower ward, and it was not till the afternoon was advancing that a warder led them up to Arthur's room, and having opened the door, took up his post at the entrance of the narrow passage. Clement proceeded silently to remove the old rusty lock and fasten a new one in its place, while Helier, doing what he could to help him, kept time to his work by singing in an under tone one of the "godly songs" peculiar to the Puritans. After some time had passed thus, the warder, seeing Arthur Monteagle intent upon a book at the other side of the room, moved closer to Clement, and stooped down to him, saying in a low voice :—
How can I tempt thee, good friend, to keep watch on this young captive for awhile in my place ? Magpiash Cryaloud is even now exercising in the lower ward; his words are like the sound of a roaring torrent, and reach my ears, even in the uppermost part of this Tower of Babel. I would fain pass down for a time, to listen to his discourse."
Is it so ?" said Clement, with an appearance of hesitation. "Verily, friend, to tell the truth, I am in bodily fear of this young Philistine. Should he rush upon me by force, what shall I do ?"
"Rush upon thee!" said the soldier, in a tone of some contempt: "Why, he is weak and gentle as a lamb. Thrust him back into the chamber, and close the door. I shall not be long away."
"Yet I like not such a charge."
"I fear me thou art something of a coward, friend. Why, the two of you will be more than a match for that slip of a youth. Come! I will give thee a crown, to help buy thee a new suit of clothes. I must b be gone! Magpiash waxeth louder and louder."
So he trampled off down the corridor, quickening his steps as the voice of the preacher below fell more and more dis