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THE BALD-HEADED SEXTON.
soon impressions wear away from the minds of young people. They are like the words written on the snow, or on the sand of the sea-shore, which the heat of the sun, or the returning tide, altogether destroys. What with his books and his playmates, and one thing or other, Abel, in a little time, had forgotten the solemn lines on the stone ; and even the bald-headed sexton was no more remembered.
Winter came, with its frosts and snows; spring arrived, with its flowers and singing birds ; summer spread its grateful influence around ; and autumn, abundant autumn, again visited the land, adorning it with loaded fruit-trees and crops of golden grain. Once more Abel Austin went to spend a little time at the village.
Old scenes bring back to our remembrance many things which we had forgotten ; and this was the case with Abel. The sight of the village church directly brought with it the figure of the baldheaded sexton.
The very first walk that Abel took, after his arrival at the village, was to the churchyard; where, as he entered the little gate at the corner, he again heard the bell toll. He walked up to the old grave-stone, and found the inscription in much the same state as he had left it, save that the moss was gradually filling up the letters. Though he
THE BALD-HEADED SEXTON.
had not thought about the verse, it again came into his memory even before he read it on the stone.
He had not mused long at the spot, when he saw at a distance a man coming across the green hillocks, with a spade and a long iron borer on his shoulder. He came up within a few yards of the old tombstone; and then, putting down his spade, he began to bore into the ground with the long iron rod, that he might know whether there was a coffin or not where he was about to dig a grave. In a short time he set to work in earnest to dig a full-sized
grave. Abel Austin drew near to ask after the baldheaded sexton, for his mind misgave him ; very likely he might have died since his last visit. “ You are not the gravedigger that was here last year,” said he, addressing the man. No,” was the reply, “and you'll not see him again neither. Old bald-headed Nokes has done his day's work at last, and I am now digging his grave.
He took a mug too much at the Malt Shovel on Saturday night, and broke his neck in tumbling from the bank side into the hollow way. He has covered up many a one in his time, and I'll cover him up now.”
The bell tolled again, while the gravedigger made this careless, profane remark; and Abel
THE BALD-HEADED SEXTON.
Austin, with a shudder, turned his eyes to the old gravestone, and walked thoughtfully away, repeating the lines,
Didst hear the toll
Of that sad solemn bell?
Is gone to heaven or hell."
TURN YOUR TELESCOPE.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence
cometh my help," Psa. cxxi. 1.
When a child, I caught up a telescope to view more distinctly a distant object, but soon found myself worse off than ever; for the object in question appeared smaller and farther off than before. “ Turn your telescope !” said a friend, who was standing at my elbow : "turn your telescope; for you are looking through the wrong end of it. When the telescope is turned, matters will be mended.”
Christian, art thou dismayed in thinking how little and how changeable thy love is to God ? Turn the telescope; for things will only get worse while thine eye is fixed where it now is : look through the other end, and thou wilt behold the vastness and the unchangeableness of God's love to thee. Again, I say, turn the telescope; for a steady gaze at God's love to us, and his promises in the gospel, is the best means to excite our love to God.
There are many people in the world who like religion, and who love religion ; but then, much as they like and love it, they like and love the world a great deal more. So long as we like and love religion less than the world, we cannot fully enjoy its comforts and consolations.
There are thousands who would be seekers after the happiness of heaven, if they could do so without foregoing the pleasures of earth. This world first, and heaven after, would do very well ; but, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God," is too hard a command for them. For them !-- Ay! it is too hard for
of us, unless God's grace has made it
easy Now, how does this matter affect you and me? Are we choosing our own plan, or God's plan? Are we obeying our own will, or God's will? Have we made up our minds, come what will, to run after the pleasures of a world which passeth away? or are we resolved, at all hazards, to seek after the joys of a world that endureth for ever?