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THE PENNY POST.
The Penny Post.
THE VICAR AND THE WIDOW'S TITHES.
Being quite aware that many of our poor friends in secluded villages are the subjects of much annoyance and extortion from the state clergy, we encourage them to send us facts in proof. Beneath is one.
How like is this to the conduct of those on whose heads our Lord poured out “woe" after“woe,” Luke xi. 42, Matt. xxiii. 14. And yet they will tell us that their's is a scriptural church, and that they are the true successors of Apostles, who, of silver and gold had none, and coveted none! (Acts iii. 6—xx. 33.)
“The vicar of C—, a short time since, sent an officer to seize the goods of a widow, for tithes; but, at the time, she was from home on a visit to her sister, and on her return, she waited on the vicar enquire into the cause of the officer's visit. “Madam,' said the vicar, 'you went out and locked up your house to deprive me of my right. 'No sir,' she replied, “you are very much mistaken. I was at the time on a visit to my sister, and I locked up the house to keep out the midnight thief, little thinking that a minister of the gospel would attempt to rob me at noon-day.' 'Madam,' said the vicar, “I have a right in your estate, and it is not for the paltry amount of your tithe that I trouble you, but because I wish to transfer that right unimpaired to my successors.' 'Sir,' replied the widow, 'I have also a right in that estate, and it is not for the paltry amount of the tithe demanded that I refuse to pay, but because I wish to transfer that right unimpaired to my successors. Here, sir, is the amount of your demand, but remember that God hates robbery for burnt offering. Good morning!'
A few weeks since a vestry-meeting was called in this parish, to consider the propriety of lighting the parish church for evening service. Before the vicar arrived, a dissenter proposed, and a churchman seconded, the adjournment of the consideration of the subject to that day twelve months, which was carried unanimously. The vicar may thank himself for this: his tithe exactions have set the people against him. Since the meeting above referred to, another vestry-meeting was called, but when the parishioners assembled they could not get in. The vicar had locked up the church against them! Well may we say—
“We do not fear the Pope of Rome:
W. C. W.
That all we realise by love
And faith of heaven, on earth, The means of intercourse will prove
With those of holier birth; Till we to higher natures wed,
Are won from this dull sphere, No more the tear of grief to shed,
Or, faltering, move with fear!
Yes ! thou shalt conjure up again
The hopes that once beguiled
Our little angel smiled;
Be stiff and weary grown,
So come, sit down by me;
Of good will always be !
Our child no more can die
Though he's beyond the sky!
And while communion thus we held
My angel-cbild and meA glorious vision I beheld
No words can tell to thee; For in a glow of holy light, Far
purer than the sun, The future lived before my sight
As all the past had done!
I'll something tell to thee, dear James,
But not a tale of old ;
'Twas by that angel told !
A calm and gentle sleepThough my soul a happier vigil kept
Than sense could ever keep.
But what to me most wond'rons seem'd
In that new world so bright,
From shadow into light;
From the unchanging blue;
The true remain'd the true!
And when he spoke, 'twas not, dear James,
In words like thine or mine;
So radiant and divine,
Though not a tone was there;
With bliss beyond compare!
And by that token blest is known
Thy truth, dear Jaines, to me; For there I bow'd at Jesus' Throne
With our sweet babe and thee! And O! a meet reward is thine
For all thy love and care ! For here though weak and old we pine,
We both were youthful there!
On one occasion, during the persecution in Scotland, a company of troopers, who were on their way to the wilds of Crawford Moor, for the purpose of surprising a conventicle which was to be held in that solitary retreat, called at Glenim, which lay directly in their route, to ask a guide to conduct them over the heights. When the party drew up before the door, Adam Clark went out to meet them, and consented to conduct them across the wilds. When they came to a place on the west side of the Lowther hills, not far from the mining village of Wanlockhead, called the Stake Moss, occurred to Clark that now it was in his power to occasion them some inconvenience, which might probably retard their progress, and prevent them from accomplishing their intended mischief. It was in the dusk of the early morning when the party arrived at the Stake Moss, and the obscurity was favourable to Clark's design. They had followed him in safety for several miles; and, having no suspicion of their guide, they rode behind him in perfect confidence. At length, having reached the morass, Clark, being on foot, pressed forward, leaping the mossy ditches with a nimble bound, and the horses plunging after, one after another stuck fast in the sinking peat ground. When Clark saw that the party were fully bemired, and that there was little chance of their getting themselves extricated for a considerable time, he made his escape over the dark heath, and left them to help themselves. It seems that young Andrew Clark of Auchengrauch bore a striking resemblance to his cousin Adam of Glenim. One day the dragoons met Andrew in the moors; and, believing him to be the identical person who guided them into the moss, apprehended him and carried him to his father's house. The commander of the party is said to have been Colonel James Douglas. The poor captive was interrogated respecting his principles, and especially in reference to his conduct at the moss. He declared that he was not the person to whom he alluded, and that, however strong a resemblance there might be between him and the individual who had done them the injury of which they complained, he was entirely innocent. The soldiers, however, positively affirmed that he was the very man. In those days
the execution of a man after his impeachment was but the work of a moment; and Andrew was immediately brought out to the field before the house to be shot. He was allowed time to pray-a favour which, in similar circumstances, was not granted to every one. He knelt down on the bent, and in the presence of his enemies and of all his father's household-in the presence of angels and before Him for whose truth he was now bearing testimony, and ready to seal that testimony with his blood—he prayed. In the immediate prospect of death, he poured out his soul before the Lord, and made supplication to his Judge. With a melting heart, and in the confidence of faith, he sought acceptance through the great Intercessor, and the remission of all his iniquities through that precious blood which was shed for the sins of the world. He prayed for support in this trying hour; and besought that as God had brought him to witness publicly for his truth, he would now comfort his heart with the joy of that truth, and enable him to triumph over the fear of death, and submissively, if not exultingly, to surrender his life to Christ.
Nor would suppli cation for his enemies, who were now going to deprive him of life, and for his beloved kindred, from whose dear embraces he was now about to be torn, be omitted. The supplications of this good man, produced a deep impression on the dragoons, who stood around, guarding the suppliant as he rested in the attitude of prayer on the heath; and one of the party, more hardened than the rest, perceiving the effect, commanded him to rise from his knees. "No," said the leader, “ let the poor man continue in his prayer; we can afford to wait a little; other matters are not pressing; give the man leisure, as his time on earth is but short." There are few hearts so indurate as fairly to out-brave a scene of this nature witho'it some emotion; and Colonel Douglas, though he had witnessed many an act of cruelty, was, in the present instance, scarcely proof against the moving spectacle of a fellow-creature uttering his last prayer in the presence of weeping and agonizing friends; and, probably, he now wanted only a slight pretext to set the poor victim free, and that pretext was soon found. There lived in the neighbourhood, at a place called Howart's-burntfoot, an aged and worthy woman who had been Andrew Clark's nurse, and for whom, as is common in such cases, she cherished a more than ordinary affection. To this good woman's hut a messenger. was instantly dispatched, to convey the information of what was going on at Auchengrauch. She
was a woman of great sagacity, and magnanimity, and piety, who had seen much, both in her native country and in foreign lands; for she had accompanied her husband for sixteen years in the continental wars, and had experienced a variety of fortune. This woman lost no time in presenting herself before Colonel Douglas and his company. The sight of soldiers, even in their most terrific array, did not frighten her, for she had been familiar with war. When she arrived at the scene of distress, Andrew had ended his prayer, and the soldiers were prepared and waiting their commander's orders, to pour the contents of their muskets into the body of the unoffending, victim. “ Halt, soldiers,” cried the matron, whose venerable and commanding aspect inspired the party with something like awe;
“halt, soldiers,” cried she, elevating her staff in the attitude of authority, as generals are accustomed to do with the naked blades of their swords on the battle-field, “halt, and listen to me.
Let not the brown heath on the moors of Auchengrauch, be stained with the blood of an innocent man, lest it cry for vengeance in a voice so loud and so importunate as not to be denied.” “How now, good mother,” said Douglas, “what have you to offer in exculpation of this rebel, who has done what he could to endamage his majesty's interests? You have heard of the affair at the Stake Moss?" “I have; but hear me, this man is not he whom you have to blame for that project; he may be like him, he may be his very picture, but he is not the same. Who he is that did that deed, it does not befit me to tell, nor shall I. But, sir, if you be a true soldier, hearken to the wife of one who has warred under the banner of your honoured uncle
countries from this; for your uncle's sake, by whose side my husband fought and bled, and for whose sake he would have sacrificed his life, I beg the life of this man, for whom, in his infancy, I acted the part of a mother, and for whom, now in his prime of manhood, I cherish all the warmth of a mother's true affection. I beg on my knees the life of this innocent man.” “My good woman,” cried the colonel, “his life you shall have. Your appearance is the guarantee for the verity of your statements, and
have mentioned a name that has weight with ine. Soldiers, let
In this way was the tragical scene at Auchengrauch terminated, and Andrew Clark restored to the arms of his rejoicing friends. There is in goodness, combined with true greatness of mind, a dignity which, when witnessed even in the humblest