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We have now reached the top of the hill, and as we slowly pace along by Hayston and Foffarty, we can admire at our leisure the magnificent panorama of hill and dale, which stretches away in surpassing beauty to the foot of the Grampians on our left. The Hunter Hill on the west and the hill of Kinnettles on the east, necessarily considerably circumscribe the view of the Howe, but the effect produced on the mind is just the more exhilarating and sublime by reason of its contraction. Sweetly reposing in the hollow amidst umbrageous woods and daisied meadows, the mansion-house of Brigton appears from this point of view in all its simple and primitive beauty. The sloping lawns of Invereighty so green and pleasant to the sight, stretch smilingly away by sylvanfringed copses to the east; while the pretty village of Kinnettles with its church and manse, its “ancient mill,” and little school nestles peacefully by the banks of the Kerbet, beneath the friendly shadow of its beautifully wooded hill on the north. Amidst its dark and gloomy forests, the red embattled towers of Lindertis gleam brightly in the morning sun; the steeples of Kirriemuir in the distance, shaded somewhat by the great dark quarried rock, opaquely crowned with gloomy stunted pine behind, standing sharply out in bold relief against the clear blue sky; the sparkling peat streams, like winding threads of silver, meandering to their own soft music, in the lovely valley between. Bleak and grim in the far north, the lofty Grampians tower upwards towards heaven in all their majesty and grandeur; black Carn-a-month, and snow-capped Mount Blair looking down mysteriously from their mist-enshrouded thrones as if charged from spirit land with some portentous message to the thoughtless and unreflective inhabitants below.

Crossing now the swift flowing Kerbet, by a little rickety wooden bridge, we are kindly greeted by my old and worthy schoolmaster Mr Daniel Robertson, of Kinnettles, for in that little school, yonder, did I con the first elements of learning. Dear spot ! ever sacred shalt thou be to me, and oft remembered fondly in after-life, and as often as the cherished picture is recalled to my memory, will appear in the midst thereof the form and expression of the venerable man who first opened to me the gates of knowledge.

Now we are pacing among the tombs. What a holy instructive place is a country churchyard ! We see old and decaying sepulchres, quaint and rude inscriptions in the cemetery of the crowded city, as well as in the lonely burying-ground of a sequestered Highland glen. But here, for ages,

have the members of the same family been successively buried in the same grave, the same spot of earth thus becoming a resting-place for several generations. In many a surrounding homestead as in my own ancestral line, son succeeds father, and brother succeeds brother, it ma be for centuries, and to the same narrow house do they quickly succeed each other in the dark and Silent Land. With the German poet Klopstock, we fervently exclaim :

“How they so softly rest,

All, all the holy dead,
Unto whose dwelling place
Now doth my soul draw near !
How they so softly rest
All in their silent graves,
Deep to corruption
Slowly down-sinking!

“ And they no longer weep,
Here, where complaint is still !
And they no longer feel,
Here, where all gladness flies !
And, by the cypresses
Softly o'ershadowed,
Until the Angel
Calls them, they slumber !”

What a pleasant thought that you will sleep the last long sleep in the grave of your fathers, and that your ashes will congenially mix with kindred dust! How comforting to look every sabbath-day on that little green hillock; to become familiar with your own grave, begemmed in summer with


butter-cups and daisies, around which the butterflies spread their silken wings, and the humming bees drowse luxuriously among their honied sweets! How consoling the thought that when you are quietly sleeping beneath that grassy mound, the flowers you loved so well will bloom above you, and the birds you so delighted to hear will sing around you ; yet more consoling still, that friends will fondle these flowers, and bless these birds for your sake ; and every Sabbath day will look upon your grave, and think of you, and speak about you, and vividly realise the time—not far distant—when they shall be gently laid in the same narrow house beside you !

How different, dear reader, may be your fate and mine ! The time is at hand when we must go forth into the world to brave its dangers and its temptations, its sorrows and its trials, and we may wander many a weary mile, see the strange scenes of many a strange land, and drink of the waters of many a strange river, ere our earthly pilgrimage be ended. But our grave—where shall it be? In the pestilential swamps of Africa, or on the burning plains of Hindostan; on the solitary prairie of America, or on the ice-bound coast of Labrador ; in the crowded cemetery of the city, or in the depths of the ever-surging sea ? We cannot tell! Alas ! our sad fate it may be to experience the poignant feelings of the sick and lonely exile, far from country, far from friends, dying in solitude among strangers, who, when he knows the approach of death cannot be averted, nor his poisoned shafts turned aside, turns his face to the wall and breathes a hopeless wish that he may be buried in the grave of his fathers !

But the church-bell has ceased. Let us now reverently enter the House of God. How sacred and holy we feel the place to be where we, in early childhood, first offered up praise and prayer from pure and loving hearts, to the Most High God, the great Omniscient Author of our being, the Guide and Counsellor of our youth! Impressions made on the young

and tender heart are seldom, if ever, effaced in after-life. How supremely important, therefore, they be, right


religious impressions, which, though sometimes choked well nigh to extermination, by the cares and pleasures or riches of the world, will ultimately flourish in healthful luxuriance and beauty.

The service ended, we now, amidst kind words and smiling adieus, turn our faces homewards; and as we journey leisurely on our way, it may not be out of place or uninstructive, to give expression to our feelings and convictions in regard to the subject matter of the discourse to which we have just listened, from our worthy parish minister. The theme was in the abstract, Foreign Missions, and eloquently and powerfully did he plead their cause. To me, however, a transparent fallacy seemed to run through all his arguments, for I have always most firmly held the opinion that the true spirit of Christianity is best exemplified, in the first instance, in the home circle of our family and friends, gradually extending its benign influence to our neighbours and countrymen in general. Nay, more, I hold that the Christian most lamentably fails in his duty, who, while he opens his purse-strings to support, and makes every sacrifice to extend, the field of Foreign Missions, neglects or ignores the confessed spiritual destitution which reigns on every hand around him, in his native land.

Let an exhibition be got up for the sale of fancy work; a subscription set a-foot; or a public meeting convened, for the purpose of swelling the treasury of our foreign missions, and what sacrifices we see made, what generosity displayed, and what thrilling eloquence is poured forth, until heaven and earth seem stirred and aroused by the commotion! Yet, that gorgeous array of finery may be displayed in the same city, where hundreds and thousands of our fellow-creatures are naked, houseless wanderers, without a place whereon to lay

heir head; these princely subscriptions are given, it may be from the same locality where many are pining with hunger, nay, actually dying for want of the common necessaries of life ; and these rushing strains of eloquence may almost penetrate to the dark and dismal hovels, where countless throngs of our own countrymen are wallowing in vice and crime, and from which may be heard the reproachful and bitter cry—“No man careth for our souls.”

I venture to assert, that, if but a tithe of the vast sums expended on foreign missions were applied to the excavation and enlightenment of the heathen in our own land, the arid deserts and moral wastes, which, in spite of all our boasted advancement, everywhere encompass us, would, under the blessing of the Most High, soon assume the gladdening appearance of fertility and beauty; the deadly and pesti- Iential atmosphere be purified by the cheering and invigorating light of the gospel ; and the loud universal hymn of praise and thanksgiving be heard throughout the length and breadth of our beloved land.

I know it is said, and believe truly said, that those who are the warmest supporters of foreign missions, are generally the most zealous promoters of home schemes of reformation. But that the efforts made in behalf of the latter, are in any way commensurate to the necessitous nature of the case, let the revenue for home and foreign missions of our various churches and societies testify. Surely the soul of a Scotchman is as precious and as worthy to be saved as that of an African Negro, or of a South Sea Islander. Nay, does not the charm of country and of home throw an additional interest over the former? It is delightful to read of the triumph and success of the far-distant missionary, and to receive regular tidings of the little Indian boy and girl who are being reared in the paths of virtue and holiness by our instrumentality. But, O! surely it is not less delightful to follow in the rugged pathway of the Christian philanthropist, as he ministers of the bread and water of life to those who are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and to see with our own eyes, the reclaimed and happy urchins in the Ragged School, and mark the progress of our little foundling as he scans the elements of Christian knowledge !

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