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Jennings, said, “ Have you, Sir, received any of the money ?" “ 'Not one shilling," with stress laid upon every word. Michael made no reply, but rising, asked Mr. Lascelles if he would permit him to show the copy of that clause in the testator's will which was lodged in the church chest? “ Undoubtedly, Sir.” So Michael took the key, produced the document, and read as follows: “ This sum of thirty-six pounds half-yearly interest shall be paid into the hands of the rector and the overseer of the poor for the time being, to be applied to the use of the industrious poor who endeavour to keep their families in decent respectability.” There was a murmur among the farmers; some said, they had never heard this before, they wondered how it came in the chest. Mr. Lascelles, looking kindly round, said, “ At the time, gentle. men, this noble legacy came to our parish, I was a school-boy, and my excellent father employed me to copy it in the very letter and spirit of the testator; and if you observe, here is written at the bottom, in my father's own hand, “I have had this copy, that the money may be applied exactly for the purposes designed.” For myself, gentlemen, I never have given one shilling to those who had relief from the parish, because I was quite aware that this
money was designed to add some comforts to that class of persons to whom it was bequeathed, and not to pass into the pockets of the farmers by lessening parish rates.” The farmers smiled at each other, and old Jennings observed, “ it would not go far in such a parish as that.” true,” replied the pastor, “ therefore there is the less temptation to violate the will of the donor." So Michael gave his part with great care, according to the necessities he witnessed, going carefully through the parish, and inquiring into the solid wants of each of the parties. Some wanted linen, some coals; one poor old man, who had kept his cottage, and done every thing to fence out the weather, yet could never afford to have his windows mended, was made comfortable by half the sum being applied to this purpose; and as Esther walked with him in his rounds of inquiry, all her ingenuity was employed in cheap but useful thoughts for bettering the condition of those she visited; and how often has she come away sighing and lamenting there was so much left to be done. But the blessings of those who were ready to perish was upon them, and when inquiry was made, it was found that not one in ten of those persons for whose use this money was designed ever received it; none, in
short, but those to whom Mr. Lascelles had given it; and yet, by the silent operation of that homeborn principle, natural affection, the parish was relieved, and they could not understand how; the rates were lowered, that they found, and yet the doctor had been sent for whenever there was occasion, and Mr. Kemp had not contracted for yearly attendance, they could not tell how he had done it; they must own he had managed very well, but then Mr. Lascelles gave away a great deal of physic to be sure.
“ But that is no new thing,” said a young farmer, who had just come to the parish; “ I have heard he always
“Well, well,” said one, “ I do think he has managed very well."
Yes,” said another, “ I think he has, and the people all seem pretty well satisfied too.” “ Not all,” said Mr. Jennings, rising up. “ No,” said the dry old farmer, “not your drunken carter, who spent every shilling given him last year at the Feathers.” Jennings grinned, and the party broke up.
The trials of life, viewed with the Christian's this tendency; they teach him, that however blessings are scattered in his path, this is not his rest; and even when he feels mercy encompassing him on every side; when his cup runs over with wordly
did give away.
prosperity, in this moment he rejoices with trembling; he would not live always, he well knows that for him to depart is far better, yet all the days of his appointed time he waits till his heavenly Father says,
“ Come up higher.” Michael and Esther were so completely devoted to God, so convinced of the nothingness of every thing here to satisfy a Christian mind, that their dangers arose not so much from any thing worldly as from the continued respect, love, and veneration of all with whom they stood connected. Happily they were aware of this, and never ceased to warn each other; and one morning, as they were walking to church, and Betty Smith had gone on before them with their two little ones, the sun shining brilliantly, all nature in her richest dress, Esther said, “ I know not how it is, my dear, but I tremble lest I should be too happy, too satisfied with the blessings which surround me.” “ My love, I do not see any deadness in your heart towards God”-“ Neither do I feel it, but we seem really so encompassed with mercy, and at this moment so entirely without trial, that I cannot but fear." said her good husband," he that knoweth whereof we are made best knows what we must be; he seems to have given us all
oš I think,
things richly to enjoy, but he can also defend us in this danger.” And when in the Litany they came to that part, “ In all time of our wealth, good Lord deliver us, they looked round at each other involuntarily; and Esther, slipping her hand into Michael's, pressed it with tender affection, and the beautiful aspiration, " Good Lord deliver us!” was breathed with unusual fervour. But although they seemed surrounded with the goods of this life, it was no small trial to them to see the decline of those they loved, and to watch the increasing feebleness of the aunt Margaret and the parent Mary. It is true, they still walked to church side by side, and still were seated carefully at the upper end of Michael's pew; and still that pale faint star, glimmering in the dawn of a brighter day, was watched with pleasure by those who foretold the coming radiance. Yet Esther could but remember that the lot of all living awaited them, and could but tremble in the anticipation that ere long she must see those eyes which always dwelt with delight and kindness upon her, closed for ever. But it was only when they looked increasingly feeble that she felt thus. By the side of their own quiet fire, with every little comfort that age needs, a cleanly little maid that brother Jonathan