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malice, nor pride in oor hearts, an' I hae mickle fear, that ye are doin' sae. Have a care, my bairn, for they will bring ye nought but trouble.”
Well would it have been for Ronald, and Helen too, if they had heeded the old woman's words.
SENSE OF HUMOUR.
“In short we really laughed, and real laughter is a thing as rare as real tears."SIR WALTER SCOTT.
“By the use of the tongue God hath distinguished us from beasts, and by the well or ill using it, we are distinguished from one another.”—JEREMY TAYLOR.
“Give not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee prisoner. A word unspoken is, like the sword in the scabbard, thine; if vented, thy sword is in another's hand."-QUARLES.
Tajs is a Talent that I think we shall find all the more necessary to be talked about and valued, because it is so apt to be misused. It has been truly said, " a mere jester can never be a saint,” and yet how many saints' lives--I speak of those of whom we possess lengthened and credible biographies—are lightened here and there by delicate plays of wit and fancy.
In S. Francis de Sales the sense of humour seems to have been strong ; we find him during the Chablais Mission besieged by visitors. One of them, a respectable old Protestant lady, found it in her conscience to consult the overworked priest three times in one day. He had so cleared away her doubts, that there was nothing left for her to argue about but the celibacy of the clergy, which she was loud in condemning. “Allow me to suggest, madame," the Provost observed, with a half repressed smile, " that if the clergy were engrossed by family cares, they would have less time than is now the case, at the disposal of those who seek their aid. For instance,” he could not forbear adding, "were I a family man occupied with household cares, I might scarcely have had time to receive all the visits with which you, madame, have been good enough to honour me this very day.”
In a letter to one of his spiritual children, we find him gently blaming her for using language too much “ frizzed out.”
Keble, Miss Yonge tells us, was droll and playful in family life; even the judicious Hooker, in a work of such depth of learning and earnestness of purpose as the Ecclesiastical Polity, appears sometimes to be smiling behind his book. There is a touch of humour in his wise saying, that "good things do lose the grace of their goodness, when in good sort they are not performed ;” also in his comment on the Christian Letter, whose author observes sagely and solemnly, “You appeare to us to scatter the prophane grains of Poperie,” Hooker appends a note in MS. “It is not I that scatter, but you that gather more than ever was let fall.” So even in good old Jeremy Taylor's gravest works, we come on touches of quaint conceit, proving how naturally a mind at peace with God will open out in innocent playfulness. Even the Venerable Curé d’Ars was not above a little plot that savoured of the practical joke. It was known to some of his admirers that the only occasion on which he allowed himself a slight relaxation in the rigour of his diet, was when a guest shared his meal. Two good women greatly devoted to his service longed to have this honour, as much for his sake as their own be it said. The Curé became aware of their desire, and one evening when his store was filled with the dirty bread out of beggars' pockets for which he habitually exchanged his own, he invited his friends to supper. Happy and proud women were they !
The Curé made his preparations, which were simple; in the middle of the table he placed the basket of beggars' bread, flanked, on the right by a thick volume of “Lives of the Saints” on the left by a pitcher of water.
“ Take chairs, and sit down,” he said, now we are going to feast ! we shall eat the bread of the poor, we shall drink God's good waterso much for the body. We shall read afterwards the lives of the holy saints, penitent and mortified—so much for the soul.” We do not hear after this repast that the Curé was troubled by any
fishing” for invitations. S. Anthony gave his inattentive hearers a lesson in the same practically humorous way, when he left them to preach to the fishes.
But to return to ourselves, there is no doubt that a sense of humour, though perhaps not so great as some gifts, is one to be turned to account. It often helps people to take things easily, which others not so endowed would be likely to be seriously annoyed or angered by. It gives the power of amusing others innocently, and of making the narration of trifling commonplace events interesting. Gossip even need not always be wrong or ill-natured, and many an invalid's long weary day has been brightened by the visit of some lively person who,
making the most of his or her talent, is willing to spend half an hour in a little chronicle of passing or political events. It is possible to make an acceptable offering of this sense of humour, if it is exerted when its owner would rather be silent: let us hear the Bishop of Geneva, “ I am sad, and therefore I do not choose to talk: a waggoner, or a parrot, would do the same. I am sad; but since charity requires it of me, I will exert myself to talk. This is what the spiritual mind does."
Among the poor there are many humorists, and from being less conventional than their wealthier brethren, there is much more originality of expression to be found among them. This gift which so enlivens descriptions and details, may often be found helpful in stirring up others who have before cared little for work, to take at least some small share of interest in it."
Among those who put this talent, with him but one among many, to great use, we may name Bishop Wilberforce—think what numbers of long meetings he brightened by it!
A sense of Humour however is like fire,-a good servant, but a bad master,--a great foe to spirituality if its possessor gets possessed by it, and it would be well if those so gifted made a few strict rules for themselves. One, certainly, should be total abstinence from finding amusement, or making it, in anything connected with holy places, or Holy Writ. And this, in these days when the Church, and the manner of conducting services are so often discussed, is not so much a matter of course as might be expected, even among those calling themselves good Church people.
Another rule,-extreme care should be taken not to wound the feelings of our friends, and to keep heedfully from turning the failings of others into ridicule.
As I am now thinking only of those who wish to make a good use of their talent, I will not speak of the cruel abuse so often made of humour, in turning the weak and wavering from right to wrong. With the best intentions it will be often well to lay to heart the quaint saying of Francis Quarles, “ If thou wouldst be held wise, be 80 wise as to hold thy tongue.”
M. J. K.
ALLELUIA DULCE CARMEN.
TRIUMPH-SONG, that sweetly soundoth
In the Christian ear for aye,
By the Angel-choir on high,
In the realms beyond the sky.
With thy sons' voice blend thine own,
Swelling round the FATHER'S Throne,
Wand'ring through the world alone.
Not yet are our trials o'er ;
Leading to the stormless shore ;
Days when sin shall be no more.
We such harvest rich may reap,
When is o'er the last long sleep,
A. G. P.
THE CHURCHMAN'S COMPANION TO “HYMNS ANCIENT
BY THE REV. R. YOUNG, M.A.
HEBER. The qualifications necessary for the formation of a successful missionary are very considerable. This truth may be seen from the rareness with which such a type of character is to be met with in the pages of history. During the Apostolic ages we have S. Paul as a shining example; during the primitive ages of Christianity appears a S. Antony; in the mediæval period are to be noted a S. Boniface, a S. Augustine, a S. Columba, and a S. Patrick. In later days from the Roman Catholic Church came forth a Xavier and a S. Francis of Assisi. The Protestant Churches of Europe seem to be peculiarly destitute of great missionary names. They have been so engaged in internecine war with each other, and have had so great a tendency to subdivide into innumerable sects, that the enthusiasm and the real which might have been devoted to the propagation of the faith amongst the heathen have been squandered in party conflicts and in sectarian strife. The system of discipline or rather the want of a system of discipline in the Protestant churches has also impeded the progress of missionary enterprise. The discipline is strict enough in the majority of Protestant churches with regard to insignificant matters of doctrine or ritual, but in the selection and the arrangement of its ministers there is no form of discipline at all. Round men are for ever placed in square holes, and square men in round holes. The pastor who delights in rural stagnation and “whose talk is of oxen,” is placed in a large town parish, and the pastor who loves the beat of the great heart of the city, and whose thoughts throb in unison with the intellectual movements of the age, is fixed in some remote country village where the "lowing herd” and the whistling ploughman are the only sounds that break the monotonous silence. Far different is the system in the Roman Catholic Church; there the fittest men are selected for the different positions, and neither influence nor money can excuse the candidate who is nominated to any post, from an obedience to the injunctions of his ecclesiastical superiors, nor obtain for him any position for which he is not, in the eyes of those superiors, duly qualified, physically, mentally, and morally. From the absence of such a system of discipline in the English Church, what scandals arise when, as too often happens, influential ignorance, or wealthy incompetence is thrust into some important sphere of duty, or where, speaking generally, the characteristics of a man are so little considered in his selection for any particular work. The evils of such injudicious principles of selection are seen in their most developed form in the missionary work of the Anglican Church. Enormous sums are collected yearly for different missionary societies, and yet it must be confessed with all deference to the ingenious special pleading of Dr. Maclear to the contrary, that the progress of modern missions in the Anglican Church has not been extensive, and that the characters of our missionaries do not seem