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green of heaven. SHANNON, of Ohio, earnest in life, was no less earnest to depart, and to dwell beside the river that makes glad the city of our God. Finley, of Alabama, logical, candid, open-hearted, was wasted by disease, until his noble intellect became impaired; but he recovered his reason in the very hour before his final departure, and soared away into fulness of light. EDMUNDS, of New Jersey, youthfully energetic, with all the clothing of aged humility, went away in the vigour of years into the land where work is no more toil.
Dear DANIEL BAKER, of the Lone Star State, with his tongue of truth and heart of flame, shall no more preach Jesus on earth, either in the new or in the “ blessed old States ;" but hundreds of stars shall flash the light of Christ's glory from his crown of rejoicing. DERUELLE was struck down by the visitation of God, in the woods of North Carolina, like a towering pine riven by a thunderbolt. WYLIE, of Tennessee, was rapt away from these scenes of darkness, in the holy mystery of a sorrowful and unsearchable providence. BROWN, descended from that noble spiritual ancestry of Virginia, which is loftier than the boasts of worldly genealogy, has gone to the fellowship of “the first born of every creature.
JOHN C. Young, of Kentucky, a prince of Israel in personal presence, character, acquirement, position, influence, and usefulness, and whose concern for Centre College was like that of Elijah for Bethel, has gone upward amid the exclamations, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!"
On Ganges' banks, “where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile,” behold a company of beloved missionaries awaiting death with meek and undaunted spirit, before the double threatenings of Brahma's vengeance, and the false prophet's curse. The screne dignity of the disciples of the Lord in the hour of danger, exacts, as with the authority of their king, forbearance from the wonted personal indignities. The last prayer is offered from submissive and exultant hearts, and incense like, it is wafted to heaven, whilst the dark smoke of murderous musketry palls the dead bodies of FREEMAN, and CAMPBELL, and McMULLEN, and Johnson. Blessed followers of the martyred Stephen! asleep,” saw ye not “the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God ?"
All these ministers of the Church, with a score of others, not less faithful, who have died during the year, and whose memorials will survive the scrolling up of time, admonish all of us, who remain, of our duty and our doom--of the divine contingencies, which, in another year, may make as strange selections of death--unexpected always to the living, but by God's grace, made welcome to the dying
Fathers and brethren! Know we not that these departed servants of Christ, could they return to earth, would "seek peace and pursue it?" Oh, how the visions of heaven nurture unity and love!
Soon our own earthly labours will end, and we be laid in the grave, with guarded repose, until the resurrection. For us, pastoral relations, Church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies, will very soon be no more. In the name of mortals ready to be transfigured into immortality, in the name of the spirits of just men made perfect, in the name of the Mediator of the new covenant, the Lord of all, “ whose blood speaks better things than that of Abel," I beseech you to be united in the truth, and to love one another. “Be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
“WE turn in here," said my friend, after a ride of five miles among the hills of Central Virginia. Dismounting, I opened the gate in the high worm fence, and we passed through. The morning was one when the heavens seemed lowering, and the air burdened with moisture. As we rode slowly over a private forest road, nature seemed weeping; each leaf had its drop pendent, ready to glisten as it exhaled in a sunbeam, or drop chilly and sadly upon the travellers who rode beneath the low branches; and the grass looked silvery with the condensed vapour which stood in tiny globules upon each spear or stalk. A well-beaten road, on which were frequent fresh carriage-prints, with horses' footmarks in a bridle-path adjoining, was followed nearly a mile through the woods. “Here lives Mr. H.," said my, companion as I sat in a reverie, and we passed first a large tobacco barn, then a group of farm buildings and hovels on the left, and at last drew up where a row of carriages stood in a semicircle about the front gate. In the adjoining grove, saddle-horses were bitched by their bridlereins, and servants stood ready to receive all who came.
With that quiet step with which the house of mourning is always approached, we joined a group of planters at the door of the man. sion. A gloomy, rusty hearse was near by, and inside the hall was a coffin, the dread house appointed for so many living. The locality was beautiful. The old brick double house was embowered in a grove of aspens, locusts, and maples. Fully a mile from the public road as it was, yet it was not too retired, for in its ample surroundings all of comfort and happiness might have found a safe lodgment. It seemed independent of the world outside.
Truly, not only is death at work on the sea, or busy selecting his victims from amid the city's densely packed crowds, or even choosing to rifle hearths of village homes, where many may join in sympathetic condolence; but even against that remote and quiet retreat his bow had been strongly bent, another arrow of certain aim had sped, and a young man in his strength was laid low, just as his brother had been but a fortnight before.
* This interesting account of a “ Plantation Burial" is taken from the “Christian Intelligencer," of New York, the able paper of our Dutch Reformed brethren.-Ed.
“ It is hard for Mr. and Mrs. II.," said a person near me to another; “R. was so young, and he is called so soon after his brother J. How wonderfully both the parents keep up!" The conversation was checked as a movement in the adjoining yard next the negro quarters attracted me. And in solemn line came the female servants, and large colored children of the family, to look for the last time upon their young master. There were perhaps a score in this company, and as they filed in past me, wearing clean homespun dresses, with heads turbaned, and manner decorous and sober, it seemed a pleasing tribute of affection, unmoved by any other inducement than love to him whose features they should gaze upon no inore, while sympathy for “ole massa and missus” was prominent in the thoughts of all. I cared not if the ebony cheeks were more glossy for the tears that freely ran down them, nor if the utterances of their sorrows were incoherent: there was heart in it all. As a gray-headed old “mammy" left the coffin's side, she sobbed, “ Massa done gone home-done gone home.!” Such faith would cheer the heart of any mourner. Her tears gave evidence of that love (for such a word only can convey a just idea) many old negro nurses hold for the children of the family of their masters, until their latest breath.
The hour for the brief religious exercises, incident to the sad occasion, had arrived, and in the large passage-way in the house a group of neighbours, numbering perhaps threescore, stood with a solemn manner. In an adjoining room, the parents and immediate friends were seated, while near by the slaves were stationed within sound of the preacher's voice.
All was hushed when the man of God said, “Let us pray.” A brief and earnest invocation was uttered, and God's presence solicited, that even in fiery trial, twice repeated, his ways might be recognized as all-wise, all-merciful. These selections were then read:
“I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again; even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven, if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are
up of life.”
in this tabernacle do groan being burdened, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection ; on such, the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things are we more than conquerors, through Him that loveth us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
“I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also."
“ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with, me where I am, that they may bebold my glory.
What words of comfort were these to the afflicted parents, weary with travelling life's long road, and, almost at their own graves, bowed together over the remains of one they had hoped to lean upon in their declining years! God's providences were briefly and tenderly dwelt upon after the lesson in reading; reference was made to that source of sympathy and consolation which has never failed the true believer; and with the prayer that the twofold warning of life's uncertainty and death's dread certainty might be blessed to all present, the services indoors were ended.
A slow-moving procession wended its way to the family burialground, a few hundred feet from the dwelling, where a rude but permanent stone wall inclosed an arca consecrated as a family burial-ground. A row of lowly mounds indicated the doings of death in bygone days; but the eye sought in vain for any record of who was laid low. This, by a custom peculiar to that locality, is kept apart, each family having its own register. It is too probable that ere many years, such changes may occur as will prevent even the recognition of one grave from another; dust will mingle with dust, and the stranger may wonder, as he stands above the commingling mounds, whose remains were interred there. Such is a plantation custom.
Outside the area, inclosed with the wall, which was entirely filled with the dead, was a newly-made grave. No grass had yet grown
upon it, but the spade-marks were fresh on the sides. It was the resting-place of the brother of him whom we now were bearing to his burial. There, a fortnight before, stood one buoyant with life, young and beloved, and, as his tears mingled with his bereaved parents, manly resolves to be still more à son to them filled his breast. Now an open grave is dug for him, perhaps at the very spot he then stood upon. It is deep and wide, fully large enough to bury the young heart's aspirations, and the fondest of earth's hopes.
Six young companions lift the coffin, and with steady steps approach the grave. All is quiet, the cords are arranged, and slowly all that was mortal of R. sunk from sight. Then all heads were uncovered, and in prayer God's presence was again supplicated, and his blessing sought for those whose loneliness would but commence as those exercises closed. O! the utter desolation of the heart, after such last sad duties have been performed, and friends have gone to their homes, leaving, as they must at last, the mourner to himself and his God. It was but a few moments, and the grave was being rapidly filled. As the clods first fell, sepulchrally hollow sounds, that seemed the echoings of despair's saddest notes, came distinctly, but soon nothing was heard save the rapidly plying spades as they grated amid the gravel. All stood with impressive silence until the mound was finished, and a rough stone placed at each end of the grave. This completed the service.
The wind sighed a requiem amid the branches of the old oaks we were standing among, and scattered drops of moisture upon the solemn crowd below, as all turned and quietly sought their homes. Two small groups wended their way to the dwelling; one was the relatives—the slaves belonging to the plantation composed the other. The latter had stood with perfect order during the whole service, a sob at times only indicating feelings not to be suppressed.
The forest road was again traversed, and it was not long before the unfeeling world was entered, and its scenes engaged in; but it will be many years before the novel, interesting, and deeply impressive scenes of the “Plantation Burial” will fade from my memory.
F. CHARLOTTE Cr. House, VA., May, 1858.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF 1858.
The General Assembly of 1858 met in New Orleans on May 6th, and was opened with a sermon by the last Moderator. [This sermon is published in the present number of this Magazine.
All that we propose doing in this article is to place on record, for convenient reference, some of the proceedings of the General Assembly, with a few of the speeches of the members.
VOL. VIII. NO. 7.