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• Peace and safety,' repeated my uncle, as he laid down a paper: 'Yes, we have indeed a marvellous cessation of all that was inconsistent with the external aspect of peace and safety. How suddenly and simultaneously has the roar of rising billows died away. India, China, America, in every quarter, breathing-time is given, and we may adopt the language of Milton's sublime poem, in reference to the season just past.
Nor war nor battle's sound
Was heard the world around:
The scythed chariots stood
Unstained with human blood,
· Yes,' I replied, And Kings stood still with awful eye. Abashed, as though they knew their sovereign Lord was by. “Ah! would they knew it! would they knew how near He is, preparing to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel :-would they were instructed to “kiss the Son, lest he be angry!” But this, I fear, forms no part of their counsels. Let us, however, be thankful, my dear Niece, for present tranquillity, and make the most of the time allowed.'
• We have made many annual recapitulations, uncle; but I do not think we ever saw such a change come over the face of the world, quietly, and without any marked revolution, as within the past year.'
‘Surely not. Let us glance at a few of the particulars ;
and first as to our present position in the East. We are forced to credit the uncontradicted assertion that an open act of frightful apostacy, of deliberate idol-worship, was really committed by the representative of the British Government in India ; and connected with this we must view the most fearful scene of defeat and slaughter that our troops have ever witnessed, together with a visitation of drought, and many other calamities. This individual is replaced by one whose late proclamation shews in an unquestionable shape that he had resolved to make the fullest recognition of the Most Highest, as the sole Disposer of the affairs of men. At once our position there is reversed, our captived people are freed, our troops enabled to retire in safety, and the Lord sends a gracious rain upon the land. I enter into no particulars as to the later doings in Affghanistan: they were horrible ; most iniquitous and utterly unjustifiable; not to be palliated ; but I speak with reference to the recognition of the Most High in the seat of government, where He had been so outrageously dishonoured, insulted, and denied.'
. And but for our dreadful reverses, uncle, that fact, so well known in India, would have been overlooked at bome.'
• Probably it would have remained unknown to us. Next, as to China : we find that great empire suddenly subdued into at least the semblance of friendly feelings towards us; and the prodigious change coming over the mind of the most baughtily-exclusive despotism the world ever saw, of sending an em
bassy, on equal terms, to the Barbarians of Europe. Truly, it would make me smile if I could forget the iniquitous character of the measures that led to it. But we are now, I repeat, looking on the surface of things, as they appear to all men around us.'
. Our amicable adjustment with America, however, is more than superficially a matter of gratulation.'
• It is a cause for heartfelt rejoicing, my dear. America is a part of ourselves, squabble as we may : and whenever we quarrel with America we meet with our match in more respects than one. I sometimes have hard thoughts and use hard words, respecting brother Jonathan, and certainly he bas faults of some magnitude to correct; but after all he is my brother;
real blood relation, with a vast deal of the family character about bim : and I confess I don't like any one but myself to call him names. Any difference with him frets me deeply: and I say from my soul, God be praised for the removal of such difference ! This apple of discord, now so contentedly shared between us, has been on the table ever since I can remember, and that is not a date of yesterday. It is with a special reference to this that I speak of so wonderful a change.'
. Then, ancle, there is Russia, that enormous unwieldy giant, beginning to bestir bimself in two matters of overpowering interest.'
*You mean with reference to the two great Antipodes, Babylon and Israel? Indeed, Russia is knouting Popery till the welkin rings with the Vatican howl. They cannot keep silence for a moment: and if Rome's anathema had the potency ascribed to it by the simple Irish, we should see Nicholas transformed into a caged bear, and his whole empire laid in ruins. At the same time the church that he is consolating is scarcely two shades better than popery; still, as it is not Popery, not a limb of the Great Harlot, however it may resemble her, there is hope of its reclamation—a hope that God himself has forbidden with regard to Rome. In reference to the Jews, Nicholas seems to have an inkling of what we have reason to believe was shadowed out in the mind of his right royal Brother Alexander; and more clearly in that of his living Brother Michael, as to the immense political importance of the Hebrew nation; and he is probably now beginning a conciliating line of policy; to attach the Jews to his person and government preparatory to some great movement towards putting them at least in subsidiary possession of the frontier land-their own Palestine.'
. And then, uncle !'
. And then, niece !-then will be an end of all guess-work, and we shall only have to stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. France is quiet at least for France, the very soil of all unquietness : the perturbed spirit that never rests. She is plotting, and machinating, and grasping at dominion in the East, as a half-unconscious tool of Rome, and longing to run anew her past career of blood and anarchy: but there is a restraining power lodged in the wonderful old man who more effectually governs than ever did the most despotic Capet. I love to pray for that king: he was long domesticated among us, and he knows so well our language, that I often hope some powerful word may reach him through its instramentality. Pray for him, my dear.'
"I do, uncle : I often feel constrained to do so.' "Well, now we must turn to our own country and see what has been doing among ourselves in the past year, We look around us, and the same scenes, the same familiar faces, the same objects of interest are probably present ; yet, viewed broadly, our position is marvellously altered from what it was twelve months ago. We seem to have become so tacitly acquiescent in the visible exaltation and overspeading of Popery, that a new mass-house rising in the midst a Protestant community excites little else than a critical opinion as to the style of its architecture, a calculation of how soon it may be furnished, and a romour of who is to consecrate (!) it, and with how much of external, illegal pomp; not unfrequently ending with a bint that there will be no great harm in going to see the splendid ceremonies, and to hear the grand music, and to find out what the · Catholic' bishop has to say for his religion. Here is a change, not indeed of one year's effecting; but rendered tepfold more remarkable by the tenfold increase of the abomination.'
Go on, uncle : my mind sickens at this part of the picture.'
• The next is worse. A year since, we had a party struggling to stifle the spirituality of our public services under a load of carnal ordinances, childish, superstitious, and unfounded alike in Scripture, reason, or wbat they themselves call the Church. They were also gradually bringing back, as fast and as far as they dared, customs worse than foolish, manifestly partaking in the first rudiments of idolatry. The men with whom these things originated were, by some strange infatuation, more or less lauded by every bishop who denounced their doctrines and practices too; but as yet no episcopal fiat had been