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intentions, they proceeded themselves to improve and repair it both within and without. By their hearty exertions, the roofess, dilapidated building was, in an incredibly short space of time, converted into a suitable place of worship; but not until seats had been erected, and every arrangement completed, was Herbert made aware of their project, and invited to inspect the scarcely-to-be-recognised barn.
A tear glistened in his dark eye, as for the first time he stood within its walls, and preached to a large and attentive audience, taking for his text those memorable words which were uttered by the wise king, “But will God, in very deed, dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built !”
And while the young evangelist was almost tremblingly sowing the seed of eternal life, realizing with startling vividness a sense of his own personal responsibility, and being humbly conscious of his weakness and impotence, God was, by His Spirit, bringing home the Word to many a burdened one, whose life would, in after days, prove that it had not been spoken in vain.
Slowly and silently the humble worshippers dispersed at the conclusion of the service, a few only lingering for the purpose of exchanging a word or two with Herbert, from whom they were always sure of receiving a kindly greeting; and when they had spoken to him, they also proceeded to their own cottages, there to reflect upon what they had heard.
On his return home that same evening, Herbert found Mrs. Seymour-contrary to her usual habits-alone in the drawing-room. From her he learnt that his father wished them to accompany him to London—where they generally spent a few months every year—the next week. Herbert had been for some time expecting this announcement, and yet, when it came, it filled him with disappointment and regret; but, knowing that his father's wishes were imperative, he began at once to consider how he could arrange matters so as to have his place supplied, and his people watched over and cared for, during his absence.
The anticipated journey did not, however, take place at the time specified, owing to an accident which befel Mrs. Seymour—this accident consisted of a severe sprain, which, although of no very serious nature, kept her for many weeks confined to her own apartment, and obliged her to occupy the position of an invalid-a condition which she submitted to with extreme reluctance-instead of partaking of the gaities of a London season.
After awhile Mr. Seymour, who was anxious to be present at the opening of Parliament, consented to proceed alone to their town residence, leaving Herbert and Mrs. Seymour to follow him whenever the latter should feel able to undertake the journey. But, as her medical adviser considered that any fatigue or excitement would be very undesirable, he persuaded her (with some difficulty) to give up the idea of leaving home until her strength was quite recovered.
And so it came to pass that the gloom of winter was exchanged for the beauty and brightness of spring, and spring, in its turn, insensibly glided into summer, before the inhabitants of Mertonsville and its neighbourhood were called upon to part with Herbert, whose earnest labours among them rather increased than diminished, notwithstanding the many demands which Mr. Seymour naturally made upon his time.
CALLED TO BE SAINTS.
No tones provincial, no peculiar gait:
And goes with meekness, charity, and love."
When at length this daughter married, and left the parental roof, General Clare felt as if he had suddenly been bereft of everything which made life dear to him ; but he was destined to experience a far keener pang of anguish than any that could be occasioned by a merely temporary separation; for, after two years of wedded happiness, Mrs. Grafton was seized with a malignant fever which in a few days terminated fatally. Six months later her husband was killed by a fall from his horse ; and then, rousing himself from the state of stupefaction into which intense grief had plunged him, General Clare began to take an interest in his orphaned grandson, who-as yet too young to realize the double loss he had so recently sustained —was brought to the General's house, and treated from henceforth as his acknowledged heir. Unfortunately, the training he received was not calculated to prove beneficial to a child of Reginald Grafton's peculiar disposition.
He was reckless, headstrong, and self-willed; but, with the assistance of a little wholesome discipline and occasional restraint, his character might have improved. As it was, he did not hesitate to give way to all the caprices of his humour, knowing full well that he would never be thwarted or contradicted; for his grandfather seemed, if not quite blind to his faults, to love him the better for them, and was ever ready to make allowance for his wilfulness and impetuosity.
But to return to the Seymours. Several visitors were staying at General Clare's house when they arrived there, including some of Reginald Grafton's most intimate associates; and Herbert was at once placed in an extremely trying-I had almost said perilousposition. He was often led-judging from his father's conduct—to imagine that he had his own private reasons for visiting his brotherin-law at this particular time, as in general he did not profess to entertain more than a very slight degree of attachment either for him or his young heir; now, however, between the latter and Mr. Seymour there unquestionably existed an excellent understanding, and Herbert would have been utterly powerless to resist their united
efforts to lead him astray, had he not learnt to mistrust himself, and sought strength and help from above. It would be needless to recount the many temptations which were purposely thrown in his way—the derisive words, averted looks, impatient gestures, and unkind actions which daily and hourly tried his patience and forbearance; or the numerous instances in which he discovered the truth of the words Mr. Harland had quoted, “ All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution ”-I will therefore pass over the events of the next month or two in silence.
There was one—and only one-among among Reginald Grafton's friends, who did not join the rest in turning Herbert-or, rather, Herbert's religion-into ridicule. This youth—for he was several years younger than some of his companions-possessed a warm and loving heart, and instinctively he felt that Herbert's friendship would be well worth cultivating; and though he was himself very easily drawn astray, he could not help being struck with admiration at the steady consistency of conduct which Herbert daily manifested amidst very trying circumstances.
The last Sabbath which they were to spend at B arrived, and the two were talking together in General Clare's library after lunch, when Reginald and several of his companions entered in search of them.
“I suppose it would be useless to ask you to give us the pleasure of your company for an hour or two, my worthy cousin?” said Reginald, with a sneer.
“I am just going to church,” replied Herbert, quietly, at the same time rising and glancing at his watch.
“I told you how it would be,” returned the other, looking round upon his friends, his face expressing supreme disgust. “I knew he would not be satisfied with doing what other good people--"
“ Such as Reginald Grafton,” slyly insinuated one of his “particular friends."
Reginald turned, and darted a furious glance at the speaker; but Herbert, ever ready to act the part of a peacemaker, stopped him from making any retort by asking quickly, “ But what did you want of me, Reginald ?”
Nothing to speak of,” he answered, sullenly; "I was merely going to tell you that we have made up our minds to take a sail this lovely afternoon.”
“O Reginald, why not wait until to-morrow?” said Herbert, persuasively ; "why are you so determined to break the Sabbath ? "
“ Pshaw! We have been to church once. What more would you have ?" Besides,"
;" added another of the young men, laughing, "we have a very potent reason for wishing to take the boat out this afternoon. I dare say you are aware that old
“Hush !” cried Reginald Grafton, significantly. “There is no use in publishing our little secret,” he continued, in a whisper. Then raising his voice, he said, addressing Herbert once more, “ It is, perhaps, fortunate for us that we are not troubled with any of your foolish scruples. So, as you refuse to join us, we must e'en go without you; farewell, therefore, till dinner. Come, Stanley,” (this was to the before mentioned youth with whom Herbert had been conversing,)
we have no time to lose."
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As son as he was left alone, Herbert Sexnour took up his hat, and, with a gre, preoccused ait, set out on his solitary walk to the Curen. He was hastiy crossing he lawa. tubeo he suddenly found himself face to face with General Clare, who, after learning whither he was yering, proposed accompanying bim. Herbert giadly accepted his one, and rinsed himself to listen to the General's conversation.
Bryne ire, Herbert, can you tell me where the other young Derrie see?asked the latter, as they neared the church. “ I missed them immediately after luncheon, and no one seemed to know what had become of them."
Herbert hesitated; which, when the General perceived, he said,
with a smile, instantly, however, succeeded by a shade of anxiety, “You need not fear to trust me;" adding, in a low, almost sad, tone, “ I am always prepared to hear some unpleasant tidings of Reginald.”
Seeing him look really in earnest, Herbert then thought it well to explain what he knew about them. His uncle appeared thoughtful for an instant, but his face brightened directly, and saying cheerfully, “ They are quite safe if they have Wright with them,—and I have positively forbidden Reginald ever to venture out unaccompanied by him,"—he dismissed the subject from his mind.
Herbert found the service that afternoon peculiarly sweet and refreshing to his soul. He entered God's house with an unacknowledged feeling of disappointment, weariness, and discouragement; he left it strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, with his hopes and longings elevated, his faith increased, his love quickened, and his powers of endurance more firm and vigorous than before.
General Clare gazed at him with profound interest as they left the church together; and, drawing his arm through his own, he remarked, in a tone of unwonted sensibility, “ Herbert, I have often observed you of late; but not all my penetration has enabled me to discover what it is which has transformed my favourite nephew into—I am afraid the word will shock you, but, nevertheless, it must be spoken -a saint!”
" Why should that glorious title shock me?” asked Herbert, while a bright, radiant smile lighted up his face. “ I know I am very, very unworthy of the name of saint; but the height of my ambition is to be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light and —" He paused abruptly, as if the rest of the sentence were too sacred to be spoken aloud.
There was an interval of silence; after which Herbert raised his eyes, and, fixing them with inquiring earnestness upon his companion, said, “You acknowledge that I am changed; may I ask you whether you really consider it is for the worse ? "
“I scarcely know how I ought to answer such a question,” rejoined the General, laughing. “Many would, I believe, say for the better. But,” he added, suddenly becoming serious, “your father is not among their number, I fear.”
“He is not, indeed,” returned Herbert, in a low voice. if he would only look upon life as it is, instead of as it seems, he would be constrained to admit the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness."
“What led you to think on these things ?” inquired the General, passing his hand contemplatively over his forehead, and heaving a voluntary sigh.
“I owe my first impression,” replied Herbert, “to a sermon which I listened to on a certain Sabbath evening nearly two years ago.” And then, encouraged by the General's deeply attentive manner, he proceeded to enter into some of the particulars connected with that most momentous period of his life.
General Clare evinced the liveliest interest in these particulars, and his serious questions and thoughtful remarks proved that, whatever his previous opinions may have been, he was not, like Mr. Seymour, blinded by mistaken prejudices.
When, however, Herbert had replied to his numerous questions, and endeavoured to satisfy him on every point which had hitherto
“ And yet,