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variations, and to feel that in spite of them all the believers are one in heart and in hope.
At the communion service, in an ancient village church in Switzerland, the pastor was raised two steps above us. He took from a small table by his side a long strip of bread, as thick as his finger. From this he broke a morsel, which he silently gave to each communicant, who then passed behind him, and received the cup from one of the two elders stationed at another little table on the same platform, and passing downward, the people returned to their places by entering the pews at the opposite end from that by which they had left them.
In Belgium, on a similar occasion, the church having been lately painted, the elder who had charge of the communion plate was absent, and had locked it up. Were the children to fast because of the absence of the regular order of vessels? Nay, verily. Their pastor treated the matter in a more practical way, unfettered by any solemn consecration; and using simple goblets of glass, and a common china plate, the tokens of redeeming love were dispensed to us—and the accompanying exhortations and prayers were never more strengthening or quickening.
Some of these services in the United States had only so refreshing a variation from ours, as to be the more arresting to the mind. One of these, which we enjoyed in New Jersey, I shall describe as correctly as memory will enable me.
We had public worship on Friday afternoon and evening, and again on Saturday at two o'clock. It was lively to see the country people congregating from distant hamlets, and to count upwards of seventy vehicles on the green—the number on Sabbath being increased to upwards of a hundred. Each vehicle carried four persons—many of them six-and in some there were children above the regular complement. They were chiefly plain country people, who in our own country would walk a few miles to church without weariness. The vehicles comprised many of fashion new to me—the waggon, the rockaway, the dearborn, and so on, up to the comfortable brougham. The spacious church was wellnigh full—the services instructive and edifying. On the Saturday, all who were to join the church for the first time came up the middle aisle to profess their faith. Their names were mentioned by the minister, and also the names of those who were to be received from other evangelical churches. The covenant was read, and after a short affectionate address from the pastor, the new members resumed their seats. This brought to mind the simple country church in Dumfriesshire, where, several years before, those very dear to me had stood in the band of young communicants to receive such welcome and such admonition.
After this address the minister invited any strangers who might wish to commemorate the Master's dying love, with an affectionate reference
to Christian friends from a sister church in a distant country. Next came the baptismal service for those unbaptized. One man and one woman, both of middle age, presented themselves. They advanced to the rail around the elder's seat and kneeled. With us it is so uncommon a circumstance not to have been baptized in infancy, that when it is required, the service is as it were smuggled by in the session-house or in the manse. The open profession is the more becoming method, inviting the prayers and the brotherly oversight of the whole flock.
On Saturday afternoon, when the children of the church are usually presented for baptism, there stood a mother with her full heart and watery eye, offering her boy-about six-in one hand, and her girl-about three—in the other, awakening the sympathy and petitions of many of us—specially that her heart's wish for the conversion of her husband might be granted. The boy looked up in the minister's face and smiled when he first poured the water and then laid his wet hand on his head to bless him. The girl gave a startled cry at the shock of the cold water on her face, and then was still. Here was a sight good for a church, calling forth many family and Christian sympathies.
Next approached five or six pairs side by side ; the fathers, with that tenderness for the feebler sex which is unfailing in America, carrying the babes, till the pastor took each one in his own paternal
arm, named and blessed it in the name of the Lord. The vows, as to training in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, were laid on both parents.
There was given here a striking testimony to the esteem with which true religion is regarded. The pastor's own family had been called to resign to heaven, about ten years before, two lovely children, aged eight and six years, and but recently another lamb of their flock. But the more recently removed was passed by, and the name of the dear child of ten years' memory selected, both name and surname, for two of the babes now dedicated to the Lord. The good man's voice trembled as he named the first, but the father's heart within him gave way quite when the second evidence of respect for his little one in glory was given. Her memory is fragrant, and, as we learned afterward, nearly a dozen of her name are growing up in that congregation.
On the Sabbath, no table was covered, save that on which the elements were placed. On the previous day, an exhortation, somewhat like what we call “ fencing the tables," had been delivered, so that the preliminary services differed nothing from what is usual on common Sabbaths. The body of the church was filled with communicants. We did not arise and go to a table as in Scotland, but the elements were handed to us where we sat. The service was simple, solemn, and appropriate, detaining us only half an hour longer than usual. We had an afternoon sermon, and at night, in the lecture-room,
an elder's prayer-meeting very well conducted, and thus closed a refreshing and very pleasant Sabbathday.
The few country churches which I have had an opportunity to attend are marked by order and neatness. They are remarkably clean, and neatly painted, each having its stove, and aiming at its band of singers. In the city churches, a good effect is produced by the taste and uniformity with which they are fitted up. The carpets and cushions are all alike, and the seats have a sloping back, which much promotes the ease of the sitter. If the wood be painted white, it is banded with a broad border of some rich dark wood; or if mahogany, it is banded in the same manner. The divisions are low, the doors sloping gracefully, and the number or name of the proprietor is engraved on a silver-looking plate on the dark band. Any one purchasing a pew is bound not to paint or carpet it except in uniformity with the furnishing of the church and thus the eye is not offended as it may be in old churches here, by a red-fringed cloth spreading over the front of the gallery in one seat, and next to it a brown, and next again a green. A stranger from a colder clime has the eye drawn to the amazing number of fans sticking between the cushions and the back of the pew. But let him wait till a right hot day, and he will see the wife profiting by the ventillation of her husband's fan ; the little ones placing themselves within the gale of elder brothers