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It is pleasant, we say, to rest the eye upon them, in the midst of those turbulent scenes of history--the quaint, patient, unresistent men, with their voluminous books, and manifold commentaries, and pious pains of working. A different picture waits us if we look over the Border into that heaving, agitated Scotland, fighting for its faith, as for bare life. Bigot, fanatic—the names are not desirablebut it seems that these human spirits of ours can never have a necessary good, without an attendant evil. When we go far enough, the righteous impulse does oftenest carry us a little too far. We must accept the evil with the good; for men are rarely embarked heart and soul in any enterprise, without a little bigotry and prejudice. Too tolerant, too gentle, to leave any “footprint on the sands of time," the Presbyterian Divines have passed away, leaving behind them only books innumerable, and a memory devout and holy. While the more violent spirits in the northern quarter of the empire have left the stamp of their mind upon their country still.
There is another singular anomaly, as it seems to us, in the times of those Puritans. In scarcely any other age, do we find so great an amount of devotional piety-in scarcely any other age, was vice so rampant. The severe selfexamination of the friend of Evelyn, the maid of honor, Mrs. Godolphin, comes strangely to us, out of the impure court of Charles. Mystic and contemplative, this religion of vows and prayers, breathed the same air with the boldest and most daring sin; and abroad in the country, more healthy and life-like, the piety of the time bore still the same guise. Like the Divine charity, hoping and believing all things, esteeming itself little, abounding in fasting, in meditation, and in prayer, it yet seems to have been powerless to restrain the might of evil which possessed the land. The question is a difficult one. It is true that we judge the morality of the time by the standard of the Court, and in that we do wrong; but the fact remains, that even in the Court, and its immediate vicinity, this gentle piety lived and flourished, and that the royal iniquity flourished with it, side by side.
There has been much written on this crisis of the national existence, and there is room, we fancy, for still more. These contradictions that meet us as we venture into the depths—this wayward, changeful, human mood, which seems to make it impossible to have great principles brought into immediate contact without those strange anomalieshe would do well, who should treat of those on a broader ground than that of vindication or reproach of the actors on either side. We ourselves, at this day, are producing contradictions and paradoxes as strange as these ; and many combining circumstances point us back to the days of the Stuarts, the climax of the old world--the seed-time For the little story subjoined, the Author has nothing to say, unless it were to beg for it that gentle consideration which the lovers of art do sometimes extend to those
of the new
THE May sun shone hopefully over the fair heights of Cumberland. Wide slopes of far-stretching hills, with that indescribable soft blue mist hovering about them, which