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Royal prayer, the (From the
German) 191

Saviour, the 167

Sea-shore, visit to the ... 220

"Serve the Lord with glad-

ness" 27

Soft answer, a 331

Strength, source of . . . .251
Sunday guests:—

The farm-house .... 204
The convict 225

Temperate on principle... 12

Thoughts 157

"Thy will be done "... 63, 120

Trouble, Christian consistency

in 113

Two promissory notes, the. . 69

Ups and downs. . . . 216,246

Voice, a, from the Exchange . 292

Want, prayer, and charity.—

A true story:—

I. Want 93

II. Prayer 94

III. Help 95

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i

THE

TRACT MAGAZINE,

AXD

CHBISTIAN MISCELLANY.

THE EVENING BELLS.

Those evening bells, those evening bells,
How many a tale their music tells
Of youth and home, and that sweet time
When last I heard their evening chime!

And so 'twill be when I am gone;
Your tuneful peal will still ring on;
And other bards shall walk these dells,
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells.

"That melody is really touching as well as pretty," said a gentleman, who sat listening to this song; "and it transported me to a very different scene from this drawing-room. It carried me hack in memory to an upland meadow in Switzerland, where I sat one sun-set many years ago, listening to an inhabitant of one of the valleys; and I think his praise of the evening bells was even pleasanter than this song, though it was given in homely language, without the adornment of rhyme or musical accompaniment.

"I had heen spending some weeks in a village in a Swiss valley, and had become acquainted with several of its inhabitants: one in particular, who was a cooper, I saw much of. Most of the villagers were vine-dressers, and glad to get home in the evening after their day's work; but Fritz, having his daily occupation in his workshop, was glad of a stroll in the evening, and often accompanied me in my walks, and thus we became intimate. He was an agreeable companion, and had evidently seen a good deal of the world. It appeared to make him love and value the simple habits and plain manners of his native country all the more.

"The evening I speak of we had gone up a neighbouring hill, and, fatigued by the steep walk, I sat down on our way back in a meadow half way down the hill, my companion beside me. The view over the valley, tinged with the glow of the sun, then approaching its setting, was

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lovely. When it actually set, the bells from all the villages pealed forth, adding another charm to the scene. On hearing the first sound of this evening chime, my companion rose to his feet, took off his cap, and stood, his lips moving as if in prayer. When he sat down again I observed to him that in England that would he called the curfew hell; but from his action I supposed with his people it was a call to prayer.

"' No, sir,' he replied, 'it is only the evening bell. Few seem to know or care what it means; but my father always said it was originally a prayer bell, and he impressed on his children and on his workmen the benefit they would find in pausing for a minute or two when they heard it, and raising their thoughts to God either in supplication or in praise; and I in particular have reason to remember his injunction.'

"I asked him to tell me of his father, and what he alluded to as impressing on him especially attention to the evening chime. He was gratified, he said, in reply, at my asking for his little history, and commenced at once.

"'My parents were upright, honourable, pious people, who brought up their children in the practice of domestic devotion and in religious habits. As I have already said, one was, that at the sound of the evening bell all work in the house ceased for a moment, all conversation too, and for that moment we all were, or were supposed to be, engaged in silent prayer. That silence was very impressive, and was so dear to my feelings, that in far different scenes of so-called pleasure or business I have often missed it, even while I shared in folly and dissipation without compunction. When I was old enough to choose some trade or occupation, my father gave me my choice. All our people then as now lived by their vineyards, and the trades connected with wine-making. The cooper of the village was a thriving man, and I wished to become a cooper. My father fully approved my choice, but said he could not at present afford to place me with a cooper in one of the Ehine villages, as he must do to have me taught the trade thoroughly. We must wait a little. We waited two years, during which I worked in the summer in the neighbouring vineyards, and in winter in a stone quarry belonging to my father, who sent me in the spring to sell the stones to those who needed them to support the roots of their vines. What I thus earned my mother laid up carefully; and when I reached my seventeenth birthday my earnings, with my father's addition, were sufficient not only to pay for my being taught my trade, but to purchase a new suit of clothes, including the cooper's yellow leather apron and brass clasp. All was now ready, and I entered on my studentship, as I may call it, for I was not . apprenticed. The. Lord had given me sufficient ability, and I was learning my trade quickly and well; but at the' end of two years I was obliged to leave it and follow the drum. I was very sorry to do so, but jesting or weeping would have been equally unavailing. Napoleon's conscription law was despotic: there was no escaping it; and I was marched off to the depot at Boulogne, and from thence to Spain, where a brave people were resisting their oppressors. In a bloody battle a ball from the lines of the brigands, as the French called the Spaniards, hit my log just above the ancle. I was in the horse artillery; but i after this wound riding was out of the question, and I was < discharged, and at liberty to go where I pleased. I had served for two years.

"' Such was my life for four years; and if those years j had changed my looks and air, they had. still more changed my manners and habits, and the latter certainly not for the better. The cooper with whom I had been placed was an ungodly man, and the conduct of all in the house very different from what I had been accustomed to at home. In my father's house we never sat down to breakfast until we had all joined together in morning prayer; and I cannot well describe to you the good effect this had: it seemed to sanctify our daily work; we felt so peaceful, as if the blessing of God rested on our labour. Again, after supper in the evening, my father assembled the whole household for evening prayer, and we felt that we lay down under the guardianship of the Lord. I need scarcely say that my father always asked a blessing on our meals; and his advice about the evening bell I have already mentioned.

"' Ours was not the only cottage that did this. Many of our neighbours had the same customs; and growing up in the midst of such friends and neighbours, and such a home, I was preserved from evil ways, and thought myself, and was considered by others, to be a servant of the Lord. But in my master's house what a difference! No one thought of prayer. My master drank so much at dinner and supper, that he was intoxicated almost every night, and his poor wife had much to bear from him. I was so laughed at when I attempted to say grace at table, even in a whisper, that I gave it up. As to using the Sunday as an opportunity for studying the Bible as I had been accustomed to do, there was not a Bible in the house, and no one ever thought of going to church.

"'At first all this was intolerable to me, and I had thoughts of running away; but my father forbade my doing so, and advised me to bear up against all, and to look upon it as a trial of faith and patience. I remained, therefore. My father, dear good man, forgot the danger of bad example, or, perhaps, fancied his son as strong in faith as he was himself. But he was sadly mistaken. How disgusted soever I was at first with this sort of life, I became gradually accustomed to it, and soon there was no perceptible difference between me and my companions. I ceased to ask a blessing on our meals even mentally; then I made no attempt to get to public worship on Sundays; next I left off the habit of private prayer; in fact, I joined in the evening dissipation of my comrades, and came home so tired that I could only throw myself into bed, and in the morning was often so heavy and sleepy, that my master's scolding and cursing with difficulty awoke me.

"' Two years of such heathen life smothered all the good I had learned at home; and the French army, in which I passed the next two, was no school of piety. Frightful! are the scenes I could describe. Would that I were able | to blot those two years out of my life and memory! I bless the ball that lamed me for life, as it took me away from such horrors.

"'I got my discharge; but what to do next, that was the question. Eeturn home and set up as a cooper? Half taught, and probably a bungler, my pride forbade that. France offered me an open field of labour, for Napoleon required all the youth and the strength of manhood to fill the ranks of his armies, and there were few but returned invalids left to work at home. I could no longer, it is true, run a race or dance; but I could work at my trade as well as ever, and I found employment with a cooper in Epernay, in Champagne. My imperfect knowledge of my trade hindered my getting high payment; but as my master overlooked all himself, I improved very much. There and in Eheims I remained for a few years.

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