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Observer, Jan. 1, '72.


R. HAY AT THE PRAIRIE FIRES. “ It may not be uninteresting to Creek, then along a small branch the readers of the Wigan Observer to creek to my brother's residence. He know that the steamship Spain, in has 160 acres of land, of which about which I sailed with my family from 30 is enclosed, being good arable Liverpool to New York, in September land, and there is about 60 more fit last, proved a very seaworthy vessel, for the plough. The rest is timber and though purposely deprived of two or rock. The country is a lofty fans of her screw before leaving table-land, perfectly level at top, but Liverpool, she made the passage in deeply cloven by the Kansas river twelve days, arriving in New York and its tributary creeks, so that there harbour on the morning of Tuesday, is hereabout a variety of hill and October 2nd. I do not purpose here dale very like East Lancashire and to give any details of the voyage or the West Riding of York, except that of our journey inland, further than the English hill-tops are more roundto say that, in carriages far surpass- ed than these. The plateau is coming English ordinary first-class, we posed of magnesian limestone, so did a journey of 1600 miles to Man- that the waters of all the springs are hattan, Kansas, in 3} days, including hard, and the ancient presence of the one night's stoppage at St. Louis. sea (inland or otherwise) is marked The cost of this journey by the slow by a succession of steps on the sides or emigrant train is 27 dollars (about of every hill or bluff. These ancient £5), and the time would be five days, sea beaches are very like those near and the baggage 80lbs. to each adult. Lancaster known Cromwell's We travelled by a special colonist's Steps. ticket, which, for 35 dollars, gives “ On the day of our arrival all the you first-class accommodation and bluffs, both sides and summits, were speed and 150lbs. of luggage to each brown with their covering of long adult. On the whole, with a family dried prairie grass. On the night of the colonist's ticket is the cheapest. our arrival, at several points beyond The ordinary first-class fare is 47 the hills bounding the creek valley, dollars.

we saw the sky reddened much in “We arrived at Manhattan at five the way that the Kirkless furnaces in the morning of Wednesday, Octo- redden your Wigan sky on a cloudy ber 10th, and found at the Post-office night, and upon inquiry as to the your paper of September 29th waiting cause were informed that these were for me, and also a letter which I had the fires on the distant prairies. posted in Wigan to my brother here Next day I went out on horseback eight days before I left England, with my brother, and on our way consequently he was unapprised of home about five o'clock, and just our arrival, so I had to hire a waggon, coming in sight of the valley and put my luggage on it, and my that is our home, we saw a great family at the top of that, and start crest of flame, half a mile long, out for the prairies. We found the sweeping over a shoulder and through roads pretty good country roads, the a gap at the head of the vale. My settlers being as numerous along the brother left me with some hurried route as farms along the roads of instructions, and he rode ind to North Lancashire or Mid Cheshire, summon his neighbours to fight the though much of the country is un fire. I galloped home, and we got enclosed. The route led by the old sacks and cloths and a barrel of Kansas river westward, then souther- water in the wagon, with two horses, ly along a stream named McDowell's and sat down to a hurried meal, when


Observer, Jan. 1, '7%

several men galloped up and we were in buckets, new comers taking their soon started up the valley. There turn in the fierce fight, the stars is one settler above here, and my paled in the glow of the fire, and brother rode forward to his house to great crests and columns of flame see if round his farm would not be sweeping over the bluffs and down the best place to begin the fight. ravines, and leaving blackened ruin. We were now well up the creek, and So we fought for more than half a the flames were out of sight, black mile, when one sent back to survey smoke and a lurid glow telling their reported fire again at the head of the proximity behind the bluffs. Then creek and advancing down the windthey reached the crests of several ward side. This was terrible. Not hills at once, and the landscape was only the hay we had just saved was as light as day. Then we hastened, endangered, but all the grass that but our speed was checked by the pastured the cattle on the southern coming off of a wheel tire, so two or slopes, and all the hay and wheat in three buckets had to be filled from the stacks on the farm, and the still unbarrel and carried forward. Then my gathered corn were now risked. But brother returned with the intelligence the workers were numerous, and I that the settler above had burnt was one who left the place we had round his home and was safe, and reached to go back beyond the haythat he and his son would soon be field and commence again ; and when down to help us. So at the one end we got there we met a curved line of of the lee side of a large arena of fire more than a mile long. Fortumown grass, where the hay was still nately a party from the next valley in cocks, we commenced operations. met us there, and in half an hour the Diamond cut diamond-fire against glare was changed to blackness, and fire! With matches we set fire to we went again to join the party who the edge of the new-mown grass, and were left fighting the fire towards then, assisted by the wind, whipped the farm. They had saved it, and it out with the wet clothes along the were firing the grass a little to the edge nearest to us, and the wind west of it, and the surging of the drove the flames on the outer edge flames in wide lanes up each hillside, with a roaring, fearful glare, towards and the roaring of the fires till they the fire, which, fortunately for us, extinguished each other, made an had passed to leeward a couple of impression not soon to be forgotten. miles over the bluffs, and was advan- Then some half mile west of the house cing from the north towards us against we fired for the last time, and whipthe wind. We whipped it out all ped out the flames along the near along the edges of the hayfield, then, edge, and then our party broke up, kindling and burning along the wag- leaving the fight for others whose gon trail homewards, and whipping homesteads were lower down, and it out as we advanced, our fire run- who would have to be up most of the ning up the hillsides in wide lanes of night. We returned, after thanking devastation, to be extinguished in those who had helped us, about eleven the wider desolation of the prairie p.m., black, grimy, scorched, and fire.

weary, after a running fight of more “Sometimes tearing up grass (and than five hours. The thanks. we our hands too, for the grass is very tendered to neighbours were given coarse); sometimes rushing fiercely heartily, but they said that compliand swinging our wet clothes vigor- ments were out of place then. None ously; sometimes scorched by the had exceeded his duty. So it was, flames at a bend of the road or turn All had to unite to save all, and by of the wind, calling for more water the joint exertions a wide piece of

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Observer, Jan. 1, "72.


land on the south of the creek “I was congratulated on having is saved for the use of the cattle of such an experience so soon, as it was the district till Christmas. Next day said I should see nothing worse of revealed a scene of blackened devasta- any kind, and this is the worst fire tion, and the lines of the ancient sea there has been for several years. beaches showed lines of water-worn Since then we have had frost and rock, white limestone, ghastly amidst rain, but the grass on the bluffs is the blackness. On ascending the again springing green, and a week of bluffs the desolation seemed terrible, fine weather such as this May-day and days after we heard of fences (November 15) will bring up succuand stacks and lives lost on that ter- lent food for cattle in place of the rible night of fire.

dried herbage destroyed. R.HAY.


In fine, whatever is grandest and able globe, he has studied the probest and most enduring in human ducts of every zone, he has sounded achievements, is directly or indirectly the seas and measured the heavens, the issue and fruit of the inner life. he has noted the structure of every Whoever has conceived in himself creature and the path of every star; any fruitful, world-renewing thought, there is no inquiry so arduous which whoever has proposed to himself he has not attempted, no science so any arduous and saving work or perplexing which he has not pursued. mission, has been guided thereto by He has made himself acquainted secret meditation. Alone, in the with the world of his surrounding. wilderness, battling with self and But that inner world, enclosed within the world, the Son of Man laid fast the walls of the fleshly frame, the the foundations of the Christian ages. world of ideas, so bounded in space, In the solitudes of monastic seclu- so boundless in wealth and capacity, sion, the great Reformer and father who shall fathom? The possibilities of Protestantism, received into his of material nature we are fast ascersoul the new evangel of faith and taining, and may hope one day to freedom.

fully explore and comprehend. But The solitary thinkers, they are the the possibilities of the spirit, of life world's rulers, they are the creators, as shaped by the spirit, who can they are the future, they are fate. divine ?

“ It doth not yet appear In lonely self-communion, the mind what we shall be.” We know not encounters the primordial powers what the future has in store for the that have the shaping of our own

But when we compare the and the world's destinies. There, idea in our mind with the facts of in their secret laboratory, the silent life, there opens to our thought an mothers, Reason, Imagination, Faith inexhaustible field of moral enterand Will, devise and mould the prise, an interminable prospect of coming time. Who can guess what ends to be achieved and victories new births of social life are yet to won. spring from that unknown world, God be thanked for the limitless which contains the archetypes and longing, the unquenchable hope ; for rudiments of all things?

the unknown wealth and incalculable Man has searched creation through powers of the inner life ! in quest of knowledge; he has

F.H. HEDGE, D.D. looked into every corner of the habit


Observer, Jan. I, 72.

THE CHRISTIAN HOUSEHOLD. THERE is nothing on earth more stantial bliss, while its tears and sorheavenly than a well-ordered Chris- rows stand in hopeful contrast with tian family. In it are no selfish that land where all “ tears are wiped interests. The joy of one is the joy away, where death never invades." of all. If one suffers, all suffer; if “Like the bright stars that shine with matchless light, one prospers, all rejoice. It may be

Ever unchanging in their holy ray,

And in their glory shining through the night, truly said, that " no one liveth to

Perhaps unseen in the clear light of day. himself,” and surely “no one dieth So, love, whose face is ever fair and bright, to himself.” The members of such

May be unnoticed while the sunbeams play,

But when affliction comes, the soul to blight, a household are bound to each other

'Tis then love has its sweetest, happiest sway.". by the ties of love. . Its ligaments Love reigns supreme in the Christypify the golden chain that binds tian household, and in all respects it kindred hearts in heaven. Its joys is a lovely type of heaven. are but the prelude to more sub


I do not ask from thee, O Lord,

A cup of reddest wine ;
I do not ask for brightest beams

Upon my path to shine ;
I do not ask in fullest fields

My busy scythe to sway;
I only ask for strength to lift

The Crosses in my way.
Those nameless crosses thou alone,

By any power, canst see,
So subtly covered from all ken

But thy full sympathy;
Those dim-lined crosses, wreathed with flowers,

Which friends, unwitting weave,
And by imperfeet human act

The wounded spirit grieve.
I do not ask, O gracious Lord,

For bliss bestowed on none-
To know and to be fully known

By each beloved one;
I only ask, oh! tenderest Love,

Since none our hearts may guess,
For bravery to bear the thorns

That 'neath the roses press.
The ponderous cross we cannot hide-

Incentive to despair-
Invokes the martyr in our breasts,

Which sternly helps to bear
A measured burden all deplore ;

But human sympathy
Is slow to touch the hidden cross,

Thy clear eyes only see.
Thou who alone of all our friends

Hast tasted every cup,
And by the bitterness of each

Knowest to bear us up;
Oh! give me grace to wear my cross,

A secret still with thee,
And live in the sustaining power
Of thy sufficiency.


Observer, Feb. 1, '7%.



A SERMON FOR THE LAST NIGHT IN TIIE YEAR, BY DAVID KING. BRETHREN, friends and neighbours,—We have come to the last Lord's Day and to the last evening in the year. In some six hours A.D. 1871 will have passed to the sepulchre of its predecessors. All its work will have been done: all its influence will remain, not only for time, but along the ceaseless ages of eternity. Souls have this year been saved ; and souls have this year been for ever lost. Christians have this year advanced in the divine life, and are now better prepared to finish their course with joy; and Christians have this year, in too many instances, declined in spirituality, and are now in imminent danger of making shipwreck of faith.

The close of the year is certainly an appropriate time for retrospection. Through the mercy of God we are here; where the wrong may be righted. The pathway of repentance, leading to endless glory, still invites the erring to enter. Let us, then, this night, look carefully into both our inner and our outer life what we are in heart and what we are in action. What report does the year bear forth in regard to our exterior church-life, and what with reference to our heart, as it stands unveiled before the All-seeing One ?

This night (D.v.) we hold two meetings, the present and a Watch Night service. To the latter of these meetings we shall assign the closer, inner examination. Then we shall more especially endeavour to gaze into our own hearts, and endeavour to see ourselves as we are seen of God. In this meeting, and in this discourse, we shall seek rather to look briefly over our year of church-life. We shall not so much inquire what we have been at home; how we have behaved as husbands, wives, parents, children, employers, servants, &c., as we shall seek to review our doings and omissions in the work of the church. Are we elders, evangelists, deacons, visitors, teachers, exhorters, Sunday school instructors, tract distributors and contributors to the Fellowship? How, then, have we discharged the duties that have devolved upon us ? What report of our stewardship does the expiring year bear up to God ?

I invite you to scan a year of church-life-a year of our church-life, as it closes upon us this night. I propose that we do this, to some extent, by means of a comparison—that we take another year of church-life and look at our last year in the light of that year. I propose, then, that we compare the first year of the Church of Christ with the year of churchlife we this night conclude.

You will observe that I have entered upon my sermon without giving the text. I had better at once supply the deficiency. But don't open your Bibles ; defer that till you get home. The text, then, for this discourse (of no part of which do I intend to give an exhaustive examination), is the first eight chapters of the Acts of Apostles, which chapters contain the only reliable record of the first year of the Church of Christ. Its birth-day, the day of its formal inauguration, was the day of Pentecost, next following the resurrection of the Saviour. On that day the Gospel of this Dispensation was first preached; three thousand were then baptized; and daily afterwards the saved were added to the church. That year, I presume, terminated some while after the dispersion of the church and the preaching of the Gospel, by Phillip, in Samaria.

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