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The Months and Remarkable Days.
BY THE REV. W. L. ROBERTS, HOLM FIRTH.
of the following months ; while the beautiful sunshine, continuing long into the evening, enables us to enjoy the sight of the flowers longer than we should at some other periods of the year. The poets have done much to celebrate the beauties of the month of May. Milton calls it
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
Woods and groves are of thy dressing
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. On account of the general beauty and sweetness of this month, the first day (May day) is in many places a day of amusement and festivity. May-day games used to be more common than they are now. In days long gone by, the may-pole used to be erected in most villages. A tall pole was reared on the village green where there was one, it was very beautifully decorated with Aowers, in garlands and bunches; children, and in many cases grown-up people, used to form processions and dance round the May-pole. Various other amusements were practised in connection with it, and the day was no doubt generally finished up
with much drunkenness and other wickedness. In consequence of the immoralities that sprang from these games they were suppressed. There are relics of them still in many places. Even the May-pole is not entirely done away with ; and in some places the postmen or letter-carriers, in some the cart drivers and the like, and in some places even the chimney sweeps, decorate themselves with ribbons for the day.
The most remarkable relic of olden times in connection with May, that I know of, is the Flora Day, which is kept up at Helston, in Cornwall, on the 8th of May. seems to be able to explain its origin ; but, at present, during the greater part of the day, dancing parties pass through the streets into and out of people's houses and shops ; they are gaily dressed and the scene is more remarkable for its merriness than for its beneficial tendencies.
There are two periods in this month that are generally noticed.
1. Whitsuntide. This is an old religious festival, the time of holding of which is affected by Easter. You will recollect that Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead ; and by a reference to Acts i. 3., it will be seen that Christ spent forly days upon earth, and then ascended from the Mount of Olives into heaven. Counting on from Easter, (including Easter Sunday) forty days, it brings you this year to the 9th of May which is called Ascension Day, or Holy Thursday. The readers of the “ Hive” will also remember that after the ascension of Christ, the disciples waited at Jerusalem for the promised outpouring of the Holy Ghost. This took place at the Feast of Pentecost, as recorded in the Second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The word Pentecost means the fifti. eth, and between the old Jewish Passover feast and the feast of Pentecost, there were fifty days, or about seven weeks. Christ was crucified at the time of the Passover, and from Easter to Whitsuntide is seyen weeks, Whit
sunday, therefore, commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples at Jerusalem. The whole of this period of fifty days used to be a season of festivity, but it was afterwards limited to Ascension and Pentecost. As the persons taking part in the festivities usually dressed in white as a sign of purity, the name became White-Sunday, afterwards contracted to Whit-Sunday.
It is now generally recognised as a holiday season ; although not often, except by Roman Catholics, kept religiously.
2. Restoration Day, May 29th. This day is the recognised anniversary of the restoration of the English throne to Charles the Second. Some of the readers of these papers may know that King Charles the First was executed, and that for some years there was no king in England; the government being in the hands of
a remarkable man named Oliver Cromwell. On Cromwell's death, however, no suitable person was found to take his place, and prince Charles, who was then on the continent, was encouraged to return. He did so, and made his triumphal entry into London on May 29th, 1660, his birthday. This day is not recognised in all parts; but in some localities the people put twigs of oak and oak leaves in their windows, and on horses' heads, and even in their own hats and coats. The oak leaf is used, doubtless, in memory of the fact, that this prince, when hiding in the country after his father's execution, is said to have concealed himself in an oak tree for a whole day, the army of Cromwell having actually passed under the tree.
While we are rejoicing in the sunshine, and in the beauty and sweetness of the flowery month of May, let us not forget that it is God that makes and paints the flowers, and that He gives life and beauty to all around.
A Preacher Eating þis Horse.
HERE was no church in Van Buren. A
Methodist itinerant was sent there. One house only was open to him—the tavern
—and to that he went and put up. He en interviewed mine host. What is the
chance for a Methodist preacher here?" The reply was that it was the same as for any other man, if he had money.
• But if I have no money?” The chances were
bad enough. “ What do you charge for board ?" said the circuit rider. The rates were given. “ Look at my horse,” said he, “what do you think he is worth ?” The animal doubtless was a good middling, for our preachers are not novices about horses, and no men have better use for them. That preliminary settled, the preacher proceeded in a very straightforward style with the host. " Sir, turn my horse into your stable, and when you
think I have eat up the value of him, let me know, and I will either change my quarters or provide other means of paying
He went to work-laid siege to the place in the name of the Lord; and before the horse was eat up, the town capitulated. The people presented him his horse, all charges paid, and his own bill besides; fitted out “the parson,” in a new suit of clothes ; and from that day Christianity has had a firm footing in Van Buren. Two Churches, a Methodist and an old-school Presbyterian, with good brick houses to worship in, and good congregations, furnish the gospel and ordinances to that excellent ople. The Rev. John J. Roberts, one of the oldest members of the Conference, is the man.-Bishop Mc Tyeire.
A SANCTIFIED AFFLICTION.
During the meetings in Washington, in observance of the Week of Prayer, a gentleman, says the Congregationalist, just returned from a temperance tour in Pennsylvania, mentioned the case of a railroad conductor, whose young son was lately crushed on his father's train. When told that nothing more could be done for him, and reminded where to look for soul-help, the dying boy replied,—“Yes you have taught me that."
He then put his around his father's neck and whispered,—“ Papa, I want you to promise me one thing before I die; will you begin again to pray and read the Bible with mamma and little Sammy?”
“ Yes, Caspar, I will."
The result is, the family altar is re-erected : and the railroad corporation have
“MAMMA," said a little girl, “ what's the meaning of a book being printed in I 2mo ?”
Why, my dear,” replied the mother, “ it means that the book will be published in twelve months.”
What the mother should have said, is,—“I am sorry my dear, but I do not know.” Serious harm is sometimes done by the dogmatic deliverances of people on subjects about which they know nothing. Such persons seem desirous of appearing to know everything. They should reflect that even the wisest of men are in some matters deficient. We plead for their credulous friends.