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Habits of the Vaudois. from which we may see the religious, as well as the temporal advantages which we enjoy, compared with the inhabitants of many other countries. And this truth, rightly considered, ought to lead us to thankfulness, and to a diligent improvement of our blessings.
The traveller passes first through part of France; he says, “ At Pouilly, a town wbich is said to have 25,000 inhabitants, we had an opportunity of observing the influence of the Sabbath upon the rustics of France. They appeared to be absolutely indifferent to the holiness of the day : they were buying and selling, treating and exchanging, and pursuing their several occupations. Strings of carts, herds of swine, and droves of cattle, were passing and repassing, as if it were a market-day. Even the few females whom we saw directing their steps to church, had none of that decent appearance and Sabbath-day preparation, which we observe in England. How the inseparable connexion between revealed religion and human happiness, displays itself at every view! We are commanded to sanctify the Sabbath. But the Sabbath was made for man,' it was intended for his good. Its proper observance imparts enjoyment and gladness of heart, as well as seriousness of disposition; and there can be no doubt that the solemnity, the decency, the cheerfulness, and the independent leisure of an English Şabbath, contribute largely to form the steady and manly character of the nation.
People who have never known what it is to be without the comfort of the Sabbath-day, will hardly imagine the melancholy feelings it gives to English people, to be in countries where this day of sacred rest is so little observed. The towns never look so clean and neat, so quiet yet cheerful as ours do on a Sunday morning, when the people are flocking to church, to offer to their God their thanks and praises, and to be instructed in his word : because,
though many religious people do 'go to church on that day, yet, as there is no law for its observance, the numbers who are not religious go on with their usual works in their usual dirt, and are to be seen working, and buying, and selling, the same as on other days."
The traveller then goes to visit quite a different sort of people, called the Vaudois, who dwell in a mountainous part of the South of Europe between France and Italy, and who are equally remarkable for their piety, their extreme poverty, and the content with which they support it. They have always been Protestants, and hold the same faith as our own church. He thus describes a Sunday spent among them.
“ In passing through La Torre every thing I saw reminded me of what I had been accustomed to in England on a Sabbath-day, so unlike the usual appearance of towns on the continent. Silence and decency prevailed in the streets, neatness in the dress, and cleanliness in the countenance of the rustics. Even the clean close caps of the female peasantry, resembled those of my own native parish in Suffolk, and when we reached the churchyard, the comparison was still more striking ; for the villagers were assembled before the church-door, waiting for the clergyman, and enjoying the fineness of the weather. The sunshine of the heart seemed to harmonize with the brightness of the day. The exemplary pastor of La Torre soon arrived in his gown and band, and received the affectionate attentions of his flock before he preceded them into church.”
The traveller accompanied them into the church, and joined in the service, which was very much like our own, and conducted in a truly spiritual and pleasing manner, the whole congregation, as they always ought to do, joining in the singing, as well as in the prayers. He speaks in the following manner of another Sunday passed among them" The melody of the Sabbath
Habits of the Vaudois.
247 bell of Angrogna, which was above us, answered by that of La Torre below, re-echoed from one side of the ridge of mountains to the other, and produced a very pleasing and solemn effect. In the summer, when these pastoral people are tending their cattle at a distance from the villages, and occupying their temporary cabins, upon the tops of the mountain, the clearness of the atmosphere allows the sound of the same Sabbath bells to reach them, calling them to the worship of the Creator beneath the canopy of Heaven. It must be a most gratifying and impressive sight, to see them hastening from different quarters, and assembling in a convenient place on the green turf, to listen to the exhortations of their ministers, who follow them on every seventh day to their remotest pasturages. They generally select a sort of natural amphitheatre where they may shaded from the rays of the sun, and hear their pastor the more distinctly. A congregation, col. lected on such spots as these, must give rise to some of the most sublime feelings which man is capable of entertaining. The simple and amiable character of the people, their patriarchal occupation of watching their flocks, their temporary migration and change of settlement, their contentment and tranquil enjoyment, without any thing to vary their pleasures, the grand and stupendous scenery by which they are surrounded, and the pure air they breathe in these elevated regions, offer endless subjects for meditation. Happily for the Vaudois, these feelings are with them in their greatest purity: and we may find a sufficient reason for their contented happiness, in the sincerity of their religion. All their pastors agree in enforcing the same belief and hopes, and the same duties. Their faith is scriptural, and their religious opinions are maintained without strife or division. The end of Christian teaching with them is “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
Mr. G. went into one of their cottages; he makes the following remarks" Immediately on our right, as we entered, was an infant in a cradle : near it, a circle of half a dozen children neatly dressed, and of cleanly appearance, who were repeating their catechism to a young girl about twelve years of age. Their greatest wish is for religious books, though they are so poor that they generally sleep on straw or dried leaves, and live on beans or chesnuts, with but little bread, and that of the coarsest sort. This is not from idleness, for they work very hard, and he saw no beggars amongst them) but from the poverty of their soil, which, with all their labour, yields them very little,—and also froin their oppressive government." At another place the traveller remarks-" The other cottages we entered were of a very inferior order, and had few of those little comforts with which in England we desire to see the poorest supplied ; and it was quite astonishing to compare the very rude and insufficient accommodations of these people, with their civility and information. They can all read and write, and you can scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give you an intelligible account of his faith.” As another proof of the pure faith of these interesting people, let me add another of the author's remarks. * The virtue of the Vaudois females is beyond all praise, their modesty of manner is most striking, and the young girls have most excellent patterns before them in their mothers, and in the married women in general, as well as vigilant guardians over their morals.”
Surely our own Cottagers, and indeed all classes, may draw useful lessons and examples from these instances of piety, and desire of improvement, among a people who are still in great poverty, and who have, as yet, but few of those advantages in the way of schools and books, that we English all enjoy.
If you think, Sir, this account likely to be of any
The Evil Eye.
249 service, pray insert it in your Cottager's Visitor and you will gratify
THE EVIL EYE.
A NEIGHBOUR of ours, a skilful medical man, was not long ago called in to visit a child who was labouring under a very severe attack of fever. He thought the case serious, gave great attention to it, and took measures accordingly. Amongst other things, he sent some powders, which he ordered to be taken every three hours. Thus he went on for three days; and at all his visits he found, to his great mortification, that the powders had taken no effect whatever. This puzzled him exceedingly, for he felt confident, that, from the nature of the case, these powders ought to have done something. He questioned the people in attendancè very particularly, as to whether the dose had been given regularly, whether it remained on the stomach, and such particulars as he thought needful. At length he learned with great difficulty, by means of a neighbour who had often assisted in the care of the child, that it had not taken a single powder, but that the mother had thrown them all away, as soon as the gentleman had left the house. It was of course useless for him to attend any more, as he saw his advice was neglected. The child was all along getting worse and worse ; and, after this surgeon gave up the patient, another was called in, for whose advice they had to pay, whereas his would have cost them nothing, the parish having sent him to visit the child, the parents being paupers. No medical assistance could, however, now be of any service. Whether they attended to the directions of their new doctor, I know not, but the child died.