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Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun ; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.
There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord.” And after that, they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress).
A LEGEND OF THE RED, WHITE,
Calm, terrible and bright,
Upon his mantle white !
Each on his broken chain,
The dead to life again!
“Wear this,” the angel said ;
The white, the blue, and red.”
Then rose up John de Matha
In the strength the Lord Christ gave, And begged through all the land of France
The ransom of the slave.
Before him open flew,
The door-bolts backward drew.
And paid his righteous tax;
Were in his hands as wax.
His bark her anchor weighed, Freighted with seven score Christian souls,
Whose ransom he had paid.
Her sails in tatters hung;
A shattered hulk she swung.
“For naught can man avail; O, woe betide the ship that lacks
Her rudder and her sail ! “Behind us are the Moormen;
At sea we sink or strand : There's death upon the water,
There's death upon the land !” Then up spake John de Matha :
"God's errands never fail Take thou the mantle which I wear,
And make of it a sail."
They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
The blue, the white, the red;
The ship of Freedom sped.
“For vain is mortal skill : The good ship on a stormy sea
Is drifting at its will."
“My mariners, never fear! The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
May well our vessel steer !"
They drove for weary hours;
On Ostia's friendly towers.
The ship of mercy knew,They knew far off its holy cross,
The red, the white, and blue.
Rang out in glad accord,
The ransomed of the Lord.
By bard and painter told; And lo! the cycle rounds again,
The new is as the old ! With rudder foully broken,
And sails by traitors torn, Our country on a midnight sea
Is waiting for the morn.
Before her, nameless terror :
Behind, the pirate foe;
The sea is white below.
The dread of all who wrong,
How long, O Lord! how long?
Ye shall not suffer wreck, While up to God the freedmen's prayers
Are rising from your deck. Is not your sail the banner
Which God hath blest anew, The mantle that De Matha wore,
The red, the white, the blue?
The red of sunset's dye,
The blue of morning's sky.
For daylight and for land;
Your rudder is His hand.
With blessings and with hopes; The saints of old with shadowy hands
Are pulling at your ropes. Behind ye holy martyrs
Uplift the palm and crown; Before ye unborn ages send
Their benedictions down.
Take heart from John de Matha !
God's errands never fail !
The thunder and the hail !
Sail on! the morning cometh,
The port ye yet shall win;
J. G. Whittier.
IN the times of persecution the Christians of Rome often found refuge in what are now called the Catacombs. These Catacombs were passages underground, some of them very deep and long. If you have ever been through a railway tunnel, you will be able to understand what they were like, only that they were not so large, and were quite dark, and you had to go a long way down steep steps to get to them. They were many miles in length, and any one going into them without a guide and a light would be sure to lose himself, and most likely would never come out again alive.
They were first made by digging out sand and