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It craved a blessing from the throne,
G. C. M.
OUR DEPARTED FRIEND.
OUR friend has gone before us,
To dwell among the blest,
And the weary are at rest.
In heaven we love her still,
On Zion's holy hill.
We must not dare repine;
His love is all divine.
Will raise our voice and sing,
O death, where is thy sting?
We follow after thee,
Thy face again to see.
SARDINIA AND SARDINIANS. As you may have heard that the King of Sardinia has lately paid a visit to the Queen of England, I will tell you something about his country and his people.
The King of Sardinia is descended from the ancient Dukes of Savoy, who, 200 years ago, instigated by the popes, persecuted with fire and sword those pious inhabitants of the valleys of Piedmont, called the Waldenses, because they would not submit to popery. Oliver Cromwell, then Lord Protector of England, interfered on behalf of the sufferers, and his Latin secretary, John Milton, the great poet, wrote letters to various sovereigns of Europe in their favour. The following noble sonnet from the pen of Milton describes the sufferings of the Waldenses :
“Avenge, O Lord! thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that rolled
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
A hundred fold, who having learnt thy way,
Early may flee the Babylonian woe.” Now a great change has taken place. The Waldenses enjoy liberty to worship God; and the King and his parliament are doing all they can to deliver the nation from the tyranny of popery.
The territories of the King of Sardinia are much larger now than they were under the Dukes of Savoy. Various neighbouring provinces in Italy have been added, and especially the island of Sardinia, from which the present sovereigns take their title.
The island of Sardinia is situate in the Mediterranean sea,
as near to Africa as to Europe, the French island of Corsica, where Napoleon was born, lying between it and the Italian dominions of the king. Its length, north to south, is 160 miles; and its breadth, east to west, 70. It consists chiefly of high mountains and desolate swamps. Only a small part of the country is under cultivation ; but where cultivated it produces richly, corn, vines, oranges, citrons, and olives. It has rich mines of silver, lead, sulphur, and alum; and its fisheries yield plentiful supplies. Hence it is evident that this island has been neglected. The causes of this neglect are the changes it has undergone in its government, sometimes belonging to one powerful nation and sometimes to another, and the ignorant superstition of its inhabitants, who are all the willing slaves of popish priests. The population from these causes is small and miserable; for although the island contains an area of 9,250 square miles, it is but little more than 500,000. Cagliari is the capital.
For many reasons the people of this island have been but little known to the rest of Europe. Their dress and appearance, and their manners and customs, are very singular, and partake of an oriental character. Modern discoveries and improvements have done little for them, and popery has only served its own dark and selfish purposes by keeping them in a state of shameful ignorance and abject wretchedness. It is earnestly hoped that the present enlightened and noble-minded Government will soon effect some salutary changes for the better in the condition of the inhabitants.
When a stranger visits this interesting island, the first thing that strikes his attention is the wild, half-savage, but highly picturesque appearance of the people—their rapid motions, flashing eyes, and endless variety of costume; every village almost having its own peculiar mode of dress. "The Sards, both men and women, are very fond of gay clothing and glittering jewels, which they will make great sacrifices to secure, and which they glory in displaying at festivals and weddings. “Look!" said a villager one day; “look at that fat fellow; he eats up all his living like a dog. As for me, I lived on bread and wild fruit until I obtained
my complete costume; that fellow has only his every-day one on, for festas and all: my buttons and studs too are all of gold.”
The Sards are hospitable in their way; very sprightly, but very ferocious when excited by jealousy; and the history of the island abounds in tales of relentless passion, pursuing the objects of revenge unsatisfied with any suffering of the victim short of death itself.
The fact is, the Sardinians need the gospel of Christ, not only to teach them the way of salvation by Him, and the folly of popish superstitions, but to soften their tempers, and ameliorate their condition. And there is now good reason for hoping that they will soon be taught this more excellent way. British agents in the Crimea have already distributed thousands of copies of the holy scriptures among the Sardinian soldiers, who received them with eagerness and gratitude. These, when the war is over, and we hope it is, they will take home and peruse in peace; and we know who has said, “My word shall not return unto me void.” The Word of the living God has blessed many nations, and we believe that it will yet bless Sardinia.