ASH-WEDNESDAY; the first of Lent. It is so called from the custom observed in the ancient church, of penitents expressing their humiliation at this time by appearing in sackcloth and ashes. But it is not certain that this was always done precisely on Ash-Wednesday, there being a perfect silence in the most ancient writers about it. The discipline used towards penitents in Lent, as described by Gratian, differed from their treatment at other times; for on Ash-Wednesday they were presented to the bishop, clothed in sackcloth, and barefooted: then the seven pentential psalms were sung; after which the bishop laid his hands on them, sprinkled them with holy water, and poured ashes upon their heads; declaring to them that as Adam was cast out of paradise, so they, for their sins, were cast out of the church. Then the inferior ministries expelled them out of the doors of the church. In the end of Lent, on the Thursday before Easter, they were again presented for reconciliation by the deacons and presbyters at the gates of the church. But this method of treating penitents in Lent carries with it the marks of more modern practice; for there was no use of holy water in the ancient discipline; nor seven penitential psalms in their service, but only one, viz. the fifty-first. Neither was Ash -Wednesday anciently the first day of Lent, till Gregory the Great first added it to Lent, to make the number of fasting days completely forty, which before were but thirty-six. Nor does it appear that anciently the time of imposing penance was confined to the beginning of Lent, but was granted at all times, whenever the bishop thought the penitent qualified for it. In Rome, the spectacle on this occasion is most ridiculous (1836 this author's observation) After giving themselves up to all kinds of gaiety and licentiousness, during the carnival, till twelve o'clock on the Tuesday night, the people go on Ash-Wednesday morning into the churches, when the officiating priests put ashes on their heads, repeating the words, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." (Note. Christians who observe Ash Wednesday in the states do not celebrate carnival; it is not a well known holiday in the states. 2008)

The want of this discipline in the English church is at present supplied by reading publicly, on Ash-Wednesday, the curses denounced in the holy Scripture against several sorts of sins, the people repeating after each curse, Amen. --Henderson's Buck.

LENT, a Teutonic word,-- in German, Lenz, the spring; a time of fasting in the church, observed as a period of humiliation before Easter. The Romish church, and some of the Protestant communion, maintain, that it was always a fast of forty days, and, as such, of apostolical institution. Others think that it was of ecclesiastical institution, and that it was variously observed in different churches, and grew by degrees from a fast of forty hours to a fast of forty days. This is the sentiment of Morton, bishop Taylor, Du Moulin, Daille, and others.

Anciently, the manner of observing Lent among those who were piously disposed, was to abstain form food till evening: their only refreshment was a supper, and it was indifferent whether it was flesh or any other food, provided it was used with sobriety and moderation. Lent was thought the proper time for exercising more abundantly every species of charity: thus what they spared of their own bodies by abridging them of a meal, was usually given to the poor: they employed their vacant hours in visiting the sick and those that were in prison; in entertaining strangers, and reconciling differences. The imperial laws forbade all prosecution of men in criminal actions, that might bring them to corporal punishment and torture, during the whole season. This was a time of more than ordinary strictness and devotion; and, therefore, in many of the great churches, they had religious assemblies for prayer and preaching every day. All public games and stage plays were prohibited at this season, and also the celebration of all festivals, birthdays, and marriages.

The Christians of the Greek church observe four Lents; the first commences on the 15th of November; the second is the same with our Lent; the third begins the week after Whitsuntide, and continues till the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul; and the fourth commences on the 1st of August, and lasts no longer than till the 15th. These Lents are observed with great strictness and austerity, but on Saturdays and Sundays they indulge themselves in drinking wine and using oil, which are prohibited on other days. --Hen. Buck.

      Oh, may God help us to realize what a precious truth we have to preach; that we are not worshiping a dead Savior; that he is a resurrected Savior, and in such a day and hour as we think not he will return. And although we do not know when that will be, there is one thing we do know, and that is that he has promised to come; and that day is not far distant; we haven't but a little while to work. As Christine Evans says: "The songs of these bursting sepulchres, when Christ shall come, will be sweeter than the song of the morning star." We shall come up from the grave, by and by, with a shout. " He is the first fruits;" he gas gone into the vale, and will call us by and by. The voice of the Son of God shall wake up the slumbering dead! Jacob will leave his lameness, and Paul will leave his thorn in the flesh; and we shall come up resurrected bodies, and be forever with the Lord. I pity those people who know nothing about the resurrection of Christ, and think Christ does not live, and was merely a man, and perished in the grave of Joseph Arimathea. What hope have they got?
      Oh, what gloom and darkness settles down upon this world, if it was not for the glorious day of ressurrection. And those that have been sown in dishonor and corruption shall be raised, by and by, in glory and honor; they shall come up out of their graves, and we shall be forever with them. Oh, may this blessed truth take hold of all our hearts, and may we go out from this Tabernacle and spread the news that the Lord has risen. He has gone up on high, and he will bless the sons of men, if they will receive a blessing from him.

Why should this immortal mind
Enslav'd by sense, be thus confined,
And never, never rise?
Why, thus amused with empty toys,
And soothed with visionary joys,
Forget her native skies?
The mind was formed to mount sublime
Beyond the narrow bounds of time,
To everlasting things;
But earthly vapors cloud her sight,
And hang with cold, oppressive weight
Upon her drooping wings.
The world employs its various snares,
Of hopes and pleasures, pains and cares,
And chained to earth I lie:
When shall my fettered powers be free,
And leave these seats of vanity,
And upward learn to fly?
Bright scenes of bliss, unclouded skies,
Invite my soul; oh, could I rise,
Nor leave a thought below!
I'd bid farewell to anxious care,
And say to every tempting snare,
Heaven calls and I must go.
Heaven calls,--and can I yet delay?
Can aught on earth engage my stay?
Ah! wretched lingering heart!
Come, Lord, with strength, and life, and light,
Assist and guide my upward flight,
And bid the world depart.

      And in Christ, the first-born, I see the grave giving up its dead; from the depths of the sea, from the lonely wilderness and crowded churchyard they come. like the dews of the grass, an innumerable multitude. Risen Lord! we rejoice in thy resurrection. We hail it as the harbinger and blessed pledge of our own. The first to come forth,thou art the elder brother of a family, whose countless numbers the patriarch saw in the dust of the desert, whose holy beauty he saw shinning in the bright stars of heaven.
      The first born! This spoils the grave of its horrors, changing the tomb into a capacious womb that death is daily filling with the germs of life. The first fruits! This explains why men called the churchyard, as once they did, God's acre. Looking at these grassy mounds in the light of that expression, the eye of faith sees it change into a field sown with the seeds into a field sown with the seeds of immortality. Blessed field! What flowers shall spring there! What a harvest shall be gathered there! In the neighboring fields "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap;" but here how great the difference between what is sown amid mourners' tears, and what a harvest shall be reaped amid angels' joys; between the poor body we restore to the earth, and the nobles form that shall spring from its ashes. Who saw the rolling waves stand up a rocky wall; who saw the water of Cana flow out rich purple wine who saw Lazarus's festering corpse, with health glowing on its cheek, and its arms enfolding sisters ready to faint with joy, saw nothing to match the change the grave shall work on these mouldering bones. Sown in corruption, they shall rise in incorruption, mortal putting on immortality. How beautiful they shall be! Never more shall hoary time write age on a wrinkled brow. The whole terrible troop of diseases cast with sin into hell, the Saints shall possess unfading beauty, and enjoy a perpetual youth; a pure soul shall be mated with a worthy partner in a perfect body, and an angel form shall lodge an angel mind. There shall be no more death, nor sighing, nor sorrow for there shall be no more sin.