Imágenes de páginas


INDUCEMENTS! Can it be necessary to offer these? What! Is not the bare mention of religion enough to rouse every soul, who understands the meaning of that momentous word, to the greatest intensity of action? Who needs to have spread out before him the demonstrations of logic, or the persuasions of rhetoric, to move hine to seek after wealth, rank, or honor ? Who, when an opportunity pro. sents itself to obtain such possessions, requires anything more than an appeal to his consciousness of their value to engage him in the pursuit ? The very

y mention of riches suggests at once to man's cupidity a thousand arguments to use the means of obtaining them. What intense longings rise in the heart! What pictures crowd the imagination! What a spell comes over the whole soul! And why is there less, yca, why is there not intensely more, than all this, at the mention of the word religion, - that term which comprehends Heaven and earth, time and eternity, God and man, within its sublime and boundless meaning? If we were as we ought to be, it would be enough only to whisper in the ear that word, of more than magic power, to engage all our faculties, and all their energies, in the most resolute purpose, the most determined pursuit, and the most entire self-devotement. Inducements to earnestness in religion! Alas! how low we have sunk, how far have we been paralyzed, to need to be thus stimulated !

Is religion a contradiction to the usual maxim, that a man's activity in endeavoring to obtain an object is, if he understand it, in exact proportion to the value and importance which he attaches to it? Are Heaven, and salvation, and eternity, the only matters that shall reverse this maxim, and make lukewarmness the rule of action ? By what thunder shall I break in upon your deep and dangerous sleep? O, revolve often and deeply the infinite realities of religion! Most subjects may be made to appear with greater or less dignity, according to the greater or less degree of importance in which the preacher places them. Pompous expressions, bold figures, lively ornaments of eloquence, may often supply a want of this dignity in the subject discussed. But every attempt to give importance to a motive taken from eternity is more likely to enfeeble the doctrine than to invigorate it. Motives of this kind are self-sufficient. Descriptions the most simple and the most natural are always the most pathetic or the most terrifying; nor can I find an expression more powerful and emphatic than that uf Paul, “The things which are not seen are eternal.” What more could the tongues of men and the eloquence of angels say? · Etei nal things”! Weigh the import of that phrase, " eternal things." The history of Nations, the eras of time, the creation of worlds, all fade into insignificance, — dwindle to a point, attenuate ta a shadow, compared with these “eternal things. Do you believe them? If not, abjure your creed, abandon your belief. Be consistent, and let the stupendous vision which, like Jacob's ladder, rests its foot

on earth and places its top in Heaven, vanish in thin air! But if you do believe, say what ought to be the conduct of him who, to his own conviction, stands with hell beneath him, Heaven above him, and eternity before him. By all the worth of the immortal soul, by all the blessings of eternal salvation, by all the glories of the upper world, by all the horrors of the bottomless pit, by all the ages of eternity and by all the personal interest you have in these infinjte realities, I conjure you to be in earnest in personal religion !

[blocks in formation]

O, NEVER despair! for our hopes, oftentime,
Spring swiftly, as flowers in some tropical clime,
Where the spot that was barren and scentless at night
Is blooming and fragrant at morning's first light!
The mariner marks, when the tempest rings loud,
That the rainbow is brighter, the darker the cloud;

Then, up! up! — never despair !
The leaves which the sibyl presented of old,
Though lessened in number, were not worth less gold;
And though Fate steal our joys, do not think they're the best,
The few she has spared may be worth all the rest.
Good fortune oft comes in adversity's form,
And the rainbow is brightest when darkest the storm;

Then, up! up! — never despair!
And when all creation was sunk in the flood,
Sublime o'er the deluge the patriarch stood !

Though destruction around him in thunder was hurled,
Undaunted he looked on the wreck of the world!
For, high o'er the ruin, hung Hope's blessed form. --
The rainbow beamed bright through the gloom of the storm

Then, up! up! — never despair !


CHARITY.- Thomas Noon Talfourda The blessings which the

weak and poor can scatter Have their own season. 'Tis a little thing To give a cup of water; yet its draught Of cool refreshment, drained by fevered lips, May give a shock of pleasure to the frame More exquisite than when nectarean juice Renews the life of joy in happiest hours. It is a little thing to speak a phrase Of common comfort, which, by daily use, Has almost lost its sense ; yet on the ear Of him who thought to die unmourned, 't will fall

Like choicest music; fill the glazing eye
With gentle tears; relax the knotted hand
To know the bonds of fellowship again;
And shed on the departing soul a sense
More precious than the benison of friends
About the honored death-bed of the rich,
To him who else were lonely, — that anoiher
Of the great family is near, and feels.

59. THE BATTLE-FIELD. - William Cullen Bryant ONCE this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,

Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and arméd hands

Encountered in the battle-cloud.

Ah! never shall the land forget

How gushed the life-blood of her brave, Gushed, warm with hope and valor yet,

Upon the soil they fought to save. Now all is calm, and fresh, and still ;

Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill,

And bell of wandering kine, are heard. No solemn host goes trailing by

The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain Men start not at the battle-cry;.

O, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought, — but thou,

Who minglest in the harder strife
For truths which men receive not now,

Thy warfare only ends with life. A friendless warfare! lingering long

Through weary day and weary year; A wild and many-weaponed throng

Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear. Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,

And blench not at thy chosen lot! The timid good may stand aloof,

The sage may frown, — yet faint thou not! Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,

The hissing, stinging bolt of scorn,

For with thy side shall dwell, at last,

The victory of endurance born.

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again :

The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,

And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou die upon the dust,

When those who helped thee flee in fear, —
Die full of hope and manly trust,

Like those who fell in battle here,

Another hand thy sword shall wield,

Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed

The blast of triumph o'er thy grave !


We need the spirit of '75 to guide us safely amid the dizzy activ ities of the times. While our own numbers are increasing in an unexampled ratio, Europe is pouring in upon us her hundreds of thousands annually, and new regions are added to our domain, which we are obliged to count by degrees of latitude and longitude. In the mean time, the most wonderful discoveries of art, and the most mysterious powers of nature, combine to give an almost fearful increase to the intensity of our existence. Machines of unexampled complication and ingenuity have been applied to the whole range of human industry: we rush across the land and the sea by steam; we correspond by magnetism; we paint by the solar ray; we count the beats of the electric clock at the distance of a thousand miles; we annihilate time and distance; and, amidst all the new agencies of communication and action, the omnipotent Press the great engine of modern progress, not superseded or impaired, but gathering new power from all the arts — is daily clothing itself with louder thurders. While we contemplate with admiration - almost with awe — the mighty influences which surround us, and which demand our coöperation and our guidance, let our hearts overflow with gratitude to tho patriots who have handed down to us this great inheritance. Let us strive to furnish ourselves, from the storehouse of their example, with the principles and virtues which will strengthen us for the performance of an honored part on this illustrious stage. Let pure patriotism add its bond to the bars of iron which are binding the continent together; and, as intelligence shoots with the electric spark from ocean to ocean, let public spirit and love of country catch from heart to heart

1 THE GOOD GREAT MAN.-S. T. Coleridge. Born, 1770; died. 19.?"
“How seldom, friend, a good great man inherits

Honor and wealth, with all his worth and pains !
It seems a story from the world of spirits
When any man obtains that which he merits,

Or any merits that which he obtains.”
For shame, my friend! renounce this idle strain!
What wouldst thou have a good great man obtain ?
Wealth, title, dignity, a golden chain,
Or heap of corses which his sword hath slain?
Goodness and greatness are not means, but ends.
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? Three treasures, - love, ana light

And calm thoughts, equable as infant's breath;
And three fast friends, more sure than day or night,

Himself, his Maker, and the Angel Death.

pampers man's

62. TAXES THE PRICE OF GLORY.-Rev. Sydney Smith. Born, 1768; died, 1845.

Jonx Bull can inform Jonathan what are the inevitable consequences of being too fond of Glory :-- Taxes !

Taxes upon every article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot; taxes upon everything which it is pleasant to sec, hear, feel, smell, or taste; taxes upon warmth, light, and locomotion ; taxes on everything on earth, and the waters under the earth; on everything that comes from abroad, or is grown at home; taxes on the raw material; taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the industry of man; taxes on the sauce which

appetite, and the drug that restores him to health ; on the ermine which decorates the Judge, and the rope which hangs the criminal; on the poor man's salt, and the rich man's spice; on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride; -at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay.

The school-boy whips his taxed top; the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road;—and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent., into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent., flings himself back upon his chintz-bed, which has paid twenty-two per cent., makes his will on in eight-pound stamp, and expires in the arms of an apothecary, who has paid a license of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed from two to ten per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel ; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble; and he is then gathered to his fathers, - to be taxed no more.

In addition to all this, the habit of dealing with large sums will make the Government avaricious and profuse; and the system itself

« AnteriorContinuar »