« FöregåendeFortsätt »
of them. In vain imagination seeks to extend itself in 40 our cultivated fields; it everywhere meets the habitations of men. But in these desert regions, the mind loves to penetrate into an ocean of forests, to wander on the banks of prodigious lakes, to soar above the abysses of cataracts, and, as it were, to find itself alone before 45 God.
Sorrow for the Dead.-W. IRVING.
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal — every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open — this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. * * * 5 Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud even over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom; yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. 10 There is a recollection of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave ! the grave! It buries every error - covers every defect -- extinguishes every resentment. From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender 15 recollections. Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that ever he should have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him ?
But the grave of those we love -- what a place for 20 meditation! Then it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the
thousand endearments lavished upon us almost unheeded
- the faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection!
Aye, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate ! There settle the account with thy conscience for every 35 past benefit unrequited - every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being, who can never, never, never return to be soothed by thy contrition! If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent– 40 if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth — if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in 45 thee - - if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet; — then be sure that every
unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knocking 50 dolefully at thy soul; — then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing. Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beau- 55 ties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes
of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the 60 living.
The Bible is a book of facts, as well authenticated as any heathen history; a book of miracles, incontestibly avouched; a book of prophecy, confirmed by past as well as present fulfillment; a book of poetry, pure and natural, and elevated even to inspiration ; a book of 5 morals, such as human wisdom never framed for the perfection of human happiness. I will abide by the precepts, admire the beauty, revere the mysteries, and, as far as in me lies, practise the mandates of this sacred volume; and should the ridicule of earth and the blas- 10 phemy of hell assail me, I shall console myself by the contemplation of those blessed spirits, who in the same holy cause have toiled, and shone, and suffered. In the "goodly fellowship of the saints” — in the “noble army of the martyrs” — in the society of the great, and good, 15 and wise of every nation — if my sinfulness be not cleansed, and my darkness illuminated, at least my pretensionless submission may be excused. If I err with the luminaries I have chosen for my guides, I confess myself captivated by the loveliness of their aberrations. 20 If they err, it is in a heavenly region; if they wander, it is in the fields of light; if they aspire, it is, at all events, a glorious daring; and rather than sink with infidelity into the dust, I am content to cheat myself with their vision of eternity. It may, indeed, be nothing but 25
delusion ; but then I err with the disciples of philosophy and of virtue; with men who have drunk deep at the fountain of human knowledge, but who dissolved not the pearl of their salvation in the draught. I err with Bacon, the great confidant of nature, fraught with all 30 the learning of the past, and almost prescient of the future; yet too wise not to know his weakness, and too philosophic not to feel his ignorance. I err with Milton, rising on an angel's wing to heaven, and, like the bird of morn, soaring out of sight amid the music of his 35 grateful piety. I err with Locke, whose pure philosophy only taught him to adore its source; whose warm love of genuine liberty was never chilled into rebellion with its author. I err with Newton, whose star-like spirit shot athwart the darkness of the sphere, too soon to re- 40 ascend to the home of its nativity.
The Religious Faith of the Red Man.-BANCROFT.
The red man, unaccustomed to generalization, obtained no conception of an absolute substance, of a selfexistent being, but saw a divinity in every power. Wherever there was being, motion, or action, there to him was a spirit; and, in a special manner, wherever there appeared singular excellence among beasts or birds, or in the creation, there to him was the presence of a divinity. When he feels his pulse throb or his heart beat, he knows that it is a spirit. A god resides in the flint, to give forth the kindling, cheering fire; a 10 spirit resides in the mountain cliff; a spirit makes its abode in the cool recesses of the grottos which nature
has adorned; a god dwells in each “little grass” that springs miraculously from the earth. “The woods, the wilds, and the waters, respond to savage intelligence; 15 the stars and the mountains live; the river, and the lake, and the waves have a spirit.”
Every hidden agency, every mysterious influence, is personified. A god dwells in the sun, and in the moon, and in the firmament; the spirit of the morning reddens 20 in the eastern sky; a deity is present in the ocean and in the fire; the crag that overhangs the river has its genius; there is a spirit to the waterfall; a household god dwells in the Indian's wigwam, and consecrates his home; spirits climb upon the forehead to weigh down 25 the eyelids in sleep. Not the heavenly bodies only, the sky is filled with spirits that minister to man. To the savage, divinity, broken, as it were, into an infinite number of fragments, fills all place and all being.
The Sabbath Bell in the Country.—N. P. WILLIS.
Beautiful and salutary, as a religious influence, is the sound of a distant Sabbath bell, in the country. It comes floating over the hills, like the going abroad of a spirit; and as the leaves stir with its vibrations, and the drops of dew tremble in the cups of the flowers, you 5 could almost believe that there was a Sabbath in nature, and that the dumb works of God rendered visible worship for his goodness. The effect of nature alone is purifying; and its thousand evidences of wisdom are too eloquent of their Maker, not to act as a continual 10 lesson; but combined with the instilled piety of child