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tude, to inspire joy in sorrow. We may visit | profession below the sun. Who is there that has relands more fertile, societies more refined, and abodes more splendid; but home surpasses them
visited, after some years of absence, the place of his nativity, without emotions of sorrow at the changes that have occurred? The children of another generation are sporting on the village-green where his careless infancy gambolled, or are strolling over the green fields, or tossing the stones, or their fish-hooks, into the stream that flows through the paradise of his juvenile delight; the very tree which shaded the green that formed the greatest province of his earth, has lost some of its noblest branches, and shows a more hollowed and time-worn trunk; and the cottage, with its pretty little garden and white-painted pale fence, is inhabited by others than his parents and his family circle—a new and unknown race—or is desolate, and fallen into the wreck of years; his little shag dog, his favourite cat, his chosen companion in the school and in the holyday-hours, of sport and birds'-nesting; the ever-laughed-at, ever-loved humorist and polyphemus of the hamlet,-all, all are gone. But there are no changes and desolations in friends or things in our heavenly home. Who is there that has not found, in the best ordered and most united families, some sources of disquiet, misunderstanding, and
If the picture we have now briefly, but not too poetically drawn, possess any of the characteristics of truth, there cannot be a more melancholy display of human destitution than a being with out a home,—a houseless, bewildered, and hopeless wanderer. To complete the vision of this wretchedness, it is only needful to conceive of a person banished from his dwelling, not by misfortune only, but by the disastrous and desolating power of crime;-to suppose that this has stripped him of his possessions, broken the last tie of his earliest and most privileged associations, and driven him into a wild region of separation from the love, as well as from the accommodations, of his own or his father's habitation. is, with a few additional circumstances of surpassing interest, the Saviour's parable of the prodigal son. A man had two sons; the younger demanded his patrimony; he departed from his father's house into a distant country, where he dissipated all he possessed in riotous living; and, after reducing himself to the extremity of want, a famine occurred, and he let himself as a swine-painful regret; and who, in the most prosperous, herd, with scarcely the means of obtaining a meal. Reflection brought to view his folly, and the abundance of his father's house. He determined to return home, confess his wickedness, and implore even a menial situation in his parent's establishment. He did so his compassionate father welcomed him with tears of joy, and made a great festival to celebrate his restoration. Whatever other truths this parable may be intended to represent, unquestionably it conveys a striking idea of the folly and guilt of every man in wandering from God, and the felicity of a full reconciliation, a perfect love, and an eternal home, which await the penitent and the believer.
Notwithstanding the accommodations, the affections, the pleasurable intercourse, and the numerous advantages belonging to the best-regulated families, this earth can nowhere furnish the Christian with his most valued, permanent, and only real home; no, not even where science, literature, and art have done their utmost to elevate intellect and embellish life; not even where love presides over and pervades, with its sweet charities and sacred bonds, the domestic circle; not even in the present imperfect condition of our being, where religion itself prevails, though it only can impart the finishing excellence to character, and spread a moral sunshine over the darkest lot of humanity. The Christian's home is in "a better country,”—a mansion in the skies. As it is neither situated in a world of vicissitudes, nor constructed of earthly materials, it possesses none of those characteristics of imperfection and decay that are incident to every state and every
has not realized the uncertainties, and witnessed some of the distressing events, or depressing anxieties of life? But neither misrule, nor mistake, nor care; neither mutual dissatisfactions, nor wide-wasting adversity, are incident to our Father's house in the heavens. Who that has witnessed or enjoyed the rosiest health and the brightest prospects, but has suffered from the inroads of disease, the distractions of grief, and the separations of bereavement? But these calamities, which have their origin in man's fall and degeneracy, depart for ever from that sinless, sorrowless, and deathless abode which constitutes the Christian's home.
In traversing the vale of life, I saw an aged man sitting, as if in profound meditation, beneath the overshadowing branches of an oak. I approached respectfully, and said, "My friend, you seem solitary and sad."
"Not so," was his reply; "I am neither solitary nor sad.”
I looked round with an air, doubtless, of wonderment and unbelief, for it attracted his notice, and led to further discourse. I could see no living thing, neither bird, nor beast, nor insect; the only sights that presented themselves to the eye were an impenetrable forest skirting the narrow slip of land between mountains, a narrow streamlet gliding down the centre, and a hut without inhabitant, near which the hoary-headed pilgrim had taken his station; and the only sound I heard was the bubbling of the brook, which seemed to create a deeper silence. "Not solitary?" I asked.
Stranger," continued he, "have you never
heard or felt that one may be never less alone than when alone? These sylvan shades, and this conscious heart, touched by a renewing power, bespeak an ever-present Deity; and who can be alone when God is with him?"
"But may I be allowed, without offence or implied suspicion, to remark, that a romantic sentiment of this nature has been often uttered by those who have evinced no real knowledge of the infinite Being, no acquaintance with his moral character, and their relation to him, and none of the devout affection which breathes in the hallowed strains of Israel's pious monarch: 'As the heart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.'"
"I know," said he, "the sentiment is often romantic, but with me it is real. I hold converse with the Highest, not as the God of nature only, but as the God of Scripture; not as the Creator of heaven and earth only, but as the Redeemer of lost man, through the shedding of the blood of the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.""
"Then you receive that doctrine which is often termed, in scorn, evangelical?”
I have lost parents, kinsmen, wife, and children, the beloved companions of earlier days; and I have lost property bequeathed, and property acquired, all but my last shelter, that windshaken hut; and yet I have an inheritance, too, and am going to take possession."
He lifted up his eyes, and pointed his fingers; both appeared in the direction of the lofty mountains.
"You have an estate, then, beyond those hills, and your personal presence is necessary? But can you hope, under the pressure of so much age and infirmity, to surmount those barriers of nature; and will you spend your last strength in so vain a toil, and to acquire so transient a possession ?"
fair enclosure, which I seek to secure, or which I know to be mine."
He paused, and pointed upward once more; I saw it was to the "everlasting hills," and to his anticipated possession in heaven. He added, with inexpressible emotion, My weary pilgrimage is ended, and I am just AT HOME."
It is the gospel of Jesus Christ which unveils the mystery of future existence; it is himself, as "the light of the world," who "brings life and immortality to light." If it be a fact, fully attested and unquestionable, that there is a condition of endless and blissful existence for the Christian, it is not only important to inquire what is heaven, but chiefly important is it to ascertain the way to it; what is a Christian; and what is the foundation of personal hope with regard to the possession of its immeasurable joys? To this point we shall devote a few lines, because, amidst the diversities of religious sentiment which obtain, and which in some cases are extreme and essential, we choose, in the first number of our publication, to assure our readers that in Christianity we take our standing at once, without hesitation and without compromise, on the only ground where we conceive firm footing is to be obtained,-the atoning efficacy of the great Sacrifice, the redeeming and saving power, through faith, of the death, the resurrection, and advocacy of Jesus, the Son of God. The Scriptures represent the object of our Saviour's incarnation to have been, "to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" or, in other and diversified modes of expression, to "save men's lives;" "to save sinners;" "to seek and to save that which was lost;" "to take away the sins of the world." Whatever be the phraseology, the essential idea is always deliverance from destruction,-the removal of a curse,-salvation from ruin, and restoration to God and happiness, in the dispensation of a present pardon and a future heaven. uniformly declared that Jesus Christ succeeded in his purpose,-that he made an atonement which satisfied every claim, and presented the basis of a perfect and everlasting reconciliation between the alienated transgressor and his offended Maker. The appropriation of this covenanted provision, so that salvation may be actually enjoyed, is uniformly attributed to faith or believing in Christ: "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." The apostles, with undaunted heroism and persevering zeal, amidst the world's mockery of a doctrine too simple, spiritual, and self-humiliating for its approval, went every where proclaiming its truth, and attesting their own convictions of its importance, by labouring with incessant effort, and suffering martyrdom with readiness and even joy, for its diffusion. Faith forms the Christian character, and, through the sanctifying power of the Spirit, prepares for heaven, the Christian's home. Jesus Christ was not a martyr, that is, not a martyr only, be was
a substitute, a sacrifice, a propitiation, "descending from above,”—as angel messengers announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem "keeping watch
over their flocks by night,"-to promote glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill to men."
THE STUDY OF NATURE.
THE book of nature is so superior to every book of human contrivance and composition, that it is impossible to institute any comparison between them. When we wish to be instructed by the human book, we must perform two distinct species of labour,—we must know the language in which the book is written, before we can ever attempt to obtain the slightest idea of the information that it contains, or whether it contains any information which can be profitable or pleasurable to us. But when we go to the book of nature, one-half, and that by far the most disagreeable and difficult half, of that labour is spared us. In the book of nature the acquiring of the knowledge itself is the very first step in our progress, for nature's book is written in every language and dialect under the canopy of heaven.
It is this facility in acquiring the knowledge of nature which constitutes the grand charm of nature's works; and the human body and mind are both so adapted to this, that the contemplation of nature is not only required, but absolutely demanded, for the keeping of both in their proper tone. There are many powers of the body, and many faculties of the mind, which seldom or never come into play in our ordinary avocations, especially if those avocations are mechanical; and this is the case, to a greater or less extent, in every occupation which mankind follow, or can follow, as a trade.
Now, whatever power or faculty is allowed to lie idle, does mischief both to the body and to the mind. In the body we can observe it; and there is not a single mechanic that has been long and industriously employed at one trade, whose walk, and, indeed, whose whole air and gait, instantly tell what trade he is of, without any inquiry. The reason of this is, that each trade requires a different application of the muscles, or moving powers of the body; and those which are not exercised in trade or occupation become weakened, while the ones that are exercised are thereby strengthened, provided the exercise is kept within reasonable bounds. The necessary consequence of this is, that the body gets deformed, not, most probably, to such an extent as that the parts of it seem disproportioned and out of shape when it is in a position of rest; but the moment that it is put into what may be called the natural motion of the human body, namely, walking at ease, the deformity tells in the gait, as has been mentioned.
To prevent this, it becomes necessary that those who labour in any particular way which requires more of the work of some muscles of
the body than of that of others, should have regular periods, not of mere rest from labour, but of what is properly termed relaxation; that is, allowing those parts of the frame, which are in a state of tension during the working hours to unbend themselves, while others come into action, and supply their place.
To preserve this mechanical tone of our animal frame in the best condition, and for the greatest length of time, experience clearly shows that mere rest is not that which it requires to alternate with labour, but that there is a certain portion of the frame which demands exercise, before the whole machine will so work as to keep up the tone and vigour of those parts of it which we use in our every-day occupations. So well is this understood, that those professions or trades which have nothing but a continuous alternation of labour and repose, always weaken the bodies and shorten the lives of those engaged in them. It would be invidious to instance any particular trade; but there are some required and largely exercised by the luxurious state of the country, where the arm of one sturdy yeoman from the valley, or one mountaineer from the hill, would scatter hundreds of the feeble things like chaff.
In this case it is really a return to nature which upholds the working structure of the body against the inroad which art is every day making upon it; for the relaxation which tends to soundness of the constitution and the fabric, is a natural motion which brings every part of the body into play. Those who have been labour-worn, or careworn, or study-worn, till nature was sick and exhausted, even to the desire of death, and who, when in this state, have taken a well-informed friend by the arm, and moved toward some open common or some wind-beaten hill, must have felt how the sinews began to knit, and the muscles to swell, as the breeze of heaven played around their free motions; and those very feet which tottered at leaving the threshold, shall have returned to it bounding as the roe.
But if there is such medicine in the merely natural action of the body, without any reference to a single subject of thought, what glorious healing must there be when the immortal spirit is brought forward, and all nature is set before it! The body, curious as it is in its structure, and numerous as are its parts, is a mere temporary accommodation, a thing of threescore and ten weary winters, and then to rot in the earth; it is, as it were, the mere chariot in the course of life, which the mind rides and governs; and therefore, if we are to improve man as man, and not as beast, the mental improvement must be the
grand and primary subject of our attention. We do not mean the parade of technical learning, for of all kinds of ignorance that is often the most offensive; but we mean a mind that is able to stand up and to master every subject which may come before it.
How is such a state of mind to be obtained? We answer, In a manner similar to that in which
a healthy tone of the body is preserved. Let the mind have its relaxation, so that all its faculties may be brought into play, and then the narrow thought of the exclusively devoted to one thing will be shaken off, and the mind will be equally ready and able. The study of nature is the mind's relaxation; but in what manner it is so, we must say on another occasion. THERON.
A SEASONABLE THOUGHT.
Tempus fugit,-"time flies,"-a truth which the New Year proclaims, and which may be placed in a mathematical light. The sun is stationary in the heavens; the earth moves around it at the amazing rate of about 50,000 miles an hour; travelling a circle of millions of miles a year. Now that is literally the flight of time; the speed of human life; for it is the revolutions of the earth that measure our time.
"The days of our years," says the Psalmist, "are threescore years and ten :" not that we can calculate on so many, but as few attain to that age, and still fewer go beyond it, he took that as the maximum term of human life. Now suppose you were to be placed in a vehicle, and to be assured that you should live only till it had moved round a certain space so many times; you would at once feel that in that case the length of your life depended, not so much on the space which the vehicle had to go over, as on the rapidity with which it moved-the faster it went over the allotted ground, the sooner your life would end. And oh if you loved life, if you dreaded death, how much would you grudge every inch of ground you passed over! would deem its slowest pace too fast.
Now this is, substantially, the predicament in which you do stand. The earth on which you live is the vehicle; and you are assured that when it has carried you round the sun a certain
number of times, your life shall end. Do you not feel anxious, then, to know the rate at which you are moving on this journey of life? and when you are told that you are accomplishing it at the rate of so many thousand miles an hour, may you not well exclaim with the patriarch, "My days are swifter than a courier, they flee away!" You can actually calculate how much ground you have gone over. Multiply the rate at which the earth travels annually by the number of years you have lived, and you will see how far you have already travelled. You will find that whether you have been sleeping or waking, thoughtful or inconsiderate, you have been always rushing towards the goal of life-drawing nearer to it by thousands of miles every hour-so that however vast the space you had to travel over at first, it is daily, hourly diminishing, at a rate which will soon bring you to your journey's end.
Vita brevis,-"life is short." Hippocrates, who was probably the author of this apophthegm, extends it further, adding, et ars longa; intimating that the longest life is only sufficient to enable us to acquire a moderate acquaintance with any art or science. The Christian knows, however, that it is long enough to acquire the art of living well the science of happiness; and he who has acquired that, bids fair to add an inch to his span-long life.
ON THE LEARNING OF THE IGNORANT. THERE may be science in fools, as well as fools in science; a sentiment which, were it not for the stupidity of mankind in general, would be seen to be axiomatically true. In fact, it is sometimes really vexatious and depressing to observe how the sagacity of an ignorant man throws a kind of reproach upon the toils and accumulated treasures of the weary and worn-out student; so that knowledge which smells of the field, and is a kind of wild flower in nature's garden, is more fragrant and refreshing than that which smells of the lamp.
is often both clever and comical. It is entitled, "On the Ignorance of the Learned;" and is sufficiently illustrative of its motto, which is selected from Butler, and is, on many accounts, for its own sake, as well as for its applicability, conversely, to our present design, worthy of being here re-quoted.
But, before proceeding further, it may be as well, and will certainly be honest, though at the risk of forfeiting the honour of originality, to confess that the subject of this paper has been suggested by an essay of Hazlitt, a writer who
"For the more languages a man can speak,
No sense at all in several languages,
Mr. Hazlitt, however, does not quite satisfy us in some particulars, unless we take his statements as sarcastical. He describes learning to be that which is not generally known to others, and which we can only derive, at second-hand, from books or other artificial sources. knowledge of that which is before us, or about us, which appeals to our experience, passions, and pursuits, to the bosoms and businesses of men, is not learning. Learning is the knowledge of that which none but the learned know. He is the most learned man who knows the most of what is furthest removed from common life and actual observation, that is, of the least practical utility, and least liable to be brought to the test of experience, and that, having been handed down through the greatest number of intermediate stages, is the most full of uncertainty, difficulties, and contradictions. It is seeing with the eyes of others, hearing with their ears, and pining our faith on their understandings." This very well discriminates between learning and wisdom,―between the mere accumulations of knowledge, and their practical application and use. Hazlitt was thinking, however, only of book-learning; but we must be allowed a more latitudinarian signification in the use of the term; and it will then appear that if the learned are often ignorant, the ignorant, too, are learned. Whose experience does not testify that if in travelling with a learned man he may hear ignorant and stupid remarks, in travelling with an ignorant man he will be frequently confounded by wise ones? for the one draws from books, or if from his own mental resources, from a well muddy or without water; the other from the Fure and perennial springs of sound judgment within. The one is like a fish-pond in a wellshaven lawn; the other like a sweet fountain covered over with weeds and thorn bushes.
The learning of the ignorant is in reality of two kinds—namely, that which is derived from tradition, and that which arises from a knowledge of human nature, or natural sagacity; the former is often replete with wisdom, the latter with wit, and with views that are profound, without the name of philosophy. By traditionary knowledge we mean the shrewd axioms of our ancestors, which are frequently found to pervade the lower classes of society, and to be treasured up in the simplest minds; and we have been struck a thousand times with the character of that knowledge. The very things which are thought to be ridiculous, and denounced as old wives' fablesthe very quintessence of absurdity-the distillation of our forefathers' credulity or jokes, are nevertheless nothing more nor otherwise than concentrated good sense, and the fruits of continual and careful observation. From this cause, the most ignorant people have been greater philosophers than philosophers themselves, and have understood as much, or more,
about the influences of the moon, on wind and weather, and other kindred topics of acoustics and meteorology, as the most accomplished scientific lunatics. Common adages or maxims are admirable, and sometimes deserve to be received as infallible. Take, for example, the following plain-spoken fact-" Lend your money to your friend-lose your money and your friend." Who that has had any experience of the world, but knows that, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, this is literally and glaringly the fact? The hazardous experiment has been made over and over again with better hopes and self-deluding expectations, and the result has been repeatedly, and almost invariably, the same. Distrust in young minds, like confidence in old ones, is of slow growth, and can scarcely ever be inspired by argument, appeal, and historic demonstration. Do what you will, you cannot, according to another sage observation, "put old heads on young shoulders;" life is too new, too promising, too brilliant, to admit of it. And here again, the axiom," There is no royal road to knowledge," may be applied to moral discoveries. If diligence, study, and perseverance be requisite to the attainment of science or literature, an application of the same mental process is essential to the development, or rather to the belief, of great fundamental truths in the history of man. Experience is to acquisition in moral science what grammars and lexicons are in the attainment of a language: in both it is the law of our mental economy to make haste slowly."
The other species of learning to which we referred, natural sagacity, is that which often supplies the place of learning, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. No one can fail of having been amused and surprised at the shrewdness of some unlearned persons. They are prompted both to say and to do certain things in a way that bespeaks innate powers of a high order, which, amidst outward concealments or accidents, evince all the attributes of native genius. And as to the discoveries of untaught men, they are great and striking. Think of a poor boy discovering the telescope! Think of Pascal discovering the series of Euclid's propositions in the first book in his father's garret! Think of Opie discovering and pursuing the art of painting in a saw-pit! Think of Bloomfield writing his poem of "The Farmer's Boy" when he was what he describes in Suffolk, and when he could not spell rightly a word he wrote!
In the commonest walks of life, how often do we find science without knowing it-both theoretical and practical. A mathematician sits
down to demonstrate that the two sides of a triangle are together greater than the third side; whereas, without any of the diagrams, and ABC's, and quod erat demonstrandus of Euclid, a por man knows by experience that the strait path from one gate to another is, as he calls it, a