Billeder på siden

idleness. Perhaps one third of those who are fed in our poor-houses in the winter, are loafers instead of paupers. They feel encouraged to spend their summers in idleness and profligacy by the very hope of food and shelter which they may sure expect of the county, or at the hands of the generous. Whether giving will prove a good or an evil to the recipient depends on his own character. If such a character as charitable contributions caunot give belongs to a person, your charity is a blessing; if not, it is a curse. Whence is this difference of character? What is it in the poor that sanctifies the gift? What is the power behind the throne, which is the source of all physical, mental and moral elevation? It must be something lying back of social life-back of mental cultivation-back of material improvements-back of philanthropic benevoIence. What is it? There are two ways in which we may obtain an answer to this important question. By a view of the nature or constitution of man, or that in him which is to be elevated; and then also by looking at the history of the manner in which he has attained his present degree of elevation.

What is man-and what is in him to be elevated? He is a unit, and the whole man must be symmetrically elevated. Though a unit, there are three grades or spheres in his being, as all sound philosophy and common observation teach-body, soul and spirit. His body is the lowest side of his being, which is formed out of the matter of the material world beneath him, and through which he is allied to it, and dependent on it. His spirit holds a corresponding place on the highest side of his being, and through it he stands related to the world of spirit. His soul is the intermediate intellectual nature, which on the one side is allied to the body and the world of matter through the senses; on the other to the spirit and the spiritual world, through the moral or spiritual faculties. Thus man forms the link between the material and spiritual worlds-belongs wholly to neither, but alike to both-answering thus to his formation from the earth beneath and the breath of the Almighty from above.

Now it is plain that man cannot be elevated by that which looks only to his body-however important is to care for it-because, if the higher parts of his nature are bad, his body must and will suffer injury. The will to strong drink, the affections of lust, for instance, which are in the higher, will frustrate all hope of bodily elevation.

It is equally plain that anything that looks only to his soul or mind, cannot be successful in elevating him; because there are powers in the higher sphere of his spirit which control all beneath. Thus the willwhich is moral-controls the understanding, and reigns over all the intellectual nature. Do you say the will is purely intellectual-then we say no, because we often see that an ignorant man has more will than the most intelligent. The will is over the intellect as its master, and if it is bad it will frustrate all endeavors to elevate the man through his intellect. Do we wish illustrations; take Poe in the gutter, or Byron in his lusts-with all their intellect. Take hundreds of learned men who swim in the vilest dregs!

We must also carefully avoid the idea that the elevation of the lower spheres in man-physical and mental-can come first as stepping stones to the higher. That is the very mistake we would avoid. The eleva

tion of these lower is a result, not a cause. The very fact that they are lower, shows that they are under the control of the higher. The reservoir must fill the hydrants. In the loftiest part of our nature must be the throne from which power and law proceed for all beneath. The high sun must first shine before there can be reflections to his light, or responses to his genial warmth, from the worlds which lie beneath him.

We are driven back then to the spirit as the first and highest, and the ruling part in man. As it is, so is his mind and his body. On this summit of man's being must the light first touch, before it can descend to illuminate the regions of his being which lie beneath.

The will, the conscience, the affections-in short, the entire moral nature must be purified and elevated, first of all, or there can be no hope of man's elevation. This must be done by a power lying behind them, and greater than they-the power behind the throne.

We may come still nearer to the answer sought for-and perhaps obtain one full and satisfactory-by looking at the history of human elevation.

The endeavor after human elevation is nothing new. It has been sought after in all ages and in all lands. History must record the varied failure or success. It must be possible from history to ascertain in what nations or ages the highest attainments have been made; and it must be possible also to trace these differences to their causes-for that which elevates nations must be a power wider and greater than nationalities themselves, or the cause would be inadequate to the effect. So that this cause can not be an obscure factor, but must be a great, visible, tangible power. We would respectfully commend this feature of the subject to the earnest consideration of the reader, as in it we must find the true source of civilization.

Only one general fact we would notice. It would seem from a general view of the history of our race that it has been felt in all ages and nations, that the power in which man hopes for the elevation of himself is believed to be in a higher world, with which it is necessary to come into communion through the highest side of our being. Thus what history intimates, would correspond with what we have just educed from the nature of man's physical, mental, and moral constitution. Thus our two independent and unbiased witnesses would agree that the power behind the throne is the power of a higher world-the supernatural working in the natural, and energizing it by its high, ever victorious life.

In striving after the needed communion with this ultimate elevating power, three efforts are manifest in history, all tending to one point.

All the oriental nations lying eastward from Palestine believed that this communion could only be effected by the coming down of the gods into our nature, and thus all their gods are incarnations-gods taking the form and nature of man.

All the nations of the occident, laying west from Palestine, believed that it could only be effected by the opposite order, of raising men into the sphere of gods, and thus they had deifications of men--heroes and wise men elevated to gods from whom they now expected help,

Between these two systems, in Palestine, originated another, which professes that in it the wants and endeavors of both are met and fulfilled in God coming down into the form and nature of man, by which man

also is raised into union with God. This system professed to be the light of the world, and the leaven that should silently transform and elevate men and nations. Though humble in origin, and silent in its deepest operations, as all great things are, it proved itself a power behind thrones. It soon gave laws in the Areopagus of the Greeks, and in the palace of the Roman Cæsars. Grecian and Roman civilization fled before it like clouds before the rising sun. It subdued the rough and nervous barbarism of the Teutonic hordes of Northern Europe and created them into refined and powerful nations. It crossed the channel, calling the rude Britons from the stupor of ages, and clothed a benighted Island with glory as with a garment. It outrode the waves of the Atlantic and created this wonder of the nations in the West. The wilderness and the solitary places were glad for it, and the desert rejoiced and blossomed as the rose.

Certain it is that millions have regarded, and do now regard, this as the power behind all earthly powers. They say, and seemingly at least with great reason, that its history is the history of good government, of arts and sciences in the highest form, of the greatest refinement in family and social life; in short, of peace on earth and good will to men.

That it has produced mighty convulsions and revolutions in the history of the world, only proves its deep and leaven-like workings. What it has overturned perhaps needed overturning; and ever through the noise and confusion of its conflicts with opposing powers came the sweet voice of peace, the victorious shout of progress, and the joy of a higher freedom.


"I WILL tell you," continued her aunt to Louisa, "two things which I have fully proved. The first will go far towards preventing the possibility of any discord after marriage; the second is the best and surest preservative of feminine character."

"Tell me!" said Louisa, anxiously.

"The first is this-to demand of your bridegroom, as soon as the marriage ceremony is over, a solemn vow-and promise yourself-never, even in jest, to dispute, or express any disagreement-I tell you, never! for what begins in mere bantering, will lead to serious earnest. Avoid expressing any irritation at one another's words. Mutual forbearance is the one great secret of domestic happiness. If you have erred, confess it freely, even if confession costs you some tears. Further, promise faithfully and solemnly never, upon any pretext or excuse, to have any secrets or concealments from each other; but to keep your private_affairs from father, mother, sister, brother, relations, and the world. Let them be known only to each other and your God. Remember that any third person admitted into your confidence becomes a party to stand between you, and will naturally side with one or the other. Promise to avoid this, and renew the vow upon every temptation. It will preserve that perfect confidence, that union, which will indeed make you one. Oh, if the newly married would but practice this spring of connubial peace, how many unions would be happy which are now miserable.”



I sometimes have thought in my loneliest honrs,
That lie on my heart like the dew on the flowers,
Of a ramble I took one bright afternoon,

When my heart was as light as a blossom in June;
The green earth was moist with the late fallen showers,
The breeze fluttered down and blew open the flowers,
While a single white cloud in its haven of rest,
On the white wings of peace floated off in the West.

As I threw back my tresses to catch the cool breeze
That scatter'd the raindrops and dimple the seas,
Far up th blue sky a fair rainbow unroll'd

Its soft tinted inions of purp e and gold;
'Twas born in a moment, yet, quick as its birth,

It had stretched to the uttermost ends of the earth,

And, fair as an angel, it floated all free,

With a wing on the earth and a wing on the sea.

How ca'm was the ocean, how gentle its swell,

Like a woman's soft bosom, it rose and it fell,

While its light sparkling waves, stealing laughingly o'er,
When they saw the fair rainbow knelt down to the shore;
No sweet hymn ascended. no murmur of prayer,
Yet I felt that the spirit of worship was there,
And bent my, oung head in devotion and love,
'Neath the form of the angels that floated above.

How wide was the sweep of its beautiful wings!
How boundless its circle! how radiant its rings!
If I look'd on the sky, 'twas suspended in air,
If I looked on the ocean, the rainbow was there;
Thus forming a girdle as brilliant and whole,
Like the wing of the Deity, calmly unfurled,
It bent from the cloud and encircled the world.

There are moments, I think, when the spirit receives
Whole volumes of thought on its unwritten leaves,
When the folds of the heart in a moment unclose,
Like the innermost leaves from the heart of the rose;
And thus when the rainbow had pass'd from the sky,
The thoughts it awoke were too deep to pass by;
It left my full soul like the wing of a dove,
Fluttering with pleasure and fluttering with love.

I know that each moment of rapture or pain
But shortens the links in life's mystical chain;
I know that my form, like the bow of the wave,

Must pass from the earth and lie cold in the grave;

Yet O! when death's shadows my bosom uncloud,

When I shrink from the thought of the coffin and shroud,
May hope, like the rainbow, my spirit unfold
In her beautiful pinions of purple and gold.




To purchase Heaven has gold the power?
Can gold remove the mortal hour?

In life can love be bought with gold?
Are friendships pleasures to be sold?
No-all that's worth a wish, a thought,
Fair virtue gives unbrib'd, unbought.

Riches cannot be better described than as the Baggage of virtue, or by the Roman word, "impedimenta;" for, as the baggage is to an army, so are riches to virtue. It can neither be spared nor left behind, but it hinders the march; and the care of it sometimes loses or lessens the victory. Of great riches there is no real utility except it be in the distribution; the rest is but fancy or conceit: "Where much is," says Solomon, "there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner, but the sight of it with his eyes?" The personal fruition in any man cannot reach the point of sensible enjoyment of wealth; you cannot feel great riches; the owner has the custody, a power of dole and donation, the fame; but no solid use of them.

The aged man that coffers up his gold

Is plagued with cramps, and gouts, and painful fits;
And searce hath eyes his treasures to behold,

But like still pining Tantalus he sits,
And useless barns the harvest of his wits;
Having no pleasure of his sordid gain,

But torment that it cannot cure his pain.

You observe what fictitious prices are set upon little stones and rarities, and what works of ostentation are undertaken, in order that there may seem to be extraordinary use and consequences in riches.

Nor is it certain, that more persons are saved from dangers and troubles than are plunged into them, by their abundant riches. Whoever shall look heedfully upon those who are eminent for their riches, will not think their condition such as that he should hazard his quiet, and much less his virtue, to obtain it; for all that great wealth generally gives above a moderate fortune, is more room for the freaks of caprice, more privilege for ignorance and vice, a quicker succession of flatteries, and a larger circle of licentiousness. Seek then such riches only as you may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; like the wise Roman, of whom, according to Cicero, "In his exertions to increase his fortune, it was evident that he did not wish to satiate his avarice, but to provide means to gratify his beneficent disposition."

"Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons;" He that maketh haste to be rich, shall not be innocent. The poets say, that when Plutus is sent from Jupiter, he limps and goes slowly, but when he is sent from Pluto, he is swift of foot; meaning that riches got by good and honest

« ForrigeFortsæt »