Изображения страниц
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

So loud and long have the multitude chaunted the glory of low pleasures, that the voices of true-hearted men have scarcely been heard in the world's chorus. Now and then, in the interludes of passion, when a holy calm has fallen upon the spirits of all,—when the pestilence has walked at noon-day, or the power of the Most High has been otherwise vividly shown,-Truth and Holiness seemed to bear some sway in the souls and words of men. But again came the old passion :—again the old chaunt arose from city, hill. side, and valley-depth; and again the voice of God in the soul, and the voices of true-hearted men were unheeded; or, if some fragments of them were caught, heeded only tố be derided by those whose spirits grovelled in the dust, and knew not how glorious was the love and beauty of the Most High.

One there was, ages ago, who amid scoffing-loneliness of heart-peril-death-spake out the pure truth as he received it from the Father. His was no wreath of flowers awarded by men to the noblest. And as to him was awarded a crown of thorns,—to those whose voices joined with his for love and truth, in defiance of form-custom-selfishness, like crowns were given; and soldiers who enlisted in works of darkness,-Pharisees trailing about long texts on their garments, but not in their hearts,-Sadducees living only for the present,—and the fickle mob, shouted in derision, and spit upon them, and crucified them in not less fearful Golgothas than that of old.

But danger never stifled truth. In all ages some brave men have been raised up, true lovers of God, who lived only in Him, whose only fear was to neglect His will,-men who could bear the taunt calmly, who could joy in the tortures of the Inquisition, who could give up home, and parents, and children, and wife for Truth's sake. These men reasoned and exhorted and rebuked by the way side,-at the social gathering, public feast, and solemn meeting-unawed by the presence of the self-righteous or open scoffer; and wrought their good works, until muny hearts beat-not for praise-not for wealth-not for powernot for showy learning, but—for the pure truth spoken by Jesus, and now uttered by God in every spirit willing to heed it.

On, on, on — The voices grew as time rocked the zephyr into the hurricane. The strong soul poured forth glorious thoughts. Men became habituated to the idea and practice of high truth. The possibility of change for the better was acknowledged. Glory to God rang abroad over the earth—Io Pæns, unlike the foul praises that were wont to be offered up.

Some of the words of these lovers of the All-True, or echoes of them, have fallen upon my ear, and stirred up within me such free born thoughts and craving for true purity, that I cannot forbear to scatter them still more widely over the earth. Reader! they are seeds borne upon the untrammeled breezes of thought into every open heart—into thine, if thou wilt. Keep them there, and nurture them. Love them as a maiden loves the sweet flowers that grow beneath her eye,-yea, love them infinitely more—and they shall impart rich fragrance to thy whole nature, and endow thee with strength, not only in the life-giving morning, and quiet moonlight even-time, but in the heat and trial of the day, when not only a truth-loving but truth-acting heart is required of thee to do nobly thy devoir as a man and a Christian.

Joyfully-oh joyfully, let us look forward to the time when the world's chorus shall be battle-cries for the right,—when blood-stained fields, with all their pomp, shall be only heard of as a tale of evil days long gone, -when wealth and birth shall no more be esteemed, --when love shall be pure, not sensual, when all shall seek their neighbor's good, and the good of all mankind, as they now seek their own. Joy. fully let us look forward, and with no craven heart speed the good work.

Philadelphia, 11th mo. 8th, 1844.





Life is real-life is earnest

And the grave is not its goal, I ust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !

Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act-act in the glorious Present!

Heart within, and God o'er head !

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

His brow was sad, his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath!
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright:
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

Try not the pass!" the old man said;
" Dark lowers the tempest overhead;
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"Oh stay," the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered with a sigh,

• Beware the pine-tree's withered branch-
Beware the awful avalanche!”
This was the peasant's last good night:
A voice repl far up the height,

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of St. Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay;
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star!


Lives of all great men remind us

We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us

Footsteps on the sands of time. Footsteps, that perhaps another

Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate; Stil achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.


A new year of labor has begun in the stillness of winter. In the moral world, however, the fields are ever white for the harvest, and the reaper has only to put in the sickle, and do his part towards the great in-gathering. There are no seasons of repose to the reformer. It is ever, with him, seed-time and harvest. Though the seed he scatters broadcast over the world, is invisible to the unanointed eye, it is still a reality—the only reality-for that seed is truth. It becomes him ever to be ready, with his loins girded, and his seed in his hand, to go abroad, scattering the unseen, but almighty germs of happiness. Much discouragement and disheartening will he meet with from a froward and perverse generation - because they look still for an outward redemption, for an earthly Messiah. The evils of outward condition absorb their sight. They scoff at, and belie, and, it may be, crucify him who would draw them from their physical deliverance, by the mighty



Tell me not in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.



leading of great principles. What they do not see strange infirmity, it is apt to look upon the old errors with their eyes, they cannot receive. Their faith in and sins of the past, as precedents to be followed, the unseen God, is but traditional, and not vital. He rather than as warnings to be shunned. But it will is an unknown God to them as much as he was to yet grow wise, and learn the things that pertain the scoffing Athenians. They do not believe in the unto peace. soul, but in the body. Motion is to them volition This has ever been the process of reform, as far

- action is thought-meeting-houses are religion as it has yet effected the interests of mankind. A state-houses are government. They do not look single mind perceives a truth, which had been before behind the shows and forms with which the world is hidden from men's eyes–because they would not filled, and discern the secret principles which they see it. He that has perceived the truth, states it. outshadow. This it is that makes the path of the The mass of men reject it and him. Perhaps they reformer hard. He is misunderstood. His method persecute him to strange cities, or even unto death is not comprehended. The connection between his itself. Whatever be the form in which men revenge means and his ends is not perceived—and men say, themselves upon those who disturb them in their he hath a devil and is mad. But, still, be hath his hereditary slumbers, in the particular age in which reward. The veil is lifted from his eyes, in degree he lives, he is sure to eudure it. But almost from as he is true and worthy, and he sees the secrets of the very first, there are some minds to which the the machinery in the midst of whose operations he new truth commends itself, as a newly-discovered lives. He discerns the causes of its disarrange part of their own being, and these cluster around the ments, and how it is that a Divine contrivance for the original truth-founder. Perhaps they but imperfectly happiness of mankind, has become perverted to their understand its meaning and the extent of its bearmisery and wo. He sees that no half measures are ing; but according to their capacity, they are filled of any virtue. False and disturbing principles have with its power. From them the circle widens and been introduced which destroy the harmony of the widens till it embraces within its ring a sea, or permachine, and make it produce results the opposite of haps, an ocean.

This was the truth which Christ the Inventor's design. Nothing can repair the ruin shadowed forth in the parables of the grain of musbut the removal of the disturbing forces, and the tard seed, and of the leaven which a woman took restoration of the true motive power. To this and hid in three measures of meal. And how strong work he applies himself, and proclaims aloud the an illustration does his own mission furnish of this error which has obtained, and the remedy for it. He growth of reform! Even his disciples, during his heeds not the sneers of the faithless, nor the doubts life, and even after his death, but imperfectly comof the timid good. He knows that he has an prehended his doctrine. And what lies have been omnipotent engine in his hands, which, though he extorted from it, from that day to this ! What may not live to see the day, will rectify the disor- streams of human blood has the Prince of Peace dered frame of things, and reduce the chaotic scene been made to shed ! Of what abominations has he to order and beauty.

not been made the patron and the founder. The How few there are who truly perceive the omnipo- world is but little in advance of his contemporaries tence of a principle! How is the true life concealed in the reception of the great truths which he perby its visible manifestations ! And yet can there ceived and stated. But still there are some minds be anything more apparent than that principles of which do begin to discern with a perfect vision the Truth are all that is conservative and recuperative laws of the soul, and to recognize their Divine beauin the world? And that the dissemination and true ty and almighty power. The circumstances of the reception of these principles, are the only means by times are in many respects favorable to their more which abuses can be reformed? And yet men will general reception. The great doctrine of the equal. look at Presidents, and Congresses, and Courts, for ity and brotherhood of mankind is now, in this counthe help which they themselves alone can give try at least, universally acknowledged, though in but themselves. Outward victory—the ascendancy of too many instances with lying lips. This great idea this or that party—the predomination of this or that is becoming more and more practically familiar to sect—is regarded as the sign of reform and of pro- men's minds. Gross physical persecution is almost gress. And yet, how continually has disappointment obsolete. The right of free inquiry and discussion been written on every page of history that has is admitted by almost all lips, though denied by recorded such triumphs! As wise were the fanatic many hearts, and still obstructed by inveterate prereformers who destroyed miracles of art and of ar- judice, spiritual tyranny, and sometimes by popular chitecture, thinking that thereby they exterminated violence. The old ideas are losing their hold npon Popery—or the republican zealots who rifled the men's minds, and the institutions that stand for them sepulchres of St. Denys, and scattered to the winds are tottering to their foundations. Men are looking the ashes of a hundred kings, as an additional bulwark about them for some surer foundation on which to of freedom. It is by slow degrees, and difficult ex. build their hopes, and some will be found ready to perience, that the world grows wise--for. by a

embrace the only around of truth. A state of moral



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

movement prevails, which is the atmosphere in which reform takes deepest root, and sheds forth its most vigorous branches. These are hopeful days for the reformer. Let him not allow the appointed time to pass by unimproved.

And let not his soul be troubled because his progress seems to be slow. The generation in whose ears he first utters the unwelcome message may refuse to receive it-but how soon it melts away, and another reigns in its stead! At first, it seems almost impossible to produce any impression upon the unbelieving multitudes in the high places and in the low places. But by the gradual, but mighty, process of nature, the world is by degrees filled with new life, and the old passes silently into the sepulchre of the past. The mighty men who seemed to fill up the whole field of vision now, whither will twenty years bear them away? Whence have come the new multitudes which throng this breathing world, that were but just born into time a score of years since? What a change has come over men's minds in the quarter century that has passed over the world since Napoleon shook the scene! With new minds come new ideas and with new ideas, will, in due time, come a new world. What a change will twenty years make in the aspect of the anti-slavery movement, for example, should chattle slavery en, dure so long! Where will be Webster, and Tyler, and Clay, and Calhoun ?

Where will be the troops of honorable and reverend asserters of the divinity and inviolability of the peculiar institution? They will be all gone, and their places will be filled by a race taught in other schools. So with respect to the systems of violence with which the earth is filled. The pillars of these systems will have fallen. Younger minds, pervaded with new views, will suc. ceed them, and by degrees the institutions of socie. ty will conform to the changed current of men's minds. Mighty revolutions will be achieved without a blow, and freedom and happiness purchased without the price of bloodshed and misery. The leaven will change the mass of society just as fast and as far as its virtue pervades it. Nothing can retard the progress of this peaceful revolution-for its theatre is the unseen soul. Its battles are there fought and won. It is from thence that its triumphal movements, which are to be seen in the outward world, are projected. In this revolution of thoughts and opinions, we must all needs take a part, whether we will or no. It rests with ourselves to decide whether our part shall be magnanimous or pitiful-whether our efforts shall be directed to spread or retard the coming triumph.

[blocks in formation]

MY PHILOSOPHY. Bright things can never die,

E'en though they fadeBeanty and minstrelsy

Deathless were made.

The highest gifts my soul has received, during its world-pilgrimage, have often been bestowed by those who were poor, both in money and intellectual cultivation. Among these donors, I particularly remember a hard-working, uneducated mechanic, from Indiana or Illinois. He told me that he was one of thirty or forty New Englanders, who, twelve years




before, had gone out to settle in the western wilder. | overcome with good, till not one was found to do ness. They were mostly neighbors; and had been them wilful injury. drawn to unite together in emigration from a gene- Years passed on, and saw them thriving in worldral unity of opinion on various subjects. For some !y substance, beyond their neighbours, yet beloved years previous, they had been in the habit of meet- by all. From them the lawyer and the constable ing occasionally at each other's houses, to talk over obtained no fees. The sheriff'stanımered and apolotheir duties to God and man, in all simplicity of gized, when he took their hard earned goods in payheart. Their library was the gospel, their priest- ment for the war-tax. They mildly rep'ied, "'Tis hood the inward light. There were then no anti- a bad trade friend. Examine it in the light of conslavery societies; but thus taught, and reverently science and see if it be not so.' But while they rewilling to learn, they had no need of such agency, fused to pay such fees and taxes, they were liberal to discover that it was wicked to enslave. The ef. to a proverb in their contributions for all useful and forts of peace societies had reached this secluded benevolent purposes. band only in broken echoes, and non-resistance so- At the end of ten years, the public lands, which cieties had no existence. But with the volume of they had chosen for their farms, were advertised for the Prince of Peace, and hearts open to His influence, sale by auction. According to custom, those who what need had they of preambles and resolutions ? had settled and cultivated the soil, were considered

Rich in spiritual culture, this little band started to have a right to bid it in at the government price; for the far West. Their inward homes were bloom- which at that time was $1.25 per acre. But the feing gardens ; they made their outward in a wilder- ver of land-speculation then chanced to run unusual

They were industrious and frugal, and all ly high. Adventurers from all parts of the country things prospered under their hands. But soon wolves were flocking to the auction; capitalists in Balticame near the fold, in the shape of reckless, unprin- more, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, were cipled adventurers; believers in force and cunning, sending agents to buy up western lands. No one who acted according to their creed. The colony of supposed that custom, or equity, would be regarded. practical Christians spoke of their depredations in The first day's sale showed that speculation ran to terms of gentlest remonstrance, and repaid them the verge of insanity. Land was eagerly bought in with unvarying kindness. They went farther—they at seventeen, twenty-five and thirty dollars an acre. openly announced, “You may do us what evil you The Christian colony had small hope of retaining choose, we will return nothing but good. Lawyers their farms. As first settlers, they had chosen the came into the neighborhood and offered their ser- best land; and persevering industry had brought it vices to settle disputes. They answered, “We have into the highest cultivation. Its market valne was no need of you. As neighbors, we receive you in much greater than the acres already sold at exorbithe most friendly spirit; but for us, your occupation tant prices. In view of those facts, they had preparhas ceased to exist.' • What will you do, if rascals ed their minds for another remove into the wilderbin your barns, and steal your harvests?' • We nees, perhaps to be again ejected by a similar prowill return good for evil. We believe this is the cess. But the morning their lot was offered for sale, highest truth, and therefore the best expediency.' they observed, with grateful surprise, that their

When the rascals heard this, they considered it a neighbours were everywhere busy among the crowd, marvellous good joke, and said and did many pro- begging and expostulating : Don't bid on these voking things, which to them seemed witty. Bars lands! These men have been working hard on them were taken down in the night and cows let into the for ten years. During all that time they never did cornfields. The Christians repaired the damages as harm to man or brute. They are always ready to well as they could, put the cows in the barn, and at do good for evil. They are a blessi to any neightwilight drove them gently home, saying, Neigh- bourhood. It would be a sin and a shame to bid on bour, your cows have been in my field. I have fed their lands. Let them go at the government price. them well during the day, but I would not keep The sale come on; the cultivators of the soil ofthem all night, lest the children should suffer for fered $1.25, intending to bid higher if necessary. But their milk.'

among all that crowd of selfish, reckless speculators, If this was fun, they who planned the joke sound not one bid over them! Without an opposing voice, no heart to laugh at it. By degrees a visible change the fair acres returned to them! I do not know a came over these troublesome neighbors. They more remarkable instance of evil overcome with ceased to cut off horses' tails, and break the legs of good. The wisest political economy lies folded up poultry. Rude boys would say to a younger bro- in the maxims of Christ. ther, Don't throw that stone Bill! When I killed With delighted reverence, I listened to this unlet. the chicken last week, didn't they send it to mother, tered backwoodsman, as he explained his philosophy because they thought chicken-broth would be good of universal love. "What would you do,' said I, if for poor Mary? I should think you would be asham- an idle, thieving vagabond came among you, resolv. ed to throw stones at their chickens.' Thus was eviled to stay, but determined not to work?' We

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »