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XIII.--THE GLORIES OF MORNING.
HAD occasion, a few weeks since, to take the early
train from Providence to Boston; and for this purpose rose at two o'clock in the morning. Everything around was wrapt in darkness and hushed in silence, broken only by what seemed at that hour the unearthly clank and rush of the train. It was a mild, serene, midsummer's nightthe sky was without a cloud—the winds were whist. The moon, then in the last quarter, had just risen, and the stars shone with a spectral luster but little affected by her presence. Jupiter, two hours high, was the herald of the day; the Pleiades, just above the horizon, shed their sweet influence in the east; Lyra sparkled near the zenith ; the steady pointers, far beneath the pole, looked meekly up from the depths of the north to their sovereign.
2. Such was the glorious spectacle as I entered the train. As we proceeded, the timid approach of twilight became more perceptible; the intense blue of the sky began to soften; the smaller stars, like little children, went first to rest; the sister-beams of the Pleiades soon melted together; but the bright constellations of the west and north remained unchanged. Steadily the wondrous transfiguration went on. Hands of angels, hidden from mortal eyes, shifted the scenery of the heavens; the glories of night dissolved into the glories of dawn.
3. The blue sky now turned more softly gray; the great watch-stars shut up their holy eyes; the east began to kindle. Faint streaks of purple soon blushed along the sky; the whole celestial concave was filled with the inflowing tides of the morning light, which came pouring down from above in one great ocean of radiance; till at length, as we reached the Blue Hills, a flash of purple fire blazed out from above the horizon, and turned the dewy tear-drops of flower and leaf into rubies and diamonds. In a few seconds, the everlasting gates of the morning were thrown wide open, and the lord of day, arrayed in glories too severe for the gaze of man, began his state.
4. I do not wonder at the superstition of the ancient Magians, who in the morning of the world went up to the hill-tops of Central Asia, and, ignorant of the true God, adored the most glorious work of his hand. But I am filled with amazement, when I am told, that, in this enlightened age and in the heart of the Christian world, there are persons who can witness this daily manifestation of the power and wisdom of the Creator, and yet say in their hearts, “ There is no God.”
XIV.—THE KING OF GLORY.
THE earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof,
For he hath founded it upon the seas,
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ?
Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates!
Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates!
Who is this King of Glory? Who?
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates!
N the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the
earth we tread on, Life is every where. Nature lives : every pore is bursting with Life; every death is only a new birth, every grave a cradle. And of this we know so little, think so little! Around us, above us, beneath us, that great mystic drama of creation is being enacted, and we will not even consent to be spectators!
2. Life everywhere! The air is crowded with birdsbeautiful, tender, intelligent birds—to whom life is a song and a thrilling anxiety, the anxiety of love. The air is swarming with insects—those little animated miracles. The waters are peopled with innumerable forms, from the animalcule, so small that one hundred and fifty millions of its kind would not weigh a grain, to the whale, so large that it seems an island as it sleeps upon the waves.
The bed of the seas is alive with polypes, crabs, star-fishes, and shellanimalcules numerous as the sands. The rugged face of rocks is scarred by the silent boring of soft creatures, and blackened with countless mussels, barnacles, and limpets.
3. Life everywhere! on the earth, in the earth, crawling, creeping, burrowing, boring, leaping, running. If the sequestered coolness of the wood tempt us to saunter into its checkered shade, we are saluted by the murmurous din of insects, the twitter of birds, the scrambling of squirrels, the startled rush of unseen beasts, all telling how populous is this seeming solitude. If we pause before a tree, or shrub, or plant, our cursory and half-abstracted glance detects a colony of various inhabitants. We pluck a flower, and in its bosom we see many a charming insect busy at its appointed labor. We pick up a fallen leaf, and if nothing is visible on it, there is probably the trace of an insect larva hidden in its tissue, and awaiting there development. The drop of dew upon this leaf will probably contain its animals, visible under the microscope.
4. This same microscope reveals that the “ blood-rain” suddenly appearing on bread, and awakening superstitious terrors, is nothing but a collection of minute animals; and that the vast tracts of snow which are reddened in a single night owe their color to the marvellous rapidity in reproduction of a minute plant. The very
mould which covers our cheese, our bread, our jam, or our ink, and disfigurcs our damp walls, is nothing but a collection of plants. The many-colored fire which sparkles on the surface of a summer sea at night, as the vessel ploughs her way, or which drips from the oars in lines of jewelled light, is produced by millions of minute animals.
5. Nor does the vast procession end here. Our very motherearth is formed of the débris * of life. We dig downward thousands of feet below the surface, and discover with surprise the skeletons of strange, uncouth animals, which roamed the fens and struggled through the woods before man
Our surprise is heightened when we learn that the very quarry itself is mainly composed of the skeletons of microscopic animals. The flints which grate beneath our carriage wheels are but the remains of countless skeletons.
* Pronounced dā-brec'.
6. The Apennines and Cordilleras, the chalk cliffs of England—these are the pyramids of by-gone generations of atomies. Ages ago these tiny architects secreted the tiny shells which were their palaces; from the ruins we build our Parthenons, our St. Peters, and our Louvres. So revolves the luminous orb of Life! Generations follow generations; and the Present becomes the matrix of the Future, as the Past was of the Present—the Life of one epoch forming the prelude to a higher Life.
7. We have thus taken a bird's-eye view of the field in which we may study. It is truly inexhaustible. We may begin where we please, we shall never come to an end; our curiosity will never slacken.
“And whosoe'er in youth llas through ambition of his soul given way To such desires, and grasped at such delights, Shall fcel congenial stirrings late and long."
G. H. LEWES.
XVI. NAUHAUGHT, THE DEACON.
AUHAUGHT, the Indian deacon, who of old
Stretches its shrunk arm out to all the winds
He rose and went forth with the early day