Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

which you have driven from its tenement; take up that hand which. your pride refused to touch, not one hour ago. You have, in your pride and wrath, usurped one prerogative of God. You have inflicted death. At least, in mercy, attempt the exercise of another; breathe into those distended nostrils, – let your brother be once more a living soul! Merciful Father! how powerless are we for good, but how mighty for evil! Wretched man! he does not answer, he cannot rise. All your efforts to make him breathe are vain. His soul is already in the

presence

of your common Creator. Like the wretched Cain, will you answer, “ Am I my brother's keeper?” Why do you turn away from the contemplation of your own honorable work? Yes, go as far as you will, still the admonition will ring in your ears: It was by your hand he fell! The horrid instrument of death is still in that hand, and the stain of blood upon your soul. Fly, if you will, — go to that house which you have filled with desolation. It is the shriek of his widow, - they are the cries of his children, — the broken sobs of his parent; — and, amidst the wailings, you distinctly hear the voice of imprecation on your own guilty head! Will your honorable feelings be content with this? Have you now had abundant and gentlemanly satisfaction?

9. DAY CONCEALS WHAT NIGHT REVEALS.-J. P. Nichol.

Vast as our firmament may be, has it boundaries, or does it stretch away into infinitude ? Are those awful spaces, that surround it on every side, void, empty, or are they tenanted by worlds and systems similar to our own ? No wonder that a mind like Herschell's should have rushed to the conclusion that the space around our system was a vault, in whose capacious bosom myriads of mighty clusters like our own universe are placed. If it be true that this great scheme of ours is simply that which Herschell first supposed it, but still a great, separate, distinct scheme, whose nature is, perhaps, more than anything else, represented by these singular Nebula, what must we think with regard to it? Surely it is, that notwithstanding its immense diffusion, its vast confines, the great space through which its different portions range, there must lie around it, on every side, vast untenanted spaces ; and, if this be so, may it not be that amid all that space, also, there are floating great schemes of being like ours, schemes, I say, of different shape, of different character, but lying in these vast regions of space like ours, — schemes quite as magnificent as that vast system to which we ourselves belong ? If this be so, what a conception, in regard to the material universe, must press itself upon our notice!

How strange that this Universe is only yet cognizable by one human sense! that the veil of the sun's light entirely conceals its wonders from our view! that, had the light of that Sun not been veiled by the curtain of night we had lived amid it and never have known of the existence of the Stellar Universe! May it not, then, be true, that

during midnight, when these infinite orbs appear to us from their unmeasured depths, — may it not be true that through veils as thin, we are withheld now from the consciousness of other Universes, vast even as the world of stars? But, in reference to an idea so lofty, let me use the language of a great mind : *

“Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
Thee by report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue ?
Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus and the hosts of Heaven camo,
And, lo! Creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, 0 Sun! or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind ?
Why do we, then, shun death with anxious strife ?
If Light can thus deccive, why may not Life ?

10. MAN'S MATERIAL TRIUMPIIS. - Original Translation. When we contemplate man in his relations to the rest of creation, how lofty, in the comparison, appears his lot! ile subdues all the powers of nature. He combines or separates them according to his wants, -according to his caprices. Master of the earth, he covers it at will with cities, with villages, with monuments, with trees, and with harvests. He forces all the lower animals to cultivate it for him, to serve hiin for use or pastime, or to disappear from his domain. Master of the sea, he floats at ease over its unfathomed abysses; he places dykes to its fury, he pillages its treasures, and he makes its waves his highway of transportation from clime to clime. Master of the clements, fire, air, light, water, docile slaves of his sovereign will, are imprisoned in his laboratories and manufactories, or harnessed to his cars, which they drag, invisible couriers, swift as thought !

What grandeur and what power, in a frail being of a day, a hardly perceptible atom amid that creation, over which he acquires such empire! And yet this creature, so diminutive, so weak, has received an intelligent and reasoning soul; and, alone, among all the rest, enjoys the aruazing privilege of deriving from the Fountain of life and light an intellectual radiance, ir: the midst of worlds whose glow is but the pale reiex of material orbs. The empire of the world has been given to him, because his spirit, greater than the world, can measure, admire, comprehend, and explain it. Nature has been sujected to him, because he can unveil the marvellous mechanism of her laws, penetrate her profoundest secrets, and wrest from her all the treasures which she holds in her boson. Placed at such a height, man would, indeed, be perilously tempted ;--- giddy and dazzled, he would forget

* J. Blanco White.

the adorable Benefactor, who had made him so great, and admire and adore himself as the principle and the first source of his grandeur, but that Divine Goodness has been quick to secure him from this danger, by graving in his being a law of dependence, of original infirmity, of which it is impossible for pride itself to efface the celestial imprint.

And so has Nature been commissioned to render up her secrets and her treasures with a reluctant hand, one by one, at the price of harassing labors and profound meditations; to make man feel, at every movement, that if she is obliged to succumb to his desires, she yields less to his will than to his exertions; a sure sign of his dependence. And so shall there be no progress, no conquests for man, which are not at once a signal proof of his strength and his weakness, and which do not bear the indelible impress at once of his power and his insufficiency.

11. FORTITUDE AMID TRIALS.

- Anonymous.
O, NEVER from thy tempted heart
Let thine integrity depart!
When Disappointment fills thy cup,
Undaunted, nobly drink it up;
Truth will prevail, and Justice show
Her tardy honors, sure though slow.
Bear on

bear bravely on!
Bear on! Our life is not a dream,
Though often such its mazes seem;
We were not born

lives of ease,
Ourselves alone to aid and please.
To cach a daily task is given,
A labor which shall fit for Heaven;
When Duty calls, let Love grow warm;
Amid the sunshine and the storm,
With Faith life's trials boldly breast,
And come a conqueror to thy rest.

Bear on — bear bravely on !

12. TIIE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE. — Original Translation.

From Victor IIugo's Presidential Address at the Peace Congress, 1819. A DAY will come when

you,

France, you, Russia, — you, Italy, - you, England, — you, Germany, all of you, Nations of the Continent, - shall, without losing your distinctive qualities and your glorious individuality, blend in a higher unity, and form a European fraternity, even as Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, all the French provinces, have blended into France. A day will come,

* Pronounced Alsass.

when war shall seem as absurd and impossible between Paris and London, between Petersburg and Berlin, as between Rouen * and Amiens,t between Boston and Philadelphia. A day will come when bullets and bombs shall be replaced by ballots, by the universal suffrages of the People, by the sacred arbitrament of a great sovereign Senate, which shall be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France. A day will come when a cannon shall be exhibited in our museums, as an instrument of torture is now, and men shall marvel that such things could be. A day will come when shall be seen those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, in face of each other, extending hand to hand over the ocean, exchanging their products, their commerce, their industry, their arts, their genius, — clearing the earth, colonizing deserts, and ameliorating creation, under the eye of the Creator.

And, for that day to arrive, it is not necessary that four hundred years should pass : for we live in a fast time; we live in a current of events and of ideas the most impetuous that has ever swept along the Nations; and at an epoch when a year may sometimes effect the work of a century. And, to you I appeal,-- French, English, Germans, Russians, Sclaves, Europeans, Americans, — what have we to do to hasten the coming of that great day? Love one another! To love one another, in this immense work of pacification, is the best way of aiding God. For God wills that this sublime end should be accomplished. And, see, for the attainment of it, what, on all sides, He is doing! See what discoveries He causes to spring from the human brain, all tending to the great end of peace! What progress! What simplifications! How does Nature, more and more, suffer herself to be vanquished by man! How does matter become, more and more, the slave of intelligence and the servant of civilization! How do the causes of war vanish with the causes of suffering! How are remote Nations brought near! How is distance abridged! And how does this abridgment make men more like brothers! Thanks to railroads, Europe will soon be no larger than France was in the middle ages ! Thanks to steamships, we now traverse the ocean more easily than we could the Mediterranean once! Yet a few years more, and the electric thread of concord shall encircle the globe, and unite the world!

When I consider all that Providence has done for us, and all that politicians have done against us, a melancholy consideration presents itself. We learn, from the statistics of Europe, that she now spends annually, for the maintenance of her armies, the sum of five hundred millions of dollars. If, for the last thirty-two years, this enormous sum had been expended in the interests of peace,

America meanwhile aiding Europe, — know you what would have happened? The face of the world would have been changed. Isthmuses would have been cut through; rivers would have been channelled; mountains

.

* Pronounced Rooang.

† Ahmeeang.

tunnelled. Railroads would have covered the two continents. The merchant tonnage of the world would have increased a hundred-fold. There would be nowhere barren plains, nor moors, nor marshes. Cities would be seen where now all is still a solitude. Harbors would have been dug where shoals and rocks now threaten navigation. Asia would be raised to a state of civilization. Africa would be restored to man. Abundance would flow forth from every side, from all the veins of the earth, beneath the labor of the whole family of man; and misery would disappear! And, with misery, what would also disappear? Revolutions. Yes; the face of the world would be changed. Instead of destroying one another, men would peacefully people the waste places of the earth. Instead of making revolutions, they would establish colonies. Instead of bringing back barbarism into civilization, they would carry civilization into barbarism.

*— 13. THE PEACE CONGRESS OF THE UNION.— Edward Everett. June 17th, 1850.

AMoxg the great ideas of the age, we are authorized in reckoning a growing sentiment in favor of peace. An impression is unquestionably gaining strength in the world, that public war is no loss reproachful to our Christian civilization than the private wars of the feudal chiefs in the middle ages. A Congress of Nations begins to be regarded as a practicable measure. Statesmen, and orators, and philanthropists, are flattering themselves that the countries of Europe, which have existed as independent sovereignties for a thousand years, and have never united in one movement since the Crusades, may be brought into some community of action for this end.

They are calling conventions, and digesting projects, by which Empires, Kingdoms, and Republics, inhabited by different races of men, – tribes of Slavonian, Teutonic, Latin, and mixed descent, — speaking different languages, believing different creeds,-Greeks, Catholics, and Protestants, men who are scarcely willing to live on the same earth with each other, or go to the same Heaven, - can be made to agree to some great plan of common umpirage. If, while these sanguine projects are pursued, - while we are thinking it worth while to compass sea and land in the expectation of bringing these jarring nationalities into some kind of union, in order to put a stop to war, – if, I say, at this juncture, the People of these thirty United States, most of which are of the average size of a European Kingdom, destined, if they remain a century longer at peace with each other, to cqual in numbers the entire population of Europe; States, which, drawn together by a general identity of descent, language and faith, have not so much formed as grown up into a National Confederation, possessing in its central Legislature, Executive and Judidiary, an efficient tribunal for the arbitration and decision of controversies, – an actual Peace Congress, clothed with all the powers of a common Constitution and law, and with a jurisdiction extending to

« ZurückWeiter »