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the individual citizen (which this projected Congress of Nations does not even hope to exercise), — if, while we grasp at this shadow of a Congress of Nations, we let go of— nay, break up, and scatter to the winds — this substantial union, this real Peace Congress, which, for sixty years, has kept the country, with all its conflicting elements, in a state of prosperity never before equalled in the world, we shall commit a folly for which the language we speak has no name; against which, if we, rational beings, should fail to protest, the dumb stones of yonder monument would immediately cry out in condemnation
14. THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE ADVERSE TO WAR. – Rev. G. C. Beckwith.
WAR will yet cease from the whole earth; for God Himself has said it shall. As an infidel, I might doubt this; but as a Christian, I cannot. If God has taught anything in the Bible, He has taught peace; if He has promised anything there, He has promised peace, ultimate peace, to the whole world; and, unless the night of a godless scepticism should settle on my soul, I must believe on, and hope on, and work on, until the Nations, from pole to pole, shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more. Yes, Sir; I see, or I think I see, the dawn of that coming day. I see it in the new and better spirit of the age. I see it in the Press, the Pulpit, and the School. I see it in every factory, and steamship, and rail-car. I see it in every enterprise of Christian benevolence and reform. I see it in all the means of general improvement, in all the good influences of the age, now at work over the whole earth. Yes; there is a spirit abroad that can never rest until the war-demon is hunted from the habitations of men. The spirit that is now pushing its enterprises and improvements in every direction; the spirit that is unfurling the white flag of commerce on every sea, and bartering its commodities in every port; the spirit that is laying every power of nature, as well as the utmost resources of human ingenuity, under the largest contributions possible, for the general welfare of mankind; the spirit that hunts out from your cities’ darkest alleys the outcasts of poverty and crime, for relief and reform; nay, goes down into the barred and bolted dungeons of penal vengeance, and brings up its callous, haggard victims, into the sunlight of a love that pities even while it smites; the spirit that is everywhere rearing hospitals for the sick, retreats for the insane, and schools that all but teach the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see; the spirit that harnesses the fire-horse in his iron gear, and sends him panting, with hot but unwearied breath, across empires, and continents, and seas; the spirit that catches the very lightning of Heaven, and makes it bear messages, swift, almost, as thought, from city to city, from country to country, round the globe; the spirit that subsidizes all these to the godlike work of a world's salvation, and employs them to scatter the blessed truths of the Gospel, thick as leaves of autumn, or dew-drops of morning, all over the earth; the spirit that is at length weaving the sympathies and interests of our whole race into the web of one vast fraternity, and stamping upon it, or writing over it, in characters bright as sunbeams, those simple yet glorious truths, the fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man; — is it possible for such a spirit to rest until it shall have swept war from the earth forever ? —o
15. MOSES IN SIGHT OF THE PROMISED LAND.—W. B. O. Peabody. B. 1799; d. 1847.
THE legislation of Moses! Let me ask, what other legislation of ancient times is still exerting any influence upon the world ! What philosopher, what statesman of ancient times, can boast a single disciple now ! What other voice comes down to us, over the stormy waves of time? But this man is at this day, -at this hour, –exerting a mighty influence over millions; the whole Hebrew Nation do homage to his illustrious name. Though the daily sacrifice has ceased, and the distinction of the tribes is lost, — though the temple has not left one stone upon another, and the altar-fires have been extinguished long ago, - still, wherever a Jew is found, – and they are found wherever the foot of an adventurer travels, — he is a living monument of the power which this great Hebrew statesman still has over the minds and hearts of his countrymen.
And now let us take one glance at this prophet, at the close of a life so laborious and honored. Up to his one hundred and twentieth year, his eye was not dim, nor had his strength abated. But now, when he stands almost on the edge of the promised land, his last hour of mortal life is come. To conduct his People to that land had been his daily effort, and his nightly dream; and yet he is not permitted to enter it, though it would never have been the home of Israel, but for him. He ascends a mountain to die, and there the land of promise spreads out its romantic landscape at his feet. There is Gilead, with its deep valleys and forest-covered hills; there are the rich plains and pastures of Dan; there is Judah with its rocky heights, and Jericho with its palm-trees and rose-gardens; there is the Jordan, seen from Lebanon downward, winding over its yellow sands; the long blue line of the Mediterranean can be seen over the mountain battlements of the West. On this magnificent death-bed the Statesman of Israel breathed his last. Lest the gratitude which so often follows the dead, though denied to the living, should pay him Divine honors, they buried him in darkness and silence; and no man knoweth of his sepulchre, unto this day.
16. NECESSITY OF LAW. — Richard Hooker. Born, 1553; died, 1600.
THE stateliness of houses, the goodliness of trees, when we behold them, delighteth the eye; but that foundation which beareth up the one, that root which ministereth unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the earth concealed; and if there be occasion at any time to search into it, such labor is then more necessary than pleasant, both to them which undertake it and for the lookers on. In like manner, the use and benefit of good laws, all that live under them may enjoy with delight and comfort, albeit the grounds and first original causes from whence they have sprung be unknown, as to the greatest part of men they are.
Since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of His law upon the world, Heaven and earth have hearkened unto His voice, and their labor hath been to do His will. He made a law for the rain; He gave His decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass His commandment. Now, if Nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether, though it were for a while, the observation of her own law; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that Heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of Heaven, which now, as a giant, doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were, through a languishing faintness, begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way; the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture; the winds breathe out their last gasp; the clouds yield no rain; the earth be defeated of Heavenly influence; the fruits of the earth pine away, as children at the withered breasts of their mother, no longer able to yield them relief, -what would become of man himself, whom these things do now all serve 2 See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world?
Of Law there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God; her voice the harmony of the world; all things in Heaven and earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power. Both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all, with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.
In this God's world, with its wild-whirling eddies and mad foamoceans, where men and Nations perish as if without law, and judgment for an unjust thing is sternly delayed, dost thou think that there is therefore no justice It is what the fool hath said in his heart. It is what the wise, in all times, were wise because they denied, and knew forever not to be. I tell thee again there is nothing else but justice. One strong thing I find here below: the just thing, the true thing. My friend, if thou hadst all the artillery of Woolwich trundling at thy back in support of an unjust thing, and infinite bonfires visibly waiting ahead of thee, to blaze centuries long for thy victory on behalf of it, I would advise thee to call halt, to fling down thy baton, and say, “In God's name, No!” Thy “success : ”— Poor devil, what will thy success amount to ? If the thing is unjust, thou hast not succeeded; no, not though bonfires blazed from North to South, and bells rang, and editors wrote leading-articles, and the just thing lay trampled out of sight, to all mortal eyes an abolished and annihilated thing. Success 2 — In few years thou wilt be dead and dark—all cold, eyeless, deaf; no blaze of bonfires, ding-dong of bells, or leading-articles, visible or audible to thee again at all forever. What kind of success is that ?
To-MoRRow, didst thou say?
But soft, my friend, – arrest the present moment;
Then stay the present instant, dear Horatio;
'Tis of more worth than Kingdoms' far more precious
WHEN public bodies are to be addressed on momentous occasions, when great interests are at stake and strong passions excited, nothing is valuable in speech, further than it is connected with high intellectual and moral endowments. Clearness, force and earnestness, are the qualities which produce conviction. True eloquence, indeed, does not consist in speech. It cannot be brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for it, but they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may be marshalled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire after it, — they cannot reach it. It comes, if it come at all, like the outbreaking of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of volcanic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force. The graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and studied contrivances of speech, shock and disgust men, when their own lives, and the fate of their wives, their children, and their country, hang on the decision of the hour. Then, words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and all elaborate oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked and subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then, patriotism is eloquent; then, self-devotion is eloquent. The clear conception, outrunning the deductions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward, to his object, — this, this is eloquence; or, rather, it is something greater and higher than all eloquence, — it is action, noble, sublime, godlike actions
—o20. SINCERITY THE SOUL OF ELOQUENCE. – Goethe. Born, 1749; died, 1832.
How shall we learn to sway the minds of men