Abbildungen der Seite

with his eye the Boaring flight of the proud eagle of his native land, or gaze upon the untrammelled 'deer, as wild and free it bounded through the aisles of its native woods, without feeling his own heart leap in unison with the spirit that nerved its limbs!

My subject, rich with themes of beauty has already, I fear, carried me further than the patience of my readers will readily justify. I hasten to another branch of my subject.

Throughout all the works of the Creator, in each individual object in the Laboratory of nature, from the tiny mote which flutters away its little life in the sunbeam, up through all the grades of being animate and inanimate to the tremendous systems of worlds which roll above us, the enquirer is struck with awe in beholding the divine order, the magnificent evidence of Eternal wisdom, which breathes throughout the whole. Everything that exists in the material world, from the most infinitesimal atom, has a law to which it is obedient, which is essential to its existence, and which con. ducts it to the end for which it was created. There is a certain design contemplated in the existence of each individual part of creation, and so perfect is the adaptation of the object and the law of that object's existence to the end for which it is created, that nothing could be added by divine Omnipotence himself to render the end in view more certain. But as there is a design perceivable in the individual existence of each object, so also there must be found one great paramount design deducible from one great law which acts over the whole material world collectively, and to which the laws regulating the individual existences of all the various objects of which the physical universe is composed, are subservient. To express the thought in other words, the design in giving to one particle of matter a form of existence and a law different from another, must be found subservient to and terding to the production of the single, great and ultimate design and end of all contemplated by the Almighty on the morning of creation. God is essentially inlinite wisdom. He can consequently do noth-' ing without a design. As lle is omniscient, He will do nothing more or less than is sufficient for the production of that design, and as He is omnipotent, He can do nothing for that purpose without success. Failure with Him is impossible. There was then a desigo when He called into existence the material world around and above us. There was then one grand ultimatum contemplatod in the erection of the whole material frame including all its various grades and species of arimate and inanimate matter. That divine power was prompted by a design proportionate to the means employed when he spread abroad as it were with a wave of his hand, the vast and glittering vault, evoking from chaos by his simple fiat in all their sublime order and magnificence the sun, the moon, the stars, and our vast globe. What was this design? Can an object worthy the wcans employed be found in the material world? Search throughout the magnificent structure ; let your mind's eye sweep the whole range of material existence, and name the favoured object for the benefit of which this stupendous effort of omnipotence was displayed. You search in vain. I have said ihat God as omniscient does nothing more or less than is sufficient for the production of a design he contemplates. But the whole material frame, even the corporeal frame of man, was made and in existence, and yet there was something wanting to complete the whole, for the Creator added something more without which the whole universe he had called into existence, would have been incapable of producing the end he contemplated.

He breathed into man the spirit! In that spirit and its connection with the material organization of the human body is hidden the grand design to which all things else must be subservient. Why the creator bound down the powers of the mind to the narrow range it is allowed in human life, why he did not at once render man perfect, and give to the intelligence within him a full and unrestricted exercise of its faculties, or in other words, why he made the mind dependent upor matter for the development of its capabilities, are questions not to be answered by man. For who will attempt the wisdom of an infinite intelligence? Who can fathom the designs of an inscrutible Providence; who with finite capabilities can reach the views or grasp the wisdom of infinity! Let the questions remain unanswered! That man is a being intended by God to be pre-eminent among his works, that the whole material world is intended to subserve His design in the destiny of man, and that the human mind for this same purpose is, while in its corporeal imprisonment, dependent to a certain extent upon the physical world, can be deduced from reason, and are truths built upon facts evidenced in human life. They are, consequently, the legitimate objects of philosophical enquiry. But when we attempt to penetrate beyond, we are lost in a darkness relieved by no ray, and bewildered in the intricate mazes of endless doubt and confusion. Then, to borrow the language of Thompson,

Let no presuming impios railer tax
Creative wisdom, as if ought were form’d
In vain, or not for admirable ends :
Shall little haughty ignorance pronounce
His works unwise, of which the smallest part
Exceeds the narrow vision of her mind ?
As if npon a full proportioned dome
On swelling columns heaved, the pride of art,
A critic fly, whose feeble ray scarce spreads
An inch around, with blind presumption bold
Should dare to tax the structure of the whole!
And lives the man whose universal eve
Has swept the unbounded scheme of things
Marked their dependence so, and firm accord
As with unfaltering accent to conclude
That this availeth naught! Has any seen
The mighty chain of beings lessening down
From infinite perfection to the brink
of dreary nothing, desolate abyss !
From which astonished thought, recoiling turns ?

'Til then, let zealous praise ascend
And hymns of holy wonder to that power.
Whose wisdom shines as lovely on our minds

As on our eyes his servant sun !" I did not intend, nor indeed have I attempted to do more than to give a very faint glimpse of the magnificence of this subject. I am aware that the intimate relation which exists between mind and matter, while the former is imprisoned in the human body, bas induced many to contend that the annihilation of matter would produce an annihilation of mind. But, in concluding these remarks, I must once more enter my protest against a doctrine so revolting to the christian, so repugnant to human reason, so destructive of the dearest hopes of mankind, so utterly inconsistent with the revealed declarations of divine truth. The purest diamond is dimmed by the dross of earth. But its brilliant qualities are only obscur: ed, for when the clay in the midst of which it was embedded, has been rubbed away, it shines forth in dazzling splendor to glitter upon the anointed brow of royalty! Be assured, the mental diamond is only tarnished and obscured by the dull matter which surrounds it, and when death shall have plucked the rich jewel from the dross of humanity, it will shine forth in all its original and undimmed brightness, and too pure and brilliant for earthly use, it will be fit only to radiate forever in the blaze of heaven! That the mind will survive the destruction of its earthly tenement, and escape unscathed through the flames which will light the funeral pyre of the material world is, indeed, the fond assurance of God himself. Else why these continued aspirations ? Why this perpetual upward tendency of the soul? Why this restlessness of the human spirit? Why this endless grasping after something that we have not this constant wish to be something we are not? Why this "longing after immortality ?"

Yes! despite the doubts and misgivings of men whose vices would fain drive them to crush the truth; despite the lame logic of wilful theorists; despite the sneer of the infidel and the scoff of the selfstyled philosopher; the human mind, possessing God himself as an archetype is, indeed, as indestructible as truth, as undying as eternity. Yes, Mind of Man!

“The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter and the crush of worlds !"

Note. — The foregoing article was written several years ago, and orally delivered to the public in the form of a lecture before the St. Louis Lyceum. By request it has been re-delivered on two or three occasions, and the oftener it was heard the more highly it was esteemed.

Desiring to aid in the development of the mental resources of the West, Land in hand with its material resources, we requested the gifted author to furnish a copy of the discourse in the form of an essay. He has kindly complied with our request; and we trust the article may be read and re-read with profit and pleasure; that an earnest movement may be made in the investigation and establishment of the deep, the broad, the high, the everlasting principles of spirit-stirring, spirit-progressing, spirit-aspiring truth; that the golden clouded mysticisms of German Philosophy may descend in copious showers on the dry fields of American sense; and that the soul of man be cultivated with the finest taste and purest feeling, until everywhere around may be seen the beautiful and sublime examples, and abundant fruits of magnanimity.



A Publicist has departed this life. On the 22d of May, 1854, MR. A. B. CHAMBERS, the public spirited editor of the Missouri Republican, breathed “the last of earth.” His mind and heart were devoted to the prosperity of his city, his State and his country. With keen discernment he caught, and with masterly discipline he trained the spirit of the age; and although he moved prominently in the circle of party, politics, he labored to promote more the prosperity of measures than of men. The farmers, the mechanics, the manufacturers, the merchants, and the railroad companies of the West owe him a debt of gratitude that never can be paid. Let the rising generation cultivate his public spirit, and reap the reward of internal satisfaction, derived from doing good service for the country. As an epitome of his early life we quote the following sketch by his successor :

(From the Missouri Republican of May 25th, 1854.) MR. A. B. CHAMBERS.

The funeral of this gentleman took place yesterday, and his remains now repose in Bellefontaine Cemetery, in ground selected by himself, and in a burial place which he had written much to advance to its present state of beauty and of harmony with the purpose to which it is appropriated. It was a matter in which, indeed, he always exhibited a deep interest, and he never missed an opportunity of bringing Bellefontaine Cemetery into notice, and in this his exertions have been realized. And now that he is in the grave — that his friends have paid the last sad tribute to his memory that he is beyond the reach of calumny and of misrepresentation, and the whole city, with only here and there an exception, has testified to the reality of the loss which has been experienced in his death—it may not be inappropriate to say something of his personal history.

ADAM BLACK CHAMBERS was born in Mercer, Mercer courty, Pennsylvania, on the 9th January, 1808, and died on the 22d of May, 1854. It is not necessary to go back to his parentage, or his early education. He was, however, young when he first stepped upon the Western bank of the Mississippi, at St. Louis, without friends, without much money, without any of the advantages which belong to the present time; but he had energy and spirit and a determination to make his way in the world, and, like the best men in the land, he was successful. Mr. CHAMBERS arrived in St. Louis in 1829, then a very different place from what it is now, but he remained here only three or four weeks. He soon after located in Pike county, in this State, where he commenced the practice of the law-having studied for that profession in Mercer, and received a license. If not immediately successful, it was not long before he became so, and he was employed in all the leading cases of the circuits which he then attended. He was appointed Circuit Attorney of that District, and in that capacity performed his duties with great fidelity.

His time was not, however, wholly engrossed by the law, and he engaged in politics, so far as to be elected a Representative from the county of Pike, at several times, and he took a prominent part in all matters of interest before the Legislature. He was even then a laborious man, and few measures of importance were adopted which did not receive his attentive consideration. He was a member of the Legislature which passed the act incorporating the present Bank of Missouri ; devoted himself with great fidelity to the introduction of what he believed to be essential provisions for the protection of the stockholders as well as the State - but finally voted against it, when he supposed that it would fail, by the nature of its provisions, to accomplish this end. So, also, he par

« ZurückWeiter »