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birds, impress such truths, such wondrous lessons of love and goodness upon the mind of the meditative beholder, that he cries in the words of Milton:
“ Great are thy works, Jehovah! Infinite
Thy power! What thought can measure thee, or tongue
Relate thee?" There is such an overwhelming flow of congenial thoughts crowding gloriously in his breast, that he is forced to acknowledge how wise in all his doings is He who reigns above. What endless amusement, then, is to be derived from a study of the sublime works of nature. All is fraught with a richness and beauty that cannot claim birth from this tertene spot, but boldly speak their heavenly origin : all that the eye can look upon, tells of more than earth ; man's works, wonderful though they be, fall into the back ground, as he himself confesses his own inferiority. The lovely and gaudy tulip enchants the eye of many, only on account of its showy colours : not so the reflective ;-he finds in it something higher-something more exalted to be studied. Whence derived it those finely drawn lines of beauty? why, the commingling colours so exquisitely blended ? could aught of man's doing bear a comparison with them? “No,” is the candid reply. If the delightful hues and formation of a flower draw forth from the bosom, warm ebullitions of love and praise, shall not man-wonder-working man himself-cause us to ask, why the peculiar and nice arrangement of our own bodies? what power and wisdom less than divine, could lay, in such exact proportion, the heaving muscles? what less than Almighty ability could arrange the veins, the lovely channels, through which, unrestrained, the purple liquid tide securely flows? I ask then, is it not astonishing that man, gifted with powers of reflection, should ever doubt the existence of a God.
I know a wood, darkly umbrageous with its nodding trees ; a mossy bank encircles it, at whose base a gently purling streamlet makes its merry noise. I have seen beneath the canopy of that forest's spreading foliage, a gipsy's encampment, with many smiling, chubby little children, sporting there most joyfully amongst the flowers blossoming around : some were turning wreaths and gay festoons of sunny buds, others were platting rushes,-one a swarthy boy, some six years old, was playing with a large and handsome dog that rolled about and frisked, then basked with all its eager fondness. This was a scene for painter to depict. Flowers till then were ne'er so bright to me, children ne'er seemed so happy, or nature so beautiful and rich. I remember, unobserved I left that silvan nook, and as I sauntered through the meads, I thought creation was indeed, “beauty entire,” harmony wondrous and sublime, increasing our means of augmenting happiness, and drawing the mind from earthly and sensual ideas.
Wherever the scrutinizing eye can gaze, the matchless beauties of nature are seen most conspicuously, and the admiration of them completely overwhelms us, every indignant feeling, every idea of self-importance is hushed ; and, amid the sublimities around us, we recognise God's hand and impress--we become filled with ecstatic joy and lively gratitude, and we cry aloud in thankfulness and praise
“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of good!
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
GEO. R. TWINN.
THE LATE-HOUR SYSTEM OF BUSINESS. In concluding our brief remarks on the system of late hours, we cannot but lay great stress on its hinderance to mental cultivation, because it is to this source that we must trace a vast number of its fearful evils. Even those young men who possess all the vigour of a welldisciplined mind, brought, moreover, to bear on a body in which, by the reigning influence of health, the physical appetites are not unduly clamorous, find it a hard matter to turn a deaf ear and a listless eye to the fascinating allurements by which they are surrounded. If the mind of an individual has been given up to ennobling studies, and his soul, wrapt in the contemplation of the sublimities of the universe, has been far removed from the dull realities of sublunary affairs, there is no doubt he could heedlessly experience the sensual cravings of a degenerated body, and triumph over the grossness of the material that would hinder his eager spirit from enjoying more intensely the “harmony of the spheres." For, by expanding influences as these, he is rendered senseless to the longings of his earthly existence ; his soul is occupied with brighter and nobler joys, he has thus gained a mastery over its fragile tenement, and governs it as seemeth him best. But, in the instance of those whose lot we deplore, they have not only on the one hand the subjugation of animal propensities reduced to a morbid and annatural condition by pernicious air and excessive fatigue, but, on the other, the possession of a power utterly inadequate for the control even of a healthy system. The bright fire of intelligence has departed, for its latent sparks have been pent up and neglected, and the spirit is a perfect blank so far as relates to those moral and intellectual qualities that are necessary to the government of “fleshly lusts that war against the soul." Having lost that elevation of mind necessary for the management of the body, they are driven by its exhaustion to stimulants which, while they entirely destroy the poor remaining stock of energy they possess, at the same time pollute the soul which is so speedily to appear in the solemn presence of its Judge.
We feel thankful, then, that there are few, very few, who are disposed to uphold by argument such a stupendous train of evils as those involved by this late-hour business. It has not been our lot to meet with any who have attempted to deny or dispute the affecting facts that have been advanced respecting it. A few trivial objections have been raised, which only serve to strengthen the position of its opponents. It has been asked, for instance, “Will not the liberty which our young men will gain by early closing be devoted to intemperance and profligacy ?” To say the least, they who would hold up the system on such an argument, are inflicting punishment for an offence which has not yet been perpetrated. Judging, perhaps, from their own predilections and propensities, they presume that young men will, as a matter of course, abuse the privileges they are in possession of, and thus render themselves still more miserable and wretched than if they were toiling in their masters' Warehouse. But they seem to reason as if the grand movement of early closing were a theory to be newly tried. They appear to forget that the vast body of merchants', bankers', and other description of clerks who leave business at an early hour in the evening, are proverbial for their morality and social virtues, the cause of which we must trace to the happiness and enjoyment they experience from the refining influence of the domestic hearth and the English home.
The evils of late hours then, acknowledged, and the objections to their curtailment answered, as men and Englishmen are we to permit them any longer to exist ? Shall we, who boast of the generosity of our character, and our well-known alacrity to succour the defenceless and the oppressed, see with tameness, myriads of a body constituting the hope and the strength of our country, wretched and diseased ; and shall we witness unmoved their early decay and dissolution ? Whence the origin and where the cause of this mighty evil? We are referred to the public, and particularly to the women of England. It is in their power, we are told at once, to put their veto upon it, and to liberate from the shackles of this worse than Egyptian bondage, thousands of that sex who are ever proud to be their protectors. We do not dispute the truth of this, but in our opinion it is not the honest and uncompromising principle upon which this abomination should be extirpated. It seems inconsistent with our notions of propriety that shops should be kept open, and every inducement given for the encouragement of evening shoppers, when at the same time individuals are entreated not to lend their countenance to the evening trade. An individual, for instance, enters an evening shop, and young men seem to be anxious to serve him ; they appear to be pleased to bear away his evening custom, and he cannot altogether reconcile this hearty reception with a desire that he should keep away. Besides which we question whether, so long as shops are kept open, persons can be entirely kept from making purchases ; and whether many will not, while an opportunity is afforded them, convince themselves that they are under the necessity of so doing.
Upon the employers themselves we charge this vast responsibility, and we here at once declare to them our solemn conviction that to their account will be laid all the tremendous consequences of this iniquitous system, extending, as they will, through future generations, and bearing, as they do, an unalterable relation to the scenes of eternity.
Believing that the evil of late trading is not justly chargeable on the public, but is really to be traced to a spirit of competition and avarice existing amongst master tradesmen, we dare not hesitate to avow our opinion. A-system which is sapping the health, destroying the mental powers, hurrying in the buoyancy of youth, fearful numbers to the grave, and which, as a moral consequence, is extending its pestiferous influence through all classes of society, is now in actual existence. So far, then, as we are concerned, we are bound to direct attention to the real objects of blame ; at least if we are desirous that a sense of their responsibility should be felt, without which no efforts will be put forth for the eradication of the evil; or if the seat of the virus is to be detected, the discovery of which is absolutely essential to the successful application of endeavour. And while we are quite ready to admit that, if abuses are not speedily rectified, the indignant voice of a sympathising public will compel without compromise the early closing of shops, yet we feel certain that their cry will not be raised by way of recompense for the injuries they themselves have inflicted, but because it is not to be endured that the noble youth of Britain should be borne down and destroyed as mere beasts of burthen, in order that the competitions of tradesmen may be encouraged, and their avarice pandered to. There are, doubtless, many employers who have convinced themselves that the
remedy is quite beyond their reach ; and however much they may feel disposed to lament the lamentable ruin entailed by late trading, yet that all the onus must be borne by that most convenient and irresponsible personality-society.
But such a method of escape cannot surely be allowed. Admitting that society does make a demand for late trading, are its unreasonable requisitions to be complied with ? Ought not the aim of every true patriot be to test the regulations of his country by the principles of eternal right and equity, rather than to fall in, like a mere senseless machine, with the ever fitful changes of a false expediency ? “The public,” say employers, “patronize an evening trade, and we are dependant for our wealth and station on the respect we pay to their wishes." And is it really so, that any man claiming a spark of humane feeling, can, for the purpose of adding to his worldly stock, sacrifice the health, peace, and life of his fellows? Oh! shall it indeed be affirmed that people, bearing the name of a divine benefactor of the human race, for paltry riches, suffer their young men to fall away and die, whilst testimony exists to the fact, that heathen legislators of old considered that their chief wealth consisted in securing the stability and virtue of their country by developing the powers of their youth in all that was manly, exalted, and happy? No! all true-hearted and benevolent tradesmen will, we are convinced, thus reason-If these evils do really and truly exist, our young men shall, without one moment's further delay, have their full liberty, and shall forthwith be dismissed at a reasonable hour.
And to such noble-minded men we would say, be assured you will not suffer from such a course. All credit, and we give it you to the fall, is your due in that you desire, although imagining it contrary to your pecuniary interests, to act so upright a part. But we are convinced you have mistaken the voice of the public—they are not auxious to uphold the evils of late trade—they will not destroy the hopes and prospects of young men—they, on the contrary, have been misled by your own conduct in continuing late hours, and their patronage of such late hours was really for your benefit. Their purchases have been the result of your open shops, rather than open shops and toiling assistants the consequence of their encouragement.
But there are many employers who, we have reason to believe, are still dogmatically charging society with all the guilt of the system we are denouncing. Proceeding on the assumption that they are compelled to gratify public taste, in which they not only falsely assume, first what is public taste, and secondly that they are obliged to pander to it; they, in an equally fallacious manner, conclude that, therefore, on the public must rest the guilt; and we are somewhat surprised to observe that such is the line of argument adopted by the Christian Witness. Why, even admitting the premises to be correct, the deduction does not by any means follow ; on such a principle, indeed, the cruel slave-driver might obtain peace of conscience, while lacerating the negro's back, or the guilt of an Ananias might have been justly placed to the founders of that community of property, in the absence of which he would not have lied.
The only alternative for those employers who still feel indisposed to bear the burden of the late-hour system, is to deny that the evils we have described are really its legitimate results. If they allow that such are the consequents of its practical working, it is at their peril they continue it, and however great the sacrifice they are called upon to make, may be, as honest and truthful men, they must-must give up the accursed thing. Such is the only mode in which true principle can be carried into effect. But, as we have endeavoured to show, we give it as our opinion that the execution of this principle will, so far from decreasing, really improve their temporal condition. Let not, however, mammon be the motive for their deeds ; but let the calm, clear, and delightful sense of a good conscience before God let this be the power that sways their every action.
CHAPTERS ON ANTIQUITIES.-No. I.
ON THE STUDY OF ANCIENT COINS. We have often, after viewing a cabinet of old coins and medals, been led to reflect on the reasons why so much pleasure is derived from looking over these remains of bygone days, and we think it chiefly arises from the delight we experience in seeing before us the features of some of the greatest men and warriors of their day—their image, as it were, brought into our very presence. Thus we seem almost to be conversing with an Augustus or an Antoninus, by viewing their medals struck during their lives ; hence also arises our love of portraits. The orations and laudatory tributes awarded to them for their valour are here recorded, and some of the public buildings erected during their reigns depicted ; the deities, real or imaginary, they worshipped are also represented these all, as it were, connect us with the period in which they lived and flourished, and bring both scene and actors again on the stage before us.
The study of antiquity has often been the subject of ridicule, though none requires greater learning or industry. The historic antiquary has the pleasure of benefiting society, and enlightening whole nations,—the medallic an innocent amusement. This amusement, considered merely as arising from antiquarian objects, has not been explained, though felt by most people, and the more by the more learned. It seems analogical with that which we derive from an extensive prospect, for as the mind delights to expand itself into distant places, so also distant times ;-we connect ourselves with these times, and feel (as it were) a double existence. The passions are singularly affected by minute circumstances, though mute to generalities, and the relics of antiquity impress us more than its general history.