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eion whatever, there poured forth on the instant such a stream of precious substance intellectually related to it. By his powers of expression, in fact, Shakspeare has beggared all his posterity, and left mere practitioners of expression nothing possible to do.
5. There is, perhaps, not a thought, or feeling, or situation, really common and gener'ic to human life, on which he has not exercised his prerogative; and wherever he has once been, woe to the man that comes after him! He has overgrown the whole *system and face of things, like a universal ivy, which has left no wall uncovered, no pinnacle unclimbed, no chink unpenetrated. Since he lived, the concrete" world has worn a richer surface. He found it great and beautiful, with stripes here and there of the rough old coat seen through the leafy labors of his predecessors; he left it clothed throughout with the wealth and autumnal luxuriance of his own unparalleled language.
CXLVIII.— MORAL AND RELIGIOUS ELOQUENCE.
1. Religion Essential To Morality. — Of all the disposi tions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect thatnational morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles. — Geo. Washington.
2. Unappreciated Obligations. — We live in the midst of blessings till we are utterly insensible of their greatness, and of the source from whence they flow. We speak of our civilization, our arts, our freedom, our laws, and forget entirely how large a share is due to Christianity. Biot Christianity out of man's history, and what would his laws have been, what his civilization? Christianity is mixed up with our very being and our very li&
there is not a familiar object around us which 3oes not wear a different aspect because the light of Christian love is upon if, not a law which does not owe its truth and gentleness to Christianity, not a custom which cannot be traced, in all its holy, beautiful parts, to the Gospel. — Sir A. Park.
3. Tins Life's Experiences Point To Another. — O, my friends, if this winged and swift life be all our life, what a mournful taste have we had of a possible happiness! We have, as it were, from some cold and dark edge of a bright world, just looked in and been plucked away again! Have we come to experience pleasure by fits and glimpses, but intertwined with pain burdensome labor, weariness, and indifference? Have we come to try the solace and joy of a warm, fearless, and confiding affection, to bo then chilled or blighted by bitterness, by separation, by change of heart, or by the dread sunderer of loves — Death? Have we found the gladness and the strength of knowledge, when some rays of truth flashed in upon our souls, in the midst of error and uncertainty, or amidst continuous, necessitated, uninBtructive avocations of the understanding; and is that all? Have we felt in fortunate hour the charm of the beautiful, that invests as with a mantle the visible creation, or have we found ourselves lifted above the earth by sudden apprehensions of sublimity, — have we had the consciousness of such feelings, which seemed to us as if they might themselves make up a life, — almost an angel's life, — and were they " instant come and instant gone "? Have we known the consolation of doing right, in the midst of much that we have done wrong, and was that also a coruscation of a transient sunshine? Have we lifted up our thoughts to see Him who is Love. Light, and Truth, and Biiss, to be in the next instant plunged into the darkness of annihilation? Have all these things been but flowers that we have pulled by the side of a hard and tedious way, and jiat, after gladdening us for a brief season with hue and color ,vither in our hands, and are like ourselves — nothing ? — Professor Wilson.
4. Joys Of A Good Conscience. — The testimony of a good conscience will make the comforts of heaven descend upon man's weary head, like a refreshing dew or shower upon a parched land. It will give him lively earnests and secret anticipations of approaching joy; it will bid his soul go out of the body undauntedly, and lift up his head with confidence before saints and angels. The comfort which it conveys is greater than the capacities of mortality can appreciate, mighty and unspeakable, and not to be understood till it is felt. — South.
5. Outward And Inward Riches. — In the presence of the great thought of immortality, how vain appears all undue restJessness for a little or a great change in our outward earthly con« dition! How worse than idle all assumptions of the superior dignity of one mode of honorable toil to another! how worthless all differences of station, except so far as station may enable men to vindicate some everlasting principle, to exemplify some arduous duty, to grapple with some giant oppression, or to achieve the blessings of those who are ready to perish! How trivial, even as the pebbles and shells upon "this bank and shoal of time," seem all those immunities which can only be spared by fortune to be swept away by death, compared with those images and thoughts which, being reflected from the eternal, not only through the clear medium of Holy Writ, but, though more dimly, through all that is affecting in history, exquisite in art, suggestive in eloquence, profound in science, and divine in poetry, shall not only outlast all the chances and changes of this mortal life, but shall defy the dullness of the grave! Believe me, there is no path more open to the influences of heaven than the common path of daily duty. — Talfourd.
6. Debasing Effects Of Infidelity. — It requires but little reflection to perceive, that whatever veils a future world, ^nd contracts the limits of existence within the present life, must tend in a proportionable degree to diminish the grandeur and narrow the sphere00 of human agency. As well might you expect exalted sentiments of justice from a professed gamester, as look for noble principles in the man whose hopes and fears are all suspended on the present moment, and who stakes the whole happiness of his being on the events of this vain and fleeting life. If he be ever impelled to the performance of great achievements in a good cause, it must be solely by the hope of fame, a motive which, besides that it makes virtue the servant of opinion, usually grows weaker at the approach of death, and which, however it may surmount the love of existence in the field of battle, or in the moment of public observation, can seldom be expected to operate with much force on the retired duties of a private station. Combine the frequent and familiar perpetration of atrocious deeds with the dearth of great and generous actions, and you have the exact picture of that condition of society which completes the degradation of the species, — the frightful contrast of dwarfish virtues and gigantic vices, where everything good is mean and little, and everything evil is rank and luxuriant: a dead and sickening uniformity prevails, broken only at intervals by volcanic irruptions of anarchy and crime. — Robt. Hall.
7. Knowledge An Assurance Of Immortality. — Were the Eternal Being to slacken the course of a planet, or increase even tbx distance of the fixed stars, the decree wou'd be soon known on earth- Our ignorance is great, because so is our knowledge ; for it is from the mightiness and vastness of what we do know that we imagine the illimitable unknown creation. And to whom has God made these revelations? To a worm, that the next moment is to be in darkness? To a piece of earth, momentarily raised into breathing? To a soul perishable as the telescope through which it looks into the gates of Heaven?
"0, etar-eyed Science! hast thou wandered there
No; there is no despair in the gracious light of heaven. As we
8. Demoralization Consequent On Iureligion. — Once let men thoroughly believe that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is everything to us, and that death is total, everlasting extinction; once let men thrroughly abandon religion, and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow! We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe that, were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize, the creation! What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man be the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true? Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and poverty and suffering, having no solace of hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be — a companion for brutes.— Channing.
9. On The Study or God's Works. — The just relations of all created things to one another prove them to be the work of one Almighty Designer. The great globe may be considered as a muse um, furnished forth with the works of the Supreme Being; man being placed in the midst of it, as alone capable of comprehending and valuing it. And, if this be true, as aestainly It is, what then becomes man's duty? Moralists and divines, with nature herself, testify that the purpose of so much beauty and perfection being made manifest to man is that ho may study and celebrate the works of God. If wo have no faith in the things which are seen, how should we believe those which are not seen? The man who takes no interest in the contemplation of the marvels of God's external universe resembles thos« animals which, wandering in the woods, are fattened with acorns; but never look upwards to the tree which affords them food, much less have they an idea of the beneficent Author of the tree and its fruit. Whoever shall regard with contempt the economy of the Creator here, is as truly impious as the man who takes no thought of the future. — Linrumts.
10. The Ministry Op The Beautiful. — It is truly a most Christian exercise to extract a sentiment of piety from the works and the appearances of nature. It has the authority of the sacred writers upon its side, and even our Saviour himself gives it the weight and the solemnity of his example. "Behold the lilies of the field: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet your heavenly Father careth for them." He expatiates on the beauty of a single flower, and draws from it the delightful argument of confidence in God. He gives us to see that taste may be combined with piety, and that the same heart may be occupied with all that is serious in the contemplation of religion, and be at the same time alive to the charms and the loveliness of nature. — Chalmers.
11. The Most Precious Possession.—I envy no quality of mind or intellect in others, be it genius, power, wit, or fancy; but if I could choose what would be most delightful, and I believe most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing; for it makes life a discipline of goodness; creates new hopes when all earthly hopes vanish; and throws over the decay, the destruction of existence, the most gorgeous of all lights; awakens life even in death, and from corruption ant' decay calls up beauty and divinity; makes an instrument of fortune, and shame the ladder of ascent to Paradise ; and, far above all combinations of earthly hopes, calls up the most delightful visions of palms and amaranths," the gardens of the blest, the security of everlasting joys, where the sensualist and the sceptic4* view only gloom, decay, annihilation, and despair. — Sir Humphrey Davy.
12. Reflections In Westminster Absey. — When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desira goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb»