Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE LIFE OP GOD IN THE SOUL OF MAN.
Creature all grandeur, son of truth and light,
Up from the dust; the last great day is bright-
Bright on the holy mountain, round the throne,
Bright where in borrowed light the far stars shone.
Look down! the depths are bright! and hear them cry,
“ Light! light!” Look up! 'tis rushing down from high!
Regions on regions—far away they shine:
'Tis light ineffable, 'tis light divine!
“ Immortal light, and life for evermore !"
Off through the depths is heard from shore to shore
Of rolling worlds-“Man, wake thee from the sod-
Wake thee from death-awake!-and live with God!

DANA.

IMMORTALITY. When I think of myself as existing through all future ages-as surviving this earth, and that sky-as exempted from every imperfection and error of my present being, -as clothed with an angel's glory-as comprehending with my intellect, and embracing in my affections, an extent of creation, compared with which the earth is a point;—when I think of myself—as looking on the outward universe, with an organ of vision that will reveal to me a beauty, and harmony, and order, not now imagined—and as having an access to the minds of the wise and good, which will make them in a sense my own ;-when I think of myself—as forming friendships with innumerable beings, of rich and various intellect, and of the noblest virtueas introduced to the society of heaven-as meeting there the great and excellent, of whom I have read in history—as joined with the “just made perfect,” in an ever-enlarging ministry of benevolence and especially, as having an immediate intercourse with God, such as the closest intimacies of earth dimly shadow forth;—when this thought of my future being, comes upon me, whilst I hope, I also fear, the blessedness seems too great; the consciousness of present weakness and unworthiness, is almost too strong for hope.

But when I look round on the creation, and see there the marks of an Omnipotent Goodness, to which nothing is impossible, and from which every thing may be hoped-when I see around me the proofs of an Infinite Father, who must desire the perpetual progress of his intellectual offspring—when I look, next, at the human mind, and see what powers a few years have unfolded, and discern in it the capacity of everlasting improvement;-and, especially, when I look at Jesus, the Saviour of Man, and the Conqueror of Death, who has gone before us to his father and our Father,-- I can and do admit the almost overpowering thought, of the everlasting life

svrowth-and felicity of the human soul.--Channing.

O listen man !
A voice within us speaks that startling word,
Man, thou shalt never die! Celestial voices
Hymn it unto our souls : according harps,-
By angel-fingers touched, when the mild stars
Of morning sang together-sound forth still
The song of our great immortality :
Thick clustering orbs, and this our fair domain,
The tall dark mountains, and the deep toned seas,
Join in the solemn universal song.
O, listen ye, our spirits ; drink it in
From all the air!"Tis in the gentle moonlight:
'Tis floating ʼmidst day's setting glories; Night,
Wrapped in her sable robe, with silent step
Comes to our bed and breathes it in our ears :
Night, and the dawn, bright day, and thoughtful eve,
All time, all bounds, the limitless expanse
As one vast mystic instrument, are touched
By an unseen living hand; and conscious chords
Quiver with joy in this great jubilee.
The dying hear it; and as sounds of earth
Grow dull and distant, wake their passing souls
To mingle in this heavenly harmony.

DANA.

THE NATIVITY.
How peaceful was the night
On which the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began.
The winds with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kissed,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who then had quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sat brooding on the charmed wave.
The stars, in deep amaze,
Stand forth in steadfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn’d them thence,
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until the Lord himself bespake, and bade them go.
Then such music sweet,
The shepherds' ears did greet,

As never was by mortal tinger shook ;
Divinely warbled voice
Answering the stringèd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air, such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes, still prolongs each heavenly close.

At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd;
The helmed Cherubim,
And swordèd Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With most melodious notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir.
Such music as 'tis said,
Before was never made,

But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,

And the well-balanced world on hinges hung;
And cast the dark foundations deep;
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channels keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once blest our human ears,

If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,

And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow,
And with your ninefold harmony,
Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.
Yea, truth and justice then
Will down return to men,

Orb’d in a rainbow, and, like glories wearing;
Mercy will sit between,
Thron'd in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.—MILTON.

THE ESSENCE AND PERPETUITY OF CHRISTIANITY.

The largest amount of historical belief can do no more than bring us in discipleship to the feet of Jesus, and awaken the feeling of the moral beauty, the inherent sublimity, and the natural

authority of Christianity.

The imperfect media through which the incidents of the Advent are transmitted to our knowledge, may render it difficult to obtain assurance as to many of its external facts; but they leave no doubt as to that grand central figure, in which all that is august and tender in the religion is collected and impersonated. To look upon that form, blending the majesty of the prophet with the sweetness of the child; to hear that voice of grace and truth, revealing the open secrets of the heart, and, with the ease of self-renunciation, giving precepts that have the depth of prayer; to watch the vicissitude of his mind, the flush of early hope, the shade of deepening grief, the light of constant trust; to follow him to the beach, the village home, the leper's haunt, the temple courts, the upper room, the moonlit mount, the cross, the skies; and to feel, as he speaks to the various lot and many-colored guilt of men, the penetration of his simplicity ;-if this be not enough to bring us to his feet, we are not his sheep, nor can we know his voice. Nothing surely can have authority with us, save that which touches the seat of all authority,—the conscience. Hence it should be our devout study to harmonize the teachings of Christ with the moral intuitions of the mind, to show how they raise us to a consciousness of duty and capacity unfelt before, to clear away the confused rivalry of other images, and make it apparent that in all human history, he stands at the unapproached summit, the mingling point of the ideal and the real. "We should learn to regard all minds as of one race, variously partakers of one inspiration, melting at their upper margin-beyond the centre of their will—into the all-comprehending Spirit, that holds them “ as the sea her waves.” And such are their affinities together, that the highest which we see carries us on to a higher, in whom we believe : and this is Christ, the image and representative of God. This appreciation of Jesus, resting upon intrinsic personal ascendency of soul, being once secured, the historical limitations of his life,-its human coloring with the sentiments of a nation and a time,-sie outside its religious office,-its relation to our faith and trust: they become simple matters of secular criticism, and the temporary form of the first Christianity is harmonized with its essential perpetuity.

Rey. J. MARTINEAU.

THANATOPSIS.
Yet not to thy eternal resting place
Shalt thou retire alone. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world-with kings,
The powerful of the earth-the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills,
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sea; the vales,
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods; rivers that move
In majesty; and the complaining brooks,
That make the meadow green; and, poured round all,
Old ocean's grey and melancholy waste;
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan,—that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent balls of death,
There go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but,-sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, -approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
Around him, and sies down to pleasant dreams.-BRYANT.

THE CONSTELLATION OF URSA MAJOR.

Ages have rolled their course, and time grown gray;
The earth has gathered to herself again,
And yet again, the myriads that were born
Of her uncounted, unremembered tribes.
The seas have changed their beds—the external hills
Have stooped with age—the solid continents
Have left their banks-and man's imperial works-
The toil, pride, strength of kingdoms, which had flung
Their haughty' honours in the face of heaven,
As if immortal-have been swept away,
Shattered and mouldering, buried and forgot.
But time has shed no dimness on thy front,
Nor touched the firmness of thy tread: youth, strength,
And beauty still are thine-as clear, as bright,
As when the Almighty Former sent thee forth,
Beautiful offspring of his wondrous skill,
To watch earth's northern beacon, and proclaim
The eternal chorus of immortal Love.

WARE.

The cloud-capp'd towers—the gorgeous palaces—
The solemn temples—the great globe itself-
Yea, all which it inherit shall dissolve,
And-like the baseless fabric of a vision
Leave not a wreck behind.

SHAKSPEARE.

What does not fade? The tower that long had stood
The crash of thunder, and the warring winds—
Worn by the slow but sure destroyer, Time-
Now hangs in doubtful ruins o’er its base.
Even pyramids and walls of Aint descend :
The granite hills and rock-bound coasts decay.
Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones ;.
And tottering empires fall by their own weight.-YOUNG.

PEACE IN GOD.
Life's mystery-deep, restless as the ocean-

Hath surged and wailed for ages to and fro;
Earth's generations watch its ceaseless motion,

As in and out its hollow moanings flow;
Shivering and yearning by that unknown sea,
Let my soul calm itself, O God, in Thee !
Life's sorrows, with inexorable power,

Sweep desolation o'er this mortal plain;
And human loves and hopes fly as the chaff

Borne by the whirlwind from the ripened grain ;
Ah, when before that blast my hopes all flee,
May my sad soul in prayer ascend to Thee.

« PreviousContinue »