Page images
PDF
EPUB

willing to place yourself in his situation? Sudden

wealth, especially, when obtained by dishonest means, 30 rarely fails of bringing with it sudden ruin. Those who

acquire it, are of course beggared in their morals, and are ofien, very soon, beggared in property. Their riches are corrupted; and while they bring the curse of God

on their immediate possessors, they usually entail misery 35 and ruin upon their families.

If it be admitted then, that strict integrity is not ab ways the shortest way to success; is it not the surest, the happiest, and the best? A young man of thorough

integrity may, it is true, find it difficult, in the midst of 40 dishonest competitors and rivals, to start in his business

or profession; but how long, ere he will surmount every difficulty; draw around him patrons and friends, and rise in the confidence and support of all who know

him? 45 What, if in pursuing this course, you should not, at

the close of life, have so much money by a few hundred dollars? Will not a fair character, an approving conscience, and an approving God, be an abundant com

pensation for this little deficiency of pelf? 50 O there is an hour coming, when one whisper of an

approving mind, one smile of an approving God, will be accounted of more value than the wealth of a thousand worlds like this. In that hour, my young friends, no

thing will sustain you but the consciousness of having 55 been governed in life by worthy and good principles.

EXERCISE 64.

Watch.-J. Mason Good.
1 Life is a sea, -how fair its face,
How smooth its dimpling waters pace,

Its canopy how pure!
But rocks below, and tempests sleep,
Insidious, o'er the glassy deep,

Nor leave an hour secure.

2 Life is a wilderness, beset
With tangling thorns, and treach'rous net,

And prowl'd by beasts of prey

One path alone conducts aright,
One narrow path, with little light;

A thousand lead astray.
3 Life is a warfare,--and alike
Prepar'd to parley, or to strike,

The practis'd foe draws nigh. 0, hold no truce! less dangerous far To stand, and all his phalanx dare,

Than trust his specious lie.
4 Whate'er its form, whate'er its flow,
While life is lent to man below,

One duty stands confest,
To watch incessant, firm of mind,
And watch where'er the post assigned,

And leave to God the rest. 5 'Twas while they watch'd, the shepherd swains Heard angels strike to angel-strains

The song of heavenly love:
Blest harmony! that far excels
All music else on earth that dwells,

Or e'er was tun'd above.
6 'Twas while they watch'd, the sages traced
The star that every star effac’d

With new and nobler shine: They follow'd, and it led the way To where the infant Saviour lay,

And gave them light divine. 7 'Twas while they watch'd, with lamp in hand, And oil well stor’d, the virgin band

The bridal pomp descried;
They join'd it,--and the heavenly gate,
That op'd to them its glorious state,

Was clos'd on all beside.
8 Watch! watch and pray! in suffering hour
Thus He exclaim'd who felt its power,

And triumph'd in the strife. Victor of Death! thy voice I hear: Fain would I watch with hely fear, Would watch and pray through life's career,

And only cease with life.

EXERCISE 65.

New Social Order in America.—Douglas.

America is to modern Europe, what its western colonies were to Greece, the land of aspirations and dreams, the country of daring enterprise, and the asylum of mis

fortune, which receives alike the exile and the adventu5 rer, the discontented and the aspiring, and promises to all a freer life, and a fresher nature.

The European cmigrant might believe himself as one transported to a new world, governed by new laws, and

finds himself at once raised in the scale of being—the 10 pauper is maintained by his own labor, the hired la

borer works on his own account, and the tenant is changed into a proprietor, while the depressed vassal of the old continent becomes co-legislator, and co-ruler

in a government where all power is from the people, 15 and in the people, and for the people. The world has

not witnessed an emigration like that taking place to America; so extensive in its range, so immeasurable in its consequences, since the dispersion of mankind;

hordes of emigrants are continually swarming off, as 20 ceaseless in their passage, and crowded, and unreturn

ing, as the travellers to eternity. Even those who are forced to remain behind, feel a melancholy restlessness, like a bird whosc wing is crippled, at the season of mi

gration, and look forward to America, as to the land of 25 the departed, where every one has some near relative, or

dear friend gone before him. A voice like that heard before the final ruin of Jerusalem, seems to whisper to those who have ears to hear, “Let us depart hence.'

Every change in America has occasioned a corres30 pondent change in Europe; the discovery of it over

turned the systems of the ancients, and gave a new face to adventure and to knowledge; the opening of its mines produced a revolution in property; and the independ

ence of the United States overturned the monarchy of 35 France, and set fire to a train which has not yet fully

exploded. In every thing, its progress is interwoven with the fates of Europe. At every expansion of American influence, the older countries are destined to undergo new changes, and to receive a second character 40 from the colonies which they have planted, whose great

ness is on so much larger a scale than that of the parent countries, and which will exhibit those improvements which exist in miniature in Europe, unfettered by ancient prejudices, and dilated over another continent.

EXERCISE 66. Voluntary Association.—Douglas. A new influence is arising, which is sufficiently able to supply the deficiencies of Governments, in attaining ends which they cannot reach, and in affording aids

over which they have no control—the power of voluntary 5 association. There is no object to which this power

cannot adapt itself; no resources which it may not ultimately command; and a few individuals, if the public mind is gradually prepared to favour them, can lay the

foundations of undertakings which would have baffled 10 the might of those who reared the pyramids; and the

few who can divine the tendency of the age before it is obvious to others, and perceive in which direction the tide of public opinion is setting in, may avail themselves

of the current and concentrate every breath that is fa15 vourable to their course. The exertions of a scanty

number of individuals may swell into the resources of a large party, which, collecting at last all the national energies into its aid, and availing itself of the human sym

pathies that are in its favour, may make the field of its 20 labour and its triumph as wide as humanity itself. The

elements being favourably disposed, a speck of cloud collects vapours from the four winds which overshadow the heavens; and all the varying and conflicting events

of life, and the no less jarring and discordant passions 25 of the human breast, when once the channel is suffi

ciently deepened, will rush into one accelerating torrent, and be borne towards their destined end. The power of voluntary association, though scarcely tried as yet, is

of largest promise for the future; and when extended 30 upon a great scale, is the influence most removed from

the shock of accidents and the decay of earthly things, renewing its youth with renewed generations, and becoming immortal through the perpetuity of the kind.

The favourable result of all undertakings depends up35 on the previous state and preparation of the world, no

less than the vegetation of the seed does upon the soil into which it is cast; those who have proceeded farthest in their attempts, and gained the point at which they

aimed, had the stream in their favour, and were more 40 indebted to the strength of the current than to their own

individual efforts; their superiority to others consisted chiefly in their superior discernment; and they seemed to lead their contemporaries, merely because they them

selves were most led by the spirit of the age, and took a 45 favourable situation for being borne forward by the tide,

which they had the sagacity to see was upon the turn. The Greeks would have conquered the Persians without Alexander; the Romans would have been enslaved had

Cæsar never been born, and the Arabians would have 50 been deceived by other imposters had Mahomet never

professed himself a prophet.

EXERCISE 67.

Bible Societies. -DOUGLAS. Modern writers have discovered that words are more plentiful than thoughts; and that therefore the true economy of writing consists in being sparing of the latter, and

profuse of the former; the reports of different societies 5 carry this even too far, and one may read through a long

report, and reach the conclusion without meeting a single new fact, or new observation by the way. This ought to be amended, and a series of publications which would

extend the knowledge, and deepen the interest which 10 the subscribers take in the progress of religion, are

strongly required, before that interest can become more general and abiding. With several defects, the Bible Society continues the most perfect institution of its kind,

and the finest example of the power of voluntary associa15 tion. It has merited the obloquy of that corruption of

Christianity which styles itself catholic; and while it has done religion one service, by uniting all its friends in one great cause, it has done it a second service, by

uniting all its enemies, however hostile to each other 20 against it; thus ranging each side front to front, and

« PreviousContinue »