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activity and prolonged bodily exertion destroy the healthful growth both of body and mind. We live fast indeed, but we do not live well. Nature is at strife with us, for we trample on her laws ; God is at strife with us, for we too often forget His; and so we hurry on, madly, blindly, wilfully, too busy ever to be calm, too eager and restless to be happy. Is not this picture a true one ? or, rather, is it not the slightest possible sketch, which every additional touch would render more faithful, and which, if it were filled up with pre-Raphælite minuteness, would stand true of the larger portion of our City populations? If this be so,—and 0, how many gloomy features might be added to the picture !-we had better be altogether silent about our progress and civilization. But though silent, not supine : there is work for each of us to do. Let us do it with strong hearts, in the belief —
“ That it becomes no man to nurse despair,
But in the teeth of clench'd antagonisms
To follow up the worthiest till he die.” Many of the evils which now harass us, have in a measure sprung from inattention and thoughtlessness. They must be overcome by attention and thought. Let no man say,—“ These evils are too vast for me; the great employers must arrange the social system, which has been spreading through their sanction. On them let the onus lie; the responsibility is theirs.” The responsibility is theirs, but it is yours also, my
brother. How dare you, how dare any man, witness a social wrong, acknowledge that wrong, and yet do nothing towards rooting it out ? “ One touch of nature makes the whole world kin:” acknowledge thy kinship, and perform the duties of a kinsman. Work for thy fellow-men, however humbly ; work for thy God, however feebly; and the work of thy hand shall be accepted.
-- "Be sure, no earnest work
*“ Aurora Leigh,” p. 349.
“ Breathes there the man with soul so dead
“Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
THERE is a period in the history of a state, when the bodily strength of its members becomes a matter of highest moment, when not only dauntless courage but muscular force may any day be called into requisition, when its political status must be upheld by downright strength of arm, and when physical degeneracy is the invariable forerunner of national decline.
Some of us are apt now-a-days to sneer at what we somewhat contemptuously term “brute force." The coarse valour of Homer's heroes seems to us rather despicable ; even Walter Scott's creations have almost too much flesh and blood in them to chime in with our fancy. Doubtless, the thirst for blood, the love of revenge, the spirit that would resent an
THINGS ARE DOUBLE ONE AGAINST ANOTHER. 57
insult by wreaking its vengeance on the insulter, take us into a very different sphere from that in which He moved who came on earth to bless it, who came down to men, not to subdue them by force, but to conquer them by love. But then it must not be forgotten that, in our imperfect state, every truth has two sides, and that if either is hidden, the truth becomes perverted.
Quite certain it is, that the stern joy of the warrior is not the joy which thrilled St. Paul when he exclaimed, “I have fought a good fight;" certain it is, too, that peace has far nobler victories than any of which war can boast. War is in itself an evil so awful, that no language can adequately represent its horrors ; but war, unhappily, must be accepted as a necessity, and the civilized Emperor or King enters upon it with all the ardour of the savage barbarian. When an evil is in existence, it may be well to declaim against it, but we must also be prepared for it. It is possible, to say the least, that we may one day be called on to defend hearth and home, and all that makes home dear; possible that on the shores of this “ dear England,”
“This precious gem set in the silver sea,”
we may have to unite in patriotic brotherhood, in defence of all that makes life precious, or even endurable. It might fairly be asked, whether, through the long years of peace and tranquillity with which this country has been favoured, England has proved
THE MEANS OF DEFENCE.
true to the wonderful position in which God has placed her. But this is a large question, and would carry us widely from our subject. There is, however, another question, much narrower in its range, which falls legitimately within our survey. We said that there is a period in a nation's career in which physical strength becomes the grand desideratum. Every man must fight to live, and buckle on his own armour at the approach of the enemy. This primitive condition is succeeded in civilized nations by another, in which the citizens are required, at certain intervals only, to leave their peaceful vocations and to learn, or exercise the tactics of the soldier. This is followed, we should rather say, has been followed in our own country, by an almost total reliance on the strength of a standing force, both naval and military. The possibility of actual warfare on our own beloved soil has appeared too remote a contingency to call for any preparation beyond that which we can provide by our taxes. “I pay money for my defence,” exclaims the peaceful shopkeeper : “why then should I learn the soldier's trade as well as my own ?” A word in your ear, good master. “Your reason is not illogical. It evidently satisfies your mind. It is hard, you think, to pay taxes if you do not get your money's worth out of them. And so far you are quite correct. But then life is not mere buying and selling, paying and receiving in exchange. Life is made up of struggles and difficulties, of risks and