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"Ay, who indeed can say, boys?—who can tell
Of God, and men, and angels; the strong light,
The changeful All complete-from birth to doom.
That all unveil'd, that day, must certainly appear."
Thus, as was oft his wont, religious truth
No formal teacher stern. Nor only they,
To his wise talk-with earnest looks and grave
"Did you take notice, wife "—the husband said, Their busy, well-spent day thus finished— When all except themselves were gone to rest— "Did you take notice, when our stranger guest Spoke those few words to Helen, of his tone? It thrill'd my very heart through: so like one These nineteen years unheard."
"I scarce gave heed
Wild thoughts came crowding; quickly gone again,
That lost one, were he living now, would be
Than this time-stricken man, by many a year.
I've proved them vain, and felt all hope was o'er."
"Only for this world, husband mine!" she said, "They live in Heaven, whom here we count as dead, And there we all shall meet, when all is finished."
"God grant it!" fervently he said; " and so
'Twill glad my heart to hear that sound again."
The Supper-board was spread-the hearth piled highAll at the Farm look'd bright expectancy
Of him who ever seem'd too long away,
If absent from his dear ones but a day:
Old Mark, too, coming home! what joy to all!
Pure hearts of simplest elements can make
Ye, whose pall'd sense poor pleasure scarce can take
There was a sudden rush from the old hall,
Be sure her heart went forth those wheels to meet ;-
She hears distinct: as harmonist each tone
And there he comes, (sight gladdening every eye,)
Clean hearth, bright blaze, heap'd board, and smiling wife!"
Lightly he spake,—but with a loving look Went to her heart, who all its meaning took :
And briskly she bestirr'd herself about,
Set nearer still the goodman's ready chair:
Till God's good gifts the master's voice should bless.
Call'd out-" As God's in heaven, (His will be done,)
"Mark! Mark! what say'st, old man?" cried sharply out
There fixed, foot to foot, and breast to breast,
His right hand slowly, Walter softly said-
And that soft whisper'd word. Their meeting eyes,
All in a moment told-explain'd-confess'd-
ON THE ESSENES.
SOME months back, we published a little essay, that might easily be expanded into a very large volume; and ultimately into a perfectly new philosophy of Roman history, in proof that Rome was self-barbarized-barbarized ab intra, and not by foreign enemies. The evidences of this, (1.) in the death of her literature, and, 2.) in the instant oblivion which swallowed up all public transactions, are so obvious as to challenge notice from the most inattentive reader. For instance, as respects this latter tendency, what case can be more striking, than the fact that Trebellius Pollio, expressly dedicating himself to such researches, and having the state documents at his service, cannot trace, by so much as the merest outline, the biography of some great officers who had worn the purple as rebels, though actually personal friends of his own grandfather? So nearly connected as they were with his own age and his own family, yet had they utterly perished for want of literary memorials! A third indication of barbarism, in the growing brutality of the army and the Emperor, is of a nature to impress many readers even more powerfully, and especially by contrast with the spirit of Roman warfare in its republican period. Always it had been an insolent and haughty warfare; but, upon strong motives of policy, sparing in bloodshed. Whereas, latterly, the ideal of a Roman general was approaching continually nearer to the odious standard of a caboccer amongst the Ashantees. Listen to the father of his people (Gallienus) issuing his paternal commands for the massacre, in cold blood, of a whole district-not foreign but domestic-after the offence had become almost obsolete: "Non satis facies mihi, si tantum armatos occideris-quos et fors belli interimere potuisset. Perimendus est omnis sexus virilis:" and, lest even this sweeping warrant should seem liable to any merciful distinctions, he adds circumstantially-" Si et senes atque impuberes sine meâ reprehensione occidi possent. And thus the bloody mandate winds up: "Occidendus est quicunque malè voluit, occidendus est quiquncue malè dixit contra me; La
cera, occide, concide." Was ever such a rabid tiger found, except amongst the Hyder Alis or Nadir Shahs of half-civilized or decivilized tribes ? Yet another and a very favourite Emperor out-herods even this butcher, by boasting of the sabring which he had let loose amongst crowds of helpless
The fourth feature of the Roman barbarism upon which we insisted, viz. the growing passion for trivial anecdotage in slight of all nobler delineations, may be traced, in common with all the other features, to the decay of a public mind and a common connecting interest, amongst the different members of that vast imperial body. This was a necessity, arising out of the merely personal tenure by which the throne was held. Competition for dignities, ambition under any form, could not exist with safety under circumstances which immediately attracted a blighting jealousy from the highest quarter. Where hereditary succession was no fixed principle of state-no principle which all men were leagued to maintain-every man, in his own defiance, might be made an object of anxiety in proportion to his public merit. Not conspiring, he might still be placed at the head of a conspiracy. There was no oath of allegiance taken to the emperor's family, but only to the emperor personally. But if it was thus dangerous for a man to offer himself as a participator in state honours; on the other hand, it was impossible for a people to feel any living sympathy with a public grandeur in which they could not safely attempt to participate. Simply to be a member of this vast body was no distinction at all: honour could not attach to what was universal. One path only lay open to personal distinction ; and that, being haunted along its whole extent by increasing danger, naturally bred the murderous spirit of retaliation or pre-occupation. It is besides certain, that the very change wrought in the nature of warlike rewards and honours, contributed to cherish a spirit of atrocity amongst the officers. Triumphs had been granted of old for conquests; and these were generally obtained much more by intellectual qualities than by
any display of qualities merely or rudely martial. Triumphs were now a forbidden fruit to any officer less than Augustan. And this one change, had there been no other, sufficed to throw the efforts of military men into a direction more humble, more directly personal, and more brutal. It became dangerous to be too conspicuously victorious. There yet remains a letter, amongst the few surviving from that unlettered period, which whispers a thrilling caution to a great officer, not to be too meritorious: "dignus eras triumpho," says the letter, "si antiqua tempora extarent." But what of that? What signified merit that was to cost a man his head? And the letter goes on to add this gloomy warning" Memor cujusdam ominis, cautius velim vincas.' The warning was thrown away; the man (Regillianus) persisted in these imprudent victories: he was too meritorious; he grew dangerous; and he perished. Such examples forced upon the officers a less suspicious and a more brutal ambition: the laurels of a conqueror marked a man out for a possible competitor, no matter through whose ambition-his own in assuming the purple, or that of others in throwing it by force around him. The differences of guilt could not be allowed for where they made no difference in the result. But the laurels of a butcher created no jealousy, whilst they sufficed for establishing a camp reputation. And thus the danger of a higher ambition threw a weight of encouragement into the lower and more brutal.
So powerful, indeed, was this tendency so headlong this gravitation to the brutal that unless a new force, moving in an opposite direction, had begun to rise in the political heavens, the Roman empire would have become an organized engine of barbarismbarbarous and making barbarous. This fact gives one additional motive to the study of Christian antiquities, which on so many other motives interest and perplex our curiosity. About the time of Dioclesian, the weight of Christianity was making itself felt in high places. There is a memorable scene between that Emperor and a Pagan priest representing an oracle, (that is, speaking on behalf of the Pagan interests,) full forty years before the legal establishment of Christianity, which shows how insensibly the Christian faith had crept onwards
within the fifty or sixty years previous. Such hints, such "momenta," such stages in the subtle progress of Christianity, should be carefully noted, searched, probed, improved. And it is partly because too little anxiety of research has been applied in this direction, that every student of ecclesiasti.cal history mourns over the dire sterility of its primitive fields. For the first three or four centuries we know next to nothing of the course by which Christianity moved, and the events through which its agency was developed.
That it prospered, we know; but how it prospered, (meaning not through what transcendent cause, but by what circumstantial steps and gradations,) is painfully mysterious. And for much of this darkness, we must confess that it is now past all human power of illumination. Nay, perhaps it belongs to the very sanctity of a struggle, in which powers more than human were working concurrently with man, that it should be lost (like much of our earliest antediluvian history) in a mysterious gloom; and for the same reason-viz., that when man stands too near to the super-sensual world, and is too palpably co-agent with schemes of Providence, there would arise, upon the total review of the whole plan and execution, were it all circumstantially laid below our eyes, too compulsory an evidence of a supernatural agency. It is not meant that men should be forced into believing: free agencies must be left to the human belief, both in adopting and rejecting, else it would cease to be a moral thing, or to possess a moral value. Those who were contemporary to these great agencies, saw only in part; the fractionary mode of their perceptions intercepted this compulsion from them. But as to us, who look back upon the whole, it would perhaps have been impossible to secure the same immunity from compulsion, the same integrity of the free, unbiased choice, unless by darkening the miraculous agencies, obliterating many facts, and disturbing their relations. In such a way the equality is maintained between generation and generation; no age is unduly favoured, none penuriously depressed. Each has its separate advantages, each its peculiar difficulties. The worst has not so little light as to have a plea for infidelity. The best has not so much as to overpower the freedom of