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proceed to excess, is rescued simply by possessing certain physical qualities which his poor unfortunate friend had not. You say you are not so foolish as to become a drunkard. So he thought once. You say, “I can leave it off when I like,” as if he at first had not the power to leave it off when he liked. You say, “I have too sound an intellect to become a drunkard,” as if he was born without an intellect. You say, “I have too much pride in myself, too much self-respect," as if he were not once as proud as you. The way men acquire this habit, is by looking on those who proceed to excess as naturally inferior to themselves. The difference between you and a drunkard is just this, that you could leave off the habit, but won't ; he would with all his heart and soul, but cannot. I tell you, young men, that while the power of a bad habit is stripping you of nerve, and energy, and freshness of feeling, it does not destroy your responsibility. You are accountable to God for every power, and talent, and influence, with which you have been endowed. If you say, “Should I find the practice by experience to be injurious, I will give it up," surely that is not common sense. You might as well say, “I will put my hand into the nest of the rattlesnake, and when I find out that he has stuck his fangs into me, I will draw it out and get it cured."
I remember riding from Buffalo to the Niagara Falls, and I said to a gentleman, “What river is that, sir ?” “That,” he said, “is Niagara river.” “Well, it is a beautiful stream," said I, “ bright, and fair and glassy ; how far off are the rapids ?” “Only a mile or two," was the reply. “Is it possible that only a mile or two from us we shall find the water in the turbulence which it must show when near the falls ?” “You will find it is so, sir." And so I did find it; and that first sight of the Niagara I shall never forget. Now, launch your bark on that Niagara river, it is bright, smooth, beautiful, and glassy. There is a ripple at the bow; the silvery wake you leave behind adds to your enjoyment. Down the stream you glide, oars, sails, and helm in proper trim, and you set out on your pleasure excursion. Suddenly some one cries out from the bank, “Young men, ahoy !"_“What is it?” _“The rapids are below you.”—“Ha, ha ! we have heard of the rapids, but we are not so foolish as to get there. If we go too fast, then we shall up with the helm and steer to the shore; we will set the mast in the socket, hoist the sail, and speed to land. Then on, boys ; don't be alarmed—there's no danger.”—“ Young men, ahoy there !"_“What is it ?”—“The rapids are below you."
—“Ha, ha, we will laugh and quaff; all things delight us. What care we for the future ? No man ever saw it. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. We will enjoy life while we may ; we will catch pleasure as it flies. This is enjoyment: time enough to steer out of danger when we are sailing swiftly with the current.”—“Young men, ahoy !”—“What is it?"-" Beware ! beware! The rapids are below you.” Now you see the water foaming all around. See how fast you pass that point! Up with the helm ! Now turn! Pull hard-quick! quick !-pull for your lives pull till the blood starts from the nostrils, and the veins stand like whipcord upon the brow! Set the mast in the socket! hoist the sail! Ah, ah !-it is too late. Shrieking, cursing, howling, blaspheming, over they go.
Thousands go over the rapids of intemperance every year, through the power of evil habit, crying all the while, “When I find out that it is injuring me, I will give it up.” The power of evil habit, I repeat, is fascinating, is deceptive; and man may go on arguing and coming to conclusions while on the way down to destruction.
A HERD OF ELEPHANTS.
SIR JAMES E. TENNENT. THOSE who have lived much in the jungle in Ceylon, and who have had constant opportunities of watching the habits of wild elephants, have witnessed instances of the submission of herds to their leaders, that suggest an inquiry of singular interest as to the means adopted by the latter, to communicate with distinctness, orders which are observed with the most implicit obedience by their followers. The narrative of an adventure in the great central forest, toward the north of the island, which has been communicated to me by Major Skinner, who was engaged for some time in surveying and opening roads through the thicklywooded districts there, will serve better than any abstract description to convey an idea of the conduct of a herd on such occasions.
“The case you refer to struck me as exhibiting something more than ordinary brute instinct, and approached nearer to reasoning powers than any other instance I can now remember. I cannot do justice to the scene, although it appeared to me at the time to be so remarkable that it left a deep impression on my mind.
“In the height of the dry season you know the streams are all dried up, and the tanks nearly so. All animals are then sorely pressed for water, and they congregate in the vicinity of those tanks in which there may remain ever so little of the precious element.
“During one of those seasons, I was encamped on the bund, or embankment, of a very small tank, the water in which was so dried up, that its surface could not have exceeded an area of 500 square yards. It was the only pond within many miles; and I knew that of necessity a very large herd of elephants, which had been in the neighbourhood all day, must resort to it at night.
“On the lower side of the tank, and in a line with the embankment, wås a thick forest, in which the elephants sheltered themselves during the day. On the upper side, and all around the tank, there was a considerable margin of open ground. It was one of those beautiful, bright, clear moonlight nights, when objects could be seen almost as distinctly as by day; and I determined to avail myself of the opportunity to observe the movements of the herd, which had already manifested some uneasiness at our presence. The locality was very favourable for my purpose, and an enormous tree projecting over the tank afforded me a secure lodgment in its branches. Having ordered the fires of my camp to be extinguished at an early hour, and all my followers to retire to rest, I took up my post of observation on the overhanging bough; but I had to remain for upwards of two hours before anything was to be seen or heard of the elephants, although I knew they were within 500 yards of me. At length, about the distance of 300 yards from the water, an unusually large elephant issued from the dense cover, and advanced cautiously across the open ground to within 100 yards of the tank, where he stood perfectly motionless. So quiet had the elephants become (although they had been roaring and breaking the jungle throughout the day and evening), that not a movement was now to be heard. The huge vidette remained in his position, still as a rock, for a few minutes, and then made three successive stealthy advances of several yards (halting for some minutes between each, with ears bent forward to catch the slightest sound), and in this way he moved slowly up to the water's edge. Still he did not venture to quench his thirst ; for though his fore-feet were partially in the tank, and his vast body was reflected clear in the water, he remained for some minutes listening in perfect stillness. Not a motion could be perceived in himself or his shadow. He returned cautiously and slowly to the position he had at first taken up on emerging from the forest. Here in a little while he was joined by five others, with which he again proceeded as cautiously, but less slowly than before, to within a few yards of the tank, and then posted his patrols. He then re-entered the forest, and collected around him the whole herd, which must have amounted to between 80 and 100 individuals,– led them across the open ground with the most extraordinary composure and quietness, till he joined the advanced guard, when he left them for a moment, and repeated his former reconnoissance at the edge of the tank; after which, having apparently satisfied himself that all was safe, he returned, and obviously gave the order to advance ; for in a moment the whole herd rushed into the water with a degree of unreserved confidence, so opposite to the caution and timidity which had marked their previous movements, that nothing will ever persuade me that there was not rational and preconcerted co-operation throughout the whole party, and a degree of responsible authority exercised by the patriarch leader.
“When the poor animals had gained possession of the tank (the leader being the last to enter), they seemed to abandon themselves to enjoyment without restraint or apprehension of danger. Such a mass of animal life I had never before seen huddled together in so narrow a space. It seemed to me as though they would have nearly drunk the tank dry. I watched them with great interest until they had satisfied themselves as well in bathing as in drinking, when I tried how small a noise would apprise them of the proximity of unwelcome neighbours. I had but to break a little twig, and the solid mass instantly took to flight, like a herd of frightened deer, each of the smaller calves being apparently shouldered and carried along between two of the older ones.”
Sir J. E. Tennent's "Ceylon.”
FREDERIC MYERS, M.A. I am going to speak to you this evening of one of the greatest of our countrymen-a man in many ways most interesting and deserving of our earnest study, John Wycliffe ; but before doing so, I would just recall your attention to the characteristics of great men in general, by making a few unconnected remarks. The men I am going to speak to you of, are men of action, rather than of thought: men who have done and suffered more than their brethren, for their brethren's sake. Bear in mind, then, these two things : that in my opinion, in order to be a great man, a man must be the minister of a great cause ; and then, that the characteristic of a great man is emphatically self-sacrifice. I would now add, to be such an one as I would uphold to you as the greatest, a man must have a deep feeling of the Infinite in his own soul ; he must recognise a mystery and a divinity and an every way unfathomable grandeur in man’s life and destiny ; he must be full of the faith that in the seeming littleness of the present, there are latent the germs of an immeasurable future. He must be a man to whom the inspiration of the Almighty has given an understanding above other men ; a view into the essence of things visible, and into the existence of things invisible; a wisdom not merely of the intellect, but of the heart ; not only a keener perception of the true and the right, but an intenser love of them. Insight, foresight, these are the great man's ; but so also are sincerity, sympathy ; a love of the real, a hatred of the false ; a fear of nothing but of being wrong, a coveting of nothing so much as of doing well. To see the right when others cannot, and to choose it when others will not; to resist temptations which others yield to, and to bear burdens cheerfully which others shrink from bearing at all ; to have such confidence in God and in his cause as may enable him to live on the approbation of his own conscience, and to be careless of the mere praise of others; yea, to cherish and to accomplish a purpose of blessing for his brethren, amid their persecution and their scorn-these are the characteristics of a great man. And he who shall prophesy to men of the Divine for a lifetime in sackcloth ; he who shall plead before them for humanity and the rights of conscience, ready at any moment to