Page images

The rolling seasons, day and night,
Sun, moon and stars, the earth and main,
Erewhile his portion, life and light,
To him exist in vain.

The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye
That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left in yonder silent sky

No vestige where they flew.
The annals of the human race,

Their ruins, since the world began,

Of him afford no other trace

Than this,

47. THE TRUE SOURCE OF REFORM. - Rev. E. H. Chapin.


THE great element of Reform is not born of human wisdom, it does not draw its life from human organizations. I find it only in CHRISTIANITY. Thy kingdom come!" There is a sublime and pregnant burden in this Prayer. It is the aspiration of every soul that goes forth in the spirit of Reform. For what is the significance of this Prayer? It is a petition that all holy influences would penetrate and subdue and dwell in the heart of man, until he shall think, and speak, and do good, from the very necessity of his being. So would the institutions of error and wrong crumble and pass away. die out from the earth; and the human soul living in the Divine Will, this earth would become like Heaven. for the Reformers to sneer at Christianity, it is foolishness for them to reject it. In it are enshrined our faith in human progress, our confidence in Reform. It is indissolubly connected with all that is hopeful, spiritual, capable, in man. That men have misunderstood it, and perverted it, is true. But it is also true that the noblest efforts for human melioration have come out of it, have been based upon it. Is it not so? Come, ye remembered ones, who sleep the sleep of the Just, who took your conduct from the line of Christian Philosophy,

So would sin harmony with It is too late

come from your tombs, and answer!

Come, Howard, from the gloom of the prison and the taint of the lazar-house, and show us what Philanthropy can do when imbued with the spirit of Jesus. Come, Eliot, from the thick forest where the red man listens to the Word of Life; come, Penn, from thy sweet counsel and weaponless victory, and show us what Christian Zeal and Christian Love can accomplish with the rudest barbarians or the fiercest hearts. Come, Raikes, from thy labors with the ignorant and the poor, and show us with what an eye this Faith regards the lowest and least of our race; and how diligently it labors, not for the body, not for the rank, but for the plastic soul that is to course the ages of immortality. And ye, who are a great number, ―ye nameless ones, - who have done good in your narrow spheres, content to forego renown on



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

earth, and seeking your Reward in the Record on High,— come and tell us how kindly a spirit, how lofty a purpose, or how strong a courage, the Religion ye professed can breathe into the poor, the humble, and the weak. Go forth, then, Spirit of Christianity, to thy great work of REFORM! The Past bears witness to thee in the blood of thy martyrs, and the ashes of thy saints and heroes; the Present is hopeful because of thee; the Future shall acknowledge thy omnipotence.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

48. THE BEACON LIGHT. — Miss Pardoe.

DARKNESS was deepening o'er the seas, and still the hulk drove on;
No sail to answer to the breeze, - her masts and cordage gone;
Gloomy and drear her course of fear, each looked but for a grave,-
When, full in sight, the beacon light came streaming o'er the wave.
Then wildly rose the gladdening shout of all that hardy crew;
Boldly they put the helm about, and through the surf they flew.
Storm was forgot, toil heeded not, and loud the cheer they gave,
As, full in sight, the beacon light came streaming o'er the wave.
And gayly of the tale they told, when they were safe on shore;
How hearts had sunk and hopes grown cold amid the billow's roar;
When not a star had shone from far, by its pale beam to save;
Then, full in sight, the beacon light came streaming o'er the wave.
Thus, in the night of nature's gloom, when sorrow bows the heart,
When cheering hopes no more illume, and prospects all depart, -
Then, from afar, shines Bethlehem's star, with cheering light to save,
And, full in sight, its beacon light comes streaming o'er the grave.

49. "CLEON AND I."-Charles Mackay.

in a cottage, I;

- not a penny, I;
Cleon, and not I.

CLEON hath a million acres, - ne'er a one have I;
Cleon dwelleth in a palace,
Cleon hath a dozen fortunes,
But the poorer of the twain is
Cleon, true, possesseth acres, but the landscape, I;
Half the charms to me it yieldeth money cannot buy;
Cleon harbors sloth and dulness, freshening vigor, I;
He in velvet, I in fustian, richer man am I.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Cleon is a slave to grandeur, - free as thought am I;
Cleon fees a score of doctors, need of none have I.
Wealth-surrounded, care-environed, Cleon fears to die;
Death may come, he 'll find me ready, — happier man am I.

[ocr errors]

Cleon sees no charms in Nature, in a daisy, I;
Cleon hears no anthems ringing in the sea and sky.
Nature sings to me forever, earnest listener I;
State for state, with all attendants, who would change? Not I

50. THE PROBLEM FOR THE UNITED STATES. - Rev. Henry A. Boardman.

THIS Union cannot expire as the snow melts from the rock, or a star disappears from the firmament. When it falls, the crash will be heard in all lands. Wherever the winds of Heaven go, that will go, bearing sorrow and dismay to millions of stricken hearts; for the subversion of this Government will render the cause of Constitutional Liberty hopeless throughout the world. What Nation can govern itself, if this Nation cannot? What encouragement will any People have to establish liberal institutions for themselves, if ours fail? Providence has laid upon us the responsibility and the honor of solving that problem in which all coming generations of men have a profound interest, whether the true ends of Government can be secured by a popular representative system. In the munificence of His goodness, He put us in possession of our heritage, by a series of interpositions scarcely tess signal than those which conducted the Hebrews to Canaan; and He has, up to this period, withheld from us no immunities or resources which might facilitate an auspicious result. Never before was a People so advantageously situated for working out this great problem in favor of human liberty; and it is important for us to understand that the world so regards it.

If, in the frenzy of our base sectional jealousies, we dig the grave of the Union, and thus decide this question in the negative, no tongue may attempt to depict the disappointment and despair which will go along with the announcement, as it spreads through distant lands. It will be America, after fifty years' experience, giving in her adhesion to the doctrine that man was not made for self-government. It will be Freedom herself proclaiming that Freedom is a chimera; Liberty ringing her own knell, all over the globe. And, when the citizens or subjects of the Governments which are to succeed this Union shall visit Europe, and see, in some land now struggling to cast off its fetters, the lacerated and lifeless form of Liberty laid prostrate under the iron heel of Despotism, let them remember that the blow which destroyed her was inflicted by their own country.

"So the struck Eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart.
Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel
He nursed the pinion which impelled the steel;
While the same plumage that had warmed his nest
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast."

[ocr errors]


Edward Everett.

WE are summoned to new energy and zeal by the high nature of the experiment we are appointed in Providence to make, and the grandeur of the theatre on which it is to be performed. At a moment of deep and general agitation in the Old World, it pleased Heaven to open this last refuge of humanity. The attempt has begun, and is

going on, far from foreign corruption, on the broadest scale, and under the most benignant prospects; and it certainly rests with us to selve the great problem in human society, to settle, and that forever, the momentous question, whether mankind can be trusted with a purely popular system of Government?

One might almost think, without extravagance, that the departed wise and good, of all places and times, are looking down from their happy seats to witness what shall now be done by us that they who lavished their treasures and their blood, of old, who spake and wrote, who labored, fought and perished, in the one great cause of Freedom and Truth, -are now hanging, from their orbs on high, over the last solemn experiment of humanity. As I have wandered over the spots once the scene of their labors, and mused among the prostrate columns of their senate-houses and forums, I have seemed almost to hear a voice from the tombs of departed ages, from the sepulchres of the Nations which died before the sight. They exhort us, they adjure us, to be faithful to our trust. They implore us, by the long trials of struggling humanity; by the blessed memory of the departed; by the dear faith which has been plighted by pure hands to the holy cause of truth and man; by the awful secrets of the prison-house, where the sons of freedom have been immured; by the noble heads which have been brought to the block; by the wrecks of time, by the eloquent ruins of Nations, they conjure us not to quench the light which is rising on the world. Greece cries to us by the convulsed lips of her poisoned, dying Demosthenes; and Rome pleads with us in the mute persuasion of her mangled Tully.



52. THE SHIP OF STATE. - Rev. Wm. P. Lunt.

BREAK up the Union of these States, because there are acknowledged evils in our system? Is it so easy a matter, then, to make everything in the actual world conform exactly to the ideal pattern we have conceived, in our minds, of absolute right? Suppose the fatal blow were struck, and the bonds which fasten together these States were severed, would the evils and mischiefs that would be experienced by those who are actually members of this vast Republican Community be all that would ensue? Certainly not. We are connected with the several Nations and Races of the world as no other People has ever been connected. We have opened our doors, and invited emigration to our soil from all lands. Our invitation has been accepted. Thousands have come at our bidding. Thousands more are on the way. Other thousands still are standing a-tiptoe on the shores of the Old World, eager to find a passage to the land where bread may be had for labor, and where man is treated as man. In our political family almost all Nations are represented. The several varieties of the race are here subjected to a social fusion, out of which Providence designs to form

a "new man."

We are in this way teaching the world a great lesson, — namely,

that men of different languages, habits, manners and creeds, can live together, and vote together, and, if not pray and worship together, yet in near vicinity, and do all in peace, and be, for certain purposes at least, one People. And is not this lesson of some value to the world, especially if we can teach it not by theory merely, but through a successful example? Has not this lesson, thus conveyed, some connection with the world's progress towards that far-off period to which the human mind looks for the fulfilment of its vision of a perfect social state? It may safely be asserted that this Union could not be dis solved without disarranging and convulsing every part of the globe. Not in the indulgence of a vain confidence did our fathers build the Ship of State, and launch it upon the waters. We will exclaim, in the noble words of one of our poets:*

"Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,-
"T is of the wave and not the rock;
"T is but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee,- are all with thee!"

53. ART.-Charles Sprague.

WHEN, from the sacred garden driven,
Man fled before his Maker's wrath,
An angel left her place in Heaven,

And crossed the wanderer's sunless path.
'T was Art! sweet Art! New radiance broke
Where her light foot flew o'er the ground;
And thus with seraph voice she spoke,

"The curse a blessing shall be found."

She led him through the trackless wild,

Where noontide sunbeam never blazed;
The thistle shrank, the harvest smiled,
And Nature gladdened as she gazed.

* H. W. Longfellow.

« PreviousContinue »