Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

dinary, that the inspector called on Barnet's late fellow traveller to see if his account of the journey corresponded with that of the prisoner. It did correspond in every particular, except, as we have said, not a suspicion had ever disturbed his mind of Barnet's baseness of purpose. An interview between the quondam travellers was brought about. The apparently deep penitence of Barnet was met by the hearty forgiveness and unaffected kindness of the merchant, and as he trusts also by the grace of the Redeemer. The few individuals to whom the case was made known, with an enlightened philanthropy which is but too rare in an age that boasts its liberality, generously encouraged his repentings and better purposes, and paved the way for his return to a life of virtue and honest industry, and the confidence and kindness accorded him were not thrown away. He is a redeemed man, a valuable member of society, exemplarily honoring the relations of husband, father, neighbor and friend, all of which he fills; and the mother who in the days of his guilty folly hung her head when her first-born was named, and carried a wound in her bosom no medicine could heal, now gazes in his face again and traces there the radiant lineaments of an honest man and a loving son.

We see in this little narrative, that bad as this man was at one period of his life, there nevertheless was a key to his heart; in other words, that he had not sinned away all his sensibilities. Conscience, though slumbering, was not dead. The breathing of the forest breeze awoke it, startled it with the potency of a dying man's moan, from its long dream of guilt! filled his soul with the horrors of remorse, and compelled him to seek shelter from himself and the world in the solitude of a prison. There, in the midst of his unsanctified gloom, a pitying heart found him, and with a wise sympathy sought his recovery to virtue and happiness, taught him the way and encouraged him to attempt it. This saved him, so far as means could avail, and the result is such as to encourage the belief that in all like cases like efforts will be successful. Man is fearfully and wonderfully made, not only in his physical but in his mental and moral constitution. Slight influences disturb the balance. There are moods of the mind in which a word or a look will agitate its profoundest depths, and sway it to and fro like the rocking waves of the troubled ocean. Perhaps in the experience of every transgressor there are moments when the heart will harden or dissolve ac. cording as a single tone falling upon it is gentle or

hard ; as at the moment of congelation the wa. ters freeze if the north breathe upon them, but continue their flow and murmuring music if southern breezes arise. O, if at such moment there was a kindred heart, Christlike, humanized, with a tear and a hope for the vilest of its kind, to say, “ Brother, arise, there is bread, and to spare in our Father's house. Return, and sin no more;” was it ever known from the beginning that no glance on the countenance, no moisture in the eye, returned its sign of recognition, if not of almost persuadedness? Alas, alas for us, not falsely, nor without personal experience, sang Scotland's bard

“Man's inhumanity to man

Makes countless thousands mourn." We do not pity each other well. We are not mutually merciful. Nay, towards our sinning brother we are not just, when we surrender him as a hopeless thing, to be gnawed by horrible remorse, and to be ground to powder in the dungeon of despair. We do a mighty wrong, we act a murderous lie towards our sinning brother, when we refuse to believe him capable of becoming good and happy, and will not hope for him and help him. There is small difference between him who throws his neighbor into the sea and him who refuses to cast him a rope.

It is strange that unmercifulness should be a characteristic sin of man. Among devils who received no mercy when they fell, it were less out of place. But man is the child and protege of mercy. He lives and enjoys his probation amid arrested thunderbolts, and storms of wrath rolled back, and caverns of despair closed, and the hushed curses of the law. The rain, and dew, and sunshine of heaven are descending upon his fields. The birds are piping their sweet notes as they might have done in Eden, and all nature, not veiled in sackloth but clad in multiform glory, waits upon him like a sister. Above all, man lives in the light of glorious and glad revelations, of evangelic and joyful tidings, of living streams of salvation, and of minister. ing angels, and of voices from the sky, owning him as a younger brother that wandered, but in the far off land of his prodigality found mercy, through the cross and through blood that flowed freely as rain drops from the bosom of Jesus-in the midst of these he stands a monument of mercy, himself unmerciful!! Yes, and too often with one hand on the New Testament and the other on his brother's throat, no argument nor art avails to persuade him that in that brother's bosom may beat a heart of higher aspirations,

of better purposes, of purer affinities than his


Let us learn to have hope for each other; and, as far as possible, faith in each other. When any turns aside let us pity him and believe that all is not lost; and believing there is a key to his heart, let us search for it, not discouraged by outward appearances, nor paralyzed by inward

doubts. Having found his heart, let us take him into our bosom and bear him back to the path of virtue and the presence of God, and kneel with him there, and while we weep together over the badness of our way, rejoice together that the lost is found and the dead made alive.



The aboriginal history of this country, now in a { isted that everywhere sway mankind with vary. great measure lost for ever, would no doubt have ing force as civilization retrogrades or advances. formed volumes of great interest, could it have Everywhere and always, man is radically the come down to our times like the authentic chroni- same; society is the same, except in its circumcles of other nations. The men who figured here stances, which summed up, we call it civiliza. before the European invasion, were not tame and tion-of which civilization the red man had effeminate imitators, or slumberous day-dream

But he had boldness, originality, enterers. They were men of nerve and enterprise, and prise, possessed by no other savage race; and free, bold thought, and made their impression the history of him, as we have said, week upon their own times and contemporaries. We have worn a freshness not common. have often thought that by far the richest por- We were visited some years ago while sotion of history has never been written, even in journing in the valley of Wyoming, that field of those times and nations that have preserved the surpassing natural loveliness and beauty, and of amplest records. How little of all the eloquence thrilling historical associations, with an almost which at different times and places has moved oppressive rush of reflection upon the red man's and agitated the profoundest depths of the soul, history and fate, even in this lovely spot-a has been bound up in language and thus saved spot which the genius of peace might have from oblivion ! What soul-stirring peals of chosen from among all others as its perpetual lofty eloquence bursting from the hearts of those dwelling. Yet even here some of the wildest, untutored red men who possessed the land before stormiest scenes in history have occurred, of our presence disturbed them, and who in their so- which tradition still preserves some broken lemn convictions carried on the debates and con- recollections, and which, as recited by the ansultations relative to the means of advancing the cient inhabitants, serve to fill out the long wincommon weal! There stood the lofty and wrapt ter evenings, and awaken the interest of their prophet, awaiting or declaring the will of the fireside audiences. Great Spirit; and there the wild and bedizened One of the yet extant traditions of Wyoming war chief, like a battle-horse champing his bit relates to what is probably known as the Grassand pawing the ground, longed for the signal to hopper War, a story not without its moral, ani dash forward in the war path. How many not undeserving the study of modern and civil. such scenes passed with no historian or bard ized statesmen, who are often willing to “ let to make record of them and hand it to the future ! slip the dogs of war,” on grounds as trivial, Tribe after tribe, and confederacies of tribes, and with issues almost as disastrous, as those probably thus melted from existence and from given in this tradition. memory ; no monument, no book, no minstrel, On each side of the Susquehanna river, no traditionary legend ever plucked from the which glides gracefully through the valley, diflood of time as it rolled on and away, the rectly opposite to each other, dwelt two indepenheroic greatness, the daring enterprise, the burn- dent and friendly tribes of Indians. For a long ing eloquence, that struggled and perished there. series of years their intercourse was of the most Amid all those rude and savage elements that familiar and friendly character. Frequently formed the clans and councils of the primitive the females of the one tribe would cross the country, the same passions and principles ex- river and spend the day with those of the other,

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »