Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

its poetry, its teachings of heavenly wisdom, its soothing melody and seraphic love. As well might he forbid his children to rejoice in the sunshine, to sport in the fields, to weave garlands of God's flowers, and sing with the glad voices which God has given them. He was a “monster father” who sought a moral dungeon in which to immure his son, lest the religion of the clergy should find him, but “ Benjamin” is

a tyrant of more despotic rule. He has torn from his children the Bible with all its lessons and all its hopes, and if there is a God in heaven or a conscience in the human breast, this father will yet mourn in bitterness his foolish and wicked decision. The worst enemy of his own children, he may yet rue the edict that has cut them off from the fountain of everlasting life and joy.

TO MOUNT BLANC.*

WRITTEN IN THE VALLEY OF CHAMONIX, IN THE SUMMER OF 1843.

[blocks in formation]

•Mount Blanc is the highest of the Alps; its summit is covered with eternal snow. The outline of this mountain bears some resemblance to the profile of Napoleon Buonaparte on his death-bed.

THE WINTER PAST.

The Songs of Solomon “were a thousand and five.” Of these but one remains,--a most beautiful specimen of ancient lyrics,--and worthy to be styled—“The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's."

The scene of this poem is laid in and around the city of David; the season chosen is the opening of the spring—the season, when " The shining moisture swells into the eyes In brighter flow, the wishing bosom heaves With palpitations wild, kind tumults seize The veins, and all the yielding soul is love."

In language full of beauty, the bridegroom, whose love is the theme of the poem, is heard addressing his spouse, and inviting her to come forth from her habitation to regale herself with the delights of the happy season ;—"Rise up, my love! my fair one! and come away; for, lo! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love ! my fair one! and come away.”

The whole passage abounds with poetic grace, and is worthy of its high original. The cheerless gloom, and the chilling damps of the winter, have passed away. The frost-bound earth grows warm again and invites the plough. The balmy breeze and the genial sunshine refresh and gladden all nature. The vegetable world, long slumbering as in the sleep of death, awakes and puts on its “coat of many colors.” “ From the moist meadow to the withered hill, Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs, And swells and deepens to the cherished eye.

..... The juicy groves Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees, Till the whole leafy forest stands displayed In full luxuriance."

“ The flowers appear on the earth.” One by one, they come forth in their season, to bedeck the earth and regale the senses of man, until the whole country seems "One boundless blush, one white empurpled

shower Of mingled blossoms."

“ The time of the singing of birds is come.” The feathered tenants of the grove, driven far off by the piercing blasts of autumn and winter, return again to their former haunts and pas

times, and once more lift up the voice of joy and love.

“Every copse
Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
Bending with dewy moisture o'er the heads
Of the coy choristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony."

“ The voice of the turtle” dove also, that symbol of simplicity, innocency and love,-that emblem of the Holy Spirit of God, “is heard in our land.” The vine and the fig-tree contribute their charms to the all-inspiring season. The green

and tender fruit, anticipating the expanding of the leaf-bud, appears on the fig; while the delicate blossoms of the vine fill every vineyard, and all the circumambient air, with the most delicious fragrance. “ The fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.”

Such is the season, so lavish of charms, that is chosen in this divine song for exhibiting the love of the Redeemer to his church, and the longing desires of the spouse for the presence of her Lord. How beautiful and touching, in such a connection, is the voice of the “ beloved,” as in accents of love it falls upon the ear of the bride—“ Arise, my love! my fair one! and come away!"

The Spring has many sweet voices by which it speaks to the heart. In the ten thousand charms with which it bedecks the earth, it teaches A Lesson of Praise. If

« The undevout astronomer is mad,” what else is he who, at this inspiring season, can walk forth upon the budding, blooming, verdant earth, and now here see the foot-prints of the Almighty? In every swelling bud, in every expanding leaf, in every tiny blossom, in every tender blade of grass, as well as in the vast pro. fusion of verdure and sweetness, with which the senses are regaled and charmed, is seen the hand of God. The Christian, at such a season, finds his heart stirred up with renewed and glowing emotions of wonder, love and praise, while in every varied voice of reanimated na. ture, he seems to hear his Redeemer say"Arise, my love! my fair one! and come away.” He loves the Spring, not only because of its superior attractions, but because it brings his God so near ;-because it reveals on every hand, and in every change, some striking illustration of the all-pervading, wonder-working power of

[ocr errors]

The very

the Omnipresent. His, at such a time, is the lan-
guage of the poet of “ the Seasons :"-
“ Hail, Source of being! universal soul
Of heaven and earth! essential Presence! hail !
To thee I bend the knee; to thee my thoughts
Continual climb; who, with a master-hand,
Hast the great whole into perfection touched.
By thee the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew;
By thee disposed into congenial soils
Stapds each attractive plant, and sucks and

swells
The juicy tribe,-a twining mass of tubes.
At thy command the vernal sun awakes
The torpid sap,-detruded to the root
By wintry winds—that now, in fluent dance
And lively fermentation mounting, spreads
All this innumerous-colored scene of things."

To one who has obtained a release from the cheerless domain of sin and death, and has just opened the eyes of his new-born souł upon the fair creation, how vocal is the new-clothed earth with the praises of his great Redeemer! How beats his panting heart as with joy unspeakable, with emotions too big for utterance, he perceives in every plant and flower, “ The unambiguous footsteps of his God !”

Herein he finds one of the evidences of a renewed nature. He now perceives as never before, the hand of God in all his works. Says President Edwards, in reference to the exercises of his mind shortly after his conversion,—“ The appearance of everything was altered; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm beautiful appearance of divine glory in almost everything. God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers and trees; in the water and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind.” Such, can many a Christian say, has been my own experience,-an experience more or less renewed with every opening spring.

It is not only the being of a God that is then revealed to the admiring eye, but his overflowing goodness also. When the waters of the deluge had retired, and Noah had renewed the bloody sacrifices with which, from the days of Abel, the believer had testified his faith in the atonement, it pleased God to say,-“While the earth remainelh, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” Winter may and will come with all its dreariness; but

"Spring shall all its wastes repair."

In all his works the goodness of the Lord appears. “ The earth is full of his goodness.” But at no time does it so deeply affect the senses as when,--to use the expressive language of “the song of songs,”—“ the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come;" when the dullness of winter gives place to the liveliness of spring, and the bleak desolation of the ice-bound earth, to the most abundant vegetation. For then “ he sendeth the springs into the valleys, he watereth the hills from his chambers, he causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth,oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.”

Such a manifestation of the divine goodness is eminently fitted to call forth the praises of every intelligent being, and especially of man, for whom all nature is thus laid under contribution. Praises well accord with the gladness of the season. It is the time of praise. Earth, with her ten thousand various, but not discord. ant, voices, daily and hourly,

Hymns forth her great Creator."

air is vocal ; for Every sense and every heart is joy." How then can man, for whom all this profusion is poured forth from the lap of infinite love, be silent ? “Sing praises to God—sing praises ! sing praises to our King-sing praises.” " And yet was every faltering tongue of man, Almighty Father! silent in thy praise, Thy works themselves would raise a general

voice, E'en in the depths of solitary woods By human foot untrod, -proclaim thy power, And to the choir celestial Thee resound, Th' eternal cause, support, and end of all."

The opening season also teaches

A Lesson of Hope. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” As the gloom, and frosts, and desolations of winter are sure to disappear at the coming of spring, so is it, so shall it ever be, with him whose the Lord is. However dark and desolate, trembling believer! thy soul has been,however cheerless and cold,—look up. The glorious Sun of righteousness, “Whose single beam has, from the first of

time, Filled, overflowing, all those lamps of heaven, That beam for ever through the boundless sky," with one ray of love can dissipate the mist, dis

DREAMS OF YOUTH.

57

[ocr errors]

perse the clouds, and fill thy soul with radiance and bliss. Yes—and he will do it, if, with an humble and believing heart, thou seekest his face with the prayer on thy lips—" Lord ! list thou up the light of thy countenance upon me.” Then will he put gladness in thy heart, more than in " the time that their corn and wine increased.” Then will he “ blow upon his garden that the spices thereof may flow out.” Then will he “ come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruit.” Even now in every voice of exulting nature thy heart may hear him say“ Arise, my love! my fair one! and come away."

Thus the season speaks encouragingly in its lessons of hope to the sorrowing, to the dreary and the desolate. But in a peculiar manner it teaches a lesson of hope to the heart-stricken mourner, from whom lover and friend have been taken away by death.

By what strange power is it that the leafless tree and the withered shrub retain amid the frosts and ice their unseen life? How is it that the bulb, the tuber, and the tender tibrous root, through all the desolations of winter, covered with snow and ice, amid frosts and thaws alternate, live on and wait their time to sprout and germinate anew? By what strange and myste

rious energy is it that where death abounds through all the vegetable world, there life and luxuriant vegetation do so much more abound? Behold an emblem here of the Resurrection of the body! The seed that in autumn was sown by the bounteous hand of providence, though it has lain for months to all appearance dead, now lives and flourishes. So shall it be with this mortal body. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.”

Give place, ye mourners! to the cheering hope that is thus so strikingly confirmed. Take to your hearts the joy of the gospel. Inspired by the season, and much more by the Spirit of grace, hope on ;-hope for yourselves,-hope for

your kindred in Christ. That dear flesh that sleeps in the dust shall Jesus bring with him. Look forward and upward. Here winter reigns; there, “the winter is past"-—past for ever. Why afraid to die—to lay thy body in the grave! Why not rather hail the coming of the messenger, and bless God for his approach ? Let us each with a cheerful and panting heart exclaim,

“Lord ! I long to be at home,
Where these changes never coine;
Where the saints no winter fear,
Where 't is spring throughout the year.”

DREAMS OF YOUTH.

BY HENRY M. PARSONS,

In the fall of his foot, in the flash of his eye,

In the curl of his lip I discovered The strength of his purpose to write his name

high, Where the pinion of genius has hovered. By the light of the taper that burned in his room,

When the humble in dreams were reposing, I knew he was tossed by a tempest of foam

The sea of ambition inclosing.
Again in the heat of mid-summer we met,

Where the gay and the invalid throng,
And the being he led, in my thought, lingers yet

Like a strain of some favorite song. To crimson her cheek with the feelings that

burned In the depth of his own restless breast, The hues of the garland of fame were inurned,

E’er his fingers its blossoms had pressed.

While his step was still buoyant-his brow still

untraced With the etchings of manhood's deep care, The passion of love in his heart was displaced,

And the empire of mammon raised there. The name and the beauty that charmed for awhile,

Were as shadows that steal o'er the plainIn musings alone he would frequently smile

At himself, for once owning their chain. His hair was yet black and his form yet unbowed,

When anew I encountered his gaze In the midst of a solemn and worshipping crowd,

Who had joined in an anthem of praise. And I felt as he spoke of the hopes he had

cherished, Of the joy now illuming his way, That shadows of happiness only had perished,

The substance itself to display.

In our last, after hastily glancing at the old world, we paused in setting our foot on this Western Continent. Here now we stand in the midst of rivers, whose length in miles is counted by hundreds, and sometimes by thousands, whose mountains swell up amidst fruitful valleys, and whose lakes are oceans, bearing on their waters a rich and increasing commerce. From the frozen seas around the northern pole, to the stormy antarctic circle, this is a new world. Whatever may have been in that period of time whose history is shrouded in darkness—the period before the deluge—some four thousand years afterwards trod on their course without a whisper reaching the coasts of Asia, of Europe, or of Africa, from this western continent. How or when peopled, no trace is found in history, and the curious have toiled in vain to find a parentage for the red men of the new among the nations of the old world. But we may not pause here on the past, amid a field of will conjecture. Our business is with the present, with only a glance at what has been, to gather from it a premonition of what shall be.

In looking at that large portion of this continent which was claimed and settled by Spain and Portugal, we find but one cause and one motive prompting every enterprise - the love of gold. It is true, that in an age when superstition had usurped the place of religion, the priest, with his crucifix, accompanied the soldier with his arms of death, but it was to baptize into subjection to a foreign domination, and not into spiritual life. Ship after ship, and fleet after fleet, sailed the newly-found path across the deep ; but in them all, and deep-rooted in every breast, all-controlling and all-pervading, was the passion for gold. With a spirit omnipotent for evil, blotting out liberty, and happiness, and life, in their progress, the Spaniards established their power over Mexico, and a large part South America. Within a few years past, an impatience of control, rather than the love of rational liberty, has stimulated their descendants to as. sert their independence. Provinces have be. come sovereign nations. But, instead of regulated liberty, anarchy has held her court in all these regions, and in place of settled governments, faction has succeeded faction, in the exercise of supreme power. Gross ignorance, and grosser superstitions, must give place to educa. tion and to the religion of the Bible, before ra

tional liberty and a happy prosperity can shed their blessings on these wide regions of America.

We leave these moral wastes, to look over the land most dear to us. We will not stop to tell the thrilling tale of hardships endured, of difficulties overcome, by our ancestors, in the settlement of Northern America. Others have painted in language glowing with living truth, the spirit that burned in the breasts of our ancestors, and which prompted them to live, and toil, and die, for their posterity. To that spirit, under God, are we indebted for what this country is, and what it shall be. Sixty-eight years we have written ours an independent nation, and the scarcely three millions in 1776 have become nineteen millions in 1844. Would that every man among these millions could stand erect and claim himself a freeman !

The love of political and religious liberty burned with a living and enduring flame in the breasts of the first settlers of these States. Its influence has been felt with increasing power down to the present day. It is true, that it is not at all times, and everywhere, in our land, of that large, expansive, and unselfish character, which ought to distinguish it from a mere impatience of submission and control---that it is not always, and in all breasts, a generous cmotion which, spurning shackles from our own limbs, with equal indignation rejects the idea of imposing them upon others.

It is not always that high and ennobling spirit which looks to liberty as a positive and attainable good in which all have an equal interest, and feels that a cherished and valuable principle is invaded by every act of oppression, however distant in its operation from our own persons.

Although emigrants from various nations have mingled in the settlement of the country, yet the English and their descendants have exceeded in numbers and power to so large an extent as to give their language to the people, and to make the English mind predominant. Our literature and character are essentially English. The English common law—that mighty monument of practical wisdom-is the law of the land, except in the single State of Louisiana.

The spirit of liberty breathes in that law with such force, that under its pure influence uncontrolled by statutory provisions, a slave brought under its protective power at once becomes a freeman. So held the illustrious Mansfield, and no jurist questions this long-established doctrine.

It is

« AnteriorContinuar »