Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader by Benj. N. Martin

Part 2 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

and wind of a thundergust without tearing. To the top of the upright
stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp-pointed wire, rising a
foot or more above the wood. To the end of the twine, next the hand, is
to be tied a silk ribbon, and where the silk and twine join, a key may
be fastened. This kite is to be raised when a thundergust appears to be
coming on, and the person who holds the string must stand within a door
or window, or under some cover, so that the silk ribbon may not be wet;
and care must be taken that the twine does not touch the frame of the
door or window. As soon as any of the thunder-clouds come over the kite,
the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and the kite,
with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose filaments of
the twine will stand out every way, and be attracted by an approaching
finger. And when the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so that it
can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out
plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key
the phial may be charged; and all the other electric experiments be
performed, which are usually done by the help of a rubbed glass globe
or tube, and thereby the sameness of the electric matter with that of
lightning be completely demonstrated.

* * * * *


Mr. President:

The small progress we have made, after four or five weeks close
attendance and continual reasonings with each other, our different
sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing
as many _Noes_ as _Ayes_, is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the
imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to _feel_ our
own want of political wisdom, since we have been running all about
in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of
government, and examined the different forms of those republics, which,
having been originally formed with the seeds of their own dissolution,
now no longer exist; and we have viewed modern States all round Europe,
but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to
find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented
to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once
thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our
understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we
were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the
divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were
graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must
have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in
our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of
consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national
felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we
imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long
time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this
truth, _that God governs in the affairs of men_. And if a sparrow cannot
fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can
rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings,
that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build
it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that without his
concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better
than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial,
local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall
become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And, what is worse,
mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of
establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war,
and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move,

That henceforth, prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven and its
blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning
before we proceed to business; and that one or more of the clergy of
this city be requested to officiate in that service.

* * * * *

From his "Essays."


"It was," said he, "the opinion of learned philosophers of our race,
who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world, the
Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours; and I
think there was some foundation for that opinion, since, by the apparent
motion of the great luminary that gives life to all nature, and which in
my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end
of our earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the
waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness,
necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived
seven of those hours--a great age, being no less than four hundred and
twenty minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long! I have seen
generations born, flourish, and expire ... And I must soon follow them;
for, by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to
live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now avail all my toil
and labor in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to
enjoy!--what the political struggles I have been engaged in for the good
of my compatriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies
for the benefit of our race in general! for in politics what can laws
do without morals? Our present race of ephemera will, in a course of
minutes, become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and
consequently as wretched. And in philosophy how small our progress!
Alas! art is long, and life is short. My friends would comfort me with
the idea of a name they say I shall leave behind me.... But what will
fame be to an ephemeron who no longer exists? and what will become of
all history, in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the
whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in universal

* * * * *


=_John Woolman,[5] 1720-1772._=

From his "Life and Travels."


A people used to labor moderately for their living, training up their
children in frugality and business, have a happier life than those who
live on the labor of slaves. Freemen find satisfaction in improving and
providing for their families; but negroes, laboring to support others
who claim them as their property, and expecting nothing but slavery
during life, have not the like inducement to be industrious.... Men
having power, too often misapply it: though we make slaves of the
negroes, and the Turks make slaves of the Christians, liberty is the
natural right of all men equally.... The slaves look to me like a
burdensome stone to such who burden themselves with them. The burden
will grow heavier and heavier, till times change in a way disagreeable
to us.... I was troubled to perceive the darkness of their imaginations,
and, in some pressure of spirits, said the love of ease and gain are the
motives, in general, of keeping slaves; and men are wont to take hold of
weak arguments to support a cause which is unreasonable....

I was silent during the meeting for worship, and, when business came on,
my mind was exercised concerning the poor slaves, but did not feel my
way clear to speak. In this condition I was bowed in spirit before the
Lord, and, with tears and inward supplication, besought him so to open
my understanding that I might know his will concerning me; and at length
my mind was settled in silence.

At times when I have felt true love open my heart towards my
fellow-creatures, and have been engaged in weighty conversation in the
cause of righteousness, the instructions I have received under these
exercises in regard to the true use of the outward gifts of God, have
made deep and lasting impressions on my mind. I have beheld how the
desire to provide wealth and to uphold a delicate life has grievously
entangled many, and has been like a snare to their offspring, and though
some have been affected with a sense of their difficulties, and have
appeared desirous at times to be helped out of them, yet for want of
abiding under the humbling power of truth, they have continued in these
entanglements; expensive living in parents and children hath called for
a large supply, and in answering this call, the faces of the poor have
been ground away, and made thin through hard dealing....

... In the uneasiness of body which I have many times felt by too much
labor, not as a forced but a voluntary oppression, I have often been
excited to think on the original cause of that oppression which is
imposed on many in the world. The latter part of the time wherein I
labored on our plantation, my heart, through the fresh visitations of
heavenly love, being often tender, and my leisure time being frequently
spent in reading the life and doctrines of our blessed Redeemer, the
account of the sufferings of martyrs, and the history of the first rise
of our Society, a belief was gradually settled in my mind, that if such
as had great estates, generally lived in that humility and plainness
which belong to a Christian life, and laid much easier rents and
interests on their lands and moneys, and thus led the way to a right use
of things, so great a number of people might be employed in things
useful, that labor both for men and other creatures would need to be no
more than an agreeable employ, and divers branches of business, which
serve chiefly to please the natural inclinations of our minds, and which
at present seem necessary to circulate that wealth which some gather,
might, in this way of pure wisdom, be discontinued.

[Footnote 5: A Quaker preacher, a native of New Jersey, whose Travels
and Autobiography have been much admired abroad, notably by Charles

* * * * *

=_John M. Mason,[6] 1770-1829._=

From the Address in behalf of the Bible Society.


If there be a single measure which can overrule objection, subdue
opposition, and command exertion, this is the measure. That all our
voices, all our affections, all our hands, should be joined in the grand
design of promoting "peace on earth and good will toward man"--that
they should resist the advance of misery--should carry the light of
instruction into the dominions of ignorance, and the balm of joy to the
soul of anguish; and all this by diffusing the oracles of God--addresses
to the understanding an argument which cannot be encountered; and to the
heart an appeal which its holiest emotions rise up to second....

_People of the United States_; Have you ever been invited to an
enterprise of such grandeur and glory? Do you not value the Holy
Scriptures? Value them as containing your sweetest hope; your most
thrilling joy? Can you submit to the thought that _you_ should be torpid
in your endeavors to disperse them, while the rest of Christendom is
awake and alert? Shall _you_ hang back in heartless indifference, when
princes come down from their thrones, to bless the cottage of the poor
with the gospel of peace; and imperial sovereigns are gathering their
fairest honors from spreading abroad the oracles of the Lord your God.
Is it possible that _you_ should not see, in this state of human things,
a mighty motion of Divine providence? The most heavenly charity treads
close upon the march of conflict and blood! The world is at peace!
Scarce has the soldier time to unbind his helmet, and to wipe away the
sweat from his brow, ere the voice of mercy succeeds to the clarion of
battle, and calls the nations from enmity to love! Crowned heads bow to
the head which is to wear "many crowns," and, for the first time since
the promulgation of Christianity, appear to act in unison for the
recognition of its gracious principles, as being fraught alike with
happiness to man, and honor to God.

What has created so strange, so beneficent an alteration. This is no
doubt the doing of the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes. But what
instrument has he thought fit chiefly to use. That which contributes in
all latitudes and climes to make Christians feel their unity, to rebuke
the spirit of strife, and to open upon them the day of brotherly
concord--the Bible!--the Bible!--through Bible Societies!

[Footnote 6: A Presbyterian clergyman of great distinction, long settled
in New York; rarely surpassed in controversial acuteness, and in
religious eloquence.]

* * * * *


No sagacity can foretell what characters shall be developed, or what
parts performed, by these boys and girls who throng our streets, and
sport in our fields. In their tender breasts are concealed the germs, in
their little hands are lodged the weapons, of a nation's overthrow
or glory. Would it not, then, be madness, would it not be a sort of
political suicide, for the commonwealth to be unconcerned what direction
their infant powers shall take, or into what habits their budding
affections shall ripen? or will it be disputed that the civil authority
has a _right_ to take care, by a paternal interference on behalf of
the children, that the next generation shall not prostrate in an hour,
whatever has been consecrated to truth, to virtue, and to happiness by
the generations that are past?

* * * * *

=_Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817._= (Manual, pp. 479, 504.)

From "Travels in New England," &c.


In these countries _lands are universally held in fee simple_. Every
farmer, with too few exceptions to deserve notice, labors on his own
ground, and for the benefit of himself and his family merely. This,
also, if I am not deceived, is a novelty; and its influence is seen to
be remarkably happy in the industry, sobriety, cheerfulness, personal
independence, and universal prosperity of the people at large.... A
succession of New England villages, composed of neat houses, surrounding
neat schoolhouses and churches, adorned with gardens, meadows, and
orchards, and exhibiting the universal easy circumstances of the
inhabitants, is, at least in my own opinion, one of the most delightful
prospects which this world can afford.

_The conversion of a wilderness into a desirable residence for man_,
is an object which no intelligent spectator can behold, without being
strongly interested in such a combination of enterprise, patience, and
perseverance. Few of those human efforts which have excited the applause
of mankind, have demanded equal energy, or merited equal approbation. A
forest changed within a short period into fruitful fields covered with
houses, schools, and churches, and filled with inhabitants possessing
not only the necessaries and comforts, but also the conveniences of
life, and devoted to the worship of Jehovah, when seen only in prophetic
vision, enraptured the mind even of Isaiah; and when realized, can
hardly fail to delight that of a spectator. At least, it may compensate
the want of ancient castles, ruined abbeys, and fine pictures.

* * * * *

From the Theology.


There is another and very important view in which this subject demands
our consideration. _Theology spreads its influence over the creation
and providence of God, and gives to both almost all their beauty and
sublimity._ Creation and providence, seen by the eye of theology,
and elucidated by the glorious commentary on both furnished in the
Scriptures, become new objects to the mind; immeasurably more noble,
rich, and delightful, than they can appear to a worldly, sensual mind.
The heavens and the earth, and the great as well as numberless events
which result from the divine administration, are in themselves vast,
wonderful, frequently awful, in many instances solemn, in many
exquisitely beautiful, and in a great number eminently sublime. All
these attributes, however, they possess, if considered only in the
abstract, in degrees very humble and diminutive, compared with the
appearance which they make, when beheld as the works of Jehovah.
Mountains, the ocean, and the heavens, are majestic and sublime. Hills
and valleys, soft landscapes, trees, fruits, and flowers, and many
objects in the animal and mineral kingdoms, are beautiful. But what is
this beauty, what is this grandeur, compared with that agency of God, to
which they owe their being? Think what it is for the Almighty hand to
spread the plains, to heave the mountains, and to pour the ocean. Look
at the verdure, flowers, and fruits which in the mild season adorn the
surface of the earth; the uncreated hand fashions their fine forms,
paints their exquisite colors, and exhales their delightful perfumes. In
the spring, his life re-animates the world; in the summer and autumn,
his bounty is poured out upon the hills and valleys; in the winter, "his
way is in the whirlwind, and in the storm; and the clouds are the dust
of his feet." His hand "hung the earth upon nothing," lighted up the
sun in the heavens, and rolls the planets, and the comets through the
immeasurable fields of ether. His breath kindled the stars; his voice
called into existence worlds innumerable, and filled the expanse with
animated being. To all he is present, over all he rules, for all he
provides. The mind, attempered to divine contemplation, finds him in
every solitude, meets him in every walk, and in all places, and at all
times, sees itself surrounded by God.

* * * * *

=_John Henry Hobart,[7] 1775-1830._=

From a "Sermon."


At the display of the divine power and glory that created the world,
"the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for
joy." Surely not less universal, not less ardent the exultation in those
pure and perfect spirits that continually surround the Divine Majesty
at the view of the infinite wisdom, love, and power which planned the
redemption of a fallen world--which thus devised the mode by which
pardon could be extended to the sinner without sanctioning his sin, and
favor to the offending rebel against the divine government, without
weakening its authority, impeaching its holiness, or subverting its
justice. In the nature of the divine Persons thus counselling for man's
redemption, it is not for him, blind, and erring, and impotent, it is
not for angels, it is not for cherubim or seraphim, for a moment to
look. The inner glory of the divine nature burns with a blaze, if I may
so with reverence speak, too intense, too radiant, for finite vision.
But in its manifestations, in its outer, its more distant rays, shining
on the plan of man's redemption, all is mildness, and softness, and
peace. Holiness, and justice, and mercy are seen blending their sacred
influences, and conveying light and joy in that truth which the counsels
of the Godhead alone could render possible. God can be just, and yet
justify the sinner.

... Let us not, then, neglect this wonderful counsel of God for our
salvation; let us not be unaffected by this most stupendous display of
divine power, love, and mercy; let us not reject the offers of peace and
salvation from the God whom we have offended, and the Sovereign who is
finally to judge us. But, on the contrary, let us gratefully adore the
mercy and the grace of the Godhead in the plan of redemption, effected
in the incarnation, the obedience, the sufferings, the death, and the
triumphant resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let it be
our great object to be conformed to the likeness of his death, in
mortifying all our corrupt affections, and to experience the power of
his resurrection in living a new and holy life, that we may enjoy the
new and lively hopes of everlasting glory, which his resurrection
assures to all true believers.

[Footnote 7: An eminent divine and bishop of the Episcopal church; a
native of Pennsylvania.]

* * * * *

=_Lyman Beecher,[8] 1775-1803._=

From the "Lectures on Political Atheism."


It is a thing eminently to be desired that there should be a supreme
benevolent Intelligence, who is the creator and moral governor of the
universe, whose subjects and kingdom shall endure for ever. Such a one
the nature of man demands, and his whole soul pants after.

We feel our littleness in presence of the majestic elements of nature,
our weakness compared with their power, and our loneliness in the vast
universe, unenlightened, unguided, and unblessed, by any intelligence
superior to our own. We behold the flight of time, the passing fashion
of the world, and the gulf of annihilation curtained with the darkness
of an eternal night.

At the side of this vortex, which covers with deep oblivion the past,
and impenetrable darkness the future, nature shudders and draws back,
and the soul, with sinking heart, looks mournfully around upon this fair
creation, and up to these beautiful heavens, and in plaintive accents
demands, "Is there, then, no deliverance from this falling back into
nothing? Must this conscious being cease--this reasoning, thinking power,
and these warm affections, their delightful movements? Must this eye
close in an endless night, and this heart fall back upon everlasting
insensibility? O, thou cloudless sun, and ye far-distant stars, in all
your journeyings in light, have ye discovered no blessed intelligence
who called you into being, lit up your fires, marked your orbits, wheels
you in your courses, around whom ye roll, and whose praises ye silently
celebrate? Are ye empty worlds, and desolate, the sport of chance? or,
like our sad earth, are ye peopled with inhabitants, waked up to a brief
existence, and hurried reluctantly, from an almost untested being, back
to nothing? O that there were a God, who made you greater than ye all,
whose being in yours we might see, whose intelligence we might admire,
whose will we might obey, and whose goodness we might adore!" Such,
except where guilt seeks annihilation as the choice of evils, is the
unperverted, universal longing after God and immortality.

[Footnote 8: A Congregational clergyman, prominent, in the early part
of this century, for his zeal and piety, and for the eloquence and
originality of his sermons: father of a numerous family distinguished in
theology and literature.]

* * * * *

=_William Ellery Channing, 1780-1842._= (Manual, p. 480.)

From the Essay on Napoleon Bonaparte.


With powers which might have made him a glorious representative and
minister of the beneficent Divinity, and with natural sensibilities
which might have been exalted into sublime virtues, he chose to separate
himself from his kind, to forego their love, esteem, and gratitude,
that he might become their gaze, their fear, their wonder; and for this
selfish, solitary good, parted with peace and imperishable renown.

His insolent exaltation of himself above the race to which he belonged,
broke out in the beginning of his career. His first success in Italy
gave him the tone of a master, and he never laid it aside to his last
hour. One can hardly help being struck with the _natural air_ with which
he arrogates supremacy in his conversation and proclamations. We never
feel as if he were putting on a lordly air. In his proudest claims, he
speaks from his own mind, and in native language. His style is swollen,
but never strained, as if he were conscious of playing a part above his
real claims. Even when he was foolish and impious enough to arrogate
miraculous powers and a mission from God, his language showed that he
thought there was something in his character and exploits to give a
color to his--blasphemous pretensions. The empire of the world seemed
to him to be in a measure his due, for nothing short of it corresponded
with his conceptions of himself; and he did not use mere verbiage,
but spoke a language to which he gave some credit, when he called his
successive conquests "the fulfilment of his destiny." This spirit
of self-exaggeration wrought its own misery, and drew down upon him
terrible punishments; and this it did by vitiating and perverting his
high powers. First, it diseased his fine intellect, gave imagination the
ascendency over judgment, turned the inventiveness and fruitfulness of
his mind into rash, impatient, restless energies, and thus precipitated
him into projects, which, as the wisdom of his counsellors pronounced,
were fraught with ruin. To a man, whose vanity took him out of the rank
of human beings, no foundation for reasoning was left. All things seemed
possible. His genius and his fortune were not to be bounded by the
barriers which experience had assigned to human powers. Ordinary rules
did not apply to him. He even found excitement and motives in obstacles
before which other men would have wavered; for these would enhance the
glory of triumph, and give a new thrill to the admiration of the world.

To us there is something radically and increasingly shocking in the
thought of one man's will becoming a law to his race; in the thought of
multitudes, of vast communities, surrendering conscience, intellect,
their affections, their rights, their interests, to the stern mandate of
a fellow-creature. When we see one word of a frail man on the throne
of France, tearing a hundred thousand sons from their homes, breaking
asunder the sacred ties of domestic life, sentencing myriads of the
young to make murder their calling, and rapacity their means of support,
and extorting from nations their treasures to extend this ruinous sway,
we are ready to ask ourselves, Is not this a dream? and, when the sad
reality comes home to us, we blush for a race which can stoop to such an
abject lot. At length, indeed, we see the tyrant humbled, stripped of
power, but stripped by those who, in the main, are not unwilling to play
the despot on a narrower scale, and to break down the spirit of nations
under the same iron sway.

* * * * *


From a Discourse upon Immortality.


To me there is but one objection against immortality, if objection it
may be called, and this arises from the very greatness of the truth.
My mind sometimes sinks under its weight, is lost in its immensity; I
scarcely dare believe that such a good is placed within my reach. When I
think of myself, as existing through all future ages, as surviving this
earth and that sky, as exempted from every imperfection and error of my
present being, as clothed with an angel's glory, as comprehending with
my intellect and embracing in my affections, an extent of creation
compared with which the earth is a point; when I think of myself as
looking on the outward universe with an organ of vision that will reveal
to me a beauty and harmony and order not now imagined, and as having
an access to the minds of the wise and good, which will make them in
a sense my own; when I think of myself as forming friendships with
innumerable beings of rich and various intellect and of the noblest
virtue, as introduced to the society of heaven, as meeting there the
great and excellent, of whom I have read in history, as joined with "the
just made perfect" in an ever-enlarging ministry of benevolence, as
conversing with Jesus Christ with the familiarity of friendship, and
especially as having an immediate intercourse with God, such as the
closest intimacies of earth dimly shadow forth;--when this thought of my
future being comes to me, whilst I hope, I also fear; the blessedness
seems too great; the consciousness of present weakness and unworthiness
is almost too strong for hope. But when, in this frame of mind, I
look round on the creation, and see there the marks of an omnipotent
goodness, to which nothing is impossible, and from which every thing may
be Loped; when I see around me the proofs of an Infinite Father, who
must desire the perpetual progress of his intellectual offspring; when
I look next at the human mind, and see what powers a few years have
unfolded, and discern in it the capacity of everlasting improvement: and
especially when I look at Jesus, the conqueror of death, the heir of
immortality, who has gone as the forerunner of mankind into the mansions
of light and purity, I can and do admit the almost overpowering thought
of the everlasting life, growth, felicity, of the human soul.

* * * * *

From Remarks on the case of the Ship Creole.


I have now finished my task. I have considered the Duties of the Free
States in relation to Slavery, and to other subjects of great and
immediate concern. In this discussion I have constantly spoken of Duties
as more important than Interests; but these in the end will be found to
agree. The energy by which men prosper is fortified by nothing so much
as by the lofty spirit which scorns to prosper through abandonment of

I have been called by the subjects here discussed to speak much of the
evils of the times, and the dangers of the country; and in treating of
these a writer is almost necessarily betrayed into what may seem a tone
of despondence. His anxiety to save his country from crime or calamity,
leads him to use unconsciously a language of alarm which may excite the
apprehension of inevitable misery. But I would not infuse such fears. I
do not sympathize with the desponding tone of the day. It may be that
there are fearful woes in store for this people; but there are many
promises of good to give spring to hope and effort; and it is not wise
to open our eyes and ears to ill omens alone. It is to be lamented that
men who boast of courage in other trials, should shrink so weakly from
public difficulties and dangers, and should spend in unmanly reproaches,
or complaints, the strength which they ought to give to their country's
safety. But this ought not to surprise us in the present case: for
our lot, until of late, has been singularly prosperous, and great
prosperity enfeebles men's spirits, and prepares them to despond when it
shall have passed away. The country, we are told, is "ruined." What! the
country ruined, when the mass of the population have hardly retrenched
a luxury! We are indeed paying, and we ought to pay, the penalty of
reckless extravagance, of wild and criminal speculation, of general
abandonment to the passion for sudden and enormous gains. But how are
we ruined? Is the kind, nourishing earth about to become a cruel
step-mother? Or is the teeming soil of this magnificent country sinking
beneath our feet? Is the ocean dried up? Are our cities and villages,
our schools and churches, in ruins? Are the stout muscles which have
conquered sea and land, palsied? Are the earnings of past years
dissipated, and the skill which gathered them forgotten? I open my eyes
on this ruined country, and I see around me fields fresh with verdure,
and behold on all sides the intelligent countenance, the sinewy limb,
the kindly look, the free and manly bearing, which indicate any thing
but a fallen people. Undoubtedly we have much cause to humble ourselves
for the vices which our recent prosperity warmed into being, or rather
brought out from the depths of men's souls. But in the reprobation which
these vices awaken, have we no proof that the fountain of moral life in
the nation's heart is not exhausted. In the progress of temperance, of
education, and of religious sensibility, in our land, have we no
proof that there is among us an impulse towards improvement, which no
temporary crime or calamity can overpower.

After all, there is a growing intelligence in this community; there is
much domestic virtue, there is a deep working of Christianity; there is
going on a struggle of higher truths with narrow traditions, and of a
wider benevolence with social evils; there is a spirit of freedom, a
recognition of the equal rights of men; there are profound impulses
received from our history, from the virtues of our fathers, and
especially from our revolutionary conflict; and there is an indomitable
energy, which, after rearing an empire in the wilderness, is fresh for
new achievements.

There is one Duty of the Free States of which I have not spoken; it is
the duty of Faith in the intellectual and moral energies of the country,
in its high destiny, and in the good Providence which has guided it
through so many trials and perils to its present greatness. We indeed
suffer much, and deserve to suffer more. Many dark pages are to be
written in our history. But generous seed is still sown in this nation's
mind. Noble impulses are working here. We are called to be witnesses to
the world, of a freer, more equal, more humane, more enlightened social
existence, than has yet been known. May God raise us to a more thorough
comprehension of our work! May he give us faith in the good which we are
summoned to achieve! May he strengthen us to build up a prosperity not
tainted by slavery, selfishness, or any wrong; but pure, innocent,
righteous, and overflowing, through a just and generous intercourse, on
all the nations of the earth!

* * * * *

=_Edward Payson, 1733-1827,_= (Manual, p. 480.)

From the "Selections."


I know that those who hate and despise the religion of Jesus because it
condemns their evil deeds, have endeavored to deprive him of the honor
of communicating to mankind the glad tidings of life and immortality. I
know that they have dragged the mouldering carcass of paganism from the
grave, animated her lifeless form with a spark stolen from the sacred
altar, arrayed her in the spoils of Christianity, re-lighted her
extinguished taper at the torch of revelation, dignified her with the
name of natural religion, and exalted her in the temple of reason, as a
goddess, able, without divine assistance, to guide mankind to truth and
happiness. But we also know, that all her boasted pretensions are vain,
the offspring of ignorance, wickedness, and pride. We know that she is
indebted to that revelation which she presumes to ridicule, and contemn,
for every semblance of truth or energy which she displays. We know that
the most she can do, is to find men blind and leave them so; and to
lead them still farther astray, in a labyrinth of vice, delusion, and
wretchedness. This is incontrovertibly evident, both from past and
present experience; and we may defy her most eloquent advocates to
produce a single instance in which she has enlightened or reformed
mankind. If, as is often asserted, she is able to guide us in the path
of truth and happiness, why has she ever suffered her votaries to
remain a prey to vice and ignorance. Why did she not teach the learned
Egyptians to abstain from worshiping their leeks and onions? Why not
instruct the polished Greeks to renounce their sixty thousand gods?
Why not persuade the enlightened Romans to abstain from adoring their
deified murderers? Why not prevail on the wealthy Phoenicians to refrain
from sacrificing their infants to Saturn? Or, if it was a task beyond
her power to enlighten the ignorant multitude, reform their barbarous
and abominable superstitions, and teach them that they were immortal
beings, why did she not, at least, instruct their philosophers in the
great doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which they so earnestly
labored in vain to discover? They enjoyed the light of reason and
natural religion, in its fullest extent, yet so far were they from
ascertaining the nature of our future and eternal existence, that
they--could not determine whether we should exist at all Bevon the
grave; nor could all their advantages preserve them from the grossest
errors, and the most unnatural crimes.

* * * * *

=_Joseph S. Buckminster, 1784-1812._= (Manual, p. 480.)

From the "Sermons."


Look back, my hearers, upon your lives, and observe the numerous
opinions that you have adopted and discarded, the numerous attachments
you have formed and forgotten, and recollect how imperceptible were
the revolutions of your sentiments, how quiet the changes of your
affections. Perhaps, even now, your minds may be passing through some
interesting processes, your pursuits may be taking some new direction,
and your character may soon exhibit to the world some unexpected
transformation. Compare with this the spiritual regeneration of the
heart. So is every one that is born of the Spirit. Perhaps the following
may not be an imperfect description of the process that takes place in
a mind which is the subject of a radical conversion. The motion of the
wind is unseen, its effects are visible; the trees bend and fields are
laid waste; though the altering sentiments and affections are unnoticed,
the altered character obtrudes itself upon our observation. Truths
before contemplated without concern, now seize the mind with a grasp
too firm to be shaken. The world which is to succeed the present is no
longer a subject of accidental thought, of wavering belief, or lifeless
speculation; a region to which no tie binds us, and which no curiosity
leads us to explore. To the regenerated mind, the character and
condition of man appears in a new, and interesting light. To a being
whose existence has but just commenced, death is only a boundary, a
line, that marks off the first, the smallest portion of existence.
Earth with her retinue of allurements, her band of fascinating
syrens, exclaims, "We have lost our hold on this man! He is no longer
ours!" Religion welcomes her new adherent; she beckons him to turn his
steps into a new,--a pleasanter path; and God himself looks down from
heaven with complacency and love, illuminating his track by the light
of his countenance, marking the first step he takes in religion, and
supporting him by the staff of his grace,--the aid of his Holy Spirit.

The first objects that engage the dawning mind of the child are objects
of sense. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It is a selfish,
sensual creature, ignorant of its Creator, of its destination;
uninclined to the purity, the spirituality, the power of religion;
alienated from the life of God, the life of the soul. Unrenewed by the
influence of religious truth, undirected by the guiding hand of an
Almighty Father, how shall such a creature reach the regions of immortal
bliss? Is it enthusiasm, is it folly, is it hypocrisy, to say to such, a
creature, "You must be born again before you can see the kingdom of
God?" Is that Redeemer to be disclaimed who offers you his divine aid to
form anew your character, to exalt your affections, to enlighten your
dreary and desolate understanding?

* * * * *

=_Nathaniel W. Taylor[9] 1781-1871._=

From the "Lectures on the Moral Government of God."


The argument from _the moral nature_ of man is made still more
impressive by the superiority of its design and object. If there is no
existence for man beyond the present state, what can we suppose to be
the design of his Creator in forming him a moral being? What powers,
what capacities are involved in his nature! What capacity to enjoy, and
what power to impart happiness to others! Who can reflect on the nature
of such a creature, his intelligence, his susceptibility, his will, his
conscience, the dignity, the excellence of which he is capable, the
moral victories and triumphs he may win, his fitness to hold on his way
with archangels, strong in advancing all that good which infinite wisdom
could devise, and infinite benevolence could love, the graces with which
he may be adorned, and the beatitudes with which he may be blessed,
and not believe that he is made to be one with the God who has created
him--a partaker of his blessedness, a companion of his eternity.

If we consider what an almost total failure there is, even on the
part of every good man, to attain in any respect the great end of his
creation; how weak in resolution and feeble in heart--how little success
in subduing his passions and governing his temper--how much of life is
spent before he even begins to live in obedience to the demands of
duty and of conscience--how remote he is from the uniform and settled
tranquility of perfect virtue--what dissatisfaction he feels with, the
present, unappeased by all the world can offer--what an Impatience and
disgust with the littleness of all he finds--what an ever-restless
aspiration after nobler and higher things--what anticipations and hopes
from futurity never realized, here on earth--how does our spirit labor
under a sense of the incongruity between his attainments and his powers!
and, unless there is a future state, what an insignificance is imparted
to all that can be called virtue here on earth, and also to man himself!

[Footnote 9: An eminent Congregational divine, long professor of
theology in Tale College, and distinguished by the vigor and originality
of his thinking.]

* * * * *

=_Edward Hitchcock, 1793-1804._= (Manual, p. 532.)

From "The Religion of Geology."


My second argument in proof of the divine benevolence is derived from
the disturbed, broken, and overturned condition of the earth's crust.

To the casual observer the rocks have the appearance of being lifted up,
shattered, and overturned; but it is only the geologist who knows
the vast extent of this disturbance. He never finds crystalline,
non-fossiliferous rocks which have not been more or less removed from
their original position. The older fossiliferous strata exhibit almost
equal evidence of the operation of a powerful disturbing force, though
sometimes found in their original horizontal position. The newer rocks
have experienced less of this agency, though but few of them have not
been elevated or dislocated.

If these strata had remained horizontal, as they were originally
deposited, it is obvious that all the valuable ores, minerals, and
rocks, which man could not have discovered by direct excavation,
must have remained forever unknown to him. Now, man has very seldom
penetrated the rocks below the depth of half a mile, and rarely so deep
as that; whereas, by the elevations, dislocations, and overturnings
that have been described, he obtains access to all deposits of useful
substances that lie within fifteen or twenty miles of the surface; and
many are thus probably brought to light from a greater depth. He is
indebted, then, to this disturbing agency for nearly all the useful
metals, coal, rock salt, marble, gypsum, and other useful minerals;
and when we consider how necessary these substances are to civilized
society, who will doubt that it was a striking act of benevolence which
thus introduced disturbance, dislocation, and apparent ruin into the
earth's crust?

* * * * *

=_John P. Durbin,[10] 1800._=

From "Observations in the East."


For two hours we ascended this wild, narrow pass, enclosed between
stupendous granite cliffs, whose debris encumbered the defile, often
rendering the passage difficult and dangerous. Escaping from the pass,
we crossed the head of a basin-like plain, which declined to the
south-west, and ascending gradually, gloomy, precipitous, mountain
masses rose to view on either hand, with detached snow-beds lying in
their clefts. The caravan moved slowly, and apparently with a more
solemn, measured tread. The Bedouins became serious and silent, and
looked steadily before them, as if to catch the first glimpse of some
revered object. The space before us gradually expanded, when suddenly
Tualeb, pointing to a black, perpendicular cliff, whose two riven and
rugged summits rose some twelve or fifteen hundred feet directly in
front of us, exclaimed, _"Gebel Mousa!"_ How shall I describe the effect
of that announcement? Not a word was spoken by Moslem or Christian, but
slowly and silently we advanced into the still expanding plain, our eyes
immovably fixed on the frowning precipices of the stern and desolate
mountain. We were doubtless on the plain where Israel encamped at the
giving of the law, and that grand and gloomy height before us was Sinai,
on which God descended in fire, and the whole mountain was enveloped In
smoke, and shook under the tread of the Almighty, while his presence was
proclaimed by the long, loud peals of repeated thunder, above which
the blast of the trumpet was heard waxing loader and louder, and
reverberating amid the stern and gloomy mountain heights around; and
then God spoke with Moses.

[Footnote 10: A native of Kentucky; is deemed one of the most eloquent
divines in the Methodist church.]

* * * * *

=_Leonard Bacon, 1802._= (Manual, p, 480.)

From a "Missionary Sermon."


The time is to come when the world will be filled with the knowledge,
the fear, and the praise of God Not always will war deluge the earth
with fire and blood. Not always will idolatry offend the heavens with
its abominations. Not always will despotism, political and spiritual,
national and domestic, degrade and corrupt the masses of mankind. Not
always will superstition, on the one hand, and infidelity, on the other,
reject and despise the blessed revelation of forgiveness for sinners
through Jesus, the Lamb of God. Not always will cold philosophy, and
erratic enthusiasm, and fanaticism fierce and malignant, conspire to
corrupt and pervert the gospel itself, turning even the streams from the
fountain of life into waters of bitterness and poison. No, no; the time
will come when the sun, in his daily journey round the renovated world,
shall waken with his morning beam in every human dwelling the voice of
joyful, thankful, spiritual worship. Then shall the boundless soul of
Immanuel, who once travailed in the agony of the world's redemption, "be
satisfied" with his victories over death and sin. The ransomed of the
Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and with garlands of
everlasting joy; and from the earth, no longer accursed for the sake of
man, sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

* * * * *

From the New Englander.


What wealth can be created without capital? Robinson Crusoe, on his
lonely island, was a capitalist as well as a laborer and a land-holder.
Put him down there without any capital--simply a naked, featherless,
two-legged and two-handed, animal, without clothes, without a gun or a
fish-hook, without hoe, or hatchet, or knife, or rusty nail, without a
particle of food to keep him from fainting, and what will become of him?
He gathers perhaps some wild fruits from the bushes; he picks up perhaps
some shell-fish from the water's edge; he surprises a fawn or a kid, and
throttles it and tears it to pieces with his fingers; he kindles a fire
perhaps by rubbing two dry sticks together till they ignite with the
friction; and so he keeps himself alive for a few days; but how little
progress does he make! But let him by any means have a little to begin
with in the shape of implements and materials; give him an axe or a
spade, a jack-knife, or only a fragment of an iron hoop, give him a gill
of seed wheat, or a single potato, or no more than a grain of maize, for
planting; and how soon will his condition be changed! He has begun to
be, even in this small way, a capitalist; and his labor, drawing
something from the past, begins to reach into the future. Instead of
spending all his time and strength in a constant scratching for the food
of to-day, how soon will he have a blanket of skins, and a hut, and a
garden in which he is preparing to-day the food of future months. Give
him now a little more capital; let him have the means of stocking his
farm with some sort of domestic animals; give him only a steer and a
heifer, or even a pair of goats, and how soon will he begin to be rich.

* * * * *

=_James W. Alexander, 1804-1859._= (Manual, p. 480.)

From his "Discourses on Christian Faith and Practice."


In surveying the past, we observe a beautiful fitness and an enchanting
variety in the materials which have been already built into that part
of the edifice which has thus far been reared. How unlike the corps
of prophets to the corps of apostles; and how unlike the several
individuals of each. We have Scripture authority for placing these
among the most honorable and sustaining parts of the fabric, near the
corner-stone: for we are "built upon the foundation of the apostles and
prophets." Isaiah with his evangelic clarion. Jeremiah with his pastoral
reed of sorrows, and David with his many-voiced harp, sometimes loud in
notes of triumph, and sometimes subdued to the voice of weeping, stand
out with a marked individuality which becomes the more surprising, the
more nearly we examine the distinctive features. They may be likened
to those immense but goodly stones, carried up in courses, along the
precipitous side of the valley, to form the basis for the temple of
Solomon. The twelve apostles, including the last, and humanly speaking,
the greatest, though brethren, how unlike. Who for an instant, could
mistake Paul for Peter, or either of them for John. They occupy salient
angles of the great foundation, and lie nearest to the corner-stone,
elect and precious. Some of their brethren, though not visible in the
front which meets the eye, may have done equal service in the bearing
up of the mass. Martyrs and confessors found their place, in succeeding
ages, as the wall advanced; some as glorious for ornament as strong for
use. When love needed a signal display, amidst the blood of martyrdom,
we see it immortalized in an Ignatius and a Polycarp. When stalking
heresy needed a front of steel to stand unmoved against all its columns,
we find an "Athanasius against the world." When the language of
Greece is to be elevated to new dignity by conveying the wonders of
Christianity, we hear the golden eloquence of a Basil and a Chrysostom.
When Roman philosophy had died out of the world, we behold it revived in
an Augustine, the father of the fathers. Later down in ages, we catch
glimpses even amidst Romish corruptions of a Bernard and a Kempis. The
note of alarm is given to a sleeping carnal church, first by Wicliff,
Huss, and Jerome, then by Zwingle, Luther, Calvin, and Knox.

* * * * *

=_Martin John Spaulding,[11] 1810-1872._=

From "Sketches of the Early Catholic Missions in Kentucky."


The early Catholic emigrants to Kentucky, in common with their brethren
of other denominations, had to endure many privations and hardships.
As we may well conceive, there were few luxuries to be found in the
wilderness, in the midst of which they had fixed their new habitations.
They often suffered even for the most indispensable necessaries of life.
To obtain salt, they had to travel many miles to the licks, through a
country infested with savages; and they were often obliged to remain
there for several days, until they could procure a supply.

There were then no regular roads in Kentucky. The forests were filled
with a luxuriant undergrowth, thickly interspersed with the cane, and the
whole closely interlaced with the wild pea-vine. These circumstances
rendered them nearly impassable; and almost the only chance of effecting
a passage through this vegetable wilderness, was by following the paths
or traces made by the herds of buffalo and other wild beasts. Luckily
these traces were numerous, especially in the vicinity of the licks,
which the buffalo were in the habit of frequenting, to drink the salt
water, or lick the earth impregnated with salt.

The new colonists resided in log-cabins, rudely constructed, with no
glass in the windows, with floors of dirt, or, in the better sort of
dwellings, of puncheons of split timber, roughly hewed with the axe.
After they had worn out the clothing brought with them from the old
settlements, both men and women were under the necessity of wearing
buckskin or homespun apparel. Such a thing as a store was not known
in Kentucky for many years: and the names of broadcloth, ginghams
and calicoes, were never even so much as breathed. Moccasins made of
buckskin, supplied the place of our modern shoes, blankets thrown over
the shoulder, answered the purpose of our present fashionable coats and
cloaks; and handkerchiefs tied around the head served instead of hats
and bonnets. A modern fashionable bonnet would have been a matter of
real wonderment in those days of unaffected simplicity.

The furniture of the cabins was of the same primitive character. Stools
were used instead of chairs: the table was made of slabs of timber,
rudely put together. Wooden vessels and platters supplied the place
of our modern plates and china-ware; and a "tin cup was an article of
delicate furniture, almost as rare as an iron-fork[12]," The beds were
either placed on the floor, or on bedsteads of puncheons, supported by
forked pieces of timber, driven into the ground, or resting on pins
let into auger-holes in the sides of the cabin. Blankets, and bear and
buffalo-skins, constituted often the principal bed-covering.

One of the chief resources for food was the chase. All kinds of game
were then very abundant; and when the hunter chanced, to have a goodly
supply of ammunition, his fortune was made for the year. The game was
plainly dressed, and served up on wooden platters, with corn-bread, and
the Indian dish-the well known _hominy_. The corn was ground with great
difficulty, on the laborious hand-mills; for mills of other descriptions
were then, and for many years afterwards, unknown in Kentucky.

Such was the simple manner of life led by our "pilgrim fathers." They
had fewer luxuries, but perhaps were, withal, more happy than their more
fastidious descendants. Hospitality was not then an empty name; every
log-cabin was freely thrown open to all who chose to share in the best
cheer its inmates could afford. The early settlers of Kentucky were
bound together by the strong ties of common hardships and dangers--to
say nothing of other bonds of union--and they clung together with great
tenacity. On the slightest alarm of Indian invasion, they all made
common cause, and flew together to the rescue. There was less
selfishness, and more generous chivalry; less bickering, and more
cordial charity, then, than at present; notwithstanding all our boasted

[Footnote 11: Born in Kentucky, and long eminent as a controversial
writer and a Prelate of the Roman Catholic church. His "sketches" give
much interesting information respecting the early history of that church
at the West.]

[Footnote 12: Marshall--History of Kentucky.]

* * * * *

=_James Henry Thornwell,[13] 1811-1862._=

From the "Discourses on Truth."


There is a double tendency in every voluntary determination, one to
propagate itself, the other to weaken or support, according to its own
moral quality, the general principle of virtue. Every sin, therefore,
imparts a proclivity to other acts of the same sort, and disturbs and
deranges, at the same time, the whole moral constitution, it tends to
the formation of special habits, and to the superinducing of a general
debility of principle, which lays a man open to defeat from every
species of temptation. The extent to which a single act shall produce
this double effect, depends upon its intensity, its intensity depends
upon the fullness and energy of will which will enter into it, and the
energy of will depends upon the strength of the motives resisted. An
act, therefore, which concludes an earnest and protracted conflict,
which has not been reached without a stormy debate in the soul, which
marks the victory of evil over the love of character, sensibility to
shame, the authority of conscience and the fear of God, an act of this
sort concentrates in itself the essence of all the single determinations
which preceded it, and possesses power to generate a habit and to
derange the constitution, equal to that which the whole series of
resistances to duty, considered as so many individual instances of
transgression, is fitted to impart. By one such act a man is impelled
with an amazing momentum in the path of evil. He lives years of sin in a
day or an hour. It is always a solemn crisis when the first step is to
be taken in a career of guilt, against which nature and education,
or any other strong influences protest. The results are unspeakably
perilous when a man has to fight his way into crime. The victory creates
an epoch in his life. He is from that hour, without a miracle of grace,
a lost man. The earth is strewed with wrecks of character which were
occasioned by one fatal determination at a critical point in life, when
the will stood face to face with duty, and had to make its decision
deliberately and intensely for evil.

[Footnote 13: A Presbyterian divine, and professor of Theology, in South
Carolina, his native state: a distinguished theological writer of the

* * * * *

=_Charles P. McIlvaine,[14] 1799-1873._=

From a Sermon on the Resurrection of Christ.


Here we remark, in general, that his resurrection was the great sign
and crowning miracle to which our Lord, all the way of his ministry, to
the day of his crucifixion, referred both friends and opposers, for the
final confirmation of all his claims and doctrines. He staked all on the
promise that he would rise from death. The Jews asked of him a sign,
that they might believe. He answered, "There shall no sign be given, but
the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and nights
in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three
nights in the heart of the earth." Thus on that single; event, the
resurrection of Christ, the whole of Christianity, as it all centres in,
and depends on him, was made to hinge. Redemption waited the evidence
of resurrection. Nothing was to be accounted as sealed and finally
certified, till Jesus should deliver himself from the power of death.
All of the gospel, all the hopes it brings to us, all the promises with
which it comforts us, were taken for their final verdict, as true or
false, sufficient or worthless, to the door of that jealously-guarded
and stone-sealed sepulchre, waiting the settlement of the question,
_will he rise?_

But an event so momentous was not left to but one class of evidences.
There was a way by which thousands at once were made to receive as
powerful assurance that Christ was risen, as if they had seen him in his
risen body. Jesus, before his death, had made a great promise to his
disciples, to be fulfilled by him only after his death and resurrection;
a promise impossible to be fulfilled if his resurrection failed; because
then, not only would he be under the power of death, but all his claim
to divine power would be brought to nought. It was the promise of the
Holy Ghost. "When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from
the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father,
he shall testify of me, he shall glorify me."

It was after he had "shown himself alive after his passion, by many
infallible proofs, being seen of his disciples forty days, and speaking
to them of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God," that the day
for the accomplishment of that promise came. The day was that which
commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. It was now to
witness the going forth of the gospel from Jerusalem. I need not relate
to you the wonderful events of that day of Pentecost, the coming of the
Holy Ghost with the "sound as of a rushing mighty wind" that "filled all
the house;" the cloven tongues "like as of fire," which sat on each of
the disciples; the evidence that it was the Spirit of God which had then
come, given in the sudden and astonishing change which immediately came
over the apostles, transforming them from weak and timid men to the
boldest and strongest; in the change which suddenly came upon the power
of their ministry, converting it from the weak agent it had previously
been in contact with all the unbelief and wickedness of men into an
instrument so mighty that out of a congregation of Jews of all nations,
many of whom had probably partaken in the crucifixion of Christ, three
thousand that day were bowed down to repentance and subdued to his

Thus was the day of Pentecost, a great day of testimony to the life and
divine power, and consequently the resurrection of Christ. Each of those
who heard the divers tongues of the ministry of that day, each of the
three thousand, was a witness of the same.

[Footnote 14: A native of New Jersey; in early life Chaplain and
Professor of Moral Philosophy in the Military Academy at West Point
and long time Bishop of Ohio in the Protestant Episcopal Church. His
Treatise on the Evidences of Christianity has great merit, and his
theological and controversial writings are in high esteem: greatly
venerated for his truly evangelical character.]

* * * * *

=_George W. Bethune, 1805-1862._= (Manual, p. 487.)

From the "Expository Lectures on the Heidelberg Catechism."


Our Christian life is a course through, this world, which we are to run
looking unto Jesus, at the right hand of the throne of God. The mark of
the prize of the high calling is in heaven. Nay, it is the hope of
heaven which keeps our souls surely and steadfastly. No matter what
other proofs of his being a Christian, a man may think that he has--what
moral virtue, what present zeal, what reverence for God and sacred
things, what kindness and faithfulness to his fellow-men,--if he have
not this longing thirst for heaven, he should doubt his Christianity.
The regenerate soul can be satisfied with nothing short of awaking with
the divine likeness. We cannot pray aright without hoping for heaven,
for there only will the askings of a pious heart be fully granted. We
cannot give thanks aright without hoping for heaven, for there are the
consummate blessings of the Redeemer's purchase. We cannot serve God
aright without hoping for heaven, for there only is our faithfulness to
be acknowledged, and our wages paid. Our hopes should be submissive, and
our longing patient; we should be willing to remain so long as God has
work for us here, but ever with a yearning sense that to depart and be
with Christ is far better. Grace in the heart is an ascensive power,
ever lifting its desires upward and upward, and so above the temptations
of time and earth. We can never drive this world out of our hearts, but
by bringing heaven into them. And heaven meets our affections when they
ascend, as it met Jesus; and he who so walks, climbing the arduous way
from the Valley of Baca to the temple on the mount (for we must walk
until we get our wings of angelic strength), will so approach the
heavenly threshold, as, like holy Enoch, he can cross it at a step.

Oh, dear friends, what an advantage have they whose Jesus is in heaven,
over those first disciples when they had him with them personally on
earth. They were for building tabernacles on Tabor, looking for a
temporal kingdom, walking by sight and not by faith; but our Lord now
above, draws up to a better, higher, holier home, our aims, our desires,
and our love.

* * * * *

From "A Lecture:" Philadelphia, 1840.


It is well for those who have sufficient wealth, to bring among us good
works of foreign or ancient masters, especially if they allow free
access to them for students and copyists. The true gems are, however,
rare, and very costly. A single masterpiece would swallow up the whole
sum which even the richest of our countrymen would be willing to devote
in the way of paintings. I hope, however, soon to see the day when
there shall be a fondness for making collections of works by _American
artists_, or those resident among us. Such collections, judiciously
made, would supply the best history of the rise and progress of the arts
in the United States. They would, more than any other means, stimulate
artists to a generous emulation. They would reflect high honor upon
their possessors, as men who love Art for its own sake, and are willing
to serve and encourage it. They would highly gratify the foreigner of
taste who comes curious to observe the working of our institutions and
our habits of life. He does not cross the sea to find Vandykes and
Murillos. He can enjoy them at home; but he wishes to discover what the
children of the West can do in following or excelling European example.
The expense of such a collection could not be very great. A few
thousands of dollars, less than is often lavished upon the French plate
glass and lustres, damask hangings, and Turkey carpets of a pair of
parlors (more than which few of our houses can boast), would cover their
walls with good specimens of American art, and do far more credit to the
taste and heart of the owner.

* * * * *

=_William R. Williams,[15] 1804._= (Manual, p. 480.)

From "The Lectures on the Lord's Prayer."


We are warranted in praying to be brought through, temptation, when it
is not of our own seeking, but of _God's sending_. If we walk without
care and without vigilance, if we acknowledge not God in our ways, and
take counsel at Ekron, and not at Zion,--leaving the Bible unread, and
the closet unvisited,--if the sanctuary and the Sabbath lose their
ancient hold upon us, and we then go on frowardly in the way of our own
eyes, and after the counsel of our own heart, we have reason to tremble.
A conscience quick and sensitive, under the presence of the indwelling
Spirit, is like the safety-lamp of the miner, a ready witness and a
mysterious guardian against the deathful damps, that unseen, but fatal,
cluster around our darkling way. To neglect prayer and watching, is to
lay aside that lamp, and then, though the eye see no danger and the
ear hear no warning, spiritual death may be gathering around us her
invisible vapors, stored with ruin, and rife for a sudden explosion. We
are _tempting God_, and shall _we_ be delivered?

And if this be so with, the negligent professor of religion, is it not
applicable also to the openly careless, who never acknowledged Christ's
claims to the heart and the life?

With an evil nature, and a mortal body, and a brittle and brief tenure
of earth, you are traversing perilous paths. Had you God for your
friend, your case would be far other than it is. Peril and snare might
still beset you; but you would confront and traverse them, as the
Hebrews of old did the weedy bed of the Red Sea, its watery walls
guarding their dread way, the pillar of light the vanguard, and the
pillar of cloud the rearguard of their mysterious progress, the ark
and the God of the ark piloting and defending them.... You are like a
presumptuous and unskilful traveller, passing under the arch of the
waters of Niagara. The falling cataract thundering above you; a
slippery, slimy rock beneath your gliding feet; the smoking, roaring
abyss yawning beside you; the imprisoned winds beating back your
breath; the struggling daylight coming but mistily to the bewildered
eyes,--what is the terror of your condition if your guide, in whose
grasp your fingers tremble, be malignant, and treacherous, and suicidal,
determined on destroying your life at the sacrifice of his own? He
assures you that he will bring you safely through upon the other side of
the fall. And SUCH is SATAN. Lost himself, and desperate, he is set on
swelling the number of his compeers in shame, and woe, and ruin.

[Footnote 15: A Baptist divine, born in New York city, where he has long
been settled over a church; eminent for general scholarship and literary

* * * * *

=_George B. Cheever, 1807-_=(Manual, pp. 480, 490.)

From "The Wanderings of a Pilgrim."

=_41._= MONT BLANC.

It is like those heights of ambition so much coveted in the world, and
so glittering in the distance, where, if men live to reach them, they
cannot live upon them. They may have all the appliances and means of
life, as these French _savants_ carried their tents to pitch upon the
summit of Mont Blanc; but the peak that looked so warm and glittering in
the sunshine, and of such a rosy hue in the evening rays, was too deadly
cold, and swept by blasts too fierce and cutting; they were glad to
relinquish the attempt, and come down. The view of the party a few hours
below the summit, was a sight of deep interest. So was the spectacle of
the immeasurable ridges and fields, gulfs and avalanches, heights and
depths, unfathomable chasms and impassable precipices, of ice and snow,
of such dazzling whiteness, of such endless extent, in such gigantic

* * * * *

From "Lectures on the Pilgrim's Progress."


On the other hand, those who do not love God, cannot expect to find in
his Word a system of truth that will please their own hearts. A sinful
heart can have no right views of God, and of course will have defective
views of his Word: for sin distorts the judgment, and overturns the
balance of the mind on all moral subjects, far more than even the best
of men are aware of. There is, there can be, no true reflection of God
or of his Word, from the bosom darkened with guilt, from the heart at
enmity with him. That man will always look at God through the medium of
his own selfishness, and at God's Word through the coloring of his own
wishes, prejudices, and fears.

A heart that loves the Saviour, and rejoices in God as its Sovereign,
reflects back in calmness the perfect view of his character, which
it finds in his Word. Behold on the borders of a mountain lake, the
reflection of the scene above, received into the bosom of the lake
below! See that crag projecting, the wild flowers that, hang out from
it, and bend as if to gaze at their own forms in the water beneath.
Observe that plot of green grass above, that tree springing from the
cleft, and over all, the quiet sky reflected in all its softness and
depth from the lake's steady surface. Does it not seem as if there were
two heavens. How perfect the reflection! And just as perfect and clear,
and free from confusion and perplexity, is the reflection of God's
character, and of the truths of his Word, from the quietness of the
heart that loves the Saviour, and rejoices in his supreme and sovereign

Now look again. The wind is on the lake, and drives forward its waters
in crested and impetuous waves, angry and turbulent. Where is that sweet
image? There is no change above: the sky is as clear, the crag projects
as boldly, the flowers look just as sweet in their unconscious
simplicity; but below, banks, trees, and skies are all mingled in
confusion. There is just as much confusion in every unholy mind's idea
of God and his blessed Word. God and his truth are always clear, always
the same, but the passions of men fill their own hearts with obscurity
and turbulence; their depravity is itself obscurity; and through all
this perplexity and wilful ignorance, they contend that God is just such
a being as they behold him, and that they are very good beings in his
sight. We have heard of a defect in the bodily vision, that represents
all objects upside down; that man would certainly be called insane,
who, under the influence of this misfortune, should so blind his
understanding, as to believe and assert that men walked on their heads,
and that the trees grew downwards. Now, is it not a much greater
insanity for men who in their hearts do not love God, and in their lives
perhaps insult and disobey him, to give credit to their own perverted
misrepresentations of him and of his Word? As long as men will continue
to look at God's truth through the medium of their own pride and
prejudice, so long will they have mistaken views of God and eternity, so
long will their own self righteousness look better to them for a resting
place, than the glorious righteousness of Him, who of God is made unto
us our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption.

* * * * *

=_Horace Bushnell, 1804-_= (Manual, p, 480.)

From the "Sermons for the New Life."


The Bible calls the good man's life a light, and it is the nature of
light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world
unconsciously with its beams. So the Christian shines, it would say, not
so much because he will, as because he is a luminous object. Not that
the active influence of Christians is made of no account in the figure,
but only that this symbol of light has its propriety in the fact
that their unconscious influence is the chief influence, end has the
precedence in its power over the world. And yet there are many who will
be ready to think that light is a very tame and feeble instrument,
because it is noiseless. An earthquake for example, is to them a much
more vigorous, and effective agency. Hear how it comes thundering
through the solid foundations of nature. It rocks a whole continent. The
noblest works of man--cities, monuments, and temples--are in a moment
levelled to the ground or swallowed down the opening gulfs of fire....
But lot the light of the morning cease, and return no more: let the
hour of morning come, and bring with it no dawn; the outcries of a
horror-stricken world fill the air, and make, as it were, the darkness
audible. The beasts go wild and frantic at the loss of the sun. The
vegetable growths turn pale and die. A. chill creeps on, and frosty
winds begin to howl across the freezing earth. Colder and yet colder
is the night. The vital blood, at length, of all creatures stops,
congealed. Down goes the frost toward the earth's centre. The heart of
the sea is frozen; nay, the earthquakes are themselves frozen in,
under their fiery caverns. The very globe itself, too, and all the
fellow-planets that have lost their sun, are become mere balls of ice,
swinging silent in the darkness. Such is the light which revisits us in
the silence of the morning. It make no shock or scar. It would not wake
an infant in his cradle. And yet it perpetually new creates the world,
rescuing it each morning as a prey from night and chaos. So the
Christian is a light, even "the light of the world;" and we must not
think that, because he shines insensibly or silently, as a mere luminous
object, he is therefore powerless. The greatest powers are ever those
which lie back of the little stirs and commotions of nature: and I
verily believe that the insensible influences of good men are as much
more potent than what I have called their voluntary or active, as the
great silent powers of nature are of greater consequence than her little
disturbances and tumults. The law of human influence is deeper than many
suspect, and they lose sight of it altogether. The outward endeavors
made by good men or bad, to sway others, they call their influence;
whereas it is, in fact, but a fraction, and in most cases, but a very
small fraction, of the good or evil that flows out of their lives.

* * * * *

From "Christ and His Salvation."


Once more the analogies of the sleep of Jesus suggest the Christian
right, and even duty, of those relaxations, which are necessary, at
times, to loosen the strain of life and restore the freshness of its
powers. Christ, as we have seen, actually tore himself away from
multitudes waiting to be healed, that he might refit himself by sleep.
He had a way, too, of retiring often to mountain solitudes and by-places
on the sea, partly for the resting of his exhausted energies. Sometimes
also he called his disciples off in this manner, saying, "come ye
yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile." Not that every
disciple is, of course, to retire into solitudes and desert places, when
he wants recreation. Jesus was obliged to seek such places to escape
the continual press of the crowd. In our day, a waking rest of travel,
change of scene, new society, is permitted, and when it is a privilege
assumed by faithful men, to recruit them for their works of duty they
have it by God's sanction, and even as a part of the sound economy of
life. Going after a turn of gaiety, or dissipation, not after Christian
rest, or going after rest only because you are wearied and worried by
selfish overdoings, troubled and spent by toils that serve an idol, is
a very different matter. The true blessing of rest is on you, only when
you carry a good mind with you, able to look back on works of industry
and faithfulness, suspended for a time, that you may do them more
effectually. Going in such a frame, you shall rest awhile, as none but
such can rest. Nature will dress herself in beauty to your eye, calm
thoughts will fan you with their cooling breath, and the joy of the Lord
will be strength to your wasted brain and body. Ah, there is no luxury
of indulgence to be compared with this true Christian rest! Money will
not buy it, shows and pleasures can not woo its approach, no conjuration
of art, or contrived gaiety, will compass it even for an hour: but it
settles, like dew, unsought, upon the faithful servant of duty, bathing
his weariness and recruiting his powers for a new engagement in his
calling. Go ye thus apart and rest awhile if God permits.

* * * * *

=_Albert Taylor Bledsoe,[16] about 1809-_=

From "The Theodicy."


The argument of the atheist assumes, as we have seen, that a Being of
infinite power could easily prevent sin, and cause holiness to exist. It
assumes that it is possible, that it implies no contradiction, to create
an intelligent moral agent, and place It beyond all liability to sin.
But this is a mistake. Almighty power itself, we may say with, the most
profound reverence, cannot create such a being, and place it beyond the
possibility of sinning. If it could not sin, there would be no merit, no
virtue, in its obedience. That is to say, it would not be a moral agent
at all, but a machine merely. The power to do wrong, as well as to do
right, is included in the very idea of a moral and accountable agent,
and no such agent can possibly exist without being invested with such
a power. To suppose such an agent to be created, and placed beyond all
liability to sin, is to suppose it to be what it is, and not what it is,
at one and the same time; it is to suppose a creature to be endowed with
a power to do wrong, and yet destitute of such a power, which is a plain
contradiction. Hence Omnipotence cannot create such a being, and deny to
it a power to do evil, or secure it against the possibility of sinning.

[Footnote 16: The most prominent among the living philosophical writers
of the South: at present editor of the Southern Review.]

* * * * *

=_Richard Fuller,[17] 1808-_=

From a Sermon.


Follow the adorable Jesus from scene to scene of ever deepening insult
and sorrow, tracked everywhere by spies hunting for the precious blood.
Behold his sacred face swollen with tears and stripes; and, last of all,
ascend Mount Calvary, and view there the amazing spectacle: earth and
hell gloating on the gashed form of the Lord of Glory; men and devils
glutting their malice in the agony of the Prince of Life; and all the
scattered rays of vengeance which would have consumed our guilty race,
converging and beating in focal intensity upon Him of whom the Eternal
twice exclaimed, in a voice from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased." After this, what are our emotions? Can we ever
be cold or faithless? No, my brethren, it is impossible, unless we
forget this Saviour, and lose sight of that cross on which he poured out
his soul for us.

That is an affecting passage in Roman history which records the death
of Manlius. At night, and on the Capitol, fighting hand to hand, had he
repelled the Gauls, and saved the city, when all seemed lost. Afterwards
he was accused; but the Capitol towered in sight of the forum where he
was tried, and, as he was about to be condemned, he stretched out his
hands, and pointed, weeping, to that arena of his triumph. At this the
people burst into tears, and the judges could not pronounce sentence.
Again the trial proceeded, but was again defeated; nor could he be
convicted until they had removed him to a low spot, from which the
Capitol was invisible. And behold my brethren, what I am saying. While
the cross is in view, vainly will earth and sin seek to shake the
Christian's loyalty and devotion; one look at that purple monument of
a love which alone, and when all was dark and lost, interposed for our
rescue, and their efforts will be baffled. Low must we sink, and blotted
from our hearts must be the memory of that deed, before we can become
faithless to the Redeemer's cause, and perfidious to his glory.

[Footnote 17: A Baptist divine of much distinction: a native of South
Carolina but long settled in Baltimore.]

* * * * *

=_Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-_= (Manual, p. 480.)

From the "Star Papers."


I was much affected by a head of Christ. Not that it met my ideal of
that sacred front, but because it took me in a mood that clothed it with
life and reality. For one blessed moment I was with the Lord. I know
him. I loved him. My eyes I could not close for tears. My poor tongue
kept silence; but my heart spoke, and I loved and adored. The amazing
circuit of one's thoughts in so short a period is wonderful. They circle
round through all the past, and up through the whole future; and both
the past and future are the present, and are one. For one moment there
arose a keen anguish, like a shooting pang, for that which I was; and I
thought my heart would break that I could bring but only such a nature
to my Lord; but in a moment, as quick as the flash of sunlight which
follows the shadow of summer clouds across the fields, there seemed to
spring out upon me from my Master a certainty of love so great and noble
as utterly to consume my unworth, and leave me shining bright, as if it
were impossible for Christ to love a heart without making it pure and
beautiful by the resting on it of that illuming affection, just as the
sun bathes into beauty the homeliest object when he looks full upon it.

* * * * *


But the indefatigable night repairs the desolation. New pictures supply
the waste ones. New cathedrals there are, new forests, fringed and
blossoming, new sceneries, and new races of extinct animals. We are rich
every morning, and poor every noon. One day with us measures the space
of two hundred years in kingdoms--a hundred years to build up, and a
hundred years to decay and destroy; twelve hours to overspread the
evanescent pane with glorious beauty, and twelve to extract and
dissipate the pictures.... Shall we not reverently and rejoicingly
behold in these morning pictures, wrought without color, and kissed upon
the window by the cold lips of Winter, another instance of that Divine
Beneficence of beauty which suffuses the heavens?

* * * * *

From "Lectures to Young Men."


The _necessity_ of amusement is admitted on all hands. There is an
appetite of the eye, of the ear, and of every sense, for which God has
provided the material. Gaiety of every degree, this side of puerile
levity, is wholesome to the body, to the mind, and to the morals. Nature
is a vast repository of manly enjoyments. The magnitude of God's works
is not less admirable than its exhilarating beauty. The rudest forms
have something of beauty; the ruggedest strength is graced with some
charm; the very pins, and rivets, and clasps of nature, are attractive
by qualities of beauty, more than is necessary for mere utility. The sun
could go down without gorgeous clouds; evening could advance without its
evanescent brilliance; trees might have flourished without symmetry;
flowers have existed without odor, and fruit without flavor. When I have
journeyed through forests, where ten thousand shrubs and vines exist
without apparent use; through prairies, whose undulations exhibit sheets
of flowers innumerable, and absolutely dazzling the eye with their
prodigality of beauty--beauty, not a tithe of which is ever seen by
man--I have said, it is plain that God is himself passionately fond of
beauty, and the _earth_ is his garden, as an _acre_ is man's. God has
made us like Himself, to be pleased by the universal beauty of the
world. He has made provision in nature, in society, and in the family,
for amusement and exhilaration enough to fill the heart with the
perpetual sunshine of delight.

Upon this broad earth, purfled with flowers, scented with odors,
brilliant in colors, vocal with echoing and re-echoing melody, I take
my stand against all demoralizing pleasure. Is it not enough that our
Father's house is so full of dear delights, that we must wander prodigal
to the swine-herd for husks, and to the slough for drink?--when the
trees of God's heritage bend over our head and solicit our hand to pluck
the golden fruitage, must we still go in search of the apples of Sodom,
outside fair and inside ashes.

Men shall crowd to the circus to hear clowns, and see rare feats of
horsemanship; but a bird may poise beneath the very sun, or flying
downward, swoop from the high heaven; then flit with graceful ease
hither and thither, pouring liquid song as if it were a perennial
fountain of sound--no man cares for that.

Upon the stage of life, the vastest tragedies are performing in every
act; nations pitching headlong to their final catastrophe; others,
raising their youthful forms to begin the drama of existence. The world
of society is as full of exciting interest, as nature is full of beauty.
The great dramatic throng of life is bustling along--the wise, the fool,
the clown, the miser, the bereaved, the broken-hearted. Life mingles
before us smiles and tears, sighs and laughter, joy and gloom, as the
spring mingles the winter-storm and summer-sunshine. To this vast
Theatre which God hath builded, where stranger plays are seen than ever
author writ, man seldom cares to come. When God dramatizes, when nations
act, or all the human kind conspire to educe the vast catastrophe, men
sleep and snore, and let the busy scene go on, unlocked, unthought
upon.... It is my object then, not to withdraw the young from pleasure,
but from unworthy pleasures; not to lessen their enjoyments, but to
increase them, by rejecting the counterfeit and the vile.

* * * * *

From "Norwood."


It was this union of seclusion and publicity that made Norwood a place
of favorite resort, through the summer, of artists, of languid scholars,
and of persons of quiet tastes. There was company for all that shunned
solitude, and solitude for all that were weary of company. Each house
was secluded from its neighbor. Yards and gardens full of trees and
shrubbery, the streets lined with venerable trees, gave the town at a
little distance the appearance of having been built in an orchard or a
forest-park. A few steps and you could be alone--a few steps too would
bring you among crowds. Where else could one watch the gentle conflict
between sounds and silence with such dreamy joy?--or make idleness seem
so nearly like meditation?--or more nimbly chase the dreams of night
with even brighter day-dreams, wondering every day what has become of
the day before, and each week where the week has gone, and in autumn
what has become of the summer, that trod so noiselessly that none knew
how swift were its footsteps! The town filled by July, and was not empty
again till late October.

There are but two perfect months in our year--June and October. People
from the city usually arrange to miss both. June is the month of
gorgeous greens; October, the month of all colors. June has the full
beauty of youth; October has the splendor of ripeness. Both of them are
out-of-door months. If the year has anything to tell you, listen now! If
these months teach the heart nothing, one may well shut up the book of
the year.

* * * * *

From "The Life of Jesus the Christ."


The angels of the oldest records are like the angels of the latest. The
Hebrew thought had moved through a vast arc of the infinite cycle of
truth, between the days when Abraham came from Ur of Chaldea, and the
times of our Lord's stay on earth. But there is no development in angels
of later over those of an earlier date. They were as beautiful, as
spiritual, as pure and noble, at the beginning as at the close of the
old dispensation. Can such creatures, transcending earthly experience,
and far out-running any thing in the life of man, be creations of the
rude ages of the human understanding? We could not imagine the Advent
stripped of its angelic lore. The dawn without a twilight, the sun
without clouds of silver and gold, the morning on the fields without
dew-diamonds,--but not the Saviour without his angels? They shine within
the Temple, they bear to the matchless mother a message which would have
been a disgrace from mortal lips, but which from theirs fell upon her
as pure as dew-drops upon the lilies of the plain of Esdraelon. They
communed with the Saviour in his glory of transfiguration, sustained
him in the anguish of the garden, watched at the tomb; and as they had
thronged the earth at his coming, so they seem to have hovered in the
air in multitudes at the hour of his ascension. Beautiful as they seem,
they are never mere poetic adornments. The occasions of their appearing
are grand. The reasons are weighty. Their demeanor suggests and befits
the highest conception of superior beings. These are the very elements
that a rude age could not fashion. Could a sensuous age invent an order
of beings, which, touching the earth from a heavenly height on its most
momentous occasions, could still, after ages of culture had refined
the human taste and moral appreciation, remain ineffably superior in
delicacy, in pure spirituality, to the demands of criticism? Their very
coming and going is not with earthly movement. They suddenly are seen
in the air as one sees white clouds round out from the blue sky, in
a summer's day, that melt back even while one looks upon them. They
vibrate between the visible and the invisible. They come without motion.
They go without flight. They dawn and disappear. Their words are few,
but the Advent Chorus yet is sounding its music through the world.

* * * * *

=_John McClintock,[18] 1814-1870._=

From a Sermon on "The Ground of Man's Love to God."


It is not too much to say that the only _true_ lover of nature, is he
that loves God in Christ. It is as with one standing in one of those
caves of unknown beauty of which travellers tell us. While it is dark,
nothing can be seen but the abyss, or at most, a faint glimmer of
ill-defined forms. But flash into it the light of a single torch, and
myriad splendors crowd upon the gaze of the beholder. He sees long-drawn
colonnades, sparkling with gems; chambers of beauty and glory open on
every hand, flashing back the light a thousand fold increased, and in
countless varied hues. So the sense of God's love in the heart gives an
eye for nature, and supplies the torch to illuminate its recesses of
beauty. For the ear that can hear them, ten thousand voices speak, and
all in harmony, the name of God! The sun, rolling in his majesty,--

"And with his tread, of thunder force,
Fulfilling his appointed course,"--

is but a faint and feeble image of the great central Light of the
universe. The spheres of heaven, in the perpetual harmony of their
unsleeping motion, swell the praise of God; the earth, radiant with
beauty, and smiling in joy, proclaims its Maker's love; and the

"Glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests,"--

as it murmurs on the shore, or foams with its broad billows over the
deep, declares its God; and even the tempests, that, in their "rising
wrath, sweep sea and sky," still utter the name of Him who rides upon
the whirlwind and directs the storm. In a word, the whole universe is
but a temple, with God for its deity, and the redeemed _man_ for its

[Footnote 18: Distinguished among the Methodist clergy for eloquence and
learning; a native of Pennsylvania.]

* * * * *

=_Noah Porter,[19] 1811-_=

From "The Science of Nature versus the Science of Man."


We contend at present only for the position that we cannot have a
science of nature which does not regard the spirit of man as a part of
nature. But is this all? Do man and nature exhaust the possibilities of
being? We cannot answer this question here. But we find suggestions from
the spectrum and the spectroscope which may be worth our heeding. The
materials with which we have to do in their most brilliant scientific
theories seem at first to overwhelm us with their vastness and
complexity. The hulks are so enormous, the forces are so mighty, the
laws are so wide-sweeping, and at times so pitiless, the distances are
so over-mastering, even the uses and beauties are so bewildering, that
we bow in mute and almost abject submission to the incomprehensible all;
of which we hesitate to affirm aught, except what has been manifest to
our observant senses and connected by our inseparable associations. We
forget what our overmastering thought has done in subjecting this
universe to its interpretations. Its vast distances have been
annihilated, for we have connected the distant with the near by the one
pervading force which Newton divined. We have analyzed the flame that
burns in our lamp, and the flame that burns in the sun, by the same
instrument,--connecting by a common affinity, at the same instant and
under the same eye, two agents, the farthest removed in place and the
most subtle in essence. As we have overcome distances, so we have
conquered time, reading the story of antecedent cycles with a confidence
equal to that with which we forecast the future ages. The philosopher
who penetrates the distant portions of the universe by the
_omnipresence_ of his scientific generalizations, who reads the secret
of the sun by the glance of his penetrating eye, has little occasion to
deny that all its forces may be mastered by a single all-knowing and
_omnipresent_ Spirit, and that its secrets can be read by one all-seeing
eye. The scientist who evolves the past in his confident thought, under
a few grand titles of generalized forces and relations, and who develops
and almost gives law to the future by his faith in the persistence of
force, has little reason to question the existence of an intellect
capable of deeper insight and larger foresight than his own, which can
grasp all the past and the future by an all-comprehending intelligence,
and can control its wants by a personal energy that is softened to
personal tenderness and love.

[Footnote 19: A Congregational divine, born in Connecticut, long
Professor of Metaphysics in Yale College, and writer of many critical
Essays and Reviews. His treatise on "The Human Intellect," is the most
elaborate American work upon Psychology.]

* * * * *

=_William Henry Milburn,[20] 1823-_=

From "Lectures."


The spoken eloquence of New England is for the most part from
manuscript. Her first settlers brought old-world forms, and fashions
from the old world, with them. Their preachers were set an appalling
distance from their congregations. Between the pulpit, perched far up
toward the ceiling, and the seats, was an awful abysmal depth. Above the
lofty desk was dimly seen the white cravat, and above that the head
of the preacher. His eye was averted and fastened downward upon his
manuscript, and his discourse, or exercitation, or whatever it might be,
was delivered in a monotonous, regular cadence, probably relieved
from time to time by some quaint blunder, the result of indistinct
penmanship, or dim religious light. It was not this preacher's business
to arouse his audience. The theory of worship of the period was
opposed to that. This people did not wish excitement, or stimulus, or
astonishment, or agitation. They simply desired information; they wished
to be instructed; to have their judgment informed, or their reason
enlightened. Thus the preacher might safely remain perched up in his far
distant unimpassioned eyrie.

But how would such a style of eloquence--if, indeed, truth will permit
the name of eloquence to be applied to the reading of matter from a
preconcerted manuscript--how would such a style of delivery be received
out in the wild West? Place your textual speaker out in the backwoods,
on the stump, where a surging tide of humanity streams strongly around
him, where the people press up toward him on every side, their keen
eyes intently perusing his to see if he be in real earnest,--"dead in
earnest"--and where, as with a thousand darts, their contemptuous scorn
would pierce him through if he were found playing a false game, trying
to pump up tears by mere acting, or arousing an excitement without
feeling it. Would such a style of oratory succeed there? By no means.
The place is different; the hearers are different; the time, the thing
required, all the circumstances, are totally different. Here, in the
vast unwalled church of nature, with the leafy tree-tops for a ceiling,
their massy stems for columns; with the endless mysterious cadences of
the forest for a choir; with the distant or nearer music and murmur of
streams, and the ever-returning voice of birds, sounding in their ears
for the made-up music of a picked band of exclusive singers: here stand
men whose ears are trained to catch the faintest foot-fall of the
distant deer, or the rustle of their antlers against branch or bough of
the forest track--whose eyes are skilled to discern the trail of savages
who leave scarce a track behind them; and who will follow upon
that trail--utterly invisible to the untrained eye--as surely as a
blood-hound follows the scent, ten or twenty, or a hundred miles, whose
eye and hand are so well practised that they can drive a nail, or snuff
a candle, with the long, heavy western rifle. Such men, educated for
years, or even generations, in that hard school of necessity, where
every one's hand and wood-man's skill must keep his head; where
incessant pressing necessities required ever a prompt and sufficient
answer in deeds; and where words needed to be but few, and those
the plainest and directest, required no delay nor preparation, nor
oratorical coquetting, nor elaborate preliminary scribble; no hesitation
nor doubts in deeds; no circumlocution in words. To restrain, influence,
direct, govern, such a surging sea of life as this, required something
very different from a written address.

[Footnote 20: Born in Philadelphia; a Methodist divine, long afflicted
with blindness; but widely popular as a preacher and lecturer.]

* * * * *


=_John Dickinson, 1732-1808._= (Manual, p. 486.)

From "The Address of Congress to the States." May 26, 1779.


To our constituents we submit the propriety and purity of our
intentions, well knowing they will not forget that we lay no burdens
upon them but those in which we participate with them--a happy sympathy,
that pervades societies formed on the basis of equal liberty. Many
cares, many labors, and may we not add, reproaches, are peculiar to us.
These are the emoluments of our unsolicited stations; and with these we
are content, if YOU approve our conduct. If you do not, we shall return
to our private condition, with no other regret than that which will
arise from our not having served you as acceptably and essentially as
we wished and strove to do, though as cheerfully and faithfully as we

Think not we despair of the commonwealth, or endeavor to shrink from
opposing difficulties. No! Your cause is too good, your objects too
sacred, to be relinquished. We tell you truths because you are freemen,
who can bear to hear them, and may profit by them; and when they reach
your enemies, we fear not the consequences, because we are not ignorant
of their resources or our own. Let your good sense decide upon the

We well remember what you said at the commencement of this war. You
saw the immense difference between your circumstances and those of your
enemies, and you knew the quarrel must decide on no less than your
lives, liberties, and estates. All these you greatly put to every
hazard, resolving rather to die freemen than to live slaves; and justice
will oblige the impartial world to confess you have uniformly acted on
the same generous principle. Persevere, and you insure peace, freedom,
safety, glory, sovereignty, and felicity to yourselves, your children,
and your children's children.

Encouraged by favors already received from Infinite Goodness, gratefully
acknowledging them, earnestly imploring their continuance, constantly
endeavoring to draw them down on your heads by an amendment of your
lives, and a conformity to the Divine will, humbly confiding in the
protection so often and wonderfully experienced, vigorously employ the
means placed by Providence in your hands for completing your labors.

Fill up your battalions--be prepared in every part to repel the
incursions of your enemies--place your several quotas in the continental
treasury--lend money for public uses--sink the emissions of your
respective States--provide effectually for expediting the conveyance of
supplies for your armies and fleets, and for your allies--prevent the
produce of the country from being monopolized--effectually superintend
the behavior of public officers--diligently promote piety, virtue,
brotherly love, learning, frugality, and moderation--and may you be
approved before Almighty God, worthy of those blessings we devoutly wish
you to enjoy.

* * * * *

=_John Adams, 1735-1826._= (Manual, p. 486.)

From his "Life and Works."


JAMES OTIS, of Boston, sprang from families among the earliest of the
planters of the Colonies, and the most respectable in rank, while the
word _rank_, and the idea annexed to it, were tolerated in America. He
was a gentleman of general science and extensive literature. He had been
an indefatigable student during the whole course of his education in
college and at the bar. He was well versed in Greek and Roman history,
philosophy, oratory, poetry, and mythology. His classical studies had
been unusually ardent, and his acquisitions uncommonly great.... It
was a maxim which he inculcated on his pupils, as his patron in the
profession, Mr. Gridley, had done before him, "_that a lawyer ought
never to be without a volume of natural or public law, or moral
philosophy, on his table or in his pocket_." In the history, the common
law, and statute laws, of England, he had no superior, at least in

Thus qualified to resist the system of usurpation and despotism,
meditated by the British ministry, under the auspices of the Earl
of Bute, Mr. Otis resigned his commission from the crown, as
Advocate-General,--an office very lucrative at that time, and a sure
road to the highest favors of government in America,--and engaged in
the cause of his country without fee or reward. His argument, speech,
discourse, oration, harangue,--call it by which name you will, was the
most impressive upon his crowded audience of any that I ever heard
before or since, excepting only many speeches by himself in Faneuil
Hall, and in the House of Representatives, which he made from time to
time for ten years afterwards. There were no stenographers in those
days. Speeches were not printed; and all that was not remembered, like
the harangues of Indian orators, was lost in air. Who, at the distance
of fifty-seven years, would attempt, upon memory, to give even a sketch
of it? Some of the heads are remembered, out of which Livy or Sallust
would not scruple to compose an oration for history. I shall not essay
an analysis or a sketch of it at present. I shall only say, and I do say
in the most solemn manner, that Mr. Otis's oration against "_writs of
assistance_" breathed into this nation the breath of life.

* * * * *

From the "Thoughts on Government."


The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals
of the people, and every blessing of society, depend so much upon an
upright and skilful administration of justice, that the judicial power
ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and
independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both
should be checks upon that.

... Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower
class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane
and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought
extravagant.... You and I, my dear friend, have been sent into life at a
time when the greatest lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live.
How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making
an election of government, more than of air, soil, or climate, for
themselves or their children! When, before the present epocha, had
three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity, to form
and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can

* * * * *

=_Patrick Henry, 1736-1799._= (Manual, p. 484.)

From "Speech in the Convention of Virginia," 1775.


I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of
experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.
And judging by the past, I wish to know what has been the conduct of
the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with
which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house.
Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately
received. Trust it not, Sir, it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer
not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this
gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike
preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and
armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown
ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in
to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the
implements of war, and subjugation--the last arguments to which kings
resort. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free, if
we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we
have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the
noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have
pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our
contest is obtained, we must fight, I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An
appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable
an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week,
or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when
a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather
strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of
effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the
delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the
God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed
in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we
possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against
us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just
God, who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up
friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the
strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides,
sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is
now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in
submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be
heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable--and let it come! I
repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest