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it is worth little ; of the others, much, because they are worth much. His fountains of naphtha, how few, and myrrh and frankincense, how exiguous; but who can fathom his reservoirs of water, or measure the light and the air ? This principle pervades every realm of nature. Creation seems to have been projected upon the plan of increasing the quantity in the ratio of the intrinsic value.
3. Emphatically is this plan manifested when we come to that part of creation we call ourselves. Enough of the material of worldly good has been created to answer this great principle,—that, up to the point of competence, up to the point of independence and self-respect, few things are more valuable than property; beyond that point few things are of less. And hence it is that all acquisitions of property, beyond that point, considered and used as mere property, confer an inferior sort of pleasure in inferior quantities.
4. However rich a man may be, a certain number of thicknesses of woolens or of silks is all he can comfortably wear. Give him a dozen palaces, he can live in but one at a time. Though the commander be worth the whole regiment, or ship's company, he can have the animal pleasure of eating only his own rations; and any other animal eats with as much relish as he. Hence the wealthiest, with all their wealth, are driven back to a cultivated mind, to beneficent uses and appropriations; and it is then, and then only, that a glorious vista of happiness opens out into immensity and immortality.
5. Education, then, is to show to our youth, in early life, this broad line of demarcation between the value of those things which can be owned by but one, and those which can be owned and enjoyed by all.
If I own
a ship, a house, a farm, or a mass of the metals called precious,
my right to them is, in its nature, sole and exclusive. No other man has a right to trade with my ship, to occupy my house, to gather my harvests, or to appropriate my treasures to his use. They are mine, and are incapable both of a sole and of a joint possession.
6. But not so of the treasures of knowledge which it is the duty of education to diffuse. The same truth may
enrich and ennoble all intelligences at once.
Infinite diffusion subtracts nothing from depth. None are poor because others are made rich. In this part of the Divine economy, the privilege of primogeniture attaches to all, and every son and daughter of Adam is an heir to an infinite patrimony.
7. If I own an exquisite picture or statue, it is mine exclusively. Even though publicly exhibited, but few could be charmed by its beauties at the same time. It is incapable of bestowing a pleasure simultaneous and universal. But not so of the beauty of a moral sentiment; not so of the glow of sublime emotion; not so of the feelings of conscious purity and rectitude. These shed rapture upon all, without deprivation of any; may be imparted and still possessed ; transferred to millions, yet never surrendered; carried out of the world, and still left in it. These may imparadise mankind, and, undiluted, unattenuated, be sent round the whole orb of being
8. Let education, then, teach children this great truth, written as it is on the fore-front of the universe, that God has so constituted this world into which he has sent them, that whatever is really and truly valuable may be possessed by all, and possessed in exhaustless abundance.
9. And now, you, my friends, who feel that you are patriots and lovers of mankind, what bulwarks, what ramparts for freedom can you devise, so endurable and impregnable as intelligence and virtue ? Parents, among the happy groups of
children whom you have at home, more dear to you
than the blood in the fountain of life, — you have not a son nor a daughter who, in this world of temptation, is not destined to encounter perils more dangerous than to walk a bridge of a single plank over a dark and sweeping torrent beneath.
10. But it is in your power and at your option, with the means which Providence will graciously vouchsafe, to give them that firmness of intellectual movement and that keenness of moral vision, that light of knowledge and that omnipotence of virtue, by which, in the hour of trial, they will be able to walk with unfaltering step over the deep and yawning abyss below, and to reach the opposite shore in safety and honor and happiness.
LXVIII.-THE HOUR OF PRAYER.
1. Child, amid the flowers at play,
2. Traveler, in the stranger's land,
3. Warrior, that from battle won
LXIX.- AN IMPRESSIVE SCENE.
D, P. PAGE,
1. I can never forget—nor would I if I could a lesson impressed upon my own youthful mind, conveying the truth that we are constantly dependent upon our Heavenly Father for protection. In a plain country school-house, some twentyfive children, including myself, were assembled with our teacher on the afternoon of a summer's day. We had been as happy and as thoughtless as the sportive lambs that cropped the clover of the neighboring hill-side.
2. Engrossed with study or play,- for at this distance of time it is impossible to tell which,— we had not noticed the low rumbling of the distant thunder, till a sudden flash of lightning arrested our attention. Immediately the sun was veiled by the cloud, and a corresponding gloom settled upon every face within. The elder girls, with the characteristic thoughtfulness of women, hastily inquired whether they should not make the attempt to lead their younger brothers and sisters to the paternal roof before the bursting of the storm.
3. For a moment our little community was thrown into atter confusion. The teacher stepped hastily to the door to survey more perfectly the aspect of the western heavens Oppressed with dread,- for it is no uncommon thing for children in the country to be terrified by lightning, --some of the youngest of us clung to our older brothers or sisters, while others, being the sole representatives of their family in the school, for the first time felt their utter loneliness in the midst of strangers, and gave utterance to their feelings in audible sighs or unequivocal sobs.
4. The teacher, meanwhile, with an exemplary calmness and self-possession, closed the windows and the doors, and then seated himself quite near the younger pupils, to await the result. The thick darkness gathered about us, as if to make the glare of the lightning, by contrast, more startling to our vision; while the loud thunder almost instantly followed, as it were the voice of God.
5. The wind howled through the branches of a venerable tree near by, bending its sturdy trunk, and threatening to break asunder the chords which bound it to its mother earth. An angry gust assailed the humble building where we were sheltered; it roared down the capacious chimney, violently closed a shutter that lacked a fastening, breaking the glass by its concussion, and almost forced in the frail window sashes on the westerly side of the room. Quicker and more wild the lightnings glared --flash after flash -- as if the heavens were on fire; louder and nearer the thunder broke above or heads, while the inmates of the room, save the teacher, were pale with terror.
6. At this moment there was a sudden cessation of the war of elements,—a hush,-almost a prophetic pause! It was that brief interval which precedes the falling torr A dread stillness reigned within the room.
Every heart beat hurriedly, and every countenance told the consternation that was reigning within. It was an awful moment!