« ForrigeFortsett »
ever rested like a dark shadow, on his path. Yet he traversed the world with a fearless soul and with a resolute mind. Hundreds of his generation he converted to his own views. He shed an influence upon his race, pure as the light, wide as humanity, and lasting as the soul. One expression explains his power—" this one thing I do."
III. Spiritualism. This is another element of power. By this, I mean a supreme regard to the concerns and claims of mind. The man who holds his temporal interest as transcendent, must on that very account, be fearful and feeble. His treasures are here. Everything that gives value to his life, lies within the horizon of sense ; is subject to decay, and capable of being wrested from his hands. He knows that if he lose what he has on earth, he loses his all, and to such a loss he is exposed every moment. His physical weal is therefore his great object of solicitude. He cannot afford to endure a pain, to brave a danger, to make a sacrifice--for he has nothing higher than his present comfort-nothing to receive in exchange for what he forfeits here. How can such a man have power? Winds, lightning, floods, disease, commercial depressioneverything in fact, animate or inanimate, that is likely to pluck the flowers, blight the beauties, or steal the fruits from his Paradise, he crouches to, as a slave to his master. He may be exhilarated, and talk as a brave man, when all things flow in his favor, but let fortune reverse her course, and he is crushed, and becomes feeble as a child. As long as he loves the outward supremely, so long must he have a cringing servile soul. But the religious man is impressed with the incomparable importance of spirit. The gems of oceans, the gold of continents, the lustre of stars, these are puerilities to him in the presence of a soul. Outward things are valuable to his eye, only as they subserve the interests of the spiritual within. He is inspired with the idea of Jesus, that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he hath. His home even now, is not amongst the things that are seen and temporal, but in regions unseen and eternal. He sits in heavenly places. His treasures are where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, and where no thief can break through and steal. He estimates death a gain. Of what can such a man be afraid ? If he be not afraid of him, or them, who can kill the body, what power on earth can terrify him ?For is there aught that can do more than kill? He knows that no sword can slay, no fires consume, no ocean drown his soul. Hence with an indomitable spirit he can
The dark’ning universe defy
IV. Rectitude. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion." A guilty conscience is incompatible with strength. It makes men cowards. It peoples solitudes with scaring spectres, and gives to silence portentous sounds. Thus men are in fear, where no fear is. They have a fearful looking for of Judgment. Like one who absconds for murder, they tread the path of life with a flurried step, fancying every strange object to be the form, and every sound the footstep of the avenger of their guilt. But the righteous—the man of moral integrity and approving conscience, is bold as a lion. He reposes in his strength. His prowess is undaunted and undauntable. Through the mediation of Jesus, he has obtained a consciousness of peace with heaven. He knows that God is his friend, and if He be for him, who can be against him! He can do what no worldly warrior ever did, sing the forty-sixth Psalm, with an intelligent mind and a triumphant heart.
V. Anticipation. Hope is an element of power. See that mariner anxiously contending with the most tremendous tempest that ever met a sailor on his watery path. Would you take from his mind all fear? then assure him that he shall reach his desired haven in peace and safety. And at once his agitated heart will rise into the calm dignity of self-possession and power. It is thus that religion, by awakening hope, inspires man with strength. Amidst the greatest trials, afflictions, and perils, to which humanity can be exposed, he is assured that he shall reach at last, the peaceful home of the good. He therefore reckons that the sufferings of the present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. It is said of the early Christians who suffered persecution, that they took joy'ully the spoiling of their
goods, knowing in themselves, that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
VI. Divinity. The hand of the Lord was upon him. All my springs are in thee. He was full of the Holy Ghost. The power of Christ resteth upon me. Such are expressions used in relation to the powerful men of whom we read in the Bible. They express the general truth, that God is with and in the man, whose soul is under the influence of right. He is mighty through God.
DESCENT INTO A COAL MINE. All things being now ready, we will descend. If the visitor be wise, he will change his hat for a cap, and envelop himself in his coarsest and oldest pea-coat. We then take our station in what is called the “cage.” We shall be told to stand bolt upright, and keep our hands within the iron railings. The hammer gives a tap to notify that all is ready below, the banksman tugs his lever, and the same instant—with a feeling strictly analogous to that which one experiences aboard a steamer as she shoots from the calm water of a harbour, and performs her first plunge into the trough of a seaway—the cage sinks beneath us, the faces of the people above, the buildings, and the sunlight, disappear as if by magic. For a second or two a faint grey glimmer of light shows the perpendicular walls down which we are shooting with a rapid, noiseless, and perfectly easy motion, and then all is pitchy darkness. The sensation now becomes curious. We are utterly unable to tell whether we are going up or down, but the suspense is speedily over; a minute or two, and our speed is palpably checked. A glimmer of red candlelight shines from below, and almost at the same moment we observe that the cage is descending so slowly as to be-to use the expression-feeling for the bottom; and, as we touch the earth again, we see, by the flicker of three or four rushlights stuck in lumps of clay, a dark uncertain sort of hole, with a dripping, as of falling water-drops—a row or two of coal-laden tubs, over which we have to clamber-half a dozen black hands put up to help us, half a dozen black faces grinning at our perplexity—a sleek horse or two standing motionless beside the tubs-caverned walls, dark and tunnel-like about us, and a curious warm earthy odour, not at all unpleasant, and mixed somehow up with a smell of stables. One of the pitmen immediately hands us one of the lumps of clay which serve as candlesticks. The spot where the people are actually digging may be a mile or two from the shaft; and we plod our rough way towards it, through dark tunnels paved with little tram ways. Besides the shaft by which we have descended another has most probably been sunk some dozen yards, more or less, from it; and the main passages, or galleries, must always be so arranged as to communicate with both. Without such a disposition of matters there would be no means of forcing a current of air through the mine. These shafts have, of course, different functions to perform, but in all of them a space is partitioned off for the exclusive purpose of conducting down fresh air into the workings, and letting it escape when it is done with. The shaft through which the ventilating current descends is called the down-cast shaft—that through which the air ascends, the up-cast shaft. Almost immediately under the latter, piled upon a great square block of masonry and surrounded by caverned walls, is heaped a vast roaring furnace, burning night and day. The effect of this furnace is, of course, to rarify to a high degree the air beneath the up-cast shaft, and consequently to produce through all the mine a current setting towards it. Of course the cold air descends the other shaft to supply the vacancy: and it is then, by a system of doors and traps, forced to traverse every foot of every passage of the mine before it is allowed, in popular terms, to be sucked in by the draught of the furnace. From the two shafts, passages or corridors all connected with each other, branch away in parallel or different directions, as the case may be; the passages connected with the down-cast shaft being traversed by a fresh breeze running into the mine—those connected with the up-cast, traversed by a breeze nearly as strong, but by no means so fresh. The rolley-ways or principal thoroughfare of the mine, of course, are cut in the bed of coal, which may rise on either side nearly to the roof, or which may extend only three or four feet up the wall, like the strip of wainscoating in old-fashioned rooms. The next thing to be done is to work out the coals from the bed. Narrow passages are therefore cut, generally about four feet high, right into the coal, at right angles from the rolley-way. These passages are called “head-ways.” At a certain distance they expand into spaces of greater width, of oblong square shape, formed, of course, by the excavation of the coals. These spaces or chambers are called “boards" or workings, and there the coals are hewn. We will suppose that two “boards” are being wrought at once. The miners are therefore excavating two oblong chambers at right angles from the rolley-way, and leaving between each a great mass of solid coal. But the boards must be connected, or they could not well be ventilated. A passage is therefore dug from one to the other, parallel with the rolley-way, but at the depth of the board from it. Thus it will be seen that a great square pillar of coal is left untouched, but that there is free communication round it, its boundaries being the rolley-way on one side, the two oblong rooms with their narrow necks on two others, and the passage parallel to the rolley-way on the fourth. Each pillar of coal left entire supports the roof, and the process is carried on, square after square being formed, until the boundary of the mine is reached, or until the difficulty of ventilating the labyrinth of boards puts a stop to progress in that direction. The boards are generally about five yards wide, and the pillars are generally about sixteen by twenty yards. It will be seen, therefore, that the miner at first leaves nearly two-thirds of the coal untouched. The hewer is at his labor in the board, cutting down the coal; thus, of course, enlarging every hour the chamber in which he works, and filling from time to time the tubs which stand beside him, and which the putter directly seizes, and pushes upon narrow tramways back out through the boards and narrow necks into the rolley-way. The little trapper opens the door for him to pass—a door, which were it not kept shut, would allow the air-current to escape into the main corridor, instead of forcing it to make its way, as it will do, into the next board; and the driver outside in the rolley-way, with his low platform-like train, receives and places upon it the coal-filled tubs, which the putter delivers into his hands, and, when his freight is complete, makes the best of his way with it out to the pit shaft.