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A REVIEW OF THE YEAR 1852.
BY D. WILLERS, JR.
TIME! Time, the tomb-builder, holds his fierce career,
Upon the fearful ruin he has wrought. TIME, which flies like an archer's arrow, or like a fleeting star, has engulphed the year 1852 into its dark and yawning abyss. A new year has opened its doors, and it becomes the duty of intelligent and accountable beings, to pause, and look back upon their doings and actions, during the dead year; and to enter the new born year with good resolutions and plans for the future. During the past year, Death, the arch enemy of mankind, has hurled his shafts at many, stopping not only at the cottage of the peasants, but also at the portals of the great and noble. While the religious world laments the services of a Pomp, Stuart, Milledoller, Hedding, Chase, and other devoted disciples of their Lord and Master, the political and civil world regrets the demise of many of its most honored statesmen, orators and heroes. In our own country, the funeral requiem, chanted over the remains of the Sage of the West, Henry Clay, and the profound orator, Daniel Webster, has scarcely ceased its mournful dirge. Not only does the country mourn the loss of these great men, the two brightest stars in the American Constellation of Statesmen, but our legislative and judicial halls have been deprived of the presence and voices of a Rantoul, Sergeant, Forward, Young, and Sibley, men who rendered efficient services in their various spheres of action. Nor were Death's ravages confined alone to America. England deplores the loss of a Wellington, and France, Spain and Russia have lost some of their best Warriors and Statesmen, who have gone to that bourne from which no traveller ever returns. But we will leave this side of the picture, and take a glance at the varied events and occurrences of the past year.
The freemen of the United States have decided at the ballotbox who shall be their President, and the choice has fallen upon the unassuming Franklin Pierce, from the Granite Hills of New Hampshire. While Mexico and the South American Republics are continually convulsed by the aspirations of their military Dictators, we have again witnessed the sublime spectacles of a free people, unshocked by despotic or military interference, and uncorrupted by the evil example of other Republics, deciding
their preferences quietly and without any revolution, thus furnishing another proof that “Vox populi est vox Dei.” *
The first session of the 32nd Congress, continued from the previous year until the end of August; and the second session commenced December 6th. During the last summer session, although the discussions to a great extent were of a political and private nature, a number of useful and salutary laws were passed. The last Annual Message of President Fillmore to Congress, is an interesting document, containing many suggestions which are worthy the attention of that body. On the 4th of July last, the United States celebrated the 76th anniversary of its national independence. Our country enjoys an unexampled prosperity, and is at peace with all nations of the earth. During the year our relations with England were somewhat endangered on account of the "Fishery Question," and our intercourse with Spain, in reference to Cuban affairs, rendered unpleasant, but these questions have been peaceably settled by our Government. Thomas F. Meagher, the Irish Patriot and Orator, has safely reached America, (the Asylum of the oppressed of every country) and has declared his intention to become a citizen. November 25th was observed by a large number of the States as a day of Thanksgiving to God, for our national prosperity and the preservation of the public health. During the summer and fall of the year, State Fairs and Agricultural Exhibitions were held in several States, and have contributed to elevate the standard of farming. In the early part of the year, the Mygar hero, Louis Kossuth, traversed a great portion of the United States. Everywhere he was received with unbounded enthusiasm, and the cause which he advocated, won not only the sympathy, but the material aid” of the American people. Asan orator, he has few superiors, and he has enlisted the good wishes of many in his cause.
His attempts to induce our Government to abandon the time-honored views of the immortal Washington, as to our foreign policy, have (thanks to heaven) been signally unsuccessful. Since his departure for Europe, recent events in France, and the sober second thought of many of his sincerest admirers, has convinced them of the unreasonableness of his demands, and the futility of all attempts to erect Republics in Europe, at least at present.
The cause of Temperance has agitated the public mind to a great extent, during the past year. The “Maine Liquor Law" has been passed and put into operation in Massachusetts, Rhode
*"The voice of the people is the voice of God."'--sometimes.
Island and Minnesota. Whatever may be the differences of opinion as regards the ultility and justice of this enactment, there can be no doubt that unspeakable good will result from the agitation of the subject.
Some of the South American States have been convulsed with internal commotions, during the year 1852, but these have been healed, and the commercial relations of these States are yearly becoming more prosperous by the introduction of Steam navigation on the numerous rivers, thus introducing enlightened manners and customs, where barbarism had formerly reigned.
The discovery of Gold in Australia, has produced an increased influx of hardy settlers into that region, thus furnishing the country with an honest and enterprising population, and if reports may be believed, the day is not far distant, when they will declare their independence from Great Britain.
The affairs in Europe have to a great extent remained unchanged. France, however, is an exception. That country has again become an Empire, and its former President, Louis Napoleon, has become Emperor, with the title Napoleon III. The way to the beginning of this consummation had already been opened in the beginning of the year, by the “Coup de Etat” of Napoleon, by which he had caused himself to be elected President for ten years. After that act, gloomy forebodings, as regards the liberty of France, were entertained, and late developments have shown the correctness of these fears. Thus another instance of the instability of European Republics has been furnished, and should make the American estimate more highly the blessings of liberty which he enjoys.
In Asia, “the cradle of the human family,” humanity and civilization have made progress, which is owing much to the efforts of missionaries, and the indirect influence of European power. The possessions of the United States on the Pacific, have brought us into closer proximity with Asia, and it is believed that much of the China and East India trade will ultimately be transferred to the United States. Many Chinese have settled in California; and others who had been there, have returned back, carrying with them American manners, arts and sciences. The United States, seeing the utility of a more extensive acquaintance with the Governments of the East, has sent an expedition to Japan, in order to cultivate a friendly intercourse, and make the stars and stripes” respected and feared by the Government of that densely-populated Empire. The expeditions sent to explore the interior of sable Africa, have in a great degree proved unsuccsssful, but they have opened a larger field for the spread of the Gospel, and have made new
f the nded
accessions to the cabinet of the botanist, chemist, mineralogist and naturalist.
Thus it has been shown that the world in general has gone forward during the past year, in religion, civilization, learning, humanity, the arts and sciences, &c. Could we lift the veil which covers futurity, and cast a glance at the event of the new year, 1853, we would doubtless be startled at the prospect before us. This view, however, the all-wise Creator has for wise purposes hidden from us. We should therefore enter the new year with new zeal and ardor for every good and philanthropic cause, leaving the events of the new year to the guidance of an Almighty God, who rules and governs the whole universe by His infinite wisdom.
THE FOLDED NAPKIN.
BY RECK HARBAUGH.
Our Saviour was never known to commit an unmeaning or trivialact. This is inferred from the simple fact, that even those little seemingly insignificant acts which are recorded of Him, when carefully examined, are found to be full of meaning.
If we enter the silent, solemn recess of Joseph's new-hewn sephulchre, a most touching and beautiful incident meets the heart. The crucified Saviour, when he awoke from the sleep of death, did not write with his finger upon the side of his rocky vault; he did not leave it for bright angels above to tell the gladsome news: I am not here, I have arisen. John Xx: 7, says:
The napkin that was about His head not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Here then we have a speechless witness of our arisen Lord. Let us gather instruction from its silent teachings; and here as ever in the devout study of the Bible, we are not left to grope in darkness. A ray of light streams down from a nail-pierced hand on high, and circling in a halo over this folded napkin, illumes the rock-bound tomb and diffuses its brightness throughout the homes of the righteous dead.
The napkin was that part of the burial clothes, which, according to the Jewish custom, was bound about the lower part of the face of the dead, as we read of Lazarus when called forth from his cave.
In this case it may have been part of the clean linen clothes which Joseph bought to wrap the dead Saviour in; or we may infer from the fact of its being bound about the head of the Saviour, that it was supplied by some one of the friends of Jesus when they took him from the cross. There were women there—Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesusher own hands may have taken this napkin from off her sorrowheaving breast and bound it about the bleeding temples of her dead son—the last sad act of maternal love.
To an inquiring mind two considerations would naturally present themselves :
I. Who folded this napkin ?
If the arisen Saviour did not that which John describes with so much minuteness, then the incident loses its chief moment; if he did, it is worth more than a passing thought that we may know the Saviour's mind.
The only persons recorded, as near the tomb on the Resurrection morn, were the Roman guard at its sealed door, vigilant women, and bright angels. No one of that Roman guard ever entered within the tomb; for no sooner did one of the twelve legions that lie encamped around that holy sepulchre, flash upon them than “they did shake and become as dead men,” and when consciousness was restored them, they scattered in precipitous flight, for Mathew says "Behold! some of the keepers came into the city.”
Nor was it done by the women, although some of them went even within the sepulchre; for Mark says, "They went out quickly and fled from the sepulchre.” A folded napkin is not a thing of haste. Luke, moreover says, “When the women entered the sepulchre and found not the body of the Lord Jesus they were much perplexed.” A folded napkin denotes composure, not perplexity. The angels did it not. Their commission was to sit like the Cherubims over the Ark and Mercyseat, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus lay, to tell his weeping friends that he was not there—that he had arisen, and where they might find him. Did Jesus then fold the napkin ? He, around whose devoted head it was bound, when they bore him, the dead Christ, to the rich man's tomb ? This is all that we know of what transpired within that silent toilet chamber of the Son of God, when he burst the bands of death, triumphed over the grave, and came forth robed in living light.
II. Why did Jesus thus fold together the napkin in a place by itself? Obviously for two purposes
I. To confound his enemies.