صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

and no coffin, in the house? Is not feeling, feeling ; and heart, heart? Are not these fancies thronging on my brain, bringing tears to my eyes, bringing joy to my soul, as living as any thing human can be living? What if they have no material type—no objective form? All that is crude,-a mere reduction of ideality to sense a transformation of the spiritual to the earthy-a leveling of soul to matter.

8. Are we not creatures of thought and passion ? Is any thing about us more earnest than that same thought and passion ? Is there any thing more real,-more characteristic of that great and dim destiny to which we are born, and which may be written down in that terrible word-FOREVER? Let those who will, then, sneer at what in their wisdom they call untruth-at what is false, because it has no material presence: this does not create falsity ; would to Heaven that it did!

9. And yět, if there was actual, material truth, superadded to Reverie, would such objectors sympathize the more? No!-a thousand times, no; the heart that has no sympathy with thoughts and feelings that scorch the soul, is dead also-whatever its mocking tears and gestures may say—to a coffin or a grave! Let them pass, and we will come back to these cherished letters. 10. A mother who has lost a child, has, she


shed a tear —not one, but many—over the dead boy's coldness. And another, who has not, but who trembles lest she lose, has found the words failing as she reads, and a dim, sõrrow-borne mist spreading over the page. Another, yet rejoicing in all those family ties that make life a charm, has listened nervously to careful reading, until the husband is called home, and the coffin is in the house—“Stop!" she says; and a gush of tears tells the rest. Yet the cold critic will say—“It was artfully done.” A curse on him! it was not art; it was nature.

11 Another, a young, fresh, healthful girl-mind, has seen something in the love-picture-albeit so weak—of truth; and has kindly believed that it must be earnest. Ay, indeed is it, fair and generous one,-earnest as life and hope! Who, indeed, with a heart at all, that has not yet slipped away irrép'arably and forever from the shūres of youth-from that fairy-land which

young enthusiasm creates, and over which bright dreams hover_but knows it to be real? And so such things will be real, till hopes are dashed, and Death is come. Another, a father, has laid down the book in tears.—God bless them all! How far better this, than the cold praise of newspaper paragraphs, or the critically contrived approval of colder friends!

12. Let me găther up these letters carefully,—to be read when the heart is faint, and sick of all that there is unreal and selfish in the world. Let me tie them togěther, with a new, and longer bit of ribbon, not by a love knot, that is too hard -but by an easy slipping knot, that so I may gět at them the better. And now they are all together, a snug packet, and we will label them, not sentimentally (I pity the one who thinks it), but earnestly, and in the best meaning of the term-REMEMBRANCERS OF THE HEART.






CAN not too strongly urge upon the young the advantage

of committing to memory the choicest passages in prose and poëtry in English literature. What we learn thoroughly when young, remains by us through life. "Sir,” said the great Dr. Johnson to Boswell,' “in my early days I read věry hard. It is a sad reflection, but a true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now. My judgment, to be sure, was not so good ; but I had all the facts. I remember


well when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman said to me, 'Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come unto you, you will find that põring upon books will be but an irksome task.'»

II. INJUDICIOUS HASTE IN STUDY.-LOCKE.” The eagerness and strong bent of the mind after knowledge, if not warily regulated, is often a hinderance to it. It still presses into further discoveries and new objects, and cătches at the variety of knowledge, and therefore often stays not long enough on what is before it, to look into it as it should, for haste to pursue what is yet out of sight. He that rides post through a country may be able, from the transient view, to tell in general how the parts lie, and may be able to give some loose description of here a mountain and there a plain, here a morăss' and there a river ; woodland in one part and savannas in another. Such superficial ideas and observations as these he may collect in galloping over it; but the more useful observations of the soil, plants, animals, and inhabitants, with their several sorts and properties, must necessarily escape him ; and it is seldom men ever discover the rich mines without some digging. Nature commonly lodges her treasures and jewels in rocky ground. If the matter be knotty, and the sense lies deep, the mind must stop and buckle to it, and stick upon it with labor, and thought, and close contemplation, and not leave it until it has mastered the difficulty and got possession of truth.

* James Boswell, the friend and celebrated “Essay Concerning the biographer of Dr. Johnson, born Human Understanding,” was born 1740, and died 1795.

at Wrington, near Bristol, England, * John Locke, a name than which on the 29th of August, 1632, and there is none higher in English phil. died at Oates, in Essex, on the 28th osophical literature, author of the of October, 1704.

But here, care must be taken to avoid the other extreme : a man must not stick at every useless nicety, and expect mysteries of science in every trivial question or scruple that he may raise. He that will stand to pick up and examine every pebble that comes in his way, is as unlikely to return enriched and laded with jewels, as the other that traveled full speed. Truths are not the better nor the worse for their obviousness or difficulty, but their value is to be measured by their usefulness and tendency. Insignificant observations should not take up any of our minutes ; and those that enlarge our view, and give light toward further and useful discoveries, should not be neglected, though they stop our course, and spend some of our time in a fixed attention.

III. STUDIES.-BACON.1 STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privatenèss and retiring ; for ornament, is in discourse ; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business ; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one ; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshaling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth ; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar: they per's fect nature, and are perfected by experience—for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give förth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them ; for they teach not their own use ; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.

1 Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor ment of labor, or species of activity, of England under James I., author belonged to him peculiarly. From of the “Instauratio Magna,” was early manhood Bacon was immersed born in London on 22d of January, in public affairs, intrusted with very 1561, and died in 1626. The immor- onerous functions: in the first rank tal Englishman possessed a mind so of jurisconsult, he moved in the work vast, with powers so varied, that it of reforming and arranging the laws can not be said that any one depart of England; as a statesman, he la


Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh an consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digěsted : that is, some books are to be read only in parts ; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read whõlly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading makèth a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man : and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.


It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into

God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levelers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence of the best and greatèst of our race. No matter how poor I am,—no matter though the prosperous


bored effectively in promotion of the viz., the “Reign of Henry VII. ;" as British treaty of Union; as a his- orator and writer, he had no equal torian, he produced the first merito in his age; and, besides, he renovated rious history in English literature, Philosophy.

of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling,-if the sacred writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof, if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakspeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of the human heart, and Franklin' to enrich me with his practical wisdom, I shall not pine for want of intellectual companionship, and I may become a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called the best society in the place where I live.


THE Bible is the trčasure of the poor, the sõlace of the sick, and the support of the dying; and while other books may amuse and instruct in a leisure hour, it is the peculiar triumph of that book to create light in the midst of darkness, to alleviate the sorrow which admits of no other alleviation, to direct a beam of hope to the heart which no other topic of consolation can reach ; while guilt, despair, and death vanish at the touch of its holy inspiration.

There is something in the spirit and diction of the Bible which is found peculiarly adapted to arrest the attention of the plainest and most uncultivated minds. The simple structure of its sentences, combined with a lofty spirit of poëtry—its familiar allusions to the scenes of nature and the transactions of common life—the delightful intermixture of narration with the doctrinal and preceptive parts—and the profusion of mặrăc'ulous facts, which convert it into a sort of enchanted ground—its constant advertence to the Deïty, whose perfections it renders almost visible and palpable—unite in bestowing upon it an în'terèst which attaches to no other performance, and which, after

1 Benjamin Franklin, an eminent various erudition, and a thorough American moralist, statesman, and intellectual training; master alike of philosopher, was born in Boston, the sternest weapons of logic, and Mass., January 6th, 1706, and died "the dazzling fence of rhetoric;" in in Philadelphia, April 17th, 1790. style, combining the sweetness of

* Robert Hall, an eminent Baptist Addison with the sublimity of Burke; clergyman, was born at Arnsby, he was regarded as the most eloquent England, in 1764. Splendid, grace- preacher of modern times. He died ful, and majestic, with a large and in February, 1831.

« السابقةمتابعة »