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CCXXXVI. G PIRITUAL VISITATIONS.—The doctrine of departed

spirits returning to visit the scenes and beings,

2 which were dear to them during the body's in existence, though it has been debased by the absurd superstitions of the vulgar, in itself is awfully solemn and sublime.

However lightly it may be ridiculed, yet, the attention involuntarily yielded to it, whenever it is made the subject of serious discussion, and its prevalence in all ages and countries, even among newly discovered nations that have had no previous interchange of thought with other parts of the wciprove it to be one of those mysterious and instinctive be ! to which, if left to ourselves, we should naturally in od

izen, of all the pride of reason and philosophy, a vague dou 'suasion till lurk in the mind, and, perhaps, will never be erad is it is a matter that does not admit of positive dem . Who yet has been able to comprehend and des i sti nature of the soul ; its mysterious connection wit. J dy; or in what part of the frame it is situated ? we know merely that it does exist: but whence it came, and when it entered into us, and how it is retained, and where it is seated, and how it operates, are all matters of mere speculation, and contradictory theories. If, then, we are thus ignorant of this spiritual essence, even while it forms a part of ourselves, and is continually present to our consciousness, how can we pretend to ascertain or deny its powers and operations, when released from its fleshly prison house?

Everything connected with our spiritual nature is full of doubt and difficulty. We are fearfully and wonderfully

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made! We are surrounded by mysteries: and we are
mysteries even to ourselves. It is more the manner in which
this superstition has been degraded, than its intrinsic absurdity,
that has brought it into contempt. Raise it above the
frivolous purposes to which it has been applied, strip it of
the gloom and horror with which it has been enveloped; and
there is none, in the whole circle of visionary creeds, that
could more delightfully elevate the imagination, or more
tenderly affect the heart. It would become a sovereign com-
fort at the bed of death, soothing the bitter tear wrung from
us by the agony of mortal separation.

What could be more consoling than the idea, that the souls
of those we once loved, were permitted to return, and watch
over our welfare ?—that affectionate and guardian spirits sat
by our pillows when we slept keeping a vigil over our most
helpless hours ?—that beauty and innocence, which had
languished into the tomb, yet smiled unseen around us, reveal-
ing themselves in those blest dreams wherein we live over
again the hours of past endearments ? A belief of this kind,
would, I should think, be a new incentive to virtue, rendering
us circumspect, even in our most secret moments, from the
idea that those we once loved and honoured, were invisible
witnesses of all our actions.

It would take away, too, from that loneliness and destitution, which we are apt to feel more and more as we get on in our pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world, and find that those who set forward with us lovingly, and cheerily, on the journey, have, one by one, dropped away from our side. Place the superstition in this light, and I confess I should like to be a believer in it.- see nothing in it that is

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incompatible with the tender and merciful nature of our religion, or revolting to the wishes and affections of the heart.

There are departed beings that I have loved as I never again shall love in this world: that have loved me as I never again shall be loved. If such beings do even retain, in their blessed spheres, the attachments which they felt on earth ; if they take an interest in the poor concerns of transient mortality, and are permitted to hold communion with those whom they have loved on earth, I feel as if now, at this deep hour of night, in this silence and solitude, I could receive their visitation with the most solemn but unalloyed delight.

In truth, such visitations would be too happy for this world: they would take away from the bounds and barriers that hem us in, and keep us from each other. Our existence is doomed to be made up of transient embraces and long separations. The most intimate friendship-of what brief and scattered portions of time does it.consist! We take each other by the hand; and we exchange a few words and looks of kindness; and we rejoice together, for a few short moments; and then days, months, years, intervene, and we have no intercourse with each other. Or if we dwell together, for a season, the grave soon closes its gates, and cuts off all further communion; and our spirits must remain in separation and widow hood, until they meet again in that more perfect state of being, where soul shall dwell with soul, and there shall be no such thing as death, or absence, or any other interruption of our union.-Washington Irving.

CCXXXVII.

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e ffects of a Neglected or Improper EDUCATION.

Where education has been entirely neglected or

improperly managed, we see the worst passions : ruling with uncontrolled and incesssant sway. Good sense degenerates into craft, and anger rankles into malignity. Restraint, which is thought most salutary, comes too late, and the most judicious admonitions are urged in vain.— Parr.

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CCXXXVIII.

INTEMPERANCE.—He who is intemperate is the very We lowest of all slaves. Doth not intemperance rob us

of our reason, that chief excellence of man, and drive us on to commit the very greatest disorders? Can he who is immersed in pleasure find time to turn his thoughts on things that are useful ? But, and if he could, his judgment is so far overborne by his appetites, that, seeing the right path, he deliberately rejects it. Neither should we expect modesty in such a character; it being most certain that nothing can well stand at a greater distance from this, than the whole life of the voluptuary. But what can be so likely to obstruct either the practice or the knowledge of our duty, as intemperance ? What can we suppose so fatally pernicious to man as that which depriveth him of his understanding, makes him prefer with eagerness the things which are useless, avoid or reject whatever is profitable, and act in every respect so unlike a wise man.—Socrates in Xenophon.

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