Page images
PDF
EPUB

101. MAN.- George Combe.

1. Man obviously stands preëminent among sublunary objects, and is distinguished by remarkable endowments,

bove all other terrestrial beings. Nevertheless, no creature presents such anomalous appearances as man. Viewed in one aspect, he almost resembles a demon; in another, he still bears the impress of the image of God. Seen in his crimes, his

wars, and his devastations, he might be mistaken for an incarnation of an evil spirit; contemplated in his schemes of charity, his discoveries in science, and his vast combinations for the benefit of his race, he seems a bright intelligence from heaven.

2. Man is introduced on earth, apparently helpless and unprovided for, as a homeless stranger; but the soil on which he treads is endowed with a thousand capabilities of production, which require only to be excited by his intelligence, to yield him the most ample returns. The impetuous torrent rolls its waters to the main; but, as it dashes over the mountain cliff, the human hand is capable of withdrawing it from its course, and rendering its powers subservient to his will.

3. Ocean extends over half the globe her liquid plain, in which no path appears, and the rude winds oft lift her waters to the ský; but there the skill of man may launch the strong kuit bark, spread forth the canvass to the gale, and make the trackless deep, a highway through the world.

4. In such a state of things, knowledge is truly power; and It is highly important to human beings, to become acquainted with the constitution and relations of every object around them, that they may discover its capabilities of ministering to their own advantage. Farther, where these physical energies are too great to be controlled, man has received intelligence, by

may
observe their

course,

and accommodate his conduct to their influence.

5. This capacity of adaptation is a valuable substitute, for the

of regulating them by his will. He cannot arrest the sun in its course, so as to avert the wintry storms, and cause perpetual spring to bloom around him; but, by the proper exercise of his intelligence and corporeal energies, he is able to foresee the approach of bleak skies, and rude winds and to place himself

in safety from their injurious effects.

which he

power

These powers of controlling nature, and of accommodating his conduct to its course, are the direct results of his rational faculties; and, in proportion to their cultivation, is his sway extended.

6. Man, while ignorant, is in a helpless condition. when illuminated by knowledge, he discovers in the objects and occurrences around him, a scheme beautifully arranged for the gratification of his whole powers, animal, moral, and intellectual; he recognizes in himself, the intelligent and accountable subject of an all-bountiful Creator, and in joy and gladness desires to study the Creator's works, to ascertain his laws, and to yield to them a steady and a willing obedience.

7. Without undervaluing the pleasures of his animal nature, he tastes the higher, more refined, and more enduring delights of his moral and intellectual capacities; and he then calls aloud for education, as indispensable to the full enjoyment of his rational powers. Our constitution and our position equally imply, that the grand object of our existence is, not that we should remain contented with the pleasures of mere animal life, but that we should take the dignified and far more delightful station of mora! and rational occupants of this lower world.

8. Man is evidently a progressive being; and the Creator, having designed a higher path for him than for the lower creatures, has given him intellect to discover his own nature, and that of external objects, and left him, by the exercise of that intellect, to find out for himself the method of placing his faculties in harmony among themselves, and in accordance with the external world. Time and experience are neeessarr to accomplish these ends; and history exhibits the huma. race only in a state of progress towards the full development of their powers, and the attainment of rational enjoyment.

The above is an extract from “The Constitution of Man, considered in relation to External Objects,” by Mr. Combe, of Edinburgh.

The doctrine of human progress is demonstrated, by the philosophy of the mind, the history of the world, and the scriptures. Our intellectual natures are framed for progress and for higher modes of existence. Every rational being possesses the glorious capacity, to increase in knowledge, virtue, and happiness, not only while on earth, but, by the favor of God, through the mighty roll of endless ages. The time never will come, even in the remotest period of eternity, when we shall possess perfect know. ledge. He who built the heavens and the earth, is the only Being in the vast universe, whose knowledge is perfect. He alone possesses an infinite capacity. Ours is finite; and that, too, in the very manhood or full maturity of our being. Nevertheless we are under the highest inducements, to

acquire all the knowledge we possibly can; for, assuredly we shall carry it with us into a future state; where, we shall doubtless continue to adil to it, in the presence of Him“ who sitteth upon the throne, for ever and erer."

Professor Nichol, of Glasgow, in his excellent treatise on the sublime science of astronomy, entitled, “Views of the Architecture of the Heavens, in a series of Letters to a Lady,” most eloquently observes: " In the vast beavens, as well as among phenomena around us, all things are in a state of change and progress, there too on the sky-in splendid hieroglyphics, the truth is inscribed, that the grandest forms of present being are only gerns, swelling and bursting with a life to come.

To come ? To every creature, these are words of hope, spoken in organ tone; our hearts suggest them, and the stars repeat them, and through the Infinite, aspiration wings its way, rejoicingly as an eagle following the sun."

102. To MARY IN HEAVEN. Robert Burns.

1. Thou lingering star, with less'ning ray,

That lov'st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usher’st in the day

My Mary from my soul was torn.
O, Mary! dear, departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ? 2. That sacred hour can I forget,

Can I forget the hallow'd grove,
Where by the winding Ayr we met,

To live one day of parting love !
Eternity will not efface

Those records dear of transports past;
Thy image at our last embrace !

Ah! little thought we 'twas our last ! 3. Ayr, gurgling, kissed his pebbled shore,

O'erhung with wild woods' thick’ning green;
The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,

Twin'd amorous round the raptur'd scene.-
The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,

The birds sang love on every spray,
Till too, too soon, the glowing west
Proclaim'd the speed of winged day.

4. Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes,

And fondly broods with miser care !
Time but the impression deeper makes,

As streams their channels deeper wear.
My Mary! dear, departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ? Burns, the great but ill-fated Scoitish poet, was born in 1759, near Ayre. He and Mary were engaged to be married, but before the time arrived, fixed upon, for the ceremony, she died. He married a lady whom, in the sentimental language of Lord Byron, he

“ Would fain have loved as well;
But some unconquerable spell
Forbade his bleeding breast to own,

A kindred care, for aught but one.' He supposed that he could drown the recollection of his disappointment in the intoxicating bowl; but he found, by sad experience, that it served only to increase his sorrows. Human suffering is unavoidable. It is one of the most solemn themes of history, of the tragic drama, and of much of our poetry.

“True, many a rose-bud blooming gay,

Life's opening path adorns,
Yet all who tread that path, will say,
That midst the flowers that strew the way, -

Are cares,-corroding thorns.” He who adds the woes of intemperance to what God intends we shall suffer, is his own worst enemy. The deservedly celebrated poet is said to have stimulated pretty highly in the evening, and to have sat on Mary's grave the latter part of the night, anterior to one of the anniversaries of the day on which she died; and, when morning light appeared, to have written this apostrophe with a pencil

. Be that as it may, its poetic merit and truthfulness entwine an unfading wreath upon the brow of Burns, and over the tomb of his “lost and ever dear Mary.” Their graves need no other gem. It should be read in the most plaintive manner.

Mrs. Hemans, in one of her poems, from a heart of sensibility and piety, kindly and sweetly exclaims :

"O! bear your softest balm to those
Who fondly, vainly mourn the dead;

To them that world of peace disclose,

Where the bright soul is fled ;-
Where love, immortal in his native clime,
Shall fear no pang from fate, no blight from time.”

103. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE.-Rev. A. Sutton.

1. Hail ! sweetest, dearest tie, that binds

Our glowing hearts in one;
Hail! sacred hope that tunes our minds

To harmony divine.

CHORUS.

It is the hope, the blissful hope,

Which Jesus' grace has given;
The hope when days and years are past,

We all shall meet in heaven;
We all shall meet in heaven at last,

We all shall meet in heaven;
The hope when days and years are past,

We all shall meet in heaven.

2. What though the northern wintry blast

Shall howl around thy cot;
What though beneath an eastern sun

Be cast our distant lot;

CHORUS.

Yet still we share the blissful hope

Which Jesus' grace has given, &c. 3. From Burmah's shores, from Afric's strand,

From India's burning plain,
From Europe, from Columbia's land,

We hope to meet again.

CHORUS.

It is the hope, the blissful hope

Which Jesus' grace has given, &c.

4. No lingering look, no parting sigh,

Our future meeting knows;
There friendship beams from every eyo

And hope immortal grows.

« PreviousContinue »