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When tragedies more terrible than any performed in the mimic representations of the stage, atrocious in their inception, harrowing and ruinous in their close, wherein a human soul is lost beyond remedy, are taking place all around us, can we felicitate ourselves upon the happy and prosperous state of our social structure, or deny that there are grave evils, demanding our prompt recognition, and such earnest and thorough remedial action as we may be able to adopt?

Let me invite you to the consideration of the following proposition, with the practical application to be made of it. In proportion as we recognize more fully the truest work and culture of human life, we shall appreciate the sphere and influence of woman. The wiser man becomes, the more clearly does he see that his true strength lies not in the physical or intellectual side of his nature, but in his moral and emotional powers. We boast, and the vaunt seems just, of the achievements of mind, of its conquests over the material creation. The iron horse, with his breath of fire, his sinews of steel, his voice of thunder, and tread as of armies, has been harnessed into our service. His pace narrows the continents almost into hand-breadths. His speed upon the deep renders “ the wings of the wind” an antiquated figure. The lightning is arrested. in its wild flash, and tamely submits to carry our messages. The subtlest and mightiest forces of the universe are made purveyors to our necessities and to our luxuries. Commerce has belted the world with a



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fairer and richer zone than ever clasped the waist of Cytherea. Light, heat, electricity, galvanism, are chained captives to the wheels of the conqueror, as he sweeps along in his triumphal procession. As we watch this royal pageant, with swelling hearts and praiseful voices, we exclaim, How noble, how divine a thing is man! But he is still a victim of infirmity, disease, and death. A grain of sand may blind him; the meanest insect may inflict a fatal wound. He may bridge the ocean, but he cannot purchase immunity from pain. He may count the stars, and weigh them; but ague shrivels and tortures him, and

1; fever scathes him with its fiery breath. In the midst of his triumphs he is oppressed by the consciousness that infinity stretches far away beyond him, untouched and unattainable. Even could he raise himself immeasurably above his present pinnacle—could he master the forces that now evade him-could he marshall the stars into his service—he must still call destruction his mother, and the worm his sister. The grandest exploits of the intellect more display its weakness than its strength. Its richest stores of knowledge only prove to it its poverty. The saddening consciousness of ignorance has ever been esteemed the first step to understanding; and those men that have travelled the widest circuits in the pursuit of truth, have ended their journey with the conviction of how little they knew. “He that increaseth know- .

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ledge increaseth sorrow;" “ Much study is a weariness to the flesh.” These sayings were not new in the time of Solomon, nor are they old to-day.

I would not undervalue man's mental qualities, or the attainments of our scholarship or science, but would simply urge that his loftiest strength, the divinest part of himself, is not upon that side of his nature. These are to be found in his capacity to do good—to exercise himself in alleviating the sorrows -in elevating the condition of others-and not only so, but in the disposition and settled purpose thus to dedicate his energies. There is no man so humble that a career of benevolence is not noble to him; no attainments too moderate for even open usefulness in this service. Two mites, the offering of a lonely yet loving heart, commemorated by one who appreciated moral excellence as infinitely above all other power, are held as a priceless treasure in the heart of the world, whilst the magnificent temple, in whose treasury the offering was deposited, has disappeared from the earth, leaving only a mournful tale and moral. We treasure the memory of the one brief and simple story of the box of spikenard, offered by a woman's affection, more than all the Rabbinical learning of the Talmud and Cabala-more than the whole body of the Jewish theology. Plutarch has transmitted to us the record of nearly all that were illustrious in action, celebrated in wisdom, renowned for


eloquence or virtue, among generals, statesmen, philosophers and orators of antiquity. Yet what is the value of all the classic memories from the pen of Trajan's preceptor, as compared with the unaffected recital by publicans and fishermen of the life of one who seemed to be a Jewish peasant? The emblazonry of genius, the splendor of art, the fame of wisdom and of arms fade like the stars at dawn, at the humble narrative of a life which was spent in doing good. We admire Demosthenes and Scipio; with curious study we pry into the life of Socrates and the writings of Plato; but we revere and love the friend of harlots and sinners. If the history of the last twenty centuries teaches us anything, it is that man's duty is to be found in imitating the life of Jesus—in acquiring the mind that was in him. He is the standard of character; by his life and words we yet judge of manners and principles, in the heart of the most polished civilization.

Compare two of the men of the last century. The one was a Frenchman; graceful in manners, of charming address, a favorite of courts, brilliant in wit, vivacious in conversation, the soul of every gay circle, possessed of acute intelligence, diligence in study, subtlety and discrimination in criticism; he was the prince of a sect of philosophers then all powerful, now almost forgotten—the Encyclopedists. His life was passed between the court and the cloister; now

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