Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

4. We have marvelled at those mighty piles on the old Egyptian

plains, And our souls have thrilled to the loveliness of the lovely Grecian

fanes; We have lingered o'er the wreck of Rome, with its classic

memories crowned, But these touched us not as the mouldering walls with the Saxon

ivy bound.

5. Old Saxon words, old Saxon words! they bear us back with pride To the days when Alfred ruled the land by the laws of Him

who died ; When, in one spirit truly good and truly great, was shown What earth has owed, and still must owe, to such as Him alone.

6. There are tongues of other lands that flow with a softer, smoother

grace, But the old rough Saxon words will keep in our hearts their own

true place; Our household hearths, our household graves, our household

smiles and tears, Are guarded, hallowed, shrined by them — the kind, fast friends

of years.

7. Old Saxon words, old Saxon words! your spells are round us

thrown, Ye haunt our daily paths and dreams, with a music all your own; Each one, in its own power a host, to fond remembrance brings The earliest, brightest aspect back, of life's familiar things.

CHAPTER LXI.

MOUNT ZION.

1. PERHAPS there is no name in human history the mention of which awakens so many thrilling associations as that of Zion. It not only represents the ancient Jewish church, and all that was dear and holy in her, but it is applied to the

Christian church at the present day. Confined to no sect, and no clime, and no language; it embraces in its catholicity all who love God, binding them in one endearing epithet together to the end of time.

2. “ Zion!" there is something sad as well as delightful in the word, and the heart pauses over it with a sigh, half of regret and half of affection, for the past, while its mournful history rises to view. Zion has had tears as well as raptures, suffering as well as joy, and her note of lamentation has arisen as often as her

song of thanksgiving 3. He who has kept a record of her tears knows full well her conflicts and her trials, and that from the time of her toilsome flight through the wilderness and desert to the land of Canaan till now, she had been a stranger and sojourner in a world of wicked men. Now scattered to the four winds of heaven, her children sad captives and her home the prey

of the spoiler, she has wept unavailing tears at the feet of her spoilers; and now rent by inward dissensions and secret foes, she has committed suicide around her own altars. 4. But still her very dust has been precious in the eyes

of Him who hath formed her for himself; and out of the most hopeless bondage, from deepest ruin, he has again called her, and adorned her with robes of beauty, and put a crown of glory on her head, and made her enemies flee before her.

5. Amid the amazement of those who believed her ruin complete, and the astonishment of her friends, a voice has been heard to say,

- Zion still is well beloved."

The literal Mount Zion was one of the hills on which Jerusalem was built. It stood near Mount Moriah, where Abraham offered up Isaac to the Lord, and witnessed that greatest triumph of human faith ; and centuries afterward, when the temple covered the summit of the former, it formed the heart and strength of the city.

6. Situated at the southern extremity, it rose above every other part of Jerusalem, and came in time to stand for the city itself. At first it seems strange that Zion should have become a word filled with such endearing associations to the Jews. They could never let it go from them when speaking of their city.

7. If her strength as a fortress was spoken of, the language was, “ Walk about Zion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof: mark ye well her bulwarks, and consider her palaces ;" -- if her elevation, it was, " The holy hill of Zion." God's affection for his people was expressed by his love for Zion, “ He loveth the gates of Zion,” “ The Lord hath chosen Zion.” As if this were not enough, they and their city together are called “Daughter of Zion." Occupied by the son of Jesse, it became the "City of David," the representative of all that was dear and cherished in Israel.

CHAPTER LXII.

WHY SHOULD MORTALS BE PROUD?

1. Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?

Like a fast-fleeting meteor, a fast-fleeting cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.

2. The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,

Be scattered around, and together be laid ;
The young and the old, the great and the high,
Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie.

3. The hand of a king that a sceptre hath borne,

The brow of a priest that a mitre hath worn,
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depth of the grave.

4. The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,

Shone beauty and pleasure, — her triumphs are by ;
And the memory of those who beloved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.

5. The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap,

The herdsman who climbed with the goats to the steep,
The beggar who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

6. The saint that enjoyed the communion of heaven,

The sinner that dared to remain unforgiven,
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.

7. We are the same things that our fathers have been ;

We see the same sights that our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, and we feel the same sun,
And we run the same course that our fathers have run.

8. The thoughts we are thinking on, they, too, would think ;

From the death we are shrinking from, they, too, would shrink;
To the life we are clinging to, they, too, would cling;
But it speeds from the earth like a bird on the wing.

9. Yea, hope and despondence, and pleasure and pain,

Are mingled together like sunshine and rain :
And the smile and the tear, and the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

10. 'Tis the twink of an eye, 't is the draught of a breath,

From the blossom of youth to the paleness of death;
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud :
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?

CHAPTER LXIII.

THE PURITAN SABBATH.

1. VIEWED simply as an institution for a Christian and a mature mind, nothing could be more perfect than a Puritan Sabbath; if it had any failing, it was in the want of adaptation to children, and to those not interested in its peculiar duties.

2. If you had been in the dwelling of my uncle of a Sabbath morning, you must have found the unbroken stillness delightful; the calm and quiet must have soothed and disposed you for contemplation, and the evident appearance of single-hearted devotion to the duties of the day, in the elder part of the family, must have been a striking addition to the picture.

3. But, then, if your eye had watched attentively the motions of us juveniles, you might have seen that what was so very invigorating to the disciplined Christian, was a weariness to young flesh and bones. Then there was not, as now, the intellectual relaxation afforded by the Sunday school, with its various forms of religious exercise, its thousand modes of interesting and useful information.

4. Our whole stock in this line was the Bible and primer, and these were our main dependence for whiling away the tedious hours between our early breakfast and the signal for meeting. How often was our invention stretched to find wherewithal to keep up our stock of excitement in a line with the duties of the day.

5. For the first half hour, perhaps, a story in the Bible answered our purpose very well; but, having despatched the history of Joseph, or the story of the ten plagues, we then took to the primer; and then there was, first, the looking over the system of theological and ethical truth, commencing, “In Adam's fall we sinned all,” and extending through three or four pages of pictorial and poetic embellishment.

« AnteriorContinuar »