Imágenes de páginas



T is a common idea in our country that politi-

cal power is the highest prize which society has to offer. We know not a more general delusion, nor is it the least dangerous. Instilled as it is in our youth, it gives infinite excitement to political ambition. It turns the active talent of the country to public station as the supreme good, and makes it restless, intriguing, and unprincipled. It calls out hosts of selfish competitors for the comparatively few places, and encourages a bold, unblushing pursuit of personal elevation, which a just moral sense and selfrespect in the community would frown upon and cover with shame.

To govern others has always been thought the highest function on earth. We have a remarkable proof of the strength and pernicious influence of this persuasion, in the manner in which history has been written, Who fill the pages of history? Political and military leaders, who have lived for one end — to subdue and govern their fellow-beings. These occupy the foreground, and the people, the human





race, dwindle into insignificance, and are almost lost behind their masters.

The proper and noblest object of history is to record the vicissitudes of society, its spirit in different ages, the causes which have determined its progress and decline, and especially the manifestation and growth of its highest attributes and interests, of intelligence, of the religious principle, of moral sentiment, of the elegant and useful arts, of the triumphs of man over nature and himself. Instead of this, we have records of men in power, often weak, oftener wicked, who did little or nothing for the advancement of their age, who were in no sense its representatives, whom the accident of birth, perhaps, raised to influ

We have the quarrels of courtiers, the intrigues of cabinets, sieges and battles, royal births and deaths, and the secrets of a palace, that sink of lewdness and corruption.

These are the staples of history. The invention of printing, of gunpowder, and of the mariner's compass, were too mean affairs for History to trace. She was bowing before kings and warriors. She had volumes for the plots and quarrels of Leicester and Essex in the reign of Elizabeth, but not a page for Shakespeare ; and if Bacon had not filled an office, she would hardly have recorded his name, in her anxiety to preserve the deeds and sayings of that Solomon of his age, James I.

Such is the manner in which history has been written; yet it seems to us that the rulers of men have usurped a place beyond their due. Political power is not the noblest

power. There are higher sources of happiness, and more important in human affairs, than



political rule. Moral and religious worth, dignity of character, loftiness of sentiment, all that makes man a blessing to himself and society, lies beyond the province of laws and the lawgivers of the world.



REAM not, but work ! Be bold, be brave!

Let not a coward spirit crave

Escape from tasks allotted !
Thankful for toil and danger be ;
Duty's high call will make thee flee

The vicious, the besotted.

Think not thy share of strife too great ;
Speed to thy post, erect, elate ;

Strength from above is given
To those who combat sin and wrong,
Nor ask how much, nor count how long

They with the foe have striven.
Wage ceaseless war 'gainst lawless might;
Speak out the truth ; act out the right;

Shield the defenceless ;
Be firm, be strong, improve the time;
Pity the sinner ; but for crime,

Crush it, relentless.
Strive on, strive on, nor ever deem
Thy work complete.

Care not to seem,
But be, a Christian true.
Think, speak, and act 'gainst mean device;
Wrestle with those who sacrifice

The many to the few.



Forget thyself, but bear in mind
The claims of suffering human kind;

So shall the welcome night,
Unseen, o'ertake thee, and thy soul,
Sinking in slumber at the goal,

Wake in eternal light.



T is not many years since we beheld the most sin

gular and memorable pageant in the annals of time. It was a pageant more sublime and affecting than the progress of Elizabeth through England, after the defeat of the Armada; than the return of Francis I. to his own beautiful France; than the march of the conqueror of Austerlitz to Paris. I allude to: the visit of Lafayette to America.

But he returned to the land of the dead, rather than of the living. How many of those who had fought with him lay buried in a soldier's or a sailor's grave ! How many who had survived the perils of battle on the land and the ocean had expired on the death-bed of peace ! Those who survived to celebrate with him the jubilee of his return to America, were stricken in years and hoary-headed. How venerable these patriarchs ! how sublime their gathering through all the land ! how joyful their welcome! how affecting their farewell.!

But turn from Lafayette, the favorite of the old and the new world, to Robert Raikes, whose peaceful benevolence and unambitious achievements have so greatly blessed mankind.

Let us imagine him to



have visited our land to celebrate with us the year of jubilee.

No national ship would have been offered to bear him, a nation's guest, from the bright shores of the rising to the brighter shores of the setting sun ; no national music would have welcomed him in notes of rapture, as they rolled along the Atlantic and echoed through the valley of the Mississippi ; no military procession would have heralded his way through crowded streets, thick-set with the banner and the plume ; not such would have been the reception of Robert Raikes in the land of the Pilgrims.

The temples of the Most High would be the scenes of his triumph. Parents would honor him as more than a brother; children would welcome him as more than a father. The faltering words of age, the firm and steady voice of manhood, the silvery notes of youth, would bless him as a Christian patron. Such would be the reception of Robert Raikes, the founder of Sunday schools, the Howard of the Christian church.

Poetry and eloquence, painting and sculpture, have celebrated the virtues of Lafayette ; but the time may come when the star of his fame, no longer glittering in the zenith, shall be seen, pale and glimmering, on the verge of the horizon.

The name of Robert Raikes will never be forgotten ; the lambent flame of his glory is as the eternal fire of heaven. Let mortals then admire and imitate Lafayette ; but the just made perfect and the ininistering spirits around God's throne have welcomed Robert Raikes as a fellow laborer in the same glorious cause of man's redemption.

« AnteriorContinuar »