Obrazy na stronie

and his inward condition are in harmony. He is full of joy. Such an intensity of the affections, together with the clearness and expanse of his understanding were not possible in the body. The house of flesh is peculiarly appropriate for the initiation of a fallen spirit into the eternal life; but it is utterly incompatible with the enlarged growth and perfection of that life. By his first birth, man and nature are kindred, but by regeneration and Divine culture, he exceeds nature's limits and possibilities. Nature abides the same, but man becomes ennobled, and transcends her appreciation. But heaven appreciates him, and he appreciates heaven. He will awake from deep sleep some day, and find himself living in that kindred sphere; and be susceptible of its helpful, blessed inspirations. Heaven is man grown, and opened, according to God.

V.—If any thing could give man rest and self-approval in the merely wordly life, secularism, as it is pleased to call itself, would. There is no superior light in secularism to plague the soul. Yet the soul is plagued. You may easily find utter secularism in speech, or in print; but no man's soul is an utter secularist for all that. Certain strange scintillations occasionally rise in

[ocr errors]

the darkest soul. It is also a sore vexation to the secularist, that other persons believe. He would be more reconciled to his dry morsel of mortality, if other persons had not the ease and dignity of wealth, the wealth of faith. authority for his secularism. authority of every creature's consent.

He wants more

He wants the

And there

are times when even that would not be enough for him. It is very easy for the flippant tongue to deny all grandeur to human life, by cutting man off from God and immortal existence; but it is not very easy for the solitary man to silence the immortal nature in himself. Now and then it will sigh and complain, regret the past and stand in awe of the future. If the secularist would be faithful, he would acknowledge that secularism does not wholly solve the problem of his nature. You can inflict no severer penalty on the unbeliever, than to leave him alone in the quiet possession of his unbelief. He labors to persuade himself that he is "like the beasts that perish.” But if no one disturbs him in his fool's inheritance, he will disturb himself. He may laugh at the faith of others, but his own blank makes no laughter for himself, when alone with himself.


WHEN, in submission to the will and motion of the world-Former, the central rocks of ancient chaos disposed themselves into dreadful caves, and, in rudest fashion overarched the same, as though they were still playing their old game of monstrous anarchy; when the fire-ocean was restrained within its caverns; when the hills arose, and arose above the great deep; how madly would the disturbed waters rush hither and thither, round the mountains, forward and backward, and, in boiling, roaring, foaming commotion, even dash and rush over their tops, until they permanently settled in their huge beds. what a picture of peace, when, as by Divine enchantment, the meek, green, beautiful sward overspread the hills, slopes, and plains of the dry land!


II. Thus did the new world display its

platform for the races of creatures, which were shortly to appear. But the new world was but the old world subjugated, brought into order, and under law. The wild elements were restrained under nature's new and beautiful face; but they were all there. And they are all here still. The great deep is here, every drop of it. It is calm sometimes; but it has not forgotten how to rage and war. The ancient darkness is here,-it is all here. On certain starless nights, it is just as visible to us, as the light, by day. The awful fire, the boiling, sulphurous lava-ocean is still here. The quiet earth on which we walk is an arch turned over wild and dreadful elements. Underneath our feet they toil and heave, they mutter, they smoke, and rest not, night, nor day.

The green-sward is very peaceful, very lovely, but far down beneath the said sward, abide the old furies, brewing their vengeance; and, when permitted to play forth their dread power, they convulse the sea and make the earth tremble. Were it not, that here and there, safety-valves are provided, and vent is given, they would soon, by their terrific throes, shatter the world to pieces, and bring overwhelming chaos back again.

"As for the earth, out of it cometh bread; but under it windeth the region of fire.” Job xxviii. 5.

III.-Now one work of God is like another. All His works reflect and illustrate each other. One element is the mirror of all elements. The elements, as they are at present related and combined, in their world-order and form, are a mirror of man, in his present world-order and form.

In peaceful times, men are like the greensward, but deep and central, the infernal fires sleep in them, ready at any moment to awake.

1. The trade and commerce of the nation; its domestic hearths; its reverend temples; its gracious treatment of foreigners; its pity for the miserable: what are these but the meek and beautiful face of the nation, the green-sward over all! but under all, Hell lurks, the angry passions of the old rebel-gods hide themselves. The very men who are so meek and loving by their own firesides, so genial and courteous over their social tables, so humble and devout in their churches, and who, under certain circumstances, would endanger their own lives to save even a stranger;these very same men, under different circumstances, show the spirit and fury of very hell-dogs. With a tread that makes the earth ring, and with fiery vengeance flashing from their eyes and pressing every nerve into service, they go forth on their mission of destruction.

« PoprzedniaDalej »