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THE FRIEND.

ESSAY I.

Crede mihi, non est parvæ fiduciæ, polliceri opem decertantibus, consilium dubiis, lumen cæcis, spem dejectis, refrigerium fessis. Magna quidem hæc sunt, si fiant; parva, si promittantur. Verum ego non tam aliis legem ponam, quam legem vobis meæ propriæ mentis exponam; quam qui probaverit, teneat; cui non placuerit, abjiciat. Optarem, fateor, talis esse, qui prodesse possem quam plurimis.

PETRARCH. De vita solitaria.*

Believe me, it requires no little confidence, to promise help to the struggling, counsel to the doubtful, light to the blind, hope to the despondent, refreshment to the weary. These are indeed great things, if they be accomplished; trifles if they exist but in a promise. I, however, aim not so much to prescribe a law for others, as to set forth the law of my own mind; which let the man, who shall have approved of it, abide by; and let him, to whom it shall appear not reasonable, reject it. It is my earnest wish, I confess, to employ my understanding and acquirements in that mode and direction, in which I may be enabled to benefit the largest number possible of my fellow-creatures.

ANTECEDENTLY to all history, and long glimmering through it as a holy tradition, there presents

* Lib. I. tract. iv. c. 4. Some clauses in the original are omitted, and one or two changes of words have been made, by the Author, in this quotation.-Ed.

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itself to our imagination an indefinite period, dateless as eternity; a state rather than a time. even the sense of succession is lost in the uniformity of the stream.

It was toward the close of this golden age (the memory of which the self-dissatisfied race of men have everywhere preserved and cherished) when conscience acted in man with the ease and uniformity of instinct; when labor was a sweet name for the activity of sane minds in healthful bodies, and all enjoyed in common the bounteous harvest produced, and gathered in, by common effort; when there existed in the sexes, and in the individuals of each sex, just variety enough to permit and call forth the gentle restlessness and final union of chaste love and individual attachment, each seeking and finding the beloved one by the natural affinity of their beings; when the dread Sovereign of the universe was known only as the universal parent, no altar but the pure heart, and thanksgiving and grateful love the sole sacrifice.

In this blest age of dignified innocence one of their honored elders, whose absence they were beginning to notice, entered with hurrying steps the place of their common assemblage at noon, and instantly attracted the general attention and wonder by the perturbation of his gestures, and by a strange trouble both in his eyes and over his whole countenance. After a short but deep silence, when the

first buz of varied inquiry was becoming audible, the old man moved toward a small eminence, and having ascended it, he thus addressed the hushed and listening company :

"In the warmth of the approaching mid-day, as I was reposing in the vast cavern, out of which, from its northern portal, issues the river that winds through our vale, a voice powerful, yet not from its loudness, suddenly hailed me. Guided by my ear I looked toward the supposed place of the sound for some form, from which it had proceeded. I beheld nothing but the glimmering walls of the cavern. Again, as I was turning round, the same voice hailed me and whithersoever I turned my face, thence did the voice seem to proceed. I stood still therefore, and in reverence awaited its continuation. 'Sojourner of earth!' (these were its words) 'hasten to the meeting of thy brethren, and the words which thou now hearest, the same do thou repeat unto them. On the thirtieth morn from the morrow's sun-rising, and during the space of thrice three days and thrice three nights, a thick cloud will cover the sky, and a heavy rain fall on the earth. Go ye therefore, ere the thirtieth sun arise, retreat to the cavern of the river and there abide, till the clouds have passed away and the rain be over and gone. For know ye of a certainty that whomever that rain wetteth, on him, yea, on him and on his children's children will fall-the spirit of madness.' Yes! madness was the word of the voice: what this be,

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I know not! But at the sound of the word trembling came upon me, and a feeling which I would not have had; and I remained even as ye beheld and now behold me."

The old man ended, and retired. Confused murmurs succeeded, and wonder, and doubt. Day followed day, and every day brought with it a diminution of the awe impressed. They could attach no image, no remembered sensations, to the threat. The ominous morn arrived, the prophet had retired to the appointed cavern, and there remained alone during the appointed time. On the tenth morning, he emerged from his place of shelter, and sought his friends and brethren. But alas! how affrightful the change! Instead of the common children of one great family, working towards the same aim by reason, even as the bees in their hives by instinct, he looked and beheld, here a miserable wretch watching over a heap of hard and innutritious small substances, which he had dug out of the earth, at the cost of mangled limbs and exhausted faculties. This he appeared to worship, at this he gazed, even as the youths of the vale had been accustomed to gaze at their chosen virgins in the first season of their choice. There he saw a former companion speeding on and panting after a butterfly, or a withered leaf whirling onward in the breeze; and another with pale and distorted countenance following close behind, and still stretching forth a dagger to stab his precursor in the back. In ano

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