« AnteriorContinuar »
heroism with the mingling of meaner motives, as they really existed; the greatness and the littleness of man ; with the true lessons of the story brought into high relief, and illuminated by the poet's genius for the teaching of all time.
I do not say, therefore, Put away your Shakspeare, never touch a norel confine yourself to geography and history, science and statistics. If I di say so, the advice would be tolerably certain not to be followed ; and I have shown, I think, that it would not be counsel of the highest wisdom. Bu I do say, Exercise self-restraint in the matter, do not indulge this more the any other appetite. Be cautious, moderate, and wise. There are a fer good novels; there are volumes innumerable of the merest trash. Som times, as I have said, there is truth of the highest kind in fiction, but oftere what there is so hidden, like the few particles of gold imbedues in tons of earth and rubbish which do but mock the Australian digger's to that it may be well questioned whether it is worth going through so much to learn so little. Then the question is one of comparison. Your time fjl reading is short ; your opportunities of study are few ; have you time to rea even good novels? Here is the world with its wonders, have you exhauste: them? Have you learned as much as you want to learn of the gloriou march of the stars? Have you explored the mountains and the valleys of this earth, and pondered the testimony of its rocks? Are the great laws which regulate motion and force, with the countless application of those law's in chemistry or mechanical science, familiar to you? Can you hold converse in their own tongues with the illustrious dead? Do you know any langua. besides your own? In your own have you read the great classics, whose titles are familiar to the ear as household words? You are going to sth down by the fireside with Dickens's last-have you ever read Bacon's Essays ? “ The Heir of Redcliffe" is interesting, very—but are you familia with Macaulay's papers on Milton and Machiavelli, on Lord Clive an. Warren Hastings ? You are going to spend the leisure evenings of the week with Charles Kingsley, Anthony Trollope, on George Eliot. Well, I will not remonstrate, but only ask, Did you ever read Boswell's Life of Johnson or Johnson's Lives of the Poets ? You are eager to read of the “ Woman in White'-have you ever heard of Miss Strickland's “Lives of the Qucens of England"? Count up the volumes or fiction you have devoured since the days when you believed in Mayne Red and Charles Lever even until now : and would not the time and attention so spent have made you master of Gibbon's “Decline and Fall of the Romani Empire”? Yes, we cannot do all ; it is wisdom, therefore, surely to choos the best ; and for my part I cannot pass a railway stall with its gaudy store of volumes, blue and yellow, and mauve and red, with all the colours of the rainbow, and many more, without seeing there a deliberate provision made to enervate the intellect and degrade the taste—the appropriate food of grown-up children, or worse ; for there are not a few who seem, like Mr. Toots, when they begin to have whiskers to leave off having brains.
Now one use of a good Mutual Improvement Society is that the members are obliged to read-to read good books-books that make their readers think, and show them how to direct their thoughts to some useful end. An nd, I repeat, that shall often carry them away--right away from the world of business, into another sphere of thought and other views of life. The
od people who founded Mechauics’ Institutes seem to have had the idea of instructing the labouring and artisan population as to the nature of jeir own tools and the mysteries of their own arts. Hence the title ; and 72 manufacturing populations it was judged the proper thing to lay in a i saber of works on mechanics, hydrostatics, and the steam-engine; on com Omal arithmetic, book-keeping, and political economy; on textile manu
tcres, foreign tariffs, and the statistics of exportation. The fundamental rila almost every where were that there should be, first, no works of fiction, wal, secondly, no newspapers. We know what has become of those rules! The fact is, that all of us when we have done our work like, as the phrase is, to sink the shop. We have had enough of machinery all day : let us now read of the old times when steam-engines were not. The day-book and the Ledger are shut, and I do not care to spend the evening in talking about book-keeping. No; let us scour the plain with the Christian chivalry of the old crusading days, or start bravely forth with the little company, as truly brave and wise, of Australian explorers. I want to be emancipated from my daily work that I may go back fresh to it. Or, to take a yet higher Tw, I want to assert the dignity of the man over the worker; and, while I
necessarily narrowed down to one spot of action, to claim my kindred with all humanity. People say that the field of knowledge so traversed is but superficially
lored. That is quite true; and I confess I do not altogether understand coutery we sometimes hear against superficial attainments. Superficial
ans " of or belonging to the surface;” and it is after all on the surface of it earth that we live and move and have our being. Whatever the ruction of the depth may be, the surface is very fair, and pleasant to walk
DWhat, may I not pluck a daisy or smell a rose unless I am prepared au give a full account of the geological strata underneath ? Why, on most whects our knowledge is, and must be, superficial. Only on a few.topics "11 any of us explore the depths. It will be good for any of us, certainly, Dexplore the depths of something, to know one thing thoroughly, whether 1 13 the Greek language, or the Geometry of Euclid, or the art of bookkeeping by double entry, or the laws of the transfer of real property, or the sy to test the quality of wool. Thoroughness in itself is a good thing, part from the material on which it is exercised; and the business of most I us gives the opporiunity for attaining it in some direction or other. But I am pleading now rather for mental refreshment and invigoration. And,
erefore, I do not say, as some appear inclined to do, It is of no use to ke up a topic unless you mean to become a perfect master of it. Do not ich Euclid unless you are going to study the Six Books ; nor History, if a have not the opportunity of learning all that Hume and Gibbon, Verivale and Macaulay, have to teach ; nor science, if you stop short of the Principia’ of Newton. That would be blank absurdity. “ Beware,” says ill ancient proverb, “ of the man of one book.” That proverb, like many
others, is two-edged. “ Beware of him," on his own special ground; for wit his one book known well he will vanquish you, the man of many books, wh know them all imperfectly. But “ beware of him " also, in reference t other subjects; for the exclusiveness of his thoughts will have narrowe his mind, made him perhaps a bigot, and very likely a pedant. Concentra tiveness and diffusion are twin intellectual laws. Fix your special aim, an work at that with all your strength. Then go abroad, disdain not the surfa. of the fair realm of knowledge. There is many a pleasant field for thos who may not explore the deeps, with broad and breezy uplands where thos may roam who never care to climb the mountain heights.
But above all remember that the culture of thought, the acquisition knowledge, and the play of sympathies, must ever be subordinate to the on great aim of a consecrated lite. Societies there are for mutual improvemen and many a book is written for popular instruction, from which religion i systematically excluded. “ There are so many different opinions," it is said “ about the soul, and eternity, and the relations of man with God, that it not be safe for us to meddle with the matter, Like Pilate, we may for ev: be asking " What is Truth?' and never win an answer. But there is trut that we inay attain in the flowers and in the stars, in the depth bentato and in the height above. Science, at least, will not delude us; the laws of number and form are indisputable. History has its meaning and poetry it charm to those wlio walk on earth alone and never soar to lieaven." Ane hence, deliberately, whether from a fulse notion of profaning the sancit of religion, or from a commendable desire to keep the peace between 1 cordant sects, the highest interest of all finds no place. I am not denyin that this procedure may be wise ; nor do I for a moment insinuate that the who thus remit theology and the Bible to another sphere, are personal indifferent to them. But, to the most wisely taught there is “a more excellen way.” For, from every field of human knowledge there is a path direct i the throne of the Eternal; and we best study all topics of human interes in the light of the Divine Truthi.
Who loves not knowledge? Who shall rail / Of Demons ? fiery hot to burst
All barriers in her onward race
A higher hand must make her mild, She sets hor forward countenance And lears into the future chance,
If all be not in vain, and guide Submitting all things to desire.
Her footsteps, moving side by side
With wisdom, like the younger chili; Half grown as yet, a child, and vainShe cannot fight the fear of death.
For she is earthly, of the mind, What is she, cut from love and faith, But wisdom heavenly, of the soul. But some wild Pallas from the brain
This heavenly wisdom, that only comes through reverence and forth still the highest quest, and when found she claims her place as right Queen of all.
Tales and Sketches.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE / same desire in a greater or less mea
| sure! Their earthly song then is, IMBECILE.
“Nearer, my God, to Thee; Os the lonely moor of Leys, four
Nearer to Thee.” Da from Inverness, lived an elderly One day in October last it was on Dhee woman named Catherine | my mind to speak to Kate of the love Graham, who for thirty years obtained of Christ. I sought her out, and the a scant and precarious livelihood by following conversation ensued. We selling firewood. She was related to spoke in Gaelic, that being Kate's only very respectable poor people, who, language; but the translation I give is although they regularly frequented the as close as possible to the original:church themselves, left poor Catherine “Do you know the Lord Jesus, to grow up in ignorance, and an utter Kate, who died for sinners?” stranger to the house of prayer; think “No; poor people like me will not ing that, owing to the weakness of her be allowed to go to church, and they intellect, any attempt to communicate say it is there He is.”, mstruction from the pulpit or any other “But did no person ever tell you source would be u rly useless. Yet, | about Him in your own house, or although Catherine's city acity was of | while gathering sticks in the woods ? " the lowest order concerning things of “No; no person ever spoke to me this earth, it proved not to be so con- | about heaven or Jesus since my young cerning Christ and His kingdom, days." diring the first and only time the ** Well, I will tell you something Cariour's love was brought under her about Him. Sit down on this stone" notice. She was one of the meek and (we were then in the open country). uely of the earth, harmless and in We sat down, and I continued:offensive in her deportment, having for “Yes, Kitty, Jesus is in the church, sixty years walked this cold earth but He is in other places as well. He Insustained and uncheered by human is here now, hearing you and me talk." Intercourse, excepting only what re “Is He (really ?" she replied, half ards the wants of this perishing body. incredulous. “Well, that's strange! Huber, life was a long, long night of I would like to see Him, and speak to darkness; but He who causeth the Him." Ligat to shine out of darkness, verified, “You cannot see Him with your to the happy experience of that forlorn own eyes, but you can see Him with one, His precious promise, “At even the eyes of your soul ; and I assure mg time it shall be light." The Sun you, if you once saw Him in that way,
Righteousness arose upon her with you would give all that ever you saw dealing in His wings as her sun was to see Him again. Do you ever pray, about to sink for ever under life's Kate?” botizon; and so great was the efful “No; poor people cannot pray. It rence that poured into this darkened is those who go to church and sit at so that she was seized with home His table that pray.” sekuess and inexpressible longings for “Oh, Kate! you are wrong there another glimpse of that radiant glory. | Poor people can pray, and do pray
nd who that ever saw the Lamb of and the Lord hears them as soon & bod, by faith, but experienced the the rich ; and I know that many o
God's people that pray to Him and nature and power of prayer, and comlove Him are just poor people like mending her to God, who alone coul yourself; and do you know that the lighten her darkness, we parted, ani dear Lord Jesus, when on earth, was she went to her lowly dwelling, no Himself a poor man, and we are told | peating, as she went, her newly in the Bible He was so poor Ho had acquired prayer. nowhere to lay His head ? All His On reaching her home about eight friends were poor, and His disciples in the evening, she locked the door were poor, and all was in order that and put out the light, so that people you, and all poor people like you, might not observe that she was not i might not be afraid to go to him ; and, bed, and then went on her knees, an after being a poor man for thirty years, in this position remained till five i he died on the cross, that sinners might the morning, in prayer to her heavenl have their sins forgiven and be made Father; and who can tell what passe rich."
between the Redeemer and this wan Her whole attention seemed arrest dering sheep during that long night & ed, while she replied,
darkness? The burden of her cry a “Do you really think he would hear for a revelation of Himself, which nude me, if I prayed ?
ever thirsted for in vain, and He who “ Surely, surely he would, Kate. | hides himself from the wise and prio Hear what he says (reading Matt. xi. dent revealed Himself to this simpk 28), " Come unto me, all ye that one, giving her to eat of the Lidden labour and are heavy laden, and I will manna and to drink of the living give you rest; take my yoke upon waters, receiving out of Christ's fulyou, and learn of me, for I am meek ness, and grace for grace. She arose and lowly in heart, and ye shall find from her knees a new creature in rest unto your souls. No man was Christ Jesus, filled with his love; but ever so rich as Jesus, and no man ever her earthly journey was not destined became so poor, and he now calls you to be for long. She died twelve days to come to him, to forgive your sins after this, in the bright sunshine of and make you happy.”
her first love, being only confined to “Are you really telling me the her bed for two days. Her last words truth ?”
are worthy of record :“Yes, Kate; these are God's own “My darling Jesus! who foull words I am reading to you, and I dare have thought it! Oh! He came low not add one word to it or take one indeed when IIe looked upon me. For word from it.”
ever blessed be His name, my deat, “ Well, if that's what you say, I'll darling Jesus. I shall soon be with try it; but I don't know how to pray. Him, and sit and kiss His feet. I What shall I say to Him when I must see Him, for I cannot now live pray?"
without Him. Come and take me, I then repeated two verses of the Lord Jesus." 51st Psalm
These were her last words. Fiftee " " After thy loving-kindness, Lord,
minutes afterwards, her Beloved cane Have mercy upon me,
and took her to be with Him for For thy compassion's great. Blot out ever. All mine iniquity.'
Farewell, simple soul! Heaven's For Christ's sake.—Amen.”
doors have closed after thee, leaving This and the following verse I re behind many who try to effect an t1: peated from fifteen to twenty times; trance thither, yet cannot attain it, she repeated line by line after me, till because they will not come down from it was engraven on her memory, or at their eininences and take it on God'least the sentiments it contained ; and, terms, and, low in the dust of selfafter telling her something of the 1 abasement, accept of it as those wh