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majesty " in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning.” We feel that there is a God; and from the tempestuous sea of life, we hail that polar star of nature, to which a sācred instinct had directed our eyes, and which burns with undecaying ray to lighten us among all the darkness of the deep.
From this great conviction, there is another sentiment which succeeds. Nature, indeed, yearly perishes; but it is yearly renewed. Amid all its changes, the immortal spirit of Him that made it remains; and the same sun which now marks with his receding ray the autumn of the year, will again arise in his brightness, and bring along with him the promise of the spring and all the magnificence of summer.
Under such convictions, hope dawns upon the sadness of the heart. The melancholy of decay becomes the very herald of renewal ;-the magnificent circle of nature opens upon our view ;-we anticipate the analogous resurrection of our being ;-we see beyond the grave a greater spring, and we people it with those who have given joy to that which is passed. With such final impressions, we submit ourselves gladly to the destiny of our being. While the sun of mortality sinks, we hail the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, and, in hours when all the honors of nature are perishing around us, we prostrate ourselves in deeper adoration before Him who “ sitteth
its throne." Let, then, the young go out, in these hours, under the descending sun of the year into the fields of nature. Their hearts are now ardent with hope,-with the hopes of fame, of honor, or of happiness; and in the long perspec'tive which is before them, their imagination creates a world where all may be enjoyed. Let the scenes which they now may witness, moderate, but not extinguish their ambition :—while they see the yearly desolation of nature, let them see it as the emblem of mortal hope ;—while they feel the disproportion between the powers they possess, and the time they are to be employed, let them carry their ambitious eye beyond the world ;-and while, in these sacred solitudes, a voice in their own bosom corresponds to the voice of decaying nature, let them take that high decision which becomes those who feel themselves the inhabitants of a greater world, and who look to a being incapable of decay.
GILBERT AINSLIE was a poor man; and he had been a poor man all the days of his life, which were not few, for his thin hair was now waxing gray. He had been born and bred on the small moorland farm which he now occupied; and he hoped to die there, as his father and grandfather had done before him, leaving a family just above the more bitter wants of this world. Labor, hard and unremitting, had been his lot in life ; but although sometimes severely tried, he had never repined; and through all the mist, and gloom, and even the storms that had assailed him, he had lived on, from year to year, in that calm and resigned contentment, which unconsciously cheers the hearth-stone of the blame
: With his own hands he had ploughed, sowed, and reaped his often scanty harvest, assisted, as they grew up, by three sons, who, even in boyhood, were happy to work along with their father in the fields. Out of doors or in, Gilbert Ainslie was never idle. The spade, the shears, the plough-shaft, the sickle, and the flail
, all came readily to hands that grasped them well; and not a morsel of food was eaten under his roof, or a garment worn there, that was not honestly, severely, nobly earned. Gilbert Ainslie was a slave, but it was for them he loved with a sober and deep affection. The thraldom under which he lived God had imposed, and it only served to give his character a shade of silent gravity, but not austere; to make his smiles fewer, but more heartfelt; to calm his soul at grace before and after meals; and to kindle it in morning and evening prayer. There is no need to tell the character of the wife of such
Meek and thoughtful, yet gladsome and gay withal, her heaven was in her house; and her gentler and weaker hands helped to bar the door against want. Of ten children that had been born to them, they had lost three; and as they had fed, clothed, and educated them respectably, so did they give them who died a respectable funeral. The living did
not grudge to give up, for a while, some of their
* The volume of beautiful and affecting tales, entitled "Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life,” from which this piece and some others in this Selection are taken, is attributed to John Wilson, Esq. upon the authority of M'Diarmid, Editor of The Scrap Book.
Kythe* like the passing mēteor of the deep :
* Kythe or kithe; Shor, used here as a neuter verb: The oldest English poets use it actively. "Ne kithe hire jalousie."--Chaucer.
LESSON LXXV. Stanzas written at Midnight.-D. MOIR. 'Tis night-and in darkness the visions of youth
Flit solemn and slow in the eye of the mind; The hope they excited hath perished, and truth
Laments o'er the wrecks they are leaving behind. "Tis midnight-and wide o'er the regions of riot
Are spread, deep in silence, the wings of repose ; And man, soothed from revel, and lulled into quiet,
Forgets in his slumbers the weight of his woes. How gloomy and dim is the scowl of the heaven,
Whose āzure the clouds with their darkness invest; Not a star o'er the shadowy concave is given,
To omen a something like hope to the breast. Hark! how the lone night-wind uptosses the forest !
A downcast regret through the mind slowly steals :
The bosom of man in his solitude feels !
Whose bosoms with mutual affection did burn?
The grass rustles drearily over their urn: While I, in a populous solitude, languish,
Mid foes that beset me, and friends that are cold ; Ah! the pilgrim of earth oft has felt in his anguish,
That the heart may be widowed before it is old ! Affection can sooth but its votaries an hour,
Doomed soon in the flames, that it raised to depart; And ah! disappointment has poison and power
To ruffle and sour the most patient of heart.
Has merit been destined to bear and to bleed ;
Have found that the dregs were full bitter indeed.
Tho' friends should forsake me, and foes should combinesSuch may
kindle the breasts of the weak to complain, They only can teach resignation to mine : For far o'er the regions of doubt and of dreaming,
The spirit beholds a less perishing span; And bright through the tempest the rainbow is streaming,
The sign of forgiveness from Heaven to man !
Slavery.--CowPER. O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumor of oppression and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more. My ear is pained, My soul is sick, with every day's report Of wrong
and outrage, with which earth is filled. There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, It does not feel for man; the natural bond Of brotherhood is severed as the flax That falls asunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not colored like his
own ; and having power To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him
as his lawful prey. Lands intersected by a narrow frith Abhor each other. Mountains interposed Make enemies of nations, who had else Like kindred drops been mingled into one. Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys ; And, worse than all, and most to be deplored, As human nature's broadest, foulest blot, Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat With stripes, that Mercy, with a bleeding heart, Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast. Then what is man? And what man, seeing this, And having human feelings does not blush, And hang his head, to think himself a man? I would not have a slave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth That sinews, bought and sold, have ever earn'd. No: dear as freedom is, and in
heart's Just estimation prized above all price, I had much rather be myself the slave, And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. We have no slaves at home-then why abroad? And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave That parts us, are emancipate and loosed. Slaves cannot breathe in England ; if their lungs Receive our air, that moment they are free;