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be thanked for all in nature that is the symbol of purity
Nov. 10.-- I have spent my Sunday in God's first temples. The wind was choir and organ, now singing its anthems, now whispering its dirges. For Bible and psalmbook, I had the grand page of nature, and many a holy verse I read from off the brown sward and the trees. sermon came to me from the distant hills, and the blue heaven on which was traced their profile. They preached strength and a serene trust. I found me a sunny, sheltered chapel framed of the living rock, and there I prayed as I could. It was high holiday in the fields. Old Mother Earth said, she had ceased from her labors, and no more for one while was she to pour her life-giving juices to be sucked up through all the arteries of this lavish vegetation. The woods 100 said, we have done; we will rest, we have fetched and carried up and down our old trunks the sap that fed these frivolous leaves, that now drop from us at the scent of a cold breeze. “Off, off you lendings !” We will battle it alone with winter. The leaning stalks of the aster and the golden-rod, and the red flaunting waxwork, that bad climbed over the walls and the savin-trees to show its pomp of berries, and the dead stems of hundreds of little flowerets, each holding up its ripened plume or pod of seed,- all said, “We have done, we will rest, we have borne, each after his kind. Son of Man ! who hast come hither to look at us, do thou too bear thy fruit, then too around thee shall it hang ornaments and trophies; thou too shalt rest, while over thee the sky shall be blue, the sun shall be bright."
Let us not vail our bonnets to circumstance. If we act so, because we are so ; if we sin from strong bias of temper and constitution, at least we have in ourselves the measure and the curb of our aberration. But if they, who are around us, sway us; if we think ourselves incapable of resisting the cords by which fathers and mothers, and a host of unsuitable expectations, and duties falsely so called, seek to bind us, --into what helpless discord shall we not fall! Do you remember in the Arabian Nights the princes who climbed the hill to bring away the singing-tree, — how
the black pebbles clamored, and the princes looked round, and became black pebbles themselves ?
I hate whatever is imitative in states of mind as well as in action. The moment I say, to myself, “I ought to feel thus and so," life loses its sweetness, the soul her vigor and truth. I can only recover my genuine self, by stopping short, refraining from every effort to shape my thought after a form, and giving it boundless freedom and horizon. Then, after oscillation more or less protracted, as the mind has been more or less forcibly pushed from its place, I fall again into my orbit, and recognise myself, and find with gratitude that something there is in the spirit which changes not, neither is weary, but ever returns into itself, and partakes of the eternity of God.
Do not let persons and things come too near you. These should be phenomenal. The soul should sit island-like; a pure cool strait should keep the external world at its dis
Only in the character of messengers, charged with a mission unto us from the Everlasting and True, should we receive what befals us or them who stand near us. This is the root of my dislike to laughter, and nervous hands, and discomposed manners; they imply too close a neighborhood of sensible objects. Even love is more exquisitely sweet when it marries, with the full consent of the will, souls not lightly moved, which do not take the print of common occurrences and excitements.
Life changes with us. We have perhaps no worse enemy to combat than a bad recantation of first love and first hope, a coxcomb-like wrapping of the cloak about us, as if we had a right to be hurt at the course which the world takes, and were on cool terms with God.
SELF AND SOCIETY.
It is a miserable smallness of nature to be shut
within the circle of a few personal relations, and to fret and fume whenever a claim is made on us from God's wide world without. If we are impatient of the dependence of man on man, and grudge to take hold of hands in the ring, the spirit in us is either evil or infirm. If to need least, is nighest to God, so also is it to impart most. There is no soundness in any philosophy short of that of unlimited debt.
As no man but is wholly made up of the contributions of God and the creatures of God, so there is none who can reasonably deny himself to the calls which in the economy of the world he was provided with the means of satisfying. The true check of this principle is to be found in another general law, that each is to serve his fellow men in that way he can best. The olive is not bound to leave yielding its fruit and go reign over the trees; neither is the astronomer, the artist, or the the poet to quit his work, that he may do the errands of Howard, or second the efforts of Wilberforce.
Αδάκρυν νεμόνται αιώνα. .
Dear, noble soul, wisely thy lot thou bearest,
C. A. D.
Now that Christmas and New Year are at a safe distance, and one can speak without suspicion of personality, I have a word to say of gifts. It is said, that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay, and ought to go into chancery, and be sold. I do not think this general insolvency which involves in some sort all the population, the reason of the difficulty annually or oftener experienced in bestowing gists; since it is always so pleasant to be generous, but very vexatious to pay debts. But the obstacle lies in the difficulty of choosing; if at any time it comes to me with force that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled what to give, until the opportunity is gone. Flowers and fruits are always fit presents ; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world ; and fruits, because they are the flower of commodities, and at once admit of fantastic values being attached to them. If a man should send to me to come a hundred miles to visit him, and should set before me a basket of fine summer fruit, I should think there was some proportion between the labor and the reward. For common gifts, necessity makes pertinences and beauty every day, and one is thankful when an imperative leaves him no option, since if the man at the door have no shoes, you have not to think whether you could procure him a paint-box. And as it is always pleasing to see a man eat bread or drink water in the house or out of doors, so it is always a great satisfaction to supply these first wants. Necessity does everything well. Als
Also I have heard a friend say, that the rule for a gist was, to convey to some person that which properly belonged to their character, and was easily associated with them in thought. But our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem ; the shepherd his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture ; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. This is right, and we feel a profound pleasure, for it re
stores society in so far to its primary basis, when a man's biography is conveyed in his gift, and every man's wealth is an index of his merit. But it is a cold, lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy me something, which does not represent your life and talent to me, but a goldsmith's. This is fit for kings, and rich men who represent kings, and a false state of property, to make presents of gold and silver stuffs, as a kind of symbolical sin-offering and payment of tribute.
But this matter of gifts is delicate, and requires careful sailing, or rude boats. It is not the office of a man to receive gifts. How dare you give them ? We ask to be self-sustained, nothing less; we hale to receive a gift. We ha the hand that feeds us; we can receive anything from love, for that is a way of receiving it from ourselves, but not from any one who assumes to bestow. We hate the animal food which we eat, because there seems some. thing of degrading dependence in living by it.
“ Brother, if Jove to thee a present make,
Take heed that from his hands thou nothing take.” We ask all; nothing less than all will content us. We quarrel with society, and rightfully, as we think, if it do not give us love also, love and reverence and troops of friends.
Who is up so high as to receive a gift well? We are either glad or sorry at a gift, and both emotions are unbecoming. Some violence I think is done, some degradation borne, when I rejoice or grieve at a gift. I am sorry when my independence is invaded, or when a gift comes from such as do not know my spirit, and so the act is not supported ; and if the gift pleases me overmuch, then I should be ashamed that the donor should read my heart, and see that I love his commodity and not him. The gift to be true must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondent to my flowing unto him. When the waters are at level, then my goods pass to him, and his to me. All his are mine, all mine his. I say to him, How can you give me this pot of oil, or this flagon of wine, when all your oil and wine is mine, which belief of mine this gift of yours seems to deny? Hence the fitness of beautiful, not useful things for gifts. This giving is flat usurpation, and there