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And away, far from men, where high mountains tower,
The little green mosses rejoice,
And the hill-torrents lift up their voice:
And deep in the fir-wood below, near the plain,
A single thrush pipes full and sweet,
Waving meadows, and thick-growing wheat;
L.—THE LOVE OF NATURE.
IT is strange to observe the callousness of some men, before whom all the glories of heaven and earth pass in daily succession without touching their hearts, elevating their fancy, or leaving any durable remembrance. Even of those who pretend to sensibility, how many are there to whom the luster of the rising or setting sun, the sparkling concave of the midnight sky, the mountain forest tossing and roaring to the storm, or warbling with all the melodies of a summer evening; the sweet interchange of hill and dale, shade and sunshine, grove, lawn, and water, which an extensive landscape offers to the view; the scenery of the ocean, so lovely, so majestic, and so tremendous, and the many pleasing varieties of the animal and vegetable kingdom, could never afford so much real satisfaction as the steams of a ball-room, or the wranglings of a card-table.
2. But some minds there are of a different mould, who, even in the early part of life, receive from the contemplation of Nature a species of delight which they would hardly exchange for any other; and who, as avarice and ambition are not the infirmities of that period, would, with equal sincerity and rapture exclaim,—
"I care not, Fortune, what you me deny;
You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace;
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face;
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns by living stream at eve."
3. To a mind thus disposed, no part of creation is indifferent. In the crowded city and howling wilderness, in the cultivated province and solitary isle, in the flowery lawn and craggy mountain, in the murmur of the rivulet and in the uproar of the ocean, in the radianoe of summer and gloom of winter, in the thunder of heaven and in the whisper of the breeze, he still finds something to rouse or to soothe his imagination, to draw forth his affections, or to employ his understanding. And from every mental energy that is not attended with pain, and even from some of those that are, as moderate terror and pity, a sound mind derives satisfaction; exercise being equally necessary to the body and the soul, and to both equally productive of health and pleasure.
4. This happy sensibility to the beauties of Nature should be cherished in young persons. It engages them to contemplate the Creator in his wonderful works; it purifies and harmonizes the soul, and prepares it for moral and intellectual discipline; it supplies a never-failing source of amusement; it contributes even to bodily health; and as a strict analogy subsists between material and moral beauty; it leads the heart by an easy transition from the one to the other, and thus recommends virtue for its transcendent loveliness, and makes vice appear the object of contempt and abomination.
"O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all that echoes to the song of even;
And all the dread magnificence of heaven;
LI.—THE GLORY OF GOD IN CREATION.
THOU art, O God, the life and light
Are but reflections caught from thee.
When day, with farewell beam, delays
And we can almost think we gaze
Those hues that make the suns decline
So soft, so radiant, Lord, are thine.
O'ershadows all the earth and skies,
Is sparkling with unnumbered eyes,
When youthful Spring around us breathes,
Thy spirit warms her fragrant sigh,
Is born beneath thy kindling eye:
LIL—THE TRUE USE OF WEALTH.
THERE is a saying which is in all good men's mouths; namely, that they are stewards or ministers of whatever talents are entrusted to them. Only, is it not a strange thing that while we more or less accept the meaning of that saying, so long as it is considered metaphorical, we never accept its meaning in its own terms? You know the lesson is given us under the form of a story about money. Money was given to the servants to make use of: the unprofitable servant dug in the earth, and hid his Lord's money. Well, we in our poetical and spiritual application of this, say that of course money does n't mean money—it means wit, it means intellect, it means influence in high quarters, it means everything in the world except itself.
2. And do you not see what a pretty and pleasant comeoff there is for most of us in this spiritual application? Of course, if we had wit, we would use it for the good of our fellow-creatures; but we have n't wit. Of course, if we had influence with the bishops, we would use it for the good of the church; but we have n't any influence with the bishops. Of course, if we had political power, we would use it for the good of the nation; but we have no political power; we have no talents entrusted to us of any sort or kind. It is true we have a little money, but the parable can't possibly mean anything so vulgar as money; our money 's our own.
3. I believe, if you think seriously of this matter, vou will feel that the first and most literal application is just as necessary a one as any other—that the story does very specially mean what it says—plain money; and that the reason we don't at once believe it does so, is a sort of tacit idea that while thought, wit, and intellect, and all power of birth and position, are indeed given to us, and, therefore, to be laid out for the Giver,—our wealth has not been given to us; but we have worked for it, and have a right to spend tas we choose. I think you will find that is the real substance of cur understanding in this matter. Beauty, we say, is given by God—it is a talent; strength is given by God—it is a talent; but money is proper wages for our day's work—it is not a talent, it is a due. We may justly spend it on ourselves, if we have worked for it.
4 And there would be some shadow of excuse for this, were it not that the very power of making the money is iteelf only one of the applications of that intellect or strength which we confess to be talents. Why is one man richer than another? Because he is more industrious, more persevering, and more sagacious. Well, who made him more persevering and more sagacious than others? That power of endurance, that quickness of apprehension, that calmness of judgment, which enable him to seize opportunities that others lose, and persist in the lines of conduct in which others fail—are these not talents?—are they not, in the present state of the world, among the most distinguished and influential of mental gifts?
5. And is it not wonderful, that while we should be utterly ashamed to use a superiority of body in order to thrust our weaker companions aside from some place of advantage, we unhesitatingly use our superiorities of mind to thrust them back from whatever good that strength of mind can attain? You would be indignant if you saw a strong man walk into a theater or a lecture-room, and, calmly choosing the best place, take his feeble neighbor by the shoulder, and turn him out of it into the back seats or the street. You would be equally indignant if you saw a stout fellow thrust himself up to a table where some hungry children are being fed, and reach his arm over their heads and take their bread from them.
6. But you are not the least indignant if when a man has stoutness of thought and swiftness of capacity, and, instead of being long-armed only, has the much greater gift of being long-headed—you think it perfectly just that he should use his intellect to take the bread out of the mouths of all the other men in the town who are in the same trade