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The Sixth Reader.
I.—GOD ALL IN ALL.
EVERY moment of our lives, we breathe, stand, or move in the temple of the Most High; for the whole universe is that temple. Wherever we go, the testimony to His power, the impress of His hand are there.
2. Ask of the bright worlds around us, as they roll in the everlasting harmony of their circles; and they shall tell you of Him, whose power launched them on their courses.
3. Ask of the mountains, that lift their heads among and above the clouds; and the bleak summit of one shall seem to call aloud to the snow-clad top of another, in proclaiming their testimony to the Agency which has laid their deep foundations.
4. Ask of ocean's waters; and the roar of their boundless waves shall chant from shore to shore a hymn of ascription to that Being, who hath said, "Hitherto shall ye come and no further."
5. Ask of the rivers; and as they roll onward to the sea, do they not bear along their ceaseless tribute to the everworking Energy, which struck open their fountains and poured them down through the valleys?
6. Ask of every region of the earth, from the burning equator to the icy pole, from the rock-bound coast to the plain covered with its luxuriant vegetation; and will you not find on them all the record of the Creator's presence?
7. Ask of the countless tribes of plants and animals;
and shall they not testify to the action of the great Source
8. Yes, from every portion, from every department of nature, comes the same voice: everywhere we hear Thy name, O Clod; everywhere we see Thy love. Creation, in all its depth and height, is the manifestation of Thy Spirit, and without Thee the world were dark and dead.
9. The universe is to us as the burning bush which the Hebrew leader saw: God is ever present in it, for it burns with His glory, and the ground on which we stand is always holy.
II— THE SPRING JOURNEY.
O GREEN was the corn as I rode on my way,
The thrush from his holly, the lark from his cloud,
The mild southern breeze brought a shower from the hill;
And yet, though it left me all dripping and chill,
I felt a new pleasure as onward I sped,
To gaze where the rainbow gleamed broad overhead.
O such be Life's journey, and such be our skill,
To lose in its blessings the sense of its ill;
Through sunshine and shower may our progress be even,
SAnd our tears add a charm to the prospect of Heaven!
III— THE ELDER BROTHER.
A GENTLEMAN of England had two sons; the elder of whom, eager for adventure, and weary of the restraints of home, obtained his father's permission to go abroad.
2. Ten years later, a traveler, prematurely old, covered with rags and dust, stopped at an inn near the paternal estate. Nobody knew him; although, by his conversation, he appeared to have had some previous acquaintance with the neighborhood. Among other questions, he asked concerning the father of the two sons.
3. "O, he's dead," said the landlord;—"been dead these five years;—poor old man !—dead and forgotten long ago!"
4. "And his sons?" said the traveler, after a pause;—" I believe he had two."
5. "Yes, he had. Thomas and James. Tom was the heir. But he was unsteady; had a roving disposition; gave his father no end of trouble;—poor old man! poor old man!" And the landlord, shaking his head sorrowfully, drained a good tankard of his own ale, by way of solace to his melancholy reflections.
6. The traveler passed a trembling hand over his own pale brow and rough beard, and said again,—
"But James, the second son,—he is—alive?"
7. "You would think so," said the landlord, smacking his lips. "Things have happened well for him. The old man dead; his brother dead too—"
8. "His brother dead?" said the traveler with a start.
9. "Dead, or as good as dead. He went off on his travels ten years ago, and has never been heard of since. So James has come into the estate,—and a brave estate it is; and a gay gentleman is James. What! going, sir?"
10. "I beg your pardon," said the traveler rising. "I— I have business with this James."
11. He proceeded at once to the house of the younger brother, whom he found just mounting his horse at the door of the paternal mansion. James, taking him for a common beggar, repulsed him rudely; when the traveler cried out, in deep agitation:
12. "James! my brother James! Don't you know me? I am your long-lost brother Thomas I"
13. "ThomasI Zounds, Tom!" said James in utter astonishment. "Where in the name of wonder did you come from?"
14. "The ship in which I sailed fell into the hands of pirates. I was sold as a slave in Algiers. I have but lately made my escape, and begged my way home. O James!" sobbed forth the wretched man, quite overcome by his emotions.
15. "Bless my heart! Is it possible!" said James, by this time recovering from his surprise, and beginning to think that for him to regain a brother was to lose an estate. "I heard you were dead. I have the best evidence that you are dead! I mean, that my brother Thomas is dead. I don't know you, sir! You must be an impostor, sir!—Dick, send this beggar away!"
16. And without giving the amazed Thomas a chance to remonstrate or prove the truth of his story, James leaped upon his horse and galloped off.
17. The elder brother, driven from the house to which he was himself the rightful heir,—penniless, and a stranger in his own country,—returned to the village, where he endeavored in vain to enlist some old friends of his father in his behalf. His changed appearance justified them in refusing to recognize him; and his brother had now grown to be a man of influence whom they feared to offend. At last, however, he found an honest attorney to credit his story and undertake his cause.
18. "If I win it for you," said he, "you shall give me a thousand pounds. If I fail, I shall expect nothing, as you will have nothing to give. And failure is very likely; for your brother will be exceedingly liberal with your money, and it will be hard to find a judge, or jury, or witness, that he will not be able to bribe. But I will do what I can; and in the mean time I will advance you what money you need to live upon."
19. Fully satisfied of Thomas's integrity, and moved by his expressions of gratitude to make still greater exertions in his behalf, the attorney resolved to go up to London, and lay the case before Sir Matthew Hale, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench,—a man no less conspicuous for his abilities than for his upright and impartial character.
20. Sir Matthew listened with patience to the story, and also to the attorney's suspicions as to the means that would be used to deprive the elder brother of his right.
"Go on with the regular process of the law," said he; "and notify me when the trial is to take place."
21. The attorney did so; but heard nothing from Sir Matthew in reply. The day of trial came; and the elder brother's prospects looked dark in the extreme. That morning a coach drove up to the house of a miller in the neighboring town. A gentleman alighted and went in. After saluting the miller, he told him he had a request to make, which was that he would exchange clothes with him, and allow his coachman to remain there with the carriage until the following day.
22. The miller at first thought the stranger was joking; and on being convinced to the contrary, would fain have fetched his best suit; but no,—the stranger would have none but the dusty clothes he had on. The exchange was soon effected, and the stranger, transformed to a whitecoated, honest-faced old miller, proceeded on foot to the village where the court was sitting.