תמונות בעמוד

great deal of time-dawdles. He cannot help this. He does not know how to rest one set of organs while he is using another set. If

you find yourself listless, disinclined to exertion, unable to read, with a dull pain about your temples, and a general feeling of discontent and worthlessness settling over you, you may know that you have overlooked or neglected some requirement of hygeine ; and I think you will find it best to wait quietly and patiently as possible, till you can relish a little food, then a little exercise, then more food and more exercise, and so on till your brain feels like work again. This · waiting, however, is wasteful. One who understands the art of living has no time for lassitude and good-for-nothing-ness, as Charles Lamb says. He knows his business all the time, and attends to it with a sort of joyous punctuality. If his business for the moment is to take food, he leaves other business and attends to this, taking plenty of time for the eating and digesting, and banishing all labor and irksome thoughts. Is bodily exercise the business? He chrows his whole being into it with hilarity and good temper. So, when his business is sleep, he attends to it with the same thoroughness : he comes to it regularly, with body and mind just comfortably tired — never exhausted — with no late supper to digest, and no badly-managed business to worry about-and so falls quietly asleep and wastes no strength in horrid dreams or jousts with the bed-clothing. And when the hour comes for that intellectual work, for which everything else is merely a preparation, he finds exquisite, unspeakable enjoyment in the marvellous workings of a well-fed and well. managed brain.

He encounters difficulties with the same hilarious delight that you feel as you spring from rock to rock up the bed of a mountain troutstream.

Direct the energies of your life to the pursuit of pleasure in any form, the attainment of wealth, or the gratification of passion, and you will find that as soon as you have clutched the object of your desire, the charm begins to wane, But if you regard all occupations and all pleasures as instruments for shaping out the possible beauty and nobility that is in you, they — and all things-will have a perennial charm.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever :
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

If we will it so, your soul--and mine-may be " a thing of beauty, a joy forever.

I hope it is not some mischief-loving sprite that is playing with my fancy this morning; for methinks / see each of you going forth from this day on ward; cheerfully bearing the mishaps of the day ; wisely using the strength that God has given; performing the meanest duties with a noble grace, as of one whose soul is in communion with the Highest ; still seeking some better

way; never thinking to “finish the education" until in good time the mortal shall put on immortality.

Carlyle says of Goethe:

“In no line does he speak with asperity of any man, scarcely of any thing. He knows the good, and loves it ; he knows the bad and hateful, and rejects; but in neither case with violence. His love is calm and active; his rejection implied rather than pronounced.”




T is a fact—hardly to be called strange, perhaps—that while Christians

consider upon the religions of past ages and discuss their merits with perfect equanimity, the thought never seems to occur to them, that at some future day other generations will look back upon the Christian religion, as it now exists in its varied forms, and will speak of the blindness and ignorance of that race of men who knew no better how to worship God than to adhere to a prescribed formula, varied slightly by different sects, but substantially the same, which is throughout alike inconsonant with the general teachings of nature, and incompatible with the highest idea of manhood and Godhead.

It is marvelous to think that so large a proportion of sentient mankind should consent to hinge their faith in God and immortality on a written book or testimony ; still more marvelous that they should take this testimony as a rule of life, and shape themselves in accordance with its dictation, in the most implicit faith. Old and young, Jew and gentile, Christian and Mohammedan, religionists of all classes, resting their faith on written records handed down from generation to generation ; spending precious moments of time in trying to prove the authenticity of their parchments,-a most hopeless task, one would think, from the innumerable volumes that have been written, and equally thankless, for what good purpose would be served in the event of one or the other being substantiated, since the present is the only real, and an allegory, if it be a good one, may serve as well to teach us an important truth as the best authenticated history? And then, apart from this, the stories related are, in many cases, whether they be true or false, such as could in no wise serve any good purpose in the education or betterment of mankind; and in our own Bible many of them are even offensive to

pure nature, and well calculated to perplex and bewilder an honest searcher after the truth who may have been referred to its pages.

Among the Liberal Christians, so-called, the latest outgrowth of Christianity, the same fundamental error exists. The Bible is the source from which their ministers derive their inspirations, and the choice offered you is merely

an orthodox or a heterodox interpretation of Scripture. The liberal minister preaches sermon upon sermon, for what? Why, to convince his hearers that his is the true interpretation of a fable, and that all others are false or mistaken. An enthusiastic graduate of a divinity school writes a dozen or two articles in a liberal paper to prove that the first four Gospels of the New Testament were or were not written by the men to whom they are ascribed ; as though it made one jot of difference either way—as though the sun would shine any warmer, or the ice grow any colder, or man's innate love of goodness wax any stronger, in either event, or as if either of the contesting parties would rest satisfied with the proof, even though one rose from the dead to attest it.

If a Christian ascertains that his minister has expressed some new viewsay in relation to the observance of the Sabbath-he at once thinks that it will now do for him to consider the subject. If the Rev. John Smith has announced it as his opinion that a poor clerk or book-keeper who has spent six days of the week in wearing labor, serves God and himself better by playing a game of ball or rowing a boat on Sunday, A and B, although they would have been horrified at the idea the day before, at once reason, if Mr. Smith really thinks so, perhaps it may be so. Such is the power which a strong mind in a pulpit, aided by the authority of its position, comes to have over a weaker one out of it. The ministers of the Christian religion are thus constituted autocrats in the realm, and it is a curious study to an outside observer to see men and women of more than average intelligence surrender to them their individuality of thought on religious subjects. God has given each one of us judgment, reason, and conscience, as rules of life to be put in practice; and even the Bible, in one place, says that we are accountable to ourselves and to Him, alone, for our actions in this sphere. It is not only not right, but it is a positive sin for men to place their noblest faculties under the trammeling influences of church organizations, of whatever kind, for they all exercise greater or less control over the better part of the man.

The church system is too conglomerate ; it deals too much in masses, too little in individuals. Men need to be taught to place greater reliance upon themselves, upon the man within them and the ideal goodness which they adore, and less value upon the clumsy instruments of religion—the minister, the Church, and the Bible.

Whether Christ ever lived or not is a matter of the most trivial importance ; suffice it that good men have lived, and that the words which are attributed to him are, for the most part, words of wisdom, which commend themselves to all mankind for their truth and exceeding simplicity.

The religion of the future will be more like an intimacy between the spirit which animates us and its author, and less of the cold formality of singing meaningless words in praise of a God whom we fear, rather than love, and whom we seek to appease by devoting a stated portion of time to his praise, that we may have the rest of our time uninterrupted to ourselves. We shall in many

yet learn to do away with special public acts of worship, and make it the business of our lives to live worshipfully, reverently, ever mindful of the grandeur and sublimity of our existence, and every act shall testify of the strength and reliance we feel.

As education becomes more general, and as the developments of science extend, it seems impossible that mankind should longer hold fast to the manifestly absurd theories and speculations which now obtain, and which have thus far found ready believers, as they have had specious expounders.

The cause of humanity has ever steadily advanced, in spite of all that religion has done to retard its progress. The Christian religion has been no exception to the general rule: it has been upheld by bigots in all ages of its existence; it has persecuted the cause of justice and of God; it has made martyrs

noble causes; it has had--indeed, even now has-its idolaters, who are loud in the denunciation of the heathenism of the age. Why, look at our own country during the struggle of the past fifty years which has just been brought to so glorious an issue ; on which side have the Christians stood ? With rare exceptions, uniformly on the side of slavery. It was the heathen (as they have called them) who fought the battles of justice and humanity, when the horizon of the future was dark with muttering clouds. But when the conflict was virtually over, when the light of day was thrown upon the field, and it was seen who had gained the victory, then, and not till then, did the Christian church raise its banner in the now victorious cause, and claim to have borne the brunt of the fight.

The good accomplished by church organizations is more than counterbalanced by the evils arising from sectarianism and theology, which are the inevitable concomitants. Public associations, for the amelioration of existing evils among men, would do far greater service to humanity, and serve much better to fulfil the end and object of our creation and existence. The Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, workingmen's co-operative associations, Lyceums, accomplish better deeds. Sunday lectures, on morality, the laws of health, honesty in business, on an infinite number of subjects bearing upon daily life, and upon which all mankind are agreed in the abstract: all such undertakings would be of infinitely more avail than all the religions the world has known, in giving a unity of purpose to all.

But leave the worship of the great Creator to the individual, or the family (which is the same), to whom alone it properly belongs. To this goal we are rapidly tending, away from idolatry, Christian as well as Hindoo, and the strenuous efforts now being made by Christian religionists to consolidate their ranks, and make a common foe of infidels (such is the usual epithet applied to the opponents of churchism), only show how desperate the fight will be ; but of its result, who doubts, that has read the history of the past, and watched the irresistible progress of events. Said Schjiler:

“ Welche religion ich bekenne? Keine von allen,

Die dų mir rennst.--Und warum keine aus religion,”

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66 E clip from the Evening Post a lively article respecting this re

markable woman, whose portraiture in “Snow Bound' is no less accurate than graphic. She was a person to excite sympathy and respect, notwithstandimg her eccentricities, and we never doubted her piety, though her varying moods would have merited censure in any one whose mental condition was sound. Fully convinced that she should not die, she bore the infirmities of age with the expectation of renewed youth and vigor—and as her faith in Christ was steadfast, and her love for His name was unaffected and rapturous, it is gratifying to believe that although His owning of her did not come in the manner she expected, yet that the reality of blessedness has far exceeded the dream of a converted soul combined with a disordered intellect. The writer in the post is mistaken in ihinking that she was in Palestine during the rebellion. Her last projected visit to Jerusalem failed for want of funds, and her latter years were spent in poverty. Yet her bearing and character won respect and sympathy, and during the last months of her life she was sheltered in a quiet retreat, where her wants were well supplied.”

During the winter of 1866 no mail was received at the post-office in the quiet village of Amesbury, Mass , without containing letters seeking information from John G. Whittier, concerning one of the characters in that beautiful New England idyl, “Snow Bound.' Indeed, much of the poet's time-for his circle of readers is constantly enlarging-has been corsumed in answering the questions addressed to him in regard to the person thus designated :

“Another guest, that winter night,

Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue,
And words of meekness, scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold;
Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside

Her unbent will's majestic pride.' “ All the other characters of • Snow Bound' were real. The gray-haired sire ;' the mother who transmitted her own poetic nature and grand moral views to the boy; the uncle, é rich in lore of fields and brooks ;' the aunt

« « The sweetest woman ever Fate

Perverse denied a household mate;'

the elder sister, who found rest

beneath the low green tent Whose curtain never outward swings;'

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