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Possibly thou mayest continue thy course for thousands of years longer with strength and gladness, attended by thy moon and led by thy shining sun. Possibly thou mayest still for thousands of years maintain the succession of days and nights, summer and winter, in invariable order, and see the generations of man come and go.
Finite art thou, and transitory-as thy children are finite and transitory. For that which is created is not eternal and imperishable, as the Creator is eternal and immutable. For thee also a limit is fixed. Even thy long day will decline. He that formed thee will change thee: he that created thee will destroy thee; even thy strength sha!l decay ; even thy structure shall fall into ruins; even thy law and thy order shall be no more.
On all sides, wherever we turn our eyes, we are met by images of decay. History is a large silent field, covered with ruins and graves. What we bear in the memory is past and gone. What we built we see totter; and in the humiliating feeling of diminished and wasting energy of life, the sad idea of approaching dissolution often occurs. But we are never more forcibly affected by the feeling of the vanity of worldly things, than when we transport ourselves in imagination to the day of the falling world, and hover, as it were, over the ruins of our destroyed planet.
The earth has now filled the measure of its years, and its time is come; the conflict of the elements begins, and in the mighty struggle all the works of men perish, and the last of our race are buried under the ruins of falling palaces and cottages ; and not only the works of men, but the works of nature also come to an end ; the barriers of beach and shore are broken through; the mountains, thousands of years old, bend their heads; all life stiffens; the beautiful structure of plants and animals is resolved into rough matter; the powers of destruction rule, wild and lawless. And now the conflict is ended : now the earth is again waste and void, and darkness is on the face of the deep.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONCLUDED. We must turn from the vanity of worldy things to Him that is Eternal and Imperishable; and never is he present
to our souls in a more lively manner, than when we look up to him from the midst of images of destruction.
Yes, the sense of the vanity of every thing temporal and earthly, which springs from the thought of the perishing world, leads us to God, the Eternal and Imperishable; and, whilst our contemplation is directed from the world which passeth away to the everlasting Creator, it is as if we were borne by a higher power over a waving sea and an unsteady ground, to a safe rock. For the Eternal and Immutable is our Lord and Father, and has poured into our being a ray of his light, which is never extinguished—the power to know and love him.
When we are conscious of this power, and look up to Him in whose sight a thousand years are as yesterday, we feel the full signification of the important words, “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.'
With the sense of the vanity of worldly things there springs likewise, from the thought of the end of the world, a sense of our dependence on God. Every thing, indeed, our origin and our end, what we know and what we attempt, reminds us of our limits, and thereby brings us to a feeling of our dependence on a superior power.
But nothing can awaken this feeling more forcibly, than the thought of Him, who, as he of old laid the foundations of the earth and stretched out the heavens, will again fold the heavens together as a garment, and will shake the strong places of the earth. God spake once, 'Let there be light, and there was light.' Once again he will say, Let there be darkness, and darkness shall prevail; for he' speaks the word, and it is done; he commandeth, and it standeth fast.'
This sublime thought of the Almighty Lord of the universe occurs to us, when we consider either the beginning or the end of the things of this world ; and then he appears before us, great, majestic, and awe-inspiring, the Lord of lords, and King of kings, in his might and splendour.
THE RESPECT DUE TO ALL MEN.
Fawcett. Let those, whose riches have purchased for them the page of Knowledge, regard with respect the native powers of them to whose eyes it has never been unrolled. The day labourer, and the professor of science, belong naturally to the same order of intelligences. Circumstances and situation have made all the difference between them. The understanding of one has been free to walk whither it would : that of the other has been shut up and deprived of the liberty of ranging the fields of knowledge. Society has condemned it to the dungeon of ignorance, and then despises it for being in the dark.
There have been multitudes that would have added to the sum, or have embellished the form, of human knowledge, if their youth had been taught the rudiments, and their life allowed them leisure to prosecute the pursuit of it. The attention that would have been crowned with splendid successes in the inquiry after truth, has all been expended in the search after bread. The curiosity that would have penetrated to the secrets of nature, explored the recesses of mind, and compassed the records of time, has been choked by the cares of want. The fancy, that would have glowed with a heat divine, and made a brilliant addition to the blazing thoughts and burning words of the poetical world, has been chilled and frozen by the cold winds of poverty.
Many an one, who cannot read what others wrote, had the knowledge of elegant letters been given him, would himself have written, what ages might read with delight. He that ploughs the ground, had he studied the heavens, might have understood the stars as well as he understands the soil. Many a sage has lain hid in the savage, and many a slave was made to be an emperor.
Blood, says the pride of life, is more honourable than money. Indigent nobility looks down upon untitled opulence. This sentiment, pushed a little farther, leads to the point I am pursuing. Mind is the noblest part of the man; and of mind, virtue is the noblest distinction.
Honest man, in the ear of Wisdom, is a grander name, is a more high-sounding title, than peer of the realm, or prince of the blood. According to the eternal rules of ce
lestial precedency, in the immortal heraldry of Nature and of Heaven, Virtue takes place of all things. It is the nobility of angels! It is the majesty of God!
THE HUMAN FISHES.
I must tell thee, dear Robin, men's faith in the Sun,
In the tide of his stomach, as food down his throat;
But, were the relation of all to be penned,
But the Ocean of thought is so vast and so wide,
MARULLUS TO THE MOB.
WHEREFORE rejoice? that Cæsar comes in triumph ?