Page images
PDF
EPUB

8

THE NIGHT COMETH;" OR, THE SOUL IN DANGER.

everlasting life." Without repentance for sin, and faith in this Saviour, you, and every sinner, must perish for ever. “ There is no other name given under heaven whereby you can be saved ;” but “he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him.” Sinner! delay not. A voice from heaven calls to you, “ To-day, if ye will come unto me.” To-day, then, determine, in the strength of almighty grace, to seek for mercy-to-day, cast yourself, as a guilty sinner, at the footstool of the throne-to-day, resolve you

will

escape eternal woe, and “flee from the wrath to come”-to-day, surrender your heart to God, and be his willing subject to-day, implore the Holy Spirit's aid, to teach you and guide you. Oh! do this, and you will be happy in life, in death, in eternity. Refuse these offers-despise these exhortations, and you will perish-yes, eternally perish-for, “THE NIGHT COMETH!”

The night steals on !-it is the watchman's cry;
Life's happy morn is gone, its visions fled ;
Its hopes, like rainbow painted in the sky,
Are quenched in darkness,--all its pleasures dead.
The night has come! I hear the watchman's cry!
And I am passing, like my hopes, away ;
Death chills my heart, and closes fast my eye,
And longer on this earth I must not stay.
'Tis night! 'tis night! I hear the Judge proclaim-
Which has no morn beyond ;--far, far from God,
My soul removed must sink in endless shame,
With spirits lost, into their last abode.
'Tis night!'tis night!—I'm shrouded in its gloom;
Yet oft a ray reveals some fearful form.
'Tis night!--'tis death!—'tis hell! Tremendous sight!
Above-beneath-within me-all is night !

J. F. SHAW. BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND

PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON: AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.

London: J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.

MEMOIR OF BARON CUVIER, MEMOIR OF BARON CUVIER.

Baron Cuvier, the subject of the following memoir, was a protestant Peer of France, who by the force of genius, diligence, and virtue, rose from a comparatively obscure origin to be one of the most distinguished men of modern times. He combined, as he ascended in life, the seemingly incompatible characters of a profound philosopher, and an active statesman. Such were the powers of his mind, and so great was the versatility of his genius, that in whatsoever situation he was placed, his superiority was soon acknowledged by his associates and competitors. His great celebrity was derived from his extensive researches, valuable discoveries, and immortal works in the department of natural history, comparative anatomy, and especially in the subject of fossil geology. As a statesman, it is a striking proof of his abilities and his moderation, and some think of his somewhat too great flexibility of politics, that he made himself acceptable to the despotic Napoleon, to the weak and bigoted Bourbons, and the liberal government of Louis Philippe; by all of whom he was engaged in official functions for his country. “ Those who have known this great man,” says a writer in the Edinburgh Review, “and have followed him through his brilliant and diversified career, will not charge us with overstrained panegyric, when we say that in all the lists of fame we have enumerated, he not only attained a pre-eminent distinction, but acquired reputation in each, which might have gratified the ambition of any common aspirant for fame.

“ In the splendid museum of natural history and comparative anatomy which he almost created, we shall see him in the character of an indefatigable collector, a judicious classifier, and a skilful anatomist. As a lecturer on the same subject in the Jardin des Plantes, and in the College of France, he shone as a successful teacher, and enchanted crowded audiences by the magic of his eloquence. As a secretary to the Institute, he acquired by his Eloyes the reputation of the most learned and eloquent and powerful writer of his day. As a systematic author, his unwearied research, his lucid arrangement, and his pleasing, perspicuous, and nervous style, placed him above the philosophical naturalists of every age. As an original inquirer, his discoveries in fossil geology have raised him to the highest distinction, and given birth to new trains of research, which are fast disclosing to us the structure of our planet, and the nature of the convulsions with which it has been so often shaken. As Minister of Public Instruction, as Chancellor of the University, and Inspector General of Education, he conferred on the colleges of France and on her schools, on her religious and charitable establishments, the richest and most enduring benefits; and as a statesman charged with high legislative functions, he obtained for the French people many valuable ameliorations of their laws, and many solid improvements in their political institutions.

“In 1818, Cuvier was elected a member of the French Academy, an honour which he owed to the eloquent Eloges he had read in the Institute ; and in the same year, he was offered the Ministry of the Interior, but upon political considerations to which he could not accede. In 1819, he was appointed president of the Comité de l'Intérieur, belonging to the Council of State, and he was soon after created a Baron, by Louis XVIII. who repeatedly summoned him to assist in the cabinet councils. He was appointed in 1822, Grand Master of the Faculties of Protestant Theology in the University; and in the Committee of the Interior, he was soon after charged with the management of the affairs of all the different religions in France except the Catholic. At the coronation of Charles X. he officiated as one of the presidents of the Council of State; and in 1826, he received the decoration of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.

“ These and other trophies of distinction, which now almost overburthened him, were far from being a suitable preparation for the heavy blow which was about to strike him at the heart. His only daughter, Clementine Cuvier, now his only child, after surmounting the dangers of a sickly infancy, had been reinstated in the bloom of health, and had reached the winter of her twenty-second year. Her acquirements in profound studies were adorned with every accomplishment of her sex ; and she united, in a singular degree, all the charms of physical, intellectual, and moral beauty. The loveliness of her person, and the elegance of her manners, were enchased

[ocr errors]

in the fine gold of an ardent yet humble piety, and uncircled with all the graces of a charitable and sympathising spirit; and amid the universal admiration which such a character commanded, she courted and she earned the blessings of the poor, the ignorant, and the af

ed. About the close of 1826, the first symptoms of a fatal disease showed themselves in her delicate constitution. Her health, however, was so completely re-established, that in the beginning of 1828, arrangements were made for her marriage with an individual of her own choice, who was in every respect worthy of her love. The ceremony was fixed for the 25th of August; but before the end of July, her former disease returned with redoubled force, and terminated fatally, on the 28th of September. Her parents were overwhelmed with grief, and, her bridal chaplet withering in the embrace of her funeral wreath, was to one disconsolate heart, an image of still deeper agony. Distracted with his loss, Cuvier sought and found in the most absorbing studies some alleviation of his sorrows; but though with this view he enforced upon himself the most intense and continued labour, yet on the occasion of his first discharge of a public duty, when this high pressure of his mental power was for a time removed, his feelings burst forth in uncontrollable grief. It has been related by an eye witness, says Mrs. Lee, his memorialist, that at the first sitting of the Comité de l'Intérieur, at which he presided after this event, and from which he absented himself two months, he resumed the chair with a firm and placid expression of countenance; he listened attentively to all the discussions of those present; but when it became his turn to speak, and sum up all that had passed, his firmness abandoned him, and his first words were interrupted by tears. The great legislator gave way to the bereaved father; he bowed his head, covered his face with his hands, and was heard to sob bitterly. A respectful and profound silence reigned through the whole assembly; all present had known Clementine, and therefore all could understand and excuse this deep emotion. At length Cuvier raised his head, and uttered these few simple words --Pardon me, gentlemen, I was a father, and I have lost all.' Then with a violent effort, he resumed the business of the day with his usual perspicuity, and pronounced judgment with his ordinary calmness and justice."

Cuvier lived at the Jardin des Plantes for nearly forty years, surrounded by the objects which engrossed so great a portion of his thoughts, and there received every Saturday the men of science of Paris, and all others who visited that capital

« PreviousContinue »