Page images
PDF
EPUB

over thee, for no man would buy thy merchandize any more. The horses and the chariots would then wait for thee in vain, for the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling wheels, and the prancing horses, would be heard in thee no more ; all thy dainty and goodly things would be set forth in thee in vain, for there would be none to “ eat of thy dainties.” Thy gorgeous apparel--the broidered work--the fine linen and the purple---the jewels, the silver, and the gold-would be prepared and amassed within thee in vain-the shield and the helmet the spear and the lance, and the war-horse, and all the panoply of thy magnificent chivalry-would be in vain; there would be none to mount the steed, to draw the sword, to handle the lance, to make the falchion glitter any more.

I might have followed out this idea, and have asked where will all this mixed multitude be found, for not one of them will be extinct, not one of them will be annihilated; another scene awaits them; another city is prepared for thousands of them, but the tens of thousands, where shall they be-oh! bethink thee, reader, whoever thou art, in what lot thou shalt stand on that day! Except you have a right to the tree of life, ye cannot enter in through the gates into the city: Seek it then while it may be found; know ye not the way to the city ? Behold the words that are written, by him who sitteth upon the throne: “I AM THE WAY; none cometh hither but by me."

From this state of musing meditation, my attention was called off by a circumstance of very common occurrence, which nevertheless, attracted first one person, then another; these allured a third, a fourth, a fifth, and in a few minutes formed an incipient crowd. It was nothing more than a newly placed placard, on the corner of the street, in all its yet unsullied whiteness, and all the freshness of its yet unread intelligence. What is it all about thought I, longing to know the subject it contained. What can it be? How soon is curiosity excited so pleasing is knowledge to the mind. It cannot be an advertisement merely of a sale of goods, of laces or ladies shoes, it must be a reward for money lost, or bracelets or diamonds found; perhaps it is a call to Protestants to awake, or to Catho lics to persevere.

My conjectures respecting its contents were in vain. I therefore satisfied myself with observing the

more.

different degrees of interest it seemed to excite in those who read it. Some remained fixed to the spot a considerable time as if pondering the intelligence~others, as if deciphering the meaning—others, of spelling out the words. With many a passenger, a hasty glance sufficed, and they walked on; others looked not up at all, or only at the crowd, as if the pressure of business, or the cares of this world, or a heart already full of weal or woe, were capable of admitting no

Yet the object was attractive, and why should not a sheet of printed paper be an attractive object? The thought transported me into the midst of a village school, which having once entered in deep dejection of spirit, my eye caught placard on the wall containing this single sentence— " Good will to man,” which words so calmed and soothed my mind, so tranquillized and pacified my spirit, that I never see nor hear them read without going back to the very spot and circumstance, and saying in my heart, “ Good-will to man, and glory be to God.”

I looked out once more, and began to think if I could follow the steps of all persons who passed my window, into the secrecies of their chambers, or the scenes of their business, and see where each would carry me; what a wonderful view I should have of human life! still more, if I could behold not only external life, but the living heart, in all its wild, anxious, distracting pulsations, or.in its calm, placid, unruffled stream. Methinks I follow one who would, on entering his chamber, exclaim," O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death!" I follow another, and behold successful villainy triumphing over the ruin he has wrought in the wreck of the peace of a fellow-man; I see him laugh over the misery he has created, and exult in the groans of his victim. • Woe is me!” would another exclaim, “ for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips, yet I profess to serve the living God, and He is holy.” “God be merciful to me a sinner!” cries a fourth. Another, struggling with an evil heart, yet, beholding with admiration, the moral beauty of the righteous, cries out in the bitterness of selfreproach: “O to die the death of the righteous!" Again proud ambition, dissatisfied with all he has yet attained, wearied and horne down with the very weight of his honors, still feels the corroding worm at his heart, and the aching void of one ungratified desire, turns all the rest to pain ; while he exclaims, “ all this availeth me nothing; Mordecai still sitteth at the King's gate!" Another sinking under the unkindness of those who should have cherished her, pours out her soul at the mercy seat, saying unto Him that searcheth- the heart, “ I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; Lord despise not the affliction of the afflicted !" Then I follow an Israelite indeed, guileless, artless, ingenuous; yet betrayed, menaced, insulted, or perhaps deserted and forgotten—The sigh from that bursting heart how deep! how unsuppressable!

lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness! I am oppressed O Lord! undertake for me !" Oh what variety of principles and affections, motives and feelings, should I discover. if gifted with such a power-but God spares all but himself that piteous sight, “ A naked human heart." How much real evil would there be, where all was apparently good ; how much peace, where all outward circumstances seemed capable only of accumulating misery; how much of fair, pure, and lovely, where envy or revenge had denounced nothing but perfidy or pollation. In such a bosom, what ardent longings after that happy country where we shall know, and be known without disguise. O glorious place where every heart shall be transparent as the day, and pure, as God is pure !

I looked out again as it drew towards evening, and saw that there was a visible change in the character of the scene. The little boys who in the morning are generally seen running to school with books and satehels, were now busy at balls and marbles. There were musical instruments going to increase the mirth of some festive party. There was the full dress costume of the company in carriages; there was the silk stockings and powdered heads of the lacqueys; there was the furious driving, and sudden pulling-up of the accomplished whip, and the thundering din of the adjacent knockers. There was Punch and Punchinello, returning homewards, after a hard day's kicking and screaming. There was the Coroner': Inquest broken up, that Jurymen might dine, after ascertaining the details of some wretched man's history, perhaps goaded to

insanity and suicide, by the hireling scribe, or the relentless creditor. There were the evening cries-who has not heard of London cries?-beginning to sound upon the air, instead of those of the morning-there was the night patrol going forth to his station, and there was the day labourer retiring to his home.

As I looked and watched, the shadows closed deeper and deeper; here and there a little speck of light became visible, by and bye, as if by a magic touch a whole street was illuminated; truly, said I, light is sweet, and if so cheering when thus seen, glimmering in the twilight, or becoming brighter and brighter, as the night becomes darker and darker, how sweet and cheering that moral light, which sometimes shines around us; how precious are they who, in a world of darkness, diffuse the light of truth, and like a second sun in the firmament, shew forth the glory of God! While thus musing, the moon arose in her beauty, with a fairer radiance and a softer beam, and imaged forth the true believer-shining with a splendour not indeed underived, nor yet unborrowed—but emanating from the orb of day, and lent to illuminate the shades of night. Beautiful emblem of the Redeemed of the Lord! Fair as the Moon! O how fair, when that reflected glory emanates from the Sun of Righteousness himself!

Before concluding, Mr. Editor, I would just say a word or two to your readers. My young friends, shall you bave no place among the multitudinous population of this splendid metropolis a hundred years hence ? Then where will you be? Perhaps you reply that you are so young, you have not yet begun to think of it. But, though certain of not being here a hundred years hence, are you certain of being here a hundred days hence ? No, not at all. Now I know that young people are not to be won to serious things by long lectures, and grave saws; but will you not be wooed and won by sweet prospects and fair views of things to come. I hear a youth exclaiming, “O I shall be as an angel, I shall walk up and down above the clear blue sky, in the society of the blessed, amid redeemed spirits, and in the presence of God-instead of the companions I have on earth, I shall delight in the companionship of the happy; and amid the glorified hosts, we shall sing the

your

hosannahs of heaven!” Let this be ambition

my

beloved readers: say not in your young imaginations as the studies of your early years, engage you-I would be a Tully-a Demosthenes-an Alexander-a Cæsar-say not even, I would be a Philanthropist-a Missionarya Howard, or a Martynbut

say I would be a glorified spirit. I would be like Christ himself, the Son of the Blessed !

Hoping, that the above reflections will not prove quite useless, and that I shall be exonerated from the charge of an idler, I remain, Mr. Editor, your humble Servant,

M. G.

JUVENILE CHARACTERS.-No, III.

TRUTH,

Hugh Stirling.
“ Be truth your guide, disdain vain-glory's call,

And if you fall with truth you nobly fall." Among the early precepts which Hugh Stirling received from the lips of his endeared parents was, “ Adhere to truth under all circumstances, and at all times." The veneration he had for his father induced him to determine to observe the maxim, and as he grew - up he acquired a character for veracity, which was to him better than a fortune. If at any time he stayed out longer than the hour prescribed, he ingenuously assigned the cause. There are many young persons who imagine that a fictitious excuse will save them from the displeasure of their parents, and hence they continue to practice the deception, under the delusive hope that it will always succeed; not reflecting that the day of discovery will at length arrive, and load them with shame and contempt. Hugh Stirling found some difficulty in maintaining his resolution to adhere to truth when his father placed him at a public school, where he found boys who were so addicted to falsehood, that scarcely a sentence they uttered could be depended upon. In fact, he discovered that there was a regular system of falsehood in complete and constant operation, and he was soon solicited to unite in the practice, and threatened with severe punishment if he dared to refuse. An opportunity soon occurred which put his probity to the test. One of his school-fellows, a daring, resolute lad, of sixteen, had resolved to have some sport in the bed-room.

« PreviousContinue »