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LEO. H. GRINDON, who is Lecturer on Botany at the Royal School of Medicine, Manchester, is the author of several works of considerable literary and scientific worth. Among these is one entitled “Life: its Nature, Varieties, and Phenomena," which-for sober, thoughtful speculation, occasional vigor and beauty of diction, for variety and felicity of illustration, for good sense and timely truth, for rare, if not altogether original views of life, in all its various manifestations-is seldom surpassed in these days of rapid book-making. The following is a good example of his manner.
LIFE INTENDED TO BE HAPPY.
1. How inestimable a prerogative is human life! And what ingratitude to misuse it. Life may be misused without being abused. It is misused, if it be not so employed as to be enjoyed, that is, by making the most of its opportunities; in other words, devoting it to honorable deeds, affectional as well as intellectual. The more strenuously we enact such deeds, the more genuine, because practical, is our acknowledgment of the Divine good. ness in bestowing life, and the keener becomes our aptitude for sucking the honey of existence.
2. Work or activity, of whatever kind it be, uprightly and earnestly pursued, is a living hymn of praise. It is truest obedience, also, for it is God's great law that whatever powers and aptitudes he has given us, shall be honorably and zealously employed. The energy of life, when fairly brought out, is immense; immense beyond what any one who has not tried it can imagine. Too often neglected, and allowed to lapse into weakness; trained and exercised, it will quicken into grandeur. It is better to wear out than to rust out, says a homely proverb, with more meaning than people commonly suppose. Rust consumes faster than use. To “ wear out” implies life and its pleasures; to “ rust," the stagnation of death.
3, Life, rightly realized, is embosomed in light and beauty. The world is not necessarily a “vale of tears.” God never intended it to be so to any one. All his arrangements are with an opposite design, and to be fulfilled, only need man's response and coöperation. True, in his all-wise providence, he sends troubles upon men, and grievous ones; but they are never so
great as those they bring upon themselves, and willingly suffer. What shall be our experience of life, rests mainly with ourselves. The world may render us unfortunate, but it cannot make us miserable; if we are so, the fault lies in our own bosoms. It is not only the great who order their own circumstances.
4. On the wide, wild sea of human life, as on that where go the ships, the winds and the waves are always on the side of the clever sailor. Though one breast prove unfaithful, there are plenty of others that do not. It is still our own to rejoice in the belief of the good and beautiful, and to weave out of this belief a perennial happiness. If we take precautions to form and preserve a sound estimate of what is past, the joyful experience and the sorrowful alike, we rarely have cause for regret, and always abundance for hope and thankfulness; for that which spoils life, is seldom so much the occurrence of certain events, as the perverted recollection of them, and of this, happy events no less than unhappy ones may be the subject.
5. Even if a man make no effort of himself—if he be so negjectful as not to realize the brilliant opportunities permitted to him, so fully as he may, still is life crowded with pleasures. When there is shadow, it is because there is sunshine not far off. Its weeds and thorns are known by contrast with surrounding flowers, and, though upon many even of the latter there may be rain-drops, those that are without are yet more abounding. There are more smiles in the world than there are tears; there is more love than hate, more constancy than forsaking : those that murmur the contrary, choose not for thy companions.
6. When the mist rolls away from the mountains, and the landscape stands suddenly revealed, we find that Nature always has beauty for her end. However long and dreary may be the winter, we are always indemnified by the spring—not merely by the enjoyment of it when it comes, but by the anticipation. So with the mists and wintry days of life; while they last, they are painful, but their clearing away is glorious, and we find that they are only veils and forerunners of something bright. Nature never forgets her æstivalia,* nor Divine love its compensations. The common course of things, says Paley, is uniformly in favor of happiness. Happiness is the rule, misery the exception. Else would our attention be called to examples of wealth and comfort, instead of disease and want.
7. Giving full, fair play to the intellect and affections, we not only discover what it is to live, and how easy to live happily; but the period of our existence upon earth ceases to be short, and becomes immensely. long. It is only the life of the body which is short, or need be so. Real, human life, is immeasurable, if we will have it so. Each day, remarks Goethe in his autobiography, is a vessel into which a great deal may be poured, if we will actually fill it up; that is, with thoughts and feelings, and their expression into deeds, as elevated and amiable as we can reach to.
8. It needs little reflection to perceive that life truly consists only in such exercises. “The mere lapse of years is not life. To eat, and drink, and sleep, to be exposed to the darkness and the light, to pace round the mill of habit, and turn the wheel of wealth; to make reason our book-keeper, and convert thought into an implement of trade; this is not life. In all this but a poor fraction of the consciousness of humanity is awakened, and the sanctities still slumber which make it most worth while to be. Knowledge, truth, love, beauty, goodness, faith, alone give vitality to the mechanism of existence.”
9. Grandly expressed in “ Festus:"
Life's more than breath, and the quick round of blood;
10. If the expanding intellect and affections be affixed, under kindly guidance, to what is truthful and good, youth spreads its
wings, and goes on growing in everlasting life; if they be affixed, under vicious or repressing influences, to what is base or ignoble, the beautifu! progression is arrested, and the spirit relapses into its original vacant old age.
JOSEPH RopvAN DRAKE was born in New York city, August 7th, 1795, un i died September 21st, 1820. He wrote well in verse from early boyhvod. His most finished effort is a poem entitled “ The Culprit Fay," which justly ranks bim among the most gifted of poets.
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
J. RODMAN DRAKE
When Freedom, from her mountain hight,
Unfurled her standard to the air,
And set the stars of glory there.
Who rear’st aloft thy regal form,
When strive the warriors of the storm,
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
The harbingers of victory!
The sign of hope and triumph high,
And the long line comes gleaming on. Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimmed the glistening bayonet, Each soldier eye shall brightly turn
To where thy sky-born glories burn; And, as his springing steps advance, Catch war and vengeance from the glance. And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle-shroud, And gory sabers rise and fall Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall;
Then shall thy meteor glances glow, And cowering foes shall sink beneath
Each gallant arm that strikes below That lovely messenger of death.