Imágenes de páginas

ful, innocent soul-sister from contamination such as I had felt. wished her never to know the agony of mortality. And it was therefore to save her, rather than with the joy of a reünion, that I stood forth from the obscurity which I had sought; it was therefore that for the first time speaking, I cried eagerly, sorrowfully: ‘My mother, my mother, crucify her not!'

She looked upon me she knew me! Of all who had forgotten, of all who had glanced on my soul with horror, she alone remembered. The dreaded climax, her forgetfulness and want of power to recognize, was spared — she knew, she loved me!

Then guided she the tempted, the tried, the tempest-tossed, to our home of the dear olden time; then stood we, mother and child, together as one; then looked we face to face; then spoke we one with the other.

Thou art come back, my child, though the hour appointed has not arrived; yet it is well, for now shalt thou be the guardian of this other child, who is going forth to the earth.'

*O forbear! forbear!' I cried, interrupting her. “Send her not, mother; she is not strong to combat, she is not brave to bear. Keep her under the shelter of thine eye, O mother!'

• Nay, it is written she shall go forth. Tell her now what is the earth, that she may know; tell her of the home which awaits her.'

*It is a desolate desert where there is no water; a parched and burning desert, without any shade-trees; a mighty desert, where the birds of prey build their nests where the simoons rage. Wo to thee, sister, if thy feet falter by the way! the caravan will go on and forsake thee. Wo to thee if thou makest known the grief of thy heart; they will mock and laugh at thee, and scorn thee for thy weakness! Wo to thee if thou comest to want or need; no hand will be lifted to aid thee! There is sin, there is folly, there is monstrous guilt among the people; there is fraud, and envy, and slander; there is murder and blasphemy; there is destruction and corruption in earth!'

• How hast thou met all this? exclaimed mother. It has broken


heart.' • Thou weak one!' and she turned away from me. Then she said to the young soul, my sister,' Child, wilt thou dare go into such a world ??

Mother, yes!' answered the untried one, suddenly and decidedly.

I looked upon her with wonder. I said: “Thou dost not understand; thou canst not know. Treachery and coldness from those thou hast most trusted, misunderstanding, doubt — these are the least of the evils which will afflict thee. Child! I feel I cannot explain, nor can you comprehend, what slavery, and vice, and calumny, and poverty, and unjust scorn of thy fellows, and the torturing of conscience and self-mistrust mean! Every mortal has to learn. Make her not a mortal, my mother!'

• Cease: I had rather thou never camest into my presence than hear such words from thee. What hast thou done in the world? The doing much, the doing good, the constant labor, saves one from such thoughts as thou hast.'

I have labored, and toiled, and borne the burden and the heat of the day, and have reaped in a harvest of nothingness. My work has



[ocr errors]

Oh, yes

been done for naught; my hopes have proved themselves altogether vanity. Oh, I have toiled! Do not add to my cup of bitterness by doubting that assurance.'

* Now, how shall I give into thy hands the care of this dear soul? I would that thou hadst never come here, daughter. Yet it is as well. She will not now grow up in the world, cherishing fancies, and thoughts, and hopes, that must all in turn wither. She will live a fuller and a nobler life, because prepared for all that awaits. But you have taken from her the sweet blessing of youth; you have robbed her existence of all romance. Little one, dost thou dare go?'

- a thousand times yes! What is that slavery, and that horrible wrong; that coldness, and treachery, and poverty? I will give myself to laboring, that it may be done away. I will fight against that sin! Sister, surely thou hast so labored ?'

I looked upon her conscience-struck, awed, and half afraid, and I was forced to answer · No!'

My reader, God save you the anguish of being compelled to answer in such a manner when that question shall be asked you. 'Go back, and rejoice then that there is time,' my mother said. When you come again, then will you be satisfied with your work, my child. I give to you a holy work. I make you an apostle. Speak out among your fellows, and with no whispered words, of that which you do know. Smile thou never on sin: if it stands before thee clothed in the purple, scorn it!

Countenance thou never the works of oppression; believe thou in the eternity of truth, and in the immutability of God's justice. When the time cometh for thee to speak, fail thou not to rebuke vice in its million hideous forms. Behold, I give to thee another work! When this, thy sister, shall appear on earth, thou shalt know her. Lead her in the paths which she should tread; guide her; teach her the everlasting truths; establish her in the eternal hope. And, my children, be ye

faithful over the few things given to your care; so ye shall come again in joy, bearing the precious sheaves with you.

I have heard a child's voice on this earth which I recognize. There is a soul tabernacle in the flesh, which our mother gave to my guidance, though others of this world claim her. The time is not yet come for the dispelling of the early joy. Sorrow has not yet pressed the little one to her heart. What do I say? That time was before she ever came into this world. I read it in the wondering look with which she turns away from every temptation, from the voices of sin, of dissension and wrath; in the trembling tones with which she reads of the sway of almost universal evil; in the pure love with which she clings to the human, exalting and ennobling all with whom she comes in contact. They who look upon her think to see the day when she will need that comfort which her words afford them now; but they will look in vain that time can never come.

I foresee the day when she shall arise and declare what the weary and fainting mortals will rejoice to know. I see, in shadow, a form that shall move a very angel through the harvest-field of our Master; I hear in echo a voice as of a voice heard in a dream — gentle tones and wise utterances, which shall be proved powerful to rebuke, and convince, and restore, and save; I have prophetic hearing of a song of joy and thanksgiving that shall float upward from the bondmen of sin, whose chains she shall loosen - a song that shall be borne through the far-distance to the blessed soul-land, to Our MOTHER; and beyond the soul-land to HIM!

O mother! the weak and the weary, the tempted and the falling, shall learn of and shall bless thee for that little child !

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Living Pulpit Orators.




[ocr errors]

In some families intellectual greatness appears to be hereditary. It may be ansy

swered, that it is rare; true, it is indeed rare, but that does not invalidate the assertion, as instances may be produced both from ancient and modern history. In ancient history we read of the Fabii family at Rome, where the consulship remained during seven consecutive elections; and the profound Niebhur says, “the Fabii were a learned family. And although this might be owing to a certain popularity, yet it pre-supposes likewise an amount of talent and intellectual greatness.

Then again there is the Medicean family of Italy, the different members of which held high political stations, were patrons of the arts, restorers of ancient literature, and men of the greatest intellectual acquirements. In our own generation, we have the two Adams's, father and son, each of whom held the highest office in our government, and were noted for their varied acquirements and extensive knowledge in every department of literature, and are distinguished in the annals of our country. The mantle of genius and intellect cannot be transmitted and bequeathed from father to son, like that of kingly titles or wealth ; and as it has just been asserted, it is unusual to find intellect and talent existing in more than one individual of a family. Other examples might be produced, but a few will answer the same purpose as a great number, and examples will readily suggest themselves to those who are familiar with history and biography. They may turn over their pages, and observe the names of those who have made an illustrious figure on the stage of life, who have been the heroes of their


who have given their name to an epoch; whether he be the mighty conqueror

of nations, chaining those to his chariot-wheels who attempt to withstand his power, or the reformer of religion and morals, whose name is greater than that of the conqueror, inasmuch as the former revolutionizes the human intellect, emancipates it from the yoke of slavery that it

have worn


and exerts a moral influence that will endure when time itself shall be no more.

The names of Luther, of Bacon, or of Locke, naturally suggest themselves to our thoughts. Or we may turn to names, illustrious in the arts and sciences, such as Copernicus, Newton, or Leibnitz, Watt, Black, and Fulton, and what do we find ? That they stand solitary and alone, with no child to inherit their genius or splendid talents. The same fact meets us in the department of poetry or polite literature; namely, that genius is seldom transmitted from father to son.

« AnteriorContinuar »