« PreviousContinue »
without reading, than to read without reflecting. But let us suppose that all the forcible arguments, lively representations, affecting appeals—all the warnings, threatenings, invitations, persuasions, that the piety, benevolence and genius of these various writers have employed (with their “diversity of gifts, but the same spirit”) in reminding mankind of the infinite importance of their eternal interests—suppose, I say, that all this mass of persuasion could be collected into a focus, and with its united force bear upon the mind—would not the effect be overpowering?—and yet this would be no false impression; nothing more than the real nature of the case would justify; no more than we should constantly feel if our minds were not blinded with sin, and rendered strangely insensible by earthly objects.
Arthur. But how would it be possible to retain such a strong impression, supposing one could feel it for a moment?
Father. We must remember that, after all, no power of human eloquence, nor all its powers united, would be sufficient to enlighten the darkness of the mind of man. But one ray of light from above--one powerful word from Him who can open the eyes of the understanding, and cause things to be “ spiritually discerned,” will instantly effect the happy purpose. Therefore, however diligent we might be in using and improving every means for exciting profitable impressions, all would be vain, unless we are perpetually seeking this all-powerful influence. But if we do ask and seek it earnestly, God will assuredly bestow it; even that habitual impression of the superior importance of our future and eternal interests which constitutes a spiritual mind, and which will cause our affections and conversation to be in heaven.
Arthur. There are many books not exactly on religious subjects, that yet are very profitable.
Father. Yes; and this is the case even with the writings of some men who were wholly ignorant of true reli
gion, and which affords, indeed, an additional argument in favor of it. Men of thought, wisdom and genius, in the darkest times, have borne witness to the truth of the divine declaration, that “wisdom excelleth folly, as much as light excelleth darkness.” The laws of God, written in the hearts and consciences even of them who knew not God," are thus vindicated and enforced; so that when, either in thought, word or action, we offend against them, we at the same time oppose the combined sense, wisdom, experience, and the general testimony of all mankind.
Solomon, I dare say, was never in such a library as this; yet he expresses a sentiment which is
suitable on such an occasion, when he sums up all the sage
refleotions he had been making on the vanity of the world, in this concise sentence :-“Of making many books there is no end :” (he would, indeed, have thought so, if he had lived in these days!)—and he evidently spoke from experience, when he added, “ that much study is a weariness to the flesh.” “ Let us then," he says, “ hear the conclusion of the whole matter ;-Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty and the whole wisdom of man.”
M. S. C.-CHARLES SPRAGUE.
I KNEW that we must part-day after day, I saw the dread destroyer win his way; That hollow cough first rang the fatal knell, As on my ear its prophet-warning fell ; Feeble and slow thy once light footstep grew, Thy wasting cheek put on death's pallid hue, Thy thin, hot hand to mine more weakly clung, Each sweet “Good night” fell fainter from thy tongue.
I knew that we must part-no power could save
And we have parted, Mary—thou art gone!
But we have parted, Mary—thou art dead ! On its last resting-place I laid thy head; Then, by thy coffin-side, knelt down and took A brother's farewell kiss and farewell look : Those marble lips no kindred kiss returned ; From those veiled orbs no glance responsive burned : Ah! then I felt that thou hadst passed away, That the sweet face I gazed on was but clay; And then came Memory, with her busy throng Of tender images, forgotten long; Years hurried back, and, as they swiftly rolled, I saw thee, heard thee, as in days of old ;
Sad and more sad each sacred feeling grew,
But not for ever—in the silent tomb,
Clouds are collections of vapor in the air, rendered visible by condensation. They seldom rise very high. Sometimes they rest upon the earth's surface, constituting what is termed fog. Sometimes they are a mile above the surface of the earth, sometimes more ; but they seldom rise higher than two or three miles. Very thin, fleecy clouds, however, sometimes rise to the height of four or five miles. But why do they not rise to the surface of the atmosphere !—The density of the atmosphere rapidly decreases upwards. One half of the whole quantity of
air is within about three miles from the earth. - Above this height, the air is unable to support any considerable quantities of vapor.
Hence we see the reason why clouds rise no higher, and why the thinnest and lightest rise highest
To an attentive observer the clouds present many interesting subjects of contemplation. Their ever-varying forms, their beautiful and richly variegated colors, and their silent motion, varying often in velocity and direction, while they furnish the poet with a field in which his fancy may rove delighted, also afford to the student of nature many an interesting theme for reflection. At one time, dark and portentous fancy might easily imagine them the ruins of some ancient castle or time-worn tower; at another, they gather in beautiful and glorious forms around the path of the descending sun, and seem to vie with that luminary itself in splendor. Sometimes they move swiftly over the face of heaven, and soon recede from our view; sometimes they seem to meet each other, and hasty travellers, pass each other by, without a sign of recognition. At one time, while we gaze upon them, they vanish; at another, they gather into darker and heavier masses of settled gloom. Now they collect, now they disperse, -and now they change form and color with surprising rapidity. To the inquiring mind the question naturally occurs, What is the cause of all these varied appearances? The inquiry leads to careful observation; and though, in many instances, that cause defies our search, yet, in many others, we are enabled to arrive at general principles and uniform relations, which enable us to anticipate the storm, and predict the time of its termination.
The principal circumstances which influence the form of clouds are the motion of the air, and the formation and condensation of vapor. Substances so light as clouds readily change form, when subjected to greater atmospheric pressure on one side than on the other. Different portions of the