Графични страници
PDF файл

minutest atoms, fibres, and crystals. All plants and animals are organized around their centres By accretion, assimilation, and growth, they form themselves, according to fixed laws, from interior forces. The rose unfolds itself with petals and leaves, from a vital root. The dew is

, globed by the force of gravitation. The bubble which floats in the sunbeam, the joy of childhood, obeys the same invisible power. It is spbered like a star, and carries upon its bosom all the splendors of the rainbow. A particle of sand, the sport of every breeze, is formed on the strictest mathematical principles. Scrutinized, it will be found piled up in fair proportions, like a huge crystal, with its lines, sides, and angles. The down upon an insect's wing, scarce visible to the naked eye, grows like a forest of palms. All nature is vital and moving, even when it seems to be still as the grave. Plants and animals have a sort of double life, a life in common with the rest, and a life in themselves, and all therefore tend in one direction. Their movement is ever from, and to, centres of action and development. The human body grows like a germ, is fed and developed from an interior force.

, It has its own centre, to which it gravitates, while gravitating with all other things, earth, sun, and stars, around a common centre.

Society also, in order to live and prosper, must have an appropriate centre. It gravitates around some vital force, being, or principle, which constitutes its life. Men may seem to be insulated as individuals, but they grow together; and not only so, but they intergrow. They are many, yet they are one, like the myriad globules of vater that form the rushing stream.

No two are alike, yet all are alike. They move apparently in diverse orbits, and yet they move together in a common orbit. One spiritual, allpervading force, or aggregate of forces, impels them in the same direction.

Hence they rise or fall together, move in peaceful order within the great sphere of duty, or dash tumultuously into the abyss. Strange varieties of costume, color, form, language, notions, prevail among the nations, yet "their hearts are fashioned alike." Their blood is the same; their reason and their affection, their hope and their fear, their origin and their end, are the

Free indeed, and thence capable, within certain limits, of virtue or of vice, of holiness or of sin, of religion or of atheism, they diverge in their choice and destiny as individuals; yet they are formed on the same model, obey the same impulses, may share the same destiny.

Those who have read history with any attention know that society is always organized, if organized with any degree of permanence, around


some divine idea or force. No society can be kept together without religion; and for the sim. ple reason that man, imperfect, nay, more, fallen, - has his origin and his end in God. The Deity, in other words, the true, the good, the holy,

– what we fitly term “ the divine," is our centre and life. We gravitate harmoniously only around this eternal force, at once centripetal and centrifugal, attracting us to a centre, and at the same time propelling us in beautiful order around the orbit of duty.

This characteristic of man, like the cerulean color of the ocean or atmosphere, may not indeed be visible in detached fragments, but is always obvious enough in the whole. Morally, as well as naturally, the finite lies in the infinite. God and man are bound together by mysteri. ous ties.

For the same reason, each individual soul has its proper centre. As a divine product, a child of the infinite Spirit, it belongs to God, and finds its felicity in him. No matter if morally severed, by disturbing causes, from its absolute Source, the principle or fact remains the same. The sun and its star, the centre and its radius, wherever they may be, are made for each other. Drawn off into “the abysmal dark” by the destructive influence of sin, the soul wretchedly wanders in the void, seeking rest and finding

[ocr errors]


If not restored to its source, it must finally perish. To be pure, peaceful, happy, each of us must find God, and in God attain the true and the holy; and thus drinking the beams of the eternal Sun, revolve around him in glory and in joy forever.

Thus, in all ages, we find lofty souls, even in darkness and sorrow, “feeling after God.” Thales, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Plutarch catch a glimpse of his glory, and proclaim, with exultation, the stupendous thought. Somewhat bewildered, and with only partial views, they yet reach towards the Divine as their centre and their end. Nay, the poor African, in a deeper night, feels the mighty fascination, without knowing what it is. Said Se- . kesa, a native of Southern Africa, of the Bechuana tribe, to a missionary from whom he had been bearing of God and immortality, “ Your views, 0 white man, are just what I wanted and sought for before I knew you. Twelve years ago, I went, in a cloudy season, to feed my flock along the Tlotse, among the Malutis. Seated upon a rock in sight of my sheep, I asked myself sad questions; yes, sad, because I could not answer them. The stars, said I, who touched them with his hand ? On what pillars do they rest? The waters are not weary ; they. run without ceasing at night and morning alike;

but where do they stop, or who makes them run thus? The clouds also go, return, and fall in water to the earth. Whence do they arise ? Who sends them? It surely is not the Barokas (rain makers) who give us the rain, for how could they make it? The wind — what is it? Who brings it or takes it away?. makes it blow, and roar, and frighten us

? Do I know how the corn grows? Yesterday there was not a blade to be seen in my field. To-day I return and find something. It is very small; I can scarcely see it; but it will grow up like a young man. Who can have given the ground wisdom and power to produce it? Then I buried my head in my hands.

Again I thought within myself, and I said, We all depart, but this country remains; it alone remains, for we all go away. But whither do we go? My heart answered, Perhaps other men live besides us, and we shall go to them. But another thought arose against it, and said, Those men under the earth, whence come they ? Then my heart did not know what more to think. It wondered. Then my heart rose and spoke to me, saying, All men do much evil, and thou, thou also hast done much evil. Woe to thee! I recalled many wrongs which I had done, and because of this my conscience gnawed me in secret, as I sat alone on the rock. I say

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »