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archbishop, from a petty constable and the chief justice of England. “Let the law,” says Paley, "continue its own functions, if they be thought requisite; but let it spare the solemnity of an oath, and, where it is necessary, from the want of something better to depend upon, to accept a man's word or own account, let it annex to prevarication penalties proportionable to the public consequence of the offence."
Where they are made a test of religious belief, for the purpose of excluding any class of our fellow-subjects from their civil rights, oaths, being equally opposed to Christianity, policy, and justice, ought to be totally and finally abolished. He who first devised the oath of abjuration, profligately boasted that he had framed a test which should “damn one half of the nation, and starve the other ;'-a vaunt well worth the consideration of those who have placed themselves within the first clause of his prophecy.
To the utterance of oaths, as execrations, a practice equally hateful for its blasphemy and vulgarity, there seems to be little other inducement than its gratuitous sinfulness, since it communicates no pleasure, and removes no uneasiness, neither elevates the speaker, nor depresses the hearer. “Go," said Prince Henry, the son of James I., when one of his courtiers swore bitterly at being disappointed of a tennis match_"Go! all the pleasures of earth are not worth a single oath."
OBEDIENCE-MILITARY—must be implicit and unreasoning. “Sir,” said the Duke of Wellington to an officer of engineers, who urged the impossibility of executing the directions he had received, “I do not ask your opinion; I gave you my orders, and I expect them to be obeyed.” It might have been difficult, however, to yield a literal obedience to the adjutant of a volunteer corps, who, being doubtful whether he had distributed muskets to all the men, cried out—"All you that are without arms will please to hold up your hands."
ODORS-Bad—The silent voice of nature, made audible by the nose. The worst may, in some degree, be sweetened to our sense by a recollection of the important part they perform
in the economy of the world. Those emitted by dead animals, attract birds and beasts of prey from an almost incredible distance, who not only soon remove the nuisance, but convert it into new life, beauty, and enjoyment. Should no such resource be at hand, as is often the case in inhabited countries, the pernicious effluvia disengaged from these decaying substances, occasion them to be quickly buried in the ground, where their organized forms are resolved into chemical constituents, and they are fitted to become the food of vegetables. The noxious gas is converted into the aroma of the flower, and that which threatened to poison the air, affords nourishment and delight to man and beast. Animals are thus converted into plants, and plants again become animals ;-change of form and not extinction—or, rather, destruction for the sake of reproduction, being the system of nature. Pulverized human bones are now largely imported into England for manure, and the corn thus raised will again be eventually reconverted into human bones.
OLD AGE-need not necessarily be felt in the mind, as in the body; time's current may wear wrinkles in the face that shall not reach the heart: there is no inevitable decrepitude or senility of the spirit, when its tegument feels the touches of decay. We sometimes talk of men falling into their second childhood, when we should rather say that they have never emerged from their first, but have always been in an intellectual nonage. Vigorous minds very rarely sink into imbecility, even in extreme age. Time seems rather to drag them backwards to their youth, than forwards towards senility. Like the Glastonbury thorn, they flower in the Christmas of their days. Hear how beautifully the venerable Goethe, in the Dedication to the first part of Faust, abandons himself to this Palingenesia.
“Ye approach again, ye shadowy shapes, which once, in the morning of life, presented yourselves to my troubled view! Shall I try, this time, to hold you fast? Do I feel my heart still inclined towards that delusion? Ye press forward ! well then, ye may hold dominion over me as ye arise around out of vapor and mist. My bosom feels youthfully agitated by the magic breath which atmospheres your train.
“ Ye bring with you the images of happy days, and many loved shades arise ; like to an old, half-expired tradition, rises First-love with Friendship in its company. The pang is renewed; the plaint repeats the labyrinthine, mazy course of life, and names the dear ones who, cheated of fair hours by fortune, have vanished away before me.
“They hear not the following lays—the souls to whom I sang the first. Dispersed is the friendly throng—the first echo, alas, has died away! My sorrow voices itself to the stranger many: their very applause makes my heart sick; and all that in other days rejoiced in my song, if still living, stray scattered through the world.
“And a yearning, long unfelt, for that quiet, pensive Spiritrealm seizes me. 'Tis hovering even now, in half-formed tones, my lisping lay, like the Æolian harp. A tremor seizes me : tear follows tear; the austere heart feels itself growing mild and soft. What I have, I see as in the distance; and what is gone becomes a reality to me."
What a cordial is this apocalypse of youth to all “grave and reverend seniors !”— Why should any of us doubt that the mind may be progressive, even when the body loses ground? If we are wiser to-day than yesterday, what is to prevent our being wiser to-morrow than to-day ?—Women rarely die during pregnancy; and while the mind can be made to conceive and bear children, we may be assured that nature means to preserve its full vitality and power.
Privation of friends by death is the greatest trial of old age; for, though new onés may succeed to their places, they cannot replace them. For this, however, as for all other sorrows, there is a consolation. When we are left behind, and feel as exiles upon earth, we are reconciled to the idea of quitting it, and yearn for that future home, where we shall be united to our predecessors, and whither our survivors will follow us.
Old age is still comparative, and one man may be younger at eighty than another at forty. “Ah! madam !” exclaimed the patriarch Fontenelle, when talking to a young and beautiful woman—" if I were but fourscore again !"
How powerful is sympathy! the mere mention of this anecdote has sent me courting to the muse, and has thrown into verse what I had intended further to say on the subject of
Yes, I am old ;-my strength declines,
And wrinkles tell the touch of time,
Not of decay, but manhood's prime;
Yes, I am old;-the ball, the song,
The turf, the gun, no more allure;
Yet, ah! how far more sweet and pure
Yes, I am old ;-Ambition's call,
Fame, wealth, distinction's keen pursuit,
Are now detected, passive, mute.
Yes, I am old ;-but as I press
The vale .f years with willing feet,
And all its hallow'd joys more sweet;
My wife-God bless her! is as dear
As when I plighted first my truth;
The joys of renovated youth:
Yes, I am old :--and death hath ta'en
Full many a friend, to memory dear;
Of quitting my survivors here,
Yes, I am old ;-experience now,
That best of guides, bath made me sage,
My firm conviction, that old age,
“OLD MEN,”—says Rochefoucauld, “like to give good advice, as a consolation for being no longer in a condition to give a bad example.” May we not turn the dictum of the writer against himself, and infer that he gave us all his bad advice from a contrary feeling? Well may the portrait be dark, when the misanthrope draws from himself!
OMEN—The imaginary language of heaven speaking by signs. An oracle is the same, speaking by human tongues, but both have now become dumb. If we wish to know who believes in this Latin word, we must get our Latin answer by reading it backwards.
OPINION—A capricious tyrant to which many a freeborn man willingly binds himself a slave. Deeming it of much more importance to be valued than valuable—holding opinion to be worthier than worth, we had rather stand well in the estimation of others, even of those whom we do not esteem, than of ourselves. This is, indeed, the
“ Meanness that soars, and pride that licks the dust."
The greater the importance we attach to our opinions, the greater our intolerance, which is wrong, even when we are right, and doubly so when we are in error; so that persecution for opinion's sake, can never be justifiable. Our own experience might teach us better, for every man has differed, at various times, from himself, as much as he ever has differed at any one time from others.
Suffering others to think for us, when Heaven has supplied us with reason and a conscience for the express purpose of enabling us to think for ourselves, is the great fountain of all human error. “There cannot," says Locke, “be a more dan