« PreviousContinue »
Why is a wish far dearer than a crown?
EARTHLY Hope, like fear, and sleep, is confined to this dim spot, on which we live, move, and have our being. It is excluded from heaven and hell. It is a dashing blade, with a great estate in expectancy, which, when put in its possession, produces instant death. It draws large drafts on Experience, payable in futuro, and is seldom able to liquidate them. Hope is always buoyant, and, like old Virginia, never tires. It answers well for breakfast, but makes a bad supper. Like a balloon, we know where it starts from, but can make no calculation when, where, and how, it will land js. Hope is a great calculator, but a bad mathematician. Its problems are seldom based on true dala, their demonstration is oftener fictitious than otherwise. Without the baseness of some modern land speculators, it builds cities and towns on paper, that are as worthless as their mountain peaks and impassable quagmires. It suspends earth in the air, and plays with bubbles, like a child, with his tube and soap suds. As with Milo, who attempted to split an oak, and was caught in the split and killed; the wedge often flies out, and the operator is caught in a split stick. It is bold as Cæsar, and ever ready to attempt great feats, if it should be to storm the castle of Despair. It is like the unlettered
rustic, who was asked if he could read Greek, he replied, with perfect sang froid, “I cannot tell, I never tried.” Hope tries every thing, and stops at nothing. This is earthly Hope-a paradox-being strictly honest—yet the essence of deception.
But there is a Hope, that is an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, that will steady our frail bark, while sailing over the ocean of life, and that will enable us to outride the storms of time—a Hope that reaches from earth to heaven. This Hope is based on faith in the immaculate Redeemer, and keeps our earthly hopes from running riot, into forbidden paths. The cable of this Hope cannot be sundered, until death cuts the gordian knot, and lets the prisoner go free. To live without it, is blind infatuation to die without it-eternal ruin.
Cares are employments, and without employ
IDLENESS is criminal prodigality, because it wastes time-it causes extra, unnecessary labor; performing nothing at the proper time, and is the prolific author of want and shame—a confused workshop for the devil to tinker in. Creative wisdom designed man for virtuous action; idleness violates this design, robs the creature of happiness here, and endangers—it may destroy it, in futurity. The Turks often repeat this proverb, The devil tempts all other men—the idle man tempts the devil, for the devil likes to see men in motion; it is much easier to give a moving object any desired direction,
than a dead stationary weight. The idle man is like a bed of unused compost—with the properties of enriching the field, if properly spread over it ; the very ground on which it lies can produce no useful vegetation, noxious weeds may spring out of it, and their seeds be scattered, to the injury of the surrounding wheat. While a man remains inert, torpid ; like an oyster in its shell, he commits no overt acts of evil or good, but his soul cannot rest quietly; it naturally engenders vice, this ultimately rouses him to action, the devil puts him under whip and spur, to make up lost time, and, in many instances, the man who has paralyzed his moral powers by idleness, like a blind horse, works on the tread wheel better than a sound
The physical powers of the idle man become enervated—he converts himself into a living sepulchreloathsome to himself and all around him. I once saw a lazy man offered a half dollar, to buy food for his starving family. He begged the donor to put it in his pocket, as he disliked to move his hands. It was done, that he might maintain his reputation as the laziest man in the neighborhood—but this does not destroy he force of the illustration.
Manual labor is the invigorator of body and mind — the promoter of health, and the friend of virtue. Among those who labor in the field, the workshop, and the commercial room; we usually find health and happiness, and rarely crime. The idle poor populate our prisons—from the idle rich, this population would be increased, if they all had their deserts—but wickedness in high places is often winked at. The idle rich weave a web of misery for themselves; bring up their children
ignorant of business, and when they die, this web is often the only legacy left to their heirs—which fre quently proves a passport to infamy, the penitentiary, or the gallows. Let idleness be banished from our land—crime and misery would follow in its wakevirtue and happiness would receive a new impetus.
A FULL account of the bold and successful career of this arch enemy of order and happiness, would involve the history of mankind, from that fatal hour, when the indelible stain of transgression was stamped upon the fair escutcheon of our first parents, to the present moment. It has exercised its baneful influence over the human family, in every age, country, and clime. It rose, like a phænix from ashes, in the blooming bowers of Eden, and planted its standard, emblazoned with the insignia of curses, on the mournful ruins of Paradise. From there, it has waved, with maniac triumph, over millions of deluded mortals, and over the wreck of ruined nations. To rob man of the image of his God, and seduce him from the path of wisdom, has been its constant and successful aim. That it is still swaying its iron sceptre over the human race, is equally true. Nor will its exertions relax, until it shall be lost in the flood of millennial glory, that many suppose will ultimately burst upon the world. Its untiring course is onward, searching every avenue of mind, assailing every weakness of the heart. There are but few, if any, who have not sacrificed at its altar. It is the hot bed of human misery—the uncompromising foe
of reason, wisdom, discretion, and prudence. Its attendants are ignorance, superstition, bigotry, fanaticism, faction; and the rank and file of all the evil passions.
Its first shout of victory grated harshly through the air, when the forbidden fruit was severed from its parent stem. Angels heard the discordant sound, and wept. Justice recorded the sad catastrophe with anguish. Mercy beheld, with an eye of pity, the fallen pair; the incarnate God was moved with compassion, entered bail for the trembling culprits, and cancelled the crimson bond on the summit of Calvary.
In the blood of Abel, Inconsistency saturated its floating banner, and, as time rolled on, the scarlet was more deeply imprinted. The old world was convulsed by its reckless power, and its fairest portions blighted by its Sirocco blasts. The streams of Europe, Asia, and Africa ; have been tinged with the purple current, drawn from the veins of millions, by the keen lancet of Inconsistency. The ancient and powerful kingdoms of the earth; the hundred cities of Crete; the splendours of Babylon; the republics of Greece and Rome; Carthage, with its seven hundred thousand inhabitants; Athens, with its forums and lyceums; all fell beneath the ruthless hand of Inconsistency.
Many of the philosophers, sages, orators, and poets, , of the classic land ; many of the most prominent actors, who guided the destinies of the mistress of the world ; a large majority of the sixty-four emperors; most of the ambitious generals; were sacrificed at the sanguinary shrine of Inconsistency. The great Pompey, the proud Tarquin, the conquering Alexander, the bloody Nero, the ambitious Cæsar, and the exiled Bonaparte; all fell beneath the piercing arrows of Inconsistency.