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more innocent, more sweet, more gracious, more elevating and more fortifying than he can find in a library. If he be fond of books, his fondness will discipline him as well as amuse him. (Address on opening the Birmingham Free Library, October 26th, 1866.)

SOME OF THE BLESSINGS OF A GOOD LIBRARY.Let me point out to you some of the blessings of a good library. Suppose we (as many of us are apt to do) get exceedingly hot in the midst of the various discussions-ecclesiastical, political, and social-of our day. Men are apt to think that the universe is pinned to their little creed, that the world really hangs upon their little conventicles, that their form of faith is the upholding of the throne of God, and that their little nostrum in politics will be the salvation of the world. I go to one of your meetings, and get hot and excited perhaps. I come to believe that if you will carry my bill the millennium will follow; or I think if you carry this other proposal the world will come to an end. When a man has worked himself into this unwise heat, a good

place for him to go to is a great library, and that

will quiet him down admirably.

He says,

It will have upon him the same effect that Emerson finely says nature has upon man. "Nature will not have us fret and fume. She does not like our benevolence or our learning much better than she likes our frauds and our wars. When we come out of the caucus, or the bank, or the abolition convocation, or the temperance meeting, or the transcendental club, into the fields and woods, she says to us, 'So hot, my little sir!'" At once you are calmed, and at once you are quieted. Sometimes we give ear to our prophets, our clerical prophets and our lay prophets, foretelling doom, the millennium, or the setting of England's sun in the sea. And we grow quite alarmed until we go into the library and take down book after book, and find that this is a very old story after all. I can show you in this room now, how many times the millennium ought to have come. I can show you how many times the sun of England's prosperity ought to have set in the sea. But the day is as distant (I believe, although I am no prophet) as the day of doom when that sun shall set. I

can show you the eclipse of the universe and the end of all things several times repeated before our day. I can show you the waves of infidelity coming in like a flood a great many times, and the flood happily drying up again just as often. I can show you, too, that the heats and passions of our times have been before; and when I find that these things have been so oft repeated I cease to feel the sting of fear, and I go out quiet, calm, and tranquil. I have a half-mischievous pleasure in my library in putting the great men of old times side by side according to their divergences. I put Calvin close to Arminius, and it is wonderful-in a library-how pleasantly they do kiss one another. I put my great Tory next to my Radical, and they lie down together as the wolf and the lamb. So when hot, fanatical, or furious, I simply go home and watch those great men as they lie there in quiet peace, and then I go forward to think of those better days when man's clear knowledge of what is infinite and eternal, separated from that which is but passing away, shall bring us into that blessed peace-that deliverance from the foolishness and the sins of the


cries of party spirit, can

flesh which is promised shall be given to all who truly seek it. I go into my library as to a hermitage, and it is one of the best hermitages the world has. What matters the scoff of the fool when you are safely amongst the great men of the past? How little of the din of this stupid world enters into a library; how hushed are the foolish voices of the world's hucksterings, barterings, and bickerings ! How little the scorn of high or low, or the mad touch the man who in this best hermitage of human life draws around him the quietness of the dead, and the solemn sanctities of ancient thought! Thus, whether I take it as a question of utility, of pastime, or of high discipline, I find the librarywith but one or two exceptions—the most blessed place that man has fashioned or framed. The man who is fond of books is usually a man of lofty thought and of elevated opinions. A library is the strengthener of all that is great in life, and the repeller of what is petty and mean; and half the gossip of society would perish if the books that are truly worth reading were but read.


BOOKS GOD'S GREATEST AND BEST GIFTS UNTO MAN. Now, Mr. Mayor, we probably could not part without some little looking forward to the future. For man's part in immortality is so great that he always looks beyond that day when "the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved;" beyond the day when these earthen vessels, so gloriously shaped by the Almighty Potter, shall have fallen back again into shapeless clay; and he longs, with a pardonable desire, that his name may be remembered when the place that knew him knows him no more. That glorious weakness I hope we all of us share-that we would fain haunt some place in this world even when the body is gone; that we desire that our names shall be gratefully spoken of when we have long passed away to join the glorious dead. If this be your passion, there are few things that I would more willingly share with you than the desire that, in days to come, when some student, in a fine rapture of gratitude, as he sits in this room, may for a moment call to mind the names of the men who by speech and by labour, by the necessary agitation or the continuous work, took part in founding

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