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conferred on our race for its advancement, and which they are taught to believe are immutable. We can, if we choose, distrust the benign agency of some or all of God's laws; and among the seemingly incredulous of this class may be found some who are overlaid with scientific truth, embellished with literary graces and their brows moistened with the precious dew of Minerva. It is generally deemed an evidence of good sense to choose a straight path if for nothing else but its straightness.
We confess we have no desire to run down or cut away from the age in which our lot is cast; to be decently equipped to meet its requirements supposes a knowledge so various, passions so controlled, industry so unslumbering, that we are satisfied if we do what lies clearly at hand, and do not see what lies dimly at a distance.
We are not yet sufficiently ripe' to advocate the Millerite doctrine, which would urge us to “hasten the union of the imaginative and actual.' These transcendental prodigals may, however, be seen occasionally returning with a limping gait to the embraces of their once forsaken friends. Nobody will deny that it is a noble spectacle to witness an ardent mind pursuing what it may deem truth, and kindling into quickened action as it advances and appropriates; but the contribution it may offer to the great store-house of useful knowledge would surely be rejected if it tended to throw no additional light on the olden track of time or on that which is crowded by the generations of today.
The topic which has engaged our thoughts thus far is capable of indefinite enlargement, and we feel a reluctance to separate from one so rich and varied in its suggestive character. New England is a great study. Are there not among her sons some who might delineate her entire features and bearing with the skill and fidelity of a Phydias ? We think it will be admitted that the undeviating steadiness with which New England has pursued her course, guided by lofty principles, has eminently conduced to that prevalence of well-being which is so perceptible at the present time. •Decision, which is the best earthly ally of wisdom and virtue,' has there found a fitting embodiment and a sturdy illustrator.
D. E. N.
P.S. - It is not too much to say, that so far as systems have been devised to further the cause of sound education, New England is entitled to the first rank. It is too large a subject to be pressed into the narrow range of remark which we have prescribed in the present paper. To such as may desire an acquaintance with or seek information on this head, we would refer them to the annual reports of the various school committees, which seem to drop with increased ripeness from the tree of knowledge every successive year. The amount of intellectual labor and supervision which their system involves and receives can hardly be imagined. The stream of instruction is made to run every where, but especially where the most formidable obstructions exist, and its fertilizing influences are, without intending violence to the term, gigantic.
Groping in Time's straitened fold,
Shall the glorious day behold;
(He hath watched them, though unseen,)
Forth to tracts of endless green.
• Meteor shapes— the shapes of error,
Glimmering through night's hideous waste --
Fly! their hated reign is past !!
Dawn dissolved in tears of ruth,
Ransomed by their shepherd, TRUTH.'
A FEW THOUGHTS ON CLOUDS.
The beauty of the cloud has sometimes attracted the poet's eye, but in general he has banished it from his pictures of Paradise, as if it was an earthly imperfection. That blissful region is said to know no cloud.' The realms of the spirit-world are `ever bright and fair,' and repose in eternal serenity and peace. Yet in fact the cloud has exhibited scenes of as fearful majesty and of as gorgeous and exquisite beauty as earth has ever witnessed. The mass of unthinking mortals, dwellers in tabernacles of burnt clay, would fain, even in this lower world, realize the dream of the poet, and sweep away the clouds as impediments of their rightful sunshine. Were their wishes to be gratified, they would be the first to weary of such an unvarying sameness ; were the sun ever to rise and set in the same cloudless splendor, the stars ever twinkle in the same diamond brilliancy; were the moon ever to beam in the cloudless majesty of the full, neither wax nor wane, neither show its slight silvery crescent in the west, and fill its horn' and then fade away, till nights of clouds and darkness make us watch and wait for its reäppearance; should we gain in happiness and beauty by the change? I trow not.
It is not proposed to speak of the important part performed by the cloud in the economy of nature; how by a silent and unseen process from brook, river, lake and ocean, its material is rising ceaselessly into the atmosphere, by a division so minute as to conquer the all-pervading force of gravitation, to descend in the blessed rain-drops on the parched and withering earth, refreshing alike the crowded city and the trackless desert, the cultivated valley and the rocky mountain-top, and imparting even there a brighter green and lovelier hue to the humble shrub and unseen flower, at least by mortal eye, that grow and bloom in quiet
beauty among the storm and tempests of its rugged home; nor to follow these drops as they go down by the valleys,' and brooks and rivulets and streams, and, united in one majestic flood, roll back to the ocean, transporting thither the proudest monuments of human skill, the conquerors of hoary old Ocean; not sweeping over it ‘in vain,' but uniting nation to nation and man to man, however remote, in the bonds of brotherhood and civilization!
It is not proposed to speak of these things; we only regard the cloud as part of that profusion of beauty; a profusion without which all practical benefits might have been fully realized, with which infinite goodness has adorned its works. Let us observe a few of their endless combinations. It is just daybreak. The stars are glowing in cloudless beauty, save where a faint gleam of light is tinging the east. The northern bear,' at its highest elevation, is proudly surveying from the meridian the phantom train silently sweeping along the zodiac, and marking the wandering lights that are there pursuing their eccentric courses. The waning moon, dwindled to a thin crescent, is just rising from the ocean, throwing a long stream of light on its unruffled surface, showing in delicate outline the tapering spars of a distant vessel, and shedding a pale and melancholy radiance on the rocky summit and scattered foliage of the neighboring mountains and the quiet dwellings and deserted streets of the village below. Fleecy masses, at first dark and colorless, have gradually gathered around the east, displaying the rude outlines of every tower and battlement; but as the daylight increases, growing thinner and brighter, and assuming the most gorgeous and brilliant tints, until, as the sun reaches the horizon, they might seem to mortal eye the spirit-drapery enfolding the pavilion of the ETERNAL!
Again, of a bright summer afternoon, when nature is drooping beneath a sultry and parching sun, see them off in the west rising in dark castellated shapes, piling above each other, showing to earth's gazers the palaces and fortresses of the powers of the air, with their bastions, embrasures, turrets and domes.
Ever and anon from one of these forms, more dark and threatening than the rest, is seen a lurid flash, like the glance of some fearfully bright and angry eye. And then the thickening masses rise darker and heavier, and shut out the sunlight, and amid the incessant flash of the lightning and roll of the thunder, pour their welcome treasures upon herbage and flower, bowing in humble, tearful gratitude! Soon the sun breaks forth, throwing its setting beams on the same castellated masses, retreating far off to the east; and now and then a vivid flash is seen tipping their rough and craggy edges with a golden lustre. The rain is falling gently through the fragrant air, childhood gladly sporting in its pearly drops, and even infancy uttering a crow of delight as they fall upon its uncovered face. And then majestically spanning the heavens, on the still dark and heavy clouds in the east appears the bow of promise, the seal of God's everlasting covenant! And as they roll farther away toward the orient, the full moon bursts forth, shedding a softened brilliancy over the whole, as twilight slowly and gradually fades away into moonlight.
Mark too the commencement of one of our wild autumnal storms.