« AnteriorContinuar »
Heedless she wantons on to seize the rose
But ab! too often in her haste, the thorn She sees not, that around it ever grows,
And wounded falls, with maimed wing and torn.
And fluttering there—and striving to be free,
The wings which are her essence she destroys; Their plumes are scattered, and beneath the tree
Weeping sits hope her unattained joys.
But if ere yet she sinks in doubts and fears,
One ray of light by grace divine is given : Anon she starts-and glistening through ber tears, • The thornless flowers,' she cries,
are those of heaven!'
Then with some feathers lost, indeed, and plumes
Upon her light wing drooping, she returns ; Sadly at first—but soon the light illumes
Her radiant brow, her heavenly frame soon burns.
Then doth she heavenward soar; new strength-new
life Urge her strong pinion in its upward flight, And earth, albeit with choicest odours rife,
And rarest lines—no more attracts her sight.
Save where the hearts-ease or the pansy sweet
Allure her, and she crops their modest bloom, (And where hope treads, they spring beneath her feet)
She plucks and strews the pathway to the tomb.
The certain tomb; 'tis there she first doth light,
And smiling stands, and beckons from afar:
And when we faint with radiant smile and bright,
She cheers us thence-our bright and morning star!
There doth she stand, distant, yet still in view,
And there her anchor from on high is given : One hand points out the path-the straight-the true;
The other upwards, with a smile, to heaven!
Oh hope has many a smile-each bright-each sweet;
Bright is her early smile in childhood's bloom : Sweet when she whispers— Parting friends shall
meet;' But oh how heavenly! smiling from the tomb.
L. H. J. T.
THERE are those poor misguided creatures, who carry the spirit of this objection so far as to insist that, because “ our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of, before we ask him ;" therefore there is no necessity for our troubling him with our petitions. How woefully hath Satan blinded their hearts, that they cannot see that our Saviour makes this very knowledge which God has of their wants, the very reason and ground for diligence and importunity in asking. “ Your heavenly Father," saith the Lord Jesus, “knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him; after this manner therefore pray ye.”- Rev. W. Cogswell.
THE PATRIOT QUEEN.
Of all the female characters in the Old Testament, there is scarcely one more fitted for our admiring contemplation than that of the magnanimous Esther. She exhibits so many rare and valuable qualities, such opposite graces, and seemingly contradictory endowments, that the Christian lady can bardly fail to derive both delight and advantage from a minute observation of the various excellences of this lovely Jewish queen.
When we survey the scriptures as a whole, and observe how far the narrative parts exceed those of a didactic nature, it will appear to be the intention of our Great Teacher to instruct us by example rather than by precept. The word is thus described by St. James to act as a glass or mirror, wherein virtue and vice, good and evil, appear in their just proportions, clothed in their native beauty and deformity, so that the exceeding value of the one, and the no less real misery and mischief of the other, are in this manner demonstrated more satisfactorily than by the corrected definitions.
This consideration will serve as a sufficient apology for copying from the life, in our researches after excellence-not from dead rules or from an imaginary creature. The heroes and heroines of the novelist fail in subserving the purposes of true morality--and why? Because these faultless monsters,' although
hole, and ed those e intention Tample rate cribed brit in virtoe e 1 proportie
decked in every possible and impossible perfection, are not in reality human beings; they do not act, and think, and feel, in difficult and trying situations, as we are conscious we should ourselves do, were we similarly circumstanced. Their actions may indeed wear a higher semblance of virtue; for it is easy to imagine something far better than human nature in its present state ; but if they have not our conflicts and temptations, they cannot engage our sympathy, and as a necessary consequence they do not challenge our imitation.
In order, therefore, that a character may strongly interest the imagination and affect the heart, it seems in the highest degree requisite that it should be perfectly natural. Its loftiest flights and its sublimest features must be in strict keeping with human weakness, and even frailty, or we shall hail as a prodigy, and not as an exemplar, the rare and difficult perfections that are brought before our notice.
How beautifully are these things blended together in the character of the loyal Esther! When nobly risking her life for the good of her people, she is still a woman, weak, timid, and susceptible. We discover the steps by which she has been gradually led to perform an action so heroic. We see her fainting at the first sight of that dread sovereign, whose frown is irrevocable death ; and we sympathize with her; we think that if placed in similar circumstances we should feel as she did, and we should desire to act like her.
We perceive too, that it was her piety, her obedience to Mordecai, her love for her people, that prompted such noble self-devotedness. We thus learn the full value of these everyday virtues. We are encouraged to practise them likewise ; we trust
by the #
they may one day lead us to the performance of actions great and good like hers.
But then Esther was beautiful, it may be said, and it was her external accomplishments, rather than the graces of her pure and heaven-directed spirit, that gave her so powerful an influence over the minds and destinies of her fellow-creatures. A candid perusal of her history will, however, by no means countenance such an assertion. The effect of her beauty is thus described by the inspired perman, in simple but expressive language: “ And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all who looked upon her.” We will compare this with Prov. ij. 3, 4. “ Let not mercy and truth forsake thee, bind them about thy neck, write them upon the table of thine heart, so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” These then were the sacred spells by wbich she captivated the hearts of all beholders. Her soul, the temple of the living God, was the abode of majesty and sweetness, of truth and love; is it then surprising that these heavenly perfections should irradiate her countenance, and impart a secret lustre to her minutest actions?
Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
O that woman, disregarding those meretricious ornaments which rather sérve to disfigure than to embellish her real graces, would seek by simplicity, meekness, and every feminine virtue, to maintain her only just and permanent influence over the best affections of the heart !
It is quite evident that Esther attached very little importance to the advantages of dress and decora