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ment. Divine grace here gives us an instance, in living characters, of what our Saviour and his apostles so often inculcated by precepts. How would the beauty of this narrative have been changed and marred, had Hannah given to aged Eli some irritating reply. Happy Hannah! would that all the disciples of the present day possessed more of thy spirit, and that of thy Master, who, when he was accused of crime, made no angry denial, and when reviled, reviled not again.
Hannah's meek, and gentle, and respectful answer, and her ingenuous manner, had an effect upon Eli, which no other course could have had. Instantly satisfied of her innocence, he said, “Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition, which thou hast asked of him.” Thus Hannah left the temple with a blessing on her head, and “her countenance was no more sad.”.
Reader, have you ever been wrongfully accused? How did you feel ? -angry, or had you Hannah's spirit ? Were you ever justly accusedHow did you feel then ?
THE STARRY HEAVENS.
BY T. FLINT. I go forth in the silent and meditative hour of evening, under the cerulean star-spangled dome of the firmament. These numberless stars, thism ultitude of movements, these radiant orbs, this earth of our habitation carried round in space, like a frail vessel borne upon the ocean, penetrate my mind with profound astonishment. I attempt to scan the grandeur and the power of Him who has placed us in presence of such magnificent spectacles. I contemplate the motion of worlds, compared with that of the humblest inseet; the planets which circulate in the void, without ever deviating from their path ; animals, moving in their appointed spheres from an interior impulse ; and man, whose thought, more astonishing still, transcends the limits of time and space, without the accompaniment of the body which it animates; the two motions of the earth, the one on its axis, the other round the sun; and they are all radiant with the wonderful impress of the Creator's intelligence. One of the earth's compound movements is inexplicable upon any of the known laws of physics. Attraction causes bodies to tend towards the centre, but gives them no impulse of motion. Who can fail to admire the excellent equilibrium of these motions, and the wants of man and nature? The earth, inclining on its axis, presents in turn its two hemispheres to the sun, causing us the grateful alternation of day and night; while the other motion presents us with the varied aspects and delightful vicissitudes of the seasons.
It is another harmony of the motion of the earth, that while we are carried round with the utmost rapidity, we should have the sensation of being at rest. The atmosphere, and every relative landmark by which we could measure, and be made to perceive this, are carried round with us ; and thus we have a consciousness that we have not changed our place. We have familiar examples of the deceptive character of this
motion. The fisherman abandoning himself in his boat to the stream, and borne down by the current, sees the shore apparently recede, and himself at rest. The spectator, on the shore, measures the progress of the boat by the trees, and discovers its true and absolute motion. To us, the sun and planets seem to advance from the eastern to the western horizon. A person who could contemplate this motion from a fixed point in the heavens, would see the true and absolute motion to be that of the earth advancing rapidly from west to east.
One beautiful harmony of relative motion, compared with absolute rest, must not be overlooked. While movement and repose, darkness and light, the changes of the seasons and the march of the stars, which diversify the decoration of the world, seem to result from real change of place, they are successive only in appearance, being, in reality, permanent. The scene which is effaced from our view, is repainted for another people. It is not the spectacle, but the spectator only, that has changed. The Author of nature has seen fit to unite the absolute and relative progress of succession, as well as of motion, in his beautiful work of creation. The one is placed in time, the other in space.—By the one, the beauties of the universe are perpetual, infinite, always the same. By the other they are multiplied, finished and renewed.-Without the one, there would be no grandeur in creation. Without the other, it would have been all monotony. In this way time presents itself to view in a new relation. The least of its fractions becomes a complete whole ; which comprehends every event, and modifies every change, from the death of an insect, to the birth of a world. Every moment is, in itself, a little eternity. Bring together, then, in thought the most beautiful accidents of nature. Suppose you see, at the same moment, all the hours of the day, and all the aspects of the seasonsa morning of spring, and a morning in autumn-a burning noon of summer, and a noon of frost and snow—a night bespangled with stars, and a night of darkness and clouds—meadows enamelled with flowers, and forests robbed of their foliage by the winter and storm-plains covered with springing corn, and gilded with harvest—you will then have a just idea of the various aspects of the universe, as they are represented, at the same moment, to different spectators.
It is an astonishing fact, that while you admire the sun sinking under the arches of the west, another observer beholds him springing from the regions of the morning. By a wonderful arrangement of the Creator, this ancient and unwearied luminary, that reposes from the heat and dust of the day behind his golden canopy in the west, is the same youthful planet that awakes, humid with dew, from behind the whitening curtain of the dawn. At every moment of the day, to some of our fellow-beings, the sun is rising, blazing on the zenith, or sinking behind the western wave. Our senses present us this charming illusion. To a spectator, beholding from a fixed point in space, there would be neither east, meridian, nor west, but the sun would blaze motionless from his dome.
Let us imagine the view of the spectacle, if the laws of nature were abandoned to the slightest change. The clouds, obeying the laws of gravity, would fall perpendicularly on the earth, or would ascend
beyond condensation into the upper regions of the air. At one period, the air would become too gross, and at the next, too much rarified for the organs of respiration.--The moon, too near, or too distant from us, would be at one time invisible, and at another, would show herself bloody, and covered with enormous spots, or filling with her extended orb all the celestial dome. As if possessed of some wild caprice, she would either move upon the line of the ecliptic, or, changing her sides, would at length discover to us a face which the earth has not seen. The stars, smitten with the same uncertainty of motion, would rush together and become a collection of terrific conjunctions. On a sudden, the constellation of summer would be destroyed by that of winter. Bootes would lead the Pleiades, and the Lion would roar in Aquarius; here, the stars would fly away with the rapidity of lightning ; there, they would hang motionless in the heavens. Sometimes, crowding into groups, they would form a new Milky Way. Again disappearing altogether, and rending the curtain of worlds, they would open to view the abysses of eternity. Reason as we will upon the inherent laws of nature, second causes are not sufficient to explain all the phenomena. There must be a perpetual and omnipotent vigilance always sustaining these laws in their equilibrium. God would need no other effort to destroy this great work, than to abandon it to itself. Our confidence that these laws will never change, must rest upon our conviction of the immortality of his character.
GENTLEMEN LIBERTINES. The following article, copied from the Maine Free Press, is full of good sense, and adapted to the times. It exposes both a false sentiment and a false courtesy, which are not only productive of inexpressible misery, but give countenance to boundless licentiousness. It is to be hoped that young females especially--and old ones too-will read and ponder it well. It is high time, that this gentlemanly LIBERTINISM be “shorn of its locks” and stripped of its ermine; and that young ladies, who would preserve an unsullied reputation, learn to say, No! to the dastard who assumes a courtly exterior, merely to conceal the rottenness of his character, and the perfidy of his designs.
“ But he is a gentleman.” Not long since we chanced to hear a short dialogue between a mother and her daughter, who had just arrived at the age of “sweet sixteen," on the propriety of associating with a certain individual who was not named, but whom the mother seemed anxious that her daughter should shun. From what we could learn from the conversation, it seemed that the individual in question possessed a prepossessing exterior, dressed well, was familiar and affable in his manners, had managed to keep up his head in what is generally termed “good society,” in consequence of his “ winning ways,” but who was nevertheless a heartless, depraved wretch-a debauchee—and a notorious gambler. It was after these characters had been pourtrayed by the anxious mother, as a warning to her inexperienced daughter, that the artless girl exclaimed, as though she had hit upon a reason that
more than outweighed all her mother's objections—" But he is a gentleman!"
These words struck our mind forcibly, nor will the honest simplicity with which they were uttered be soon effaced. “But he is a gentleman !” What then? why these cannot be vices,—a gentleman would not practise any thing that is not proper, is undoubtedly the conclusion to which the unsophisticated mind of this girl at once arrived. How much misery, how much disappointment, how much overwhelming sorrow and regret, has this one sentence caused in the world! How many heartless villains are there who move even in the first circles, and whose characters are known to be infamous, and who yet hold up their heads for no other reason than because they are GENTLEMEN--that is to say, they possess the exterior of gentlemen ; a comely person, affable manners, and a good suit of clothes. How few are there who look beyond these accomplishments in forming their estimate of character. Let a man be ever so corrupt, let his private character be what it may, if he only possesses the little external accomplishments, it will not answer, under the present constitution of society, to censure him ; for “he is a gentleman.” But let a female wander from the path of virtue and propriety-yes, let her even be suspected, though she may be ever so charming—this grand salvo, “ But she is a lady,” will not be sufficient to cover her failing. Such a certificate will not sustain her,—she must be consigned to disgrace and infamy. In what consists the difference? Why is it that men may practise with impunity vices which will not be for a moment tolerated in the other sex? That there is a false standard of gentility set up in society, there can be no doubt. That good old maxim of Pope's, that “ worth makes the man," has gone out of vogue, at least with a very large portion of society; or else a different standard of worth has been set up, which is to measure a man's worth by the quality of the cloth he wears, or the grace with which he bows.
Thus it is no uncommon thing to see a man who can drink, gamble, swear, and commit any other species of vice, and still be a “gentleman.” If these men could be stripped of their false plumage, if their real characters could be exhibited in their naked deformity to the artless youth, there would be little danger to be apprehended from them. But the cloak under which their baseness is disguised renders them doubly dangerous associates for youth; for it enables them, first, to gain confidence by their easy address, then to lure them to ruin. Every parent who has the welfare of his offspring at heart, should not hesitate to expose the vipers, nor let the consideration that “he is a gentleman," have any weight in restraining him from withdrawing his children from the society and influence of such men. It may be an unpleasant task, but it is a duty which you owe to your children and to yourself, and will doubtless save you many a pang of anguish and many a vain regret.
THE ADVANTAGES OF MENTAL CULTIVATION. Our conception of spiritual life is the most subtle and sublime we can form of possible existence. The nature of spirit is the highest, for
i it is the nature of God; its capabilities are the greatest, for it produced the universe ; and in its modifications of power, from that of the little child to that of the Deity, it bringeth to pass all events, it establishes all the complicated relations of things, and unites and preserves all in one stupendous system of dependent existence—inconceivable—illimitable. It is the infinite circumference, within which our being and its most expansive conceptions are confined. In its necessary existence, it is God; in its dependent life, it is the only nature which can know God, and be like him. It is the substratum in which all intellectual, all moral capacities and qualities inhere. Admitting of infinite degrees in excellence and power, it is, in all ranks, the same in essence ; so that the least inhabitant of heaven may attain the situation of an archangel, whilst he will ascend still nearer to the throne of God. And what a noble prospect does this open to the believer in Christ! It assures him, that there is no bar to his progression in holiness and intellectuality ; that the mind which has advanced from the feebleness of infancy to the energy of manhood, will continue to advance through the successive changes of immortality, and contemplate with clearer vision the glories of the Divinity.
A creature capable of improvement is the noblest work of God,the loftiest achievement of Divine power. And such a creature is man; and upon this hinges the nature of his destiny. His faculties are given; the use of them is left to his own choice. And since the ends of his being can be answered only by his use and cultivation of those faculties, every means of improvement becomes a duty. His moral qualities, his intellectual powers, are equally the gift of God; and it is his duty to become more conformable to the Divine mind, in both. He is placed on earth to prepare for heaven ; and in proportion to his earthly improvement will be his heavenly fruition, moral and intellectual. It is this which stamps the value of eternity upon time, and invests our nature with worth and dignity proportioned to its prospects. Strikingly is the Divine goodness manifested in connecting the happiness of the present, with the duties to which he hath annexed the rewards of futurity. And such are our relations to the other world, that every act here, will produce its corresponding effect there ; the improvement of our capacities now, will fit us for larger experience of heaven's blessedness and knowledge. Here, then, is a prospect equal to the Christian's amplest desires ; a motive for speaking with the emphasis of eternity, and with the eloquence of loftiest hope.
But the present advantages of mental cultivation, both personal and relative, are worthy of our most serious attention. The measure of possible individual usefulness is restricted by individual capacity. Now, since every man is able to increase his powers, by proper attention, those who neglect to do so, possess less means of benefiting their fellow-creatures than they might employ. Such persons live beneath their privileges, and attain not the standard of Divine requirement. Nor does the fact, that intellect is often possessed without being worthily employed, weaken the force of these considerations; for the same may be said of every gift of God. Mind alone is capable of self-improvement; of spreading a self-wrought energy through its functions; and