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which wealth buys of famous artists, letters from absent ones written upon cheap paper and brought by penny mails, the best books, whether for temporary use or for ownership, and to every man who can read, bis newspaper. Lord Brougham, in his address delivered before the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, on the 11th of October, 1858, gives many interesting facts relating to the circulation of cheap publications amongst the masses of England. The Penny Magazine, the pioneer amongst journals for the people, had, at the point of its highest circulation, a million of readers, - each paper passing through several hands; and some estimate may be formed of the care with which the work was prepared from the statement made by Lord Brougham, that as much as sixty guineas was paid in one instance for the engraving of a single plate. It seems that there are now circulating weekly in England, amongst 1,200,000 subscribers, nine newspapers for the common people; and, besides these, cheap but very valuable illustrated histories and popular works of science, not to speak of books distinctively religious and reformatory, find their way regularly and in great numbers to the homes of the great multitude of manual laborers. I allude to these things because they are not perhaps quite so familiar as some other matters kindred to them and equally significant, but nearer home. By and by, besides all that has been instanced, the laborer shall have at little or no cost abundance of sun and air, as he now has pure water, artificial heat and light, when they are needed, - many of the benefits promised by association, without the curses that have fallen upon those who, following Owen, Fourier, and Louis Blanc, would caricature creation, and make a new world, instead of making the best of this. The most skilful laborers and the most gifted artists are even now toiling, unconsciously it may be, yet really, to make the Home attractive, — to multiply the sources of refining and instructive pleasures, to give us elegance and a beautiful simplicity in the place of mere
glitter and tawdriness, to connect useful knowledge with amusement, and, by numberless labor-saving inventions, to release from drudgery all who wish to be released, and who will not ingeniously devise some new task as as you have discharged them from an old one.
The spirit of the age will work no mischief to the children of wisdom.
And now for the conclusion of the whole matter. Suffer no man to despise the home, or to make it second to any human interest or institution. Insist that it shall have time and space, thought and affection, - that it shall be intruded upon neither by the market-place nor by the school, nor even by the church. Let there be time for its duties, its pleasures, its studies, its prayers. It will help on the world unspeakably, if each one who has a household will try to rule it in wisdom and love. Why not make a home for our own children, as well as be ever laboring to secure for them the means with which they can make homes ? Household days and opportunities, like everything else in our world, are of brief continuance: they may be gone, unless they are speedily availed of; seize them and turn them to account, and their fruit will be, not for time only, but for eternity as well. When we shall have done our work, whatever it may be, we mean to return to our homes, as the Jews return to Palestine and the wandering Swiss and Tyrolese to Switzerland and the Tyrol, to rest and die. Would it not be better to go home to live, to improve the present, to look upon the faces of the children whilst they are still children, to make those wiser and better and happier who may receive so much of their wisdom, goodness, and happiness at our hands?
BIRTH FROM ABOVE.
Birth means formation. The progress of every created thing is through the gates of birth. It is not a process, as we inaccurately suppose, that is limited to the animal kingdom and to man, but runs through all the lower departments of nature, as well.
Every blind spherule of mineral matter is gestated into geometrical shape, through the laws of crystallization, as truly as the young of the animal through the laws of animal formation. When the vegetable soul in the planted seed parts asunder its envelope and pushes its green blade into air and life, it is born into this world by essentially the same process as our babes are born. In filling the cycle of its growth, the plant may be said to have several births. Its growth is not a continuous development. The fruit does not come from the seed by a simple and regular progression, but it is reached through certain well-defined and clearly marked stages or steps; first the stem, branches, and leaves, next the blossom, finally the fruit. Each stage is the development of a new set of powers, – the birth of a new organism in the plant. At first it is a mere stem and leaf. If you watch a plant during the spring and early summer, to appearance it lives for the sole purpose of enlarging its stem and multiplying its leaves; and were we ourselves to live no longer, we should conclude, and allowably so, that its growth was completed in this process. Soon, however, the production of foliage is found to be only a preparatory step. As the season advances, another class of organs appear. The development of stem and leaf abates, and the plant covers itself with blossoms. And, lastly, the blossoms yield to fruit and seed again. From the first, the buds, blossoms, and fruit were all in the seed, as integral parts of its idea, but only as possibilities,
possibilities, -as embryos. They can. not be said to have any existence until they are formed or
born, and emerge into the light and air of the world. It would therefore be strictly correct for the botanist or the gardener to say of a seed, that it must pass through successive stages of development, — that it must be born again and again before it can perfect its destiny. It is just so with man. Through physical birth he only enters into instinctive, sensual life.
The new-born babe can eat and sleep like any other animal, but he has no thoughts; he does not reason, and he does not love. He gives no evidence of mind. These faculties are latent and unformed as yet; and he must be born again and again before he can enter the manly life of responsibility, of reason, and of will.
But no one of these changes, whether of the plant, the animal, or the merely natural life of man, is the birth referred to in our text, — the birth “ from above." For these changes do not lift the creature upwards. They are horizontal, rather than ascending developments of life, ending on the same plane whence they begun. The birth from above belongs to the higher life of man.
Man alone, while he absorbs and repeats all the changes of nature below him; while he reproduces all the births and experiences of the mineral kingdom in his osseous or bony framework, of the vegetable kingdom in his fleshly organism, of the animal kingdom in his nervous structure; — while, I say, man is thus the regal self-hood to which all these kingdoms point, and in which they all melt and fuse, all nature confessing itself resumed and epitomized in man, he has superadded another faculty, which makes him a fit child of God, lifts him into full acknowledgment of the Infinite, and at once expresses all the distance between human history and mere animal growth, between man's eternal progress and nature's eternal immobility, between the starry splendors of human aspiration and the dull, ungenial fires of mere brute community.
Man alone can rise from nature into spiritual life through
the “ birth from above." Foldings are wrapped about us, nature within nature, life within life, hiding the ovaries of the noblest spiritual powers, which must yet come forth, and be born, and unfold themselves through the infinite ages. Spiritual capacities have we, through which, when
. opened, a power which is out of us and about us sends its eternal utterances into our inmost being. Not more surely does man's sensuous nature open
outward and downward, relating itself to all mineral, all vegetable, all animal forms, than a finer faculty opens inward and upward, through which he is brought in contact with God, and receives ceaseless communications from Him.
“ Not more surely do the organs of sense bring into his ear the sound of waters, or over his brow the breath of breezes, than his spiritual sense admits to his soul the aura of heaven, and the still and awful beatings from the heart of God.” There is in human nature, and in that alone, a germ or capacity made, from the beginning, receptive of the Divine Spirit, and opening upwards towards the spiritual world, even as the plant is receptive of the light and the heat of the solar beams, and opens upward towards the sunshine in which it warms and grows. The animal can never know a superior inspiration to that which his nature devolves upon him, as it devolved upon all his progenitors. He is void of spiritual consciousness, incapable of transcending the natural plane, or of preferring an infinite good to a finite one.
But this is the eternal distinction of man," that the entire sparkling and melodious universe of sense is but the appanage of his nature, is but the furniture of his proper life," while the INMOST of his soul can be vivified by infinite love, and made lustrous with the splendors of God, through the birth that is from above.
The stone, the horse, or the lily which fills the worshipping air with its dazzling sheen, has only a natural existence, essentially finite and perishable. It is a creature of