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ETAT. 21]

NIEBUHR AND GOETHE.

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a hill about a mile distant. You see how ambitious I am. It really gives me pleasure to look down upon the valley in which our habitation is enshrouded. As to the real source of this pleasure I can give you no information. I can only say that it suits the mounting spirit like myself.' But this hill has other attractions besides its elevation, for the top is covered with a tasteful plantation in which there are walks and seats. During the heat of the day I often find a shelter from the sun, and in true classic style reclinesub tegmine fagi (under the shade of a beech-tree).

"I have lately had a perverse delight in allowing myself an uncontrolled liberty of rambling when I write letters. It is such a relief from the trudging, straightforward travelling of regular composition, that the mind, like a spirited horse, abuses its liberty, and overleaps all bounds.

"I often think of poor Ruth (of the Old Testament). Had she been blessed with education she would have made a fine woman. There was a character about her, and under no circumstances would she have merged into the general I am often pained when I think of the undeveloped talent there is in the world. How many, formed by nature for advancing the highest purposes of existence, are trudging in low occupations! What dreadful havoc has sin made in our world! What a vast amount of mind it has destroyed!

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"I have begun Niebuhr's History of Rome. It is very elaborate, and displays a vast amount of learning. There is much ground in it which I cannot afford to travel, such as the obscure history of the tribes who occupied Italy before the foundation of Rome.

"I have finished Goethe. He has left a feeling of profound admiration and wonder upon my mind. I cannot however understand his religion. He had a religion, and professed attachment to Christianity, and occasionally one meets with bursts of something like devotion in his remains. He appears to have got many of his principles from Spinoza,

but as Spinoza has been very differently interpreted I can scarcely tell what they are. I believe that Goethe held intercourse with the evangelical party in Germany. I shall read his Faust as soon as I can lay my hands upon it. I have also determined, if spared, to learn the German language. So far as I can see it is a language after my own heart.

Sep. 14th. "It is well to pray for one's friends. It is one of the most striking features of that constitution of mercy under which we are placed, that all its blessings are granted in answer to prayer. The more we pray for our friends the more shall we love them. So that if our petitions on their behalf be not granted, the principles of benevolence will be strengthened in us."

15th. "I feel that I am very slow in applying the principles of divine truth to the circumstances of life. I read -understand-approve-but often forget. Lord make me a doer of thy word."

His health had now so far recruited as to warrant the hope that he could resume his College duties. After spending a fortnight with me, we proceeded to Undercliffe in the beginning of September. A letter written to his uncle Campbell a few days after, awakens the apprehension that his stay must be brief. My health has been much better since I last saw you, although I have not been quite so well since I came to College. The cold bleak winds here don't suit me, and I fear I shall have to leave very soon. I am not now pursuing regular studies.

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"I am sorry that during the last half-year I have been so dull an inmate of your house. I am convinced that a flow of good spirits is one of the best antagonists of disease. I am happy to say however that I am much better in this respect. Should my life be spared I shall

ETAT. 22] HE QUITS AIREDALE COLLEGE.

cause.

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regard you my dear uncle, under God, as the instrumental The ordinary language of gratitude will not express the obligation I feel for your unrepayable kindness. The emphatic words of Shakspeare involuntarily arise :—'Beggar as I am, I am poor even in thanks, but I do thank you.'

"I came to your house at a very critical period. My nervous system had acquired such a dreadful energy that it now appears a wonder it did not destroy my life. Through the kind care of yourself and aunt, with the pleasant society Howden supplied, I am now in a great measure restored to calmness and self-possession.

"There is one thing, my dear uncle, you will permit me to mention, as being of vast importance, I mean an attention to personal religion. I believe that but for the consolations of the Bible, I should not have been alive. Nothing would give me greater delight than to know that you and my dear aunt were living in the enjoyment of true religion. I hope-nay I believe-you both see these things differently from what you did. For your kindness towards me I can make no temporal return, but it may not be improper to tell you that I do not fail to remember you in prayer. May God bless you, and cheer your declining years with those consolations He alone can impart, and whenever He may take us from this world, may we all meet in a higher and happier state!"

Not more than a fortnight elapsed before the fear expressed in this letter was realized. His unfavourable symptoms rapidly increased, and it was deemed necessary for him to leave the College. He reached home on the last day of September. In a letter I received from him a few days after, he says: "My health upon the whole is better, and if I had a little society would soon be much better. The balmy breeze here is delightful to my exasperated lungs and nerves, beyond what I can express. In going down the hill when I left the College my lungs began

bleeding, and continued for near an hour. Since then I have had no return. I think it was caused by the cold dry air, for I bled a little when I first came. It is absolutely necessary that I keep away from it.

"At present I am reading Horace; John, in Greek; and the Psalms, in Hebrew; and so far as I now see I shall keep to these. My sermons go on slowly. I cannot write here; I have too few books, and want to be a little nearer Mr. Haigh's library. I generally do best with a great many irons in the fire, always having something important in the great tongs. But here my bellows are bad, and the fire won't burn, and beating cold iron is miserable. If you did not know better you would think I had been a blacksmith."-Mr. Haigh was the proprietor of a boardingschool for young gentlemen, then at Grimston-lodge, near Tadcaster. He has since established Bramham College. His kindness prompted him to give Mr. Hessel free access to his large and valuable library.

"I think I shall be following the leadings of Providence in settling for some time near Mr. Haigh. I do not know any place where the air is so mild and salubrious, and the scenery so agreeable. In these respects it is all I can wish. I think also there is room for usefulness. I do not lose sight of the fifty boys to whom probably I shall often preach. Between young minds moral sympathies are usually strong, and with the blessing of God, I may exert an influence upon these lads which an older preacher could not. Most of them will probably be called to occupy important stations in life, and we cannot calculate the consequences of religious impressions which may now be made. I feel more than ever that my only happiness in this world will consist in doing good, and I wish to turn every opportunity to the best account."-It is not Mr. Hessel's character merely that is here exhibited, it is the character of the religion of Christ. It was it which inspried this benevolent yearn

ÆTAT. 22] THE BLESSEDNESS OF BENEVOLENCE.

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ing for the welfare of these youths. And this was not the fortuitous result of a happy combination of Christian truth with a peculiar temperament. It was the natural, infallible, result of a right understanding and real experience of that truth. Whoever receives it into his heart receives the benevolent spirit of its Author. "The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost." By the law of his spiritual life he is constrained to do good. And what a fine sphere for benevolence does our world present! The very wants and woes which sin has created furnish opportunity for the efflux of benevolence. And it is difficult to say whether the object or the subject is the most benefited.

"Would'st thou from sorrow find a sweet relief?
Or is thy heart oppressed with woes untold?
Balm would'st thou gather for corroding grief?
Pour blessings round thee like a shower of gold.
"Tis when the rose is wrapped in many a fold
Close to its heart, the worm is wasting there
Its life and beauty; not when, all unrolled,
Leaf after leaf, its bosom, rich and fair,

Breathes freely its perfume throughout the ambient air."

Oct. 4th. "By an eager and morbid craving after mere intellectual attainments I destroy a great part of the rich enjoyment intended for me. We cannot go contrary to God's intentions in the least without injuring ourselves. We may not always be conscious of the injury, but there are laws in constant operation which will infallibly work out the just, but to us, unhappy result."

"Much may be done in preaching by graphic delineation. The various passages of our Saviour's life are pregnant with scenes of beauty. The errors and mistakes-the diversified moral scenes which society everywhere presents, afford ample material for this power."-The power of employing vivid and familiar illustration has been one of the

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