Obrázky stránek

us from the starry eyes of midnight. It is his solicitude that wraps us in the air, and the pressure of his hand, so to speak, that keeps our pulses beating.

O, it is a great thing to realize that the Divine Power is always working ; that nature, in every valve and every artery, is full of the presence of God! It is a great thing to conceive of Providence as both general and special, comprehending immensity in its plan, yet sustaining the frailest being, and elaborating the humblest form. Take up as much as you can, in your imagination, the great circle of existence. How wide its sweep! How immeasurable its currents ! And are there some who tell us that God cares only for the grand whole, and has no regard for details, — that this is beneath the majesty of his nature, the dignity of his scheme?

I say, again, that nature is Providence; and this tells us a different story. For it is full of minute ministrations, as though the Divine solicitude were concentrated upon the insect or the worm; so that whatever thing you observe, it seems as though the universe were constructed and arranged for that alone.

And the sublimities of God's glory beam upon us in his care for the little, as well as in his adjustments of the great; in the comfort which surrounds the little wood-bird and blesses the denizen of a single leaf, as well as in happiness that streams through the hierarchies of being that cluster and swarm in yon forests of the firmament; in the skill displayed in the spider's eye, in the beauty that quivers upon the butterfly's wing, as in the splendors that emboss the chariot-wheels of night, or glitter in the sandals of the morning.



THOMAS STARR KING, an American divine and author, was born in New York, December 16, 1824 ; and died in San Francisco, March 4, 1864. He was settled over Hollis Street Church, Boston, in December, 1848, and continued in that place until April, 1860, when he went to San Francisco to take charge of a Unitarian congregation there. He had great influence there by his eloquent exertions on behalf of the Union, and against the Southern Confederacy. As a preacher and lecturer, combining a fervid spirit with elegance of expression, he enjoyed great and deserved popularity. The work by which he is best known is entitled “The White Hills : Their Legends and Poetry,” published in quarto in 1859.

[ocr errors]

ELL has it been said, that "mountains are to the

rest of the body of the earth what violent muscular action is to the body of man. The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountains, brought out with fierce and convulsive energy, full of expression, passion, and strength; the plains and the lower hills are the repose and the effortless motion of the frame, when its muscles lie dormant and concealed beneath the lines of its beauty, yet ruling those lines in their every undulation.”

This vigor, this fierce vitality in which they had their origin, is the source of much of the exhilaration which the sight of their wild outline inspires, even when the beholder is unconscious of it. The waves of flame that drove up the great wedges of granite in New Hampshire through ribs of sienite and gneiss, bolted them with traps of porphyry and quartz, crusted them with mica and schist, and cross-riveted them with spikes of iron, lead, and tin, suggest their power in the strength with which the mountains are organized into the landscape, just as the force of a man's temperament is shown in the lines of his jaw and nose.

The richest beauty that invests the mountains suggests

this branch of their utility. The mists that settle round them, above which their cones sometimes float, aerial islands in a stagnant sea; the veils of rain that trail along them; the crystal snow that makes the light twinkle and dance; the somber thunder-heads that invest them with Sinai-like awe, are all connected with their mission as the hydraulic distributors of the world, — the mighty troughs that apportion to the land the moisture which the noiseless solar suction is ever lifting from the sea. Their peaks are the cradles; their furrows the first playgrounds, of the great rivers of the earth.

Take a century or two into account, and we find the mountains fertilizing the soil by the minerals which they restore to it to compensate the wastes of the harvests.

The hills, which, as compared with living beings, seem everlasting, are, in truth, as perishing as they. Its veins of flowing fountain weary the mountain heart, as the crimson pulse does ours! The natural force of the iron crag is abated in its appointed time like the strength of the sinews in a human old age ; and it is but the lapse of the longer years of decay which, in the sight of its Creator, distinguishes the mountain range from the moth and the worm.”

We see, then, in looking at a chain of lofty hills, and in thinking of their perpetual waste in the service of the lowlands, that the moral and physical worlds are built on the same pattern.

They represent the heroes and all beneficent genius. They receive upon their heads and sides the larger baptisms from the heavens, not to be selfish with their riches, but to give, - to give all that is poured upon them,yes, and something of themselves with every stream and tide.


When we look up at old Lafayette, or along the eastern slopes of Mt. Washington, we find that the lines of noblest expression are those which the torrents have made where soil has been torn out, and rocks have been grooved, and ridges have been made more nervous, and the walls of ravines have been channeled for noble pencilings of shadow by the waste of the mountain in its patient suffering

In its gala-day of sunlight the artist finds that its glory is its character.

All its losses are glorified then into expression.

The great mountains rise in the landscape as heroes and prophets in history, ennobled by what they have given, sublime in the expressions of struggle and pain, invested with richest draperies of light, because their brows have been torn and their cheeks have been furrowed by toils and cares in behalf of districts below.

Upon the mountains is written the law, and in their grandeur is displayed the fulfillment of it, that perfection comes through suffering.

But we come to the highest use which mountains serve when we speak of their beauty. No farm in Coös * County has been a tithe so serviceable as the cone of Mt. Washington, with the harvests of color that have been reaped from it for the canvas of artists or for the joy of visitors.

Think of the loss to human nature if the summits of Mont Blanc and the Jungfrau could be leveled, and their jagged sides, sheeted with snow and flaming with amethyst and gold, should be softened by the sun and tilled for vines and corn! Pour out over them every year all the wine that is wrung from the vineyards of Italy and France, and what a mere sprinkling in comparison with the floods of amber, of purple, and of more vivid and celestial flames, with which no wine was ever pierced, * Pronounced Co-os'.

+ Pronounced Yång'fröů.

« PředchozíPokračovat »