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and noble minds, and how beautiful does it appear! Sir Isaac Newton, in the true spirit of humility, spoke of himself, at the close of life, as a child who had spent his time in gathering pebbles on the shore, while the ocean lay untraversed; and Mozart, just before he died, said, “Now I begin to see what might be done in music.” These expressions were worthy of the men, and they invest their genius with greater loveliness, because they throw over it the graceful mantle of humility. They in fact knew much, and this taught them how much more remained to be known. They ascended to a high elevation on the mountain of knowledge, but this only gave them a better idea of the loftiness of the summit.
8. If the circle of light be large, the boundary.of darkness will be equally so; and the more we know, the more we shall be convinced of our own ignorance. This is trite enough ; but we can not remember it too often and too much, especially in the commencement of the pursuit of knowledge. Then the young aspirant often fancies he knows every thing; whereas, in fact, he knows nothing yet, as he ought to know. Conceit and fancied superiority are the besetting sins of the mind, when it is beginning to acquire knowledge. This must be checked. If the great apostles of science and philosophy, confessed they knew so little, what ground of boasting can there be for the tyro in their schools ?
9. When tempted to pride themselves on their attainments, let such look to the almost inexhaustible treasures of learn. ing and genius, which the illustrious dead, and the illustrious living have accumulated, and mark the humility allied to true intellectual greatness; and then blush for their folly in thinking so highly of themselves. Humility, while it is so beautiful and becoming, is also highly advantageous. It is a habit favorable of itself to mental improvement, as it opens the mind to receive instruction with docility, and makes one willing to be taught and corrected.
QUESTIONS.—1. At what does the writer exhort us to aim ? 2. Why is the exercise of thinking important? 3. What plan is reccommended for acquiring habits of clear and connected thought? 4. How do some men form their opinions? 5. What is meant by mental independence, close of the fourth verse ? 6. What knowledge can only be acquired by observation ? 7. To what did Mr. Locke attribute the knowledge which he had acquired ? 8. What did Sir Isaac Newton say of himself
, at the close of his life? 9. What did Mozart? 10. What does the young aspirant often fancy? 11. What is ever allied to true intellectual greatness ?
What is meant by the phrase, he may devour volumes,' first verse ? How should the phrase, 'to the not having been ashamed,' in the quotation from Mr. Locke, be parsed ? What emphatic sentences in this lesson? How is the syllable, ing, often erroneously pronounced ?
SPELL AND DEFINE-1. Revolution, the act of turning round; entire clange of government. 2. Tel'e scope, a glass instrument for observing things at a distance. 3. Optical, relating to sight. 4. Mi'cro scope, a glass instrument for observing objects too small to be seen without its aid. 5. Ponderous, very heavy. 6. Omnipotent, all powerful. 7. Mi nute', very small. 8. Trans pa'rent, that may be seen through. 9. Dominion, rule or government., 10. Gravitation, the principle by which all bodies tend toward the center. 11. Casual, happening from mere chance. Great Effects result from Little Causes.-PORTER.
1. The same connection between small things and great, runs through all the concerns of our world. The ignorance of a physician, or the carelessness of an apothecary, may spread death through a family or a town. How often has the sickness of one man, become the sickness of thousands ! How often has the error of one man, become the error of thousands!
2. A fly or an atom may set in motion a train of intermediate causes, which shall produce a revolution in a kingdom. Any one of a thousand incidents, might have cut off Alexander of Greece, in his cradle. But if Alexander had died in infancy, or had lived a single day longer than he did, it might have put another face on all the following history of the world.
3. A spetacle-maker's boy, amusing himself in his father's shop, by holding two glasses between his finger and his thumb, and varying their distance, perceived the weather. cock of the church spire, opposite to him, much larger than ordinary, and apparently much nearer, and turned upside down. This excited the wonder of the father, and led him to additional experiments; and these resulted in that astonishing instrument, the telescope, as invented by Galileo, and perfected by Herschel.
4. On the same optical principles was constructed the microscope, by which we perceive that a drop of stagnant water is a world teeming with inhabitants. By one of these instruments, the experimental philosopher measures the pon
dercus globes, that the omnipotent hand has ranged in majestic order through the skies; by the other, he sees the same hand employed in rounding and polishing five thousand minute, transparent globes in the eye of a fly. Yet all these discoveries of modern science, exhibiting the intelligence, dominion, and agency of God, we owe to the transient amusement of a child.
5. It is a fact, commonly known, that the laws of gravita. tion, which guide the thousands of rolling worlds in the planetary system, were suggested at first, to the mind of Newton, by the falling of an apple.
6. The art of printing, shows from what casual incidents, the most magnificent events in the scheme of Providence, may result. Time was, when princes were scarcely rich enough to purchase a copy of the Bible. Now every cottager in Christendom, is rich enough to possess this treasure. Who would have thought, that the simple circumstance of a man, amusing himself by cutting a few letters on the bark of a tree, and impressing them on paper, was intimately connected with the mental illumination of the world ?'
QUESTIONS.—1. Mention some of the bad effects which result from trifling causes. 2. What is said of Alexander ? 3. What trifling circumstance led to the invention of the telescope ? 4. How did Newton discover the laws of gravitation ? 5. How was the art of printing discovered?
What fault in articulation is often made in pronouncing the syllable, ent, at the end of words? (Les. I. 6.-3d.)
LESSON XXXVII. SPELL AND DEFINE-1. Momentum, degree and force of motion. 2. Phenom'ena, appearances. 3. Revul'sion, the act of holding back. 4. Abyss', a bottomless gulf. 5. Im'petus, force of motion. 6. Spectacle, a sight. 7. Eruption, the act of throwing out, as lava from a volcano. 8. Conflagra'tion, a burning. 9. Predom'inant, ruling. 10. Transient, not lasting; momentary: 11. Blenching, shrinking or turning from. 12. Graven, cut or inscribed. 13. Sym'bol, a sign; an emblem.
Description of Niagara Falls.-FLINT. 1. At the point, where this river issues from Lake Erie, it assumes the name of Niagara. It is something more than ihree quarters fo a mile in width, and the broad and powerful current imbosoms two islands; one of them, Grand Isle, containing eleven thousand acres, and the other, Navy Isl. and, opposite to the British village of Chippeway. Below this island, the river again becomes an unbroken sheet, a mile in width. For a half a mile below, it seems to be wax. ing in wrath and power. Were this rapid in any other place, it would be noted, as one of the sublimest features of river scenery:
2. Along this rapid, the broad and irresistible mass of rolling waters, is not entirely whitened, for it is too deep to become so. But it has something of that curling and angry aspect, which the sea exhibits, when swept by the first bursts of a tempest. The momentum may be conceived, when we are instructed, that in half a mile the river has a descent of fifty feet. A column of water, a mile broad, twenty-five feet deep, and propelled onward by the weight of the surplus waters of the whole prodigious basin of the lakes, rolling down this rapid declivity, at length pours over the cataract, as if falling to the central depths of the earth.
3. Instead of sublimity, the first feeling, excited by this stupendous cataract, is amazement. The mind, accustomed only to ordinary phenomena and common exhibitions of power, feels a revulsion, and recoils from the new train of thought and feeling, forced in an instant upon it. There is hardly sufficient coolness for distinct impressions, much less for calculations. We witness the white and terrific sheets, --for an island on the very verge of the cataract, divides the fall,--descending more than one hundred and fifty feet into the abyss below. We feel the earth trembling under our feet. The deafening roar fills our ears. The spray, painted with rainbows, envelops us. We imagine the fathomless caverns, which such an impetus, continued for ages, has
Nature arrays herself before us, in this spectacle, as an angry and irresistible power, that has broken away from the beneficent control of Providence.
4. When we have gazed upon the spectacle, and heard the roar until the mind has recovered from its amazement, we believe the first obvious thought in most minds, is a shrink, ing comparison of the littleness and helplessness of man, and the insignificance of his pigmy efforts, when measuring strength with nature. Take it all in all, it is one of the most sublime and astonishing spectacles, seen on our globe. The eye distinctly measures the amount of the mass, and we can hardly avoid thinking with the peasant, that the waters of the upper world must shortly be drained down the caia
ract. But the stream continues to pour down, and this concentered and impressive symbol of the power of Omnipotence, proclaims his majesty through the forests from age
5. An earthquake, the eruption of a volcanic mountain, the confiagration of a city, are all spectacles, in which terror is the first and predominant emotion. The most impressive exertion of human power, is only seen in the murderous and sickening horrors of a conflict between two mighty armies. These, too, are only transient exhibitions of sublimity. But after we have stood an hour at the foot of these falls, after the eye
has been accustomed to look at them without bleuching, after the ear has become familiarized with the deafening and incessant roar, when the mind begins to calculate the grandeur of the scale of operations upon which nature acts, then it is that the entire and unmingled feeling of sublimity rushes upon it, and this is, probably, the place on the whole globe, where it is felt in its most unmixed simplicity.
1. “How dreadful is this place !” for God is here !
His name is graven on th' eternal rocks,
Oft as their thunder shakes the distant hills. 2. O! if the forest trees, which have grown old
In viewing all the wonders of the scene,
And bow in humble worship to his God ? 3, For unto such as do approach with awe,
This bright creation of the Immortal Mind,
Know that this God, this awful God, is yours! 4. Yes, here have wrath and peace together met
Justice and Mercy sweetly have embraced;