Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

information to the stores of his own mind; or perhaps he was observing with a philosophic eye, the faculties of the youthful mind, and how new energies are evolved by repeated action; or perhaps, with patriotic emotion, he was reflecting upon the future destinies of his country, and on the rising generation, upon whom those future destinies must + devolve; or, most probably, with a sentiment of moral and religious feeling, he was collecting an argument which no art would be “able to elude, and no force to resist.” Our traveler remained a spectator, and took no part in what was said.

5. At last, one of the young men, remarking that it was impossible to combat with long and established prejudices, wheeled around, and with some familiarity, exclaimed, “Well, my old gentleman, what think you of these things ?” If, said the traveler, a streak of vivid lightning had at that moment crossed the room, their amazement could not have been greater than it was from what followed. The most eloquent and unanswerable appeal that he had ever heard or read was made for nearly an hour, by the old gentle

So perfect was his recollection, that every argument urged against th

Christian religion, was met in the order in which it was advanced. Hume's +sophistry on the subject of miracles, was, if possible, more perfectly answered, than it had already been done by Campbell. And in the whole lecture there was so much simplicity and energy, * pathos and sublimity, that not another word was uttered.

6. An attempt to describe it, said the traveler, would be an attempt to paint the sunbeams. It was now a matter of curiosity and inquiry, who the old gentleman was. The traveler concluded that it was the preacher from whom the pulpit eloquence was heard; but no; it was JOHN MARSHALL, the CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES.

ANONYMOUS.

man.

LESSON LXXXVII. SY

THE OBJECTS OF EDUCATION.

1. To learn A, B, C, is felt to be extremely + irksome by the infant, who can not comprehend what it is for. The boy, forced to school, cons over his dull lesson because he must, but feels no amusement or satisfaction in it. The labor he is obliged to undergo is not small; the privations of pleasure and activity, he regrets still more; and all for what? To learn what he does not like ; to force into his mind words to which he attaches no ideas, or ideas which appear to him to be of no value; he can not put them to any present use. Youth is not aware, that not for present use is all this designed The dull, laborious, but necessary + routine, like plowing and sowing the land, is in hopes of reaping abundance, at some not very distant season. Education is not the end, but only the means.

2. Let us see what is the object it has in view. A person growing to a certain age must appear in the world; he can no longer hide himself at school, nor withdraw behind the routine of the + trammels appointed for his minority. He must start forward and become something. What that something is to be, education only can + surmise; even talents, genius, fortune can give little guess. A man must act; whether he is necessitated to labor for his maintenance, or is freed by fortune from all apprehension, and all constrained exertion, yet he must act. It is the intent of education to enable him to act rightly, honorably, successfully. Without pretension to prophetic honors, one may safely say, that a man coming into life is doomed to suffer ; and perhaps in various shapes of sorrow. Youth may fancy life one scene of gayety; but reality and fancy differ widely. If education has been rightly conducted, it will teach the man to suffer with dignity, with honor, nay, with profit.

3. The man launches into life, and will be exactly, or very nearly, what his actual education purposed. It is well when, guarded, stored, and + stimulated, the youth starts forward, and in manhood prospers; answers his own wishes, his parents' expectations, his tutor's labors, by actual success in his station, whatever it may be. The dreary hours of learning will then be recollected with pleasure, and the labor will be abundantly repaid. The end which education had in view will be attained, and its importance, justly repaid.

4. The + alternative will show this importance in a still clearer light. The man forced into action, obliged to take perhaps some prominent station, may fail to fill it properly; may fail, notwithstanding his best endeavors, and become unsuccessful in all his pursuits. To fail for want of knowing what education would have taught him, would be great disgrace; but to fail when conscious of talents exerted, and carefulness ever active, will take away from the man's own mind, and from the opinions of bystanders, all that is disgraceful. He may even gain honor, by the exertions made to prevent, or by the disposition shown during the deep adversity. The lessons of education may be as useful to him in this case as in the other. All that he has learned will help him in some shape, and the labor once endured, will, even in his sorrowing moments, yield him assistance, satisfaction, and perhaps tranquillity, peace,

a

and joy.

5. If the object of education is then so important, if the effects of it are so strong, so enduring, is it not worth all the labor and privation which it can ever occasion ?

TAYLOR.

LESSON LXXXVIII. sos

THE AMBITIOUS YOUTH.

The incident described in this lesson is said to have occurred, some years since, at the Natural Bridge, in Virginia. This bridge is an immense mass of rock, thrown by the hand of nature over a considerable stream of water, thus forming a natural passago over the stream.

1. THERE are three or four lads standing in the channel below the natural bridge, looking up with awe to that vast arch of unhewn rocks, which the Almighty bridged over these everlasting tabutments, when the morning stars sang together.' The little piece

' of sky spanning those measureless + piers, is full of stars, although it is mid-day. It is almost five hundred feet from where they stand, up those perpendicular bulwarks of limestone, to the keyrock of that vast arch, which appears to them only the size of a man's hand. The silence of death is rendered more impressive by the little stream that falls from rock to rock down the channel. The sun is darkened, and the boys have unconsciously uncovered their heads, as if standing in the presence-chamber of the Majesty of the whole earth.

2. At last, this feeling begins to wear away; they begin to look around them. They see the names of hundreds cut in the limestone abutments. A new feeling comes over their young hearts, and their knives are in their hands, in an instant. "What man has done, man can do,' is their watchword, as they draw themselves up and carve their names a foot above those of a hundred full grown men who had been there before them. They are all satisfied with this feat of * physical exertion except one, whose example illustrates perfectly the forgotten truth, that there is no royal road to intellectual eminence. This ambitious youth sees a name just above his reach, a name that will be green in the memory of the world, when those of Alexander, Cesar, and Bonaparte shall rot in oblivion. It was the name of Washington. Before he marched with Braddock to that fatal field, he had been there and left his name a foot above all his * predecessors.

3. It was a glorious thought of the boy, to write his name, sido by side with that of the great father of his cou

country. He grasps

a

ing scale

his knife with a firmer hand; and, clinging to a little +jutting crag, he cuts again into the limestone, about a foot above where he stands; he then reaches up and cuts another place for his hands.

It is a dangerous adventure; but as he puts his feet and hands into those notches, and draws himself up carefully to his full length, he finds himself a foot above every name +chronicled in that inighty wall. While his companions are regarding him with concern and admiration he cuts his name in rude capitals, large and deep, into that fiinty album. His knife is still in his hand, and strength in his sinews, and a new-created aspiration in his heart. Again he cuts another + niche, and again be carves his name in large capitals.

4. This is not enough. Heedless of the entreaties of his companions, he cuts and climbs again. The + graduations of his ascend

grow

wider a part. He measures his length at every gain he cuts. The voices of his friends wax weaker and weaker, till their words are finally lost on his ear. He now, for the first time, casts a look beneath him. Had that glance lasted a moment, that moment would have been his last. He clings with a convulsive shudder to his little niche in the rock. An awful * abyss awaits his almost certain fall. He is faint with severe exertion, and trembling from the sudden view of the dreadful destruction to which he is exposed. His knife is worn half-way to the haft.

He can hear the voices, but not the words, of his terror-stricken companions below. What a moment ! What a meager chance to escape destruction! There was no retracing his steps. It is impossible to put his hands into the same niche with his feet, and retain his slender hold a moment.

5. His companions instantly perceive this new and fearful dilemma, and await his fall with emotions that “freeze their young blood.” He is too high, too faint, to ask for his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, to come and witness or avert his destruction. But one of his companions anticipates his desire. Swift as the wind, he bounds down the channel, and the situation of the fated boy is told upon his father's hearth-stone.

6. Minutes of almost eternal length roll on; and there are hundreds standing in that rocky channel, and hundreds on the bridge above, all holding their breath, and awaiting the fearful catastrophe. The poor boy hears the hum of new and numerous voices both above and below. He can just distinguish the tones of his father, who is shouting with all the energy of despair, “William ! William ! do n't loolc down! Your mother, and Henry, and Harriet, are all here praying for you! Do n't look down! Keep

His your cye toward the top!The boy did n't look down. eye is fixed like a flint toward Heaven, and his young heart on bim who reigns there.

7. He grasps again his knife. He cuts another niche, and another foot is added to the hundreds that remove him from the reach of human help from below. How carefully he uses his wasting blade! How anxiously he selects the softest places in that vast pier! How he avoids every flinty grain! How he economizes his physical powers, resting a moment at each gain he cuts. How every motion is watched from below. There stand his father, mother, brother, and sister, on the very spot, where, if he falls, he will not fall alone.

8. The sun is now half way down the west. The lad has made fifty additional niches in that mighty wall, and now finds himself directly under the middle of that vast arch of rocks, earth, and trees. He must cut his way in a new direction, to get from under this overhanging mountain. The inspiration of hope is dying in his bosom; its vital heat is fed by the increased shouts of hundreds perched upon cliffs and trees, and others, who stand with ropes in their hands on the bridge above, or with ladders below. Fifty gains more must be cut, before the longest rope can reach him. His wasting' blade strikes again into the limestone. The boy is temerging painfully, foot by foot, from under that lofty arch.

9. Spliced ropes are ready in the hands of those who are leaning over the outer edge of the bridge. Two minutes more and all will be over.

That blade is worn to the last half inch. The boy's head reels; his eyes are starting from their sockets. His last hope is dying in his heart; his life must hang upon the next gain he cuts. That niche is his last. At the last faint gash he makes, his knife, his faithful knife, falls from his nerveless hand, and ringing along the precipice, falls at his mother's feet. An involuntary groan of despair runs like a death-knell through the channel below, and all is still as the grave.

10. At the hight of nearly three hundred feet, the devoted boy lifts his hopeless heart and closing eyes to commend his soul to God. 'T is but a moment there !- one foot swings off !— he is reeling-trembling - toppling over into eternity! Hark! a shout falls on his ear from above ! The man who is lying with half his length over the bridge, has caught a glimpse of the boy's head and shoulders. Quick as thought, the noosed rope is within reach of the sinking youth. No one breathes. With a faint +convulsive effort, the swooning boys drops his arms into the noose. Darkness comes over him, and with the words, God! and mother! whispered on his lips just loud enough to be heard in heaven, the tightening rope lifts him out of his last shallow niche. Not a lip moves while he is +dangling over that fearful abyss : but when a sturdy Virginian reaches down and draws up the lad, and holds him up

a

« НазадПродовжити »