And thus does life goes on, until death accomplishes the catastrophe in silence, takes the worn frame within his hand, and, as if it were a dried-up scroll, crumbles it in his grasp to ashes. The monuments of kingdoms, too, shall disappear. Still the globe shall move; still the stars shall burn; still the sun shall paint its colors on the day, and its colors on the year. What, then, is the individual, or what even is the race in the sublime recurrings of Time? Years, centuries, cycles, are nothing to these. The sun that measures out the ages of our planet is not a second-hand on the great dial of the universe.
Enough of good there is in the lowest estate to sweeten life; enough of evil in the highest to check presumption; enough there is of both in all estates, to bind up in compassionate brotherhood, to teach us impressively that we are of one dying and one immortal family.
Every Calvary has an Olivet. To every place of crucifixion there is likewise a place of ascension. The sun that was shrouded is unveiled, and heaven opens with hopes eternal to the soul which was nigh unto despair.
How mighty is the human heart, with all its complicated energies; this living source of all that moves the world! this temple of liberty, this kingdom of heaven, this altar of God, this throne of goodness, so beautiful in holiness, so generous in love!
How mysterious is this human life, with all its diversities of contrast and compensation; this web of checkered destinies; this sphere of manifold allotment, where man lives in his greatness and grossness, a little lower than the angels, a little higher than the brutes.
Human faculties are common, but that which converges these faculties into my identity separates me from every other man. That other man cannot think my thoughts, he cannot speak my words, he cannot do my works. He cannot have my sins, I cannot have his virtues.
It awes by the majesty of its truths, it agitates by the force of its compunctions, it penetrates the heart by the tenderness of its appeals, and it casts over the abyss of thought, the shadow of its eternal grandeur.
It should be the work of a genuine and noble patriotism to raise the life of the nation to the level of its privileges; to harmonize its general practice with its abstract principles; to reduce to actual facts the ideals of its institutions; to elevate instruction into knowledge; to deepen knowledge into wisdom; to render knowledge and wisdom complete in righteousness; and to make the love of country perfect in the love of man.
Never is the deep, strong voice of man, or the low, sweet voice of woman, finer than in the earnest but mellow tones of familiar speech, richer than the richest music, which are a delight while they are heard, which linger still upon the ear in softened echoes, and which, when they have ceased, come, long after, back to memory, like the murmurs of a distant hymn.
Not until right is founded upon reverence will it be secure; not until duty is based upon love will it be complete; not until liberty is based on eternal principles will it be full, equal, lofty, and universal.
The day of life spent in honest and benevolent labor comes in hope to an evening calm and lovely; and though the sun declines, the shadows that he leaves behind are only to curtain the spirit unto rest.
The passions are at once tempters and chastisers. As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wraths of snakes on the forehead of deformity. They are angels of light in their delusion; they are fiends of torment in their inflictions.
The Psalms are an everlasting manual to the soul; the book of its immortal wishes, its troubles, its aspirations, and its hopes; sung in every tongue, and in every age; destined to endure while the universe of God has light, harmony, or grandeur, while man has religion or sensibility, while language has sublimity or sweetness.
The record of life runs thus: Man creeps into childhood,bounds into youth,sobers into manhood,softens into age,totters into second childhood, and slumbers into the cradle prepared for him,thence to be watched and cared for.
The silent power of books is a great power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them which those alone can know who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they may yet set in action countless multitudes, and change the order of nations.
The true greatness and the true happiness of a country consist in wisdom; in that enlarged and comprehensive wisdom which includes education, knowledge, religion, virtue, freedom, with every influence which advances and every institution which supports them.
There is something cordial in a fat man, everybody likes him, and he likes everybody. Food does a fat man good; it clings to him; it fructifies upon him; he swells nobly out, and fills a generous space in life.
We cannot rekindle the morning beams of childhood; we cannot recall the noontide glory of youth; we cannot bring back the perfect day of maturity; we cannot fix the evening rays of age in the shadowy horizon; but we can cherish that goodness which is the sweetness of childhood, the joy of youth, the strength of maturity, the honor of old age, and the bliss of saints.
We live in the midst of infinite existence; and widely as we can see, and vastly as we have discovered, we have but crossed the threshold, we have but entered the vestibule of the Creators temple. In this temple there is an everlasting worship of life, an anthem of many choruses, a hymn of incense that goes up forever.
When illusions are over, when the distractions of sense, the vagaries of fancy, and the tumults of passion have dissolved even before the body is cold, which once they so thronged and agitated, the soul merges into intellect, intellect into conscience, conscience into the unbroken, awful solitude of its own personal accountability; and though the inhabitants of the universe were within the spirits ken, this personal accountability is as strictly alone and unshared, as if no being were throughout immensity but the spirit and its God.
Why should not our solemn duties and our hastening end render us so united that personal contention would be impossible; in a general sympathy, quickened by the breach of a forbearing and pitying charity?