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THE CLAY THAT PERISHETH.
YES! I have seen her in the spring-tide of youth: I knew her in the vernal days of her existence, when pleasures and joys unnumbered were hers; when the riches of this earth were heaped on nature's beautiful favourite those were the times, when youthful gaiety, when animal spirits and exuberant joys were hers. Then glided her sylph-like form amid the mazy dance; then rose her sweet voice amid the symphony of choral music; and her bewitching smile, her dove-like eye, blue like the heaven's azure, and her auburn tresses negligently braided, fanned by the passing zephyrs; entranced and rapt the soul in almost heathenish adoration,-yes, heathenish! for why should we make the clay that perisheth" an idol unto our hearts? why convert those noble and high feelings
given to man for better purposes, into that passion which destroys our energies, wastes our lives, and brings forth in the end nought but woe, and bitterness of spirit? And yet how often do we sacrifice our known duties, both to God and man, for the obtainment, in some way or other, of our heart's idol!
Disapppointment, thou hast been my yoke-fellow through life! In the early days of my youth, as well as in maturer years, I have learnt that there is no dependence to be placed betwixt man and his brother. Nurtured in the school of affliction, and carried away by the impulse of strong and devoted affection, I made the "clay that perisheth" my idol; and instead of worshipping an all-wise and merciful God, I forgot His ways and His commandments, and trod in the broad path of sin and destruction.
Yes! I saw her in the spring-tide of youth; when my heart, warm as hers, became devotedly fixed to her, the idol of my soul-with Myrza I wandered over the green fields, clothed by bounteous nature in their light and lively vernal robes together we culled the early spring flowers-together we listened to the sweet notes of birds, hymning the praise of their Maker-by us forgotten! Did we admire the beauties thus so profusely scattered around us? Did we remember Him, "who doeth all things well," and adore his holy Name? O no! our grovelling souls knew not the joys of worship; our hardened hearts knew but each other's adoration.
At length duty called me away from my idol. The time of separation (rendered more galling by long and endearing communion) came. My last evening was spent with her who was my all, my life; and
vows of enduring affection could alone soften the repinings of an heathen worshipper.
Again, I saw her, when summer suns had clothed the trees with their foliage of green; when the corn raised its gilded head, and waved its long stalks with majestic motion, impelled by unseen zephyrs. She had grown into a woman: the symmetry, the gracefulness, of her exquisite form still dwells in my memory, like a dream whose blissful reality we most desire. Again, mine eyes rested on hers in breathless adoration: if in my day-spring of life, she had been my idol, she was then my deity to her alone were my thoughts directed-to her were breathed forth my aspirations; and if at former times my thoughts had been directed to my Maker, however slightly, she now possessed my entire soul.
But, once more, years rolled over in absence; absence rendered doubly tedious by the sorrows attendant on such separation; hope long deferred-hope of once more breathing my impious prayers to her, made my heart sick-and death, at least its bitterness, was felt by me. Days and days did I lie in anguish, rolling over the mighty waves of the loud-heaving Atlantic; the majesty and awfulness of calm or storm were alike listlestly looked on by me; the myriads of wonders with which I was surrounded were unheeded-my duties to God forgotten and passed over by me, whose only thoughts and desires were centered in a being formed of the "clay that perisheth."
At length my toils were ended. Safely landed on the shores of my adopted land, I hastened to fulfil the vows breathed before my deity of clay. Already had the sun