« 上一頁繼續 »
frequently seen such objects before in travelling through these States, I i. no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship. Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation; but I must confess that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not the least of my motives. On entering, I was struck with his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man; his head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shrivelled hands, and his voice, were all shaking under the influence of a palsy; and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind. The first emotions which touched my breast were those of min. gled pity and veneration. But ah! how soon were all my feelings changed The lips of Plato were never more worthy of a prognostic swarm of bees than were the lips of this holy man It was a day of the administration of the sacrament; and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Saviour. I had heard the subject handled a thousand times; I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose that in the wild woods of America I was to meet with a man whose eloquence would give to this topic a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed. As he descended from the pulpit to distribute the mystic symbols, there was a peculiar, a more than human, solemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame shiver. He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Saviour; his trial before Pilate; his ascent up Calvary; his crucifixion, and his death. I knew the whole history; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored. It was all new ; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison. His peculiar phrases had that force of description, that the original scene appeared to be, at that moment, acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews; the staring,
and first concluded to devote his life to teaching. But, his views undergoing a change, he determined to enter the ministry, and he was licensed in 1761, and settled over a Presbyterian church in Lancaster County. In 1776, he removed to Virginia; and, his salary being small, he received some pupils for classical instruction in his own house. He resided in Louisa County for twenty years, and died there. He lost his eyesight the latter part of his life. Patrick Henry pronounced him the greatest orator he ever heard. The late Dr. Archibald Alexander married one of his daughters, and hence the middle name of the Rev. James Waddel Alexander, D.D., of New York. To the latter Mr. Wirt stated, in 1830, that, so far from having colored too highly the picture of his eloquence, he had fallen below the truth.
frightful distortions of malice and rage. We saw the buffet: my soul kindled with a flame of indignation, and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clenched. But when he came to touch on the patience, the forgiving meekness of our Saviour; when he drew, to the life, his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven; his voice breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on his enemies, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,”—the voice of the preacher, which had all along faltered, grew fainter and fainter, until, his utterance being entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, he raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and burst into a loud and irrepressible flood of grief. The effect is inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, and sobs, and shrieks of the congregation. It was some time before the tumult had subsided so far as to permit him to proceed. Indeed, judging by the usual, but fallacious, standard of my own weakness, I began to be very uneasy for the situation of the preacher. For I could not conceive how he would be able to let his audience down from the height to which he had wound them, without impairing the solemnity and dignity of his subject, or perhaps shocking them by the abruptness of the fall. But no; the descent was as beautiful and sublime as the elevation had been rapid and enthusiastic. The first sentence with which he broke the awful silence was a quotation from Rousseau:-" Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ, like a God!” I despair of giving you any idea of the effect produced by this short sentence, unless you could perfectly conceive the whole manner of the man, as well as the peculiar crisis in the discourse. Never before did I completely understand what Demosthenes meant by laying such stress on delivery. You are to bring before you the venerable figure of the preacher; his blindness, constantly recalling to your recollection old 'Homer, Ossian, and Milton, and associating with his performance the melancholy grandeur of their geniuses; you are to imagine that you hear his slow, solemn, wellaccented enunciation, and his voice of affecting, trembling melody; you are to remember the pitch of passion and enthusiasm to which the congregation were raised; and then the few minutes of portentous, death-like silence which reigned throughout the house; the preacher removing his white handkerchief from his aged face, (even yet wet from the recent torrent of his tears,) and, slowly stretching forth the palsied hand which holds it, begins the sentence, “Socrates died like a philosopher,” then pausing, raising his other hand, pressing them both clasped together with warmth and energy to his breast, lifting his “sightless balls” to heaven, and pouring his whole soul into his tremulous voice,—“but
Jesus Christ, like a God!” If he had been indeed and in truth an angel of light, the effect could scarcely have been more divine. British Spy.
THE POWER of KINDNEss."
I want to tell you a secret. The way to make yourself pleasing to others is to show that you care for them. The whole world is like the miller of Mansfield, “who cared for nobody—no, not he —because nobody cared for him;” and the whole world will serve you so if you give them the same cause. Let every one, therefore, see that you do care for them, by showing them what Sterne so happily calls “the small, sweet courtesies of life,”—those courtesies in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to teaze, and which manifest themselves by tender and affectionate looks, and little, kind acts of attention,-giving others the preference in every little enjoyment at the table, in the field, walking, sitting, or standing. This is the spirit that gives to your time of life and to your sex its sweetest charm. It constitutes the sum-total of all the witchcraft of woman. Let the world see that your first care is for yourself, and you will spread the solitude of the Upas-tree around you, and in the same way, by the emanation of a poison which kills all the kindly juices of affection in its neighborhood. Such a girl may be admired for her understanding and accomplishments, but she will never be beloved. The seeds of love can never grow but under the warm and genial influence of kind feeling and affectionate manners. Vivacity goes a great way in young persons. It calls attention to her who displays it, and, if it then be found associated with a generous sensibility, its execution is irresistible. On the contrary, if it be found in alliance with a cold, haughty, selfish heart, it produces no farther effect, except an adverse one. Attend to this, my daughter: it flows from a heart that feels for you all the anxiety a parent can feel, and not without the hope which constitutes the parent's highest happiness. May God protect and bless you !
Common sense is a much rarer quality than genius. This may sound to you a little paradoxical at first, but you will find it true; for common sense is not, as superficial thinkers are apt to suppose, a mere negative faculty: it is a positive faculty, and one of the highest power. It is this faculty that instructs us when to
" From a letter to his daughter Laura.
speak, when to be silent, when to act, when to be still; and, Inoreover, it teaches us what to speak and what to suppress, what to do and what to forbear. Now, pause a moment to reflect on the number of faculties which must be combined to constitute this common sense: a rapid and profound foresight to calculate the consequences of what is to be said or done, a rapid circumspection and extensive comprehension so as to be sure of taking in all the circumstances which belong to the case and missing no figure in this arithmetic of the mind, and an accuracy of decision which must be as quick as lightning, so as not to let the occasion slip. See what a knowledge of life, either by experience or intuition, and what a happy constitutional poise between the passions and the reason, or what a powerful self-command all enter into the composition of that little, demure, quiet, unadmired, and aimost despised thing called common sense. It pretends to no brilliancy, for it possesses none; it has no ostentation, for it has nothing to show that the world admires. The powerful and constant action of the intellect, which makes its nature, is unobserved even by the proprietor; for every thing is done with intuitive ease, with a sort of unconscious felicity. See, then, the quick and piercing sagacity, the prophetic penetration, the wide comprehension, and the prompt and accurate judgment, which combine to constitute common sense, which is as inestimably valuable as the solar light and as little thought of
BURR AND BLANNER HASSET."
Let us put the case between Burr and Blannerhasset. Let us compare the two men and settle this question of precedence between them. It may save a good deal of troublesome ceremony hereafter.
Who Aaron Burr is, we have seen in part already. I will add that, beginning his operations in New York, he associates with him men whose wealth is to supply the necessary funds. Possessed of the main-spring, his personal labor contrives all the machinery. Pervading the continent from New York to New Orleans, he draws into his plan, by every allurement which he can contrive, men of all ranks and descriptions. To youthful ardor he presents danger and glory; to ambition, rank and titles and honors; to avarice, the mines of Mexico. To each person whom he addresses he presents the object adapted to his taste. His recruiting-officers are appointed. Men are engaged throughout the continent. Civil life is, indeed, quiet upon its surface,
• Read an interesting article in the “North American Review,” (lxxii. 112, July, 1851,) upon the Life and Character of Blannerhasset.
but in its bosom this man has contrived to deposit the materials which, with the slightest touch of his match, produce an explosion to shake the continent. All this his restless ambition has contrived; and, in the autumn of 1806, he goes forth for the last time to apply this match. On this occasion he meets with Blannerhasset. Who is Blannerhasset? A native of Ireland, a man of letters, who fled from the storms of his own country to find quiet in ours. His history shows that war is not the natural element of his mind; if it had been, he never would have exchanged Ireland for America. So far is an army from furnishing the society natural and proper to Mr. Blannerhasset's character, that, on his arrival in America, he retired even from the population of the Atlantic States, and sought quiet and solitude in the bosom of our Western forests. But he carried with him taste and science and wealth; and, lo! the desert smiled. Possessing himself of a beautiful island in the Ohio, he rears upon it a palace and decorates it with every romantic embellishment of fancy. A shrubbery that Shenstone might have envied blooms around him. Music that might have charmed Calypso and her nymphs is his. An extensive library spreads its treasures before him. A philosophical apparatus offers to him all the secrets and mysteries of nature. Peace, tranquillity, and innocence shed their mingled delights around him. And, to crown the enchantment of the scene, a wife, who is said to be lovely even beyond her sex, and graced with every accomplishment that can render it irresistible, had blessed him with her love and made him the father of several children. The evidence would convince you that this is but a faint picture of the real life. In the midst of all this peace, this innocent simplicity and this tranquillity, this feast of the mind, this pure banquet of the heart, the destroyer comes; he comes to change this paradise into a hell. Yet the flowers do not wither at his approach. No monitory shuddering through the bosom of their unfortunate possessor warns him of the ruin that is coming upon him. A stranger presents himself. Introduced to their civilities by the high rank which he had lately held in his country, he soon finds his way to their hearts by the dignity and elegance of his demeanor, the light and beauty of his conversation, and the seductive and fascinating power of his address. The conquest was not difficult. Innocence is ever simple and credulous. Conscious of no design itself, it suspects none in others. It wears no guard before its breast. Every door and portal and avenue of the heart is thrown open, and all who choose it enter. Such was the state of Eden when the serpent entered its bowers. The prisoner, in a more engaging form, winding himself into the open and unpractised heart of the unfortunate Blannerhasset, found but little difficulty in changing