« 上一頁繼續 »
meet in quiet union the bended sky, and show, in the line of meeting, the vast rotundity of the world.
6. There is majesty in its wide expanse, separating and enclosing the great continents of the earth, occupying two thirds of the whole surface of the globe, penetrating the land with its bays and secondary seas, and receiving the constantly pouring tribute of every river, of every shore. There is majesty in its fulness, never diminishing and never increasing.
7. There is majesty in its integrity, for its whole vast substance is uniform; in its local unity, for there is but one ocean, and the inhabitants of any one maritime spot may visit the inhabitants of any other in the wide world. Its depth is sublime; who can sound it? Its strength is sublime; what fabric of man can resist it?
8. Its voice is sublime, whether in the prolonged song of its ripple or the stern music of its roar; whether it utters its hollow and melancholy tones, within a labyrinth of waveworn caves; or thunders at the base of some huge promontory; or beats against a toiling vessel's sides, lulling thẻ voyager to rest with the strains of its wild monotony or dies away, with the calm and dying twilight, in gentle murmurs on some sheltered shore.
9. What sight is there more magnificent than the quiet or the stormy sea. What music is there, however artful, which can vie with the `natural and changeful melodies of the resounding sea?
10. The sea is his, and he made it." Its beauty is of God. It possesses it in richness of its own; it borrows it of earth, and air, and heaven. The clouds lend it the various dyes of their wardrobe, and throw down upon it the broad masses of their shadows, as they go sailing and sweeping by. The rainbow laves in it its many-colored feet; the sun loves to visit it, and the moon and the glittering brotherhood of planets and stars; for they delight themselves in. its beauty.
11. The sunbeams return from it in showers of diamonds and glances of fire; the moonbeams find in it a pathway of silver, where they dance to and fro, with the breeze and the waves, through the livelong night. It has a light, too, of its own, a soft and sparkling light, rivalling the stars; and often does the ship, which cuts its surface, leave streaming behind
a milky way of dim and uncertain lustre, like that which is shining dimly above.
12. It harmonizes in its forms and sounds, both with. the night and the day. It cheerfully reflects the light, and it unites solemnly with the darkness. It imparts sweetness to the music of men, and grandeur to the thunder of heaven. What landscape is so beautiful as one upon the borders of the sea? The spirit of its loveliness is from the waters, where it dwells and rests, singing its spells, and scattering its charms on all the coast.
13. What rocks and cliffs are so glorious, as those which are washed by the chafing sea? What groves, and fields, and dwellings are so enchanting, as those which stand by the reflecting sea? If we could see the great ocean as it can be seen by no mortal eye, beholding at one view what we are now obliged to visit in detail, and spot by spot; if we could, from a flight far higher than the sea-eagle's, and with a sight more keen and comprehensive than his, view the immense surface of the deep, all spread out beneath us like a universal chart, what an infinite variety such a scene would display!
14. Here, a storm would be raging, the thunder bursting, the waters boiling, and rain and foam and fire all mingling together; and here, next to this scene of magnificent confusion, we should see the bright blue waves glittering in the sun, and, while the brisk breezes flew over them, clapping their hands for very gladness, for they do clap their hands, and justify, by the life and almost individual animation which they exhibit, that remarkable figure of the Psalmist.
15. Here, again, on this self-same ocean, we should behold large tracts, where there was neither tempest nor breeze, but a dead calm, breathless, noiseless, and, were it not for the swell of the sea, which never rests, motionless. Here, we should see a cluster of green islands, set like jewels in the midst of its bosom; and there, we should see the broad shoals and gray rocks, fretting the billows, and threatening the mariner.
16. "There go the ships," the white-robed ships; some on this course, and others on the opposite one; some just approaching the shore, and some just leaving it; some in fleets, and others in solitude; some swinging lazily in a calm, and some driven and tossed, and perhaps overwhelmed,
by the storm; some for traffic, and some for state; some in peace, and others, alas! in war.
17. Let us follow one, and we should see it propelled by the steady wind of the tropics, and inhaling the almost visible odors which diffuse themselves around the spice islands of the East; let us observe the track of another, and we should behold it piercing the cold barriers of the North, struggling among hills and fields of ice, contending with winter in his own everlasting dominion, striving to touch that unattained, solemn, hermit point of the globe, where ships may perhaps never visit, and where the foot of man, all daring and indefatigable as it is, may never tread.
18. Nor are the ships of man the only travellers whom we shall perceive on this mighty map of the ocean. Flocks of sea-birds are passing and repassing, diving for their food, or for pastime, migrating from shore to shore with unwearied wing and undeviating instinct, or wheeling and swarming round the rocks, which they make alive and vocal by their numbers and their clanging cries.
19. How various, how animated, how full of interest is the survey! We might behold such a scene, were we enabled to behold it, at almost any moment of time on the vast and varied ocean; and it would be a much more diversified and beautiful one, for I have spoken but of a few particulars, and of those but slightly.
20. I have not spoken of the thousand forms in which the sea meets the shore, of the sands and the cliffs, of the arches and the grottos, of the cities and solitudes, which occur in the beautiful irregularity of its outline; nor of the constant tides, nor the boiling whirlpools and eddies, nor the currents and streams, which are dispersed throughout its surface. The variety of the sea, notwithstanding the uniformity of its substance, is ever changing and endless.
21. "The sea is his and he made it." And when he made it, he ordained, that it should be the element and dwelling-place of multitudes of living beings, and the treasury of many riches. How populous, and wealthy, and bounteous are the depths of the sea! How many are the tribes which find in them abundant sustenance, and furnish abundant sustenance to man.
LESSON XCII. The Psalms.
1. PERHAPS there is no book in the sacred volume, which is so much read as the Psalms of David. The peculiar characteristics of their poetical merit have been already briefly noticed; their devotional beauty and fervor can never be felt with too much intensity, nor admired with too much veneration. The variety and contrast in the feelings of the Royal Psalmist, at different periods of his eventful life, and in different circumstances of prosperity or trial, render his productions beautifully adapted to every frame of mini to which the believer can be subject; while the extreme tenderness and pathos of his supplications is often sufficient, one would think, to subdue and soften even the hard beart of the infidel.
2. His compositions are a storehouse from whence almost all characters of men may derive something suitable to their own condition and peculiarities of mind. Their elevated intellectual and contemplative character, and the admiration of the beauty and glory of the created universe, which they express in such inimitable language, inimitable both for its sweetness and sublimity, will always render them delightful to the man of genius and cultivated taste; but it is their touching adaptation to all the varieties of religious feeling, which gives them such an enduring hold upon the heart.
3. Here the grateful worshipper will find such irrepressible and ardent strains of thanksgiving, as might elevate his soul even to the holy adoration of the world above; “O, come let us sing unto the Lord! let us heartily rejoice in the Rock of our salvation." "I will sing to Jehovah as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being." "O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!"
4. For the true penitent they afford the most humble and heartfelt expressions of sorrow for sin, and the most earnest prayers for restoration and forgiveness; "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight.' "Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." For those that mourn in Zion, there is .consolation in the sympathy of one, "whose tears were
his food day and night," when God had hidden his face from him.
5. For the bereaved, there are the most instructive pic. tures of calm and submissive affliction; “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it." Here the desponding may learn, that others have been in the comfortless gloom before them, and that "to the upright, there ariseth light in darkness."
6. Here the youthful Christian finds an echo of encouragement to the energy and resolution of his hopes, and the aged and experienced one, a delightful exhibition of sure and confiding trust in the long-tried mercy of Jehovah. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that fear the Lord shall not want any good thing." "Thou hast been my support from my youth; now, also, when I am old and grayheaded, forsake me not." "I have been young, and now am old, yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
7. Happy would it be, could we all realize in our own bosoms, the love, the gratitude, the penitential sorrow, the sacred confidence, and the fervent aspirations after holiness and heaven, which here so faithfully and vividly delineate the inward life of the Christian.
LESSON XCIII. God our Refuge. Psalms, xlvi.
1. GOD is our refuge and strength; A powerful help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth change, Though the mountains tremble in the heart of the sea. Its waters roar and are troubled;
The mountains shake with its raging,
2. There is a river, whose brooks gladden the city of God;