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ter's clay--and that though Christ died to save crowded in silence, as beneath the shadow of sinners, sinners who believe in Him, and there- a thunder-cloud, to see some one single human fore shall not perish, may yet lose hold of the being die-or swaying and swinging back belief when their understandings are darkened wards and forwards, and to and fro, to hail a by the shadow of death, and, like Peter losing victorious armament returning from the war faith and sinking in the sea, feel themselves of Liberty, with him who hath “taken the descending into some fearful void, and cease start of this majestic world” conspicuous from here to be, ere they find voice to call on the afar in front, encircled with music, and with name of the Lord—“Help, or I perish !” the standard of his unconquered country afloat

What may be the nature of the thoughts and above his head. Thus, and by many thousand feelings of an Atheist, either when in great. other potent influences for ever at work, and joy or great sorrow, full of life and the spirit from which the human heart can never make of life, or in mortal malady and environed its safe escape-let it flee to the uttermost parts with the toils of death, it passes the power of of the earth, to the loneliest of the multitude our imagination even dimly to conceive; nor of the isles of the sea-are men, who vainly are we convinced that there ever was an utter dream that they are Atheists, forced to feel Atheist. The thought of a God will enter in, God. Nor happens this but rarely-nor are barred though the doors be, both of the under- such “angel-visits few and far between." As standing and the heart, and all the windows the most cruel have often, very often, thoughts supposed to be blocked up against the light. tender as dew, so have the most dark often, The soul, blind and deaf as it may often be, very often, thoughts bright as day. The sun's cannot always resist the intimations all life golden finger writes the name of God on the long, day and night, forced upon it from the clouds, rising or setting, and the Atheist, falseouter world; its very necessities, nobler far ly so called, starts in wonder and in delight, than those of the body, even when most de- which his soul, because it is immortal, cannot graded, importunate when denied their manna, resist, to behold that Bible suddenly opened are to it oftentimes a silent or a loud revela- before his eyes on the sky. Or some old, tion. Then, not to feel and think as other decrepit, grayhaired crone, holds out her shribeings do with “discourse of reason,” is most velled hand, with dim eyes patiently fixed on hard and difficult indeed, even for a short time, his, silently asking charity-silently, but in the and on occasions of very inferior moment. holy name of God; and the Atheist, taken unBeing men, we are carried away, willing or awares, at the very core of his heart bids“God unwilling, and often unconsciously, by the bless her," as he relieves her uncomplaining great common instinct; we keep sailing with miseries. the tide of humanity, whether in flow or ebb- If then Atheists do exist, and if their deathfierce as demons and the sons of perdition, if beds may be described for the awful or melanthat be the temper of the congregating hour-choly instruction of their fellow-men, let them mild and meek as Pity, or the new-born babe, be such Atheists as those whom, let us not when the afflatus of some divine sympathy hesitate to say it, we may blamelessly love has breathed through the multitude, nor one with a troubled affection; for our Faith may creature escaped its influence, like a spring- not have preserved us from sins from which day that steals through a murmuring forest, till they are free--and we may give even to many not a single tree, even in the darkest nook, is of the qualities of their most imperfect and without some touch of the season's sunshine. unhappy characters almost the name of virtues. Think, then, of one who would fain be an No curses on their death-beds will they be Atheist, conversing with the “sound, healthy heard to utter. No black scowlings-no horrid children of the God of heaven!" To this rea- gnashing of teeth-no hideous shriekings will son, which is his solitary pride, arguments there appal the loving ones who watch and might in vain be addressed, for he exults in weep by the side of him who is dying disconbeing “an Intellectual All in All,” and is a solate. He will hope, and he will fear, now bold-browed sophist to daunt even the eyes of that there is a God indeed everywhere present Truth-eyes which can indeed “outstare the -visible now in the tears that fall, audible now eagle” when their ken is directed to heaven, in the sighs that breathe for his sake-in the but which are turned away in aversion from still small voice. That Being forgets not those the human countenance that would dare to by whom he has been forgotten; least of all, deny God. Appeal not to the intellect of such the poor “Fool who has said in his heart there a man, but to his heart; and let not even that is no God," and who knows at last that a God appeal be conveyed in any fixed form of words there is, not always in terror and trembling, -but let it be an appeal of the smiles and tears but as often perhaps in the assurance of forof affectionate and loving lips and eyes of giveness, which undeserved by the best of the common joys and common griefs, whose con- good, may not be withheld even from the worst tagion is often felt, beyond prevention or cure, of the bad, if the thought of a God and a Sawhere two or three are gathered together-viour pass but for a moment through the dark among families thinly sprinkled over the wil- ness of the departing spirit-like a dove shootderness, where, on God's own day, they repair ing swiftly, with its fair plumage, through the to God's own house, a lowly building on the deep but calm darkness that follows the subbrae, which the Creator of suns and systems sided storm. despiseth not, nor yet the beatings of the few So, too, with respect to Deists. Of unbe. contrite hearts therein assembled to worship lievers in Christianity there are many kinds-. him in the cathedral's “long-drawn aisles the reckless, the ignorant, the callous, the con and fretted vaults”-in mighty multitudes all firmed, the melancholy, the doubting, the de

spairing--the good. At their death-beds, too, down or straw-stretched, already a skeleton, may the Christian poet, in imagination, take and gnashing-may it be in senselessness, for his stand and there may he even hear otherwise what pangs are these Ignashing his “ The still sad music of humanity,

teeth, within lips once so eloquent, now white Not harsh nor grating, but of amplest power

with foam and slaver; and the whole mouth, To soften and subdue !"

of yore so musical, grinning ghastly, like the Oftener all the sounds and sights there will fleshless face of fear-painted death? Is that be full of most rueful anguish; and that an- Voltaire ? He who, with wit, thought to shear guish will groan in the poet's lays when his the Son of God of all his beams-with wit, to human heart, relieved from its load of painful loosen the dreadful fastenings of the Cross ?sympathies, shall long afterwards be inspired with wit

, to scoff at Him who hung thereon, with the pity of poetry, and sing in elegies, while the blood and water came from the wound sublime in their pathos, the sore sufferings and in his blessed side ?—with wit to drive away the dim distress that clouded and tore the dying those Shadows of Angels, that were said to spirit, longing, but all unable profound though have rolled off the stone from the mouth of the its longings be—as life's daylight is about to sepulchre of the resurrection ?-with wit, to close upon that awful gloaming, and the night deride the ineffable glory of transfigured Godof death to descend in oblivion—to believe in head on the Mount, and the sweet and solemn the Redeemer.

semblance of the Man Jesus in the garden ?Why then turn but to such death-bed, if in- with wit, to darken all the decrees of Provideed religion, and not superstition, described dence ?—and with wit, that scene-as that of Voltaire ? Or even

To shut the gates of Mercy on mankind ?" Rousseau, whose dying eyes sought, in the last Nor yet will the Christian poet long dwell in passion, the sight of the green earth, and the his religious strains, though awhile he may blue skies, and the sun shining so brightly, linger there, “and from his eyelids wipe the when all within the brain of his worshipper tears that sacred pity hath engendered,” beside was fast growing dimmer and more dim—when the dying couch of Jean Jaques Rousseau-a all the unsatisfied spirit, that scarcely hoped a couch of turf beneath trees--for he was ever a future life, knew not how it could ever take lover of Nature, though he loved all things farewell of the present with tenderness enough, living or dead as madmen love. His soul, and enough of yearning and craving after its while most spiritual, was sensual still, and disappearing beauty, and when as if the whole with tendrils of flesh and blood embraced earth were at that moment beloved even as his even as it did embrace the balm-breathing form small peculiar birthplace

of voluptuous woman—the very phantoms of “Et dulces moriens reminiscitur Argos."

his most etherealized imagination. Vice stain

ed all his virtues--as roses are seen, in some The Christian poet, in his humane wisdom, certain soils, and beneath some certain skies, will, for instruction's sake of his fellow-men, always to be blighted, and their fairest petals and for the discovery and the revealment of to bear on them something like blots of blood. ever-sacred truth, keep aloof from such death- Over the surface of the mirror of his mind, beds as these, or take his awful stand beside which reflected so much of the imagery of man them to drop the perplexed and pensive tear. and nature, there was still, here and there, on For we know not what it is that we either hear the centre or round the edges, rust-spots, that or see; and holy Conscience, hearing through gave back no image, and marred the propora confused sound, and seeing through an ob-lions of the beauty and the grandeur that yet scure light, fears to condemn, when perhaps shone over the rest of the circle set in the rich she ought only to pity—to judge another, when carved gold. His disturbed, and distracted, and perhaps it is her duty but to use that inward defeated friendships, that all vanished in insane for her own delinquencies. He, then, who

suspicions, and seemed to leave his soul as designs to benefit his kind by strains of high well satisfied in its fierce or gloomy void, as instruction, will turn from the death-bed of when it was filled with airy and glittering vithe famous Wit, whose brilliant fancy hath sions, are all gone for ever now. Those many waxed dim as that of the clown-whose malignant heart is quaking beneath the Power fair, and lovely, and beautiful-which, like

thoughts and feelings—so melancholy, yet still it had so long derided, with terrors over which bright birds encaged, with ruffled and drooping his hated Christian triumphs--and whose in- wings, once so apt to soar, and their music tellect, once so perspicacious that it could see but too well the motes that are in the sun, the mute, that used to make the wide woods to ring, specks and stains that are on the flowing robe were confined within the wires of his jealous

heart-have now all flown away, and are at of nature herself-prone, in miserable contra

rest! Who sits beside the wild and wondrous diction to its better being, to turn them as Holy One who inhabiteth eternity-is now pal- forehead, once filled with such a multitude of proofs against the power and goodness of the genius, whose ravings entranced the world?

who wipes the death-sweat from that capacious sy-stricken as that of an idiot, and knows not even the sound of the name of its once vain his beloved air of heaven may kiss and cool it

disordered but aspiring fancies? Who, that and proud possessor-when crowded theatres had risen up with one rustle to honour, and for the last time, lays open the covering that


hides the marble sallowness of Rousseau's thea, wich deafening acclamations,

sin-and-sorrow-haunted breast? One of Na

ture's least gifted children to whose eyes nor There he is-it matters not now whether on earth nor heaven ever beamed with beautv

“ Raised a mortal to the skies!"

to whose heart were known but the meanest No great moral or religious lesson can well charities of nature; yet mean as they were, be drawn, or say rather so well

, from such how much better in such an hour, than all his anomalous death-beds, as from those of comimaginings most magnificent! For had he not mon unbelievers. To show, in all its divine suffered his own offspring to pass away from power, the blessedness of the Christian's faith, his eyes, even like the wood-shadows, only less it must be compared, rather than contrasted, beloved and less regretted? And in the very with the faith of the best and wisest of Deists. midst of the prodigality of love and passion, The ascendency of the heavenly over the which he had poured outover the creations of his earthly will then be apparent-as apparent as ever-distempered fancy, let his living children, the superior lustre of a star to that of a lighthis own flesh and blood, disappear as paupers ed-up window in the night. For above all in a chance-governed world ?--A world in other things in which the Christian is happier which neither parental nor filial love were than the Deist-with the latter, the life beyond more than the names of nonentities Father, the grave is but a dark hope--to the former, Son, Daughter, Child, but empty syllables, “immortality has been brought to light by the which philosophy heeded not-or rather loved Gospel.” That difference embraces the whole them in their emptiness, but despised, hated, spirit

. It may be less felt-less seen when or feared them, when for a moment they life is quick and strong: for this earth alone seemed pregnant with a meaning from heaven, has much and many things to embrace and and each in its holy utterance signifying enchain our being—but in death the difference God!

is as between night and day.


to mere


in the most perfect harmony and order. Neo

phytes now range for themselves, according to The present Age, which, after all, is a very their capacities and opportunities, the fields, pretty and pleasant one, is feelingly alive and woods, rivers, lakes, and seas; and proficients, widely awake to the manifold delights and ad- no longer confining themselves vantages with which the study of Natural nomenclature, enrich their works with anecHistory swarms, and especially that branch of dotes and traits of character, which, without it which unfoids the character and habits, phy- departure from truth, have imbued bird-biosical, moral, and intellectual, of those most in- graphy with the double charm of reality and teresting and admirable creatures-Birds. It romance. is familiar not only with the shape and colour Compare the intensity and truth of any naof beak, bill, claw, talon, and plume, but with tural knowledge insensibly acquired by obthe purposes for which they are designed, and servation in very early youth, with that corwith the instincts which guide their use in the responding to it picked up in later life from beautiful economy of all-gracious Nature. We books ! In fact, the habit of distinguishing remember the time when the very word Orni- between things as different, or of similar forms, thology would have required interpretation in colours, and characters, formed in infancy, and mixed company; when a naturalist was looked childhood, and boyhood, in a free intercourse on as a sort of oui-of-the-way but amiable and communion with Nature, while we are monster. Now, one seldom meets with man, merely seeking and finding the divine joy of woman, or child, who does not know a hawk noveliy and beauty, perpetually occurring befrom a handsaw, or even, to adopt the more fore our eyes in all her haunts, may be made learned reading, from a heron-shew; a black the foundation of an accuracy of judgment of swan is no longer erroneously considered a inappreciable value as an intellectual endowrara avis any more than a black sheep; while ment. So entirely is this true, that we know the Glasgow Gander himself, no longer apocry- many observant persons, that is, observant in phal, has taken his place in the national creed, all things intimately related with their own belief in his existence being merely blended pursuits, and with the experience of their own with wonder at his magnitude, and some sur- early education, who, with all the pains they prise perhaps among the scientific, that he could take in after-life, have never been able should be as yet the sole specimen of that to distinguish by name, when they saw them, enormous Anser.

above half-a-dozen, if so many, of our British The chief cause of this advancement of singing-birds; while as to knowing them by knowledge in one of its most delightful depart-their song, that is wholly beyond the reach of ments, has been the gradual extension of its their uninstructed ear, and a shilfa chants 10 study from stale books written by men, to that them like a yellow yoldrin. On seeing a small book ever fresh from the hand of God. And bird peeping out of a hole in the eaves, and the second-another yet the same-has been especially on hearing him chatier, they shrewdly the gradual change wrought by a philosophical suspect him to be a sparrow, though it does spirit in the observation, delineation, and ar- not by any means follow that their suspicions rangement of the facts and laws with which are always verified; and though, when sitting the science is conversant, and which it exhibits with her white breast so lovely out of the

“auld clay bigging" in the window-corner, he silk, and the captive remains for ever happy cannot mistake Mistress Swallow, yet when in its bright prison-house. On this principle, flitting in fly-search over the stream, and ever it is indeed surprising at how early an age and anon dipping her wing-tips in the lucid children can be instructed in the most interestcoolness, 'tis an equal chance that he misnames ing parts of natural history-ay, even a babe her Miss Marten.

in arms. Remember Coleridge's beautiful lines What constant caution is necessary during to the Nightingale :--the naturalist's perusal even of the very best

“ That strain again! books! From the very best we can only ob- Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, tain knowledge at second-hand, and this, like Who, capable of no articulate sound,

Mars all things with his imitative lisp, a story circulated among village gossips, is

How he would place his hand beside his ear, more apt to gain in falsehood than in truth, as His little hand, the small forefinger up, it passes from one to another; but in field And bid us listen! and I deem it wise

To make him Nature's child." study we go at once to the fountain-head, and obtain our facts pure and unalloyed by the How we come to k 7e the Birds of Bewick, theories and opinions of previous observers. and White, and the two Wilsons, and Montagu, Hence it is that the utility of books becomes and Mudie, and Knapp, and Selby, and Swainobvious. You witness with your own eyes son, and Audubon, and many others familiar some puzzling, perplexing, strange, and un- with their haunts and habits, their affections accountable-fact; twenty different statements and their passions, till we feel that they are of it have been given by twenty different orni- indeed our fellow-creatures, and part of one thologists; you consult them all, and getting a wise and wonderful system! If there be serhint from one, and a hint from another, here a mons in stones, what think ye of the hymns glimmer of light to be followed, and there a and psalms, matin and vesper, of the lark, who gloom of darkness to be avoided—why, who at heaven's gate sings of the wren, who pipes knows but that in the end you do yourself her thanksgivings as the slant sunbeam shoots solve the mystery, and absolutely become not athwart the mossy portal of cave, in whose only happy but illustrious ? People sitting in fretted roof she builds her nest above the watertheir own parlour with their feet on the fender, fall! In cave-roof? Yea- we have seen it so or in the sanctum of some museum, staring at -just beneath the cornice. But most frequentstuffed specimens, imagine themselves natural- ly we have detected her procreant cradle on ists; and in their presumptuous and insolent old mossy stump, mouldering walls or living ignorance, which is often total, scorn the wis rock-sometimes in cleft of yew-tree or hawdom of the wanderers of the woods, who have thorn-for hang the globe with its imperceptifor many studious and solitary years been ble orifice in the sunshine or the storm, and making themselves familiar with all the beauti- St. Catharine sits within heedless of the outer ful mysteries of instinctive life. Take two world, counting her beads with her sensitive boys, and set them respectively to pursue the breast that broods in bliss over the priceless two plans of study. How puzzled and per- pearls. plexed will be the one who pores over the Ay, the men we have named, and many “interminable terms" of a system in books, other blameless idolaters of Nature, have worhaving meanwhile no access to, or communion shipped her in a truly religious spirit, and have with nature! The poor wretch is to be pitied taught us their religion. All our great poets --nor is he any thing else than a slave. But have loved the Minnesingers of the woodsthe young naturalist who takes his first lessons Thomson, and Cowper, and Wordsworth, as in the fields, observing the unrivalled scene dearly as Spenser, and Shakspeare, and Milton. which creation everywhere displays, is per- From the inarticulate language of the groves, petually studying in the power of delight and they have inhaled the enthusiasm that inspired wonder, and laying up knowledge which can some of the finest of their own immortal be derived from no other source. The rich strains. “Lonely wanderer of Nature" must boy is to be envied, nor is he any thing else every poet bemand though often self-wrapt his than a king. The one sits bewildered among wanderings through a spiritual world of his words, the other walks enlightened among own, yet as some fair flower silently asks his things; the one has not even the shadow, eye to look on it, some glad bird his ear solicits the other more than the substance-the very with a song, how intense is then his percepessence and life of knowledge; and at twelve tion—his emotion how profound-while his years old he may be a better naturalist than spirit is thus appealed to, through all its huever the mere bookworm will be, were he to man sensibilities, by the beauty and the joy outlive old Tommy Balmer.

perpetual even in the most solitary places ! In educatiun-late or early--for heaven's Our moral being owes deep obligation to all sake lei us never separate things and words! who assist us to study nature aright; for beThey are married in nature ; and what God lieve us, it is high and rare knowledge to know hath put together let no man put asunder—'tis and to have the true and full use of our eyes. a fatal divorce. Without things, words ac- Millions go to the grave in old age without ever cumulated by misery in the memory, had far having learned it; they were just beginning, better die than drag out an useless existence in perhaps, to acquire it, when they sighed to think the dark; without words, their stay and sup- that “they who look out of the windows were port, things unaccountably disappear out of darkened;" and that while they had been inthe storehouse, and may be for ever lost. But structed how to look, sad shadows had fallen bind a thing with a word, a strange link, on the whole face of Nature, and that the time stronger than any steel, and softer than any for those intuitions was gone for ever. But the

science of seeing has now found favour in our builders, the first spring of their full-fledged eyes; and blessings be with them who can dis- lives; with no other tools but a bill, unless we cover, discern, and describe the least as the count their claws, which however seem, and greatest of nature's works—who can see as that only in some kinds, to be used but in distinctly the finger of God in the lustre of the carrying materials. With their breasts and humming-bird murmuring round a rose-bush, whole bodies, indeed, most of them round off as in that of the star of Jove shining sole in the soft insides of their procreant cradles, till heaven.

they fit each brooding bunch of feathers to a Take up now almost any book you may on hair's-breadth, as it sits close and low on eggs any branch of Natural History, and instead of or eyeless young, a leetle higher raised up above the endless, dry details of imaginary systems their gaping babies, as they wax from downy and classifications, in which the ludicrous lit- infancy into plumier childhood, which they do tlenesses of man's vain ingenuity used to be how swiftly, and how soon have they flown! set up as a sort of symbolical scheme of reve. You look some sunny morning into the bush, lation of the sublime varieties of the inferior and the abode in which they seemed so cozey as we choose to call it-creation of God, you the day before is utterly forsaken by the joyfind high attempts in an humble spirit rather to ous ingrates-now feebly fluttering in the narillustrate tendencies and uses, and harmonies, row grove, to them a wide world filled with and order, and design. With some glorious delight and wonder-to be thought of never exceptions, indeed, the naturalists of the day more. With all the various materials used by gone by showed us a science that was but a them in building their different domiciles, the skeleton-little but dry bones; with some in- Bishop is as familiar as with the sole material glorious exceptions, indeed, the naturalists of of his own wig—though, by the by, last time the day that is now, have been desirous to show we had the pleasure of seeing and sitting by us a living, breathing, and moving body-to him, he wore his own hair—" but that not explain, as far as they might, its mechanism much;" for, like our own, his sconce was and its spirit. Ere another century elapse, bald, and, like it, showed the organ of conhow familiar may men be with all the families structiveness as fully developed as Christopher of the flowers of the field, and the birds of the or a Chaffinch. He is perfectly well acquaintair, with all the interdependencies of their cha- ed, too, with all the diversities of their modes racters and their kindreds, perhaps even with of building--their orders of architecture—and the mystery of that instinct which is now seen eke with all those of situation chosen by the working wonders, not only beyond the power kinds--whether seemingly simple, in cunning of reason to comprehend, but of imagination to that deceives by a show of carelessness and conceive!

heedlessness of notice, or with craft of concealHow deeply enshrouded are felt to be the ment that baffles the most searching eyemysteries of nature, when, thousands of years hanging their beloved secret in gloom not imafter Aristotle, we hear Audubon confess his pervious to sun and air-or, trustful in man's utter ignorance of what migrations and non- love of his own home, affixing the nest beneath migrations mean-that 'tis hard to understand the eaves, or in the flowers of the lattice, kept why such general laws as these should be- shut for their sakes, or half-opened by fair though their benign operation is beautifully hands of virgins whose eyes gladden with seen in the happiness provided alike for all heartborn brightness as each morning they whether they reside in their own comparatively mark the growing beauty of the brood, till they small localities, nor ever wish to leave them-smile to see one almost as large as its parents or at stated seasons instinctively fly away over sitting on the rim of the nest, when all at once thousands of miles, to drop down and settle for it hops over, and, as it flutters away like a leaf, a while on some spot adapted to their necessi- seems surprised that it can fly! ties, of which they had prescience afar off, Yet there are still a few wretched quacks though seemingly wasted thither like leaves among us whom we may some day perhaps upon the wind! Verily, as great a mystery is drive down into the dirt. There are idiots that Natural Religion by the theist studied in who will not even suffer sheep, cows, horses, woods and on mountains and by sea-shores, as and dogs, to escape the disgusting perversions that Revelation which philosophers will not of their anile anecdotage—who, by all manner believe because they do not understand the of drivelling lies, libel even the common doblinded bigot's scorn” deriding man's highest mestic fowl, and impair the reputation of the and holiest happiness-Faith!

bantam. Newspapers are sometimes so in We must not now go a bird-nesting, but the fested by the trivial trash, that in the nostrils first time we do we shall put Bishop Mant's of a naturalist they smell on the breakfast 6 Months" in our pocket. The good Bishop-table like rotten eggs; and there are absolutely who must have been an indefatigable bird- volumes of the slaver bound in linen, and letnester in his boyhood--though we answer for tered with the names of the expectorators on him that he never stole but one egg out of four, the outside, resembling annuals we almost and left undisturbed the callow young-treats fear with prints. In such hands, the ass loses of those beauteous and wondrous structures in his natural attributes, and takes the character a style that might make Professor Rennie jea- of his owner; and as the anecdote-monger is lous, who has written like a Vitruvius on the seen astride on his cuddy, you wonder what architecture of birds. He expatiates with un- may be the meaning of the apparition, for we controlled delight on the unwearied activity of defy you to distinguish the one donk from the the architects, who, without any apprenticeship other, the rider from the ridden, except by the to the trade, are journeymen, nay, master-more inexpressive countenance of the one, an:

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