Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

and thoughtful tendencies of the boy were, under the discipline of life, elaborated and raised into the mature gentle goodness of the man, the sage, and the Christian minister. Even in what were accounted his errors we see the influence of his predominant state of mind. Elevated by his nature and education to a high degree of excellence, he was urged to desire and seek after perfection itself. Absolute perfection is unattainable by man.

But then do we not make some approaches to it when our minds are brought into a moral oneness with the Supreme Intelligence? This oneness can be gained only by purely spiritual exercises. But if our minds are by contemplation made purely spiritual, then are they united with Him who is spirit. Such a union implies and supposes an entire independence of earth and sense. The perfect Christian lives in an elevated sphere of his own, engaged in those meditations which are at once his delight and his triumph. To these heights of religious abstraction Fenelon was naturally conducted by his pure and lofty aspirations. But he that has reached so high an elevation is on the verge of two practical errors. If he is independent of the senses, their operation is too trifling a concern to engross his care.

Hence licentiousness may come from mysticism; and if he is kept by duty and pleasure within the recesses of the Holy of Holies, what has he to do with the mean and perishing trifles of earth ? Hence selfishness may ensue from spirituality. From both these errors, which have been too common among speculative religionists, Fenelon was

preserved by the native goodness of his heart and the practical benevolence of his early days.

It would not, indeed, be easy to mention an instance in which the qualities of true religious excellence were more proportionately blended. If he indulged in speculation, Fenelon was also pre-eminently practical. A glowing, rich, and delicate imagination, which rendered his piety vivid, soaring, and habitual, was qualified and guided by a strong and well-cultivated intellect, which, according to his light, made him regard religion as a reasonable service. And while the attainments of the scholar, as well as the exercises of the worshipper, would have kept him within the elegant privacy of the library, or the inspired precincts of the chapel, his true Christian love, the native goodness of his heart, his high sense of duty, placed him at every period of his life in the midst of worldly passions and rugged duties. Both in his active benevolence and the general cast of his mind, we find the qualities that are common to all good Christians, and the natural results of the divine spirit of the common Master. A happy thing it is for the world that there is in it a power which can produce so near an approach to moral perfection as is seen in the character of Fenelon. And a most happy thing it is for society that amid its cares, passions, and sufferings, there appear benevolent men, like the Archbishop of Cambray, who find their duty and their pleasure in the active exercise of the soft, winning, and graceful affections of our nature, and in ceaseless ministrations of good.

THE BANNER OF BROTHERHOOD.

Not with the flashing steel,
Not with the cannon's peal,

Nor stir of drum,
But in the bonds of love,
Our white flag floats above;
Its emblem is the dove,

'Tis thus we come.

The laws of Christian light,
These are our weapons bright,

Our mighty shield :
Christ is our leader high,
And the broad plains which lie
Beneath the blessed sky,

Our battle-field.

What is the great intent,
On which each heart is bent,

Our hosts among?
It is that hate may die,
That war's red curse may fly,
And war's high praise, for aye,

No more be sung.

That all the poor may rest, Beneath their own vines blest,

In glorious peace; That death and hell may yield, And human hearts long steeled, By love's pure drops unsealed, From warfare cease.

Oh, then! in God's great name, Let each pure spirit's flame

Burn bright and clear; Stand firmly in your lot, Cry ye aloud, doubt not, Be every fear forgot,

Christ leads us here.

So shall earth's distant lands,
In happy, holy bands,

One brotherhood,
Together rise and sing,
Gifts to one altar bring,
And heaven's eternal King

Pronounce it good.

LABOUR'S THANKSGIVING HYMN.

THAT I must work I thank thee, God!

I know that hardship, toil, and pain, Like rigorous winter in the sod,

Which doth mature the hardy grain, Call forth in man his noblest powers :

Therefore I hold my head erect, And amid life's severest hours,

Stand steadfast in my self-respect.

I thank thee, God, that I must toil!

Yon ermined slave, of lineage high,
The game-law lord, who owns the soil,

Is not a man so free as I!
He wears the fetter of his clan;

Wealth, birth, and rank, have hedged bim in; I heed but this—that I am man,

And to the great of mind akin.

Thank God, that like the mountain oak,

My lot is with the storms of life;
Strength grows from out the tempest's shock,

And patience in the daily strife.
The hardened hand, the furrowed brow,

Degrade not, howe'er sloth may deem; 'Tis this degrades—to cringe, and bow,

And ape the vice we disesteem.

« VorigeDoorgaan »