Monday, May 18, 2009


24. Amusements.

It were unjust and ungrateful to conceive that the amusements of life are altogether forbid by its beneficent Author. They serve, on the contrary, important purposes in the economy of human life, and are destined to produce important effects, both upon our happiness and character. They are, in the first place, in the language of the Psalmist, "The wells of the desert;" the kind resting-places in which toil may relax, in which the weary spirit may recover its tone, and where the desponding mind may resume its strength and its hopes. It is not, therefore, the use of the innocent amusements of life which is dangerous, but the abuse of them; it is not when they are occasionally, but when they are constantly pursued; when the love of amusements degenerates into a passion; and when, from being an occasional indulgence, it becomes an habitual desire.

A. Alison, England, 1792-1867.

The Present Moment

23. The Present Moment.

A celebrated modern writer says, "Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves." This is an admirable saying, and might be very seasonably recollected when we begin to be "weary in well doing," from the thought of having much to do. The present moment is all we have to do with, in any sense; the past is irrecoverable; the future is uncertain; nor is it fair to burden one moment with the weight of the next. Sufficient unto the moment is the trouble thereof. If we had to walk a hundred miles, we still should have to set but one step at a time, and this process, continued, would infallibly bring us to our journey's end. Fatigue generally begins, and is always increased, by calculating in a minute the exertion of hours.

Jane Taylor, England, 1783-1824.

Swiftness of Life

22. Swiftness of Life.

Life bears us on like the stream of a mighty river. Our boat, at first, glides down the narrow channel, through the playful murmuring of the little brook, and the winding of its grassy border. The trees shed their blossoms over our young heads, the flowers on the brink seem to offer themselves to our young hands; we are happy in hope, and we grasp eagerly at the beauties around us, but the stream hurries on, and still our hands are empty.

Bishop K. Heber, England, 1783-1826.


21. Man.

Every want, not of a low kind, physical as well as moral, which the human breast feels, and which brutes do not feel, and cannot feel, raises man by so much in the scale of existence, and is a clear proof, and a direct instance, of the favor of God toward His so much favored human offspring. If man had been so made as to have desired nothing, he would have wanted almost everything worth possessing.

Daniel Webster, N. H., 1782-1852.

The Solar System

2O. The Solar System.

If we look out upon the starry heavens by which we are surrounded, we find them diversified in every possible way. Our own mighty Stellar System takes upon itself the form of a flat disc, which may be compared to a mighty ring, breaking into two distinct branches, severed from each other, the interior with stars less densely populous than upon the exterior. But take the telescope and go beyond this, and here you find, coming out from the depths of space, uni- verses of every possible shape and fashion; some of them assuming a globular form, and when we apply the highest possible penetrating power of the telescope, breaking into ten thousand brilliant stars, all crushed and condensed into one luminous, bright, and magnificent center.

0. M. Mitchell, Kentucky, 1810-1862

Our Destiny

19. Our Destiny.

It cannot be that earth is man's only abiding place. It cannot be that our life is a bubble, cast up by the ocean of eternity, to float a moment upon its waves, and sink into nothingness. Else why is it that the high and glorious aspirations, which leap like angels from the temple of our hearts, are for ever wandering about unsatisfied? "Why is it that the stars, which hold their festival around the midnight throne, are set above the grasp of our limited faculties, for ever mocking us with their unapproachable glory ? And, finally, why is it that bright forms of human beauty are represented to our view, and then taken from us; leaving the ten thousand streams of our affection to flow back in an Alpine torrent upon our hearts ? Surely we are born for a higher destiny than that of earth. There is a realm where the rainbow never fades,—where the stars will spread out before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beautiful beings which here pass before us like shadows, will stay in our presence for ever.

Sir Lytton Bulwer, England, 1S05-1S73.

The Sea

18. The Sea.

God has given the land to man, but the sea He has reserved to Himself. "The sea is His; and He made it." He has given man "no inheritance in it;"no, not so much as to set his foot on." If he enters its domain, he enters it as a pilgrim and stranger. He may pass over it; but he can have no abiding place upon it. He cannot build his house, nor so much as pitch his tent, within it. He cannot mark it with his lines, nor subdue it to his uses, nor rear his monuments upon it. It steadfastly refuses to own him as its lord and master. It is not afraid of him, as is the land. Its depths do not tremble at his coming. Its waters do not flee when he appeareth. When it hears of him, then it laughs him to scorn.

Leonard Swain, New England, .

The Sun

17. The Sun.

For all the kindreds and tribes and tongues of men—each upon their own meridian—from the Arctic Pole to the Equator, from the Equator to the Antarctic Pole, the eternal Sun strikes twelve at noon, and the glorious constellations, far up in the everlasting belfries of the skies, chime twelve at midnight; twelve for the pale student over his flickering lamp; twelve amid the naming wonders of Orion's belt if he crosses the meridian at that fatal hour; twelve by the weary couch of languishing humanity; twelve in the star-paved courts of the Empyrean; twelve for the heaving tides of the ocean; twelve for the weary arm of labor; twelve for the toiling brain; twelve for the watching, waking, broken heart; twelve for the meteor which blazes for a moment and expires; twelve for the comet, whose period is measured by centuries; twelve for every substantial, for every im. aginary thing, which exists in the sense, the intellect, or the fancy, and which, the speech or thought of man, at the given meridian, refers to the lapse of time.

Edward Everett, Mass., 1794-1665.

Goodness of God in Creation

16. Goodness of God in Creation.

Were all the interesting diversities of color and form to disappear, how unsightly, dull, and wearisome would be the aspect of the world! The pleasure conveyed to us by the endless variety with which these sources of beauty are presented to the eye are so much things of course, and exist so much without intermission, that we scarcely think either of their nature, their number, or the great proportion which they constitute in the whole mass of our enjoyment. But were an inhabitant of this country to be removed from its delightful scenery to the midst of an Arabian desert—a boundless expanse of sand, a waste, spread with uniform desolation, enlivened by the murmur of no stream, and cheered by the beauty of no verdure; although he might live in a palace, and riot in splendor and luxury, he would find life a dull, wearisome, melancholy round of existence; and, amid all hia gratifications, he would sigh for the hills and valleys of his native land, the brooks and rivers, the living luster of the spring, and the rich glories of the autumn. The ever-varying brilliancy and grandeur of the landscape, and the magnificence of the sky, sun, moon, and stars, enter more extensively into the enjoyment of mankind, than we, perhaps, even think or can possibly apprehend, without frequent and extensive investigation. The beauty and splendor of the objects around us, it is ever to be remembered, is not necessary to their existence, nor what we commonly intend as their usefulness. It is therefore to be regarded as a source of pleasure gratuitously superinduced upon the general nature of the objects themselves, and, in this light, as a testimony of the divine goodness, peculiarly affecting.

Timothy Dwight, Mass., 1752-1817.

List of Authors


Addison 49

Alexander, J. A., 125

Alison, A., 21

Anon., 07, 72, 82, 84,113

Ascham, Roger, 84

Audubon, J. ,1., 52

Bailey, P. J., 68

Bancroft, Geo., 60

Barbauld, Anna L., 118

Barnes, Albert, 40

Bateman', Newton, 61

Beattie, Jas. 109

BeecherH.W 6,53,63

Bolton, Mrs. S. T., 122

Bonar, H., 124

Bryant, W. C 79,119

Bulwer, Lytton 17,64

Bushnell, H 27

Burritt, Elihu 38

Carlyle, T. 7

Channing, W. E., 12,48

Chapin, E. H., 69

Chateanbriand, P. A., 11

Child, MariaL 80

Choate, Hufus, 52

Cole, Thos., 101

Coleridge, S. T.,. 117

Cowpcr, Wm., 77,102

Dana,R.H., 5

Derzhavin, G. R., 71

Dickens, Chas., 50

Doane, Bishop, 29

Drake, J.E., 121

Drinker, Anna, 110

Dryden, J., 95

Dwight, Timo 15

Emerson, R. W., 49, 54, 55,94

Everett, Edw.,.... 10,16, 36, 44, 53,
56, 57

Fields, J. T 125

Franklin, B 57

Gage, Wm. L., 124

Goldsmith, O., 98

Grccley, H., 23,46

Greenwood, F. W. D., 21

Griffin, Gerald 69

Hale, Sarah II., 55

Hale, Matthew, 11

Hall, Newman, 60

Halleck.F. G., 70

Hcber, Bishop 19,49,94

Herbert, George, 98

Holland, J. G. 88

Holmes, O. W., 25, 74,117

Hood, Thos 128

Howitt, Wm., 18

Hunt,Lcigh, 85

Tngelow, Jean, 76

Irving, Washington,... 13, 22, 58, GO

Jewsbury, Maria J., 67

Keats, John, 73

Keblc, John, 73
Kemble, Frances A., 75

Keiupis, Thos. a 51

Kinney, Mrs. B. C., TO

Krummacher, F. A., 86

Landon, L. E., 82

Landor, W. S., 81

Leyden, J., 108

Longfellow, H. W., 9, 20, 29, 43, 71,
87, 99,112,124

Lowell, J. R., 80,103

Lynch, Anna C., 90

Macaulay, T. B., 69

Mackay, Chae., 114,121

Mann, Horace, 5,14

Milton,John 116

Mitchell, D. Q., B4

Mitchell, O. M. 18

More, Hannah, 78,116

More.Thos 107

Norton, Caroline E., 83

Norton, Andrew, 27

Osgood, Frances S., 74

Parker, Theo., 45

Pellico, Silvio, 60

Perclval, J.G 76

Pierpont, John, 84

Pollok, Robt., 91,107, 111

Pope, A., 88,123

Quarles, Francis, 51

Read.T.B., 97

Ruskln, John, 35

Scott, W 48,87,109 Young, Edw,

Shakspeare, W., 86, 91, 100,108

Sigourney, Mrs. L. H., 79

Smart, Alex., 120

Smiles, S., 45

Smith, Alex., 63

Smith, Sydney, 8, 82

Southey, Kobt., 75

Stephens, Alex. H., 62

Stewart, Dugald, 8

Sumner, Chas., 25, 28, 32

Swain, Chas., 92

Swain, Leonard, 17

Taylor, Bayard, 105,123

Taylor, Jane, 19,104

Thomson, Jas. 72,106

Todd, John 67

Trench, R. C 66,73

Trowbridge, J., 43

Vanx, Thos.,.


Washington, Geo., 23

Ware, Henry W., Jr. 65

Wayland.F 61

Webster, Dan'l 80,34

Webly, Amelia B., ... 80

Whately, R., 42

Whipple, E. P 24, 33, 39, 47

Whipple, Bishop, 10

Whittier, J. G., 77,96,112

Wilson, John, 106

Winthrop, R. C., 46

Wolfe, Chas., 41

Wordsworth, Wm., 90,115,120

Young, Edw, 78,93

Universal Education

I5. Universal Education.

Education must bring the practice as nearly as possible to the theory. As the children now are, so will the sovereigns soon be. How can we expect the fabric of the government to stand if vicious materials are daily wrought into its framework ? Education must prepare our citizens to become municipal officers, intelligent jurors, honest witnesses, legislators, or competent judges of legislation,—in fine, to fill all the manifold relations of life. For this end it must be universal. The whole land must be watered with the streams of knowledge. It is not enough to have, here and there, a beautiful fountain playing in palace gardens; but let it come like the abundant fatness of the clouds upon the thirsting earth.

II. Mann, Mass., 1796-1839.


14. Labor.

Without labor what is there? Without it there were no world itself. Whatever we see or perceive, in heaven or on earth, is the product of labor. The sky above us, the ground beneath us, the air we breathe, the sun, the moon, the stars,—what are they? The product of labor. They are the labors of the Omnipotent, and all our labors are but a continuance of His. Our work is a divine work. We carry on what God began. "VVhat a glorious spectacle is that of the labor of man upon the earth! It includes everything in it that is glorious. Look around and tell me what you see, that is worth seeing, that is not the work of your hands and the hands of your fellows,—the multitude of all ages.

Wm. Ilowltt, England, 1795—.


13. Resolution.

It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, ahd working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in disappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear dullness to maturity, and to glory in the vigor and luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius to the winds, and though some may perish among the stony places of the world, and some may be choked by the thorns and brambles of earthly adversity, yet others will now and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birthplace all the beauties of vegetation.

W. Irving, New York, 1783-1859.

The Beautiful

12. The Beautiful.

Beauty is an all-pervading presence. It unfolds in the numberless flowers of the spring. It waves in the branches of the trees and the green blades of grass. It haunts the depths of the earth and sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. . . . The ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and setting sun, all overflow with beauty. The universe is its temple; and those men who are alive to it cannot lift their eyes without feeling themselves encompassed with it on every side.

Now, this beauty is so precious, the enjoyments it gives are so refined and pure, so congenial with our tenderest and noblest feelings, and so akin to worship, that it is painful to think of the multitude of. men as living in the midst of it, and living almost as blind to it as if, instead of this fair earth and glorious sky, they were tenants of a dungeon. An infinite Joy is lost to the world by the want of culture of this spiritual endowment.

W. E. Damning, R. I., 1780-1842.

God in Nature

11. God in Nature.

There is a God! The herbs of the valley, the cedars of the mountain bless Him; the insect sports in His beam; the bird sings Him in the foliage; the thunder proclaims Him in the heavens; the ocean declares His immensity. Man alone has said, "There is no God! " Unite in thought at the same instant the most beautiful objects in nature. Suppose that you see, at once, all the hours of the day, and all the seasons of the year,—a morning of spring, and a morning of autumn,—a night bespangled with stars, and a night darkened by clouds,—meadows enameled with flowers,—forests hoary with snow,—fields gilded by the tints of autumn,—then alone will you have a just conception of the universe!

F. A. Chateaubriand, France, 1768-1S1S.

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10. Truthfulness.

Never speak anything for a truth which you know or believe to be false. Lying is a great sin against God, who gave us a tongue to speak the truth and not falsehood. It is a great offense against humanity itself,—for where there is no regard to truth there can be no safe society between man and man. And it is an injury to the speaker; for besides the disgrace which it brings upon him, it occasions so much baseness of mind that he can scarcely tell truth or avoid lying, even when he has no color of necessity for it; and, in time, he comes to such a pass that, as other people cannot believe he speaks the truth, so he himself scarcely knows when he tells a falsehood.

Sir MatUiew Hale, England, 1G09-1676.

Knowledge and Gold

9. Knowledge and Gold.

We hear much, at present, of the veins of gold which are brought to light in almost every latitude of either hemisphere. But I care not what mines are opened in the North or in the South; in the mountains of Siberia or the Sierras of California; wheresoever the fountains of the golden tide may gush forth, the streams will flow to the regions where educated intellect has woven the boundless network of the useful and ornamental arts. It matters not if this new Pactolus flow through a region which stretches for furlongs,—a wide tract of solid gold,—the jewels and the ingots will find their way to the great centers of civilization, where cultivated mind gives birth to the arts, and freedom renders property secure.

Edw. Everett, Mass., 1794-1805.

A Nation's Glory

8. A Nation's Glory.

The true glory of a nation is in the living temple of a loyal, industrious, and upright people. The busy click of machinery, the merry ring of the anvil, the lowing of peaceful herds, and the song of the harvest- home, are sweeter music than the paeans of departed glory, or songs of triumph in war. The vine-clad cottage of the hillside, the cabin of the woodsman, and the rural home of the farmer, are the true citadels of any country. There is a dignity in honest toil which belongs not to the display of wealth, or the luxury of fashion. The man who drives the plow, or swings his axe in the forest, or with cunning fingers plies the tools of his craft, is as truly the servant of his country as the statesman in the senate, or the soldier in battle.

Bishop II. B. WKpple, Now York, 1819—.


7. Life.

Throughout this beautiful and wonderful creation there is never-ceasing motion, without rest by night or day, ever weaving to and fro. Swifter than a weaver's shuttle, it flies from birth to death, from death to birth; from the beginning seeks the end and finds it not; for the seeming end is only a dim beginning of a new out-going and endeavor after the end. As the ice upon the mountain, when the warm breath of the summer's sun breathes upon it, melts, and divides into drops, each of which reflects an image of the sun, so life, in the smile of God's love, divides itself into separate forms, each bearing in it, and reflecting, an image of God's love.

H. W. Longfellow, Maine, 1S07-.


6. Knowledge.

It is noble to seek Truth, and it is beautiful to find it. It is the ancient feeling of the human heart that knowledge is better than riches; and it is deeply and sacredly true. To mark the course of human passions as they have flowed on in ages that are past; to see why nations have risen, and why they have fallen; to speak of heat, and light, and the winds; to know what man has discovered in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; to hear the chemist unfold the marvelous properties that the Creator has locked up in a speck of earth; to be told that there are worlds so distant from our own that the quickness of light, traveling from the world's creation, has never yet reached us; to wander in the creations of poetry, and grow warm again with that eloquence which swayed the democracies of the Old "World; to go up, with great reasoners, to the First Cause of all, and to perceive, in the midst of all this dissolution and decay and cruel separation, that there is one thing unchangeable, indestructible, and everlasting; it is worthwhile, in the days of our youth, to strive hard for this great discipline; to pass sleepless nights for it; to give up for it laborious days; to spurn for it present pleasures; to endure for it afflicting poverty; to wade for it through darkness, and sorrow, and contempt, as the great spirits of the world have done in all ages and all times.

Sydney Smith, England, 1771-1845.


8. Reflection.

Nothing has such a tendency to weaken, not only the power of invention, but the intellectual powers in general, as a habit of extensive and various reading without reflection. The activity and force of mind are gradually impaired in consequence of disease; and, not unfrequently, all our principles and opinions come to be lost in the infinite multiplicity and discordancy

of our acquired ideas.

Dugald Stewart, Scotland, 1753-1828.


4. Work.

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life purpose; he has found it and will follow it! How, as a free flowing channel, dug and torn by noble force through the sour mud-swamp of one's existence, like an ever- deepenmg river there, it runs and flows; draining off the sour, festering water gradually from the root of the remotest grass-blade; making, instead of pestilential swamp, a green, fruitful meadow, with its clear, flowing stream. How blessed for the meadow itself, let the stream and its value be great or small! Labor is life; from the inmost heart of the worker rises his God-given force,—the sacred, celestial life-essence, breathed into him by Almighty God; from his inmost heart awakens him to all nobleness, to all knowledge, "self-knowledge," and much else, so soon as work fitly begins.

That. Carlyk, Scotland, 1793—.


3. Books.

A book is good company. It is full of conversation without loquacity. It comes to our longing with full instruction, but pursues us never. It is not offended at our absent-mindedness, nor jealous if we turn to other pleasures, of leaf, or dress, or mineral, or even of books. It silently serves the soul without recompense, not even for the hire of love. And, yet more noble, it seems to pass from itself, and to enter the memory, and to hover in a silvery transformation there, until the outward book is but a body and its soul and spirit are flown to you, and possess your memory like a spirit. And while some books, like steps, are left behind us by the very help which they yield us, and serve only our childhood or early life, some others go with us, in mute fidelity, to the end of life, a recreation for fatigue, an instruction for our sober hours, and solace for our sickness or sorrow. Except the great out-doors, nothing that has so much life of its own gives so much life to us.

a. W. Beecher, Conn., 1813—.


2. Education.

The aim of education is to show our youth the broad line of demarcation between the value of those things which can be owned by but one, and those which can be owned and enjoyed by all. If I own a ship, a house, a farm, or a mass of the metals called precious, my right to them is, in its nature, sole and exclusive. No other man has a right to trade with my ship, to occupy my house, to gather my harvests, or appropriate my treasures to his use. They are mine, and are incapable both of a sole and of a joint possession. But not so of the treasures of knowledge, which it is the duty of education to diffuse. The same truth may enrich and ennoble all intelligences at once. Infinite diffusion subtracts nothing from depth. None are poorer because others are made rich. In this part of the Divine economy, the privilege of primogeniture attaches to all, and every son and daughter of Adam is an heir to an infinite patrimony.

77. Mann, Mass., 1796-1859.



1. Well-Doing.

There is no virtue without a characteristic beauty to render it particularly loved of the good, and to make the bad ashamed of their neglect of it. To do what is right, argues superior taste as well as morals; and those whose practice is evil have a certain feeling of inferiority in intellectual power and enjoyment, even where they take no concern for a principle. Doing well has something more in it than the mere fulfilling of a duty. It is a cause of a just sense of elevation of character; it clears and strengthens the spirits; it gives higher reaches of thought; it widens our benevolence, and makes the current of our peculiar affections strong and deep.

R. If. Sana, Maes., 1787—.

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