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Whose actions say that they respect themselves
23. CIILITY OF HISTORY. - Original Translation from De Ségur. B. 1763 ; d. 1830.
WHATEVER your career, a knowledge of history will always be to you a source of profit and delight. Examples strike deeper than | recepts. They serve as proofs to convince, and as images to attract. History gives us the experience of the world, and the collective reason of ages. We are organized like men of the remotest times; we have the same virtues and the same vices; and, hurried forward, like them, hy our passions, we listen with distrust to those warnings of wisdom which would thwart our inclinations. But History is an impartial instructor, whose reasonings, which are facts, we cannot gainsay. It exhibits to us the Past, to prefigure the Future. It is the mirror of truth. Nations and men, the most renowned, are judged in our eyes from a point of time which destroys all illusion, and with a singleness of purpose which no surviving interest can mislead.
Before the tribunal of History, conquerors descend from their triumphal cars; tyrants are no longer formidable by their satellites; princes appear before us unattended by their retinue, and stripped of that false grandeur with which Flattery saw them invested. You detest, without danger, the ferocity of Nero, the cruelties of Sylla, the hypocrisy of Tiberius, the licentiousness of Caligula. If you have seen Dionysius terrible at Syracuse, you behold him humbled at Corinth. The plaudits of an inconstant multitude do not delude your judgment in favor of the envious traducers of the good and great; and you follow, with enthusiasm, the virtuous Socrates to his prison, the just Aristides into exile. If you admire the valor of Alexander on the banks of the Granicus, on the plains of Arbela, you condemn, without fear, that unmeasured ambition which hurried him to the recesses of India, and that profligacy which, at babylon, tarnished the close of his career. The love of liberty, cherished by the Greeks, may kindle your soul; but their jealousies, their fickleness, their ingratitude, their sanguinary quarrels, their corruption of manners, at once announce and explain to you their ruin. If Rome, with her colossal power, excite your astonishment, you shall not fail soon to distinguish the virtues which constituted her grandeur, from the vices which precipitated her fall. Everywhere shall you recog. nize the proof of this antique maxim, that, in the end, only what is honest is useful; that we are truly great only through justice, and entirely happy only through virtue. Time dispenses equitably its recompenses and its chastisements; and we may measure the growth and the decline of a People by the purity or corruption of their morals. Virtue is the enduring cement of the power of Nations; and without that, their ruin is inevitable !
24. FALSE COLORING LENT TO WAR. — Thomas Chalmers. Born, 1780 ; died, 1847.
On every side of me I see causes at work which go to spread a most delusive coloring over war, and to remove its shocking barbarities to the back-ground of our contemplations altogether. I see it in the history which tells me of the superb appearance of the troops, and the brilliancy of their successive charges. I see it in the poetry which lends the magic of its numbers to the narrative of blood, and transprorts its many admirers, as by its images, and its figures, and its nodding plumes of chivalry, it throws its treacherous embellishments over a scene of legalized slaughter. I see it in the music which represents the progress of the battle; and where, after being inspired by the trumpet-notes of preparation, the whole beauty and tenderness of a drawing-room are seen to bend over the sentimental entertainment ; nor do I hear the utterance of a single sigh to interrupt the deathtones of the thickening contest, and the moans of the wounded men, as they fade away upon the ear, and sink into lifeless silence. All, all, goes to prove what strange and half-sighted creatures we
Were it not so, war could never have been seen in any other aspect than that of unmingled hatefulness; and I can look to nothing but to the progress of Christian sentiment upon earth to arrest the strong current of the popular and prevailing partiality for war. Then only will an imperious sense of duty lay the check of severe princile on all the subordinate tastes and faculties of our nature. Then will glory be reduced to its right estimate, and the wakeful benevolence of the Gospel, chasing away every spell, will be turned by the treachery of no delusion whatever from its simple but sublime enterprises for the good of the species. Then the reign of truth and quietness will be ushered into the world, and war cruel, atrocious, unrelenting war — will be stripped of its many and its bewildering fascinations.
2. DEATH'S FINAL CONQUEST. - James Shirley. Born, 1594 ; died, 1606
THE glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
Must tumble down,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
Early or late,
They stoop to Fate,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds :
All heads must come
To the cold tomb :
26. RELIGION OF REVOLUTIONARY MEN. - Original Adaptation from Lamariine.
I KNOW — I sigh when I think of it — that hitherto the French People have been the least religious of all the Nations of Europe. The great men of other countries live and die on the scene of history, looking up to Heaven. Our great men live and die looking at the spectator; or, at most, at posterity. Open the history of Americ:, the history of England, and the history of France. Washington and Franklin fought, spoke and suffered, always in the name of God, for whom they acted; and the liberator of America died confiding to God the liberty of the People and his own soul. Sidney, the young martyr of a patriotism guilty of nothing but impatience, and who died to expiate his country's dream of liberty, said to his jailer, “ [ rejoice that I die innocent toward the king, but a victim, resigned to the King on High, to whom all life is due." The Republicans of Cromwell sought only the way of God, even in the blood of battles. But look at Mirabeau on the bed of death. “ Crown me with flow. ers,' said he; “intoxicate me with perfumes. Let me die to the sound of delicious music.” Not a word was there of God or of his
Sensual philosopher, supreme_sensualism was his last desire in his agony! Contemplate Madame Roland, the strong-hearted woman of the Revolution, on the cart that conveyed her to death. Not a glance toward Heaven! Only one word for the earth she was quitting: “O Liberty, what crimes in thy name are committed !” Approach the dungeon door of the Girondins. Their last night is a banquet, - their only hymn the Marseillaise! Hear Danton on the platform of the scaffold : “I have had a good time of it; let me go to sleep.” Then, to the executioner: “You will show my head to the People; it is worth the trouble!” His faith, annihilation; his last sigh, vanity!
Behold the Frenchman of this latter age! What must one think of the religious sentiment of a free People, whose great figures seem thus to inarch in procession to annihilation, and to whom death itself recalls neither the threatenings nor the promises of God!_The Republic of these men without a God was quickly stranded. The liberty, won by so much heroism and so much genius, did not find in France a conscience to shelter it, a God to avenge it, a People to defend it, against that Atheism which was called glory. All ended in a soldier, and some apostate republicans travestied into courtiers. An atheistic Republicanism cannot be heroic. When you terrify it, it yields. When you would buy it, it becomes venal. It would be very
foolish to immolate itself. Who would give it credit for the sacrifice, - the People ungrateful, and God non-existent? So finish atheistic Rev. olutions !
37. THE SAVIOUR'S REPLY TO THE TEMPTER.- John Milton. Born, 1008 ; died, 1874
Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
Is yet nore kingly: this attracts the soul,
They err who count it glorious to subdue
23. NOBILITY OF LABOR. -- Rev. Orville Dewey. I call upon those whom I address to stand up for the nobility of labor. It is Heaven's great ordinance for human improvement. Let nöt that great ordinance be broken down. What do I say? It is broken down; and it has been broken down, for ages. Let it, then, be built up again; here, if anywhere, on these shores of a new world, — of a new civilization. But how, ! may be asked, is it broken down? Do not men toil? it may be said. They do, indeed, toil; but they too generally do it because they must. Many submit to it as, in some sort, a degrading necessity; and they desire nothing so much on earth as escape from it. They fulfil the great law of labor in the letter, but break it in the spirit; fulfil it with the muscle, but break it with the mind. To some field of labor, mental or manual, every idler should fasten, as a chosen and coveted theatre of improvement. But so is he not impelled to do, under the teachings of our imperfect civilization. On the contrary, he sits down, folds his hands, and blesses himself in his idler This way of thinking is