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have no political power, who are at work from the dawn of day to the evening, and who have therefore very humble means of informing themselves on these great subjects. Now I am privileged to speak to a somewhat different audience. You represent those of your great community who have a more complete education, who have on some points greater intelligence, and in whose hands reside the power and influence of the district.
6 I am speaking, too, within the hearing of those whose gentle nature, whose finer instincts, whose purer minds have not suffered as some of ours have suffered in the turmoil and strife of life. You can mould opinion, you can create political power. You cannot think a good thought on this subject and communicate it to your neighbours, you cannot make those points points of discussion in your social circles and more general meetings, without affecting sensibly and speedily the course which the Government of your country will pursue.
7. May I ask you, then, to believe, as I do most devoutly believe, that the moral law was not written for men alone in their individual character, but that it was written as well for nations, and for nations great as this of which we are citizens. If nations reject and deride that moral law there is a penalty which will inevitably follow. It may not come at once, it may not come in our lifetime; but, rely upon it, the great Italian is not a poet only, but a prophet, when he says:
“The sword of Heaven is not in haste to smite,
Nor yet doth linger.” 8. We have experience, we have beacons, we have landmarks enough. We know what the past has cost us, we know how much and how far we have wandered, but we are not left without a guide. It is true we have not as an ancient people had—the Urim and Thummim—the oracular gems on Aaron's breast from which to take counsel, but we have the unchangeable and eternal principles of the moral law to guide us, and only so far as we live by that guidance can we be permanently a great nation or our people a happy people.—John Bright (b. 1811).
Questions on the lesson :—How does the orator characterise Rome? What inference does he draw from that character? What does he say of Rome's duration? What are those things in connection with a nation which Mr. Bright regards as most important? What things are named as not constituting a nation? For what purposes does Mr. Bright disapprove of money, men, and ships being used? To what ancient people does he refer? What resemblance does he find between the Scythians and certain modern nations? For whom besides individuals is the moral law intended? If it is rejected what happens ? What of the time of punishment?
The most ancient of profane historians.—Herodotus, who was born 484 B.C.
The passage which Mr. Bright almost quotes word for word is in the 4th Book of his History, chap. 62.
Scythians, a people who dwelt for the most part on the north of the Black Sea and the Caspian. They occupied, in the opinion of the ancients, a very low place as regards civilisation.
Mars was the god of war among the Romans. The corresponding Scythian god is here designated by that name.
Urim and Thummim.—What they were in themselves is uncertain. They were to be placed "inside the breastplate” worn by the Highpriest, on which were twelve precious stones with the names of the tribes engraved on them. By their means, in some mysterious way, the Divine will was ascertained.
1. The incident which suggested the following piece is thus related in Anson's Voyage Round the World. “One of our ablest seamen was canted overboard. We perceived that, notwithstanding the prodigious agitation of the waves, he swam very strong and it was with the utmost concern that we found ourselves incapable of assisting him. Indeed we were the more grieved at his unhappy fate, as we lost sight of him struggling with the waves, and conceived from the manner in which he swam that he might continue sensible, for a considerable time longer, of the horror attending his irretrievable situation.”
2. The poem itself was the last original composition which Cowper wrote. Southey referring, no doubt, to the deep despondency and gloom under which the author laboured for several years before his death, has described it as all circumstances considered one of the most affecting that was ever composed.” The poet seems to have regarded the “castaway's” condition in the midst of the Atlantic as a mirror of his own.
3. Obscurest night involved the sky;
The Atlantic billows roared,
Washed headlong from on board,
4. No braver chief could Albion boast,
Than he, with whom he went,
With warmer wishes sent.
5. Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline, Or courage
away; But waged with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
6. He shouted; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless perforce,
7. Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
Delayed not to bestow.
8. Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Alone could rescue them;
9. He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld:
His destiny repelled :
10. At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before