« ZurückWeiter »
THE HOUSE TO LET.
ing it around ber; now you don't say, though, that you ever did see any thing, you are jesting."
"Upon my honour, I tell you the sacred truth. I am not superstitious but I distinctly saw, out in the ravine
the large lantern, and see her to the very door.
This I did nor was I troubled for some days with a single applicant, the poor woman having spread some terrible ghost story in the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, the lonesome old feeling came over me again. To think that no one was in the cottage but myself and that complacent, straight old woman, with her piercing eyes, reading my very thoughts, was extremely torturing. Any thing else in the shape of humanity, even a spirit perambulating the square old chambers, and sitting itself com
"Yes, well," she ejaculated hastily, you needn't say nothing more. I've got to cross that ravine this very evening, and though I aint nervous, my old man, I expect, will be waiting for me; I declare I wish I'd taken Joseph with me; you aint got a lantern, have you, that you could lend a body: (I thought her somewhat incoherent, for a strong-fortably down in one of those tall, anminded woman); it's rather lonely my way home, and-mercy!" she screamed convulsively; and bounding forward, her foot struck something in the path, and she fell headlong, uttering a smothered, hysterical sound, as if frightened almost out of her senses.
I hastened to assist her from the floor. but she clung to my arm, muttering, "Oh, why did I come here ? take me out of this dreadful house! 1 shall die unless you take me home! Oh, somebody clutched me-pushed me forward-took hold of my arm! Can't I get out of this window? any way, only let me out of this horrid place!"
I was alarmed, myself, for the woman, I strove to soothe her, and ordering in lights, I soon discovered the cause of her alarm.
tique black walnut chairs, would have been, I verily believe, a relief to my own unquiet mind.
I had been gone one long afternoon, rambling over the adjacent valley, amidst the wildest and most magnificent scenery, the richest range of beautiful nature my eyes ever feasted upon. A belt of green hills in the distance, and a mountain, thrusting its seamed and scarred forehead into the limpid lake of heaven, with here a wild and inaccessible pass, and there a frowning precipice, its beetling brows overhanging a deep and fathomless eye-for so the little, glimmering spot of water seemed, from the eminence on which I stood-were the most prominent features of the varied scene. sheet of water fell from a wild, black promontory, and formed innumerable cascades, as it tumbled from the white and grey jutting rocks in its descent, and danced down into the limpid stream that flowed singing, far, far below me.
Sitting like a stately old grandame on the little round table by which my visitor had stood, was my superb Fanny-my pet cat-my gentle-born Malte. The creature really looked for a moment, with As I bared my brow to the delicious her great, shining grey eyes, as if she breeze, and sat upon the soft brown was laughing me in the face, and ex-mountain mass, I found myself wishing ulting in the confusion she had created. sundry very foolish things. I wished, as It was horrible-I mean it was ridi- I gazed up into the clear expanse above culous, very. A long time elapsed be- me, that I was an eagle, my eyrie built fore I could assure the woman that Gri- in the great, towering cliffs of the stern malkin was the author of all the mischief. old pile, and kissed by the transparent "Then the cat is a witch!" she ex- clouds that hung, like the gossamer folds claimed, retreating, and glancing sus- of delicate drapery, around and upon it. piciously at the animal; "for something How I would wave my strong wings, and took hold of my arm, for certain-some- bathe in the very fire of old Sol himself; body did push me; only let me get dare him to face me boldly, nor wince at home-oh! if I was once fairly home!" his fierce beams, as he shot arrow after arrow of living flame upon my unflinching eyes.
I soothed her with the assurance that I would myself wait upon her to her abode; and moreover, that I would take
Oh yes, to be an eagle, and to have a
poet's soul, in that noble form; to wheel above the tempest, and behold, far down in the stormy abyss, the red, sharp tongue of the fierce lightning; to hear the thunder warring wtth the winds. and bellowing like some mighty subterranean fiend, shaking the foundations of the solid earth with his defiant roar. It would be a grand thing, wouldn't it, reader?
the key-hole for want of exercise) opened the door, and stood still for the space of a moment, for I was certain I heard a low, silvery laugh.
The ghost at last, thought I, and creeping forward, I gazed cautiously into the parlour. Surely, if that was a ghost, it was a very pretty one, in the shape of a delieate young girl, with flaxen ringlets, blue eyes, and a dazzling complexion, sitting as unconcernedly upon my own ancient ottoman, dangling a white straw hat by its blue ribbons, an d talking with eye, lip and soul, to a very diminutive, bowed down old man. The concluding part of a sentence, listened to before I entered the apartment, was, Oh, yes he will, dear father; I know by his noble, handsome face, that he is kind and generous."
At least so I thought; and half sighing, because my finite powers could not fashion a pair of wings, strong as the west wind when it rises from its lair, and fasten them in place of a pair of insignificant arms pshaw! arms were nothing compared to wings! I turned me about, and slowly descended into the valley. The hills were just purpling in the distance, and the pale moon, melting from the blue ether into the rich floating Was it me, that the little angel meant? masses of white and amber clouds, as I What a very delightful compliment; how stood on the threshold of my cottage. II longed to thank her, in the fullness of lifted the latch, (for in this retired place my self-love. I waited a moment, and and honest community no one thought then with a beating heart entered. of employing keys, they only rusted in (To be continued.)
CHRISTIANITY-A PUBLIC GOOD.
HISTORY, both ancient and modern, sup- | plies us with the fact, that there has ever been since the creation of man, the existence of what is popularly termed "Religion "-" he will worship;" whether the object of that worship be really his Creator, things created, or the semblance of things created. The adoration of a Divinity, or Supreme Governing Power, appears to have ceased to be a characteristic of the human race; it is as if man could not do without it, for rather than have nothing to adore, he will make gods of his own vices and offer them a worship, even though it exhibit and define his own peculiar moral deformities. This native and indomitable tendency of the mind to worship is discovered wherever man is found, whether amongst the most distant and barbarous tribes, or amongst the most enlightened portions of the community, it is recognised as the element of every form of religion, a doctrine common to all times and to all nations.
In connection with this thought is the remarkable fact, that none of the various
forms, except one, in which religion has ever been, or is now exhibited, are alike suited to become the same vehicle of a Divine Worship for every people, in every age, and at the same time propounding the true object of worship, and claiming for its author, the Creator of the Universe. This one grand comprehensive principle belongs only to the Christian Religion; other religions, in which is classed every form of idolatry and superstition, possess peculiarities adapted only either to the age, people, or clime where they were instituted, and are mostly perpetuated, not by the power of its own principles, but by the policies of those whose interests it has been to sustain and protect it. Nations have perished, and with them their religion; but Christianity has a peculiar genius, a genius possessing the character of universal applicability and perpetuity, as well as of its capability of imparting the knowledge of the only One True God; conditions which none other have ever yet possessed, not excepting even the Jewish; for Judaism, though
CHRISTIANITY-A PUBLIC GOOD.
an uncompromising inflexibility. Whatever ceremonies or particular creeds may have been associated with it, belong not to its nature, but to the accidents of its circumstances; and which have had no more connection with it than a fungus growing with a plant; they may have,
established under the Divine appointment, was, nevertheless, unfitted to become the religion of the entire human family; it is one so exclusively national as to repel all attempts to its diffusion; and though it has long ceased to be local, still its exclusiveness remains. Neither do Brahminism, Bhudhism, or Mahome-like the ivy round an oak, become blended danism possess features in entire har- with religion, but were never its conmony with man's nature and circum- stituent parts. The principles of Christistances; each of those systems, exten- anity and the professions of its followers sively as they prevail, are encumbered have too often been at variance; for with special observances, and embrace while the latter has been moulded and tenets attached only to certain places, formed according to the common usages, and consequently fitted only for peculiar absurdities, or superstition of the times, nations. Christianity, with a marked the former has always preserved its own contrast, claims the faith and invites the peculiar features, and an unbending carembrace of the whole human race; and riage. Christianity did not spring from it reveals with most unmistakeable evi- men-nor will it own for its offspring dence, that He who created the universe the product of man, however calotypic was its divine originator. We can, there- the imitation; its characteristics are unifore, rejoice in the belief, and fearlessly form in every age and clime, and the assert that Christianity is the religion of moral constitution of man is every God; it is a religion for the world, for it where the same; so that no flexibility in corresponds to the universal and per- the nature of Christianity is at any time manent wants of fallen humanity; it is required to adjust it to the genius of one confined to no places, and is restricted by country or of one age more than to no circumstances. another. God has evidently destined that the Christian religion shall be the great panacea for all the moral evils which afflict mankind; and though it has long been despised and restricted by those who plead for human inventions, it has hitherto maintained its inflexibility and independency throughout the fiercest opposition has survived the ruin of empires, and will eventually overturn and annihilate every system that leads man to seek the renovation of his moral nature upon a false basis.
The Christian Religion is not only distinguished from all others for its universal suitability and its perpetuity; but is also remarkable for its independency. Christianity is able to stand independent and secure on its own basis, unindebted to any external or foreign aid, and can best support itself by its own internal vigour; it was never a deposit committed to the care of either a Greek, a Romish, or an Anglican Hierarchy: it is the original and unalienable right of every man, and cannot be cancelled, nor ought to be controlled by any authority but that which bestowed it. National establishments, denominational distinctions, sectarian theology, form no part of religion, they are rather its antagonists; for their influence, as demonstrated by history, observation and experience, have obstructed and injured the religious interests of man more than any of the systems of professed infidelity that have ever existed.
The preceding observations, though necessarily general, and without having entered into a detail as to what are the essential principles of the Christian religion, or even of illustrating its particular points of distinction from those of other religions, are perhaps sufficient to support the sentiment expressed in the heading of this article, that Christianity is "a public good." A system of faith and practice like that of the Christian religion, possessing great moral prinChristianity, though under whatever ciples, adapted to benefit and elevate name-with whatever form-and however everywhere the soul of man, whose moral long it may have been identified with necessities and sympathies are everyhuman creeds, ceremonies, customs and where the same, must be a public good. corruptions, has nevertheless maintained | That which is good for the world must
be good for the public. Let it then be repeated, Christianity is a public good; for all the great, high, and noble principles that are commended and adopted for advancing the welfare of the human family at large have their stronghold in the Christian religion. Christianity, from the nature of its principles, is powerfully calculated to diffuse universal harmony and benevolence between man and man; this was the delightful theme of praise to God by the heavenly host, at the birth of its Founder; and it is a well-attested fact, that wherever its great truths have been intelligently developed and properly received, there every domestic virtue has flourished, and the social position improved. If, then, these be some of the great results that spring direct from a system which provides the reconciliation of man with God, are we not bound, by every motive, religious and social, to promote this public good? primarily, in the reception of its claims by ourselves; and secondly, by presenting them for the acceptance of others. No argument need be urged to prove this. Reader, are you a Christian ?—are your thoughts, feelings, and motives pervaded by a supreme sense that your entire conduct in life is consecrated to the service of the
God of Christianity? You do well if you are devoting your abilities and opportunities to "the advocacy of great principles, the advancement of useful institutions and the elevation of man ;” but all this may be done, and a vast amount of good accomplished, without the sentiments being under the influence of religious principle. If such a case be yours, pause and think over it; seriously direct your attention to the consideration of those momentous truths in the Sacred Scripture that relate to the position of your own moral consciousness, and that Divine Being to whom you are responsible for every state of mind and action. Christianity, to be a public good, must first be known as an individual good; make it yours: by so doing, you will find yourself better fitted for advancing all moral, social, and domestic reforms, because you will be morally stronger; and in proportion as you are religiously strong, so will you be able to promote the advancement of religion both in yourself and in others. Let it be remembered, that it is your duty, your privilege, and your interest; it is the great want of our times.
PUBLIC GOOD INSTITUTIONS.-No. 1. THE MECHANICS' INSTITUTE, OR LITERARY SOCIETY.
developed and comparatively weak state as they generally are at the present moment.
What is a well-organized, healthy, Mechanics' Institution? What does it possess to recommend it to the attention and sympathies of society? Perhaps this can be best answered by giving a short account of one in London, of which the writer of this tract is a member. It is an establishment centrally situated, having commodious accommodation for all its intended purposes. It has a large lecture-room, capable of holding a thou
MECHANICS' Institutions, Literary Societies, and People's Colleges, are in themselves effects and causes-effects of the enlightenment of the age when compared to that of other ages, and causes of still more enlightenment. That such institutions should be called for by the intellectual necessities of the age, is not to be wondered at-that they should exist in such an age, might be expected -but that they should exist without being more generally appreciated and valued, and without exerting a more extensive salutary influence on society, is to be deplored. It is almost surpris-sand persons; it has two reading-rooms ing that a nation and an age that could institute such establishments, and which are so eminently fitted to afford facilities for improvement, elevation, and recreation, should leave them in such an un
-one for newspapers, and the other for magazines, including quarterlies, monthlies, and weeklies; it has a library well furnished with books; classes in which are taught languages, mathematics, his
PUBLIC GOOD INSTITUTIONS.
lectures delivered weekly by the most able literary and scientific lecturers of the land.. Were I not a member, I should have to pay one shilling for each lecture I would wish to hear. But the advantage does not rest here. Do I wish to learn the French, Italian, or German languages?-do I wish to learn dancing, drawing, or debating?-do 1 wish to learn phonography, physiology, or elocution ?-I can learn either of them, or the whole of them, in distinct classes, formed for the cultivation of these arts and sciences respectively, for the same five farthings a-week. This institution holds out still further benefits. If I wish to dine, or to have tea or breakfast, there are appropriate rooms always at my service, and there are waiters always glad to serve me, for the same prices I could get served at other respectable hotels and coffee houses, minus the fees to the waiters. I can take my meals at this institution with the same ease and confidence as I can in my own kitchen or parlour. I may come when I have a mind to, and go when I choose, and always feel myself at home. And why? Because I pay my five farthings and a-half a-day. Or if I wish to smoke a cigar, while I sip my coffee and play at chess, there is a smoking-room, with its fume-laden atmosphere, open to receive me. Or if, after I have done my day's labour, I wish to gossip with my sister, mother, sweetheart, or friend, or enjoy a social chat with a companion, there is a drawing-room handsomely fitted up, and brilliantly lighted with gas jets, and smiling faces, at my disposal.
tory, drawing, elocution, &c.; it has | hand me what book I want, any hour of lectures delivered every week by able the day I may call for it. For the same lecturers; it also has a drawing-room, five farthings and a-half, I can listen to where its members of both sexes meet for social recreation, a dining-room, and a smoking-room. If, as a member of this institution, I want to see the Times, or any other of the daily papers, or any of the principal French, German, or American papers, I can do so. The Times would cost me 5d.; or I might see it by going into a coffee-house, and purchasing a cup of coffee or tea for twopence or threepence. But in this institution I can see any daily paper any day in the year, or any hour of the day, and it does not cost me the fiftieth part of a penny. There are thousands of people in this country who pay a penny a-day, all the year through, for looking at the Times or Daily News, an hour in the morning. But in this institution I can not only, if I think proper, see one daily paper, but the whole of them; and not only the daily papers, but all the principal weekly ones as well; also several of the principal provincial papers, besides a variety of French, German, Italian, and American ones; and I can do this not merely for one hour in the day, but if I think proper, for every hour in the day. And what does the reader think I pay for this immense pri vilege? Just five farthings and a-half a day, or about half the price of a cup of coffee. But this is not all; for these five farthings and a-half a-day, I have the privilege of perusing all the principal quarterly reviews and monthly magazines. If I see an advertisement in a newspaper, that in the Westminster, Quarterly, Edinburgh, or British Quarterly, there is an article on some particular subject which I should like to I admit that all institutions which are read; or if I am in the habit of reading established to afford facilities for mental all these splendid reviews, I may do so improvement do not possess so many at this institution. The same applies to advantages as the one above alluded to. the monthlies. For the same five farth- But there is no reason why they should ings and a-half a-day, I may read Black-not in all the principal towns and cities wood, Bentley, Frazer, the Art Journal, of the empire. Many of them do at the and many others. Now, if for this small present time. A well-organized People's daily expenditure I can realize the above College, or Whittington Club, is an mentioned advantages, I think myself exhibition of what the associative prinprivileged. But I can do more.
for the same money, take as many standard books as I can read from the library; and there waits the librarian to
ciple, carried into operation, will do. Five hundred or a thousand individuals resolve to pay down two farthings and three quarters, or five farthings and