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Her honored mansion, seat of peace and love,
BEAUTIES FROM "A BLIND MAN'S OFFERING,"
TOGETHER WITH A SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR'S LIFE.
Offerings there are, of moral worth and talents,
Man's nature, like veneering, may be warped to almost every condition in life. It may be bent to angular circumstances, or shaped to infirmities ; it may be marred and chafed by care and want; and still present a surface susceptible of the highest polish. Misfortunes which may seem at first almost insupportable, may grow in favor, like Crusoe's pet spider, and at length come to be regarded as old and tried friends, if not positive blessings. Afflictions are but the seasonings of life’s dish, and without them it would be tasteless and insipid. Without the ills of life, we should be illy prepared to enjoy its blessings. By opposites, alone, we judge of the nature of things. Contrast is the betrayer of every object in nature. Were it not for darkness, or the absence of light, we should remain forever ignorant of the existence of light itself. Wrong is the only rule by which we can measure right action; and were there no pain there would be no pleasure. Sorrows are but ill-timed joys--wrong, right inverted-error, reason's blunders - disappointment, only the broken links in life's chain of pleasant associations, and often, from the common ills of life spring our choicest blessings. It is folly to pine at misfortune, while the world is full of time, and effort is fruitful of success. The inind that is truly great, will rise above the petty annoyances of this world, and though the visible universe be shrouded in midnight darkness, knowledge will enter, if only at the finger's ends. True, thoughts, like plants, reach up for the light, but it is the light of truth; and he who is blind to this light, is blind indeed.
Mr. Bowen, author of the work above alluded to, in his reflections on cheerfulness, says:
“ The smile that wreathes the lip with gladness comes not from the sunshine without, but from within. The physical world is not beautiful until the soul has breathed upon it. The highest happiness of which we are capable can proceed only from the heart that has been sanctified by sorrow.'
In the same connection he adds : “ We can never be too grateful to God for so arranging the allotments of his providence that there is always something in the situation of every one, which exerts an alleviating influence.”'
The truth of the Roman adage, that all things are not possible to all men, has been verified, we doubt
not, in the experience of most persons. And tha the same amount of knowledge, or degree of happiness is not within the reach of every man, is equally true. Yet there is something we are convinced in the condition of every one, in a measure, compensatory for all his privations and afflictions. But how far the loss of sight, or the loss of either of the other senses, is made up to us by the superior development of the remaining faculties, from the degree of culture which they must necessarily receive, or by creating new incentives to efforts, by awakening new desires, directing the thoughts and affections in new channels, and opening up new fields of enterprise, is difficult to determine. Every station in life, however humble or exalted, has its advantages, and with them its own sources of joy and grief. The highest privilege may be abused, and the purest and noblest affections of the soul may be perverted. The rich man may be happy in the possession of great wealth, or he may be indeed more wretched than the poor man, who labors to earn a scanty subsistence; or even the miserable beggar by the wayside. The blind man may see more in the world that is truly worthy of his admiration, than the man who is blessed with perfect sight. Much, we are persuaded, depends upon the medium through which we view our allotments. A false glass gives not only a false coloring to objects, but may greatly magnify or distort them. Habitual cheerfulness tends rather to diminish than increase the burden of afflictions, while despondency is sure to cast a gloom over all that is bright and beautiful in nature. A cheerful submission to whatever is manifestly irremediable, can never fail to be productive of the most happy results.
It is not wonderful that ancient philosophers were forced to acknowledge the necessity of a more perfect revelation from God, in order to understand his ar rangements. In the light of divine revelation, he has not only exhibited the beauty and perfection of his own character, but the intrinsic excellence of all created objects, the end for which they were designed, and the true relation of the creature to its Creator. Through this medium alone, do we behold nature in her true aspect. And it is by this light alone that we are enabled to discover the justice of each divine dispensation. Before it every shadow of doubt and despondency, gloom and fear, must vanish like the shades of night before the king of day.
It is to us a source of no small satisfaction, to find in the writings of all blind persons whose works have fallen into our hands, this spirit of christian resignation and implicit trust in Him who doeth all things well; but in none is it more beautifully exemplified than in the life and writings of Mr. Bowen, our gifted American author.
Mr. B. B. Bowen, author of the “Blind Man's Offering," was born in the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in the year 1819. At the early age of six weeks he was deprived of sight, and when but six years old he lost his mother. He early manifested