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and gold, the master of the wild appeared, breaking the silence of the desert, and singing the story of the ages. The civilization which now puts out its buds and shoots of moral beauty is but a part of the same series of unfoldings which in the primal age covered the granite with greenness, and now begets the consciousness that man, like the world on which he lives, is made to grow -to grow.
In this partial life, in which shreds and patches of existence get mistaken for the full completion of being, the browning of the leaf is fraught with sadness, and the death which follows seems a thing of gloom. Yet, in nature, death is as beautiful as life, as needful, and for that reason as good. The decaying leaves form odorous mounds from which, in the spring, new generations of things beautiful will burst, and without which no troops of flowers would arise to sweeten the breath of another summer. The dead bird, the dead insect, are each fitted to form the nourishment for other forms of life, and fill a place in the world which they could not occupy when living. From out of all this death and destruction, nature weaves the warp and woof of future fabrications, and new races spring, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of those which have expired. Why, then, fill the house with mourning and the eyes with tears when Death shows his presence in the home? Is he not also one of God's ministering angels, sent to bless rather than to ban, and, like other ministrants, filling a place in a series of changes which shall never end? Look at the tree, it stands upright in the sun, and confronts heaven as if worthy of the light which drops down from the blue; while man
creeps into towns and hides his head from the daylight, too conscious as he is that the tree shames him. tree has filled its place, has developed all its energies to their full possibility; while in man the will has usurped the instinct, and the faculties remain unfolded. Therefore the tree fears not death, while man weeps before the falling of the leaf, and surrounds the death of his kindred with emblems of contrition and sorrow. But in nature man is no better than the tree, and the individual, of whatever tribe, is of no value but as a fragment of the type on which the race is built. Hence the tree has all the elements of growth within and around it, and as it has no will to draw it aside, it grows up to the limit of these possibilities. When, as a member of its race, its work is done, it falls, rots, and becomes the food of successive plants and creatures; and there is no weeping in the wood, no weeds of sorrow in the solitude.
Thus, in reality, there is no death; and that which we regard as the cessation of existence, and which the browning of the leaf teaches us with shame and weeping, is only one of many changes through which all the types must pass, as they fulfil the universal law which requires them to grow-to grow. And because man has all the faculties of all the creatures combined, together with a will which allows of no limit to its choice, a mind which knows no limit to its power, death is still less a truth to him, who can transmit the faculties of the inward as well as the outward life, and perpetuate, even in dying, the chain of circumstances through which he has already passed. This civilizing, railroad building,
freedom-loving race of beautiful souls, are only the fruits which hang on the branches of the tree of human history, and which, in their turn, become the food of generations which are to follow them. Each man lives to enjoy that which past ages of suffering and trial have procured for him, and suffers in his turn that the next may derive happiness from his scars and trials. Thus all the aims of all the ages are locked in this, and each individual man carries within him the germs of an infinite progression.
But this will, which wars with instinct, which draws him from the wood where he had learnt to worship, and thrusts him into the city where he may learn to swear, is also a thing of nature, a part of the being which claims its possession; and if now acting in opposition to his aboriginal impulses, and impelling him to deeds which his moments of high sanity-when instinct alone speaks -proclaim false to his nature as a whole, acts thus only that it may one day harmonize with his whole life, and become the helpmate of his highest gifts and powers. In the child, where instinct acts almost alone, the aims are pure, and there is no food for contrition; in the man, where the will is paramount, and the instinct but a secondary trait, the soul is covered with blots, and embittered with infinite compunctions. Therefore, for the soul which dwells within this clay, the ages have all passed as successive generations of leaves, the browning and falling of which were necessary to the perfection of the type running through and surviving them; and for the purposes of this day and hour, the brown leaves. of the human life, the perishing purposes of the human
spirit, exist but as materials for that future juvenescence, when the will and the intellect shall act together.
The history of man, no less than the history of nature, teaches this lesson of evolution. Wrapped up in the oval bud of spring are the blossoms and fruits of the summer; and in the impulsive heart, beating in harmony with the instinctive nature of the primæval man, are enfolded the acts of his illimitable successors. The shepherd-life, with its simplicity and peace, is seen again in the radiant face of the infant, and the violet tenderness of the spring. The age of chivalry, with its costly pomp, its clang and clash of arms, its great deeds of daring and sacrifice, break out in the hours of individual passion when manhood has not yet set its seal on the brow, and when the outward semblance of heroism is mistaken for the supporting and sustaining ardour which springs from manly determinations. The first flush of summer has it, too, when the fruits are yet unripe, and storms dash in and out between the leaf-laden branches. But the autumn and the browning leaf must come, and it is already here around us. Who, then, is worthy to die-worthy as the leaves are, all of whose duties have been fulfilled? Who is worthy to convert body and soul into a soil for the growth of the next generation of men, whose bodies are to be formed out of the elements of ours-whose spirits are to be fed with the aims, and hopes, and knowledge we have nurtured, and which we must bequeath to them by an inevitable necessity?
Who among us has been living all these years in vain, watching the greening and the browning of the leaves, without taking heed that his autumn must come, and
that winter must heap snow on his tomb, as upon graves of fallen leaflets ? Of whom may it be said, in the words of Ovid-" Actis œvum implet, non segnibus annis." The listless heart, the idle brain, the lips that have breathed curses, are to live for ever; and the curses, and the evil passions, and the cherished hate, are to live also, and to grow as all things grow, through generation after generation. My child there has my face, my passion, my hope, my moral turpitude. Shall I not blush, then, that long ago I did not root out my sins and failings, and supplant them with a nobler growth of hopes and aspirations, that such only might break out in him, and that for his sake the browning of the leaf might find me worthy of the blessed hand of death? For, truly, the destruction of things is only a necessary step in this endless growth on growth, and Death is himself the most potent of
If there were no browning of the leaf, how lost to hope and heart would be the fate of man! If the bud, once unfolded, had an individual life for ever, how localized, cramped, dwarfed, were those energies which now climb higher and higher on this ladder of created souls, to reach Heaven at last by that upward growth which death entails as a beautiful necessity! If the primal earth, with its unformed soil, its dreary swamps, and creatures in the first stage of development still revolved in sunlight and darkness, how aimless, hopeless, and stagnant were the frame of Nature! Yet, the moment that succession supplants this stationary life, every pulse of the world, every change of the seasons,