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becomes an item in the universal progress, and Nature stands in the presence of the Deity as a being endowed with hopes and aspirations which, throughout eternity, shall be ever developing, and at every phase claiming closer kindred with the Divine. What to man this death, but a pledge of his eternal endurance, and a warning of the duties of the "eternal Now ?" As the ages have passed through phases to higher and higher growths, so shall the individual, so shall the social circle, so shall the nation and the race. Every age and every man has lived to represent a thought, and the universal man is embodied in the growth of all the individuals through all the ages of their lifetime. It is but the browning of the leaf. When Nature has attained perfection in one type, she will not tolerate less perfection in another, but raises each creature, step by step, into new perfections ; and as forests fall that more stately forests may flourish upon their decay, so the conditions of humanity pass and change, that others more noble may be raised above them, and so on for ever. Greece built her temples upon the ashes of Persian and Egyptian magnificence; Rome caught up and diffused the fire which had burned upon the altars in the fanes of Greece; and Europe has risen with its civilization, its poetry, its moral grandeur, upon the ruins of the nations of the past. Where blood flowed, and thrones crumbled to dust, the green grass waves: and the man of science learns, from its flexible sprays, the dependence of man and nature upon God, and the necessity of both to grow-to grow. It is only the browning of the leaf, Autumn decay, and Spring revival; the perishing of
one tribe for the prosperity of the next; the transmission of the same sap, blood, body, and soul, through endless tribes of creatures, of which man is one, growing and growing through these multiform developments to a perfection which shall never cease.
FLORAL ANTIQUITIES OF THE EAST.
"Twining the floweret in her rainbow wreath,
SOMETHING of the beautiful yet remains to man, something of the fair and good, to cheer the hours of the present, and serve as emblems of the future and the past. We talk of the gone-time as if dreams and shadows only peopled it as if the spirits of the great moved amid forms of darkness-dealing only with their dreams; while we look forward through a hope whose atmosphere is rosy, and with many beatings of the heart and pulse, believe in the reality of the future. Yet the present is but another leaf unfolded on the tree of time the future will be but a leaf added, and added too, as leaves are out of doors, certainly, but imperceptibly. The present is the only reality, and love as we may those reveries in which the past comes back in shadow, we may at least receive it as a reality for the time, and go back to it over a path of flowers. The future is a cloud, the past is a cloud also; but in it there are gaps of sunshine, and between its wreathing folds we see glimpses of men and women-breathing forms of thought-here
struggling, there embracing; here pining under false faith, and despotism, and savagery; there giving the soul room to grow in an atmosphere of love, kneeling together before shrines of light. There are burning sands and rocky heights, and giant caverns where darkness crouches, and blood trickles unseen. Temples, altars, and sickening cities where Death holds carnival; and over all are wreaths of flowers, twining, creeping-in thick bowers of fragrance, in lovely forms of green leafiness, in mossy slopes, and shady coolness and delightful umbrage. "Flowers foreshadow the future," but they guide us through the past; lead the way into its dark recesses, and point us to the birthplaces of the holiest influences. Strangely, but truly, do flowers mingle in all the events and passions of the world, refreshing the heart of man with their greenness, and binding life and love together by plaited wreaths of beauty. Strangely, but truly, do these plaited wreaths unwind from columns which have crumbled in their embrace; strangely do they fall off, sere and withered, from the stony faces of the temples and idols of the past; and more strangely still, a fresh group spring up there to hide the ghastly ruins from the sun, and to throw over the white bones and powdered granite a warm hue of life, making the two ends of the world meet as they do often on the cheek of beautylife, fresh and beautiful, above; Death, with his stony eye, lurking underneath.
And yet those fallen altars, those crumbling monuments, those lands dyed with the blood of the brave, and sprinkled with fragments as with flakes of snow, still hide under their coverings of flowers the records of
many generations of men, with whose lives such flowers as those were twined, and of whose acts, and thoughts, and impulses, those very flowers can repeat the history.
It was one of the redeeming traits of the old mythologies, that floral ornaments, sacrifices of herbs, and allegorical combinations of fruits and flowers were regarded as aids to worship, or as symbols of the Divine idea, or even as mediators between humanity kneeling in the dust, and the Supreme Being, throned upon a million worlds. India, with its memorials of blood, and tyranny, and fanaticism, looks even less fearful when its rites are seen to be surrounded with these mute poetic forms. The mighty Bhyroe, the Assura or evil spirit, gains something in the midst of his enormities, when his granite idol is seen adorned with flowers,* the offerings of the kneeling children of Brahma. The sacrifice of fire to all the gods, the third of the five great Hindoo sacrifices, with its impressive solemnity, becomes still more solemn when the priest, after many prayers and holy services, places the vessel containing the sacred fire on the spot consecrated to it; and then sprinkles around it the green blades of the cusa grass,† and sitting on the ground, pronounces the name of the earth inaudibly. Then, after reciting a sacred mantra, more blades of cusa are placed around the fire, the sacred butter is poured upon the flame, and he sits down with his face towards the east, and meditates on Brahma, the Lord of the Creation.
Jablouski, "Egyptian Pantheon."
+ Poa Cynosuroides.
Colebrooke on the Religion of the Hindoos." Asiatic Researches," Vol. vii., No. 8.