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arches us? We know not how it may be with others, but with us there is something solemnly impressive in the thought that the limited portion of the universe we here behold will never again be invested with such hues as it now wears. With us the meaning of the present hour is deepened by the conviction that we shall never more occupy the present stand-point of observation, or see the things around us wearing the hues which childhood's fresher fancy imparts. Let us not be misunderstood here. We would cast no shadow upon the future. We would blight no anticipations of brighter and broader views of God's works than those we now enjoy. In this regard we are as sanguine as any. We look forward with kindling anticipations to the time when, having passed through the vestibule of the universe, new scenes shall burst upon our sight. Then, we believe, still grander views will attract our gaze; for then, with strengthened vision, we shall behold the majestic columns, spreading arches, and lofty dome of the vast interior. And we also believe that when these surpassing scenes are before us we shall enjoy a higher rapture than we ever felt on earth. Still, we confess there is something painfully impressive in the thought that our present child's view will have passed forever. It would afford us satisfaction to know that a glimpse, at least, of its rosy hues might now and then be caught through vistas opening back to the past. But be this as it may, the fact that the aspect of the universe must change when we put on our immortality, should add to the interest we feel in the present view, and to the meaning of the life that now is.
Do we need any thing more 10 certify to us the meaning of our present being! All that we can require is afford. ed by the assurance the Saviour gave that we are the objects of God's infinite love. Let us understand the full import of this assurance. It is not that we shall become such objects, in some higher moral condition, and in some other sphere; but that He loves us now. By it we are here blessed and guarded. Its tokens are around us on every side. It is ministering, with tireless fidelity, to our varied needs. It has reached forth its hand from the heavens to lead us along life's uneven pathway, up to the brighter inheritance of the world immortal. Because
he loves us now he will love us forever, and crown our existence with the highest good we are capable of receiv. ing. Thus does our Creator regard us; and thus favored are we in this present life. How significant must that existence be that is over watched by such love!
We have now passed before our minds some of the considerations which reveal life's moral meaning. With these in view we cannot fail to realize what it is to live. May the consciousness they awaken within us never die, but ever prompt to earnest effort in the performance of the duties of the present state.
Nor will this be all the benefit we shall derive from the consciousness. It will invest every thing about us with a new and higher interest, and open to our hearts channels of a sweeter joy. Let us briefly unfold these consider. ations.
The first is this. The consciousness we have sought to awaken, would invest all things around us with a new and higher interest. A momeni's reflection will satisfy us that the interest with which we regard the outward world is graduated to that which we feel in our own existence. If life has little interest-if existence is more dreamy than realif our consciousness of its meaning is dormant-every thing we see will appear trite and unmeaning. Of course, this outward world would excite but little interest on our part. On the other hand, if we realize what we are, and what it is to live, external things will be robed in brighter colors, and clothed with a deeper meaning, for our relation to them will invest them with significance. They must have value as the present habi. tation of a nature so divine,-they must have significance as the educators of a being that will ere long be like the angels. Besides, the same God who formed the human soul created this outer world, and left his impress there. We can readily test the truth of our proposition. Regard those two men who are ascending the rocky summit of Mount Washington. One is what is termed a man of pleasure. He regards the world as an ample field for sport. Life he esteems as a holiday season; and pleasure he seeks as the chief good. The other realizes the true end of existence. He is conscious of life's meaning, and, as a consequence of this, every power, sentiment, and sensibility of his soul is alive and active. To him the universe is something better than a gorgeous siloon of pleasure. In his view it is a magnificent arena for noble achievement. He stands now, for the first time, upon that lofty summit. Behold him there in speechless admiration." My God! How wonderful are thy works!” his glowing features and upraised hands express. Turn now to his companion. He looks down upon the forests that wrap the mountain's sides and base, and upon the streams that leap through its gorges, and then with all the enthusiasm his nature is capable of feeling, pronounces the region around the best for hunting and fish. ing his eye ever beheld! And this is all he sees. And why expect that he could see more? If blind to the diviner characteristics of his own nature, and dead to the real significance of his being, how could he detect the higher features of the scenery around him, or be profoundly impressed thereby ?
Need we ask, to which of the two is the landscape invested with the highest interest ? We have already decided that question. But why has it most interest in the view of the former? We reply, because awake to the significance of his own existence, his sharpened perceptions and keen sensibilities are able to discern and appreciate nature's beauties and sublimities.
*Again, a just consciousness of life's meaning would open to the heart new fountains of joy, and vastly increase the delights of existence. The truth of this prop. osition was made apparent by the illustration just used. Was not he the happiest man, did not he derive the bighest delight from ihat mountain scenery, who had an eye capable of detecting its grandeur ? Most certainly. But this truth is worthy of farther elucidation.
One is now surveying the firmament, who beholds it with the natural eye only, for his spiritual vision is clouded and weak. And what does this man see? Thousands of bright points which he has learned to call stars. He gazes upon them for a moment and then turns bewildered from the prospect, and straightway forgets it. But he has enjoyed a transient pleasure. In him a vague and evanescent wonder was excited. Another looks upon the same sparkling dome, and to him every bright
Buone is natural e what he hasent andray for him a look
ered from the pa transient ple excited. Anovery bright ing through and marching and all united" he se
glory often moliorching anumerabond themes on the
point in the deep blue arch above is a world, or a sun, around which a system of worlds revolves. And these suns and worlds which he beholds, so magnificent and glorious, appear to him but as sentinel orbs on the near. est outposts of creation. Far beyond them, and gleam• ing through space, are innumerable hosts, brilliant as themselves, and marching along their orbits to the music of their own motion! And all unite in declaring to him the glory of God. And in that God he sees a Father! Can we doubt which of the two derives the most happi. ness from a survey of the heavens ?
Take another illustration. Two children come to a bed of flowers. Each plucks a blossom ; one with indif. ference, the other with eager delight. The first, seeing noihing of value in the spoil, picks it to pieces, and heedlessly scatters its leaves along his path. The other snuffs the sweet fragrance, kisses the bloom, places the flower carefully upon his boson, and cherishes it as precious remembrance of the Father's love. Need we ask which of the twain derives the more pleasure from the beautiful souvenir ?
The truth now before us is one of great interest and importance. From it we may learn the amount of enjoy. ment the Creator has placed within our reach, and the amount we sacrifice when we forget our spiritual capa. cities and seek pleasure only through the gratification of our animal desires. Would we form some estimate of the extent of the resources of happiness with which we are provided? We have but to survey the varied and exalied powers of our higher nature, and remember that the right action of each is attended with delight. We have only to remember that before each intellectual faculty there is a pathway leading out into nature, and provided with deep and sweet fountains of bliss. In each object God has made, he has placed some cup of enjoyment to reward the inquisitive explorer. Mind can examine nothing, from the dew-drop to the ocean, from the simplest frost-work of winter to the wide-waving forest, that will not afford him some tribute of joy. Our moral and religious resources are still more abundant and divine. What tongue can express, or pen portray, the bliss that flows from duties well performed, from the
approbation of a satisfied conscience,-from the exercise of Christain faith, hope, charity, and from the conscious. ness that God is bestowing upon us his approving smile! It is a truth that it would be well for us ever to remember, that we are capable of enjoying, now and forever, all the beauty and harmony, all the beneficence and love, which fill the universe of God. Shall we claim and enjoy our birth-right? Or shall we imitate the sensualist, and, closing our spiritual senses, sink ourselves to the level of the beasts that perish? It is for each to answer these questions for himself. If the latter course is our choice, and our life-forces are employed in the pursuit of its selfish aims, the current of our being will roll through the world like the lava-tide, blasting every green thing in its path. But if we make the better election, our energies will sweep onward in broader channels, to higher ends, and our life-emblem will be the noble river, the music of whose flow delights the ear, while its waters moisten the braided roots along its banks, and impart freshness and bloom to the landscape which it adorns.
C. H. F.
Universalism and the Development of Character.
There are several distinct forms of argument by which to prove or disprove a theological doctrine. We may here specify three which are much in vogue among the Christian sects, and which we will distingush as follows: the Scripture-textual, which consists in citing and apply. ing passages of Scripture in which the doctrine to be established is thought to be verbally affirmed; the Scripture-inferential, which consists in deducing the truth of the doctrine from certain facts or principles affirmed in the Scriptures; and the philosophical, which consists in showing that the doctrine is implied by, or deducible from, certain principles cognizable by the human reason,