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THE SIGHINGS AND SEEKINGS OF HUMANITY.

BY IZZI.

« On where shall rest be found,

Rest for the weary soul ?" "O that I had wings like a dove !—for then would I jy away and be at rest.” The round world can never fill our cornered hearts. The finite that is above, below, and around us, can never satisfy the infinite within us. “Man's life is a stream whose source is hidden." One side of our nature lies in another world, beyond the finite and perishable, in the bosom of the infinite and eternal. We need not wonder then that our being is a mystery ; we need not wonder that we cannot understand the strange emotions to which the heart is subjectma heart tossed hither and thither by alternate hope and fear ; now going out in longings and aspirations after some unknown good, rising higher and higher as if to grasp the very infinite; and pow clinging tenaciously to the sordid earth,

as if that were its everlasting portion. Our life is an unbroken series of mysteries: immensity without, and infinity within ; heights of joy, and depths of sorrow; great hopes, and great fears, in the same heart and almost within the same hour.

The heart in its outgoings-pendulum like-oscillates between the extremes, heaven and earth and these outgoings, infinite longings and unsatisfied yearnings, are the sighings and seekings of our common humanity. They are the expression of the deepest wants of our naturethey are solemn undertones of the spirit, betraying its origin ; they are

" Stirrings of deep divinity within." Like the spark that ascends as if to seek the great luminary whose nature it seems to share, the heart rises in aspirations and yearnings, as if to seek the great Being in whose image it was created.

In our present state we are hemmed in on every side, embarrassed and impeded; the spirit seems shackled and earth-bound; there is a certain measure of freedom, but the great soul within struggles mightily for a wider range—these limitations, these narrow surroundings, become irksome; and the heavenborn spirit, looking forth from the bars of its prison-bouse, sighs and longs for unrestrained liberty in the boundless realms of its upper home :

“ Sighing, seeking, longing, weeping,
Wishing for wings, that it might go
Out of this shadowy world below,

To that free, glorious element." It is a striking and beautiful peculiarity of these yearnings of our Dature, that their tendency is upward, away from self and away from earth. Man is the only anthropos—the only uplooking one-in all God's visible creation. He alone“ turns his face upward ;" the brute looks down, is downward in its tendencies and seeks the Earth all its days; but man is from above, seeks the higher and finds himself only in his original. All the hopes and aspirations of his better nature lead him upward. It is true, that amid the enticing influences of the world, men sometimes grow weary of thus looking up; and seek to satisfy the infinite wants of their nature in science, philosophy or pleasure; but soon grow weary of these poor comforters, and again look up in joyful hope, convinced that

“ The thirst that from the soul doth rise

Requires a drink divine." These longings of humanity are as varied as the different dispositions of mind which God has given us, -as varied as the states and circum. stances in which we are placed. One sighs for wealth, another for fame, a third for pleasure, and still another for knowledge-the pilgrim sighs for home; the exile for his fatherland ; the boy for the future, and the aged man for the days and associations long gone : yet all these are but the strange perversion of a heavenborn principle that reaches out after the highest good; and all our aspirations, all our yearnings, finally center upon God. Whatever else may satisfy them for a time, He is their ultimate end.

They are mysterious and undefined. They cannot be understood, because they are themselves infinite and terminate in an object that is infinite and incomprehensible. Only in divine revelation is light thrown upon them, and there alone can they be satisfied. Reason cannot grasp them, else long since had the problem of their mystery been solved. The soul of Plato felt its immortality much more clearly than his reason could demonstrate it; and Socrates just before drinking the fatal hemlock was calm and satisfied in regard to the destiny of the soul so long as he gave himself up to the sentiments prompted by his heart; but when he began again to reason upon that destiny, cold philosophizing intellect cast a chilling gloom apon his dying moments, and he could only fall back upon the deep promptings of his earnest heart, assured that these would not deceive him.

So in the case of humanity. It understands not the meaning of the yoices and soundings that call from afar. Like the blind man who feels and knows the existence of objects around him, though he cannot see them, it knows that there exists the counterpart of its longings, though hidden by a mystic veil ; it does not yet comprehend the infinite yearn. ings that rise in the heart of the boy, nor the great thoughts that swell and struggle in the heart of man : it vaiply sighs and seeks to know the mystery; and then rises from its broad bosom the touching prayer, "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

Whence are these longings of the soul, these aspirations of our better nature? It needs not the wisdom of a philosopher to answer. Shall the exile in a foreign land sigh for home, and shall not the spirit yearn after kindred spirits in its own genial clime.

We can explain them only by our Divine origin. As we are from God in our creation, so must we be to him in our life. We have not lost all trace of our origin, but are yet strongly allied to our great source; and although estranged from it, yet the drawings of home act powerfully on our hearts. As the mother's image is indelibly impressed on the eye of the child, so Eden and purity and God were impressed on the heart of humanity; and neither child nor humanity can ever lose those

images; hence heathenism has two golden ages—one lying far back in the past and another in the future; hence even in heathenism--that nightside of humanity--even there do we find blind prophecies of all that is good and holy. As the magnetic needle, following its own nature, turns to its polar star, whether that star shines clear and full, or is dim and beclouded; so humanity ever turns to its controlling power-some supreme being-whether. seen clearly as in christianity, or dimly as in Paganism.

The longings of the soul vary ; now they are clear and distinct; we know what will satisfy them; then again they are vague and undefined; nothing seems to comfort, nothing to give rest. They are called forth not by noise and confusion, not by the din of business nor by the excitement of the dance ; but are more distinctly heard and more keenly felt when all, without and within, is peace and quiet ; hence they are stronger in the boy than in the man, stronger in old age than in infancy, and always strongest, when the voice of the spirit is heard above the voice of the world.

There are also powers of nature that excite these yearnings of the spirit; wooing voices that call from afar ; sounds that come from a distant shore, "calling the wanderer home." Those voices of nature seem to be the echoes or underchimes of voices in the heart. What a soothing, gentle inflaence evening exerts ! when amid the gathering shadows there is heard the cooing of the dove, and the music of distant waters; when in the stillness of departing day we hear voices unheard before, and gazing into the western sky, look through the golden vistas of evening, into the bright morning land beyond ;

When the stars that ever sprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle,

With a crystalline delight: at such a time earth seems a very little thing, and the homesick spirit longs for the wings of a dove, that it may ily away and be at rest.

These evening longings are no mere fancy : they are earnest voices, deep underchimes of the spirit, true prophecies. They are not vain dreams, the deceptive whisperings of more deceptive spirits, but quiet powers lodged in our nature to draw the heart upward, that man may not be wholly under the influence of the world.

The gay, busy world may laugh at all this, and call it sentimentality; but go from the counting-room and the festival to your home; and in the quiet of your chamber when business is hushed and no hurried step disturbs when the festal lights are out and the music gone, think seriously on life, death and immortality-give the spirit free range, and langb, laugh if you can ; then call these aspirations of the soul, these whispering voices of the spirit, sentimentalism, if you can. There is no room for such mood of levity when the heart thus speaks.

These longings are not a national peculiarity, they belong neither to a limited realm nor to a single heart; but are widespread as humanity and everywhere essentially the same. The exiles of Eden first felt their power; they have filled every heart since, and will continue so to do until exiled humanity itself shall be gathered home. We find them in every sphere of life, in every department of human activity; in Philosophy and in religion, in Christendom and in Heathendom in the work.

shop of the peasant, and in the palace of the Prince, See them for example in the writings of the noble-minded Plato! How he struggled and strove to reach a stand point from which he might know, God and man as they are! What earnest, mighty efforts he made to transcend the finite, to grasp the infinite !-to break the shackles that bound him, and understand the mysterious workings of the immortal part within bim! What is the Platonic philosophy from beginning to end, but the outreachings of a great soul after that higher and better destiny for which it was originally created ?

If we turn to the sphere of religion, the same truth meets us. What are the sacrifices and deifications of heathenism_what are all its religious rites and ceremonies, but unconscious prophecies of man's wants and destiny? They arise in circumstances, in which there is no room for deception; and their universality declares them to belong not to & single nation, but to humanity at large. They express the deepest wants of our nature. The pious Hindoo has already been blessed with nine descents of the deity whom he adores, and expects yet a tenth manifestation : but the hope of even this tenth avatar does not satisfy, and he longs for entire absorption in the bosom of the Great All. What is this but the comforting idea of losing himself in the higher world, for which we all sigh? What are these things but earnest witnesses from the night-side of humonity ; sighings and seekings for the distant, doubtful dawn?

In christianity these yearnings of the spirit, are not only stronger and less vague than in heathenism, but also infinitely more general. It is only in a christian community that man comes to a full knowledge of himself in all his relations and capacities : elsewhere he learns not the profound depths of his nature, feels not his wants and woes. Here, however, these come to full view; and here there are the deepest long. ings, the most earnest voices.

For six thousand years has humanity thus sent up to heaven its unspoken prayers, its unutterable longings, its deep, silent yearnings. For six thousand years has generation after generation passed away, each sighing and seeking for some vague, undefined, great good—struggling on in hope, and finding comfort only in looking up. Humanity, like the dove of old, finds no rest. Like a pilgrim, it is under the sweet influence of the voices and spirits of home: and as the journey shortens, these grow more attractive. As ship-passengers, far out at sea and long on the voyage, peer into the hazy distance, anxious to catch a glimpse of the land of their hopes : so we, sea-sick and home-sick, long to catch a glimpse of the unseen shore. As birds of passage, when the summer days are over, obey the instincts of their nature and seek a more genial clime, so in us, too, there arises the strong desire after a sunnier land, with softer skies and balmier air : far off melodies fall upon the spirit's ear, familiar voices invite, we feel

“ Some unseen world's control
Strong in our inmost soul,

And bidding us be gone."
Our whole life is but a humble confession of that beautiful sentiment of
Augustine :: “Thou Lord hast created us for thyself, and our hearts are
without rest, until they rest in Thee."

PROCRASTINATION.

BY G. G.

“Of man's miraculous mistakes this bears
The palm, “ That all men are about to live."
Forever on the brink of being born,
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They one day shall not drivel; and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise ;
At least their own, their future selves applaud;

How excellent that life they ne'er sball lead !" Procrastination is the putting off to some future time of duties which should be performed now. It is a fault to which all men are in some measure addicted. It is natural to love ease, and therefore to be deluded with the hope that the future will be a better time for action than the present, and that we will then be better fitted for it. The evil influence which this false hope exerts upon men cannot be estimated. Many Dobly contend against it, and meet with success in life; but more are overcome by it and spend their existence for naught.

On this subject much has been said and written. Maxims censuring the fault and warning against, have fallen upon men's ears so frequently that they brand them as “stale and common.Yet nothing is lost by confessing them to be so. They are “stale” only to ears vitiated by diseased minds ; good advice is ever pure and fresh for those whose minds are pure enough to heed it. The charge of common derogates not the least from a thing in itself excellent. There is, indeed, nothing more common than to hear the advice, “Beware of procrastination," and the proverb, “Procrastination is the thief of time." But the proverb and the advice are good, and worthy the most serious consideration of every individual truly awake to his interests, and conscious of man's high destiny. Procrastination is a disease preying upon the energies of the mind. Beware, is the infallible cure.

Beware of it on account of its company. It is the inseparable attendant of idleness and the host of vices that follow in ber train. It constantly whispers to the man of idle disposition, "Take thy ease today, thou hast get much time before thee; why weary thyself now? tomorrow will afford thee sufficient time for all thou hast to do.” Thus insidiously, and with the fairest pretences, it steals from man his golden hours in which might be accomplished deeds conferring upon him the highest dignity, and uniting as diadems to form a crown of imperishable honor. It squanders his days in idleness, by which the body is enervated, and the soul, which is adapted to soar heavenward, is kept chained to earth:

"Year after year it steals till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves

The vast concerns of an eternal scene."
The habit of procrastination will render life a failure. Every day and

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