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out its sympathies as messengers of mercy on "THE HUMAN HEART-THAT RESTLESS errands of peace and of good will, and is as a
BY A. A. SLOVER, ESQ.
"THERE is a piece of mechanism, wonderful in its construction, so delicate in many of its parts, as seemingly to be little durable, and always liable to derangement, yet shall this machine go night and day, for eighty years together, at the rate of one hundred thousand strokes every twenty-four hours, having at every stroke a great resistance to overcome, and shall continue this action, this length of time, without disorder and without weariness." "The muscles of the arm are soon wearied, a day's labor or a day's journey exhausts their strength, but this machine toils whole weeks, whole months, nay years, and is equally a stranger to intermission or fatigue. This is a peculiarity which claims particular notice, a power which defies all human ingenuity and imitation, and distinguishes the natural from the artificial machine."
But it is no less remarkable in its moral structure and development. The eye of the skilful anatomist may discover its natural movements, but it cannot explore the mys. terious and intricate recesses by which the moral is surrounded. The effects of its operations are visible, but the motives are beyond the possibility of human vision or knowledge. Its purity, its disinterestedness, its fervency, its faithfulness, its truth, and its selfdenial are called out and manifested in various scenes of adversity and prosperity. It cherishes hopes ofttimes not rightly fostered or directed; it embarks with them in an argosy of wealth unending as it supposes, but it frequently discovers that it has ventured upon an ocean of uncertainty, without the light of the leading star of life, and these hopes
"are lost for evermore, Like ships which sail for sunny isles, But never come to shore."
It estranges and secludes itself from human intercourse, and is as a blighted tree standing alone in the dreary desert; its branches withered, its foliage faded and fallen, it affords no shelter from an impending storm, no shade from a burning heat, produces no fruit whose richness may conduce to health and life. It sends
* A Lecture, delivered before the Yorkville Library Association, Feb. 4, 1852.
plant invigorated by the dew and the sun, opening its leaves, expanding its flowers, disclosing new beauties, and imparting fresh odors. It courts not the gentle feelings of its nature, but indifferent to the cares and pleasures which are the concomitants of life, afar from its business and duties, perverts one of the great objects of its existence, and yielding to the powerful influence of moroseness and austerity, becomes the victim of misanthropy. It banishes selfish and prejudicial considerations, and influenced by a noble incitement, it notices the events of life and profits by the lessons which they inculcate, recognises and evinces a reciprocity of feeling in the interchange of mutual acts of good will, feels that the powers of the mind are enlarged, as prejudices are dispelled by the light which the superior reason of another may reflect upon its darkened perception, that errors yield to the mild persuasion of truth, cherishes rational confidence, exhibits unaffected complacency and affability. It closes the ear against "the prayer of want, and plaint of wo;" it denies sternly, repulses coldly, chides harshly. It prompts the hand to relieve necessity, and the tongue to add the expressions of benevolent feelings which may serve to bind up the wounds which have been inflicted by the callous and unfeeling. It indulges in liberality, in that liberality which consists in the vanity of giving, in the hope of receiving its reward in the honor of the act. Its charity is ostentatious, it hath only the sudden brilliancy of the meteor's flash. It gives cheerfully, from a sense of duty, and of responsibility, and its charity is genuine, it hath the uniform light It looks out upon and warmth of the sun. life, and meditates on the struggles and disappointments of those who mingle on its "broad field of battle," and the faint gleam which Hope gives in its early day-spring is oft obscured by flitting shades, and gathering clouds, and deep darkness. It arouses the slumbering energies of the soul, shakes off its sluggishness,
"As shakes the lark the dew-drop from its wings," and with firm resolve and steady perseverance seeks to accomplish some deed for the good of humanity. It incites to bold acts of lawless ambition; seizes and usurps the sceptre of
CHILDHOOD advances. How courageous, how sensitive, how sympathetic, its heart; and yet how prone to defy restraint, to reject and to resist control, impulsively to assert, pertinaciously and resolutely to maintain the suggestions of its own unconquered will! Encourage its sports by your approving smile or word, and in the sparkling eye, the merry laugh, the lively shout, the cheerful and oft repeated expression, the natural and consequently graceful motion of its little body, you may see the effects of the gladsome emotions produced by your sympathetic influence. But attempt to check its accustomed pleasures, or to interfere unreasonably, it may be, unseasonably with its vested privileges, so vested by reason of its period of life, and the sudden frown, the loud and angry word, the attitude of defiance express the power of the passion which is striving for the mastery. And yet it is courageous. By the river's brink, two children, a brother and sister, are amusing themselves with a tiny boat which has been constructed for them, by some over-fond relative. Delighted with the gift, they have suffered the frail but beautiful thing to be borne along by the breeze, restraining its onward course by a string appended to it. The beauty of its motion, and the celerity of its movement, even under this confining power, have caused their hearts to leap for joy, and now tempted by the exciting
It is depressed and disturbed by melancholy and fearful forebodings of anticipated ill; it is emboldened in a courageous spirit to attempt and perform praiseworthy deeds; in impulsive anger, or moody resentment, it prompts the mind to plan, the tongue to speak, and the hand to execute that which while it accomplishes its intended purpose upon its unsuspecting victim, often returns in merited retribution upon itself. It affords aliment to distrustful suspicion, to base envy, and still more despicable revenge. It actuates some with a restless desire for adventure, to quit the precincts of home in which were comprised the endearments and charities of life, to seek in foreign climes new accession to the vigor, and new impulse to the motion of soul which cannot submit to restraint. It brings the wan-nature of the employment, they have released derer, weary and dispirited,
"Over the seas
To die on the hills of his own fresh breeze,
And what is this piece of mechanism, which like an instrument out of tune, gives forth discordant sounds, but when its chords restrung are struck by a new impulse, vibrates with a power and fulness before unknown and unfelt? It is
"THE HUMAN HEART-that restless thing!
The joyous, yet the suffering-
The gorgeous thronged, the desolate,
The seat of love, the lair of hate-
Yet do we bless thee as thou art,
Let us enter the inner temple, and as we look upon the thronging votaries who gather around its altar, let us give utterance to some of the thoughts called up by the association of the place, scene, and personages.
the boat from its restraint, and it is speeding rapidly and far from their reach. It is freightIed with their fondest hopes, treasures more valuable than the richest products of the mines, and should they be unable to regain it, their hearts would be saddened in disappointment and gloom. But see! the boy has partially disrobed himself, and with impulsive ardor is venturing into the water step by step to pursue the fast departing thing, which has been wafted further and still further on towards a ledge of rocks against which the current is setting rapidly, and to the vision of the children possessing an aspect more dangerous than that of the dreaded Maelstrom to the experienced mariner. He continues the pursuit, heedless of the sister, who with beseeching and deprecating look, and finger on her lip in token of her fearful apprehension, stands a silent but distressed spectator of the bold attempt. Steadily he goes on, with eye intent on the fleeting atom, and as it is about being
whirled away by the eddying current, he bold- | kindness of his schoolmates in furnishing him
ly seizes it, bears it aloft, and proclaims his with a portion of their own, thus practically triumph with a shout of joy which is repeated (albeit ignorantly to themselves) illustrating by his sister. This resolute spirit is but the the value of charity. And now the younger, forerunner of the future character of the man, what has she to offer? She cannot produce the modified as that character may be in its quali- | recorded statement of a teacher's approbation, ties by circumstances in the subsequent train- she has not had the opportunity or privilege ing of the boy. Under moral guidance and of feeding the hungry; and her little mind is counsels society will receive the benefit of his seeking to fix upon some one thing which may well-directed efforts, but if left to the impulses entitle her to the continued love of one whose of his nature unrestrained. by considera- affection is so valuable. And what has she to tions of prudential wisdom, the courageous say? She does not know-she can only remay become the ambitious, and in the pur-collect-that-but let her speak for herself. suit of desired honors or rewards, the ends “I do not know—I only remember that Lizzie sought may not always be justified by the King, whose mother died last week, sat by means employed. me, and put her face down to her book, and began to sob and cry, and I don't know why,
around her neck, and laid my head beside hers on the book, and I cried too!" Ah! the Roman matron pointing to her children could say, "These are my jewels;" with how much more of truth can the Christian mother say of such children-" These are 'crowns of my rejoicing!""
How sensitive its heart! a little one runs to meet you with outstretched hands and a joy-but I moved close to her, and put my arm ous glance; she is looking up into your face with an innocent archness and an expression of loveliness is playing upon her features. You turn from these appeals to your sympathy, and it may be the light of her eye will be nearly quenched in the tear-drops ready to start forth, and in the crossed hands upon the bosom as if to repress its rising emotions, the YOUTH approaches! How hopeful, how en exertion will tell how great is the contest with-dearing, how confiding its heart! It has been in. You may replace tears by smiles, in the likened to the season of Spring, when the proffer of fruit, which she will readily receive, earth is softened by the returning warmth of its luscious drops distilling over her cheeks the sun, whose penetrating rays quicken into glowing with a richness of color unequalled by a happy existence the seeds beneath its surthe delicious fruit of which she is partaking. face. The buds swell, the blossoms spring HOW SYMPATHETIC its heart! Let the illus-forth, the leaves come out, the herbs show tration be the argument and the proof. It is their tender heads, the flowers yield their frathe evening of a day in winter. Around the grance, the air brings with it a softness gratecomfortable fireside of a retired dwelling, a ful to the sense, and "with joyous living mother has gathered her three children, and things, swarms," as Nature puts on an aspect is now entering upon the wonted duty of of verdure and beauty. As has been sung, friendly interrogation and instruction. It hath been her practice to inquire what good hath been done by each during the day, and now the air of subdued pleasure, the quietly cheerful demeanor, betoken that the investigation will give evidence of the exercise of a ready will in the accomplishment of some useful deed. The elder daughter responds to the inquiry of the mother, by placing in her hand, But sweet and rich as are its glowing beams, the weekly record of her proficiency and well are the radiant hues with which it gilds the doing at school, and the commendation of the earth to be compared with the brilliant teacher receives additional value from the ap-colourings of Hope, the mental prism? In the proval of the mother. The boy, the second freshness and buoyancy of youth, the sunshine in years, relates the story of parting with his of Hope cherishes the blossomings of expecown dinner to supply the want of a poor wo-tation, which are to ripen into the fruits of enman with her famishing infant, and of the joyment. Gladness rules the spirits, gaiety
"Unnumber'd stars are on the earth-the fairest who
late was bare,
where. "Tis the sweet and merry sunshine, hath unfolded fruit and flower!"
and hilarity prevail in the manners, and in the glow of health, there is need of aliment to supply its bounding vigour and joyous aspirations. But as in the natural world, the dreariness and desolation of winter succeed the glow-disordered senses some remembrance of home ing glories and rich scenes of spring and summer, so in the moral, disappointment with its train of ills attendant follows and o'ershadows the visions of Hope.
the rock and quicksands of the vortex, seems almost unable to extricate himself from his perlious situation. If he cease temporarily from his mad career, and in the confusion of his
occur, how poignant is the feeling of remorse! Ah! he hears the mild voice of his dear mother as her hand rested tremblingly upon his head, and her quivering features bespoke the agony of her heart; he feels the sincerity of the sister's kiss, and the moisture of the warm tear upon his cheek; he grasps the lingering hand of his brother, and experiences the force of the solemn warning from his aged father, and as these images recur, with them rises up to view the certainty of his present degraded situation, and the contrast brings with it the madness of desperation, and he rushes forth to dispel these feelings in dissipation, in which the descent to destruction is made more easy and sure.
The son of Agricola hath heard somewhat of the advantages to be gained by a residence in the distant city, which in the prospect are magnified as if with the power of the solar microscope. He becomes indifferent to the healthy and honorable occupation of the father, despises agriculture, and in an evil hour leaves the paternal home. The sudden change from the quiet regularity of rural pursuits to the bustling and engrossing activity of mercantile employment, the novelty of the situation, the various scenes opening to his view, keep his mind in wonder, surprise and excitement. He transmits to those at home an account of the gratification with which he looks upon this moving panorama of human enterprise, ingenuity and luxury. Bye and bye, these domestic epistles are less frequently attended to, and at length totally neglected, and if the inmates of his native valley hear aught concerning him, it is only when some wayfarer mentions his name, or some villager upon his return from the city communicates a notice of the accidental meeting with the son, and in the manner of the relating of the circumstance, the parental bosom feels that which parental anxiety had feared. He had gone forth bearing the burden of parental advice, of a sister's earnest entreaty and of a brother's sympathetic counsel, and during a few months that weight by trial the knowledge that the happiness prorested upon his thoughts and checked the en-mised is but croachment of evil. But he associates with bold and fearless spirits, the power of home admonition is thrown off, and the boundary of restraint is overleaped. As the leaf is borne hither and thither upon the stream by the pressure of the wind and the force of the current, so he becomes the sport of the veering plans of intriguing companions. He lifts the bitter cup, he mingles the blasphemous oath with his noisy, vapid talk, he disturbs the quiet night with his wild and "heartless joyance." Lured on by the fascinations of pleasure and its enchantments, he becomes the prey of the Syren, and like the fabled seaman tossed amid
But the heart of youth is endearing and confiding. Enter that family circle where the purest precepts are inculcated with earnestness and fervor of affection, where the daughter learns the lessons of meekness, and is taught that in the performance of incumbent duties there is a reward. She acquires a happy habit of conforming to the wishes of the family hinted or expressed, and meets the ills which may occur with a patience untiring, although it may often be rudely broken in upon. She may go forth from her peaceful retreat and mingle in exciting scenes, and for a short season her eyes may rest upon them with pleasure, amid the devious fashions of the world, but she experiences that the friendship professed is but a heartless mockery, she gains
"A faithless mist, a desert vapour wearing The brightness of clear waters,"
and she gladly escapes from the deceived and deceiving throng in which she had moved, returning to her home more attached to its simple joys, and with firm resolves therein to seek for happiness. She makes that home the delightful dwelling-place of virtue, and in the exercise of the kindly feelings proves her worth. There is quiet joy in her heart. return for favors received she imparts of her time, talent, and means, to alleviate distress. As the silent dew refreshes the withered earth,
so her unostentatious charity mitigates the | with toil, seeks "the green shades that are sufferings of impoverished humanity. The blessing the way," where it is revived and light of each returning day points her to a gladdened. cheerful renewal of domestic duties. She diffuses true gladness around by the kindliness of her words and actions. She is the useful assistant of gratified parents, the prudent counsellor of younger sisters, the joyous pride of happy brothers. The healthful and pure emotions of their hearts testify that "her love is of their life a part."
MANHOOD appears. How thoughtful, how active, how devoted its heart! The freshness of youth has passed but its brightness remains, and thought revealing the destiny of its nature, defining the justice of its claims, marking out the extent of its duties, is strengthening the soul with noble purposes,
But it is devoted also! The graces of mind and virtues of heart, which compose the true excellency of character, are to be found in one who is a friend in the cheerful sunshine when joy wings the hours; will she not prove doubly so when clouds gather to dim and obscure that brightness, and the hours are heavily laden with distress? Beneath her guidance and fostering care, the charities of home cluster around the "heart-soothing sanctuary," and her influence to render that place so cherished an Eden of happiness, is both visible and felt. In the watchful look, in the active sympathy of feeling or expressed wish, in the willing kindness of word and action, in the ready and cheerful returns of affection may be traced the devotion of the heart. The budding thoughts of the infantile mind open to the beauties and Social privileges are enjoyed, social duties en-pleasures of life, beneath the warm culture of joined and discharged, not from a formal com- maternal fondness, like as the tender blossoms pliance with conventional arrangements, but upon which the dewdrops have rested, expand from a true perception of the responsibility at- to the life-giving influence of the vernal sun. taching to each member of the "social compact." The joyous laugh of childhood, its artless but Civil rights are claimed and maintained with grateful prattle, and its confiding manners, bean earnestness that arouses the attention, with speak the rich delights which like gushing an eloquence that inspires while it instructs, fountains are springing up in its untroubled with an enthusiasm that imparts somewhat of bosom. She-WOMAN-in the deep devotion its power to hearts despondent and nearly of trust to the pervading and purifying princioverwhelmed. Designs of benevolent enter-ple of truth-tried love, ministers at the altar of the affections, and the incense of the sacrifice spreads from the hallowed spot, carrying its sweetness to the scenes of life.
"To strive for the guerdon with resolute will."
Thus much for the subject in its general aspect; allow me now to proceed to the consideration of some of its special phases.
THE AMBITIOUS HEART.
There is the ambitious heart! There is an honorable ambition, which, conscious of its ability, and relying upon the integrity of its purpose, seeks to achieve laudable designs by right and proper means. It delights in the performance of duties which are just and use
prises are entertained which result in a successful completion. The orphan, the infirm, the aged, the indigent, are provided for. Those deprived of the attribute which elevates their race above the "beasts that perish" are now released from the harsh disgraceful restraints, the cruel treatment which for so long a season had been allowed to exercise sway over the prejudices of humanity; the juvenile delinquent is checked in his attempted career of infamy, and after a season of judicious training and wholesome discipline is sent forth with the acquisition of a healthful spirit; the friendless find aid and a home; the unfortunate through error or deception receive ful. It seeks not the aggrandisement of self, sympathy, and the wanderer is reclaimed. but cheerfully contributes of its influence and But other persons and places far removed means to the promoting of the happiness of its must become the recipients of the blessings of fellows in their social, political, and religious true civilisation, and the isles of the sea rejoice, relations. But there is an ambition which is and light breaks upon and dwells among the opposite of this. It places the considerapeople hitherto in darkness. This thoughtful, tion of selfish interest or advancement above benevolent and active principle, when faint all the claims of true honor. In its intriguing