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WINTER AN EMBLEM OF DEATH.
formed conclusions—what are they now? The seasons of the year have been A heap of lifeless clay; a mass of coraptly compared with the various stages ruption; food for worms! in the life of man. Spring, when nature But, when we look deeper, and regard bursts into new life, and with such grace death with the eye of reason and religion, unfolds its growing charms, amidst alter- it assumes a very different aspect. The nate smiles and tears, beautifully shadows body is but the house of the soul. The forth the period of infancy and youth ; feeble tenement has fallen into decay, summer, with its full-blow
beauties, and its living inmate has removed. It and its vigorous powers, represents the is but the covering in which the chrymaturity of manhood ; autumn, when salis was confined; the time of its change the golden harvests are reaped, and the has arrived, and it has burst its shell, to fields are stripped of their honours, and expatiate in a new life; or rather it is exhausted nature begins to droop, is a the instrument with which an intellistriking figure of the finished labours, gent being performed its work; the task the
grey hairs, and the advancing feeble- is finished ; the instrument is worn out ness of old age; while winter, cold, de- and cast away; the artificer has gone solate, and lifeless, indicates, with an to other labours. accuracy not more remarkable than it is Such is the conclusion of reason, and affecting, the rigid features and prostrate the analogy of nature gives countenance energies of the human frame in death. to the view. Nothing is annihilated.
This dismal month of December, Every thing, indeed-organized matter which closes the year, seems peculiarly above all-grows old, corrupts, and decalculated to remind us of human decay cays; but it does not cease to exist, it The vital powers which produced and only changes its form. The herbs, the sustained vegetation are withdrawn; the flowers, and the leafy pride of spring and forests are leafless; hill and dale mourn summer, wither, fall, and are mingled their faded verdure; a dismal gloom with their parent earth; but from their covers the face of the sky, and cheerless mouldering remains, elements are furdesolation reigns. Recollections of the nished which clothe a new year with past, and anticipations of the future, vegetable life, as fresh, and abundant, oppress the sensitive mind. Let us turn and lovely as before. Nature is not our thoughts, then, on the congenial sub- dead, but sleepeth. The seeds, roots, ject of death : it is the common lot of and buds of the year that are past, are every thing that lives. From the micro- preserved, through the winter, with adscopic insect to man, the lord of the mirable care, till the voice of a new earth, all must die. Each has its spring, spring calls them once more into life, its summer, and its autumn ; each, also, that the seasons may again run their has its winter. With some, life is liter- course, and autumn may again spread ally but a single day—or less, a single her liberal feast. Neither does the soul hour, perhaps; others survive the com- perish. It has “shuffled off its mortal mon period of human existence; but the coil," but it has not ceased to live. This various stages of life belong to the ephe-. is a conclusion at which we confidently mera, as well as to the elephant; and the arrive. former fulfils the end of its being, as well What, then, has become of this etheas the latter; while the minutes of the one real spark? Reason cannot tell ; but are perhaps as equally pregnant with in- conjecture has been rife. Some have cidents, as the days of the other. imagined, that the disembodied spirit
Death is gloomy and revolting, if we passes into other bodies, and runs a new look only at its externals. Who, that course of birth, life, and death, in new has seen a lifeless corpse, has been able forms; that all living things, from the to remain unmoved, by the affecting con- lowest to the highest grade, are possessed trast to its former self, which it ex- of souls, which either have animated, or hibited ? The closed and sunken eye, may yet animate, human frames ; and which eręwhile beamed with intelligence, that a constant change from species to or sparkled with delight; the motionless species, and from individual to inlips, which gave utterance to sentiments of dividual, is taking place, regulated, in wisdom and of piety, or, perhaps, of reck- some mysterious way, by the law of reless.folly and unblushing falsehood; the tribution. This ingenious fancy, which heart, which beat with feeling, and the has been called the doctrine of metemphead which meditated, planned, and I sychosis or transmigration, has been
widely disseminated through the exten- of himself. His own words are, “I sive regions of the East, and has given a am the resurrection and the life; he very peculiar mould to the practices, and that believeth in me, though he were even to the moral character of those dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever who receive it. A prouder and more liveth and believeth in me, shall never metaphysical philosophy, which prevails die,” John xi. 25, 26. in the same quarter of the world, has Blessed assurance ! But does it beoffered another solution of the question. long to all ? Alas, no ! It belongs All life, it is said by the followers of this only to believers. All else are excluded. sect, is but an emanation from the great What, then, is the portion of unbelievfountain of existence; a drop from the ers ? There is only one answer, universal ocean of life. Death comes, “Spiritual death." Their inheritance and the emanation is absorbed ; the drop is, the undying worm, and the unreturns to the ocean, and mingles, un- quenchable fire. The offer of life has distinguished, with its parent element. been freely made, and they have re
Another doctrine, well known, because jected it. It has been urged upon them associated with all our classical 'recollec- by every motive; it has been enforced tions, is that of Greece and Rome ; by every sanction, and yet they have rewhich assigns to souls a separate state of jected it. The means of grace, the warnexistence in the infernal regions, where ings and lessons of Providence, in the rewards and punishments are awarded, varied occurrences of life, have all been according to the good or evil deeds of á employed in vain. They have chosen present life. The puerile fables, false death, and have sealed their own doom. morality, and fanciful traditions, which But to you, who close with the offered are mingled with this doctrine, tend to redemption, it is not less secure, than it debase and render contemptible, what is glorious in the means employed, and might otherwise be considered as the unspeakably gracious in the blessings begerm of a purer faith.
stowed. By the vicarious sufferings of All that history records, or modern the Son of God, sin is punished, and discoveries have ascertained, of the belief the sinner absolved ; eternal justice is of mankind on this subject of vital im- satisfied; and infinite holiness is reconportance, tends to show the impotence of ciled. From the horrors of impending human reason; and shuts us up to the destruction, the guilty descendant of revealed word of God, as the only source Adam is introduced to anticipations of of light and of hope, as regards the everlasting life; the child of Satan has future destiny of man.
The soul sur
become an adopted child of God; the vives the grave, but where does it go ? heir of hell, a joint-heir with Christ of What new forms of being does it as- the blessedness of heaven. sume? What conflicts and what tri. What, then, is death ? It is to the umphs are reserved for it? These are Christian but the passing away of a questions which curiosity, that powerful feverish dream, and an awaking to the principle, unites with every selfish and glorious realities of an endless and unevery ennobling feeling of the human clouded day. This at least it is, as far heart, to urge on the attention. And as regards his soul. But his body goes what is the answer which the Divine down to the grave, and, for all that we oracles return ? Man is a sinner, and can perceive, is finally resolved into its “the wages of sin is death.” Such is native elements. Yet it is not so. A germ the appalling response. And what is remains. It is like seed buried in windeath? Not the separation of the soul ter, by the sower, beneath the sluggish from the body merely, but the separation soil, that it may undergo a mysterious of both soul and body from God for change, and rise again to life, in a new
And is there no remedy ? Not season, under a more propitious sky. in the power of man, but in the grace The spring of an eternal year will come. and mercy of God. “God so loved the It will breathe on the dry bones, and world, that he sent his only begotten they shall live. Then shall the soul be Son, that whosoever believeth on Him re-united to its material frame, “sown might not perish, but have everlasting a natural body, but raised a spiritual life.” The incarnate Son of the eternal body;" and this mysterious re-union, God is our Saviour. He came to earth, which seems essential to the perfect hapand assumed our form and nature, that piness of human beings, will consumHe might take away sin by the sacrifice mate the appointed period, when death,
the last enemy, shall be “swallowed up seed on all his extensive grounds; and in victory;" when time itself shall why? just because it is new.” perish, along with the revolution of sea- “I don't agree with my friend Dorsons; and when one vast, changeless, mer there; though it is new, it may incomprehensible eternity, shall embrace be good : that remains to be proved. all.
Meanwhile I prefer for the present year trying the experiment on a small scale;
then, according as it turns out, I shall be ANTIQUITY AND NOVELTY.
able to form a judgment to what extent A pair of Portraits.
it may be desirable to cultivate it in
future.” I HAVE already introduced to the read- Well, I am no half-and-half man; ers of the Visitor my uncle's neighbour, when I do take up a thing, I go into it Mr. Kennedy, who was as famous for the with all my heart. Let me earnestly eager adoption of every thing new, as recommend you to devote at least a few was Mr. Dormer for his rigid adherence acres to it. It is sure to answer. When to every thing old. Meet with him when you see the produce of your small piece and where you would, he was sure to be of land, you will regret that you had not full of some new project, and the newest ten times as much." was invariably the best that ever entered “ Then it will be easy to increase my the mind of man. It was, however, a stock another year; meanwhile, there are matter of no unfrequent occurrence for enough of you eager experimentalists to the wheel of his opinion so completely to try the matter on a larger scale, and I change its position and aspect, that in less most sincerely wish you all the success than six months the project which had you anticipate." been exalted as the very best was degraded “Well, Mr. Kennedy,” said Mr. Dorthe very worst.
I will mention a few mer, some months afterwards, how instances of his versatility.
comes on your new-fangled crop of man“My dear sir,” said he to my uncle, gel-wurzel ? I suppose you clear cent. " have
you heard of this new plant, the per cent. more than by the old staple mangel-wurzel ?”
growth.” My uncle, who was present, " Yes,” said my uncle, “ I have heard observed that the subject did not appear it well spoken of, and intend to give it a particularly agreeable to Mr. Kennedy, trial. I have ordered a small piece of and endeavoured to spare him the emland to be parted off for the purpose. Ibarrassment of a reply by saying that he was in company the other day with a had a little plot of the plant, and was practical agriculturist, who strongly
re- much pleased with it. The produce was commends it for the use of cattle." very satisfactory, and it appeared to an
“Oh, not for cattle merely. It is use- swer the purposes for which it had been ful for ten thousand purposes, and by far recommended. He thought that on the most profitable crop that can be raised. suitable lands it would be found a valuaI intend to devote the whole of my land ble variety of crop. It was his intention to it; in fact, all hands are at this mo- another year to have a larger quantity, ment employed in getting it in; and and also to recommend it to the notice of I should strongly recommend you to do his tenants. If all agriculturists were as
Mr. Kennedy complained of the badsensible of its value as myself, there ness of the seed, and the stupidity and would be many thousands of acres imme- negligence of his men, who, although he diately devoted to its growth.
gave them a pamphlet containing every “Perhaps more than could well be particular as to the soil required, the prespared from other purposes. I hope that paration and mode of culture, had not in your zeal for mangel-wurzel, you mo- attended to half the directions given, but dern farmers will not forget that wheat, had gone on with the land just in the way barley, oats, and beans also are useful.” | to which they had been accustomed for
“ No fear of their being forgotten other crops. while yourself and old Dormer are con- “ In other words," replied Mr. Dorservatives for the county of every thing mer, “your experiment is a failure, as that is old-fashioned. I have been argu- all new-fangled experiments are. Noing with Dormer these two hours and thing like keeping to the old things, more, but he is as stubborn as a mule. which we know are good.” He will not sow even an ounce of the The fact was, that Mr. Kennedy had
eagerly engaged in an experiment, with- , re-arranged; hedges, walls, and invisible out making himself acquainted with the fences displaced each other with almost principles and details of procedure. He as great rapidity as the master of the eshad purchased a pamphlet on the subject, tate changed his coat; and it was freperhaps too sanguinely written; even quently said of his house, that the mortar that he did not thoroughly examine, but was never dry. In the course of a few contented himself with the introductory years the timber on the estate, which to statement that mangel-wurzel was a most former possessors yielded a rich revenue, excellent thing, and ought by all means was comparatively worthless, and even to be cultivated, and the closing antici- the estate itself was mortgaged. pation of most profitable results from its For several years, Mr. Kennedy was in being extensively adopted. The inter- a very indifferent state of health ; his mediate directions for the preparation maladies, there is every reason to believe, and culture he completely overlooked ; greatly aggravated, if not entirely originor at least contented himself with hand- ating, in his sudden and capricious ing it over to his men, who were either changes of diet and regimen, and his too inattentive and indolent to follow the rash adoption of every novelty in mediplans laid out, or too confident in their cine, or rather in quackery: Nor was own skill to be willing to receive instruc- he content with practising his whims on tion. So between master and men, the his own proper person.
All who came experiment was not fairly tried, and the under his control became the subjects result was any thing but satisfactory. Mr. of his experiments, and the sufferers for Kennedy found the returns of his crops his folly." In his eagerness to embrace to fall two or three hundred pounds short the new thing proposed to him, Mr. of the foregoing year; and he resolved Kennedy never gave himself the trouble never to sow another grain of mangel- to consider how far it might be applicawurzel as long as he lived.
ble to existing circumstances. For exMr. Kennedy was a novelist-(I do ample: he somewhere met with the not mean a writer of novels, but a lover remark that modern luxury was not conof novelty) in building and planting. I ducive to health and vigour; that carpets, do consider it one of the innocent plea- curtains, and heated rooms tended to ensures of a wealthy country gentleman to feeble the constitution. Mrs. Kennedy, alter and improve his residence and es- a sensible woman, admitted the justice of tate, provided such expensive gratifica- the remark, and said she would immeditions are kept within the bounds of justice, ately make arrangements for reducing prudence, and moderation, so as neither both the nursery and sleeping rooms to a to injure his creditors, nor impoverish his temperature more congenial to hardifamily, nor engross the resources that hood. But gradual reductions would by ought to be devoted to the claims of be- no means suit the ardent theorist. “Wait nevolence and piety. This was perhaps for a change in the weather ?" and "do one of the least exceptionable of King it by degrees ?" No such thing. It should Solomon's experiments, when he was be done immediately and entirely. That making trial of the various expedients very day the carpets should be taken up, adopted by the sons of men to find gra- and the curtains removed, the chamber tification in worldly things, Eccles. ii. windows should remain open all night, 4-6.
and the children should be plunged in But Mr. Kennedy's taste for novelty cold water; he wished to see them as and variety was carried to such excess as robust and vigorous as the hardy mounto defeat its own end. Nothing was left tain children described by the theorist long enough to give a fair trial of its me- with whose work he was so delighted. In rits. Every alteration that presented it- defiance of all remonstrance, he carried self to his own imagination, or that was his plan into effect, and in a few days suggested by a visitor, or of which he Mrs. Kennedy was laid up with an alarmhad seen an example on any other estate, ing attack of inflammation on the lungs, was immediately adopted, and these and the youngest child died of croup. changes took place in such rapid succes- At one time, Mr. Kennedy was a great sion that his grounds never presented the admirer of count Rumford's digester, same aspect for two successive seasons; and thought that animal jellies and his plantations had scarcely time to take broths were the most nutritious and dihold on the earth before they were to be gestible food; they were adopted almost exclusively in his family, much to the trous. Both the happiness of the childissatisfaction of some, who, though they dren and the influence of the parents were would have liked soups, stews, and jellies sacrificed by this injudicious treatment, to come in by way of occasional variety, and in the tempers and habits thus wished also to partake of the good sub- formed, or left unformed, during the stantial roasted sirloin, or fillet; and who pliant years of childhood, a harvest of complained, too, that however warm the misery was laid up for future years. room might be, and however well the The mother, indeed, exerted herself for cookery might be carried on by means the real welfare of her children; but, of stoves, digesters, and other modern comparatively speaking, what can a moapparatus, there was nothing so cheer- ther do, who is liable to be continually ful and agreeable as a good visible thwarted by some incalculable freak on English fire. During the reign of the part of her husband ? Not one of stoves and invisible heat, one or two the children grew up thoroughly amiable of the servants took their departure and desirable as a family connexion. in disgust. But the obnoxious no- Each was in some way eccentric, capri. velty soon passed away; Mr. Kennedy cious, disorderly, and ill-tempered. discovered that broths, stews, and jellies, Mr. Kennedy was a great patronizer impart no nourishment whatever, except of almost every new pilī
, powder, drop, in the bread of which they form the elixir, and embrocation that was anvehicle; and that of meat much done, nounced in the newspapers.
If he the nutritive properties are neither to be chanced to read an advertisement, setfound in the meat nor in the gravy. The ting forth the wonderful cures effected table once more groaned under solid by these nostrums, he directly fancied joints of meat; which, however, the ca- that he discovered in himself, or in some pricious master insisted should be not one with whom he had influence or aumore than half roasted. The stoves, thority, symptoms of the various malaalso, were abolished, and in their place dies against which these powerful batwere introduced large shallow grates, teries were levelled; and forthwith the without hobs, presenting a front of party must be put under their operation, clear fire, several feet in extent, both I need scarcely say with no advantage, of width and height. “Bright and and sometimes with serious injury. Percheerful enough, now,” said one of the haps one of the most harmless of his servants to another, “only one cannot medical whims, was the use of the patent get near it without danger of being roasted metallic tractors, which made a great but alive. I do wish our master could be short-lived noise at the commencement content with moderation ; but with him of the present century. So fully perit is all one way or all the other; and suaded was Mr. Kennedy of their univerthis new contrivance will last as many sal efficiency, that he purchased two pairs. nights as days, but nobody can guess how (The price was considerable, I forget many.” It needs scarcely be said, that whether one guinea or five.) He invited the master, on whom such remarks can all the poor to come to his hall, and be be fairly made, loses much of the operated upon by these infallible instru
and respectability attaching to ments of good, and kept two persons stability of character.
constantly employed in applying them. The versatility and caprice of Mr. Nervous people fancied they found beKennedy, in reference to the physical nefit; poor people really found benefit, management of his children, has already from having their wants brought under been alluded to. The same fickle dispo- the notice of those who were able and sition was no less manifest in regard to inclined to relieve them ; but some, who their moral discipline. According to were labouring under real disease, were the theory of the last writer on educa- thus diverted from the use of proper retion with whom he happened to meet, medies, until their maladies had become and perhaps with only a superficial and doubly intractable, if not altogether inone-sided view even of the scheme for curable. Mr. Kennedy was also a great the present adopted by their father, the reader of medical books, and very fond little Kennedys were now treated with the of picking up, and acting upon a smatutmost tenderness and indulgence, and tering of chemistry or medicine. I renow with the most rigorous severity. The collect once, when going to London, effects of such a course were most disas- being commissioned to procure for him,