« PreviousContinue »
The Summer Morning.--JOHN CLARE.
The cocks have now the morn foretold,
The sun again begins to peep, The shepherd, whistling to his fold,
Unpens and frees the captive sheep. O'er pathless plains, at early hours,
The sleepy rustic slowly goes; The dews, brushed off from grass and flowers
Bemoistening, sop his hardened shoes;
While every leaf that forms a shade,
floweret's silken top, And every shivering bent and blade,
Stoops, bowing with a diamond drop. But soon shall fly those diamond drops ;
The red round sun advances higher, And, stretching o'er the mountain tops,
Is gilding sweet the village spire.
'Tis sweet to meet the morning breeze,
Or list the giggling of the brook ;
Peruse and pause on nature's book,
To entertain our wished delay,The images which morning wears,
The wakening charms of early day!
Now let me tread the meadow paths,
While glittering dew the ground illumes, As, sprinkled o'er the withering swaths,
Their moisture shrinks in sweet perfumes ;
And hear the beetle sound his horn;
And hear the sky-lark whistling nigh, Sprung from his bed of tufted corn,
A hailing minstrel in the sky,
Yes, it would have grieved
Ere on its sunny bank the primrose flower
Poor Margaret is dead !
O sir! the good die first,
She was a woman of a steady mind,
Christian Patriotism.-ROBERT HALL.
The principles of freedom ought, in a more peculiar manner, to be cherished by Christians, because they alone can secure that liberty of conscience, and freedom of inquiry, which is essential to the proper discharge of the duties of their profession. A full toleration of religious opinions, and the protection of all parties in their respective modes of worship, are the natural operations of a free government; and every thing that tends to check or restrain them, materially affects the interests of religion. Aware of the force of religious belief over the mind of man, of the generous independence it inspires, and of the eagerness with which it is cherished and maintained, it is towards this quarter the arm of despotism first directs its attacks; while, through every period, the imaginary right of ruling the conscience has been the earliest assumed and the latest relinquished. Under this conviction, an enlightened Christian, when he turns his attention to political occurrences, will rejoice in beholding every advance towards freedom in the government of nations, as it forms not only a barrier to the encroachments of tyranny, but a security to the diffusion and establishment of truth. A considerable portion of personal freedom may be enjoyed, it is true, under a despotic government, or, in other words, a great part of human actions may be left uncontrolled ; but with this an enlightened mind will never rest satisfied, because it is at best but an indulgence flowing from motives of policy, or the lenity of the prince, which may be at any time withdrawn by the hand that bestowed it. Upon the same principles, religious toleration may have an accidental and precarious existence, in states whose policy is the most arbitrary; but in such a situation, it seldom lasts long, and can never rest upon a secure and permanent basis, disappearing, for the most part, along with those temporary views of interest or policy on which it was founded. The history of every age will attest the truth of this observation.
Though Christianity does not assume any immediate direction in the affairs of government, it inculcates those duties, and recommends that spirit, which will ever prompt us to cherish the principles of freedom. It teaches us to check every selfish passion, to consider ourselves as parts of a great community, and to abound in all the fruits of an active benevolence. The particular operation of this principle will be regulated by circumstances as they arise, but our obligation to cultivate it is clear and indubitable. If we are bound to protect a neighbor, or even an enemy, from violence, to give him raiment when he is naked, or food when he is hungry, much more ought we to do our part towards the preservation of a free government, the only basis on which the enjoyment of these - blessings can securely rest. He who breaks the fetters of slavery, and delivers a nation from thraldom, forms, in my opinion, the noblest comment on the law of love, whilst he distributes the greatest blessing which man can receive from man ; but next to that, is the merit of him who, in times like the present, watches over the edifice of public liberty, repairs its foundations, and strengthens its cement, when he beholds it hastening to decay.