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induces us to hope that some friend will give the public the history of his remarkable career, as the world is the better for knowing the heroic struggles and perseverance of such men.
The strain upon the mental power and nervous susceptibility of Miller had been very great for several years : and now with the constantly recurring claims of the editorial columns, an extensive correspondence, and much scientific and literary work, the labour is by no means lessened. Notwithstanding his attachment to the facts of science, and that he possessed deep religious faith, his mind never quite freed itself from the impression of the supernatural imbibed at his mother's knee and in the society of his early youth, when he was subject to visions of unearthly things, and to dreams which made a deep impression upon his susceptible mind. At times he was of a gloomy and suspicious temperament, which weighed down his spirits; and tne retiring modesty of his character, which led him to prefer the world of thought and phantasy to that of every-day bustle, and the companionship of living men, gave additional facilities for the development of a sombre melancholy and timidity which induced him to see murderers or burglars in every shadow, and to hear whispered warnings in every breeze. His health had long been weak; indeed, his frame had never shaken off the effects of working, when a mason, for some hours in water up to his middle; or of the dust particles of stone, which had entered his lungs, producing masons' diseases of a serious character : yet his will was one of iron. He continued to work on and on ; if his mind could not work by day it should work at night, and so hour after hour he continued plodding at his last book, " The Testimony of the Rocks," which, although it may not meet all the difficulties of the case, was an honest and earnest attempt to show how the Geologic and Mosaic records of the creation could be reconciled ; and it is some alleviation of a great loss to know that his final efforts were spent in defence of the truth.
The closing scene of his life is a warning, not that too much work should be thrown upon the brain, but that the mind should be maintained in due harmony with the body. It may he argued that the mind is superior to the physical framework, and the latter must do its bidding. If it be so, the physical organs have at least the power to cease their functions, and how, then, is the boasted superiority of the mind to make itself felt? God's laws are infallible, and the man who allows his spirit to dwell too much in ideality, who sleeps when he should be awake, ard works when nature calls for rest, eating heavily when the body is unfit to assimilate food, is sure, sooner or later, to be called upon to pay the penalty ; and however we may mourn at the sudden extinguishment, so far as this world is concerned, of a noble spirit, we think we can discern in Hugh Miller's life causes which gradually led up to the terrible result which rendered it possible for the medical men to certify (December 26th, 1856), " that the cause of death was a pistol shot inflicted by his own hand," and that “the act was suicidal, under the impulse of insanity.”
Sabbath Meditations. V.-EXCESS IS EVIL. VAIN GLORY IS NO GLORY. " It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.”—Prov. xxv. 27. It is a true proverb, if applied to creature-comforis : Omne nimium vertitur in vitium ; too much of one thing is good for nothing. The excess even of a good and lawful thing is evil and unlawful. Honey is very sweet and comfortable, but too much honey causeth ill humours in the body, breedeth choler, and bringeth diseases. Fragrant flowers are sweet to smell to, and refresh the brain if used moderately, but too much smelling of them causeth the headache, as experience testifieth. How delightful is light to our eyes ! But too much staring into the sunbeams is the dazzling of the eyes, if not the blinding of them. We may take of the good creatures of God, upon a knife's point, as it were, or a spoonful at a time: I mean, a stinted, moderate quantity, in due measure. If we fall a-grasping with both hands, or drink down deep draughts at once, we may easily surfeit unto death. The rule of philosophy holds true: vehemens sensibile ladit sensorium. Moderate sounds, such aj in music, may much affect the ears with singular pleasantness, but vehement sounds, as your ringing of bells near hand, or beating of drums, or blowing of trumpets, benumbs the hearing. Temperate joys and delights are ever best, least hurtful, and most contentful and comfortable to our spirits; whereas immoderateness mars all pleasures and delights, though never so pleasant and delightful in themselves.
Now, to make Solomon's application according to this text, let it be observed that the middle sort of honour and glory here upon earth is the safest and surest. He that is climbing higher, and aspiring after more and greater eminency, loseth often that which he hath, by striving to have that which he would have and cannot obtain, as Solomon speaketh: “ For men to search their own glory is not glory.” To seek and search after glory is the only way to lose it. The force of the sentence is laid upon the word om searching, when a man will eagerly search, seek and strive after more and more honour and glory, not being satisfied with his degree or place that God hath allotted him, he loseth his true glory in the hearts of those that are wise and able to discern and discover his ambition. The simile runs perfectly upon both legs, and it is not a lame or halting comparison; as sweet honey, if too much of it be eaten, turns its sweetness into bitterness in the belly; so honour and glory much sought after, turns but to disgrace or dishonour in the end. And as honey is not fit food for a gluttonous person, so honour or glory is not fit for an ambitious person. That man, of all men, is not worthy of glory, that seeks to glorify himself. Man must not get honour as he gets a wife, by wooing ; but as the wife gets a husband, by being wooed. True glory must come unsought for and unlooked for. Gloria crocodilus, honour is like the crocodile in the river Nilus in Egypt, which pursues only those that fly from him, and Alieth from those that pursue after him. Quo minus gloriam petebat, hoc eam magis assequebatur; the less he sought for honour, the more he found it. It were to be wished that it might be written as an unalterable law upon the gates of all the courts of states and princes, according to this saying of Solomon: Let no man have honour that seeks it. Certainly it is an unglorious thing to search glory, and a vain-glorious mind is the character of a rain man. The most aspiring spirits that lay deep designs for the highest honours in the world, are indeed the most abject, base, vile, unworthy, and dishonourable persons in the sight of God and all good men, and their honour found by their own seeking shall be lost, and not be long enjoyed. On the contrary, that honour is true honour and most lasting which God casteth upon a person that is an humble despiser of earthly glory; and he finds true and real glory, that finds it though he never sought after it.
VI.-LABOUR AFTER PERFECTION. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matthew vi, 10. Is this a possible thing, that men on earth should be and do as angels in heaven? "No, sure; yet, notwithstanding, we must pray this prayer whilst we are on earth ; yea, it ought to be both our prayer and our endeavour, in our earthly weakness, to attain to heavenly perfection; and before we die, to attain to the same degree which shall be at the resurrection of the dead. Phil. iii. 11. It is the nobleness and divine height of a Christian spirit to strive after eternal perfections in this temporal imperfection; and it is the excellency of an excellent spirit to seek for that infinite ercellency above, even while we live in this finite world below. The heroic heart of a holy man is not daunted to grapple with appearing impossibililies.
VII.-MAN'S VANITY. “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”—Psalm xxxix. 5. Not to speak of the vanity of other creatures, how vain a vanity is man himself, even the highest kings and emperors in their greatest state, pomp, and glory. When scholars of largest reading have studied most, dived deepest, and searched farthest into the passages of human affairs, piercing through the res gestas of all nations in the world, from the first day of the creation to this present moment, they must needs confe:s and lament at last the exceeding vanity of man. For what is the sum of all the vast volume of history and chronology but a continual testimony of man's vanity? The records of all kingdoms on earth are but large notes or great commentaries upon this point. When one monarch is down, another is up again; when one king is off, another is on again; when one winneth, another loseth; when one goes to the tomb, another comes out of the womb into his room. All things wheel about from one point of vanity to another, in much variety, with a certain uncertainty, and with a constant inconstancy. Well may the world be pictured as a round globe. Cast it which way you will, and it will run round. It hath been counted a matter of heresy in philosophy to hold the earth movable; but upon enquiry we shall find that this lower globe hath walked about as well as the spheres of heaven. Man and all that is about him is in a swimming motion, and the best music man can make is but a noise of vanity and a din of mutability. Extract the quintescence of all the greatest matters of mankind, and you shall see them presently dissolved into a sinoke or into the spirit of vanity. The changes of nations and kingdoms, the secret suspicions of friends, the conspiracies of commonwealths, the false impeachments of one against another, the treasons, the murders, the massacres, the bloody wars that have been, and the certain unavoidable death of all men, may mind us of the mutabilities of man.
Alas! what a ridiculous, or rather what a piteous, hurleyburley hath ever been up and down in the world amongst all the sons of men ! Here is matter enough for Democritus's laughter and Heraclitus's tears. If we look upon man not only in his worst condition, but in his best estate, in his full strength, in his greatest wealth, in his highest prosperity, we shall find him stuffed full and puffed up with all manner of vanity. By experience it may be made good, upon sufficient proof and trial, that (1)“Every man" (2) " in his best estate" (3) "is vanity,” yea, (4) “ altogether vanity.” Not only vain, in the concrete ; but vanity, in the abstract. Even vanity itself cannot be more vain than vain man is.
VII.-HEAVEN IN HAND. “Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." —Hebrews x. 34. THE English hath made a transposition of the words without need. In the original it runs most excellently thus: γιγνώσκοντες έχειν εν
aurois, knowing that ye have in yourselves, with a preposition, as some copies read (cy aurois), or without a preposition, as other exemplaries have it, only in the dative case (saurois), to yourselves, or for yourselves. However, the verb ëxelv is the present tense, and not the future
, both in Greek and English, which palpably importeth a present right and title, yea, a kind of present possession in hand already, and not only an estate to come hereafter without present fruition. Saints have a heaven in their souls, and are here in this life possessed of eternal life. First, by prory. Christ our Head, who is our Trustee, hath entered upon actual possession in our stead and in our behalf. Heb. vi. 20 ; John xiv. 2, 3. Secondly, by faith we are as certainly assured of it as if we were reigning there already, believing not only the reality of the thing itself (Heb. xi. 1), but our particular and personal interest therein. 2 Tim. iv. 8. Thirdly, by grace we have a taste of glory, and grace in us is the firstfruits of glory in heaven. Glory is the consummation of grace, and grace the embryo of glory. Rom. viii. 23. Lastly, the Spirit is the earnest-penny, in part of payment. 2 Cor. i. 22; v. 5 ; Eph. i. 14._We have a good piece of our reward before all our work be done. Thus whilst we are on earth we are in the suburbs of heaven, and as soon as we are passed from darkness to light we are entered into the very
borders of the land of promise. Then we may be sure enough of our future inheritance. If we could not be sure of heaven before death, we should have no more comfort from the thoughts of heaven than from this world and the things of this world. And if we could be no more certain of eternal life than of this temporal life, who would part with a present enjoyment for future uncertainty? Who would change a bird in the hand for two birds in the bush ? But this is all the comfort that a believer hath, that though he cannot be sure of the comforts of this world, yet he is sure and certain of the comforts of another worll; he knows there is an inheritance above, and that this inheritance is his own. 2 Tim. i. 12; Job xix. 25—27. This one thing made those Hebrews so joyful in suffering the spoiling of their goods, because they knew that they had in themselves a better and an enduring substance in heaven, as this text tells us.
The Teaching of Nature. A MONG the disciples of Hillel, the wise teacher of the sons of Israel,
was one named Saboth, to whom every work was a great trouble, and who gave himself up to idleness and sloth. Hillel was grieve thereat for the youth, and resolved to cure him of his fault.
To this end he took him out to the valley of Hinnom, by Jerusalem. There was a standing pool full of snakes and vermin, and covered with muddy weeds. When they reached this place, Hillel put down his staff, and said, “Let us rest here from our way.”
The youth was surprised, and said, “How, master, near this foul bog? Dost thou not perceive what poisonous vapours it exhales ?”
Thou art right, my son,” answered the master: “this bog is like the soul of a slothful man. Who would wish to be near it?”
Then Hillel took the youth to a waste field, producing nothing but thistles and thorns, which choked the corn and the salutary herbs. Now, Hillel leaned on his staff, and said, “ Behold this field has good soil to produce all that is useful and pleasant, but it is forgotten and neglected, therefore it brings forth thistles, and thorns, and poisonous weeds, beneath which lurk toads and serpents. A little while ago thon didst see the soul; now behold the life of an idle man.”
Then Saboth was full of shame and repentance, and said, “ Master, why leadest thou me to these lonely and dreary spots ? They are the reproachful picture of my soul and life.”
Hillel answered, and said, “ Thou wouldst not believe my words. therefore I tried whether the voice of Nature would penetrate to thy heart.”
Saboth pressed his master's hand, and said, “Thy endeavours shall not be in vain; thou wilt see that a new life has begun within me."
And after this day Saboth became an active youth. Then Hillel took him into a fertile valley, by the side of a clear brook, which flowed meandering between fruitful trees, flowery meadows and shady shrubberies.
“See here,” said the old man to the rejoicing youth," the picture of thy new, industrious life. Nature, which warned thee, will now reward thee. Her beauty and grace can only give joy to him who sees in her life a picture of his own.”
F. A. KRUMMACHER.