|Newspaper Title||Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)|
|Trove Title||Which Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses|
WHICH WINS f
A TA.LE OF LIFE'S IJCPUL8K8.
BY ABIEL. ? $
11 A mtn who pruy'd not only vordl bat mcfcnlnri wheu he knelt, . . „ And yre»chcd ot .otlona to lie done, nol theorist to be felt.' -r-» * 'Ma, It Ifuii6n-e. time dming tli'e.'y«!tr« ii .injrgirlhooi that -Mr. Barrett preached * lermon which greatly influfenoed all my after -life, I found the note* of ft the other -day among tome papers he iiad given. me to. burn, and DUtlv from those, oartlv from memorr. I
b--e it in thii place. I leave oat many a scriptural void which he quoted, bec»u«e I am not so good a Wilder bi to dare pile those rich blocks into my un ?UWyfaforic, and because there is a Bpiritof truth pertpding his thought thst will in any cue ahiae out auid show whence it waa drawn. 1 cannot give the ' thrilling voice and earnest look of the preacher, but hie thoughts are here. I sow them; may they . grew ! ?' Wliatioevcr yc do, do it heartily.'— CoL ill 23. Men and brethren, in this world we all belong to one of two characters— we are what we ought to be, or we are what we ought not to be. I know that you will nearly nil demur to that proposition. Some of you— by lar the larger number— will assert that you ere of the first class I have mentioned ; or, if you are not exactly so, it is nobody's business but your own. Hypocrites ! you know that your consciences are for ever ringing a chime on those eight words — you are what you ought not to be. With such I do not at the present moment deal. But, while I am speaking there are a few heads quickly lifted, a few eyes glance and fail again, a few hearts tlirob a speechlcss assent to my words— ' a little fearful flock,' who acknow ledge at once, ' we are not what we ought to be ; whit we would that do we not, but what we hate that do .we.' It is to these lam speaking now. Take courage ! you are what you ought to be — you | ? aie on the path of duty ; but, gird up the loins of your mind, for you are not alt you ought to be, your duty is not finished and sealed with God's approba tion. There is a point of perfection unattained, but not unattainable ; a goal that is above the summit of the mountain of Time, beyond the river of Death, upon the plains of Eternity. Every step you take upwards is so much won, so much less to win. And, because of a law that has gone forth through the length and breadth of the land, from the mouth of the Unquestionable King, that 'unto him that hath ahall more be given,' there are lingering up on the hill strong arms to aid, sweet voices to cheer, and aure guides to lead you onward, Hen shall see you in the halo of the glory of the next world, and aay with ' Balaam, Let my last end be like his.' The pith of duty is under your feet, and, while you tread on it' you are what you ought to be : this for encourage ment and support. The path of duty is under your feet, but look that you tread it swiftly and firmlv, that you turn neither to the right hand nor to the left ; that there be in you no dawdling by the way, no coquetting with temptation : that for advice Bnd for warning. Oar question is— How best shsli we fulfil to the utmost all the requirements of duty r My friends, in the formation of the human frame there are three parts of especial and of equal import ance—the hand, the head, and the heart. In the labour of life each has its part to perform, and that work is, at the best, unfinished, in which each has not had its part. Well knew the stern old compilers of our Church Catechism what tli?y were doing when they inserted that large requirement of love to God, ' with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, end with all my strength.' Love, when used as towards God, is best interpreted by the actions of obedience ; and what is obedience but the perform ance of duty i Well, then, do your duty with all your heart, yet heart work is not enough ; with ell your mind, yet head- work is not enough; with all your strength, yet hand-work is not enough ; but with all yeur soul— with hand, head, and heart work ing, and the whole immortal life within you laid to the task. That is the way to perform the duty of life. Bat we, mankind in general, are apt to ignore these facts ; yc are apt, in our actions, to give the preference to one of these members, which we think is of moat service to us. Some among you— I suppose the greater number— are hand-labourers, and you think highest of that member who wins your dsily bread. Do not think I depreciate its value ; I do not. 41 Granted, horny hand 1 HiffhV the wort you do hpilDR-timo sowing, autumn tilth. And the red vine's lusty spilth, Were not bat for jo a. Art «id a hub, Mid all the pride Of oar wealth and state, Start from labour** honest hands,— Labour high and (treat. Sire of Plenty, friend of Mirth, Master of the willing Earth.' Do not think I look upon you with thst feeling of mingled pity and scorn that so often pervades an ad drees to toe working classes ; I do not. But, men, I tee too much reason to fear in this too great depend ence on the hand alone. I see reason to fear ' that you will forget that ' man does not live by bread alone,' and that, being breadwinners, you will be nothing but breadwinners. I see reason to fear that you will neglect that other equally . important part of you, the head ; that you will let the machinery of thought grow rusty ; that you will be content, in religion, In legation, in social affairs, with second hand ideas from the parson, the politician, the lecturer. I tell you it is a mistake. These men are not clocks from whose voices you are to leam the time of day, but they are the keys which should wind you up— strike out the true time for yourselves. I aay I see reason to fear that, if you neglect the head, you will become only good labour ing machines, not thoughtful working men. Hand work is not enough ; the head must have its share, for ' What were Labour but for Thought r' And I see reason to fear that you will forget that other equally important part of you, the heart. Having— in an ?earthly aense I readily confess you have— nothing to look to for support hut your own dependence on self, that your inclinations will not tend to promote feel . ings of gentleness and friendly support towards others, I fear. Your ruling thought is likely to be— leaning ?on none I stand alone, therefore let none lean on me. I might tell you I feared for the effects upon others of such a feeling on your part, but it is to you I am speaking and it is for you I fear. The stone that is not moved gathers moss ; it will bccome overgrown If you give it time enough. Though muscles and brain both be laboriously employed, they obtain little more than the results of a perfect mechanism if the heart be inactive. Man can educate the faculties of thought to the highest degree of talent ; he can train the sensi tive nerves ef the hand to the most delicate ingenuity ; but the heart is less under his control and more under the command of spiritual influence. I speak compa ratively when I speak thus— with a full knowledge of the fact that the absolute command of all things is in the hands of the Creator of all things ; but with, also, ' a dear recognition of that mysterious power of self government that every man has in the formation of his own character. Looking full at both facts, I say that man has less control over the feelings of his heart ' than over any other part of hira. They come there without any effort, and in spite of any resistance of his— the result of spiritual importation, Of course, spiritual influence is of two characters, good and evil, but as I am declaredly addressing those who are what thty ought to it, I have no need to dwell uoen the latter. A man whose heart is actively ruled by evil cannot come into that class ; a man whose heart is passive from any influence at all may, because he may scarcely have found out before now that he has got a heart at all. Want of knowledge is not guilt. I do not want to make you think you have nothing at all to do with your feelings ; if I had I should not have spoken those last few words. Although you are not principal actors in heart culture, neither are you passive objects. The flutterings of feeling, fellow sympathy, and conscience are so feeble that they want encouraging. The human heart is no genial spot in which the spirit of right dwells as in a native home; it flickers and falters there like a newly kindled flame ; it will need to be warily fanned and carefully nursed into steadiness by you, or it will expire, and all shall be utter darkness. It requires life at the core to make feeling, thoughtful working, men. The predominance of head over hand and heart is not so much to be dreaded in an audience like mine. The very nature' of the hand- occupation of the larger number among you prevents that. But still, I think there are tome here to whom a warning against ft may be necessary. Rapt student, there is a fire burning -behind your broad browe that is quenchless: once lit, the fire of thought can never after be covered by human hands. It is a great, good gift that fire, but like all other flames it can commit direful ravages. Do not keep your hands piling on it fresh fuel, till the-flerce useless flame ia remorselessly wasting your own life. Do not be bo proud of its bright, clear light that you wilfully shut your eye* to the mischief it is worldng. Be wary of it ; keep it down ; put it . to work : go to the mine of hidden treasures in your breast, bring thence the golden ore ef feeling and sympathy, cast them fearlessly on that fire, refine away the dross, draw forth the pure metal, and let
vour hanha.i*ould iflnto goodwocfc*. before mA, and before jaur.'F&UicTwhiek. U, la hMven. You think ' that I *pMk 'friMlJiVyoii are 'TjU»»tioniQg'— wfciat JMO it be to otittH if vM choose to «6nfine to oar' own . pleasure our, *-wn41tt-ight ? Yet-'l pray, O mighty men of thought ! |hat you may for akttls apace dwell upon this my answer- there -tan be no greater danger to any man than that his intellect should get posset (.ion of-him, and lead him at*p by step up a false life road, until he stands alone upon the precipice of Time, whence there is no returning - nothing but to taunee down, down the *bjMj into tbe duk river of l)eatn, at a place where there it no crouing. . It is not sonvPh the glorious God.gitt, intellect, that does this, for intellect is nearly always humble, but its closely fashioned resemblance, talent. The ianite power of conception and creation cornea from above, and unconsciously looks above for guidance; the edu cated power of reception and reproduction is of man, and from man gets its greatest faults, overselfeatima tion and over-aelfintercst. Yet, even intellect itself be it never so humble, to do its true work, must be tempered by labour and by feeling. Head-work is not enough if the heart and the hand be idle ; God made you men, not merely rational animals. I sigh, my friends, when 1 come to my third point, that, by itself, heart-work ia not enough. I repeat a previous assertion— that the heart is peculiarly under the dominion of spiritual influence ; and sorrow comes over me as I remember how often we mistake the nature of that influence, and call that good which is evil. It is a sufficient cause for a strong man's grief, for the heart rises up in its false beauty, like an angel of light, and leads the soul unawares into the middle of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I\-or, wcik, impulsive woman has only been deceived by her own heart when she has stepped aside from the path of right, at first hesitating, slow, and cautious ; then, by drgrceB, confiding, full of trust, swift to destruc tion—betrayed by her own heart. That the world often sees, but the world do'ci not see so clearly the families ruined because their parcnta have toi much heart to control them in childhood ; the holy purposes quenched by the indecision of too much heart ; the young, noble men who have gone hurrying down the road to ruin, because their lriends were too kind hearted to put forth authority and restrain them. ' They let them sow their wild oats, friends, sad then they had no power to prevent them gathering in the crop they had sown. True, 'Thought can never do the work of love.' but do you think, therefore, that love can do the work of thought; Never ; as long as mankind is in existence, the head must revise the dictates of the heart, and the hand execute the joint command of both, if the work is to be perfect, Heart work ia not enough, for Heaven made man something more than the creature of uneovemed impulses. Our single example, Cubist, thus combined the qualities on which I have been dwelling. Clear, con ciie thought in every word he spoke, deliberate and unflagging action in every turn ofhis life, and earnest, heart-deep sympathy in all his dealings with his fellow men. In that last prayer, which Christians so much and so justly value, there is to be remarked not only the holiness and the Bweet affection of the man — for Chriat, in that moment, was man and almost man alone— but there is to be remarked in almost every expression the pathetic struggle for utterance of bewildered and exhausted thought. It is in the short abrupt exclamations, the frequent reiteration, the affectionate carefulness of the definition of those for whom the prayer was made, and above all that quick forward glance, ' nor for these alone but also for those which shall believe in me through their word.' I think it no irreverence to say I believe the last anguish of our Redeemer was heightened by the weariness of an overburthened brain. To exemplify his hand-labour I might point to a long list of miracles ; but this is enough, that, until his baptism by John, he was known only as the son of Joseph the carpenter, and was subject to his parents. The chil dren of the Jews were not, in those days, subject to their parents in idleness. Jesus with little children nestling in his bosom, Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and at the tomb of Lazarus, and Jesus with the beloved John leaning upon his breast, is the type of the man of true feeling. He was a perfect man, and ([ say it carefully) otherwise than he was he could not have been a perfect man. We, who follow in his footsteps, can only do bo by cultivating in dne proportion alike the Head, the Hand, and the Heart. Men of Action — act. Is your hand subtle, and your strength great r— use them. But do not let them abuse powers of equally vital importance. Feel ; quicken your hearts to emotions, think your emotions into opinions that shall govern your actions, and be what God meant you to be— Men ! Men of thought — think. But do not make thought the sole object of thought. Do not turn away from sin and from wretchedness. The world is verv wicked aud very miserable — do not you ignore that. Yours is great power, you are God-ordained and God endowed physicians and the world is your patient. Look it in the face, question it ; you mutt to find its ailments. Feel for it, plan for it, act for it, and if you can only succeed in closing one single wound, ia removing one small infirmity, or even if you have done your unsuccessful best, rest in peace. * You die what God meant you to be — Men. Men of feeling — feel. But if you do nothing more you only receive into your own bosom the viper that has already stung your neighbours. The heart is the root of all good as well as the root of all evil ; see you that the root is good; so, then, shall be the tree and so the fruit. Feel, but feel rightly ; let your feelings grow to thoughts and your thoughts to deeds, and by your works shall you be known. You shall be what God meant you to be — Men. My friends, tbe earthly strength of the Christian lies in the union of the rightly applied powers of the Head, Hand, and Heaet. More deeply even than the sermon was impressed upon my memory waa a conversation that occurred on our homeward walk on the day of its delivery. Miss Lysthor had preferred a quiet walk with us to the rattle and dust made by her father's carriage, aud now walked with Henry a little in advance, while I was at my favourite post ov Mr. Barrett's side. We were all more evidently thoughtful than usual, and the mutual silence was so thorough that I made several efforts before I succeeded in my purpose of breaking it. At last I ssid, ' I was very glad, father to hear such a subject chosen for your sermon to-day.' I appeared to have broken the current of his meditations by my voice without having clearly impressed my thoughts on his mind, fer he only looked ? enquiringly at me, aa if unaware that I had said anything requiring an answer, until I repeated my observation. . Then he said sadly, 'lam not at all sure, Dottums : it seems to me that my mind is so given to individualization, and my heart so filled with the thought of those who in any way become dear to me, that I am, by those two falings, completely unfitted for the pulpit.' ' Failings !' I exclaimed ' the power of intensify ing the meaning of a general addresB so that it strikes appropriately into every soul, and the heart that, loving, cannot love weakly,— these failings, if they are, I will not pray for virtues any longer.' ' You misapprehend me, Ieola, aud give your own colour to the* qualities I was deprecating. By the term ' individualization ' I meant that I am no sooner in the pulpit than I find myself in a kind of mental rapport with one particular mind, addressing it, con ceiving its arguments, contesting and refuting them. I forget that a congregation is listening, and for the time, have interest in none but that one of the many souls around me. And the worst is, that I am more apt than I like to feel that particular interest in the memberB of my own family and my own immediate friends, who should at such times be the last in my thoughts, seeing how many convenient opportunities I have of privately influencing them.' 'I don't say anything against your last remark, father, I suppose it is true that you aught not to think of us then, though for all that, I am very glad that you do so ; but I feel quite sure that when you are aiming full at one heart you have a great probability to strike more. Besides, isn't it better to have one true than to fire a general shot which may hit nothing r' Mr. Barrett made no answer to this, but sunk again into a reverie. There was nothing I had learned to dread from him so much as this present mood. _ It was one very common to him ; when once fairly into it, he would for days together, in a most persevering and tenacious manner, turn light into darkness and hope into despair. I had been sadly remarking that such fits grew more frequently upon him, and had sought earnestly to prevent them. So doing, I had once or twice successfully pitted Henry's thorough practicalness against the predisposition to dreaminess which he evinced, and I -tried it now. Observing that Henry and his companion had been listening to our conversation, I called on them for their opinions. They both dropped back, and Henry offered nis arm to me at the foot of a steep hill before he answered. Turning then toMr. Barrett, ' I think you are not quite right, John. Whatever your habit of address is, it is a habit which has grown upon you uncon sciously, and is now become part of your character. Unless in a point radically wrong, it is a fancy of mine that any attempt to change a fixed habit, even only of addrbss or manner, does more material harm than good, shaking the firmness that grows from un changeableness, and causing weakness and vacillation,
That .this is your confirmed manner I am sure. I ncm heard you speak of it Jbtfore, fautainoe I was a littlt lsd I have noticed it. - You appear to dtridft yovr. sermon into so many home-driven personal bddrMSti. I thought you aid it Intentionally : My. wav l believe it ia eucceeaful.-' ;-f V Why, my dear boy, yojimay be tight, but ? *' Why, my dear brother, of course I am right, IU1 tell you what I saw this morning, John. Toiling up this hill were twp jaded down-country teuu. What struck me was tne different /management ef their driven. The first was incessantly cracking Us whip, hallooing, and making a prodigious noise ; but somehow, the poor beasts seemed used to it, and took not the least notice. The hill is steep, and so, in spite of all his efforts, they Boon dropped behind. T'le other fellow didn't shout near so loudly as his mate, and his whip made much less noise ; he just gave a light cut now to one and again to janother of his horses, and that spirited them up in turns. That's what you do, John ; you cut only one here and there perhaps, but it wakens them, and they pull up a great many others. It ia far better than vigorously thrashing the air.' Mr. Barrett smiled at his brother's argument, and, becoming more cheerful, soon led the way into a general argument on the particular effects of this present sermon. 'I think some parts of it were a little too hard.' said Miss Lysthor. ' And I too,' Henry added. _ I laughed, having a tittle knowledge of their oppo site characters. 'I wonder whether you two could, by any possibility, have hit upon the same point with which to find fault,' 'I don't believe it,' Henry said, with uncourtfeous emphasis. ' Do you think it is so utterly impossible for an agreement of opinion to be between yourself and me ?' Olave pettishly demanded. ' Wc have absolutely opposite natures,' Henry ex plained in a tone of apology; yet the explanation had a greater sense of rudenesa than the observation that occasioned it. A woman's eyes are quick to read a woman's heart. I looked at Olave, and though she smiled aud made some laughing answer, she was be trayed to me. Henry's careless words were as daggers to her, for she worshipped in him all that with which he so emphatically declared she had no kindred. ' Well,' ] interrupted, ' don't quarrel, anyway. Fray, Mr. Henry Barrett, what poiut in my father's sermon are you disposed to question ?' 'I think, John,' '—turning to his brother — *' I think you laid too much stiess on the uselessness of hand labour by itself. It may do such a great deal, brother. A man may have but a poor, weak kind of a heart that he can't, by any means, puff up to a flame as big as [a rushlight, and, mentally speaking, he may have no head at all ; and yet he mBy set about using his hands with a will, and make the old world feel the power of his work, and God above look down upon it with approbation also,' ' Undeniably : and yet, Henry, I think my words touched a sore in your character for all that. In speaking tbe passage you object to I felt that I was in direct communication with your mind, and it appears I was right. People always object to things that seem true, and yet which they do not want to believe ; they try to Conquer them, rather than by them be conquered.' ' Right, John, in my case. I am a plain, straight forward fellow, ready enough to put my shoulder to any wheel that offers ; but, for the lire of me, unable to get up anything in the least like feeling. I hate scenes ; tears always seem to me so much puerile silliness, and emotions so much ragged rant: I wonder why people can't speak their minds without ringing its changes on their voices and without gesticulating, and I turn away from the whole exhibition with dis gust. As for brains, you know as well as I do my self that it took me twelve months to learn the alphabet, and at the end of that time I was per petually confounding the identity of b and d. For my part, I am vastly inclined to look upon both heart and bead as two impertinent stumbling-blocks that— that— ' 'That, if you kept your eyes reasonably open, might have been stepping stones,' I suggested, by way of helping to regain his breath. ' Ah,' he retorted, impatiently ; ' you, of course, think all that John says pure goBpel.' ' Filial obedience,' I remarked. 'Filial fiddlesticks !' he exclaimed impetuously ; . to which I replied bv a guarded inquiry as to whether temper might be clashed among the ragged emotions. * i Mr. Barrett laughingly interfered, ' Well, well, Harry, I have evidently made some kind of an im pression upon you. and Dottums here is bent upon deepening it. However, take my advice, ana avoia an open quarrel.' ' I quarrel with Henry, father !' ' I enter into a dispute with a girl, John!' ' Well, well ; Miss Lysthor, may I ask your objec tion f I think you said you had one.' ' Yes ; and as Henry supposed, it is (dmost oppo site to his. Mr. Barrett, one would tuink, from your language to-day, that you undervalued mental ac quirements.' Her beautiful face flushed, and she looked up with flashing eyes and parted lips, eager to combat the ex pected answer. I could not resist glanaing to see how Henry took in her lovely attitude, and his eyes were steadily fixed upon— myself. I turned away with a little stamp of impatience. Mr. Barrett smiled at her vehemence. 'No, not undervalue ; but neither do I overvalue them, Miss Lysthor. They seem to me like the profuse blossom and wealthy foliage of a lovely fruit tree, that yet bears sour and imperfect fruit. It wants pruning and checking.' Olave pouted. ' Poetically answered, but similes always silence, without convincing me. Another question, Mr. Barrett. Why may not I use for my own amusement powers that I have acquired myself : What claim CBn others have to the results of my own unaBBisted endeavours ?' ' Your unassisted endeavours ! Who gave you the power and the will to acquire, without which you might have been an idiot 5 Yourself?' Olave blushed slightly. ' Of course, Mr. Barrett I did not mean to deny God's kindness; but what obligation it places me under, except that of thank fulness, I cannot see.' , 'Nor What do you think of this ? ' Freely ye have received, freely give.' Depend upon it, MIsb Lysthor, there is a law of God and Nature, which is Bimply God'js system of earth-govemment, that re quires impartation as the price of acquisition.' ' How i' I inquired, becoming interested in hiB last remark. ' You will see it in force in all purely natural ob jects. The plant acquires the additional grace of blossom and pays back to the earth its ripened seed ; the river is swollen by additional supplies, and, con sequently pours into the sea a heavier burden ; the bird forms for itself, by itt unauitted endeavours^ a cozy nest, and directly it repays the world by bring ing forth more of its kind.' ' He stopped. 'Well, Sir,' said Olave, without raising her head. ' Well, Miss Lysthor, I miehtmultiplv instances.' ' Oh, there is no need!' slie exclaimed depreca tingly; 'I suppose I must acknowledge myself conquered, but —and she tossed her head to hide how really embarrassed she was. ' 'A man convinced against his will,' ' I hinted. ''Is of the same opinion still.' Exactly. I am not willingly convinced, and I am not a convert to - the opinions of this morning's discourse,' ehe said jauntily. Mr. Barrett did not answer, but, quietly drawing me back to our former position in the rear, he inquired, ' And is my little Isola a convert?' ' Yes, father ; I have often felt how one overbear, ing faculty could master and enslave the whole life, But I am a little sorry for the poor heart.' I ventured, after a moment's silence. ' Aye,' he answered with a smile, ' I thought you would be.' ' It is pleasant to follow its dictates, I think,' I added. ' Yes, but dangerous. Isola, you must never let your heart run away with you.' 'Ns, no,' I replied laughingly, but in a lower tone. ' not if I can help it ; for that moment came ! to me the thought of my visionary mother, and I know that my heart alone would guide me Bhould I meet with her. We stood at our own gate, and Mr. Barrett and I both pressed Olave to come in and stav dinner. Henry walked on up the path. With a wild undis guised glance after him she refused and hutried homeward. The ages of the Irish prelates are beginning to ex cite a lively interest in ecclesiastical circles. Accord ingly the Irith Eccletiattical Gazette has published them. They are as follows : — Armagh, 88 ; Dublin, 74 ; Cashel, 7 S ; Killaioe, 77 ; Meath, 76 ; Limerick, 76 ; luam, €9 ; Deny, 68 ; Ossory, 67 ; Kilmere, 60 ; Down, 62 ; Cork, 47, A large meeting of upwards of a thousand persons was held on Tuesday, July 23rd, at the Quaker* street Schools, Spltalfields, to bid farewell to a party of seventy-three emigrants who left on Thursday for Queensland, Australia.