can bear." Are there any here who would voluntarily
give themselves up to become the personification of anger
and revenge ? or who would dedicate themselves in all
coming time to be the type of avarice ? And yet when-
ever we give way to these passions, we become their
infernal deformities, and if we do it habitually, we fash-
ion ourselves into their deformity. We turn away with
disgust from the loathsome reptiles that crawl forth from
the slime, and love the foul places of the earth ; but they
are the correspondents and forms of low sensual affec-
tions, and when we give way to them, we transform our-
selves into their likeness. We are all actors in the
great drama of life, and it is to many a terrible tragedy,
for we not only act our part, but we become it. We
cannot throw off the mask when it is ended. If we
choose an evil part we are henceforth that evil. All its
deformities are wrought into us â– its ugly lineaments are
SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. 163
trnccd In every line and feature of the face, and its in-
most soul flames forth in every expression, and starts in
every motion. The disguises we assumed and loved to
personate have become realities, and the whole being is
moulded into the dominant love. This is a penalty
which we think little of, but which we cannot escape,
for it inheres in the very nature and conditions of life.
It matters not whether we play our part in public or
private, there is no hiding-place where we can escape
from ourselves. If we can conceal our deformities from
others by fair pretence, we often think we have avoided
the most serious consequences of evil, but that is only a
small item in the terrible catalogue. If it were possible
that we could hide from the eye of omniscience itself, we
should still be the evil we loved, and its repulsive and
loathsome life would be embodied in every feature and mo-
tion. How repulsive, we may form some conception from
monstrous animal and insect forms ; for as all that is good
and beautiful in the world is a correspondent of all that
is good and beautiful in man, so his evils and falses are
represented in all that is wild, fierce, poisonous, and
destructive. And whenever we suffer any evil to become
our dominant love, its representation, however loathsome
it may be to the natural sight, is really our type of
beauty, and we seek on all occasions to transform our-
selves into it. To my mind there is no consequence of
evil so terrible as this. The fabled furies armed with
a whip of scorpions, pursuing the guilty soul, is nothing,
to becoming the embodiment of the fury. To know that
wo have changed the glorious beauty and sweetness
of heaven into infernal deformity â€” that we have be-
164 SPIRITUAL BEAUTY.
come it, and that we must for ever be the embodiment
and personification of that lust we have loved and
practised here â€” this is the hell whose terrors are the
But I gladly turn away from these fearful conse-
quences of loving and practising evil, to those sublime
and beautiful results which flow from the operation of
the same law, from loving and living the good and the
true. It is often said that virtue is its own reward, and
it is, in the same sense that vice is its own punishment,
and a much greater reward than the mere pleasure that
flows from its exercise, or the approbation it secures
from all the good. By the love of goodness we become
the embodiment of it. The virtues and afi*ections are
as various and as numerous as human souls, and what-
ever aff'ection predominates, the soul becomes the form
and type of that aff'ection. It is modified by the rela-
tive strength of the other afi*ections, so that there are
no two afiections exactly alike, as there are no two faces.
Yet the dominant love gives tone and character to all
the others, and appears in them as there are features
and expressions common to families and nations. We
have ofi'ered to us then this reward for living the life
of goodness. We shall become more and more fully
and perfectly the form of that good we love and do.
Every feature of the face will be moulded into its beau-
ty ; every expression will shine with its afi*ection. It
will sparkle and glow in the eyes ; it will play in every
varying form about the lips ; it will modulate and give
the sweetness of heavenly harmony to every tone ; it will
pervade every limb and organ, and sway every motion
SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. 165
to gracefulness, and give proportion, symmetry, and
angelic beauty to the whole form. Go where we will,
on earth, in the world of spirits, in heaven or in hell,
we shall be the embodiment and type of that affection,
and all its winning graces and attractive loveliness will
play through us and flow from us. As light from the
sun, as fragrance from the flower, so will the sphere of
our love flow from us and communicate itself to others,
and draw all of a concordant affection toward us, and
bind them to us by the indissoluble bonds of attractive
We see this effect of a life of goodness and truth
even here. There are faces that we love to look upon,
though wasted by sickness and wrinkled with age. The
splendour of a beautiful soul shines through the crumb-
ling walls of the body, and the sphere of innocence and
tried virtue flows forth as delicious fragrance from the
heart. Honesty and manly flrmness, unswerving integ-
rity, bright honour or tender pity, loving trustfulness,
delicate sympathy, white innocence in manifold forms
and graces, shine through the walls of clay, and blend
in wondrous beauty in the material face and form. But
the most that we can see, is but little compared with
what really exists within. When these impediments
are removed, our affections will shine forth in their true
form and brightness. '' Such as are principled in mu-
tual love continually advance in heaven toward the
morning of youth, and the more thousands of years
they live, the more nearly they attain to a joyous and
delightful spring, and so on to eternity with fresh incre-
ments of blessedness, according to their progress and
166 SPIRITUAL BEAUTY.
advancement in mutual love, charity, and faith, until
thej acquire a beauty surpassing all description. For
it is the nature of goodness and charity to form and
establish their own image in such persons, causing the
delight and loveliness of charity to be expressed in
every feature of the face, so that such persons become
the forms of charity itself. Such is the living form of
charity as beheld in heaven, at once portrayed by and
portraying charity, and that in a manner so expressive,
that the whole angel, more particularly as to the coun-
tenance, appears and is perceived as charity itself. This
form of exquisite beauty affects the inmost life of the
mind of him who beholds it with charity ; and by the
beauty of that form the truths of faith are imaged
forth, and thereby rendered perceptible. Those who
have lived in faith towards the Lord, that is in faith
grounded in charity, become such forms of beauty in
another life ; all the angels are such forms with infinite
variety, and of these heaven is composed."
Is this the state upon which our friends who have
already gone before us have entered â€” our children, our
wives, and husbands, and parents ? Is this the state we
are striving to lay the foundation of and to form in our-
selves and children here? We are all striving to get
something. We hasten from morning till night. We
level the hills, fill the valleys, and bridge the ocean,
and embowel the earth, to get something. We explore
nature, we grasp on all sides, we plant, and build, and
reap, to get houses and lands and gold ; we study by
night and by day, and plot and counterplot that we may
attain social and political station. Why not strive to
DO GOOD. 167
he something ? We assume virtues for an end, and Vy-lij
not make it our end to be the virtue ? Then our come-
liness will not be the glorious beauty of the fading
flower. Then our treasures will not be on earth but in
heaven. We shall be our own treasures, and carry our
own riches with us. This is the highest wisdom, it is
the only wisdom. This is the sure and highest reward
of goodness. For the more fully we become the forms
of the goodness and truth of heaven, the more fully and
orderly and blessed will be our reception of the Divine
Life ; the more beautiful we shall become ourselves, the
more we shall communicate to others, and thus again
the more we shall receive. Who, in view of such con-
sequences, will not make his life the prayer, " Let the
beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."
Do good ! do good ! there's ever a way,
A way where there's ever a will ;
Don't wait till to-morrow, but do it to-day,
And to-day when the morrow comes still.
If you've money, you're armed, and can find work enough
In every street, alley, and lane,
If you've bread, cast it off, and the waters, though rough,
Will be sure and return it again.
Then do good, do good, there's ever a way,
A way where there's ever a will ;
Don't wait till to-morrow, but do it to-day.
And to-aay, when the morrow comes, still.
168 OUR DAILY LIFE.
If you've on.y old clothes, an old bonnet or hat,
A kind word, or a smile true and soft,
In the name of a brother confer it, and that
Shall be counted as gold up aloft.
God careth for all, and his glorious sun
Shines alike on the rich and the poor ;
Be thou like Him, and bless every one,
And thou'lt be rewarded, sure.
Then do good, do good, there's ever a way,
A way where there's ever a will ;
Don't wait till to-morrow, but do it to-day.
And to-day, when the morrow comes, still.
OUR DAILY LIFE.
The idea is very general, that the ordinary duties of
life are not favourable to the highest developments of
character ; and we often hear it said, how much we might
learn, and how much good we might do, if we only had
the leisure. All our time is wasted in supplying the
ever-recurring wants of the body; those low animal
wants, the eating and drinking and clothing. We ac-
complish nothing. It is like pouring water into the sand.
The round of yesterday is the round of to-day, and will
be the round of to-morrow ; and thus life passes ; and,
when the month or the year has completed its circle, we
are just where we commenced ; we have nothing to show
for all our toil and care. Who has not felt so ? and who
has not, at some time, envied those who seem to have
the leisure to cultivate their minds â€” to help forward
OUR DAILY LIFE. 169
plans of public and general interest? Who has not
wished that they could be Howards, or Frys, that they
might devote their lives to the welfare of their fellows ?
And then again, there is a deep-seated feeling that
the time, strength, and thought we devote to these tem-
poral things is so much abstracted from the spiritual and
eternal ; and thus there is a perpetual conflict between
what we must do or starve, and w^hat we think we ought
to do ; or, in common phrase, between the world and
God. The consequence is, we perform the greater part
of our duties as slaves ; they are task-work imposed
upon us by the hardest of task-masters, necessity ; and,
what is still worse, we divest ourselves of the very
strength which we need â€” motives of high ends ; we put
off our heavenly armour, throw away our weapons of
heavenly temper, and descend naked and nerveless into
the conflict with low cares, strong necessities, animal
wants, and desires.
This feeling of incompatibility between higher and
lower duties, has no doubt led thousands to leave the
common duties of life, and give themselves up to seclu-
sion, to contemplation, and prayer. But all these mis-
takes are founded in false notions of religion, of the real
nature of natural duties, and the designs of Infinite
Wisdom in making them necessities.
We are planted amidst these cares, as the seed is
planted in the ground ; and for the same reason, that we
may come in contact with, and gain access to, the very
materials necessary for our growth. These cares, these
common duties and employments, are the very stuff out
of which the web of life is woven \ and the analogy be-
170 OUR DAILY LIFE.
tween the growth of the seed and our own development
is most perfect.
Our life is rooted in natural things ; not to lie dead
and buried beneath them, but to grow up out of them,
and to be rendered stable and abiding by them. The
seed cannot grow, unless it is planted ; it will dry up or
decay ; neither can goodness, unless it is ultimated in
act. One may weep over fictitious woes, and indulge in
idle fancies of what they would do, if they were not
bound down to the earth by burdens and cares. But
there is no goodness in such thoughts and visions ; they
never bear any fruit.
I acknowledge that we enslave ourselves unnecessarily.
Vanity, and avarice, and pride, and ambition, and envy
impose burdens upon us, and make slaves of us ; rob us
of our strength, our time, and our golden opportunities.
But, after making all due allowances for these, the
principle remains the same.
If the Creator, in his wisdom, had seen fit. He might
have so formed us that we should need no clothing, and
no food, and no habitation ; but, in his wisdom, He has so
formed us, and placed us in such circumstances, that we
need all of these ; and our highest duties, and noblest
life, grow out of these very necessities. They were not
inflicted upon us as a curse, or a punishment ; but they
were made conditions of our being, that they might be-
come the instruments of a higher life. There is nothing
in them incompatible with the highest culture, and the
loftiest attainments in spiritual life. Every natural use
IS designed to be the basis of a spiritual use which is to
be rooted in it, and grow out of it ; and the highest
OUR DAILY LIFE. 171
wisdom consists in changing these natural things into
spiritual ; in making our common duties, our etery-day
employments, those which grow out of the wants of the
body, the life of the family, the church, and society, of
friendship, and the relations of the individual to com-
munities, and nations, the embodiment of heavenly affec-
tions. We must anoint them with the precious ointment
of disinterested love ; that will preserve them from decay,
inaugurate them into new life, and give to that which is
fleeting as shadows, and which seems born only for the
present, something of permanence and immortalit}^.
The ancient chemists searched long for the philoso
pher's stone, whose magic power "would change the baser
metals into gold, and for an elixir of life, which would
arrest the progress of decay and make man immortal.
They searched long and laboriously for it ; they explored
the secrets of nature, decomposed and compounded her
elements, and sought far and near for that which lay
This unselfish love is the power which transmutes
everything into gold, and distils from the lowliest uses
the very elixir of life.
Let us not pass this by as a mere figure of speech, for
it is a great truth, and it has an intimate bearing upon the
happiness and highest well-being of all. The most of
our time is necessarily occupied with duties which seem
temporary and unrelated to our highest wants and aspira-
tions. If we could see that they are the very materials
out of which the noblest and truest life is built up, we
should all bo more contented with our lot, and should
use the opportunities we have to better advantage. We
172 OUR DAILY LIFE.
are all too prone to overlook or undervalue the means
we have, and to wish for some great occasions, or extra-
ordinary opportunities. Our Heavenly Father has not
dispensed his favours oO unequally as we often suppose ;
as He has furnished air, light, and water, heat and food,
the great elements essential to our physical life, in such
measures and forms that there can be no monopoly of
them ; so he has given to us the means necessary to lay
the foundation and commence the superstructure of our
spiritual life, in fuller measure than we often think.
There is no useful employment that does not afford the
means and opportunities for the formation of a virtuous
and excellent character. The youth of either sex, whe-
ther at home or abroad, at school or at a trade, as a
clerk or apprentice, or student of a profession, has the
means of forming the noblest virtues.
There is at all times an occasion for exact truthful-
ness and fidelity, the foundation of all the virtues. There
are difficulties constantly occurring which tax the patience
and perseverance, and which call forth all the energies.
There are unpleasant duties to perform, causes of irrita-
tion and trouble, which tax our adherence to principle
and self-control. There are constant opportunities for
the exercise of forbearance, kindness, affection, self-cul-
ture, generosity, self-denial, modesty, respect to superiors,
obedience, true loyalty, and indeed the whole catalogue
of the virtues.
If we follow the youth, until he has entered upon the
duties of adult life, we find the materials for the highest
uses more abundant. There is no virtue that is not
called into requisition in the family circle. In the mar-
OUR DAILY LIFE. 173
riage relation, there is room for the exercise of every
excellence that brightens the life and gives zest to the
happiness of the highest angel. The most patient for-
bearance, the gentlest kindness, the strictest justice, the
purest innocence, the most loyal fidelity, and the most
unselfish afi'ection ; and when you add to this relation
the helplessness of infancy, the sweet innocence of child-
hood, where is there a more favourable condition for the
exercise of the noblest qualities of man or woman ? It
is not in the council chamber, or senate, or executive
chair ; it is not as leader of armies, and conqueror or
ruler of nations. There is no more favourable condition
on earth â€” no, nor in heaven.
But these relations do not end in the domestic life.
Each family is linked to others. There are social duties
of a more general nature, which call for their appropriate
virtues. Besides, there is the business. As a mechanic,
merchant, or labourer, or as a professional man ; as a
competitor in the arena of life for the same honours or
emoluments ; as the master and employer ; as the
builder of houses and engines, and all manner of mechan-
ism ; as the artist and artisan ; as a buyer and seller â€”
every man can make his business instrumental to the
highest ends of life.
There is no virtue embraced within the circle of God's
requirements which we all may not find occasion to prac-
tise ; and to confirm the principles of heavenly life by
practice is the very object for which we live in the natural
world, and are olanted, as it were, in the soil of so many
duties and cares. Every workshop, and store, and ofiice,
and domestic hearth, should be consecrated to these high
174 OUR DAILY LIFE.
purposes ; they should be anointed with the holy oil of
love, the love of use; and thus they will be inaugurated
into a higher offico, and will become the representatives
of the noblest qualities, and be the instrumental means
of attaining them.
So long as we look to ourselves, in our relations to
others, all employments become service, slavery. Our
domestic relations are cares, and anxieties, and a weary
round of profitless labour ; our daily employments are
so many tasks, imposed upon us by hard necessity, and
we aim to avoid them as much as possible. Hence so
many strive to gain the reward without performing the
labour ; and he who receives the most for the least
service, is considered the most fortunate ; and posses-
sion is deemed the real good, without much regard to
the means by which it is obtained. But possessions
acquired in this way have no living connexion with us ;
they are but dead carcasses which have not been em-
balmed, and they will return to dust.
But the person who performs his duties from the love
of being useful to others, anoints them with the precious
spikenard, and changes them from cares and anxieties,
and perplexities, and slavish toil, into gifts and plea-
sures, into peace and rest, into strength and virtue, and
The farm and workshop, store and office, and domestic
hearth of such a worker, become a temple consecrated
to the holiest uses, and he himself, though covered with
the smoke of the forge, or hardened and soiled with
honest industry, a priest offering acceptable worship to
the King of kings and Lord of lords. The very instru-
ANGELS IN THE AIR. 175
ments of his labour are changed into forms of spiritual
beauty, into vessels of gold and silver, fashioned after
the similitude of heavenly affections, and made receptive
of their life. The fleeting is changed to the permanent,
the temporal becomes eternal, and the mere inanimate
matter, the dead wood and stone, and merchandise, are
changed into living, spiritual substances. Men long for
immortality. Here it is 1 the very stuff of which it is
woven is strown around our pathway, thick as the stones
in the paved streets. Whatever we love with an un-
selfish affection lives, becomes a part of our being, and
is as deathless as our souls.
ANGELS IN THE AIR.
[Suggested by the remark of a little girl, who, observing large
snow-flakes falling, exclaimed to her sister, " Oh, don't hurt them,
Mary ; there's angels in them !"]
Dark, darker grew the leaden sky.
The wind was moaning low.
And, shrouding all the herbless ground,
Sad, silently, and slow.
Wending from heaven its weary way
Fell the white flaked snow.
A little child looked wondering on,
As larger flakes fell near,
And, clutching at her sister's hand.
Exclaimed with hushing fear,
â€¢' Oh do not, Mary, do them harm â€”
There's angels in them, dear !"
17G BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL.
*' 'Twas, but," say'st thou, " a child's conceit,
But ah, the lesson prize â€”
High instinct is best reasoning,
The pure are still the wise :
Man's vaunted head what poor exchange
For childhood's heart and eyes !
Things are to us as we to them ;
Thought is but feeling's wing ;
And did but our cold withered hearts
To earth less closely cling,
We might see angels everywhere,
And God in everything !
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL.
All was still in the deep heart of the coal mines.
The throb of toilsome life, the tumultuous echoes of
harsh voices, the thunder of iron wheels and implements,
was hushed. It was midnight ; â€” midnight always there,
but calmer now.
Under a great chain of light, which, like a shining
serpent, curved and quivered for miles away, sat two
boy-watchers in the dead night. They rested, in a half-
embrace, upon the ground, the arm of one thrown care-
lessly, but firmly, around the other. Dick and Boat-
swain were fellow-workers in the mines ; born in its
dusky bosom, reared under the influence of its harsh
theories, bound to it, body and soul, by their stern task-
taaster â€” Destiny ; they had never beheld God's glorious
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL. 177
sunlight, never ! His wide, beautiful world was only a
traditionary tale to them.
" Tell it again. Boatswain, dear Boatswain, tell it
again," whispered little Dick, looking up timidly into
the bold blue eyes, that shone above him with a clear,
Boatswain's glance rested, for a moment, upon the
childish face before him. Those dark, serene eyes, so
like sweet, mournful pictures ; the masses of tangled
brown hair, making a shadowy outline about those
slender features ; the graceful lips, red and smiling, were
all dear images to him.
Then, in his calm, flowing voice, he related what Dick
loved so well to hear, and what he had visioned many
and many a day.
^' It's like another country lyin' miles and miles, over
head from this, with high mountains leanin' against a
great blue sky, wider an' wider than you could ever
dream of. Then there's rivers a-dashin' and foamin'
over queer rocks, and talkin', for ever an' ever, about
how the sunshine is a-rockin' itself to sleep in oceans of
grass and flowers (just think o' that, Dick !), that goes
quiverin' and throbbin' from mornin' till night, like a
real human heart.
"And then there's woods that makes pleasant shade,
and spreads out green fingers like, to hide themselves.
And oh ! if you could only think how thousands and
thousands of birds pierces thro' and thro' them green
sort of fingers, with whistlin' and singin' all the while.
Then, when it comes night, there's the moon 'stead of
the sun, hangin' like a silver basin 'way up high, and
17S BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL.