At Olmutz, in particular, there was one who had ren-
dered himself famous throughout the surrounding coun-
THE LEGEND OF BROTHER ALFUS. 211
try, by his piety and learning ; he was a simple and
unaffected man, like all men whose knowledge is great ;
for science is like the sea — the further we advance, the
wider grows the horizon, and the less do we seem our-
selves. Brother Alfus had had, nevertheless, his seasons
of doubt and misgiving ; but after having wrinkled his
brow and whitened his hair in vain disquisitions, he had
at last been compelled to fall back upon the faith of
little children ; and then confiding his life to prayer, as
to an anchor of mercy, he suffered himself to rock gently
in the tide of pure love, holy visions, and heavenly hopes.
But in a little while rough squalls began again to shake
the saintly bark. The temptations of the understanding
returned, and reason began haughtily to question faith.
Then Brother Alfus grew sad; dark clouds began to
float over his spirit ; his heart grew cold, and he could
no longer pray. Wandering through the country, he
sat upon the mossy rocks, lingered by the foam of water-
falls, and sauntered amidst the murmurs of the forest ;
but it was in vain that he sought light from nature. To
all his inquiries, the mountains, the leaves, and the streams
gave but one answer — God ! Brother Alfus came out
victorious from many of these struggles, and each time
his faith was made firmer than ever, for temptation was
the gymnasium of the conscience ; if it does not destroy
it, it strengthens it.
But, after a time, inquietude came over his spirit more
keenly than ever. He had remarked that everything
beautiful loses its charm by long use ; that the eye soon
grows tired of the most beautiful landscape, the ear of
the sweetest voice, the heart of the fondest love ; and
212 THE LEGEND OF BROTHER ALFUS.
then lie asked, How shall we find, even in heaven, a
source of eternal joy ? In the midst of magnificence and
delight which have no end, what will become of our rest-
less souls ? Will not unchangeable pleasure at last bring
on ennui? "Eternity ! what a word for creatures who
know no law but that of change and diversity ? What
man could wish his sweetest pleasure to last for ever ? 0,
my God ! no more past, and no more future ! no more
remembrances, and no more hopes ! eternity ! eternity !
0, sorrowful word ! 0, word, which hast spread fire and
lamentation upon earth, what must thou, then, mean in
heaven?" Thus spoke Brother Alfus, and every day
his doubts became greater. One morning he issued from
the monastery before the other monks had risen, and
descended into the valley. The fields, still moist with
last night's rain, were glistening under the first rays of
the rising sun, like a maiden smiling through her tears.
Alfus stole gently through the shady thickets on the
hill-side. The birds, which had but just awoke from
their slumbers, were perched in the hawthorns, shaking
down rosy blossoms on his bald head ; and some butter-
flies, still half asleep, flew lightly in the sun to dry their
Alfus stopped to gaze on the scene before him. He
remembered how beautiful it had seemed when first he
saw it, and with what transport he had looked forward
to ending his days in that delightful retreat. For him,
poor child of the city, accustomed to see nought but dark
courts and sombre walls, these flowers, and trees, and
clear air, were bewitching novelties. How quickly passed
the year of his novitiate ! Those long rambles in the
THE LEGEND OF BROTHER ALFUS. 213
valleys, and those charming discoveries ! Streams mur-
muring through the corn-flags, glades haunted by the
nightingale, eglantine rose, wild strawberries — wha* joy
to light upon them for the first time ! To meet with
springs from which he had not yet drunk, and mossy
banks upon which he had never yet reclined ! But, alas !
these pleasures themselves do not last long ; very soon
you have traversed all the paths of the forest, you have
heard the songs of all the birds, you have plucke-d nose-
gays of all the flowers, and then adieu to the beauties
of the country ! Familiarity descends like a veil between
you and the creation, and makes you blind and deaf.
And thus it was now with Brother Alfus. Like men
whose abuse of ardent spirits had made them cease to
feel their power, he looked with indifi'erence on a spec-
tacle which in his eyes had once been ravishing. What
heavenly beauties, then, could occupy throughout eter-
nity a soul which the works of God on earth could charm
for a moment only ? Asking himself this question, the
monk walked on, his eyes fixed on the ground, but see-
ing nothing, and his arms folded on his breast. He
descended into the valley, crossed the stream, passed
through the woods, and over the hills. The tower of
the convent was beginning already to fade in the dis-
tance, and at length he stopped. He was on the verge
of a vast forest, which extended as far as the eye could
reach, like an ocean of verdure. A thousand melodious
sounds met his ears from every side, and an odorous
breeze sighed through the leaves. After casting an aston-
ished look upon the soft obscurity which reigned in the
wood, Alfus entered with hesitation, as if he feared he
214 THE LEGEND OF BROTHER, ALFUS.
were treading on forbidden ground. As he advanced,
the forest became larger ; he found trees covered with
blossoms which exhaled an unknown perfume ; it had
nothing enervating in it, like those of earth, but was, as
it were, a sort of moral emanation which embalmed the
soul. It was strengthening and delicious at the same
time, like the sight of a good action, or the approach
of a lover. At length he perceived, farther on, a glade
radiant with a marvellous light. He sat down to enjoy
the prospect, and then, suddenly, the song of a bird
overhead fell upon his ear — sounds so sweet as to defy
description, gentler than the fall of oars on a lake in
summer, than the murmur of the breeze amongst weep-
ing willows, or the sigh of a sleeping infant. All the
music of the air, and earth, and water, the melody of
the human voice, or of instruments, seemed centred in
that song. It was hardly a song, but floods of melody ;
it was not language, and yet the voice spoke. Science,
wisdom, and poetry, all were in it ; and in hearing it, one
acquired all knowledge.
Alfus listened for a long time, and with increasing
pleasure. At last the light which illumined the forest
began to fade, a low murmur was heard amongst the
trees, and the bird was silent.
Alfus remained for a while motionless, as if he were
awaking from an enchanted sleep. He at first looked
around in a sort of stupor, and then arose. He found
his feet benumbed : his limbs had lost their agility. It
was with difficulty he directed his steps towards the mo-
But the farther he went, the greater was his surprise.
THE LEGEND OF BROTHER ALFUS. 215
The face of the whole country seemed changed. Where
he had before seen sprouting shrubs, he now saw wide-
spreading oaks. He looked for the little wooden bridge
by which he was accustomed to cross the river. It was
gone, and in its place was a solid arch of stone. On
passing a hedge on which some women were spreading
clothes to dry, they stopped to look at him, and said
" There is an old man dressed like the monks of
Olmutz. We know all the brothers, but we have never
seen him before."
" These women are fools," said Alfus, and passed on.
But at last he began to feel uneasy. He quickened his
footsteps as he climbed the narrow pathway which led
up the hill-side towards the convent. But the gate
was no longer in its old place, and the monastery was
changed in its appearance ; it was greater in extent, and
the buildings were more numerous. A plane-tree, which
he had himself planted near the chapel a few months
before, covered the sacred building with its foliage.
Overpowered with astonishment, the monk approached
the new entrance, and rang gently. But it was not the
same silver bell, the sound of which he knew so well.
A young brother opened the door.
" What has happened ?" asked Alfus ; " is Antony no
longer a porter of the convent?"
" I don't know such a person," was the reply. Alfus
rubbed his eyes with astonishment.
'' Am I then mad ?" he exclaimed. " Is not this the
monastery of Olmutz, which I left this morning "
The young monk looked at him.
216 THE LEGEND OF BROTHER ALFUS.
"I have been porter here for five years," was the
rejoinder, " and I do not remember to have ever seen
A number of monks were walking up and down the
cloisters. Alfus ran towards them, and called them ;
but none answered. He went closer, but not one of
them could he recognise.
"Has there been a miracle here?" he cried. "In
the name of heaven, my brothers, has none of you ever
seen me before ? Does no one know Brother Alfus ?"
All looked at him with astonishment. "Alfus!" at
last said the oldest; "there was formerly a monk of
that name at the convent. I used to hear the old men,
long ago, when I was young, talking of him. He was
a learned man, but a dreamer, and fond of solitude.
One day he descended into the valley, and was lost
sight of behind the wood. They expected him back in
vain. He never returned, and none knew what became
of him ; but it is now a hundred years or more, since
At these words Alfus uttered a loud cry, for he under-
stood it all ; and falling on his knees, he lifted up his
hands and exclaimed with fervour: " 0, my God; it has
been thy will to show me my folly in comparing the joys
of earth with those of heaven. A century has rolled
over my head as a single day, while listening to the
bird that sings in thy paradise. I now understand
eternal happiness. 0, Lord, be gracious unto me, and
pardon thine unworthy servant !"
Having thus spoken. Brother Alfus extended his
arms, kissed the ground, and died.
^'IBE © (0) S^ T It IRl T WDTIKl LD TITLE'
HOW TO BE HAPPY.
I WILL give you two or three good rules which may
help you to become happier than you would be without
knowing them ; but as to being completely happy, that
you can never be till you get to heaven.
The first is, '' Try your best to make others happy."
'' I never was happy," said a certain king, " till I began
to take pleasure in the welfare of my people ; but. ever
since then, in the darkest day, I have had sunshine in
My second rule is, "Be content with little." There
are many good reasons for this rule. We deserve but
little ; we require but little ; and " Better is a little- w^ith
the fear of God, than great treasures and trouble there-
with." Two men determined to be rich, but they set
about it in different ways ; for the one strove to raise his
means to his desires, while the other did his best to
bring down his desires to his means. The result was,
the one who coveted much was always repining, while
he who desired but little was always contented.
My third rule is, " Look on the sunny side of things."
.The skipping lamb, the singing lark, and the leaping
fish, tell us that happiness is not confined to one place.
God, in his goodness, has spread it abroad on the
earth, in the air, and on the waters. Two aged women
lived in the same cottage ; one was always fearing a
storm, and the other was always looking for sunshine.
Hardly need I say which it was wore a forbidding frown,
or which it was whose face was lighted up with joy.
HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED SLEEP.
(Psalm 127: 2.)
As from the glare of busy, feverish day,
We turn with longing to the holy stars.
Feel the soft air of night around us play,
And bless it for the respite from our cares ;
So to the grave the earnest Christian turns,
Weary of sin, and stained v^^ith many tears,
So his poor bruised heart within him burns
AVith longing for this covert from his fears.
As we hear music, in the hush of night,
Sounding far off, as if the angel bands
Were sweeping harp-springs of the star-beams bright,
Close by the door of Heaven, with skilful hands ;
So, through the awful stillness of the grave,
The Christian soldier hears the glorious psalm
Of those blest souls his Master came to save —
And who, through Him, have won the victor's palnL.
As weary children to their mother's care
Hasten, like birds, unto the parent nest,
Kneel by her side, and say their evening prayer,
Then fall asleep, close nestled to her breast ;
Even so God's children, coming to the eve
Of life's last weary day, pray him to keep
With his kind care the dear ones they must leave,
And then " He giveth His beloved sleep."
RELY ON YOURSELF.
Most persons are averse to close thinking and in-
vestigation. They would rather rely on others, and
follow the beaten track, than strike out new paths, and
aim at greater progress and higher attainments. It is
the part of indolence and imbecility servilely to copy
others, and to remain satisfied with walking in their
steps, instead of soaring into higher regions, and taking
wider views. Much depends on early education in regard
to the future intellectual efforts of children. If they are
furnished with everything the young heart can desire, —
if every gratifying object is placed around them, and
there is nothing left for the exercise of their own powers,
— their minds will be feeble, and never acquire the
vigour necessary for extensive usefulness. Parents often
greatly mistake in providing too many playthings for
their children. They appear to think that, by heaping
around their little ones a multitude of toys, they shall
add to their enjoyment and expand their minds. But
the more a child has of these things the more restless he
becomes. He throws aside one after another his play-
things, and is almost equally dissatisfied with whatever
is placed within his reach. He has too many objects ;
they are a burden to him, and render him fretful and
Even the child derives his highest pleasure from doing
something for himself. Give him a few articles, and let
220 RELY ON YOURSELF. *
him add others by his own invention ; let him try what
he can do, and see that his efforts have accomplished
something, and he will be delighted and stimulated to
renewed exertion. The boy who has made but the rude
imitation of a ship, a cart, or a house, will be more
cheerful and happy than he world have been by the
most costly and brilliant toy. But, what is of far more
importance, his mind has received a new impulse ; it has
acquired new vigour, and is better prepared for other
efforts. It is by a succession of these infantile attempts,
by an almost infinitude of trials to imitate the sterner
realities of age, that the mind gathers strength, develops
its powers, and rises to the highest attainments. The
pyramids of Egypt, it has been said, were built by the
successive strokes of the pickaxe and the chisel, and the
mightiest intellect is formed by a gradual process from
the imbecility of infancy. Its progress may not be ob-
servable for a time, like the coral rock built up from the
bottom of the ocean ; but it ultimately rises above the
waves, and becomes an island, adorned with verdure
and beauty. So the childish intellect, by its own action,
rises above the common level, becomes an ornament to
society, and a blessing to the world. Could you have
seen, in childhood, any one of the self-made men who
have honoured the country and the age in which they
lived, you would have found him left to his own re-
sources. His self-formation commenced with the first
buddings of reason and imagination. So it was with
Franklin, Sherman, and others. Their humble origin
shows that they were not surrounded with a profusion
of splendid toys. Their minds were daily acquiring
RELY ON YOURSELF. 221
fresh impulse and increased energy from tlie very cir-
cumstances of destitution in which they were placed.
What Webster, the great statesman and careful observer
of human nature, says of older scholars, is equally ap-
plicable to children : " Costly apparatus and splendid
cabinets have no magical power to make scholars. As
a man is in all circumstances, under God, the master of
his own fortune, so he is the maker of his own mind.
The Creator has so constituted the human intellect, that
it can only grow by its own action, and thereby it will
certainly and necessarily grow. Every man must, there-
fore, educate himself" Let parents improve the clue
here given, and apply it to the training of children.
Assist them in their rude endeavours to do something
for themselves. Furnish the means, and they will soon
learn to apply them in accomplishing their purposes.
They should early be taught that they have a cha-
racter to form, on which depends their own happiness,
the esteem of friends, and, above all, the approbation of
their Maker and Redeemer. They can soon learn that
there is no pleasure like that of doing right, of being
kind, generous, and thankful for favours shown them.
He who would have friends must show himself friendly,
and there are innumerable occasions recurring daily for
the exercise of the best and noblest affections. A child
should love to please and oblige others, and should love
to do good. This should be his element, the very air he
breathes, the rejoicing of his heart. He is amiable and
lovely just in proportion as he exhibits good-will and
kindness, and a regard for justice and rectitude ; and
he is an object of pity, to be pointed at by the finger of
222 RELY ON YOURSELF.
scorn, when these traits are wanting, or the opposite
ones displayed. His character is himself, his dis-
positions, affections, and general conduct. It is that
which he will carry with him in future life, and which
will shape his destiny. He can easily be made to realize
its importance, and how much it depends on himself.
Parents must look after their children, when away from
under the parental roof. Their eye must follow them to
the village school, and they must see what influences are
operating there for good or evil, and what are the
restraints under which they are placed. It is surprising
how much mischief they will learn, in a short period,
from wicked companions, and how much they may do to
corrupt the minds and morals of others. They should
be made to realize their individual responsibility, while
mingling with their associates, and that they are ac-
countable for their conduct in company equally as when
alone. Each individual is singled out and marked by
the all-seeing One, and the sins of youth may cause
regret and remorse at a future day.
The formation of character demands the study of the
Scriptures with a view to their precepts and examples.
It requires the cultivation of the heart, the moral affec-
tions as well as the intellect. It involves improvement
in external deportment, in ease, propriety, and manly
behaviour, in consulting the feelings of others, and in
often yielding our convenience to theirs. Civility is a
great ornament, and next in importance to the first
principles of knowledge.
Children should early be taught self-government.
They must learn to govern their temper and passions,
RELY ON YOURSELF. 223
and not be left as the " horse, or as the mule, which
have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in
with a bit and bridle." It is shameful and ruinous to
allow them to flj into a rage, and give way to violent
passion, when unexpectedly disappointed in regard to a
pleasant walk or ride, or some other anticipated enjoy-
ment. Whenever such ill temper is manifested, they
must be called to an account, whatever other business
is on hand, and must be taught its exceeding sinfulness
and its destructive consequences to themselves. Self-
government is essential to all true peace and happiness ;
it is essential to the quiet of families and communities,
and to all civil freedom. A free government cannot
exist where the people have not learned to govern them-
selves. Anarchy and despotism will ensue, and the
masses must be controlled by the strong arm of abso-
lute power. A vigilant, an all-pervading police, or a
standing army, must accomplish what the people might
easily do for themselves. The foundation of all free
government must be laid in the early training of child-
ren. They must be made to control their temper. This
may be a difficult task ; it may require a long course of
discipline ; but the object is worth all the care and effort
it may cost. Washington well understood its importance
when he said, " I can more easily govern the American
army than my passions." But he had them in subjection,
and the world admired his self-possession and unruffled
temper in the most trying circumstances. Scarcely a
greater blessing can be conferred upon a child than the
ability to govern himself in the fear of the Lord in
224 RELY ON YOURSELF.
The young should be taught to rely on their own
efforts in their studies. They must use the utmost en-
abstruse subject, before resorting to others for assist-
ance. They must learn to clothe their thoughts in their
own language. It may not be as learned and elegant
as that of the most accomplished writers ; but one idea
expressed in their own way is more improving and worth
more than the copying of whole pages from other au-
thors. By giving utterance to their own feelings and
conceptions, they are preparing to become the future
ministers of the gospel, the eloquent advocates at the
bar and in the senate. They acquire the habit of think-
ing for themselves, and thus become qualified for taking
a part in the great enterprises of the day, and pushing
forward the movements which are to renovate the moral
Let it not be thought that this self-reliance is incon-
sistent with a proper sense of dependence on the Su-
preme. All our powers are given us by the Creator, to
be employed for his glory in accomplishing the purposes
of redeeming mercy. They must be improved diligently
by us, while realizing our entire dependence on a higher
power. "Without me," saith the Saviour, "ye can do
nothing." He only who quietly and with child-like
simplicity submits himself to God, accomplishes the end
of his existence, and enjoys lasting security and peace.
" From Thee is all that soothes the life of man,
His high endeavour and his glad success,
His strength to suffer and his will to serve."
GOD IS LOVE,
Stand on the mountain side,
And look abroad o'er all the joyous earth ;
Young flowers are flinging incense far and •wid%
And the rejoicing streams,
With all their happy gleams,
Sparkle out gladness at the sunshine's birth.
What speaks of hatred here ?
On the high mountain, in the leafy grove.
There is no sign of sorrow or of fear :
God speaks through Nature in the tones of lova.
The air is breathing balm,
From earth's dim convex, to the circling skies ;
It falsely seemeth but a voiceless calm.
These kindly spirits bend.
And with earth's discords, blend
The music of celestial harmonies.
Nor in the warlike guise
Of earth's proud armies do the bright hosts mOTa^
But gloriously humble, meekly wise,
God speaks through Angels in the tones of love.
On Zion's holy hill,
" Fairest among ten thousand," who is he
That to the tempest speaketh, *' Peace, be still ?^
And to the ear of faith
In softest music saith,
" Come, weary-hearted, come to peace and me,"
Come, trusting fearlessly !
" Come — and an easy burden mine shall prove ;"
Thus saith "the faithful witness" unto thee,
God speaks through Jesus in the tones of love.
226 THE RELATION OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
Physician of our souls !
Thy love is ruling over all our days,
Whether the loud-voiced thunder sternly rolls,
Or the low breeze's sigh
Tells, as it echoes by,
Thy loving mercies, and thy equal ways :
No vrrath, no pain, no strife.
But peaceful mercy reigns around — above,
O'er all the darkness of an earthly life,
God speaks through all things in the tones of love.
THE RELATION OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
Mrs. Farrar, in her excellent "Young Lady 'a
Priend," makes the following observations, which are
particularly commended to elder sisters :—
The important relation which sisters bear to brothers
cannot be fully appreciated, without a greater know-
ledge of the world and its temptations to young men,
than girls in their teens can be supposed to possess ;
and therefore I would beg you to profit by my experi-
ence in this matter, and to believe me when I assure you,
that your companionship and influence may be powerful