Thomas Patrick Hughes.

Alden's cyclopedia of universal literature: presenting biographical and ... online

. (page 38 of 38)
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labored alone for nearly twenty-five years pre-
viously to the work being sent to the press ; and
fifteen years have been employed in bringing it
through the press to the public ; and thus about
forty years of my life have been consumed ; and
from this the reader will at once perceive that tbe
work — be it well or ill executed — has not been
done in a careless or precipitate manner, nor have
any means within my reach been neglected to
make it, in every respect, as far as possible, what
the title-page promises — " A Help to the better
understanding of the Sacred Writings." Thus,
through the merciful help of God, my labor in this
field terminates ; a labor which, were it yet to
comnience, with the knowledge I now have of its
difficulty, and in many respects, my inadequate
means, millions even of the gold of Ophir, and all
the honors that can come from man, could not
induce me to undertake. Now that it is finished,
I regret not the labor. I have had the testimony
of many learned, pious, and judicious friends,
relative to the execution and usefulness of the
work. It has been admitted into the very highest
ranks of society, and has lodged in the cottages of
the poor. It has been the means of doing good to
the simple of heart, and the wise man, and the
scribe ; the learned and the philosopher, according
to their own generous acknowledgments, have not
in vain consulted its pages. For these, and all
His other mercies, to the writer and the reader,
may God, the fountain of all good, be eternally
praised.



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JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. 471

CLARKE, James Freeman, an American
clergyman and author, born at Hanover,
New Hampshire, April 4, 1810. He graduated
from Harvard in 1829, and from the Cam-
bridge Divinity School in 1833. In 1841 he
became pastor of the Church of the Disciples
in Boston. Among his many works are:
Life and Military Services of Gen. William
Hull (1848); Eleven Weeks in Europe (1851);
Christian Doctrine of Forgiveness (1852);
Christian Doctrine of Prayer (1854); The
Hour which Cometh and Now Is (1862); Or-
thodoxy (1866); Steps of Belief (1870); The
Ten Great Religions of the World (1870);
Common Sense in Religion (1873); Exotics
(1874); Go up Higher (1877); Essentials and
Non-Essentials in Religion (1878); Self Cult-
ure (1880); The Legend of Thomas Didymus
(1881); and Events and Epochs in Religious
History (188i). He is also the author of nu-
merous religious poems.

MATERIALISM AND THE EXISTENCE OP A 'SOUL.

Materialism assumes that what we call soul is
the result of bodily organization. (1.) Because all
we know are sensible phenomena. (2.) Because
the state of the mind conforms constantly to the
condition of the body. All we know, it says, is
sensible phenomena, outward facts, and the
grouping of these facts into laws. But the simple
answer of common sense to this statement is, that
we know mind better than we know body ; that
thought, love, and purpose are not sensible phe-
nomena, and yet we are certain of their ex-
istence. All we know of matter we know through
the senses ; it is that which is hard and soft, ex-
tended in space, which has shape, color, and so
forth. All we know of mind is different. More-
over, the mind has a unity and identity not found
in matter ; it is simple, indivisible unity :
whereas matter is capable of division. It is one
and the same soul which thinks, feels, remembers,
hopes, chooses, laments, imagines. It is Iho same



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4T2 JAMES FREEMAN CLAKKE.

8oul which existed last year, and exists now. But
matter is always changing, never the same.
Moreover, there is- a principle of life which cor-
relates all parts of a living body, and keeps them
working together. Great objection has been
made to calling this the vital principle, on the
ground that this assumes the existence of the soul
before it is proved. But the eminent naturalist,
Quatrefages, says he must use some such word to
describe the vital vortex, for the fact exists. The
equilibrium of life is not maintained by the mole-
cular motion of the atoms, for these act independ-
ently of each other. The unity of organic life is
maintained by some power not in the material
particles themselves. Call it soul, or vital princi-
ple, or by any other name, its existence is certain.
You cannot explain life in terms of matter and
motion. The gulf between an atom of inorganic
matter and the lowest form of life has never been
passed over by human thought.

The second objection of materialism to the ex-
istence of an immaterial soul is that the condition
of the body affects the soul, inevitably and always.
A little improper food taken into the system af-
fects the mind ; a drop of blood extravasated in
the brain destroys the power of thought ; as the
body grows old, the mind weakens ; as the brain-
fibres decay, memory goes ; without phosphor-
us no thought — is not then thought the result
of the body ? To this, however, the answer is con-
clusive. AH these facts only prove that while the
soul is in this body, the body is its necessary or-
gan of communication with the outward world.
Just as a carpenter cannot work when his tools
are dull ; as the most accomplished musician can-
not charm our souls when the strings of his piano
are out of tune, or broken ; so the soul cannot
communicate with us when the body is dis-
ordered. It is highly probable that we could not
think if the proper amount of phosphorus was not
supplied to the brain. But this is no such great
discovery. Not " phosphorus " alone, but a good
many other chemical elements have always been
knrvn to be necessary. Without oxygen, no



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JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. 473

thought; without hydrogen and carbon, no
thought. All this merely means tliat while the
soul remains in its present environment, it needs
a healthy bodily organization with which to do its
work.— Ten Great Religions.

HOW RELIGIONS DECAY.

Social religions, like social institutions, are sub-
ject to dilapidation and relapses. Many religions
stand before us in history as majestic ruins.
When you penetrate the thick jungles of Yuca-
tan, and come on the ruins of Palenque, you find
vast structures, covered with carved ornaments
and mysterious symbols, indications of a lost race,
a forgotten creed, and a long-buried civilization.
So it is with many religions, as they emerge into
the light of present knowledge from the profound
night of an unknown past. Instead of being ar-
rested at an upward stage of development they
have all the mark of being the decayed remains of
purer and nobler religion. In the case of Hindu-
ism, we have the whole story of this rise and pro-
gress, followed by a decline and fall. We see it
commence in a pure nature-religion, which is a
thinly- veiled Monotheism. We see it developed
into a vast system of philosophies, ethics, litera-
ture, art. Meantime a priesthood has grown up
and acquired supreme control. Under its influ-
ence a complicated theology is developed and a
ritual formed. As the first stage appears in the
Vedic hymns, the second is seen in the laws of
Manu, the three great systems of philosophy, the
poems of Kalidas, and the two epics. Then fol-
lowed the third period of gradual dilapidation,
when worship became idolatry. Theology degen-
erated into the myths of the Puranas, and the
pure morality of earlier times disappeax*ed in cere-
monial sacrifices offered to a Pantheon of cruel or
voluptuous deities. In this case we see the pro-
cess of dilapidation and decay which has been go-
ing on for thousands of years. The decay has been
going on, but dissolution has not come. Life still
remains in this religion, and the jpossibility of re-
vival. The heart of India is still full of reverence



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474 JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE.

for the unknown God who is behind its idolatries ;
It is still held by its ancient Vedas, as by an
anchor, to a better faith. It is, therefore, a di-
lapidated and relapsed, but not a dead religion.

A worse fate befell the religion of Egypt.
Highest in the earliest period, it gradually
degenerated to the hour when it finally disap-
peared and passed away forever. It began in
a pure monotheism, as is positively affirmed by
Herodotus, and confirmed by De Rouge and
Renouf . It declared that God is the only One,
whose life is Truth, that He has made all things,
and that He alone has not been made. " More
than five thousand years ago, in the valley of the
Nile, the Hymn began to the Unity of God, and
the immortality of the soul, and we find in the
last ages Egypt arrived at the most unbridled
polytheism. " ' * The sublimer parts of the Egyptian
religion are demonstrably ancient," and " its last
stage was by far the grossest and most corrupt."
The oldest inscriptions emphasize justice, mercy,
love of right, hate of wrong, kindness to the poor,
reverence for parents. But in the later periods
these high moral ideas disappeared from the
monuments. Epicurean notions come in. The
Litanies of Ea on the royal tombs of the XlXth
dynasty are already pantheistic, and the editor of
these litanies, M. Neville, remarks that the pan-
theism which had taken possession of Egyptian
thought had abolished the ideas of right and
wrong which appear earlier, and notably in the
Book of the Dead. The reverence for animals,
which was at first symbolism, became pure
idolatry. Even the grand faith in immortality
is lost in an Epicurean denial of a hereafter. A
dead wife addresses her husband thus from the
sepulchre: "O my brother! my spouse, cease
not to eat and drink, to enjoy thy life, follow thy
desires, and let not care enter thy heart, as long
as thou livest on the earth. For this is the land of
darkness and abode of sorrow. No one awakes
any more to see his brethren, nor knows father
nor mother. I long for water. I long for air."
— Ten Great Religions,



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JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. 475

CANA.

Dear Friend ! whose presence in the house,

Whose gracious word benign,
Could once, at Cana's wedding feast,

Change water into wine :

Come, visit us ! and when dull work

Grows weary, line on line,
Revive our souls, and let us see

Life's water turned to wine.

Gay mirth shall deepen into joy,

Earth's hopes grow half divine,
When Jesus visits us, to make

Life's water glow as wine.

The social talk, the evening fire,

The homely household shrine,
Grow bright with angel visits, when

The Lord pours out the wine.

For when self-seeking turns to love,

Not knowing Mine nor Thine,
The miracle again is wrought,

And water turned to wine.

JACOB'S WELL.

Here, after Jacob parted from his brother.
His daughters lingered round this well, new-
made ;

Here, seventeen centuries after, came another,
And talked with Jesus, wondering and afraid.

Here, other centuries past, the emperor's mother
Shelter d its waters with a temple's shade.

Here, 'mid the fallen fragments, as of old,

The girl her pitcher dips within its waters cold.

And Jacob's race grew strong for many an hour,
Then torn beneath the Roman eagle lay ;

The Roman's vast and earth-controlling power
Has crumbled like these shafts and stones away ;

But still the waters, fed by dew and shower,
Come up, as ever, to the light of day,

And still the maid bends downward with her urn,

Well pleased to see its glass her lovely face return.

And those for words of truth, first uttered here,
Have sunk into the human soul and heart ;



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476 Mcdonald clabke.

A spiritual faith dawns bright and clear,
Dark creeds and ancient nij'steries depart ;

The hour for God's true worshippers draws near ;
Then mourn not o'er the wrecks of earthly art :

Kingdoms may fall, and human works decay,

Nature moves on unchanged — Truths never pass
away.

WHITE-CAPPED WAVES.
White-capped waves far round the ocean,

Leaping in thanks, or leaping in play,
All your bright faces in happy commotion,

Make glad matins this summer day.

The rosy light through the morning's portals
Tinges your crest with an August hue,

Calling on us, thought-prisoned mortals,
Thus to live in the moment too.

For, graceful creatures, you live by dying,
Save your life when you fling it away,

Flow through all forms, all forms defying.
And in wildest freedom strict rule obey.

Show us your art, O genial daughters

Of solemn Ocean, thus to combine
Freedom and force of rolling waters

With sharp observance of law divine.

CLARKE, McDonald, an American poet,
born in Connecticut in 1798, died in 1842. In
1819 he took up his abode in New York, where
his eccentricities made him known as the
'Mad Poet." He was the author of several
volumes of verse : Review of the Eve of Eter-
nity (1820); Elixir of Moonshine (1822); The
Gossip (\825)\ Sketches (1826); Afara, or the
Belles of Broadway (1836); A Cross and a
Coronet (1842).

THE GRAVE YARD.

The sun had sunk, and the summer skies
Were dotted with specks of light,

That melted soon, in the deep moon-rise,
That flowed over Groton Height,



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Mcdonald clarke. 477

For the Evening, in her robe of white,
Smiled o'er sea and land, with pensive eyes,

Saddening the heart, like the first fair night,
After a loved one dies.

Mid the half -lit air, and the lonely place,

Rose the buried Pleasures of perish'd years,
I saw the Past, with her pallid face,
Whose smiles had turned to tears.

On many a burial-stone,

I read the names of beings once known,

Who, oft in childish glee,

Had jumped across the graves witli me —

Sported, many a truant day,

Where — now their ashes lay.

There the dead Poet had been placed,
•Who died, in the dawn of thought —
And there, the girl whose virtues graced

The lines, his love had wrought —
Beauty's power, and Talent's pride,

And Passion's fever, early chill'd,

The heart that felt, the eye that thrill'd,
In frozen slumber side by side —

All, the dazzling dreams of each,

Faded, out of Rapture's reach.

O, when they trifled, on this spot.

Not long ago,
Little they thought, 't would be their lot,

So soon, to lie here lone and low,
Neath a chilly coverlid of clay,

And few or none, to go
'Mid the glimmering dusk of a Summer day,

To the dim place where they lay.

And pause and pray,

And think, how little worth,

Is all that frets our hearts on earth.



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Online LibraryThomas Patrick HughesAlden's cyclopedia of universal literature: presenting biographical and ... → online text (page 38 of 38)