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THE MOTHER'S SACRIFICE.
"WHAT shall I render thee, Father Su- | Give me that harp." There burst a shud.
For thy rich gifts, and this the best of all?" Said a young mother, as she fondly watched Her sleeping babe. There was an answering voice
That night in dreams :
66 Thou hast a little bud Wrapped in thy breast, and fed with dews of love:
Give me that bud-'twill be a flower in heaven."
But there was silence; yea, a hush so deep,
As if the bosom by some hidden sword Was cleft in twain.
Morn came. A blight had struck The crimson velvet of the unfolding bud; The harp-strings ran a thrilling strain and broke
And that young mother lay upon the earth, In childless agony.
Again the voice
That stirred her vision :--"He who asked of thee,
Breathless, and terror-stricken, that the Loveth a cheerful giver." So she raised
THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR.
THE dignity of labour! Consider its achievements! Dismayed by no difficulty, shrinking from no exertion, exhausted by no struggle, ever eager for renewed efforts in its persevering promotion of human happiness, "clamorous Labour knocks with its hundred hands at the golden gate of the morning," obtaining each day, through succeeding centuries, fresh benefactions for the world!
Labour clears the forest, and drains the morass, and makes the wilderness rejoice and blossom as the rose. Labour drives the plough, and scatters the seed, and reaps the harvest, and grinds the corn, and converts it into bread, the staff of life. Labour, tending the pastures and sweeping the waters, as well as cultivating the soil, provides with daily sustenance the one thousand millions of the family of man.
Labour gathers the gossamer web of the caterpillar, the cotton from the field, and the fleece from the flock, and weaves them into raiment, soft, and warm, and beautiful,—the purple robe of the prince and the gray gown of the peasant being alike its handiwork.
Labour moulds the brick, and splits the slate, and quarries the stone, and shapes the column, and rears, not only the humble cottage, but the gorgeous palace, and the tapering spire, and the stately dome.
Labour, diving deep into the solid earth, brings up its longhidden stores of coal, to feed ten thousand furnaces, and in millions of habitations to defy the winter's cold. Labour explores the rich veins of deeply-buried rocks, extracting the gold, the silver, the copper, and the tin. Labour smelts the iron, and moulds it into a thousand shapes for use and ornament,-from the massive pillar to the tiniest needle, from the ponderous anchor to the wire-gauze, from the mighty fly-wheel of the steam-engine to the polished purse-ring or the glittering bead.
Labour hews down the gnarled oak, and shapes the timber, and builds the ship, and guides it over the deep, plunging through the billows and wrestling with the tempest, to bear to our shores the produce of every clime. Labour brings us Indian rice and American cotton; African ivory and Greenland oil; fruits from the sunny South and furs from the frozen North; tea from the East and sugar from the West: carrying, in exchange, to every land the products of British industry and British skill. Labour, by the universally spread ramifications of trade, distributes its own treasures from country to country, from city to city, from house to house, conveying to the doors of all, the necessaries and luxuries of life; and, by the pulsations of an untrammelled commerce, maintaining healthy life in the great social system.
Labour, fusing opaque particles of rock, produces transparent glass, which it moulds, and polishes, and combines so wondrously, that sight is restored to the blind; while worlds, before invisible from distance, are brought so near as to be weighed and measured with an unerring exactness; and atoms, which had escaped all detection from minuteness, reveal a world of wonder and beauty in themselves.
Labour, possessing a secret far more important than the philosopher's stone, transmutes the most worthless substances into the most precious; and, placing in the crucible of its potent chemistry the putrid refuse of the sea and land, extracts fragrant essences, and healing medicines, and materials of priceless importance in the arts.
Labour, laughing at difficulties, spans majestic rivers, carries viaducts over marshy swamps, suspends aërial bridges above deep ravines, pierces the solid mountain with its dark, undeviating tunnel, blasting rocks and filling hollows; and, while linking together with its iron but loving grasp all nations of the earth, verifying, in a literal sense, the ancient prophecy--“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low." Labour draws forth its delicate iron thread, and, stretching it from city to city, from province to province, through mountains and beneath the sea, realizes more than fancy ever fabled,
while it constructs a chariot on which speech may outstrip the wind, compete with the lightning, and fly as rapidly as thought itself.
Labour seizes the thoughts of genius, the discoveries of science, the admonitions of piety, and, with its magic types impressing the vacant page, renders it pregnant with life and power, perpetuating truth to distant ages, and diffusing it to all mankind.
Labour sits enthroned in Palaces of Crystal, whose high arched roofs proudly sparkle in the sunshine which delighteth to honour it, and whose ample courts are crowded with the trophies of its victories in every country and in every age.
Labour, a mighty magician, walks forth into a region uninhabited and waste; he looks earnestly at the scene, so quiet in its desolation; then, waving his wonder-working wand, those dreary valleys smile with golden harvests; those barren mountain slopes are clothed with foliage; the furnace blazes; the anvil rings; the busy wheels whirl round; the town appears, the mart of Commerce, the hall of Science, the temple of Religion, rear high their lofty fronts; a forest of masts, gay with varied pennons, rises from the harbour; the quays are crowded with commercial spoils,the peaceful spoils which enrich both him who receives and him who yields. Representatives of far-off regions make it their resort; Science enlists the elements of earth and heaven in its service; Art, awaking, clothes its strength with beauty; Literature, new born, redoubles and perpetuates its praise; Civilization smiles; Liberty is glad; Humanity rejoices; Piety exults,—for the voice of industry and gladness is heard on every hand. And who, contemplating such achievements, will deny that there is dignity in Labour !
REV. NEWMAN HALL.