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upon his knees, for the grandeur of the scene is overpowering. The soul is elevated, and at the same time subdued, as in an awful and heavenly presence. Deity is there. The brooding and commanding Spirit is there. "The Lord is upon many waters." The heights and the depths, the shadows and the sunlight, the foam, the mist, the rainbows, the gushing showers of diamonds, the beauty, and the power, and the majesty, all around and beneath, environ the spirit with holiest influences, and without violence compel it to adore.
"Deep calleth unto deep!" The cataract, from its mysterious depths, calleth with its thunder back to the deep lake, and up to the deep sky, and forward to the deep ocean, and far inward to the deep of man's soul. And the answer of the lake, and the answer of the sky, and the answer of the ocean, are praise to the Maker, praise to Him who sitteth above the water-flood, praise to Almighty God! And where is the soul which will not also hear that call, and answer it even with a clearer and louder answer, and cry, "Praise to the Creator, praise to the infinite, and holy, and blessed God!"
88. The Same, continued.
THESE falls are not without their history; but, like their depths, it is enveloped with clouds. Geologists suppose — and with good apparent reason that time was when Niagara fell over the abrupt bank at Queenstown, between six and seven miles below the place of the present falls, and that it has, in the lapse of unknown and incalculable years, been wearing away the gulf in the intermediate distance, and toiling and travelling through the rock, back to its parent lake.
The abrupt termination of the high bank and table land at Queenstown; the correspondence of the opposite cliffs to
each other all the way up to the falls; the masses of superincumbent limestone, which both the American and Cana dian cataracts hurl, from time to time, into the boiling abyss -all seem to favor this supposition. But when did the grand journey begin? When will it end? How vain to ask! How momentary human life appears, when we give our minds to such contemplations!
Where was the cataract toiling in its way when none but the awe-struck Indian came to bow before its sublimity? Where was it when the moss-buried trunk, which now lies decaying by its borders, was a new-sprung sapling, glittering with the spray-drops which fed its infant leaves? Where was it, before the form of a single red man glided through the forest? Where was it, when, in the intimate sympathy of centuries, lofty trees stood by it, which long since have been resolved into earth?
Where was it when winds and clouds were its only visitors, and when the sun and blue heaven by day, and the moon and stars by night, alone looked down and beheld it, the same as they behold it now? And is not Science blind and foolish, when she does not learn to be humble? Is she not miserably blind and foolish, when, being in her elements and leadingstrings, she lisps impiety, instead of prayer?
Four days flew by, like the waters of the rapids, while we remained at the falls; and then came our time for departure. As we rode down to Lake Ontario, on the bank of the river, and turned every moment to catch glimpses of the falls, we were favored, when between two and three miles on our way, with a full view of the whole cataract, through an opening in the woods. We stopped and alighted, in order to enjoy the melancholy pleasure of contemplating it for the last time. It looked softer and gentler in the distance, and its sound came to the ear like a murmur. I had learned to regard it as a friend; and as I stood, I bade it, in my heart, farewell.
Farewell, beautiful, holy creation of God!
in the garment of glory which he has given thee, and fill
other souls, as thou hast filled mine, with wonder and praise. Often will my spirit be with thee, waking and in dreams. But soon I shall pass away, and thou wilt remain. Flow on, then, for others' eyes when mine are closed, and for others' hearts when mine is cold. Still call to the deeps of many generations. Still utter the instructions of the Creator to wayfaring spirits, till thou hast fulfilled thy work, and they have all returned, like wearied travellers, to their home.
89. The Present Condition of Man vindicated.
HEAVEN from all creatures hides the book of Fate,
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven,
Atoms and systems into ruin hurled,
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar,
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind
Yet simple nature to his hope has given,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
Go, wiser thou, and, in thy scale of sense,
In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies;
IT is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levellers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence of the best and greatest of our race:
No matter how poor I am. No matter though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the sacred writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof, if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakspeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his practical wisdom, I shall not pine for want of intellectual companionship, and I may become a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called the best society in the place where I live.
To make this means of culture effectual, a man must select good books, such as have been written by right-minded and strong-minded men, real thinkers, who, instead of diluting by repetition what others say, have something to say for themselves, and write to give relief to full, earnest souls; and these works must not be skimmed over for amusement, but read with fixed attention and a reverential love of truth. In selecting books, we may be aided much by those who have studied more than ourselves. But, after all, it is best to be determined, in this particular, a good deal by our own tastes.
The best books for a man are not always those which the wise recommend, but oftener those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst, of his mind, and therefore awaken interest and rivet thought. And here it may be well to observe, not only in regard to books, but in other respects,