« PreviousContinue »
though with diminished interest, over the ashes of the merely great; and if the shrill voices of the youthful choir, and the thrilling swell of the harmonious organ, reverberate from the sculptured roof and monumental walls, I am carried in my spirit to a heavenly temple, where angels join in the hallelujahs of pardoned sinners, setting forth the praises of the Reedemer.
I like to steal into a public meeting called for a Christian or benevolent purpose, ensconcing myself in a side seat, where, from my hiding-place I can see and hear all that passes. I like to look right and left on the beaming faces of the assembled multitude—to hear the remarks, the wisdom, and experience of age, and to drink in the impassioned appeals and stormy eloquence of more youthful hearts. I like, on such occasions, to feel my bosom beating, and my pulse playing, and to indulge in an ejaculation to the Father of mercies that every foot present may be quickened, every hand strengthened, and every heart enlarged, in promoting the glory of God, and the welfare of mankind.
I like to sip my coffee in a quiet coffee-house, to glance over the newspapers of the day, and the periodicals of the month, to admire the talents of the gifted, to add to my slender stock of information, and to muse, in a kindly spirit, on men and things.
I like to gaze on the faces of children, and to CITY GRATIFICATIONS.
listen to their voices singing the praises of God, whether congregated in thousands beneath the lofty dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, or assembled in scores at the "ragged Sunday School," where the lowest of the low receive Christian instruction.
I like to hear the sound of the "church-going bell" on the sabbath morn; to walk in peace to the sanctuary, noticing as I pass along my fellow pilgrims bound on the same errand—to render thanks to God "for the great benefits received at his hands, to hear his most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary as well for the body as the soul." I like to listen to the faithful exhortation of an enlightened, zealous, and humble-minded minister of the gospel. These things I like, as well as to join in the triumphant chorus of a thousand tongues.
"Ye know the Lord our God is good;His mercy is for ever sure;
Thus might I proceed till I had exhausted your patience, and still leave untold many things that afford me satisfaction. Whatever may be our several tastes and feelings, if our hearts are under a right influence, we shall try to profit by all things, as the bee gathers honey from every flower. A fit season it is, after we have mused on the varied objects of pleasure which God's providence has scattered in our pathway, to ponder on his goodness and grace as made known in his holy word. Well will it be for us all to accustom ourselves to associate in our inmost thoughts, life with death, time with eternity, and earth with heaven.
Though I have tramped three or four miles without halting—a tolerable breathing bout for an old man—yet do I feel as fresh as when I first started. Surely if any human being beneath the stars has reason to sing of mercy it is Old Humphrey.
I am standing for a moment at the entrance of the Tower, before I pass over the bridge, looking at the broad moat that surrounds the place, and regarding the huge superannuated pile that never smiled, and that now frowns as darkly as ever. Famous as a fortress, a palace, and a prison, it cannot be regarded without interest. Time has been when such a scene would have called up all the romance and chivalrous feelings of my youthful days. The pageantry of olden times, with armed knights and courtly dames, the joust, the tournament, the banquet, the midnight revel, and the festive dance, would have flitted before me: but years that bleach the hair sober the heart; my pulse is tranquil now.
Had this place always been the stronghold of lawful authority; had power never exercised oppression within its walls; and had none but the guilty been fettered in its gloomy dungeons, I should gaze around me with more pleasure than I now feel; but the records of time have handed down to us much that cannot be justified. I love loyalty and lawful authority, but I abhor oppression.
As the goodly apparel, the towering plume, the prancing war-horse, the flaunting banner, and the blast of the trumpet, close the eye and the ear to the horrors and iniquities of war, so proud palaces and embattled towers often hide from us, in a double sense, the evil deeds that have been done within them. As I stand, thus noting down my passing thoughts, shadowy reflections are stealing over my mind. The White Tower there, had it a tongue, could tell me a fearful tale! How often has Bell Tower rung out its alarms, in seasons of turbulence and strife. Beauchamp's Tower is associated with deeds of oppression and cruelty; and Devilin's Tower, near the corner, is not unstained with blood. There is a taint in the moral atmosphere of the place. On the hill yonder stood the scaffold, whence many a head, severed by the hand of the executioner, rolled to the ground; but more of these things by-and-by. Were human crimes made visible, and did they occupy a space equal to their enormity, I much fear that a mountainous mass of depravity and sin