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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : DISCOURSE V. THE SPRINGS OF SOCIAL LIFE.

Humanity In The City by E. H. Chapin



Let them learn first to show piety at home. -- I. TIMOTHY, v.4.

The text -- which I purpose to employ not as a specific precept, but as the illustration of a general principle -- indicates those Springs of Social Life which constitute the subject of the present discourse.

The crowd in a city affords comparatively little interest, when we contemplate it merely as a crowd. But, when we resolve it into its individual particles, and consider each of these as endued with the attributes and involved with the conditions of humanity, our deepest sympathies are touched. Every drop of that great stream is a conscious personality. In some shape, the universe is reflected in it. In some way, it takes hold of the reality of life: and the living organism of which it is composed both acts and suffers, receives from the world around it and contributes to it. That entire mass of people involves nothing more than the interest of humanity, and the same interest pertains to the least unit of that mass.

And, doubtless, you have sometimes busied yourself with the speculation -- |Where do all these people come from? And whither do they retire at night?| Now, this is really a very suggestive question, and to follow it out to a practical answer would yield results of the profoundest importance. For out of hidden channels, here and there, do spring all these struggling activities, these human diversities, these various influences good and evil, that make up the crowd and spectacle of city life. And night after night, with the rarest exceptions, into some retreat they all disappear. Some spot -- whether it seem the veriest mockery to style it so, or whether it be a synonym for the sweetest sanctities -- some spot each of this living multitude calls by the name of |Home.|

For some that name is associated with a more than oriental magnificence. Man and nature wait upon them there in every conceivable form of service. There is no method of convenience or luxury which ingenuity can devise; no bounty that earth can yield from her many-zoned bosom; no shape which art can summon from the regions of the beautiful, that is not possible there. Lifting its palatial walls, and kindling with brilliant lights, it stands there as the completest symbol of material refinement and civilization. It is arctic winter without. The snow chokes up the dreary street, and the whistling wind cuts the beggar's rags. But it is Italy, it is Ceylon, it is tropic gorgeousness within. And these are the abodes of the children of fortune, whose wishes require no talisman but expression, who, all their lives long, have been used to such indulgence, or who accept it now as the fruit of their own effort. This is the hospitality which some men find in life, and out of which they constitute a home.

But none the less enviable, and perhaps much more so, are those retreats where comfort waits on moderate means, while contentment imparts to these an unpurchasable efficacy; where, blended with those infirmities and liabilities which are common to palace and cottage, the domestic affections flourish, and the dearest treasures of life are kept. Thousands of homes like this there are, all around us. It describes the largest class of homes, we may believe. And who can estimate their influence over these busy tides of action, all day long? That world of traffic, that world of toil, that looks so hard and gross and sordid, -- is it not transformed somewhat, does it not grow beautiful even, when you think how many of its energies have their spring by the infant's cradle and the mother's chair? And what lights, what shadows, unseen by you, fall upon the speculative eyes, fall upon the hearts, of thousands in that homeward-streaming crowd! Light of welcoming hearth-fires, shadows of children's play upon the walls; light of affections in which there are no decay and no deceit; shadows of sacred retirement where God alone is; light of joys which this world's storms cannot utterly quench; shadows of sorrow around sick-beds, and in vacant places, that still make home the dearer as the arena of earth's purest discipline and of its most triumphant faith!

And why delineate the features of that other class of homes, whose most significant word is |Privation?| Where cheerlessness, and hunger, and desponding toil, or hopeless apathy, brood continually. Let your own sympathies, let your own imaginations that cannot exaggerate the reality, call up the vision of such. Think how many such abodes there are this very night, which winter besieges with all his terrors, and into which he sends his invading frost! Think what Home is to hundreds, and, therefore, how life looks to them, seen through this atmosphere of disease and want, with starvation by the hearth, and death at the door, and misery everywhere! Think, when the cold pierces even through all your wrappages of comfort, and scarcity almost pinches, what forms of humanity, with lungs, and nerves, and hearts, and every capacity for suffering, are scraping the moss of subsistence from the barest rocks of life, and struggling every day through an avalanche! Think what this Sabbath has been in the dwellings of the poor, you who have had time to listen to the Gospel, and have heard it comfortably -- so comfortably, perhaps, that you have fallen asleep under it -- think what this Sabbath has been in the dwellings of the poor! And yet, when I consider what, doubtless, the Sabbath has been in some of those places, I am thankful that the highest ideal, the richest sanctities of Home, are not dependent upon outward conditions; for even there, unfaltering duty and true love have made the bare walls beautiful, and prayer has set the desolate chamber on the steps of the Divine throne; and before the eye of faith the cold arch of the winter night, that looks in through hole and cranny, has burst into a revelation of heaven, and a path for those ministering angels that come to help the sufferer and to comfort God's poor.

With more unqualified sadness, therefore, our thoughts must rest upon still another group of dwellings, where deprivation and ignorance are mingled with vice and crime -- where want and guilt strip away the masks of civilization, and bring out the essential savage in man's nature. These also we must call |homes!| These breathing-holes of abomination, these moral tombs, where huddle the demons of violence, and cunning, and debauchery, and from which they issue. That vast Hades of social evil opening downward from our streets, where the best ideals have no type, and the purest sentiments scarce a name; where God is but a dark cloud of muttering thunder in the soul; where all that is fair in womanhood is dishevelled and transformed; and where childhood is baptized in infamy, trained to sin, canopied with curses, and rocked to sleep by the convulsive hell of passions all around it.

The Homes of the Metropolis! Thus diversified are they in their general types, and more numerous in their individual conditions than can be specified. And, surely, it is no vain speculation that inquires -- |What are they? Into what retreats do the elements of this busy crowd dissolve, night after night?| Whatever they may be, a common interest envelopes them and links them all together -- the interest of humanity. They have vanished from the streets. One great shadow covers them, and hides their distinctions. For a time they are all equal. They have fallen asleep -- poor, tired humanity at the best! -- they have fallen asleep on the bosom of a common Providence, that bears them all up, as it bears the planet on which they now repose, through the orbit of its great purpose and the immensities of its love. But in the morning all these diversities will break forth again, each pouring its influence into the general stream. And who does not perceive how much the character of that influence must depend upon the condition of those homes? Who does not see that not only the interest of the common humanity in its most intimate experiences attaches to them, but the interest of community? Not only are they the reservoirs of individual power and peculiarity, but they are the Springs of Social Life. And this the apostle indicated, when he directed that certain, who bore intimate relations to the early church, should |first learn to show piety at home.|

Keeping this conclusion in mind, let me ask you to consider, for a little while, what Home must be.

In the first place -- it is the earliest and the most influential school. Nowhere else is the character so moulded; nowhere else is so much infused into our entire being. For, whatever it may be, it is the nursery of childhood; and |the child is father to the man.| Here dawns upon the human mind the conception of life. Here, when the nature is uninscribed and plastic, it takes its first impressions. I suppose it to be true, that more is learnt, more that is elementary and a key to all the rest, in the first few years of childhood than in all after time. I do not deny, of course, that much is corrected and overcome under another class of influences. But the deepest impressions, the seeds of the most stubborn habits, are planted at home. Hence the peculiar anxiety of good men to rescue children from the influences of a bad home. And, even then, with what obstacles do they have to contend! How radical are the prejudices already formed in that young mind! How obstinate the customs, how opaque the ignorance, how rank the growth of error! Nay, into what complete fruition have all these grown, simply in the neglect of home-culture, to say nothing of influences positively evil! Really, the color and current of a man's destiny are indicated here, unless a shock of wonderful transformation comes over him. I do not mean to say that anybody is wholly the creature of circumstances; but he is the subject of circumstances. If they do not entirely make him, they furnish the occasion out of which he makes something; and, viewed either from the platform of the inward or the outward, they furnish an important key to his life. And, although the path of reformation is more difficult than the descent into evil, and demands an effort which too few are inclined to put forth; though by the conditions of our nature the good is more easily swept away than the bad; still, it is encouraging to estimate the permanence and the power of those good influences which are received at home. Everybody knows, when he is pitched into this whirlpool of evil that rolls around him in the world, how those old home-restraints lie upon him like a magic chain, hard to be forced away -- perhaps never utterly forced away. And, seeking for those who should stand up in this boisterous sweep of sin, you would look and I would look to those who had received the best impressions under the domestic roof. If I were alone, poor, compelled to ask charity somewhere in this selfish world, I would go, not to the man who has learnt most of what he calls his |wisdom| from the experience of mature life, but to him in whose heart there evidently remains something of childhood's tenderness, kept warm by the remembered pressures of his mother's breast. If I were seeking to restore some wild prodigal, brazen-fronted by his own wicked will and by the scorn with which men have battered him -- if I were looking for some gleam of promise in his turbulent nature, and sounding its depths to find some spring of repentance -- I should never despair if I could discover one gentle pulse that beat with the memories of a good and happy home. Why, who needs to be told of the potency of this our earliest school, to say nothing of other influences, if only a faithful mother presides there? O! mother, mother, name for the earliest relationship, symbol of the divine tenderness; kindling a love that we never blush to confess, and a veneration that we cannot help rendering; how does your mystic influence, imparted from the soft pressure and the undying smile, weave itself through all the brightness through all the darkness of our after life. The mould of character set on the front of the world's great men, and gladly confessed by them, bears your stamp. Your inspiration burns along the poet's line. It is your true courage, more than man's rude daring, that makes the force of heroes. The statesman, when treason to humanity wears the garb of power, and duty calls him like a trumpet, hears your voice. The philanthropist, when he feels that the most efficient service is to be patient and to wait, imbibes the strength of your fortitude. The sailor, |on the high and giddy mast,| mingles your name close to God's. And thousands in life's great claims, in life's great perils, trace back the influences of the hour to some early time, some calm moment, when, -- little, timid children, -- they knelt by your side, and from tones of reverence and looks of love and simple words of prayer, they first learnt piety at home.

But I observe again, that Home is the sphere where are most clearly displayed the real elements of character. The world furnishes occasions of trial, but it also furnishes prudential considerations. Without any absolute hypocrisy, one measures his speech and restrains his action in the street and the market. And it is easy to conceive how small men may perform great deeds, and mean men seem philanthropic, and cowards flourish as heroes, with the tremendous motive of publicity to urge them. But at home all masks are thrown aside, and the true proportions of the man appear. Here he can find his actual moral standard, and measure himself accordingly. If he is irritable, here breaks forth his repressed fretfulness. If he is selfish, here are the sordid tokens. If he passes in any way for more than he is worth, here you may detect the counterfeit in the ring of his natural voice and the superscription of his undisguised life. No, the world is not the place to prove the moral stature and quality of a man. There are too many props and stimulants. Nor, on the other hand, can he himself determine his actual character merely by looking into his own solitary heart. Therein he may discover possibilities, but it needs actuality to make up the estimate of a complete life. He must do something as well as be something; he must do something in order that he may be something. For, what he thinks is in his heart may be exaggerated by self-flattery, or darkened by morbid self-distrust. It needs some occasion to prove what is really there. And Home is precisely that sphere which is sufficiently removed from the factitious motives of publicity on the one extreme, and the unexercised possibilities of the human heart on the other, to afford a genuine test. What a man really is, therefore, will appear in the truest light under his own roof and by his own fireside. I can believe that he is a Christian, when I know that he faithfully takes up the daily duties, and bears the crosses, that cluster within his own doors. I shall think that the world rightly calls him a philanthropist, when, notwithstanding common faults and infirmities, he receives the spontaneous award of the good husband and father, and the kindness of his nature is reflected in the very air and light of his dwelling. And, -- talk of noble deeds! -- where will you find occasions for, where will you behold manifestations of, a more beautiful self-sacrifice, a more generous heroism, than in the labors and in the endurance of thousands of men and women, shut out from the world's observation in silent nooks and corners of this very city, amidst the relationships and cares and struggles of home? But whether it be in forms of good or evil, we know that the real elements of character, the genuine moral qualities of people, must be expressed there.

And, I remark once more, that at Home we must find the most essential happiness or misery of life. The same conditions apply here as those which relate to character. The world is a theatre of seeming, and we can hardly tell by what we notice there who is, or who is not, happy. We know that gaiety is often the reckless ripple over depths of despair; and that men will bear up with a smile while untold agony is gnawing at their heart-strings, and will die laughing, in an agony of defiance, under the sword-strokes of fortune. On the other hand we may count some as unfortunate, in whose bosoms, all the while, there are flowing inexhaustible springs of peace, and who derive real joy from what we suppose to be a hard and pitiable lot. But amidst the undisguised realities of home we can form the most correct estimate of a man's condition. In the first place because, as has been remarked, he is there most truly himself. He gains opportunity for reflection, and gives vent to the secret burden of his heart. There he empties the load of his envies, his rivalries, his disappointments; which he has carried before the world muffled in courtesy or pride. These, it may be, meet and are re-acted upon by kindred elements; engendered, perhaps, by the very atmosphere which he himself, in the first place, created. Oh! how many rich dwellings there are, crowded with every appointment of luxury, that are only glittering ice-caverns of selfishness and discontent; pavilions of misery, where jangling discord mars the show, and a chill of mutual distrust breathes through the sumptuous apartments, and heartless ostentation presides like a robed skeleton at the feast. You feel that nothing is genial or spontaneous there. The courtesy is dreary etiquette, and the laughter forced music. You would dine as happily with the forms on the canvas, with the cold marbles in the hall. For all this magnificence is nothing more than a gorgeous pall over dead affections -- nothing more than the coronation of a living woe.

|Better is a dinner of herbs,| says the wise man, |where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.| And many a home exists where there is but little more than a dinner of herbs, which affection and mutual loyalty, and sweet dispositions, convert into a palace. And there are fixed boundaries of peace, that society cannot encroach upon, while the processions of ambition and pleasure and ceaseless pursuit, pass by its windows and disturb it not. Here the good man and the brave man -- the man who has nobly discharged his duty at whatever cost -- is respected and understood. Hither he can retreat beyond the shots of calumny which have torn the ensign of his good name; beyond the deceit of men, which halts at the threshold. Here he can look calmly out upon the changes of fortune and the frowns of the world. Here his perplexed spirit finds inspirations of strength, and space for rest. There is no happiness in life, there is no misery, like that growing out of the dispositions which consecrate or desecrate a Home.

Moreover, the elements of profoundest joy or suffering are there, because there are unfolded the deepest experiences of our mortal lot. There transpire those events which constitute the eras of our existence. There, day by day, grows the sentiment of filial veneration and love. There is the joy of wedded felicity. There wells up in the heart the first strange gush of parental affection. There comes the intimation of awful change staring upon us with the face of death. There falls the shadow of the funeral train, passing across the threshold. There breaks in upon us the sense of bereavement, in the vacant chambers; where the familiar foot-step patters, where the familiar voice is heard no more. From the very nature of things, the profoundest happiness and misery of human life must be experienced among the conditions of Home.

Having thus in some respects considered what Home must be, I have virtually anticipated whatever may be said in the second division of this discourse respecting what Home ought to be.

Thus, as it is the earliest and most influential school, it behoves every one who is bound by its responsibilities to make it an agent of the best culture. The great subject of Home Education, is of itself enough for a series of discourses; and I have not room to lay down even the general propositions which belong to it, much less for specifications. But I would remind you -- and I think the suggestion is especially needed amidst the whirl of city life -- that there is such a thing as Home Education, and it presses its claims upon everybody who inhabits a Home. There is such a thing as Home Education, differing from school education, whether of the week day or the Sabbath, and therefore it is a matter we ought to attend to, and not suppose we have done enough when we patronize an academy, or help fill a class on Sunday. To every parent -- to every influential member of a household -- there is committed a charge which can be shifted to no one else; there is an opportunity which no outside teacher possesses. There are some duties in life that we have to look for and to go after; there are others which are passed right into our hands, whether we will or not. And this duty of Home Education is of the latter kind. Now, I have just said that I cannot specify here, and even if there were room I am not sure that it would be advisable. For I doubt whether we can give any manual of methods and instruments in this respect, any more than there can be a manual of religious exercises suited to every spiritual peculiarity. Dispositions, capacities, circumstances, must create their own methods. And perhaps the poorest method of all would be some system of domestic education, which the experimenter thinks will do the work exactly. I am somewhat suspicious of systems. I am more than suspicious of any constrained formal method, bringing up children in a mere manual drill, crimping them into a mould of mincing proprieties, and making them speak with an automaton click. Perhaps the most headlong young men that can be found, are those who spent their early days in a sort of strait jacket with a clock-work movement. They were wound up so tight when they were boys, that now they take great pleasure in going fast, and running down. In other words, having felt their early training to be mere training, the moment they strip off the constraint, they plunge into the opposite extreme of no constraint. Nay, I believe that even children who are left to their own instincts, and shoved out into the world to take care of themselves, are generally better balanced, and go with steadier motion than these. Of course, however, neither extreme is right. There is such a thing, I say once more, as Home Education, involving all necessary training and true constraint; and yet not oppressively felt as such, because it is free, informal, and respects the spontaneity of the childish nature. But, whether our Home Education be formal or informal, direct or indirect, there is one kind of education which we are sure to impart. It is the education of example, silent, effective, stronger and more easily apprehended than any set of maxims. I would we were all duly impressed with the responsibilities of Home as they appear in this light; might feel, however we may be absorbed in business or in pleasure, that the young mind and heart are receiving influences, and growing into expressions that in some way will surprise us.

In the next place I observe, that if we display our real dispositions and characters at home, we should recognize it practically as a sphere of moral discipline. The family is a divine ordinance -- the Home is an institution of God, forecast in the peculiarities of our very nature. History shows no period when it did not exist, and we discover no tribe so barbarous as to be without it. It is the foundation of all society. It embosoms the germ and ideal of the State. According to the purity of its relations, the intensity of its sympathies, the inviolability of its rights, a nation's life is high or low, feeble or strong, fickle or enduring. And if it is thus rooted in the nature and the history of man, we may well believe that it affords some of the profoundest occasions for that moral discipline which is the great purpose of our existence upon the earth.

It is certainly the great sphere in which our affections are to be cultivated. Of course I do not mean that this is the limit of their cultivation. But here they are nurtured, and out of this they grow. As love is the Infinite Nature itself, so is it the prevalent sentiment of all life. It has been ordained that this great element should flow through every form of being, linking them together by a common feeling, and lending some interest to the most insignificant. And man has been set in the family relation that this sentiment might be developed. There is no one in whose heart it does not exist. You cannot find me a being so defaced, so alienated from the common stock of humanity, as to cherish in his bosom no secret fount of love, no fibril of affection linking him to something else. But of this love there are numerous degrees; and the highest forms of it, that go forth in expressions of self-sacrifice and worldwide sympathy, are only developed by culture. And for this culture there are rich opportunities amidst the relations and sanctities of Home.

And there is opportunity among these relations also, for active duty, and in its daily tasks and responsibilities, is often illustrated that practical lesson which society so much needs -- the lesson of mutual help. It is a school where we may learn endurance and charity. Out of its trials is developed the sense of religious need; and under the shadow of its bereavements we appreciate the glorious vision of Faith. There are other issues in life, where we need these divine helps; none where we feel the need of them more. Those who have stood by the sick-bed and taken the last look of the dearest earthly objects, and yet have lifted hearts of trust, and eyes of transcendent hope, are able to meet the intensest sorrows of the world, and to come out like refined gold. Home, then, should be regarded especially in this light, as a sphere where the richest elements of our moral culture are supplied.

Finally, if at home we find the most essential happiness or misery of life, of course each should do his best to make it the most attractive of all places. He should bring not his worst, but his best temper there. How many are there who bottle up their wrath all the day long, and uncork it when they get home! They had better reverse the process. If you must chafe under disappointment, and indulge angry passion, let it out in the excitement of the world, where the rough friction of business will help you to get rid of it, or where nobody has time to care whether you get rid of it or not.

And let business stay where it belongs. Do not interrupt social claims with its speculations; nor drag the counting-room into the parlor. There are some men with whom business is a disease; they are never easy with it and never rid of it. Thus, perhaps, they acquire a reputation for smartness and enterprise; but they do it, it is to be feared, by putting aside other and more sacred claims.

Nor let him who is the genial companion abroad, be the morose boarder in his own house, reserving his vivacity for society and the lees for the fireside. It is a great deal better to be like the stream that is good and welcome wherever it flows, but is sure to be fresh at its source. Indeed, there are men who are made up of foam, and sparkle, and who circulate in society, but contribute nothing to the necessaries of life, and are returned empty. It is an unfortunate gift that cheers the world outdoors, but casts only a dreary shadow inside.

Of course, in speaking of the influence of dispositions in making home attractive, I would include the duty of those who stay at home as well as of those who go abroad, and that self-sacrifice and kind hearts should be found as well as brought there. Indeed, if time would allow me to make a theme of what now can be only a hint, I should dwell largely upon woman's influence in this matter.

But home is to be rendered attractive not only by the disposition, but by the customs of its inmates. It must be a place to live, not merely to eat and sleep in; a place where we can find entertainment, and not always leave in search of it. It is really a monstrous folly, this fashionable treatment of home, which leads people to abandon it almost every night in pursuit of pleasure, or else to sweep it with a rout, which considers a household evening very dull, and makes Sunday a day for sleeping and yawning. The central idea of home is stability, and this has much less chance to be realized in the city than in the country. In the latter, old forms and landmarks are not so liable to interruption, and the slow process of time works instead of the hand of innovation. But in a city, where a man emigrates before he has fairly settled, and where many move with every May-day, the idea of a homestead is almost obsolete. Elegance, solidity, venerable associations, none of these can resist the march of improvement, and the rapid tide of business enterprise. The main streets of a great city in this country, may almost be termed so many dissolving views of perpetual change and renewal. But, perhaps, there is hardly one of us who does not feel that by his or her own exertions the essential element of Home can be made far more abiding than it now is; and where we hear of frivolous daughters and dissipated sons, many a parent may ask the question, |What have I done to cheer and consecrate the household world, and make it more abiding?|

My friends, when I consider the magnitude and importance of the subject now before us, and how many topics of discussion grow out of it -- when I think how much must be left entirely unsaid -- I entreat you not to suppose that I offer this discourse as anything more than a suggestion -- a suggestion meant to turn your attention to this subject of Home in the City, and leaving it to the elaboration of your own thoughts. Remember, here abide the deepest springs of social life. The noblest privileges, the greatest duties, find their basis here; and we are taught first |to show piety at Home.| And the influence of this institution upon all other fields of human action, private or public, is too obvious to mention. All life flows from the centre, outwards; and the citizen who desires the order and purity of the community in which he lives; the philanthropist, who, under all conditions, regards the highest welfare of his race; the Christian, who urges the secret culture of the soul, must look with peculiar solicitude to this institution. It is one whose impotence is demonstrated by the strength of the instinct which creates it and clings to it -- an instinct which associates the most genuine happiness with its sacred enclosure of affection, however rude or poor that spot may be -- which, while a man has such a place to call his own, makes him feel that he is somebody, and has some tie and claim in the world; and which, on the other hand, associated the most bitter destitution, the dreariest isolation, with that one word -- |Homeless.|

How this instinct abides, how long and how far it goes with us, is beautifully illustrated in the lines of Goldsmith.

|In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
In all my griefs -- and God has giv'n my share,
I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose.

* * * * *

Around my fire an ev'ning group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first he flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return -- and die at Home at last.|

Hopes, my friends, which I think glow in the breasts of most of us, and burst spontaneously from our lips. |Let us,| we say, |if our lot may be so ordered -- if the lines of duty run not otherwise -- let us live at Home.| Here, amidst those darkened and brightened associations which are woven in the warp and woof of our deepest experience. Here, where gentle memories steal upon us with the shadows of the twilight, and for ever tapestry the walls. Here, where we have held delightful intercourse with man, and secret communion with God. Here, where we have tried to do our duty, and exercise our love, and to drink with patience the sweet and bitter which our Father mingles in life's mysterious cup. Here, where old friends are always cherished and new ones gladly come. Here, where the dearest ties of earth have bound us in a family circle; and though here and there we find broken links, we still keep hold of them, and they draw us up.

And when on this familiar hearth our own vital lamp burns low, and the golden bowl begins to shudder and the silver cord to untwine, let our last look be upon faces that we best love; let the gates that open into the celestial City be these well-known doors -- and thus may we also die at Home!

And this instinct of Home is not attached merely to earthly conditions, but mingles with those aspirations which flow into the illimitable future. As in the vast city we seek some enclosure of our own -- some place of shelter for our heads, of sympathy for our hearts; so, respecting the destiny of the soul. In spite of all our philosophy, we cannot be satisfied with the conception of a mere immaterial essence floating hither and thither in immensity. The intellect looks eagerly forward to a boundless and excursive state; but the affections, the sentiments, yearn for some locality -- some spot of residence and repose. We cannot help cherishing the conception of a place where our friends are grouped together, and whither we shall go, though to be united in wider and more glorious relations. And, knowing no better name for it, with eyes of hope and tearful rapture, we look up and call it |Home.|

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