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Oh! let thy cloudless glory shed
Its welcome brilliance from on high,
The omens of a frowning sky.
Till autumn months have passed away,
He bore in summer's sultry ray;
Tired with the burning heat of noon,
And bless thee-lovely Harvest Moon!
Thalaba among the ruins of Babylon.-SOUTHEY.
The many-colored domes*
The bittern's boom came far,
Distinct in darkness seen, Above the low horizon's lingering light, Rose the near ruins of old Babylon. Once, from her lofty walls the charioteer Looked down on swarming myriads; once she flung Her arches o'er Euphrates' conquered tide, And, through her brazen portals when she poured Her armies forth, the distant nations looked As men who watch the thunder-cloud in fear, Lest it should burst above them.-She was fallen ! The queen of cities, Babylon, was fallen! Low lay her bulwarkst; the black scorpion basked In palace courts : within the sanctuary
The she-wolf hid her whelps. Is yonder huge and shapeless heap, what once Hath been the aërial gardens, height on height Rising, like Media's mountains, crowned with wood, **Of Bagdad.
+ Pron. bul-wurks-u as in bull.
Work of imperial dotage? Where the fane
The Assyrian slaves adored ?
Spreads o'er the blasted plain.
Euphrates rolls along,
Cautious he trod, and felt
The jackal started at his steps;
The stork, alarmed at sound of man, From her broad nest upon the old pillar top,
Affrighted fled on flapping wings:
The adder, in her haunts disturbed,
An awful light obscure :
An awful light obscure,
Broad length of lofty wall,
Whose windows lay in light,
Rude outline on the earth
Figured with long grass fringed. Reclined against a colúmn's broken shaft, Unknowing whitherward to bend his way,
He stood and gazed around.
The ruins closed him in : It seemed as if no foot of man For ages
had intruded there.
He stood and gazed awhile,
Then, through the ruined street,
Daily Prayer.-Morning.-CHANNING. The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments agree in enjoining prayer.
Let no man call himself a christian, who lives without giving a part of life to this duty. We are not taught how often we must pray; but our Lord in teaching us to say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” implies that we should pray daily. As to the particular hours to be given to this duty, every christian may choose them for himself. Our religion is too liberal and spiritual to bind us to any place or any hour of prayer. But there are parts of the day particularly favorable to this duty, and which, if possible, should be redeemed for it.
The first of these periods is the morning, which even nature seems to have pointed out to men of different religions, as a fit time for offerings to the Divinity. In the morning our minds are not so much shaken by worldly cares and pleasures, as in other parts of the day, Retirement and sleep have helped to allay the violence of our feelings, to calm the feverish excitement so often produced by intercourse with men. The hour is a still one. The hurry and tumults of life are not begun, and we naturally share in the tranquillity around us. Having for so many hours lost our hold on the world, we can banish it more easily from the mind, and worship with less divided attention. This, then, is a favorable time for approaching the invisible Author of our being, for strengthening the intimacy of our minds with him, for thinking upon a future life, and for seeking those spiritual aids which we need in the labors and temptations of every day.
In the morning there is much to feed the spirit of devotion. It offers an abundance of thoughts, friendly to pious feeling. When we look on creation, what a happy and touching change do we witness ! A few hours past, the earth was wrapt in gloom and silence. There seemed
in nature.” But now, a new flood of light has broken forth, and creation rises before us in fresher and brighter hues, and seems to rejoice as if it had just received birth from its Author.
The sun never sheds more cheerful beams, and never proclaims more loudly God's glory and goodness, than when he returns after the coldness and dampness of night, and awakens man and inferior animals to the various purposes of their being. A spirit of joy seems breathed over the earth and through the sky. It requires little effort of imagination to read delight in the kindled clouds, or in the fields bright with dew. This is the time when we can best feel and bless the Power which said, “ let there be light;" which “set a tabernacle for the sun in the heavens," and made him the dispenser of fruitfulness and enjoyment through all regions.
If we next look at ourselves, what materials does the morning furnish for devout thought! At the close of the past day, we were exhausted by our labors, and unable to move without wearisome effort. Our minds were sluggish, and could not be held to the most interesting objects. From this state of exhaustion, we sunk gradually into entire insensibility. Our limbs became motionless ; our senses shut as in death. Our thoughts were suspended, or only wandered confusedly and without aim. Our friends, and the universe, and God himself were forgotten.
And what a change does the morning bring with it! On waking we find, that sleep, the image of death, has silently infused into us a new life. The weary limbs are braced again. The dim eye has become bright and piercing. The mind is returned from the region of forgetfulness to its old possessions. Friends are met again with a new interest. We are again capable of devout sentiment, virtuous effort, and Christian hope. With what subjects of gratitude, then, does the morning furnish us? We can hardly recall the state of insensibility from which we have just emerged, without a consciousness of our dependance, or think of the renovation of our powers and intellectual being, without feeling our obligation to God.
There is something very touching in the consideration, if we will fix our minds upon it, that God thought of us when we could not think; that he watched over us when we had no power to avert peril from ourselves; that he continued our vital motions, and in due time broke the chains of sleep,
and set our imprisoned faculties free. How fit is it, at this hour, to raise to God the eyes which he has opened, and the arm which he has strengthened ; to acknowledge his providence; to consecrate to him the powers he has renewed ! How fit that he should be the first object of the thoughts and affections which he has restored! How fit to employ in his praise the tongue he has loosed, and the breath which he has spared!
But the morning is a fit time for devotion, not only from its relation to the past night, but considered as the introduction of a new day. To a thinking mind, how natural at this hour are such reflections as the following :—I am now to enter on a new period of my life, to start afresh in my
I am to return to that world, where I have often gone astray; to receive impressions which may never be effaced; to perform actions which will never be forgotten; to strengthen a character, which will fit me for heaven or hell. I am this day to meet temptations which 'have often subdued me; I am to be entrusted again with opportunities of usefulness, which I have often neglected. I am to influence the minds of others, to help in moulding their characters, and in deciding the happiness of their present and future life. How uncertain is this day! What unseen dangers are before me! What unexpected changes may await me! It may be my last day! It will certainly bring me nearer to death and judgment!
Now, when entering on a period of life so important, yet so uncertain, how fit and natural is it, before we take the first step, to seek the favor of that Being on whom the lot of every day depends; to commit all our interests to his almighty and wise providence; to seek his blessing on our labors, and his succor in temptation; and to consecrate to his service the day which he raises upon us! This morning devotion not only agrees with the sentiments of the heart, but tends to make the day happy, useful, and virtuous. Having cast ourselves on the mercy and protection of the Almighty, we shall go forth with new confidence to the labors and duties which he imposes. Our early prayer will help to shed an odor of piety through the whole life. God, having first occupied, will more easily recur to our mind. Our first step will be in the right path, and we may hope a happy issue.
So fit and useful is morning devotion, it ought not to be omitted without necessity. If our circumstances will allow