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overcome all weak compassions for ourselves, and subordinate the desire for sympathy, and the taste for esteem and admiration, she set herself at the task with all the resources of heroic genius. She knew how important it is to avoid "the envious poverty of an exclusive love;" and that “whatever purifies a sentiment, strengthens it.” She acquired the rare habit of not allowing her judgments of others to be influenced by their opinions of her. Her definition of heaven became, “ To love in peace;' and the habitual impulse of her soul was to lose cares and fears and desires in a sense of the omnipresent God, and an absolute surrender to his providence. Long before, she had said that the saddest of all sights was that of an aged woman deprived of the consideration and respect belonging to a serious life. Now she could say of herself, I have deserved most of the disappointments I have experienced; yet God has softened them, as if he meant them not for penalties, but trials. Benevolence surrounds me; my need of esteem is satisfied; I have known the most distinguished people ; my heart has been fortunate in friendship. Self-detached, in a calm and sweet tranquillity, I need no more to close my course with courage.” She was not one of those who never speak of themselves because they are always thinking of themselves. De Tocqueville, after receiving an epistle from her, wrote back, with grateful delight in her frank and honoring confidence, “Your letter is a full-length portrait of yourself.” In fact, she always spoke of herself with the utmost freedom, because she looked at herself from without as she would at any other object. Her last years were a fine illustration of her own thought, “Old age is the majestic and imposing dome of human life.”
The death of this memorable woman, touchingly described by Falloux in a letter to Montalembert written at the time, was worthy of what had gone before it, of the preparations she had made for it, of the glorious destiny to which she believed it was the entrance. That " we are to seek God, not deludedly wait for him to seek us," was not more the maxim of her pen than of her practice. “I speak to others; but with whom do I converse, if it be not, O my God! with thee?"
To one of the group of tearful and venerating friends standing around her, she said, “Do not, my good friend, ask for me one day more, or one pang less." Without any decay of her faculties or waning of her moral force, bearing her sufferings with invincible patience and sweetness, maintaining a dig. nity of thought and speech comparable with that of the last conversation of Socrates, but with the triumph of a perfect Christian faith, - she dropped what was mortal, and passed immortally into the bosom of God. It was in September, 1857, and she was seventy-five years young. The great, dazzling, guilty Paris has loosed no purer or richer spirit for the skies. Her dust hallows the cemetery of Montmartre, where, in the coming days, many a pilgrim will go to look on her monument.
But her true monument is in those transcripts of her soul contained in the papers and letters which her friends have collected, with the pious wish to honor her memory by transmitting her influence. Her literary works - exclusive of the voluminous letters — consist of detached thoughts, fragmentary essays on numerous subjects, more finished essays on the Catholic Church, Christianity; Old Age, Resignation. The last-named essay in especial is an exquisite masterpiece. She defines Christian resignation by its proper attributes, distinguishes it from the fatalism of the Moslem and from the quietism of the Hindoo, and follows it into the most diversified and delicate applications. These works have passed through so many editions in France, that a chapel has been built from the proceeds of the sale. And they are worthy of the circulation and celebrity they are gaining. They are alike precious on the three levels of instruction, edification, and inspiration. For the co-ordinated completeness of endowments and acquirements, the moral breadth and religious sanctity of character and experience, which they reveal and tend to impart, they rank with the best works in the literature of the world. We are happy to know that one of our country. women is engaged in translating the first two volumes named at the head of our article, and that they will be published in a few months. We invoke for them the welcome and the dif. fusion they deserve. VOL. LXXX. -- NEW SERIES, VOL. II. NO. III.
In the meantime, while well aware that the religious views and habit of Madame Swetchine, as a zealous Catholic, are open to much deprecating criticism from the Protestant standpoint, we have ourselves no heart for faultfinding in her pres
Her place, Mazade says, is not in the full day, but in a retired chapel, where, in an alabaster lamp, burns a little flame perpetually agitated, image of her soul, and whither her friends will go to pay their homage. We will only ask attention, in close, to a brief selection of her aphorisms, as a specimen of her mental and moral quality :
“Chance is the incognito of God. We respect ourselves too little, trust ourselves too much. Friendships plastered together by interest soon fall in ruins. The choicest of the public are not often the public choice. We must fight for eternity with the weapons of time. The hand of God is visible in human affairs, but it flings a shadow which hides what it does. Our need is concentration; our danger, evaporation. The charms of youth decay many years before the hopes they nourished. When we are old, it is yet the old that we please the least. What is Christian perseverance ? Constant progress. The sight of magnanimity, like the taste of wine, is either exhilarating or stupefying. What is resignation ? To put God between grief and self. How difficult for pure souls is purity! a little pollen spoils the whiteness of the lily. One is often a prophet for others because first a historian for himself. Who has ceased to enjoy the superiority of his friend has ceased to love him. We forgive too little, forget too much. It is by the appeasement of the soul that we judge of our union with God. It is time which is the weariness of those who feel and who love; eternity is their refuge.”
ART. V.- JOHN PIERPONT.
Of the working generation of New-England men and women, it was only the older and graver half who quite felt, the other day, what manner of man had gone from the earth when John Pierpont died. For though he himself was a faithful and untiring worker till the day of his death, yet it
was twenty years and more since that chapter of his life was finished which contained the record of his prime, burden and heat of his busy day. And, in twenty years, the generation of his contemporaries, of those who helped and those who hindered, of those who loved and those who hated, has for the most part laid by the harness of the battle, and bequeathed its labors, struggles, defeats, triumphs, and rewards, to its children, of whom the greater part may be supposed to be too busy in the thick of the everlasting fight to spend much time in looking back on its old heroes, or in preserving the old fames. The Boston of to-day is a new city, and hardly knows how much of its literary culture it owes to the author of the “American First Class-Book," or how much of its radicalism to the vigor of Hollis-street pulpit. So, although the name of John Pierpont is still a familiar sound to all intelligent Americans, and the remembrance of that stately form is still fresh in the communities with whom he lived and labored, yet the familiarity has for many years been that of memory, and of a memory already growing shadowy and dim.
It is no less in the hope of profit to ourselves and our readers than from the desire to do a tardy justice to his name, that we give these pages, all too brief and few, to the remembrance of this long and noticeable life, so sorely tried in many and strange ways, but so full of steadfast courage, and so abundant in noble examples.
We shall not attempt even a sketch of his biography. It was not the events of his outward life that were most interesting, but the intellectual and moral development that fitted him to play his part, at a period when the nation had lost the moral elevation of its earlier days, and had given itself up without reserve to the fascinations of its unexampled material prosperity.
Mr. Pierpont united within himself the characteristics of two very distinct persons. One was graceful, cultivated, delicate, fastidious to the last degree, careful of etiquette, studious, dignified; with a certain loftiness of dignity, indeed, which strangers were apt to find somewhat frigid, but genial and expansive with his friends, and beautifully tender and loving with children. This was the clergyman and the poet. The other was an ardent knight, armed for battle, and seeking it far and near, -battle to the death with every thing that was foul and mean; and the ancient oath of chivalry, by which the young knight vowed to “protect the distressed, maintain right against might, and never by word or deed to stain his character as a knight and a Christian," was no unfit or exaggerated expression of the spirit in which this modern champion took on his armor. Quick to discover injustice, he no sooner unearthed a new wrong than he attacked it with the fiery ardor of a nature whose enthusiasm was but the hotter for the restraint which the habits and tastes of the scholar ordinarily imposed upon it. He used all his weapons at once, - logic, sarcasm, invective, poetry, pathos,— and sharpened them all with a stern “ Thus saith the Lord." This was John Pierpont the Reformer; and twenty-five years ago, few names rang wider throughout the careless, prosperous land than his.
One hardly knows which of these two sets of characteristics was most prominent in him. Perhaps he might have said of himself what Heine wrote of his own life, “I know not if I deserve that a laurel wreath should one day be laid upon my coffin. Poetry, dearly as I have loved it, has always been to me but a divine plaything. . . . But lay upon my coffin a sword, for I was a true soldier in the war of liberation of humanity.” Sometimes the two characters joined in one effort, and then were born those ringing verses which quicken the blood even now in our veins, and of which Whittier, himself a poet of the same school, was thinking when he wrote,
“ Yet well I know that thou hast deemed with me