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where the most learned men have doubted, it is not surprising that an unlearned mariner should err. .

These remarks in palliation of the conduct of Columbus are required by candor. It is proper to show him in connection with the age in which he lived, lest the errors of the time should be considered his individual faults. It is not the intention of the author, however, to justify Columbus on a point where it is inexcusable to err. Let it remain a blot on his illustrious name, and let others derive a lesson from it.

A peculiar trait in his rich and varied character remains to be noticed that ardent and enthusiastic imagination which threw a magnificence over his whole course of thought. Herrera intimates that he had a talent for poetry, and some slight traces of it are on record, in the book of prophecies which he presented to the Catholic sovereigns. But his poetical temperament is discernible throughout all his writings and in all his actions. It spread a golden and glorious world around him, and tinged every thing with its own gorgeous colors. It betrayed him into visionary speculations, which subjected him to the sneers and cavillings of men of cooler and safer, but more grovelling minds.

Such were the conjectures formed on the coast of Paria about the form of the earth and the situation of the terrestrial paradise; about the mines of Ophir in Hispaniola, and of the Aurea Chersonesus in Veragua; and such was the heroic scheme of a crusade for the recovery of the holy sepulchre. It mingled with his religion, and filled his mind with solemn and visionary meditations on mystic passages of the Scriptures, and the shadowy portents of the prophecies. It exalted his office in his eyes, and made him conceive himself an agent sent forth upon a sublime and awful mission, subject to impulses and supernatural intimations from the Deity ; such as the voice which he imagined spoke to him in comfort amidst the troubles of Hispaniola, and in the silence of the night, on the disastrous coast of Veragua.

He was decidedly a visionary; but a visionary of an uncommon and successful kind. The manner in which his ardent, imaginative and mercurial nature was controlled by a powerful judgment, and directed by an acute sagacity, is the most extraordinary feature in his character. Thus governed, his imagination, instead of exhausting itself in idle flights, lent aid to his judgment, and enabled him to form conclusions, at which common minds could never have arrived, nay, which they could not perceive when pointed out.

To his intellectual vision it was given to read, in the signs of the times, and to trace, in the conjectures and reveries of past ages, the indications of an unknown world; as soothsayers were said to read predictions in the stars, and to foretell events from the visions of the night. “ His soul,” observes a Spanish writer, was superior to the age in which he lived. For him was reserved the great enterprise of traversing a sea which had given rise to so many fables, and of deciphering the mystery of his time.”

With all the visionary fervor of his imagination, its fondest dreams fell short of the reality. He died in ignorance of the real grandeur of his discovery. Until his last breath, he entertained the idea, that he had merely opened a new way to the old resorts of opulent commerce, and had discovered some of the wild regions of the East. He supposed Hispaniola to be the ancient Ophir, which had been visited by the ships of Solomon, and that Cuba and Terra Firma were but remote parts of Asia. What visions of glory would have broken upon his mind, could he have known that he had indeed discovered a new continent, equal to the whole of the old world in magnitude, and separated by two vast oceans from all the earth hitherto known by civilized man! And how would his magnanimous spirit have been consoled, amidst the afflictions of age and the cares of penury, the neglect of a fickle public, and the injustice of an ungrateful king, could he have anticipated the splendid empires which were to spread over the beautiful world he had discovered, and the nations, and tongues, and languages which were to fill its lands with his renown, and to revere and bless his name to the latest posterity!

LESSON CXXIV.

Living without God in the World.John Foster.

It is a cause for wonder and sorrow, to see millions of rational creatures growing into their permanent habits, under the conforming efficacy of every thing which they ought to resist, and receiving no part of those habits from impressions of the Supreme Object. They are content that a narrow scene of a diminutive world, with its atoms and evils, should usurp, and deprave, and finish their education for immortality, while the Infinite Spirit is here, whose transforming companionship would exalt them into his sons, and, in defiance of a thousand malignant forces attempting to stamp on them an opposite image, lead them into eternity in his likeness. Oh! why is it so possible that this greatest inhabitant of every place where men are living, should be the last whose society they seek, or of whose being constantly near them they feel the importance ?

Why is it possible to be surrounded with the intelligent Reality which exists wherever we are, with attributes that are infinite, and not feel respecting all other things which may be attempting to press on our minds and affect their character, as if they retained with difficulty their shadows of existence, and were continually on the point of vanishing into nothing? Why is this stupendous Intelligence so retired and silent, while present over all the scenes of the earth, and in all the paths and abodes of men ? Why

does he keep his glory invisible behind the shades and visions of the material world ? Why does not this latent glory sometimes beam forth with such a manifestation as could never be forgotten, nor ever be remembered without an emotion of religious fear? And why, in contempt of all that he has displayed to excite either fear or love, is it still possible for a rational creature so to live, that it must finally come to an interview with him in a character completed by the full assemblage of those acquisitions which have separately been disapproved by him through every stage of the accumulation ?

Why is it possible for feeble creatures to maintain their little dependent beings fortified and invincible in sin, amidst the presence of divine purity? Why does not the thought of such a Being strike through the mind with such intense antipathy to evil, as to blast with death every active principle that is beginning to pervert it, and render gradual additions of depravity, growing into the solidity of habit, as impossible as for perishable materials to be raised into structures amidst the fires of the last day? How is it possible to forget the solicitude which should accompany the consciousness that such a Being is continually darting upon us the beams of observant thought (if we may apply such a term to omniscience), that we are exposed to the piercing inspection, compared to which the concentrated attention of all the beings in the universe besides would be but as the powerless gaze of an infant? Why is faith, that faculty of spiritual apprehension, so absent, or so incomparably more slow and reluctant to receive a just perception of the grandest of its objects, than the senses are adapted to receive the impressions of theirs ? While there is a Spirit pervading the universe with an infinite energy of being, why have the few particles of dust which enclose our spirits the power to intercept all sensible communication with it, and to place them as in a vacuity where the sacred Essence had been precluded or extinguished ?

LESSON CXXV.

Rizpah.-BRYANT.

" And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged

them in the hill before the Lord; and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of the harvest, in the first days, in the

beginning of barley harvest. “And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth, and spread it for her

apon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest upon them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.”

2 Samuel xxi. 9, 10.

Hear what the desolate Rizpah said,
As on Gibeah's rock she watched the dead.
The sons of Michal before her lay,
And her own fair children, dearer than they ;
By a death of shame they all had died,
And were stretched on the bare rock, side by side.
And Rizpah, once the loveliest of all
That bloomed and smiled in the court of Saul,
All wasted with watching and famine now,
And scorched by the sun her haggard brow,
Sat, mournfully guarding their corpses there,
And murmured a strange and solemn air ;
The low, heart-broken and wailing strain
Of a mother that mourns her children slain,

“I have made the crags my home, and spread
On their desert backs my sackcloth bed;
I have eaten the bitter herb of the rocks,
And drank the midnight dew in my locks;
I have wept till I could not weep, and the pain
Of my burning eyeballs went to my brain.
Seven blackened corpses before me lie,
In the blaze of the sun and the winds of the sky.
I have watched them through the burning day,
And driven the vulture and raven away ;

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