of the great existence in which we share, that his-
tory wins power to move the soul.
She comes to us with tidings of that which for us still lives, of that which has become the life of our life.
She embalms and preserves for us the life-blood, not of masterspirits only, but of generations of the race.
And because the idea of improvement belongs to that of continuous being, history is, of all pursuits, the most cheering.
It throws a halo of delight and hope even over the sorrows of humanity, and finds promises of joy among the ruins of empires and the graves of nations.
It sees the footsteps of Providential Intelligence every where; and hears the gentle tones of his voice in the hour of tranquillity;
Nor God alone in the still calm we find;
He mounts the storm and walks upon the wind.
Institutions may crumble and governments fall, but it is only that they may renew a better youth, and mount upwards like the eagle.
The petals of the flower wither, that fruit may form.1
The desire of perfection, springing always from moral power, rules even the sword, and escapes unharmed from the field of carnage; giving to battles all that they can have of lustre, and to warriors their only glory; surviving martyrdoms, and safe amid the wreck of states.
On the banks of the stream of time, not a monument has been raised to a hero or a nation, but tells the tale and renews the hope of improvement.
Each people that has disappeared, every institution that has passed away, has been but a step in the ladder by which humanity ascends towards the perfecting of its nature.