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ing from the little world assembled there. Every moral influence had been unsparingly exerted against him. He was doomed to run his race uncheered by a single word of kindness or encouragement. There was everything to dishearten him and damp his ardour.
His physical labours, too, were tremendous ; for, although he seemed to have a very decided superiority over his adversary, and to perform his task with much ease to himself, he had a man of extraordinary power to contend against, and was compelled to put forth his utmost strength in the contest.
And, lastly, the ill-will so early exhibited against him by word, look, and gesture, displayed itself ultimately in unmanly insult and outrage, and he had to use the most strenuous exertions to enable him to force his way to the winningpost.
Had he been of a timid, desponding dispositionhe had scarce found heart to withstand the depressing influence of his reception that day. Had he lacked confidence and perseverance, or strength to run his career manfully, he had given up the race when he found the powerful rivalry he had to strive against. Had he been deficient in courage, he had faltered, or even halted, when the crowd attacked him so savagely. Had he been wanting in temper, he had lost all command over himself at the critical moment when his exertions were to be crowned with success, and, yielding to the natural desire to retaliate the insults and persecutions heaped upon him, had given his enemies the advantage they sought, and lost the fruits of all his labours at the very moment they were almost within his grasp.
But from the very first he seemed to have but one object in view,- the prize for which he was competing. He felt that he had power given him to achieve his task, if he only chose to exert it fully. He knew the course to be but short, however rugged it might prove to him, and resolved patiently to endure toil, and contumely, and insult, and outrage, if needs must, rather than forego the object of his cherished ambition.
Truly " the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” On every side we see men of all classes and of all callings struggling forward in the race for the honours and rewards this world holds forth to all who excel in its various pursuits; honours and rewards by no means to be despised if honestly won, and if in striving for them we are ever mindful in the first place to “set our affections on things above," and make our desire after “ things on the earth” strictly subordinate to our higher aim. But great as are the energies, mental and corporeal, put forth by the worldling in his career, how tame and lukewarm, for the most part, are we Christians in our endeavours in “ the race that is set before us !” “ Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible."
Surely we should be ashamed to display such apathy and want of manly spirit, if engaged in any contest for worldly supremacy?
Let us, then, “so run that we may obtain;" "not as uncertainly,” “not as though we had already attained,” but, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
A MAN OVERBOARD,
“ And beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” Matt. xiv. 30.
That “there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous” was a favourite aphorism of the great Buonaparte's; and it cannot be denied, that much which is ludicrous is often mingled with that which in itself is solemn and affecting enough.
Many of my young readers will, doubtless, remember the story of the lieutenant who, having to report the circumstance of a man falling overboard to his captain, and being afflicted with an impediment in his speech, found, under the painful excitement of the moment, that he was unable to articulate anything beyond “the-e-e-'s a-a-a m-a-n,” when his captain, growing impatient, called out, “Sing it, sir, sing it!" upon which the lieutenant began to chaunt, in a good, round, cheerful voice, “there's a man overboard, over
board, overboard, there's a man overboard," &c.; and, with this jocund song upon his lips, rushed again on deck to render his assistance in the trying emergency.
Some years ago, while on my passage from North America in one of the fine packet ships, commonly called liners, which it is to be feared must soon give way before the all-powerful competition of steam, I was witness to a scene strongly compounded of the sublime and ridiculous, but in which the latter, in the end, preponderated.
We were just sitting down to tea about eight o'clock one evening, when one of our passengers, a lady who had long trod the histrionic boards, and was returning from starring it most successfully amongst the Yankees, descended the cabin ladder, and in a measured and impressive tone of voice exclaimed, “ Don't be alarmed; there is a man overboard."
Her somewhat large figure was drawn up to its full height, her face wore an expression of calm dignity and determination, which any incipient
Lady Macbeth "might have envied, and which, even at that moment of surprise, struck me as being excessively comic. The effect of her considerate caution was but slight. Tea, toast, and bread and butter were instantly relinquished, and