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these fits of partial somnambulism, no fewer than seven of my finger nails.” In some of the symptoms here enumerated there was nothing peculiar, nothing alarming, being incidental for the most part to youthhood. But that absence of mind, so extreme and so painful, was a symptom calling for the exercise of peculiar care; and though he experienced no after-return of it until long subsequently to the period of his apprenticeship, it is manifest the disease had never been got rid of, but had continued lurking in his system, and, like a traitor who has stolen into a beleaguered fortress, only waited the favourable moment to accomplish its purposes of destruction.
Uncle David, by whom Hugh Miller was initiated nto the mysteries of mason-craft, was a person of plodling, persevering industry, a most conscientious workman, and something of a character. At first he was of opinion that his friend would do but little credit to him as a workman; but in the course of a few months, he acquired the mastery over the mallet, and one morning astonished the old man by setting himself to compete with him, hewing nearly two feet of pavement for his one. In the midst of the oppressive toils of the operative, young Miller was assailed by the temptations which the drinking usages of our country are constantly casting in the path of virtue, and taking his own statement as not exaggerated, stood on the brink of a very perilous precipice, from which the love he bore to learning only saved him. Here is his narrative of the crisis :..." When overwrought, and in my depressed moods, I learned to regard the ardent spirits of the dram-shop as high luxuries; they gave lightness and energy to both body and mind, and substituted for a state of dulness and gloom, one of exhilaration and enjoyment. Usquebaugh was simply happiness doled out by the glass, and sold by the gill." On going home one evening, after having assisted at drinking a “royal founding pint," Miller found on opening the pages of a favourite author, the letters dancing before his eyes, and that he was no longer able to master the sense. Disgusted with himself for this indulgence, in that hour he resolved never again to sacrifice his capacity for intellectual enjoyment to a drinking usage, and, through God's help, he was enabled to hold by the determination. We have sometimes wondered that one who had himself confessedly so narrow an escape from the ruin that awaits the confirmed tippler, saw nothing more in the temperance movement, than " a useful fanaticism.” The question was, however, one which he had never studied for himself, and probably looking at it only in the light of the characters of its chief apostles in the metropolis, the self-glorification, egotism, and enormous vanity of these leading lights disgusted him, as they might very easily have disgusted a man with even a less nice sense of propriety than Hugh Miller possessed. Those who are ever mistaking the blowing of their own penny trumps for a music which the world should hush itself to hear, are more likely to find men of the intellectual calibre of the author of the “Old Red Sandstone,” laughing at than listening to them.
In nothing, perhaps, is the modern mind more favourably distinguished from the mind of antiquity, than in its love of nature. Amongst the ancients, the passion for art swallowed up all admiration of natural scenery, Even Homer does not impress us with any vivid love for nature as existing in his soul; and we have the authority of Humboldt, in “Cosmos,” for saying that no description has been transmitted to us from antiquity of the eternal snow of the Alps, reddened by the evening glow or the morning dawn, of the beauty of the blue ice of the glaciers, or of the sublimity of Swiss natural scenery, although statesmen and generals, with men of letters in their retinue, continually passed through Helvetia on their road to Gaul; and even Julius Cæsar, the foremost man of all his time, when returning to his legions in Gaul, employed himself, while passing over the Alps, in preparing a grammatical work, without once troubling himself with the marvels of nature with which he was everywhere surrounded. It is not a little peculiar, and would almost seem to indicate that sympathy with the beautiful and sublime in the world around us is an emanation of Christian sentiment. So soon as Chris
tianity had shed a gleam of its glory over the darkness of Paganism, we find this love kindled in the breasts of its disciples, and a taste for solitude and contemplation taking possession of some of its finest minds, and colouring the style and language of the times. The tendency of the Christian mind to prove from the order of the universe and the beauty of nature the greatness and goodness of the Creator, gave rise to a taste for natural description, of which it may not be amiss to cull a few examples from the work already alluded to. Basil, in his Homilies on the Hexahemeron, describes the mildness of the constantly clear nights of Asia Minor, where, according to his expression, the stars, “those everlasting blossoms of heaven,” elevate the soul from the visible to the invisible. When, in the myth of the creation, he would praise the beauty of the sea, he describes the aspect of the boundless ocean-plain in all its varied and everchanging conditions, “gently moved by the breath of heaven altering its hue as it reflects the beams of light in their white, blue, or roseate hues, and caressing the shores in peaceful sport.”
We meet with the same sentimental and plaintive expressions regarding nature in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Basil the Great, : 66 When," he exclaims, “I see every ledge of rock, every valley and plain, covered with new-born verdure, the varied beauty of the trees, and the lilies at my feet decked by nature with the double charms of perfume and of colour; when in the distance I see the ocean, towards which the clouds are onward borne, my spirit is overpowered by a sadness not wholly devoid of enjoyment. When in autumn the fruits have passed away, the leaves have fallen, and the branches of the trees, dried and shrivelled, are robbed of their leafy adornments, we are instinctively led, amid the everlasting and regular change in nature, to feel the harmony of the wondrous powers pervading all things. He who contemplates them with the eye of the soul, feels the littleness of man amid the greatness of the universe.” Whilst the Greek Christians were led, by their adoration of the Deity through the contemplation of his works, to a poetic delineation of nature, they were, at the same time, during the earlier ages of their new belief, and owing to the peculiar bent of their minds, full of contempt for all works of human art. Thus Chrysostom abounds in passages like the following "If the aspect of the colonnades of sumptuous buildings would lead thy spirit astray, look upwards to the vault of heaven, and around thee on the open fields, in which herds graze by the water's side. Who does not despise all the creations of art, when, in the stillness of his spirit, he watches with admiration the rising of the sun as it pours its golden light over the face of the earth; when resting on the thick grass beside the murmuring spring, or beneath the sombre shade of a thick and leafy