IF there is a word that I would trace
As with a pen of fire upon the
Unsullied temper of a child;
If there is anything that keeps the
Mind open to angels' visits,
And repels the ministry of ill,
'Tis human love."

And so it does. Fairer words were never spoken.

The influence of love is most ennobling and exalting; it lifts the thoughts from low conditions; it inspires and purifies the mind and holds it above temptation. Pure love ever deems the sacrifice of one it cherishes too dear a price to pay for momentary pleasure.

Love is a mystic nourishment; not only does it quicken the mind, but it gives the body strength, makes toil a pleasure, and sweetens food; it gives rest on earth, and is a foretaste of heaven to come.

"Let us sing the praise of Love,
Fairest of all things above,
Love divine! All things are thine.
Every creature seeks thy shrine,
And thy bounteous blessings fall
With an equal light on all."

Love develops in every heart; but it must speak through faculties, and is modified by the individual organisation, by age, by education, and by consequent surroundings.

In the coarsely-organised individual, with a predominance of animal propensities, we shall find a quality of love to correspond; while in the finely-organized, with a predominance of the intellectual brain, there will be a higher or more spiritual quality of love obtained.

The germs of spiritual love, however, exist in all, but often they are nearly smothered beneath the oppressive weight of predominating passion; and, like the pure petals of the early flowers of spring, to be seen they must force their way through the murky darkness of offensive soil; yet, like these little messengers of beauty, who offer sweet fragrance to the air, so may pure affection be cultivated in those once forbidding natures, which will cheer and comfort some aching hearts which are starving for the want of it.

The perfection of the flower and the purity of human love depend alike upon conditions: the one requires sunlight, moisture, and nutriment from the soil; the other is called into action by a process of cultivation, and by the association of superior minds and natures which are refined and cultured.

The young and the old do not love the same. The infant lies upon its mother's lap, looks up into her face, and smiles the smile of infantile affection. It loves her because she cares for it, nourishes it and cherishes it: but it would soon learn to love another woman just as well if she took the same fond care of it; for an infant's love is based almost entirely upon the kindness it receives. It is not so with a true mother's love. She looks upon her child with a deep devotion; she sees in its little being the semblance of herself, or of one she holds more dear. The blood that once flowed through her veins now has refuge in its own; it is as sacred to her as her own heart; and what would she not do for its comfort or its life? If she saw it approach a precipice, would she let it fall without an effort to prevent? No; and if it should ask would leap to lift it from the rocks below, even if her own limbs were bruised in the descent. And if she saw her child passing through the flames, would she merely stand and scream? Would she not rush forth to pluck it from the burning brands, even if in saving it she burned her hands and sacrificed herself?

Many mothers do literally sacrifice themselves to the love they bear their children. When a daughter's absence is prolonged, or a son is out at night beyond the proper time, none but a mother knows the anguish of such a watching heart, as she lies, sleepless, waiting the loved one's return. At every sound the thought occurs, "Is that his step? Is that our gate? No! it is not he! "Tis very late" The clock strikes twelve; then one. "Where is my darling boy? Why does he not come home?"

Thus the mother, in her great anxiety, grieves and mourns; and the next day more wrinkles are observed, more hairs are grey, her eyes more deeply set, her lips more pale. Thus, from the system being disturbed from time to time, vitality declines, and ten or twenty years are taken from that mother's life, but many times this knowledge is only gained when children, in their turn, are parents, and must endure the same. Then the mystery is explained, why they were prematurely orphans, why the mother's life went out while her years were incomplete.

Love, a principle so universal, so good, and so comprehensive, yet is doubted, because it is not understood.

The love between brothers and sisters is a gentle, lasting tie; wherever the brother goes the sister's love will follow; wherever she may make her home that brother's love will come, though years have passed since last they met.

Then friendship is another phase in which the heart delights to revel. How sweet it is to grasp the hands of friends, and to know that we are loved by them; yet such loves must often part, and sadden the happy heart which never knew such grief before.


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