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THE CONSTELLATION OF THE CROSS.
EXTRACTED FROM UNPUBLISHED "WANDERINGS ON THE SEAS AND SHORES OF AFRICA."
Ar last, the cold storms which pursued us from Cape Fear, during the opening of our voyage, including nearly the whole of the first fortnight of the new year, had died away; and the still more tedious calms which succeeded them in "the middle passage," had also been followed by the trade winds, under whose welcome impulse we now moved rapidly southward, with a pure air, and a clear sky varied only by light flying clouds, and with a temperature which, though not uncomfortable during the day, was particularly delightful in the brilliant nights of the tropic seas. With the setting of the sun, the bright clouds, which gave so much splendor to the closing day, vanished from the scene, and left the sky all northward, eastward, and westward, without a vapor to veil the stars, which here shone out with a luster and power far beyond all I had ever seen, inspiring an intense delight, as I watched them through many unwearying hours from our narrow deck. The polar star each night sank lower and lower over the northern horizon; and the zodiac now passing through the zenith, brought the larger planets, with the moon, by turns directly over our heads, an aspect, to me, novel and imposing; while in the south, new stars, unknown to northern eyes, rose in dazzling beauty to my inquiring view.
Yet several nights passed while I looked in vain for some of those peculiarly interesting constellations near the south pole, which were already above our horizon. For though all the rest of the sky was clear, along the southern quarter, a peculiar dark misty cloud descended across our path, shrouding from
view the long-desired lights of the southern hemisphere. The cloud occupying about fifteen degrees in altitude from the horizon, was just sufficient to hide for some time the magnificent SOUTHERN CROSS, so richly described by Humboldt, and by Tyerman and Bennet, whose vi vid impressions at the sight, so poet ically expressed, had long ago led me to anticipate this, as one of the richest rewards of a tropical voyage.
And when, at length, my nights of vain watching and my years of studious hope were requited by the sight of this most glorious object in the created universe, all the circumstances and incidents seemed wonderfully arranged to impress me not only with gratification at the happy accomplishment of my wishes, and with admiration of the beauty of the spectacle, but also with deeper and farther-reaching feelings of the mor. al power of the whole of the strange picture before me in heaven and earth. It was on the evening of Monday, January 23, in about lat. 23° N., and lon. 24° W., that I first obtained a distinct view of the Southern Cross, the form of it being so perfect, that at the very first glance no observer could be mistaken. I saw it standing erect and resplen dent over the dark cloud, in more than imagined beauty and glory, its four large stars arranged in striking order and symmetry, in the form which all Christendom recognizes as the sign of God's infinite love and man's eternal hope; and the rapture I then felt was cheaply purchased by all the sufferings and perils of the voyage then past, or yet before me. Many hours I enjoyed the scene and the emotions rising with it; and so through months and years of wanderings that followed, that
glorious object attracted my eyes through watchful nights of exile, of suffering, of peril and of loneliness, till it became to me a familiar and
welcome thing, associated with the idea of high consolation under trials and fears. As in the poetic " dream" of the famed " pilgrim" of our time:
"The wanderer was alone as heretofore:
Through that which had been death to many men;
In those wild years of strange adventure, many a dreary night of perilous exposure and of fearful watching, on ocean and land, was solaced by the sight of that beautiful starry cross, standing erect or bending at various angles over the south pole; and I well remember how in one stormy night of shipwreck, while struggling in darkness and fatigue, to steer a little boat through the roaring waves, against the howling tempest, I "strained my seeking eyes" to catch a glimpse of those same stars, to direct our course due south, away from the breakers of the rocks which threatened to dash us in pieces with the relics of our lost ship. Never was ray of light more welcome than the momentary sight of one of those stars through the driving clouds, as I wiped from my eyes the salt spray and pelting rain that half blinded them. Even now, as that perilous scene recurs, I renew the desperate excitement with which I strove to rouse and cheer our exhausted and despairing boat's crew, and exclaim again, "Pull away, good fellows! I see the cross. We shall soon be clear of all danger."
With such remembrances and associations, the intensity of the feelings I still express, in reviving my first impressions of that remarkable object, will not be thought extrava
gant; and the extract which I subjoin from the "Personal Narrative" of the philosophic Humboldt, will show that I but shared the emotions of far graver and less excitable observers, and that even my strongest expressions are not overwrought, when compared with others' descriptions.*
"From the time when we entered the torrid zone, we were never wearied with admiring, every night, the beauty of the southern sky, which, as we advanced towards the south, opened new constellations to our view. We feel an indescribable sensation when on approaching the equator, and particularly on passing from one hemisphere to the other, we see those stars which we have contemplated from our infancy, progressively sink, and finally disappear. Nothing awakens in the traveler a livelier remembrance of the immense distance by which he is separated from his country, than the aspect of an unknown firmament. The grouping of the stars of the first magnitude, some scattered nebulæ, rivaling in splendor the milky-way, and tracts of space remarkable for their extreme blackness, give a peculiar physiognomy to the southern sky."
"The lower regions of the air were loaded with vapors for some days. We saw distinctly, for the first time, the cross of the south only in the night of the 4th and 5th of July, in the sixteenth degree of latitude. It was strongly inclined, and appeared from time to time between the clouds, the center of which, furrowed by uncondensed lightnings, reflected a silver light. If a traveler may be permitted to speak of his personal emotions, I shall add that in this night I saw one of
But even at this my first view of the starry cross, unconscious as I was of subsequent associations with the sight, I seemed to have an almost foreboding interest in it. our brigantine bounded swiftly over the long swell of the Atlantic, the bowsprit was bowing to the cloud and cross, and the tall mast pointing to the starry crown, which hung above us-known to astronomers as the "Corona Australis"—a bright constellation, but less conspicuous than that which is familiar to us in our own skies, under the name of the "Northern Crown." A poeti cal idea, suggested by the descrip
"The two great stars which mark the summit and foot of the cross, having nearly the same right ascension, it follows hence that the constellation is almost perpendicular at the moment when it passes the meridian. This circumstance is known to every nation that lives within the tropics or in the south ern hemisphere. It has been observed at what hour of the night, in different seasons, the cross of the south is erect or inclined. It is a time-piece which advances very regularly four minutes a day; and no other group of stars exhibits to the naked eye, an observation of time so easily made. How often have we heard our guides exclaim in the savannas of Venezuela, or in the desert extending from Truxillo to Lima, Midnight is past;
tion given in the missionary voyage of Tyerman and Bennet, came vividly to my mind, and led me to attempt an expression of my feelings in such verse as was within the powers of one unused to this sort of composition. Unmusical and labored as it is, it has to me some interest in having been conceived and composed under the excitement of the actual sight of these objects, though never committed to writing till my return to America, when it was somewhat enlarged and corrected, yet remaining essentially the same as I bore it three years in my memory.
the Cross begins to bend!' How often those words reminded us of that affecting scene, where Paul and Virginia, seated near the source of the river of Lantaniers, conversed together for the last time, and where the old man at the sight of the southern cross, warns them that it is time for them to separate."-Humboldt's "Journey to the equinoctial regions of the New Continent," chap. 3.
"At night, (the sky being clear after much cloudy weather,) for the first time we descried the constellation crux or the cross. The four stars composing this glory of the southern hemisphere, are of large but varying magnitudes, and so placed as readily to associate with the image of the true cross, the lowest being the brightest. Another beautiful constellation attracted our notice, nearly in the zenith. This was the northern crown, in which seven stars brilliantly encircle two thirds of an oval figure. We were reminded-and though the idea may seem fanciful, yet it was pleasing to ourselves amidst the still night, and on the far seathat while we kept in constant view the cross, that cross on which our Savior died for our redemption, we might venture to hope that the crown, the crown of life, which the Lord the righteous judge' hath promised to give to all them that love his appearing, might be bestowed upon us in that day.' -Tyerman and Bennet; "Journal of Voyages and Travels," chap. 1.
THE CLOUD, THE CROSS, THE CROWN.
Low hanging o'er my ocean-path,
To that dark land and martyrs' tomb,
Heav'n's silvery light comes clearly down;
Above the cross, the starry CROWN.
Hail! glory of the southern skies!
Erst beamed in light far less divine
His triumph's pledge and "conquest's sign :"-
To lend earth's empire-wreath renown;
But here the EVERLASTING cross
Points ever to the HEAVENLY crown.
With cross on staff and sword and breast,
The gorgeous crowns of Orient lands.*
The cross, "a graven image," stands,
On dome, tower, spire, through thousand lands,
Its gold-shrined form oft gems emboss
Worshiped alike by king and clown:-
Heav'n-shrined, star-gemmed, which God doth crown.
Unknown for ages, now it wins
Godfrey, Baldwin, Guy de Lusignan, and Conrade, kings of Jerusalem,-Guy, &c. kings of Cyprus,-Bohemond, prince of Antioch, William, prince-archbishop of Tyre, Baldwin I and II, emperors of Constantinople, &c. &c.
Kaross,-the name of the filthy scanty dress of the wild natives of South Africa. Kraal,-South African village, a circle of oven-like huts.
My way is dark still-"holy light!”—
Thy ray, which ocean cannot drown,
Of toils and tears, shall win "no crown."
Sign of my faith! Seal of my hope!
Pledge of God's love to wand'ring man!
Dimly the way of truth to scan:
Though whirlwinds sweep and storm-clouds frown,
Hope o'er the cross shall hail the CROWN.
WHAT MUST BE DONE TO PROVIDE AN EDUCATED
THAT the Christian ministry, especially in such a country and such an age as ours, ought to be a body of liberally educated men, is with us an axiom. We write not for that reader who needs an argument to make him know that the minister of the Gospel of Christ, among a free and a free-thinking people, ought to be an educated man-educated not only in those departments of knowledge which are immediately and especially related to his employment as an expounder of the Scriptures, but also in all that various discipline which invigorates the mental powers, which enlarges the scope of thought, and which gives to him who has profited by it a rank and standing in society such as does not belong to the man of merely technical or professional culture.
How shall such a ministry be obtained, in sufficient numbers, to overtake and supply the growing wants of our country? Some tell us to leave the whole question to take care of itself, under that law of political economy, by which the de
mand creates the supply. But what sciolism is this! What a blundering application of a simple principle! What is demand, in the sense of political economy? The mere absence of a given article, does not constitute a demand for that article. There are neither warming-pans nor snow-shoes, nor yet Olmsted stoves, in all the bazaars of Calcutta ; there are no Cashmire shawls in the wigwams of Labrador; there are no spelling-books in Jeddo, no biogra phies of Henry Clay in Pekin, no schoolmasters in Patagonia; yet who, in such cases, mistakes destitution for demand? Nor does mere want-though it be a want of something acknowledged and felt to be essential to comfort or even to existence-constitute a demand, in the sense in which demand tends to produce a supply. A people may be dying for want of bread, while yet in all its ports there is no de mand, in the commercial sense, for the staff of life. Demand, in the only sense in which demand for any article can create a supply, is the ability and willingness to pay,