Hope is one of the brightest blessings possessed by man.
Without it; he must die. Often, often are the times when hope is the only
thing that can rouse the soul from lethargy, and save us from despair.
Fortune frowns, and friends betray, and failures overtake, and the weary,
sore-tried spirit is ready to sink beneath the cruel blows, and to give
up the unequal contest; but hope, like some fair messenger of beauty from
the unknown world, stands by his side and whispers gently in his ear,
and tells him that it will not always be dark, and bids him cease his
murmurings. Oh! it is good to have such a friend. She takes by the hand
him who is just entering upon life, and points out to him what a broad
expanse for heroic deeds lies before him. He contemplates the actions
of those who have trodden with firm step the same arena, with its ever-active
scenes, with its strife, with its bustle, and with its toil, and he tightens
his sandals to run the same the same swift course. Carves upon the solid
rocks of fame, he views the names of many of his fellow-men, and from
the secret places of his soul a stern resolve goes forth, that his name
must be high-oh! very high on those same eminences, in characters that
will stand the storms of time; and hope urges him on, and says that every
difficulty must give way before an iron will.
The student, before he can reach the longed-for goal,
has many difficult years to pass through. The time for study is long;
the destined task is laborious; the toil is ceaseless, and the work severe.
Still the seeker after knowledge commences with a brace heart, and an
eager mind, and a determined energy. “Onward!” and “upwards!”
is ever his cry. Difficulties beset him: he heeds them not. Trials cluster
around: he presses bravely on. Poverty stares him in the face, but glory
and knowledge are more to him than bread, and he minds not the pangs of
hunger. His eye is sunken, and his cheek is hollow, but ambition hurries
him faster on his way. He has hosts of rivals, but he must eclipse them
all. Higher! Higher! Higher! And when he reaches the long-sought seat,
as he sits supreme in his giant intellect, and as he soars above the common
race of mortals – as he grasps with a mighty strength subjects which
seem more than finite – as proudly he views the eminence to which
he has risen, his heart will beat triumphantly, and his breast will heave
with lofty pride. But had hope deserted him, he would have perished in
the strife. Her he blesses; her he adores. And well he may. Like a flood
of light bursting within the gloomy recesses of some black, mysterious
cavern hidden for ages from the view of man, she makes dark places light,
and dispels the shadows from many a pathway.
Hope seasons life. Without it, life would be dull indeed,
and robbed of almost every joy. Take hope away, and you pluck the brightest
star from the constellation which is intended for the joy of man. Not
alone the heart of childhood does she cheer, but also that of age. Years
creep slowly on – the hair turns like the snow – the eyes
loses its lustre*, and the proud form is bowed; but hope, like live, can
never die. She takes her seat beside the hoary sire, and instils into
his breast a blessed hope of what is yet to be – a hope of a better
state beyond the dreaded portals of the tomb. Yes! hope clings to us as
long as there is life. She lessens our cares, for she tells us that sunny
hours will come. Like the flowers in tropical climes, which quickly spring
up, and adorn in the morning the palaces which were barren and scentless
but the night before, so our hopes arise ofttimes amidst the gloomiest
scenes, and give us peace.
Oh, blessed hope! Beam still upon the minds of men, and
cheer their hearts as long as sorrows or as griefs oppress.
*lustre = sheen, shine, gleam etc.