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Master R. Daking, aged 134, Bocking Academy,
Master H. Atkin, aged 13, Academy, Sheffield,
"ON HOPE," by Master Arthur Bromiley, Merton Hall Academy, Cambridge, aged 13 years, who is requested to send for the PRIZE MEDAL. "THERE is in the mind of man a strong disposition to search into futurity. Unsatisfied with present possession, we are continually pressing on the uncertain future, for some fancied bliss. Thus, our lives glide away rather in a continued series of hopes, than of real enjoyments. The pleasing expectation of some future good attends us in every circumstance of life, and though our hopes are but seldom realized, yet it is necessary to hope, though hope should always be deluded; for hope itself is happiness, and its frustrations, however frequent, are yet less dreadful than its extinction.'
"The effects of hope on the human frame, are the most salutary and delightful. Hope is the great spring of action, and the chief source of pleasure and comfort. It is this that animates the labourer in his daily toil; inspires him with fresh vigour, when fainting with fatigue, and with renewed courage when depressed by unexpected difficulties. It is hope which encourages the husbandman to go and scatter abroad his precious seed,' while she fondly whispers that he shall ere long come again with rejoicing, bearing his sheaves with him that he shall reap if he faint not.' And thus, in every situation in life, hope forms the animating principle of all our actions. Like the sun, wherever it shoots its rays it conveys life and vigour to the soul. Without hope, we should be, as it were, dead while we live; unable to enjoy the common bounties of nature, or to suffer with patience the calamities to which we are exposed. But hope bears us up under the most distressful circumstances. When the storms of adver
sity beat full upon us, hope, as an anchor of the soul,' calms its troubled motions, and keeps us from sinking in despair. But there is a hope, far superior to the hope of the world; more sublime and pure in its object, and more animating and delightful in its nature-a hope full of immortality.' And this is the hope of every true christian. It is not like the hopes of the worldling, liable to disappointment, and at best but partial in their fulfilment; but being founded on the unalterable promises of God, it shall never be frustrated; nor will the most elevated hopes of the christian be found at last to have been too sanguine: for the eye of faith, however clear, is unable to conceive of the glories which are then to be revealed. Let us, then, fix our supreme hopes on heavenly objects; this will afford us the most solid enjoyment in life; it will be our solace in affliction, and in the hour of death it will support our sinking souls, and light us through that darksome ' passage, to the skies'."
Attested by Mr. N. Bosworth.
THEME II. "ON HOPE," by Master J. Catlow, Attercliffe.
"WHEN We consider the accumulated miseries of human life, in a detached view, we are apt to arraign Divine Providence; but when we remember that there are principles implanted in the mind of man by which he is enabled to sustain them, our murmurs ceaseHope was certainly intended by the all-wise Disposer of our being, as an antidote against despair; an alleviation of grief, and a stimulus to perseverance. Depressed by calamity, harassed by misfortunes on every side, and amidst objects pregnant with sorrow, what would be the resource of man if nothing interposed to disarm the poignant sting of misery? The christian, with a noble superiority over the things of time and sense, looks forward to another and a better world; when persecuted and reviled by the wicked, he despises their malice, and anticipates the time when all his enemies will be abashed. If amidst the troubles of this transitory scene we had no prospect to an
amendment of our state, to what could we have recourse? Should we sit down in dejection of mind? Should we let despair, like a vulture, prey upon the heart? Should we relinquish our projects because they are foiled?, Undoubtedly this would be the case. But man was not designed for inactivity; his faculties must have employment, his soul cannot be absorbed in eternal sleep. What then are the springs to action? Shall he form plans without hopes of executing them? Shall he machinate and invent without views of the usefulness or profitableness of his schemes? impossible; his whole frame cries against it; all nature, as well as revelation, with a united voice, declares, that man must live by hope; this is the only sweet ingredient in the bitter cup, to make the nauseous draught potable; this remained at the bottom of Pandora's box, when all the pestilential contents were escaped. Perseverance is, without doubt, a virtue highly worthy of cultivation in society. Innumerable are the schemes and contrivances that, without the aid of this virtue, would have fallen to the ground untried; but that by the assistance of this intrepid principle, have risen with amazing success, and become useful to the world. But where is the utility of perseverance uncombined with hope? Would it not savour of madness, if a man was to persist in an undertaking while he knows it is impossible to succeed? If we deny this, we immediately plant in the human breast a principle, leading us of our own accord to destruction, which, it must be presumed, was never done by nature. Patience is described, by the writers of the New Testament, as a Godlike virtue, and highly requisite in the Christian. Under the influence of this, our Saviour bore the cross and all his troubles in the world with amazing resignation; he submitted himself to the divine will, whatever it might be. But the idea of continual affliction is insufferable; the wretches devoted to it, recoil with horror at the thought; these are the unhappy inhabitants of hell, who have received their miserable boon as the reward of disobedience. Was not their reflec-› tion absorbed in contriving destruction for man, despair would overwhelm them. Our Saviour himself
would, no doubt, have sunk under the thought of eternal sorrow: when on the cross, he looked forward for his father's smile; the approbation of the holy angels; to a time when death shall be conquered, and his people redeemed. Seeing then that hope is so highly neces sary as a support under afflictions, we should endeavour to cherish it. Let us call to mind what others have done, whose acts are recorded on the page of history; let us remember the eloquence of Demosthenes, who laboured under the greatest discouragements from nature; the sublime conceptions of Ferguson and Emerson, who were oppressed by poverty, and the last of whom was carped at by snarling critics like Zoilus. Hope tells us to emulate even these luminaries. Thus we see the extensive use of this passion, and for what noble purposes it was first implanted in our breasts. Attested by Mr. Fieldsend.
THEME III. "ON HOPE." By Miss A. Kemp. Homerton. Ir is very wisely ordered by Providence that the future is unknown to us; as our uncertainty with respect to what will happen, incites us to the practice of virtue, and permits us to indulge ourselves with hope. Hope may be defined to be, the expectation and desire that some good may be obtained or some evil averted. It proceeds principally from our ignorance of the future, and our natural eagerness to be happy. It is so powerful a sentiment of the human breast, that we place our felicity not so much in our present pleasures, as in the prospect of those we may hereafter enjoy, and likewise our happiness consists more in the anticipation, than in the actual possession of the blessings for which we sigh. Hope is born with every man, and is his greatest friend in all the circumstances of his life; in the sorrows of adversity, and even on the bed of death, it is seldom found to forsake him. Though deprived of that enjoyment, on which he placed the most value, he supplies its deficiency by promising himself a greater, and if experience does not realize this imaginary pleasure, hope quickly assures him of another: thus, he con
stantly gains a fresh prospect of happiness, as a substitute for that which he has lost. There are certainly some situations whence hope is banished, but in general it is indulged where there appears to be the least ground. If the evils they apprehend seem at all doubtful, or if there can be the smallest possibility of averting them, men gladly suppose that they will never happen. Perhaps there cannot be a greater instance given of this, than that which too frequently occurs;-the case of criminals, who, though condemned and even brought to the scaffold, delude themselves with the hope of a reprieve; depending anxiously on the event of so small an uncertainty.
"The pleasing expectation of some good prompts us to attempt obtaining it: for, were we convinced that notwithstanding our endeavours to avoid them, we must necessarily be attended by misfortunes, we should take no measures to prevent what we know to be inevitable. We derive a great advantage from hope in this incitement to exertion, but perhaps from the same cause a similar evil proceeds. Relying too much on what is to come, tempts us to be regardless of the present, and neglectful of the duties imposed on us for whoever imagines that his wishes will certainly be accomplished, will think it of no consequence whether he owes his success to his own industry."
Attested by Mrs. Batt.
Other good THEMES were sent by
Master Beldam, Merton Hall Academy, Cambridge, Attested by Mr. N. Bosworth.
Master H. Atkin, aged 13, Sheffield,
Attested by Mr. Abraham.
Miss M. A. Aldersey, aged 14, Homerton,
Attested by Mrs. Batt.
Master W. Tucker, aged 14, Sheffield,
Attested by Mr. Abraham.