The Blindness of the Age

For the Voice of Industry

The hurrying, head long spirit of the present age often reminds me of the child, who in his eager pursuit after the butterfly, forgot all danger, and when he saw the gilded insect floating above the rapid rolling river, with a joyous laughing and sparkling eye, unmoored the light bark and floated on, on – unmindful of all save the gaudy butterfly, till suddenly the roar of the waterfall comes booming on his ear, and terrified he looks around for some object to which he may cling. But in vain he stretches out his tiny hands and shouts aloud for help, - the trees, rocks and green mossy bank go flitting by as the impetuous current buries him down to the boiling caldron into which he plunges and is lost forever.

So is it with man, in this impetuous age, its wander-loving, gold-seeking spirit, hurries him ever rapidly onward; and alas! that it should be so – not always upward. Like the boy he pursues some gilded insect, till he finds himself in that strong current from which there is no returning. He may cast a longing eye to the green mossy banks of literature, and his soul may be filled with high and holy thoughts that he would feign pause for a moment by the way-side to record, but in vain, the current, on which his life-boat is floating, never turneth backward. A voice from the depths of his inner being may respond to that which cries aloud; Lift up and educate the laboring classes; let them go forth as men and women and enact their part in the great drama of human life. Let them think, and give them a chance to record their thoughts if need be; for who may tell how many a mighty one hath lain hidden long in the bosom of some obscure laborer. O, give the mental as well as the physical a chance to work; let that which unites us to the great Architect of the universe be developed, and perfected as well as the earthly casket which contains it.

I know that it hath been said that some kinds of labor are favorable to the development of thought. I know, too, that this is true. There is no such a thing as happiness in idleness. As well might one think to be happy when suspended by a hair over some yawning gulf into which he expected momentarily to be precipitated. But the present system of labor eats into both body and soul. The long weary hours, spun out to the utmost; entirely unfits the mind for action.

Who, let me ask, after thirteen hours of steady application to monotonous work, can sit down and apply her mind to deep and long continued thought? We are so constituted, that we need relaxation, and if this cannot be obtained during working hours it must be in those hours in which we are not required to work, and if so, where is the opportunity for mental improvement?

Is it right to expend so much time on the earthly that soon must perish, and let the immortal go lingering and thirsting down to the grave, with its deep, earnest thoughts, all unawakened; or if awakened, only that they may die out unsatisfied in the cold, dark night or ignorance.

Is there no system that can be adopted which will enable the ever thirsting mind to roam over this fair earth of ours and cull knowledge from its hidden gems, its countless myriads of swarming life, its fresh carpets of green, its silvery winding streams and its blue dome, spread out and spangled with unnumbered worlds, that teach to this sin-stained earth lessons of trust and holy love! O; there is wondrous skill and power displayed in each insect whose busy hum greets our ear in the twilight hour; in each bright eyed flower that lifts its dewy head from the earth; in each blade of grass, each drop of water, in their form so “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and in each and every thing that a Father’s hand hath spread around his erring children.

O, then, let those children have the opportunity of drawing nearer to that Father through this works, till their minds shall become assimilated to the great and perfect mind which forms and doeth all things well.


Hooksett, March 29th, 1847


The Voice of Industry is in the public domain.


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