|Vol. IV, No. 5
Ab 5606, August 1846
Flights Of Fancy.
To the sober lover of utility, who sees no beauties in nature's varied loveliness, unless that loveliness be combined with qualities of which he himself knows the purposes and uses, how ridiculous appears the conduct of those who give their imagination free scope, and wing-and-wing, keep pace with those far-off wanderers of the olden time, who basked in the rays, and drew their inspiration from the glorious hosts of heaven, before the world of poetry and enthusiasm had shrunk abashed within its primeval retreat, impelled thereto by the frozen breath of the stern world of commonplace and fact.
But this very power, so ridiculed in the young enthusiast, the companion alone of innocence and purity, perhaps proclaims, in its silvery voice, those very truths we deem hidden or speculative.
Capable in its illimitable power of separating the soul from its living sarcophagus, it bears it upwards on its wings of light, and enables it to investigate the wonders of those brilliant worlds the beams of which come trembling along through the depths of space, exciting the craving thirst of the man of science, who finds that he possesses but a pigmy power, when he attempts to pierce the eternity of distance that shrouds their majestic glories.
But how the eye of the soul laughs at these futile attempts of the corporeal eye, as it shrinks baffled back into the shadow of its vainglorious dreams, from its daring flight towards the regions of space, on the weak pinions of human knowledge! What thinkest thou, thou thing of earth! that thy long tubes, thy power over the mysteries of science, will enable thee to pierce through the might of space, and bathe in the glories of the Infinite?—Thou mayest guess at the laws that govern the vast creations; but thou canst not gaze upon their harmonious beauties. To enjoy and luxuriate in the solemn loveliness of thy Maker's greatest works, thou must leave this pale orb afar, and thy spirit must soar till earth and its attractions lose all power over thy soul. What is it to thee, if thy body be chained down within a darksome dungeon? Man cannot enchain the eternal breath of the spirit of thy Maker which animates thy clayey tabernacle, which, with its longing for omniscience, is even now bearing thee away to that far-off star, whose light, though it has travelled with but little less than the speed of thought, though starting on its mighty errand ere the first of thy race was called into being, has not yet shone upon the glass of science, or blessed with its rays the orb of thy nativity. Looking down now from one of the high peaks of Creation, thy spirit sets in its boundless vision world upon world passing on in the distance—millions upon millions of shining stars immersed in an atmosphere of the borrowed glory of their Maker, moving on, moving on to soft and spiritual music, succeeded still by millions of millions of lovelier orbs, the souls, the centres of beautiful worlds, upon which they shed their light and joy; and though thy soul should drink in ten thousand times the glories of such views, its longing desires can be fed with ten thousand times ten thousand such contemplations, without exhausting the countless glories of the great I AM, or lessening in the least the multiplicity of his works. And wouldst thou chain thy soul to earth, and make dwarfish its giant stature by preventing it from floating away upon the enchantment of a day-dream into farthest space, and inhaling an atmosphere of all harmony, all love, all beauty, in which it may strengthen its powers by contemplating the glorious emanations of the great Creator, so that when the cord that unites it to its humanity is severed, it may gaze unharmed upon those glories, and become more lovely in the atmosphere of that Presence which man cannot see and live? And as the eaglet is trained to a lowlier flight ere its parent dare let it soar upward in the track of the sun, may not the soul too need that lowlier flight, and, through the imagination, its eye, seek pleasure in those bright creations of loveliness and beauty, so that when it returns to the quiet hearth of home, it may invest it with the holy charms of its blissful idealities, and gathering strength from the pure stores of home affections, prepare itself, little by little, for those loftier flights, that may at length enable it to gaze unharmed upon that Source of light, the Fountain of all love and beauty?
And if the spirit, thus wrapped up in its ideality, is fond of wandering beyond the little things of life, does it not collect in its way the power that enables it to clothe these little realities in the lustre of its own imaginings, consecrating alike the little and the great, as a part of a whole; the greatness of which it discovers to be but the adhesion together of an infinitude of things less great; and culling from each fancy its holiest, its loveliest gem, raise from them a spirit bright enough to vanquish the temptations of earth, and support through all the tribulations of the body, unharmed, undepressed, its soul's immortal essence?