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The Grandfather’s Advice
by [?]

IT was a golden sunset, which was fondly gazed upon by an old man on whose broad brow the history of seventy winters had been written. He sat in the wide porch of a large old-fashioned house: his look was calm and clear, though years had quelled the fire of his eagle glance; his silver hair was borne mildly back, by the south wind of August, and a smile of sweetness played over his features, breathing the music of contentment. His heart was still fresh, and his mind open to receive an impress of the loveliness of earth. The dew of love for his fellow-creatures fell upon his aged soul, and pure adoration went up to the Giver of every good from its altar. He lifted his gaze to the cerulean blue above him, and dwelt upon his future, with a glow of hope upon his heart–then he turned to the past, and his beaming expression gradually mellowed into pensiveness: in thought, he travelled through the long vista of years which he had left behind him, and his mental exclamation was,

“There has not been a year of my life since manhood, that I might not have lived to a better purpose. I might have been more useful and devoted to my race. I might more fully have sacrificed the idol self, which so often I have knelt to, in worship more heartfelt than I offered the Divinity. Yet have I laboured to become pure in thy sight, oh, my God! build thy kingdom in my breast!”

A tear trembled in the aged suppliant’s eye, and the calm of holy humility stole over him; the gentle look was again upon his countenance, when a young man of about twenty years, swung open the gate leading to the house, and, approaching, saluted the old man with a cordial grasp of the hand; flinging his cap carelessly down, he took a seat in a rustic chair, and exclaimed with a smile of mingled affection and reverence, which broke over his thoughtful features, making him extremely handsome,

“Well, grandfather, I believe you complete seventy years to-day!”

“Yes, my son, and I have been looking back upon them. I do not usually dwell upon the past with repining, yet I see much that might have been better. My years have not always been improved.”

The young man listened respectfully; presently he asked, with sudden interest, “Pray tell me, if there ever was a whole year of your life, so perfectly happy that you would wish to live it all over again?”

“I have been perfectly happy at brief intervals,” was the reply, “yet there is not a year of my long life, that I would choose to have return. I have been surrounded by many warm friends now gone to their homes in the spirit-world,–I have loved, and have been loved, and the recollection yet thrills me; still I thank God that I am not to live over those years upon earth. I have struggled much for truth and goodness, and there has not been one struggle which I would renew, though each has been followed by a deep satisfaction.”

“To me, your life appears to have been dreary, grandfather,” replied his companion. “I ask for happiness!” After a pause, he added with impetuosity, “If I am not to meet with the ardent happiness I dream of, and desire, I do not care to live. What is the life which thousands lead, worth? Nothing! I cannot sail monotonously down the stream–the more I think, and thought devours me, the more discontented do I become with everything I see. Why is an overpowering desire for happiness planted within the human breast, if it is so very rarely to be gratified? My childhood was sometimes gay, but as often, it was clouded by disappointments which are great to children. I have never seen even the moment, since I have been old enough to reflect, when I could say that I was as happy as I was capable of being. I have even felt the consciousness that my soul’s depths were not filled to the brim with joy. I could always ask for more. In my happiest hours, the eager question rushes upon me, involuntarily, ‘Am I entirely content?’ And the response that rises up, is ever ‘No.’ I am young, and this soft air steals over a brow of health–I can appreciate the beautiful and exquisite. I can drink in the deep poetry of noble minds–I can idly revel in voluptuous music, and dream away my soul, but with that bewitching dream, there is still a yearning for its realization. I cannot abate the restlessness that presses upon me–I look around, and young faces are bright and smiling with cheerful gayety. I endeavour to catch the buoyant spirit, but I succeed rarely,–if I do, it floats on the surface, leaving the under-current unbroken in its flow. Yet after I have endeavoured to lighten the oppressive cares of some un- fortunate creature, a sort of peace has for a time descended upon me, which has been infinitely soothing. It soon departs, and my usual bitterness again sways me. I sought for friendship, and for awhile I was relieved, but I cannot forbear glancing down into the motives of my fellow men, and that involuntarily-searching spirit has proved unfortunate to me. I met with selfishness in the form of attachment, and then I turned to look upon the hollow heart of society, and it was there.”