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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 144 pages of information about Gifts of Genius.
the four pillars which supported it, each of them as large as many of our churches; and the entire mass, lifted to five times the height of this building—­its own height swelling far beyond; no dome so sublime but that of heaven was ever spread above mortal eye.  And beyond this dome, beneath which I stood, stretched away into dimness and obscurity the mighty roofing of this stupendous temple—­arches behind arches, fretted with gold, and touched with the rays of the morning sun.  Around me, a wilderness of marble; with colors, as variegated and rich as our autumnal woods; columns, pillars, altars, tombs, statues, pictures set in ever-during stone; objects to strike the beholder with neverceasing wonder.  And on this mighty pavement, stood a multitude of many thousands; and through bright lines of soldiery, stretching far down the majestic nave, slowly advanced a solemn and stately procession, clothed with purple, and crimson, and white, and blazing with rubies and diamonds; slowly it advanced amidst kneeling crowds and strains of heavenly music; and so it compassed about the altar of God, to perform the great commemorative rite of Christ’s resurrection.  Expect from me no sectarian deprecation; it was a goodly rite, and fitly performed.  But, amidst solemn utterances, and lowly prostrations, and pealing anthems, and rising incense, and all the surrounding magnificence of the scene, shall I tell you what was my thought?  One sigh of contrition, one tear of repentance, one humble prayer to God, though breathed in a crypt of the darkest catacomb, is worth all the splendors of this gorgeous ceremonial and this glorious temple.

VIRTUE IN OBSCURITY.

And let me add, that upon many a lowly bosom, the gem of virtue shines more bright and beautiful than it is ever likely to shine in any court of royalty or crown of empire:  and this, for the very reason that it shines in loneliness and obscurity, and is surrounded with no circlet of gazing and flattering eyes.  There are positions in life, in society, where all loveliness is seen and noted; chronicled in men’s admiring comments, and perhaps celebrated in adulatory sonnets and songs.  And well, perhaps, that it is so.  I would not repress the admiration of society toward the lovely and good.  But there is many a lowly cottage, many a lowly bedside of sickness and pain, to which genius brings no offering; to which the footsteps of the enthusiastic and admiring never come; to which there is no cheering visitation—­but the visitation of angels! There is humble toil—­there is patient assiduity—­there is noble disinterestedness—­there is heroic sacrifice and unshaken truth.  The great world passes by, and it toils on in silence; to its gentle footstep, there are no echoing praises; around its modest beauty, gathers no circle of admirers.  It never thought of honor; it never asked to be known.  Unsung, unrecorded, is the labor of its life, and shall be, till the heavens be no more; till the great day of revelation comes; till the great promise of Jesus is fulfilled; till the last shall be first, and the lowliest shall be loftiest; and the poverty of the world shall be the riches and glory of heaven.

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