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ing, in life. In the pursuit of enjoyment we sit down unthinkingly on the tottering precipice, and it is only of God's mercy that we escape ere the crash arrives.
In a few minutes after leaving this spot we came to a still narrower part of the gorge, where there is only space for the river to pass, and where the road has had to be tunnelled for a hundred and eighty feet through the mountain. On emerging from this tunnel there was a thorough change of scene. A green level upland valley, soft and peaceful, dotted with villages and encircled by the hills, stretched out before
This was the Urseren-thal, once the bed of a lake before the stream burst through the gorge up which we had just been climbing, and now the highest permanently inhabited valley in Europe. Walking on to Hospenthal, about midway up this valley, we there closed the journey for the day. A rocky mound, with an old ruined tower, overlooks the village ; and most delightful it was, in the cool silent evening, to sit there and watch the fading sunlight, gaze on the quiet picturesque scene beneath us, and listen to the soft sweet chime of the curfew bell as it “tolled the knell of parting day.” It was an hour for calm and pensive musing. How similar to the events and journeyings of that day are the various stages of Christian experience! The Christian life is like the climbing of some of these Alpine passes. We start in the sunny valley of our first ardent love, where our rich hopes and glowing enthusiasms fill existence with beauty and with joy, and where for a time we have friends and sympathisers to accompany us on the way. Gradually, however, -we leave our exuberant joys behind, and climb up into the forests where the shadows of care hide the sunshine of God's love and the glories of God's grace partially from our view. Former companions begin to fall behind or press on before, or it may be, turn into other paths of duty, while we have to press onward more and more alone. In time the bare rocky region is reached, where the stern facts and stupendous responsibilities of life almost overwhelm the soul; gloomy defiles are entered, filled with the maddening roar of terrible doubts and bewildering perplexities; and it requires all our strength of faith to enable us still to struggle steadily
The promises of God seem sometimes to tremble under us as we try by means of them to cross the yawning gulfs of difficulty which unnerve and appal us. But the higher we climb, the atmosphere which the soul breathes becomes more keen and bracing; our faith and hope gain strength by exercise; and then at last, as the long day of struggle and exertion closes, we reach the heavenly valley of peacefulness and rest, where the storms rage not, where the wildness of the path is changed into beauty, and where we can repose secure surrounded by the everlasting arms, and cheered by the smile of a Father's immortal love.
In this way
SONGS OF THE CHRISTIAN CREED AND LIFE.* AMONGST the recreations to which men of literary tastes and habits are fond of betaking themselves, none is more congenial, none more graceful, than the translating of favourite pieces of poetry either from foreign tongues into the vernacular, or from the vernacular into such foreign tongues as the individual is sufficiently master of. In this pastime, , literary men of all countries have delighted to engage, and not a few have committed their lucubrations in this field to the press. some very choice compositions have become the property of the public, and ordinary readers as well as scholars have shared in the pleasure which the exercise afforded to those who engaged in it. We need only adduce the exquisite volume which contains the translations of Mr Gladstone and Lord Lyttleton as an instance in point.
Amongst the poems which have come down to us from former generations, there is a large number of sacred songs composed by pious men, either for their own gratification, and the utterance of the feelings of gratitude and adoration with which they were inspired, or for use in the public worship of the church of Christ. Some of these are of great antiquity, but the greater part belong to the church of the Middle Ages. Some are composed in the ancient classical measures of the Greeks and Romans, but by far the majority are in measures resembling those now in use among ourselves, and these for the most part add the attraction of rhyme to that of 'rhythm and cadence. The number of these sacred songs is very large, and they are, as might be expected, of very varied degrees of merit. But they all possess an interest of their own, and they have formed a quarry from which hymn writers in more recent times have drawn some of their choicest materials. Many of them have been closely rendered into English, in many cases with remarkable success, as in the " Lyra Apostolica” by Keble, Newman, and others, and in the hymns from the “Parisian Breviary” of the late Mr Faber. For the most part, however, the quarry has simply been plundered without acknowledgment.
In the olume before us, Dr. Macgill appears not only as a translator into English of these ancient hymns, but also as a translator into Latin verse, on the model of the mediæval rhyming hymns of some of the best known and most esteemed of our modern Protestant hymns. In both directions he has proved himself an able versifier. He shows an easy command of good idiomatic Latin, which he bends with much skill to the expression of the sentiment of the modern hymn. In rendering the ancient hymns, he has not aimed at a literal version, but has sought to transfuse the sentiment of the original, in more or less of a paraphrase. In some instances he has used, we think, the licence of paraphrase somewhat too freely, and in one or two passages, as it appears to us, he has
* Songs of the Christian Creed and Life, selected from eighteen centuries, and translated by Hamilton M. Macgill, D.D. London, 1876.
missed the true sense of the original. But in general he has been very successful in catching the sentiment of his author, and giving it expression in vigorous and graceful verse.
One of the oldest Christian hymns is that known as the Evening Hymn, a hymn, which, even in the time of Basil the Great, was reputed "very ancient, handed down," he says, "from the fathers, and in use among the people” (De Spiritu Sancto, c. 29). Of this hymn Dr Macgill gives the following translation :
Holy Jesus ! blessed light,
Songs of glory to thy praise. In the “Lyra Apostolica,” there is a version of this hymn which we shall transcribe that our readers may compare the two.
Hail gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured
Who is th' immortal Father, heavenly, blest;
Now we are come to the Sun's hour of rest,
The lights of evening round us shine,
With undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, Giver of life alone;
Therefore in all the world, Thy glories, Lord, they own. This version keeps much closer to the original than Dr Macgill's, and it has one decided advantage over his, in that it preserves the address throughout to our Lord Jesus Christ, which his does not, for the "Thee" at the end of verse second, and the “Thou” at the beginning of verse third, can only be understood as relating to the Trinity. The English reader will thus, to some extent miss what is the chief value of this hymn, the evidence it affords of how, from the beginning, Jesus Christ was worshipped in the congregation of the Saints as divine. With this exception we prefer Dr Macgill's version as giving in a form which may be sung the spirit of the original.
In the Paris Breviary, there is a noble hymn which is ascribed to Charlemagne the great Emperor as its author. It engaged the genius and skill of Dryden, who produced from it the fine hymn, found in most selections, beginning “Creator Spirit by whose aid.” Of this Dr Macgill gives the following reading :
Creator, Holy Spirit ! come
Thee let us trust, and Thee adore. Dr Macgill has prefixed to his translations some remarks on Accent and Rhyme in Latin Christian Poetry,” a short account of the “Service of Song in the First Three Centuries,” and “Notes Biographical and Critical.” We commend the work to all lovers of sacred poetry; they will find in it much to charm, elevate, and inspire them.
THE KINNIBURGH PAPERS.
GENERAL ACCOUNT OF CONGREGATIONALISM IN SCOTLAND
FROM 1798 TO 1848. ABOUT the end of last century numerous associations were formed in England, for the purpose of propagating a knowledge of the gospel in that country by village preaching. In Scotland too, the same spirit was then excited, and the same means were extensively employed for carrying the same generous design into effect. Extensive itinerancies were then undertaken and accomplished by various individuals, and much good resulted from their labours. This formed a new era in the history of religion in our country. Many rejoiced in seeing the first itinerants take the field in 1797. Some, however, who encouraged the first labourers at length withdrew their countenance, opposed and spoke evil of the work; while others, who beheld its beginnings with indifference, or who opposed it, became at length friendly and zealous in the cause. None of the original promoters of the good work contemplated the important results in which itinerating labours were found to issue. In a short time the face of things in the country was greatly altered. Vital religion, which had long been on the decline amongst almost every party of professing Christians, was revived, and many parts of the land that had long sat in darkness saw the true light. Many hundreds of our countrymen were turned to the Lord, and the very recital of the events that then happened revive, in the minds of the few who are living and saw them, pleasurable scenes which have passed away. Objections, were soon made to the exertions of our itinerating brethren, because they appeared to depart from the very liberal principles on which they began their labours, and none objected more than certain dissenters, who seemed to think that the new converts, and all who had their eyes opened to see the corruptions of the Established Church, should cast in their lot with them. Whereas the itinerants, after a while, rather encouraged the disciples to form themselves into societies where they could enjoy purity of communion, and attend to the ordinances of the house of God as delivered by the Apostles to the churches in primitive times. In the outset, however, of these itinerancies, our brethren followed a different course, for in Orkney they advised all who were converted under the word preached by them, to join themselves to the Antiburghers there. But in the course of the following year they began to see more the necessity of a stricter adherence to New Testament principles, and separated the disciples. So that by the beginning of the present century, in several parts of Scotland, a little band of true-hearted men were gathered together, and were united in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, and began to be as so many cities set on hills, diffusing light and life all around.
USES OF THIS HISTORY.
A history of these societies is calculated to exhibit the progress both of truth and of error; and the time which they have existed is sufficient to test the tendency of the avowed principles of the body to which they belong; and the results will either encourage the hopes or excite the fears of its friends respecting its future prospects. And as there is a tendency in all religious bodies to degenerate, a review of our past history. may tend to gender greater watchfulness, particularly as it regards purity of communion and a strict adherence to New Testament principles, for