Page images

Their doctrine in general was, that as God spent six was computed to be a good deal more than five thousand days in the works of creation, and rested on the seventh, years at the birth of the Redeemer. * and as one day with the Almighty is as a thousand years, From these considerations, it is concluded that, for more and a thousand years as one day; so, six thousand years than three hundred years, the expectation of the Millenwould pass over mankind in toil and suffering, after nium was cherished by the primitive Christians. The which there would be a Sabbath of corresponding length same opinion bad been formerly stated by Mede and Burto be enjoyed by the better portion of the human race net. It is likewise shown, that the first opposition to ä Millennium, or thousand years, of rest, peace, and hap- the doctrine respected not the authority on which it was piness. This opinion is expressed by one of their Rabbis maintained, but merely the nature of the enjoyments, with in these words :-“ As out of every seven years, the se- which it too soon became associated in the miuds of the venth is the year of remission, so, out of the seven thou- less spiritual among the brethren. The delights of the sand years of the world, the seventh Millennium shall be Millennial Sabbath were identified with the grossest pleathe Millennium of remission.”

sures of a sensual paradise ; and hence arose the school The next step in the argument is to prove that the of the Allegorists, who endeavoured to find, in the vivid early Christians, the greater part of whom were originally descriptions of that felicity which was to be enjoyed duJews, continued to hold the expectation of the Millennium, ring the thousand years, a meaning more consistent with and to fortify their hopes on the same grounds, and by the purity and self-denial of the Gospel. The opinions means of the same general doctrine, which had been main- of the Christian world were ever after divided on this tained in the schools of the Rabbim. St Barnabas, for subject ; some professors adhering to the Jewish notions example, the companion and fellow-labourer of the Apos- of corporeal enjoyment, others following the more reasontle Paul, presents to us, in a commentary on the twen- able doctrine of Dionysius, the Bishop of Alexandria, who tieth chapter of Exodus, the following views in regard to endeavoured to reduce the triumphs of the New Jerusait :-“ And God made in six days the works of his hands; lem to a rhetorical flourish, or at least to a spiritual alleand he finished them on the seventh day; and he rested gory. But, it is worthy of remark, that neither party the serenth day, and sanctified it. Consider, my children, relinquished the hope of Millennial blessedness, por ceased what that signified, he finished them in six days. The to connect it with the chronological positions already exmeaning of it is this, that in six thousand years the Lord plained ; namely, that it was to follow the six thousand God will bring all things to an end. For with him one years of sin and labour, as the seventh day followed the day is as a thousand years, as himself testifieth. There- six spent in creation, at the beginning of time. It was fore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, not till the fifth century had elapsed, when, according to shall all things be accomplished. And what is that he the lowest of the more ancient calculations, the seventh saith, And he rested the seventh day? He meaneth this, chiliad or Millennium must have begun, that the Christian that when his Son shall come, and abolish the season of teachers were led to discover their mistake, and to with the wicked one, and judge the ungodly, and shall change draw their belief from this Jewish fancy, by which they the sun, the moon, and the stars, then shall he rest glo- had been so long enthralled. riously in that seventh day."

I have stated—and I repeat the statement as an histoSimilar quotations are made from the writings of Justin rical fact that as long as the prophecies respecting the Martyr and of Tertullian; both of whom held the same Millennium were interpreted literally, the Apocalypse was opinion, in regard to the time and purpose of the Millen- received as an inspired production, and as the work of nium. Lactantius, too, who lived somewhat later, shows the Apostle John; but that no sooner did theologians find in various parts of his works that he inberited the tenets themselves compelled to view its annunciations through of the earlier fathers. “ Because all things,” says he, the medium of allegory, than they ventured to call in “ were finished in six days, it is necessary that the world question its heavenly origin, its genuineness, and its authoshould remain in its present state six ages, that is, six rity. Dionysius, for example, the great supporter of the thousand years. Because, having finished the works of allegorical school, gives a decided opinion against the aucreation, he rested on the seventh day, and blessed it, it thenticity of the Revelation. “ Several of our predecesis therefore necessary that, at the end of the sixth Mil- sors," says he," have wholly rejected this book; and, by lennium, all wickedness should be rooted out of the earth, examining its contents, section after section, have found and that righteousness should reign a thousand years." it obscure, void of reason, and its title forged. They When the Son of God shall have destroyed injustice, and said it was not John's ; nay, that it was no revelation, restored the good to life, he will sojourn among men a being covered with so thick a veil of ignorance ; and that thousand years, and rule them with a most righteous none of the saints, or the apostles, or the godly men, who judgment. At the same time, the Prince of the devils belonged to the church, was the author of this book; but shall be bound with chains, and kept in restraint during Corinthus, the father of the noted heresy, who put out the thousand years of the celestial government, in which this treatise under the name of John, in order to gain justice shall prevail throughout the whole world, lest be credit and authority.”—“ I deny not that the author's name should attempt any thing against the people of God. And was John, and I think verily that the book was written when the thousand years shall be completed, then shall by some pious man endowed with the Holy Gbost ; but take place that second and public resurrection of all, when that it is the Apostle's, the son of Zebedee, the brother of the unjust shall be raised to everlasting torments. James, who wrote the Gospel and the Catholic Epistle,

I then undertake to show, that the expectation just de- I can hardly be brought to grant. The Evangelist bad .scribed was connected with the belief that the sixth Mil- both the gift of utterance and the gift of knowledge. As lennium was considerably advanced when Christianity for the other, I will not gainsay but that he saw a revewas first given to the world. It is not easy to abridge lation, and also that he received knowledge and prophecy; - the quotations which I have adduced to illustrate the yet, for all that, I see his Greek not exactly uttered, the point yow stated, and to prove that the faithful, during dialect and proper phrase not observed. I tind him using the three first centuries of our era, regarded themselves barbarous expressions and solecisms, which I do not think -as living in the latter days, and as being those upon whom it necessary to repeat at present." .the end of the world bad come. No competent reader, On this delicate point I have refrained from giving any however--I speak not of reviewers—will deny the fact, that, according to the chronological system which pre

• According to Clemens of Alexandria, it was .vailed in those early days among Jews, as well as among


Josephus Christians, the age of our globe, as the habitation of man,

Theophilus of Antioch

Julius Africanus • Catholic Epistle of St Barnabas, section 15.

The modern Jews have reduced it to 3731, or even to 3616

5621 5586 5550 5515 550) 5900


judgment; and it is, therefore, only by a forced and very men who had just obtained a new light-" Then bath unfair inference that the historian of ancient opinions God to the Gentiles also granted repentance unto life!" can be charged with denying the inspiration of the Apo Suffice it to remark, that the assistance promised by calypse. I have indeed stated, that Eusebius, who di- our Lord to his disciples, did not extend to all subjects, vides all the sacred books into three classes, includes the but simply to THE TRUTH which he had revealed, and Revelation in the second, as a treatise which might be which he commanded them to teach ; and this supernaread for instruction, but which was not fully inspired : i tural aid was supplied not all at once, but gradually, and

that Cyril of Jerusalem rejects it from his list of canoni- in a proportion commensurate with the necessities of i cal compositions : that the Council of Laodicea, in the their situation. He assured them, at the same time, that

fourth century, proceeded on the same principle, and re- the limits of his commission, as the Son of Man, did not

fused to admit the Apocalypse as an authentic work. I admit of any revelation as to the period fixed in the couna have added, however, that, at a period somewhat later, it sels of Eternity for the duration of the present state of

was almost generally received, so far at least as to be in- things. Now, as our Saviour did not communicate to serted in the lists of those writers who undertook to guide the Apostles any information respecting the duration or their contemporaries in the list of inspired tracts. Nay, end of the world, we ought to view their allusions to I have distinctly declared, that the determination to which chronology and other matters of human science, in the I had arrived respecting the apocalyptic visions as having same light in which we view their opinions in regard to no relation to our times, and as not being essential to the the constitution of the universe, and the structure of the regulation either of our faith or manners, is not meant to heavenly bodies. In the language used by their fore.

decide any question that might be raised in regard to the fathers in still more ancient times, they continued to i authority of the Revelation, as an inspired work. Every speak of the firmament as of a plane surface, as a canopy

novice in church history is aware of the objections, which, which might be drawn aside like a scroll, and as a coverfrom time to time, were urged against the authenticity ing which might be rolled up like a garment. They were of the book in question, as also of the reluctance with entire strangers to that sublime study, which has carried which it was received in several divisions of the Christian the works of God and the conceptions of man to an extent commonwealth ; but it has not been usual among candid which borders on infinity. “But,” I have added, “not

men to aceuse the apnalist of such controversies as hold-withstanding this ignorance, which they shared with the $ ing the opinions which he has merely undertaken to nar men of this age, their doctrines on the still more impor

rate, or to impute to him the errors which his subject tant subject of human redemption, are full of knowledge leads him to expose.

and truth ; because, in all that they taught on this bead, Again, as to the extent in which the Apostles shared they were guided by divine inspiration, and spoke and the impression, common in their age, respecting the near wrote like the oracles of God. I would, therefore, con approach of the end of the world, there is a great want of clude, that although it were necessary to make a concession unanimity in the judgments of the learned. Grotius, Me- as to the private opinions of the Apostles in respect to the narchus, Whiston, and others, were satisfied that St Paul, Millennium, the principles of our faith would not be therein particular, believed that the second advent might take by shaken ; because the promise of our Lord did not ex place in bis own days, and would not be delayed beyond the tend to the communication of all knowledge, but merely

lifetime of his younger brother. But the greater number to the recollection and understanding of all the truth - of divines have rejected this opinion, as being utterly in which they had heard from his own lips, and to the fuller 'y consistent with fact, and as implying, of course, a degree exposition of the same divine institutes, in proportion as

of infallibility in the Apostle not easily to be reconciled they should, at a future period, be able to comprehend with the idea of plenary inspiration, as that phrase is them.” In another place I say, that “it is by no means commonly understood. It is admitted, at the same time, clear that St Paul expected the second advent of the Rethat the language of this holy man was generally under- deemer during the existence of the generation in which he stood by his contemporaries in the sense of the millenna- himself lived. On the contrary, strong reasons might be rians, and even that it was employed by them in support urged to prove that he did not entertain such an opinion, of their views. In reference to this I have remarked, But, even if it were necessary to concede this point, respectthat it must forever remain extremely difficult to deter- ing which he had not received any supernatural informamine wbat were the precise ideas which the Apostles tion, his authority as to all matters of faith, meant to express, when they used the language which called, would not be in the least affected.” the primitive believers interpreted so as to support their “ It is manifest, at all events, that those who continue favourite doctrine of a Millennium. But let it be ad- to cherish the expectation of a Millennium, must consent mitted that the inspired servants of Christ shared in to relinquish the idea with which it was connected in an the impression which was almost universal among their cient times, namely, that it should stand in the same re

countrymen, relative to the end of the world and the lation to the age of the world, that the Sabbath does to s, earthly reign of the Messias ; does it necessarily follow, the six days of the week; and that its affairs were to be

that our faith in the things which they were specially directed by the personal administration of the Lord Jesus < commissioned to teach must be overthrown, merely because Christ, in virtue of his office as the King of Saints. The

there may be reason to suspect that, in regard to a sub- former must be given up, because the seventh Millennium ject on which they were properly kept ignorant, they con- expired more than two hundred years ago ; -and the relintinued to think with the rest of the world? We know quishment of the latter follows as a matter of course, bethat St Peter was several years an Apostle before he was cause the second advent was uniformly associated in the Enlightened as to one of the most essential and charac- minds of the primitive Christians with the termination teristic purposes of Christianity, namely, that the Gospel of six thousand years." But if the two points now menwas to be preached to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews, tioned be abandoned, nothing will remain of the Millenand that the former, as well as the latter, were to be nial hypothesis, in its original acceptation, on which the blessed with all its privileges. Nay, the Apostles and church of Christ in these days ought to repose any hope brethren who were at Jerusalem, when they heard of the of a literal and visible reign of the Redeemer, during the transaction at Cæsarea, were disposed to “ contend with long period of ten centuries. We shall, therefore, it may Peter,” for having admitted heathens into the Church of be presumed, see the propriety of assenting to the views Christ ; nor was it until they had listened to the details of those learned men, who, at the era of the Reformation, of the miracle, by means of which the authority to bap- ranked the Millennium among “ Jewish dotages," as one tise a pagan family had been conveyed to him, that their of those hereditary impressions which clung to the house bearts were opened to understand the fundamental prin- of Israel even after they became Christians, and which, ciple of their own religion. “Then,” they exclaimed, like like their refusal of salvation to the Gentiles, gradually


[ocr errors]

gave way to the power of advancing knowledge, and to ing vessel, or carrying her voice of consolation into the their clearer perception of the Divine purposes in the great cells of the prison-house. One of the most glorious feascheme of human redemption,

tures of the times is, that the poorest inhabitants of the It appears to me more honest to reject the Millennium, country are now beginning voluntarily to interest them, or, as St Jerome calls it, the “ Fable of a Thousand Years," selves in the diffusion of education. This is manifest in a openly and distinctly, than to join with the school of Dr particular manner from the encouragement which has of

Whitby, who explain it away by substituting for facts late been given to the establishment of School and Itinemere figures of rhetoric, and by expounding the language rating Libraries, by means of which the blessings of

of Scripture on a principle equally inconsistent with gram- knowledge, at an astonishingly cheap rate, may be con, mar and with common sense.

veyed into every family in the land. The very moderate I bave thought it better to give an outline of my dis- funds necessary for commencing such a library may be course, so far as doctrine is concerned, rather than defend raised either by a public sermon and collection, or by pri. åt against the strictures of the Reviewer in the Journal, vate subscription, as local situation and circumstances some of which I have not been able to comprehend. To dictate. Our attention has been more immediately di. prepare him for the study of this knotty point, I would rected to this subject at present, by baving just received advise him to read the chronological works of Jackson, the “ Sixth Report of the East Lothian Itinerating JuHayes, Faber, or of Dr Hales, and he will see the ground venile and Village Libraries,” together with a paper on on which rests the “flimsy plea” that the system of dates Itinerating Libraries in general, by Mr Samuel Brown adopted in the English Bible, was unknown to the church of Haddington, manager of the East Lothian Libraries, of Christ for many ages, and that it rests entirely on the We rejoice to find that, under Mr Brown's able superinauthority of the modern Jews. I am willing to ascribe tendence, these establishments are rapidly increasing in to haste the gross blunder into which he has fallen, when his own county. That the precise principles upon which he attributes to me the assertion, that the “ Apostle him he proceeds may be more generally known, we have pleaself is given to Rabbinical delusion.” I have merely said sure in giving a place to the following paper by.bim, con that St Paul occasionally makes use of Rabbinical allu- taining his reply to certain queries which bave been pat sions. But the supposition of haste will hardly account to him on the subject ; and we are farther authorized to for the imputation with which he thinks proper to charge state, that Mr Browu will willingly answer any addithe aathor of the Discourses, who, he says, affects to tional queries respecting the practical operation and detail show “ that St John either did not write the book of of his plans that may be made to bim through the me Revelation at all, or that he has given us the idle, unau. dium of the Literary Journal: thorized imaginings of a disordered fancy, as glorious vi. sions which he was commanded to write down in a book,

ON ITINERATING LIBRARIES. that they might be to the glory of God, and for edification « The following enquiries were lately made to me respect, and encouragement to the Christian church.” In reply, ing the plan of the East Lothian itinerating libraries, the it will be enough to repeat, that I have not presumed to replies may perhaps suggest some useful information to perdetermine the question of authenticity in any point, but sons who are disposed to introduce the plan into their neigh.

bourhood. I shall also be bappy to give any additional inhave left it exactly as I found it.

formation concerning that economical mode of diffusing I have had top much experience in the mystery of re- knowledge to any person who may wish it. viewing not to know its full value, both as to matter and "Q. 1. How many itinerating divisions of fifty volumes spirit. In this field, accordingly, I am not less disposed would be desirable to form one library? to take than to give ; and nothing, assuredly, would af. " For the commencement of a system of itinerating librar ford me greater pleasure, than an able critic entering into ries, four or five divisions would be a very good beginning, the history of the opinions which I have advanced, their or even fewer. If that number were stationed each for grounds, both scriptural and chronological, and the autho- they went the circuit, and in that time it is probable as

two years in a place, it would be eight or ten years before rities on which they have been, in different ages, respec- many more divisions would be added to the establishment. fively impugned and defended. But-I am, sir, your | Ten or twelve divisions could be easily managed by one perfaithful servant,

son, who felt an interest in the plan; and it would be betLEITH, 28th July, 1830.

M. R.

ter to divide the labour by different sets all over the coun.

try, than to oppress an individual with a large establish[**We are not in the habit of giving a place to communications I prefer the divisions being two years in a place to from authors with whose opinions we may, to a certain extent, have a shorter period; as at first the lighter and more enterfound fault, and who, we take it for granted, will, in nine cases out taining reading is chiefly in demand; and were the books of ten, conceive our strictures to be unjust; but we were unwilling changed every year, I should be apprehensive of too strong to refuse so learned and able a correspondent as Dr Russell an op a taste being formed for amusing works ;. but when it is portuni'y of defence, and having done so, we leave the question to our stationed for two years, the readers have time to read the mutual judges-the public. Thatour review of his book was written more solid and useful books. in the spirit of candour and sincerity, we are sure; the degree of “ Q. 2. At about what expense can each division be proability and research which we brought to the test, it is not for us to cured ? say. But this we can safely assert, leaving it to others to determine “ I think a division of fifty volumes bound, or half bound, the fact, that notwithstanding the length of the above letter, we do with bookcase, catalogue, labels, advertisements, and issuing not see that it materially affects any of the statements we made last book, may be procured from L. 10 to L. 12; but the cost Saturday.--Ed.)

will depend very much on the kind of books wanted, and their being recently published. Very good divisions might

be selected for from L.8 to L. 10. As perhaps the prineiEDUCATION IN SCOTLAND-ITINERATING

pal binderance to the introduction of itinerating libraries has LIBRARIES

been the trouble of setting on foot the first divisions, I would Our readers are aware of the interest we take in all be willing to superintend gratuitously the getting up any subjects connected with the state of education in this any individual or society may wish, and to procure, at the

number of divisions, with the necessary apparatus, wbich country, We are happy to see the exertions now making wholesale prices, any books they may require. in various districts to second the more extensive plans of “ Q. 3. 'At about what expense per annum may each national improvement in this respect which have been so division be kept in repair ? auspiciously commenced, and are likely to proceed so pros

“ If the books are bound, or half bound at first, I suppose perously. Greatly as we admire education, stately and five shillings per annum would both keep them in repair, full-robed, rejoicing amidst the classic splendour of her and supply any volumes which may be lost, and which it academic bowers, yet not less interesting is she when seen might be difficult to get the reader to replace;

if the books

are in boards with linen backs, seven or nine shillings stealing unadorned into the sequestered hamlet and lowly year will repair and bind them as they require. shieling, or descending into the cabin of the small coast “ Q. 4. How long, with care, may such books last?


Part of our books have been in active circulation for plan by which such societies can promote the interests of * eighteen years, as at the commencenient they were used as religion, at so little expense, and in so inoffensive a manner,

a Sunday-school library; and forty volumes out of tifty are as by supporting itinerating libraries in their respectivo i ret fit for circulation, and will last a few years longer, so districts, by applying a part of their funds to this purpose,

that twenty years may be considered the period they will and thereby promoting the interests of religion at home. last.

This would ultimately increase their funds for foreign obo " In forming an establishment of itinerating libraries, Ijects, by increasing the number of their subscribers. would recommend the raising, as much money from the “ Alihough the principal object of the East Lothian , friends of the institution, as would purchase four or five Itinerating Libraries is to promote the interests of religion, divisions to begin with, and that they be placed in different we have introduced a number of volumes on all branches of stations, with an intimation that if the books are well read, knowledge which we could procure, of a plain and popular they will be sticceeded by other divisions every second year ; nature; and this, I am persuaded, has made the institution that during the first year they will be issued to any person much more popular, and also increased the number of reli. who will pay one penny a-volume for reading it; that in gious books which have been read. the second year, they will be issued gratuitously to any “ Much of the success of such institutions will depend on person above twelve years of age, who will take care of the zeal of the librarians, and on their acting gratuitously; thern. I consider it of great importance to allow gratui- and also by giving a moderate degree of publicity to the tous reading, as there are many young persons who are not plan, by reports, catalogues, and advertisements. able to pay even a penny a-volume; and others are not

“ SAMUEL BROWN, willing to pay until a taste for reading is formed in them.” “ As another means of raising funds and promoting the

“ Manager of the East Lothian Itinerating Libraries objects of the institution, I would recommend that, after

“ Haddington.” its commencement, all the new books shoald be kept for at Whilst upon this subject, we may throw out a sugges

least one year, for the use of annual subscribers of five shil, tion which is perhaps worth attending to. is lings, or such other sum as may be thought proper.

We bave long

Education in adopted this plan in 1822. Previous to that period, the been of opinion that a yearly report on greatest number of our annual subscribers was eight; they Scotland” would prove a great stimulus towards its diffunow amount to more than one hundred and fifty; and bession and advancement. A yearly work of this kind sides adding largely to our funds, this measure has introdu- would be read by all classes with extraordinary avidity. ed into a considerable number of the most respectable and it is not unlikely that the Journal of Education, about to

intluential families of the district, a number of religious be published under Mr Brougham's superintendence, may # and useful publications. I have allowed these subscribers render such a report less necessary; and if so, Mr Brougham *** the privilege of recommending books, to double the amount

of their subscriptions, on condition that they are not, in the will add another obligation to the many which his couniopinion of the committee, injurious to the interests of reli- try already owes him for bis exertions in the cause of usegion or morals; this privilege has been used by them with ful knowledge. In the meantime, however, our hiot great discretion, and they have frequently assisted me in will probably not be thrown away upon Principal Baird, procuring very proper books.

and the other natural guardians of a cause which does so * In consequence of our having a number of subscribers much honour to them and to Scotland. at the neighbouring towns of Dunbar and North Berwick, new books are purchased with their own subscriptions for

the use of these stations; besides which, the new books that I have been one year at Haddington, are sent to North Ber- RECOLLECTIONS OF A PARSONAGE.

wick and Dunbar, so as to be double the value of their subscriptions; and the new books which have been at Dunbar

Ecce iterum Crispinus ! and North Berwick, are kept another year for the Had. dington subscribers. By this arrangement, all the subscribers have access to many more volumes than their own Under the above title, your imagination, gentle and subscriptions would have purchased. And after this they intelligent reader, will naturally disport itself amidst are formed into divisions for general circulation. In a large the members of our General Assembly. You will think town, as Edinburgh or Glasgow, a similar plan might be followed, by placing divisions within the reach of the diffe- incontinently of our Inglises, our Cookes, our Chalrent squares and streets of the genteel population, many of merses, our Thomsons, or such other Tuscan and Dorio wbom, I am persuaded, would subscribe for the use of the pillars upon which the church visible at present rests; or, books for the younger branches of their families, as well as in the retirements of former ages, you will discern those for themselves.

mighty shades which have long taken their place with - As it is of much importance to gratify the annual sub- the illustrious departed. Or, perhaps, in the grosser scribers with the books they wish to read as early as possi- materiality of apprehension, you may even conjure up ble, in the issuing-book for them, I have adopted the plan those beams and pillars on which our pulpits are outof writing the name of the book on the top of the page, and writing the name of the borrower below it, with the wardly and visibly supported. But in all such efforts, date when the volume is issued; and as a volume is fre- you will come wide of the truth, and may probably exa quently called for when some person has it, I also enter the press your surprise when told, that the “ Props of the names of the persons who want it, in the same manner; Pulpit” which are here meant, are nothing more nor less and when it comes in, it is immediately sent to them, and than old men and women who commonly cluster around the date is affixed to their name. By this means some vo

our parish pulpits, to the exceeding annoyance of the James are never permitted to stand idle in the book-sbelt. The issuing book for the general readers is more easily kept. preceptor, and the great delight of every efficient and The names of the usual readers are arranged alphabetically, faithful pastor. and the namber of the book is marked opposite their name, It is quite possible that a very useless and inefficient and under a column for the month in which they are issued; minister may be popular ;—the walls of his church may and wben they are returned, the number is merely crossed. perspire from door to door, and from floor to ceiling, enk is very useful to call in all the books once a-year for exa- compassing a dense and a gaping multitude, and yet all mination, and to get repaired those which require it. “ It is not advisable to require any entry money in ad-collar and a white handkerchief, a showy style and a re

this while the speaker may be a mere dandy, with a high dition to the first annual subscription, as it is usually a binderance to new subscribers. When an addition to the tentive memory. But no such orator will ever clothe catalogue of the new books is printed, which should be once his pulpit stair-way with tartan plaids and sbanter bon2-year, if it is sent gratuitously to the respectable families nets, with clasp-bibles and crooked kents. Till, howin the neighbourhood, it will usually procure more new ever, such conquest has been made, and the venerable and subscribers than will pay the expense of printing it.

Besides the subscriptions from individuals, we have pious“ Props” I refer to have been attracted into theme had occasional donations to the East Lothian Itinerating places, the speaker, though he may tickle the imaginaLibraries from different missionary societies, formed with tion, and gratify the ear, of his audience, is yet a great

in the district. As the libraries have much of the nature way from utility,—from that true and genuine efficiency, ? of a Home Missionary institution, there is, perhaps, no

which bespeaks the operation of “ Grace," through the


instrumentality of our honest, and fervent, and devotional no ken the reason o' that, sir ?" I immediately acknowfeeling and utterance. Take your summer excursion from ledged my ignorance. “ Troth, sir,” proceeded my in“ the Mull” to “ Pomona," from Ailsa to the Bass, and structor, “whan it's yourself that delivers and expounds mark, in your progress, the Sabbath ministrations of the oracles,' we can a' tak a nap wi' safety, for we ken every minister in Scotland. Deaf though you were, and brawly in whas han's they are. But when a young altogether incapable of ascertaining from the ear the power birkie like yon opens, and tries to explain the sacred word, and the value of the respective ministrations, you may it taks us a' to look sharp after him !"

T. G. .gather from the eye alone, from these “ Pulpit Props," how the spiritual interests of each parish fare,—whether the incumbent preaches himself or his master, the very THE POETRY OF VISIBLE OBJECTS. Gospel or the idle showiness of learning, ingrafted on vanity of worldly wisdom and conceit, gilt and glossed

By John Mackay Wilson. over with a show and a seeming of godliness.

There is inspiration, there is poetry, in all that is It may be that the church you have visited is not beautiful, all that is vast,—in the blush upon the cheek crowded to the door, and that, even amidst a compara- of a maiden—in the modest violet and drooping lilytively limited number of hearers, you observe somewhat in the dewdrop on the rose_in the pale glances of the of an unexcited and inattentive aspect, as if no great ex moon; in the glory of the sunbeams—in the conviction pectation had been raised, and no particular exertion had of an immortality—in a stupendous eternity—in the idea been made to excite it. But if you have the aged and of a God! all these are poetry, and last, not least, Reliwrinkled faces of threescore and ten immediately front- gion, holy, pure and undefiled religion-religion is the ing you,—if you can mark, wbile the venerable and ve- poetry of Heaven! There is poetry in eternal ocean, with nerated man of God is composedly dividing the word of its thousand tongues ; in the glorious and circuitous truth, a gradual and a solemn lifting and falling of the sportings of its hoary waves ; in the blue beams of the hands ; if the Bible lies half opened, and dog-leafed at the lightning, and the hoarse roaring of its voice ; in the text, in the lap of age, and the eyes of the surrounding tranquillity of evening, when the music of the wild-dove « Props” are ever and anon raised in humble acquiescence welcomes the gloaming ; in the reflection of sparkling to the face and the utterance of the pastor, then all is moonbeams on a waveless sea ; in the works of nature right: such a parish has been blessed in its minister, and innumerable. such a minister has had, and will have, reason to rejoice Poetry is a living, a thrilling, an exciting something. in his pastoral labours. I had rather sit under such a Its principles are universal as motion in matter. It is ministry, than under all the fiery and scalding droppings the language of the soul; it is its actions. It is a graspfrom the lamp of the red-hot zealot, or blazing senti- ing of the heart and its passions. It is, and is in, every mentalist.

thing that elevates a man from the prose around him. Do you observe that figure which occupies the lowest Poetry is enthusiasm; is every or any thing in which is step of the pulpit range? There she sits, with her little beauty or power. It exists in the power of producing orphan grand-daughter at her feet, and there she has sat effect, and in the effect produced. for many years past ; she never desires to ascend higher, The whole life of Napoleon, for example, was one great or to come into contact and competition with the persons and glorious epic. His every movement was the poetry or the privileges of the precentor or bell-man. Her heart of action. There was poetry in every word he uttered; is humble, yet it is feelingly alive to any acts of conde- his very existence was a concentration of it. There are scension or kindness with which it may be visited. Care- more noble and sublime instances of poetry in some of 'fully, as the minister ascends to the pulpit, does she draw his addresses to his army previous to engagements, than , in the extremities of her dress, contract her body to leave in any production of the present age. Take but the fal

the requisite breadth of stair-way for the well-known foot, lowing single sentence, and pictare a host of spendidly which her very soul embraces in its passing. Her little armed and panoplied Mameluke cavalry covering the Nancy, now no longer, through the intervention of fe- plain before them, on their right hand the sacred river male charity, an object of relief, sits on her gown of Egypt,—the mountains of Mobratam, the cities of tail, looks up the psalms and texts, and occasionally en- Cairo and of classic Memphis, with the everlasting pyrajoys with a half-formed smile, the old woman's embar- mids upon their right, and his army eager for the charge. rassment in fixing her untempled spectacles firmly and “ Go!said he, pointing to the pyramids" Go! and graspingly on her nose. The history of that woman think that from the height of those monuments forty ages and her orphan ward is interesting, and on another oc- survey our conduct !" It were fruitless to follow him casion you shall have it ; the meantime, you must be through his long line of glories and of victories. But content with a more limited notice of her next neighbour who can contemplate, without astonishment, his descendin the order of stair ascent, videlicet, Janet Sinith. ing a second time the Alps like a mighty avalanche,

Janet is a queer body. I have never been able yet to sweeping away the resolute resistance of the Austrian find out with perfect assurance whether Janet is, or is squadrons on the plains of Marengo; and, in the midst not, truly religious. She is remarkably sagacious, that is of the strife and the swell of battle, think of the heroic certain,-knows the Scriptures better than most clergy- Desaix, with his single arm, dashing aside the tide of men, and attendş most regularly on the ordinances of fortune,-almost of fate; and as the last wave engulfed religion. But then, on the other hand, Janet's voice is the bopes of their enemies, the blood of the hero mingled loud when a proclamation has been made over her head; with the flood; and when, in the swift tumult of triumph nor are her commentaries always made in perfect charity and pursuit, the echo of the brave man's warlike groan To young preachers, or stibblers, as she calls them, she is is borne to his leader, and that leader Napoleon, he exquite ferocious, cutting them up at the kirk-style, and, claims, in the whirlwind of conquest, of sorrow, and of indeed, all the way home to her hut in the clachan, at battle, “ Why have I not time to weep for him ?" If there no allowance; and occasionally, if I am rightly informed, be not poetry in these things, where is poetry to be found ? taking a pretty sound and protracted nap, eren in the While his feet yet stood on the tottering ruins of Austria, midst of my very warmest addresses. For this I ven- and the glories of Ulm, green in the exultings of his tured, one day lately, to challenge Janet; contrasting her heart, he looked on the self-confident and combined legions vigilance and attention, when a young man had officiated, of the German and the Russ, and exclaimed, in the conwith her supineness and inattention under my own mi- fidence of his own inspiration, “ To-morrow these armies nistrations. “ And d'ye no ken the reason o' that, sir,” are mine !" As the sunbeams glanced on their glittering responded Janet, with a look that intimated in her own steel from the heights of Austerlitz, when, in the breathJanguage that she had not her tale a-seeking;"." D'ye less moment of onset, he rushed along the line like the

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »