Puslapio vaizdai

While we are upon the subject of Scripture quotations, we may perhaps be allowed to place before our readers a fine passage from Gilfillan's "Bards of the Bible," in reference thereto :

"The charm which Scripture quotation adds to writing, let those tell who have read Milton, Bunyan, Burke, Foster, Southey, Croly, Carlyle, Macaulay, yea, and even Byron, all of whom have sown their pages with this 'orient pearl' and brought thus an impulse from divine inspiration, to add to the effect of their own. Extracts from the Bible always attest and vindicate their origin. They nerve what else in the sentence in which they occur is pointless; they clear a space for themselves, and cast a wide glory around the page where they are found. Taken from the classics of the heart, all hearts vibrate more or less strongly to their voice. It is even as David felt of old toward the sword of Goliath, when he visited the high-priest, and said, "There is none like that, give it me;' so writers of true taste and sympathies feel on great occasions, when they have certain thoughts and feelings to express, a longing for that sharp two-edged sword, and an irresistible inclination to cry 'None like that, give this right Damascus blade alone can cut the of our thought into full utterance and victory." From the Psalms of David, as giving expression in the most poetical and devotional form, to almost

it us;


every variety of passion and emotion of which the human mind is cognizant, we have, of course, taken a large proportion of our scripture passages, and therefore do we think it well to quote the above author's apostrophe to these sublime compositions.

"Wild, holy, tameless strains, how have you run down through ages in which large poems, systems, and religions have perished, firing the souls of poets, kissing the lips of children, smoothing the pillows of the dying, stirring the warrior to heroic rage, perfuming the chambers of solitary saints, and clasping into one the hearts and voices of thousands of assembled worshippers; tinging many a literature, and finding a home in many a land; and still ye seem as fresh, and young, and powerful as ever; yea, preparing for even mightier triumphs than when first chaunted! Britain, Germany, and America now sing you; but you must yet awaken the dumb millions of China and Japan."

It has been beautifully and truly observed by the eloquent and learned Bishop Lowth, that "We shall think of Poetry much more humbly than it deserves, unless we direct our attention to that quarter where its importance is most eminently conspicuous, or unless we contemplate it as employed on sacred subjects, and in subserviance to religion. This indeed appears to have been the original office and destination of Poetry, and this it still so happily

performs, that in all other cases it seems out of character, as if intended for this purpose alone. In other instances Poetry appears to want the assistance of art, and in this to shine forth with all its natural splendour, or rather to be animated by that inspiration, which on other occasions is spoken of without being felt."

These observations apply more especially to Hebrew Poetry, that loftiest and noblest manifestation of true poetic inspiration; and are quoted by Dr. Caunter in his able and judicious treatise on "The Poetry of the Pentateuch," in reference to which the learned writer observes that "Sacred themes have inspired the greatest poets of almost every age, and of every civilized country where the true God has been adored, the doctrine of redemption promulgated, and the divine attributes avowed. Those sublime themes have called forth the highest intellectual endowments of man.” Herder, another profound critic, and lover of Poetry in its most sublime forms, says of it, that "without God it is a showy Papyrus without moisture; every system of morals without Him is a mere parasitical plant. It makes a flowery display in fine words, and sends forth its branches hither and thither; nay, it insinuates itself into every weak spot and crevice of the human soul; but the sun rises and it vanishes."

All true Poets have felt and known this, although

they have not always acknowledged it; sometimes it was but a dim confused perception of the truth which they obtained; being dazzled by the blaze of their own genius, they have mistaken that for a divine effluence, and worshipped it in the place of that greater glory, of which it was but a faint reflex and emanation. Sometimes it was pride of intellect which forbade them to bow down to any other God than that which bore the impress of self: sometimes it was a kind of pantheistic worship of nature, as an abstract divinity; so enamoured were they of the fair face of creation, that they forgot the Creator; the works, how beautiful! how perfect! But the workman, what of Him? We have spoken in the past tense, and it might be thought that our remarks were meant to apply to poets of pagan lands, and of benighted ages of the world's history; but alas! they are equally applicable to all ages, and to all lands; and especially to our own country and age of christian enlightenment. Many of the most gifted singers of the present day, of the most fervent and devoted spirits, might have served as high-priests in the temple of Apollo, and offered adoration at the shrine of Flora, Ceres, and the Bona Dea, and other pagan impersonifications of the sun, and the earth, with its beauties and riches. To such as these the flowers, those stars of earth, are not the living, glowing, breathing "charactery"

in which the Almighty writes instructive lessons of His wisdom and goodness, telling the sick, the weary, and the sad at heart, that

"Whoso careth for the flowers

Will care much more for them."

To such the stars, those flowers of heaven, are not bright revelations of the Deity who sustains and directs them in their courses.

"For ever singing as they shine,

The hand that made us is divine."

To such the whispering gales, the rustling boughs, the humming insects, the singing rills, and the warbling birds, speak not of an ever watchful, ever wakeful Power, to which in every emergency the prayerful soul may turn. Calm and soothing as is doubtless the influence of nature, upon the troubled souls of all who submit themselves to her gentle teachings, yet with how much greater satisfaction and delight must those contemplate her beauties and share her calm enjoyments, who see in her various changes and aspects but so many revelations of Almighty love, and read in her fair lineaments the wondrous story of redeeming grace.

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