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Bids our jars and discords cease ;
Unite us all in thee.
Till vanquish'd by thy mercy's power;
And their own flesh devour."
-Ed. Y. I.]
Earl Eric then laid himself alongside of Vagn's ship, and there was a brave defence; but at last this ship too was cleared, and Vagn and thirty men were taken prisoners, and bound, and brought to land. Then came up Thorkel Leire, and said, “ Thou madest a solemn vow, Vagn, to kill me; but now it seems more likely that I will kill thee.” Vagn and his men sat all upon a log of wood together. Thorkel had an axe in his hands, with which he cut at him who sat outmost on the log. Vagn and the other prisoners were bound so that a rope was fastened on their feet, but they had their hands free. One of them said, “I will stick this fish-bone that I have in my hand into the earth, if it be so that I know anything after my head is cut off.” His head was cut off, but the fish-bone fell from his hand. There sat also a very handsome man with long hair, who twisted his hair over his head, put out his neck, and said, “Don't make my hair bloody.” A man took the hair in his hands, and held it fast. Thorkel hewed with his axe, but the viking twitched his head so strongly that he who was holding his hair fell forwards, and the axe cut off both his hands, and stuck fast in the earth. Then Earl Eric came up, and asked, “Who is that handsome man?”.
He replies, “I am called Sigurd, and am Bue's son. But are all the Jomsburg vikings dead?”
Eric says, “ Thou art certainly Bue's son. Wilt thou now take life and peace?”
“ That depends," says he,“ upon who it is that offers it.” “ He offers who has the power to give it-Earl Eric."
“ That will l,” says he, “ from his hands." And now the rope was loosened from him.
Then said Thorkel Leire, “ Although thou should give all these men life and peace, Earl, Vagn Aakeson shall never
come from this with life." And he ran at him with uplifted axe; but the viking Skarde swung himself in the rope, and let himself fall just before Thorkel's feet, so that Thorkel fell over him, and Vagn caught the axe and gave Thorkel a deathwound. Then said the Earl, “ Vagn, wilt thou accept life?"
“That I will,” says he, “ if you give it to all of us.”
“Loose them from the rope,” said the Earl ; and it was done. Eighteen were killed, and twelve got their lives.
Earl Hakon, and many with him, were sitting upon a piece of wood, and a bow-string twanged from Bue's ship, and the arrow struck Gissur from Valders, who was sitting next the Earl, and was clothed splendidly. Thereupon the people went on board, and found Haavard Hogvande standing on his knees at the ship's railing, for his feet had been cut off, * and he had a bow in his hand. When they came on board the ship, Haavard asked, “ Who fell by that shaft?”
They answered, “ A man called Gissur.”
“Great enough was the misfortune,” replied they ; “ but thou shalt not make it greater.” And they killed him on the spot.
The dead were then ransacked, and the booty brought all together to be divided; and there were twenty-five ships of the Jomsburg vikings in the booty. So says Finn Halkelson :
“Many a viking's body lay
Dead on the deck this bloody day,
Then the army dispersed. Earl Hakon went to Drontheim, and was much displeased that Earl Eric had given quarter to
* This traditionary tale of a warrior fighting on his knees after his legs were cut off, appears to have been a popular idea among the Northmen, and is related by their descendants in the ballad of Chevy Chase.
Vagn Aakeson. It is said that at this battle Earl Hakon had sacrificed for victory his son, young Erling, to the gods; and instantly came the hail-storm, and the defeat and slaughter of the Jomsburg vikings.
Earl Eric went to the Uplands, and eastward by that route to his own kingdom, taking Aakeson with him. Earl Eric married Vagn to Ingebiorg, a daughter of Thorkel Leire, and gave him a good ship of war, and all belonging to it, and a crew; and they parted the best of friends. Then Vagn went home south to Denmark, and became afterwards a man of great consideration, and many great people are descended from him.
BIBLE WORDS, WEIGHTY WORDS. (From “ The New-York Christian Advocate and Journal.”)
“There is something remarkable,” says Mr. Turner, in his English History, " in the composition of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, that, although in every language they are the easiest book to a learner, they are yet dignified, interesting, and impressive. I cannot satisfy myself what are the literary peculiarities, the felicities of language, which make them so universally comprehensible, and yet avoid insipidity.” It is undoubtedly impossible to find any other instance of human speech bearing a great burden of thought so lightly, and yet expressing it so clearly. Its authors seem to have been perfectly acquainted with their theme, and the best mode of communication to men. Still the use of terms is to me one of the most striking characteristics of the style of the Holy Scriptures. Many men have imitated its language, and some have become imbued with a portion of its spirit; but, to my knowledge, no instance has occurred of a writing similar in its use of terms to the Bible. The transcendentalists of our own time have tried more than all others to disconnect ordinary and extraordinary terms from gross meanings, and to designate them only by spiritual and mental facts; and, more than all others, they have failed to approach the simplicity, directness, and perspicuity of the Bible. A word stands in holy writ for its ultimate and really existent object. Death is that which only deserves that name. Life includes something worthy of an immortal's hope. Darkness is that which envelopes the soul. Light is the brightness of the Author of light. Dread here signifies no image of unreal or merely material horror, which may as well affright a brute. And hope sees more than its own deceiver. “My peace * * * not as the world giveth give I unto you.”
“A peace to sensual minds unknown.” Knowledge truly derived of the Bible is all demonstration, and even its faith is sight (internal). What is error with the transcendentalists? and what is it in the Bible? What is the friendship of man? What emotions are excited by a view of even the friendship of Jonathan and David compared to those which outstrip the imagination when God says he is the widow's friend? If it were not considered by them as an end, I would not draw the broad line of distinction between the good of the modern reformers and the good of the Bible. How deep is the sleep of sin! How wondrous great is the soul's salvation ! As “ all earth-born cares are vain," so are all vain which relate to earth alone. Love is not an earth-born fleeting passion; zeal is not a merely human fire. Humility is not degradation, but the proper position of the creature in the presence of its Creator. Truth is not speculative opinion, but abiding and powerful reality; and beauty is not fading form, but the manifested perfections of the glorious God. In the Bible, there is grandeur without bombast, and simplicity without vulgarity.
MORAL AGENCY. (From “ The New-York Christian Advocate and Journal.”)
[We believe that there are some among our readers who occasionally exercise their minds by attending to subjects where the reasoning is more abstract than usual; to metaphysical subjects, for instance; or to that volume of solid thought, Butler's “ Analogy." The practice, properly con
nected and limited, may often be useful; and, therefore, we had intended to give this month an extract from an Essay, no larger than an ordinary tract, “ An Argument to prove the Unity and Perfections of God, a priori.” Half-a-dozen extracts, in so many Numbers, would give the whole; and we think that our volume for 1847 will be no worse for containing it. It was first printed in 1735, and was reprinted, with a preface by Dr. Pye Smith, in 1836. We shall give the extract next month; as we have just met with a short paper, headed as above, which will be a good exercise for those to whom metaphysical thought is pleasant. The subject is difficult. But one thing is plain. In the Bible, he who will not turn to God, is threatened with the awful punishment of eternal death. Unless, by some means, such choice were truly possible, its exercise would not be required of him under such a dreadful penalty. So great a punishment supposes proportionate greatness of sin. In all these questions, the divine administration of redemption in Christ, must not be for a moment overlooked.—Ed. Y. I.)
What determines the will? The question is absurd. Will is, itself, a determination ; it is an act of determination, and does not need to be determined. You may as well ask, What determines the determination ? But, if by “what determines the will?” is meant, What, or who is it that wills? we answer, Man wills; or, if you please, the rational soul wills or determines its own actions; or what it shall be, have, or do. Man, capable of different actions, determines, or wills, or chooses, which shall by him be performed. The cause of a determination is the soul that determines. It is the province of rational souls to determine their own actions; or to choose or to will what their actions shall be. But, it may be asked, What causes the soul to will, or to determine, or to choose ? This is asking, What causes a cause to cause? If every cause must be caused to cause, there could be no first cause; which would be the same as no cause. That which is the cause of an action needs not to be caused to cause that action. The soul, or man, is the cause of the will, and does not need to be caused to cause it; for it has its resources in its own nature.