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naturo ordine re vel mente observaverit : nec amplius scit, aut potest. (Bacon, Nov. Org., Aph. I.)
Leopardi, though he had abundance both of fancy and of imagination, either was not possessed of this peculiar form of the latter gift, or had not developed it : his impersonations are beautiful, but rather after the manner of statues : they have just so much of life as is sufficient to put his metaphysical conceptions in motion; but we always seem to discover his hand propping them up and moving them on : they have not the flesh and blood reality : he is eminently a subjective poet, and the reader never loses him from view. But he is surely a very great subjective poet, and applies to his work, with a power rarely equalled, all the resources of thought and passion, all that his introspective habits had taught him : he has choice and flowing diction, a profound harmony, intense pathos ; and he unites to very peculiar grace a masculine energy and even majesty of expression, which is not surpassed, so far as we know, in the whole range of poetry or of eloquence, and which indeed gives the highest evidence of its prerogative by endowing sentiments, now become trite and almost vulgar through use, with perfect freshness of aspect and the power to produce lively and strong impressions. His gift of compression, in particular, is one which seems, not borrowed,—for such things no man can borrow, they are marked " not transferable,”—but descended or inherited from Dante himself.—Quarterly Review.
HOW TO TREAT DIFFERENCES OF JUDGMENT.
DIFFERENCES of judgment must arise where there are freemen to think ; but if brotherly love continue, the strong will ever tenderly bear with the infirmities of the weak, and the weak will not, in mere captiousness, critieise the unintelligible doings of the strong. Differences must arise ; but let us calmly look, with a view to their mitigation or removal, at the causes of our differences, and not despair. Complicated questions will arise, consisting of a multiplicity of parts; and, from the infirmity of our natures, one man will, from peculiarities of disposition, habitudes of thought, or hereditary associations, look at one part more than another, and dwell upon it till it almost exclusively occupies his attention, and till it so swells in dimensions, as to overshadow all the other parts,—even as a pin-head, by being brought close to the eye, and having the pupil intensely fixed on it, may shut out and eclipse the landscape around, even the sun in the firmament of heaven. It being evident, then, that from such causes differences of judgment must arise, the question comes to be -How are we to treat them? Allow me to introduce to you the mode in which Eastern sages have illustrated this subject : and shall we for once take a lesson from the East, whence, amidst much that is foolish and absurd, gleams of strong, sound, common sense do sometimes shine forth? They put the case somehow in this manner :—It is supposed that there are assembled a number of blind men. A huge animal is introduced amongst them in the form of an elephant, and they wish to know his size, shape, and form. To ascertain this, they must go to work, not in the way of speculation, but in the way of practical observation and measurement. One man lays hold of and measures its foot, and pronounces the animal tall and straight like the stem of the palm-tree. “Impossible !” cries another, who has seized hold of the trunk ; “he is bent and limber like a bamboo.” “Impossible !” cries a third, who has laid hold of the ear; “I declare he is of the shape of the plantain or Havana leaf, flat, and broad, and long." A fourth, who has laid hold of the tail, says, “ You are all wrong together : he is of the shape of a crooked serpent.” “ All wrong, indubitably wrong, cries a fifth, who has laid hold of the animal's body; "he is a huge rotundity,' like the sacred mountain Sumeroo.” What, then, was to be done with these conflicting verdicts? One of the sages, more clear-headed and sagacious than the rest, heard all that was said, and began to reflect in this way :-“I cannot doubt your honesty and veracity as witnesses ; I do not doubt your testimony, conflicting as it is : and the only way in which I can reconcile it is, to put all the parts of it together, and see if we will thus find out the real genuine structure and shape of the creature.” They did so, and found it. There is a lesson here to us.—Rev. Dr. Duff.
A VOICE TO CHRISTIAN VISITERS OF WATERING-PLACES.
OCCASIONAL change of scene and place is now so generally regarded as desirable, that perhaps there are not many families, having the means, who do not avail themselves of the opportunity of spending some time from home in the course of the year. In the metropolis especially, and in some of our larger provincial towns, this seems to be regarded as an inevitable item of annual expenditure. Our citizens hasten from smoke and dust, to places distinguished by marine or rural attractions. And it is not at all unlikely, that, with increasing facilities of railways and steam-packets, this practice will become still more general.
To quarrel with such a custom would be as unreasonable as vain. Besides the pleasure and the additional information which one acquires by enlarging his field of observation, it is among the means, in most cases, of preserving or greatly improving the health ; and the mind, withdrawn for a season from the almost ceaseless cares of business, is prepared, by this very recreation, for a vigorous renewal and prosecution of its engagements. The tradesman, who spends twelve or fourteen hours of every secular day in anxious toil,—and the clerk, who for the same length of time sits at his desk, until he writes himself almost blind,-must feel that such avocations are exhaustive of both bodily and mental strength. And who would deny to men like these the opportunity of retiring for a few short days,-say, thirteen out of their three hundred and thirteen appointed days of labour, -into some pleasant retreat, where for the time labour and hardship may be forgotten? It seems their only refreshment to get away from the bustle and fag of a city life, and for a few joyous days to repose where country scenery, or the “gently-heaving ” sea, delights the lovers of nature.
Pleasure or recreation, however, ought not to be the only thought of Christian families who avail themselves of such relief. They have obligations, which cannot under any circumstances be eluded; and to seek for * release, under the plea of an unfavourable situation, is greatly to endanger the stability of their faith, and to weaken the disposition to discharge their duty when they return to their own common sphere. The great law of Christ, which requires our “light” to “shine before men,” makes no provision for local or other circumstances in which it may not be quite agreeable to do this. The command is given to us without any limit. He who calls himself a disciple of Christ, is as much bound to maintain and grace his profession abroad as at home.
A remark of this kind particularly applies to those who frequent watering-places. For support and prosperity such towns depend, in great part, upon the presence of the families that casually visit them; and so they are, in fact, what these visiters make them. If the non-residents altogether belong to the gay and irreligious class, the town itself is distinguished by love of the world and disregard of godliness. On the other hand, if the visiters are parties fearing God and loving Iis cause, they cannot be content without those means of grace, and of Christian fellowship, to which they have been accustomed in their own localities. Hence it has happened that, through the fidelity and good services of godly visiters, some of our watering-places have been raised to considerable religious importance, and have become remarkable for the number and efficiency of their evangelical institutions. Yet this result must rather be attributed to the zeal of a few, than to the united labours of the many ; for it is well known that some of the latter never discover their profession of Christ at all in a strange place, and that they carefully keep aloof from association with those whom, in their own neighbourhood, they would be constrained to regard as brethren.
Brighton contains a resident population of about sixty thousand ; and it is calculated that, in the season, there may be twenty or thirty thousand visiters in the town at a time. Yet all the places of Worship in Brighton, though they increased rapidly at one period, will not accommodate one half even of the regular inhabitants, without making any allowance for the non-residents who desire to attend them. Now, had there been greater consistency on the part of religious professors, no such statistics as these need have been presented. But it is a painful reflection, that, while some thousands of houses-most of which are tenanted—have been built within the last few years, only one additional place of worship has been provided in the same space of time.*
With a case of this kind before us, then,-and it would be easy to supply many similar ones,-it may be well urged upon all truly Christian people, and especially upon the readers of this Magazine, to avow and define their attachment to Christ and His cause wherever they go. That this is imperative on all of them, it does not seem difficult to show.
I. It is a duty we owe to Christ. “Religion is not like some outer garment, which is only suitable for certain weathers ; nor is it like the weapons of the soldier, which he only carries when on duty.” To follow Christ only when we are in the midst of His friends, indicates a regard for our own reputation, rather than a genuine and hearty love of our Master. How can a man be justified, who refuses to take up his cross, on the plea that he happens not to be known? or that it is of little account how he may appear during the week or two that he spends among strangers ? The A postles acted not thus. “Knowledge” was everywhere “taken of them," “that they had been with Jesus ;” because they did not hesitate to teach others what Christ bad taught them. The records of the church confirm the testimony, that, wherever professors of religion have been pre-eminent at home in holiness and good works, they have not shunned to avow their allegiance to Christ, and to bear witness to His truth, in other places also. It may, perhaps, be in one sense unimportant how we appear to strangers ; but it is of the utmost importance how we appear to Christ,—from whose observation, as from our own fearful responsibility, we can never for one moment be free.
* It is understood that another church is now in the course of erection.
II. But it is also due to the church, that we should everywhere identify ourselves with it. That church is understood to be a “company of faithful men,” gathered together under one Head. And he who either darkens or hides his “ light,” not only does a wrong to Christ, but also to each of those “faithful men to whose “company ” he professes to belong. In like manner, when a person connects himself with any particular branch of the Christian church, he virtually binds himself by such a connexion to render it all the service and help in his power. To this end, his talents and influence are supposed to be continually in exercise. If we are at liberty to get good, we are certainly bound to do good. Yet many act as though they believed their entire duty to consist in “eating the fat and drinking the sweet,” in drawing instruction and profit from the ministrations of the sanctuary. These “ Christians” make not the least effort to impart spiritual good to others. Idle members of this kind are unworthy of their place in the church. They weaken her hands, and inflict a positive injury upon her most sacred interests. And the probability is, that, if not employed for good, they will sooner or later be employed, with new and strange activity, for evil.
An opinion seems to be gaining ground, that, provided we are believers in Christ, it does not matter to what sect or party we belong, or, in short, whether we belong to any at all. This fancy has certainly acquired strength from the remarkably vague way in which utterance is sometimes given to sentiments called evangelical. The rambling propensities of some professors, moreover, who “like to take the opportunity of hearing popular men," contribute greatly to the delusion. Unless these “occasions of offence” be put out of the way, the evils which oppose the church's progress will rapidly multiply.
III. Something is due to our brethren who are resident in the places we visit. If they are maintaining the truth, and seeking with Christian zeal and uprightness to do what we may be doing in our own neighbourhood, we owe it to our common brotherhood to show that we approve of their acts, and rejoice to give them our help. They have probably laboured, at considerable cost and great personal effort, to promote the spiritual welfare of strangers; and this deserves some acknowledgment, even though what has been accomplished should be less than our expectations. To despise or slight a people, because their chapel is mean or badly-situated, or because the congregation is less respectable or the Minister less eloquent than we are accustomed to find elsewhere, is not the way to improve matters; but it may retard the improvement. Instances have occurred in some of our watering-places. A few excellent people have had to struggle for a long series of years with almost overwhelming difficulties, because no one could be found to help them. In one case a gentleman,-now a most respectable member of our own Society,—visiting a distant town on the sea-coast, found his way on the Sabbath to the Methodist preaching-room-a very humble place, and reached by a ladder. But there he received good from the ministrations of the truth; and he resolved upon building a chapel, for the better accommodation of residents and visiters. A very comfortable edifice has consequently been raised, to the credit of the cause, and to the honour of the individual whose heart devised the liberal undertaking.
When thoughts like the foregoing have been presented to visiters, various objections have been elicited. Some have complained, for instance, that they have never been sought out by members of their own religious denomination. But surely it must be obvious to all, that, if there is to be any
sort of intercourse, the first steps must be taken on the part of the visiters. Arrivals in watering-places (except when the parties are persons of distinction) are but seldom known or remarked; and, for the most part, people come and go without the mention of their names beyond the threshold of their temporary abode. Hence it is almost certain, that, if religious people wait to be invited before they identify themselves with their brethren, they will never do it at all. If we believe in the “communion of saints," it is our duty to seek out those with whom we may hold this fellowship.
By some it is thought very desirable to take all opportunities, when away from home, of becoming familiar with the teachings and modes of worship adopted by other churches. Few will contend, however, for following up this practice, which would indeed bring us upon dangerous ground. And it is not to be denied, that if some persons—particularly the young-hear this kind of reasoning advanced by those whose judgment and character they have been taught to respect, they will take advantage of it. It will be easy to argue that, if it is right to do this in one place, it cannot be very wrong to do it in another place; and the more so, as business or station in life denies to many members of the Christian church all opportunity of absence from home. If we think it necessary to become acquainted with the modes and the peculiar doctrines of other churches, there are many ways in which this can be done, without our own personal observation of them. Or, if we resolve to see and hear for ourselves, let us do it on some other day than the blessed Sabbath, when our great work is the worship of God, and when our own houses of prayer are open for this very purpose. The writer of this article knows many cases in which simple-hearted Christians have been grieved, and less decided professors have stumbled, because friends, whom they happened to know as members of their own religious fraternity, have seldom or never come near them during the time of sojourn in their town,-choosing regularly to attend some other sanctuary, in which a more popular or more highly-gifted Minister has officiated.
To reply that, where there is a greater amount of intellectual development, the mind obtains more to feed upon, is no justification of this practice. This would hardly be pleaded, in sober earnestness, by those whose avowed object is the worship of God. Though we are bound to be thankful whenever it pleases the great Head of the church to sanctify and appropriate learning and wisdom for the good of His people, that cannot be a very acceptable service to God which depends mainly upon the talent or ability of the Minister. It surely behoves us to fulfil our duty, even though these should be of a very humble order. The man who has been providentially placed where plain fare is his portion, would not act very wisely if he should leave it, and run about in search of viands which the same Providence has given to another class. And, moreover, in his plain fare he would probably find more substantial nourishment than in the luxuries that enrich the alien feast.
There is a danger lest, while seeking personal gratification, we obtain it at the expense of personal improvement. Whenever this is the result, we cannot fail to be great losers. If innocent pleasures are within our reach, we are at liberty to share then, so long as we neither neglect our duty nor unfit ourselves for its right performance. But on no account should we choose circumstances in which a temptation of this kind would press too frequently upon us. Many have done so, to the utter discomfiture of their faith and the loss of their spirituality. There is often an understanding among friends, that, when they visit each other, they are to give up for the