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Thou didst unbar the portals
To me of distant climes, And show as in a mirror
What sparkles there and shines : 'Mong objects unfamiliar
With wondering gaze I went, Saw camels, palms and deserts,
The shepherd and his tent.
The heroes and the sages
Of whom the prophets taught Before me by thy pages
In living hues were brought; Fair maidens with their pitchers,
Or ’mong the golden sheaves, As holy writ portrays them,
Were pictur'd on thy leaves.
The patriarchs' simple manners,
Their life so still and calm, Their wanderings with their camels,
Their rest beneath the palm ; How angels hover'd round them,
As on their way they went, All this appeared before me,
As o'er thy page I leant.
To me it seems as wert thou
Spread out on yonder chair,
With rapture and surprise,
Once more before mine eyes :
As if again with wonder
I traced the forms grotesque, The blossoms and the branches
In graceful arabesque, Which circled every picture,
With fancies new and rich, Yet with symbolic meaning
Still harmonized with each.
It seems as if my mother
Once more I did implore
And tell its story o’er ;
Some song or text instill’d,
With quiet rapture fill’d.
To me a legend fair;
The eye which rested there
Who guided me of yore;
Return-oh, never more!
We must not conclude our notice of Freiligrath without briefly alluding to his translations. In this department he has been a diligent and faithful labourer, having enriched the literature of Germany with many valuable contributions from the poetry of England, Italy, and France. We have had great pleasure in recognizing many of our favourites in their foreign garb, and rejoice to see the master pieces of our modern English poets rendered into a foreign language by so able and vigorous a pen.
ART. III.—THE GREAT ATONEMENT.
de inadequatea ve retained ane variance
The Great Atonement. By Henry Solly. London:
J. Chapman, 1847. The established formularies of Christian doctrine, notwithstanding their irreconcileable variance with modern scientific ideas, have retained an influence which mere usage is inadequate to explain. It is impossible to state the doctrine of the Trinity without a contradiction in logic; or that of the Atonement, without affront to the first principles of ethics : yet both have maintained themselves in this apparently untenable position, aided by some secret succours of human consciousness. They cannot, however, permanently refuse to negociate a peace with philosophy: nor can they be reasonably assailed with the expectation of their unconditional surrender. There are certain great truths, latent but not untraceable, of which they are the imperfect symbols. To detect these truths, to provide them with a less exceptionable expression, to disengage them from the erroneous conceptions with which they have been blended in every age of Christendom, appears to be the proper aim of theology in the present day; the continued neglect of which cannot but have the effect of compelling thoughtful and serious men to construct a religion for themselves, out of the crude materials of their own personal thought, with too little regard to the antecedents of Christian experience, and the historical sources of the Christian Church..
Writers upon the doctrine of the Atonement divide themselves into two classes, whose judgments, though ostensibly appealing to the same authority, are really governed by different standards. One takes its point of departure from the elementary principles of moral pbilosophy, and natural religion; and regards as inadmissible every interpretation of Scripture which offends against these. The other begins with the exegetical study of the Epistles; reads them under no restraint of rational preconception; and barely condescends to vindicate their meaning from the protests of natural sentiment. The former, chiefly the Grotian and Socinian divines, claim for the death of Christ no efficacy beyond its proper operation on human motives and affections; and even attach no specific importance to the cross, which, in their view, stands for the whole agency and religion of Jesus. The latter, disciples of Luther and Calvin, regard the sacrifice of Calvary as a true expiation; which, as a mere objective fact, altered the whole relation of the human being to the Divine; which effected the pardon of sin, antecedently to any change of character; and aimed at reformation through free forgiveness, instead of promising forgiveness on condition of reformation. Unhappily, the strength of each scheme appears to lie chiefly in the weakness of the other. The more credible is justly felt to be the less evangelical : and in reading the comments of Crell, Taylor, and Belsham, we cannot wonder that the contrast is remarked between the exility of Unitarian meaning and the richness of Pauline expression. So long as the superstition of Christendom shall bind over the Scriptures to speak nothing but truth, and the truth to say nothing that is not scriptural, belief and interpretation will remain alike unsound. If the very problems which our controversies discuss, respecting the moral constitution of man and the moral government of God, the guilt and the recovery of the human will, the danger and escape of infinite evil, never were before the apostles' minds at all; if the questions which interested them were special to their nation, not universal to our nature; if the fears from which they were rescued, and the deliverance for which they looked, were parts of a Messianic theory which time and Providence have disappointed and displaced by more glorious realities; nothing but confusion can result from the attempt to find, beneath their Jewish language, a reply to inquiries which were not within view of their mental station. So convinced are we that St. Paul was treating of one thing while we are thinking of another, that the whole phraseology of “redemption" appears to us scarcely capable of ingenuous use. It is not the language which would spontaneously have flowed from the lips of a Socinian disciple, free to utter his own theory in his own words. If he had been in Paul's place, he would have chosen differently; and not have perplexed posterity with a diction so forced and inflated. There is a clear and definite sense, in which one who holds by the confessions of Augsburg or Geneva can acknowledge a "remission of his sins," a "reconciliation unto God,” a “propitiation,” a “salvation from wrath," through “ the blood of Christ.” He feels himself transported, by the simple fact of the crucifixion, over the whole interval from Hell to Heaven, from absolute alienation to benign acceptance. But he who does not believe in any antecedent curse; who was never conscious of danger from the great hereafter; who feels that he was always safe in the everlasting hands; who regards the death of Jesus as an historical event, which might have happened otherwise, or even not at all, without essentially altering the moral relations of mankind, and who simply wishes to express his appreciation of the religion and sanctity of Christ ;-cannot employ these phrases for this purpose without the appearance of insincerity and affectation. We cannot be surprised that such use of the Pauline diction should be denounced as a poor mockery.
It is to be regretted that so earnest and able a writer as Mr. Solly should have sanctioned this abuse; and with so eager an emphasis as to resort to it on the very title-page of his work. A writer is quite at liberty to employ a word in some new sense, in the body of his writings, where due explanation may prevent the possibility of mistake. But to avail himself of an unusual meaning in the announcement of his book appears to us difficult to reconcile with the rules of ingenuousness. In the present case, the effect certainly is, that the promise of the title is not fulfilled : and the subject suggested is very slightly touched. We expect a treatise on the sacrifice of Christ, and the effects ascribed to it in the epistolary writings of the New Testament. We find a discussion on the law of progress, the greater part of which has not the smallest reference to the crucifixion, and a very slight one to Christianity at all. The author's interpretations of Scripture, and conclusion as to the Pauline doctrine, so far as can be judged from the few pages devoted to the subject, do not appear to differ from those of previous writers : and whatever new and interesting thoughts he throws out, lie entirely within the limits of devout philosophy. The work indeed, notwithstanding its evangelical title, is little else than a psychological sketch of the course of religion in the mind. We are far