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The wide vast forests of the free Far West,
“As long as a man leans on foreign aid, or foreign attainments, he is a kind of cipher in the intelligent creation of God, giving forth no influence towards the reform of his fellowcreatures, because he PUTS CONSTRAINT ON THE VOICE OF DEITY WITHIN HIM.”— Brilish Quarterly Review. Vol. ii. p. 195.
“Many a man is unwilling to examine too closely, when all his earthly happiness depends npon his shutting his eyes: Many a man is too timid to stand by his own judgment, however right, when there are a multitude of decisions, however corrupt, against him.” G. P. R. James.
“The brightest and purest of human affections, when mingled in our nature with the darker and more violent passions, instead of mitigating their influence, prompt to deeper crimes—as the most precious medicines, mingled chemically with some foreign matter, will, in a moment, become the most dangerous poisons.”—Ibid.
“ There is scarcely a doctrine of the gospel which has not suffered as much from those who have received it in substance, as from those who have rejected it altogether. In some instances, it has been softened down, or blended with partial error, so as to lose its true character and efficiency; and in others, it has been pushed to excess in an opposite direction, so as to produce a needless revolt both of the understanding and the heart.“ R. Vaughan, D.D., 'Christian Warfare,' p. 3.
A Corruption of Manners, was a principal plea advanced by ERASMUS for not joining the Reformers. He used to say—'I am stunned with the cry of Gospel, Gospel, Gospel. I want Gospel-manners.' Erasmus's duty here, was to unite himself to the Reformers, and thereby give to he thought the cause of Truth, the advantage of a better temper and more christian behavior. We should not forsake the cause of reform becanse reformers themselves are not always reformed. Human infirmity is the strongest reason for allegiance to Divine Truth.-Di. Lees.
A LECTURE :-By WILLIAM MACCALL.
She grand cardinal Idea which alone can give inspiration and courage and
hope to individuals and nations, is that of a just and eternal Providence,
which pursues its victorious course amid the caprice and tumult of human change, and is nearest its divinest retribution when men are most disposed to regard it as the delusion of the fanatical. It has been the faith of every people so long as that people retained its moral and religious life. It has been breastplate and
spear to the good and brave, wherever and whenever called to battle for God's verities or the world's salvation. Whether as the Heathen Nemesis, the Jewish Jehovah, or as that Omnipotent Father to whom the Christian kneels, it has been at once something sacred, awful, and merciful,—tender as a mother, and yet terrible as volcanoes, earthquakes, and the raging sea. It matters not that it has often degenerated into a superstition; the noblest things are the aptest to become superstitions. It is only vain, shallow, prating Rationalists who dread superstitions; any of us whose blood has manhood in it can look them in the face. The only superstition which to me is intolerable, is the cowardly fear of superstition. Who so much a fool as he who is alarmed lest the mountain should fall, because its morning and evening shadow is so immense ? Poor trembler !--the mountain never stands so firm, nor does the Great Spirit ever come so near it, as when all the shadows of night rest upon it. Let us not then be such silly cravens as to grow superstitious thrö hatred of superstition. We can bear the shadows-indeed we must bear them for behind the shadows are those everlasting realities with which we cannot dispense.
Neither is it needful to torment ourselves with making nice distinctions between a General and a Particular Providence. Such subtleties, if they have any value at all, are for metaphysicians and theologians not for us, who only wish to learn so much of the Universe and its Government as may help to make our step firm, our brow serene, our heart strong, and our arm valiant. The main fact about Creation is, that it is that we are a portion of it, and have our allotted duties in it. The rest may be fitly babbled off by students, but is not of vital importance to human beings with human passions and faculties, a human vocation and a human fate. That this Infinite All of things has an Infinite Ruler,—which means infinite will and wisdom in incessant action, to guide as well as to form, -expresses the utmost we know, or can know, respecting Providence. Blessed is he who holds fast by this knowlege, and makes it warm and fertile to his soul when tempted to wander into the maze of bold but barren speculation :Blessed, but I am afraid, rare as blessed-for in these days men either practically
deny Providence by acting as if there were none or admit it as one among a thousand exhausted traditions. Therefore among the primordial faiths and facts that have made earth holy, again and again, when it was lying in wickedness, and once more saved it from despair and death, this idea of Divine Providence is what needs most to be set on high and honored as that which is no less almighty to destroy than miraculous to save. What signify revolutions, pestilences, wars, famines, the overthrow of thrones, the heaving to and fro of nations, the birth of strange untamed energies which we hesitate whether to welcome as friends or to strangle as monsters,—what signify these and kindred manifestations, unless we see in them all the hand of Deity, manifest as a flame-cloud in an angry sky ? No:-God is not dead: God cannot die, tho the perpetual perishing of human systems makes men believe that the Universe and its Lord are as transitory as the pedantries which the sick brain of doubt ceases not to dream concerning them. Think not God's thunders have lost their overwhelming force because they do not roll for evermore. Think not his lightnings have lost their fatal swiftness because they are not always flashing as of old, as at the beginning. God's agencies may be invisible, but they slumber not nor sleep: wherever his thought, wherever his presence, there also are they unresting as the first, boundless as the last, the ministers of order where our weak and limited vision sees nothing but turmoil and confusion.
But if appalled by the crash of falling empires, by the triumph of what is bad and the defeat of what is good--by the world's reverence for charlatans, and its persecution, even unto the death, of those whose only aim it is to serve mankind thrö suffering and sacrifice,mif, appalled by such spectacles as these, you still feel inclined to question this sublimest of celestial powers called Providence, you have only, each of you, to trace and reflect on the history of your past life. I say not that in looking at every point and event of your career you will be able to discover why it was thus or thus: but in viewing your destiny as a substantial and connected aggregate, are you not compelled to confess that the finger of God was there? He who aspires to pierce into the mystery of God's doings, must not be curious and fastidious about specialities and exceptions. To pry too closely into the texture of that which should be beheld in the ftowing wholeness of its natural beauty, is the way not to gain knowlege, but to be struck with blindness. Circumstance must not be dismembered from circumstance, or period from period, when we are striving to follow back with a teachable glance the path by which we have been led thrö the desert of temptation, struggle, and
The moral of every man's life is in its most recent action, however insignificant: for our most recent action is the result of our earliest. It is the perception of this successive causality in the development of our individual being which first truly instructs us that we are not the products of chance, or of some strange compound of caprice and fate,--but divinely appointed co-workers with an Infinite Intelligence, who being satisfied to abide by the laws which are the expressions of the highest wisdom, is not therefore imposing on us anything cruel in asking that we should abide by them too.
Tho I am persuaded that the life of every man—if sagely, calmly, and in its completeness, contemplated by himself—will be sufficient to make the idea of Providence a holy and luminous fact to his soul, yet this idea will grow much
more solemn, comprehensive, and suggestive to him, if extended to the universal history of the world. We are a portion of mankind; mankind is a portion of the limitless kingdom of nature; and that kingdom is a portion of Him who is limitless in attributes and in activities. The admission therefore of Providence in our own life, forces us to admit it in the life of Humanity, and thus to admit it in the life of the Universe. Now it is the intermediate admission which wholesomely regulates the other two. If we confine our admission of Providence to our own life we may be pure and pious, but we are almost certain to be filled with spiritnal pride, and to be the slaves of a narrow dogmatism,-to think that God exists for us, and not that we exist for God. If it is Providence as unfolded in the life of the Universe that we habitually meditate upon, we may be profoundly religious with an open and loving eye for divine things such as few possess, but we cannot avoid being exceedingly mystical. If however we hold fast by Providence as gloriously displayed in the history of our race, we cannot become bigoted, even if we see God in every incident of our own individual existence; nor mystical, tho our chosen employment may be to witness him in his providential relations with the Infinite. Not that faith in a historical Providence, when exalted to the place of honor among our notions, may not itself become an exclusiveness, and of course a falsehood,—for all imperfection is falsehood,—but there is less danger in exclusiveness here than in the two other cases. For history itself is a great enlarger and teacher of the mind by the immense diversity of facts which it presents. Whereas faith in Providence as the guide of our own life, or as the ruler of the Infinite, fixes our attention entirely on one object. It is thus that the only men who are both earnest in action, and catholic in spirit, are such as have drawn their chief wisdom from an acquaintance with history.
The worst thing which the faith in a historical Providence has given us, is the cant about 'human progression. And this cant is no more harmless than other cants. Men by talking so incessantly about progress, delude themselves with the belief that the reformation of the world is a very easy affair, and little is done for a work so great and needed, simply because every one is chattering about it. In no age has progress been rapid or reformation easy. Those who have done most to improve the condition of mankind, have always approached the task allotted them by God as something most formidable, and in accomplishing which they dreaded lest their best vigor and most strenuous will, should faint and fail. He who comes to a heroic labor as to a pastime, shows that the heroic strength is wanting unto him. But notwithstanding the cant with which we are daily pestered, the history of our race still remains, a noble and most fecund fact, tho the true way to regard it, and the Providential Idea connected with it, is not in reference to progress, which in itself is a cold, colorless, sapless abstraction. God is no Utilitarian, tho his realm of immensity is one prodigious theatre of sublimest utilities. God's Providential Idea in relation to the human race would be equally wise, equally adorable as now, even if ‘progress' were not to follow from the operation of that Idea. If progress were the central principle of the Universe, then the Universe would be simply an enormous laboratory for experiments, on a large scale and on a small, by which God would try eternally to ascertain whether he could not improve his own workmanship,---a notion so abhorrent to all our instincts and impressions touching God, that we reject it at
The central principles of the Universe are life, being, action, production, growth, development. God is for ever all these, or for ever causing all these. So that we do not want to hear such monstrous nonsense as that the world is more advanced now than it ever was before, and from the very persons too who cease not to decry this age as beggarly and base, incapable of magnanimous aspirings and generous deeds. The Nile does not exist in order to fertilize Egypt; but Egypt is fertilized because the Nile exists. This is the true theory of Providence in its guidance of Humanity. In seeking perpetually in the history of mankind for symmetry, you lose reality-you miss life, being, action, production, growth, development. One of the wonders of the ancient world was the speaking statue of Memnon at Egyptian Thebes. It uttered, when the first rays of the sun fell on it, harmonious sounds, and at evening it sent forth a plaintive and melancholy cry. Now the statue which thus spoke was mutilated; the whole of the upper part was wanting. This a Roman emperor caused to be restored; but from that moment the statue became dumb. So it is with Humanity. If we take it as we find it,-uncouth, rough, and mutilated, --it will pour the richest music and the wisest words into our soul. But if we attempt to make it look better to the eye by filling up its gaps and defects with our own idealisms, its music and its words will be heard no more.
I question therefore whether Universal Histories, and such books as Guizots on Civilization in Modern Europe, do not exceedingly deceive and mislead. They put on the upper part of the statue and make it dumb. They accustom us to regard nations and human affairs in certain artificial connections, as unlike as possible to the breathing fact, with its flesh and bone and muscle. History is nothing more, nothing less, than a vivid pictorial representation of whatever memorable things nations have done. With the remote causes of these, or their remote results, it should meddle as little as it can. Speculation, controversy, a subtle analysis of motives, are not its province. It may be needful that the dubious points of history should be thoroly examined, freely discussed :--but a history proper is not the place either to examine or to discuss them. But if we take up a history of Greece, or of Rome, or of any other illustrious country, we have, instead of a brilliant narrative, rapid as the on-rush of an army on its foe, six or eight volumes of prosy dissertation on a whole Noah's Ark of topics; and if we have patience to wade to the end of this sandy waste, we find that we have gained nothing by our toil save a considerable addition to our scepticism on historical subjects, with a consummate disgust for the author's pedantry and arrogance. I dispute no man's right to scribble a pamphlet in a dozen octavos, on a lively people like the Greeks, --but I dispute his right to entrap me into reading it by calling it ‘a bistory' instead of a pamphlet.
To summon Nations from the grave of a far antiquity, and to let us hear the clash of their conflicts, and to see the pomp of their religion, the splendor of their festivals, their alternations from the graceful in art to the glorious in enterprize, and to make our brain burn and our heart throb in enthusiastic sympathy with their doings, is one of the godlike achievments of genius. To call us however from the light of this busy wo where we ourselves have a work to do which cannot be done by another, a work requiring all our time, effort, perseverance, to call us from our combat with evil and wrong, to listen to the bones of brave