Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Though its roots meander in the earth,
And its trunk decays in dust;
From the vapour of water it will bud again,
And put out branches as if it were newly planted.
But man dieth, he is reduced to nothing,
His breath goeth forth, where is he then ?*
Ah! few, and full of sorrow, are the days
Of man from woman sprung: his life decays,
Like that frail flower which with the sun's uprise
Hler bud unfolds, and with the evening dies.
He like an empty shadow glides away ;
And all his life is but a winter's day.
Wilt thou thine eye upon a vapour bend?
Or with so weak an opposite contend ?
Who can a pure and crystal current bring,
From such a muddy and polluted spring?
Oh, since his days are number'd; since thou hast
Prescribed him bounds that are not to be past :
A little with his punishment dispense:
Till he have served his time, and part from hence.
A tree, though hewn with axes to the ground,
Renews his growth, and springs from his green wound;
Although his root wax old, his fibres dry,
Although the sapless base begins to die;
Yet will at scent of water freshly sprout,
And like a plant thrust his young branches out.
But man, when once cut down, when his pale ghost

Fleets into air: he is for ever lost, The labours of Sandys upon the book of Job were received with admiration, both in and out of the court circle of Charles I.; both Arminian and Calvinist, parliamentarian and royalist, puritan and conformer, were loud in his praise. Dudley Digges applauded him as inventing a “ new pleasure," teaching to “ delight in woe;" and Bishop King assured him that he need not “ fear the poet's common lot, read and commended, and then quite forgot"-a fate of which, in spite of the bishop's prophecy, he has been in imminent danger.

It is upon his Psalms that the fame of Sandys rests. Hc here appears a complete master in the art of versification; he has arrayed these lyrical compositions in almost every variety of metre; and no slight degree of skill and command of language have been shown in the management of apparently the most intractable measures. At the close of the sixteenth and the commencement of the seventeenth centuries, the popular mind of England was strongly interested in the sacred records, not many years previous a sealed book to the major part of the community; and, in particular, the Psalms of Das vid, and the other poetical compositions scattered through the Scriptures, attracted the attention of the English muse. Castalia's fountain found a rival in

Siloa's brook, that flow'd

Fast by the oracle of God. What Jerome says of the common people of his day was true of the lower orders throughout, indeed, all the reformed countries :

* Joh xiv, 1-11. VOL. 1. X.s.

“ You might hear the plonghman at his hallelujahs, the mower at his hymns, and the vine-dresser singing David's psalms."

A full account of the various metrical versions and paraphrases of the Psalms, that appeared at this period, would obviously exceed the limits to which this paper must be restricted. The miserable ditties of Sternhold, Hopkins, and their coadjutors, appeared in their complete form in 1562, Archbishop Parker's version in 1567, King James's in 1631, and George Wither's in 1632. Sir Philip Sidney, and his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, also produced a version, which has strangely remained in obscurity for two centuries and a half, being first printed in 1823. Another version of selected psalms still lingers in manuscript among the Harleian MSS., 6930, the production chiefly of Francis and Christopher Davison. The following specimen of this work, first printed by Sir Egerton Bridges, is very beautiful:

PSALM XII.
Lord how long, how long wilt Thou .

Quite forget and quite neglect me?
llow long with a frowning brow

Wilt thou from thy sight reject me?
Ilow long shall I seek a way

From this maze of thoughts perplex'd,
Where my griev'd mind, night and day,

Is with thinking tired and vex'd!
How long shall my scornful foe

On my face his greatness placing,
Build upon my overthrow,

And be graced by my disgracing ?
Hlear O Lord and God my cries,

Mock my foe's unjust abusing,
And illuminate mine eyes,

Heavenly beams in them infusing.
Lest my woes too great to bear,
jo And too infinite to number,
Rock me soon, 'twixt Hope and Fear,

Into Death's eternal slumber.
- These black clouds will overflow,
-10:Sunshine shall have his returning,

And my grief-dulled heart, I know, .;

so Into joy shall change his mourning. A few extracts from the paraphrase of Sandys will now be selected, in which we shall see how admirably he has expressed the sense, and caught the spirit of the Hebrew bards. In the following his own orthography is given : :

PSALM VIII. : ? Svet salah
Lord how illustrious is thy name!
Whose power both Heaven and earth proclame !
Thy glory thou hast set on high,
Above the marble-arched skie.
The wonders of thy power thou hast
In mouthes of babes and sucklings plac't:
That so thou might'st thy foes confound,
And who in malice most abound.

When I from heaven thy fabrick see,
The moone and starres dispos'd by thee;
( what is man, or his fraile race,
That thou shouldst such a shadow grace!
Next to thy angels most renown'd;
With majestie and glory crown'd;
The king of all thy creatures made;
Thou all beneath his feet hast laid :
All that on dales or mountaines feed,
That shady woods or deserts breed;
What in the aierie region glide,
Or through the rowling ocean slide.
Lord how illustrious is thy name!

Whose power both heaven and earth proclame!
Northampton.

( To be continued.)

[ocr errors]

IS BAPTISM DESCRIBED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS A

CROSS! “ The Pedobaptist churches" of our country are said to “ contain vast numbers of theoretic Baptists, who have discernment enough to appreciate the force of evidence, but not piety enough to pursue the path of duty.” It will not, perhaps, be denied, that many persons feel it difficult to submit to baptism by immersion. There may be cases where the mind is made up on the matter as a duty, while there is considerable reluctance to act upon such a conviction. Nor ought this to excite our surprise. Our climate; the extreme infrequency of bathing, especially in the case of women; the necessity of changing the whole dress two or three times; the manner in which the parties appear before a numerous, and not always a very devout assembly; the state of fainting or swooning, amounting to unconsciousness, in which they are sometimes put into the water, will ever operate as a check on the practice of adult immersion. Instead of censuring those persons who cannot rise superior to these and similar difficulties, we should extend to them our commiseration. Yet, what is the course generally pursued ? Are not appeals often made to the consciences of the reluctant and the hesitating, on the ground of their refusing to bear the cross? Hence, then, the question : Is baptism ever mentioned in the New Testament as a cross? If it be, it would afford satisfaction to inquiring minds, and justify the language often used by our brethren on the subject, to have the authorities for such phraseology distinctly pointed out. Was John's baptism, or christian baptism, ever mentioned, or even alluded to in any way, so as to imply that either the one or the other was viewed by the Master or his disciples as a cross? The utter silence of scripture on this head may serve to show, that the primitive mode of baptism was not burdensome, as modern immersion is found to be. Nor can we escape from the difficulty by asserting, that the persons of whose baptism we read in the New Testament, possessed more zeal and devotedness than the disciples of Christ in our own day. At least, we can hardly imagine that the theoretic baptists” in our churches, have a smaller degree of piety than some of that “ gene

ration of vipers," who would have been, if they could, practical baptists in John's time.

Should it, however, be affirmed, that the inhabitants of Palestine, and of the East generally, would feel no reluctance to immersion; we then ask, what becomes of the fairness and the honesty of those representations which speak of baptism as a cross? Is there any scriptural evidence for believing, that the cross which the disciples of Christ have to bear, is dependant on degrees of latitude and longitude ? As a religious rite, baptism is to be performed only once in a person's life; and if among the primitive converts it was performed by immersion, it was to both Jews and Greeks in the highest degree delightful. They had their public and their private baths, which were constantly resorted to both for health and recreation. The idea of immersion was familiar and interesting to their minds. If John adopted this mode, “ there went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him.” Nay, so extremely popular was the rite in his time, that he was obliged to warn off some, or, I should rather say, “ many of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism." Now, what becomes of the cross of immersion, as examined by the light of these passages of scripture? Not one word is used in connection with baptism, as though there were the slightest difficulty in prevailing upon persons to submit to it :-not one objection was ever urged by a single convert; no “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,” (as in our day,) by a single .preacher. The duty, in whatever way observed, was mentioned; and compliance immediately followed. Why, then, should that be represented as a cross, which is never so spoken of by our Lord and his inspired apostles?

But further : if immersion is the only proper mode of baptism, it will always be a burden, or a stumbling block, in the way of the inhabitants of northern climates, and will ever be pleasurable to the inhabitants of the “sunny south.” Are we, then, to suppose, that one of the ordinances of a religion which is designed to be universal, is so framed as to be a cross to one part of the world, and a recreation or delight to the other part ?-80 framed, as in all parts of the world to bear with greater severity upon women than upon men ? Again: if it be a cross, as it is often felt to be, at least in this country, is there any analogy in this respect between baptism and the Lord's Supper? Whatever may follow upon a profession of attachment to Christ, the act by which a profession is made at the Lord's table is easy and agreeable to both sexes, and to all ages and nations alike :-the energy of the new principle is not taxed, not in the least degree drawn upon, for the purpose of effecting a bodily service. The Lord's Supper is wholly unattended with the least personal risk, difficulty, or inconvenience: but this is so far from being the case with regard to the ordinance of baptism, as administered by our brethren, that many persons, rather than submit to it, are said to violate the dictates of their conscience; and this, too, when their consciencc does not allow them to neglect “ the weightier matters of the law.” Can we, thon, suppose, that adult immersion and the Lord's Supper emanated from the same source ? N. S.T. REVIEW.

The Continent in 1835. Sketches in Belgium, Germany, Switzer

land, Savoy and France; including Historical Notices, and Statements relative to the existing aspect of the Protestant Religion in those Countries. By John Hoppus, M. A., Professor of the Philosophy of the Human Mind and Logic, in the University of London. 2 vols. post 8vo. pp. 328. 330. London:

Saunders and Otley. An acquaintance with foreign nations is eminently calculated to enlarge the mind, to increase our knowledge of human nature and of the capabilities of man, and to subserve still higher purposes by suggesting many important lessons of morality and subjects for devout gratitude, as Britons and as Protestants. All well educated persons, who have not had leisure to avail themselves of the greatly increased facilities of intercourse, between this country and those of the Continent, feel it necessary to be familiar with the most remarkable spots and interesting cities of Europe, and to journey, if not in person yet in thought, with some of the thousand and one travellers, whose volumes of Notes, Sketches, or Observations, are ready to conduct them, in imagination, to almost every corner of the known world.

The manners and customs of a people, their moral and religious condition, the excellency or faultiness of their institutions, nay even the appearance of their country, are, however, from the very nature of the human mind, presented to us in aspects differing so widely, according to the habits and character of the observer, that, every reader modifies the conclusions to be drawn from the statements of each traveller, according to the opinion he has formed or the knowledge he has acquired of the author's disposition and conduct. Or to use the words of the Spectator, “ a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, which conduce very much to the right understanding of an author.” Now, for these reasons we are quite sure, that a large proportion of our readers will sit down to the perusal of the volumes before us, not merely with the expectation of deriving pleasure from the description of foreign scenes and manners, depicted by the pen of an accomplished scholar'; but also with the full persuasion that they will be enabled, from his observations, to form something like a correct estimate of the state and progress of morals and religion in the countries through which they are to be conducted. Nor do we think that such persons will be disappointed. Professor Hoppus has not, however, confined himself

to an investigation into the state and progress of morals and religion, · in the countries which he visited; he has evidently been at no small

« ElőzőTovább »