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splendor of grace, that it consents not to annihilate the will of the servant, but to accept him, in his soiled human dress, and to invite him to work side by side with angels clothed in light. Perhaps, also, this common power of love, diffused through the invisible Church, may be a stronger proof of the doctrines of the Cross than were the miracles of the first century. The latter prove Christ the risen King, shivering the tomb, and binding or bending the human will as if it were flax. The former proves Christ the suffering Saviour, as He walked with His disciples in Galilee-as He washed their feet—as He died for them. We may well then close with the following striking lines :
"Oh! mourn not that the days are gone,
The old and wondrous days,
Along our earthly ways:
Wrought like a sacred spell,
On which his shadow fell.
"The glory is not wholly fled
That shone so bright before ;
Though thus it works no more.
And blessings round it move;
Though now it works by love.
“It may not on the crowded ways
Lift up its voice as then;
The stormy minds of men.
Grow stronger through distress ;
Retains its power to bless."
Adam Bede. By GEORGE Eliot. New-York: Harper &
The battle of the giants has been fought, and the Lakists” have conquered.
“This will never do,” exclaimed Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review, on the appearance of the Excursion. Never do to descend to such low life for subjects, if you would be a successful author. Never do to dilate interminably on the joys and the sorrows, the woes and the wounds of work-people, peasants and peddlers. No, never should a Scotch peddler be painted as a philosopher, packed with wisdom, and pointed with wit. Wisdoin's ways are disgraced when illustrated by the observations of a vagabond with a back bent by the burden he has carried across the country from his youth.
Thus inveighed the embryo Lord in the interest of his future rank, and received the applause of a wide circle of assenting readers. But Wordsworth worked on. The poet heeded not the critic. He clung only the closer to his favorite themes, principles, and dramatis persona. Each essay of the poet aroused the ire of the polemic. But in spite of the scolding of the Reviewer, and notwithstanding the coldness of the public then, and the plentiful predictions of future oblivion, the old paths were trodden to the last. Author and critic are now alike oblivious both of praise and blame, and probably indifferent to all that passes beneath the sun. Their bodies lie in the common grave, where death feeds on them, and their souls have ascended to the skies, where we are fain to believe they “ assay no middle flight.”
While he lived, the Reviewer wielded the sceptre which distinguishes him whose right is recognized to reign as a monarch over the several provinces of literature. “While he
adle flighfielded the to reign, ile he
lived," we say, and yet not even to the end of his mortal life did he hold it with a firm grasp. How much it was relaxed, appears from the “note” with which he introduced his collected and revised copy of Critical Essays. In this it must have become painfully evident to his worshipful subjects how much he had fallen away from his former self, how much less confident he had grown in his affected infallibility, how he already entertained vague anticipations that he was to pay dear for his rash confidence in himself, and corresponding contempt for his chosen antagonist, because he had not horns to gore with, as hath a Reviewer.
If he did not live to see his sceptre actually pass into the hands of his enemy, he at least survived long enough to be a witness of his improved fortunes, and to be able to conjecture something of his coming greatness.
At length, the old king died and was buried. He was at least "a good hater," and so will find a friend in his predecessor—“the great bear,” if in nobody else.
But scarcely had the throne become vacant, before it was quietly mounted by the life-long foe of its former possessor, whose personal reign was indeed short, but who may be supposed " to sleep well,” since the succession still continues in his family, and is likely to for a long time to come. And this is why we say, that “the war of the giants is ended.”
The choleric old kings, brave knights, and beautiful princesses, may sleep their sleep, for the world has no further need of them, at least poets and novelists have not. The race, to them, is extinct, and their places are filled by those whom they hardly recognized as human, and would have agreed with the Edinburgh in denouncing as utterly destitute of every element of poetical feeling or interest—we mean such common clay as farmers, mechanics, and work-people are made of.
Here is a revolution indeed, one as great as the American or the French, and of the same significance, namely, that the age of princes is passing away, and that of the people is rapidly approaching. Heretofore, the many have lived and labored for the few; now, the few most highly gifted, feel it their vocation to labor for the elevation of the many.
And whence this radical change? Why is it that, for the first time in the history of the world, this new order of thought, if not yet of things, begins to exist, emerges, like the world in Genesis, from “ chaos and eternal night” ?
There is but one explanation, but one motive power of sufficient magnitude to account for it, and that is Christianity—the Gospel of Christ. This is the root from which spring all our humanitarian and philanthropic purposes and progress. It is certainly no tree of man's planting, which bears such beautiful leaves, and gives promise of such goodly fruit.
This is our firm conviction, the expression of which, in this connection, is liable to misconstruction ; but this liability shall not deter us from expressing it.
Confident that this impulse is Christian in its origin, and will be glorious in its consummation, we are far from indorsing all its manifestations as either genuine or judicious. The case is this. The doctrinal and devotional sides of our religion have often been developed at the expense or neglect, partial or entire, of the practical and philanthropic.
While attending to our own wants and ways, we have forgotten those of others. Anxious to save the souls of men, we have sometimes overlooked the present and pressing wants of their bodies. And all this, as well as many other things, we have done or failed to do, not from any fault of the Bible, but because of our own imperfection.
The Gospel has a fullness, an entireness equal to all the exigencies of mankind; but we are narrow, and are often so engrossed by a single object as to be blind to all others.
That we have erred in this direction is a deep and widespread conviction of the Christian world. This conviction, awakened in England by the preaching of the Wesleys and Whitefield, nearly a century ago, soon communicated itself to the Established Chuch, and was the cause of a true revival of religion there. Many fruits of that revival have been already reaped, not only by the Mother Church, but by her daughter in America as well. It has affected other Christian bodies no less, and has steadily diffised itself down to the present mo
ment, wherever the English tongue is spoken, or a pure Protestant Christianity preached. It has, as might have been expected, excited a powerful reaction, aiming to recover the spirit of the past, which has been vociferously summoned to appear, like " the spirits of the vasty deep,” but which, like them, declines the call. Hence, its devotees, like those of Baal in a similar predicament, are voluble in their vain repetitions, and lacerate a little their flesh, though it must be confessed, they are not sufficiently possessed to carry this last to a dangerous extreme.
Nor is this the only counterfeit which has appeared. Infidelity has aroused herself to new conflicts with Christianity, and whereas she was formerly uniformly vanquished, when fighting with her own weapons, she has at last resorted to the desperate expedient of wresting weapons from the Gospel armory itself. The purpose of her votaries is to get possession, if possible, of those big guns yclept en français, "La liberté, l'égalite, et la fraternité,” and in English known as philan. thropy, progress, and public spirit,” and turn them against us, flattering themselves that by these they can sweep us from the field. But they will surely fail now as formerly. They really don't know how to work these guns to advantage, and would not relish the work long if they did. Foiled at this device, they will soon draw off, and contrive others.
Let us be thankful that apart from these reäctions and perversions the revived spirit of the Gospel has diffused itself through a thousand legitimate channels. It has manifested itself not only in the pulpit and prayer-meeting, but also in missions home and foreign, the suppression of the slave-trade, the promotion of temperance, the establishment of schools, the circulation of books, and the gradual enfranchisement of the masses from ignorance and brutal vices. Its results are already seen in the halls of legislation and the courts of law. But its most striking manifestation has been through the press, and in every form of literary composition. Poems, novels, tales, essays and orations have appeared in rapid succession, all armed with arguments against ancient errors and abuses, whether social, political, or religious, and all aiming to make it appear