Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." It is utterly insufferable that any supplications should be couched in words resembling the language of demand, or claim; nor must the human mind be at liberty to expect any thing, or every thing, which the imagination might suggest at random. The divine pleasure must always, qualify our Lord's expression“Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

5. If in many things we “ ask amiss,” the specification of very particular objects in prayer should be made with great care and humiliation. Man must not be the sole judge what is a “ good thing;" but there are certain general petitions in which we cannot err; which may be adopted at all times, by every supplicant; such as the pardon of sin, sanctification, repentance, acceptance in Jesus Christ, and whatever is essential to salvation. In prayer, as well as in doctrinal sentiment, essentials should be first regarded; on these subjects, without any restrictions, “ Whatsoever we ask, believing, we shall receive." But this otherwise universal term must not be applied to every thing the mind of man may crave. This would savour of fanaticism, leading to many irregularities; it would seem like dictating to infinite wisdom, ruling the mind of God, and completely destroying the very essence of prayer, which consists in asking what is entirely dependant upon the will of Heaven whether it be given or not.

6. God alone must determine, in specific cases, whether he will hear and answer even sincere and ardent supplications; though our Lord says—“ If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” This promise must evidently be restricted to such proper objects as God has promised to bestow; otherwise, it would appear presumptuous. Thus, supposing Christian parents ardently wish and pray for the saving conversion of all their family, or a minister for that of all his congregation; these specific objects cannot be shown as immediately promised in the sacred word. They may seem included in the general promise of “ every good thing," but how can it be proved that all of such a family or congregation, or, indeed, any of them, shall be saved if prayed for, except it appear from the event? Or, suppose a poor labouring man should earnestly pray for an ample competency of wealth to every one of his family; where is he authorized to do this in the divine word ? He may pray for their daily bread;" but farther than this, no specific promise is made to him or his household. It is plain, therefore, from these remarks, that all prayer should be made in submission to God, and with believing dependance upon him who rules and guides the affairs of mankind, according to “the good pleasure of his own will;" and that, in special objects, our only rule is to hope that God will include them in bestowing all good things to those that love him. Pope's celebrated “ Universal Prayer" contains a verse on this subject which every Christian may adopt:

“ This day, be bread and peace my lot :

All else beneath the sun
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,

And let thy will be done."
West Melton.

W. M.

SANDYS'S PARAPIIRASE OF THE PSALMS. The name of Sandys has been frequently mentioned of late, as the author of one of the most spirited and poetical versions of the Psalms in our language. Mr. Montgomery, in his Christian Poeta Reviewer in the Eclectic and Mr. Wilmot in his lives of Sacred Poets, have called public attention to his productions. In the Life and Times of Dr. Isaac Watts, I have also given specimens of his metrical skill. Still, his name and merits to the great majority of readers are unknown-a complete copy of his works is but rarely met with-some further information may therefore not be unacceptable to those who are accustomed to see these pages.

George Sandys was a younger son of Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, and was born at the palace of Bishop Thorp, in 1587. At the age of eleven years, he was matriculated at St. Mary's Hall, but is supposed by Wood to have afterwards entered Corpus Christi College. No mention is made of his attaining any academical honours. In August, 1610, when twenty-three years of age, he became a traveller, visited many of the principal cities of Europe, and extended his tour to Egypt and the Holy Land. Upon his return to England, after the lapse of some years, he wrote a history of his wanderings, which issued from the press in 1615. He soon after crossed the Atlantic to Virginia, and became treasurer to the English Company in that country. Upon again reaching his native shores, he took up his abode with his sister, Lady Wenman, at Caswell, near Witney, in Oxfordshire, where he enjoyed frequent intercourse with his neighbour and friend, the accomplished Lord Falkland. His leisure hours were now occupied with pious meditation and poetical productions, which attracted the notice of Charles I., who appointed him one of the gentlemen of the privy chamber. Sandys afterwards retired to Bexley Abbey, in Kent, the seat of his niece, Lady Margaret Wyat, where he died in the beginning of March, 1643. His remains were interred in the parish church without any monument.

" It did me good,” says Baxter," when Mrs. Wyat invited me to see Bexley Abbey, in Kent, to see upon the red stone wall in the garden, a summer-house with this inscription, that. In that place Mr. George Sandys, after his travels over the world, retired himself for his poetry and contemplations.'

The latter years of Sandys were eminently peaceful and happy ; and fortunately he was afterwards gathered to his fathers, before the full tide of misfortune came upon the misguided monarch whom he loved and served. From his retreat in Kent, his mind often wandered to the shores of Judea, the scene of his early rovings; and in a beautiful poem, Dco. Opt. Max. he has expressed his gratitude for the divine protection, afforded him in his various journeyings. He seems to have been in perils by land and by sea—from “ Arabian thieves"—the “Sidonian wolf” —the “ faithless Indians”—and “barbarous pirates.”

How infinite thy mercy! which exceeds
The worlds thou mad'st as well as our misdeeds!

Which greater reverence than thy justice wins,
And still augments thy honour by our sins.
O who hath tasted of thy clemency
In greater measure, or more oft than I!”
My grateful verse thy goodness shall display,
Othou who went'st along in all my way:
To where the morning with perfumed wings
From the high mountains of Panchæa springs,
To that new-found-out world where sober night
Takes from the antipodes her silent flight;
To those dark seas where horrid winter reigns
And binds the stubborn floods in icy chains :
To Libyan wastes, whose thirst no showers assuage,
And where swoln Nilus cools the lion's rage.
Thy wonders in the deep have I beheld;
Yet all by those on Judah's hill excelled :
There where the virgin's Son bis doctrine taught,
His miracles and our redemption wrought:
Where I, by Thee inspired, his praises sung;
And on his sepulchre my offering hung.
Which way soe'er I turn my face or feet,
I see thy glory, and thy mercy meet.
Met on the Thracian shores, where in the strife
Of frantic Simoans thou preserved'st my life;
So where Arabian thieves belaid us round,
And when by all abandoned, Thee I found.
That false Sidonian wolf, whose craft put on
A sheep's soft fleece, and me Bellerophon
To ruin by his cruel letter sent,
Thou didst by thy protecting hand prevent.
Thou sav'st me from the bloody massacres
Of faithless Indians; from their treacherous wars;
From raging fevers; from the sultry breath
Of tainted air, which cloy'd the gains of death;
Preserved from swallowing seas, whose towering waves
Mix'd with the clouds and open'd their deep graves :
From barbarous pirates ransom'd; by those taught
Successfully with Salian Moors we fought.
Thou brough'st me home in safety ; that this earth
Might bury me, which fed me from my birth :
Blest with a healthful age; a quiet mind
Content with little : to this work designed;
* Which I at length have finished by thy aid,
And now my vows have at thy altar paid.”

In the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, Sandys penned the following lines :

Saviour of mankind, Man, Emanuel !
Who sinless died for sin : who vanquish'd hell;.
The first-fruits of the grave; whose life did give
Light to our darkness ; in whose death we live :-
O strengthen thou my faith, convert my will,
That mine may thine obey ; protect me still,
So that the latter death may not devour
My soul, seal'd with thy seal - So, in the hour,
When thou (whose body sanctified this tomb,
Unjustly judged) a glorious judge shall come

To judge the world with justice; by that sign

I may be known, and entertained for thine. In the year 1638, he published a collection of his poetical works under the following title, A Paraphrase upon the Divine Poems, by George Sandys, London, at the Bell in St. Paul's Churchyard. The volume contains a metrical paraphrase upon the book of Job, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, the Lamentations, and Songs collected out of the Old and New Testament. Appended to it are several congratulatory verses from his friends, which show the high esteem in which his character and talents were held.-Lord Falkland, Dr. Henry King, Bishop of Chichester, Sidney Godolphin, Thomas Carew, Dudley Digges, Francis Wiatt, his kinsman, Henry Rainsford, Wintoure Grant, and Edmund Waller, offered him their poetical homage. Sandys, a hearty loyalist, dedicated the book as follows, To the best of men and most excellent of princes, Charles, by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Lord of the four seas, of Virginia, the vast territories adjoining, and dispersed Islands of the Western Ocean, the zealous Defender of the Christian Faith: George Sandys, the humblest of his servants, presents and consecrates these his Paraphrases upon the Divine Poems, to receive their life and estimation from his favour.

The muse, who from your influence took his birth,
First wandered through the many-peopled earth;
Next sung the change of things; disclosed the unknown ;* ' ;
Then to a nobler shape transformed her own;
Fetch'd from Engaddi spice; from Jewry, balm;
And bound her brows with Idumaan palm :
Now old, hath her last voyage made ; and brought
To royal harbour this her sacred freight:
Who to her King bequeaths the wealth of kings;

And dying, her own epicedium sings. The Queen and the Prince have also verses addressed to them. The paraphrase upon the Psalms is said to be set to new Tunes for private devotion and a Thorough Bass, for Voice or Instrument, by Henry Lawes, Gentleman of his Majesty's Chapel Royal. Dudley Digges and Lord Falkland again appear in this part of the volume as the poet's admirers; and the King and Queen are again addressed in dedicátory verses. The following lines are to the Queen :

() you, who like a fruitful vine,
To this our royal Cedar join :
Since it were impious to divide,
In such a present, hearts so tied ;
Urania your chaste ears invites
To these her more sublime delights.
Then, with your zealous lover, deign
To enter David's numerous fane.
Pure thoughts his sacrifices are;
Sabæan incense, fervent prayer;
* An allusion to his translation of Ovid.

This holy fire fell from the skies ;
The holy water from his eyes.
O should you with your voice infuse
Perfection, and create a Muse!
Though mean our verse, such excellence
At once would ravish soul and sense :
Delight in heavenly dwellers move;
And, since they cannot envy, love: :
When they from this our earthly sphere

Their own celestial music hear. The wanderings of the poet in the east had excited and enriched his imagination, and his familiarity with Judean 'scenes evidently prepared him to enter into the spirit of Judean songs. Some of his expressions are highly felicitous and poetic-he speaks of the “ many-peopled earth," her“ foodful breast," the sea-grasp'd isles,” the “plenty-dropping showers” and

"The rock from whose green wound

The thirst-expelling fountain broke.” The paraphrase of the book of Job, a rhythmical one, must of course appear insipid, acquainted as we are with the sublime and majestic original. There are, however, passages of great power and beauty, though when Sandys writes

“ Seven thousand broad-tailed sheep graz'd on his downs," the far-famed emir of the east seems to dwindle into a mere Kentish yeoman. The appearing of Satan before the Almighty is thus expressed :

Jehovah from the summit of the sky,
Environed with his winged hierarchy,
The world survey'd. When lo, the Prince of Hell,
Who whilome from that envied glory fell,
Like an infectious exhalation

Shot through the spheres; and stood before the throne." . A close translation of a part of this oriental poem, slightly altered from Professor Umbreit, of Heidelburg, and the paraphrase of Sandys, are placed in juxta-position :

Man born of a woman
Lives but a short time, and is full of trouble.
Like a flower he cometh forth, and fadeth.
He fieth away like a shadow, and endureth not.
And on him dost thou sharply cast thine eyes,
And bringest me into judgment with thee?
Can a clean thing come from an unclean?
No, never!
Since his days are strictly measured.
Thou hast strictly determined the number of his months ;
Thou hast appointed his boundary, which he may not overstep.
Do thou avert thine eyes from him, in order that he may rest,
That he may as a hireling enjoy his day.
For there is hope of a tree; after it is cut down
It takes root anew,
And its shoots have no end.

« ElőzőTovább »