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Thence he proceeded to thedying bed Of one whose earthly hopes had passed away, Whose soul was stung by anguish and remorse, For time mis-spent, and talents unimproved. To him he spoke of mercy rich and free,Mercy for sinners wherescever found; And bade him seek, in penitence and faith, The full forgiveness of Almighty God, Through Him who made atonement for man's sin. I've seen him in the slums of filth and vice, With which our crowded cities oft abound, Striving to rescue from the “foeman's grasp " The wretched victims of intemperance And crime, who herd together in the dens Of infamy !-heedless of truths and law, And whatsoever tends to social good. Their minds he sought to elevate, their souls To save, by faithful admonition, wise Advice, and strong entreaty, in the name Of Him who saveth to the uttermost. Once I went with him to a gloomy cell, Where sat a felon bound in chains, and doomed To die, in a few days, a felon's death. He was a man of parts, instructed well In things of common life and things divine ; But in an evil hour the wily foe Of God and man seduced him from the path That leads to honour, happiness, and heaven. Henceforth his feet were found in the broadway That leads to misery, and shame, and death; And in that way he stubbornly went on, Until at length his downward course was blocked: With him the good man reasoned of God's law, Its adaptation to our earthly state, Its perfect justice, its benign intent, Its awful sanctions, its resistless claims. With warm affection, solemn earnestness, And melting tone, he ploaded Heaven's own cause; Until at last the heart of stone was pierced, And conscience woke from its long deathlike sleep, To prompt the cry, “Oh, Sir, what shall I do, Or whither flee, for refuge, pardon, peace ?" Warmed and inspired with joy and thankfulness, My friend now spoke about that living way Of access to the Mercy-seat of Him whose ear Is ever open,-whose unbounded grace, If sought in childlike penitence and faith, Will never be denied; with unction sweet
Upon the thirsty soul. And light burst forth,
In lofty strains, sang praises to the LORD.
THEOLOGICAL AND Religious
LITERATURE IN 1882. “In the best books great men talk to us, with us, and give us their most precious thought."-CHANNING. PROFESSOR MORLEY in his admirable “Library of English Literature” devotes a whole volume to the literature of religion and theology. The elements of religion are more prominent in the annals of English literature than of any other country. From the seventh century to the eleventh nearly the whole of our literature had religion for its theme, and the foundations thus laid down had built upon them the finest and purest, the most enduring and beautiful, literary work in the world. Religion still animates the souls and inspires the pens of our best modern writers-Farrar, Liddon, Tennyson, and Browning.
In the never-fading roll of English literature those names shine brightest who have wielded the pen and devoted the mind and heart to the expression, in pages of transcendent beauty, of religious truth, and scholarly theological thought. All the great English writersthe classics of our language—though not all writing specific treatises on religion and theology, have in a greater or lesser degree left imperishable monuments in their works of the wonderful power and influence of religion, and have been the means, not only of leading the English people, but the world, in paths of goodness and truth.
What a survey of brilliant religious writers we have, from Cædmon and Bede to Kingsley and Newman. To mention a few in chronological order—Wiclif and Langland (14 century), John Lydgate and the Lollards (15th century), Tyndale, More, Latinier, John Knox, John Jewel, Francis Bacon, and Richard Hooker (16th century); the guiding lights of the 17th century-Giles Fletcher, Quarles, George Herbert, Thomas Fuller, Richard Baxter, Jeremy Taylor, John Milton, John Bunyan,* Leighton and Ken. In the eighteenth century-Tillotson, Locke, Burnet, Steele, Addison, Isaac Watts, Butler, Whitefield, Wesley, Johnson, and Cowper were the high priests in the temple of religious literature, and have been followed in this nineteenth century by Reginald Heber, Chalmers (the recollection of whose kind heart and beneficent teaching brought a flood of tears to the eyes of an aged pastor whom the writer of this sketch has recently met, and who was privileged to be a member of that famous class of which Chalmers was professor), Wordsworth, Keble, Dr. Pusey, Dr. Newman, Thomas Arnold, Dr. Whateley, the Brothers Hare, Denison Maurice, Charles Kingsley, Tennyson and others, whose books are living factors of our everyday life, part of our existence, and as necessary to our mental health as food is necessary to our bodies. The history of these is the history of the English people. The glorious traditions gathered around these names are those which our modern writers should seek to sustain. And, doubtless, from these pure rills and deep fountains streams much of the spiritual and religious elements of our latter-day literature.
* " Though there were many clever men in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two great creative minds. One of those produced the Paradise Lost, the other the Pilgrim's Progress.”— MACAULAY.
Glancing through the records of our literature, for years past, it is seen that that devoted to religion and its collateral subjects exceeds, in the number of works issued, any other subject. It forms about one-sixth of the total publications of a year. Assuming that six thousand* new works (including new editions) are issued during a year, one thousand of these are devoted to the most important questions in theology and religion, embracing in addition the devotional, meditative, and sermonic books and booklets which have become so numerous of late years. It may be interesting to note that, in number, educational books rank next, followed by juvenile literature, fiction, law, art, history, poetry, &c.
When the Bibliographer shall count up and classify the literature of 1882, it will be found that works in this section of our literature have not suffered diminution, but rather, we believe, that the literary activity of the year will have produced more than the normal number of works in this class ; and of their number will be found many which will become of permanent value, going down to posterity to help and guide; to whet the sword and point the spear of those who shall have the literary battles of the future to fight, of those who shall engage in the polemics which lie before.
It is not within our province to point out what books of the year are to receive this high honour, as we are not of the prophetical succession ; and, being neither prophets nor of the school of the
• This number is about the average annual issue of books.
Perhaps the most. Speaker's in Days of Chrth volumes pist, it
prophets, we shall content ourselves by indicating those theological and religious books of 1882 which have made the deepest impression upon the English mind, and which may, after much tribulation mingled with rejoicings, take their place among the “ STANDARDS ” of all time.
Perhaps the most important literary events of the year were the completion of the “Speaker's Commentary” (John Murray), the publication of Farrar's “Early Days of Christianity” (2 vols. Cassell), and of the thirteenth and fourteenth volumes of the “Encyclopædia Britannica” (A. and C. Black). Of the first, it can be said that under the painstaking and conscientious editor, the Rev. Canon Cook, we have in the completion of this great work a reflection of the scholarship and thought to be found within the pale of the English Church. The scope of the Commentary is constructive and conservative, the orthodox lines being followed throughout. The “ Destructive School of Criticism” finds no representative here. In a work of such magnitude it is not to be expected that the whole will be of equal merit, but, taken altogether, it is a work which marks an epoch in the literary history of England, and is a most valuable addition to the theology of our day.
In aim and purpose the Commentary is first devout and then critical, seeking to give without pedantry and dogmatism the results of modern research and criticism. At the hands of some this very characteristic of the work has met with severe castigation, but we think that no Commentary should become the arena for speculative strife. If there must be speculation, it is far better for the supporters of rival theories to dissertate in separate treatises; and such books, if written with lucidity and sincerity of purpose, are always welcome, and find many readers.
Archdeacon Farrar's “Early Days of Christianity," though not of the absorbing interest of the first great work from the pen of this facile and learned writer, “ The Life of Christ” (twenty-nine editions of which have been sold), is perhaps of more permanent value. Though Farrar invested the life of our Lord with a brighter halo than any previous writer on the same subject, so many attempts had been made to present the blessed Redeemer to the minds of men, as He lived and moved on “ those holy fields” He walked and endured to the end, that more in the charm of its manner, its picturesque qualities, than the new light and truth which it offered, did it captivate and enchant the public mind..
In the “Early Days of Christianity," as the author informs us, we have the completion of that study of the foundation and history of the Early Church which was commenced with the “Life of
Christ," and continued by the Life of the Apostle Paul. In all three the method adopted is partly historic and partly expository.
Its main purpose is to present to the intelligent and thoughtful Englishman a picture of Christian society in the first century of our era. To many this is the most obscure of all the periods of Church history. It remained for the pen of Dr. Farrar to illumine this dark mine, and to bring up the treasures which there lay concealed.
The student and general reader will find in these two volumes, in addition to the exhaustive studies of the Epistles, other than those by Paul, an elaborate exposition of the Apocalypse, which gives very much new light on a very enigmatical scripture. Archdeacon Farrar believes that previous commentators have erred in attaching so much importance to the prophetical nature of this book. In the May and September numbers of the Expositor for 1881 are articles by this author, which give his theory or key for the interpretation of the “ Revelation of St. John." Referring to the scores of commentators who have “ professed to find a minute history of eighteen Christian centuries” in the Apocalypse, “but in the application of which hardly any two original commentators are even approximately agreed ;” he believes that if explained on the analogy of all other apocalyptic literature, in its main outlines, the Apocalypse is a book perfectly easy to understand. He considers it “a book of symbols, which shadow forth contemporary perils and expectations," and citing many examples from Jewish and Pagan literature, he seeks to teach us that the TIMES were responsible for the enigmatical character of the book. Supposing it to have been written during the persecution under Nero, what could be more natural than that St. John should address the Jewish-Christian community-for whom he wrote, when danger lurked on every hand, and the Roman spies, like the harpies of classic lore, hovered about the homes and watched the doings of these early Christians—in enigma and cryptograph, so that they might enjoy the communion and profit by the teachings of the beloved Apostle, and yet escape the ruthless punishment which was then the certain consequence of their adhesion to the Christian cause, should discovery be made. Would not the writer seek to clothe his facts in symbol, and convey to the minds of those in possession of the key, words fraught withi meaning to the little band of Christians, while to their enemies they would be dark and meaningless ? The “Wild Beast” of the Apocalypse is the Nero of Rome; the “False Prophet," Vespasian ; and “ Antichrist,” Domitian, of awful memory.
We may sum up Dr. Farrar's theory of interpretation in his own words : “The Apocalypse was meant to be understood. It is only when we contemplate the Apocalypse in the light of the Neronian