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grand, that all-comprehending thought, the idea of a God? — What were man without the arbiter of conscience in his bosom? — a principle, which, as has been said, if it had power as it has authority, had it strength as it has right, would rule supreme over the moral world. What are the afsections but “springs of woe,” until they are purified of their earthliness, and find an object in God suited to their infinite growth and boundless expansion ? What, in fine, are those wants, hopes, aspirations, and illimitable capacities of moral improvement, which connect the soul with another state of existence, but prophetical messages of the real destiny of man Do not all these constitute his peculiar privilege, his great, his emphatical, his highest, his crowning distinction. Now, if this be so, - and here we perceive the application of the argument before us, – if this be so, - and if, further, it be admitted, as it needs must, that through all the inferior orders of creation it is ascertained as a universal law, or general fact, that every organ, function, instinct, has assigned to it its appropriate sphere, element, and means of gratification; and if, yet further, as I have now shown at large, man is essentially and distinctively a religious being, with ideas, states of mind, moral wants, desires, and capacities, which are not met and answered here, — we are obliged to conclude, upon the soundest principles of the Inductive Reasoning, that he is destined to a sphere hereafter, where these essential principles of his nature shall be recognised and fully satisfied. This must be admitted, unless we are prepared to say, that this correspondence of sphere to organs and functions is limited to animal existence, and that, while every lower instinct is carefully, I had almost said, anxiously, provided for, and points out invariably the end and aim of the individual to which it belongs, — the instincts of the soul which fasten upon God, and reach after immortality, are implanted in vain, nay, worse than in vain, —implanted only, and that too by Him who placed them there, to mock and to deceive us. I here bring this lecture to a close. While, for the reasons before stated, I feel obliged to consider the abstract, or d priori argument, however derived, or howsoever applied, as, on the whole, of little or no value in establishing the great truths or facts of Natural Theology; these are still susceptible of proof, which is as convincing as any evidence whatsoever; — of proof that cannot be gainsaid or resisted, without falsifying all the conclusions of Inductive Philosophy, as applied to the phenomena of the physical universe; — of proof, upon which we do and must act, in every hour of our conscious existence. The argument is capable of various applications, and the subject suggests some highly practical and useful trains of thought. But I dismiss it with a single remark, which I would leave, at parting, with entire distinctness on every mind, and especially I would commend it to the reflection of the younger part of my audience. It is, that religion, in the sense already explained, is not a rule or obligation arbitrarily superinduced upon the nature of man. It is not a mere external bond, which he is at liberty to assume or lay aside at will. It is not a contrivance of the wise to hold in leading-strings the simple. It is not an invention of the priests to secure for themselves an unhallowed influence. But it is a law, written upon our hearts, as by the finger of Almighty God. It was breathed into us with the breath of life. It is indissolubly interwoven with all the principles of our spiritual nature. It is identified with that inspiration, which at the first gave us understanding. It is as inherently and clearly a part of our very being, as the power of thinking, feeling, willing, and acting. It is no more to be separated from a human being, than that consciousness, by which he is assured of his identity from day to day. Nor is this all. It is his prečminent, his distinctive, his crowning prerogative. And he, therefore, who attempts to live, in any way, in a neglect or disavowal of his religious nature, not only neglects and disavows a high and imperative obligation, enstamped by God on his very constitution ; not only is heedless of the heaven-inspired and heaven-directed wants and calls of his own spirit; but lives, even in his happiest earthly lot, but in a part, and in infinitely the poorest part, of his mortal being. * Let then every thing be hallowed by “a high consecration” to religious uses. Remember,
“He that desires to see
Let nothing come in competition with the established claims,
* “The whole faculties of man must be exerted in order to noble energies; and he who is not earnestly sincere, lives but in half his being, self-mutilated, self-paralyzed.”— Coleridge's Friend.
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the rightful supremacy, of your religious capacities and powers. Let nothing mar, debase, or impair them. Let the idea of God sit enthroned, as God, within you. Let the authentic and imperative voice of conscience be ever, and under all circumstances, implicitly obeyed. Honor it. Reverence it. Fall down before it. Give it the entire homage of your entire soul. Let religious sentiment control and sanction all other emotions. Let the fear of God cast out all other fear. Let the love of God hallow all other love. And let those farreaching hopes and aspirations, which antedate the blessedness of a future world, and that capacity of moral progress, which is the present pledge of a future glory, sanctify to holy uses, every pursuit, desire, and object in the life that now is.
ART. II. — The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year. First American Edition. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, & Blanchard. 1834. 12mo. pp. 415.
IT is some years since we became acquainted with the above-named work, having been induced to purchase it, in an English edition, by the promise which the perusal of a few lines gave us of its merits. The promise was kept, and we were growing more and more attached to the volume, – wondering, at the same time, that we never heard it mentioned by others, – when we saw advertised this American edition of it by Bishop Doane of New Jersey. . It was time for an American edition ; for between the years 1828 and 1834, there had been twenty-five editions of it published in England. Part of this popularity was no doubt owing to its subject, — the course of the Christian year, according to the calendar of the English Church; but we must ascribe much of it to its real poetical beauty.
All that we know of the author, we have gathered from the Preface of his American editor; and there we only learn, that his name is Keble, that he is Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford, and that he is also “the exemplary and faithful pastor of a humble country congregation.”
Bishop Doane has dedicated this edition to his friend, the
Rev. William Croswell of Boston; and, beside a preface, he has added some notes, explanatory and illustrative, among which he has taken occasion to introduce a few pieces of Mr. Croswell's poetry. While we thank him for making known the volume of Keble to the lovers of religious poetry on this side of the water, and thank him for the greater part of his notes, and for the stanzas of his friend, which are very good, we must take the liberty to find fault with him also on one or two accounts. Why did he deform his pages by printing, sometimes a line, sometimes two lines, sometimes a verse, in Italics : “He has adopted that mode,” he says, “ of designating such lines as possess, in his judgment, peculiar beauty.” What if all editors should adopt “that mode ** It is well enough for reviewers, in quoting from a work reviewed, occasionally to italicize lines to which they desire to call especial attention; but what if our editions of Cowper, of Scott, of Campbell, were speckled all over with American italics, and in different portions of the original according to each editor's fancy Would the reading public thank the editing gentlemen for thus selecting beauties for them, as if they were deficient in the requisite taste to select them for themselves? We are sorry that a gentleman of Bishop Doane's judgment has committed such a mistake ; and we assure him, that they who can see beauty, with their own eyes, will wish those italics out of their way, and that they who lack the requisite discernment, will either not read a book of so refined a character as this of Keble's, or will be little assisted by the italics, if they do read it, or try to read it. We have another complaint to make against the editor. Why did he suffer any of his notes to assume a controversial character Did he suppose that he should gain converts to Episcopacy, or settle that everlasting dispute about apostolical succession, by a few words in prose at the foot of a page of poetry : We refer now to his note on the following verse of Keble's on St. Matthias's Day.
“Where can thy seal be found,
As kings and priests thy war to wage 1 ''
Here is the note by Bishop Doane.
“This is a pregnant question. The ministers of Christ either represent him, or act in their own name. If the latter, what authority have they more than other men If the former, where is the evidence of their authority to represent Christ' That he sent the Apostles in his own name is evident. That they in like manner sent others is evident. That from the Apostles' times, the sacred chain has never yet been broken is evident. Where shall the seal be looked for then, but among those who, from age to age, have still been sent by those whom Christ sent, as the Father first sent him 7 What warrant surer need there be than theirs, which, issued at the first by Christ himself, has since been handed down, from hand to hand, as duly and as certainly as the inspired record of our faith ?”
Now this reasoning may seem, and doubtless does seem, perfectly convincing to the writer of the note. And yet he must have known that such reasoning has been answered again and again. If he will but look into our number for November, 1834, he will see it answered there, with both facts and arguments, which he will find it no easy task to refute. But at any rate, as Keble himself had contented himself without an argument, what call was there on his editor to enter into one, and thus run the risk of irritating many readers, who he could not suppose would be convinced by a short note :
And yet we are willing to put up with, though sorry to perceive, the abovementioned errors of judgment, for the sake of the real improvements which Bishop Doane has added to the English edition, and the true enthusiasm which he manifests for his author. We love to see such enthusiasm; we would forgive much more for its sake; especially when it has so good a foundation as in the present case.
If the only cause of the dissatisfaction of our Puritanic forefathers with the English Church had been the Liturgy and order of service of the latter, we confess that our sympathy with them would have been small. Their resistance to ecclesiastical domination and pride, and their disgust with the lives and manners of a large portion of the established clergy, engage our hearty concurrence, and secure our lasting veneration. But their antipathy to the forms of the church was excessive, and, though natural enough, passionate and unreasonable. We envy not those who inherit it from them. We are not, however, entirely satisfied with the English Liturgy. There are several parts of it to which we seriously object. Neither do we intend to express any decided opinion here, concerning the merits or demerits of forms of prayer in