Изображения страниц

instruments from all effort. There is in a choice an acting from within on the nervous centre and system, and therein a true origination of movement. The causal chain starts with volition, and is arrested in its backward stretch by it. Sensations, feelings, are occasions, not causes of choice.

If it shall be shown that each thought, resolve, effort, liberates by destruction of nervous tissue just as much force as is used by it, nevertheless, the power to liberate and direct force remains with the will. The manufacturer dips his wheel into the stream, and thus gets force, but he employs that force for what purpose he chooses. The will plays upon the forces subject to it, but in the ways and for the ends it pleases. There is here no measurement of causes by effects. The volition does not, even for that time, measure or express the power lodged in the will. This might have issued in other directions, or more strongly in this direction. The will is not a cause receiving so much power and transmitting as much, but an independent source of movement, measured by the effects neither in the kind or degree of its force.

One other relation of this regulative idea is to God. The argument for a first cause is the one chiefly relied on to prove the divine existence. We believe this proof sound in substance, though not in form. To reach the divine architect we need other regulative ideas than that of causation. By this we can merely travel up and down in the world, not transcend it. When we weary of this, when the mind puts to itself the comprehensive inquiry, whence this universe as a whole, the idea of liberty and of the infinite come forward to make answer. Causation finds arrest in liberty, and a final arrest in an infinite spiritual personality. This motion, brought to the universe itself, gives the same complete explanation that a single cause does to a single effect. It is this idea that is intended by the language, a first-cause, and therefore, in substance; the proof is sound. In form it is false, since a true first-cause cannot be developed out of the idea of causation, and close analysis, therefore, will reveal the fallacies and inadequacy of the argument. Causation is


the regulative idea of physical science, but cannot transcend the world, or float itself in the upper atmosphere of our spiritual life. Here liberty holds sway, and thence lets drop its edicts on the forces beneath.

The creation of God is as diversified as the rational faculties that are to find play therein. The short, close, interlocked steps of reasoning are provided for. The earth is given us on which we may walk; that rings, if we strike it not too thoughtfully, solid beneath our feet; whose paths we can trace and retrace at our pleasure; that imparts through our senses an impression of actuality and debility which it is difficult to attach to the unseen. Here that which is most fixed, slow, and creeping in our endowments is disciplined. Causation, issuing from exact, immediate premises into exact, immediate conclusions, becomes the field of faculties which with microscopic observation push a slow, laborious, yet triumphant, way through the world. But the power to walk does not preclude the power to fly. Intuition and faith have also their element. They can strike an atmosphere felt, yet unseen. Freer connections, conclusions less closely girded in the premises, a spiritual life of more liberal possibilities, are open to them, escaping the steady, successive foot-falls in the sequence of purely physical events. God forbid that in our admiration of the certainty and success of lower faculties we should overlook or despise higher ones, not less just, though more rapid and grand in their move


The physical universe is a third thing between us and God, not, indeed, closing the direct path to himself, but lying to one side, as a common field in which we and he work together. Fixed causation enables us to do this, to calculate effects and graduate causes. Without this medium, any permanent communion and partnership with God would seem impossible. The finite, fixed, definite, are the conditions of our labor, and God here furnishes them. Relax the law of causation, and confusion, irresolution, unreliability enter. Make it more severe and extended, and opportunity,

responsibility, virtue, are proportionately lost. Make the dependence of effects on causes fixed and permanent, and faith, prayer, perish. God gives us what we must do, and yet leaves us what we may ask. He sends us into his field, but closes not his ear to the exigencies that arise there, stern exigencies that must be met on both sides with causation and liberty, with work and prayer, with forethought and faith.

Those who humble themselves to the world, measure themselves by it, suffer its forces to run through them, and flood their nobler nature, do, indeed, lose the power to tread the spiritual path to God, lose the ideas requisite for a true apprehension of him; but these forgotten keys are not the less in their bosom, though matter shut them round like dungeon walls. With a little penetration they may reach a stream of forces subtiler than the effects they float; they may find these arrested, turned, impelled, by divine law; above all, they may experience that great need and yearning of their spirits for something stronger, higher, holier, than themselves, pushing them to the last interrogatory: Whence and why all this? But for one who uses the world as not abusing it, who is not smothered by it, who does not suffer its damps to extinguish the clear light within him, no nobler, more heroic discipline and growth can be conceived, than it affords. Rigor and clemency, discouragement and hope, defeat and victory, the natural and supernatural,—an upward way passing more and more into light and life, make it the fitting passage from sin to holiness, a seemly probation for one who is to win and establish a spiritual manhood, a manhood equally of faith as of action.

Wisdom is justified of her children.




CHRISTIAN Psalmody has a threefold history. There is the connected record of sacred song from the apostolic age to our own time; there is the personal history of authors, with the circumstances in the midst of which they composed; and there is also the history of particular hymns subsequently to their introduction by the church into its public services, or by individual Christians into their private devotions.

A comprehensive history of hymns, according to our first distinction, would be a history of the Christian church. The purity and fervor of the primitive faith; the persecutions of the early centuries; the outward prosperity which followed the baptism of Constantine; the profound stillness of the Middle Ages; the great awakenings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the revivals of the eighteenth; and the missionary spirit of later times, all, in turn, have moulded or modified the expressions with which men have sought to praise the Lord, and it would be difficult to divest these "hymns of the ages" of the social conditions and the experiences which gave rise to them. This is the scope of

1I. The Voice of Christian Life in Song; or, Hymns and Hymn Writers of many Lands and Ages. From the London edition. New York: 1864.

II. Historical Sketches of Hymns. By J. Belcher. Philadelphia: 1859. III. Hymn Writers and their Hymns. By the Rev. S. W. Christophers. London: 1866.

IV. The Book of Praise, from the best English Hymn Writers, selected and arranged by Roundell Palmer. From the London edition. Cambridge: 1864.

V. Dies Irae, in thirteen original versions. By Abraham Coles, M.D. With photographic illustrations. Third edition. New York: 1864.

VI. The Seven Great Hymns of the Mediaeval Church. Third edition. New York: 1866.

VII. The Sabbath Hymn Book; for the Service of Song in the House of the Lord. New York: 1860.


Mrs. Charles's interesting volume, "The Voice of Christian Life in Song," a work which, although less generally known than "The Chronicles of the Schönberg Cotta Family" and "The Diary of Kitty Trevelyan," by the same gifted author, is fully entitled to a place with them in the library of every Christian household. Mr. Christopher's recent publication is a gracefully written and familiar commentary upon hymnwriters and their hymns, containing, as the preface says, "chat about hymns, their birth and parentage, their circumstances, their character, and their influence." Our own purpose in the present Article is similar to this; and while incidentally referring to history and to biography, we desire mainly to allude to the causes which produced and to the occasions which suggested a few of the hymns in use among us; also to notice the associations which in the lapse of time have accumulated about them and enriched them.

The authorship of many of our most familiar hymns is involved in uncertainty.

"Jerusalem, my happy home,"

which has been made the foundation for so many beautiful compositions, is one of these. The version in most common use among us (No. 1231 in the Sabbath Hymn Book),1 first appeared in 1801, but the writer is not known. A variation of the original appeared in a collection made by David Dickson, and published at Edinburgh in 1662. The original itself is contained in a manuscript volume in the British Museum, the date of which is supposed to be about 1616, and is probably of Queen Elizabeth's time. It is there described as "a song by F. B. P., to the tune Diana." For two hundred years or more this sweet singer has rested in that happy harbor of the saints for which he so ardently longed; his sorrows have long since had an end, and with ineffable joy he has listened to the silver sound of the flood of life, as it flows "quite through the streets" of the heav

All the numbers in this Article will refer to Hymns in the Sabbath Hymn Book.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »