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mons and writings more; according to that Scripture,' When I am weak, then am I strong.'” So far he was right, but so far also he was wrong; and in a short time, had he lived, he would have come to the golden mean. No preacher can be too simple, and none too sublime. Every preacher, who is able, should, by turns, be both. No writer can be too clear, and none too profound; and every writer should seek, if he has capacity, to be both. The author of that little card to Philemon, wrote also the Epistle to the Romans. Irving might, and would, had God spared his life, have attained a mode of writing, which, by turns, would have attracted infants, and overpowered philosophers--made a Mary weep and a Felix tremble--a child, like Timothy, prefer it to the instructions of his grandmother Lois, and a doubter, like Thomas, cry out, "My Lord and my God."
To enter into a consideration of his creed, we have not room, and it might besides involve us in controversy. In some points we deem him to have been deeply and even fearfully mistaken, and his wildest errors, of course, were most popular among the weak; but in others, if he was in error, his errors were not deadly, and he erred in good company. But, whatever were or were not his mistakes, of one thing there could be no doubt. He was in earnest, and he strove to infuse his earnestness into the age. In another part of this volume, discoursing of Wilson, we have said that his wondrous powers were neutralised through his want of concentrated purpose; but certainly this cannot be charged against Irving. His objects during his life seem to have been two. Carlyle says, “This man strove to be a Christian priest.” This was his first but not his only purpose. He strove, secondly, to be a Christian prophet. Believing that the end of our present cycle of Christianity was at hand, and that God was about to introduce a new and most mighty dispensation, he felt impelled to proclaim that old things were passed away, and that all things were becoming new. This he did with all the energy of his nature. He smote with his hand-he stamped with his foothe wept—he cried aloud and spared not-he rose early and sat late-he exhausted his entire energies, and gained an early grave in the proclamation of his message. The mantle of the Baptist seemed to have descended on him, and his sermons ceased to be compositions, and became cries—the ciies of fierce protest, stern injunction, and fire-eyed haste :-“Repent ye! Repent ye! The Kingdom of Heaven is at band.” How far his impressions on this subject were correct, is a question on which we enter not now. But surely if Carlyle—the godless prophet of his period, the cursing Balaam of his day—demand and deserve credit for the half-insane sincerity with which he recites his lesson of despair, Irving must be much more admired for his earnestness, as, like the wild eyed prophet who ran round doomed Jerusalem, crying out, “Wo, wo," till he sank down in death, he spent his last breath in crying “Wo, wo, wo, to the inhabiters of the earth, because of the trumpets which are soon to sound, and the vials of vengeance which are soon to be outpoured."
Vain perhaps the inquiry, had he lived, what would have been his career ? Many may be disposed to say “ Bedlam.” We think not. Irving had, indeed, his deep hallucinations, and died under them; but he was a man still in his prime, his mind retained much of its original vigor ; these hallucinations were only mists, which had strangled his sun at noon, and would have passed away, and left the orb brighter, and shining with a tenderer light than before. Others may say “Popery." We trow not. He had too much Scotch sagacity, whatever some of his followers may have, ever to become the bond-slave of its degrading and mind-murdering superstitions. Carlyle, we know, supposes that at the time of his death Irving was ripe for that transfigured negation, that golden No, which he calls his creed. Here, too, we demur. That Irving admired and loved Carlyle, is notorious, but that a nature so enthusiastic, affectionate, sanguine, trustful, and holy, could ever have been satisfied with Carlyleism, is to us inconceivable. Had he even, like Samson, been seduced under cloud of night into that city No, when his senses returned in the morning, he would have arisen in wrath, shaken himself as at other times, and carried away its gates with him in his retreat. A man like Irving would, we verily believe, rather have died trailing the car of Juggernaut, than have lived trusting to the tender mercies of a system which stereotypes despair, and in banishing God out of the universe, reduces man to a hopeless puzzle, and life to a miserable dream.
We venture to say, that had Irving's life been spared he would have forsaken his wilder nostrums, rid himself of the silly people around him, and calmed and sobered down into one of the noblest specimens of enlightened, sanctified, humble, Christ-like humanity which our age or any other has seen. He had the elements of all this within him. His heart was as warm as his genius was powerful. If in his pulpit efforts he sometimes seemed touching upon the angel, in private life, and in the undress of his mind, he “became as a little child." A thousand stories are extant of his generosity-his liberality -his forbearance—his simplicity, as well as of his piety and zeal. But it seemed good to Eternal Providence that his career should be as short as it was chequered, brilliant, and strange. And what, although he founded no sect deserving the name, wrought no deliverance on the earth, reared no pile of literary or of theological handiwork—what, although he died sick of his associates, of his position, and of some of his cherished doctrines, and was emphatically "at sea"—he had lived, on the whole, a heroic life; his errors themselves had proclaimed the nobility of his nature; he died a meek and humble disciple of Jesus Christ, and ages may elapse ere the Church shall see his like again. Of many lowly individuals, it can be truly said, as Christ said of the woman, “she hath done what she could;" but of how few men of Irving's powers, accomplishments, and splendid fame, can it be affirmed that duty was ever dearer to him than delight—that his purpose ever towered more loftily before him than his personal desiresthat he loved God better than himself—that emphatically "he did what he could ?” And the time has come when even those who most deeply differed from him in opinion, and do still in many things differ, may unite with his ardent worshippers in proclaiming him a man of whom the world was not worthy.
Note. We have called Irving a comet; but, unlike a comet, his tail has not been his brightest or largest portion. With a few exceptions, the present race of Irvingites are, we fear, as feeble, conceited, and superstitious a set of religionists as exists. Even their love and charity, which they parade so much, are diseased--too sweet to be wholesome.” Edward Irving would not noo march through Coventry with such semi-papistic-semi-Swedenborgian hybrids. They shelter under his name; but were his name fully known it would crush them. Alas! how often do monkeys gibber and make mouths and attempt mimicries behind the back of a man,
NO. II.-ISA AC TAYLOR.
To commence our review of the great author of the “Saturday Evening” and his works, we have selected an appropriate season-a Saturday evening—after a day of constant and hard intellectual work-with the mists of autumn hanging in divine festoons over the sky, and concealing the stars which had begun lately to come out from their grave of summer sunshine, and to shine like the risen and glorified dead in the serene heaven-and with the prospects of the day sacred to the memory of the resurrection of Jesus casting their gentle shadow forward over our souls. Thus, ere soothing ourselves to calm and rest as we do every Saturday evening, by perusing some of the glorious words of Bunyan, the dreamer of Elstowe, let us first begin our tribute to the dreamer, scarcely less imaginative, of Stamford Rivers.
Taylor never, so far as we know, mounted a pulpit or preached a sermon. Båt a Christian priest, alike by lineage and by nature, and by training, he unquestionably is. He is one of the few of his surpassing order of intellect who in the present day are Christians, whatever they may avow themselves to be. He is not only a Christian, but a Christian of the most decided kind, and has gathered up the despised names of "saint," " fanatic," &c., and bound them as a crown unto him. In search of an ideal of Christianity, he has looked at and bowed aside most of our modern forms of it, tarried reverently near the Reformation for a season, and then passed on his way—gone shuddering, but keenly observant, through the midst of the mediæval ages—paused almost patronisingly over the Patristic period—and at last fixed his thought at that singular point where the Primitive began to merge into the Patristic, where the Christ seemed to sink back into the Moses, and there raised his Eureka, and set up his pillar. We wish that he had gone back a little farther, and striven to reproduce and revive the naked substance of Christianity, as it was left by Jesus of Nazareth himself; but still we feel profoundly grateful for the elaborate and argumentative statements he has given in proof of the vitality which
continued to breathe in Christianity till the anti-Christian leaven had fairly begun to work; and no less for the exhibition he has presented us of the causes of the Church's decline.
Taylor, while a Briton by birth, is in soul and essence an Orientalist. His sympathies, his genius, his scholarship, his temperament, his peculiar kind of piety, all link him to Palestine, and the lands still nearer the sun, where man was first let down from heaven—where he spent his brief Paradisal period—where he fell—and whence the original currents of the race flowed westward, diverging and deepening as they flowed. Like the window of the prophet Daniel, Taylor has his imagination and heart always " standing open towards Jerusalem." Like Christian in the “ Pilgrim," he sleeps in a chamber looking toward the east. His imagery and language are oriental—“ barbaric pearl and gold.” We know not if he ever traveled to the lands of his dreams; but certain we are, that no man of this century would derive more solemn pleasure from such a journey. We love to fancy him sailing on the Lake of Galilee, and conjecturing which of the sunburnt mountains around was that to which the Saviour went up to pray, “himself alone;" or pacing, in profound awe and silence, the beach of that sea which was once Sodom; or sitting by Jacob's well; or looking down from the top of Tabor on the gorge of Endor, and the beautiful plain of Jezreel; or prostrate in prayer under the trees of Gethsemane; or walking out pensive and alone, towards Emmaus; or looking from some giant peak in Lebanon eastward, and northward, and southward, and westward; or marking the windings of the infant Jordan; or mounting a hill of Moab in search of Pisgah; or bathing in “ Ababa and Pharpar, lucid streams;" or climbing the savage Sinai, by the very path up which Moses trembled, and looking abroad from its summit upon peaks, and crags, and valleys, and deserts, bare as a lunar landscape, and which the ire of Heaven seems to have crossed over in a scorching whirlwind, and made for ever desolate! Few books of travels to Palestine have in them much poetry. M'Cheyne, for instance, passes through all these haunted spots, and seems, and is, deeply affected by their memories; but, being utterly destitute of genuine imagination, he fails in making us realize the solemn scenery of the promised land-his enthusiasm is