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the firmament showeth his handiwork." They tell so much, and that so quietly! Silently the sun comes out of nis chambers; silently the great moon climbs the September air, and silently she looks down on the silvered sea and the yellow corn ; silently, one by one, come forth the host of heaven; silently stretches away that stream of suns--the galaxy; silently, as ghosts of rivers, do its two arms diverge, and wander on; and silently does even the comet, on his fiery wheels, enter the shuddering sky. Were it otherwise, we could not endure their mighty speech. What ear could bear to listen to the thunder of the axle-tree of the sun as be passed us by; or even to that “sphere music” fabled of old to pervade the universe ? Were it otherwise, in another sense still-were we to become conversant with the moral laws and conditions of the Great Whole—our state of scclusion would be entirely broken up, and our probation interrupted. But here, too, all is silence. And yet " there is no speech and no language where their voice is not heard.” They speak in concert and perfect harmony. Even the comet that has abruptly and withiout warning swum into this autumn sky is not contradicting, but confirming, the silvery utterance of every smallest planet that shivers out the name “God” to the listening night. They speak constantly—“ day unto day uttering speech-night unto night teaching knowledge”-the sun passing on to Sirius, and he to Arcturus, and Arcturus to Ursa Major and his sons, and they to Orion—the great revolving chorus. They speak universally; for where is there a spot so solitary where that star is not seen ? and how, at this very hour, are a thousand observatories, and ten thousand times ten thousand eyes, gazing at our fiery stranger as he is telling them in his own mysterious speech concerning his Creator! They speak with divine majesty; and Taylor, to show this in the most striking manner, takes us away to the remoter planets of the system, where the sun is faint and sickly with distance—where the glory of alien firmaments seeks to struggle through the noon; where, at evening, our earth is seen afar off as a dim trembling speck on the verge of the sky; and where, at night, a solid flood of splendor seems to burst from every pore and crevice of the crowded heavens !
Returning to the earth again, our author fails not to give
her her true place in the august system. Little as she relatively is, she has a peculiar importance as a spot selected for the development of certain great moral purposes of the Almighty. Here have been announced tidings of vastly greater importance than all these skies ever have uttered, or ever can. These ancient heavens, young too as on creation's day, yet cannot assure us of God's infinity-only of his prodigious superiority to the children of men. All the crowded space we see or can imagine, bears no more proportion to real infinitude than a man's hand does to the marble firmament. That surpassing truth must come from the profundities of our own mental and moral nature. The heavens cannot reveal the Father. They show a vague kindness, floating to and fro; but not a special love searching for, to embrace, its children. Of fallen stars they do assure us; but they tell us not that we have fallen from a height higher far than they. Concerning Christ's salvation, too, they are dumb. The "bright and morning star” shines not amid those forests of fire. And on man's immortality they cast not a gleam of light: although for ages they have been shining on his grave. For all this intelligence we must go below, or rather above the stars-to the Bible“the Book of God-say, rather, God of Books;" and to this star of Bethlehem, Taylor reverently and tenderly conducts us.
Years have elapsed since we read the “ Saturday Evening," and yet we believe that in our two last paragraphs we have not misrepresented the author's purport, although the language and imagery are our own. We wish we had time to proceed and analyze some of the other papers, especially those in which he paints the approaching days of earth. The author of the “Coming Struggle” has terribly vulgarized that field of Armageddon. How differently does Taylor, uplifting as he goes “the shout of a king,” tread its mist-covered but magnificent plain! Read, to see this, the noble paper entitled, “ The Last Conflict of Great Principles," or one or two of the chapters which succeed. We wish, too, that we could follow his daring but holy guidance in amid the celestial ardors, and the heavenly hierarchies, rising (as in David Scott's immortal illustrations of the "Pilgrim's Progress,) tier above tier, circle above circle, gallery above gallery, towards the ineffable blaze of glory which terminates the view, and in which other systems, and firmaments, and orders of being are dimly discovered, as in a shaded mirror, or seen swimming like: motes in the sunbeam." But we forbear, and simply recommend all these contemplations of the most contemplative mind of moderni days to our readers. Being “nothing if mot critical,!! xe might have dwelt on some of Taylor's faults-on his occasional affectations of manner, turgidities of language, and confusions of imagery. But this is useless, as, in spite of all these, and partly perhaps in consequence of them, he has already obtained a fixed and lofty position among our prose religious writers We shall merely, ere closing this papery advise him; in the name of'all his genuine admirers, to give up lecturing in pube lic. This is a field which most men of his order are gradually resigning, in weariness or disgust. It is a field, too, for which he is not specially or at all qualified. His manner and delivery are bad-his voice husky, and perpetually interrupted by a cough-his matter, admirable as it seems in the closet, falls flat and dead on a popular audience; and, to crown all; he chose a subject precisely the worst he could have selected for such people as baunted his lecture-rooms, many of whom were the genuine disciples of Theodore Parker, and George Dawson. He lectured on the " Poetry of the Bible; and his enlightened audience cheered him while he was present, and after their 'usual manner, abused him when he had depart.. ed (in, we trust, happy ignorance of their feelings) from. amongst them." lui :'!, ::iin... BHD
ROBERT HALL is a name we, in common with all Christians of this century, of all denominations, deeply venerate and ad-1 mire. · Welare not, however, to be classed among his idolar ters ; hand this paper is meant as! au calm and comprehensive! view of what appear to us, after many needful deductions from the over-estimates of the past, including our own in a former
spapercto be his real characteristics, but in point of merit, of fanlt, and of simple deficiency was ad EST UNOS
We labor, like all critics who have never seen their author, under considerable disadvantages. Knowledge is power: Still more--craving Lord Bacon's pardon vision is power." Cæsar said a similar thing when he wrote Vidi, vici. To see is to conquer, if you happen to have the faculty of clear, full, conclusive sight. In other cases, the sight of a man whom you misappreciate, and, though you have eyes, cannot see, is a curse to your conception of his character. You look at him through a mist of prejudice, which discolors his visage, and, seven when it exaggerates, distorts his stature. Far otherwise with the prepared, yet unprepossessed look of intelligent Hove. Love hearsi a voice others cannot hear, and sees a hand others cannot see. In every man of genius, besides what he says, and the direct exhibition he gives of the stores of his mind, there ise à certain: indescribable something a preponderance of personali influence a mesmeric affection-r-a magical charms. You feel that a great spirit is beside you, even though he be talking mereocommonplace, or toying with children. Just as when you are walking through a wood at the foot of a mountain, you do not see the mountain, you see only glimpses of it, but you know it is there in the find old word, you are aware?? of its presence; and, having once seen (as sone who has newly lost his burden continues for a little to
imagine it on his shoulders still), you ifancy you are still seejing it. This pressure of personal cinterest and power always dwindles works in the presence of their authors, suggests their possible rideal of performance, and starts the question, What folio or library of folios can enclose that soul? The soul itself of the great man often responds to this feeling---takes up all its past doingsi as a little thing-hipaws like the war"horse in Job after higher achievements-i-and, like, Byron, pants for a lightning-language, a quicker, fierier cypher, “ that it may wreak its thought upon expression;" but is forced, like him to exclaim
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With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword."
Those who met and conversed with Robert Hall seem all to have felt this singular personal charm—this stream of “virtue going out of him”—this necessary preponderance over his company. Nor was this entirely the effect of the pomp and loftiness of his manner and bearing, although both were loftier than perhaps beseemed his Christian character. We have known, indeed, men of mediocre, and less than mediocre talents, exerting an uneasy and crushing influence over far superior persons, through the sheer power of a certain stiff and silent pomp, added to an imposing personal appearance. We know, too, some men of real genius, whose overbearing haughtiness and determination to take the lead in conversation render them exceedingly disagreeable to many, disgusting to some, and yet command attention, if not terror, from all. But Robert Hall belonged to neither of these classes. He might rather be ranked with those odd characters, wbose mingled genius and eccentricity compel men to listen to them, and whose pomp, and pride, and overbearing temper, and extravagant bursts, are pardoned, as theirs, and because they are counterbalanced by the qualities of their better nature.
We have met with some of those who have seen and heard him talk and preach, and their accounts have coincided in this —that he was more powerful in the parlor than in the pulpit. He was more at ease in the former. He had his pipe in his mouth, his tea-pot beside him, eager ears listening to catch his every whisper-bright eyes raining influence on him; and, under these varied excitements, he was sure to shine. His spirits rose, his wit flashed, his keen and pointed sentences thickened, and his auditors began to imagine him a Baptist Burke, or a Johnson Redivivus, and to wish that Boswell were to undergo a resurrection too. In these evening parties he appeared, we suspect, to greater advantage than in the mornings, wben ministers from all quarters called to see the lion of Leicester, and tried to tempt him to roar by such questions as, “ Whether do you think, Mr. Hall, Cicero or Demosthenes the greater orator ? Was Burke the author of
Junius ?' Whether is Bentham or Wilberforce the leading spirit of the age ?”' &c., &c. How Hall kept his gravity or his temper, under such a fire of queries, not to speak of the smoke of the half putrid incense amid which it came forth, we