« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
siastical superior—when they could successfully claim a control over the property and persons even of laymen-when they could, almost at will, summon all the powers of the state to do their bidding—when the absent husband could hardly correspond with his wife, except through the clerk in orders—when all laws were
all treaties reduced to form, all deliberations of cabinets, and even of parliaments aided and guided by ecclesiastics—and when they held possession not only of cathedrals, churches, convents, and monasteries, but of all colleges and schools of learning also. How different is it now, when they are merged, by law, into the one class of citizens,—amenable to the same laws, mere sharers in the same intellectual and social privileges, and left to contend on less than equal terms for the direction of public opinion! , I say less than equal, not so much because of the political disabilities under which they sometimes labour, as because I fear, that the growing and almost morbid jealousy of interference, on the part of the clergy, in things secular, excludes them too much from that promiscuous commerce with men, and from that free conflict with the difficulties of life, which seems almost essential to the utmost force of character, as well as to the highest degree of culture.
And what is the duty of the ministers of Christ in such an age? Is it to denounce it? Is it to shut out from our hearts all respect for itall sympathy with it? Is it to dwell exclusively on its defects, and bring these into exaggerated contrast with the fancied glories of some age that has gone by? Is it to war only against the outward forms which have been assumed by the social intellectual or religious spirit of the time, while we overlook or take perhaps into our very heart, the worst elements in that very spirit?-Or, is it our part, on the other hand, to idolize the age, to seize upon some of its grosser achievements, and to set these in array against all the past? Is it to regard the spirit of the age as a Divine Inspiration, which has only to move on unotstructed and unopposed, to accomplish, for man, the most beneficent results ?–Or, in fine, is it our province to regard the characteristics of our age as inevitable effects from causes that have been at work heretofore, and to conceive that the vicissitudes of the future, like those of the past, must be governed by a blind and uncontrollable destiny?
Neither of these courses, I should suppose, was the dictate of true wisdom. We are placed here as teachers and guides of our time. To fulfil that mission as we ought, we must, in the first place, understand our age; we must, in the second place, sympathize to a certain extent with it; and we must, in the third place, be resolved that we will, God being our helper, do something to improve it. We must understand age,
in order to be understood by it. We must so far sympathize with its great movements, that they who are borne along by them will not be disinclined to listen to us; and improvement we must believe to be possible, or we shall not be induced to attempt it. But how can one understand his age, unless he be willing to see and to admit both its
merits and its defects;-or, how can he have due sympathy with this or with any period of history, unless he remember that, in all periods, the same corrupt heart of man holds sway; and that hence the same essential evils, however differing in shape or in degree, must prevail in all. And he who, with a right good will, would labour to exalt and bless mankind, must surely have faith in the efficacy of right efforts rightly applied; and he must go forth hopefully, in the strength of God and of a good cause, to his work. He must be neither a fatalist nor an optimist. Both the form and the spirit, the body and the pressure of the time, he is to accept as facts-facts which he cannot set aside, though he may leave them out of view; and he is to consider that it is through these facts, and in the light that they cast upon his path, that he is to labour for the service of the Church of God. These facts he would study and analyze by the aid of a high scriptural philosophy; and he would study them, not for purposes of speculation, but that he may the better help to guard whatever of blessing we inherit from the past, and to compass whatever of blessing is possible in the future. Could we but station such minds, vigilant, large-hearted, forecasting, hopeful, at the great reservoirs of human opinion and influence, what a benign change might be wrought even in a single generation on the moral habits of mankind! The faithful and enlightened student of history finds, since the flood, no age or civilization that he would willingly reproduce, even if he could; and he knows full well that there is none, though ever so much desired, which could be reproduced; since the forces that now mould societies and nations are not the forces that they once were. He turns therefore to the Present, as an inevitable yet ever changing, and ever to be modified fact; and he would so work that this great fact shall be the harbinger of one brighter and more blessed soon to succeed it. The blessings that the world has gained, he would remember and own that he may be contented and thankful; the blessings that the world has still, through God's help, to achieve, he would never forget, lest he be tempted to indolence or to self-complacency.
FROM SELECTIONS OF SACRED LATIN POETRY, BY PROFESSOR
R. C. TRENCH, OF LONDON.
(The Hymnologies of the church in the middle ages contain a genuine religious poetry-a rythmitical expression of the deepest feelings of man. The majesty of the Latin language, which its admirers so much boast of, no where appears more conspicuously than in its religious uses; and the rhymes resulting, as they commonly do, from the construction, seem to set a stamp upon the completeness of the expressions.)
Man! in glory would'st thou shine ?
Be the eternal wearer!
Follow him the bearer.
Si vis verè gloriari,
Honoré et gloriâ,
Sacro suo capite;
Triumphans in stipite.
Tyara Pontificis: Primum fuit spinea Postmodum fit aurea
Tactu sancti verticis. Spinarum aculeos Virtus fecit aureos
Christi passionis; Quæ peccatis spineos Mortis æternæ reos
Adimplevit bonis. De malis colligitur Et de spinis plectitur
Spinea perversis: Sed in aurum vertitur, Quando culpa tollitur,
This, the King Eternal wore it;
On his brow so glorious;
Down he smote victorious.
High Priest's mitre dread!
Touched by that blest head!
In that precious blood:
Turn’d by him to good.
Every touch a smart;
He renews the heart.
A VISIT TO THE SULTAN.
BY LIEUTENANT LYNCH, U. S. NAVY. We were led to the entrance of the southern wing (of the palace of Cherighan on the Bosphorus) and again throwing off our overshoes, entered a lofty and spacious hall, matted throughout, with two broad flights of stairs ascending from the far extreme to an elevated platform or landing, whence, uniting in one, they issued upon the floor above. On the right and left of the hall were doors opening into various apartments, and there were a number of officers and attendants on either side, and stationed at intervals along the stairway, all preserving a silence the most profound. The Secretary, who had gone before, now approached, and beckoned to us to follow. But here an unexpected difficulty was presented. The chamberlain in waiting objected to my sword, and required that I should lay it aside. I replied, that the audience was given to me as an officer of the United States, and that the sword was part of my uniform, and that I could not dispense with it. My refusal was met with the assurance that the etiquette of the court peremptorily required it. I asked if the custom had been invariably complied with, and inquired of the dragoman whether Mr. Carr, our Minister, had, in conformity with it, ever attended an audience without his sword, but even as I spoke, my mind, without regard to precedent, had come to the alternative, no sword, no audience.
Whether the Secretary had, during the discussion, referred the matter to a higher quarter, I could not tell, for my attention had been so engrossed for some minutes, that I had not noticed him. He now came forward, however, and decided that I should retain the sword. At this I truly rejoiced, for it would have been unpleasant to retire after having gone so far. It is due to Mr. Brown, the dragoman, to say that he sustained me.
The discussion at an end, we ascended the stairway, which was covered with a good and comfortable, but not a costly carpet, and passed into a room more handsomely furnished and more lofty, but in every other respect of the same dimensions as the one immediately below it. A rich carpet was on the floor, a magnificent chandelier, all crystal and gold, was suspended from the ceiling, and costly divans and tables, with other articles of furniture, were interspersed about the room, but I had not time to note them, for on the left hung a gorgeous crimson velvet curtain, embroidered and fringed with gold, and towards it the Secretary led the way. His countenance and his manner exhibited more awe than I had ever seen depicted in the human countenance.
He seemed to hold his breath, and his step was so soft and stealthy, that once or twice I stopped, under the impression that I had left him behind, but found him ever beside me.
There were three of us in close proximity, and the stairway was lined with officers and attendants, but such was the death-like stillness that I could distinctly hear my own foot fall, which, unaccustomed to palace regulations, fell with untutored republican firmness upon the royal floor. If it had been a wild beast slumbering in his lair that we were about to visit, there could not have been a silence more deeply hushed.
Fretted at such abject servility, I quickened my pace towards the 'curtain, when Sheffie Bey, rather gliding than stepping before me, cautiously and slowly raised a corner for me to pass. Wondering at his subdued and terror-stricken attitude, I stepped across the threshold, and felt, without yet perceiving it, that I was in the presence of the Sultan.
The heavy folds of the window curtains so obscured the light, that it seemed as if the day were drawing to a close, instead of being at its high meridian.
As with the expanding pupil the eye took in surrounding objects, the apartment, its furniture, and its royal tenant, presented a different scene from what, if left to itself, the imagination would have drawn.
The room less spacious, but as lofty as the adjoining one, was furnished in the modern European style, and, like a familiar thing, a stove stood nearly in the centre. On a sofa by a window, through which he might have looked upon us as we crossed the court, with a crimson tarbouch, its gold button and blue silk tassel on its head, a black silk 'kerchief around his neck, attired in a military blue frock and pantaloons, and polished French boots upon his feet, sat the monarch, without any of the attributes of sovereignty about him.
A man, young in years, but evidently of delicate and impaired constitution, his wearied and spiritless air was unrelieved by any indication of intellectual energy: He eyed me fixedly as I advanced, and on him my attention was no less riveted. As he smiled I stopped, expecting that he was about to speak, but he motioned gently with his hand for me to approach yet nearer. Through the interpreter he then bade me welcome, for which I expressed my acknowledgments. · The interview was not a protracted one. In the course of it, as requested by Mr. Carr, I presented him, in the name of the President of the United States, with some biographies and prints, illustrative of the character and habits of our North American Indians, the work of American artists. He looked at some of them, which were placed before him by my attendant, and said that he considered them as evidences of the advancement of the United States in civilization, and would treasure them as a souvenir of the good feeling of its government towards him. At the word civilization pronounced in French I started; for it seemed singular, coming from the lips of a Turk, and applied to our country. I have since learned that he is but a student in French, and presume that by the word “civilization” he meant the arts and sciences.
When about to take my leave, he renewed the welcome, and said that I had his full authority to see any thing in Stamboul I might desire.
While in his presence, I could not refrain from drawing comparisons and moralizing on fate. There was the Sultan, an Eastern despot, the ruler of mighty kingdoms, and the arbiter of the fate of millions of his fellow creatures; and, face to face, a few feet distant, one, in rank and condition, among the humblest servants of a far-distant republic, and yet, little as life has to cheer, I would not change position with him, unless I could carry with me my faith, my friendships, and my aspirations.
My feelings saddened as I looked upon the monarch, and I thought of Montezuma. Evidently like a northern clime, his year of life had