« 前へ次へ »
eminently calculated to lead us to magnify God in His works, and to interest minds of all classes. For young persons more especially, we can hardly imagine a more fascinating book,-one more likely to wake intelligent interest in their minds, and to stir up within them a lively sense of the wisdom and power of God. It is equally removed from the pamby-pamby trash which only serves to sodden whatever brains young people may happen to possess, and from those wild stories of adventure which, like so many iynes fatui, lure on many to destruction. If there is any point on which we would feel disposed to join issue with our author, it would be upon his remarks about the ornamentation of churches (pp. 221—228), where we think he has ridden his hobby not quite wisely, but too far. For our own part, we hold, with the Council of Eliberis," that pictures ought not to be in churches, lest that which is honoured or worshipped be painted on walls ;" and we do not think that, in his zeal for his favourite subject, Dr. Child has realized how easily decoration in sacred edifices degenerates into desecration. We believe with Mr. Ruskin “that every believing and advancing Christian, from the days of Raphael, bas trampled even him under his feet; and that pure Christianity and high art have taken separate roads, and fared on as best they might independently of each other."* We are quite sure, from what Dr. Child says of the mortuary soup tureens and wine coolers of the Georgian era in our churches, that he has no more sympathy than Mr. Ruskin with low art; and are not willing to believe that, with the pure and refined taste which he displays in his writings, he can have much more with the prevailing mania for transforming our churches into receptacles of all the trash which ecclesiastical warehousemen and churcb furnishers of inventive genius, regardless of expense, as well as of taste, can prevail upon the more weakminded of the clergy to cumber themselves their churches and chancels with. In confirmation of our views we quote another noble passage from Ruskin, who most assuredly is not chargeable with imperfect appreciation of the excellence and claims of art. “But I nevertheless believe that he who trusts much to such helps will find them fail him at his need, and that the dependence in any great degree on the presence or power of a picture indicates a wonderfully feeble sense of the power and presence of God. I do not think that any man who is thoroughly certain that Christ is in the room, will care what sort of pictures of Christ he has on the walls; and in the plurality of cases the delight taken in this kind of art is, in reality, nothing more than a form of graceful indulgence in those sensibilities which the habits of a disciplined life restrain in other directions. Such art is, in a word, the opera and the drama of the monk (and not of him only). Sometimes it is worse than this, and the love of it is the mask under which a general thirst for morbid excitement will pass itself for religion.” In these sen. timents we are fully assured that Dr. Child would agree, and perhaps will, on reflection, think that “when God's house, the Church, is well adorned with places convenient to sit in, with the pulpit for the preacher, with the Lord's table for the ministration of His holy Supper, with the font to christen in, and is kept clean, comely, and sweetly,”* we have what is needful and for edification. As to the question of the green things of the earth to which also Dr. Child adverts, as fitting adornment to God's house at certain seasons of the year, we would prefer leaving him to settle the question with the Spectator's most obedient servant Jenny Simper.t It would seem that the fair damsels of Queen Anne's days set a different value on floral decorations to that in which young ladies estimate them in the reign of Queen Victoria.
* Modern Painters, vol. iii. p. 56.
But it is high time that we should let Dr. Child speak for himself, and we have much pleasure in quoting two or three passages which will, we feel assured, incline our readers to make acquaintance for themselves with this most delightful book, which, we are glad to find, has already reached a second edition. In doing so, we pass over many most choice passages, which he has culled from all the most eminent naturalists of the present day, and select, in preference, those wherein he speaks for himself and gives expression to his own intelligent and reverential spirit. The following remarks are taken from his comments upon the versicle,~"0 ye Waters that be above the Firmament, bless ye the Lord.”
“ Clouds are habitually less admired than they deserve to be On fitting occasions, cloud-gazing is no unworthy distraction wherewith to occupy a few of the fragments of time, and it belongs to those enjoyments which are all the more valuable because they so often lie within our reach. There is solid pleasure in letting our eyes lead fancy away among the mazes of cloud-land. What endless variety of form! The cirrhoid groups—how light, feathery, placid, gentle, and cheery. The bulky cumulus-stately, sombre, threatening! What is there grand in nature or in imagination which is not to be found in cloud-land? There are mountains and rocks, peaks and precipices, of which the aiguilles and domes of the Alps are but pigmy models, castles and cities, torrents, and waterfalls ! Imagination itself lags behind in its conceptions. Beautiful shapes float before our eyes for which we strive in vain to find a name. Under our gaze they melt, and change, and recombine, with the limitless fancy of nature. What colours ! the softest, the sternest, the richest, the brightest hues of lead, copper, silver, and gold, all on a scale which mocks the rest of nature's painting.
* Homily for repairing and keeping clean the church,
What masses and magnitudes! mounds of vapour, built up out of specky fragments, and rolled up the vault of the firmament by the power of the sun. In repose, clouds are the emblem of majesty, but driven before the gale they are the symbol of force that is irresistible. "His strength is in the clouds!' When we see the vapoury masses glowing in the rays of the setting sun, we feel that the Psalmist, in calling them the 'chariot of the Lord,' chose for his metaphor the most gorgeous object to be found within the limits of the universe. “Thy mercy, O Lord reacheth unto the Heavens, and Thy faithfulness unto the clouds.'—Psa. xxxvi.”
With the sentiment contained in the following passage from his concluding reflexions, we most heartily concur, and would earnestly wish that those who have the solemn responsibility of training up children in the midst of the works of God's creation, would give heed to such sensible and salutary counsel, and so diminish the thoughtless cruelty inflicted upon the works of His hands.
“It is never too early to instil tenderness towards all creatures into the young heart, and it almost seems as if the attractive lessons of Natural History courted our notice, in order that they might be used for the purpose. Such teaching should not depend exclusively upon appeals to feelings, for, though a good guide in the main, feeling sometimes leads astray, and prompts to destroy as well as to save. Feeling, therefore, stands itself in need of correction, and has to learn its own lesson. With feeling must be associated some of that knowledge which causes interest to spring up in the young mind; but, above all, it must be imbued with the principle of respect for the life which God has created. It is our privilege to be entrusted with dominion over every living thing; but, as stewards of His provi. dence, we are bound to carry out His rule of government, and carefully to distinguish between checking life that is injurious, and wantonly destroying life that does no harm. All animals live by the same title as ourselves—the will of the Creator; and, when unoffending, they have the same right to existence. Let the child, therefore, be taught to regard life as sacred for the Creator's sake. God made it. Cruelty in the young is for the most part only a repulsive form of thoughtlessness, and a really cruel child is a rare phenomenon. It is an outrage upon that innocence of heart in which we delight to think nature has enshrined the opening days of life. It is a sight that perplexes almost as much as it distresses us. The remembrance of it haunts us like an evil dream, and casts a gloom over the rest of the day.
“On the other hand, how pleasing it is to see childhood on good terms with all God's creatures-to watch the little one in whose gentle vocabulary words of disgust and hatred find no place—whose face brightens with sympathy towards all living things—whose eyes sparkle with laughter at the merry ways of dumb dependents, and fill with tears when they die. How pleasing to see the little hand that plunges fearlessly among the favourites of the vivarium, to grasp with tenderest care some fragile life, and hold it up for our admiration. How pleasing to see the child, who neither strikes down butterfly after butterfly with thoughtless caprice for the sake of gazing for an instant at their beauty, nor stamps his tiny foot with fury on a beetle or a worm on account of its fancied ugliness. The heart softened betimes will never afterwards be sullied by cruelty. On the contrary, the germs of kindness thus early planted will surely grow and ripen, until they spread their protection around every inoffensive living thing that God has created."
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
The Seals and Roll of St. John. By C. E. Fraser Tytler. Edinburgh : Johnstone, Hunter, and Co.—This volume is the product of an intelligent and devout mind. It furnishes another solution of the mysteries of prophecy, and has peculiar interest as being the work of a layman. It is matter of rejoicing, in the midst of these distracted and anxious times, to feel that the Revelations which God is pleased to vouchsafe to His church, absorb the interest and exercise the ingenuity of such men as Mr. Francis Tytler. The writer's professed object is to interpret Scripture by Scripture, rather than by a comparison of Scripture with history; but his references to history in confirmation of the positions he takes up, are perpetually recurring; nor do we think he could easily dispense with them in the task which he has undertaken. He is often very happy in many of his statements, and the parallels which he is constantly alleging are full of interest and suggestive of profitable meditation. Students of prophecy will feel a natural interest in the work, whether disposed to agree or differ with the conclusions to which the author comes; but any devout reader of the Word of God will, we think, find pleasure and profit in the perusal of the book.
The Life of Lord Haddo: edited by the Rev. E. B. Elliott. Fifth Edition. Seeley & Co. 1869. — We rejoice, amidst so much perplexing and distracting trash as is daily issuing from the press, to greet a new and cheaper edition of this wholesome and edifying book. We need say nothing in its praise ; the public has already called for five editions; and the price is now reduced, so as to put it within the reach of most book buyers. We are truly glad to see one more sign of a still remaining healthiness of the public taste.
Light, Life, and Love : Readings on Texts of Holy Scripture, in Words of One Syllable. By Edward N. Marks. London : Nisbet S. Co. 1868.-We feel no doubt of Mr. Marks's good intentions, or of his soundness in the faith ; but we have been perplexed to discover for what class this book is intended. Mr. Marks has taken the trouble to write it “ in words of one syllable.” We are therefore driven to suppose that it is printed for the benefit of young children, or else of persons of very little education. But we cannot understand what sense young children, or uneducated persons, can attach to such sentences as these :-“If it were not for light, there could be no dry land” (p. 8). “We say that the sun is the source of light; but bear in mind that there was light for three days when there was no sun” (p. 9). “The soul must have light, or it will cease to live" (p. 11). “A babe can do no harm, but it can do no good. It may not think at all; but if it thinks, it sins” (p. 17). “ All who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, are saints.” Now we are not quarrelling with these statements as unsound or untrue; but we cannot understand how children, or persons who require “ words of one syllable,” can be expected to comprehend such things.
The Bible Plan Unfolded. By James Biden. London: E. Stock. 1869.—We mention this little work merely to caution our readers. The title is attractive, and might allure some purchasers. But we will copy half a dozen sentences from it :-“ The fifth trumpet proclaimed the rise of the doctrine of eternal punishment concurrently with the setting up of Popery." (p. 21.) “ The dogma of eternal punishment arose from a misreading of the word 'hell’ of Scripture, which means heathenism.” (p. 25.) “The idea that Adam, the man, and Eve, the woman, were the first progenitors of the human race, is being discarded from the public mind. There are just reasons for its entire removal.” (p. 34.) “The Bible is not history; it contains, comparatively, very little history.” (p. 41.) “Hell represents heathenism, and death is an accompaniment of it.” (p. 43.) “ Priestcraft in Christendom attained its influence in the terror inspired by the doctrine of eternal torture.” (p. 44.) “Divines commit a great error when they teach that all nature was disordered by the disobedience of Adam and Eve.” (p. 45.) We have surely said enough. But how comes such a book as this to issue from the shop of a leading Dissenting publisher, Mr. Elliott Stock ?
In Parliament, the Bill “ to put an end to the Establishment of the Church of Ireland” has at length been introduced, and the worst anticipations of friends of the Irish Church are more than realized. During the last session of Parliament, and as long as the result of the elections was doubtful, we were assured that the Church would be treated not merely with justice, but with the utmost tenderness. Vested interests were to be respected; private endowments to be preserved; and the feelings, no less than the material interests, of what was confessedly a learned and pious body, were to be cared for. Above all, Protestant and Roman Catholic were to suffer alike, and the College of Maynooth was not to have better terms than the Protestant Establishment. Well, the desired majority