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a preparative and mediatorial effect upon religion? So far are we from so saying or so thinking, that we regard the renovation of them as one of many important reasons for which the minister of religion should make it a point of duty to spend (not waste) some of the choicest days of every year in tracing the wood and listening to the waterfall; in gazing on the sunset heavens and wandering by the moonlit lake; in shaking the dew from the morning flower, and numbering at evening-tide the
golden breathings of the sea.
Few of our readers can be ignorant how large a share of the pleasure arising from a gifted minister's services is derived from the illustrations they contain. Of these, the greater part are derived from natural facts and appearances. Some of them may justly be ranked among the common-places of pulpit eloquence.
But even these will be felt and used in a very different manner by him who employs them only with a distant and vague recollection of their antitypes, and by him who is fresh from the contemplation of those antitypes, in all the glow of their being, and in all the fullness of their power. The comparison, for example, of the progress of truth to that of a river, will be one thing in the hands of the preacher who has a faint consciousness that there is such an object in existence, and another (and very superior) thing in the hands of a brother minister, whose ear is yet filled with the murmurs of one or more beautiful streams, through whose waters he has been watching the dartings of the trout, and along whose surface he has been following the glancings of the kingfisher. And so of other illustrations of the same description. All such commonplaces become striking—almost original—when a vivid and glowing sense of the realities from which they are taken fills the preacher's mind and communicates itself to his voice. But illustrations do not consist of common-places only. Nature is an infinite field, from which Thought and Genius may gather perpetual novelties for the service and glory of Religion. No minister of any feeling or imagination ever entered into such communion, without unconsciously accumulating a store of noble imagery, by which to make his services more acceptable and impressive, and unseal to his people new fountains of inward power and joy.
It is but candid to state, that our sense of “ the fitness of things,” in most of these particulars, has been materially and recently sharpened by personal and delightful experience. The remembrance is yet strong and vivid (though sadder ones now intervene) of some days—all glad, and many perfectly golden -of freedom and voluntary boyhood, passed in the neighbourhood of a pleasant farm in North Wales. We shall never forget the feelings which found utterance in the following stanzas :
Then farewell to all else awhile !
I'm Nature's schoolboy here :
Her voice is in my ear.
The bird may love the tree;
In this world's heart for me!
Shortly after our arrival we went into a field adjoining the farm, and there encountered one of the most glorious visions that ever broke upon a votary of Nature. Over against us ran along a huge dark line of mountains, every moment assuming a hue of deeper and more spiritual purple, and seeming to dilate into more majestic vastness. No gleam of waters was to be caught from the broad interjacent valley; and yet it was most evident that a river, or rivers, must be there. Innumerable fields and meadows filled its whole length; and, on the further side, it was interesting to notice the gradual ascent of cultivation, often making high encroachments upon the sides but always stopping short of the summits of the mountains. Evening drew on, and the view became more thrillingly sublime. The mountains seemed to grow out upon the eye. They looked like a Power which was almost to be feared. Their changes of colour might have been half-mistaken for the movements of life. We returned, and mentioned what we had seen; and then, for the first time, were apprized that we had been gazing upon a scene celebrated far and wide-upon the Vale of Clwyd itself. Our next visit produced the following lines, which have to us a value they can have to no other, from being an actual memorandum of our feelings, taken on the spot and at the moment:
Sweet Vale of Clwyd ! so long I've mus'd on thee,
And thou art but a vision of the breast,
I know no spot but one
Wooing the sunset by the waves of Clwyd ! One reminiscence more, and we have done for the present. It is of a small moorland lake (we are not certain of the orthography, but believe its name is Llyn Llynbran), to which we made a summer-day's pilgrimage, and from which we brought back recollections that will do us good to the last hour of our being. The moment when it broke upon our sight, at a turn in the romantic road, is one never to be forgotten. There it lay, a beautiful mirror, reflecting the blue sky and the summer clouds, among mountains neither near nor lofty, but rising at respectful distance, and in the most picturesque forms. As we drew near the scene became more exquisitely lovely. A narrow beach ran along two sides of the lake, making a kind of path between it and the green turf of the moor. Water-lilies covered one large portion of the surface; sandpipers flitted along the sandy margin, and pecked at the foam of the little waves, which broke with a delicate plash at our feet. Far as the eye could range, nothing else that had life was to be seen, but a few wild sheep and a few moorland insects. Not far from a tiny islet, covered with reeds and flowers, a solitary boat was moored by a chain. We never saw any thing more romantic or more lovely. Here, we thought, is a place to forget the world; and, in the world, we now find it a place that it is a blessing to remember. The Past has few things that we should more wish to live over, than that hour of peace and joy by the side of the lonely Llyn Llynbran.
We revert to the original subject, only to take leave of it. If, by any thing that we have said or suggested, we have made it appear to a single student, that it is wise and right at times to relax the chain of study; to a single brother minister, that he is sometimes best serving his people, when he turns from them to freshen his heart in the wildness and loveliness of nature,we have only to say that we wish him joy of the discovery, and should rejoice to hear that his experience had been attended with the same happy results as our own.
ART. V.-THE MISSION OF MOSES.
(From the German of Schiller.)
The founding of the Jewish Polity by Moses is one of the most remarkable events that history has preserved. It is important because of the force of intellect whereby it was achieved; more important still, because of its results to the world,-results which continue even to our own day. Two religions, which rule the greater part of the world—Christianity and Mohammedism—rest upon the religion of the Hebrews; and, without this, there never would have been a Christianity or a Koran.
In a certain sense, indeed, it is undeniable that we owe to the Mosaic religion a great part of the enlightenment which we enjoy in the present day: for, by means of this religion, a precious truth, which unaided reason would have discovered only after a long series of efforts—the doctrine of the One Godwas diffused among the multitude at a very early period, and held by them as an object of blind faith, until at last, in superior minds, it ripened into an idea of reason. A great part of the human race were thereby spared the mournful errors consequent upon Polytheism; and the Hebrew constitution possessed this peculiar advantage, that the religion of the wise did not stand in that direct contradiction to the religion of the people, which exhibited itself in the case of the enlightened heathen. Considered from this point of view, the Hebrew nation must appear to us to occupy an important position in universal history; and all the accusations commonly brought against this people, all the efforts of ingenious men to depreciate them, will not prevent us from doing them justice. The unworthiness of the nation cannot destroy the exalted merit of their Lawgiver: as little can it annihilate the vast influence which they rightfully assert in world-history. We must regard them as we would a common and unclean vessel, wherein something very precious has been treasured up; we must honour them as the channel which, impure though it was, Providence selected for conveying to us that noblest of blessings-Truth; but which, the same Providence destroyed as soon as it had done its appointed work. Thus we shall be equally far, on the one hand, from ascribing to the Hebrew people an honour which never belonged to them; and, on the other, from withholding our tribute to merits which cannot be fairly disputed.
The Hebrews came into Egypt, it is well known, a single nomad family, numbering but seventy souls, and there became