« PreviousContinue »
The people should have consisted of under the lofty vault, among the so many beings, having each, in some superb arches and columns, of one degree, the independent beneficial of the most splendid of these edifices use of his mind; all of them trained remaining at this day in our own with a reference to the necessity of country. If he has sensibility and their being made sensible of their taste, the magnificence, the graceful responsibility to their Creator, for the union, of so many diverse inventions exercise of their reason on the mat- of art, the whole mighty creation of ters of belief and choice; all of them genius that so many centuries since capacitated for improvement by be- quitted the world without leaving ing furnished with the rudiments even a name, will come with magical and instrumental means of know- impression on his mind, while it is ledge; and all having within their contemplatively darkening into the easy reach, in their own language, awe of antiquity. But he will be the Scriptures of divine truth. recalled. The sculptures, the in.
Can any doubt arise whether there scriptions, the sanctuaries enclosed were in the Christian states resources off for the special benefit, after competent, if so applied, to secure to death, of persons who had very all the people an elementary instruc- different concerns during life from tion, and the possession of the Bi- that of the care of their salvation, ble? Resources competent! All and various other insignia of the nations, sufficiently raised above original character of the place, will perfect barbarism to exist as states, help to recal him to the thought, have in all ages consumed, in some that these proud piles were, in fact, way or other else than they should, raised to celebrate the conquest, and an infinitely greater amount of means prolong the dominion, of the Power than would have sufficed, after com- of Darkness over the souls of the fortable physical subsistence was people. They were as triumphal provided for, to afford a moderate arches, erected in memorial of share of instruction to all the people; the extermination of that truth and in those Popish ages, that ex- which was given to be the life of penditure alone which went to ec. clesiastical use would have been far As he looks round, and looks upmore than adequate to this beneficent ward, on the prodigy of design, and purpose.
Think of the boundless skill, and perseverance, and tributcost for supporting the magnificence ary wealth, he may image to himself and satiating the rapacity of the the multitudes that, during succes. hierarchy, from its triple crowned sive ages, frequented this fane in head, down through all the orders, the assured belief, that the idle cereconsecrated under that head to monies and impious superstitions maintain the delusion, and share the which they there performed or witspoil. Recollect the immense sys- nessed were a service acceptable to tem of policy for jurisdiction and Heaven, and to be repaid in blessintrigue,-every agent of which was ings to the offerers. He may say to a consumer. Recollect the pomps himself, Here, on this very floor, and pageants for which the general under that elevated and decorated resources were to be taxed, while vault, in a “dim religious light," the general industry was injured by like this, but with the darkness of the interruption of useful employ- the shadow of death in their souls, ment, and the diversion of the peo- they prostrated themselves to their ple to such dissipation as their con- saints, or their “ queen of heaven;" dition qualified them to indulge in. nay, to painted images, and toys of Think also of the inoalculable cost wood or wax, to some ounce or two of ecclesiastical structures, the tem- of bread and wine, to fragments of ples of idolatry, as in truth they may old bones, and rags of cast-off vestbe adjudged to have been. One of ments. Hither they came, when conthe most striking situations for a re- science, in looking either back or forligious and reflective Protestant is, ward, dismayed them, to purchase that of passing some solitary hour remission with money or atoning
penances, or to acquire the privilege was obtained as the price of dispen. of sinning in a certain manner, or sations and pardons. for a certain time, with impunity; In all this, and in the whole conand they went out at yonder door in stitution of the grand apostasy inthe perfect confidence that the Priest volving innumerable forms of abuse had secured in the one case, the sus- and abomination, to which our obpension, in the other the satisfac- ject does not require any allusion, tion, of the divine law. Here they how sad a spectacle is held forth of solemnly believed, as they were the people destroyed for lack of taught, that, by donatives to the knowledge! If, as one of their Church, they delivered the souls of plagues, an inferior one in itself, they their departed sinful relatives from were plundered, as we have seen, of the state of punishment; and they their worldly goods, it was that the went out at that door resolved to spoil might subserve to a still greater bequeath some portion of their pos- wrong. What was lost to the acsessions, to operate in the same commodation of the body was to be manner for themselves another day, made to contribute to the depravain the highly probable case of need. tion of the spirit. It supplied means Here they were convened to listen for multiplying the powers of the in reverence to some representative grand ecclesiastical machinery, and emissary of the man of sin, with confirming the ecclesiastical despotnew dictates of blasphemy or iniqui- ism of the absolute authorities in ty promulgated in the name of the religion. Those authorities enforced Almighty; or to witness the trickery on the people, on pain of final perof some detestable farce, devised to dition, an acquiescence in principles cheat or fright them out of whatever and ordinances which, in effect, preremainder the former impositions cluded their direct access to the Almight have left them of sense, con- mighty, and the Saviour of the science, or property. Here, in fine, world ; interposing between them there was never presented to their and the Divine Majesty a very exunderstanding, from their childhood tensive, complicated, and heathenish to their death, a comprehensive, mediation, which in a great measure honest declaration of the laws of substituted itself for the real and duty, and the pure doctrines of sal- exclusive mediation of Christ, obvation. To think, that they should scured by its vast creation of interhave mistaken for the house of God, cepting vanities the glory of the and the very gate of heaven, a place Eternal Being, and thus almost exwhere the Power of Darkness had so tinguished the true worship. But short a way to come from his appro- how calamitous was such a condipriate dominions, and his agents and tion! to be thus intercepted from purchased slaves so short a way to direct intercourse with the Supreme go thither! If we could imagine a Spirit, and to have the solemn and momentary visit from Him who once elevating sentiment of devotion flung entered a fabric of sacred denomina- downward, on objects and phantion with a scourge, because it was toms which even the most superstimade the resort of a common traffic, tious could not pay homage to, withwith what aspect and voice, with out some indistinct sense of degrawhat infliction, but the rebuke dation ! with flames of fire,” would he have We have often mused, and felt a entered this mart of iniquity, assum- gloom of dreariness spreading over ing the name of his sanctuary, where the mind while we have mused, on the traffic was in delusions, crimes, descriptions of the aspect of a country and the souls of men ? It was even after a pestilence has left it in desoas if, to use the Prophet's language, lation, or of a region where the peo. the very
“stone cried out in the ple are perishing by famine. It has wall, and the beain out of the timber seemed a mournful thing to behold, answered it,” in denunciation ; for in contemplation, the multitude of a portion of the means of building, lifeless forms, occupying in silence in the case of some of these edifices, the same abodes in which they had
2 Y 2
lived, or scattered upon the gardens, We can imagine them making confields, and roads; and then 10 see vivial appointments, within sight of the countenances of the beings yet the prison-grates, and going from the languishing in life, looking despair, spectacle to meet at the banquet. and impressed with the signs of ap- Or they might delay the festivity, in proaching death.
We have even order to have the additional luxury sometimes had the vivid and horrid of knowing that the agedy was picture offered to our imagination of consummated; as Bishop Gardiner a number of human creatures shut would not dine till the martyrs were up by their fellow-mortals in some burned. Look at these two contemstrong-hold, under an entire priva- porary situations, that of the pertion of sustenance; and presenting sons, with truth and immortal hope each day their imploring, or infuriated, in their minds, enduring this slow or grimly sullen, or more calmly and painful reduction of their bodies' woeful, countenances, at the iron and dissolution, and that of those who, impregnable grates ; each succeed. while their bodies fared sumptuousing day more haggard, more perfectly, were thus miserably perishing in in the image of despair ; and after soul, through ignorance surrenderawhile appearing each day one fewer, ing it to the curse of a delusion till at last all are gone! Now, shall which envenoms it with such a we feel it a relief to turn in thought deadly malignity; and say which from the inhabitants of a country, was the more calamitous predicaor from those of such an accursed ment. prison-house, thus pining away, to If we have no hesitation in probehold the different spectacle of nu- nouncing, let us consider whether merous national tribes, or any small we have been ever grateful enough selection of persons, on whose minds to God for the dashing in pieces, so are displayed the full effects of long since, in this land, of a system knowledge denied; who are under which maintains to this hour much the process of whatever destruction of its stability over the greater part it is that spirits can suffer from a of Christendom. If we regret that want of the vital aliment to the in- certain fragments of it are still held telligent nature, especially from “ a in veneration here, and that so te. famine of the words of the Lord ? dious a length of ages should be
To bring the two to a close com- required to work out a complete parison, suppose the case, that some mental rescue from the infatuation of the persons thus doomed to perish which possessed our ancestors, let in the tower were in possession of us at the same time look at the vathe genuine light and consolations rious states of Europe, small and of Christianity, -perhaps even had great, where this superstition conbeen adjudged to this fate (no ex- tinues to hold the minds of the peotravagant supposition) for zealously, ple in its odious grasp ; and verify and persistingly, endeavouring the, to ourselves what we have to be restoration of the purity of that re- thankful for, by thinking how our ligion to the deluded community. minds are offered subsistence on their Let it be supposed that numbers of mummeries, masses, absolutions, that community, having conspired legends, relics, mediation of saints, to obtain this adjudgment, frequent- and corruptions, even to a complete ed the precincts of the fortress to reversal of the evangelic doctrines. see their victims gradually perish- — Foster on Popular Ignorance. ing. It would be perfectly in the Such is the odious system of spirit of the Popish superstition, that Popery, which is now struggling to they should believe themselves to regain its ascendancy in these realms, have done God service, and be ac- that it may extinguish among us the cordingly pleased at the sight of the last vestige of religious light and more death-like aspect of the ema- liberty; a system to the atrocities of ciated countenances. The while which many Protestants, deluded by they might be themselves in the en- the false liberalism of the age, wil. joyment of “fulness of bread.” fully shut their eyes.
GEORGE SANDYS. To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. Sandys's Translation of the Waller, who are usually applauded Psalms, as a complete metrical ver- on this subject.* sion, is inferior, perhaps, to none in Sandys is much better known as a our language, though so little traveller than a poet. His “ Descripknown as to have obtained a parti- tion of the Turkish Empire, Egypt, cular notice from Sir E. Bridges, in the Holy Land,” &c., went through his “Restituta; or, Titles, Charac- many editions at the time of its ters, &c., of Scarce Books.” Only publication, and is still read and a few of Dr. Watts's Psalms can, esteemed. At the end of a colwith propriety, be called transla- lected edition of his Paraphrases, tions of the Psalms of David; the printed in 1648, there greater number are rather adapta- beautiful lines addressed, “Deo Opt. tions and expansions of those parts Max.,” in which he returns thanks which suited his purpose; while he to God for the protection vouchsafed has passed over some entire Psalms to him in his perils by land and without any notice whatever. Mer- water. rick's version, notwithstanding its Baxter, in the interesting Preface merit, is never likely to become a to his “ Poetical Fragments,” after general favourite, its phraseology is characterizing various rhymers of 80 studiously removed from that of his day, says, “But I must confess, our Scriptures.
after all, that, next to the Scripture Besides the Psalms, Sandys versi- poems, there are none so savoury to fied the book of Job, Song of Solo. me as Mr. George Herbert's and Mr. mon, Ecclesiastes, and other poeti- George Sandys's. Herbert speaks to cal parts of the Old and New Testa- God like one that really believeth ments. The first is entitled, “ Para- a God, and whose business in the phrases on the Psalms of David ;” world is most with God. Heartthe second, “Paraphrases on the work and heaven-work make up his Divine Poems:” there is, in truth, books; and George Sandys-on however, very little of paraphrase tulit punctum, dum miscuit učile dulci. in any of them; for one of their His Scripture poems are an elegant chief excellencies is, that, unlike and excellent paraphrase; but espemany more modern attempts, which cially his Job, whom be hath reare expanded to weakness, they are stored to the original glory. O that in general as short and terse as the he had turned the Psalms into metre original. Both works are dedicated, fitted to the usual tunes! It did me in beautiful poetry, to Charles the good when Mrs. Wyatt invited me First; who, it is said, delighted to read to see Bexley-Abbey in Kent, to see them when confined in Carisbrooke upon the old stone-wall in the garCastle. They are also accompanied den, summer house, with this inby recommendatory verses from his scription, in great golden letters, friends, Sir F. Wyatt, (at whose that in that place Mr. G. Sandys, house he died,) the celebrated Lord after his travels over the world, reFalkland, &c.
tired himself for his poetry and conHis versification, compared with templations. And none' are fitter that of most of his contemporaries, to retire to God than such as are is particularly smooth and harmo. tired with seeing all the vanities on nious : indeed, Drydlen pronounced earth. Sure there is somewhat in him the first versifier of the age; holy poetry. It charmeth souls into and Pope declares, in his notes to loving harinony and concord,” &c. the Iliad, that English poetry owed The great variety of measures much of its beauty to his transla. wbich Sandys has employed, (some tions. Dr.Warton thinks that Sandys of them not at all pleasing,) would did more to polish and tune the Eng- still present an obstacle to his Psalms lish versification than Denham or
• Chalmers's Biog. Dic.
being used in singing,* though not to the same extent in Baxter's day. Some are in the heroic measure, for which it is a pity that we have no generally-received tune; as we are, in consequence,
deprived of the use of much beautiful sacred poetry. Many are in the trochaic measure, called in our hymn-book, “7'},' and are all beautiful; indeed, it has always struck me as one peculiarly suitable for hymns.
But I have detained you too long from the annexed specimens, where examples of most of the varieties of verse ployed by bim will be found.
LORD, grant my just request; O hear my cry,
And let thine ejes my righteousness behold. Thou prov'st my heart, even in the night's recess,
Like metal try'st me, yet no dross hast found : I am resolved, my tongue shall not transgress;
But on thy word will all my actions ground. So shall I from the paths of cyrants fly:
o, lest I slip, direct my steps by thine! I thee invoke, for thou wilt hear my cry:
Thine ear to my afflicted voice incline. o show thy wondrous love! Thou from their
foes Preservest all that on thy aid depend. Lord, as the apple of the eye enclose,
And over me thy shady wings extend. For impious meu, and such as deadly hate
My guiltless soul, have compass'd me about: Who swell with pride, enclosed with their own fat,
And words of contumely thunder out. Our traced steps entrap as in a toil;
Low.couched on the carth with flaming eyes; Like famish'd lions eager of their spoil,
Or lion's whelps; close lurking to surprise. Arise! prevent him, from his glory hurl'd;
My God, how are my focs increased !
What multitudes against me rise ! Who say, Give we his soul no rest
Whom God forsakes, and men despise. But thou art my support, my tower,
My safety, my choice ornament. Before thy throne my prayers I pour,
Heard from thy Sion's high ascent. No fears aftright my soft repose ;
Thou my night-watch, my guard by day : Not myriads of armed foes
Nor treason's secret hand dismay. Arise ; ( vindicate my cause!
My foes, whom wicked hate proroke: Thou, Lord, hast smit their canker'd jaws,
And all their teeth asunder broke. Thou, Lord, the only hope of those
Who thee with holy zeal adore; Whose all-protecting arms enclose
Their safely, who thive aid implore.
LORD, how illustrious is thy name!
In the edition mentioned above, they are " set to new tunes by the wellknown II Lawes.
My pensire soul from the devourer save, From men which are thy scourge, men of the
world, Who in this life alone their portion have. Fill'd with secret treasure, to their race
They their accumulated riches leave; But I with righteousness shall see thy face ;
And, rising in thy image, joy receive.
God is our refuge, our strong tower ;