Page images
PDF
EPUB

Behold, where o'er thy head

The lofty heavens are spread-
Thus far beyond thy thought his mercy reaches wide.
• And as the east diverges from the west,

So far the memory of our sins he casts;
Like a kind father, in whose pitying breast
Love for his suffering children always lasts ;

Remembering what we are,

And that the flower most fair,
Emblem of mortal life, droops at the passing blasts.
• Thus ever, evermore, thy mercy, Lord,

On those who fear thee doth delight to rest ;
And children's children round the world record
How they that keep thy sacred laws are blest.

Thou hast prepar'd thy throne,

And from the heavens look'st down,
And waiting angels stand to know thy high behest.
"O bless the Lord, ye seraphs! that fulfil

His least commandment, hearkening to his word!
O bless the Lord, bright agents of his will,
Whose souls harinonious move in sweet accord!

Creatures of earth or air,

Your Maker's praise declare ! O more than all, my soul, bless thou the Holy Lord!' The subject of Jonah is beautifully treated, and were not the stanza defective in rhyme, the execution of the poem would be equal to the conception of it.

"JONAH.
16 Go thou to Nineveh,
Thou prophet of the Lord most high!

The voice of her iniquities
Hath pierc'd the lofty sky :-
Tell her, ere forty days be o’er,
Proud Nineveh shall be no more."

« Reluctant he departs.
Did his heart bleed in pily? No!-

Because our God is slow to wrath,
The prophet's steps were slow;
Because he knew repentance, prayer,
Might stay the hand of vengeance there.

• And it was so : in dust,
Humbled, the guilty people knelt;

Leaving the gorgeous palaces,
Where late in pomp they dwelt,
Kings, princes, mourn'd the deep offence,. .
And gave themselves to penitence.

Now that his powerful voice,
Heaven-taught, had reach'd the sinner's heart,

Did not the prophet's soul rejoice,
And, blessing Heaven, depart?
Did not he join the hope, the prayer-
“ Who knows if yet our God may spare?”

No: his was not the soul
Orhim, who, pleading in the dust

For long ungrateful Israel,
Yet own'đ the sentence just.
Heaven's gracious thoughts his anger move,
Apd Jonah weeps that « God is Love."

• Sullen, he goes to seek
A shelter from the doontide heat ;

When up there sprang above his head. .
A shade, so cooling, sweet,
« Jonah was glad," the record says:
We hear not of the Giver's praise.

Short was his joy : the plant,
In one brief night, a worm devour'da

The prophet saw it droop and pine,
And, angry, miss'd his gourd.
Yet gentle still those accents fell
“ In this thine anger dost thou well ?"

6 Yes, I do well, e'en thus,
Thus, angry, unto death to pine."

" Then thou hast pity for the gourd,
Which cost no toil of thine;
Which in a night has flourished,
And in a night, thou seest, is dead :

"" And shall no pity rise
For thousand and ten thousand souls,

Whom, in the depth of ignorance,
No sense of right controls ?
And must not God that city spare,
Nor babes, nor cattle shelter'd there?”

There be, e'en now, who wield
Heaven's thunders o'er their brother's head;

Not, Jonah-like, commission'd high,
The tale of wrath to spread :
O let them, warn'd by him, beware,
Nor curse whom God, perhaps, may spare.

• And let their guarded souls
Be to themselves severely true;

Sorrowing, pronounce condemning words,
And let those words be few;
Their chiefest joy the joy of heaven,

O'er love display'd, and sin forgiven.'
VOL. XXVII. N.S.

Our readers will perceive that we think very highly of the contents of this unpretending volume, as characterized by a considerable degree of originality, and a remarkably correct taste. We can readily believe that its humble leaves have • cost' the Writer

more
Than they would dream of, in whose hands the pen
Hath never trembled, as they felt the power
Of sacred truths, set forth by holiest men,
And fear'd to mix with such celestial things, .

Their own frail thoughts and vain imaginings. The poetical merit of the volume will not, however, in the estimation of many of our readers, form its strongest recommendation. The truly devotional spirit which it breathes in language that cannot be mistaken, renders it unnecessary that we should add a word to ensure its extensive circulation. We even hesitate as to taking another specimen from so small a volume; but the following poem has pleased us so much that we shall venture to transcribe it.

« TRUST IN GOD.
• When summer suns their radiance Aling
O’er every bright and beauteous thing;
When, strong in faith, the evil day
Of pain and grief seems far away ;
When sorrow, soon as felt, is gone,
And smooth the stream of life glides on ;
When Duty, cheerful, chosen, free,
Brings her own prompt reward to thee;-
'Tis easy, then, my soul, to raise
The grateful song of heavenly praise.

• But, worn and languid, day and night,
To see the same unchanging sight,
To feel the rising morn can bring
Nor health nor ease upon its wing,
Nor form of beauty can create,
The languid sense to renovate ;
To look within, and feel the mind
Full charg'd with blessings for mankind;
Then, gazing round this little room,
To whisper, This must be thy doom;
Here must thou struggle ; here, alone,
Repress tir'd nature's rising moan :"
o then, my soul; how hard to raise,
In such an hour, the song of praise !

• To look on all this scene of tears,
Of doubts, of wishes, hopes, and fears,

As some preluding strain that tries
Our discords and our harmonies ;
To think how many a jarring string
The Master-hand in tune may bring ;
How, “ finely-touch'd,” the soul of pride
May sink, subdued and rectified;
How, taught its inmost self to know,
May bless the hand which gave the blow ;
Each root of bitterness remov’d,
Each plant of heavenly growth improv'd :
Instructed thus, who would not raise
To Heaven his song of cheerful praise ?

• To feel declining, day by day,
Each harsher murmur die away,
And secret springs of joy arise
To lighten up the weary eyes;
A hand invisible to feel
Wounding, with kind design to heal ;
In every bitter draught, to think
Of Him who learn'd that cup to drink;
Again and oft again to look
In rapture on that blessed book
Whose soothing words proclaim to thee,
That, " as thy day, thy strength shall be ;"
Then, with chang'd heart and stedfast mind,
High heaven before and earth behind,
Thy path of pain again to tread,
Till earth receives thy wearied head-
O blessed lot! who would not raise,
In life or death, the song of praise ?'

Art. IX. The Final State of the Heathen ; an Essay read at the

Annual Meeting of Ministers educated in Hoxton Academy,
June 29, 1825 ; and published at their Request. By John Bur.

der, M.A. 8vo. pp. 36. Price Is. THIS is a very able and judicious essay on a subject of con

1 siderable difficulty. That difficulty arises, in part, from the overwhelming nature of the fact, from which the mind of every thoughtful and benevolent person would gladly make its escape; that hundreds of millions are living and dying, and thousands of millions have lived and died, in the deplorable and hopeless condition of heathen darkness. No view that can be taken of this appalling and momentous fact can be altogether satisfactory, inasmuch as it connects itself with that fathomless subject, the Origin of Evil. But still, to those who regard the Holy Scriptures as a perfect and sufficient Rule of Faith, it must be a most interesting inquiry, what is the precise information which they supply on this point; and this being ascertained, the vague, indefinite speculations in which it is natural to indulge, will at least be made to give way before the conviction-and here, at least, there is ground for satisfaction—that the Judge of the whole earth will " do right."

The difficulties of the subject are by no means nor in any sense created by Revelation. They belong equally to what is called Natural Theology. The existence of heathenism is as much a stumbling-block to reason, as the final disposal of its victims. Whatever hypothesis may be adopted as an expedient for reconciling the reason to such a state of things, it must found itself on the revealed character of the Divine Being; for, in the absence of Revelation, no proof could be obtained, that the existence and perfections of God afford any security against the final ascendancy of evil, and the perpetuity of the misery it inflicts. But the existing fact is, in the eye of reason, ap. parently at variance with the perfection of the Divine Government; and how can the speculative inquirer hope to determine, therefore, apart from Revelation, what may, or may not, be consistent with'the Divine perfections in the future world ? Surely, the punishment of wickedness is less mysterious than the permission of its origin.

The objection brought against Christianity, that the light of Revelation is not universal, has been ably refuted by Bishop Butler, who shews that the objection calls in question, not so much Revelation, as the moral government of God. A lurking atheistic scepticism on this point, however, is the true source of much of the doubt and perplexity relating to the subject in question. The vast numerical amount of the heathen population, is another consideration which seems to enhance the difficulties of the subject ; although, in point of fact, they are not susceptible of being numerically multiplied, of being diminished or augmented by comparison. The imagination may impose upon the reason, by leading us to suppose that an object has contracted its dimensions, when it has only been thrown into more distant perspective, and placed in comparison with other objects. But, in this way, the final destruction of a whole world might be made to seem a comparatively small matter, taken in connexion with the existence of a countless number of happy worlds. And it is evident, that, uuless all of the human race might justly have been left to perish, it is not conceivable that any can perish. The heathen are precisely in that state in which all the human race might and would have been but for the Mediatorial intervention. The comparative numbers of those who are still in this state, although a most

« PreviousContinue »