« AnteriorContinuar »
from a glorious announcement which concerns all times us more than himself—to the local incidents and troubles that were affecting his own generation. If we do not care to follow him when he denounces Samaritans, who say “the bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones ; the sycamores are fallen down, but We will change them into cedars; '-if we think it signifies nothing to us whether or not Manasseh vexes Ephraim or Ephraim Manas. seh ;-if we would pass over the description of the Assyrian hosts and the exposition of the divine purpose in sending them against a hypocritical nation ;-if we see no force or comfort in the declaration that the tyrant of the earth fancied he had a power of his own to cut down the trees of Lebanon, whereas he was but the axe with which God was hewing them down ;- if we pass by all these utterances that we may dwell on some favourite passage like that of which I have been speaking to-day, or like that in the eleventh chapter, which describes the lamb and the lion feeding together, we shall I fear lose the true and full meaning of the sentences which we have chosen for our exclusive, certainly not for our exaggerated, admiration. If we adopt the headings which divines or printers have affixed to our chapters, and determine that such and such a paragraph denotes the flourishing state of the Kingdom of Christ, we may extract from them a kind of meaning,—we shall extract the indication of an excellent meaning ;—but I am afraid that we shall go away with a very loose notion of this kingdom, of what makes its state weak or flourishing, of the relation in which our own times or our own selves stand to it. Whereas if we had allowed the prophet to teach us how he had acquired his lore respecting a divine King or a divine Kingdom, I believe we should understand infinitely better in what way his prophecies relate to after periods in the life of the Church and of the World, and how it has pleased God to educate one and another into the knowledge of Himself."
The other class of passages on which we rejoice to have Mr. Maurice's admissions are those which relate to the suffering King and People: and for the vindication of our own interpretation, and scriptural theology, we ask no more than these concessions.
“Who is he that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? The Jew asks whether this is not the description of a triumphant conqueror returning from the defeat of the Heathen. Unquestionably. The Church which appointed the service for Passion-week did not wish us to forget that all the symbols of the prophet pointed to such a Person. Only she would have us remember that he is the same person whose visage is said
to be marred more than any man's; who is declared to be the despised and rejected of men—a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. She asks us to understand that out of that contempt, sorrow, and 'humiliation, all might comes ; that the nations could never be subdued except by one who wrestled with the death and sin which all nations share together. The Jew asks again whether the Man of Sorrows may not be Isaiah or Hezekiah, the deserted prophet, the humbled king; whether he may not exhibit the condition of the Jewish race? Unquestionably. Isaiah was a Man of Sorrows; throughout the most blessed periods of Hezekiah's life he was a Man of Sorrows. The Jewish race is represented throughout the prophecy as crushed, helpless, broken ;- by its misery and desolation, the channel of blessings to mankind. The more Isaiah, Hezekiah, the Jewish nation, understood this great secret, this divine paradox, the more was each enabled to do the work which each was appointed to do in the world. And this because the image of a higher and more perfect sorrow, of the man who could alone be called the man of sorrows, of Him who enabled them to be true sorrowers, of one sympathizing with the mind of God and the woes of His creatures, rose then more clearly and brightly and perfectly before them.”
There is one declaration so honourable to our Author's candour and largeness of spirit, that we gladly give it a place here. His subject was Ezekiel's Vision, and the occasion Trinity Sunday.
“ Ezekiel saw a throne, and there was a likeness as of the appearance of a Man, above it. There is One human and divine, from whom this spirit has proceeded, in whom it dwells perfectly. Beneath that divine form is a glory too awful for the prophet's gaze. He falls upon his face and listens while a voice speaks to him.
“• Is it then,' some one will ask, 'in very deed the mystery of this day which the prophet's vision is bringing before us? Does not such a notion proceed from the eagerness of the imagination to find analogies where they do not exist, or from our foolish desire to establish a doctrine which is above comprehension, not by a simple appeal to faith, but by hints and allusions drawn from teachers who would have been utterly perplexed by our interpretation of their thoughts and language?'
" Brethren, let me speak plainly on this point. I do not say that you will find the doctrine which we have been proclaiming today, in this chapter. I do not believe that you can. I have not the slightest wish to find it there, or to put it there. It would be a shock to all my convictions if I thought that Ezekiel was enunciat
ing a dogma when he professed to be recording a vision; or that the mystery which, as the church teaches us by the order of her services, could not be revealed till Christ was glorified and the Spirit given, was already made known to the prophet as he sat among the captives by the river Chebar. I cannot say how much mischief seems to me to be done, when instead of striving to follow strictly the statements of the Old Testament writers, we insist upon wringing out of texts or symbols, which we have moulded according to our fancy, the proof of some New Testament revelation. It is not the Law and the Prophets only which suffer from such violence. The Gospels and the Apostles suffer much more. The truths which they set forth as living foundations of our existence, social and personal, shrivel into jejune formulas, subjects for controversy and reviling, prized mainly as texts by which other men may be convicted of error."
We recommend this volume to the careful study of our readers. It passes under review the history of the Jewish Kingdom and Sacred Literature, from Saul to Zedekiah, from Samuel to Ezekiel. They will find in it not only rich helps, but also strong attractions, to the intelligent reading of the Prophecies, the noblest department of Jewish eloquence, though the least relished because the least understood. If its rich vein of historical and spiritual exposition is sometimes tinged and affected by the matter of a foreign theology, our Author himself always affords the needful means and hints for its detection and elimination.
CHRISTIAN TEACHER.—No. 59.
Art. II.-MEMOIRS OF THOMAS MOORE.
Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence of Thomas Moore.
Edited by the Right Honourable Lord John Russell,
A First impression is almost never wholly erased. What à man was the first time we saw him, what a writer was the first time we read him, that to the end of our days, or his days, he continues to us to be. There may be a second man, a second writer, a second self,—superinduced upon the first; but it rarely if ever entirely obliterates the earlier. There they are fixed together, the one in the past, the other in the present–the one in the memory, the other in the eye. Nay, he is a very strong man, or a very much-present man, who even can add his later to his former self in our impressions of him. He is usually but a kind of commentator on his former self, sharing the fate of commentators, whose truths and corrections are far less impressed upon the reader's mind and memory, than the errors and mistakes of the originalauthor, Something of this kind occurs to us all with Moore, It requires time and effort to put the later and the earlier man together, and make a reality and a unity of the compound. Little-Anacreon-Lalla Rookh,—the Melodies— and the Squibs—all go very well together. But what are we to do with the writer of interesting Biographies, and not unlearned travels in search of religion, the sender of two letters a week—not to Phillis or Chloe—but to an absent mother? What are we to do with the generous and dutiful son—the mindful brother—the industrious independent man—the lover of home and family—the offerer of prayers, by the bed-side of a sick wife ? And yet what is there really in this contradiction (if it be a contradiction), this contrast (if it be anything more than growth and supplement), but what the lives of many thousands of true and earnest men supply us with every day? What is the difference between this moral series and many others of the like kind presented to us daily? That merry, roguish boy, and that grave clergyman—that lighthearted, gaiety-loving, and perhaps not always very strictly self-controlled youth, and that worthy burgher and careful pater-familias, or that thin, pale-faced judge, pronouncing sentence on a too-far extended frolic or escapade—they are the same—the beginning and the end of similar series. The great difference between such cases and Moore's is, that Moore took a portrait of himself at nineteen--and two or three more at short intervals afterwards—and everybody bought one or other of them, and nobody could ever forget them. Whereas the lineaments of the character of the majority of men are traced in their youth only upon the consciousness of a few contemporaries—so that when the mature likeness appears before the world--it is the first-it has nothing to displace -it seems the only form in which these lineaments had ever existed—the grave man is accepted-the frolicsome youth remains for ever unknown.
Though “the late Mr. Little," therefore, not only hypothetically, but actually and morally, probably died at "the early age of twenty-one,” yet his juvenile characteristics being “married to immortal verse," have as long a life as the verse itself in most people's memories, and the associations of that early authorship stick like blisters to Thomas Moore. With those who had the pleasure of Moore's acquaintance and friendship, these early pruriencies of imagination soon died away, and were replaced by impressions of a more respectable and indeed accurate description. They knew him as a man of warm and affectionate dispositions--of domestic character-of laboriousness and independence of earnest patriotism and of varied and extensive acquisition and knowledge. But to the general public these things were not so fully known so that by them some little surprise was at first felt that the Premier of England should condescend to the editing of the letters and journals of Thomas Moore. But the unconscious Premier, moving in a circle in which Moore's actual mode of life and thought were better known-felt no dishonour attach to the task of discharging this office for the effective partizan, as well as the celebrated biographer and poet, or any discredit to connect itself with his avowal of intimacy and friendship with the man, Dismissing then from our own minds, and entreat