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iginal volume, entitled “Hymns and Spiritual Songs," and for the pyright he received the munificent sum of ten guineas! If kept to is day, it would have yielded to its owners a quarter of a million. le book of hymns was soon followed by another, entitled, “ The alms of David, imitated in the language of the New Testament.” this second volume appeared the famous “Old Hundredth,” which gan with the words,
“ Nations, attend before His throne
With solemn fear, with sacred joy." ohn Wesley altered these lines to the grander ones :
“Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations, bow with sacred joy." This stands as the solitary instance in which hymn-tinkering has imroved upon the original. The man must indeed rise early in the horning who can improve upon Isaac Watts.
That he ever composed any one sacred song which can take rank eside Toplady's “Rock of ages," or Charles Wesley's "Jesus, lover fmy soul,” we do not claim. These two, like the morning and evenng star, ride brightest in the firmament. But Isaac Watts wrote vore of the great hymns of our mother tongue than any other man. To lay of Calvary has ever yet approached in pathetic grandeur that ffering wichh Watts laid at his Redeemer's feet:
“ When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
And pour contempt on all my pride.” can imagine that the Apostle Paul may have already thanked Isaac Watta in paradise for having taught the Church how to sing his own immortal declaration:“ God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ !” No funeral hymns either have equalled hose which issued from Watts's pensive spirit. How many of us can recall the first scenes of burial which we witnessed in our early country lomes! We seem to see again the rural neighbours gathered on the rass before the door, while the sun shimmered through the trees upon
around the open coffin. We seem to hear again, to the weet plaintive strains of old “ China," those soul-melting words,
Why should we tremble to convey
This body to the tomb ?
And left a long perfume.” It is an evidence of wondrous versatility of genius, that while Watts omposed lines which Daniel Webster murmured on his dying-bed " Show pity, Lord! O Lord, forgive !"), he also wrote the most erfect child hymns in our language. Nothing in our modern Sabbathchool collections quite equals the old dog-eared primer which conained, " How doth the little busy bee," and, “Whene'er I take my
walks abroad." Bradbury was good; but the vintage of Watts, nearly two hundred years old, is better still
. The only child-hymn of our day, which might have come from Watts's pen, is that gem of sweet simplicity
" Jesus loves me, this I know;
For the Bible tells me so;
I am weak, but He is strong." The author of “ Divine and Moral Songs for Children" was himself childless. He lived a bachelor under the roof of Sir Thomas Abney, in London, whom he went to visit, and lingered there as a welcomed guest for thirty-five years. In 1748 he fell asleep in Jesus, leaving as his beautiful posterity seven hundred white-winged hymns. They are flying under the whole heaven. His body rests in Bunhill Fields, the Westminster Abbey of the glorious Puritans. Close by the gate, and not far from Bunyan's grave, is a plain tomb, which bears the name of Isaac Watts, the father of the English hymn.-T. L. Cuyler, D.D.
CHRIST LEAVING THE PRÆTORIUM, LINES SUGGESTED BY THE GREAT PICTURE PAINTED BY M. GUSTAVE DORÉ. [The picture does not require a very detailed description. The scene is laid amid the buildings reared by Herod the Great; and now (at the time represented), in the military occupation of the Roman procurator of Judæa. At a distance is seen one of the fortress-crowned hills, which composed and girt in the city-Zion, Bezetha, Olivetlet each explorer name it for himself. The foreground is occupied by the mob, through which the Roman guard is sternly cleaving a path. The sordid forms of the malefactors who rear the cross are shadowed by that of a malignant figure, who, in his inability to meet the gaze of his victim, betrays the self-condemnation of him who was a thief, and kept the bag. Not far off there is another weird and eager form, strikingly like the Lazarus sketched by Michael Angelo for the great picture by Sebastian del Piombo, now in the National Gallery—a figure that recalls to memory one of the ten lepers that were cleansed. Above the group, of which these form part, stands a girl, as eager to meet the eye of Christ as Judas is to avoid it. The path to be trodden to Calvary lies to the right of this group, almost barred by the cross. Roman soldiers, of stern mien, but of very different individual types of character, force back the crowd. A youth cries out, as if struck by the soldier who pushes him. Close by is the drooping, majestic, heart-broken figure of the Virgin-mother, robed in her traditional colours of pale blue and white. Of the women who, two mornings after, came very early to the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathæa, one bas fainted, and another, a magnificently-drawn figure, casts herself on the ground. There are the very locks which Guido bas given to Mary of Magdala, and which other painters have attributed to the Apostle John. The figure of the Virgin is a conception so dignified, touching, and truthful, as to be well called sublime. It would be the chief feature of any other picture; and of this, but for the yet Diviner majesty that encircles the Christ; in whom may be recognised the graphic counterpart of the line,—glimpses of His Father's glory shone.” In the distance, half-indistinct through the aërial perspective, and the gathering of the volcanic darkness, stands Pilate at the head of the steps. The procurator is robed in a long toga of dusky red; and is marked by his gesture, not of washing his hands, as in some of the monkish pictures, but of waving off remonstrance and responsibilty. Nearer to the spectator, and close behind
he centre figure, is a group of three of the chief priests—Joseph Caiaphas, gloomy n a malignant triumph ; Ananus, or Annas, his aged father-in-law; and a third, seen in profile, John, or Alexander, or one of the kindred of the high-priest. In the rich attire of this group we are reminded of the jewelled collar of Dives, in the terrible picture by Teniers, in the Peel collection.
We have exhausted the secondary and subordinate personages of this great picture before mentioning the one which chiefly arrests the attention, and produces a sense akin to awe in the mind. The crown of thorns, the halo, the general cast of features, the form of the seamless garment, are all those of traditional, conventional art. But the figure itself is nothing short of an inspiration. The white colour, most appropriately, though, if we are not mistaken, now for the first time, given to the robe, the majesty of the figure, the sustained dignity of its movements, the Divine trouble of the eyes, combine to form one of the very grandest conceptions yet brought forth by human genius. Whatever be the opinions, whatever be the creed of the painter, none but a deeply religious man could have produced such an incarnation of all that is noble in manhood. Alone among the chefs d'ouvre of Christian art, since the fresco of Leonardo da Vinci has faded on the wall, the Christ of Gustave Doré is the Christ of the Evangelists.-Francis Roubilliac Conder, Esq., C.E.]
As the pale moon in yonder distant sky
As through the rifts of clouds on stormy night
name to trace,
As in some tangled wood ʼmid sibilant sounds,
Art here yields much! but oh, what hand could trace
O sacred brow, so rudely pierced and torn!
Oh, from the deeps of this dark restless sea,
-W. Poole Balfern.
PICKINGS FROM MY PORTFOLIO.
My friends, do you remember that old Scythian custom when the head of a house died ?
How he was dressed in his finest dress, and set in his chariot, and carried about to his friends' houses; and each of them placed him at his table's head, and all feasted in his presence ! Suppose it were offered to you, in plain words, as it is offered to you in dire facts, that you should gain this Scythian honour, gradually, while you yet thought yourself alive. Suppose the offer were this: You shall die slowly; your blood shall
daily grow cold, your flesh petrify, your heart beat at last only as a rusty group of iron valves. Your life shall fade from you, and sink through the earth into the ice of China; but day by day your body shall be dressed more gaily, and set in higher chariots, and have more orders on its breast, crowns on its head, if you will. Men shall bow before it, stare and shout around it, crowd after it up and down the streets; build palaces for it, feast with it at their tables' heads all the night long; your soul shall stay