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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,
My richest gain I count but loss,

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 ?
There the dear form of Jesus lay,

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

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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;
Little ones to Him belong ;

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
Shows its pure face in silent majesty,
'Mid hurrying clouds when night is most forlorn,
Her sable robes by fury rent and torn;
While, howling in its rage, upon the beach,
The sea lifts up its arms, and strives to reach
That calm and pensive face, whose gentle light
Reveals the storm and horrors of the night;
So stands revealed in human form that LOVE,
Which from its purpose, pain nor death could move.

As through the rifts of clouds on stormy night
There often steals a streak of silver light,
Which silent falls where waves in anger meet,
And o'er the turmoil moves with angels' feet,
And through the lustre of its own sweet life
Most gently sheds its beauty o'er the strife;
So through the darkness of wild passion's storm,
All calmly moves this fair and white-robed form:
Faith needs no mystic hand His

name to trace,
She reads at once His glory in His grace.

As in some tangled wood ʼmid sibilant sounds,
Where every poisonous form of life abounds,
And piercing thorns, the rank, dark growth of death,
The birth of darkness and its foetid breath,
Some pale-faced lily lifts its drooping head,
A thing of joy, all other joys long dead,
The pensive beauty of the darkening years,
Sweet child of nature, birthright of her tears;
So God's fair lily here shows its pure face,
'Mid the rank growth of our apostate race,

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Art here yields much! but oh, what hand could trace
The light of love which mantled Christ's own face;
The holy beauty of that thorn-clad brow
Where glory sits enthroned in rapture now;
The calm, sweet patience beaming through those eyes,
Before whose light the heaven in darkness flies ;
The grace which trembles o'er those moving lips,
When like the sun in yonder sea it dips !
Or, like the moon on some deep quiet sea,
It shines alone in pensive mystery.
And yet once seen this picture ne'er can die,
For ever painted on faith's loving eye;
Nor will a Christian heart forget the hour
When first was felt the magic of its power;
Before its teaching, faith must weep and pray,
Love sit and muse and melt in tears away;
"A picture only,” some would say; most true;
But to the loving heart more comes to view.
And that sweet, meek-eyed Victor over sin,
Once seen must live and reign for aye within.

O sacred brow, so rudely pierced and torn!
O holy face, of God's own beauty born!
When passion's brood assault my shrinking soul,
May Thy pure beauty all their rage control!
When through the ranks of this world's strength and might
I pass, and its wild crowds my heart affright,
Oh, let my faith Thy gentle face behold,
And Thy calm majesty shall make me bold;
Star of the morning ! through thy patient eyes,
May ever spring that light which passion flies !
When clouds of mystery all but drown my soul,—
Wild storms of sorrow spurning all control;
When from its ambush, slander shoots its dart,
And undeserved reproach appals the heart;
When scoffing crowds my weary faith assail,
And in the conflict love and patience fail;
When friends forsake, and love herself grows cold,
Still calm and silent may my faith behold
God's gentle Lamb, as 'mid our sins and woes,
He dumb and patient to the slaughter goes !
When o'er faith's vision strange dark thoughts arise,
And troops of hell my faith take by surprise ;
When unbelief comes near, and the cold steel
Of DOUBT upon the heart of love I feel;
When in the darkness of the lonely night
The lamps of reason yield no ray of light;
When higher climb the surging waves which drench,
And in their fury all my hope would quench;
And like a wreck, life's haven far away,
I helpless drift, and wait the break of day,

Oh, from the deeps of this dark restless sea,
May I look up and Thy sweet face still see !
And in the light which ever dwelleth there,
Behold the death of doubt and every fear;
Reach that true faith which makes the timid brave,
And hope which lifts above the proudest wave;
And meek-eyed patience, which is ever calm,
And in the night exhales the sweetest balm ;
And ’mid the darkness of each struggling year
Read out those purple lines which make all clear.
When looking through the present still I see,
The angry bands of scribe and Pharisee ;
Hell's warrior troops, with pride and strength elate,
And mad with rage and stern and changeless hate;
The jeering rabble of the aimless schools,
The drunken madness of imbruted fools;
All heaving like a sweltering, restless, flood,
Still following Him, and crying for His blood ;
Oh, may my faith still look in this calm face,
And there the death of senseless malice trace !
And when life's future darkens on my view,
The warriors of the Cross but faint and few;
While crowds of foes faith's drooping form assail,
And hope of coming victory seems to fail ;
Still moving on amid the surging throng,
The maddened hosts which still the fight prolong,
This white-robed Warrior may my faith still see
Still calmly walking o'er the changeful sea;
His foes all lying on the distant shore,
All slain by Love as they were slain before.

-W. Poole Balfern.

PICKINGS FROM MY PORTFOLIO.

No. VIII.

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

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