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Become the touches of sweet harmony.
IV. THE BELLS OF OSTEND.-BOWLES.
Do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Fetching mad bounds, běllowing and neighing loud, 1 Jessica, daughter of Shylock, in • Os těnd', a fortified seaport town the “Merchant of Venice."
of Belgium, province of W.Flanders, • Păt' en, the plate or vessel on on the N. Sea. It is neatly built, which the consecrated bread is being a watering-place sometimes placed ; a plate.
resorted to by the Belgian court.
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan doth float
And thine doth like an angel sit
Beside the helm, conducting it,
HARK! the note,
* Er e bus, son of Chaos, in heathen dark and gloomy space under the mythology. The name signifies dark- earth, through which the shades pass ness, and is therefore applied to the into Hades.
HE discovery of a statue, a vase, or even of a cameö, inspires
search whether it be a copy or an original, of what age, and by what artist. But I think that a heart-hymn, sprung from the soul's deepest life, and which is, as it were, the words of the heart in those hours of transfiguration in which it beholds Göd, and heavenly angels, is nobler by far than any old simulacrum," or carved ring, or heathen head, however ex'quisite in lines and feature!
2. To trace back a hymn to its source, to return upon the path along which it has trodden on its mission of mercy through generations, to witness its changes, its obscurations and reäppearances, is a work of the truëst religious enthusiasm, and far surpasses in importance the tracing of the ideas of mere art. For hymns are the expo'nents of the inmost piëty of the Church. They are crystalline tears, or blossoms of joy, or holy prayers, or incarnated raptures. They are the jewels which the Church has worn: the pearls, the diämonds and precious stones, formed into amulets more potent against sorrow and sădness than the most famous charms of wizard or magician. And he who knows the way that hymns flowed, knows where the blood of piety ran, and can trace its veins and arteries to the věry heart.
3. No other composition is like an experimental hymn. It is not a mere poëtic impulse. It is not a thought, a fancy, a feeling threaded upon words. It is the voice of experience speaking from the soul a few words that condense and often represent a whole life. It is the life, too, not of the natural feelings growing wild, but of regenerated feeling, inspired by Göd to a heavenly destiny, and making its way through troubles and hindrances, through joys and victories, dark or light, sad or serene, yět always struggling forward. Forty years the heart may have been in battle, and one verse shall express the fruit of the whole.
4. One great hope may come to fruit only at the end of many years, and as the ripening of a hundred experiences. As there be flowers that drink up the dews of spring and summer, and
Sim' u lā'crum, the likeness, resemblance, or representation of any. thing; an image, picture, figure, effigy, or statue.
feed upon all the rains, and, only just beföre the winter comes, burst fürth into bloom, so it is with some of the noblèst blossoms of the soul. The bolt that prostrated Saul gave him the exceeding brightness of Christ; and so some hymns could never have been written but for a heart-stroke that well-nigh crushed out the life. It is cleft in two by bereavement, and out of the rift comes forth, as by resurrection, the form and voice that shall never die out of the world. Angels sat at the grave's mouth; and so hymns are the angels that rise up out of our griefs and darkness and dismay.
5. Thus born, a hymn is one of those silent ministers which Göd sends to those who are to be heirs of salvation. It enters into the tender imagination of childhood, and casts down upon the chāmbers of its thought a holy rādiance which shall never quite depart. It goes with the Christian, singing to him all the way, as if it were the airy voice of some guardian spirit. When darkness of trouble, settling fast, is shutting out every star, & hymn bursts through and brings light like a torch. It abides by our side in sickness. It goes förth with us in joy to syllable that joy.
6. And thus, after a time, we clothe a hymn with the memories and associations of our own life. It is garlanded with flowers which grew in our hearts. Born of the experience of one mind, it becomes the unconscious record of many minds. We sang it, perhaps, the morning that our child died. We sang this one on that Sabbath evening when, after ten years, the family were once more all togěther. There be hymns that were sung while the mother lay a-dying ; that were sung when the child, just converted, was filling the family with the joy of Christ new-born, and laid, not now in a mānger, but in a heart. And thus sprung from a wondrous life, they lead a life yět more wonderful. When they first come to us they are like the single strokes of a bell ringing down to us from above ; but, at length, a single hymn becomes a whole chime of bells, mingling and discoursing to us the harmonies of a life's Christian experience.
7. And öftentimes, when in the mountain country, far from noise and interruption, we wrought upon these hymns' for our vacation tasks, we almost forgot the living world, and were lifted up by noble lyrics as upon mighty wings, and went back to the
Hymns, “Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes," published in 1855. days when Christ sang with his disciples, when the disciples sang too, as in our churches they have almost ceased to do. Oh! but for one moment even, to have sat transfixed, and to have listened to the hymn that Christ sang and to the singing! But the olive-trees did not hear his murmured notes more clearly than, rapt in imagination, we have heard them!
8. There, too, are the hymns. of St. Ambrose and many others, that rose up like birds in the early centuries, and have come flying and singing all the way down to us. Their wing is untired yět, nor is the voice less sweet now than it was a thousand years ago. Though they sometimes disappeared, they never sank; but, as engineers for destruction send bombs that, rising high up in wide curves, overleap great spaces and drop down in a distant spot, so God, in times of darkness, seems to have caught up these hymns, spanning long periods of time, and letting them fall at distant ēras, not for explosion and wounding, but for healing and consolation.
9. There are crusaders' hymns, that rolled forth their truths upon the oriental air, while a thousand horses' hoofs kept time below, and ten thousand palm-leaves whispered and kept time above! Other hymns, fulfilling the promise of God that His saints should mount up with wings as eagles, have borne up the sõrrows, the desires, and the aspirations of the poor, the oppressed, and the persecuted, of Huguenots, of Covenanters, and of Puritans, and winged them to the bosom of God.
10. In our own time, and in the familiar experiences of daily life, how are hymns mössed over and vine-clad with domestic associations! One hymn hath opened the morning in ten thousand families, and dear children with sweet voices have charmed the evening in a thousand places with the utterance of another. Nor do I know of any steps now left on earth by which one may
St. Ambrose, a celebrated Chris- much influence, that after the mastian father, was probably born at sacre of Thessalonica in 39, he refused Trèves, in 340. After a careful edu. the Emperor Theodosius to the cation at Rome, he practiced with Church of Milan for a period of eight greatsuccess, asanadvocate, at Milan; months, and then caused him to per. and about 370 was appointed prefect form a public penance. Ambrose of the provinces of Liguria and Æmi- was a man of eloquence, firmness, lia, whose seat of government was and ability. The best edition of his Milan. He was appointed Bishop of works is that of the Benedictines. Milan in 374; and finally acquired so Bombs, (bůmz).