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do not think many persons will be found to admit Mr. H's. eclecticism, for nothing can be more certain than that whether the evidence be insufficient, or hostile, or both, it is at least, in all cases the same, so that if it warrants dissent from Christianity in any case, it warrants it in every case. Mr. H. believes, or affects to believe, that it does warrant it; why then did he not honestly avow his opinion and manfully defend it ?
This might have led to a discussion of the great question at issue between Infidels and Christians, but the proposition which he put forward did not affect it at all, and, in fact, looks very much like a studied evasion of it. In relation to him, there are but two classes of professing Christians, that which denies, and that which affirms the right of private judgment. He could not prove anything against the first of these, for he assumes what they deny; and he does not touch the second, for he only sets out to prove, what they allow, the right and duty of every man to follow the unprejudiced convictions of his reason, and the honest dictates of his conscience.
It was scarcely worth while to have brought him so far for the accomplishment of so small a result, but if the gentlemen who were at the expense of bringing him down and the pain of listening to him are satisfied, why I have no reason to complain.
M, A, H. T.
MILTON'S TRIUMPHANT FAITH.
There are those who would persuade man that it is of little or no consequence what he believes, provided he be sincere. Apparently wishing, for reasons best known to themselves, to have no fellowship with the unseen, the eternal, the future, they would reduce others to the same dead level of know-nothingness. Not satisfied themselves to grope in midnight darkness, they would have others to close their eyes to the glorious light which shines around. They would bind the expanding mind down to the observance of the laws of the universe, without any inquiry after the lawgiver. With tearless eye, and unrelenting heart, they would tear away from the soul its only solace, and from humanity its only hope. It is nothing to them that the best and greatest of men have clung to thoughts of God as the life of their life, and that the children of sorrow have taken shelter beneath the shadow of Jehovah's wing. All trust in the providence, the personality, and the friendship of God must be borne away before the merciless sweep of their dogmatic philosophy. “Positivism " is their gospela mal-spel, a curse. Man has no father, his aspiration no adequate object, his spirit no goal but the grave. This is their creed !
For the present we shall apply to it but one test :—what would it have availed the great mind of Milton in the difficulties which beset his path? If it be a true theory, it must have a fitness for the mind of man. If it fails to meet the wants of the human spirit, it is inadequate, useless, false ; and its abettors waste their breath. Apply to it this touchstone. After his heroic labours in “Defence of the people of England,” for truth, and right, and highest freedom, and after the temporary success of those labours in his own age, a day of awful darkness and trial came. Thc open sensuality of the court, was the prelude
of the corruption of the people. Irreligion aud debauchery were on the ascendant. Amid its surging waves stood Milton, firm as a rock. Surviving the prosperity of his party, he was doomed to poverty, privation, obloquy, and danger. The blind old man was made the laughing stock of licentious wits; and his fond hopes for the liberties of England appeared doomed to disappointment; but he neither quailed before opposition, nor fainted under reproach. Nothing disturbed the holy magnanimity of his soul.
The world faded before him. He communed with Jehovah, and set his face heavenward. But what would have been the condition of his soul had it been otherwise ? How crushed and lacerated would have been his heart? How despair would have struck its poisoned fangs into his spirit. Had he been without God at that dark crisis how melancholy would have been his lot! But he had the Ever-living as his friend and portion; and taking down his harp he struck it to one of the most heavenly lays that ever fell upon mortal ear. This sublime and affecting ode is not found in the ordinary volumes of his works.
It was but lately discovered ; and appears in the most recent Oxford edition of
But what would it be without the thoughts of God, of which it is so full ?
I am old and blind !
Yet I am not cast down.
I am weak, yet strong;
Father supreme! to Thee.
() merciful One!
Thy chariot I hear.
Thy glorious face
And there is no more night.
On my bended knee
I have nought to fear;
Can come no evil thing.
Oh! I seem to stand
Which eye hath never seen.
Visions come and go ;
Of soft and holy song.
It is nothing now,
The earth in darkness lies.
In a purer clime
My being fills with rapture-waves of thought
Break over me unsought.
Give me now my. lyre !
Lit by no skill of mine. This thrilling and melting effusion of our great epic poet, breathes the very spirit of heavenly song. It is indeed as if he had caught the notes from “Angel lips." Who can read it without being moved ? It is full of strength, of grandeur, of majestic repose, because it is so full of God. Invincible by calamity, un. crushed by sorrow was the brave heart, because “underneath it were the everlasting arms.” Like some Alpine height attracting and defying the thunderblast, while its highest peak lies batheed in the serenest light, he seems to stand gathering around him affliction and reproach, and yet, in his higher nature catching and reflecting a glory more than mortal. The beautiful earth and the glorious firmament were shut out from his sight; but with unscaled mental eye he beheld God and heaven. He was strong in his conscious weakness, for he laid hold upon God. In the deep solitude of his blindness, and isolation from society, he could all the more distinctly hear the sound of his master's chariot. He was taken into that chariot, and was no longer Milton the blind poet, but Milton the far-seeing seraph. He had studied that despised, old book, the Bible, and had made Jehovah his habitation, therefore, he was almost sacred. Sacred be his memory, and still more sacred the memory of those glorious truths about the character of God, which led him to feel in his blindness, that there was “no more night,” and which will chase away sin's last shadow from the soul of man!
buubrams of Thanght.
THE INFECTIVENESS OF MERE HUMAN METHODS TO RENOVATE SOCIETY. When some one was enlarging to Coleridge on the tendency for good of some scheme which was expected to regenerate the world, the poet Aung into the air the down of a thistle which grew by the roadside, and went on to say 'The tendency of that thistle is towards China, but I know, with assured certainty, it will never get there; nay, it is more than probable that, after sundry eddyings and gyrations up and down, backwards and forwards, it will be found somewhere near the place in which it grew.—M'Cosh.
THE MAMMON MAN.
“There are no propinquities to him in his very nature, indeed, he becomes as little human as that which he adores. Where his gold is buried his affections too are buried. The figure which Salvian uses in speaking of him is scarcely too bold,—that his sonl assimilates itself to his treasure, and is transmuted, as it were, into a mere earthly mass.”-DR. THOMAS BROWN.
A GOOD BOOK. A good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit, imbalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.—MILTON.
CLOISTERED VIRTUE. I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue unexercised, and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.—MILTON.
IMPOLICY OF PUNISHING OPINION.
The punishing of arts enhances their authority; and a forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth, that flies up in the faces of those who seek to tread it out.–VISCOUNT ST. ALBANS.
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OF CHRISTIAN EXPOSITION AND ADVOCACY.
Who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious, those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.--MILTON.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 1855.
EIGHT OF THE ARTICLES. The value of Time
Rejoinder to Eugene What J. Barker Says Now
50 The Gospel and Morality What J. Barker said in 1842
ib. Paul in 'Tears Proposed Discussion at Liverpool... 54 The Pope and the Beggar
58 55 62 ib.
THE VALUE OF TIME.
The-clock strikes twelve. It is the knell of the departed year. Its moments are beyond recall; and yet it lives in its influence upon the future. That influence will never wholly die. This appears to me one of the most solemn and affecting of thoughts—a thought that shows life to be no trifle, and proves the folly of spending it in a trifling spirit. If I would, I cannot live unto myself. I am not a detached and insulated being—I am a part of a great whole, -a sm all link it may be, but still a link in the vast chain of universal being. The movements of that apparently insignificant link may propogate an influence to the extremity of the chain. The faintest breathings of my soul, if only embodied in action, may move chords whose vibrations will be heard for ever in the soft and holy music of gladness, or in the harsh, and horrible notes of despair.
The gentlest whisper may produce ripples on the lake of existence, which will lave the far-off shores of eternity. One cold look a soul into selfishness, which might have glowed with seraphic love. One word thoughtlessly spoken, may open fountains of bitterness in a spirit never to be healed. One heedless act may crush a heart, capable of everlasting growth in goodness and happiness. And the manifestation of that negative spirit, which boasts of its doing no one any harm, may repress sympathies that would have blessed the world. Of this wonderful fact of my nature I would not complain. For what would life be to me if I could neither be the subject nor the source of influence. Could I bear to be shut out from all sympathy with, from all participation in goodness to stand all alone in the universe, without a sentiment of friendship, without a hope of love.
No. 4, Vol. 1,