Изображения страниц

writings of the apostles as a "mere comment" on the words of Jesus contained in the Gospels is to give an altogether inadequate representation of the case. The apostles used their own phraseology and modes of illustra tion, but when they spoke concerning the things of the kingdom it was virtually Christ speaking through them. And since it was the same Lord who spoke, now through the medium of His human body, and now by His Spirit operating on the minds of His apostles, the same devout regard ought to be paid to His commandments in the one case as in the other. If Christ, "ere to heaven He rose," bade His church attend to the precepts He had already given, He also taught her to expect the further teaching of His Spirit after His ascension; and we show but partial proof of our loyalty to Him if we study the words spoken by Him to her in her days of infancy and neglect His messages conveyed to her in her maturer years. To the writer it appears that the words which fell from the Master's lips" during the time of His earthly sojourn do not "include all that men need to know;" for if so He would not Himself have promised His Spirit to teach them further truth; nor would the apostles have claimed to be the recipients of further revelations. On this point, unless I have mistaken our friend Mr. Cox's meaning, we differ in opinion; but as there may be misapprehension on my part, I add no more on this head until he shall have had opportunity of giving explanations.


There is another point, not perhaps of much practical consequence but rather of historical and literary interest, in which I venture to think he has shewn a little forgetfulness. He represents the divisions of Christendom during the last three hundred years as having been based upon dogmas which the churches have found, or thought they have found, mainly in the writings of Paul. I presume that Mr. Cox had in his mind the Calvinistic controversy, with regard to which his remark is probably true. But I think that on reflection he will see that three out of four of the great religious controversies which since the time of the Reformation have divided Christian men, have turned upon their different interpretations not of Paul's teachings, but of the words of Christ in the Gos

pels. Take the great Romish controversy. Do not the disputants chiefly appeal to such passages as Matt. xvi. 18, 19, "I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," &c. Matt. xviii. 18; John xx. 22, 23, "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained?" Nay, the very words of Christ which serve as a text to Mr. Cox's paper are words to which intelligent Romanists appeal more frequently than any other in support of their foundation dogmas of Church-tradition and Infallibility. What is it which for the past three hundred years has divided the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent but their different interpretations of our Lord's words, "This is my body?" In the Ritualistic or Sacramentarian controversy of the present day very little appeal is made to the writings of Paul; the proof texts cited are mainly from the Gospels. State Churchman quotes the New Testament in support of his views he commonly cites the parables of the Tares and the Draw-net; and Nonconformists reply to him with the words of Christ, "My kingdom is not of this world,' &c. And similarly in other cases that might be mentioned. Let it not be supposed that I do not lament, equally with the ministerial brother on whose paper I am commenting, the sad divisions of Christendom. I simply wish, in a friendly manner, to suggest the question whether it is in reality to dogmas found or supposed to be found in the writings of Paul that these divisions are for the most part due. My own impression is that this notion is an

erroneous one.

If a

[ocr errors]

One more point, and that, I take it, of some serious practical importance both to us and to our congregations. Mr. Cox bids us "mark with what comparative infrequency Christ speaks of the death, the sacrifice, by which He took away the sin of the world; how little there is of dogma on His lips; how little of judgment, of terror, although," he says, "these topics are the very staple of our modern pulpits.' Is it true that in the recorded sayings of Christ there is but infrequent reference to His death and sacrifice? This may be doubted in presence of the following passages, only

[ocr errors]

one of which we quote at length on account of space; but the reader may refer to the rest for himself. Matt. xx. 28, "Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." See also, Matt. xxvi. 28; John iii. 14, 15; vi. 51; x. 11, 15; xii. 24, 32; Mark x. 32-34; Luke xxiv. 26, 46.

[ocr errors]

But still, though we should grant that the clear references to our Lord's sacrificial death are not numerous, is not a reason for this to be readily seen in the circumstances of the case? The sacrifice was not yet consummated; the offering was not yet presented. When our Saviour did predict His approaching sufferings the disciples seemed unable to comprehend Him. This was one of the things they could not bear then (John xvi. 12); hence it was reserved for the Holy Spirit to set forth the truth to them more fully after His decease. But it does not follow that because Christ in His earthly lifetime said little concerning His great expiatory sacrifice we are to observe the same comparative silence now. Rather are we to imitate the example of the apostles with whom Christ's redeeming love was the grand motive power by which they sought to stir up their Christian brethren to every good word and work. To vapid, commonplace declamation concerning the cross of Christ such as is sometimes heard, I have as great an objection as our friend; but sure I am that there is no theme, when properly presented, so fitted either to warm the hearts of Christians or to excite them to purity and nobleness of life as the offering of Jesus on the altar of Calvary for the sins of the world.

But is it so, that from the lips of Christ, as He is presented in the Gospels, we have little of judgment and of terror? Even in the Sermon on the Mount what mean those passages Matt. v. 22, 29, 30; vii. 13, 19? But look specially at the closing sentences. The peroration of no modern discourse, I think, has been much fuller of solemn warning than the passage beginning with the words, "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord," and ending with the description of the fate of the foolish builder. Is there nothing of terror in such words as are found in Matt. x. 15, 28, “It shall be more

tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city?" "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The passage ending in Matt. xii. 45 is fitted to suggest very serious thoughts; and in the parables of the Tares, the Draw-net, the Wedding-garment, and the Wicked Husbandman, the closing sentences strike me as somewhat fearful. Who can read the parable of the Ten Virgins, that of the Talents, and indeed any part of the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, without great searchings of heart?" The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus appears to me rather alarming. Nor could He have been a very mild preacher on occasions when He knew that severity was the truest kindness, who uttered the words, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell [literally, the judgment of Gehenna]?" Indeed the entire chapter in which those words occur (Matt. xxiii.) is most remarkable for withering rebuke and terrible denunciation.


I may be singular in my views, but so far from thinking that there is too much of the element of terror in modern preaching, it has sometimes appeared to me that we have been going of late into the other extreme. We have been getting weakly sentimental in our theology, more so than the hard facts of the universe warrant. Not that there is any need to revive the coarse, Dantesque pictures of hell common in former times; but our plea. sure-loving, luxurious age, requires to be shewn, in serious earnest tones, what will certainly be the end of a life of sensuality and selfishness, namely, "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power."

My purpose will not, I hope, be mis-apprehended; nor my spirit misjudged. If this discussion should lead our readers to study more closely the doctrines and precepts of Christ, both those contained in the Gospels and those embodied in the Apostolic Epistles, neither Mr. Cox nor myself will have written in vain.



Man stands apart from, and above all, the mere scenery of the world. One man is of more value than many mountains. One thought may, outweigh in worth many beautiful lakes. Mind infinitely transcends matter in importance. The noblest interests of the world gather about man, and not abont the mere scenery of nature. Nature and all her riches was made for njan, and not man for nature. And when we have beheld and admired all the rich and beautiful scenery which the Lake District can upfold to us, we turn with a greater zest and with a more earnest enthusiasm to the beautiful and noble spirits which have made this locality their home.

The poets you have in connection with the lakes are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, John Wilson, Mrs. Hemans, and Hartley Coleridge. In divinity and general literature you have the names of Bishop Watson, Dr. Arnold, Thomas De Quincey, Miss Martineau, and Sir John Richardson, the eminent arctic traveller, author of “The Polar Regions," and other valuable works.

All these are names of some note and eminence in the literary world. They have given a character and an additional charm to this region.

Mrs. Hemans the poet lived for a year at a cottage called “Dove Nest,” not far from Ambleside, on the banks of Windermere. She was 80 enraptured with the place, that in one of her letters she speaks of it in the following words: “I am so delighted with this spot that I scarcely know how I shall leave it. The situation is one of the deepest retirement; but the bright lake before me, with all its fairy barks and sails, glancing like things of life over its blue water, prevents the solitude from being overshadowed by anything like sadness."

Miss Harriet Martineau, an authoress of considerable renown, lives at a charming spot called the Knoll. You pass it in going from Ambleside to Rydal, but it is hidden from view by a Wesleyan chapel, which stands close upon her premises. You get a full view of her residence as you pass along the path under Loughrigg Fell.

Her house is covered with ivy, and when the sun shines warmly she has large blinds on the outside of her windows. She is now an invalid and unable to leave her room. She is a woman of strong masculine mind. Some of her works are of great historical interest. Her history of the Thirty Years' Peace takes its place as a standard work on the history of our country. She is the sister of James Martineau, the eminent Unitarian preacher and writer.

Dr. Arnold, the well-known master of Rugby school, lived in the lake district at intervals during his latter days. Fox Howe is one of the most delightful spots in the whole neighbourhood. His house is built of the native mountain stone, and much of it now is covered with ivy. Here Dr. Arnold spent his vacations, and found recreation in the company of his wife and children. Wordsworth's friendship was to him a source of rich enjoyment. He was never tired of looking upon the surrounding hills. They gave a kind of rapture to his mind. Dr. Arnold was one of the extraordinary men of his age. He was a man of broad intellect, of deep research, and of cultivated taste. His inward life was expansive and jubilant. He loved work and liked play. He was a man in understanding, but a child in gentleness and love. He was firm without moroseness, and tender without weak

He could discuss the affairs of the nation with great dignity and intelligence, and then lay down his pen to have a game or a walk with his children. Dr. Arnold has left his mark upon the age; his influence on the present generation has been both great and good. The secret of his strong and fresh life was union to Christ. His religion clung to a living Saviour. All other objects paled in the presence of the Son of God. This in ward faith in a glorified Redeemer gave him vigour in life and victory in death. Some of his pupils have risen to positions of commanding ipfluence in the country, among whom pone occupies a higher place in the affections of intelligent men than his biograpber, the learned, the accom



He was

[ocr errors]

plished, the benevolent, and the truly on Professor Wilson, and stayed a Catholic minded Dr. Stanley, the year. De Quincey differed from most present Dean of Westminster.

of his literary friends in this respectWe have already mentioned the that while they embodied their choicest name of Professor Wilson.

thoughts in poetry, his congenial eleeducated first at Glasgow, then at ment was prose. His works consist Oxford. His genius first blossomed of descriptions of persons and scenery, forth in the pages of Blackwood's sketches of character, and criticisms of Magazine. He was a poet, a critic, literature. The English language and a philosopher. When he first becomes a noble instrument in his settled in the lake district he was the hands, and his works contain some of life of the boating parties which used the finest specimens of English writing. to meet on Windermere. But in con- Hartley Coleridge is a name thosequence of family misfortunes he was roughly identified with the lake disobliged to give up his beautiful resi- trict. He went to reside there when dence at Elleray. He retired to Edin- quite a child. He was the eldest son burgh, where he obtained the Chair of of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and was Moral Philosophy. He was one of the born at Nether Stowey, in Somersetmost remarkable men of his day. He shire in 1796. He removed with bis was tall, and strong in body. His parents to Greta Hall, Keswick, in the head was large and shaggy, like the year 1800; and when his father left head of a lion. His walking powers Keswick he was confided to the care were somewhat wonderful. His man- of a Mr. Jackson. Hartley was edupers were open and affectionate. He cated at Ambleside under the Rev. kindled enthusiasm wherever he went. John Dawes, and resided in lodgings He was held in high esteem and at Clappers Gate, about a mile from respect by all his students. He died Ambleside. He also studied at Oxford. in 1854.

Here he gained a fellowship, but by Thomas De Quincey, known by his his indiscretion lost his character. Confessions of an Opium Eater, came His besetting and overcoming sin was to the lake district in 1808. He was drink. He had a richly furnished educated at Oxford. While a student mind, and a remarkably correct literary there he came into contact with the taste, but like his father he lacked writings of Wordsworth and Coleridge. strength of will.

His life was emThe poetry of these young men seized bittered by failures. Finally he settled on his imagination, and carried him down at Nab Cottage, at the foot of away with intellectual delight. He Nab Scar, where De Quincey had forwent all the way from Oxford to Gras- merly resided.

Here he spent his mere to see Wordsworth, but when he time taking long walks, admiring the got as far as Hammer Scar, from which beauty of the lakes and fells, writing he could see Wordsworth's cottage, exquisite poetry, and attending fashionhis heart failed him, and he returned able dinner parties. No circle was to Oxford without seeing the poet. considered complete without Hartley Some years afterwards De Quincey Coleridge; but these parties were often came and took up his residence in the a snare to hiin. They furnished the very cottage he had looked upon with occasions for the gratification of his such mingled feelings from Hammer conquering passion. The splendour of Scar. Here he lived for several years his wit was eclipsed and subdued by among his books.

He was a great the sparkling wine. That brilliant student, and read works in several spirit which had been the life of the languages. I was told that he lived

company in the evening was often in this pretty cottage till the rats eat filled with bitter remorse in the mornthrough the walls and devoured his ing. Being unable, through the inbooks. Afterwards he removed to constancy of his mind, to provide for Nab Cottage, and married the daughter himself, his friends paid a person of of the proprietor, when he managed to the name of Richardson £50 per year make a more respectable appearance to take charge of him. All who knew in the world. De Quincey was a child him bear testimony to the gentleness of genius. He was often eccentric in of bis manners, the loveliness of his his manners and erratic in his move- disposition, the fulness of his intelliments. He once made a friendly call gence; and now, with a smile and a


home he brought his wife--Mary Hutchinson, his cousin, whom he had known from a child. From all the descriptions we have of her, she was a gentle, simple, and loving spirit. Her element was home. Her loving and admiring husband has drawn her features in the following lines :

"She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes are stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair ;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eyes serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller betwixt life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will ;
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light."

tear, the cottagers especially remember and speak of the virtues and failings of Hartley Coleridge.

But after all, the three great names of the lake district-names associated with the most enchanting scenery, are Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey. These men have left the impress of their names and genius on the age

in which they lived. They were all men of great intellectual powers. They were associated in literary productions in early life. They all suffered obloquy and reproach. They all lived to triumph over their foes, and their names have been gathering additional brightness, and will be honoured as long as English literature shall exist.

William Wordsworth was a native of Cumberland. He was born at Cockermouth, April 7, 1770. This, therefore, is the centenary year of his birth. His father occupied a respectable position in the county. William was sent to school at Hawkshead, a village in the lake district. Here his young spirit revelled in the glorious scenery that surrounded him. His physical nature was strong, and his animal spirits vigorous and fervent. Here he caught that poetic inspiration which followed him all through life. His soul was the seat of an expanding passion which found its gratification in the beauties and sublimities of nature. As a boy he loved to climb the rugged crags-skate over the frozen lakeand gaze upon the stars as they shone out in solemn silence over the mountain heights. From Hawkshead he went to Cambridge, but did not distinguish himself in the special studies of the university. His soul preferred poetry to mathematics. During one of his vacations he visited France, Switzerland, Italy; and on his return published poetical descriptions of his travels. On leaving Cambridge, he, in company with his sister, removed into Somersetshire, where they became acquainted with Coleridge and Southey. While here, Wordsworth and Coleridge published a joint poetical production, entitled, “Lyrical Ballads." In 1802 Wordsworth left Somersetsbire, and took up his abode at Grasme I have already spoken of his sweet and charming cottage. Even now it wears a Wordsworthian appearance. Modesty and beauty are the ideas that strike you as you look upon it. To this dear

In 1808 Wordsworth removed from his quiet and modest cottage to a larger house called Allan Bank. While here, Coleridge became a resident in his house. About this time he lost two of his children. In 1813 he took up his abode at Rydal Mount, where he spent the remainder of his life. His devoted sister dedicated all the powers of her active life to the comfort and pros: perity of her brother. She was his constant companion in his rambles among the mountains and lakes of his own native county. She called forth some of the tenderer strains of his poetry. She softened the natural severity of his temperament. She was his guardian angel, who never grew weary of attentions inspired by love and admiration.

Wordsworth may be regarded as the great poet of nature. He was not so much drawn to books as to the ever varying moods of natural scenery.

His sound and healthful mind reco ed from everything affected and artificial in life and literature. Simplicity, reality, beauty, sublimity, were the threads with which he wove his noble and enduring poetical garments.

He found more to

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »