Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

of effect in the modern pulpit. There is | angel, as from the all-beautifying beams of undoubtedly too much reason for this com- dawn. plaint, although we think that in the present We think that if Christ's teaching be taken day it is not so much eloquence that men as the test and pattern, Mr. Rogers limits the desiderate in preaching as real instruction, range of preaching too much when he says its living energy, and wide variety of thought principal characteristics should be " practical and illustration. Mr. Rogers says very little reasoning and strong emotion.” Preaching is about the substance of sermons, and in what not a mere hortatory matter. Sermons are he does say seems to incline to that principle the better of applications, but they should not of strait-lacing which we thought had been be all application. Ministers should rememnearly exploded. No doubt every preacher ber to address mankind and their audiences as should preach the main doctrines of the a whole, and should seek here to ivstruct their gospel, but if he confine himself exclusively judgments and there to charm their imaginato these, he will limit his own sphere of tion; here to allure and there to alarm; here power and influence. Why should he not to calm and there to arouse ; bere to reason preach the great general moralities as well? away their doubts and prejudices, and there Why should he not tell, upon occasion, great to awaken their emotions. Mr. Rogers dispolitical, metaphysical, and literary truths to approves of discussing first principles in the his people, turning them, as they are so sus. pulpit, and says, that “the Atheist and Deist ceptible of being turned, to religious account? are rarely found in Christian congregations.” It will not do to tell us that preachers must We wish we could believe this. If there are follow the Apostles in every respect. Christ no avowed Atheists or Deists in our churches, alone was a perfect model

, and how easy there are, we fear, many whose minds are and diversified his discourses! He had grievously unsettled and at sea on such subseldom any text. He spake of subjects as jects, and shall they be altogether neglected diverse from each other as are the deserts of in the daily ministrations? Of what use to Galilee from the streets of Jerusalem ; the speak to them of justification by faith who summit of Tabor from the tower of Siloam; think there is nothing to be believed, or of the the cedar of Lebanon from the hyssop spring- new birth who do not believe in the old, but ing out of the wall. He touched the politi- deem themselves fatherless children in a forcal affairs of Judea, the passing incidents of saken world. We think him decidedly too the day, the transient controversies and severe also in his condemnation of the use of heart-burnings of the Jewish sects, with a scientific and literary language in the pulpit. finger as firm and as luminous as he did | Pedantry, indeed, and darkening counsel by the principles of morality and of religion. technical language, we abhor, but elegant Hence, in part, the superiority and the suc. and scholarly diction may be combined with cess of his teaching. It was a wide and yet simplicity and clearness, and has a tendency not an indefinite and baseless thing. It to elevate the minds and refine the tastes of swept the circumference of Nature and of those who listen to it. It is of very little use man, and then radiated on the cross as on a coming down, as it is called, to men's level; centre. It gathered an immense procession now-a-days, if you do so, you will get nothing of things, thoughts, and feelings, and led but contempt for your pains : you cannot, them through Jerusalem and along the foot indeed, be too intelligible, but you may be so of Calvary. It bent all beings and subjects while using the loftiest imagery and language. into its grand purpose, transfiguring them as Chalmers never " came down to men's level" they stooped before it. It was this catholic and yet his discourses were understood and eclectic feature in Christ's teaching which, felt by the humblest of his audience, when by while it made many cry out, “Never man the energy of his genius and the power of his spake like this man," has created also some sympathies he lifted them up to his. certain misconceptions of its character. Mr. Rogers thinks that all preachers aspirMany think that he was at bottom nothing ing to power and usefulness will" abhor the more than a Pantheistic poet, because he ornate and the florid," and yet it is remarkshed on all objects--on the lilies of the valley, able that the most powerful and the most the salt of the sea, the thorns of the wil. useful, too, of preachers have been the most derness, the trees of the field, the rocks of ornate and florid. Who more ornate than the mountain, and the sands of the sea Isaiah ? Who spoke more in figures and shore—that strange and glorious light which parables than Jesus ? Chrysostom, of the he brought with him to earth and poured golden mouth," belonged to the same school. around him as from the wide wings of an | South sneers at Jeremy Taylor, and Rogers very unworthily reëchoes the sneer ; but fluence which more genial and fanciful authors what comparison between South the sneerer have exerted. For one who reads South, ten and Taylor the sneered at, in genius or in thousand revel in Jeremy Taylor. Howe, a genuine power and popularity? To how very imaginative and rather diffuse writer, has many a cultivated mind bas Jeremy Taylor supplanted Baxter in general estimation. In made religion attractive and dear, which had Scotland, while the dry sermons of Ebenezer hated and despised it before? Who more Erskine are neglected, the lively and fanciful florid than Isaac Taylor, and what writer of writings of his brother Ralph have still a con. this century has done more to recommend siderable share of popularity. The works of Christianity to certain classes of the commu- Chalmers and Cumming, destined as both are nity? He, to be sure, is no preacher; but in due time to oblivion, are preserved in their who have been or are the most popular and present life by what in the first is real, and most powerful preachers of the age? Chal- in the second a semblance of imagination. mers, I. ving, Melville, Hall; and amid their of the admirable writings of Dr. Harris and many diversities in point of intellect, opinion, of the two Hamiltons we need not speak. and style, they agree in this, that they all Latimer, South, and Baxter, whom Rogers abound in figurative language and poetical ranks so highly, are not classics. Even Jonaimagery. And if John Foster failed in preach than Edwards and Butler, with all their colosing, it was certainly not from want of imagi- sal talent, are now little read, on account of nation, which formed, indeed, the staple of their want of imagination. The same vital deall his best discourses. Mr. Rogers, to be Sciency has doomed the sermons of Tillotson, sure, permits a “moderate use of the imagi- Atterbury, Sherlock, and Clarke. Indeed, in nation ;” but, strange to say, it is the men who order to refute Mr. Rogers, we have only to have made a large and lavish use of it in recur to his own words, quoted above: “ • This preaching who have most triumphantly suc- faculty, fancy namely, is incomparably the ceeded. Of course they have all made their most important for the vivid and attractive imagination subservient to a high purpose ; exhibition of truth to the minds of men." but we demur to his statement that no It follows that since the great object of preacher will ever employ his imagination preaching is to exbibit truth to the minds of merely to delight us. He will not indeed men, fancy is the faculty most needful to the become constantly the minister of delight; preacher, and that the want of it is the most but he will and must occasionally, in gratify fatal of deficiencies. In fact, although a ing himself with his own fine fancies, give an few preachers have, through the agonistic innocent and intense gratification to others, methods, by pure energy and passion, proand having thus delighted his audience, mere duced great effects, these have been confined gratitude on their part will prepare them for chiefly to their spoken speech, have not been listening with more attention and interest to transferred to their published writings, and his solemn appeals at the close. He says have speedily died away. It is the same in that the splendid description in the "Anti- other kinds of oratory. Fox's eloquence, quary” of a sunset would be altogether out which studied only immediate effect, perished of place in the narrative by a naval historian with him, and Pitt's likewise. Burke's, of two fleets separated on the eve of engage being at once highly imaginative and proment by a storm, or in any serious narrative foundly wise, lives, and will live for ever. or speech; forgetting that the "Antiquary” We have not room to enlarge on some professes to be a serious narrative, and that other points in the paper. We think Mr. Burke, in his speeches and essays "has often Rogers lays far too much stress on the time interposed in critical points of narration de- a preacher should take in composing his scriptions quite as long and as magnificent, sermons. Those preachers who spend all which, nevertheless, so far from exciting the week in finical polishing of periods and laughter, produce the profoundest impression, intense elaboration of paragraphs are not the blending, as they do, the energies and effects most efficient or esteemed. A well-furnished of fiction and poetry with those of prose and mind, animated by enthusiasm, will throw fact.

forth in a few hours a sermon incomparably That severely simple and agonistic style, superior in force, freshness, and energy, to which Mr. Rogers recommends so strongly, those discourses which are slowly and toilhas been seldom practised in Britain, except somely built up. It may be different somein the case of Baxter, with transcendent effect. times with sermons which are meant for pubAt all events, the writings of those who have lication. Yet some of the finest published followed it have not had a tithe of the in- | sermons in literature have been written at a heat.

From the entire second volume of these among the Tombs of Literature,” which closes admirable essays, we must abstain. “Rea- the first volume, and which he entitles the son and Faith" would itself justify a long se- “ Vanity and Glory of Literature.” It is full parate article. Nor can we do any more than of sad truth, and its style and thinking are allude at present to that noble “Meditation every way worthy of its author's genius.

[blocks in formation]

There are few sensations more startling | elapsed, they were frightened in proportion. and unpleasant than that which is occasioned | At Naples one cannot but be conscious that by even the slightest of those movements of the city is built over 'hidden fires;' on one the earth's surface to which we equally give side is the ever-active Vesuvius, and on the the name of earthquake, whatever may be other the Solfatara, and an evident communi. the degree of their intensity, or the nature of cation exists between them. Hot springs their effects. Our imperfect knowledge of and steaming sulphur poison the air everythe causes which produce them, and of the where; but at Lisbon no such signs exist ; laws of nature by which they are regulated, here is nothing but a soil prolific beyond increases our alarm; and as we have no sure measure-no streams of lava

no hills of warning of their approach, and are their calcined stones, thrown up 1500 feet in one helpless victims when they come, we may be night (as the Monte Nuovo, Dear Naples) thankful that they are not of more frequent no smoking craters—no boiling water strugoccurrence. They are fearful in every way: gling into day. Still, the belief that Lisbon for where they have once been destructively will again be destroyed by a similar throe of felt, they leave an impression as to the pos- nature is prevalent, and perpetuated year sibility of their return, which, at times, comes after year by the recurrence of slight shocks." disagreeably across the mind, even in our In treating of earthquakes, we cannot seek moments of enjoyment.

our materials in the remoter periods of hisA writer, whose work was noticed last tory. month,* speaking of Lisbon, says: “Some It is remarkable that in the records of the traces of the great earthquake still remain ; Old Tes'iment there are only, I believe, three here and there, a huge windowless, roofless, passages in which they are mentioned. One and roomless mass, picturesque by moonlight, of them is part of the well-known description but saddening by day; fearful memento of of the appearances attending the revelation wrath, stands to tell the tale of that terrible of the Almighty will to Elijah. The others convulsion. Slight shocks are continually refer to the one event of an earthquake in the felt, and when I was in Lisbon, about five days of Uzziah, King of Judah—not quite 800 years ago, were so unusually powerful, that years B. C., and from the language in which some fear was excited lest a recurrence of it is alluded to, we may infer that such conthis calamity were imminent. The Portu- vulsions were then of unusual occurrence. guese have a theory, that nature takes a It is in comparatively modern times that hundred years to produce an earthquake on a grand scale, and as that period had nearly

The old

And crazy earth has had her shaking-fits * Hither and Thither.

More frequent. VOL. XXXIII.NO. II.

14

[ocr errors]

When they are mentioned by the classical | its use in improving the manufactures of porwriters of antiquity, it is generally without celain and of crystal. any detailed notices of their phenomena, and In every country where organic changes in connection with other incidents.

so violent and extensive have occurred, there Thucydides speaks of their frequency in must have been earthquakes equally violent ; Greece during the Peloponnesian war, and for though it is possible that some of these in one instance—describes their more remark- phenomena have been produced by electricity able effects ;-chiefly the destruction of life alone, yet we are so often able to connect and buildings occasioned by inundations on them with volcanic action that we must conthe coast; and he modestly suggests, that sider this as the most frequent, if not the in his own opinion” the shock drives the only cause with which we are at present sea back, and this suddenly coming on again acquainted. We are reminded also by an with a violent rush, causes the inundation; eminent writer, to whose “Principles of Geo" which, without an earthquake,” he thinks, logy” I shall elsewhere refer, that in volcanic “would never have happened." But 'he regions, though the points of eruption are mentions the more noticeable fact, that "at but thinly scattered—constituting mere spots Peparethus there was a retreat of the sea, on the surface of those districts-yet the though no inundation followed.”

subterraneous movements extend simultaneInscriptions have been found in temples ously over immense areas.

Those mere both at Herculaneum and Pompeii, com- tremblings of the earth, so common in South memorating the rebuilding of these edifices America, are probably connected with erupafter they had been thrown down by an tions in mountain ranges, that have never yet earthquake, which happened in the reign of been explored. It does not advance us very Nero : sixteen years before the destruction far in our knowledge of the subject to assume of the cities themselves by the eruption of that both volcanoes and earthquakes have a Vesuvius. Yet there is no other account of common origin, which often produces movesuch an event extant; and the indifference ments of the earth even unattended by volof the ancients in recording them is shown in canic eruption. As far as we can trace their the fact that even the appalling fate of these connection, this is most probably the fact;: cities was only incidentally alluded to till but there may be other causes which have Dion Cassius wrote his fabulous and exag. still to be discovered. gerated description, about 150 years after An able writer in one of the early volumes their destruction had taken place.

of the Edinburgh Review--while denying the We are constantly reminded, however, of theory that volcanic explosions are caused by the frequency of such phenomena. The route “ the eructations of a central fire, occupying through Italy, for instance, from Sienna to the interior of the earth," and wbile showing Rome, is marked throughout by great vol that the lava thrown out by these convulcanic changes; and it is not very difficult to sions could not be so produced-admits that believe the tradition that the whole of the Bay substances in a state of fusion may exist, of Naples is formed by one extensive crater, which, by the action of water pouring from

In many instances the ingenuity of man above, or by the irruption of the sea, "might has converted even these fearful ruins into produce earthquakes, with furious emissions sources of wealth. Without speaking of the of gases and steam." Lyell gives his reasons, well-known commerce in sulphur and other based upon electro-chemical influences, for , I

In his tion that, amongst the mountains of Tuscany, “Geology of the Countries visited during the the Count de Larderel has applied a process voyage of H. M. S. Beagle round the to the preparation of boracic acid, which is World,” Darwin supposes that, in Chili, there decribed in the Jurors' Reports of the Great is a subterranean lake of lava of nearly double Exhibition of 1851 as amongst the highest the area of the Black Sea, and “ that the achievements of the useful arts." The vapor frequent quakipgs of the earth along this line issuing from a volcanic soil is condensed; and of coast are caused by the rending of the the minute proportion of boracic acid which strata, which is necessarily consequent on the it contains is recovered by evaporation, in a tension of the land when upraised, and their district without fuel, by the application of injection by fluidified rock. But it is useless volcanic vapor itself as a source of heat. to theorize. In the present state of human The substance thus obtained greatly exceeds knowledge, earthquakes are a description of in quantity the old and limited-supply of phenomena of which we can merely record borax from British India, and has extended I the facts.

3

One of the most remarkable earthquakes ance of valley's and mountains, which had of antiquity of which we have any account never, since the formation of the globe, been was contemporaneous with the battle of Thra- exposed to the sun. But the tide soon resimene, and was alluded to, incidentally, by turned with the weight of an immense and Livy, as showing the ardor of the fight. The irresistible deluge, which was sererely felt passage is translated by Lord Byron. “Such on the coasts of Sicily, of Dalmatia, of Greece, (he says) was their mutual animosity, -80 and of Egypt; large boats were transported intent were they upon the battle, that the and lodged on the roofs of houses, or at earthquake which overthrew in great part the distance of two miles from the shore; the many of the cities of Italy, which turned the people with their habitations were swept course of rapid streams, poured back the sea away by the waters ; and the city of Alexanupon the rivers, and tore down the very dria annually commemorated the fatal day mountains, was not felt by any of the com- on which 50,000 persons bad lost their lives batants." We may repeat the description in the inundation. This calamity, the report in Lord Byron's verse:

of which was magnified from one province to

another, astonished and terrified the subjects And such the storm of battle on this day, And such the frenzy whose convulsion blinds

of Rome; and their affrighted imagination To all save carnage, that, beneath the fray,

enlarged the real extent of a momentary evil. An earthquake rollid unheededly away!

They recollected the preceding earthquakes None felt stern nature rocking at his feet, which had subverted the cities of Palestine 1. And yawning forth a grave for those who lay and Bithynia ; they considered these alarm

Upon their backlers for a winding-sheet; ing strokes as the prelude only gf still more Such is the absorbing hate when warring nations dreadful calamities, and their fearful vanity meet !

was disposed to confound the symptoms of The earth to them was as a rolling bark a declining empire and of a sinking world." Which bore them to eternity; they saw. The ocean round, but had no time to mark

In speaking of the similar convulsions which The motions of their vessel ; nature's law,

occurred about the year 526, the same hisIn them suspended, reck'd not of the awe

torian observes, “that the nature of the soil Which reigns when mountains tremble; and may indicate the countries most exposed to the birds

these iformidable concussions, since they are Plunge in the clouds for refuge, and withdraw occasioned by subterraneous fires, and such From their down-toppling nests; and bellowing fires are kindled by the union and fermentaherds

tiön of iron and sulphur.” (We do not stop Stumble o'er heaying plains, and man's dread hath to question the correctness of his theory.) no words.

“But their times and effects (he continues) The event to which these passages' refer, appear to lie beyond the reach of humani occurred, it will be remembered, 217 years curiosity, and the philosopher will discreetly

abstain from the prediction of earthquakes Upon the earthquakes which marked the till he has counted the drops of water that consummation of our Saviour's mission, I feel silently filtrate on the inflammable mineral, that this is not an occasion to dwell. .47 Z! and measured the caverns which increase by

The next of which we have any record was resistance the explosion of the imprisoned air. in the seventeenth year of Christianity, when Without assigning the cause, history will distwelve cities of Asia Minor were almost simul- tinguish the periods in which these calamitous taneously destroyed

events have been more or less frequent, and of those which, in the year 365, ravaged will observe that this fever of the earth raged nearly the whole of the Roman Empire, we with uncommon violence during the reign of are told that'“in the second year of the reign Justinian." (It was of the close of this reign of Valentinian and Valens, on the morning of that he was writing.), “Each year is marked the 21st day of July, the greatest part of the by the repetition of earthquakes of such Roman world was shaken by a violent and duration that Constantinople has been shaken destructive earthquake. The impression was above forty days; of such extent that the communicated to the waters, the shores of shock has been communicated to the whole the Mediterranean were left dry by the sud- surface of the globe -- or, at least, of the den retreat of the sea; great quantities of Roman empire. An impulsive or vibratory fishi were caught with the hand ; large ves- motion was felt: enormous chasms were sels were stranded; and a curious spectator opened; huge and heavy bodies were dis(Ammianus) amused his eye, or rather his charged into the air ; ihe sea alternately fancy, by contemplating the various appearI advanced and retreated beyond its ordinary

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

« ПредишнаНапред »