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Luxuriant, with their tufts of hanging seed.
. The very graves have moulder'd to decay,
Tenantless—boneless—clods of common earth:
The aspect of mortality is press'd
Musing, I stand a breathing creature here
Silently as the clouds of summer heaven,
A remnant from the flock of human kind
The clouds pass away, and are leaving the sky,
And the star of the twilight, with tremulous eye,
Not a zephyr is curling the breast of the stream,
And low hollow sounds, like the hum of a dream,
All is tranquil and still, save the spirit of man,
And the fanciful hopes, that illumine his span,
When around there is joy, then, within there is strife,
OH were I laid
No more to weep,
I ask no dirge—
The foamy surge
And the evening breeze,
That stir the trees,
Plant not—plant not
Wr know no fact, which, viewed in all its relations, speaks more highly in favour of the spirit of the present day, than the great popularity of Dr Chalmers. Much has already been written about him in this journal, and that by many different hands—but we feel, on looking over all that has been said, as if it were quite feeble and ineffectual, when compared with the real sense of his merits, that is spread widely, and we would hope, fixed deeply, over the whole healthy and right-thinking mass of the people. He has been eulogized abundantly for the fervour of his impassioned eloquence, and the dignified sweep of his illustration, and the enlightened wisdom of his remarks on the character and condition of the times in which he, lives; but we feel as if no adequate tribute of admiration has ever yet been paid in these, or in any other pages, to that rare spirit of christian self-denial, which has been, and is every day exemplified in the uses to §. animated at once by a noble humility and an honest pride, this GooD and GREAT MAN has thought fit to devote his powers of thought and language. There can be no doubt, that taking oratory in the highest of its acceptations, he is the greatest of all living orators. At the bar—in the senate—(perhaps even in the church)—it may be possible to find men possessed of much more brilliancy, both of fancy and expression; and, we have no doubt, hundreds may be found far superior to him, in all the elegancies of composition, style, and delivery; but there is a certain directness of understanding— a certain clear thorough-going honesty of thought—a plain weight of power— and a simple consciousness of power, about Dr Chalmers, that are a thousand times more than enough to set him triumphantly over the heads of all the living speakers in the land. Perhaps, since Charles Fox died, Great Britain cannot be said to have exhibited one genuine natural orator, in any one department, except this mighty
preacher. And yet, it is not the power of the man, but the purpose of the man, that stamps his mind with its truest character of greatness. His greatest excellence, as a preacher of christianity, is, in one word, his total want of flattery—his perfect scom of all those arts by which most popu. lar preachers seek and obtain their popularity. He is, at once, the most evangelical and the most practical of sermon-writers—and this alone, if the matter be looked narrowly into, is suf. ficient to justify all that has been—all that can be said in his praise. No sensible man will ever dare, after reading his works, to use the word evangelical in a contemptuous sense;—he has, for ever, done away the reproach of being a Calvinist. He is a bold original thinker—a profound metaphy. sician—and a most accomplished master of declamation—and, being such, he might easily have raised himself to a high pitch of estimation in the church, without giving up, as he has done, all the vulgar appliances of et clesiastical success—without despis. ing the prejudices of both the great divisions of Christian hearers alikeand so, without encountering any one of the difficulties of that adventurous, and, in some eyes at least We fear, invidious career, to which he has devoted himself. But such were no the views likely to sway the mind of such a man as Dr Chalmers. In spite of the sneers with which his first splendid appearances were received by the leaders of both the ecclesiastical parties in Scotland, he went on r: joicing in his course; and the result has been, that while neither of these parties dare to claim him for its own. either of them would be too proud." enlist him almost at any price in " ranks. He stands, as it is, entirely" himself—a noble example of who true minister of Christianity ought." be—totally unfettered by any tra." mels of party-feeling, civil or ecclesiastical—the unwearied deviser " good, slowly but surely witnessing to triumph of all that he devises—wit"
"The applieation of Christianity to the commercial and ordinary affairs of life, ina o of discourses. By Thomas Chalmers, D. D. Minister of St John's Church, Glasgow, * o * Statesman, Examiner, Black Dwarf, so &c.
Chalmers & Collins, Glasgow.
out suspicion of servility, or semblance of self-seeking, the upright unshaken indefatigable advocate of every thing * that tends to dignify the high, and to - ennoble the low—labouring from hour to hour, and from day to day, to make men perceive wherein the true secret of all the calamities of the times conn sists—and to repair and replenish from # at once the simplest and the loftiest of sources, all the decayed channels of : sober, wise, and rational loyalty, amon the unhappily estranged and alienate feelings of a once virtuous devout and a patriotic population. The close adaptation of all that he a says and writes, to the actual condition a of the people he is addressing, and the a circumstances of the times in which he - lives, forms one most remarkable pea culiarity of the works of Dr Chalmers * —and accounts, of itself, in a great measure, for the elevation to which he * has attained in the public opinion. It is not, that he is singular in the wish to adapt himself, in this manner, to the necessities of his auditors and readers. Hundreds, we might say thousands, of excellent, and of able men, are scattered throughout the land, and animated with the same ho... nourable desire ; and who shall doubt, †. that success has been, and is, from day to day, granted to their labours? ... But none of those that have published sermons of late appear to us to have o entered upon this part of the task with any thing like the same felicity, whetho of view or of execution, as Dr Chalmers. We look in vain among the religious publications of the day s for anything like that certain mastery § of glance, by which he appears to scrutimize all the moving surfaces of external things around him—that boldmess with which he brings the great * doctrines of the Bible into close contact with every manifestation of the o §. of the age—from the fine built * theories of the would-be philosopher, * down to the wild coarse ravings of the "mechanic reformer—that noble confi*dence which makes him seek and find, * on every occasion, one sure remedy for overy evil “sign”—and having found, * to proclaim it—in one word, finally, * hot clear and distinct “application of * Christianity to the ordinary affairs of life,” in which the principal merit of * Chalmers' sermons and other reli
gious writings consists; and from which, we have no doubt, their principal usefulness is derived. We have already had frequent occasion to take notice of his quarterly publications “on the Christian and civic economy of great towns,” and of the beautiful speculations therein laid before the public, concerning the best, or rather only, means of repairing the present alarming deficiency of every sort of education among the crowded population of such cities as that in which he resides. The present volume of sermons may be considered, in one point of view, as a part of the same work; for it is easy to see that it has originated in the same course of study and reflection—study close and searching of every species of that commercial character by which he is surrounded—and reflection deep and sincere, concerning the means of improving that character, alike in its higher and its lower walks of exhibition. We observe that this author has already been attacked by the various oracles of the mob,” on account of the zeal with which he preaches to the humble in condition the necessity of civil government, and the duty of loyal obedience to the constitution and administration of the country—doctrines on which, most surely, no preacher ever commented in a manner more free from all guise and semblance of courtly adulation, or mean servility of purpose, than Dr Chalmers. We know not what misrepresentations may be given of this volume also by the same dealers in calumny—men whose hatred of such a man as this, is of course in exact proportion to their sense of his power and fear of his zeal. It will be evident to all who bring honest minds to the investigation, that the plain simple purpose of the book is chiefly to do good to the lower orders of society, by reminding the higher of their much-neglected duties towards themto enforce the great obligation of good example—and to shew how easily and how naturally the trifling faults (as they are courteously denominated) of the rich may be converted by the poor into covering, and precedent, and apology, for their own coarser and more obviously and immediately pernicious offences. But as the whole strain of his arguments has the same tendency
at least to promote that good against which the foul passions of these “false prophets” are enlisted, there need be little wonder if they should discover some pretence on which to display the usual allowance of bitterness and rancour, and all dishonest uncharitableness. The truth, indeed, is, that by far the most powerful part of the volume is that which appears to have been most immediately dictated by the author's own observation of the effect which the loose and idle declamations of the disloyal press have produced upon the spirit of the lower orders in his neighbourhood; the absurd ideas which these idle declamations have engendered respecting the relative situations and obligations of the different classes of society; and the wild and visionary notions they have spread concerning the possibility of abating the necessary evils of life by any other means than those of individual industry, honesty, patience, and honourable pride. The discourse on the great Christian law of reciprocity between man and man—“whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye unto them.”—seems to us to be the most masterly specimen of reasoning and illustration in the whole book. He compares the operation of this law, as rightly interpreted, to that of a governor or fly in mechanism—that happy contrivance, by which all that is defective or excessive in the motion is confined within the limits of equability, and every tendency in any particular quarter to mischievous acceleration is coerced and restrained. Nor can any illustration be more just or happy. The ultimate evil effects of the ungenerous conduct of rich men on the interests of society at large, and therefore on their own interests, are displayed in a manner equally original and beautiful ; and he then proceeds to treat the other side of the question in a way that shews no less knowledge of human mature as it actually exists, than sense of that in which its true dignity ought ever to lie. Speaking of “ the ungenerous poor,” whose meanness and rapacity of spirit renders him the worst enemy of the poor his brethren, he says beautifully— “ There is, at all times, a kindliness of feeling ready to stream forth, with a tenfold greater liberality than ever, on the humble orders of life; and it is he, and
such as he, who have congealed it. He has raised a jaundiced medium between the rich and the poor, in virtue of which, the former eye the latter with suspicion; and there is not a man who wears the garb, and prefers the applications of poverty, that has not suffered from the worthless impostor who has gone before him. They are, in fact, the deceit and the indolence, and the low sordidness of a few, who have made outcasts of the many, and locked against them the feelings of the wealthy in a kind of iron imprisonment. The rich man who is ungenerous in his doings, keeps back one labourer from the field of charity. But a poor man who is ungenerous in his desires, can expel a thousand labourers in disgust away from it. He sheds a cruel and extended blight over the fair region of philanthropy; and many have ...! it, who, but for him, would fondly have lingered thereupon : very many, who, but for the way in which their simplicity has been tried and trampled upon, would still have tasted the luxury of doing good unto the poor, and made it their delight, as well as their duty, to expend and expatiate among their habitations. “We say not this to exculpate the rich; for it is their part not to be weary in welldoing, but to prosecute the work and the labour of love under every discouragement. Neither do we say this to the disparagement of the poor; for the picture we have given is of the few out of the many; and the closer the acquaintance with humble life becomes, will it be the more seen of what a high pitch of generosity even the very poorest are capable. They in truth, though perhaps they are not aware of it, can contribute more to the cause of charity, by the moderation of their desires, than the rich can by the generosity of their doings. They, without, it may be, one penny to bestow, might obtain a place in the record of heaven, as the most liberal benefactors of their species. There is nothing in the humble condition of life they occupy, which precludes them from all that is great or graceful in human charity. There is a way in which they may equal, and even outpeer, the wealthiest of the land, in that very virtue of which wealth alone has been conceived to have the exclusive inheritance. There is a pervading character in humanity which the varieties of rank do not obliter. ate ; and as, in virtue of the common corruption, the poor man may be as effectually the rapacious despoiler of his brethren, as the man of opulence above him—so, there is a common excellence attainable by both; and through which, the poor man may, to the full, be as splendid in generosity as the rich, and yield a far more important contribution to the peace and comfort of society. “ To make this plain–it is in virtue of a generous doing on the part of a rich man, when a sum of money is offered for the re.