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· How joys that Son of God to render
His Father's house this right!
He thinks it doubly bright!
That filial eye finds no offence;
He parts in holy pleasure thence,
And asks the stars the way to Bethany." The withering of the fig-tree and its allegorical meaning does not remain unnoticed. The following day is devoted to the attacks of the Pharisees, to the wisdom disclosed in our Saviour's replies, and the denunciations upon Hypocrites.
• It singly swells, that voice victorious,
Maintains sole sovereignty around,
Holds full dominion o’er each ear,
That voice for graciousness so noted,
Stricken Scribe and Pharisee !
While stain by stain your heart's foul sum is told,
O! when was Evil smitten so ?
Thou canst not, Holiest! too intensely glow, There cannot scorch you, Sinners huge, too hot a shame!” Then follows the transition from this stern rebuke to the smiling approval of the widow and her mite. “ But whence this sudden joy of face? Oh! why?
O! whither has the sternness fled ?
Those lips of bitter words but just discharged,
And from stern duty of rebuke enlarged,
That offering so poor, so small,
That Soul sublimely prodigal !
An immortality from that kind voice!
Rejoice, uplifted Poverty, rejoice !
We now draw near to scenes of deeper intensity, the last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Trial, the Scourging, the crown of Thorns, till the awful close of the whole in the Crucifixion. Of the agony of our Lord, he says:
“What may'st thou be
Thou dark imperious agony ?
Our little woes can never learn thee ;
We can only round thee hover,
Triumph at thy glorious ending,
At the Angel swift descending,
At thy strong soul, Messiah, springing up!" The author has passed rather hastily over these great events. Perhaps he may have felt that to dilate upon them would be to infringe upon their solemnity; the feeling of their grandeur may have restrained his pen. He has soared to a high flight in accompanying the Spirit of the Redeemer
to the skies, before he re-assumes his mortal garments. There is no appearance of effort however, and he has shown that his imagination is capable of bearing him into the unseen, though he has till now continued in the domain of facts.
“ Flow on, flow on, thou sovran dye!
Heaven wants its White-Robed. It is finished !'
O! that hopeless, helpless morrow!
With what new joy on Heaven thou breakest !
What angelic mirth thou makest !
That waits upon thy flight above,
What welcome waits thee in the Spirit-Land,
In what obsequious state its People stand-
Know ye how bitterly he hither passed,
And full o'er earth again, its glory cast ?
Ye tellers of the soul, she could not die !
Your glorious guess the world's bright certainty !
Where most ye longed to have, yet wanted still,
There humblest men shall take divinest fill,
Life-Revealer ! haste away!
To Flesh and Earth once more consent;
Advance the ages to new ravishment !
The glory born of thee is eager to outbreak !” To those who seek chiefly in poetry a liquid measure and a plentiful scattering of the flowers of fancy, Mr. Gill's poem will not perhaps prove very attractive. It appeals chiefly to the moral and devotional sentiments, and it requires the reader's eye to be alert, and quick in catching the succession of the author's ideas, otherwise he will charge it with obscurity. Energy is its chief characteristic. It resembles more nearly our old English writers, than any modern school of poetry, among any of which we should in vain seek to class it. Mr. Ĝill betrays some fondness for antique phraseology; but his use of it seldom suggests the idea of affectation.
It is one merit of this Hymn, that it is calculated to enlist the sympathies of all denominations of Christians. Its fervour of devotional feeling, and the deep affection which it evinces to the person of our Saviour, will find it favour among the most orthodox, whilst there is nothing in it which is not true to the feelings of those who love a purer Gospel, the disciples of the Son of Man. Indeed the poem is itself an evidence of the falsehood of the accusation which is sometimes brought against these followers of “the Word made flesh,' that in honouring the Father they forget to give due honour to the Son. The strictest follower of orthodoxy would, we think, acknowledge that the poem does not give a demeaning representation of the Saviour.
V. An Apology for Religious Union on Christian Principles, in Letters addressed to the Rev. John Taylor of Glasgow. By John Gordon. pp. 51.
These Letters are addressed to Mr. Taylor in answer to a pamphlet which was reviewed in the preceding Number of this periodical. In our present remarks therefore it is our wish to avoid a re-discussion of Mr. Taylor's Letter; but the importance of the question at issue and Mr. Gordon's able treatment of it seem to us amply to justify, if not to demand, some further notice. We are the more inclined to renew the consideration of the subject from the tone of Mr. Gordon's answer, which is friendly and temperate, yet firm and earnest, affording an example of the spirit in which a controversy between conscientious minds should ever be conducted.
In Mr. Gordon's first letter, after stat'ng the main question, he proceeds to show that religious union may be understood in two senses, and that religion may be a principle of union among all men, though as a bond of visible union it exists only among those whose agreement on certain points leads them to form an association for religious worship. Such an association (like unions of kindred, of countrymen, of the members of a profession, or of the votaries of an art or science) does not necessarily imply a point of repulsion from other men, but only a peculiar agreement among themselves. Its dissolution would not produce a closer union between them and other men, but only deprive them of the peculiar union which they enjoy.
In his second letter the author shows that a religious association must be founded not merely on what may be deemed in the abstract essential to the existence of the religious sentiment, but on what is actually essential to the production and healthy preservation of that sentiment in the minds of the particular persons associating.
A belief in the character and providence of God may be the only thing without which the supposition of religious emotions is a contra
Vol. VI. No. 25.-New Series.
diction ;' but the declarations of a divine revelation may be necessary to produce that belief. The necessity in such a case does not lie where you alone place it,-in the nature of the conviction which gives occasion to the religious feeling—but in the means whereby that conviction is attained.”—pp. 12, 13.
It must in common justice and fairness be left to the individuals themselves to determine what thy feel essential to the efficacy of religious worship on their own minds. That which they consciously deem thus essential it is their duty to adopt as their bond of religious union.
" In reasoning with a man who believes Christianity, you are bound to give him credit for the sincerity of his belief; and as long as the belief exists, whatever you may propose to him should be accommodated to the conscientious feeling with which an obedience to that belief will be connected.
Surely it is not fair to say of those who are influenced by such prin. ciples, that in forming the religious associations which their sense of duty prescribes to them, they exhibit a desire for the triumph of a narrow theology at the expense of the religious spirit!'”-pp. 14, 15.
Even if the persuasion of duty could be reasoned away, it is argued that every man is justified in requiring what he feels to be most for his religious advantage.
• Without at all denying the religious character of those who reject the views of the divine administration which he has derived from his Christian faith, he conceives that he is a gainer by being able to entertain those views, &c.”—p. 16.
In the third letter our author proceeds to discuss the alleged evil consequences of constructing religious societies upon the basis of such an agreement as he advocates; and shows very clearly that those consequences arise, not from the mere constitution of the separate societies, but from the unwarrantable assumption by men, of a right to impose their own conclusions
“Religious sympathy is not destroyed by not being extended to acts of united worship, any more than it is destroyed by not being extended to the points of theological difference which must exist among men as long as the human mind is constituted as it is. . ... Nay, so far from such sympathy being destroyed by the union for worship being connected with other doctrines beside these essential ones, it may be increased by that circumstance. The conscientious attachment to truth wbich forbids a man to compromise his own views of religion by abstracting them from the acts of worship he performs, if consistently carried out to the relations in which he stands to others, will augment both the pleasure with which he hails any agreement with himself on a