Imágenes de páginas

which, in its turn, tends to diminish differences on all sides, and leads men to seek how far they can agree. “A visible and organic unity," instead of being taken as the basis of effort, should be regarded as only possible, (if at all,) when mutual understanding and mutual affection shall render it inevitable. Nor is there any fear that Christianity would suffer much from its absence, if only such a state of feeling as we have now indicated could be secured. On the contrary, the spectacle of the followers of the same Master agreeing to differ on minor points, and walking together as far as they were agreed, might teach the world a more effective lesson than the spectacle of an organic unity which, to an outside observer, would appear to lack freedom and spontaneity. What, for example, should hinder the celebration of a great united communion in St. Paul's, or Westminster Abbey, if the questions of gesture and posture could be left open ? Surely a public and common testimony of common dependence upon one Divine Saviour, and of obedience to one Divine Teacher, would be of inestimable value as evidence of the substantial agreement of hundreds and thousands of English Christians as against Romanists and infidels! And the force of that testimony would scarcely be diminished, nay, might even be enhanced, by the fact that the elements were received by some standing, by others sitting, and by others kneeling. The old maxim that “diversity of custom establishes the unity of faith,” would have a juster illustration in such a communion than it has ever before received; and multitudes of pious Churchmen, Method. ists, Independents, and Baptists would rejoice in an opportunity of thus testifying to the world, that while maintaining their own views on non-essentials, they are entirely at one in regard to the Deity and Atonement of Christ, and the duty and blessedness of believing in Him.

Such celebrations could not be frequent, nor need they interfere with the stated customs of the several communities which con. tributed to the attendance upon them. But their effects would be most blessed. And in view of such effects we can but deplore that they are rendered impossible by the laws which insist upon one posture, and so bring up a tenth-rate question to first-rate importance. So in regard to government. Is diocesan Episcopacy, or Presbyterianism, Independency, or Connexionalism of equal importance with the questions as to the being of a God, the inspiration of the Scriptures, or the doctrine of the Trinity ? And if not, why should men

who are at one on the greater points be as widely separated from one another as from those who deny them? Let the Churches show that they can distinguish between things that differ, and they may hope to teach the world the great lesson which it so much needs. " The life is more than meat, and the body than raiment;" but our present procedure too often makes

the modes of preparing the “meat" and putting on the "raiment” the first concern. Confusion in practice is the natural result of this confusion of thought; and to remove it, as far as we are able, is the best contribution that any of us can make to the great cause of peace and unity.

But to return to Mr. Curteis :

While in the interests of truth we object to his general idea of comprehension as too broad in its scope, and in the interests of charity as too narrow in its basis, we must proceed to notice the manner in which he deals with particular religious bodies. To follow him in detail would require more space than we have at disposal; 80 we must deny ourselves in relation to several tempting topics, such, for instance, as the manner in which he deals with the Puritan controversy in the Second Lecture, identifying Puritans with Presbyterians, while he justly distinguishes between Puritanism and Independency. “The Puritan, so called, was nothing else than a Presbyterian. His one eager, all-absorbing passion was to Calvinize the Church of England,—to assimilate its polity and ritual in all respects to those of Scotland and Geneva." And again, “ this Puritan or Presbyterian faction." (P. 423.)* Such, also, as the challenge to Congregationalists to discover any essential difference between their system in many of its leading features and that of the Church of England, (pp. 117, 118, note,) which would be amusing, if it were not on so serious a subject. Such, too, as the statement that Presbyterianism in Scotland has "split up into two or three irreconcilable fragments,” (p. 48,) when it is notorious that two or more Presbyterian denominations have lately combined, and form that powerful body the United Presbyterians, and that among others the question of union is one of the most prominent of the day. The ignoring of Scotland, indeed, is one of the most curious features of the book before us; but perhaps the lecturer's plan could scarcely have been carried out at all, had he allowed himself to discuss the relationship of the two countries, or the mutual action and re-action of their respective systems of doctrine and polity. Leaving then, these, and other kindred points, of which this second Lecture (the longest of all) would supply several, let us turn to that in which the relations of Rome and England are considered.

(To be continued.)

The mistake is not uncommon. Hence we have collections of so-called " Paritan divines" made to embrace not only H. Smith and Sibbes, and W. Gouge, but even Adams and Faller among Conformists, and such distinguished Nonconformists as Ph. Henry, Howe, Swinnock, and Bunyan. The mistake arises from introducing those who are called Doctrinal Puritans, instead of restricting the term to dissidents on ceremonial matters.



The inhabitants of North America justly regard Great Britain as their parent country; so Englishmen must ever consider Germany as the fatherland of her Anglo-Saxon population. Moreover, England was greatly indebted to Germany in the sixteenth century for her share in the blessings of that mighty movement commenced by Luther, when he gave the Bible to his countrymen, and shook the Papal throne. Thus, also, in the eighteenth century, as we have seen, through the instrumentality of the Moravians from Herrnhuth, John and Charles Wesley were qualified and prompted to give a commencement and direction to that movement which, under the name of Methodism, has been so exten. sively beneficial, both in its direct and indirect results. And it was not only by the teaching and influence of simple-minded and earnest men from Germany that their theological views were corrected, and their troubled and anxious minds enabled to find the way of peace, but it was also from the sacred fire of the German hymn-writers that they kindled their poetic torch.

The English reader and admirer of our hymns (and who so dull as to read and not admire ?) may not be aware how much those which are said to be “from the German," are indebted to the translator for their beauty and sublimity. To translate a lyrical composition from one lan. guage into another, so as to give the thoughts and meaning correctly, without impairing or sacrificing the music and the melody, may be possible ; but it is a work of so much difficulty, that it has very rarely been attempted. John Wesley neither meant the hymns which he published " from the German " to be translations, nor did he call them so. They are, in fact, paraphrases, more or less corresponding to the sup. posed original. Richard Watson calls them “imitations of German hymns, admirably versified.” The English poet used the thoughts contained in them, and clothed them with his own language, aiming rather to produce as good a hymn as possible, than to make an accurate version of the original. If the reader is unacquainted with German, or has no access to the original of these hymns, let him compare the following nearly literal rendering of one among them into English metrical rhyme, with the truly sublime hymn in our Collection (38) which represents it:

“ 1. O thou incomparable Good !

Who would not love Thee fervently?
Who would not that his heart subdued

Might sympathize, my God, with Thee ?
To Thee, who giv'st life, strength, and soul,
Who would not consecrate the whole ?

“ 2. With awful splendour circled round,

Thou art the Light; on whom to gaze
No angel worthy can be found,

No mortal durst endure the blaze;

Yet Thou more universal art,

Than the far-shining sunbeam's dart.
"3. Supreme in majesty and worth !

Thee as their Source all honours own ;
The Lord, in whose dread presence Earth,

And Hell, and Heaven, themselves bow down :
And yet Thou stoop'st so low that Thou

Dost even to my meanness bow!
" 4. Wisdom in Thee alone we find,

Thy reign eternal we confess ;
Thou the profound, primeval Mind,

Art Fountain of all happiness :
And yet so kind art Thou to me,

That one day I shall reign with Thee !
"5. Thou art Thyself the Sovereign Good,

And canst not want or wish for more ;
Thou hast of joy the plenitude,

No added bliss can swell Thy store :
And yet Thou longʻst within my breast,

With all Thy heavenly joys to rest.
" 6. Beauty's essential self Thou art !

No rival canst Thou ever know ;
Thou to the angels dost impart

Whatever beauty they can show :
Yet such Thy love to me, a shade,

That me Thy chosen Thou hast made !
* 7. Thou sittest on Thy throne sublime,

And Hell with trembling owns Thy power ;
Strong is Thy Kingdom through all time,

And sball endure for evermore :
And yet for me that lowly doom

Thou didst accept, the Cross and Tomb !
“8. O Thou incomparable Good!

Towards Thee how should my love not rise ?
How should my heart want gratitude,

Or fail with Thee to sympathize ?
Then let my mind and spirit be

Entirely lost, O Lord, in Thee !" The above will serve to show how much John Wesley's freer version surpasses anything that could have been produced by a strictly literal rendering. To a German ear, however, the original hymns of Scheffler, Dessler, Gerhard, and others, may have a charm beyond what they can have for any ear unfamiliar with the language in which they were written. It has been said, that no work of imagination was ever successful, unless written in the language which the author acquired earlier than he can remember.* And the chasm which separates the idioms and euphony

• "No noble work of imagination, as far as we recollect, was ever composed by any man, except in a dialect which he bad learned without remembering

of any two living languages may render it equally difficult fully to appreciate the beauty of a poem written in any other than our native tongue. While, therefore, the German poet can be best appreciated by his own countrymen, ours is the advantage of having a version in English by such a poet as Jolin Wesley, who felt himself under no obligation to literal accuracy. This will still more strikingly appear, if we compare his renderings with translations of the same hymns, authorized and sanctioned by the Moravian Church in this country.

We shall not weary the reader or tax his patience by inflicting on him any lengthened quotations. Let us take the first stanza of Hymn 133, and compare the two renderings :


“O Jesus, 'fore whose radiation,

The Seraphim must cover'd stand,
When in their awful ministration,

They wait Thy order and command !
How shall this body's eyes, dim-sighted,

Be fit Thy glorious light to see,

When by sin’s gloomy misery
And shadows dim they are benighted!”


** Jesu, whose glory's streaming rays,

Though duteous to Thy high command,
Not seraphs view with open face,

But veil'd before Thy presence stand !
How shall weak eyes of flesh, weigh'd down

With sin, and dim with error's night,
Dare to behold Thy awful throne,

Or view Thy unapproached light?" To assist the comparison, we subjoin a nearly literal version of the same stanza, and place the original at the foot of the page :

" Jesus while the Seraphim,

When Thy command is on them laid,
Only with shaded faces dim

Gaze on Thy Mnjesty display'd ;

how or whep, and which he had spoken with perfect case before he had ever analysed its structure.”—Macaulay's " Critical and Historical Essays," vol. iii.

* "Mein Jesu, dem die Seraphinen,

Wenn dein befehl an sich ergeht,
Nur mit bedecktem antlitz dienen,

Im glanze deiner Majestät!
Wie solten meine blöden augen,

Die der verlassten siinde nacht

Noch so viel trüber hat gemacht,
Dein helles licht zu schauen taugen!"

« AnteriorContinuar »