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fire. Like Vane, he thought himself intrusted with the sceptre of the millennial year. Like Fleetwood, he cried in the bitterness of his soul that God had hid his face
from him. But, when he took his seat in the council, 70 or girt on his sword for war, these tempestuous workings
of the soul had left no perceptible trace behind them. People who saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth visages, and heard nothing from them but their groans
and their hymns, might laugh at them. But those had 75 little reason to laugh who encountered them in the hall of debate, or in the field of battle.
The Puritans brought to civil and military affairs, a coolness of judgment, and an immutability of purpose
which some writers have thought inconsistent with their 80 religious zeal, but which were in fact the necessary ef
fects of it. The intensity of their feelings on one subject made them tranquil on every other. One overpoweriny sentiment had subjected to itself pity and hatred,
ambition and fear. Death had lost its terrors, and pleas85 ure is charms. They had their smiles and their tears,
their raptures and their sorrows, but not for the things of this world. Enthusiasm had made them stoicks, had cleared their minds from every vulgar passion and
prejudice, and raised them above the influence of dan90 ger and of corruption. It sometimes might lead them to
pursue unwise ends, but never to choose unwise means. They went through the world like Sir Artegales's iron man 'Talus with his flail, crushing and trampling down
oppressors, mingling with human beings, but having 95 neither part, nor lot in human infirmities; insensible to
fatigue, to pleasure, and to pain; not to be pierced by any weapon, not to be withstood by any barrier.
Such we believe to have been the character of the Pu
ritans. We perceive the absurdity of their manners. 100 We dislike the gloom of their domestick habits. We
acknowledge that the tone of their minds was often injured by straining after things too high for mortal reach : And we know that, in spite of their hatred of popery,
they too often fell into the vices of that bad system, in105 tolerance and extravagant austerity. Yet, when all cir
cumstances are taken into consideration, we do not hes
itate to pronounce them a brave, a wise, an honest, and an useful body.
An enlightened ministry. Christianity now needs dispensers, who will make history, nature, and the improvements of society, tributary to its elucidation and support; who will show its
adaptation to man as an ever progressive being ; who 5 will be able to meet the objections to its truth, which
will naturally be started in an active, stirring, inquiring age ; and, though last not least, who will have enough of mental and moral courage to detect and renounce the
errors in the Church, on which such objections are gen10 erally built. In such an age a ministry is wanted,
which will furnish discussions of religious topicks, not inferior at least in intelligence to those, which people are accustomed to read and hear on other subjects.
Christianity will suffer, if at a time, when vigour and 15 acuteness of thinking are carried into all other depart
ments, the pulpit should send forth nothing but wild declamation, positive assertion, or dull common places, with which even childhood is satiated. Religion must
be seen to be the friend and quickener of intellect. It 20 must be exhibited with clearness of reasoning and varies
ty of illustration; nor ought it to be deprived of the benefits of a pure and felicitous diction, and of rich and glowing imagery, where these gifts fall to the lot of the
teacher. It is not meant that every minister must be 25 a man of genius; for genius is one of God's rarest in
spirations, and of all the beamings and breathings of genius, perhaps the rarest is eloquence. I mean only to say, that the age deinands of those, who devote them
selves to the administration of Christianity, that they 30 should feel themselves called upon for the highest culti
vation and fullest developement of the intellectual nature. Instead of thinking, that the ministry is a refuge for dulness, and that whoever can escape from the plough
is fit for God's spiritual husbandry, we ought to feel that 35 no profession demands more enlarged thinking and
more various acquisitions of truth.
In proportion as society becomes enlightened, talent acquires influence. In rude ages bodily strength is the
most honourable distinction, and in subsequent times 40 military prowess and skill confer mastery and eminence.
But as society advances, mind, thought, becomes the sovereign of the world; and accordingly, at the present moment, profound and glowing thought, though breath
ing only from the silent page, exerts a kind of omnipo45 tent and omnipresent energy. It crosses
oceans and spreads through nations; and at one and the same moment, the conceptions of a single mind are electrifying and kindling multitudes, through wider regions than
the Roman Eagle overshadowed. This agency of mind 50 on mind, I repeat it, is the true sovereignty of the world,
and kings and heroes are becoming impotent by the side of men of deep and fervent thought. In such a state of things, Religion would wage a very unequal
war, if divorced from talent and cultivated intellect, if 55 committed to weak and untaught minds. God plainly
intends, that it should be advanced by human agency; and does he not then intend, to summon to its aid the mightiest and noblest power with which man is gifted !
Channing. 110. Prayer. Prayer is an action of likeness to the Holy Ghost, the spirit of gentleness and dove-like simplicity; an imitation of the holy Jesus, whose spirit is meek up
to the greatness of the biggest example, and a con5 formity to God, whose anger is always just, and march
es slowly, and is without transportation, and often hindered, and never hasty, and is full of mercy : prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the
evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest 15 of our cares, and the calm of our tempest ; prayer is
the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts, it is the daughter of charity, and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is with a trou
bled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into 15 a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out
quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be
wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to that attention,
which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For 20 so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and
soaring upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds ; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an
eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and incon25 stant, descending more at every breath of the tempest,
than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was
over, and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise 30 and sing as if it had learned music and motion from an
angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministeries here below : so is the prayer of a good man; when his affairs have required business, and his
business was matter of discipline, and his discipline was 35 to pass upon a sinning person, or had a design of chari
ty, his duty met with the infirmities of a man, and anger was its instrument, and the instrument became stronger than the prime agent, and raised a tempest and
overruled the man; and then his prayer was broken, 40 and his thoughts were troubled, and his words went up
towards a cloud, and his thoughts pulled them back again, and made them without intention ; and the good man sighs for his infirmity, but must be content to lose
the prayer, and he must recover it, when his anger 45 is removed, and his spirit is becalmed, made even as
the brow of Jesus, and smooth like the heart of God; and then it ascends to heaven upon the wings of the holy dove, and dwells with God, till it returns like
the useful bee, loaden with a blessing and the dew of 50 heaven.
111. Gray's Elegy.
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
2 Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air'a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ; 3 Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the Moon complain
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. 5 Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply: And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die. 6 For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind ? 7. On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, 9 Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
« Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn, Brushing, with hasty steps, the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn: 10 There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreaths its old fantastic roots so high,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.