Page images
PDF
EPUB

from Nazareth to Hebron is almost step by step the track of Professor Robinson reversed, as given in his Researches. In the descriptions of travelers, whenever there was a picture word or graphic epithet, the writer has unceremoniously seized hold of them, being more anxious to produce a truthful impression than to claim the merit of originality. Nor should we censure this while we praise the painter who seeks to transfer to his canvass the coloring of a Titian or Rubens, or the sculptor who seeks to inspire his marbles with the indescribable graces of the chisel of Praxiteles; we rather should applaud the design of throwing the coloring of imagination around the authentic details of a tome of travels or a dry encyclopedia.

In all cases where the Divine Subject of the narrative has been introduced as speaking, the language has been simply and only that of the Bible, without paraphrase, diminution, or addition; for the author could not hope to achieve what even Milton failed to accomplish, viz., to represent worthily, unassisted by the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the words of one wholly divine. For the same reason, no description of the personal appearance of the Savior has been attempted, as it was believed to be a subject where all words, as well as all ar

tistic representation, whether by pencil or chisel, must forever fall short of the expectations and desires of the soul that appreciates his glory. That revelation must be left to the disclosures of a coming day.

In the style of writing here adopted, there are, confessedly, great difficulties, more particularly when applied to sacred subjects of so high a grade. To meet every one's ideal, to shock no one's tastes, to impinge on no one's doctrinal views, and to make, in so extensive a subject, no mistakes in points of research, is perhaps a height of success not to be dreamed of. It is only to be hoped that the work, with all the drawbacks necessarily incidental, may offer to many minds a decided advance upon their former conceptions of sacred subjects, and furnish a suggestive stimulus to further mental activity in the same direction.

Many, in this hard and utilitarian age, are wont to underrate the faculty of the imagination, and all that ministers and belongs thereto, as of no practical value. But, for all that, it is none the less a fact, that such a faculty does exist, burning and God-given, in many a youthful soul, and, for the want of some proper aliment, seeks the strange fire from heathen altars, and culls poisonous fruits and flowers from hot-beds of the god of this world. Even for this fallen and too often erring child of heaven there is, however, bread enough and to spare in a Father's house.

If, then, these pages should suggest to some fervent spirit that it may not be necessary to have recourse to the strains of a Byron, or the glowing pictures of a Bulwer or a Sue, for themes of boundless scope and unutterable brilliancy, then one result, at least, of no inconsiderable moment, will have been realized.

1

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »