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verse, breathing their passion either in their own or in borrowed rhymes. Indeed, love makes the poet, for
“Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were tempered with love's sigh." And it is because
“ Love is heaven and heaven is love," that angelic speech flows naturally and unconsciously in the rythmical or harmonic cadence of canticles; because in angelic discourse the form of heaven is represented (A. C. 1648, 9; 7191). When we speak of poetry being the language of love, we do not of course mean of love alone. Love utters sounds; but ideas, and what a certain class of philosophers call ideality, are required for the production of poetry; and to please a cultivated taste the poet must express himself according to the laws of poetic composition, not mechanically, but with the consummate art which has acquired the freedom of nature. If all who feel the glow of the poetic fire, and burn with a desire to see themselves in print, would reflect how much it takes to make a poet, we should be saved the pain of declining many poetical contributions, and of passing over some books that are offered for review. The volume of Mr. Duffy is not one of these. The pieces it contains have considerable poetical merit, and will reward those who have an appreciation of poetry. The short pieces are the best. The theme of the first poem, from which the volume takes its title, we do not admire. The mute inglorious Petrarch who forms its subject should have been allowed to sink into the grave unhonoured by a song—even though it gives a faint warning. Having spoken of love as the soul of poetry, we give one on this never-failing subject,
THE MAID I LOVE.
Her lips are like the red rose-bud,
When first it bursts its shell of green,
Like strings of eastern pearls between.
Looks proudly to the summer sky,
A milder yet a lovelier dye.
But who their changing light can tell ?
The charms that in those blue deeps dwell.
With slightest rose-tints shining through :
May boast the richest auburn hue.
In garden, or uncultured grove,
The one sweet maiden that I love.
But this it is which most I prize,
That, though all hearts her beauties move,
That bind our hearts with strains of love.
In summer sunshine while ye may :
Nor I a more joy-laden day. We have no apprehension of our readers supposing that there is any incongruity in giving a love poem in the pages of a religious magazine; but as there is nothing in it which gives indication of a higher light on the subject than poets ordinarily possess, we give another poem, which shews a new idea.
NOT DISTANT, BUT UNSEEN.
Who have crossed o'er Jordan's stream,
From night's lofty concave gleam ;
Friends in silence seem to glide-
Though no more seen by our side.
In a mystic manner break
To our inward spirit speak;
of the time when they were nigh,
Finds expression in a sigh.
As the chilly stars of night,
See them with the inward sight.
Who beheld with heart dismayed
When the holy prophet prayed.
SWEDENBORG AND MODERN BIBLICAL CRITICISM. By The Rev. EDWIN
Gould, M.A. Boston: HENRY H. & T. W. CARTER. Demy
12mo., pp. 214, toned paper. The claim of the sacred Scriptures to a Divine origin is well calculated to arrest the attention of mankind. The thoughtful among them were not likely to permit the circulation of writings professing such an origin to pass unchallenged. How and when they arose
, and the evidence by which so serious a pretension is sustained, are questions that could not be reasonably avoided. Hence there has scarcely been an age since the preaching of the Apostles without Biblical criticism, nor a nation by which christianity has been accepted without its critics.
The hostile attitude which some of these assumed, and the noble defences which others produced, contributed to give publicity to many of the difficult things contained in the sacred writings; and some of those things have for centuries been waiting for their true solution. The friends and foes of the Scriptures have been equally persistent in examining their contents, the one objecting to statements which they record, the other defending them by interpretation or otherwise : and thus Biblical criticism, on both sides, has made itself conspicuous from the very beginning of Christianity-not, indeed, in that scientific form to which modern theologians would limit and reduce it; still in forms sufficiently decided to indicate both its existence and its aims. Look at some early examples.
During the Apostolic age Paul criticised the opinions of Peter, and Peter criticised the Epistles of Paul (Gal. ii.; 2 Pet. iii
. 16); and there were some who attached themselves to the Christian religion, and yet questioned whether the Lord had ever been present in His Personal Humanity in the world. On what criticism the abettors of this perversity proceeded we are not informed; but that some existed, having a literary pretension, is evident, for John was impelled to speak of it and say :-“Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus is come in flesh is not of God.” (1 John iv. 1, 4.) This, no doubt, is more like authority than criticism ; but the audacity of the question was such as to require, from one who had personal knowledge of the fact, nothing more. Such a question was outside the pale of argument: the utterance of a living memory was sufficient for its refutation. It was not so with the record of more ancient facts. The antiquity and remarkable history of the Jews, which Josephus collected for the most part from the Old Testament, and put forth in the first century, provoked the adverse criticism of Apion; to this Josephus replied, and it has always been esteemed as a successful refutation of his opponent. Jerome said of it, that it “seemed to him a miraculous thing how one that was a Hebrew, who had from his infancy been instructed in sacred learning, should be able to produce such a number of testimonies out of profane authors” to aid his critical vindication.
In the fourth century Julian, (a nephew of Constantine the Great), who became Emperor of Rome, was educated as a Christian, and when young, to avoid the throne, was induced to enter the priesthood. But while studying philosophy at Athens, under the instruction of Libanius, he turned his attention to Biblical criticism, which resulted in his becoming an Apostate, nor were Christian argument or authority, as it existed at that time, sufficient to rescue him from that condition. No doubt imperfect knowledge of the Christian documents and pretensions, united perhaps to imperial ambition, contributed to aid the process of his apostacy. The “heresies” which affected the Christian Church in succeeding centuries, all, more or less, sprung directly out of the influence of Biblical criticism insisting upon some new interpretations. The writings of “ The Fathers” show how many of the most distinguished of them were engaged in this important work. It has played a very powerful part in the whole history of the Christian Church.
Since the invention of printing, by which a knowledge of the Scriptures has been rendered accessible to the world, Biblical criticism has extended its area ; some of its professors have been Christian scholars. It aided Luther and his confrères in promoting the Reformation ; and that providential event gave new zest to Biblical interpretations and inquiry. It provided an atmosphere of liberty for intellect to breathe in, and gave a more practical effect than had previously existed to the Divine invitation “Search the Scriptures.” Scepticism, which had never been extinguished, became more bold, and Biblical criticism frequently took forms which were inimical to the accepted belief in the Holy Scriptures. Holland had its Spinoza, France its Encyclopædists, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden their respective objectors. England has had its Tindale, its Hobbes, its Hume, and others, not to mention those of later times. The literature thus created, though upon the whole unfavourable to the professed authority of the Scriptures, was not without analytical power nor occasional truth. Replies were abundant, both critical and dogmatic. But reasonings were not always the weapons by which objectors were confronted. Authority interposed its legal arm, and sometimes closed criticism with the argument of proscription or the stake. The painful stories of Tindale, Galileo, and Servetus, are familiar instances. The orthodox of the times had no patience with any freedom of thought which ventured to question their decisions. Still the process of mind cannot be stopped by the force of ecclesiastical law, nor by the inflictions of physical punishment. Hence, Christian scholars in after times undertook to handle the difficulties which the heterodox had suggested, and “ Christian evidences” in various forms have been the result.
But, notwithstanding many isolated performances of this kind, numerous clouds still hang over several parts of the sacred Scriptures. To remove their shadows, and to place all Biblical questions in a more satisfactory light, are among the main objects of modern Biblical criticism. The difficult subjects which controversies have proved to exist, both in the text and various matters which it relates, have to be brought up to the fair and reasonable requirements of modern thought, and to perform this valuable work is the great effort of all the Biblical criticism of our times. The learned labours which have hitherto been bestowed upon it are immense, and the investigations are still being carried on with no inconsiderable zeal. For the most part they relate to the verification of the text, and to the establishment of the accuracy of those things which it relates. To accomplish these purposes all the available sources of learning are being employed—nor have the suggestions of ingenuity been neglected—and yet it must be confessed that those noble efforts have not resulted in clearing away all the obscurities which led to their adoption. To explain the difficulties, which in several cases are perceived to be inherent in the mere letter of the Scriptures, theories have been invented. Some of these, such as the “Document Hypothesis,” have been suggested by the letter itself; but it is found that none of them are capable of meeting
all the requirements of the remarkable narrations to which it was intended to apply them. This is shown very clearly by Mr. Gould in the volume before us. He enumerates, with much perspicuity, some of the difficulties to be dealt with, and which are recognized by Christian critics, such as Bleek, De Wette, and others. The following appear in the list :- The Theocracy of the Old Testament, and the marvellous actions which it ascribes to the Deity; the remarkable occurrence of the two names Jehovah and Elohim; the history of the Creation and all that follows to the time of Abraham ; the absence of a religious purpose from many of the narrations which are recorded, and the trivial and private nature of others; the fragmentary character of the history of Abraham and his posterity; inaccurate chronology; historical repetitions, discrepancies, and contradictions; the frequent occurrence of round numbers ; unnatural arrangement and frequent dislocation of narratives; the existence of poetical and mystical language and forms of speech, together with different versions of the same facts. Some of these, with a fuller statement, illustrated by examples, constitute the first chapter of the work before us. In the SECOND CHAPTER, the theories by which Biblical critics of different Christian schools have attempted to deal with the difficulties observed, are set forth, and the application of them is considered. For these purposes the author has judiciously employed the writings of those by whom the theories have been accepted, so that authentic information, briefly expressed, is provided for all who feel interest in such inquiries. The Third CHAPTER, which closes the FIRST PART of the book, shows the inadequacy of those thecries to meet the requirements of the various difficulties which critics have suggested. This is done with clearness and ability. Reference is again made to the writings of opposing schools of thought; each is shown to intimate his dissatisfaction either with the hypothesis of the other, or with the limited and imperfect application of it; and the result of all this criticism is that nothing is sufficiently established by it to command a general acceptance ; hence some of the “orthodox,” feeling the humiliation of those perplexities, deny the difficulties which are recognized by the critics, and boldly insist upon the historical accuracy of everything which the Bible contains. The absence of a principle from all those criticisms, which is of universill application to the Scriptures, and capable of resolving the various classes of difficulties which are apparent in the letter, naturally leads to the inquiry whether such a principle really exists. And this question introduces to the SECOND Part of Mr. Gould's book, in which a very admirable answer is provided. It is in this part that the Biblical criticisms of Swedenborg are presented to the reader. His views, in relation to modern schools of thought upon the subject, are ably considered. The FIRST CHAPTER treats of Swedenborg as a Biblical critic. He admitted, as is well known to his readers, that ancient documents and a mythical period had contributed something in the production of the literal sense of some portions of the Scriptures, especially the early narrations of Genesis; but, in applying