Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

of the human heart. Their influence is the more pernicious because “the fatal poison lurks among the gorgeous beauties of poetry.” But had he devoted his talents to the interests of humanity, fruitful gardens might now have bloomed where frightful deserts have been created. In the efforts of this nobleman to improve the condition of Greece, we discover the inefficacy of every such attempt, based upon no bet. ter principles. It was a good cause, he was an eminent man, and yet he served it ineffectually. His religious sentiments and habits were at war with his enterprise. He could not hasten the liberties of Greece by appealing to the valor of the heroes of Marathon and Thermopylæ. Her classic antiquities, and even her history, glowing with patriotism, chivalry, and high achievement, had no voice that could reach the breasts of her degenerate sons.

The melancholy, or rather the misanthropy of Byron, was a permanent feature in his character, and its exhibitions filled up a large space in his life. Although he submitted to voluntary banishment from his native land, and became a self-devoted martyr to Grecian liberty, he could never escape from the enemy to his peace he carried about in his own bosom, With our knowledge of his character, principles, and manner of life, we are not surprised at the confession he made. " Were I offered the choice,” said Byron, “ either to live over again, or to live so many more years onward, I should certainly prefer the first; yet my young days were vastly more unhappy than I believe those of other men commonly are. I once attempted to enumerate the days I had lived, which might, according to the common use of language, be called happy. I could never make them amount to more than eleven, and I believe I have a very distinct remembrance of every

I often ask myself, whether, between the present time and the day of my death, I shall be able to make up the round dozen.” The fabled notion of the halcyon days, the septem placidi dies, of the ancient poets, was in his case almost literally verified. And it is doubtless in allusion to his own painful experience that he somewhere in his writings, inquires,

“Did man compute Existence by enjoyment, and count o'er Such hours 'gainst years of life-say, would he

name Threescore ?"

But men have lived in the world for some wise and beneficial purpose—have fulfilled the law of their being — been useful and happy-and left us

examples worthy of imitation. Their memory is blessed. Their actions « smell sweet and blos. som in the dust.” The celebrated HOWARD, with a generosity, a humanity, a piety, never excelled among men, directed his footsteps wherever the voice of human woe invited, wherever the groans of the prisoner were heard. What a noble and sublime spectacle! With a patience which the severest trials never exhausted, he pursued the path of noiseless, unobtrusive beneficence, removing from many a heart its oppressive load, and plucking from the memory its “ rooted sorrows.” • For more than sixteen years," it is recorded of him, “ he travelled from kingdom to kingdom, over a distance equal to nearly thrice the circuit of the globe, declining no hardship, shunning no danger, submitting himself with the utmost cheerfulness to all the annoyances incident to such an undertaking, amidst the selfishness of the keepers of the prisons, and the horrid vices of many of their inmates-amidst the heat and suffocation, the dampness and noisome effluvia of close apartments, and the contagion of disease--breathing, for a long time together, an atmosphere tainted with the ingredients of death.”

This good man encountered a most severe domestic affliction. His sensibilities as a parent were deeply wounded by the wickedness of an only son. But in benevolent exertion he sought and found a solace-a balm for his wounded heart. In seeking to console others, he found consolation for himself.

[merged small][ocr errors]


The second foreign tour of the philanthropist proved fatal to his life. But death was by no means an unexpected or unwelcome event. He had been strongly impressed with the belief that he should never see England again. To a friend who endeavored to divert his mind from dwelling on death, he said: “ Death has no terrors for me! it is an event I have always looked to with cheerfulness, if not with pleasure; and be assured it is to me a more grateful subject than any

other.” “He then spoke of his funeral, and gave directions respecting the manner of his interment. “Let me beg of you, as you value your old friend, not to sufier any pomp to be used at my burial; nor any monument nor monumental inscription whatever, to mark where I am laid. Deposit me quietly in the earth, place a sun-dial over my grave, and let me be forgotten.” FORGOTTEN? NEVER.



In the darkest periods of the Church of Christ, there has still appeared, even within the pale of the papal communion, here and there a distinguished light. It is refreshing to turn from the gloomy records of the dark ages, and contemplate the excellences of one who in spite of the superstitions, to which in common with all the world he was addicted, appears to have been a true disciple of the holy Jesus. Such, I am constrained to believe, was the famous BerNARD, one of the brightest luminaries of the twelfth century.

This eminent man was born in the year 1091, at Fontaine of Burgundy, in France, of noble and pious parents. From his childhood he was addicted to learning and religion. Charned with these pursuits he soon came to a fixed determination to immure himself in a cloister. Of the many monastic orders of that period he singled out the Cistertians (recently formed, 1099), because of their stricter rules of life, and greater austerities. At the age of twenty-two, he entered the Monastery at Citeaux (Cistertrum), the original convent of the order near Dijon, and from which it derived its name. Two years after this event the abbey of Clairvaux (Claravallis) was founded in the neighboring province of Campania ; and Bernard, not yet twenty-five years old, became its first abbot. In this capacity he rapidly rose to great distinction. His reputation for piety and wisdom soon brought to Clairvaux nearly sever hundred novices, of whom more than thirty became bishops, six cardinals, and one of them, Peter Bernarı, pope under the title of Eugenius III.

His great ansterities at length so injured his health as to oblige him to go abroad for his restoration. The absurdity of these excesses he then perceived and frankly confessed. Devoting himself to the work of preaching, he went from place to place, drawing great crowds, who flocked from all parts to be charmed with his fervid eloquence. By these means, and by his writings, he speedily raised himself to the highest pinnacle of fame in the Christian world. He was consulted by princes and kings, bishops and popes. His word was regarded as law, and himself as an oracle. His eloquence gave him the name of the honeyed teacher, and his writings were called a stream from paradise.

By his means the schism in the popedom was healed in 1138, Victor Leing persuaded ly him to abdicate, and the kings of France and Eng. land brought to acknowledge Innocent II. To the second crusade he was what Peter the Hermit was to the first. He consuted Abelard, the noted rationalist, and arrested the progress of his sentiments. While he was sincerely attached to the papal supremacy, especially in the person of his pupil Eugenius, he boldly in. veighed againet the corruptions, errors and immoralities of the priesthood, not sparing even the pope himself. It is true that he opposed with great zeal the Cathari, a sort of Puritans, who flourist.ed in his times, and whose greatest fault seems to have been to have known and abjured many of the errors and superstitions of the papacy.

But no one pretends that he was free from prejudice. Had be known his opponents better he would have loved them more. No one can read his voluminous writings, and not te convinced, to use the language of Cave, that he was “a man of sincere and genuine piety, of eminent love to God, and animated with fervent zeal against the corruptors of Christian morals, who would himself have been much better had not the times in which it was his fortune to live, prevented.” He died September 13th, 1153, in the sixty third year of his age.

It was of him that Luther said, -- " If there has ever been a pious monk wbo feared God, it was St. Bernard; whom alone I hold in much higher e-teem than all other monks and priests throughout the globe.” That Luther was right let the following extract from his 74th Sermon, on the Song of songs, be considered. He is speaking of the operations of the Holy Spirit in the heart, and remarks thus :

“ I was sensible that he was present with me; I remember it after his visits were over; sometimes I had a presentiment of his entrances, but I never could feel his entrances or his exits themselves. Whence he came and whither he departed, by what way he entered or left me, I consess that I am even now ignorant; and no wonder, for his footsteps are not known. You ask, then, since all his ways are unsearchable,

ence could I know that he was present ?His presence was living and powerful; it awakened my slumbering soul; it moved, softened and wounded my heart which had been hard, stony and distempered. It watered the dry places, illumined the dark, opened those which were shut, inflamed the cold, made the crooked straight, and the rough ways plain ; so that my soul blessed the Lord, and all that was within me praised his holy name.

I had no evidence of the Lord's presence with me by any of the senses; only from the motion of my heart, I understood that he was with me; and, from the expulsion of vices, and the suppression of carnal affections, I perceived the strength of his power; from the discernment and conviction of the very intents of my heart, I admired the depth of his wisdom ; from some little improvement of my temper and conduct, 1 experienced the goodness of his grace ; from the renovation of my inward man, I perceived the comeliness of his beauty; and from the joint contemplation of all these things, I trembled at his majestic greatness. But because all these things, on his departure, became torpid and cold, just as if you withdrew fire from a boiling pot, I had a signal of his departure. My soul must be sad till he return, and my heart is again inflamed with his love; and let that be the evi

dence of his return. As often as he leaves me, so often shall he be recalled, that he may restore to me the joy of his salvation, i.e. that he may restore to me himself. Nothing else is pleasing, while he is absent who alone is pleasure : and I pray that he may not come empty, but full of grace and truth as he was wont to do."

The heart of every believer, as well as that of Luther, must respond gratefully to such an exhibition of Christian experience, and welcome its author as one of the great brotherhood of the redeemed.

This sketch will prepare the reader to appreciate the following hymn of the same author, in which he pours out the fulness of his heart in the praises of his Saviour. The reader will pardon, I trust, the introduction of the original for the gratification of those who are familiar with the language of the Latin fathers. I have endeavored to give the English reader as close a version as the difference of idiom will allow, preserving the same number of verses and syllables in the same metre. Witsius calls it “ an elegant song, worthy of being committed to memory and frequently sung in spirit and in truth to the praise of the Lord Jesus.”


I. O Jesu, mi dulcissime! Spes suspirantis animæ, Te quærunt piæ lachrymæ, Te clamor mentis animæ.

II. Jesu ! dulcedo cordium, Fons vivus, lumen mentium, Excedens omne gaudium, Et omne desiderium.

III. Quando cor nostrum visitas, Tunc lucet ei veritas, Mundi vilescit vanitas, Et intus fervet charitas.

Jesus, my sweetest one! thou art
The hope of this my longing heart;
My tears devoutly seek ihy face,
My inmost mind implores thy grace.

Jesus! of hearts the sweet delight,-
The fount of life, -of minds the light;
To greater joy none can aspire,
It far exceeds our large desire.

When thou art visiting our hearts,
Then truth its lucid light imparts;
The empty world more worthless grows,
And love within us burns and glows.

My gracious Jesus ! let me feel

Thy love's intense, o'erpowering zeal ;
And grant me, in thy face to see
How wondrous great thy glories te.

He, whom thy love intoxicates,
Knows well how Jesus captivates ;
How blest is he who drinks his fill!
What can he ask or wish for still ?

Jesu, mi bone ! sentiam
Amoris tui copiam,
Da mihi, per præsentiam,
Tuam videre gloriam.

Quem tuus amor ebriat,
Novit quid Jesus sapiat;
Quam felix est quem satiat !
Non est ultra quod cupiat.



Jesu! decus angelicum,
In aure dulce canticum,
In ore mel mirificum,
In corde nectar cælicum.

Desidero le millies;
Mi Jesu ! quando venies ?
Me lætum quando facies?
Me de te quando saties?

Jam quod quæsivi video,
Quod concupivi teneo ;
Amore Jesu langueo ,
Et corde totus ardeo.

O beatum incendium,
Et ardens desiderium,
O dulce refrigerium,
Amare Deum Filium!

Tu mentis delectatio,
Amoris consummatio,
Tu mea gloriatio,
Jesu! mundi salvatio.

Tu verum cæli gaudium,
Jesu! cordis tripudium,
Tollens omne fastidium,
Mel, nectar, melos, suavium.

Jesu !--corona martyrum,
Et flos perennis virginum,
Tu casti cordis lilium,
Tu decertantis præmium,-
Exaudi preces supplicum
Nil extra te quærentium.

Jesus! the pride of angel-throngs,
In every ear the song of songs;
Sweeter than honey on 'he lip,
Or nectar such as angels sip.

For thee ten thousand times I sigh ;
My Jesus! when wilt thou come nigh?
When wilt thou be my welcome guest,
And make me thus completely blest?

Ah! now I see what long I've sought,
What most I've wanted now I've got ;
My soul with Jesus' love o‘erflows,
And all my heart with ardor glows.

Oh! bliss-imparting flaming fire,
And ardent heat of pure desire !
Oh! sweet refreshment from above,
Thus God, the Son, himself to love!

Thou art the mind's supreme delight,
Jove's consummation and its height;
Thou art my boast, for, Jesus! thou
To save the world to death didst bow.

Heaven's richest, purest joy thou art,
The very rapture of the heart;
It never cloys; for love like this
Is honey, nectar, music, bliss.

Jesus !- the crown of martyred ones,
The never-withering flower of nuns,
The lily of ih’unsullied heart,
The wrestler's prize, the saint's “good part,"
Hear thou our suppliant cries, for we
Desire no other boon than thee.



It is well to be a sturdy stickler for the laudation of the good and great; for men, who all the world can see have had the elevation of their race innermost in their hearts; uppermost in their thoughts, and foremost in their hands. Being of this mood of feeling, we take a deal of interest and pleasure in the modern increase of public benefactors, an increase which certainly promises to render our century the envy

all its fellows in the category; an increase, too, which has no precedent, and we pray may have no consequent, for one of its adjunct cir. cumstances, to wit, that the honor of such be. nefaction is awarded in the life-t me of the philanthropist. The injustice of the living age may now be docketed among “ settled accounts," and laid on the shelf, as an insignificant phrase : talent, virtue, self-immolation, wisdom, refor.



mation—men require but a faint foreshadowing of their approach, when they hasten to embrace the messenger and the message, and entertain them with the purple robe and fatted calf. Here is our proof, gent.e reader. “He may benceforward repose himself upon the mountain-side, or by the murmuring waters, with the happy consciousness of not only having followed the bent of his own inclinations, but contributed to the amusement and instruction of a numerous class of his fellow.creatures." We cut the words no matter whence, and of the person you shall know more presently.

What has this man accomplished, that his earthly course is fin she), that he may fing around him the charins of pastoral melancholy, and spend his sunset of life in retired and idle dignity? Been a physician of souls or bolies! No. A v's tant of the prison-house to alleviate human ilis? No. A lawyer, a cotton-spinner, a farmer, a merchant, a mechanic, a laborer for hire ? None of these. Well, perchance even a polit cian? Far froin it. But-the devotee of an ang ing rol!--not a serviccable fisherman with a harpoon in the Southern Ocean ; nor with a lobiine off Cape Col; nor even with a herring dragnet the blesk shores of Shet. land. The usefu', dear reader, is no part of mo lern benevolence; it is the exquisite, the sleek dilettant sin of labor, which alone enjoyeth th's realy and universal praise of notable philanthropy. The hero, on whom this ante mortem epitaph is written, is a perly, ingenious artist of “ Megs with a muckle mouth,” “ May flies,” ree's, silk lines, bagrods, and floats; a digger of beetles, grubs, and dew-worms; skilled in a Ithe wis lom of Izaak Walton, together with a“ first symptom” of a well-bied apothecary in discussing the tincture of benzoin, oil of

aspray, cocu us indicus, assafætida, and oil of polypody, as enticements for dead baits ; can impale a frog on a Limerick, and make a solution of alum to color his line; knows every cast in the 1 weed, the Solway, and the Medway; and all the season, for the twenty years of a philanthropic lile, from Lady lay to October, has been striking his trout, dashing through shallows, clambering over rocks, foundering through whirls, tu bling over rapids, drowning his exhausted salmon in a deep hole, dragging it ashore, and with one coup-de-grace ending it. Oh, noble William Scroje, lsq., well done, good and faithful servant, philanthropist and philosalmonist, piscator maximus ! in return for the edifica. tion of mankind vouchsafed in thus “ following the bent of thine own inclinations,” retire to that

loveiy mountain-side, and, wrapping thyself in the mantle of angling glory,chase the green grasshoppers over the rolling pastures, as the only remaining public benefaction within the province of that imbecility, to which declining years have reduced thee, and as the only titillation for senses st.Il prurient with the habits acquired in the pastime to which thy days were devoted — and rejoice, 0 public, in the doul le fact, that your charity, which awards such honor to such service, enjoys a tension of wonderful elasticity, and that heaven and earth are verily met in this new-fangled identity of selfishness and philanthropy.

In the worse days of one century ago, they managed these things better, for they left to each public lenefactor of this species the task or the sacred immunity of intonating his own trumpet. The Conversations-Lexicon tells usand what don't it tell us that John James Reiske, of Saxony, discarded his father's useful trade of tanning, and took to philology. After devouring all Christian and Pagan literature, he seized upon that of the false prophet, and studied the Koran till his eyes were bloodshot, and his pockets empty. Theoretical medicine he knew, but atominated the practice. Sell-will, or what is politely denominated a noble love of independence, got unto him many enemies; but in a luchy hour he obtained a rectorship, and shortly afterwards a wise; which two things turned the wasting waters of a wayward genius into a channel whence they fell upon the great waterwheel of society, to assist its revo'r. tions. Herr Reiske buried himself in the latyrinths of syntax, manuscripts, varia lectiones, and verbal guesses, while the young world atout him-'uis himself that tears the indignant testimony in good Latin--squandered its time and its money in horse-racing, dice-throwing, dramdrinking, and fortune-hunting. Hear, then, the crusty philologist, in his preface to Demosthenes, as he turns his own face to the mirror of posterity. “I hope that a grateful posterity will one day call to mind there once existed a Herr Reiske, a man of toil, who, in his effort to present the public with a Demosthenes, in a more attractive and perspicuous garb, spared not vi. gils, nor labor, nor money, spurned many conveniences, voluntarily undertook many most irksome tasks, despised the gibes of fools, willingly sacrificed his personal estate and his health for the public good, and bestowed all the powers of his mind and body on the studies, the possessions, and the pleasures of those who knew him not.” There, good public, does not

« AnteriorContinuar »