Imatges de pÓgina
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"Ques. xliv. Is it true, that as the Boundaries of Science are enlarged the Empire of Imagination is diminished?

"In the progress of society, a number of illusions, superstitions, and erroneous associations, which formerly produced a wonderful effect on the mind, and became powerful instruments in the hands of the orator and the poet, necessarily lose their influence. As things become better, known, there is less room for the play of the imagination. Hence it is said the world has grown less poetical. In the words of Voltaire :

"On a banni les demons et les fées,
Sous la raison les graces étouffées,
Livrent nos cœurs à l'inspidité;
Le raisonner tristement s'accrédite;
On court hélas! après la vérité;
Ah! croyez moi, l'erreur a son mérite.'

Cc C Philosophy,' says a very able writer in the Edinburgh Review, which has led to the exact investigation of causes, has robbed the world of much of its sublimity: and by preventing us from believing much, and from wondering at any thing, has taken away half our enthusiasm, and more than half our admiration.' Vol. XXI. p.


"It cannot be concealed,' says another modern critic, that the progress of knowledge and refinement has a tendency to circumscribe the limits of the imagination, and to clip the wings of poetry. The province of the imagination is principally visionary, the unknown and undefined: the understanding restores things to their natural boundaries, and strips them of their fanciful pretensions. Hence the history of religious and poetical enthusiasm is much the same; and both have received a sensible shock from the progress of experimental philosophy. It is the undefined and uncommon, that gives birth and scope to the imagination: we can only fancy what we do not know. As in looking into the mazes of a tangled wood, we fill them with what shapes we please, with ravenous beasts, with caverns vast, and drear enchantments, so, in our ignorance of the world about us, we make gods or devils of the first object we see, and set no bounds to the wilful suggestions of our hopes and fears.

"And visions as poetic eyes avow,

Hang on each leaf, and cling to every bough.' "See Hazlitt's Lectures on the English Poets, p. 18.

"On the other hand, the discoveries of Science, particularly those of astronomy, have opened fresh fields for the imagination, and have added in various ways to the beauty and sublimity of natural objects. So at least thought Akenside when he wrote the following lines:

"The following passage, from the same author, owes all its sublimity to modern discoveries:

"Nor ever yet
The smiling rainbow's vermeil-tinctured hues,
To me have shewn so pleasing, as when first
The hand of science pointed out the path

In which the sun-beams, gleaming from the west,
Fall on the wat'ry cloud, whose darksome veil
Involves the orient.'

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"In the discussion of this subject, there is one consideration, which has been generally overlooked. It is evident, that as civilization advances, as the boundaries of science are enlarged, as the world grows older, there is a wider and wider field opening for imagination in the past. Every day is adding to the page of history, and Time is perpetually covering year after year, and century after century, with his visionary hues and sombre colouring, with the moss and ivy of association. Past events are gathering round them that power of awakening thought and feeling, which must ever belong to what is separated from us by the flood of ages. Here, then, imagination has a continually increasing empire, a territory in which she may always reign and revel.' Our finest poets have accordingly resorted to it for some of their most splendid passages, and it may be fairly doubted whether modern poetry has not gained more from this single source, than she has lost by the dispersion of those powerful superstitions, which have fled the light of science,

"As Etna's fires grow dim before the light of day.'

"Where is the superstition, that could afford a finer range to the imagination than the following?—

"The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heav'n-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tir'd of earth,
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air, pursues the flying storm,
Rides on the vollied lightning through the heavens,
Or, yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long track of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and, hov'ring round the sun,
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of time: thence far effus'd
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets, through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amaz'd she views
The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold
Beyond this concave heav'n their calm abode,
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travell'd the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arriv'd in sight of mortal things.'


"The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains.-Beautiful!

I linger yet with nature, for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,

I learned the language of another world.
I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering,—upon such a night

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I stood within the Coliseum's wall,
'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome.
The trees, which grew along the broken arches,
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
The watch dog bayed beyond the Tiber; and
More near from out the Cæsars' palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appeared to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bow-shot-where the Caesars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levell'd battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth ;-
But the gladiators' bloody circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection!
While Cæsar's chambers, and th' Augustan halls,
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.-
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Which softened down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,

As 'twere, anew, the gaps of centuries;
Leaving that beautiful, which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old !—
The dead, but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.'"

ART. II-An Analytical Investigation of the Scriptural Claims of the Devil.

(Concluded from p. 660.)

MXItb, and XIIth Lectures to

R. SCOTT devotes the Xth,

the consideration of our Lord's Temptation in the Wilderness. With the literal historic sense of this part of the gospels, he rejects also the hypothesis of its relating either a visionary prefiguration or a symbolic representation of the trials and difficulties of Christ's ministry, and maintains that it is a detail of mental conflicts, "the natural suggestions of a mind like our own." He acknowledges, however, that this interpretation is not free from objections.

The Lecturer makes some very just observations upon our Lord's being without food in the wilderness for forty days. He shews that the wilderness was not an inaccessible or wholly barren country; that fasting did not always denote in Jewish language a total abstinence from food; and that the expression forty days was a He


brew idiom expressing a long time in reference to the action or event described. Hence, he concludes, (pp. 229, 230,) that "when it is said that Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights, we are not to understand by the expression that he literally went without every kind of food during that time, or that he was miraculously supported without eating and drinking, since this is not intimated in the narration by either of the Evangelists; but that in the exercise of his ministry in the wilderness, being a long time without a sufficiency of nourishing food, he began to feel its effects on a constitution which does not appear to have been robust, but experiencing the uneasy and irritating sensations of hunger."

Lectures XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. and XVII. relate to the Demons and Demoniacal possessions of the New Testament. The author produces evidence to shew that the gods of the Heathens were deified men and women, many of whom were designated by the term demons and worshiped under that name: that centuries before the mis

sion of Christ, the Heathens believed that the departed souls of good men became good demons, and the departed souls of wicked men became wicked demons: that these ghosts of the wicked, called demons, were regarded as the authors of many of the most distressing maladies and calamities with which men were afflicted, by entering into their bodies and taking possession of their whole frame: and that the Jews adopted these and other opinions, though in opposition to their Scriptures, from the Heathens, during their long captivity in Babylon, and subsequently in the Platonic school of Alexandria. He further represents that the most learned and skilful practitioners of those times disbelieved, controverted and disproved these absurd and superstitious ideas, and that the medical practitioners of the present day can trace the several causes in which these diseases, anciently attributed to the possession of the huanan frame by evil demons, originate: whence he infers that in the times of our Lord and his apostles, there were no actual possessions by demons or devils, but then, as well as now, each and all of those disorders termed demoniacal, proceeded from a great variety of causes, but all of them connected with the diseased state of the animal economy. Pp. 308, 309.

The critical examination of the case of the Gadarene Demoniac, in the XIVth Lecture, is masterly. The remarks upon his supposed worship of Jesus, (pp. 318-324,) are deserving of particular attention. In the following valuable passage, the reader will see a fair specimen of this part of the work:

"From the preceding examination of the actions and language of this Gadarene maniac, it appears that his was a species of insanity which is not uncommon in our own times. And if the Devil were the author of this afflicting malady then, as many of his believers assert, why is he not so now? Or, if these evil spirits, these departed ghosts of wicked men, called demons, occasioned this aberration of the human mind, in all its stages, in the time of our Lord, why do they not cause it now? The various degrees of mental derangement are now occasioned by some disorganization of the animal economy, produced either by an intemperate use of strong, and particularly of spirituous liquors; or by eagerly pursuing

vicious courses, and then making use of pernicious means to counteract their effects; or by giving way to violent passions; or by indulging in enthusiastic notions of every kind, religious enthusiasm not excepted; and also by what is termed natural causes. The human system, if description given us by medical writers we may judge from analysis, or from the of that age, and of the present, does not appear to have undergone any change since the time of our Lord. Man was then formed of the same component parts as he now is. Similar causes, therefore, allowing for difference of climate, and a diversity in the manner of living, the habits, the pursuits, and the occupations of men, must produce similar diseases. Knowing these things to be facts, we are not required in the Scriptures to believe what contradicts our senses or our experience; nor are we to regulate our faith by the credulity or superstitious notions of others concerning this or any other disease, in this or any other age. I have already endeavoured to account, and I hope satisfactorily, for our Lord and his apostles making use of the popular language, concerning certain diseases which they removed: their compliance in this respect, does not render it necessary for us to believe an absurdity, nor to credit All things are possible with God. True; an impossibility. Some of you may reply, but goodness and benevolence are essentially necessary to the perfection of his nature and character; malignity, therefore, can form no part of his moral government. These unclean spirits, these ghosts of deceased wicked men, called by Jews and Heathens, demons, cannot be employed by him to inflict diseases on these demons, in thus entering into men, mankind, because the avowed design of lignant. And malign in its consequences was universally acknowledged to be mamust that system of religion be, which is founded on the employment, or, at least, the permission, which amounts to the same thing, of a powerful, evil, malicious spirit, to act as the implacable enemy, tempter, and tormentor of the humau race;' or to allow his coadjutors or agents to indulge themselves in the malicious pleasure of making whom they possessed partakers of their torments.' Such a system is calculated, from the horror and dreadful agitation it produces in some minds, to become an abundant source of mental derangement. Its tendency does not bespeak it to be the glad tidings of the gospel, nor to be peace on earth, or good will to men. Can it be glad tidings to men to be told that their Creator employs a powerful, malevolent, and implacable enemy to seduce them

from the path of duty; and if they permit themselves to be seduced, they are to be doomed by him to an eternity of torments in hell? I state not the melancholy tendency of this system upon my own opinion or authority, but on the authority, and as the opinion of one who must be considered as an impartial judge in this case, Dr. Joseph Mason Cox; who belonged, from his childhood till his death, to that class of Christians usually denominated Particular, or Calvinistic, Baptists. In his practical treatise on insanity, he observes, My experience has furnished many unhappy instances, in which the misplaced, injudicious zeal of preachers has induced hypochondriasis ; in others, insanity of the most incurable species and moping melancholy often terminated by suicide. Professors of this description, with the very best intentions, too frequently make no allowance for the peculiarity of natural disposition, and impute to serious conviction and celestial influence what more properly belongs to incipient disease, or the agency of certain moral and physical causes. Nothing is more calculated to depress hope and in duce despondency, than the indiscriminate practice of minutely describing, in the most glowing colours, the effects and consequences of sin, the horrors of hell, and the sufferings of the damned; dwell ing on the judgments, more than on the mercy, and the goodness, of the Deity. And I remember to have heard Dr. Masont deeply lament this tendency in what he termed the terrors of the gospel.'' -Pp. 332-336,


We wish the author had suppressed the passage, pp. 424-426, in which he treats almost with levity the statement in Acts xix. 12, that "handkerchiefs or aprons" from the body of Paul possessed a healing virtue. Mr. Evanson has, we know, denounced the passage as purious; but it is we think unwarrantable and dangerous to apply the pruning-knife ad libitum to the Scriptures, and upon a supposed incongruity or improbability to disregard and set aside the united testimony of all MSS. and all versions. In this case, there appears to us to be no necessity for such a proceeding,

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even were it granted that any parti cular theory must be supported at all hazards.

The Lecturer does not in our judgment state the case fully when he represents the Ephesian Exorcists (Acts xix. 19) as burning, rather than selling their books because they taught practices which were in opposition to the principles and precepts of the Christian religion (p. 428). These books were recipes for conjuring, 'Epéoia ypaμpara, spells or charms, and the converted magicians destroyed them because they were the known instruments of imposture, fraud and robbery, which are contrary to the principles and precepts of all religions.

Having concluded the investigation of the various passages of Scripture that refer to the Devil, the author proceeds in Lectures XVIÍI. XIX. XX. XXI. and XXII. to explain the language of the Bible, considered as referring, under the English term Hell, to a place of future punishment. He discusses at large the meaning of the words Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. He proves, we think, that Sheol, which in our version of the Old Testament is often rendered Hell, would be more truly translated, at least in the majority of instances, by the word grave.

The following bold criticism would be more intelligible at Portsmouth than at some other places:

in which we find Sheol, is Jonah ii. 3, "The next instance in point of time where the prophet says, that he prayed to God out of the belly of Sheol, i. e. Hell, according to our translators; but Grave, according to Archbishop Newcome. Jonah is speaking of his great deliverance by the kind providence of God, who, when he was nearly overwhelmed and sinking in a tempestuous sea, provided for his escape from a watery grave, by another ship, whose crew seeing his danger, went to his relief, and rescued him when he was in the very jaws of death, from he had risen on the waves and descended corruption,' nnw, shacath, the grave: with them, he had been down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth, with her bars, was about him for ever. Ver. 6. While thus in the midst of the waves; now on the top of the mountain of the sea, and now at the bottom; from this bed of death, this belly of Sheol, he cried unto the Lord, who heard him. Ver. 2. When taken from this perilous


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