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almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, its appeal to what is immortal in us is as distinct, as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is mortal in us is essential.”
To a few the revelations of the sky are full of meaning and interest. Here and there one can see,
“Underneath the young grey dawn
Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind,” but to most it appears only as the reservoir of light and vapour, from which men receive supplies in common with the worm and the weed. “In moments of utter idleness and vacuity, we turn as a last resort to the sky, and one says it has been warm; another, it has been wet; and still another, it has been windy. But who saw the chain of tall white mountains that girded the horizon yesterday? Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south, and smote upon their summits, till they blended, or melted away in a dust of blue rain ? Who saw the dance of the dead clouds when the sunbeams left them last night, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves?"
If we turn from these specific objects of grace and beauty to the phenomena with which our daily life is most intimately concerned, we shall find newer and higher claims upon our admiration. Think for a moment of the succession of day and night. We awake from sleep (the mysterious image of death) with invigorated powers of body and mind. Our nerves and muscles at once obey our will, and the inexplicable functions of heart, and mind, and conscience, are resumed. We throw open our window, and inhale the fragrant and bracing air of a new morning. And it is all literally NEW. "The scene to every individual man, woman, and child, shifts with every rising and setting sun. To-day is like no day which has ever been before, or ever shall be again. The position of all the heavenly bodies is changed as it respects the earth. There is a new condition of the whole vegetable world.” All the human family have taken a long step in life's journey. Nothing is exactly as it was yesterday, or as it will be to-morrow. Thousands leave, and other thousands enter upon this stage of action between every sun-rising and setting. Does not this idea of vast, unceasing, universal change challenge our admiration ? Not a blade of grass, not a flower, not an insect, not a living creature is at rest. “The clouds now sailing over the deep blue sky Were never there before. To beasts and birds, who borrow no thoughts or cares from yesterday or to-morrow, each day is the beginning of a new life.” The dew-drops that sparkle in the sunbeams this morning are as fresh, and pure, and new as those which decked the garden of Eden.
The succession of seasons is superlatively grand and beautiful. There is the autumnal decay of living nature, its burial during the cheerless winter, and its upspringing into life and gladness to meet the vernal sun. Eloquently has it been said, “that every green thing loves to die in bright colours. The vegetable cohort marches glowing out of the year in flaming dress, as if to leave this earth were a triumph, not a sadness. It is never nature that is so sad, but only we, who dare not look back on the past, and that have not its prophecy of the future in our bosoms. But there is quite as much of life as of death in autumn-as much of creation and youth as of passing away. Every flower has left its house full of seeds. No leaf has dropped till a bud has been born to it. Already another year is hidden along the bough, another summer is secure among the decaying flowers. Along the banks the green, heart-shaped leaves of the violet, tell me that it is all well at the root, and on turning the soil, I find those spring beauties that died are only sleeping. What earth has once owned and had, it sball never lose. There is resurrection-hope not alone in the garden sepulchre of Christ. Every leaf, and tree, and root, is an annual prophet, sent to affirm the future and cheer the way. Thus, as birds, to lead their little ones to fly, do fly first themselves to shew the way, and as guides that would bring the timid to venture into the dark-faced pool, do first go back and forth through it, so the year and its mighty multitude of growths walk in and out before us, to encourage our faith of life by death; of decay for the sake of better growth. Every seed and every bud whispers to us, to secure while the leaf is yet green, the germ that shall live when frosts have destroyed both fruit and flower.”
But the beautiful things that are obvious to sight and sense are not worthy to be compared with those that are appreciable only by our moral faculties. Into the magnificent temple of light, and life, and beauty, which rose to the view of the sons of the morning, when the Creator "spake, and it was done,” an intelligent immortal being enters, to admire and adore; but there is a higher sphere of contemplation suited to its higher and holier sympathies. There is something in the heroism of the champions of truth and right; in the stern moral conflicts with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and in the signal victories which are won over self and sin, that excites a very different class of emotions. Who reads of that noble tribute of filial gratitude to which, in the old age of chivalry, a company of lordly knights listened, without inexpressible admiration? The walls of the old castle resounded with sounds of mirth and
Moral Beauty-Love and Faith.
song. Each knight had pledged his lady by name in the flowing cup, when St Leon's turn came,
" I drink to one,' he said,
Till memory is dead.
So holy 'tis, and true;
Than any pledged to you.'
With fiery flashing eyes.
Whose love you count so high.'
Thus lightly to another;
And gently said — MY MOTHER!'”
What in the wide world is more beautiful than that little creature, with its tiny, clean, plump hand, grasping the fold of its mother's dress? What fearless confidence does that little hand, full of frail silk or cotton, inspire, and what is it but the incipiency of a faith, which, in its maturer growth and diviner virtue, gave birth to "the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, and the noble army of martyrs?" Well would it be, if, as that little hand grows larger, and leaner, and stronger, the soul that animates it could grasp with equal confidence other objects of faith revealed with the advance of years!
What beauty of the stars or flowers—what grandeur of mountain or ocean scenery, stirs the soul like the spectacle of a little wee thing—the daughter of the lighthouse-keeper-who, in the unexplained absence of her father, braves the fury of the storm; with toil and peril climbs the lofty tower, and sends the light flashing out far off upon the foaming waters !
But our limits forbid any further expatiation, and our object is accomplished if we have invested with new interest but one of the many beautiful objects that are familiar to every-day life. In times like these, when the wail of sorrow and woe comes to us on the wings of every wind, and we are prone to brood over the “ills that flesh is heir to, we do well to take lessons of cheerfulness and confidence from the beautiful things of earth. The hand that contrived, upholds, and controls the well-ordered frame of the material universe, distributes with more than
VOL. XIII.-NO. XLVII.
royal munificence the gifts of his bounty. There is. no valley so deep, or dwelling so dark, that no beam of sunshine can penetrate it. The faith of the lost traveller has been nerved by beholding the exquisite structure of a tuft of moss, and the dreariness of a captive's cell has been made cheerful by the presence of an insect. The show of nature is all open. The poorest and meanest have the freest access and largest liberty. There is no limit to the hours of admittance, no rising and falling curtain, except as one of the most beautiful and sublime features of the exhibition. There are no reserved seats—no privileged boxes. The language of the whole spectacle to the whole race of intelligent creatures is—.
“Praise God in the sanctuary;
Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.” “There is a rapture,” says one, “in the beholding of this wondrous world. There is a joy in contemplating the manifold forms in which the All-Beautiful has concealed his essence, and the living garment in which the Invisible has robed his mysterious loveliness. In every aspect of nature there is joywhether it be the purity of virgin morning, or the sombre grey of a day of clouds, or the solemn pomp and majesty of night.” But all this is the finite beautiful-it is the transient, not the eternal.
" There's not a leaf within the bower,
There's not a bird upon the tree,
The eye rises with the heart from these majestic mountains, this boundless expanse of waters, these beautiful objects which delight and refresh the sense and the mind, to the firmament above us, and by the power of religious faith we penetrate the veil, and behold the infinite and eternal one-the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of all. To be the object of his love and favour, to be adopted into his family, to be like him, to be with him, must be "joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Micah's Prophecy of Christ.
ART. X.-Micah's Prophecy of Christ.*
THE quotation contained in the sixth verse of the second chapter of Matthew is admitted, on all hands, to be taken from the first verse of the fifth chapter of Micah. As to the Greek and Hebrew text, there is no doubt or dispute. The only emendations which have been proposed are purely conjectural. Venema, for example, proposes to omit the words yñ 'Iobdo, on account of the unusual and difficult construction; and Fritzsche, instead of τοϊς, reads ταϊς ηλεμόσιν, agreeing with πόλεσιν understood, and meaning among the chief cities of Judah, in order to avoid the supposed incongruity of calling Bethlehem the least, frazioan, i. e., imaxioon róms, the least town, among the princes or governors of Judah. But these emendations are entirely unnecessary. The rñ 'Iośòa, which distinguishes the Bethlehem here meant, from a place of the same name belongto the tribe of Zebulon,t is elliptically, used, in accordance with a common Hebrew idiom (17777, on n'a) and that with our own, when we connect the name of a town with that of the state in which it lies, without an intervening preposition, as in Frinceton, New Jersey. As to the other case, the explanation of the seeming incongruity, if indeed so slight a solecism needs an explanation, is, that the address is to the town of Bethlehem, not as such, or on its own account, but in allusion to the person who was to come out of it, and who is therefore here compared with the princes of Judah, though the adjective agrees in gender with the town itself.
But though the preliminary questions are thus easily disposed of, when we come to compare the quotation with the Hebrew text, we are met at once by several remarkable discrepancies. Let us examine them in juxtaposition.
Και συ, Βηθλεέμ, γή Ιούδα, ουδαμώς ελαχίστη εί έν τοϊς ηγεμόσιν Ιούδα: έκ σου γαρ εξελεύσεται ηγούμενος, όστις ποιμανεί τον λαόν μου τον ’Ioan...
And thou, Bethlehem, land of Judah (i. e., in the land of Judah), art by no means least among the chiefs of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a leader (chief or governor, iryouuevos), who shall feed my people Israel.
And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too small to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth to me (or for me) one to be a ruler in Israel, and his going forth (or the
* From the Princeton Review for October 1863.
† Joshua xix. 16,