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And thus unto the youth she said,
That drove them to the Bell,This shall be yours when you bring back
My husband safe and well. The youth did ride, and soon did meet
John coming back amain;
By catching at his rein;
And gladly would have done,
And made him faster run.
Went post-boy at his heels !
The lumbering of the wheels.
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
They raised the hue and cry :-
Not one of them was mute;
Did join in the pursuit.
Flew open in short space ;
That Gilpin rode a race.
For he got first to town;
He did again get down.
And Gilpin long live he;
May I be there to see!”
CORRECTION.-In the February number of the “POPULAR LECTURER,"
appeared some verses headed “Where are the Dead ?” attributed to the Rev. T. L. Harris. This was a mistake. The verses originally appeared in “The Spiritual Magazine,” for December last, signed “T. S.”—the initials for Thomas Shorter.
London : FRED. PITMAN, 20, Paternoster Row, E.C.
Printed by J. WARD, Dewsbury.
OR, THE LIFE OF JESUS IN RELATION TO MODERN SPECULATIONS.
YOOKING round on any English assembly, one cannot but
feel that, with all our faults, each man among us is more truly and closely bound to his neighbour than in almost
any other place or age. One law, equal for all ; one common instinct to relieve suffering and sorrow wherever we find it; a very general recognition of each man's right to speak his own thought, and take such rank among his fellow-men as his character and worth may deserve. But once in seven days, it seems as if some magic drop, falling into the clear stream of our daily life, had separated all the elements of society, and precipitated only a number of turgid and dissimilar rivulets. Soft-hearted women, whose lips drop nothing but blessing all the week, go to a temple of love, and mutter over a declaration that everybody who does not believe in certain cabalistic phrases (including, it may be, their own husbands or brothers), “shall
, without doubt, perish everlastingly.” Friends and neighbours who live (generally speaking) in the closest unity of thought
purpose, find it the wisest way to be silent about those highest matters, which should form the closest bond between man and man. And I think, that while in other spheres men are tending towards unity, the tendency, as regards religious matters, is to grind us down into smaller
and yet smaller sections. We see men of the most opposite political creeds honestly working together for any common object of patriotism or philanthropy. But in religion, not only have we a multitude of sects, but each of these has within it two or three minor divisions, often more antagonistic to each other than to distinct sects; and the series is being increased every year. I am told that these separations relate only to minor points, and that essentially the leading sects of English Christendom are one in every good word and work. I grant it, in part. I believe there is too much earnestness, even among the deadest of the sects, to be quite insensible to like earnestness and devoutness in men who speak a different dialect, and subscribe to different creeds, even on what they deem essential doctrines.
I would not presume to speak as one who knows what each set of teachers mean better than they do themselves, or to hope that by any explanation I could give they might be convinced they all mean the same thing. Coleridge says wisely, that all quarrels are accurately described by the common phrase as “ misunderstandings.” But there is a further truth, which I have tried to express in the title I have chosen. Logic divides men: Life unites them. Let a speaker expound a theory, however clearly, and his audience shall go away each man with a different impression. But let him take a biography-say, one of those glorious old Bible stories
“ That always find us young,
And always keep us so”— and his enthusiasm shall communicate itself to every one. I find a general complaint that preachers, when we ask for bread, give us stones,-even fling these stones about recklessly at those who have long grown weary of asking or hoping anything from them. Take the Book we all revere. Most of us learnt the history of Joseph at our mother's knee, and received our first Bible as the most precious gift our fathers had to bestow. And every one of us, I am bold to say it, whose life has been a struggle to be good and to do good, goes back instinctively, from time to time, to those familiar words, nor ever fails to find in them fresh guidance and fresh joy. But this does not bring me one iota nearer to others who profess to own no guide but that
same Book of books. I must needs accept a heap of criticism and history as to who wrote the particular parts, and in what year; schemes of geology and astronomy, which shall reconcile what I have learnt of these sciences with what was written centuries before they were thought of; above all, metaphysical theories as to whether these wonderful utterances were born of the Divine SPIRIT acting through the faculties of men like myself, or superseding and contradicting those faculties. So of the Name that is above every name.
It is not enough that a man have, so far as may be, the Spirit of Christ; not enough that his chief struggle be to get every day more of the Truth as it is in JESUS, and to live it. He is not held to be religious, hardly held to be honest, while professing this, unless he professes also to believe a string of propositions about Persons and Essences, Trinities and Unities, Incarnations and Immaculate Conceptions. The poor English people whose religious hunger has been fed with these husks, have a dim sense that they cannot wait till divines have come to a settlement of all these questions. We leave them, as old Socrates said of refinements on the theology of his-day, “to curious, and leisurely, and not too happy men." We want inspired thoughts, not theories of inspiration ; we would “see JESUS,” not listen to solemn gossip about what Matthew Henry said about what Luther said about what Augustine said about what Paul said. It seems to me that this feeling was at the bottom of a great deal of the controversy about that unfortunate book the “Essays and Reviews," which some of you have read, and all of you, probably, have passed judgment upon. I don't believe all this ferment was about canons of interpretation, cosmogonies, chronologies, evidential views, and the like. All these are important; for a true theory, or the truest attainable, is always valuable. I am bound to honour, not only the moral courage, but the reverence, the learning, the thought, apparent in every page of that volume; yet I felt like a man who spends days and days in poring over the title deeds of his estate, instead of walking abroad, drinking in the sunlight and the fresh air, feasting on the beauties near and far, and sowing seeds of which he may reap the fruits in due time.
We want to see if there is not, apart from these questionings, a Divine power to uphold, a Divine light to guide, a Divine beauty to gladden, a Divine love to purify, and that not far from every one of us. I think we find it by trying to get more and more inspired with the spirit of that wonderful life in the strength of which nations have grown great, cathedrals have been built, and hymns of praise are even yet sung, though now somewhat out of tune.
In asking you to study anew with me for a few minutes this great subject, I shall not knowingly deny or condemn any belief that may be dear to any one who hears me. may
ask you to forego hearing again certain things which you have heard many times before, simply because it may be more profitable to step aside for once to a new point of view. If I say anything new to some of you, it will probably be new just because we often fail to see that which is nearest us while gazing after what is remote, and perhaps, after all, unattainable. "If I can help you at all, it may be by bringing a little freshness of tone and feeling to the study. How much we lose by bringing our ready-made theories wherewith to clothe this fair form, instead of opening our minds to the impression which its beauty would make upon us if we were only true and susceptible! A friend of mine, a preacher, once took the extraordinary course of reading these biographies in the same unconventional tone in which you would read
other record of a noble life. The contrast was so striking, that all his people insisted upon it that he had got a new translation. If I could only get a friend here to take one of these Gospels out into the fields, and read it as though he had never heard a single sermon about it, I should not doubt that my poor words had done some lasting good.
The histories tell us how many forebodings and prophecies there were of his advent; how learned men from the far east came to his cradle, drawn by a presentiment of some new revelation, that should throw light on the problems of the universe for all men and for all time. Aged prophets and prophetesses felt their old blood glow with a new warmth as they clasped this new-comer into the wonderful awful human life which they were just quitting. Especially his mother had the vividest presentiments of what this new soul God had given her to train and to cherish should become. As what mother has not? Do there not come to many a Mary in a cottage, Divine messages of hope and of warning, bidding her guard this new