« ForrigeFortsæt »
Thou shalt look round about, and see
whose happy names
That kindled them to stars. I will give one more specimen. The construction of the following poem is very awkward; but it is rich in strong and poetical thoughts and language.
IN PRAISE OF LESSIUS HIS RULE OF HEALTH.'
Go now, with some daring drug,
New Series-vol. V.
Only a costlier disease.
Hark hither,* reader, wouldst thou see
Live to be old, and yet a man. I have seen the above verses quoted in some periodical publication, with six additional lines, which I give from memory.
In sum wouldst see a man who can
Soul and body part like friends, * That is : attend to the rules of Lessius, prescribing exercise and temperance, if, thou wouldst see nature her own physician, &c.
No quarrels, murmurs, no delay,
A kiss, a sigh, and so away. These last verses are not in the copy of Crashaw's works which is before me; and I am uncertain whether they were written by him. If they are not, they are a happy imitation of his manner.
Many single expressions, lines, and short passages of much beauty might be selected from Crashaw. There is rich plunder for a modern poet. The following is from a versification of the 137th Psalm. By the rivers of Babylon, &c.
'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.'
Sing! play! to whom ah! shall we sing or play,
If not, Jerusalem, to thee?
The music of thy memory. The following is the conclusion of a short poem, in which he expresses his regret, for having indulged too much in sleep.
But thou faint god of sleep, forget that I
Shut in their tears; shut out their miseries.
Swift on bis downy pinions flies from wo
And lights on lids unsullied by a tear. • Bathed in liquid light - The weary lids of wakeful hope' are expressions of Crashaw. We might detach more such sparkles as these, or as the following:
And words more sure, more sweet than they,
Love could not think, truth could not say. But it may be pleasanter for other readers to discover them for themselves.
The longest of bis poems is a translation from the Italian of Marino. Its title is Sospetto d'Herode, (The suspicion of Herod.)
Some resemblance to the thoughts of the original and the language of the translation may be discovered in the Paradise Lost.* There are vigorous conceptions and striking expressions in the work of Crashaw, but there is little that fixes itself in the memory; and it is on the whole an uninteresting poem. There are two other lively and poetical pieces, from which I have not quoted. One is a translation of the
poem of Moschus, called Cupid Runaway,' or as it is named by Crashaw, Cupid's crier.' The title of the other is Music's duel.' It is a versification of the story of Strada of a contest between a musician and a nightingale; in which the nightingale, being overcome, dies of exhaustion and grief. There are others of his poems which discover more than common genius; but in the flame is, for the most part, mingled with thick smoke, and flashes bright only for a moment.
WITH WHAT EVIDENCE OUGHT WE TO BE SATISFIED IN
It is our
This is a question of more practical importance, probably, than is generally apprehended. Men are sceptical on the subject of religion, or their faith is feeble and mingled with doubts and uncertainty, not for want of sufficient evidence, but because they have pot considered what kind of proof the subject admits of, and wbat degree of evidence ought to satisfy a fair inquirer: This state of mind is, perhaps, partly induced by a circumstance, which is in other respects of great value to us; I mean the time and manner in which religion is first presented to us. privilege, and one of inestimable value we ought to esteem it, to receive its truths by early education. We draw in its great and momentous doctrines with our first instructions. The mind is formed, the character is shaped, the course of life receives its direction from it, even before we are capable of understanding its nature, or of having any distinct knowledge, or making any correct estimate, of the evidence upon which it rests.
But this advantage is not pure and unmixt. It is balanced in some measure by an attendant disadvantage. For our religion, pure and perfect as it is in itself, thus comes to us at first debased in a greater or less degree by its mixture with human corruptions. When afterwards, therefore, at a mature age, what was at first -received upon trust becomes a subject of examination, and we have occasion to look into the grounds of our faith, we proceed under the disadvantage that arises from a disposition to scepticism, which is produced by a discovery of what is false and erroneous in the views that had been received upon authority. And under the influence of the prejudice thus excited, there is danger that we shall demand too much, and insist on a kind of evidence or degree of proof, which the subject does not admit. Against such an influence it is important that we should be placed upon our guard.
* See Todd's Inquiry into the Origin of Paradise Lost.
It is doubtless a wise and kind provision of heaven in the constitution of things, that our faith should thus stand at first upon authority alone. But it cannot be imagined to be the design of heaven, that it should continue to rest on no other foundation. When afterwards, therefore, we seek other support, much depends upon our knowing with what kind of support we ought to be satisfied.
Nothing can be more clear, than the right which each one has to know the certainty of that which is proposed as the object of faith; yet he is required to make a reasonable use of that right. He is justly expected to pursue his examination with fairness and to accept of such kind of evidence, and to rest satisfied with such degree of proof, as the subject will admit of, and not to require that, of which it is not capable.
Now religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is offered to us only upon the ground of moral evidence. It can be offered to us upon no other ground. Its truths are proper objects of faith; and I shall endeavour to show, that proposed as they are, they are the objects of a reasonable faith, and not liable to objection; in the first place, because they stand on the same ground, in this respect, with other truths, which are received without hesitation, and upon which we act in the ordinary business, and in the common interests of life; and in the next place, because from the very nature of religion it were to be expected, that they would be presented upon such evidence, and such only.
Now with respect to other truths which are most firmly believed, and upon the faith of which we feel ourselves fully authorised to act, where even great interests are depending; how few are supported, or are capable of being supported by any other, than moral evidence? They have not the testimony of our sensesthey are not subjected to the infallible text of consciousness-are not susceptible of demonstration. They rest upon human testimony, which though it may mistake or intentionally deceive, is yet deemed a reasonable ground of faith, where evidence of á different kind is not to be obtained. Or they are grounded upon presumptions, which have singly but little force ; the