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once permitted, the step was short from admiration or respect to adoration and prayer to them, and whatever or whoever is invariably represented as the greatest or most powerful, will become the chief object of devotion. On all occasions wherever the image of Mary is erected, she is upon the larger scale, Christ upon the lesser-in all puppets, or dolls, or statues, or pictures great or small in size as may be, the Virgin is made as an adult, Jesus as a child; she is arrived at the age of authority, he is a dependant babe—the figures, whether painted or sculptured, exhibit Christ in a state of weakness, wanting the care and instruction of his mother. In this form he is continually brought before the eyes, and presented to the minds of Romanists, who thus necessarily associate the idea of Christ with that of a helpless infant; and the mother, not the Son, becomes the object of worship, as the one who always seeming the most powerful, is the person to whom prayer or adoration is most justly due. When Papists are trained from their earliest youth to see these representations which are called “the Virgin and child,” for she is always named first, not he, it is impossible to prevent the mind believing the parent should be the person addressed, and that she also ought to have the respect of her Son, as well as the adoration of all others. This perpetual exhibition of strength and weakness in the persons of Mary and Jesus is, we believe, the real cause
vhy the worship of the Virgin is more general in Popish countries than that of Christ.
Mary is undoubtedly the universal object of prayer in the Romish Church; the Rosary has but one paternoster for every ten ave-Mary's; and this species of idolatry has probably obtained such general obser
vance, from the oft-repeated manifestations of the relative proportions of strength, authority, and power in the one, contrasted with the dependance, subjection, and helplessness of the other.
The New Testament writers touch slightly upon the birth, infancy, and youth of Jesus.
Those times are past over with scarcely a notice of more than was absolutely necessary to explain his history, nor do the Eyangelists dwell upon his character, doctrines, or words until he was at the age of thirty, whereas the Church of Rome devotes her attention chiefly to his earliest childhood, and most of the pictures and statues pourtray him as in the arms of his mother. Yet that was a period in his life upon which the Gospels and Epistles never dilate.
Popery is essentially false and unscriptural in regard to the worship of the Virgin—there is not one word in Scripture which gives the least intimation that she ever was to become an Intercessor or Mediator either when the Lord was on earth, or now that he is in heaven. It is remarkable, and deserving of serious attention, that although Christ treated all women with the utmost compassion, courtesy, and kindness, he seemed to single out Mary, his mother, as the only one of her sex to whom was shown any mark of disrespect or neglect ; in his youth he was obedient to both herself and Joseph, but after the commencement of his public ministry there is no reason to suppose he had either residence or communication with them. On occasion of Christ's first miracle at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, where Mary also was, when she merely spoke to him, he most unexpectedly and abruptly said to her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” At another time, when he was told his mother and sisters
piety of this tale, with the pure theism of the Arabian Nights, and judge whether the Deity was better worshipped at Cologne or at Bagdad.”
“ Stories of the same cast are frequent in the monkish Historians, Matthew Paris, one of the most respectable of that class, and no friend to the covetousness or relaxed lives of the priesthood, tells of a knight who was on the point of being damned for frequenting tournaments, but saved by a donation he had formerly made to the Virgin.”
The encyclical letter of the present Pope, Pius IX., dated Nov. 23, 1846, concludes with a prayer addressed to the throne of mercy under the invocation and intercession of the Mother of God, of Mary, the immaculate Virgin,' &c.
“ stood without, desiring to speak to but also one of weakness; the favourhim ?” he does not appear to have ite crucifix, which is quite as general noticed them in any way, but at once amongst Papists as the Madonna, is declared that all who did his will were a representation of Christ on the “his mother, and sister, and brother." cross, as dying or dead; either or A more singular circumstance than both of these pictures or images tend even those instances of disclaiming to same end, that of perpetually any human relationship, took place showing the Lord in a state of deat the most solemn moment of his pendance or exhaustion; and from life—when Mary was standing at the these scenes constantly impressed foot of the Cross. Jesus said unto upon the senses, the Romanist has John, “Behold thy mother;" there Jesus perpetually brought before him was the wish that she should be re- as in a condition of helplessness or membered and cared for by his dis- humiliation, whereas Mary is always ciple, whilst at the same time he depicted in the bloom of youth, health, disowned every earthly tie of kindred, and beauty. and did not even then acknowledge Whether the inventors and abettors her as his mother—when this is evi- of the worship of Mary had the sinisdently one meaning of his request or ter design in view of debasing Chriscommand, how can it be supposed tian worship to the level of heathenism that she who during his whole we know not, but such is the result public life had been treated with less of Mariolatry, and the Spaniards and tenderness than many other women, other Popish people who kneel at her whether Jews or Gentiles, that she, shrines, know little beyond her names whose very relationship had been and attributes; and whilst whole transferred from himself to another, Litanies are said or sung in her was to be the chief mediator, and honour, or for her intercession, there intercessor, and Queen of Heaven? is little time or inclination left for the and all this, without any appointment service of the Lord God Almighty. by the Lord, or any revelation from If, then, the main features of God, was to be made a leading doc- Romanist doctrines give false imtrine of Christianity! They “do pressions of Christ's power and meerr, not knowing the Scriptures," diation, and have also created an who teach such falsehood, for he who idolatrous religion, it can excite no believes in Mary as a mediator, can- surprise to find that such a corrupt not also believe that there is but one Church should present a wafer made Mediator between God and men, the of flour and water to be taken as man Christ Jesus ; (1 Tim. ii. 5.) and “the body, soul, and divinity of the Church which sets aside the Christ.” Those who can believe the peculiar office of the Saviour,“ denies Virgin Mary has all power in heaven the Lord who bought them.”
and earth, are in a state of ignorance Again; the Church of Rome has which is ready to receive any other not only made it one of her chief fiction, and they who bow down to objects to exhibit Christ as an help- wooden images, can be made to beless infant, she has likewise seized lieve any other device of Satan. upon another and very different scene,
No. I. “The poetry of earth is never dead.” ears and gorgeous blossoms of -The voice of the grasshopper in autumn, the many-coloured leaves the hedge-row, of the cricket on the that flicker earthward at the first hearth, suggested the thought, and breath of winter, the glistering sprays the pale snow-drops of spring, the and holly beads of Christmas, bear flushed roses of summer, the golden witness to the truth day by day, in
language more varied and expressive rational, not so hopelessly insensible than ever flowed from a human pen, as to turn a deaf ear to the voice of or was framed by a human tongue. the charmer, and to shut out the Yet with the fair book of creation wandering and haunting music of the unfolded and unfolding before us, minstrel from whatsoever quarter it there are those who would persuade
It would be strange, inmen that poetry, alike the lofty and deed, if there were not the harping of the feeble, must needs be crushed the harper, and the ear of the listener and perish beneath the broad and amongst us yet, for the same fair rapidly advancing chariot wheel of world (clouded by sin,) lies before civilization. They speak of the ma- us, as in the day when the morning jestic strains of elder days, as of the stars sang together; the same feelings nursery songs of nations, as of milk, of triumphant gratitude awaken in with which it was fitting babes and the heart as in the morning when the sucklings should be nurtured, but as timbrel of Miriam sounded over food insipid and contemptible in the “ Egypt's dark sea,” the same melanestimation of full-grown men. There cholic bitterness is abroad in the are others to whom whatever is poeti- earth, as in the hour when the spirit cal, either in language or sentimen of darkness was chased from the is about as interesting and intelligible royal threshold of Saul by the voice as the Greek of Homer, or the He- of the sweet singer of Israel. Wide brew of David would prove to a are the fields of thought and observacottage child. These appear to have tion spreading league beyond league awakened on the broad green earth, before the dreaming eyes of the poet absolutely wanting the sensibility in our day: True it is, men strong which should enable them to perceive of eye and bold of heart, have, as it among the scattered and crumbling were,
scaled the walls of heaven, and ruins of the Fall, that the handiwork walked among the stars, have unof God is yet very good,” and to
twined the golden braid of the noonbe sought out of all them that have day sunbeam, have watched the dews pleasure therein.
of evening, and found they are of There are some, however, not so earth rather than of heaven, and it eagerly utilitarian, not so coldly has been forcibly said,
“Do not all charms fly
But not for this must the voice of poetry cease from among us, rather may we believe that there is enough in recent discoveries, and in their marvellous and manifold applications, to awaken the loftiest strains—strains differing from the songs of the heathen bards of old, but yet more thrilling, yet more spirit-stirring.
But it is not of secular poetry we would now speak, and we seem to have wandered a little from our subject, yet we have not altogether lost our path, for if “Christian Poetry” is to be something better than a mere
fettering of trite sentiments with rhyme and metre, religious poets must travel over wider ground than many persons might judge needful, or perhaps expedient, if the “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” wherewith we edify one another are to win respect (and there is no reason why they should excite contempt,) from the world without. Writers of these compositions must not heed the labour, but must cultivate with care the gift that is within them; must search far and wide through the dim regions of antiquity, and the broad realms laid open by modern science, itself wings and fly away, leaving befor apposite and novel illustrations. hind a religious sentiment probably The ships of Tarshish and the isles correct and orthodox, and had it brought materials for the temple of been expressed in simple prose, imthe living God in Jerusalem, and in pressive and devotional, but cramped many a distant region, in many a and fettered by the rules of versificahidden and unfrequented mine, may tion, little calculated to excite another Christian writers find gifts to lay feeling than the languid wish that it upon the altar of God in our day. had come before us under a more If these gifts are brought in faith and agreeable guise. It is well sometimes humility, we know that one who can- to read for others as well as ourselves, not err has said “the altar sanctitieth and to remember that the style of the gift.” Many excellently dis- composition most consonant with our posed individuals, had they been at own peculiar taste, or state of feeling, hand when Saul of Tarsus was study- may not be that best adapted to ining the Greek poets, would, we may fluence the world at large. We have believe, have passed heavy condem- said that there are ears and hearts nation on the student, yet though the prepared to yield themselves to the Apostle Paul afterwards declared of influence of poetry still amongst us, himself, that in general he came not and what class of poetry is calculated with excellency of speech, or with to gain a wider audience than that of man's wisdom, the same apostle Christianity, if the hand of a master scrupled not to avail himself of his were on the harp-strings? The events human learning in the streets of of Christianity, from that unforgotten Athens; and, it may be, his quotation midnight when the angels of God from a Greek poet first inclined the were singing above the sheepfolds of heart of the Areopagite to listen to Bethlehem, down to our own days of the novel doctrines of the Jewish strife and armed watchfulness, furnish stranger. It was once said, “ Though subject matter for the religious poet religion may not require the aid of such as the bards of old found not in human learning, it still less requires their most favoured hours of vision. the aid of human ignorance," and Religious poetry also (using the term certainly there is no imaginable rea- in its general sense,) would seem the son why our religious sentiments prevailing taste of the day, where should always be presented to the poetry is acceptable, and writers of world clad in sackcloth, if we the Tractarian school have ministered with a clear conscience wrap them abundantly to the taste. They have in purple and fine linen. There devoted sedulous attention to this is no great novelty in these observa- branch of literature, and they have tions it is confessed, but in times like found their reward, if we are to judge our own, both the writers and readers from the wide and rapid circulation of “Christian Poetry” may do well of their labours in this direction. to call such obvious truths to mind. Doubtless there is much in the There are estimable persuns of the belief, education, and sympathies of latter class, who appear scarcely satis- these writers which has contributed fied unless a whole circle of Scripture to render their poetry elegant and sedoctrines has been included in the ductive; but we see not that to these hymn (it matters not on what par- alone is it permitted to enter the ticular subject,) which is to find ac- land of vision, we see not that soberceptance in their sight, unless the minded Protestants must of necessity form of words adopted be precisely content themselves with homely prose, that in which they have been accus- and yet more homely verse. There tomed to clothe their own devotional
are many amongst us perfectly sound sentiments. Now it happens that a and orthodox in sentiment, who may disagreeable monotony results from yet have leisure, education, and poetic the continual employment of one feeling, and, before such, a wide field particular style of phraseology in use of labour lies open, for on the fields on the most ordinary occasions, and of intellect and imagination the curse poetry, as such, is apt to make to of the Fall is yet resting, and thorns
and briars must be subdued before labourers, and though such may write the seed may be sown, and the har- for itself no well-sounding name vest garnered. Many may faint and in the rolls of fame, yet, if it was fail, or if they fail not utterly, may stretched out to labour in a Christian never return from the field laden with and devoted spirit, assuredly the resheaves, yet it may be well to make ward of that labour shall one ciay be the attempt of which we have spoken, received, even in the day when the for even a feeble hand may clear away Master comes from the “far country” a few weeds from the path of after to take account of his servants.
STARS, SNOW, AND SILENCE.
The stars above, the snow beneath,
And silence brooding all around,
Around the heart by you.
Stars, snow, and silence ! how
Pour'd on some aching wound :
Light that reveals the good and fair,
Îllumining the soul throughout,*
Oft seek in vain to mar.
But not alone by you are giv'n
Types of the glorious gifts of Grace,
Each costly gift matur’d.
There, glows a light less veil'd more deep,
E’er flowing from the central throne,
To break th' eternal calm.
* Luke xi. 36.