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But as in looking at that beautiful old oak at B~ the eye rests on the massive trunk and the stately branches, while the roots, though of even greater importance, pass unnoticed, so I have taken for granted—perhaps too confidently—that everyone who knows anything of himself and of his God must, as it were, by a kind of moral necessity, depend for the support of his whole being (the roots, so to speak, of his Tree of Life) on a full, firm, heart-felt belief of the Trinity in Unity; of the Almighty Father, the everlasting Son, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter, as working together for us men and for our creation first, then for our new creation-that is, our redemption-afterwards ; so that the acmé of all bliss, the endless felicity, the exceeding and eternal weight of glory, is that which St. Paul describes as being filled with the fullness of God.'
But only 'in a figure' can we at all understand what these words must mean. Thank God, we have a similitude, which God Himself vouchsafes to use when He calls Himself the Sun of Righteousness, the Light of the World, the bright and Morning Star.
Without light there is no joy, no colour, no brightness ; without heat there is no life, no comfort; yet the blank that our physical life would be without light and heat is but a shadow of the blank that our moral and spiritual life would be apart from the Father, the Saviour, and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life!
Light is the similitude that God Himself gives us; as we read in the Revelation“The city had no need of the light of the sun, neither of the moon, for the glory of the Lord God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.'
There is a wild legend in Cornwall of one Jannie Tregagle, doomed to empty the largest pool on Bodmin Moor with a limpet shell in which is a great hole, when the winds howl over the open moor the voice of Jannie Tregagle is heard still, wailing over the hopelessness of his task; and it would be just as impossible to bring out the full beauty, the unfathomable depth of meaning, which these words, 'I am the Light of the world,' convey; our imagination fails—nay, faints--before the thought of the King in His beauty, as our eyes, unshaded, must close before the glory of the noonday sun.
And it seems to me that the force of this similitude is enhanced by the way in which darkness-outer darkness—is spoken of as the punishment of such as will not come to the Light; of those wbo, as is so strikingly pointed out in a series of sermons on Holman Hunt's wonderful picture, do bolt and bar out the Light that is shining around them, the Light that God has commanded to shine in our dark hearts to give the knowledge of the glory of God, in the Face of Jesus Christ.
And I have often thought, too, that the instinctive horror children have of 'the dark' ought to be most carefully and tenderly treated, for darkness and the power of darkness are spoken of all through the Bible as something far more fearful than the mere negation of light.
A day or two ago, while watching by the quiet death-bed of one very dear to me, my Bible opened on that most comforting passage, Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer.' I returned to the sick-room in the dim twilight of very early morning; my Bible lay open as I had left it, and I turned back the page to read the chapter through. ‘Arise, shine, for thy Light is come.' The verse struck me most forcibly, as the sun rose, and the long red light glittered on the hoar-frost, while the shadows of the old farm-buildings lessened in the growing light of a bright winter's day; and more and more I thought of the wonderful way in which all we know of the sun, and all we learn of the properties of light and heat, only serves to illustrate more and more perfectly the influence of our Lord Jesus Christ's grace and love, when God, our Father, makes us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in Light; when it is indeed the simple truth that
* All our radiance, all our glow,
We borrow of our Sun!'
For this is life eternal, to know Thee, the only God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. 'I am the Life,' our Lord says of Himself; the knowledge of God will be to us Life ; it will be to us all-in-all.
And this will help me to explain what I meant in that which seemed to you as if I were inclined to make our wishes the rule of our belief in regard to things heavenly. If it were only that the architect's sense of proportion, the painter's love of colour, and the poet's joy in beauty, would be intensitied and enhanced, but still essentially the same, then, as Keble says, the heaven we idly dream would be but
*Poor fragments of all this low earth,
But though we shall not all sleep, we shall all be changed.' Changed from glory to glory; and what I wanted to bring out is the thought that all these gifts, all real science, all true philosophy, all the grace of art, all the beauty of poetry, all are lights reflected from Him, who is the Father of Lights; and that as in the natural world, wherever we see the sunlight fall, no matter what be the opening through which it shines, the spot of light is, as Ruskin has beautifully explained, an image of the source of Light, a circle or an oval representing the form of the sun either exactly, or as seen in perspective. So all our arts and sciences ought to be as the openings through which we see God's truth shine. Or, as the very word we use for them ought to remind us, they are talents, to be dealt with for God.
I do not know if you may not think it too fanciful, but I sometimes think of that mysterious connection of the sciences which makes it impossible to follow up one without entering in some degree upon others; and then in the blessing on the faithful servants, Thou hast been faithful in a very little, be thou over ten cities; thou who wast also faithful, thongh with feebler powers, be thou over five cities.' I fancy I see that they who cultivate to the best of their means their talents, be they what they may, will receive hereafter powers as far above what they now possess as the five cities were above the five pounds of the parable; and in the preface to Max Müller’s ‘Chips' there is a passage from St. Clement which I think goes to support my fancy. 'It is clear,' he says, 'that the same God to whom we owe the Old and New Testament, gave also to the Greeks their Greek philosophy, by which the Almighty is glorified among the Greeks. And a few lines before he had said that ‘God is the cause of all that is good; only of some good gifts He is the primary cause; of others, the secondary.'
I have lately met with a little book, abridged and translated in 1794 from a French essay, 'Sur la Felicité de la Vie à venir,' par C. L. de Villette. In the introduction the writer says, “It is the object of this essay to prove that the knowledge we have of the nature of the universe, and of the ways of God as revealed to us in the Gospel, may furnish us with strong reasons to be persuaded that we shall possess in heaven our present faculties, and enjoy many of our present pleasures, though improved and refined beyond all human conception. Further on he says, * In many respects our knowledge here below far exceeds what is necessary to direct us in providing for our natural wants, so that if the Creator had limited our duration to the short space of human life, it would be impossible to comprehend with what design He could have given to man a capacity which extends to innumerable speculations not requisite for the supply of our necessities; and this is of itself a strong proof that the present state is only the beginning, the infancy, of our existence.'
The whole passage is well worth considering, though too long to copy here. In one sentence he makes exactly the same assertion as Kingsley does in 'Glaucas,' that thousands of ages of such a life as ours would not suffice to glance slightly over the ten thousandth part of God's works in creation ;' and he continues, “That as we know even in this world there are sensations of which some individuals are entirely ignorant, it is not unreasonable to conclude that our glorified bodies may be endued with new modes of perception ;' adding, that by attempting entirely to spiritualize our celestial existence we reduce ourselves to the impossibility of forming the least idea of it, and so while we acknowledge a resurrection of the body, we in fact deny it, and that to this cause, perhaps, amongst others, is owing the coldness and indifference with which even the best people too often regard the joys of heaven.'
Is there not in Keble's beautiful paraphrase on Isaiah, xxxiii. 17, as has been so well pointed out in the last number of The Monthly Packet,' something of a similar feeling, that the very imperfection of our powers here, the unsatisfied yearnings for an ideal beauty, point on to that time that shall come when .in fearless love and hope uncloyed' we shall lose ourselves in the ocean of God's love.
Again we return to the root of the whole matter—Love is Life's only sign.' 'I am the Life ; the life eternal is to know God, and God is love.'
It is very difficult to put into words that which will often satisfy one's own mind as to the sense of any passage of the Bible, or of any really great idea, whether of what St. Clement might have called primary or secondary inspiration. But my own impression is that in the Hereafter the ardent affection, the true loyal love of husband and wife, will remain, none daring to put asunder that which God hath joined; but that in this, as in everything else, there will be a change from glory to glory-from the glory of the love here below, honoured by being the type of the union between Christ and His Church-to the full blessedness of those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'
The dearest, the holiest affection we know on earth has still a something of earth, a something of selfishness, adhering to it, from which we need a constant effort, an unceasing watchfulness, to free ourselves. “Ceux que j' aime le plus, j' ai si mal aimé,' is Mme. Gasparin's complaint; but in Heaven we shall be as the angels,' and if while on earth we have striven to
“There is a River the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God. Again, As with everything else that is good, this thought brings us back to the roots of our 'yggdrasil,' the tree of life which grows on either side of the River.' For only see what St. Paul says: 'We have fellowship one with another, and our fellowship is with God, and with His Son Jesus Christ.'
I have not Rudolf Stier's Words of our Lord' to refer to, but if it is in your church library you will find there a very interesting passage on this point, connected with the words (St. Matthew, xxii. 30) which you thought I had passed over too lightly. If I recollect rightly, he finds the justification of second marriages in these words ; and I like the thought, for I have always especially liked to think of the feeling which prompted Niehbuhr and his second wife to keep as a kind of holy-day the wedding-day of his first; and I think there is something of the same kind in the letters from Klopstock's second wife to her friends.
Do as you would be done by; or to borrow the more graphic way in which one of Miss Edgeworth's delightful characters would have said it, 'Put the case, the case was your own.' It would be bitter pain to think that a second love could obliterate the love so precious to oneself: it would be still more bitterly painful to think that the love for another, which seems a part of our own very being, could wax cold. No, all who have ever really loved must feel the truth of those words
"They never loved
And this thought, that we have fellowship one with another, and this fellowship is in Christ, is it not the most exquisite comfort for all who have ‘loved and lost,' but more especially for those who have been on earth forsaken and grieved in spirit, whom God has called when they have been refused ?' With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee,' saith the Lord, thy Redeemer ; and though the words refer in the first instance to Jerusalem, we may well use them each for himself, as we may use the song of thauksgiving, which the same Prophet teaches us.
'I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have a right to the Tree of Life, the branch of His planting,' and may enter in through the gates, into the City, 'whose walls are Salvation, and her gates Praise.' 'And the name of the city shall be, The Lord is there ;' and we, let us ever comfort one another with these words, 'So shall we ever be with the Lord. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.'
I shall feel very grateful to you, dear L-, if you will tell me whether these pages supply what you thought wanting; and above all, if W— would also look them over. For in trying to write on things like these, which belong to our very highest holiest feelings, the truth there is in that Chinese proverb has forced itself upon me over and over again
Man's words are like an arrow-straight to the mark; woman's are like a broken fan'-starting from the right centre, from the true loving heart, but as likely as not to point to the opposite quarter from that intended.
Ever, dear -
R. L. C.
HINTS ON READING.
Two useful books on the History of the Church have come under our notice this month— The Early Church, by the Rev. John Pryce, (Longmans,) The History of the English Church. (Rivingtons.) The one, a little book of one hundred and fifty pages, going only through the first three centuries, and dwelling a good deal on what can be traced respecting doctrine and liturgies; and in a very useful manner; for we believe that hundreds of those who talk of going for authority to primitive times, have no notion what is really known to have been then said or done. The other, History of the English Church, by M. C. S., (Rivingtons,) is a kind of Hook's Archbishops for young people ; except that M. C. S. has by no means resigned personal affection for Edward VI. We do not mean that it is a mere abridgement, for many other authorities have been consulted, and the author has thought for hersell; but Dr. Hook has been her chief guide ; and with so safe a one, and a pleasant simple style of narration, her book is a very nice one, which ought to be very useful.
Uncle Peter's Fairy Tale, (Longmans,) edited by Miss Sewell, seems to charm all ages. We have seen people from eighty years old to five greatly amused by it, though not always by the same parts; and the sober humour of the conversations, and the irony throughout, are as good as the fun of the literal fulfilment of the wishes.
How will our young readers like Alice in Wonderland in a German dress ? Here she is, to be had of Macmillan and Co., with her pictures as charming as ever, and her fun even quainter for her grave German dress; though of course the parodies and plays on words lose something, yet it is very little comparatively.
Mr. Palgrave's Five Days Entertainments at Wentworth Grange (Macmillan) ought to have been earlier noticed. It is a mixture of old and new tales; each bearing on one of the five senses; and very pleasantly and brightly they do so-treating them poetically and romantically, not scientifically. We are glad that some of the old Italian and Eastern apologues should thus be put in our children's way.
Soimême (Masters) professes to be true. It is a dreary picture of perverseness, and we feel sad over it; but there are many clever little bits of description, and excellent maxims worth remembering. The scenery is all charmingly described.
Margaret Vere (S.P.C. K.) is a well-written tale of a selfish girl. It is a young lady's, not a poor girl's, story; and is written very well and thoughtfully; only happily people are not apt to go out upon tours, when the governess has a holiday, and the nurse-maid is new. The governess's difficulties are neatly put, and in a manner calculated to show girls the need of consideration.
And a tale called Erick Thorburn deserves special mention ; for it is a beautiful pure high-minded story, with some exquisite characters in it, and must not be overlooked because (having been published by Messrs. Hurst and Blackett) it has been forced into three volumes, when it really contains no more reading than one such volume as One Year.' The hero himself, the sweet little heroine, and the mother, are as delightful home figures as we ever met with.
One book of solid reading inust be added, Major Malleson's French in India, (Longmans,) an excellent historical study of an interesting time.
And whoever loves cool glades of quiet thought and observation, should keep Nathanael Hawthorne’s American Note-books for calm moments. It is just the book to lie open on the table of a busy mother, who likes a fresh idea to brood over at her needle-work.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
No MS. can be returned unless the Author's name and address be written on it, and slumps be sent with it.
Contributions must often be delayed for want of space, but their writers may be assured that when room can be found they shall appear.
Please acknowledge, with many thanks, 78. 6d. from Ella, for The Sisters of the Poor, St. Michael's, Shoreditch. Also, a Parcel of Clothing from Seuga.
Can you tell me of any book or pamphlet containing an account of the Chartist Riots, about the year 1842. I want particularly to know about Rebecca, and the riots in the south-western counties. Pray state the price.-P. F.
E. B.--In the concluding number of Events of the Month. (Mozley.)-ED.
Baldie.—Date and particulars of confiscation of alien priories by Henry V.?-Dean Hook's Lives of the Archbishops, Vol. V., p. 44; Rapin Thoyras' History of England, Vol. I., p. 509, A. D. 1414. Reference is there made to the Rolls of Parliament.-Ed.
Ignorance.—The origin of the expression, 'Shakspeare and the musical glasses '?Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield thus—with delicious quaint irony—describes the conversation of his wife and daughters with Lady Blarney and Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs. Alas for our English classics -Ed.