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Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
Par. Lost, b. i. lines 192—196.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
We have more which we should gladly say of the delineation of Satan; especially of the glimpses which are now and then given of his deep anguish and despair, and of the touches of better feelings which are skilfully thrown into the dark picture; both suited and designed to blend with our admiration, dread, and abhorrence, a measure of that sympathy and interest with which every living, thinking being ought to be regarded, and without which all other feelings tend to sin and pain. But there is another topic which we cannot leave untonched. From Hell we flee to Paradise, a region as lovely as Hell is terrible; and which, to those who do not know the universality of true genius, will appear doubly wondertus, when considered as the creation of the same mind which had painted the infernal world.
Paradise and its inhabitants are in sweet accordance, and together form a scene of tranquil bliss, which calms and soothes, whilst it delights the imagination. Adam anıl Eve, just moulded by the hand, and quickened by the breath of God, reflect in their countenances and forms, as well as minds, the intelligence, benignity, and happiness of their Author. Their new existence has the freshness and peacefulness of the dewy morning. Their souls, unbated and untainted, find an innocent joy in the youthful creation, which spreads and smiles around them. Their mutual love is deep-for it is the love of young, unworn, unexhausted hearts, which meet in each other the only buman objects on whom to pour forth their fulness of affection: and still it is serene—for it is the love of happy beings, who know not suffering even by name; whose innocence excludes not only the tumults, but the thought of jealousy and shame; who,“ imparadised in one another's arms,” scarce dream of futurity-so blessed is their present
being. We will not say that we envy our first parents : for we feel that there may be higher happiness than theirs,— a happiness won through struggle with inward and outward foes, the happiness of power and moral victory, the happiness of disinterested sacrifices and wide-spread love, the happiness of boundless hope, and of “ thoughts which wander through eternity." Still there are times when the spirit, oppressed with pain, worn with toil, tired of tumult, sick at the sight of guilt, wounded in its love, baffled in its hope, and trembling in its faith, almost longs for the" wings of a dove, that it might fly away,” and take refuge amidst the “shady bowers,” the vernal airs,” the “roses without thorns,” the quiet, the beauty, the loveliness of Eden. 1: is the contrast of this deep peace of Paradise with tlie storms of life, which gives to the fourth and fifth books of this poem a charm so irresistible, that not a few would sooner relinquish the two first books, with all their sublimity, than part with these. It has sometimes been said, that the English language has no good pastoral poetry: We would ask, In what age or country has the pastoral reed breathed such sweet strains, as are borne to us on
the odoriferous wings of gentle gales,” from Milton's Paradise ?
We should not fulfil our duty, were we not to say one word on what has been justly celebrated,—the harmony of Milton's versification. His numbers have the prime charm of expressiveness. They vary with, and answer to the depth, or tenderness, or sublimity of his conceptions; and hold intimate alliance with the soul. Like Michael Angelo, in whose hands the marble was said to be flexible, he bends our language, which foreigners reproach with hardness, into whatever forms the subject demands. All the treasures of sweet and solemn sound are at his command. Words, harsh and discordant in the writings of less gifted men, flow through his poetry in a full stream of harmony. This power over language is not to be ascribed to Milton's musical ear. It belongs to the soul. It is a gift or exercise of genius, which has power to impress itself on whatever it touches; and finds or frames in sounds, motions, and material forms, correspondences and harmonies with its own fervid thoughts and feelings.
Wil injures Eloquence. To all those rules which art furnishes for conducting the plan of a discourse, we proceed to subjoin a general rule, from which orators, and especially Christian orators, ought never to swerve.
When such begin their career, the zeal for the salvation of souls which animates them, doth not render them always unmindful of the glory which follows great success. A blind desire to shine and to please, is often at the expense of that substantial honour which might be obtained, were they to give themselves up to the pure emotions of piety, which so well agree with the sensibility necessary to eloquence.
It is, unquestionably, to be wished, that he who devotes himself to the arduous labour which preaching requires, should be wholly ambitious to render himself useful to the cause of religion. To such, reputation can never be a sufficient recompense. But if motives so pure have not sufficient sway in your breast, calculate, at least, the advantages of self-love; and you may perceive how inseparably connected these are with the success of your ministry.
Is it on your own account that you preach ? Is it for you that religion assembles her votaries in a temple? You ought never to indulge so presumptuous a thought. However, I only consider you as an orator. Tell me, then, what is this
you call Eloquence ? Is it the wretched trade of imitating that criminal, mentioned by a poet in his satires, who “ balanced his crimes before his judges with antithesis? Is it the puerile secret of forming jejune quibbles ? of rounding periods ?-of tormenting one's-self by tedious studies, in order to reduce sacred instruction into a vain amusement? Is this, then, the idea which you have conceived of that divine art, which disdains frivolous ornaments, which sways the most numerous assemblies, and which bestows on a single man the most personal and majestic of all sovereignties ? Are you in quest of glory? -You fly from it. Wit alone is never sublime; and it
. is only by the vehemence of the passions, that you can become eloquent.
Reckon up all the illustrious orators. Will you find among them conceited, subtle, or epigrammatic writers ? No: these immortal men confined their attempts to affect and persuade; and their having been always simple, is that which will always render them great. How is this? You wish to proceed in their footsteps, and you stoop to the degrading pretensions of a rhetorician! and you appear in the form of a mendicant, soliciting commendations from those very men who ought to tremble at your feet. Recover from this ignominy. Be eloquent by zeal, instead of being a mere declaimer through vanity. And be assured, that the most certain method of preaching well for yourself, is to preach usefully to others.
On the Dignity of Human Nature. I ANTICIPATE from some an objection to this position, drawn, as they will say, from experience. I may be told, that I have talked of the godlike capacities of human nature, and have spoken of man as a divinity; and where, it will be asked, are the warrants of this high estimate of our race? I may be told that I dream, and that I have peopled the world with the creatures of my lonely imagination. What! Is it only in dreams that beauty and loveliness have beamed on me from the human countenance, -that I have heard tones of kindness, which have thrilled through my heart,--that I have found sympathy in suffering, and a sacred joy in friendship? Are all the great and good men of past ages only dreams ? Are such names as Moses, Socrates, Paul, Alfred, Milton, only the fictions of my disturbed slumbers ? Are the great deeds of history, the discoveries of philosophy, the creations of genius, only visions? Oh! no. I do not dream when I speak of the divine capacities of human nature. It was a real
page in which I read of patriots and martyrs,-of Fenelon and Howard, of Hampden and Washington. And tell me not, that these were prodigies, miracles, immeasurably separated from their race: for their very reverence, which has treasured up and hallowed their memories,—the very sentiments of admiration and love with which their names are now heard, show that the principles of their greatness are diffused through all your breasts. The germs of sublime virtue are scattered liberally on our earth. How often have I seen, in the obscurity of domestic life, a strength of love, of endurance, of pious trust, of virtuous resolution, which in a public sphere would have attracted public homage! I cannot but pity the man, who recog. nizes nothing godlike in his own nature. I see the marks of God in the heavens and the earth; but how much more in a liberal intellect, in magnanimity, in unconquerable rectitude, in a philanthropy which forgives every wrong, and which never despairs of the cause of Christ and human virtue! I do and I must reverence human nature. Nei. ther the sneers of a worldly scepticism, nor the groans of a gloomy theology, disturb my faith in its godlike powers and tendencies. I know how it is despised,-how it has been oppressed,-how civil and religious establishments have for ages conspired to crush it. I know its history. I shut my eyes on none of its weaknesses and crimes. "I understand the proofs, by which despotism demonstrates that man is a wild beast, in want of a master, and only safe in chains. But injured, trampled on, and scorned as our nature is, I still turn to it with intense sympathy, and strong hope. The signatures of its origin and its end, are impressed too deeply to be ever wholly effaced. I bless it for its kind affections, for its strong and tender love. I honour it for its struggles against oppression, for its growth and progress under the weight of so many chains and prejudices, for its achievements in science and art, and still more for its examples of heroic and saintly virtue. These are marks of a divine origin, and the pledges of a celestial inheritance; and I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.
The Hill of Science. In that season of the year, when the serenity of the sky, the various fruits which cover the ground, the discoloured foliage of the trees, and all the sweet, but fading graces of inspiring autumn, open the mind to benevolence, and dispose it for contemplation, I was wandering in a beautiful and romantic country, till curiosity began to give way to weariness; and I sat me down on the fragment of a rock, overgrown with moss, where the rustling of the falling leaves, the dashing of waters, and the hum of the distant city, soothed my mind into the most perfect tranquillity, and sleep insensibly stole upon me, as I was indulging the agreeable reveries which the objects around me natu rally inspired.
I immediately found myself in a vast extended plain, in the middle of which arose a mountain higher than I had