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THE BIRDS OF THE BIBLE. By Rev. H. Harbaugh, author of " The Heavenly Recognition,"
,"? " The Heavenly Home,” &o., &c. Elegantly illustrated, Pbiladelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 1864. (410, 300 pp.) Reader, art thou entertaining this season some serious thoughts of making to her whom thou wottest of, & very handsome present? We do not wish to be too inquisitive. We ask pot the lady's name. Tby particular intentions cannot be kept too secret. If told abroad they might reach her own ears, and that would be a mishap indeed. In the eyes of a fair receiver the value of a present is much enhanced by having it come into her hands with a sudden surprise, having cast before it no premonitory shadows. We ask not, then, whether she be of thine on household-tby mother, for instance, or sister, or wife or darling child; or whether, if these latter two be wanting, she be some fair acquaintance in the neighboring street whom thou lovest to visit these cool autumnal evenings; or, peradventure, thou art & lonesome man, like neyself, whose loved ones are far away, yet thou wishest still to send them some token of toy regard more valuable than letters. Keep all this to thyself. We wish not to pry into the sanctity of thy kind inlenticnog It is altogether about the selection of the article that we are concerned at present, and on this subject we would fain hold with thee a short parley.
Take thy time. Look well around thee before thou gettlest on thy choice. It is yet three full months till Christmas. In an affair of such great moment it is not well for thee to be over hasty. Show thy good taste. For gold or silver-ware, or Parisian statuettes, or some choice artiõles of furniture, hast thou a fanoy? All right enough. These are worthy and lasting. Still, in these things I confees I am no connoisseur, and, with respect to their selection, I feel unqualified to give advice. Study, if thou canst, the taste and wants of her thou wishest to please, and select accordingly.
May be, however, thy predilections are for literature, and thou meditatest some day soon to venture into some book store and from its shelves or counter select and carry off a handsome volume. In this department we feel more at home. Shall we throw thee out, then, before thou goest, a few bints and cautions? In the first place be not carried away with every new novel thou seest, however handsomely gotten up it may be, and popular, and bepraised by the critics. It has not yet stood the test of time. Rather take some choice old poet, or later writer's book, whose reputation is established. Where now are your Queechies, your Uaole Tom's Cabins and your Wide, Wide Worlds, whioh a few years since were pronounced standard works? They have all passed away, like the fashions, to give place for others, which will, no doubt, soon be displaced in their turns. Above all, I would have thee eschew all Annuals, however handsomely gotten up. As their name imports, they are intended to please but for a season; and I would have thee purobase something substantial and lasting. This the maiden or lady whom thou art thinking deserveth at thine bands. On their title pages these brief annuals bear conspicuously their Roman figures, and when out of date they are always out of place. As their year expires, like an old almanao, they must be thrown aside to make room for others more fresh and new. Some choice one, pero haps, by its fair owner, may be retained abroad in ber parlor, for a year or two beyond its time; but, in the end, she will quietly remove it from her centre.table. Dates are ugly things; and what fair lady would wish it to be known that she had been in the habit of receiving presents even from yourself so many years ogo?
Thou wouldst not then recommend, mechipks I hear some one conelade from my remarks, as a Christmas present, the work whose title stands at the head of this article: The Birds of the Bible, by the Rev. H. Harbaugh, author of the Heavenly Recognition, the Heavenly Home, &c., &c., elegantly illustrated. Gen. tle reader, thou shouldst not so conclude. A copy of the work lies before me on my table, which has been the suggester of these remarks. A solid book it is, after the old English fashion, substantially bound in richly embossed dove-colored Turkey Morocco, and about it there is an odor of antiquity wbich tells that it will last. The things about which it treats are taken from the best and most ancient classics in the world. But while they are thus rendered sacred and ven. erable, they are by no means antiquated and obsolete, but belong also to living nature as seen by us still in the fields and forests, or about our barns and houses. The author, therefore, has drawn his descriptions and anecdotes and incidents not only from old tomes, but also from modern authors and observation; and over the whole has be thrown besides the witchery of his own happy style and fancy. As he remarks himself in his pretace, he has endeavored pot so much to give descriptions of dead birds as to make pictures of living ones; and in this endeavor he has certainly well succeeded. His book is animated not only with the finest plumage, but also with the richest warbling, and resembles more a grove than a cabinet. I take it up and it falls open before me at the picture of the swan;
« The tall built Swann, faire type of pride confest;" and I am surprised how skilfully and well the painter has succeeded in setting forth all the graces of that bird as seen in nature and described by the poets. How he rides along in all the majesty of ease, while he swells his lifted chest, and flings backward his bridled neck between his “luxuriant wings of whitest garniture" and “ glorying looks around the silent tides!". As advances his “ downy prow" how he rumples before him the surface into circling waves (excuse my poeticals) which are already felt by the broad, floating green leaves of that water.lily, and soon his breast will be bearing down its snowy petals. How much the picture is improved by being thus faithfully and naturally colored ! But, reader, I have no time to be showing you all the illustrations. You must look at them for yourself at your leisure. Superb as these are, however, it is not on them that the merits of the work entirely rest. It is replete also with choice passages from the old poets, and some that are excellent, tbough dew. In ever thought so many fine things bad been written about the birds. Rere descriptions it contains from the best authors, from Chaucer down to our own Poe. If the stars are the poetry of heaven, un. doubtedly the birds are the poetry of the atmosphere. What a choice fragment of old English poetry is that from the Bibliotheka Biblica description of the birds of the Bible forbidden to be eaten! How soothing and consoling that poem on the dove, by Mary Townsend, suggested by the Raven of Edgar A. Poe, which is also inserted in the volume, and to which this forms a happy contrast or counterpart; his being the embodiment of dark despair, but hers that of consolation and heavenly hope. How tender and pleasing, too, that ode to the cuckoo, commencing
“ Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove !" These, apart from the many appropriate passages from the ancient and modern classics introduced, which, of course, are very fine.
The readers of the Guardian map suppose themselves posted up on these matters, having read ibe descriptions as they first came out ia that periodical, but let me tell them that the hasty sketches there inserted have all been remodel ed and re-writ. ten, and so much additional matter added that they could hardly tell them to be the same.
The book we pronounce, then, a fine specimen of what might properly be called the Perennials. One that will not waste its sweetness in a single year, but con. tinue to bloom for many-one that will not be superseded or impaired, but, like a good old painting, keep its place and be rather improved by age-one that will rest comfortably beside even the Bible, or any other good book, and not feel out of place-one that will delight not only youth and beauty and chilhood with his laugbing eyes, but be read with pleasure also by manhood, and lighten with a mellow smile even the cheek of hoary eld, as he pores over it earnestly through his sober glasses. HERMAN AND Dorothea. From the German of Goethe. Translated by Thomas,
Conrad Porter. New York: Riker, Thorne & Co ,128 Fulton.st. 1854 (pp. 168.)
Here we have one of the most beautiful of Goethe's poems in an English dress. The original being in bexamater verse, wbich is an almost uomanageable metre," the translator has preferred to drop the poetic style, and has given us a most smoothly.flowing prose poem. Professor Porter excels as a translator. So well is this work done, that even one acquainted with both German and English forms of thought and expression cannot feel in the least that it is a translation. The style is simple, natural, beautiful. We regard Herman and Dorothea as fine a specimen of pure Saxon Eoglish as modern English literature can furnish. A thousand thanks to the translator and publishers for this classic of Goethe, which is now, in English, a olassic still. The mechanical execution of the work, like all works emanating from this house, is of a superior character.
VOL. V.-NOVEMBER, 1854.-No. X.
BY TEE EDITOR.
Jesus, my God, thy blood alone
No Jewish types could cleanse me 80! BLESSED in the highest, and blessed forever, be the saving grace which has come by Jesus Christ! It is sufficient for all—it is suited to all. It takes the king upon the throne, and the beggar by the wayside—it takes the learned Saul, and the ignorant publican, and creates them anew into the image of God. A heavenly leaven brought into the bosom of humanity by the incarnation of Christ, it goes forth from Him as a silent under-current of new life, penetrating and renovating all hearts that will submit to its power, sanctifying their whole personal life and all their social relations, and developing a holy kingdom of eternal love from amid the wrecks, ruins and miseries of the fall. A mighty conqueror to this grace in Christ. The sacred records are full of its trophies. Multitudes followed him, and virtue went out from him, healing them all. One of the most remarkable subjects of his healing power and grace, was “Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.”
Let us trace the life of this wonderful woman-wonderful in her sins, and wonderful in Christ. Her life is full of wonders, full of instruction, full of encouragement, and full of comfort.
§ I. MARY MAGDALENE AMONG DEVILS. Mary Magdalene among devils! What fearful words! What a shocking idea! What a horrid situation! Yet such is the awfully dark background upon which the picture of this woman is drawn by the pen of inspiration, where she is first presented to our view in the sacred scriptures. Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils !”
It is difficult for us to picture fully to our minds the awful appearance and condition of a person possessed with unclean spirits. We have a graphic description of one, by one of the sacred writers, which may help us to an adequate conception of the condition of these wretched beings. On one occasion when the Saviour stepped
out of the ship on the eastern shore of Tiberias, "there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs, and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, nigbt and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones.” Such was the condition of the man who was possessed with one evil spirit; what must have been the condition of the wretched Magdalene, who was under the power of seven !
The number seven, among the Jews, denoted perfection, completeness, or fullness. It has, no doubt, that signification here. She was perfectly under the power of evil-she was completely wicked -she was full of the spirit and power of the devil. Her heart was the home of evil spirits. Her dispositions, affections, thoughts, words and actions were all poisoned and polluted by the dreadful virus of sin. Every picture of sin given in the scriptures had its complete fulfilment in her dark spirit. It was an unclean sepulchre, a den of foul beasts and fearful birds of the night, the abode of vipers and asps—in short the expression, seven devils, represents the very incarnation of all evil, a monster who is the by-word and astonishment of all good beings. Such was Mary Magdalene in the company, and under the power of evil spirits. What a wreckwha" a ruin is here!
Such was Mary Magdalene! Was she always such? Or had she seen other and better days? Is this the miserable remains of an ordinary person, or is it the ruins of some noble spirit? Is this perhaps the fearful final result of the fall of a once eminent woman? One who was endowed with personal nobility, of one who stood in high places, and moved in the first circles of life? This would seem to be suggested by the very greatness of the ruin. The master spirit of the pit, is such, because of the high position which he occupied before his fall; so, on earth, it takes a superior spirit to be superlatively wicked. Her name is associated with “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward.”
If we inquire farther into the previous character and standing of this woman, we shall find more evidence in favor of the correctness of that tradition which has assigned her a connection with some of the first families of the land, and which designates her as possessed of superior personal attractions and excellencies. May not her very name open to us a view into her previous life and position ?
It has been supposed by some that the wickedness of this woman lay chiefly in one particular direction—and that was lasciviousness, prostitution. This indeed has been almost a general impression.. This view has however been received rather from tradition than from any evidence appearing in the sacred record.
If we take her to be the same person as some suppose who wept at the Saviour's feet in the Pharisee's house, then there may be Bome ground for such a suspicion. The Pharisees say, “this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner.” We get the impression from this naturally that she was of such general ill-fame, that her very presence was sufficient to throw suspicion upon the character of those who tolerated her near them.
It was under the idea that Magdalene was, before her conversion, of this character. That there were societies of nuns, consisting of penitent and reformed courtezans, formed quite early in the history of the church—these societies were called Magdalenettes. The first of these was founded at Naples, 1324. The second at Paris in 1492; another at Mentz in 1542; and another at Bordeaux in 1618. Even in our own Atlantic cities, societies having in view the restoration of that most debased of all classes of human beings, have been formed in late years, bearing the name of Magdalene. That religion is certainly from heaven which can lay hold upon persons so low, and raise them so high.
We are not zealous to fix upon her this character ; yet we have seen that the expression, “ seven devils,” implies a perfect and entire abandonment of the soul to all and every evil. If any sin on earth can lay claim to superlative dishonor and shame, it is beyond doubt this. 'It involves all vices. It is connected in the persons of those who live under its power, with all deceit, drunkenness, cursing and blasphemy.
Scripture names always have a signification, and are often prophetic-indicating the future character of the person named. It is not difficult certainly for one who has faith in a superintending providence to believe, that the names intended for persons who Bhould afterwards become distinguished, should be conceived under the influence of a divine suggestion. How appropriate are these :
Saul-Spoiler. Paul-Worker. Stephen-a Crown. It was customary among the Jews to give to their children but one name--a second name, in the case of those who received two, was given as a mark of some peculiarity which manifested itself afterwards in the
person. Thus our Saviour was at first called Jesus, but afterwards he received the name Christ, which means anointed, to designate him in his offices of Prophet, Priest and King. Thus Simon was first called Bar-Jona, son of a dove; this again was afterwards changed into Peter, a rock, as a prophecy of
permanent service which he should render the church. Judas received the additional name Iscariot, which means a murdererhow truly prophetic! In like manner, no doubt, did Mary Magdalene receive her second, or additional name. It signifies “a tower, grand, elevated, magnificent.” Some suppose that she was