Imágenes de páginas

tions,” rejected as formal, and the wildest rhapsodies were considered as the effect of immediate inspiration and God's presence — when hypocrites “sought the Lord” to sanction what was most averse to the Lord's commandments — when even such a man as Colonel Hutchinson, as his wife herself relates, would not sit in judgment on his King, to whom he had sworn allegiance, till he had “sought the Lord,” though religion might have told him that the Lord had already proclaimed with a voice from Heaven, – as when the “sound of trumpet waxed louder and louder”—in thunders on Mount Sinai, hThou SHALT Do No MURDER!

How few, whilst they vaunted their blasphemous familiarity with “the Lord,” and even “influence,” thought of “Those THINGs” which he who said, “we are justified by faith, and not by works of the Law,” so eloquently, so beautifully enforced on all Christians —“Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, think of these things.” Let us look at the domestic lives of most of these exclusively righteous ! Every heart is touched with the sanctity and tenderness of the connubial example of Colonel Hutchinson, whom the winds of fanaticism touched lightly. But was this, or any thing like it, the general character of the erelu

* It is not admitted in the congregational service of the Calvinistic Baptists.

f Exodus, chap. xx.

sively godly? How few traits do we find of Christian charity or Christian compassion' The most affecting image of domestic tenderness among these stern Puritans, is set before us in a passage of Milton in his Latin Epistles to his friend and tutor, William Young, one of the authors of “Smectymnuus.” The Epistle itself is apostrophised thus:

Curre per immensum subito, mea littera, pontum –

hasten over the seas, to my friend, the pastor of the congregation at Hamburg. . Speaking of the Epistle finding his friend far from his native land — Milton says, adding a sweet picture of domestic happiness, in character with this retired scholar's occupation — Invenias DULCI cuM conjuge forte sedentem, MULCENTEM GREMIo PIGNORA SACRA SUO ; Forsitan aut veterum perlarga volumina Patrum Versantem, aut veri Biblia sacra Dei.* The picture of the father sitting beside his wife, with his children in his lap, perhaps turning over some great work of the Fathers — or the holy Bible — is affecting to every heart, and more so when the lines, thus beautifully, describe a republican expatriated minister. I have spoken of Milton's sterner look; let me be indulged, whilst I speak of this delightful picture of his friend, in pointing out an exquisite picture of social and elegant domestic life in one of his Sonnets :

* “Him thou shalt find or by his loving wife
Seated, or his dear children in his lap
Caressing, or the works voluminous
Of the old Fathers turning, or a page,
LoRD, of thy living Word.”

Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,”
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither toild nor spun.
What meat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice,
Warble immortal notes, and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

* “The ‘virtuous father, Henry Lawrence, was member for Herefordshire in the Little Parliament which began in 1653, and was active in settling the Protectorate of Cromwell. In consequence of his services, he was made President of Cromwell's Council, where he appears to have signed many severe and arbitrary decrees, not only against the royalists, but the Brownists, Fifth-monarchy men, and other sectarists. He continued high in favour with Richard Cromwell. Henry Lawrence, the ‘virtuous son,’ is the author of a work entitled, Of our Communion and Warre with Angels, &c. Printed anno Dom. 1646, 4to, 189 pages. The dedication is, ‘To my most deare and most honoured Mother, the Lady Lawrence.’ He is perhaps the same Henry Lawrence who printed ‘A Vindi

cation of the Scriptures and Christian Ordinances, 1649, Lond, 4to."

We dwell with delight on the chaste and tender description of elegant domestic enjoyment, in winter, by a classical fire-side, and the composition appears doubly and tender, when we take into consideration the lofty mind of the great writer.”

* The effect is like that of the unexpected touch of natural tenderness in the Stoic Brutus, who, in the midst of public cares and private griefs, thus addresses the tired and sleeping boy, in “Julius Caesar:”

Where is thy instrument?

Lucius.—Here, in the tent.

Brutus.-What, thou speakest drowsily:
Poor knave, I blame thee not—thou art o'er-watch'd.
Call Claudius, &c.

Brutus.-Look, Lucius, here's the book I sought for so;
I put it in the pocket of my gown.

Lucius.-I was sure your Lordship did not give it me.

Brutus.-Bear with me, my good boy! I am much forgetful. Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile, And touch thy instrument a strain or two 2

Lucius.-Aye, my good Lord, an please you.

Brutus.-It does, my boy.
I trouble thee too much; but thou art willing.

Lucius.--It is my duty, Sir.

Brutus.-I should not urge thy duty past thy might. I know young bloods look for a time of rest.

Lucius.-I have slept, my Lord, already.

Brutus.-I will not hold thee long. If I do live,
I will be good to thee —

*/ boy sleeps)
Gentle knave, good night !

I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
If thou dost nod, thou breakst thy instrument—

I'll take it from thee—and, good boy, good night ! What

But how seldom do we meet, among the very best and purest of the republican Puritans, feelings of any kindness I Look at Hugh Peters — Prynne — Lambert — Harrison — Milton himself, as a husband or father — Pym—Cheynell, and his school — I do not speak of them as stern republicans, I speak of them as men particularly as professing the pure spirit of the Christian religion—that religion of which they make their exclusive boast! On the contrary, think of the character of Jeremy Taylor—the piety of such men as Hammond, Chillingworth, Sanderson, Ken, Sherlock, and their school; among the laity, think of the piety of Evelyn, Wotton, Fanshawe, Lady Fanshawe, Isaak Walton, &c. Remembering “whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely,” respecting the traits of piety exhibited, in prosperity and adversity, by such characters, who would not say,

Oh! look upon this picture, and on this? Charles the First, in purity of life and amenity

of manners, in kindness of heart and in real piety, is as much more “lovely” in his Christian charac

What heart, not withering under a cold system of austere bigotry, can read this passage without emotion ? What knowledge of the human heart must the great Master of Passions have had, who has incidentally thrown in this touch of tenderness, to enable us to sympathize with the lofty, and heroic character of Brutus?

« AnteriorContinuar »