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bestowing so liberally upon the world at large. Thus much is at least true; the retired man, when occasionally amongst those living much with the world, is conscious of a depressing sensation at the absence of a certain sensitiveness where he feels quickly, and a want of earnestness and deep seriousness about that which he thinks connected with what is most important to our natures, and a disposition to pass lightly over that which lies closest to his heart.
The study of the Course of Time would serve as a corrective to these false views; and though the man of the world may think its requirements high, he will not find them urged with bitterness or severity, but pressed upon him from an enlarged principle of love; which may lead him to see how differently things have appeared in his eyes, from what they have in those of a religious man, and in connexion with God.
We are indebted to Mr. Pollok for having presented in their connexions some of the leading principles of the Orthodox faith. It is by attacks upon the system in parts only that its opponents ever venture to make war upon it. Assail it as a whole, and it is impregnable alike to stratagem or force. If Mr. Pollok has not done his part as well as it might have been done, let us remember that he is the first who has attempted it in verse, and that he has set a noble example. Let us, too, make all allowance for his difficulties. He not only had to set forth in poetry God's system in relation to man; but, alas for the children of this world, he had to argue with them, argue, not with their reason, but their prejudices, their self-conceit, and their evil hearts.
The copy of the work before us is from the Edinburgh third edition—the only accurate one we believe-yet we have no preface, no argument to the several books, and nothing more concerning the author than can be gathered from the title-page-namely, that his Christian name was Robert, and that he was an A. M. There is something of affectation in this chariness upon the last head, now the author is gone.
We learn from the Eclectic Review that he died of consumption, at the age of twenty-eight, near Southampton, in England, on his way from Scotland to Italy, for his health.*
* The following additional account of Mr. Pollok is selected from the Christian
The Rev. Robert Pollok was born at Muirhouse, parish of Eaglesham, (N. B.,) October 19,1798. His father still occupies the same farm, and is esteemed by his neighbors as a very worthy and intelligent person. Robert was the youngest of the family; and his early days were spent on the farm with his father, in such labors as the seasons called for. He was always fond of reading; and the winter's evenings were employed in this manner, when bis companions were perhaps engaged in some trilling amusement. He is not
very young. Al seventeen years of age, he commenced the study of the Latin language; and a few months after this, he produced the first poem which he is knowu to have committed to paper. In October, 1813, when seventeen years of age, he entered the University of Glasgow, where he studied five years : at the end of wbich time he obtained the degree of Master of Arts. While at college he was a very diligent and exemplary student, and distinguished himself so far as to have several prizes awarded him by the suffrage of his fellows : besides the regular
How many have died of this disease in early life, who have discovered an extent of acquirements and a developement of the intellectual powers, which have led us to say of one and another of them, “ Had he lived, what a man he would have made!” This is probably a mistake. This disorder often operates like a forcing system, and could it be stopped, and the subject of it be allowed to live on, there would most likely be a very little further growth. It would seem as if God had, in fatherly kindness, thus early opened to the wonders of his world here the minds of those so diseased, seeing that the days appointed to them on earth were few. Often, too, they are blessed with a clear serenity of spirit and mind that makes us look upon them as half celestial creatures passing by us on their way to a better world.
He of whom we have been writing, in truth, passed quickly; yet not without leaving us much for our eternal good.
It may be gathered from our remarks upon the poetical merits of the Course of Time, that we think a great religious poem in our language is something still to be desired rather than already attained.
exercises, he composed a number for his own pleasure and improvement, and several of these were poetical. Before he had finished his curriculum, his health was considerably impaired. In the autunn of 1822 he entered the United Secession Divinity Hall, under the care of Dr. Dick. Here his discourses attracted considerable notice, and called forth some severe criticisms from his fellow-students. A mind like his could not submit
els of common divisions : the form of an essay suited better the impetuosity of his genius; and he occasionally indulged in lofty descriptions, both of character and external nature. In May, 1827, he received license to preach from the United Secession Presbytery of Edinburgh. During his previous trials he was employed superintending the printing of his poem. His first public discourse is said to have produced a powerful sensation on the audience. The text was, “How long halt ye between two opinions ? If the Lord be God, follow him ; but if Baal, then follow bim. Some descriptive parts, respecting those who serve Baal rather than God, are said to gave been awfully grand. He preached only three other times, when he was obliged to retire from public service. His labors had been too great for his constitution, in whic
vhich the seeds of cons option had long before been sown. By some medical gentlemen of eminence in Edinburgh, he was advised to try the effects of a warmer climate. Italy was his intended retreat; and, after providing himself with letters of introduction to some learned men on the Continent, he sei out, accompanied by a sister. He had got as far as the neighborhood of Southampton, when, overpowered with the fatigues of travelling, he was compelled to desist. He here fevered, and after a few days, expired, far from the scenes of his birth and his studies. It is comforting to learn that Mr. Pollok's death was that of a true saint ; his last moments being characterized by patience, resignation and faith.
His habits were those of a close student : his reading was extensive : he could converse on almost every subject: he had a great facility in composition ; in confirmation of which, he is said to have written nearly a thousand lines weekly of the last four books of the “Course of Time." The poem, as a whole, was, however, no hasty performance : it had engaged his attention long. His college acquaintances could perceive that his mind was not wholly devoted to the business of the classes ; he was constantly writing or reading on other subjects. Having his time wholly to himself, he amassed a prodigious store of ideas. It was his custom to commit to the flames, every now and then, a great number of papers. He had projected a prose work of some magnitude-a review of Literature in all ages-designed to show that literature must stand or fall in proportion
s it harmonizes with Scripture Revelation. But death has put an end to this, as to many other projects; and all that we can now look for, is a posthumous volume, for which we are glad to understand there are ample materials in the poems, essays, and sermons, found among his papers. Such a volume, with a memoir of the lamented youth prefixed, cannot fail to prove an acceptable offering to the public : and we hope soon to hear that it is in course of preparation. VOL. I.
Well as Mr. Pollok has done, we cannot but exclaim with the fervor, and longing, and something of the hope, we believe, which inspired Cowper when he sung,
'T were new, indeed, to see a bard all fire,
Inspires the song, and that his name is love. Yes, we cannot but have the hope, let us say, the faith, that from the earth will yet go up strains that shall mingle with the harps of hymning angels in the heavens.
If we are not to look for another poem so appalling, so magnificent, and yet of such paradisiacal loveliness as Milton's; still every Christian must feel that Paradise Lost is not of a character to answer the great religious end in view. One is dead, who, furnished by God with celestial arms, too often, in his bitterness and scorn, turned them against man, and sometimes, in his recklessness, against his very Maker. There still lives one who might build up a temple into which all might enter with wonder and awe—it is Coleridge.
Whatever he may think of his poetic powers, we believe we are not rash in prophesying, that with the course of thought which his mind has long held, and with the feelings with which he would enter upon such a work, he would leave behind him a poem worthy of God's cause, and second only to that poetic work which he so reverences.
In speaking of Mr. Coleridge's intellect we are reminded of Mr. Pollok's beautiful passage upon the poet; and it is not his only beautiful one on that theme.
“ Most fit was such a place for musing men,
To whom, if not to Coleridge may be applied the words we have put in italics ?
We are not entirely free from hesitation in thus speaking of Mr. Coleridge. Men of original minds, in stretching off in their flight after truth, have so pleasurable a consciousness of intellectual vigor in the exercise of their higher powers, that they sometimes unawares pass by that calm, clear-shining orb, and lose themselves for a season amidst mock suns. If, however, such men sincerely love truth, they are of use to us in the end. They rouse a common mind, give it a longer reach of thought, and here and there open to it a scene so glorious, that the light which comes from it detects the very errors to which they themselves had given life ; and the errors shall at last fade and die in that light, while the light itself shall shine on, growing brighter and brighter, and spreading more and more.
We must not be impatient because we cannot make every mind just what we would have it; but should rather reflect upon our own imperfections, and lament, while we consider what it is which gives truth to the words long ago uttered by a remarkable woman, “ Nothing is less in a man's power than his own mind.”
It seems to be a law of our fallen natures, that evil should be connected with every great power in man, if in no other way, at least in the very excess : which must needs be; for in whom, but in Him who made us, are all the powers in even balance ? Amongst the great ones of the earth, who, for instance, is there of all the reformers who has not carried overthrow beyond the bounds of error ? This should render the great meek; but let it not make the little proud. Let them remember that they have their weak things too; unnoticed, because there are no mighty ones at hand to show them in contrast.
Mr. Coleridge's proneness to deep speculations upon things spiritual, and the character of his philosophical reading, have led him into some opinions which we cannot think sound. No one will suspect that when we desire him to take a religious subject for a poem, we at the same time place him amongst those who make up their minds beforehand as to what the Bible should mean, and then go to it with little other purpose than to distort it till it takes the shapes of the deformed progeny of their own brains. Mr. Coleridge's character is too well known to endanger his being numbered with these ; but we do apprehend that in his fondness for speculating and refining, he sometimes runs off upon a course that leads him away from the simple meaning of the Bible, though he makes that book his starting point. Other men, truly religious no doubt, have fallen into like errors through this same propensity.
We believe Mr. Coleridge has so deep a reverence for God's Word, that could he but catch a glimpse of danger to it in the path in which, if we do not err, he is sometimes seen wandering, he would shun it as he would the way of death; knowing, as he does,
that error can never be harmless, and, however insignificant in itself, where connected with a great truth, can never be trifling.
May he, with the full sense of his responsibility in such an undertaking, mature well the plan of a poem, and give these bis latter days to the work, having for the strengthening of his spirit through his labors, the sanctifying dew of which Pollok speaks,
In his own words to that mountain, made sacred by his noble hymn, we would call upon him,
THE TRINITARIAN CONTROVERSY. A Discourse delivered at the
Ordination of Mr. Daniel M. Stearns to the Pastoral charge of the first Church in Dennis, May 14, 1828. By Charles Lowell, Minister of the West Church in Boston. Boston, N. S. Simpkins & Co. pp. 40.
The object of this Discourse is to discourage “ all attempts to investigate the nature of Jesus Christ, and the precise connexion between him and his Father,” on the ground that there is nothing revealed on the subject. To the accomplishment of this object we should not object, if allowed to put our own sense upon the words. The metaphysical “ nature of Jesus Christ” is as inscrutable as is the nature of God; and as to the precise connexion between him and the Father," no Trinitarian pretends to understand this. We believe that he, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit, are in some sense one, and in some other sense three; we believe this as revealed truth; but of the mode of connexion subsisting between these adorable persons, we profess to know nothing. And if Dr. Lowell had intended to discourage investigations of “the nature of Jesus Christ, and of the precise connexion between him and his Father” in this sense, we should have had nothing to object, but could cordially have united our voice with his.
But though the language is so constructed as to admit of this sense, and perhaps convey it to the unwary reader; still, this is not the sense intended—at least it is not all. By the nature of Christ, Dr. L. means the person of Christ ; for he says, “ They have no cause for anxiety, who, after all their inquiry, are unable to arrive at definite notions respecting the person of Christ. They may be content to be ignorant of what they cannot know. 11 could tell them, I would gladly do it. Others, with great ingenuity,