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for their transgressions, and desire for amendment. and St. Bonaventura, the former as a Dominican For instance, in the first circle, where Pride is delivering the panegyric of St. Francis, the latter, purged, are portrayed examples of humility—the the Franciscan, that of St. Dominic—a practice Virgin Mary receiving the message of the angel; kept up in their respective orders to this day. In the ark drawn by oxen, and preceded by the Mars are the souls of the martyrs; in Jupiter, humble Psalmist, dancing with girded loins; the those of the confessors ; in Saturn, the souls of story of the Emperor Trajan and the poor widow. the contemplative. Dante then ascends to the As Dante, still accompanied by Virgil, goes along IIeaven of the Fixed Stars; and there is a his way, and meets with many an old friend and beautiful description of our Lord and His Mother, comrade, he is entreated to pray for them, or to with attendant saints and angels, reminding the obtain the prayers of their relations still on earth, reader of a picture of Fra Angelice. for the shortening of their time of suffering.
So far the Paradiso may be said to symbolise Nino di Visconti, in particular, whose wife has the progress of the soul from a life of innocence, married again, is very pathetic in his request to to the contemplation of the most perfect union Dante that he will tell his little daughter, with God possible on earth.
with God possible on earth. From hence, to the Giovanna,
end of the poem, the state of the soul, after death, That she pray for me
in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision, is Where answer to the innocent is made.
described. The multitude of spirits redeemed by I do not think her mother loves me more.
the blood of the Lamb seem to Dante to dwell -Purg., viii. 71.
within the form of a pure, white, rose, with inWhen the poet has passed the seven ascents,
numerable petals. On the left side of this he reaches the top of the Mount, and, falling celestial blossom sit the believers in Christ before asleep, has a vision of Beatrice, and Matilda (sup. His coming ; to the right, those who look back in posed to be the Countess of Tuscany), with Leah
faith to Ilis life on earth. and Rachel-representations of the active and
St. Bernard, to whose guidance Beatrice has contemplative life, as are Martha and Mary in
now confided Dante, entreats the Virgin, in a the Holy Scriptures. He wakes in the terrestrial
beautiful prayer, that the poet may have a vision Paradise, of which he gives, in his own exact
of the Almighty. This is granted. He beholds way, a minute and beautiful description. Here
in a triple circle the ineffable Rainbow of the Beatrice meets him and reproves him for his sins; Trinity, and in the midst of it a human figure, to and he is bathed by Matilda in the waters of
symbolise the union of the human with the Divine. Lethe, which signify penance and absolution, to
A wonderful splendour overwhelms the poet, bring him to the oblivion of evil, and the memory which terminates the vision, of which he saysof good, and so prepare him for his journey through the Celestial Paradise. Through these O, now all speech is feeble, and falls short of my conceit. realms Virgil, the unbaptised, may not accompany With a beautiful address to the Trinity, behim, and he has the ineffable delight of the ginning, “0, Light eterne !” the poem closes, as guidance of Beatrice.
Dante figures, on the morning of the Sunday after As has been said, the Paradiso is the most Easter, the whole time of his journey through abstruse, and allegorical portion of the poem. The the three realms having occupied ten days. souls of the blessed are placed by Dante in No one can feel more than the writer of this different planets, and stars, according to the sketch, the entire unworthiness of this effort to Ptolemaic system of astronomy. For instance, bring forward a bare outline of the “Divine the Moon, the symbol of change, is assigned as Comedy,” a work which repays the closest and the abode of those who have not entirely fulfilled most reverent study. It is the writing of a man their vows to Almighty God, and, though saved who has suffered much, and has discovered that at last, have fallen away from their first love; his only refuge is in the contemplation of higher and the Heaven of Mercury for those who, for things than the miseries of this life; and the love of fame, have achieved great deeds. In the restrained emotion which seems to vibrate in Heaven of the Sun are seen the Fathers of the every line is a wholesome discipline to the reader, Church. Here Dante meets the two great theo- drawing bim onward towards the contemplation logians of mediæval times, St. Thomas Aquinas of the highest Christian truths.
“ROUND THE FIRESIDE” PRIZE. We much regret that, owing to the very large number of Manuscripts sent in for competition, the Adjudicator has not been able to prepare his report in time for publication in this number of the Magazine. It will be given in the March number. 6. The Children's Hour” and other matter is also unavoidably held over. MR. STALKER'S "LIVES OF CHRIST AND
ST. PAUL." THE success—the deserved success-of Mr. Stalker's “Lives of Christ and St. Paul,” in the series of Handbooks for Bible Classes, has been such as to induce the author and publishers to issue the volumes in a separate and a “better form, without the marks of a handbook, which impede the general reader. These volumes are well got-up, and only cost 3s. 6d. We cannot imagine any better or more wholesome exercise in Biblical study than for a young man and young woman, and many more who are no longer young, to read through these books at a sitting, and, having done that, to read them over again. They are admirable in thought, in tone, in style, and, indeed, in every way.
"SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF JESUS”_ LECTURES by E. Lehmann, Director of the Union for the Inner Mission at Leipsic, translated by Sophia Taylor, and published by Messrs. T. & T. Clark, 38 George Street, Edinburgh-will also be found pleasant reading.
“THE OLD AND NEW THEOLOGY." THIS “constructive critique" (Clark, 6s.), by the Rev. J. B. Heard, M.A., will be welcomed by those who, like the author, think that every age may and should construct its own theology, and who hope that the twentieth century may outgrow the ruling ideas of the nineteenth as much as we do those of the eighteenth. The theology of the future, as Mr. Heard calls it, aims at absorbing all that was good in the old Rationalism and also in the old Mysticism, long and widely divided. The new theology is thus distinct from the old, and yet it is its legitimate descendant and heir-atlaw. Parent and child may misunderstand each other, as is often the case, but we need not be shaken in our faith in an ultimate reconcilement of old and new forms of truth by these alarms. This reconciliation is Mr. Heard's aim, and he soon hopes to see his views advanced to the third of the three stages through which every new science has to pass :-1. It was absurd; 2, it was contrary to the Bible ; 3, we always thought so.
“THE SUNDAY SERVICE BOOK.” Of this admirable and most useful volume, “Crion” thus writes in “Tangled Talk” in the Glasgow Weekly Citizen:
"Sunday Talk suggests Good Words, and Good Words suggests its Editor, who has just issued a volume which I commend most heartily to my readers. It is 'The Sunday Service Book' (London: William Isbister, Limited-I am sorry he is limited, for so good a publisher deserves to have
infinite limit !-56 Ludgabe Hill). Dr. Macleod's book comes most timeously-get it at once, my reader, and begin to read it in your family circle, 'Round the Fireside,' on the first Sunday of the year, and you will read it ever afterwards. It is marked by ability and taste. It meets a great want, for, as its author says, “It is not always easy for the head of a household, who desires to conduct a short service with his family on Sunday evening, to arrange for himself such a service as may be found suitable. The selection of appropriate passages of Scripture; the choice of a discourss combining brevity with practical simplicity; and the finding of prayers in harinony with the subjects thus fixed upon is a task which many find to be full of difficulty.' The book is intended in à measure to supply these wants, and, I may add, does so most admirably. Each service consists of suggested readings from the Old and New Testaments, of a short discourse, and of a prayer followed by a Collect and the Lord's Prayer. I am quite sure that Dr. Macleod's book will be found useful to many families in this country who like to spend their Sunday evenings at home-where, I humbly think, notwithstanding all the Lectures for the Times and Sunday Lectures in vogue, the great majority of Sunday evenings ought to be spent-and to travellers abroad and to residents in India and the Colonies, who may be deprived of opportunities for public worship.
“LETTERS FROM HELL." A FEARFUL title, is it not? and, as George Macdonald in his preface says, the book is far more fearful than its title, which is not quite new. For just before the death of Oliver Cromwell a book was published, entitled “Messages from Hell, or Letters from a Lost Soul.” The book, of which the volume before us is an English rendering, appeared in Denmark eighteen years ago, and was speedily followed by an English translation, now long out of print, issued by the publishers of the present version, Messrs. Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street, London, In Germany it appeared not long ago in a somewhat modified form, and has, says Dr. Macdonald, “aroused almost unparalleled interest, running, I am told, through upwards of twelve editions in the course of a year. This present English edition is made from this German version. It contains “a healthy upstirring of the imagination and the conscience," which George Macdonald hopes will be of great use in these days, when thousands of half-thinkers imagine that since it is declared with authority that hell is not everlasting, there is then no hell at all” '-a folly to which he has given no enticement or shelter.
“NINE YEARS IN NIPON" Is the title of a most interesting and entertaining series of sketches of Japanese life and manners, by Henry Faulds, surgeon, of Tsukiji Hospital, Tokio (Alexander Gardner, 12 Paternoster Row, London, and Paisley). Dr. Faulds has had exceptional advantages for observing the conditions of life in Japan, and tells us just exactly what we want to know about a wonderful country and people. His eye is very different from the ever unwinking one, which, he tells us, a Chinaman loves to paint on the prow of his sampan, and whose standard joke is to explain to the inquiring stranger with combined simplicity and terseness,
No got eye, no can see. Dr. Faulds not only can see, " but can describe in graphic and pleasant
language what has interested him, and what consequently interests us. There are two very interesting chapters on “ Schools” and “A Glimpse of the Land of Neglected Education,” and we trust that the present volume will have the success its author desires, to encourage him to give us another volume, in which he will deal with the religious and moral systems of the country. The present book contains some curious specimens of Japanese ait, which enliven its pages and are full of interest. The first which we have the
privilege (through the kindness of Mr. Gardner) of presenting to our readers, gives a near approach to a " Round the Fireside " crack.
The other shows two rival politicians engaged in what no doubt is a spirited discussion.
A three-inch tongue can kill a six-foot man"
“Even monkeys fall from the tree."
The bad artist blames his brush."
“THE PERFECT HOME" Is a series of admirable little booklets, published by Messrs. W. Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., treating of “The Wedded Life," "The Husband's Part,” “The Wife's Part," "The Parents' Part,” “The Children's Part." They are full of good advice for the perfect home, for every member of which the prayer of the Breton mariner, as he puts out on the waves, is suitable: “Keep me, O God, for my boat is 80 small and the ocean is so wide."
GONE TO SCHOOL THERE is a shadow over “The Rookery;" thank God, not the Terrible Shadow, save the one that is always there to my eyes, but a real shadow all the same. One of the little fellows has gone to school, and there is a bright face
and a merry voice the less to-day, and one little sleeper the less to be kissed and "tucked in" the last thing before one's own weary eyes are closed to-night. He has “gone,” (and if you want to know all the pathos contained in that little word, read “A.K.H.B.'s” essay that has it for its title). Poor
little laddie, he has "gone” to begin
the light of God on his face."
“And oh! it is such a joy To know that the heart of Christ once beat as the heart of a
boy.” There is a beautiful prayer of the late Dean Alfori's for such, of which I shall give you the first and last sentences. They may be helpful to you:-"O God, our heavenly Guardian and Guide, who never failest them that seek Thee, look in mercy on our dear child
Some of the Japanese proverbs and witty sayings are interesting. Beni or vermillion is greatly used by the ladies to redden their lips, hence “Who fingers rouge becomes red.” Of the dead with us, nothing but good must be spoken. In Japan, where the tiger is, of course, known only as a rare foreign animal, the expression of a similar kindly feeling is—“Spare the skin of the dead tiger." Here are some others :
now gone forth from home, into the temptations and did not show the slightest mark of reverence for the perils of the world. We know, and may he know, place they had just entered. They kept their hats on, that Thou art not the God of home alone, but also of stopped to shake hands and talk with acquaintances every place where Thy people seek Thee, and remem exactly as they might have done in the square outside. ber Thy covenant.
Heavenly Father, This did not surprise us after we had read a placard, protect and aid him with Thy good Providence. one of several, hung round the walls, and their sole Blessed Redeemer, Thou Good Shepherd, feed him ornament. It warned people that they were expected among Thy lambs and keep him in Thy fold. Holy to behave decently and properly in the church, and Spirit, be Thou the Guide of his youth, the Teacher not destroy anything. Could there be, we thought, and Comforter of his soul. Father, Son, and Holy any more striking commentary on the Dutchman's Ghost, our God, and the God of our fathers, bless his Sunday manners than the necessity for such a warning. going out and his coming in henceforth and for ever We afterwards heard that smoking in church used to Amen.”
be common, but is now unknown except in some And if the lad be motherless, surely one cannot remote districts of Friesland. The fact is, the help also praying—though we may be sure there is no real place of worship in the Dutch churches is not the need to do so—that the spirit of his mother in Heaven church in general, but a large wooden amphitheatre may be his guide all the days of his life, and help to usually erected, like the one we now saw before us, bring him at last to where she herself is.-From in the nave beside the organ loft. The whole is ORION's Note-book,
evidently arranged with a view to the sermon, as the
pulpit is in the centre and the pews are built looking A DUTCH KIRK IN SERVICE TIME.
towards it. In this case the pews rose tier above tier, The service in a Dutch church is similar to that of the and were approached either by sloping passages from Presbyterian churches in Scotland. The Dutch, below, or by steep back stairs that might be almost however, observe the festivals of the Christian year; described as ladders. We approached this formidable hence it was not on a Sunday, but on Ascension Day, woodyard modestly, but our progress was arrested by that our first opportunity of seeing what a Dutch a beadle, who conducted us back to a recess in one of church service is like occurred, and it happened to be the aisles, where we found three deacons solemnly in Leyden. The good people of Leyden are fond of sitting at a table with piles of tickets and pence before saying that their town is like Oxford, but Oxonians them, and looking like the money changers in the would hardly think the comparison flattering, for the Temple as one sees them in Dutch pictures. Duly great University town of Holland is thoroughly un provided with tickets, we were re-conducted by the interesting except as a seat of learning and on account friendly beadle. A brother official, by the way, in of its past history. With few exceptions the streets another church, begged us, in similar circumstances, are featureless, and even the canals are not picturesque; to put on our hats. “'Tis so bad for the health to go yet in the May sunshine, when the bells were ringing bareheaded about the church,” and I daresay, also, he and people on their way to church, the town looked considered our behaviour too singular. The pew we pleasant enough, and the tender green of trees just were left in was one of several labelled " Professors,' bursting into leaf, and reflected here and there in and by and by one or two appeared, but the pew water, gave freshness to the scene.
accommodation provided for them seemed much in Bending our steps towards the great St. Pieterskerk, excess of the demand. we presently found ourselves in a narrow lane filled From our dignified position we had a good view of with tidy, simply dressed people, all going in the the congregation as they came in, not very numerously, same direction as ourselves, and soon we gained a sort for naturally many preferred to spend the holiday in of square, in the middle of which stood the church, one other ways. There poured in, for instance, a long stream of immense size, and dating from the beginning of the of quaintly-dressed charity children, then à maidfourteenth century. The worn, reddish-grey brick servant or two with blue cotton gowns and clean muslin work of buttress and pinnacle, the lofty windows and caps, under which glowed blooming red cheeks, framed high roof, would have promised a rich interior had we in by severely-braided flaxen hair. White stockings not remembered that in Holland, as in Scotland, and black shoes, exchanged for the every day sabots, the Reformation was achieved only after violent completed their costume. Then came some peasant struggles, during which the claims of religious art women with hard, expressionless faces, looking none were inevitably ignored, and many beautiful and the better for gaudy modern bonnets stuck on the top priceless works lost or destroyed. We knew, besides, of their national head-dress of white lace and heavy that modern Holland, rich as it is in art treasures, gold ornaments. still allows whitewash to reign supreme in the deco In the women's quarter-for they sat apart from ration of its churches.
the men, who were placed higher up—we observed Entering the church by a door in the north transept, the pew openers continually running to and fro with we were immediately conscious of an atmosphere of what appeared to be foot-stools, but were really little deathly chilliness. The sunlight was indeed pouring foot-stoves. The stoofje, as it is called, is a small in through the windows on the whitewashed walls and wood box with a perforated top, under which is set an pillars, and on the dull, grey pavement, but it seemed earthenware saucer containing a bit of glowing turf. only to intensify the general bareness and want of In Dutch churches, and indeed everywhere else colour, for there was no stained glass. We were during cold weather, the stoofje is the Dutchwoman's much struck by the vastness of the interior and by inseparable and much-loved companion. The truth the lofty pillars forming the double aisles. The choir of this was amusingly illustrated by a lady who, when on our left was closed in by one of those metal screens we acknowledged that we had nothing of the kind in
common in the Netherlands, and which are so Scotland, exclaimed—“Oh, unhappy country that has frequently, though not in this case, marvellous works no stoofjes ! ” of art. The people were, we saw, all passing on to The service now began with the entrance of the the west end of the church, and it was noticeable they clerk, whose desk is immediately below the pulpit.
He is usually a schoolmaster, and this one it was Boerhave, the great physician ; Spanheim, Scaliger, evident had no small opinion of himself and his office. and others; but it was with a decided feeling of relief The behaviour of the congregation, however, while he that we regained the warm sunshine of the outer air. read the Scripture lessons, clearly showed that they As Scotchmen, we could not resist taking a little looked upon this part of the service as mere
comfort from the reflection that if Scotch churches liminaries."
and Scotch services are sometimes tasteless, bald, and A Psalm was next sung, and the singing is certainly cold, there exists a lower deep which might have been the most astonishing thing in the Dutch service. our fate, but which has been happily escaped, or at Each person sings very loud and very slow with a least left behind in the past. nasal intonation. Those who have the stoutest lungs naturally hold out best at these prolonged notes, and so fall behind the rest, but this gives them no un
DOUBTING. easiness. Each goes on conscientiously keeping his
A RUSH of hopes, of fears, of dreads, own time, and the organ lingers sympathetically to
Of thoughts that will not die, accompany last wail. How can people endure
The soul is tossed and well-nigh lost such singing, we thought, in a town where the night
As doubt gives faith the lie; before at a private concert we had heard a large choir And high above the muttered prayer of men sing in superlatively excellent style. The
The chilling whisper of despair. explanation we found to be this. The hideous singing
To nearly every thinking mind is connected in the minds of the people with orthodox
There comes a strife like this, doctrine, and good old-fashioned ways in general. To
Not to be drowned in giddy round, improve upon it would be an innovation; and, in
Nor yet in home's calm bliss ; particular, the St. Pieterskerk congregation, we were While underneath the seeming-well told, is a pure well of orthodoxy undefiled. We did
The horrid mockeries of holl. not doubt it. Those who sympathise with the modern school of theology would willingly see something
Yet patience, heart! for God is not better, and frankly confess that such singing as we
The author of your woe, chanced to hear is like the howling of a pack of wolves.
And oh ! that creed is false indeed During the Psalm, deacons went round carrying black
That holds Him to be so; velvet collecting bags at the end of extremely long,
What though His laws are fixed and strict, slender rods.
He does not willingly afflict. All this time the huge pulpit, with its heavy carved
He only will not stop results canopy, had remained empty, but now a dominie, as
Which follow these same laws, the pastor is called in Holland, came in and ascended
While we confess we do but guess, the pulpit. He was dressed in black gown and bands,
He knows the “final cause ; lawn wristbands, and black gloves. After a short The reason why He stays His hand extempore prayer he began his sermon, taking a text
As yet we cannot understand. suitable to the festival of the day. The text was also printed in large letters on a board hung by the side of And oh ! believe 'tis not by wrath the pulpit. The men now put on their hats, which
God sets Himself to win, they had taken off while the prayer was going on, and
But He is just, and so He must during sermon they sat, stood, or leaned across the
Let suffering follow sin ; pews, changing their position as often as they felt Yet think you He is not full sad inclined. The preacher used no paper, and after he
To see His earth so lost, so bad ? had gone on for half-an-hour it was easy to see that
Then work for Him, be strong of heart, his matter was exhausted, for he began to repeat
Nor pause to doubt nor sigh, himself. We fondly hoped he must stop soon, and in
In doing right we'll reach the light truth he did so quite suddenly, and when we least
And know all by-and-bye ; expected it. Another Psalm was given out, and once
While underneath, around, above, again to our surprise the deacons were busy with their
The sunshine of Almighty love. waggling rods making a second collection for another
FAUVETTE. charity. The Psalm ended, and we were dismayed to find that this had been, after all, only a pause in the middle of the sermon, which for thirty-five minutes
OXFORD AND ETON. more went on, a weary surge of rising and falling WALTER Bagehor tells us that a distinguished pupil oratory. At last came the peroration unmistakeably, of the University of Oxford once observed to himand we could not help envying the dominie, who was “ The use of the University of Oxford is that no man evidently the only warm individual in church. can over-read himself there. The appetite for knowAnother hymn followed and a third collection for ledge is suppressed.” Was this the languid gentleman yet another purpose ; but these repeated collections at who said, “Nothing new, and nothing true, and no one service are not such a tax as might be imagined, matter ?” for the coins used in Holland would enable one to This reminds us of a story told by Mr. Grant Duff. satisfy far more frequent demands without any strain "Some years ago," he says,
"a boy was reproached on one's purse.
by his master for not being able to answer some Our cramped limbs were thus at length released simple question. "Why,' said the tutor, 'your after a two hours' captivity in a narrow pew.
We youngest brother knows that!' "Yes, sir,' was the wandered round the church looking at some insignifi. reply, but then he has been at Eton a much shorter cant monuments erected to the memory of great time than I have; when he has been here as long you scholars such as Leyden has so often produced will find he knows as little as I do.'