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these deities represented more than they may seem to do to there was something in them more than an inanimate statue; that statue was the representation of something the imagination pictured. Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and the like, were only the expression of some abstract power or thought visibly represented. With some it took a different form. Life seems to have been the sacred thing with the Egyptians, and so they worshipped "life" through that which had possessed life. The Greek seemed longing for perfect beauty as an object of worship; he surrounded himself with the beautiful; and, perhaps, that altar to the unknown God, in Athens, was there because no image could be conceived satisfying the condition of perfect beauty. Much of this has passed away. We no longer express our ideas of God by inanimate images, or build temples in their honour: but still the imaginative power expresses itself in other ways—in symmetrical architecture, beautiful painting, sublime poetry. And the feeling produced by these is sometimes taken for a religious feeling, though it is no more akin to true religious feeling, which realises God in Christ, than the feeling of the heathen as he entered his idol's temple; for symmetrical architecture, beautiful painting, sublime poetry, as well as the idol and his temple, are but creations of the imagination, and in the unsanctified man have nothing to do with God further than our instincts have to do with Him as the common Father of all. Therefore, it is quite possible to worship in a gorgeous cathedral, with the best of music, and surrounded with wonders of art, with no other religious feeling than that which possessed the heathen kneeling in his idol's temple in olden time. These things by the sanctified heart may be consecrated to God's service, but they cannot of themselves, since they are only the creations of the imagination, produce a religious feeling; and those who take the feeling produced by them for a religious feeling, fall into a great mistake. Their worship is the worship of nature. Full of refinement, of taste, of imagination, it may be, but still the worship of the unsanctified heart, and coming no nearer to God than that of the heathen who never heard of Christ. Such persons, under different conditions, with many advantages prompting to better things, worship with much the same feeling as that of the Greek and the Roman, who worshipped the creations of their imaginations before the light of Christianity broke
upon the world. And this mistake will be more manifest, if we consider that this feeling does not rise up to God as our Father in Christ, but only as the first great Cause of all things, approaching Him as our instincts and intellectual powers approach Him, through his attributes. We see this, as the most vivid imagination-the keenest perception of the beautiful in creation-the strongest and deepest feelings of our nature-exist where there is no recognition of God in Christ, but only an indistinct and deistical acknowledgment of God, as first Cause, and universal Creator. Take Lord Byron, as an example, for in him we have a combination of these things, but there is no feeling towards God in Christ. He walks abroad, and the earth to him is not what it is to another man. It is full of beauty on every side. The sky, the clouds, the sea, the forest, the river, speak a language his spirit can understand, and make it almost too elastic for the earth. Whether he is watching the sun set or the sun rise-whether he is standing on the lone mountain or on the sea-shore-whether he is watching the moon climbing in her glory, or reading the "Poetry of Heaven," written on the dark still night-it is all the same; there is the voice of nature speaking to his innermost soul and making it glad. Let us take some passages from his works, and see how he speaks: they shall be chiefly from Childe Harold.
CANTO III. STANZA XIII.
Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends;
Where a blue sky and glowing clime extends,
A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars,
To which it mounts, as if to break the link
That keeps it from yon heav'n which woos us to its brink.
But these recede. Above me are the Alps,
Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
How Earth may pierce to Heav'n, yet leave vain man below. Turn again to his description of Morning:
CANTO III. STANZA XCVIII.
The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
And living as if earth contained no tomb-
The march of our existence: and thus I,
Still on thy shores, fair Leman! may find room
And food for meditation, nor pass by
Much that may give us pause, if ponder'd fittingly.
This stanza reminds me of a joyous morning in Switzerland: I was on my way to Kandersteg, at the foot of the pass of the Gemmi; the road lay along the high ground on the side of a delightful valley winding up to the pass; the sun had risen about an hour, and his light was glittering through the trees; the little clouds, formed from the mists below, were creeping up the mountain sides, and, reaching the summit, let go their hold, and sailed away into the eternal blue, and all was fresh and bright and glad. In the midst of all this, I met an open carriage containing a lady and gentleman, both of them asleep; and I could not help wondering how they could sleep at such a time. Then look again at his description of night; both in calm and also in storm:
CANTO III. STANZA LXXXVIII.
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
That in our aspirations to be great,
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.
All heav'n and earth are still-though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
All heav'n and earth are still. From the high host
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
Of that which is of all Creator and defence,
The sky is changed!—and such a change! Oh night,
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
And this is in the night-most glorious night!
A sharer of thy fierce and far delight—
And now again, 'tis black-and now the glee
Of the loud hills, shakes with its mountain mirth,
What an intensity of feeling all this produces, as expressed in
Could I embody and unbosom now
That which is most within me ;-could I wreak
Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak,
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
But how all this subsides in Canto IV., stanza xxvii., and what a calm and peaceful spirit breathes there:
The moon is up,-and yet it is not night;
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;
Let me add here that magnificent description of sunset from the beginning of the third canto of the Corsair :
Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,
The god of gladness sheds his parting smile;
Mark his gay course, and own the hues of heaven;
Behind his Delphian cliff he sinks to sleep.
Again, he would escape, as it were, from his fellow men, that he may in solitude hold closer intercourse with nature: