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ing hope of being able, with his own hands, to place a stone on the walls of that goodly fabric which, with infinite skill and power, the Spirit of God is, day by day, raising in the world."
As a specimen of Mr. Fraser's manner of treating the various sacred observances, that have so deep a meaning both to Christians and to Jews, however little Christians may think of their significance; and of his style of spiritualizing-as we have often heard pious, old country folks term the process of making emblems and truths run parallel, we shall make a few quotations; and in the first instance, here is one from his chapter on Daily Worship, which follows a brilliant view of the Temple, and of the Priesthood:
"The true happiness of man, as a rational and immortal creature, wholly dependent for every good and perfect gift upon the God of nature, providence, and grace, consists in spiritual communion with the Author of his being. In all the revelations of his mercy, it has pleased God to command, to invite, and to encourage man to seek this his true happiness, and, in a great variety of ways, to assure him that he may, if he will, obtain it.
Among the divine institutions calculated to promote this great end of man's being, is that of daily worship. Under the Old Testament dispensation, the Most High ordained that his people should offer to him their continual daily homage, that he might dwell' among them, and be their God, and hold communion with them in the supply of all their necessities. Under the New Testament dispensation the divine institution remains unaltered. The blessed Redeemer, in the form of prayer he has left, calls upon us each day to solicit daily blessings; and in the spirit of the prayer, Give us this day our daily bread,' to entreat forgiveness, preservation, and every temporal and spiritual benefit. The example of the Saviour enforces his admonition; and his inspired apostles urge upon us the same duty, by arguments and considerations irresistibly cogent.
Prayer, indeed, is the great index of the divine life in the soul. It indicates both the existence of that life, and the degree of vigour it possesses. Nay, without it, every thing like vital godliness must languish and die; for it is by prayer that we receive that spiritual nourishment, without which our hope, our faith, our holiness, cannot exist. There is a strict analogy between the effects of natural food and spiritual nourishment. As well might the body exist without the one, as the soul possess spiritual life without the other.
Accordingly, in every age of the Church, this sacred employment has been the daily delight, as well as the duty of the faithful. With the pious Psalmist, they are always ready to say, My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord! In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee! Evening and morning will I pray and cry aloud, and thou shalt hear my voice! It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Thou Most High! To show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night!'
"Offices of worship, few and far between, are, indeed, totally inconsistent with the relation of a child of God to his Father who is in heaven. He must breathe the atmosphere of devotion. His loins must be ever girt; his lamp ever burning. How otherwise can he be at all times' readyready to go forth when he is called-ready to enter on that journey to which he is ever liable to be suddenly summoned? How, amid the secularizing effect of things eternal, without daily draughts from the fountain of the water of life, and daily supplies of the bread that cometh down from heaven? Happy they who are thus renewed day by
day! They alone can walk without being weary, and run without being faint.
"In order to witness the rites of daily worship, let us enter the courts of the Lord's House on one of the ordinary days of the week, and very early in the morning, before, born of the dawn, the rosy-fingered Aurora' has appeared over the eastern hills. The shadows of night still encircle the Holy and Beautiful House.' On entering the Court of the Priests, we behold the fire on the great altar. No flames arise from it, for the wood is consumed which was placed upon it when the priests sought the needful repose. But the fire is large though not brilliant, and casts a ruddy glare all around, revealing the figures of some of the guards, who pace with a solemn step to and fro.
"Presently the Chambers in the Court of Israel, in which the officiating priests pass the hours of sleep, are opened, and, their occupants aroused from rest, issue forth to prepare for the duty of the day. Passing across the court, they enter the apartments containing the baths, and there having performed a complete ablution of their bodies, without which it is unlawful to enter the Court of the Priests, they array themselves in their sacerdotal robes of white linen, and hold themselves in readiness for the coming of the President of the Lots, whose duty it is to determine which individual of the course shall begin the sacred duties of the day. The hour at which this officer arrives is not always the same, in order that a greater degree of watchfulness on the part of the other priests may be encouraged. Sometimes he comes at cock-crowing, or a little before or after that time. To this uncertainty our Blessed Lord is supposed to refer in these words : Watch ye, therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh; at even or at midnight; or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.'
The President of the Lots having arrived, the lot is cast by him, and the person chosen to perform the first duty of the morning. This is to remove from the altar the first shovel-full of ashes, previous to the entire removal of all that have accumulated during the night. As soon as the lot has been cast, the whole of the priests issue forth from the chamber in which that duty has been performed, and, dividing themselves in two companies, proceed round the court to ascertain that all has been safe during the night. One company having with them a lighted torch, proceed round the east and north sides of the court; and the other company, provided in like manner, with a torch, take their way by the west and south sides of it. Having met again, they salute each other, declaring that all is safe."
In recommending this volume, written in a strain so lively and imaginative, as well as devotional, we may notice how needful such works are, to the less carefully educated among the laity-and even among the clergy. We are convinced that there are many who do not possess the knowledge of the Jewish Ritual which is absolutely necessary for the ordinary apprecition of some Scripture truths. We have no chair in any of our universities that makes Jewish antiquities more than the casual subject of its prelections; and this want is as great an anomaly in a theological course, as it is in an ordinary college education, to have no chair for British History and Literature. It implies, therefore, a large amount of mere voluntary personal activity, and undirected searching, on the part of our theological students, to succeed in acquiring a most important part of that knowledge, in which their teachers ought to instruct them.
And if those instances are rare in which personal activity entirely makes up for the want to which we refer, it follows that the laity cannot have the
opportunity which they ought to enjoy, of receiving solid and comprehensive information regarding sacred antiquities.
And while it is true, that much of that information may be better conveyed through the pages of books, than through the pulpit-addresses of the clergy; yet these books should be written by our clergy, and should be adapted to the general mind of their congregations. Mr. Fraser's book is an excellent sample of what may be done in this way. He does not intend it as a substitute for books of reference, or for those voluminous works which invite the attention of every student of Jewish and Eastern lore; but, simply, as an interesting and instructive view, of a most important subject, to those who have not hitherto carfully studied it, and such as may lead them to a more diligent inquiry into parts of the sacred writings which it is alike their duty and their interest fully to understand.
Idolatry, a Poem. By the Rev. EDWARD ROBERTSON, A.M., Minister of Tibbermuir. Edinburgh: Myles Macphil. 1849.
We are glad to see various specimens of literary aspiration among our clergy. It is so notorious that for many years they have rather stood in the way than advanced the progress of general literature, that almost every sample of an effort in the right direction-is welcome as indicating the development of new and better tendencies.
We do not bring forward Mr. Robertson's Spenserian stanzas as an index of the greatest degree of poetical vis that may exist among the clergy of our Church,-far from it. But we notice them as highly creditable to Mr. Robertson; and it seems to us that there is room for productions like his, if not on the broad arena where the higher literary combatants exhibit their various strength, yet among the friends of our Church, who desire its welfare in a literary as well as in a mere theological point of view; and among the friends and acquaintances of Mr. Robertson, who will justly be pleased with the unpretending volume thus humbly given to the world.
"Who shall attempt with unskill'd hand to wake
Or by its feeble notes the silence break
That reigns, since slept the mighty minstrel choir ?
Yet may fond fancy, owning the desire
Their breasts that ruled when rose the lofty line,
Albeit unworthy in their strength aspire
With the bright bays of elder time to twine
One simple Gothic wreath; the grateful task be mine."
The subject is a very interesting one to the student of hoary antiquity; and it has become more interesting than ever, through the recent revelations of European and Assyrian sculpture, long hidden from the generations of men. Layard's Nineveh, taken in counection with various works on Etruria and Egypt, may be considered as opening up completely some fields of investigation that have hitherto been neglected, or but partially cultivated, namely, the first imparted light of religious truth, with the gradual darkness that fell upon its early beliefs and emblems; the comparative harmony that prevails between a great portion of the superstitious, if not religio's rites of the ancient Asiatic, European, and African races;
the rise and progress of Paganism; and the gradual gathering of that thick night of moral and spiritual darkness that formed the background to the glorious light of Christianity, when it arose, and, sun-like, flung its radiance from the east even unto the west.
Idolatry, as described in Mr. Robertson's poem, is a subject that will acquire greater interest in the eyes of literary men, and will demand a more searching investigation from them as oriental discoveries proceed. And we are convinced that the more fairly and the more earnestly these investigations are made, the more triumphantly will the truth of religion be manifested, and the more contempt will be cast on the silly mythical mists which those who take the name of positive philosophers are inclined to make the self-originating cause of all religious creeds.
The progress of Idolatry is described in the Poem, which is much assisted by some useful notes at the end. They occupy nearly half of the letter-press, and with the exception of a note on Homer, which certainly demands qualification, are very instructive.
The use of the distributive pronoun "each" is by far too frequent in this Poem-so frequent as to constitute a decided blemish. Lest Mr. Robertson should think us hypercritical, we must tell him, that it occurs thirteen times in twenty-four stanzas-a too plentiful distribution by far. The stanzas to which we allude are those of the second part of the Poem. From the first and best part of the Poem, we give the following extract :
"And yet where'er they stray'd, there linger'd still,
To shun life's sorrow or to cheat its ill,
A feeling, that against their madness fought,
Bidding them hear its voice, and upwards turn their eyes.
"The savage, roaming o'er untrodden fields,
Deems himself centre of a boundless sphere,
Slow glides the queen of night within her star-lit bower.
"All things are thus in motion, and a life
Seems to pervade all nature; if a rock
Leave the hoar mountain's side, amid the strife
Of elements, the savage feels the shock,
Some strange relation to the scene around,
He deems he must. Upon the smiling ground
That ceaseless rushes on the solitary shore ?"
PHOTOGRAPHY-AS APPLIED TO THE PRODUCTION OF LIKENESSES.→ This art, which has been justly termed one of the miracles of the age, has probably never been seen to advantage, by the majority of our readers, and we beg to call their attention to an advertisement of Mr. Stanley's in this magazine, headed, "Miniatures on Silver," which really says little, when so much deserves to be said on the subject. We recently paid a visit to his Establishment, in Princes Street, and were highly gratified with the specimens shown us, as he not only produces fine Photographic impressions, free from all the unpleasant defects which have been associated with this art, by its being so unskilfully treated, but being a highly talented artist, he is enabled literally to paint on these impressions, and the result is a highly pleasing and life-like miniature, embellished with a background of country, mountain, and sky, as full of nature as the miniature itself, and imparting to it the warmth and finish so long desired in the best Photographic portraiture. Mr. Stanley informed us, that his recent productions, especially on the larger sizes, where he has scope for his talent, far surpasses any of his former efforts, and we think the art may now be considered perfect under his hands. Although Scotland enjoys free trade in Photography, it not being under the restrictive law of the English patent, yet it never flourished here; true it is, that until he came among us, no one was found with sufficient talent and application to carry this out to so successful an issue. Many of the most influential people of Edinburgh have honoured him with their patronage, and we cordially recommend all those who wish themselves perpetuated, to pay Mr. Stanley a visit, and we feel assured they will be much pleased with the result.
Presbytery of Linlithgow.-The Presbytery met on Tuesday the 3d April, Mr. Kenneth M'Kenzie, of Bo'ness, Moderator. The Presbytery proceeded to elect their representatives to the ensuing General Assembly. In reference to the Camelon Church, Mr. Begg produced a bond, with other documents, securing a suitable annual income to the Rev. John Oswald, who had been ministering there successfully for upwards of a year. The Presbytery expressed their satisfaction with the bond and relative documents. It was resolved after the people should have an opportunity of hearing Mr. Oswald on the 15th, and a committee of Presbytery on the following day, that Mr. Ker should give intimation of a meeting of Presbytery at Camelon, on the 27th April, to moderate in a call to Mr. Oswald. Degrees of D.D.-The Senatus Academicus of the University of Edinburgh, on Monday the 9th of April, conferred the degree of Doctor in Divinity on the Rev. William Glover, M.A., Minister of Greenside Church, Edinburgh; the Rev. William Hope Meiklejohn, Junior Minister of the Church of Scotland, Calcutta; and the Rev. William Stevenson, Minister of the First Charge, South Leith.
In our last number it was intimated, that Dr. Simpson, of Kirknewton, was to be proposed as the Moderator of the ensuing General Assembly. We have been requested to insert the following communication, which, as a matter of Ecclesiastical intelligence, we can
not refuse, begging it, however, to be understood, that we neither pledge ourselves to the accuracy of the statement, nor are we the partizans of either the one Candidate or the other:
"Soon after it appeared in the newspapers that Dr. Simpson, of Kirkuewton, was to be proposed, it was made known through the same channels, that Dr. Bell, of Linlithgow, had been proposed a considerable time before Dr. Simpson-that the old Moderators had not had a meeting to nominate-that Dr. Simpson could not, therefore, in strict propriety, be said to be their nominee-and that many in the Church did not concur in thinking Dr. Simpson a fit person to fill the Chair. These averments were made by a company of Dr. Bell's friends. To these Dr. Hill, of Glasgow, replied-that Dr. Simpson's nomination was concurred in by the old Moderators-that no discourtesy had been intended to such of the old Moderators as had not been askedand that a division was obnoxious to them, and to be deprecated for the sake of the Church. Upon this a newspaper controversy has sprung up, to the effect that Dr. Simpson was never properly designated-that the old Moderators had never had a meeting-that not only did some not consider Dr. Simpson a fit person, but had, at one time objected, though, perhaps, now concurring, &c. &c. These averments have not met with any notice on the part of Dr. Hill."