« PreviousContinue »
that, if there be nothing material and sensible beyond this
It is not fanciful then to suppose the imagery and dress of the Apocalypse intended to convey to us an idea, faint though it be, of actual music in the future world. Our greatest tendency to err doubtless is, in our inability to conceive of the power of the celestial senses, the celestial ear, the celestial inedium of sound, the celestial voice, and the celestial instruments. The paucity and, poverty of the earthly materials with their perversion and abuse is so constantly before our minds, that it almost inevitably forces us to think it derogatory and mean to transfer the conception of any thing analogous to the heavenly world.
There was exhibited in the country, some twenty years since, a company of automaton figures, that were made to play a few airs upon horns, the clarionett, flute, and one artificial
windpipe to imitate the voice: and it was called "THE SALOON OF APOLLO." The mechanism was ingenious, but the musical effect mean. One could not help thinking, that if the god of the silver bow had happened along there, how quickly he would have shot their heads off as insolent lampooners of his art.
Again, Beethoven for years of the last period of his life, and when perfectly deaf, played on a piano without strings. Here his wildest-his sublimest strains were composed. Where was the music? not in his shattered ear-nor shattered instrument, but in his soul;-that without an instrument and without an ear, revelled, with almost insane pleasure, in the bare conceptions, aided only by the reminiscences of former sounds.
Such facts show us that the very poverty of the earthly materials, and the very disparagement we heap on them, when we think of the heavenly, betrays the aspiration of the mind. The mind, in respect to the objects of the eye and the ear, is reaching after something which the frailty and weakness of this mortal state denies. But it expects-it desires-it looks forward to a state, where it shall drink in its fill of the emotions which it covets, with aidances adequate to its enlarged desires.
Therefore, my belief is, that there is another, a glorious theatre, in reserve for us, even a heavenly; where, with an ear that will never grow dull, a medium that will present no hindrance, a voice that will never break, a body that will bear all pressure of emotion, subjects of infinite variety, extent and grandeur, drawn from God's creative and redemptive acts; a scene, where we may praise him with all the powers of heart and tongue, where we may go on praising him with more and more of skill and enthusiasm and joy.
Therefore, our believe that the scenes of the Apocalypse are not arranged as they are, merely in accommodation to our earthly condition, but are intended to shadow forth to us some points of real analogy between the music we essay to perform here, and the music of the heavenly world, that we may in the future world in fact hear the very chorusses, and bear some humble part in them, which John, rapt in the trance of Patmos, heard. The chorus of unnumbered millions, the millions of redeemed sinners will be sung and heard; and it will be responded to by the chorus of unnumbered millions of angels, and they both will be like "the voice of many waters
and of mighty thunderings;" no want, as in Handel's puny orchestra of a thousand performers, of bass deep-toned enough to balance other parts. There, genius, which in this world so quickly finds its limit through want of appropriate facilities, may soar at will; and with faculties unlike those in this world which grow weary and give out, will never need refreshment or repair. There, one shall not grow deaf with Beethoven, nor another die at thirty-six with Mozart, through sheer exhaustion of the body, nor a third expire with Haydn at the sound of cannon bombarding Vienna; but above weariness, confusion and wreck shall sing on and sing on, in sweeter and yet sweeter, in louder and yet louder strains.
"There, no tongue shall silent be,
All shall join sweet harmony,
That through heaven, all spacious round,
And here, there is a solemn thought. Can there be music hereafter in the soul that does not love God? Nay! music and hostility to God are incongruous ideas. The Oratorios of heaven will give no pleasure to those in whose hearts the love of God does not exist. If we enter the future state unreconciled to him, then farewell peace, farewell joy; farewell hosannas, hallelujahs, praises; farewell the company of the redeemed, the glorious church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, and farewell the chorus of angelic beings; farewell all that can purify and ennoble the soul. That we had enjoyed something of music here, and felt longings of soul for something far beyond what the present state permitted to attain, but which we did hope to reach in that better and more glorious world; this will but aggravate our bitter disappointment. Nay, the capacities of music, the remembrance of earthly enterprise and enjoyment in the harmony of sweet sounds, will be turned into thorns and daggers of remorse. O, the powers of the immortal mind! its capacities of joy! its capacities of woe !—solemn thought! The heart says, would there were no woe! But reason-conscience-God says there is. One of the grand chorusses of the Apocalypse is, the pæans of rejoicing for the victory of the Lamb the enemies of his church. Some of these enemies are the apostate of this world. "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth forever and ever."
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. II.
1.-Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Edited by George Ripley. Vols. XII, XIII. Human Life, or Practical Ethics. From the German of De Wette, by Samuel Osgood. 2 Vols. Boston: James Munroe & Co. London: John Green. 1842. pp. 777.
De Wette is already known to us as a theologian. here made acquainted with him as an ethical writer. many the different systems of Moral Philosophy are denominated, the Sentimental, the Rational, the Selfish, the Dogmatic or Theological, and the Eclectic. The first writes the philosophy of feeling, and gives to sentiment the chief place in morals, conferring on it a supremacy over reason. The second found its father in Kant, who laid the foundation of moral obligation in the nature of the soul itself, and almost excluding the affections, exalted the intellect above all else, and there placed the source of morals. Fichte almost froze up the affections, and looked with cold indifference on both revelation and faith. The third lays expediency as the corner-stone of the moral system, and builds upon it a vast pile, composed of calculations of consequences. The fourth sus tains itself on a rigid supernaturalism, adhering strictly to the letter of the Scriptures, dogmatically interpreted, and rejecting all else as the basis of obligation. The fifth, or Eclectic School, to which De Wette belongs, makes much of sentiment, but combines with it somewhat of the rational system, and even allows expediency a place. It undertakes to harmonize rather than to separate theology and ethics, religion and morals, and propounds the system of Christianity as the perfection of both.
Those interested in such studies, will find in the present volumes, a beautiful richness of illustration, and an extended consideration of the practical duties of life; and although many readers will doub less dissent from some of the author's prin. ciples, as from his application of them, the book merits a read. ing, as exhibiting the views of a philosophical and independent mind, and, at the same time, those which prevail to a great extent on the continent of Europe.
De Wette, we think, is not sufficiently governed in his ethics, by a regard for the Scriptures. He reasons and feels too much independently of them; and, although he need not lay in them the foundation of moral obligation, he ought to acknowledge their teachings to be right, and always consistent with the true foundation of morals, whatever that may be. That system which contravenes the truths of revelation, the principles of the Gospel, cannot be the right one.
In the chapter on "Veracity," we find a looseness, which we think the Bible will not warrant; nor the moral consciousness either. Falsehood is justified; is represented as neces sary. So also on the dissertation on "Marriage," in which are some beautiful and excellent sentiments, the author is not limited in his views of divorce by the teachings of the Son of God, the true Light, but indicates a looseness, which would authorize frequent divorces, and tend greatly to interrupt the permanency of the marriage bond, and consequently the peace and prosperity of society. We prefer Christ's lessons on this subject to any other.
2.-Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Edited by George Ripley. Vol. XIV. Songs and Ballads, translated from Uhland, Körner, Bürger, and other German Lyric Poets. With Notes, by Chas. T. Brooks. Boston James Munroe & Co. London: John Green. 1842. pp. 400.
In this volume we have presented to us a string of beautiful pearls; not only the "Strung Pearls" of Rückert, among which we find these elegant ones:
"Thou none the better art for seeking what to blame,
"The flowers will tell to thee a sacred, mystic story,
How moistened earthly dust can wear celestial glory,
but many a lovely one from Uhland, Körner, Schiller, Novalis, and other of the lyric poets of Germany.
The typographical execution of the work is good, and the publishers merit commendation. We think the volume well worthy a place among the selected poetry of the day. It is pure in its character; and although there may be a very few sentiments that would not meet a response in all breasts, the