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perhaps confirm this presumption. The Apostle is shewing the guilt of all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles; and from this he deduces the necessity of the Redeemer's sacrifice and righteousness, as the only medium of justification before God. In reference to the Gentiles, he begins to speak more particularly at the 18th verse: "For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." These persons are here declared to have some knowledge of the truth, but to hold this knowledge in unrighteousness; that is, to neglect acting up to the measure of light which they possess. To explain this circumstance more largely, and to justify the Divine wrath which it occasioned, the Apostle proceeds to state, that with the distinctive attri. butes of the nature of God, namely his eternal power and Godhead, these Gentiles had already been made familiar by the Almighty himself, who has impressed on all his operations very legible marks of his character. These marks have been visible ever since the creation of the world, when an express revelation of the divine nature and perfections was no doubt afforded to our first parents. This seems to me to be the idea conveyed by the expression, аTO KTLσEWS Koaμs: as if the Apostle had said, "Ever since the time when a direct revelation was made of the attributes of God, the works of creation and providence have been perpetual indications and memorials of those attributes.
It is the opinion of Schleusner, that to the words τοις ποιήμασι, rendered in our version the things which are made,' a more extensive signification is to be annexed than that of the works of creation. “Latissime autem patet hoc loco formula τa koμata Oes, ita, ut non solum opera creationis, quæ vulgo dicuntur, sed etiam omnes visibiles operationes divinas in rerum naturâ complectatur. Ps. cxliii. 5." Vide Schleusneri Lexi. con, in Ποιημα
Those persons are therefore inexcusable, who, though destitute of a written revelation, do not act according to that knowledge of God which was communicated at the creation; and which, ever since that period, would have been brought to immediate remembrance, as well as retained more firmly, in case the visible works of creation and providence had been properly considered." (vosuɛva.)
The above interpretation appears to me entitled to consideration, as affording, if correct, a satisfactory solution of a passage which has often been quoted with an air of confidence, in the defence of opinions apparently repugnant both to Scripture and fact.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. PERHAPS the following brief account of Mount Calvary, taken from Calmet's Dictionary and Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, may prove satisfactory to your correspondent QUERENS.
Calvary or Golgotha: a little mountain to the north of Mount Sion went by this name, probably by reason of the similitude it bore to the figure of a skull or man's head," &c. &c.-Calmet.
"The church of the Holy Sepulchre," says Maundrell, "is founded upon Mount Calvary, which is a small eminency or hill upon the greater Mount of Moriah. It was anciently appropriated to the execution of malefactors, and therefore shut out of the walls of the city, as an execrable and polluted place. But since it was made the altar on which was offered up the precious and all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, it has recovered itself from infamy, and has been always reverenced and resorted to with such devotion by all Christians, that it has attracted the city round about it, and stands now in the midst of Jerusalem; a great part of the hill of Sion being shut out of the walls, to make room
"a mount;" a single passage to that effect from any writer of the first two or three centuries, or earlier, would fully settle the point.
Biblical scholars have also differed as to the origin of the Hebrew name Golgotha, to which the term Calvary corresponds; some supposing that it derives that appellation from its resembling the figure of a skull; others from the bones and skulls of malefactors being buried on the spot; and others from its being a place for the decollation of criminals. Happily, amidst the uncertainty that may attend many points of philological or antiquarian research, we are left in no doubt as to any essential circumstance in the evangelic history; so that whatever controversy may be raised respecting the exact site of Calvary, there can be none respeeting the all-important fact, that there the incarnate Saviour offered a full,perfect, and sufficient oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and that all who come unto God by him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Truths like this only shine the brighter, from the obscurity which hangs around many points of merely curious and learned detail. God has made it necessary for us all to believe the Gospel, and to obey its injunctions; and these are plainly revealed: on less important topics the Scriptures are often silent or obscure.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. YOUR correspondent QUERENS may find it difficult to obtain the precise information he wishes; for, though Calvary is currently denominated "a mount," it is not socalled in Scripture; and it cannot perhaps be absolutely proved that the mount near Jerusalem, long consecrated by tradition as the site of the crucifixion, is the exact scene of that awful event. The suppositions of travellers and pilgrims, however probable, are not conclusive evidence. At the same time they deserve some degree of weight; and as to the general fact of Calvary having been a mountain (probably an eminence on Mount Moriah), it has been so long and generally admitted, that I make no doubt the belief has originated in decisive testimony, though Quærens or myself may not have the means of retracing it. Perhaps some of your learned contributors can inform us by what ancient Jewish or Christian writers the spot of the crucifixion is called
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IN defence of Lord Byron's "Cain" it was lately urged, among other arguments, in the High Court of Chancery, that Milton, whose veneration for Christianity is unquestionable, has put language into the lips of Satan which it was contended would
justify the exceptionable passages in the poem then under adjudication. The Lord Chancellor is stated to have remarked in substance,in reply to this argument, that from a perfect recollection of the contents of Paradise Lost, having perused it very recently, he could undertake to assert that there was nothing in
that poem intended to disparage religion, but that every thing was calculated for a contrary effect. On this point there can indeed be no question; yet it is still open to discussion, whether there are not remarks and descriptions in Milton's work which it would have been far better to have left unpenned; and, if I am not greatly mistaken, every reader of keen Christian sensibility has always been far more pained than pleased with the passages to which I allude.
Among the numerous critiques which have been written on the Paradise Lost, I do not remember to have any where seen a regular moral estimate of this celebrated poem, till I lately met with the following valuable paper in a transatlantic religious monthly miscellany of about three years' standing, published at New-Haven, entitled "The Christian Spectator," andwhich contains various useful and interesting papers. The work is, I believe, scarcely, if at all, known even by name in this country; and I shall therefore for the sake of your readers, transcribe the paper in question for your pages;-a compliment which the conductors of the American publication have often paid, with handsome acknowledgments, to papers in the Christian Observer. The part of the essay to which I would chiefly invite attention, as peculiarly interesting from the recent discussions on Lord Byron's Cain, is that in which the writer gives his moral estimate of those passages in the Paradise Lost which relate to the character and sentiments of Sutan and his fallen companions.
A MORAL ESTIMATE OF PARA
The literary character of this poem has been too often discussed, and is too well established, to require additional investigation at the present period. Like its predecessors, the Iliad and Eneid, of heroic
memory, Paradise Lost has received the sanction of time, and will probably last as long as that impartial panegyrist.-The labours of criticism, as we learn to our surprise, first brought it into general notice; but subsequently to the days of the Spectator, down to the poet's latest and most enamoured biographers, criticism, with few exceptions, has been the echo of public applause.
The moral character of the poem, however, as is the case with every other production, is a concern of much higher importance, and that I conceive to have been, by most readers, less regarded and less understood than any thing else belonging to this great work. My object in the following observations will be to discuss its merits, purely as a religious poem, and the offspring of the genius of Christianity.
In a production like Paradise Lost, possessing the highest literary excellence, and destined, as poets say, to immortality, the moral influence is peculiarly important. It is both the proof and the effect of genius to sanction what it inspires. If therefore the impression made be favourable to evangelical piety, nothing is more to be desired; if unfavourable, nothing is more to be deprecated. The impression either way is always deep in proportion to the strength or prevalence of genius in a work. Even vice, under the glowing touches of this magical power, may, by its insinuating aspect, be mistaken for virtue; and "the worse," by its seeming consistency, be made to " appear the better reason." What then must a work, which is clearly one of the highest efforts of poetical talent, and on a sacred subject, be capable of effecting in regard to the moral exercises of the enthusiastic reader!-Judging from what has often appeared, and been acknowledged, it is not to be doubted that this poem is capable of making the deepest impressions of a serious nature. that no book is marked by more Certain it is,
distinctive features-is capable of fixing more firmly its story on the memory, or painting more vividly its images on the imagination. Whatever therefore may be its moral influence, that influence must be peculiarly commanding; and the remark may perhaps be hazarded, without the charge of extravagance, that no book in the English language, the Bible excepted, has more deeply impressed on the minds of readers its own peculiarities of religious diction, sentiment, and feeling. As a proof of its effect on our religious mental associations, it may be remarked, that many of our prevalent ideas on the primeval state of man, and his fall-on heaven and hell-on angels and evil spirits, supposed, until examined, to be derived from revelation, are merely the fictions of the poet. The Bible furnishes but comparatively few hints on these subjects, and yet, through the magical influence of Milton, we seem to be possessed of particular and full information.
The moral influence of a book is the impression of a religious nature which it is capable of producing on the mind of a susceptible, intelligent reader. According as that impression is favourable to Christian piety or not, the book is valuable or worthless in a moral view. The moral of a book, particularly of poems, is not always what it professes, or is supposed to be. The great ethical lesson of the Iliad, for instance, is said to be the advantages of union, or the evils of dissension, among princes. This thought may have been in the mind of the bard; but the real moral of the poem is the desirable nature of ambition, military prowess, and revenge. The impression which is made, the ardor which is inspired, is altogether in aid of these principles or passions. And whatever is the chief impression made by a work, this, in the opinion of an elegant essayist, is the only proper moral. The leading religious pro
position of Paradise Lost is the justification of the ways of God to man. Whether this or any similar evangelical object has been effected, and to what extent, may appear in the sequel. In the estimate which is made of the work in this respect, it will be proper, according to the remarks already suggested, to consider not merely what is theoretically established, but what is the actual and most powerful feeling inspired.
My plan will lead me to mention, first, the excellencies of the poem in a religious view.
1. Here it will immediately occur to the reader, that the solemnity of the general subject, together with the sacred character of many of the particular topics connected with it, is a consideration of no small importance. It is itself some praise, in poetry, to select an impressive subject of a serious cast, and to present for the entertainment and instruction of mankind ideas peculiar to the scriptural revelation. The world has heard enough of the feats of heroes, and the projects of great men. It is filled with the eulogy of virtues which the Bible does not recognize, and of characters which it is lamentable should have ever existed. Active courage, patriotism, friendship, and the like, in the sense they are commonly understood, are not acknowledged, according to a statement somewhere made by Paley, as constituting a part of Christiau morals; and the characters which they form are only of that description of which the world is worthy. The subjects of many of our most popular poems are of such a nature that it would be a waste of a man's time and talents to be employed in the perusa), and much more in the composition, of them. Riches, fame, and pleasure, worldly good, and I may say worldly virtues, are sufficiently alluring to multitudes, without borrowing any addition to their charms from the "Muse's painting." In order to make the most favour
able impression on the mind, with respect to that which essentially concerns it, (if the poet's object be to do good as well as to please,) the great leading idea should be solemn, and correspondent with the awfulness or grandeur of the human destiny. Although it were easy, even on an ordinary topic, to interweave with it some moral truth, or to derive from it some striking lesson on the subject of salvation; thus by a pious deception taking hold on the mind, and influencing its associations in favour of religion; yet this has very seldom been done. Very few, like Cowper in his Task, while sporting on light or common themes have caused their readers to pass from an innocent gaiety to solemn thought, and to fall upon the most evangelical sentiments, without their perceiving any depression of poetic spirit, or any diminution of their own delight. As this is a felicity which too few have attained, or seemed desirous of attaining, there is some advantage therefore, and not a little praise, considering its uncommonness, in Milton's choice of a sacred and solemn theme for so important an attempt.
It has been made a question with the critics, whether the poet's subject is a happy one for the work he undertook; whether, if it had been more human and less divine, it would not have been more interesting to the bulk of readers. It has also been considered as a fault, that the marvellous or supernatural, forms not the machinery, as is common in others, but the ground-work of the poem. But however this may be, and however it may be decided what are the most proper subjects for the Epic Muse, yet Milton's must be allowed to be in itself good, or good for some species of poetry. Whether properly heroic or not, it possesses uncommon interest. Our minds cannot be employed upon it with too great frequency or seriousness. The Fall of man, and the circumstances whieh attended it; together with
that interest which must have been attached to it in the counsels of eternity, and that train of operations and effects which is known to have followed it in time; is a subject, of all others, the most touching and solemn, and capable of making a degree of desirable religious impression by the plainest representation. In Milton's hand it loses none of its native greatness. It was suited to the peculiar powers of his genius. He alone was fitted for it, or could bring to it sufficient elevation of thought, richness of fancy, and energy of expression. With singular felicity, he has contrived, both in the prin. cipal story, and in several digressions and episodes, to interweave a great part of the history of redemption, and many of the particular truths, precepts, and narrations of Scripture. Paradise Lost, therefore, if not an heroic, may, according to Addison, be called a divine poem. In its subject certainly, it bears this character, with the peculiar interest which it claims on such an account.
2. Another particular recommending this poem, as religion is concerned, is the generally grave and pious spirit with which it is written.-Milton seldom degrades his solemn theme by the want of a manly seriousness, and of a religious awe. He seems to himself to tread on consecrated ground, and whatever mistakes he may have made in certain representations, yet there is no reason to doubt his pious intentions, and chastened spirit. The subject itself was calculated to inspire such a feeling, and his fervent invocation of the Holy Spirit at the commencement of the poem, was a happy prognostic of the temper which might be expected to reign through it. The dews of Castalia did not more moisten his lips, than every thing which became a pious, if we may not say an eminently holy, man, had imbued his heart. While we meet with that beautiful suggestion