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through the luxuriant thicket, and admits the enraptured gaze to an interminable prospect into the distant regions of the glorious and eternal world which lies beyond the Jordan of death. In truth, "the Christian Life" is not a book, like other books, to be read through consecutively; it is, in the true spirit of its title, a manual of sweet and holy thoughts, to be resorted to from time to time, on divers occasions, and in various moods. Whenever the soul is stirred up and disposed to meditation,-whether by scenes and events from without, or by its spontaneous emotions, the ebbs and tides, the ripples and crested waves, of the inner ocean of spiritual life,—the sacred lyre of "The Christian Life will be found attuned to some melody or other accordant with the soul's vibrations.

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As the author himself has lived,-in the world as one that is not of it, as he has rejoiced and suffered,-as he has felt and meditated, as he has wept in weakness, or exulted in strength, -as his eye has wandered over the world, surveying now the busy haunts of men, and now nature's peaceful solitudes,-as pity or indignation, sympathy or abhorrence, sweet delight or bitter sorrow, musing wonder or rapturous admiration, have caused his own bosom to heave, he has embodied his thoughts and sensations in such language as his poetic genius supplied him; and every thoughtful and sensitive Christian mind will therefore find its own life re-echoed, as it were, in the sweetly pleasing numbers of Mr. Montgomery's verse.

Not the least brilliant among these are the meditations on the beauties of nature, for which it is evident that our poet has an open eye. Of all that is charming or majestic in outward scenery, he sings with an enthusiasm fully equal to that of an artistic idolater of nature,-with this only difference, that his eye, open not only to the world of matter, but to the spirit-world by which the former is encompassed on all sides, beholds every where the beauty of the Divine work, and the glory of the Divine presence. himself expresses it :—

"What men call Nature, is a Thought divine,
The Infinite in forms of finite grace,
Where all conditions, seen in God, combine
To make this earth a consecrated place.

"Th' unwritten Bible of the woods and fields
By Love perused, and ponder'd o'er by Prayer,
A kind of gospel to the Fancy yields,

That walks creation, feeling Christ is there.

"Nothing is mean, by Power Celestial made,

And nought is worthless, by His wisdom plann'd,
Who fashion'd all, that Faith may find display'd
The holy impress of God's master-hand.

As he

"Oh, could we hail the element divine

That circles round whatever lives or moves,
A mystic radiance would o'er all things shine,
And teach the coldest how the Godhead loves!

"One vast cathedral, with its roof of sky,

The earth becomes to reverential souls,

When, deepen'd by such felt divinity,

Our heart-breath'd hymn of ceaseless worship rolls."

It is with such feelings as these, ingrained, so to speak, in his mental constitution, that Mr. Montgomery looks out upon the deep blue waters, and watches the billows rolling in and breaking at his feet; with such feelings that he salutes the Ocean:

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Eternity of waters! there Thou art,

Dear to the eye, and glorious to the heart!

Bounding in brightness as they plunge on shore,
I greet thy waves, and gladden in their roar.

"Alone in grandeur, ever-living Sea!
Thou swelling anthem sung to Deity

When thy deep thunders with a dying fall
Roll like hosannahs to the Lord of All."

Equally spirited is the language in which he records the impression produced upon his mind by the sight of the Alps :

"All glory to the ancient hills! that to the godless preach Sermons of more stupendous power, than erring man can reach ; Dumb orators to sense they look, but how divinely grand The deep significance they bear to hearts that understand! "The stillness of their frozen trance is more than thunder's tone,Resembling that celestial hush that deepen'd round the Throne When silence through the heaven of heavens for half an hour there reign'd,

And Seraphim before their God eternity sustain'd!

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"It is not that the clouds array with myriad-tinted hues
Those peaks of alabaster ice, that pinnacle our views;
Nor is it, that our sateless eyes are spell-bound by the scene
Of rocky scalps ten thousand feet above some black ravine!
"Nor is it, that the glaciers lift their crags of gleaming snow,
And move down in a noiseless march, to meet the vale below;
Nor all the dreadful joy that chills the soul of him who braves
Montánvert! from thy summit vast, the ever-frozen waves..
"Far more than this do mountain-spells to echoing minds impart,
When through the veil of outer sense they reach the central heart,-
There enter with mysterious power, like Purities to reign,
And over all its hidden springs a moral influence gain.'

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In beautiful contrast with the majestic grandeur of the thoughts excited by the lofty spectacle of the snow-girt mountains, and their ice-bound pinnacles, is the holy melancholy which pervades the following apostrophe to the flowers of the earth:

"Orphans of Eden, their parental soil

Has long been wither'd, and by weeds o'errun;
While burden'd manhood, with a brow of toil,
Endures the desert, and outworks the sun;

"But these, like babes whose mothers we deplore,
Still do their budding features love to keep
A soft sad trace of paradise no more,

And waken memories that well may weep!"

The sensations which the works of nature thus excite in the mind of the matured Christian, are admirably traced back to the wonder of the child, when for the first time the beauties of creation burst upon his feeble senses, and give the first impulse to his halfunconscious inner life :

"Oh! for the reverential eye

To Childhood which pertains,
That sees religion in the sky,
And poetry in plains;

To whom a rainbow like a rapture glows,
And all is marvel which th' Almighty shows.
"Blest age of Wonder! when a flower,
A blossom, fruit, or tree

Gives a new zest to each new hour
That gladdens home with glee:
When like a lisping stream life rolls along
In happy murmurs of unconscious song.

"It smiles on that, and speaks to this,
As if each object knew

A child exulted in the bliss

Of all that charms its view;

Personified the whole Creation seems

Into a heart that mirrors back its dreams!'

On the other hand, how strikingly, in a few lines, is the contrast pointed out between all outward nature, and man, in the closing stanzas of the poem entitled "Life is a fading Leaf:"

"Creation finds an everlasting grave;

Where fall the dead leaves, they for ever lie,
No resurrection-winds shall o'er them wave,
And show their beauty to a new-born sky:

"But, man shall triumph o'er an endless tomb,
When God's loud clarion shall recall his frame,
A dread eternity must be his doom,

In heaven immortal, or in hell, the same!"

But we must not linger on the outside, if we may so term it, of "The Christian life." There are deeper mysteries explored by our bard than those which the visible creation spreads out before the eye; he sweeps his harp in accents more significant, and more penetrating than the mere echoes of an inner life rendered back to the soul from the world without. The life of which God is at once the centre and the source, which wells up from within, and is quickened and sanctified from above, calls forth yet sweeter and mightier strains. The longing of the soul for that Divine life, that want of our nature which in its lowest condition declares itself as an unquenchable thirst for unknown happiness, and in its highest state of cultivation can be satisfied by nothing else but God, is expressed in language akin to that of the royal minstrel of Israel:

"As pants the hart for living brooks,

So pines my soul for Thee;
Away from this lone earth it looks,
And longs Thy face to see.

"Thrice Holy One! athirst I am
From man's false world to fly,
And on the glories of the Lamb
To feast my fasting eye.

""Tis here, a bleak and barren land
Where hearts and hopes are vain ;
But Faith perceives at Thy right hand,
Supernal wonders reign!

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The inner peace and purity of soul which is at once the fruit of a life sanctified by a sense of the Divine presence, and the condition of the free and full enjoyment of that presence, is exquisitely illustrated by the following image

VOL. XI.-NO. XXII.-JUNE, 1849.


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To the process of inward suffering, of secret mortification of soul, through which the heart of man must pass before the storm of its sinful passions is succeeded by the great calm of the peace of God, the author of these poems is no stranger. Many of the most touching and deeply devotional pieces in the collection, have their origin in the chastening sorrows which constitute the discipline of the Christian life. Among the poems of this class we note particularly the one entitled, "Hearts which have no Echoes," which contains passages of great beauty. A few detached stanzas is all we can make room for :

"Some hearts lie wither'd in their transient spring
Long ere the yellow leaf of change began;
Seldom to them does human summer bring
A beaming welcome from the soul of man.

"Cinctured as by a preternat'ral spell,

Languid their pulse of low dejection beats;
Yet, none who mark their smile-clad face, could tell
How dark the mood that back from man retreats!

"And thus, there is a loneliness of heart,

In all deep souls a never-enter'd shrine,
Where neither love, nor friendship takes a part,
And no eyes witness, but, Jehovah! Thine.
"But shall we mourn, that each is circled round
With veiling myst'ry from the ken of man?
That waters deep within the soul abound

No word has fathom'd, and no wisdom can.

"No, rather let such merciful disguise

Move the just thinker into grateful prayer;
For who could live beneath terrestrial eyes,
If such could witness all secreted there!"

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