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Christian poets have not unfrequently derived comfort in their last days and hours from their own verses. We have already alluded to the Earl of Roscommon, who died while repeating his version of the Dies Irae. George Herbert on the Sunday before he died, rose suddenly from his bed or couch, called for one of his instruments, took it into his hands, and said:
“My God, my God,
Shall have his attribute to sing." And having tuned it, he played and sang from his exquisite verses on “ Sunday":
“ The Sundays of man's life,
More plentiful than hope." “ Thus," says good old Izaak Walton, “he sang on earth such hymns and anthems as the angels, and he and Mr. Farrer” (a friend who procured the publication of his sacred poems), “ now sing in heaven.”
We cannot forbear allusion to the death of Toplady, whose many admirable hymns enrich all our collections. Oh,” said he, one day not long before his death, “I enjoy heaven already in my soul; to me sickness is no affliction, pain no curse, death itself is no dissolution ; if there were not some abatement of these ecstatic joys, I could not endure the weight.” At another time he exclaimed, “Oh the delights of the third heaven; my prayers are all converted into praise.” On making his usual visit one morning, the physician found Mr. Toplady apparently much improved in health; the aspect of his case was much more encouraging. Turning to his patient he ventured to express a hope that his life might yet be prolonged. Mr. Toplady, raising his eyes flowing with rapture, while tears streamed down his cheeks,
exclaimed, “No, no; I shall die ; for no mortal could endure such manifestations of God's glory as I have, and live.” His prediction was verrified; he expired the next day singing one of his own hymns:
" Deathless principle, arise,
Soar, thou native of the skies." “ His voice faltered, his eyes closed, and scarcely had the notes died away upon his lips e’er he took up the strain again in the immediate presence of that Saviour whom he loved with an ardor so intense, and served with a zeal so untiring.” “Thus died at the early age of thirty-eight one of the brightest ornaments that ever adorned the English church.” It has been said, “the religious experience of Mr. Toplady may be compared to a sky without a cloud, and if taken from the commencement to its triumphant close, stands perhaps alone in the annals of Christian biography.” This is the record of him who taught us to sing,
“ Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.” A hymn so utterly self-distrustful and so complete in its sole reliance upon the sufferings and death of Christ, could not have been composed, except under the very shadow of the cross. Had Toplady left no other legacy to the church, this single hymn would have been sufficient to endear him to us through all time; yes, and through eternity. It is pleasant to know that the late illustrious and excellent Prince Consort of England repeated this hymn constantly upon his deathbed; “For,” said he, “if in this hour I had only my worldly honors and dignities to depend upon, I should be indeed
We will close with an account given by Mr. Christophers of the circumstances amid which Henry Francis Lyte, already referred to in these pages, composed his last hymn. The health of this faithful minister of the gospel had long been
1 The original prefix of this hymn given by Mr. Toplady was "A Living and Dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the World,” and was intended to be a protest against what the author supposed to be the Wesleyan view of Christian VOL. XXIV. No. 94.
failing, and he had been obliged to spend the winter in Italy during several succeeding years. In 1847, as the autumn advanced, he once more made his preparations for leaving England, but he had now become so greatly reduced in strength that it seemed doubtful whether he would be able to undertake the journey. He did go, however, but he never returned.
Before leaving, he wished once more to preach to his people. His family feared what the result of such an effort might be, but he gently insisted, and was able to go through with the service. He knew that he was officiating for the last time, and his sermon was full of solemn and tender appeals to those whom he had guided and instructed for many years. He administered the communion also, and then retired exhausted in body, but with his soul sweetly resting on that Saviour whom he had preached with his dying breath. As the evening drew on, he handed to a member of his family the following verses, with his own music adapted to them :
“ Abide with me! fast falls the eventide,
The darkness. deepens; Lord, with me abide!
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Oh thou who changest not, abide with me!
But as thou dwellist with thy disciples, Lord,
perfection. Mr. Gladstone, the English scholar and statesman, has rendered the hymn into Latin verse. We give the first stanza :
“ Jesus, pro me perforatus,
Caudar intra tuum latus,
“ Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me!
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power ?
Through cloud and sunshine, oh abide with me!
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
In life and death, O Lord, abide with me.” This was his last hymn on earth. He reached Nice, and shortly after his spirit entered into rest. He pointed upward as he passed away, and whispered, “ Peace, joy!” Thus he went to abide forever with him, who has declared it to be his divine will that his followers be with him where he is, that they may behold his glory.
THE RELATIONS OF GEOLOGY TO THEOLOGY.
BY PROF. C. 1. HITCHCOCK, NEW YORK CITY.
THE object of the following pages is to present the relations of Geology to the several doctrines of Theology in their natural order. It is not necessary now to apologize for attempting to illustrate revelation by science. Thanks to honored names that battle has been fought, and the natural sciences are now copiously employed for the defence and illustration of religious truth. Few of the sciences afford better illustrations of biblical statement than geology. Its
principles, though recently established, have modified the common interpretation of several passages, and may elucidate them still further in the future. We do not need to come secretly into the cabinet, and stealthily inquire what nature means. The God of nature is the God of grace also; and therefore we may come boldly into the presence of either after converse with the other, for the foundation principles of both governments are the same. We may, therefore, reason from one mode of the divine administration to the other; we may derive stable conclusions from a major scientific and a minor moral premise, and the reverse. We may proceed from cause to effect, rather than reason from the effects to the causes, if thereby we shall acquire more knowledge. So important are the inferences, that we are glad to appeal to induction or deduction, philology, history, ethnology, geology, astronomy, and all the natural sciences. Nor must it be forgotten that light may be given by the Divine Spirit, for we believe that if 6 any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine,” whether it be religious or scientific. The true philosopher is conscious of the peril of trusting to his own wisdom, and seeks aid from above. May the spirit that inspired the evangelists permeate these inquiries with the leaven of truth! We shall attempt to establish the following proposition in detail : The facts and principles of geology prove, illustrate, and elucidate many of the doctrines of natural and biblical theology.
I. Geology furnishes peculiar arguments for the existence of God. The arguments most relied upon to prove the existence of God are of the a posteriori type, and are briefly these: 1. The existence of matter and finite mind proves a Creator; 2. The continuance of matter and finite mind proves a Preserver ; 3. The movements of matter and the action of finite mind prove a Governor ; 4. Design in the works of nature proves a Designer. These arguments are each made more impressive in detail, when it is considered that the world has existed for ages before historic times, sustaining successive tribes of organic life. These have each been created, pre