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O CHRIST! it was a fearful sight!
That tempest-beaten rock-bound shore ; The light-house bell from the jutting height, Came booming through the murky night,
Above the billow's awful roar.
The clouds like evil spirits spread
Their wings of darkness o'er the deep ;
The wild waves o'er the ocean sweep.
A mortal fear chilled every heart,
And all the deck was still as death; And eyes glared wild with stern despair ; To many mother many a prayer
Was sent, with trembling breath.
The sea-birds fled, a timid flock,
Shrieking, they fled the driving blast;
The boiling waves broke o'er us fast.
Oft wearied Nature gently yields
Without a pang the last dread strife; But fearful is the
thought of death, When youth and strength, with panting breath,
Cling fast to every hope of life.
Right onward came a mighty sea,
High was its crest, and dazzling white;
By the great billow's giant might.
The saffron tint of dawning day
Lit up the wave and orient sky;
And saw the city looming nigh.
Where he had stood the live-long night,
There silently the pilot stood;
Had well nigh chilled our very blood.
His cheek was pale, his form was cold,
His manly breast heaved forth no breath,
Our silent helmsman had been DEATH !
IMAGINATION, chastely cultivated and legitimately employed, is of great service in the pulpit. A living language, springing from a fervid heart and vivid mind, creates mental life and feeds it; but frigid and artificial expressions can as little convey the perceptions of dignified existence, or elicit lofty aspirations, as silence can express sound. A fiëry and flexible imagination is requisite to penetrate all intellectual creations with vital life, and this grand attribute has been truly named 'the shaping spirit.' More plodding faculties may accumulate a multitude of heterogeneous materials, but it is this power alone that can give unity to the otherwise formless mass, mould it into symmetry, and invest it with divinely harmonious charms. The relative proportion of this power in different men, measures most accurately their respective influence as pulpit orators. It is this that best enables the happily endowed to
. TRACE beauty's beam to its eternal spring,
fire celestial bring.' It is but a too manifest and reasonable ground of complaint in our day, that dreary, prosaic fact has established its empire in glade, forest and cavern, over land, sea and air, on the bench, at the bar, and in the pulpit, having banished spiritual essences from these lower skies, and left as food for the mind and heart only that which is ‘stale, flat and unprofitable.' In some spirits, however, there yet remains a goodly share of that qualtity through which we are admitted to the great Council of Nature, to be imbued with poesie that makes the soul to become like God in love and power.
A North American reviewer has said in sober truthfulness, that Imagination is the highest exercise of that august faculty from which it is vulgarly esteemed so distant, namely, reason. It is the instinctive (if we may so call it, in the absence of any readier term) perception of remote analogies; in other words, of the unity of truth. It has been said of Shakspeare, the greatest imagination in the history of literature, that as much reasoning faculty was required for the production of one of his dramas as for that of the Novum Organon. According to our view of the matter Bacon's great work indicates the presence of imagination only second to that which found its natural outlet in Hamlet and Lear. Many examples, were it necessary, might be brought to prove that the great mathematical or scientific mind is not so different in kind from the poetical as is generally taken for granted. It will be enough if we merely mention Pascal and Davy.'
But the imagination which enters into the composition of true eloquence is not a mere raree-show; an ostentatious display of adornments, instead of a sober elucidation of principles. It is prëeminently the creative power
us, and makes man most to resemble God. Like a divinity, it builds its universe, kindles it central suns, rolls abroad innumerable worlds, leaving pains-taking judgment to measure their 'orbit and estimate their momentum. The mightiest discoverer in the kingdoms of science, and the most captivating artist that ever delineated truth in her highest sphere, is imagination. Poetical conception has ever done more toward the invention and enforcement of important principles, than logical deduction. It is rare that by the mere exercise of the logical faculty any great truth is either found or fortified. Imagination, by its far-flashing glance first unfolds, then comes forward logic to confirm. When Newton saw the apple fall, it is believed that there simultaneously arose in his •mind a vision of universal order and harmony. The bright idea revealed to him central suns, revolving orbs, acting and reäcting systems in unclouded beauty and grandeur. Doubtless, the new theory of the world at that instant, born to revolutionize all physical philosophy, was complete in the mind of its author long before the propositions of the principia received their rigid scientific form. The first perceptions of important doctrines ever require successive generations so to verify as to reduce them to a practical application and efficient use. But from beginning to end, it is imagination, seeing truth intuitively, that leads mankind to serener heights and broader views. It is this faculty that enables its possessor to turn over and over in his mind all the resources he can command, realize and make them intensely his own. Often will such persons in the obscurest walks of life, and with the least formal education, give out original thoughts, ' like jewels dropping from a fairy's mouth,' until those who have been blest with vastly superior advantages stand with mute admiration in their commanding presence.
The highest type of philosophy always most nearly resembles poetry in essence and form. They have the same source and a com.
We are not speaking of the evanescent gewgaws of fancy, but the substantial creations of reason sublimated by imagination. As an example, we have referred to Lord Bacon, and may here add that in many of his Essays passages of extraordinary beauty abound, which need only a more arbitrary metrical form, to be classed. with the first order of poetry. It was the same quality which gave to the language of Plato that charm which caused the ancients to declare, • Such was the Greek the gods themselves, would have spoken!' This poetic afflatus is the natural breath of all great writers. It is the perpetual accompaniment of every warm heart and powerful intellect, a penetrating and beautifying quality which cannot be highly developed and delicately cultivated in any soul without producing increased clearness and depth of spiritual insight as its effects. Those who have gone farthest in profound discovery have also possessed the power of presenting their mental treasures to other minds, invested with the most attractive lustre like robes of heavenly
light. Nothing can be more unjust or mistaken with respect to imagination, than to regard it as a mere aimless, reasonless power, exem. plified in grotesque conceptions, which have neither sense, beauty, nor grandeur in them. The mind devoid of rationality cannot be imaginative; cannot depict truth in a manner that at once touches and controls the judgment and conscience of mankind; and this is a quality just as essential to success in the pulpit, as in artistic portraiture or scientific demonstrations. Imagination is the creative power which imparts definite form, captivating existence, and enduring vitality to the conceptions and principles of intellect in every exalted grade ; and hence it is that the profoundest as well as the loftiest philosophy is
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute.' It has already been intimated that no master in any department of mental greatness can be graceful, imaginative, or original, except so far as he is truthful; and that the pursuit of beauty, instead of diverting him from the exactest science, will not only increase his desire and necessity for it tenfold, but augment his capacity to create as well as to enjoy. This will explain why it is, that orators as well as phi. losophers, who are really great in the possession of both imaginative and logical powers, base their boldness of conception and facility of execution on a mass of knowledge far exceeding that possessed by those who are frigid in its accumulation, or fanciful in its use. The astute form and passionless elocution which so often accompany
the exercises of the rostrum, are not signs of the intrinsic merits of the speaker, but of his paucity rather; as true energy and brilliancy are not indications of heedless temerity, but of sagacious knowledge.
Among the clergymen of our land, Dr. Bascom, late President of Transylvania University, Kentucky, is distinguished for the possession and habitual exercise of a gorgeous and forcible imagination. This is by no means his only efficient attribute in the pulpit
, but it is a very prominent one, which he indulges in vivid descriptions and fervid appeals, because he believes that, Christianity, as a scheme of doctrine and practice, requires, in order to its successful promulgation, that its teachers should, above every other qualification, possess a sincere and profound attachment to the truth they proclaim. It is itself a great, earnest, awful reality. It professes to be, and is, an embodiment of facts, in their own character perfectly astounding, and in their bearing upon human destinies momentous beyond conception. Nothing, consequently, can so ill assort with its tenor or its claims as a cold, professional, irreverential exposition and enforcement of them. He who has not himself trembled in view of its unspeakable majesty, who has never, in its presence, been rapt in adoring wonder, who has never gazed, dumb with admiration, at its surpassing beauty, never wept forth his heart's homage to its tenderness, never glowed under the kindlings of its love, will prove a miserably inefficient instructor in the department of spiritual things. Who but a lover can paint the fears, joys, anxieties, raptures of love ? What but
"THE poet's eye, in a fioe frenzy rolling,