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Think of the myriads of pure Angels, tier upon tier, higher and yet higher; circling round the Martyr King, of the great Archangels SS. Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel, doing His behests, and all the Orders Nine.
What a contrast there must have been between the earth and His Home? How great the exceeding brightness? And what the Joy of the FATHER on receiving back home again our truer Isaac from this lower habitation ? Truly indeed Heaven and the Heaven of heavens must have been moved at the coming of the King. And what of another Coming? When the joy of the Angels shall be great and the King Himself shall be glad, when all the ransomed children of Adam shall come in, and sit down with Abraham, and with Isaac and with Jacob in the Kingdom of God. It will be a glad Ascension Day, that Day, when we go up, caught together in the clouds, and we know even as we are known, and we meet old friends and new friends, never more to be separated, all joined together in the Unity of the Faith, victors after hard-won fight.
Yes, think to-night as you lay yourselves down to rest of all this. Say to yourselves as you close your wearied eyes, “In my dreams I
“ would be, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee." Think of the holy and pleasant fields of Paradise, opened, and the Vision of the Beatific City, and the glorious sheen of the gold, and the King upon His Throne, IMMORTAL of Immortals, crowned, triumphant, “ laurelled with the stole victorious,” amid the Angels, with the Virgin Mother standing by. Have them in your thoughts. So shall you be strengthened for the fight in this lower world by the thought of what your King is doing for you in Heaven, and thus you learn to say, “ Verily, they, that are for me, are more than they, which are against me."
Holy Christmas was the beginning: to-day is the ending. Holy Christmas was the entering into the mortal struggle : to-day is the Coronation of the Victor. And all the time you have been with Jesus, and how short a time ! not half a year ! Pray therefore to our LORD to intercede for
you and all your shortcomings. His Ears are never weary or dull of hearing. Remember HE IS THE MAN IN HEAVEN, and not only so, but your PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING, JESUS CHRIST, “the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”
G. C. NIFFAC.
HYMN FOR EASTER-TIDE.
FOR A SERVICE OF SONG.
CARIST is risen! CARIST is risen!
Children, shout with loud acclaim !
Praise with lips and heart His Name !
Yestermorn had seen Him lifeless
In sepulchral darkness laid ;
Numbering Him among the dead.
Early in the dawn of morning
Came the women, sad and slow, Myrrh and spice and aloes bearing,
Garb and mien proclaim their woe. See them on their homeward way! Oh! the rapture of that day! In the night while guards fast slumbered,
Closed the door, and sealed the stone, He, the Conqueror, bursts His prison,
Proves Himself the mighty one! Death and Satan shuddering flee ! Great and glorious victory! Praise with hymn, and chant, and anthem,
Let the “sacred organ's ” tones, Pealing out harmonious sweetness,
Mingle in your antiphons, Children's voices echoing clear, Hasten all, O hasten here !
Glory to the Great JEHOVAH!
Glory to the Risen Son! Glory to the Blessed SPIRIT
Who from Both with Both is One, Glory to the Sacred Three, Everlasting Trinity! Amen.
THE CHURCHMAN'S COMPANION TO “HYMNS ANCIENT
BY THE REV. R. YOUNG, M.A.
COWPER—continued from p. 294.
A MUNIFICENT friend of Cowper's, named Thornton, who contributed an annual allowance for distribution amongst the poor of Olney, through the hands of Cowper and Newton, was especially honoured by the poet. By the same gentleman Newton was presented to the Rectory of S. Mary Woolnoth, London, in 1780. This true friend, Thornton, is the only person to whom in his chief poem Cowper makes a complimentary reference, and his long continued judicious kindness entitled him to a commendation. In bestowing preferment upon Newton, Thornton did, either consciously or unconsciously, the greatest kindness to the poet that he had ever done, inasmuch as he severed from his presence the dark and dreaded master who chilled all the warm currents of his sensitive nature. The name of Thornton will ever be associated with deeds of charity, words of sympathy, love of piety, attachment to genius and zeal for the Catholic faith. One Thornton was, as we have just said, a constant friend to Cowperanother Thornton as we saw in the life of Heber, was a beloved college companion and fellow-traveller with that gifted prelate—another Thornton was the chief friend of the Evangelical hymn writer, Bickersteth—another Thornton took a leading part in the formation of the Colonial Episcopate. The living representatives of the name are not unworthy of their title. One Thornton, the Bishop of Ballarat, is inaugurating and developing in the most able and energetic manner the Church work in a new Colonial diocese : another Thornton (the brother of the Bishop of Ballarat) first, as Warden of Trinity Col. lege, Glenalmond, an institution in which the Episcopal Church of Scotland endeavours to combine a Theological College and a Public School, based on Church principles, and secondly, as Secretary of the Church Defence Institution, by the operations of which Society the misstatements of the Liberation Society have been refuted and restrained, may be allowed to have done no small service to the Church.
Soon after the departure of Newton from Olney to his new parish in London, Cowper and Mrs. Unwin moved from Olney to Weston, a village a couple of miles distant from Olney. Of his residence at Weston, a village from which stretched pleasant walks through the Lime Grove of Sir J. Throckmorton to Yardley Oaks, of which Cowper sings, on the estate of Lord Northampton, to Killick and Dinglederry, to Gayhurst and to the towns of Northampton and Newport Pagnall, Cowper gives the following descriptive sketch in one of his letters to his friend Hill.
“The house though small is neat, opposite to it is an orchard so well planted and with trees of such a growth, that we seem to look into a wood or rather to be surrounded by one. Thus placed as we are in the midst of a village we have none of those disagreeables that belong to such a position; and the village itself is one of the prettiest I know, terminated at one end by the church tower seen through the trees, and on the other by a very handsome gateway opening into a fine grove
of elms." A short time before Cowper left Olney for Weston he formed the acquaintance of one whom he describes as “ the liveliest and most entertaining woman in the county.” This was Lady Austen. She was then a widow, and lived with her sister, the wife of a clergyman named Jones, who officiated at Clifton, a village near Olney. During a protracted absence of the master of the house from home, burglars attempted to break into the house, and “the womankind” were so frightened that for protection they moved into the town of Olney, and as Newton who had been curate-in-charge of Olney, the Vicar being non-resident, had just vacated the Vicarage on his departure to London, Lady Austen agreed to rent the house from the Vicar. She soon became intimate with her next door neighbour, Cowper, and delightful to him after the misanthropical gloom of Newton, and the insipid twaddle of Mrs. Unwin, were the bright manner and the intelligent converse of an accomplished woman like Lady Austen, whose mind had been cultivated by travel and study. She devoted herself to his entertainment and enlivenment. It was from her narration of the incidents that Cowper produced his humorous ballad of John Gilpin, which by the recitation of an actor named Henderson became uncommonly popular. Soon after, seeing the poet one day sunk in melancholy musings, she suggested to him the production in blank verse of some more elaborate poem than he had as yet produced, and when he
asked her on what subject he must write she exclaimed, “Any subject will suit you. Write about the sofa here.” Hence originated Cowper's masterpiece, “The Task,” of which the first book is denominated “ The Sofa ;” the second,“ The Timepiece;" the third, “The Garden;" the fourth, “ The Winter Evening;” the fifth, “ The Winter Morning Walk ;” and the sixth, “ The Winter Walk at Noon.” Of “The Task,” which was not finished until some time after the removal to Weston, Southey says, “It was at once descriptive, moral, and satirical. The descriptive parts everywhere bare evidence of a thoughtful mind, and a gentle spirit, as well as of an observant eye, and the moral sentiment which pervaded them gave a charm in which descriptive poetry is often found wanting. The best didactic poems when compared with The Task' are like formal gardens in comparison with woodland scenery."
How changed Cowper's nature might have become under the influence of Lady Austen, and in what “noble numbers” he might at her incitation have sung it is now impossible to conjecture. Mrs. Unwin could " bear no SISTER near the throne.” Her dulness was jealous of Lady Austen's intelligence; her dreary self-complacency was rendered sadly uninteresting by Lady Austen's admirable cheerfulness. The want of polish and education of the linendraper's daughter (Mrs. Unwin's father had been a small haberdasher in Norfolk) was brought more strikingly into prominence by the cultivated manners of the accomplished lady. Lady Austen, who might have aroused the poet to continual energy and blithesomeness, was drawn from Olney by the spiteful inuendoes of a jealous woman. To avoid ill-natured remarks and unpleasant squabbles she went abroad, where she soon afterwards was married to M. De Tardiff.
From all society but the occasional companionship of the Throckmortons, the kindly family (of “Benevolus") at Weston, of Bull, a dissenting minister at Newport Pagnall, and of Bean, the puritanical successor of Newton in the Curacy of Olney, Cowper was now debarred. His poem, “The Task," published in 1785, having attained to an immediate and extensive popularity, he was induced to undertake fresh literary work. Unfortunately injudicious friends suggested to him the advisability of devoting himself to translation instead of to original composition. For many succeeding years he painfully laboured at the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, using the editions of Barnes, Clarke, and Villoison. At last in 1791 he published his