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received them. Can we then be atheists, who worship the great Creator of this world, not with blood, incense, and offerings, (which we are sufficiently taught he stands in no need of,) but exalt him according to our power with prayers and praises, in all the addresses we make to him; believing this to be the only honour that is worthy of him, not to consume the creatures which he has given us for our use, and the comforts of those that want, in the fire by sacrifice; but to approve ourselves thankful to him, and to sing and celebrate rational hymns and sacrifices, pouring out our prayers to him as a grateful return for those many good things which we have received, and do yet expect from him, according to the faith and trust that we have in him.” To the same purpose Athenagoras, in his return to this charge : “ Diagorus indeed was guilty of the deepest atheism and impiety; but we who separate God from all material being, and affirm him to be eternal and unbegotten, but all matter to be made and corruptible, how unjustly are we branded with impiety! It is true, did we side with Diagorus in denying a Divinity, when there are so many and such powerful arguments from the creation and government of the world to convince us of the existence of God and religion, then both the guilt and punishment of atheism might deservedly be put upon us. But when our religion acknowledges one God, the maker of the universe, who, being uncreate Himself, created all things by his word, we are manifestly wronged both in word and deed; both in being charged with it, and in being punished for it." * accused (says Arnobius) for introducing profane rites and an impious religion; but tell me, O ye men of reason, how dare ye make so rash a charge ? To adore the mighty God, the Sovereign of the whole creation, the Governor of the highest powers, to pray to him with the most obsequious reverence; under an afflicted state to lay hold of him with all our powers, to love him, and look up to him ; is this a dismal and detestable religion, a religion full of sacrilege and impiety, destroying and defiling all ancient rites? Is this that bold and prodigious crime for which your gods are so angry with us, and for which you yourselves do so rage against us, confiscating our estates, banishing our persons, burning, tearing, and racking us to death with such exquisite tortures +? We Christians are nothing else but the worshippers
. We are
Athen. Leg. pro. Christian. p. 5.
+ Contr. gent. lib. i. p. 7.
of the supreme King and Governor of the world, according as we are taught by Christ our master. Search, and you will find nothing else in our religion. This is the sum of the whole affair ; this is the end and design of our divine offices ; before Him it is that we are wont to prostrate and bow ourselves, Him we worship with common and conjoined devotions, from Him we beg those things which are just and honest, and such as are not vorth of him to hear and grant.” So little reason had the enemies of Christianity to brand it with the note of atheism and irreligion.
Then came the jolly Sommer, being dight
Had hunted late the Libbard or the Bore,
Such is Spenser's description of the jolly Sommer.' The same rigorous pencil has personified the summer months of June and
And after her came jolly June, array'd
Bending their force contrary to their face;
Then came hot July boyling like to fire,
Behinde his backe a sithe, and by his side
We will select two summer landscapes, whose scenes are laid in regions far apart. Scott gives us a charming picture of the mild graces of the season :
The summer dawn's reflected hue
mist left the mountain-side,
Her notes of peace, and rest, and love. The American poet, Bryant, draws his images from pine-forests and fields of maize, upon which a fiery sun looks down with “scorching heat and dazzling light:"
It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk
up its long green leaves; the clover droops
For me, I lie Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf, Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun, Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind That still delays its coming. Why so slow, Gentle and voluble spirit of the air ? Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge, The pine is bending his proud top, and now Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes ! Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves ! The deep distressful silence of the scene Breaks
up with mingling of unnumber'd sounds And universal motion.
He is come,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes. Contrasted with this picture how refreshing are the hedge-row elms, the furrow'd land, “the russet lawns, the meadows trim," the upland hamlets,” of Milton's ’L'Allegro.' His “sunshine holiday” is thoroughly English :
To hear the lark begin his flight,