Henry [Garrett] 1804-1860 Newland.

Forest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman online

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not tolerant, — but we were wise enough to leave his people
alone, so they did not think it worth while to differ, and in
fact never did."

" I think there may be another reason," said the Parson :
" with you a sectarian loses his rights of citizenship, by the
fact of his being a sectarian."

" Well, and why should he not ? by leaving the national
Church he makes himself a foreigner ; we do not persecute
him any more than we persecute any other foreigners, but
we do not allow foreigners to legislate for us, neither will we
let him, or any man choose which of our national institutions
he will adhere to and which he will not — and our Church is
one of our national institutions ; — we say to him, and to you
alike — you are strangers, both of you, you are both very
welcome to stay here, and to live under the protection of
our laws ; moreover, we are very ready to naturalize either
of you, and to receive you as citizens of our country if you


like, but choose for yourselves ; you cannot be Norwegians
and not Nowegians at the same time. These are the laws,
religious and political, of Norway, take them or leave them,
just as you like, but we cannot let you divide them. Now
where is the injustice of this 1 "

" I am sure I will not take upon myself to say," said the
Parson, laughing ; " supposing always, the State meddles
with Church affairs at all ; and I, as an Englishman, have no
right to find fault with you for that. But what does your
Church itself say to all this ; you called Calvin, just now, an
arch-heretic, what do you say about his followers 1 Besides, it
strikes me that there is a little difference of opinion between
your friend Hauger and St. Paul, on the subject of female
preachers, to say nothing of his unordained preachers, which
all of his people were ; but that I suppose does not greatly
disturb you, as you attach so little value to Apostolical

This was a hard hit upon poor Nordlingen, who was a
most patriotic Norwegian, but yet, as a Grundtvigite, was
painfully aware of the want of divine commission in his
Church. It was, however, a random shot of the Parson's,
who, speaking of the Norwegian Church as it then was,
certainly was not aware that the reforms which Grundtvig
and Mynster had effected in Denmark, had already penetrated
to a Church politically divided from them. He took the
opportunity of the bustle, caused by the servants bringing in
the aftonsmad, to turn the conversation to less dangerous
subjects, and occupied the rest of the evening, if not more
profitably, at least more to the amusement of the ladies ot
the family, in drawing out the solemn Candidatus, who, fresh
from his examinations, was brimful of theology, which, when
once cheated out of his shyness, he was spilling over on
every opportunity, and mixing, most absurdly, with the
ordinary subjects of conversation.

The Church of Norway — if Church it can be called — is in a very
anomalous state. Intensely Erastian, it is dominated over by the
Storthing, and swayed by the political feelings of the country. These,
which are called Norwegian and patriotic, are really Danish. Norway
has never been strong enough, or rich enough, since the times of bar-


barism, to form an independent nation of itself : feeling its weakness, it
acquiesced readily in the dominant position assumed by Denmark,
during the Union of Kalmai', which grated so much against the feeling
of the Swedes only because Sweden was conscious of its own innate
strength and real superiority. When that union was dissolved, it left
very bitter animosities between the two principal nations, which was
participated in by Norway, whose feeling was with Denmark. These
the lapse of time has mitigated, so far as the Danes and Swedes are
concerned. They have been renewed, however, in Norway, by the
forcible annexation of that country to Sweden, by the Congress of "Vienna,
in compensation for the loss of Finland ; and thus the Norwegian Church,
politically allied to that of Sweden, is affected by that of Denmark.

The original Reformation in Denmark, which involved that of Nor-
way also, was exclusively a political movement; that of Sweden was
political also, but grander interests were connected with it. Sweden
was a country shaking off a foreign yoke, and the Reformation succeeded
because the Reformers were pati'iots also. If reformation in religion is
to be mixed with earthly motives at all, it could not have had a grander
alliance ; but the Reformation of Norway was a mere change of politics.
It was forced on by the Court against the will of both clergy and people
— the king, at that time, being nearly despotic. It was not resisted ;
there was too little religion — Romanist, or anything else — in the country
for the people to feel any sort of excitement in the matter. After the
fall of Christiern, a new religion was thought to be the most effectual
mode of depressing the remains of his party. A certain German, of the
name of Buggenhausen, was constituted the leading reformer ; and, in
fact, the Church of Denmark was not reformed, but destroyed, and
Lutheranism imported in its place, and forced upon the nation by an
arbitrary sovereign. The consequences were precisely similar to those
which followed upon many of the Reformations in Germany. The
Church remained in form, but the vital energy had gone from it. Many
godly persons it had from time to time in its communion, but fewer and
fewer as the time went on, and the traces it has still left of its vitality
are few in number.

"Towards the close of the last century," says Hamilton, "the pro-
gress of stupor was complete, and vital Christianity seemed to have
departed from the land ; formalism was at its height, and, oddly enough,
bigotry appeared to accompany it. An attempt at revival has been
made during the present century, by Dr. Mynster, now Bishop of
Copenhagen, and by Grundtvig, who may to a certain extent be consid-
ered as the leaders of the high and low Church parties ; Mynster taking
his stand on the doctrines connected with the Atonement ; Grundtvig,
on the faith once delivered to the saints. There does not appear to be
any opposition between them, any more than there is opposition in the
doctrines upon which they take their respective stand against Indiffer-
entism and Rationalism ; but this is the bent of their minds and the
direction of their teaching."

Mynster says, in a letter to Oechlenschlager, " I design, God willing,
to open my mouth, and that in divers ways, certainly first to try what


echo will answer my voice ; but it shall not be quite in vain, for I know
that I am among the called, and I muse day and. night in watching and
praying that I may be also among the chosen."

" This object," says Hamilton (Sixteen Months in the Danish Isles),
te he speedily obtained ; and from that time till the present, there has
been no cessation of that gentle, but loud and solemn voice, persuading
men everywhere to repent. In speaking and writing, Christ crucified
has been the beginning and end, the first and the last."

Grundtvig, who, like our Keble, was a poet before he was a preacher,
and who has taught by his poems, no less than by his sermons ever since
he brought the great powers of his mind to bear against Rationalism, some
few years after Dr. Mynster began to be celebrated. " It seemed to him
a sin," he said, "that he should be taken up wath Mythology, while the
pastors of God's flock were neglecting their duty ;" so he stepped for-
ward, asserting the Faith against human might and reason. His leading
text, upon which all his preaching hinges, is the Faith once delivered to
the saints, — pure and complete from the beginning, and incapable of
change. " Every change," he argues, "is a corruption, and the office
of the Church is simply to restore, either by supplying or by lopping
off what has been superadded to the original Revelation, and to preserve
the faith in its purity." His style of teaching, therefore, is necessarily
traditional. Grundtvig, himself a most powerful preacher, has natur-
ally a somewhat exaggerated idea of the importance of preaching, as
opposed to reading. Preaching, he calls the living word. There is a
curious mixture of truth and fallacy in his idea of never putting the
Bible into the hands of an unconverted person, because there is no hope
that such a person can understand it. " It was written for the Church,"
he says truly ; and he infers from this, that it must be expounded o»ally
by a Churchman, because "faith cometh by hearing :" and from this
text he argues, that the Spirit of God does not instruct in the reading
of the Word. Grundtvig, from the first, has been the most uncompro-
mising opponent of Rationalism, and his line of argument much more
telling and difficult to withstand than that of his fellow- worker,
Mynster ; and, accordingly, though now popular, he has not passed
through his course without getting into difficulties of a personal nature,
from the opposition of the Rationalist party. He resigned his living
at one time, and for many years was not a pastor of the Danish National
Church at all.

These great leaders have their followers and their respective schools ;
but it is much to be feared that the revival which they have produced
is merely the effect of their own personal influence and talent, lor there
is nothing in the system of the Danish Church which can perpetuate it,
— that this Church, itself severed from the universal Church of Christ,
has no inherent vitality, — and that, as the influence and name of even
Calvin could not prevent even his own Geneva from becoming 1 Unitarian
when other teachers had arisen and his memory had faded from the
recollections of his people, so the teaching of Grundtvig and Mynster is
but a temporary revival of Evangelical teaching, — the produce of the
individual, not of the Chureh


The Swedish Church, as distinguished from the Danish and Nor-
wegian, has far more pretensions to Churchmanship than either of these,
though it may have lost more of the externals and ceremonial. Its
Apostolic Succession has been doubted, and certainly the question is
not entirely clear. At the time of the Reformation, Matthias, Bishop
of Strengnas, and Vincent, Bishop of Skara, had been beheaded by
Christiern ; and on the other side, Canute, the Archbishop, and Peter,
Bishop of Westeras, had been beheaded by his rival, Gustavus. — so that,
at the final Diet of Westeras, at which the Reformation was determined
upon, Sweden could muster but four bishops, of whom it is said that
Bishop Brask only had been duly consecrated ; two others, Haraldsen
and Sommar, were only bishops elect. The results of that Diet caused
Brask to go into voluntary exile, and as all communion with Rome was
thereby broken off, the question of the Succession hinges on the fact,
that Gustavus had previously sent the fourth Bishop, Magnussen, elect of
Skara, to be consecrated at Rome. This fact, which is distinctly affirmed.
by Gejer, has been questioned, though on no very good grounds.

The weakness of the Swedish Church, however, does not lie here, but
in its peculiar connection with the State, which is perpetually involving
it in secular politics, and as perpetually taking from its spiritual charac-
ter. This defect existed before the Reformation just as it does now,
and then, as now, formed its element of weakness : then, the bishops
were treated with by contending sovereigns as the most influential
barons — now, they are tampered with as the most influential politicians.
Sweden is governed by a king and four houses of parliament — the
Nobles, the Clergy, the Burghers, and the Peasants ; and a bill passing
any three of these houses becomes the law of the land. But, though
the houses are of equal authority, the value of individual votes must
vary inversely as the numbers of which those houses are composed :
for instance, the house of the Nobles contains about 1500 members, and
the house of the Clergy 80 ; the value of any single ecclesiastic's vote
is, therefore, eighteen times greater than that of any nobleman's vote.
The effect of this has been precisely the same as the more arbitrary
nature of the Norwegian Reformation : the Church of Sweden has
become — first political, then worldly, then Erastian ; and, at the same
time, the enormous size of the parishes operates precisely as it does in
Norway, — the majority of the people are estranged from their Church
through sheer ignorance of its doctrines, — the prescribed forms of
Confirmation, Communion, and so forth, being gone through as essen-
tials rather of civil promotion than of eternal Salvation.

It is not a matter of surprise, therefore, that, year after year, the
Swedish Church is losing some portion of her Churchmanship, and
degenerating more and more every day into a mere establishment. At
this point it would have arrived long ago, had it not been for Archbishop
Wallin, who, not only a sound divine, which most of the educated
clergy are, but by far the greatest poet modern Sweden has produced,
has embodied the doctrines of the Church in a series of hymns, which
now form part of the Church service, under the name of "Bede


Sweden is a musical nation, and these hymns are extremely popular.
So far as the author can find out, they are the only means by which
ninety-nine Swedes out of every hundred have any knowledge whatever
of the Christian doctrine, or in any way differ from their Heathen
ancestors — the worshippers of Odin and the mythology of Asgard.

As a specimen of Wallin's poetry, we will take his hymn on the
Creation — a paraphrase of the 104th Psalm, — perhaps as fine a speci-
men of rhythmic illustration as any that exists. We give it from
Howitt's translation : —

"Sing, my soul,

The Eternal's praise, —

Infinite !

Omnipotent !

God of all worlds !
In glorious light, all star-bestrewed,
Thou dost Thy majesty invest, —
The Heaven of heavens is Thine abode,
And worlds revolve at Thy behest.

Infinite !

Omnipotent !

God of all worlds !
Thy chariot on the winds doth go ;
The thunder follows Thy career ;
Flowers are Thy ministers below,
And storms Thy messengers of tear.

Infinite !

Omnipotent !

O Thou, our God !

"The earth sang not Thy peerless might
Amid the heavenly hosts of old, —
Thou spakest, and from empty night
She issued forth, and on her flight
Of countless ages proudly rolled, —
Darkness wrapped her, and the ocean
Wildly weltering on her lay ;

Thou spakest, and, with glad devotion,
Up she rose with queenly motion,
And pursued her radiant way.

"High soared the mountains,

Glittering and steep, —
Forth burst the fountains,
And through the air flashing —
Prom rock to rock dashing —
'Mid the wild tempest crashing—

Took their dread leap.


" Then opened out the quiet dale,

With all its grass and flowers ;
Then gushed the spring, so clear and pale,

Beneath the forest bowers ;
Then ran the brooks from moorlands brown,

Along the verdant lea,
A nd the fleet fowls of heaven shot down

Into a leafy sea ; —
'Mid the wild herd's rejoicing throng,

The nightingales accord —
All nature raised its matin song,

And praised Thee — Nature's Lord :
O Thou, who wast, and art, and e'er shall be !
Eternal One ! all earth adoring stands,
And through the works of Thy Almighty Hands
Feels grace and wisdom infinite in Thee !

"And answer gives the sea, —
The fathomless ocean — ■
The waste without end —
Where, in ceaseless commotion,
Winds and billows contend ; —
Where myriads that live without count, without name-
Crawling or swimming in strange meander —
Fill the deep as it were with a quivering flame ;
Where the heavy whale doth wander
Through the dumb night's hidden reign,
And man unwearied with earth's wide strife
Still hunts around death's grim domain—
The over-flood of life.

" To Thee ! to Thee ! Thou Sire of all,

Our prayers in faith ascend, —
All things that breathe, both great and small,

On Thee alone depend.
Thy bounteous hand Thou dost unclose,
And happiness unstinted flows

In streams that know no end."




" To-day shall be spent in drinking, —
We need not spare the ale, —
And we will set sail on the morrow,
Nor will our good luck fail."

SvensTca Folk-visor.

The whole party found their quarters in the Soberud valley
so extremely comfortable, and the game so very abundant,
that they were readily induced to prolong their stay ; and the
Parson struck up quite a friendship with the worthy Pfarr-
herr, and talked theology with the Candidatus. Torkel, who
had had long, and, apparently, very interesting conversations
with old Torgenson, the import of which did not transpire,
had asked a temporary leave of absence, which was readily
granted — the Parson having, no doubt, his own suspicions
from what he saw at the sceter, but prudently holding his
tongue about them. Indeed, he was no loser ; for Torkel's
place, in every respect, except as an interpreter, was amply
supplied by Karl Torgenson, who, having served his time of
drill, had been just discharged from the corvette Freya, and
had arrived, somewhat unexpectedly, on the Sunday evening.
Karl spoke a little English, though not enough for conversa-
tion ; but, on the other hand, he was as good a sportsman as
Torkel himself, and much better acquainted with the locali-
ties of his own home. ^

Under his guidance, the Parson's flies lured many a trout
from the blue waters of the lake ; but the best fish — such fish,
indeed, as he had never before seen — were caught by a dis-
covery of his own.

The lake lying in a broad valley, many of its shores were
shelving and sandy, or slightly muddy, instead of plumping




down in rocky sublacustrine precipices, and all these shalloAvs
were fringed with weeds. Coming home late in the evening,
he saw a number of children in the water, ladling out, with
tins and buckets, and vessels of every description, hundreds'
and thousands of little white glittering fish, which wereii
feeding on the weed. These were the young of the fresh-
water herring, which, whenever they can get them, which is
not often, the Norwegians make into soup. The full-grown
fish are not taken till later in the year, and this is never;
done except by nets, for they will rise at no bait of any kind
big enough to put on a hook.

The Parson was looking at the little glittering things as!
they sparkled in the moonlight, — and no fish is so brilliantly,
white as the fresh-water herring, — when, amid the shouts
and screams of the children, a huge trout was tumbled 01
shore out of one of the buckets. " O ! by George ! " said the
Parson to Karl Torgenson, who smiled as if he understooc
every word, " that is worth noting ; that fellow came to-
make his supper off the herrings, and having ventured in toe
far, has got entangled in the weeds. There will be some
his great relations come to supper, also, for certain. Let
try.'' (

A light fly-rod, such as the Parson carried, was not the
weapon best adapted for the purpose ; but he forthwith ui
looped his casting-line, and taking a trace out of his fh
book — for he was never without trolling materials — fittee
one of the little glittering gwineads on the litch ; and wading
quite as deep as was prudent, and a good deal deeper tlu
was pleasant, considering the time of night and the coldness
of Norwegian waters, he cast beyond the edge of the weeds
the bait had hardly began to spin, when a fish took him, sucl
as required all his skill to master with his fly-rod, and lon^
and arduous was the struggle before he succeeded in leading
him captive through an opening in the weeds, and drawing
him quietly into shoal water.

The fact was, that the whole coast, like that of Frane
during the late war, was in a state of strict blockade ; the
little gwineads, like the chasse-marees, were dodging aboul
in-shore, while the great trout, unable, from their draught


water, to pursue them into the shallows, were grimly cruising
about and snapping up any adventurous little youngster that
showed his nose outside. The fly-rod was too feeble to do
much execution that evening, for it took half an hour to
master a fish with it ; but the discovery was not lost on the
Parson, and the next evening saw him with a twenty-two
foot cane trolling-rod, commanding, at easy cast, the whole
fishable water, and supplying the praestgaard, as well as the
hall, with such trout as they had never dreamt of.

The Captain and Birger were no less assiduous in their
own particular calling, and from the quantity of game, in-
cluding deer, which they brought in, might very fairly be
said to have paid for their keep. The fjeld of Soberud was
much more open, and better adapted for game, than the
valley of the Torjedahl and its surrounding mountains, and
also, as there were fewer thick trees, better adapted for
getting at it.

Pleasant as all this was, time wore on, and it became
necessary for the party to resume their knapsacks and retrace
their steps, Torgensen having first exacted a promise that
they would visit Soberud once more before their departure.
'•' Perhaps," said he, mysteriously, " I may have occasion to
muster all the friends of my house before the winter comes
m, and whenever that occasion happens, I hope the present
party will honour my roof-tree."

Tom, who interpreted this speech, could not conceive what
t alluded to, though it seemed to make him very merry ; but
he mystery, if ever there was one, was soon explained by
Lota's blushes, when the Captain, on seeing her and the
nissing Torkel together, as the party arrived at the Aalfjer
iceter that evening, shook his head at them with a knowing
•mile. In fact, Torkel had made such excellent use of his
ime, that while the party were occupied with the fish and
jame of the Soberud valley, he had contrived to settle, and
lefinitely arrange, with the full approbation of Torgensen,
hat his marriage should take place in the autumn. No
Norwegian ever thinks of marrying till the work-day summer
'i past ; besides, Torkel was making a very good thing of it
- ith his present employers, and if he were not, it is not

o 2


altogether certain that even Lota's attractions would have
been sufficient to draw him away from the sports in which he
was engaged. Apparently, he did not find those things which
he had to settle with Lota herself, so easy of arrangement as
those which had been the subject of his discussions with her
father ; for though the first Sunday evening was quite long
enough to settle everything with him, it took him three or
four whole days at the soeter to arrange matters with her :
indeed, there the party found him when they encamped there
on their return, and, notwithstanding this, he had so much
more to say on the last morning, that the fishermen had
arrived for some hours at their old encampment on the
Torjedahl, and had had time entirely to change the whole
plan of the campaign before they saw anything of him.

During their absence the post had arrived, bringing I
letters for them all ; these Ullitz had forwarded, and then '
first occupation, while their attendants were preparing the
supper and exchanging news with those who had been lef
behind, was to read their respective letters. Birger hac
a whole heap — which he did not deserve — from a hos
of relations and friends, whom, in his ardour for sport
he had grievously neglected ; all of these he postponed for t
great, square, official looking document, with " Kongs ofwe
Commandant's Expedition " written in the corner : this h
did deserve, for it contained, along with an acknowledge
ment for his valuable portfolio of military drawings, ai
extension of leave, which the dutiful lieutenant had aske<
for on the plea so well known in the British army, " famil;

" Hurrah," said the Captain, " here's a letter from Moodie
he wants us to meet him at Gotheborg, where he is bringinj
down a cargo of elks and reindeer, and Northern wil
beasts, for the Zoological Gardens ; and then we are to g
back with him, he says, to some place which I can neithe
spell nor pronounce, where, the chances are, we shall get
crack at a bear."

" You have always had a weakness that way," said tbi
Parson, " I believe getting a crack at a bear, as you call i 1 1

Online LibraryHenry [Garrett] 1804-1860 NewlandForest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman → online text (page 17 of 36)