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Art. VI. Elijah. By the Author of “ Balaam ” and “ Modern
Fanaticism unveiled.” 12mo. pp. xii. 235. Price 5s. London,
1833. MIR R. IRVING, the tongues, and the miracles, are no longer
the common topics of conversation. The popular belief in them, being unsupported either by fact or by principle, or indeed by any thing but the enthusiasm of ihe moment, was not likely to be of long duration ; and there seems no longer reason to apprehend much from that quarter, unless the same spirit of wild speculation should adopt a more fascinating and a more dangerous form. Perhaps the chief ground for fear is, that those who have found themselves deceived and misied, will be apt to fall into the other extreme, and that enthusiasm will give place to scepticism. The followers of Mr. Irving have been too decidedly a class by themselves, to have brought much scandal upon the religious world generally. Their numbers do not appear to be on the increase. Some we believe have returned to the good old paths; others we know to be so holy, so devoted, so prayerful, so anxious to know and do the will of their Heavenly Father, that we cannot think that they will be suffered to continue under so gross delusion. We could wish that their case excited more sympathy among their fellow Christians, - that our dissenting friends would remember them in their intercessory supplications, and that our friends in the Establishment would think of them when they repeat the petition, " That it may please thce to bring into the way
of truth all such as have erred or are deceived; to comfort and ' help the weak hearted; to raise up them that fall; and, finally, to beat down Satan under our feet."
We have said thus much, because it is to such individuals that the Author of the work before us principally alludes, though they are not specifically named. The object of the volume is excellent, and not less so the plan by which the Writer proposes to attain it. The delineation of a Scripture character can be uninteresting to no reader of the Scriptures: it can rouse no angry feelings, and with many may have more force than a thousand arguments. This work is less interwoven with the controversial topics of the day than the two preceding ones by the same pen, and is therefore likely, perhaps, to be more permanently and more generally useful.
Yet, it is not without faults. The first part, in particular, is rather spun out, and seems to partake in some measure of the sin of book-making. This gives, here and there, a weakness to the style, which is peculiarly unsuitable to the forcible character of which it treats. For instance, before we are told so simple a thing, as that Ahab informed Jezebel of the transactions of Mount Carmel, we have a long preface, beginning, Mankind are natu
‘rally communicative. The imparting of intelligence and the 'interchange of ideas, rank among the sweetest and highest en‘joyments of our social nature,' &c. &c. The Author has made various little additions to the Scripture account, which are certainly not improvements; nor does he ever say, 'We may ima
gine so and so,' but positively asserts that so it was. Thus, in describing the meeting between Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, he says:
• On being thus accosted, the poor woman turned aside, for a moment, the coarse and sable veil which half concealed her care-worn face and figure; and perceiving from the physiognomy of the person who addressed her, and from his dust-covered sandals, that he was a Hebrew and on a journey, the kindness of her heart prompted an immediate attention to his request. With haste, therefore, she let fall from her sun-burnt arms the scanty supply of fuel which she had just gathered, and seizing her water jug, was on the point of repairing to a neighbouring well, for a draught of water to slake the stranger's thirst.' This is more fanciful than pleasing.
Again : is it likely that Elijah entered into a long dissertation on the doctrine of forgiveness of sins through the promised Saviour, while the son of the widow lay dead in her arms, and she was distractedly reproaching the prophet, or that he waited all this time before he carried the child to his chamber. Yet this is implied, if not actually asserted, in the account before us.
Then, at page 101, we have Obadial recognizing the wellknown countenance, manly air and negligent costume of
Elijah ;' at p. 112, Elijah speaking to Ahab with all the 'energy and power he could command, and looking steadily at
the king with an expression of piercing significance ;' at p. 119, Elijah placing himself on a stone, or nodular elevation ;' and at p. 138, seating himself on the flowery turf;' &c. &c. &c. Such artifices of expression as these fail of effect, because obviously intended for effect; while they offend us as liberties, scarcely comporting with the dignity of Elijah's character, and of the sacredness of Scripture history.
The account of the assembly on Mount Carmel is rather tame. The critical remarks are interesting, and the topographical descriptions are so vivid that one can scarcely help fancying that the Writer must have seen the places to which he refers. But the majesty of the Scripture record resents all embellishment: nothing can improve it. As a pleasing specimen of the Writer's talent for illustration, we shall select the following extract. After speaking of the prophet's feelings of disappointment and exhaustion, when fleeing from the rage of Jezebel, the Writer continues :
. In this frame of mind, Elijah requested for himself, that he might
die, and said, " It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” We have here an instance of the infirmity of the man, prevailing over the faith of the believer. The words unquestionably contain a hasty petition, and an ungracious complaint: yet who does not spontaneously admit, that the prophet's situation and conduct, at this crisis, have a much stronger claim on our sympathies than on our censures? Perhaps the most remarkable feature in this disconsolate address, is the degree of querulousness produced in the mind of Elijah, by the disturbance of his latent selfsatisfaction. This is obvious in the concluding expression, “I am not better than my fathers ;” a conviction often forced in upon an enlightened and ingenuous mind; but painful alike, though on different grounds, to the man who legitimately aspires after eminence, and to him who fancies that he has already attained to comparative superiority. Such distinguished honours as had lately been conferred upon Elijah, were likely to feed the native self-importance of the human heart; but small as was the injury which his humility sustained, by these temptations to rise in his own esteem, it is probable that he would have been quite unconscious of the incipient mischief, had it not been for the singular reverse which brought him low, and wrung from his afflicted bosom, the expression of its most secret and unsuspected emotions. It is thus that our all-wise and beneficent Father in heaven, carries on the divine education and discipline of his children ; now affording them a system of means the most palatable and enlivening, and anon dealing with them in such a method, as to humble them, to prove them, and to know (or make manifest) what is in their hearts.”
pp. 155-157. After describing the journey to Mount Horeb, the Writer proceeds:
Elijah had now reached his destination. Horeb, “the mount of God," was his desired resting place; if not by anticipation, his last earthly home; “ and he came thither unto a cave and lodged there." The aspirings of his zeal had been checked, and its ardour sublimated. He had learned to cease from man, to feel his own impotence and infirmity, and to resign the cause of God and the interests of Israel into the hands of Him," without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy." His own purposes had been broken off, even the thoughts of his heart; but if his heavenly Father saw it good to withdraw him from a public, active life, and to appoint him a sequestered dwelling in the wilderness —what was he that he should presume to object? His daily manual taught him to say, My times are in thy hands ;” and the Holy Spirit wrought in his soul that grace which instructed him to be still, and to comfort himself with the assurance, that however great and long-continued might be his personal privations, there would ultimately be to the church, a fulfilment of that which was spoken to David in a prophetic vision, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
• It is obvious, however, that Elijah’s submission to the Divine will was not without alloy. There was blended with it a species of apathy,
quite contrary to the natural element of his soul. The phantom of future eminence no longer flitted before his fancy; and when that was dissipated, the very idea of a possibility of future usefulness vanished also. This ought not to have been ; and it was to rouse him from that growing recklessness of spirit, and to prepare him to receive some important symbolical instructions, that “the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah ?'
pp. 166, 7.
A great deal of what follows is extremely interesting. Indeed, we think the latter part of the book decidedly superior to the former: it is more simple and more animated. The spirit that pervades the work is admirable. We do not know how long the Writer intends to maintain his or her incognito. Although we have heard a name confidently assigned as that of the Author of these productions, we do not feel ourselves at liberty to raise the veil.
Art. VII.--Reports of the Navigation of the Euphrates. Submitted
to Government by Captain Chesney, of the Royal Artillery. Fo-
68. Plates. W!
E should have felt scarcely authorized to take public no
tice of an unpublished Report, had not certain contemporary journals already referred to Captain Chesney's highly interesting papers. The feasibility of opening the Euphrates for steam navigation, which this gentleman has satisfactorily established, is a circumstance replete with interest, independently of its importance in connexion with an overland communication with India. This venerable river, so long lost to civilization, and scarcely better known to Europeans than the Niger itself, is found to be free from impediments to steam navigation throughout the year, up to El Oos, a distance of 900 miles, and for nine months of the year is without any serious obstruction as high up as Bir (or Beer), only twenty-five hours N.E. of Aleppo.
• Anxious to use some means to restore Aleppo to its former importance, Ali Pacha, now at Bagdad, and then its governor, submitted a plan to the Sultan some ten or twelve months ago, the outline of which was to open the navigation of the Euphrates and clear out Seleucia : both were countenanced by the Porte, and something was about to be done, when the Egyptian business put all on one side for the present. Ali Pacha, who is a liberal and enlightened Turk, fond of Europeans and their customs, knew, that so late as the time of Saladdin, the port of Bir contained 300 or 400 small vessels, and without any further knowledge of the state of the river, he built on this circumstance alone the hope, that by restoring the ancient port of Souedia, he would
attract a great.commerce to Aleppo, not only from the East but also from the West. The engineer's estimate of the necessary expense in restoring the whole of Seleucia was 5000 purses of 500 piastres each, or about 31,000l.; but as the whole space could not be required, at least for many years, it was only intended to clear out a part at first, expending in this way about 10,000l.: and as the officer who framed those estimates is both skilful and much accustomed to carry on works in Turkey, it is more than probable that both of his calculations are very close to the truth ; nor can there be any reasonable doubt as to the success, if ever the day should arrive for putting them to the test of experience. It is true that the project was entertained solely with the view of increasing the Sultan's revenue; and although no more enliglıtened idea is entertained, it is a great matter to know that the Porte, even from selfish motives, would be induced to undertake a work likely to be most advantageous to the commercial world, by re-opening a port sufficiently capacious to accommodate quite a fleet of moderatesized merchant vessels, and that, at the short distance of twenty-two or twenty-four caravan hour's (through Antioch) to Aleppo; which project, under such circumstances, must realize more than all the present expectations of the Porte.'
Captain Chesney ascended the Euphrates from Bir to beyond Samsat; and during this considerable distance, found the river, in its lowest state, deep, broad, and free from impediments for a long way towards Malatieh, in the very heart of the country. Malatieh (or Malatēa) is situated on the Melas (or Kara-su), which joins the Euphrates on its right bank in about lat. 38° 10 N., affording an inlet into the interior of Asia Minor.
Another line of route, however, has been suggested, with a view to facilitate the direct communication with Bombay ; viz. by Rosetta, Kenné, Kosseir, and Aden. Captain Chesney has instituted a very minute and careful comparison between the two lines of navigation, from which it appears that, in travelling from Bombay to the Mediterranean, the time is shorter, by Egypt, nine hours and a half, although the distance is shorter, by the Euphrates, 170 miles. But, from the Mediterranean to Bombay, the time, by Egypt and the Euphrates, would be equal, and the distance by the Persian Gulf, shorter by 170 miles.
The Report is full of interesting matter, which we have not room to analyse. Aware that either route can serve only for the conveyance of packets or light goods, Captain Chesney warmly advocates the revival of the ancient project of connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean.
* Any of these routes, however, which may be adopted, will probably only pave
the way to the realization of the grand idea, so long indulged in England, and other parts of Europe, of connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea; a little time will probably remove the ill-founded apprehension, of increasing the height of the former,