Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

approve its being drawn out into naked display, and into familiar, and at the same time, incorrectly imagined operation. »

Certainly you will say, we have been “in deaths oft.” Indeed, Madam, we have. We have seen the pale horse and his rider go forth amongst us, conquering and to conquer. We have seen him boarding our vessels, and forcing our houses. We have scen him going down into the cabin, and ascending into the pulpit.' p. 139.

It cannot be necessary, for us, we should hope, in the opinion of any one of our religious readers, to follow these few sentences of observation on Hervey's distinguishing style of authorship, with an averment--that not one of those readers can entertain a more cordial veneration for that most excellent man. This we should confidently make; but at the same time, every voice ought to join in disapprobation of an infated diction, as employed on any subject, but especially on religion. And indeed, we believe the general opinion in the present instance, is coming fast into agreement with that of the critics.

These letters contain very little incident, or description of character. The personal references are mostly confined to the family and immediate connexions of the lady to whom the greatest number of them are addressed, with here and there a brief allusion to circumstances attending the writer. The main substance of the letters consists of plain pious reflections, sometimes directly inculcated on his respected friend and benefactress, sometimes insinuated to her, with a good deal of address ; evincing at once an anxiety to avoid appearing intrusive and for ever preaching, and a most deep and benevolent solicitude for her highest welfare, and that of her family, Nothing can be more amiable, and at the same time more dignified, than this persevering fidelity to what he justly esteem. ed the duty of friendship and of his Christian office. The following is a fair specimen :

• Indeed you do me too great an honour in vouchsafing to thank me for my letters. I esteem it a favour that you will permit me, to remind you of serious and everlasting things. And Oh ! might these epistolary remembrances stir up in my benefactress's mind, a more hearty concern for her precious soul ; with joy I should reflect on them in my last moments. I fear, I presume sometimes, and make too bold with your condescending goodness. But if I write freely and plainly, in a pressing or importunate manner, impute it, for it is wholly owing, to my zeal for your spiritual welfare. It is because I long, I earnestly long, to see that generous person one day crowned with eternal glory, who has shewed such respect, and exercised such kindness to me. If I tell her of the sinfulness and corruption of our nature, it is only that she may be healed and cleansed by di. vine grace. If I speak of the imperfection and worthlessness of our best services, it is only that she may be brought to a happy reliance on Jesus Christ, and so have life through his name. If I dare to mention our ruined and undone condition, both by original pollution and actual transgression, it is only with this pleasing view, that she may be restored by the great Repairer of our breaches, and recovered by the great Physician of our souls.

I find, Madam, that time is passing away, and hastening apace to its expiring period. I feel all earthly enjoyments to be unsatisfactory, and nothing substantial here below. It is therefore my wish and prayer, that God may give you everlasting felicity, and make you glad with the light of his countenance.'

There is one long letter to a clerical friend, protesting against his determination to resign his living, and become an itinerant preacher. Throughout it the writer is the zealous advocate and panegyrist of the Established Church. That, however, his enlarged and affectionate spirit had no tincture of bigotry, there needed not such a pleasing little paragraph as the following to shew:

• My present lodging is more commodious, comfortable, and pleasant than the fornier; and, what is a material article in circumstances in any way straitened, considerably cheaper. It is, indeed, in a Dissenter's house. But when the concurrence of so many weighty reasons invites me to this situation, shall one single objection withhold me from it? which, however it may appear on a superficial view, if duly considered, is no objection at all. For do I loog earnestly to dwell with my dissenting bre. thred ever more in heaven, and cannot I find in my heart to dwell with them a few months under the same roof on earth ?'-p. 133.

In the latter part of the series there are many allusions to declining health, and some affecting anticipations of death, calmly expressive of the full felicity of Christian confidence.

Art. IX. Fables and Satires, with a Preface on the Esopean Fable. By

Sir Brooke Boothby, Bart. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. lxiü. 192, 241.

price 158. Constable, Edinburgh. THESE two costly volumes will never rank the name of their author, - either among good writers, or among good men. The versification is of that common unimpressive kind, which a man of readiness might, without much difficulty, use in common conversation. It has neither delicacy, force, nor point; and runs on in a dull, monotonous, improvisatoré sort of a tone, which fatigues the ear beyond all toleration. The satires, the gentlest of their race, consist of such exquisitely conceived and modulated poetry, and such keen and biting raillery as the following :

• Whenever peace is to be had,
Some sacrifices must be made ;
And a broad common basis found
Upon the fair and solid ground
Of mutual advantages,
Not mutual animosities.'-p. 190.

Of such effete and prosaic stuff as this, we find no difficulty in giving credit to Sir B. when he informs his friend that

• A Phedrus, I by chance had bought,
Serv'd to amuse the vacant thought;
Then to translate him I began,

And the work easily went on.'—p. 203. But Sir Brooke is a reformer, and casts stones, most plentifully, at the bigots, and hypocrites', who

With impious arrogance presume
The title of elect to assume,
Would be believed a chosen race
Minioned with God's peculiar grace.'
• And all good works, as vain, reject
If not of their exclusive sect;
And to beatitudes preferi

The slang of canting minister.'
With a good deal more of the same disgusting and despicable slander.

It must be confessed that all this censure and moral instruction comes with admirable effect from the man who charges these sects with arrogance and censoriousness; and with a still better grace froni the writer of a composition (vol. i. p. 83) the most beastly that it has been our fate to read, since we heaved the gorge' at the filthiness of Swift, Sir Brooke may say that he found it in Phædrus, but it was his duty to have left it there. He is sufficiently forward to declaim against the vulgarity of former translators. We wish he had been careful to correct his own.

Art. X. A funeral Discourse, occasioned by the Death of the Rer.

Dr. Barnes, preached at Cross-street Meeting-house, in Manchester, en - Sunday, 15th July, 1810, by John Yates, 8vo. pp. 86. 1810. THIS sermon is distinguished chiefly by its heathenish, antichristian

character. Dr. Barnes died in the 64th year of his age. This incident, though little remote from the usual course of human events, seemed, to Mr. Yates, to bear hard on the goodness and equity of Divine Providence. He sets himself, therefore, 'to justify the ways of God to men,' in this case. The death of good men being to themselves a release from both spiritual and corporeal evil, as well as a transition from the care and labour of this life to a state where the sphere of their beneficence shall be inconceivably extended ; and, at the same time, serving to show survivors the end of their creation, the object they should aim at in the performance of virtuous actions to afford an exaniple of the rise and progress and finishing of moral character and both to increase the love of virtue and to destroy the love of temporary good ; our preacher infers, that it is not only consistent with the equity of the divine nature, but even expres. sive of the kindness and mercy of God. * After this vindication of Providence, Mr. Y. proceeds to improve the

event in a memoir of Dr. Barnes. From this we learn, that even in his - VOL. VII.

early youth, by the care and diligence of his mother, his mind was deeply imbued with moral and religious principles ;~that, though he completed his studies for the ministry at Warrington Academy, he discovered in his first public devotional exercise a degree of earnestness, of zeal and animation which, however suitable to a preacher of the gospel, and conducive to the offices of religious instruction, at first astonished, and afterwards disgusted those who had been inured to the cold and comfortless regions of Socinianism ;-and that he spent about the last thirty years of his life as pastor of the society assembling for divine worship in Cross-street Chapel, Manchester,-in which station he appears to have been very useful, both in his public and private instruction, by his zeal and activity in promoting several public institutions, and by a diligent attention to the duties of charity and benevolence. Art. XI. Simple Pleasures, designed for young persons above twelve

years of age. By Miss Venning, 12mo. pp. 200. Price 4s 6d. Harris. 1811. THIS is a respectable collection of common places in natural

history, chemistry, &c. conveyed in the form of dialogues. We are unable to say much in praise of the style, which is too stiff and cumbrous for the subjects: and the whole volume has painfully reminded us of the superior attractions of Evenings at Home, and of Miss Edgworth's delightful tales. ....Mr. L. one of the dramatis persona, in conjunction with his wife and two children, established a school in their village : but convinced that it is of importance to impress the minds of children with pleasing ideas of religion,' they devote part of the sabbath to reading and expounding Mrs. Barbauld's beautiful hymns. And as some of these beautiful hymns' which are deemed worthy to supersede the bible, contain references to different flowers, the children are detached to pluck these flowers from the surrounding fields, · for what usesul purpose it is not very easy to imagine. These

edifying meetings are closed, not by prayer and praise, but by stories founded on facts, and suited to the lesson of the day. It is necessary to explain that this lesson of the day has no reference to the church service, but to Mrs. Barbauld's beautiful hymns.'

In a subscquent part of the volume, Catherine undertakes to teach her brother to play on the harp, and stipulates that in return Frank shall instruct her in the management of that truly feminine instrument, the fiddle.

Two or three of the facts are rather of a suspicious sort; we very much question the following, quoted on the authority of St.

Pierre, a most entertaining writer, but who seems to have paid little . attention to that sound maxim of Boileau : Rien n'est beau que - le vrai.'

• An Indian places himself astride upon a bamboo and thus crosses a river, swimming with his feet. À traveller has asserted, that crocodiles never touch- those who thus pass a river, though they frequently attack the canoes, and even the sloops of Europeans. He attributes this abstinence of so voracious an animal, to a natural antipathy to the bamboo.'

A Chinese may very naturally have this antipathy, but as the · punishment of the bastinado is not yet in general use among crocodiles,

we feel some little difficulty in accounting for this shyness of the bamboo, The following pretty little romance is, we suspect, much of the same kind.

• There is a sparrow of Hindoostan that has the instinct to light up its past in the night-time with glow-worms, which it collects for this purpose; and attaches' them to the inside of the nest by means of a tenacious clay.'

Now as we never heard of sparrows being afraid to go to bed in the dark, or much addicted to growing pale by the midnight lamp, and as we cannot conceive of any other motive for this whimsical illumination, we must take leave to reject the clay' as altogether apo. cryphal, and to receive just so much of the story as informs us, that sparrows find glow worms in the dark by their light, carry them to their nests, and either transfer them to their young, or eat them at their leisure. Art. XII. An Enquiry in!o the State of our Commercial Relations with the

Northern Powers, with reference to our Trade with them under the
Regulation of Licences, the advantages which the enemy derives
from it, and its effects on the Revenue, the course of the Foreign
Exchanges, the price of Bullion, and the general prosperity of the

British Empire. London, pp. 110, Price 3s.6d. Hatchard, 1811., THIS pamphlet appears to be the production of a sensible, well in

formed, and sufficiently impartial man. It is on the whole ably drawn up, and may serve to convey, in a cheap and inteligible form, much useful and interesting information. The writer has taken pains to make himself acquainted with the state of things, and communicates the result of his inquiries and reflections, distinctly, and without the slightest tinge of pedantry or pertness.

He 'sets out with a sort of bird's eye view of our recent and actual relations with the Baltic powers. Without giving any opinion on the justice or injustice of our base and disastrous attack on Copenhagen, he states it as his decided conviction that, the blow once struck, policy clearly dictated the retention of the island of Zealand, and he expresses his firm belief that if it had been retained, Russia would have hence been effectually intimidated from entering into hostilities against Great Britain. The object of this part of the inquiry is to shew, and in our opinion, with success, that our government has adopted, more especially with respect to Russia, a very erroneous system of policy. In fact it must be obvious to the most superficial politician, that with a monarch of weak and wavering mind, such as the present Czar, mild and temporizing measures were only calculated to confirm him in his resolution, and to induce him to persevere in a plan whose vigour we dared not imitate, and whose injurious effects we admitted

« ElőzőTovább »