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J. B. IN REPLY TO H. H.'S IMPROMPTU. "IMPROMPTU SUGGESTED BY READING THE VERY BEAUTIFUL LINES ENTITLED,
• ALONE! ALONE!' (C. R., III. 728.)
While the freed spirit springs to perfect light. H. H." ” SIR, If the verses entitled " Alone! Alone !" have any of the beauty ascribed to them by H. H., it arises solely from their truthfulness. The " thoughtless joys” of childhood are to all transient-the“ bright prospects” of youth are, in general, soon “ clouded o’er"—the “ pleasures” of manhood are not lasting -the “ills” of age cannot be shunned—and the grave is in reality “ dark and gloomy. These are truisms; nor can the mind that perceives and the heart that feels them to be such, be on that account justly regarded or denominated“ untrusting.”
This, moreover, is a very inappropriate epithet, when used as descriptive of a writer who expressly declares his " trust” in a resurrection from the dead, when the soul shall burst the narrow confines of the tomb, and, in a future state of existence, be again united to its departed relatives and friends. the hurry or ardour of his extemporaneous effusion, H. H. did not perceive that his expostulation or censure is founded on a distinction without a difference. According to him, the vale of death is dark and gloomy only to finite vision, and “ the freed spirit springs” from it “ to perfect light;" and, according to the writer of the lines that occasioned the “ IMPROMPTU," the soul will rise from “ earth's sordid dust,” and ascend from the tomb to the joys of the blessed:
« Thus for ever? No-I TRUST
Heaven will grant a happier doom :
Thou, my soul, shalt burst the tomb,
And be no more alone-alone !" How, then, does H. H.'s view of death differ from J. B.'s? In substance it is the same, and the only distinction between them is verbal: each writer represents the soul as destined to survive death-the one as bursting from the tomb to “ bliss," the other as springing from it to “perfect light.” H. H. should not, therefore, have too hastily reproached his brother bard with a mistrust in a resurrection from the grave and “a bright reversion” after death in some future and happier world, since no such mistrust is expressed in his verses, nor does it exist in his mind.
If H. H.'s rhymed strictures apply only to the expression in the fourth stanza of “ Alone! Alone!" in which the grave is represented as a “dark vale," it may be urged, in defence of that description of it, that it is sanctioned by the authority of the best poets, who have so represented it, at least from the time of the "sweet singer of Israel,” whose beautiful expression has been justly admired and generally adopted even by Christian writers as very true as well as highly poetical" the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm xxxii. 4). It is surely, then, somewhat hypercritical to object to a form of speech sanctioned and consecrated by the use of poets, both sacred and profane.
But the writer of the “IMPROMPTU” has, though doubtless unintentionally, not accurately quoted the expression he criticises. He represents the author of “ Alone! Alone!" as picturing “ DEATH" a dark and gloomy vale,' whereas in the censured stanza it is the GRAVE that is so described: this mis
representation not only distorts the meaning, but defaces the image of the condemned passage. The meaning is, that the GRAVE is a dark region, as, without a figure, it is and has always been considered; not that any darkness appertains to DEATH itself, which J. B. regards, in common with H. H. and all believers in the Gospel, as, to the good, a glorious transition or translation to life and light—to a better and brighter state of existence ;-the image, that the GRAVE is “a dark vale." But how can DEATH, considered either as a negation of life or as any personification of decay and dissolution under which it has ever yet been represented, be in any sense a VALE? Artists have, indeed, imaged Death as a skeleton, armed with bow and arrow, taking fatal aim at man, his destined victim; and Milton, in his nobler personification, has more sublimely represented him as without shape-a shadowy figure, the lineaments of whose form were tremendously awful in their indistinctness :
“ The other shape,
(Paradise Lost, B. ii. 1. 666–671.) But neither painter, sculptor nor poet, ever described DEATH under the figure of “ a dark and gloomy VALE," and it is rather too bad for one versifier to represent another of his tribe as guilty of such a bizarre conception and extravagantly incongruous metaphor.
As I belong to the irritabile genus-a phrase descriptive of poetasters rather than of poets-you will not be surprised, considering the provocation, at these strictures (which a sense of justice to me will, I trust, induce you to insert in the next No. of the Christian Reformer) from yours, &c., Rotherham, Jan. 7, 1848.
MR. HINCKS'S CORRECTION OF AN ERROR IN THE NORWICH
MEMOIR. SIR, In reading this evening the number of the C. R. for this month, I have felt much interested in the Account of the Presbyterian Congregation of Norwich, for which I have always felt a lively interest from early associations. In a note (p. 20) taken from Mr. Field's Life of Dr. Parr, it is mentioned that Dr. Mant, Bishop of Cork, offered preferment to Mr. Bourn. As there is a Prelate of that name now living, who, even if he had ever been Bishop of Cork, could not from his age have been the person,—and as I remember that Dr. Isaac Mann had died Bishop of Cork only in the year preceding my going to reside in that city, 1790,—and as, from what I heard of him, he was very likely to be influenced in the manner spoken of, I have no doubt that “Dr. Mann” should
There can be no doubt that Mant is an error of the press for Mann. The name is given correctly in Dr. Toulmin's Memoir of Mr. Bourn, appended to the “Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Bourn,” father of Mr. Bourn, of Norwich. The passage in Dr. Toulmin's Memoir is as follows: "When infirmities obliged him to resign his pastoral connection, in which he had gained great admiration both in public and private life, and to retire on a private property of sixty pounds a year, the clergy were interested in his situation. Dr. Mann, then Bishop of Cork, visiting Norwich on business at that time, and hearing of Mr. Bourn's situation, offered him preferment of three hundred pounds per annum, and better when it fell, in the Church in Ireland ; and to complete his friendship added, “I will not insist on your doing duty, as I fear it will be too much at your time of life; put in whom you think proper.' The offer was declined."-P. 131.-Ed. of C. R.
be substituted for “Dr. Mant."—Whilst I have the pen in my hand, permit me also to notice what is said of Mr. George Cadogan Morgan. I think Dr. Price undertook to give lectures on Mathematics, and if Mr. Morgan was employed, it may have been in place of his uncle, during part of the first session of the College, when the lectures were given, I think, at Hoxton. The College buildings at Hackney were not ready for students till Sept. 1788, when the second session of the College, but first at Hackney, commenced ; at that time Mr. Morgan became the Classical Tutor, in place of Mr. Worthington, and so continued till the end of the session in 1789-90, perhaps longer. Mr. Morgan was afternoon preacher at his uncle's meeting-house during that time, and might have retired from the ministry when he gave up the Classical Professorship. As I went to Hackney after spending some years in the University of Dublin, and did not remain there quite two sessions, I do not recollect the exact time of his making the change. I had the pleasure of visiting at Mr. Morgan's, in consequence of the introduction of my kind friend, the late venerable Philip Taylor, of Eustace Street, Dublin, brother of the writer of the narrative, who also kindly invited me to meet him at Diss and Norwich at a time of a family meeting, when the kindness which I experienced during a happy fortnight made an impression on my mind that has never been effaced." You are at liberty to use these remarks as you please, to correct a trifling error which may have been accidental, and to render a little more accurate the account of a very worthy man. Belfast, Jan. 4, 1848.
THOMAS DIX HINCKS.
THE INFLUENCE OF CHANNING. His beneficent influence has been widely felt and acknowledged. His words have been heard and read by thousands, in all conditions of life, and in various lands, whose hearts have been touched with gratitude towards the meek and eloquent upholder of divine truth. An American traveller, at a small village on one of the terraces of the Alps, in the Austrian Tyrol, encountered a German, who, hearing that his companion was from Boston, inquired earnestly after Channing, -saying, that the difficulty of learning the English language had been adequately repaid by the delight of his writings. A distinguished stranger, when about to visit this country, was told by a relative not less lovely in character than exalted in condition, that she envied him his journey, " for two objects that he would not fail to see, -Niagara and Channing". A critic of heart has placed him in a grand American triumvirate with Allston and Washington. More frequently, he has been associated with Washington and Franklin; but, unlike Washington, he had no ensigns of command; unlike Franklin, he was never elevated to the pinnacle of foreign office. It is probable that since them no American has exerted an equal influence over his fellow-men. And yet, if it be asked what single important measure he has carried to a successful close, I could not answer. It is on character that he has wrought and is still producing incalculable changes. From the retirement of his study he has spoken to the nations and to mankind, in a voice which has made itself heard in the most distant places, and whose influence, pleading the cause of gentleness, of righteousness, and of peace, is felt by thousands on whose souls has never fallen either his spoken or written word. He is the herald of a new and greater age than any yet seen in the world's history, when the sword shall yield to the pen, when the Gorgon countenance of force, hardening all that it looks upon, shall be dazzled into imbecility by the effulgence of Christian truth. While he lived, he was ever, through good report and evil report, the champion of humanity. “Follow my white plume," said the chivalrous monarch of France, as he plunged into the thickest of the vulgar fight. " Follow the right,” more resplendent than plume or oriflamme, was the watchward of Channing.— The Scholar, the Jurist, &c., by C. Sumner.
The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. By Andrews Norton, late
Professor of Sacred History, Harvard University. 2 Vols. Second Edition, Vol. I. pp. 357. Vol. II. pp. 567. London-Chapman. 1847.
We cordially welcome this new and improved edition of Mr. Norton's valuable work, and are glad to find that the author should have been encouraged to publish it in this country. Its circulation among us will do something, we trust, to counteract the too prevalent tendency to hasty judgments and mere theorizing on important points in the history of Christianity, respecting which some minds seem quite ready to form their adverse conclusions, without taking the trouble to engage in the needful, though it may be laborious, examination of the manifold evidences.
A high opinion of the character of the work has already been expressed in our pages. For an elaborate and able review of Vol. I. in the first edition, we beg to refer our readers to a series of articles in the C. R. for 1838; and to the Reformer for 1846, for a notice of some points in Vols. II. and III., which were published a considerable time after the first. Our purpose, in noticing the work at this time, is chiefly to call the attention of our readers to the present edition ; in doing which we will take the opportunity of offering a few remarks on some of the particulars in which it differs from the former one.
The difference observable consists both in omissions and additions. In the “ Preface to the Second Edition of the First Volume," the author states, "I have made some corrections in this edition, and have given about fifty pages of new matter. I have omitted about the same amount of what was in the volume as first published.” He adds, " The greater part of the omissions is from the argument concerning the evidence of Justin Martyr.” By these omissions, he thinks, that argument has been rendered more compact, and is now, consequently, presented in a more effective form. And in this statement we are disposed to concur. The argument in proof of the assertion that our present Gospels were known to Justin, as it is now stated by Mr. Norton, is probably as strongly put as it can be. The only qualification or addition that we should be inclined to make is, that Justin, along
with the canonical Gospels, may have used also some apocryphal Gospel. This supposition, indeed, Mr. Norton notices and rejects ; but, despite all that he so ably urges for his own particular view, we are impelled to believe still that the admission is necessary-unless we are to concede that the Gospels have been very materially altered since the days of Justin, an admission which would be in direct opposition to Mr. Norton's own opinion of their genuineness.
It would occupy far too much of our limited space to enter minutely into this subject, and we must be content with this passing allusion to it. Before leaving it, however, let us express our satisfaction at the omission in the present edition of the long passage forming Section VI. of the “ Additional Note E" to the first volume in the first edition. This Section is entitled, “Remarks on a new Hypothesis respecting the Quotations of Justin Martyr.” It consists of an examination of the theory of the German Professor Credner, that it was the Gospel of Peter which Justin used, and from which he makes his quotations. Credner's hypothesis is very unsatisfactory, as Mr. Norton abundantly shews. It appears the more so, when taken in connection with Credner's own admission, that Justin was not unacquainted with our present Gospels. The hypothesis has not met with much approbation, we believe, among the learned of Germany; it was still less likely to find acceptance with English readers ; and hence the needlessness of the Section containing Mr. Norton's refutation of it. But, apart from this reason for omitting the Section referred to, we are glad to see it removed, because we have regretted the terms in which Mr. Norton, in one portion of it, speaks of Credner's work, and, by implication, of Credner himself. (Genuineness, pp. ccliii, iv, of Vol. I., first edition.) The German Professor's more recent production, the Introduction to the New Testament, had most probably not been read by Mr. Norton when he wrote his strictures on the hypothesis above mentioned. We cannot think that he would have included the author of that work in the severe censure which he passes, in the removed Section, on “ the later German theologians and speculatists."
We have now to mention the chief additions made in the present edition. They consist of the following portions, and appear to be all comprised within the first volume: A new Chapter (IV.) in Part II., entitled “Concluding Remarks on the direct Historical Evidence of the Genuineness of the Gospels," pp. 155—163: Additional Note A, Section V., No. III. and No. V., the former in explanation of Matt. xii. 40, the latter on Luke ix. 55, 56. In neither of these instances is the subject matter of much importance. Mr. Norton decides for the retention of the doubtful words, in the latter case in opposition to the evidence bearing on the question. To defend their right to be retained as part of the text, he has recourse to the supposition that the words, although not originally inserted in the Gospel by Luke, were really uttered by Jesus. Hence, as he thinks, they were written in the form of a marginal note, in three successive portions, by persons who, having heard them spoken and preserving them in remembrance, wished to supply the deficiency in Luke's narrative. Finally they were introduced from the margin into the text, as a part of the Gospel-an explanation which, we fear, will not be generally considered probable or admissible. In Note D, “On the Correspondences of the Gospels," the concluding remarks, forming Section V. in the old edition, are broken up into Sections V., VI. and VII. in the new one, each with its appropriate title, a change which adds to the perspicuity of the whole.
Besides the additions we have now mentioned, there is a note of some length, “ On some Opinions and Arguments of Eichhorn and other German Theologians" (I. p. 68, seq.); and another note on Epiphanius' account of the Gospel according to the Hebrews (pp. 200—202). In reference to the former, we have only to observe that Mr. Norton sometimes appears to us to speak with a little too much of asperity in his remarks on German theologians and their writings. We would appeal to Mr. Norton's countrymen, Moses Stuart and Dr. Noyes, whether to indulge in this strain be not somewhat ungrateful in either an Englishman or an American, considering the services which we are accustomed to make these same “German theologians” render us. With all their extravagances, would that we had in England more of their varied and profound learning
- we will add, also, of their bold and fearless spirit of inquiry, tempered with the love of truth, which distinguishes many of their number!
The note on Epiphanius reminds us somewhat of the mere advocate, determined, at whatever cost, to maintain his own side of the argument, and ready, therefore, to throw discredit on the witnesses on the other side, or even to impute falsehood to them, if it will serve his cause. Mr. Norton has to establish the position that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was no other than the Hebrew (or Aramæan) original of our present Matthew. Hence the account which Epiphanius gives of the former Gospel must needs be false, because it is such as to render it difficult to suppose that the Gospel of the Hebrews was the original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. Mr. Norton speaks of “the false account given by Epiphanius of the Gospel of the Hebrews”and asserts, again, that that father's account of its contents is “wholly undeserving of credit.” But is not this a little too severe on the good father, more especially as Mr. Norton does not assign any reason which should
have led Epiphanius to invent the false statements here ascribed to him? We cannot dwell upon the point, but we appeal confidently to such of our readers as can examine the question, whether it be really the case that “ Epiphanius thus assigns two beginnings to his pretended Gospel” (2nd ed., I. p. 201)-or whether it is not Mr. Norton that does so for him. That the father was weak