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much in vogue at the present day, but a genuine wit, classical I might say, and refined, that caused a smile rather than a laugh."
From a boy Shelley had been fond of boating, and the love of this recreation remained with him through life. The water, says Captain Medwin, was his fatal element. Having heard of Leigh Hunt's arrival at Genoa, and being eager to see him, it was agreed that his friend Mr. Williams and himself should go to Leghorn, in his pleasure-boat, for this purpose. “Strange," observes Mrs. Shelley, To that no fear of danger crossed our minds. Living on the sea-shore, the ocean became a plaything; as a child may play with a lighted stick, till a spark enflames a forest and spreads destruction over all, so did we fearlessly and blindly tamper with danger, and make a game of the perils of the ocean. It would seem, however, that they did not embark without presentiments of coming evil, which were but too fully realized. The first part of the voyage was performed in safety; and with a fair but faint wind, the sky bearing an unpropitious aspect, they got under weigh on their return, an English boy having been added to the boat's crew, of the name of Vivian. A fearful squall, to which the gulf of Genoa is subject in the summer and autumn, came on, and the little schooner was soon ingulfed in the deep. Fourteen days afterwards, the bodies were cast on the beach at Spezzia, not together, but several miles apart. The Italian laws require that every thing which is washed ashore shall be burned, and Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Trelawney, attended poor Shelley's funeral pyre, previous to the fulfilment of his oft-repeated wish, that his remains might repose in the English cemetery at Rome, where was laid his favourite child William.
“They came to a spot marked by an old, withered pine-tree, and near it, on the beach, stood a solitary ruined hut, covered with thatch. The place was well chosen for a poet's grave. Some few weeks before, I had ridden with Shelley and Byron to the very spot, which I have since visited in sad pilgrimage. Before them lay a wide expanse of the blue Mediterrancan, with the islands of Elba and Gorgona visible in front; Lord Byron's yacht, the Bolivar, riding, at some distance in the offing. On the other side appeared an almost illimitable sandy wilderness, and uninhabitable, only broken here and there by some stunted shrubs, twisted by the seabreeze, and stunted by the barrenness and drought of the ground in which they strove to grow. At equidistance, along the coast, rose high square towers, for the double purpose of protecting the coast from smugglers and enforcing the quarantine regulations. This view was completed by a range of the far-off Italian Alps, that from their many-folded and volcanic character, as well as from their marble summits, gave them the appearance of glittering snow;--to finish the picture, and as a foreground, was placed a remarkable group.
“Lord Byron, with some soldiers of the coast-guard, stood about the burning pyre, and Leigh Hunt, whose feelings and nerves could not carry him through the scene of horror, lying back in the carriage; the four posthorses panting with the heat of the noon-day sun and the fierceness of the fire. The solemnness of the whole ceremony was the more felt by the shrieks of a solitary curlew, which, perhaps attracted by the corpse, wheeled in narrow circles round the pile; so narrow, that it might have been struck with the hand. The bird was so fearless, that it could not have been driven away.”
It appeared that Shelley had been reading, and quite unconscious of danger, up to the last moment; for when found, Captain Medwin says, he had his right hand and arm locked in his waistcoat, where he had in haste evidently thrust a volume of Keats's poems, open at the Eve of St. Agnes,-a poem which he greatly admired, and, after the death of Keats, he carried continually about with him the book which contained it. Shelley's ashes were collected and conveyed to Rome. But on their arrival there, the clergyman who was asked to officiate had scruples about burying ashes in consecrated ground. The diffi. culties, however, were at length overcome, and a day was fixed for the interment, which was attended by most of the English still lingering in the metropolis of the world.” Shelley's grave is in “ the most sequestered and flowery nook” of the cemetery, whose beauty and solemnity has been described by so many travellers, and of which he himself once said, “ It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.” He died before he reached the age of thirty, and, with all his faults," he was a generous and heroic being.” He was endowed with a fine imagination, but his intellect was not of the highest order. One cannot but admire his genius. There is much beauty in many things that he has written. But " the want of real human nature in his poetry makes it very unsatisfying.” His history is truly a melancholy one. Gifted and accomplished as he was, what might be not have done and accomplished, had he been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, --had he reverently placed himself at the feet of the great Teacher! We pity his misfortunes. We remember how terrible were the struggles and temptations to which he was exposed. We bear our willing testimony to the fact that he had many excellences and virtues. We mourn over his early and untimely death. But truth compels us to express our strong disapprobation of many of his opinions on moral as well as religious subjects,-opinions which we hold to be most erroneous and very injurious in their tendency. And the study of Shelley's life has made us feel, that had we a son, or a brother, or a friend, just entering upon the cares and trials and duties of the world, we could see him die in his innocence with infinitely more cheerfulness, than we could behold him go forth destitute of a vital, practical, enlightened faith in the gospel.
“NO INNOVATION!" To say that all new things are bad, is to say that all old things were bad in their commencement; for of all the old things ever seen or heard of, there is not one that was not once new. Whatever is now establishment was once innovation. The first inventor of pews and parish clerks, was no doubt considered a Jacobin in his day. Judges, juries, criers of the court, are all the innovations of ardent spirits, who filled the world with alarm, and were considered as the great precursors of ruin and dissolution. No inoculation, no turnpikes, no reading, no writing, no popery! The fool sayeth in his heart and cryeth with his mouth, “I will have nothing new."-Sydney Smith's Works.
He has pro
Spiritual Heroes ; or, Sketches of the Puritans, their Characters and Times. By John Stoughton. Post 8vo. Pp. 436. London-Jackson and Walford. 1848.
MR. STOUGHTON is, we believe, a highly respectable Independent minister at Kensington. We know not whether this is his first appearance as an author, but we may certainly congratulate him on its success. duced a very agreeable and interesting book, which will, we doubt not, attract some readers who would be repelled by histories of graver pretension. It must not be taken for more than it professes to be: as a history of the Puritans, it would be both defective and partial ; but as a series of sketches of their character and times, designed chiefly to illustrate their spiritual heroism, it is deserving of high commendation. That Mr. Stoughton is an Independent, every chapter of his book reveals. We make no complaint of his selecting most of his heroes from one troop of the army of Puritans, so long as we are able to concur with him in admiration of the objects of his hero-worship. Owen, Robinson and Nye, and many others whom our author delights to honour, are worthy of his enthusiasm. The Independents of the seventeenth century, were truly great men, and we, equally with those who bear their names in the present day, may be bettered by their lives and writings. They were amongst the earliest to recognize and to proclaim the great principle of the rights of conscience. Others shared with them this honourable distinction, Few, indeed, carried the principle into action with unswerving nicety; but that men should waver, and sometimes turn aside, in following this untracked course, will surprise no one. Two centuries have now made it a beaten track, yet some of the descendants of the Puritan fathers sometimes miss their way.
Mr. Stoughton has added considerably to the value of his book by gathering his illustrations of spiritual heroism not merely from accessible and wellknown Puritan histories and biographies, but also from several unedited and manuscript collections. Some of the extracts which we shall make will shew that the new materials are not without value. Our author takes in the most momentous period of English history as it affects religious liberty-the 130 years which intervened between Mary and William III. The whole is divided into thirteen Chapters, the subjects of which are arranged chronologically, We will briefly speak of the several topics.
“ Chap. I. The Islington Congregation" are assembled on the May-day which preceded the death of the cruel Mary. Their worship is interrupted by the officers of Bishop Bonner. Their trials are described, and the terrible martyrdom of some at Smithfield, others at Brentford. Chap. II. shews us the persecutions of Elizabeth's days and the three Puritan martyrs, Barrowe, Greenwood and Penry. Of “ Chap. III. The Pilgrim Fathers” are the heroes. On the portrait of Robinson, the clear-sighted and catholic-souled pastor of the church at Leyden, Mr. Stoughton has put forth all his power. Chap. IV. details the history of an early Dissenting church in Southwark which was ministered to in succession by Henry Jacob; Mr. Lathrop, who found a refuge in New England; Mr. Canne, who fled to Holland ; Mr. Samuel Howe, who died in prison ; and Mr. More. From this Chapter we take an interesting passage.
“There stood in Southwark, in the seventeenth century, a building which, though long since razed to the ground, has covered the spot on which it rose with classic associations in the eye of the lover of the drama--it was the Globe Theatre, of which William Shakspeare was one of the patentees, and where the productions of his unparalleled genius thrilled and delighted many a crowded audience. It was burnt down in 1613, and rebuilt in 1614. Hard by that theatre, at the end of Globe Alley, in which it stood, there lay a piece of ground, bearing the mournful appellation of Deadman's Place, from the number of persons buried there during the Plague of London in 1625. It was in some build
ing within that space that Mr. More and the good people of his church first publicly met for religious service. The theatre was then on its wane, but religious freedom was beginning to hold up its head. Associations of one class cluster round Globe Alley, associations of another class cluster round Deadman's Place;-the merely literary will cherish the former and despise the latter; but the man who, with a taste for literature, cultivates the spirit of evangelical religion and the love of liberty, while he looks with interest towards the one spot as closely connected with the intellectual history of his country, will look with a more sacred interest on the other, connected as it is with our religious history, and with the progress of principles, little understood, but of the highest benefit to mankind at large. That same theatre, too, comes afterwards into connection with the history of Protestant Dissent; for on its site there was, at the close of the seventeenth century, a building called Maid-lane meeting; and some have affirmed even that the theatre itself, having been shut up during the Commonwealth, was subsequently accommodated to purposes of religious worship."Pp. 111, 112.
Chap. V. treats of “ The Brave Lord Brooke,” and is surmounted by a pleasing woodcut of that memorable baronial mansion, Warwick Castle, where, 1628–1643, Robert Greville, the second Lord Brooke, dwelt. He fell at Lichfield, when directing a battery on the east gate of the close of the cathedral, to which the Royalist troops had fled. His death happening on March 2nd, the festival of St. Chad, the patron saint of the cathedral he was storming, was interpreted by the Laudian party as a token of God's judgment.
Lord Brooke is worthy of being enrolled among Mr. Stoughton's Spiritual Heroes. He and Pym and Hampden were the illustrious triad mentioned by Baxter, in his first edition of the “ Saints' Rest,” as those whose society in heaven he coveted. We care not to discuss with Mr. Stoughton whether or not Lord Brooke was an Independent. If he were, he made light of the controversies on church government which separated the Presbyterians and Independents, for he bestowed his church patronage upon Presbyterians, and sought their services in his family. This we know from the Memoir of Samuel Clark, the ejected minister of Bennet Fink, on whom Lord Brooke had bestowed the living of Alcester. The spirit of Lord Brooke was beautifully catholic. He stood up for the Baptists, and vindicated them from the charge of schism. There is a passage of great beauty in his discourse on Episcopacy, which Mr. Stoughton has quoted :
" When God shall so enlarge a man's heart and unveil his face, that the poor creature is brought into communion and acquaintance with his Creator, steered in all his ways by his Spirit, and by it carried up above shame, fear, pleasure, comfort, losses, the grave, and death itself, let us not censure such tempers, but bless God for them; so far as Christ is in us, we shall love, prize and honour Christ, and the least particle of his image in others; for we never prove ourselves members of Christ more than when we embrace his members with most enlarged yet straitest affections. To this end, God assisting me, my desire, prayer and endeavour shall still be, as much as in me lies, to follow peace and holiness; and though there may haply be some little dissent between my dark judgment and weak conscience and other good men, that are more clear and strong, yet my prayer still shall be, to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. And as many as walk after this rule, peace I hope shall still be on them and the whole Israel of God.”
Chapter VI. is on the Westminster Assembly. Notice is taken of “ John Goodwin, a famous Independent;" and to him is attributed the noblę saying that, " by God's command, the magistrate is discharged to put the least discourtesy on any man, Turk, Jew, Papist, Socinian, or whatever, for his religion.” Mr. Stoughton remarks that this sentiment has sometimes, but without authority, been put into the mouth of Philip Nye, * the leader of the
Mr. Herbert's beautiful modern picture of the Assembly of Divines represents Philip Nye addressing the Assembly with the startling sentiment described above.
Dissenting brethren in the Assembly of Divines. He questions, too, whether the five brethren were prepared to advocate in the Assembly the toleration of Papists. Mr. Stoughton is of course aware that John Goodwin became in the latter end of his life not merely anti-Calvinistic, but was the object of suspicion and persecution for his presumed latitudinarian views on the subject of Scripture and Inspiration.
Chapter VII., the largest and most elaborate portion of the book, is, “Oxford under Owen.” They who look for the shade as well as the light in the character of this great champion of Independency, must go elsewhere, Mr. Stoughton does not tell us of Owen's share of the brutal punishment of two women Quakers at Oxford, for addressing a congregation in one of his churches after the celebration of divine service. One of them, the story goes, had been previously so roughly treated by the students, that she died from the effects of her punishment. Nor must we forget, as an abatement of Owen's merit as a champion of freedom of conscience, that he was the author of the suspicious statement, that “the zeal of them that put Servetus to death may be acquitted." Still, notwithstanding
some imperfections, Dr. John Owen was a great man. From an unedited MS. life of him, in the possession of Dr. Raffles, our author takes the following anecdote:
"Owen had been a student at Oxford, but his Puritanism and Independency excited a strong prejudice against him. About the time that he took his Doctor's degree, some of the leading men did intend to battle him when he came to dispute, thinking that, as he had been so long time absent from the University, he would be unready both in speaking Latin and disputing. He was better prepared, however, than they were aware of, and keeping them to the strict rules of disputation, he managed the whole exercise with such exactness as frustrated their expectations.”—Pp. 200, 201.
The sketch of three distinguished men who studied at Christ Church under Owen is striking :
" And among the gownsmen who in those days paced the solemn quadrangle, and loitered in the bright green meadows of Christ Church, were some as notable characters as Oxford has ever seen. That pale, delicate, studious young man, who has just taken his Bachelor's degree, is destined to carry his penetrating genius into the realms of metaphysics, and to place himself beyond all reasons able question at the head of English philosophers; and with convincing power and manly eloquence he will expound those principles of toleration, for the maintenance of which the head of his College has had to fight many a battle. Yonder quiet, sedate youth, just issuing from his College chambers, musing much as he walks along, is to be the founder of a new state in the far-off regions of the West, whose peaceful government, whose repudiation of war in every form, will stamp his empire with an unprecedented character, and render the country of his adoption and his rule unique in the history of the world. And that hearty-looking gownsman, with a keen but not very good-humoured expression, who has now passed under the College gateway, is a person whose talents, wit and manly eloquence, will render him one of the cleverest, if not one of the best, preachers of the Church of England. The reader will recognize these men as Locke, Penn and South. They were all three students at Christ's Church in Owen's time. Each of them was distinguished, though in a manner very different from the rest, by great ability.”—Pp. 206, 207.
Chapter VIII, is occupied with East Anglian Churches." We have chiefly an account of a Congregational church at Yarmouth, of which Mr. Bridge was the minister. He was also pastor to a church at Norwich. Both churches united occasionally in the celebration of the Lord's Supper at Yarmouth. From this Chapter the local historian interested in the early dissent of Norwich and Yarmouth, will glean some interesting facts. A pleasant picture is given us of the cordiality of the Presbyterian and Congregationalist churches at Yarmouth. We fear two centuries have not improved the mutual goodwill of the two leading Nonconformist sects. It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the Presbyterians remained in possession of Mr. Bridge's ancient