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more devotedly, and died more confidently, than the celebrated preacher of Boston,"
The British Quarterly Review, Nos. XIV. and XV.-The two last numbers of the British Quarterly possess sterling merit. We are pleased to observe that as it advances it more frequently contains literary articles graceful in style and liberal in thought. The articles on “Charles Lamb” and “Samuel Warren," contained in No. XIV., are both admirable. In the new number we have first a review of Forster's Life of Goldsmith, which discusses the question of the social status of the literary man. The second article is a review of the “History of the Hebrew Monarchy.” We agree with our able contemporary the Nonconformist, in the opinion that it is "vigorous and searching, and perhaps the most valuable article in the number.” Our readers will be interested to learn the opinion of this work expressed in a periodical whose Editor occupies so important a station amongst theologians of the liberal “orthodox” school. The reviewer begins by remarking on the number of works which have lately appeared among ourselves, having for their object to undermine the evidences of revealed religion; and, whether these several attacks are only by chance simultaneous, or whether they form part of a definite plan, enforces the necessity of meeting them in fair and free discussion. He regards the plea of “the desirableness of the freest inquiry in matters of theology,” as an attempt to cover an irreligious movement with the blind of a religious motive; and asserts that to ensure the transitoriness of the evil, the friends of truth must be faithful and active. And at the same time the danger is not inconsiderable, especially to those who are obliged to take on credit assertions which seem abstruse, and are easily led away by the false candour of an ingenuous style. The writer of the work under consideration, though professing, to all appearance sincerely, his attachment to true and permanent religion, seems actuated by "an intense and active dislike to the Hebrew religion as developed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament,” and consequently has produced a History, in which the narrative of facts is perpetually interrupted and disturbed by the imputation of unworthy motives. He sets about his work, not in the spirit of one who is reverently clearing the foundations of his own religion from the mass of traditional error with which he may think it surrounded, but of a fierce iconoclast, who takes delight in reducing the exuberance of other men's faith to the severe simplicity of his own. "There is scarcely a form of imputation supplied by the English language that is not found in this so-called History,' employed against writings and statements found in the Bible.” “In these pages, Jezebel becomes an injured woman, and the priests of Baal lay claim to our sympathy as confessors and martyrs; false prophets are set on the same level as those claiming to be the only true ones; Jeremiah is put in the wrong, and Jehoiakim, his persecutor, justified; Ahaz is exculpated, Sennacherib defended, and Hezekiah condemned; the priesthoods of Jehovah and Baal, alike enjoying state establishments, live in decorous mutual toleration, in contrast to the fierce enthusiasm displayed by the prophets, the Puritans of that age ;' Isaiah, besides being grandiloquent, is coarse-predicts things that do not answer to any historical reality; Rehoboam is lashed, and the idolatry of Jeroboam extenuated.” And at the same time, while beginning the Hebrew History at a middle point, and ignoring all that precedes, he labours to destroy the moral usually drawn from it, and by the aid of Scepticism, asserting more than it doubts, and ill-feeling, which refuses to recognize the ordinary motives of human conduct, succeeds in weaving a narrative which has neither beginning, end, nor intelligible purpose.
After giving some instances of the way in which these principles may be applied to the discrediting of well-known facts in ancient and modern history, the reviewer proceeds to discuss the assertion of the Preface, that God and his modes of operation are always the same,—on which he truly remarks, that the whole question of miracle and revealed religion depends. Admit the assumption, and the dispute as to the Old Testament is decided. It is at once reduced to the level of the Vedas, the Koran, or any other sacred book. Particular analysis is useless. And the assumption is not an absolute and necessary truth, which need only be stated to be admitted, but an induction from historical facts, which every man will make differently, according to the extent of his knowledge and the temper of his belief.
“ Having, then, disallowed the recognition made in the Bible of the Divine Agency, and banished God from his own word, the writer sets about weaving the web of his History.” “The problem is to construct the theory and write the narrative of the Hebrew Monarchy without God, and with only the dim legendary shade of the great legislator." And the reviewer goes on to sketch the process of development through which the author supposes the Hebrew religion to have passed ; and points out how conjectures and speculations pass muster for facts, and the author is himself possessed of an easier faith than that with which he taunts ordinary believers.
The remainder of the article is chiefly occupied with an examination of the theory respecting the date and origin of the Book of Deuteronomy, which is based on 2 Chron. xxxiv. 1 ; 2 Kings xxii. 1. To give a full analysis of this argument would be impossible within our narrow limits : it is sufficient to say that the reviewer seems to us to prove conclusively that the historian altogether fails in satisfying the requirements of the case; and that till some better explanation be proposed, it is altogether more consonant to reason to abide by the old opinion. He concludes by shewing that the less importance we allow to Divine influence in Hebrew history, the less easy is it to develop it in a truly philosophical manner, and to trace the origin of its nobler and purer element.
The 3rd article will have many charms in the eyes of those who are interested in Dissenting antiquities. It is founded on Stoughton's “Spiritual Heroes,” a work which we recently commended to the notice of our readers. The reviewer is evidently at home on his subject, and throws some interesting light on the social position of the Puritans and Nonconformists from the works of contemporary authors. He shews that the forefathers of Congregational Dissent by no means belonged, as is often supposed, exclusively to the lower orders.
"That they should have been characterized by their opponents as mere 'mechanical men was but in unison with that depreciatory spirit which persisted in charging them with illiteracy, at the very time they were challenging the learned world to an examination of their tenets; but when their followers are characterised as “mere'prentices,' the very phrase, in the 16th century, disproved the assertion that they belonged to the lower classes. Apprenticeship was an honourable calling-the gate through which the Bonds, the Judds, the Greshams, had all passed—the station which the Lord Mayor himself must have filled, or he never could have attained the civic chair. It will therefore be found, that when the word is used in a contemptuous sense, it has reference to the presumed inadequacy of ''prentices' to form a judgment on grave matters ; just as in Henry VIII.'s proclamation against reading the English Bible, all women below the rank of nobility are actually classed with 'artificers and journeymen.' That these early Congregationalists belonged to the respectable orders of society, we have not merely evidence in the circumstance of many of them being citizens and householders'-a phrase used at this period to designate a certain standing -but from their meeting at Master Fox's. This was an ordinary,' a rather expensive place of resort; for ordinaries were at this period frequented, as Nash tells us, by .cavaliers and brave courtiers,' and indeed, towards the close of Elizabeth's reign, were viewed as a new source of extravagance to those who had not too much to spend.”
We must find space for the reviewer's remarks on the literary pretensions of the Puritans :
“With the exception of Jeremy Taylor, and he is indeed the cheval de battaile' of the High-church party, we think it would be difficult to find a theological writer among them more distinguished for correctness of style than our Puritan
theologians. But against Jeremy Taylor may we not place John Milton? with his magnificent prose works, the stately periods, sometimes
• In linked sweetness long drawn out,' sometimes swelling on the ear, like the jubilant tones of his pealing organ and full-voiced choir. * ** Among the contemned Puritans, poetry still found a dwelling-place, not only because, as our author finely says, “they lived in another world, and there walked by faith in that highest realm of poetry,' but because their minds, conversant with lofty themes, took an earnest and imaginative character; and thus the Puritan George Withers, in the depths of his noisome imprisonment in the Marshalsea, could exclaim
• Poesy, thou sweet content!
That e'er heaven to mortals lent;
Than I am in love with thee.'"
“That the Nonconformists were objects of fear to the Court, from their general popularity—we refer here to London--may be amply proved from those most valuable documents, of which hitherto so little use has been made, the newspapers of the day. From these we find, that during the Indulgence the meeting, houses were crowded, and not merely by the 'fanatics and sworn conventiclers,' but also by many conformists, who occasionally attended, for which in the Tory papers they met with sufficient abuse."
The connection of the first Nonconformists with “ those political as well as social profligates, Buckingham and Shaftesbury,” the reviewer regards as “the fatal false step” of their career. He glances at the Monmouth rising in the West of England, and characterizes it as "abounding in incidents of heroic valour, of devotion unto death, of exulting triumph even at the gallows-tree.” It was indeed "an interesting and noble episode in our history." It deserves a better historian than it has yet received.
In the 5th article, stern justice is administered to Mr. Acton Warburton, a Cheshire squire, and the author of " Rollo and his Race.” He is set forth as an amusing mixture of a Young-Englander, a haughty Cheshire aristocrat, a fox-hunter, and a travelled dandy. The result is certainly as pure a specimen of nonsense as the age has seen.
The Atheneum, No. 1085, August 12.-In this able and vigilant journal there
appears a letter, signed VERAX, respecting Dr. Paley's “ Natural Theology.” The writer charges our distinguished countryman with having taken the leading arguments and illustrations of his “Natural Theology” from a book of the same nature written by Dr. Nieuwentyt, of Holland, and published at Amsterdam about the year 1700. Verax proceeds thus:
“Bernard Nieuwentyt was one of the most erudite philosophers of Holland in the 17th century. About the year mentioned, he published a work in Dutch 'to prove the Existence and Wisdom of God from the Works of Creation. This treatise excited considerable attention throughout Europe, and Mr. Chamberlayne, a member of the Royal Society of London, undertook its translation into English, under the title of the Christian Philosopher.' This was published in three volumes octavo, by Messrs. Longman and Co., in 1718-19. A French translation was afterwards published
at Paris in quarto, with numerous plates, under the title of L'Existence de Dieu démonstrée par les Merveilles de la Nature.'
To this statement we may add, that another edition of Chamberlayne's translation was published in London, 1724, in two volumes quarto; and both editions are in Dr. Williams's Library, London. In order to shew the obligations
of Dr. Paley to his Dutch predecessor, Verax quotes the general arrangement of the two books, and certainly discloses a remarkable similarity. He quotes also the general and introductory argument of both writers, and prints them side by side in the same column. We cannot afford space for the parallel, but will quote the Dutchman's passage in which the original of Dr. Paley's Watch is arly to be seen :
• Let us suppose that in the middle of a sandy down, or in a desert or solitary place, where few people are used to pass, any one should find a watch, shewing the hours, minutes and days of the months; and, having examined the same, should perceive so many different wheels, nicely adapted by their teeth to each other, and that one of them could not move without moving the rest of the whole machine; and should further observe, that those wheels are made of brass in order to keep them from rust; that the spring is steel, no other metal being so proper for that purpose; that over the hand there is placed a clear glass, &c. &c.
Veraz proves by a quotation from Paley that he was acquainted with Dr. Nieuwentyt and with the “ Leipsic Transactions,” in which the whole of his work first appeared. Verax concludes with asserting that to the “ Natural Theology" as a whole Dr. Paley has no literary claim whatever. The proper title of his book he considers would have been, " An Abstract of (or Commentary on) Dr. Nieuwentyt's Christian Philosopher."
If any of our readers have access to Chamberlayne's Translation, and leisure for comparing the work with Paley's, we shall be glad to hear to what degree their examination confirms or modifies the statements of the correspondent of the Athenæum.
The Churchman's Penny Magazine.-A recent No. of this “ evangelical" Magazine gives two anecdotes to prove that “Socinianism is no Support in the Prospect of Death.” The latter is extracted from a silly farrago called “ Poynder's Literary Extracts.” It records, on the authority of the Rev. John Newton, that a Socinian minister and tutor, being ill, called together his pupils and desired them to observe that he continued steadfast in his opinions. Afterwards, when death was inevitable, he told them his former experience was delusive; he then expected to recover; now he felt bound to inform them that he considered the opinions he had professed to be false, and unfit to bring a man peace at the last. No name is given whereby to test the story. Mr. Newton, on whose authority it is given, died Dec. 21, 1807, aged 83. During his long life, there lived and died “ Socinian” tutors at Warrington, Exeter and Hackney. Of all these biographies exist which enable us to set down the story as a mere invention. The other story is given as authenticated by Rev. J. R., and is as follows: "Mr. Mackmurdo, a disciple of Mr. Belsham (the Socinian), when in his last illness, sent a message to his blind guide,' the object of which was to inform him that he found such principles as those which he taught
would afford him no hope or comfort in the view of death and eternity. Now for the fact. Mr. Edward Longdon Mackmurdo died Jan. 23, 1817, in the sixty-first year of his age. He had been for many years a member of the Gravel-Pit congregation, Hackney, and had therefore been at one time a hearer of Mr. Belsham.
His pastor at the time of his death was the late Rev. Robert Aspland. On Sunday morning, Feb. 2, 1817, Mr. Aspland preached a funeral sermon for Mr. Mackmurdo, from which we extract the following passage : " Many years ago he united himself to this Christian society from the settled conviction of his mind, and to the last moment of conscious existence he found satisfaction in the faith and worship which he here professed.". The sermon was printed at the request of the family, who thus sanctioned this declaration of Mr. M.'s retention of Unitarianism to the last hour of life. It is unnecessary to characterize the statement of the Churchman's Monthly Penny Magazine, but the Editor of that work is hereby publicly required to give up the name in full of the Rev. J. R., who has authenticated the fiction.
austerities of ancient saints, they would Dr. Wiseman and the Unitarians.
find in every land those who, nobly
born and fitted in every way to adorn On Wednesday, Aug. 9th, a splendid society, had abandoned it and devoted Catholic church, dedicated to St. John, themselves to the service of Christ's was opened in Salford. This magnifi- little ones, the attendance on his poor, cent structure is in the style of a Cathe- and the lowest and most menial offices dral, and has been erected at the cost in their behalf. Let them not forget, of nearly £20,000. It will hold about too, that they had officiating in that 2000 persons. An assemblage of about sanctuary an army of sacred ministers, 1500 persons witnessed the ceremony thinned but lately by their self-devo. of the dedication of the church. The tion to the cause of duty. One by one sermon was preached on the occasion they had fallen victims in the cause of by the Right Rev. Dr. Wiseman, Bishop charity; but there had been no shrinkof Melipotamus. After an elaborate ing from not only a painful duty, but, but somewhat inflated panegyric on the perhaps, a certain doom. That was a Church of Rome and its triumphs, the beautiful evidence of the power of Bishop alluded to the condition of the Christ's Church, which no other reli. Catholic Church in England, and thus gion in this country had ever given, or described it as distinguished from other could ever give.” religious bodies :
The attack of Bishop Wiseman upon “Let them examine, too, the success the Unitarians was singularly unhappy, of any religious body on the minds of considering the locality in which it was men. Unitarianism, which approached delivered. In no part of the kingdom nearest to the denial of the sublime have the Unitarians done more for intruths of Christianity, and was appa. Structing and elevating the poor than rently the most simple of all sects, even in Manchester and Salford, as the vaboasted that its congregations were rious institutions connected with the composed of of mind, of those who three congregations attest. The several read and studied, who had cultivated educational establishments of the Uniminds, and who had been accustomed tarians are confessedly the best in the to employ their judgments soundly on city, and are administered with admimatters of religion, but endeavour to rable catholicity of spirit, opening their bring the poor into that system of be- doors to the children of the poor of all lief, and you necessarily made them sects and parties. To Dr. Wiseman infidels. Never yet had it been able the Unitarian might say, “You have to exercise a salutary influence on that surrounded the poor over whom your class. The various sects of Dissenters influence extends with a ceremonial possessed, indeed, a great hold on the superstition, which influences them in poorer classes, but were totally without the exact proportion that it degrades influence on those in a higher sphere; them. We have communicated to our and the Church of England, powerful poor useful knowledge and moral prinamong those in a high social position, ciples, which, whatever religious views had no influence amongst the great they adopt, will make them wiser men masses of the people. The Catholic and better citizens.” Surely the Bishop Church alone possessed that universal of Melipotamus knows what Unitarians influence which found no mind too high have done in both Manchester and or too low. It was embraced, with Liverpool in promoting Domestic Mischild-like simplicity, by Bossuet and sions. When he alluded so feelingly by Schlegel; and by it the child of the to those who had fallen victims in the poor was raised, in the possession of cause of charity, could he not remember that extraordinary belief, to the level that on one sadly memorable occasion of those high intellects. The power the duty and the danger and the fate which the Church possessed over the of a priest of his own Church was shared weakness of human nature availed to with not less self-devotion by an Unimake that which was most difficult tarian Minister to the Poor? The become most easy, and that which ap- memory of Mr. Johns should have propeared low and worthless, grand and tected the religious body who supported sublime. Not to dwell on the suffer- him when living, and who now cherish ings of martyrs and the extraordinary the memory of his virtues with rever