real adaptation to the popular mind in the book. Its readers must have felt that the poet thought their thoughts and felt their feelings, possessing at the same time the faculty of utterance which they wanted. And, to compare small things with great, our word of approbation

would, in such a case, be something like Lord Chesterfield's papers in “The World” in praise of Johnson's Dictionary—a cockboat sent out to tow a man into port, who by his own unassisted exertions has made the circuit of the earth.

The poems before us are mostly written in the Scottish dialect, are illustrative of Scottish customs, and to be sung to Scottish music. They are uniformly distinguished by a spirit of kindness and humanity, and are evidently the production of one who deeply feels the evils attendant on our present social institutions, and is earnest in his attempts to relieve them. A specimen is subjoined. We

may also add that the writer is one of that band of self-educated poets whose appearance is so pleasant a feature in our modern literature. "The present publication has, we understand, served to sustain him in his struggles, not only by the cheering and elevating influence of a refined pursuit, but also in a more substantial manner. He is now in England, endeavouring to fit himself by study to preach a free Christianity to his poorer countrymen.

“ WAR TO THE WORLD. “ Among the many visitants, since first the world began, That have come on earth to murder and destroy the peace of man, I stand alone and go beyond all other ills, as far As the brilliant sun of summer goes beyond the morning star. I have fatted all the fields of earth with bodies of the dead; I have made your crystal streamlets and your rivers all run red ; And the bravest and the best of men I've buried in the deep, Whose dying groans were heard in heaven, and made the angels weep. I have brought destruction on the world, where gorgeous cities stood; Their Temples, Towers, and Palaces, I've mingled with the blood Of fallen men; I've marred earth's joy, and with my fiery rod I've made this world a charnel-house for the erring sons of God. I come from hell, the deepest hell: this world, that would be fair Were it not me, I've filled with dismal howlings of despair. If one hath been the hero of an hundred fights' or more, I'm the hero of ten million miseries, counted o'er and o'er. Ho, England, France, America ! shake hands and live in peace ; Put up your swords, ye sons of men, let strife and discord cease : Then boasted Briton, sunburnt Moor, ye great on earth and small, Love while ye live, ye brethren, as God meant and made ye all ! I'm getting old and wrinkled now, my hair is turning grey; The world begins to like me less, then dawns a brighter day: I've done my work ; I'm wishing that my reign on earth were o'er, For I'm wearied with the deeds I've done, and wish to do no more.”

C. PERIODICALS. The Eclectic Review, October, 1848.-We return with pleasure to this generally able and sometimes liberal periodical of the Congregationalist Dissenters. In both talent and liberality, the present is more than an average No. The first and the best article is on John Howe and Jeremy Taylor. Notwithstanding our sympathy with many of the Nonconformist views of the critic, we cannot but suspect that his prejudices have somewhat swayed his judgment in the comparative estimate of these eminent Christian writers. The conformity and the taint of heterodoxy in Taylor have blinded the reviewer, though he is not wanting in general expressions of admiration, to the vast superiority which his true genius gave him as an English classic over Howe, Baxter, and all his contemporaries, save Milton. Supposing all the books of that age were by some process now destroyed, how many passages are there, and not short ones, from the Holy Living and Dying, the Liberty of Prophesying, and his Sermons, which, embalmed in the memory of readers of all classes, would be preserved in existence! In a much smaller degree, the same test might be applied to Baxter. But as applied to Howe, it would fail. The reviewer is very successful in the parallel which he draws between the lives of Taylor and Howe. The parallel is most remarkable, considering that they belonged to opposite parties in Church and State.

“Both were the children of persecution, descended, more nearly or remotely, from persons who were the victims of persecution. Both spent their youthful days in the same university, in pursuit of the same studies, and with the same degree of academical success. Each was raised in early manhood to a flattering station, near the throne of the potentate whom he served. Both of them saw the ruin of the party to whom he belonged, and after passing through similar circumstances of degradation, poverty and alarm, found in the same spot in Ireland an unexpected asylum and home. Each of them, under his sufferings, was consoled by the admiration and sympathy of the opposite party. Precisely the same kind of succour which Taylor received from Lords Carbery and Con. way, Howe derived from the friendship of Lords Massarene and Whárton : and by a singular identity in the termination of their lives, each of them, after long depression, saw the cause for which he suffered partially restored, and was permitted to die in peace, full of hope and imperishable renown. It is remarkable, too, that Howe and Taylor wrote each of them a History of his own Life and Times; but, as if nothing were to be wanting to complete the resemblance between them, both these Histories were burnt; Taylor's by an accidental fire at the Cus. tom House, London ; Howe's at his own dying request, by the too dutiful hands of his son.”-P. 398.

We cannot but think the interest and effect of this able article weakened by the introduction, at the close, of the modern controversy of the Anti-StateChurch Association. There is little propriety in making either Howe or Taylor pegs on which to hang such a topic, although we admit Mr. Willmott's aberrations in a contrary direction, in his Biography of Bishop Taylor, required rebuke.—Art. 2, is a very intelligent condensed account of the Niger Expedition. Art. 3, is on the Memoir of Dr. Channing, and we tender to the reviewer our expression of respect and gratitude for the amiable spirit which it breathes. What a contrast does this fair and candid estimate of the most distinguished Unitarian of his age present to the sharp, fierce and disgracefully unjust review of the Life of Theophilus Lindsey which some thirty years ago appeared in the Eclectic! Who that values our common Christianity and reverences genius would not wish that the honoured name of Robert Hall were dissociated from that unhappy article! The Eclectic reviewer of Channing of course bewails his want of orthodoxy, yet is willing to find and to honour a few rays of reflected orthodoxy both in him and the late Dr. Carpenter, and proceeds to drop the just and pleasant remark, that “such instances are a rebuke to dogmatism," and adds,

“Who can say, amidst the endless anomalies of human character, to how great an extent, in some cases, the advocates of conflicting creeds may be united in spirit and aim? They enforce, to say the least, the avoidance of all bitterness and wrath, the exhibition of the truth in love, the humble reference of ourselves and others to the judgment of that omniscient Being, whose exclusive prerogative it is to weigh the actions and analyze the motives of his erring creatures.” -P. 451.

There are many pleasing symptoms that from literature, every where, thorough-going Calvinism is altogether dissociated, and that not in many pulpits even, south of the Tweed, does it find a refuge. The Eclectic's disclaimer of the Calvinism which Channing attacked and abhorred is distinct enough; but he must know that in America such Calvinism did exist, and we fear it does still exist both there and in Scotland.



“We had marked for comment some passages pertaining to Calvinism, but on reconsideration we refrain. With slight exceptions, we should join in Dr. Channing's censure. The system he reprobates is not that which we hold, and had his usual candour been exercised, he would not have attributed to the many, the exaggerations and distortions patronized by a few. The phases of what passes under the general title of Calvinism are innumerable, and we shrink from some of them with all the horror which Dr. Channing expresses, while we cling to others, as exhibiting features of the Divine character and government which are essential to the explanation of admitted facts, and to the consistent interpretation of the Divine record."-P. 451.

Although containing nothing that has not been previously and even better expressed, the following remarks, coming from the quarter they do, will be read with interest:

“He was a remarkable man, and he rendered remarkable service. He rose into life when such an intellect was much needed in America, and though we deeply deplore some of his views, we do honour to his integrity, and are grateful for his manly independence. His mental history is deeply interesting. The progress of his mind is a study, whilst his amiableness, his child-like simplicity, his social virtues, his fearless advocacy of what he deemed truth, command our affection even where we deem his conclusion erroneous. We have no notion of his having been, in any proper sense of the term, a man of genius. The higher faculties of the creative intellect were not his endowment, but he had others of a nobler order, and he used them with diligence and sincerity. We are painfully alive to the fact, that on some vital points of theology he failed to apprehend what we believe to be the mind of God; but we should do no credit to our own convictions, and should fail most certainly to illustrate the Christian spirit, if on this account we refused him the honour that is his due. There has been too much of this amongst religious controversialists of every class. None of us can throw a stone at his neighbour. We are all implicated in the charge, and it will be for the interests of truth, and will redound to the honour of our profession, if a better temper be maintained in our discussions. Dogmatism and arrogance may offend, but they cannot convince. It may suit the heated temper of a controversialist to throw

discredit on an opponent, by impugning his motives or misrepresenting his views, but charity in the mean time is wounded, and turns away with a sorrowful countenance from the unholy strife. Contend earnestly for the faith,' is an apostolic injunction, and we cannot obey it too implicitly; but in doing so, let us guard against the ebullitions of passion, lest our temper do more discredit to the claim than our reasonings can render service.”

There follow articles on “ Artificial Manures in France," and on the “Final Memorials of Charles Lamb.” Of him the reviewer most truly and kindly says,

“Charles Lamb was not only one of the most beautiful and genial writers which the world ever possessed, but he was one of its honest heroes, without the slightest ambition to pass for such. He allowed the failings which arose out of the excitability of his temperament, and the terrible trials with which it was tested, to be known and commented on as people pleased, while he went on his way, assuming and fulfilling many duties with the air of a man who does nothing extraordinary, and may be justly blamed for his faults, without any praise for his virtues.”—P. 466.

"Thompson's Life in Russia," enables the reviewer, amongst other things, to assail

, through the superstitions of the Greek, every State Church. This is his verdict on Russia generally:

“The civilization of Russia is artificial and premature. There is nothing sound or healthy in it. It is wanting in the first elements of worth, and has resulted -such as it is—from the insane ambition of Peter the Great. The effect of his policy is visible every where, giving an artificial surface to society-the varnish of refinement upon the rude nature of barbarism."

The closing article, on “ The Session of 1848,” is in the vein common to this periodical of strong opposition to the Government. We are well satisfied, even when we least agree with them, that such articles should be written and read, believing that, without an opposition both in Parliament and the Press, improvement would soon come to an end in the government of our country. This earnest anti-ministerial critic might have found something, if not to praise, yet at least not to blame, in the skill and calm courage with which the Premier has since February steered the vessel of the State through the breakers of revolution and insurrection. The article concludes with a brief notice of the late Lord George Bentinck, and says of him, “ As a legislator, his influence was evil, and his influence on our history has injured his country." We do not question that there is much truth in this statement, but it is not all truth. The future will probably shew that a party may have a leader less humane and less upright than Lord George Bentinck. It should also be said that on one important subject he never forgot that he was the nephew and the disciple of Canning. His refusal to violate religious liberty for party purposes certainly weakened his influence with the intolerants of the old Tory school.

The Christian Examiner (Boston), September, 1848.—The two last numbers of this high-toned and most valuable Transatlantic miscellany are well worthy of its established reputation. The subjects are various, but all important, and they are treated with correspondent ability. Had we many vacant pages instead of lines, we could find profitable material for extract and remark. The September No. opens with a discriminating essay on, and defence of, rightly-conducted Amusements. There follow articles on Zwingle and Luther, on the Republic of Liberia, on Christianity and Socialism, on Common School Education, Mr. Burnap's Discourse delivered before the Alumni of the Divinity School of the Cambridge University, on the Tendencies and Wants of the Age, reviews of the Life of Channing and Miss Martineau's Eastern Life, &c. To those who wish to study the subject of Fourier's Socialism, some of the details of which are most revolting to moral taste, we recommend, in conjunction with Mr. Osgood's article on Socialism and Christianity, an able discussion of the subject, more particularly its economical bearings, in the current No. of Tait's Edinburgh Magazine. In America, the subject is forced on the attention of the conductors of our periodicals by the fact that one or two Unitarian ministers of no mean abilities have adopted as their own the leading principles of Fourier. As yet, we on this side of the Atlantic are spared the necessity, from a similar motive, of forming a philosophical estimate of a system which is, in public opinion, confuted and exposed by its degrading and deplorable practical results.—Of Mr. Burnap's address the tone is earnestly conservative of Christianity, while he calls for a wiser and more thoughtful theology than has hitherto prevailed. Much in the address has evidently been suggested by the author's disapprobation of the deistical opinions of Theodore Parker. Mr. Burnap has no apprehensions from what is going on in America, still less do we fear from what is going on here, that Christianity will be supplanted by a religious deism. He records his opinion that the abandonment of a positive belief in Christianity as a miraculous revelation, is accompanied by the loss of all moral power, and that the position of a teacher of Christianity who denies its miraculous origin is absurd." Hitherto, there has not been sufficient time for the disciples of the new "religious deism” to evolve all the influences of their system. They have not themselves been able to obliterate all the influences of their early religious culture. Spite of their theories, historical Christianity surrounds their minds with thoughts and influences, perhaps unappreciated by themselves, which far transcend any which are the products of their new scepticism. Mr. Burnap's address is one of many proofs that the Unitarian ministers of America both see and are disposed to do their duty in defence of a positive Christianity.—The article on Channing abounds with observations that indicate the writer's acquaintance with his subject and ability to do justice to it. We can only quote his description of Channing's power of concentrating an idea or a deep feeling in the utterance of some single word :

“The most singular thing in his utterance was the extraordinary flexibility of his voice, its vast and 'undulating' variety of modulation. It seemed to us like one of those delicate scientific instruments invented to detect and measure the subtilest elements in nature, and sensitive to the slightest influence, as, for in. stance, those nicely adjusted scales which vibrate under the small dust on the balance or the weight of a hair. It rose and fell so strangely in the course of the simplest and most commonplace sentence, in the utterance of a single word often, that his hearers felt immediately that here was a speaker of a novel kind, and they watched to see how he could possibly become, according to any ordinary sense of the word, eloquent. If our readers who were wont to hear him will recal the word 'immortality' as spoken by Dr. Channing, they will understand what we endeavour to describe. His style of speaking, from this peculiarity, was instantly felt to be his own,-not the product of any art, but the gift of nature; if, indeed, it could be thought a gift, and not a misfortune, when only its singularity was apparent, before its capabilities were witnessed and its wondrous power felt. There was no want of firmness in his tones, and yet they fluctuated continually. And the power of his voice lay in this, that, being thus flexible, it was true to every change of emotion that arose in his mind. How vividly do we remember, in a sermon in which he spoke of young men lounging on the steps of a hotel, what an unfathomable depth of mingled pity and contempt was expressed in that one word • hotel,' as he uttered it! It seemed to us at the time, that, if one had wished to write out the word as he spoke it, and so to give an idea of the power with which it was uttered, the whole wall of the church in which it was spoken would not have been large enough for the purpose. So, also, in the expression of tenderness, devotion and awe, the tones of Dr. Channing's voice conveyed and awakened those sentiments with such power, that the heavens seemed to open over our heads, and a silence in itself awful filled all the place."--Pp. 274, 275.

The reviewer of Eastern Life gives the authoress higher praise as a traveller recording facts, than as a philosopher inventing theories. He complains, indeed, that “the lady is somewhat given to theorizing," and avers that he cannot always accept her solution of phenomena in the world's history," and that

her philosophy of religion or theory of religious development is more than questionable." "He begins a review, which is upon the whole laudatory, with expressing his dissent from the opinions which, though not formally reasoned out, pervade her book.

Paley and Nieuwentyt.-In the Inquirer of September 23, Mr. James Yates communicated the impression made on his mind by his studies, five-and-thirty years ago, respecting the obligations of Paley to Nieuwentyt. He says,

“I was led to consider the ‘Religious Philosopher' of the one and the Natural Theology of the other as works of great value, though not at all superior in merit to those of various other writers. I saw that Paley had manifestly borrowed from Nieuwentyt his example of the watch found upon a common, amplifying and enlarging the illustration, however, and thus making it some degree his own. I sometimes mentioned this circumstance to friends in conversation, though I mentioned it with reserve and timidity on account of the then prevailing jealousy of any remarks which might be thought to detract from Dr. Paley's high reputation. But, although the Archdeacon had no claim to originality in the adoption of this particular mode of stating his argument, I do not see the least reason to charge him with theft or dishonest concealment. We might wish that he had made some reference to Nieuwentyt; I think it would have been better to have done so; but it was not his practice, nor is it the habit of all authors, even the most honest and ingenuous, to make those frequent references to preceding authorities, which interrupt the smooth current of their diction, and are not supposed to be interesting or acceptable to the generality of readers.”

In a communication to ourselves on the subject, Mr. Yates adds, “My edition of Nieuwentyt is the 3rd, 1724, two vols. 4to. As a whole, the work appears to me very different from Paley's, and to come nearer to the scope and design of the Bridgewater Treatises."

« VorigeDoorgaan »