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science * Dr. Powell, who is an Oxford man, told me he would not sign the Articles at matriculation. If he is to be the husband to our future Queen, we may well say Orange boven.
“I am sorry to hear you were so ill as not to be able to preach to-day. I fear you do not take sufficient care of yourself. I was happy to learn from Mr. Vines that every thing passed off so well at Reading, notwithstanding Mr. Vidler's indisposition. I hope that interest will be permanent and prosperous.
“I am much shocked to hear of the death of my old friend Palmer:t we were fellow-townsmen, and have been intimate for more than half a century. When I saw him last he was remarkably well. He had his failings; but in morals and consistency of character I look upon him as far superior to one whose praises have lately been so much blazened abroad, and who, had he died ten years sooner, would perhaps have deserved all that his most partial friends are now inclined to bestow. I cannot expect to continue long after the friend of my youth; and I rejoice to see that the good cause is going on with increasing speed, and that a succession of able advocates are rising up for the defence of Christian Truth, and to fill up the places of those who will in a short time be dismissed from their labours. That you, my dear Sir, may long be spared as a burning and a shining light to the Unitarian churches, is the earnest wish and prayer of your affectionate friend and servant,
T. BELSHAM. "My best compliments attend Mrs. Aspland."
HEAVY READING. In the present age of light reading, that is of reading hastily, thoughtlessly, indiscriminately, unfruitfully, when most books are forgotten as soon as they are finished, and very many sooner, it is well if something heavier is cast now and then into the midst of the literary public. This may scare and repel the weak; it will rouse and attract the stronger..... In the sweat of the brow is the mind as well as the body to eat its bread. Nil sine magno musa labore dedit mortalibus..... Are writers then to be studiously difficult, and to tie knots for the mere purpose of compelling their readers to untie them? Not
Let them follow the bent of their own minds. Let their style be the faithful mirror of their thoughts. Some minds are too rapid and vehement and redundant to flow along in lucid transparence..... Tacitus could not write like Cæsar; Niebuhr could not write like Goldsmith.-Guesses at Truth.
PLEASURE AND PAIN. ALL pleasure must be bought at the price of pain: the difference between false pleasure and true is just this for the true, the price is paid before you enjoy it--for the false, after you enjoy it.—JOHN FOSTER.
CONSCIENCE. No one in the world is so often cheated, not even women and princes, as the conscience.-_JEAN PAUL.
“The Prince" (of Orange, a suitor, favoured by the Prince Regent, for the hand of the Princess Charlotte) " is said to have refused to subscribe the Thirtynine Articles for the Doctor's degree, leaving the University in possession of its honour, and content with carrying away his conscience inviolate.”—Plea, p. 132, note.
+ The Rev. Samuel Palmer, the venerable pastor of the Independent congregation at Hackney, and the editor of the Nonconformists' Memorial, died on the morning of the day on which this letter is dated. Mr. Palmer was born at Bedford; but was Mr. Belsham's senior by nine years. On the Sunday previous to his death, he had celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ministry at Hackney. CRITICAL NOTICES.
Mary Barton, a Tale of Manchester Life. In Two Volumes. London-Chap
man and Hall. 1848. This work has merits that justify us in making it an exception to our rule of not criticising novels, and entitle it to the honest commendation of a Christian Reformer. It is not because its story is admirably told, the interest sustained and rising to the last, or because the characters are natural, life-like and very various, and the scenery well described and the costume appropriate, that this tale of Manchester Life extorts our praise. These qualities are found in many works of its class, although we admit seldom in so rich a combination. The great source of its interest is, that it's author has applied literary and dramatic talents of a very high order to the illustration of the feelings, the virtues, the temptations, the follies and the crimes of the working class, with the humane purpose of mitigating "the woes which come with ever-returning, tide-like Hood to overwhelm the workmen in our manufacturing towns." The author, fortunately for his success (we should be almost disposed, from internal evidences, to say her success), has no theory to illustrate and no system to uphold. How often has a work of fancy been spoilt by the author's violent resolution to point a moral, and the feeling of the reader on closing the book is one of distaste, like the nausea of a child on detecting the flavour of medicine in what it accepted as a sweet! Writing naturally and truthfully, in obedience to the dictates of a kind heart, and agreeably to his observations and experience (evidently extensive and judicious) of the working class, the result is a deeply interesting picture of human life, which no man can contemplate without having awakened within him serious and, it is to be hoped, useful trains of thought.
The relation of employers and the employed in the factory districts is not easily understood or described, and the prevention or cure of the terrible sufferings which sometimes attend it has hitherto baffled the skill of the wisest and best. The ground is not new to the novelist. Morbid sentimentalism has bewailed the privations and sufferings of factory " hands,” and “cotton lords" have been held up to contempt or execration by the tuft-hunting novelist, as well as by the venal demagogue and the contemptuous aristocrat. But this is the first work devoted to the subject which will find its way to the drawingroom of the wealthy capitalist and the cottage of his dependants. It does not pretend to offer a cure for the social miseries which are its staple topic, but it truly and honestly unfolds them to view in a spirit of healthy humanity. The author is no Utopian dreamer or social leveller, but is evidently desirous, if possible, to bridge over the deep gulf that now separates the rich and poor, by teaching the more powerful class to understand the feelings, to pity the unconscious errors, to reverence the virtues, and to sympathize with the terrible sufferings of their humble neighbours. It is possible enough that some may object that the book is rather one-sided, that its sympathy is chiefly on the side of the working man, and that the tale does not display the average proportion of beneficence and virtue of Manchester employers. We admit that the picture, even as a work of art, would have been improved by the admission of a little more light from above. But no careful reader of " Mary Barton" will deny that it exposes the bad reasonings and passionate prejudices of the masses, or that it exhibits with terrible power the misery to themselves and others which the gratification of their malignant passions entails. It is a book which we should put into the hands of a working man without fear, assured that the impression it would, as a whole, leave on his mind would be safe and improving
It is not our intention to describe the plot or dwell upon the various characters of " Mary Barton.” To those who intend to read it, such a summary
would be no boon; and to those who have read it, it is unnecessary. It is sufficient to say that it portrays the history through a series of years of several families of the operative class in Manchester; that it exhibits them in the first instance in the enjoyment of that comfort which is, we would fain hope, the normal state of this class; and then shews them sinking by anxious and painful degrees into a condition of penury and privation. It shews the maddening consequences of class jealousy, festering into hatred and leading to deadly crime; it also shews how the blow aimed at one object or class, often falls upon another, and produces misery altogether undeserved ; and how torturing are the workings of remorse to a guilty mind. These are the lessons imparted by the tale to the more robust sex. To the other portion of the race, it shews the dangers of petulant vanity and of aspiring after marriage with those raised above their own rank. There is a beautiful picture of a high-spirited girl, unconscious of her own real feelings, trifling for a time with the affections of a noble-hearted youth, her equal in rank, her superior in wisdom,—discovering her error when almost too late to be rectified, -finding herself and him she loves involved in danger and wretchedness, apparently through her thoughtlessness,—and then with magnanimity and energy making wonderful and eventually successful efforts for his safety. Among the subordinate characters of the tale are two females, “ Alice” and “ Margaret," who win upon the sympathy of the reader by their gentleness, self-denial and benevolence. Resembling each other only in these qualities, their characters are in other respects portrayed with charming individuality. Some of the incidents and descriptions are worked up with the highest skill. The description of the fire at Carson's factory, and the heroic efforts of Jem Wilson to save the lives of the men (one his own excellent father) cut off from egress from the burning pile,—the pursuit by Mary Barton of the ship just sailing from the port, and containing him who alone can prove the innocence of her lover,-and the trial scene,-have not been surpassed in thrilling interest by any recent work of fiction.
Of equal merit, though of a lesser interest, is the narrative of poor Davenport's sickness and death in a damp, fetid cellar, the victim of typhus; of the ministering tenderness of his fellow-operatives, Wilson and Barton; of the progress of Margaret's blindness; and of the decay and beautiful sinking to rest of Alice, unconscious to herself that her mind was as full of poetry as her soul was of goodness. Nor must we forget to mention Job Leigh's tenderness to his granddaughter, and especially the journey from London and the unskilled, clumsy nursing of the orphan babe by the two grandfathers; and John Barton's account of his visit to the tortured “knobstick” lying blinded in the Manchester infirmary by vitriol thrown on him by the angry turnonts. We wish that this touching passage, and the awful description of the conscience-stricken murderer, could be read, as they might be, to the masses, too often incited to hatred, violence and bloodthirstiness by insane or evilminded men who profess to be instructors of the people in social and political philosophy.
The introduction of religious sentiments and thoughts into a work of fiction is generally unpleasing. But there are in this tale one or two passages of simple beauty, which shew that the author knows what are the religious wants of the human heart.
We have heard the “ Lancashire" introduced into this book criticised as a not good specimen of that fascinating dialect. It certainly differs both from that of Tim
Bobbin and of Mr. Bamford, the gifted Lancashire “Radical." Like the Berber language, we suppose every one may in using the Lancashire dialect gratify his own taste in respect to orthography. We regret that our exhausted space forbids our quoting some of the passages which we have named with praise. There are many which would adorn the pages of any periodical. We trust to meet again the author of “Mary Barton."
1. An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, by Matthew Henry. A
New Edition, in Three Volumes. London--Partridge and Oakey. 2. Matthew Henry's Choice Works ; with Life, by Rev. James Hamilton,
London. The first of these two publications is a cheap edition of Matthew Henry's Commentary, containing supplementary notes and additions to the exposition of the Epistles and Apocalypse, and illustrated by a series of wood-cuts of very little merit. Prefixed to the whole is a brief Memoir of Matthew Henry, by the editor, Mr. A. L. Gordon, of Notting Hill. In what spirit the work is edited will sufficiently be shewn from a note appended to that part of the Memoir which relates to the erection of the Presbyterian chapel at Chester for Matthew Henry, and opened by him August 8, 1700.
“ The place still abides, but in the hands of men who, whilst retaining the ecclesiastical distinction, renounce the Christian truth which shed a glory and brought a blessing on the oral and written labours of Matthew Henry-men who call themselves Presbyterians because he was one, and yet are Socinians, which he certainly was not, his own Commentary, a copy of which is still preserved in it, being witness against them. It is situated in Crook Lane, a not unapt designation for a place containing so large and visible a deviation from the straight line of moral rectitude as is displayed in the retention by such men of a building raised for, and of which the title-deeds may be said to be the Commentary of Matthew Henry. Though an Act of Parliament was passed (in 1845) to legalize it, another Statute-book declares that 'that which is crooked cannot be made straight;' and which will stand in the judgment of the Son of God, that day will reveal. May He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness shine into the mind, to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and may it be his holy will to grant that in this place Christ's great and glorious name shall be magnified as in the days of old."
For the sake of the purchasers of this edition of the Exposition, it is to be hoped that Mr. A. L. Gordon is more accurate in his references to the other “ Statute-book,” to which he so complacently alludes in this passage, than he is in reference to Acts of Parliament passed in his own day. The Dissenters' Chapels Act, to which he refers, was passed, not, as he states, in 1845, but in 1844. He puts in the Commentary as the proper title-deeds of the place. The real title-deeds have to our knowledge not seldom proved a sad blank to eager orthodox persons. They declare simply that the chapel was founded “ for the public worship of God by persons dissenting from the Church of England."* In the same large and catholic spirit did Matthew Henry, in the opening sermon, while he broadly stated his own “orthodoxy," immediately after go on to say, “ We are far from engrossing religion and the church to ourselves, and those of our own way, or thinking that we are the only elect people of God; from our hearts we renounce and abhor all such narrow prin. ciples as are contrary to Catholic Christianity, and undermine and straiten its sure and large foundations. We do hereby solemnly profess, and shall take all occasions to repeat it, that we celebrate our religious assemblies in communion with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” The
same comprehensive and catholic spirit pervades the discourses now preached in Matthew Henry's pulpit, although united with doctrines differing from those which he held 'and valued, but which he felt too great a respect for conscience and truth to bind by force or art on them that came after him.
The new biographer goes on to say, “ We have seen a neat engraving of the building, said to be in Trinity Street;' but respect for religious truth and moral principle lays an arrest on our pictorial tendencies and forbids our insertion of it." The engraving to which the fastidious editor refers is prefixed to No. 2, a cheap and neat reprint of some of Matthew Henry's Works, forming the eighth volume of the English Puritan Divines,” now in the course of publication. If“ orthodoxy” be generally as squeamish as it seems to be in the case of Mr. Gordon, we know not what the consequences may be when it is known that the ornamental porch, which forms the most pictorial feature of this “neat engraving," is no portion of the original edifice, but is an addition of these “Socinians," who thus, and by extensive repairs of Matthew Henry's chapel, celebrated the passing of the Dissenters' Chapels Act. The mystery of its being said to be in Trinity Street," we can clear up, by informing the troubled editor that the chapel lies between Crook Street on the east and Trinity Street on the west.
Judas Iscariot, a Miracle Play, in Two Acts ; with other Poems. By
R. H. Horne. London-C. Mitchell, 1848. For the conception of the character of Judas developed in the Miracle Play before us, its author is, he informs us, indebted to Archbishop Whately. The Archbishop, in accordance with some of the Fathers, regards the motives usually assigned for the treachery of Judas as altogether insufficient. Even had the false apostle been actuated only by the love of gain, thirty pieces of silver was a ridiculously poor price to be paid by the authorities for services so valuable as his. He therefore supposes him to have been an ambitious, hard and worldly-minded man, who grew impatient of the slow and peaceful diffusion of the new religion, and, desiring only the temporal advantages which he anticipated from its success, murmured at the infliction of the preliminary hardships. By betraying Jesus, he hoped to compel him to use his material power to overwhelm his enemies, and in this believed himself to be the chosen instrument of God for consummating the triumph of Christ's cause, while apparently plotting its downfal. The failure of his project reveals to him at once his own sin and the true nature of his Master's kingdom.
We have been so long accustomed to regard Judas as the low mercenary traitor, that such a view seems to us at first far more striking than just. But a little examination will shew that, if not absolutely supported by Scripture, it is in no way controverted by it. The information there given us as to Judas's motives is singularly scanty. Once by Luke (xxii. 3), and twice by John (xiii. 2,27), the treachery is attributed to the direct instigation of Satan. We are not told by what means the Tempter prevailed. Mr. Horne makes the proposition of a reward come from a priest, and to be accepted by Judas merely to conceal his true motive. This is indeed somewhat inconsistent with Matt. xxvi. 15, where Iscariot comes to the chief priests and says, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" But in the absence of more positive Scripture information, the theory adopted by Dr. Whately and Mr. Horne will explain many of the difficulties of the case, and in the theological world may claim fellowship with many others quite as destitute of external evidence, and intrinsically much less probable.
Mr. Horne remarks in his Preface—“ It had frequently occurred to me that the story of Judas Iscariot contained elements of a tragedy of a more terrible kind than could be developed from any other event in history." The truth of the observation is incontestable. But had he substituted for “ Judas Iscariot,” “ Jesus Christ,” his meaning would have remained unaltered, and he might have seen the utter inutility of his present attempt. That history truly contains the deepest tragedy, but not of a sort to be partitioned into acts and scenes. Given these, and we have immediately before the mind's eye the associated ideas of curtain and foot-lights, the gaudy theatre and expectant audience. And though not sharing in the bibliolatry which converted Verdi's “ Nabuchodonosor” into “Nino," before the opera was judged fit for the profane boards of Her Majesty's Theatre, we do confess to some portion of that Nonconformist stubbornness which resolutely excludes from the playhouse all those characters of Holy Writ which our earliest childhood is taught to revere. Equally do we deprecate that feeling which places Shakspere and Christ in the same category, and regards the instructions of