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the theatre as of the same value with those of the church. And why should our author now perpetrate in a Miracle Play the gross and vulgar superstition of the 14th century ? True it is that this was never intended for representation, but it wears the face of those that were. And if our Lord himself is not brought on the stage, we have Peter, James and John, Lazarus and his sister, and-profanation of profanations to the pious Catholic! —the Virgin Mother herself! The dreadful scenes in the judgment-hall, on the Sacred Road, and at Calvary, if not placed actually before our eyes, are related by those who are fresh from the sight; and by the stage directions we are supposed to hear the measured sounds of the scourging. To our feeling at least, this quite oversteps the boundaries of the tragic art. We do not contemplate with anything approaching to the same emotions the sufferings of Lear and of Christ.
In an attempt which the author makes to clear the character of Pilate, we think him more successful than in his partial vindication of Judas. The former has always seemed to us rather an ill-used man. Measuring his actions by the prevailing morality of his age--an age which produced Sallust and Verres,--we cannot see that his conduct deserved that perpetual banishment to the icy solitudes of Mount Pilatus, whence, says popular tradition, he periodically descends in storms on the good burghers of Lucerne. His efforts to save Jesus should be accepted as some set-off to his final weakness ; and though we justly blame him for yielding at last to the popular fury, we may recollect that nine Roman patricians out of every ten would have pacified the mob by instant concession, and never thought twice of the victim's deserts. If blood-guiltiness be a matter of inheritance, this assuredly rests with the Jews and their children.
The considerations above mentioned have prevented us from reading this Play with the pleasure which it would otherwise have produced ; for its merits are of such a nature as perpetually to bring before our mind the idea of its representation. We find in it little of that poetical beauty which often renders a drama as fit for the closet as the stage.
One or two passages do, however, shew that what seem to us the defects of the present work are rather attributable to a mistaken choice of subject than to the author's want of power. The following is taken from a soliloquy of Judas, after being taunted by Scribes and Pharisees with his adherence to Jesus :
“Would I were Christ ! or that the power he holds
He is great of soul,
For turbulent earth and its gross exigencies :
And whirl it into dust."
“ Cold with the shadows of the grave upon me,
God's finger sometimes writeth in the sand." Mr. Horne's metre is generally the reverse of smooth, and it must be confessed that he occasionally gains in point more than he loses in polish. But on what metrical principles does he justify such a line as we have italicised in our second extract? And how can we reduce such as these to the orthodox accentuation and length ?
“Schisms and false doctrines, and by arts misled"-
“And in the place a mighty Temple erect.” Only they who can challenge comparison with Milton's genius, should presume to imitate his license.
The smaller poems in the book are not such as to call for any particular notice.
Peter Jones, or Onward Bound: an Autobiography. Stage First. John
Chapman. 1848. This is a little book of considerable talent; but we must wait for “ Stage the Second" to make its design clear. Peter Jones is born amid poverty and ignorance, but educates himself through the aid of a Mechanics' Institute and with some help from a kind patron; and in his progressive attainment of science and literature he painfully works his way through the orthodox difficulties that beset Geology, Ethnology and Ethics, and encumber the Scriptures, till he comes, at the end of the first stage, into something like liberty and light. Whether the book is designed to shew the blessedness of this educational process, or its dangers and mental miseries, we do not quite know. The latter is the moral we are disposed to draw, in reprobation of the orthodox prestige which besets the whole circle of knowledge and inquiry, and in favour of the widest extension of a more generous spirit of education.
The anonymous author is a lively Irishman; so at least we judge from the prominence given to the Round Towers and other Irish antiquities ;-from his vivid theory of the pre-Adamite civilization of an extinct race of men, and the antediluvian, if not pre-Adamite commerce and civilization of Ireland; from an unfortunate would and an unfortunate will only one of each), instead of should and shall ;—not to mention the phenomenon of an autobiography written in the third person. We shall look for Stage the Second with impatience. Lectures on the Memory of the Just ; being a Series of Discourses on the Lives
and Times of the Ministers of Mill-Hill Chapel, Leeds, &c. By the Rev. Chas. Wicksteed, B.A., Minister of the Chapel. Second Edition. London -Chapman. 8vo. Pp. 129. We welcome a revised and greatly improved edition of these Lectures, which now appear in a type and form worthy of their merita. The alterations
in this edition, besides the improved typography, consist of the correction of a few errors and the addition of a series of notes abounding in valuable historical and biographical details. Mr. Wicksteed has gratified us not a little by incorporating much of the matter which appeared in our last Volume, in the series of articles on Presbyterian Nonconformity at Leeds. Some of the perfectly new matter is curious and valuable. We would specify the memoir, in the Appendix (pp. 115–118), of the ejected minister of Sherburn, in Yorkshire, the Rev. Thomas Johnson, and the extract from a letter of the Rev. Richard Stretton touching the spirit of the Independents of his day. The memoir of Mr. Johnson is autobiographical, being printed from his commonplace-book, still in the possession of his descendants. As all that the “Nonconformist Memorial” gives respecting Johnson is contained in a single line, this memoir, “ written in the natural and simple style of the age," is particularly acceptable. If practicable, we should have been glad to transfer it to our pages. We must content ourselves with quoting the concluding passage, which gives a summary of Johnson's ministerial life.
“Losing the Vicarage of Sherburn for Nonconformity brought me low in the world. Whilst Vicar at Sherburn, I preached thrice every Lord's-day, catechised in the church and explained the Catechism, besides preaching lectures abroad, till Bartholomew tide, when the Act of Conformity took place; then I resigned, left the Vicarage, and tooke a house and a little land in the fields, and continued there in the towne, holding private meetings in my house, and keeping there with other ministers abroad, till the Five-Mile Act came out; then was forced to remove near my own estate till my own was out of lease, that I might come to live at it, having no other place." '-"He continued,” adds Mr. Wicksteed, “to reside on his own estate at Painthorpe (near Wakefield) till the time of his death, which took place July 14th, 1707, in the 78th year of his age. His modest tomb may still be seen in a retired part of the churchyard at Sandal.”—P. 118.
The opinion given by Mr. Stretton of the Independents is, that " while they cry. Love and Union, they are as stiff and factious and censorious, and as little condescending to their brethren, as ever.” Mr. Wicksteed does not give the date of the letter from which he takes the extract. From a copy (transcribed by a contemporary) before us, it would appear to be “Leeds, Nov. 4,” in 1673.
We take this opportunity of correcting an erratum of our own, which remains uncorrected in Mr. Wicksteed's extract (see p. 43, note). accepted, son of Joseph Lister,” should be, “ Accepted, son,” &c. See C, R., III. 484, line 6.
PERIODICALS. British Quarterly Review, No. XVI., November.--We can have no hesitation in giving to Dr. Vaughan's Review nearly all the space which we are able this month to spare for the Periodicals. In biography this is a very rich number, including notices of Channing, Keats, Lamb, Spinoza, and Benvenuto Cellini; and when we add that the essays on these distinguished men contain a large amount of original thought and some excellent writing, it will be at once perceived that the reader is invited to a varied and attractive literary banquet. We suppose we owe the first article, on Channing, and its appended remarks on “Modern Unitarianism," to the liberal mind and skilful pen of Dr. Vaughan. With the magnetic influence which a generous and catholic spirit often exercises, the genius of Channing has attracted to itself all the latent liberality of every sect in Christendom. The same interesting phenomenon was seen in the case of Arnold. The man who when living received the praise of Southey, and whose memory is honoured by such different me as Dr. Vaughan and Theodore Parker, Mr. Martineau and Dr. Price, must deserve a high intellectual and moral rank. The spirit of the article on Channing in the British Quarterly is, on the whole, candid and generous. We seem, as we read it, to
be conversing with a friend—with one with whom we perceive that we have many sympathies and feelings in common, although we dissent from many of his opinions. This is the reviewer's estimate of Channing's mind and character:
“As a man, Dr. Channing was highly exemplary in every relation—as a son and a brother, as a friend and a citizen. Indeed, the ethical element in his mind was evidently the master element-at once the most refined and the most potent of his faculties. His perception of moral relations, and of the duties proper to them, was always marked by a singular promptitude and delicacy. Such was the happy combination subsisting between his intellectual nature and his moral sympathies, that his certitude in such speculations seemed to be more the result of intuition than of reasoning. It was not that his understanding had much exceeded the ordinary limits in acuteness, comprehensiveness or discipline, but that in his case it had found a better fellowship in the whole man than commonly befals that power of our nature. With Channing, the principles of morality were all in an unusual degree the principles of taste. Few men have been more sincere worshipers of virtue as the highest form of the beautiful. The lovely in morals was to him as the creations of Raphael. The lofty in spiritual achievement spoke to him much as the sublime works of Phidias or Michael Angelo have spoken to the connoisseur. But his admiration did not expend itself in mere sentiment. It rested, amidst all that might be evanescent in feeling, on the stability of principle. He saw an inherent greatness in the Right and the Good—a greatness to be worshiped at all times. An undue place, indeed, was sometimes permitted to the finer sensibilities of his nature, not strictly compatible with a bold discharge of the rougher and more weighty duties of life. But this constitutional bias, if not under perfect control, was never allowed to lead him far astray, and in his nearer relations prompted him to every thing kind and generous."
In these remarks there is unquestionably a great deal of truth, but we are far from being satisfied that they express the whole truth with respect to Channing. It is true that his sense of moral beauty was peculiarly keen and delicate ; that his conclusions and aims throughout life were shaped by his admiration of the morally and spiritually beautiful, and his abhorrence of deformity. But exquisite as his moral taste was, there was a great deal beside mere taste. To make use of the reviewer's figure, he had not merely the refinement of “the connoisseur," but the energy and genius of the artist. He could create, as well as appreciate, moral beauty. If Channing had possessed simply the æsthetic refinement ascribed to him by the reviewer, the hold which he succeeded in acquiring over the mind of the most refined portions of Europe and America would be one of the most startling facts in the history of literature. Without in the slightest degree doubting the reviewer's intention and desire to do justice to Channing, we cannot admit that the portrait is either spirited or correct. It is to our eye as little worthy of the intellectual man, as the lifeless engraving in common circulation in this country is of the physical man. The reviewer does not conceal his "scepticism" as to Channing's moral courage. He says in support of his doubts, that on no question of progress do we find him first in the field! Did the reviewer never read his matchless Letter on the Annexation of Texas ?-a political essay in which there is the wisdom of the philosopher, the courage of the patriot, and the foresight of the prophet. Who, we would ask, preceded Channing in this track? The reviewer goes on to say,
“We much doubt if in the hour of disaster he would have been quite the last to have withdrawn from the field. He was no man to front a host single-handed. His danger was always on the side of caution, nerer on the side of daring. He was too solicitous of being received on favourable terms everywhere, to commit himself irrevocably anywhere."
To no part of this estimate of Channing's moral courage can we subscribe ; from the concluding paragraph we entirely dissent. It is historically untrue. The biography from first to last shews him to have been earnest to know and to do that which was right, and to have been singularly indifferent to the opinions of the world as to his own merits. The great mistake of the reviewer seems to have arisen from his forgetfulness of the fact, that Channing was constrained by physical debility to forego a life of action, and that he chose for himself a life of thought. He fulfilled the duties of his chosen course wisely and faithfully. He was sometimes prevented by his thoughtfulness and his integrity from joining popular confederacies, even for the attainment of an object which he in a great measure approved. His views on this topic are sufficiently described by him in his essay on Associations. We should have thought the Editor of the British Quarterly Review could have better appreciated the intellectual and moral hindrances to strong party action. May there not be greater moral courage in resisting than in heading party movements ? Has not this been proved in the case of some of our contemporaries by their separation from their party on the question of State-education ? It is with some disappointment that we find a writer like the reviewer, capable, from his enlarged views and liberal spirit, of doing justice to his subject, offering to the public what we reluctantly describe as, upon the whole, the least exalted estimate of Dr. Channing's mental and moral character which has been published since the appearance of the Memoirs. For the reasons assigned, we are quite unable to echo all the praise of this article given in a late able leading article of the Inquirer : “We have met with no estimate of Channing's character, mental and moral, on the whole so just and discriminating, save perhaps that in the Prospective, as that which appears in the British Quarterly” (Inquirer, No. 332). The estimate of Channing in the Prospective has already received our praise, and is admirable. If it is correct, as we believe it is, in ascribing to Channing, in addition to “fineness of spiritual tact,” “the simplicity and courage peculiar to entire conviction,” and in describing him as difficult to bring to a fixed and definite conviction, but thenceforward heroically faithful,” the lower estimate in the British Quarterly is surely not quite "just."
The reviewer is not accurate in use of the passages, so often quoted, in which Channing disowned sectarian Unitarianism, and expressed his dissent from the peculiar opinions of Priestley and Belsham. When Channing thus expressed himself, he made no reference whatever to the neology of Germany," which the reviewer describes as “so freely propagated in most of the States as to have reduced the theological standard of this party to a lower and still lower level.” Priestley and Belsham were in their day the earnest, and not the least successful, advocates of historical Christianity, which is, we suppose, the reason why the few amongst English Unitarians who are affected by “German neology” dislike and depreciate their theological writings, The reviewer slightly misquotes when he says Channing was little concerned about “ Unitarianism as a sect." Channing's words were—“I have little or no interest in Unitarians as a sect. I have hardly any thing to do with them. I can endure no sectarian bonds." The misquotation, we have no doubt, is quite unintentional, although the inaccuracy of the phrase, “Unitarianism as a sect," ought to have prevented the reviewer from ascribing it to so good a writer as Channing. He never disavowed Unitarianism, but he abhorred sectarian bonds.
We have left ourselves little room to notice the remarks on “Modern Unitarianism.” The spirit in which they are conceived is altogether kind, and the language in which they are expressed is entirely free from theological acerbity. In respect to the development of the ethical spirit of Christianity, the reviewer admits that while “ Evangelical preaching” is open to complaint, though less so now than it was thirty years ago,
“ Unitarianism is not chargeable with deficiency in this particular. In its pulpits, the discussion of moral principles is generally ample and searching, and to the training thus induced much of the social reputation of the body may be attributed. In respect to general integrity and honour, the men belonging to