« AnteriorContinua »
The quarries of Poolvash, in the neighbourhood of Peel, are celebrated for having furnished the fine black marble, of which the steps of St. Paul's cathedral are composed, presented by Bishop Wilson.
Bishop Wilson died in 1755, having been fifty-eight years bishop of Sodor and Man.
What does he offer ? words are none
Worthy to count it o'er;
Glory for evermore!
ANTIQUITY OF THE SABBATH.—If it were granted Time.-Every hour comes to us charged with duty,
that in the history of the patriarchal ages no menand the moment it is past returns to heaven to register
tion is made of the Sabbath, nor even the obscurest itself how spent. My hours, how trifled, sensualised,
allusion to it, it would be unfair to conclude that it sauntered, dosed, sinned away !-Rev. T. Adam.
was not appointed previous to the departure of the
children of Israel from Egypt. If instituted at the The Gospel ADAPTED TO Man's Wants.-Among creation, the memory of it might have been forgotten the numerous evidences of the Divine origin of Chris- in the lapse of time, and the growing corruption of tianity, its adaptation to the circumstances of man, as the world; or, what is more probable, it might have the fallen child of sin and sorrow, is not the least been observed by the patriarchs, though no mention is striking or important. The rich and inestimable bless- made of it in the narrative of their lives, which, howings which it offers are precisely such as meet his varied ever circumstantial in some particulars, is, upon the exigencies both for time and eternity. Here is pardon whole, very brief and compendious. There are omis. for the guilty, justification for the ungodly, adoption sions in the sacred history much more extraordinary. for the outcast and alien, strength for the weak, com- Excepting Jacob's supplication at Bethel, scarcely a fort for the sorrowful, hope for the desponding, life- single allusion to prayer is to be found in all the yea, a crown of life unfading --for the sinner ready to Pentateuch ; yet, considering the eminent piety of perish! But “wherewith shall we come before the the worthies recorded in it, we cannot doubt the Lord, and bow ourselves before the most high God ?" frequency of their devotional exercises. Circumcision What worthiness have we to plead ? what merit have we being the sign of God's covenant with Abraham, was to offer in exchange for the blessings of redeeming love ? beyond all question punctually observed by the IsraelTruly, none: “We are altogether as an unclean thing, ites; yet, from their settlement in Canaan, no parand our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Therefore, ticular instance is recorded of it till the circumcifree as the air, and liberal as the sunbeam, is the salva- sion of Christ, comprehending a period of about 1500 tion that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. No pre- years. No express mention of the Sabbath occurs in vious qualification is required---no condition imposed. the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the first and “ By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of second of Samuel, or the first of Kings; though it was yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Nor are the benefits doubtless regularly observıd all the time included in of the Gospel confined, like the ordinances of the Mo- these histories. In the second book of Kings, and saic ritual, to one favoured community; they are com- the first and second of Chronicles, it is mentioned mensurate with the wants of the whole human family. only twelve times; and some of them are merely The fountain of life is accessible to all ; and all, of repetitions of the same instance. If the Sabbath is so every clime, grade, and character, are invited to par- seldom spoken of in this long historical series, it can take of its healing and refreshing waters, “ without be nothing wonderful, if it should not be mentioned in money and without price.” Thus adınirably adapted the summary account of the patriarchal ages. is the Christian dispensation to man's fallen condi- though the Sabbath is not expressly mentioned in the tion.Rev. James Williams.
history of the antediluvian and patriarchal ages, the observance of it seems to be intimated by the division of time into weeks. In relating the catastrophe of the
flood, the historian informs us, that Noah, at the end Portry.
of forty days, opened the window of the ark; “ and he
stayed yet other seven days, and again he sent forth THOUGHTS OF COMFORT.
the dove out of the ark : and the dove came in to him in the evening, and, lo, in her mouth was an olive
leaf, plucked off. So Noah knew that the waters were (For the Church of England Magazine.)
abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other
seven days, and sent forth the dove, which returned Art thou a pilgrim all alone ?
not again unto him any more.” The term "week" is Yet welcome be thy lot :
used by Laban in reference to the nuptials of Leah, The Saviour came unto his own,
when he says, " Fulfil her week, and we will give thee
this also, for the service which thou shalt serve with And they receiv'd him not.
me yet seven other years."-Rev. G. Ilolden. If, suffering in the midnight dim, Thou on thy Lord dost call;
TO CORRESPONDENTS. If thou dost thirst, remember him,
The “ Reflections on the Gunpowder Plot," though dated The vinegar and gall.
October 4th, did not reach us till October 24th,-far too late for
insertion. Thy head is wearied, aching now,
Yet dare not thou repine :
London : Published by JAMES BURNS, 17 Portman Street,
Portman Square ; W. EDWARDS, 12 Ave-Maria Lane, St.
and Country He died, he rose, he reigns for thee,
And will be now forsake ? 0, now at last confiding be, And all he offers take.
ROBSON, LEVEY, AND PRAXKLYN, 46 ST. MARTIN'S LANE.
BY MISS EMRA.
THE DUTY OF WATCHFULNESS.
semblance ofevil should be studiously avoided;
we should regard every promise of earth-born BY THE Rev. CHARLEŞ RAWLINGS, A.B.
happiness with suspicion. Alas, too often Curate of St. Stephen's and St. Dennis, Cornwall.
beneath the sairest blossoms of mortal joy It is the exhortation ofour adorable Redeemer, the serpent's poison lurks unseen. But it "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into tempt- should never be forgotten, that the duty of ation.” There is no created object with which watchfulness cannot be successfully exercised, we are conversant but may become an alluring but as it is associated with prayer for divine cause of sin. Things not absolutely unlawful grace. The language of an inspired apostle in themselves, the pursuits of business or is, “Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto amusement, the charms of society, the at. prayer." "If we are enabled to resist and tractions of literature and science, these, overcome temptation under its thousand forms innocent as they are in their nature, too of allurement, it is not in our own strength, often prove a snare; they are too often or in the might of our own resolutions : left found to weaken the principle of grace, to im- but for a moment to the vanity of our own pair the energy of faith, to damp the ardour resources, we should certainly be taught an of love, and Aing a shadow over the bright afflicting lesson of our weakness by our fall; realities of the eternal world. With due but strong in the Lord, and in the power of anxiety, therefore, should we guard against a his might, we achieve the holy triumph. corrupting influence from the purer and more Habitual prayer is habitual preparation for refined sources of earthly gratification, and encountering our spiritual enemies : it is a pray unto God from the depths of our heart, weapon of heavenly temper, which the united “Deliver us from evil!” Again, how necessary onset of the world, the flesh, and the devil, is it to exercise a salutary control over our pas- cannot blunt or turn aside. Prayer is exsions, appetites, and senses! We are so apt, pressive of dependence on the strong for - the very best of us are so apt, in a moment strength, and they that trust in the Lord of carelessness,-to be betrayed into the for- (we are assured) shall be as mount Zion, bidden paths of sin and folly! Melancholy which cannot be removed, but abideth for experience will bear testimony to the justice of ever.” Again, there is another most sweet the remark here made. We may not, indeed, and encouraging promise, “They that wait suppress the impulses of our common nature; upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; we cannot at all times silence the warm ap- they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they peals of passion ; we cannot emancipate our shall run and not be weary, and they shall selves from the dominion of the senses, but if walk and not faint." There is a tranquillity we would make any progress in the divine and a repose in the exercise of prayer; the life, nay, if we would not go back, it is our storm and tumult of the passions is lulled duty, every real Christian will feel it to be for a season, and there is nothing to disturb his most pressing duty, to “ watch and pray, or interrupt the blessed communion of the that he enter not into temptation.” The very spirit with God. These are some of the VOL. VII.NO, CXCVII.
(London : Robson, Levey, and Franklyn, 46 St. Martin's Lare.]
valuable accompaniments of prayer; and in- cidedly infidel character, which retains its place in our dependently of the direct use and importance of literature, unaffected by the lapse of sixty years. The
scholar and the man of the world still turn for informthat duty, they may be considered as not a
ation and amusement to “ The History of the Decline little conducive to the maintenance of that and Fall of the Roman Empire." watchfulness against the inroads of temptation The reviving taste for the study of history has reand sin which is one of the principal features
called this work into a degree of popularity which it
had lost during the stirring times which marked the which distinguish the Christian character.
commencement of the present century. The jealousy But the grand argument for habitual vigilance and dislike with which it was regarded by two geneis drawn from a consideration of the uncertainty rations are scarcely shared by a liberal age. A handof our continuance in this probationary state ;
some edition, superintended by an ingenious and acand this is just the very argument employed
complished clergyman, is courting a new generation
of readers. The book is studied and referred to. It by our blessed Lord in the striking parable will, therefore, scarcely be deemed unseasonable to atof the ten virgins,—“ Watch, therefore (says tempt an estimate of its real character and value. he), for ye know neither the day nor the hour
It is well known how the work of Gibbon was rewherein the Son of man cometh.” Death may
ceived by those of his contemporaries who felt interested
in the cause of religion. Such was the alarm which arrive when we least expect its arrival. At was excited by the publication of the first volume, that any moment the solemnities of an eternal the author himself confessed that “had he believed world may break upon us, and we may be
that the majority of English readers were so fondly
attached even to the name and shadow of Christianity, summoned to our great account. “ In the
- had he foreseen that the pious, the timid, and the midst of life we are in death." The bloom
prudent, would feel, or affect to feel, with such exquithat now freshens on the cheek of youth may, site sensibility,” he might have observed greater caution. before to-morrow's sun illumes the eastern
And the warmth and earnestness with which it was sky, be converted into the ashy paleness of ciently shewed the importance which was attached to
attacked by theologians of all ranks and parties sutii. the grave. Present health and strength are it as an attempt to undermine the divine authority of no security against the approach of the last the Gospel, and to weaken the principles of morality. enemy. The wise virgins were provided with Yet it is perhaps scarcely correct to regard it as a
deliberate attempt to unchristianise our literature. It the oil of grace in their lamps ; but would
more probably owed its infidel character to mere vanity they have “ slumbered and slept," in the as- and affectation. The author was by education and in sured expectation of the sudden coming of manners a Frenchman. As he had no fixed principles, the bridegroom ? From their case we may
he very naturally adopted the tone and opinions of his learn a lesson of warning and instruction.
foreign associates. He had learned from his early
years to regard his countrymen as unpolished and unThese things were written for our admonition; enlightened, and he was willing to astonish them by a and if we profit not by the voice of solemn display of paradox and sophistry. These, and some admonition, the fault will be all our own. still more obvious peculiarities of the author's personal Let us endeavour to live in a state of habitual
character, sufficiently explain what is most objection
able in the “ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empreparation to meet our God. Regarding pire." with holy indifference the vanities of time, let The history of his life, which has been communius seek to realise the spirit and imitate the cated by his own pen, is curious and interesting. He example of those who " confessed that they father was a gentleman in easy circumstances, who
was born at Putney, in Surrey, in the year 1737. His were strangers and pilgrims on the earth,"
represented Hampshire in two parliaments. He was “ desiring a better country, that is, an hea- early deprived of his mother, but a maternal aunt venly," and " looking for a city which hath reared him with a mother's tenderness. The delicacy foundations, whose builder and maker is
of his health caused his early education to be greatly
neglected. But he had from his early childhood an God;" "giving all diligence, let us add to our
insatiable thirst for reading. In his fifteenth year he faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to "arrived at Oxford with a stock of erudition which knowledge temperance, and to temperance pa- might have puzzled a doctor, and a degree of ignorance tience, and to patience godliness, and to god- Magdalen College he was neglected by his tutors, and
of which a schoolboy would have been ashamed.” At liness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly fell into habits of dissipation and extravagance. His kindness charity." “ Blessed is that servant taste for discursive reading led him to books of reliwhom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find gious controversy; "and at the age of sixteen he
bewildered himself in the errors of the Church of so doing,"
Rome." He professed himself a papist. And his father, who regarded his conduct as an act of insub
ordination, immediately removed him from the uniGIBBON.
This was the event which determined the character Of the deistical writers who, about a century ago, were of his future life. He was sent from England; and regarded by the friends of Christianity in this country under the care of M. Pavilliard, a reformed minister at with so much alarm, scarcely any are now read; very Lausanne, in whose family he remained nearly five few are even remembered. The pompous objections
years, zealously pursued his classical studies, and soon of Bolingbroke, and the acute sophistry of Hume, liave
renounced the peculiarities of Romanism. But these almost reached the state of oblivion which has been
rapid changes of opinion permanently impaired bis already attained by the less attractive writings of their
principles ; and he appears soon to have subsided into predecessors. There is one work, however, of a de
a state of indifference or scepticism, which, in the • From the “ British Magazine."
course of his intercourse with French society,
ually settled into positive infidelity. At Lausanne, obtained among the Frenchmen of the eighteenth cenhowever, he read with diligence and success, and laid tury. Thucydides and Tacitus had indeed painted the the foundation of his future learning. In 1758, his hearts of men, and disclosed the secret springs of father allowed him to return to England. His first events, but it was after having carefully studied the work (Essai sur l'Etude de la Littérature) which had originals. They wrote of men who were still well been commenced at Lausanne, and was published in remembered, or were actually their contemporaries. 1761, is a proof not only of his intimate acquaintance The first Frenchman of an enlightened age needed not with the French language, but of his acquirements and this tedious and modest process. With the telescope talents.
of philosophy he might explore at will what was most In 1763 he again visited the continent. He then remote in time or place, and tell others all that it was became acquainted with Paris, and made the tour of worth their while to know, without the vulgar aid of Italy. “ It was at Rome, on the 15th October, 1764, observation or learning. The laws of nature were as he sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol," that always uniform, and men were always men, and men he first conceived the idea of writing on the decline were, of course, always savages or Frenchmen. He and fall of the capital of the world. Several other wanted no other principles to know with positive cersubjects, however, presented themselves to his mind as tainty how and why they acted. Bare facts only served fit subjects for a historical composition. For several to load the memory, and enfeeble the understanding. years he was too much engaged in society and inter- His only was the way of studying history to advantage. course with his family to find leisure for regular study. It was only when expounded by the philosopher, that it After the death of his father in 1770, he was several afforded any thing worth knowing by one who aspired years in parliament; and it was not until 1776 that he to the dignity of a man. The novelty of this method, published the first volume of the “Decline and Fall of the reputation of its inventor, and the general sciolism, the Roman Empire.”.
procured for it no little popularity. Acute and sober His great work had, however, for some time before men were dazzled by its pretensions. Hume and been the chief business of his life. He was engaged Robertson had already naturalised it-purified, howupon it with more or less activity from 1768 to 1787. ever, from its more flagrant absurdities--in the literaThe first three volumes, and the greater part of the ture of Britain, when Gibbon caught the contagion, fourth, were written in London, the remainder of the and aspired to the rank of a pragmatical historian. work at Lausanne, where he chiefly resided during the Yet Gibbon was something more than a mere disciple last ten years of his life. He returned, however, to of the historical school of Voltaire. He was well aware England, upon a visit to his intimate friend, Lord of its deficiencies. In his diffusive reading he had Sheffield, in 1793, and died in London on the 16th of acquired no ordinary amount of erudition. From the January, 1794.
time he had chosen the subject of his work, he was The character of Gibbon, as it is exhibited by his eagerly engaged in the pursuit of the right materials. autobiography and letters, reflects much light upon his He knew what the historian had to do. He made it writings. He has himself enabled us to describe him his business to find his way to the best information. as a man of a cold and phlegmatic temperament, who His knowledge was perhaps often derived in the first was impelled to exertion only by motives of vanity and instance from secondary writers—he freely confesses selfishness. If his life was marked by no flagrant his obligations to Tille:nont—but he generally verified irregularities, it is clear from his own account that the important facts by referring to the sources, and he was decency of his conduct did not proceed from any prin- | rarely unacquainted with the discoveries of modern ciple of conscience, or any feeling for moral beauty. learning. For learning, indeed, and a general acquaintance with His learning, indeed, was his strongest point. His literature, he must be ranked among the very first of perseverance and sedentary industry well fitted him to his contemporaries. He had great natural sagacity; make himself master of the information necessary for he had an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge; and was his subject. His private means enabled him to obtain at once ingenious and diligent. But he had no dignity books, and he was moreover generally in situations of mind, no elevation nor warmth of sentiment, no where he had access to public libraries. It could not purity nor delicacy of taste. His knowledge of man- be asserted that he was a scholar in the highest sense kind was derived from a corrupt state of society, and of the term. He had not the finish and accuracy from a corrupt heart. Self-devotion and disinterested- which can be attained only by those who pursue learnness were things beyond his comprehension; he coulding as a profession. But he was most intimately scarcely realise the possibility even of sincere belief; acquainted with the materials of history. No one who and virtue he regarded as an empty name.
has gone over the ground he professes to lrave surveyed His history largely partakes of the peculiarities of can help seeing that he has been there before him. his moral and intellectual character. It is rich in Students who are engaged in a particular inquiry may various learning. It abounds in sagacious and acute find much which has eluded his observation, but they reflections; but it is loaded with excessive ornament. will generally be surprised to find how much he knew. It is absolutely destitute of moral purpose. It never His references are frequently ostentatious, sometimes rises beyond the material and visible. It constantly irrelevant, sometimes not strictly accurate; but what seeks to depress what is noble and lofty, while it places we find to complain of in them must usually be laid to in strong relief whatever is mean and disgusting. In other accounts, they do not go to impeach his learning. stead of endeavouring to inculcate some great ethical The subject on which his acquirements were emlesson, it only strives to confound the distinction ployed was a noble one. History does not present any between vice and virtue, and utterly to extinguish all thing more memorable than the decay and extinction respect for religion.
of ancient civilisation. “The Decline and Fall of the Voltaire had introduced a new method of historical Roman Empire," as a work of art, is well conceived, composition. He had presumed to summon the past and executed with a rare ability. The distribution is to the bar of the present, and to arraign it upon the felicitous, the composition is striking; notwithstanding enactments of an arbitrary ex post facto legislation. the defects in drawing and perspective, it has an air of Under pretence of tracing the philosophy of history, grandeur; and though the parts are often strangely he measured the men and things of other times by the out of proportion, we are scarcely sensible of a want of standard of modern civilisation, and ventured to pro- harmony in the whole. The great fault is, that it is so nounce upon the probability or improbability of the artificial. You scarcely ever lose the artist, and art is testimony of contemporary authors, and to assign the obtrusive every where. The style is affected and motives which actuated the men of distant ages and laboured to a degree positively offensive. There is countries, solely with reference to the principles which no variety of construction or manner, There is a total
absence of nature. The ornaments are all of the most safely expatiate. He will be better employed in qualigaudy and meretricious sort. We are displeased at fying himself to obtain genuine information, than in once by effort and insipidity.
perusing the “ History of the Decline and Fall of the It was in the highest qualifications of the historian Roman Empire.". that Gibbon was most deficient. He had no large views, nor lofty feelings. He could not disengage himself from the narrow circle of manners and fashion,
SACRED POETRY. nor sympathise with the genuine feelings of the human heart. He knew nothing of man as a moral being.
BY JAMES CHAMBERS, ESQ. His imagination was inflamed only by material objects.
No. IV. He was not awed by the sublimity of virtue ; he felt no tenderness for human infirmities. He regarded what was morally great and disinterested with invincible Perhaps no poetry ever received such unmerited nescepticism, while he received with vulgar credulity glect as that of this author. The popularity which it every insinuation of evil.
enjoyed on its first publication soon died away; and But it is the malign aspect of his work towards
from that period to the present time, contumely and Christianity and morality which constitutes its great fault, and renders it dangerous and noxious. Whatever
scorn have been its only portion. His own political may have been his motives, it is quite certain that he heresies, and the violent party-feelings of the times in constantly makes it his business to treat the Gospel as which he lived, blinded the judgment of his contema fable, and to sneer at the very idea of virtue. Every poraries to the real merits of his compositions; while thing connected with revealed religion is exhibited in
more modern critics have probably often pronounced the light in which it may be regarded by a captious adversary. Though he did not in the remainder of
a judgment, without sufficiently examining the volumes his undertaking introduce any attack so direct as that they condemn. Among others who thus indulged in which is contained in the last two chapters of his first vituperations against Wither and his poetry, were volume, he never ceased to insinuate that Christianity Wood, Heylin, Butler, Philips, Dryden, Swift, and was a mere system of imposture, devised by priests, Pope it while Bishop Percy, Ritson, and D'Israeli deal and believed only by fanatics. He possessed in perfection the art which had been so successful in the
out such qualitied praise, as almost amounts to cenhands of the French infidels, of conveying by insinu
sure. Though this array of opposing critics is truly ations and sarcasm opinions and sentiments which it formidable, I yet hope to convince my readers that was not convenient openly to avow. Without leaving George Wither merits a more honourable appellation the subject he has in hand, he can always find occasion
than that of “ a prosing satirist," I or the “ English to suggest doubts and ridicule. When the outline of the likeness he is painting is correct and accurate, he
Bavius." S can produce the most objectionable effects by the One great poet and distinguished scholar of modern choice of attitude and expression, and especially by times has done him justice. It has ever been the de. colouring. Often, when we cannot deny the resem- light of Dr. Southey to rescue the fruits of genius from blance, we can say emphatically that it conveys a false that oblivion which time heaps upon them, and to clear or most inadequate conception of the original. Mahomet is painted with all the luxuriance of Venetian
away the tangling weeds and wild briar from many a art; Cyril and Bernard are rude caricatures. Con- neglected grave in the burial-ground of the earlier stantine and Theodosius are heavy and ungracious ; poets. With his usual discernment, he has perceived while all the resources of his skill are lavished upon in these poems || " a felicity of expression, a tenderness Julian. Thus the reader of the “ Decline and Fall
of feeling, and an elevation of mind;" and with his is defrauded of the fruits of human experience, and
usual fearlessness, he has dared to avow it. receives a deadly poison instead of the precious nourishment which is the natural produce of history, and
I proceed to consider those of Wither's works which especially of the history of the Church.
entitle him to the character of a sacred poet. I have 'It is really curious to observe how thoroughly Gib- already mentioned that he composed the " Shepherds bon's work is saturated with his infidelity. The venom
Hunting" when in prison. The following extract has been distilled into every part. His scepticism, and malevolence, and impurity, meet us every where. It
• We cannot let the opportunity pass of saying that the recent is strange that any one could ever have supposed it
edition by Milman is at least equally objectionable with any possible to counteract its mischievous tendency by
Mr. Milman's notes--we speak deliberately--are controverting particular statements, or refuting par
far from correcting, they sometimes sanction, sometimes add to ticular views. It is not easy to conceive how any one
the errors of Gibbon. This edition is also singularly incorsect in could read it, and fancy that any good could be done
its typography.-ED. CHURCH OF ENGLAND MAGAZINE. in this way. It mocks such an antidote. No one
Willmott, vol. i. pp. 61, 62. could make it any thing else than an infidel book
$ Ritson. without actually taking it to pieces. Little is gained || “Lives of Uneducated Poets." even by expunging the most obnoxious passages; for an [ It is interesting to observe how many works of merit have epithet sometimes presents a licentious picture, a con- been composed in exile or imprisonment: at such seasons the junction often suggests an embarrassing doubt. mind is not distracted by the petty cares or anxieties of every
If these remarks have given a fair character of this day life, and it is urged to vigorous exertion by the necessity of celebrated work, it is almost needless to deduce a
banishing those melancholy contemplations, which would otherformal conclusion. In such case there can be but one wise be ever present to the thoughts of the captive. No situation opinion. It must be regarded as an anti-christian can be more favourable for cultivating the energies, or eliciting book, which exhibits great powers misemployed, and the powers of a great mind. Boethius wrote his “ Consolations which no one can read but at his peril. If the estimate of Philosophy" when contined, under sentence of death, in the now attempted of its literary value be at all correct, castle of Pavia; Buchanan commenced his elegant translation of the young and inexperienced student may well spare the Psalms in a dungeon at Coimbra, in Portugal; Christopher it from his library. It is not less calculated to vitiate Smart wrote one of the most powerful lyrics in our poetry on the his taste, and to weaken his judgment, than to corrupt walls of a madhouse, where he was kept under restraint; Sir W. his moral and religious principles. A spacious field Raleigh's “ History of the World" was written in the Tower; of historical reading is open to him, in which he may Bunyan's "wondrous allegory" in Bedford jail; James the First