ページの画像
PDF
ePub

avoid the occasional necessity of uttering a truism ; and some times the most naked forn in which this can be presented, may be found the most successful in startling the mind from moral forgetfulness, to consider the consequences of its admission. We all know the effect which a few words in the homely language of feeling, unexpectedly introduced in poetical compositions, are found to produce. Religion, so far as it has to do with the feelings, rejects any other dialeet; and the plainest language, so long as it is free from coarseness and vulgarity, is the most consopant with the real business of the heart.

Mr. Kidd's second volume, of which we need only say, that it is in all respects equal to his first, contains seven-and-twenty sermons. One, “ On the piety of Abijab,” is addressed to young persons : it shall furnish an extract.

* It was piety“ in the house of Jeroboam.” This gave it a decided character, and made it more remarkable.

• Jeroboam, on the division of the kingdom, headed the revolt of the Ten Tribes, and by them was acknowledged as king, in opposition to Rehoboam, the son and legal successor of Solomon. Without education, without principle, and elevated to the throne of Israel from a very inferior situation, his conduct, as might be expected, was corrupt and cruel. He openly countenanced idolatry: forbidding the people to assemble at Jerusalem, be set up calves for worship at Dan and Bethel : he made priests of the lowest of the people: he treated the authorised prophets of the Lord with contempt and insult; and in many ways discovered the baseness of his character, the depravity of his heart. Such was the father of this amiable youth. There was evidently in his family much to oppose the spirit and practice of piety.

Rank opposed it. Men in elevated stations are rarely eminent for religion. The palaces of kings, the scenes they continually present, and the dissipation they naturally produce, are not friendly to the growth of serious godliness -Idolatry opposed it. The insult offered to Jehovab, which false worship implies, the absurdity and iniquity which it always involves, were directly inimical to spiritual devotion.

And wickedness opposed it. This doubtless prevailed in its varied forms, and to a serious degree, in the court of Jeroboam; for when men are alienated from the true God, when they reject his service, contemn his authority, and from motives of carnal policy prescribe for themselves, none can say to what lengths they will run. Restraint is removed, evil propensities are strengthened, a system of error and iniquity commences, which presently becomes established. Who does not feel for this amiable youth, surrounded with snares, and exposed to constant derision? We glorify the grace of God in him ; and we admire the holy firmness he maintained amidst such powerful disadvantages.

• Others have held their integrity in dangerous situations. Joseph, and Nehemiah, and Daniel, were religious characters in the courts of beathen princes, Zaccheus was a publican, Zenas a lawyer, and

Cornelius a soldier; yet each was a convert to Christianity. Theer yvere saints in “ Cæsar's household;" a fact no less remarkable than Abijah’s piety “in the house of Jeroboam.” But God preserved them! And their safety in such circumstances, while it reproves our sinful timidity, greatly encourages our faith and our hope.

"The lot of some who are present may be cast among profane and wicked persons : you may sit solitary in prayerless families; but be decided. Adore the grace which makes you to differ, and look to the same grace at once for prudence and preservation, Remember, your singularity is your honour. That for which you are reproached by men, is approved of angels, and is highly esteemed in the sight of God. Your situation also gives occasion to the exercise of benevolent affections, and these may produce the most beneficial effects.' pp. 65–66.

The prayer of Jesus on the Cross,' is the title of an excellent sermon on Luke, xxiii, 34. Mr. Kidd remarks,

One favourable circumstance attending the manner of the Sa. viour's death was, it allowed him time to express his feelings, and the compassionate Sufferer wisely improved it. Many gracious words proceeded from his lips, but none more kind than these. In the severity of his pain, he uttered no complaint, he charged no one with cruelty; he addressed himself to his heavenly Father, and what did he request ? Nothing for himself ; in the tenderness of his concern for others, he forgot himself. His petition was in behalf of his enemies, his murderers, and instead of calling for vengeance, he pleaded that mercy might reach them, and forgiveness be granted them. “ Then said Jesus”-as he hung bleeding on the cross, in the extremity of his anguish, and amidst the barbarous insults of an infatuated crowd" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

"The immediate effect produced by this unparalleled combination of suffering, patience, benevolence, and love, was striking :-“ Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous inan. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.” pp. 96, 97.

The deductions on which the preacher proceeds to found his discourse, are

I. That sin is founded in, much IGNORANCE: “ They know not what they do." II, That Ignorance is no sufficient EXCUSE for sin. III. That forgiveness of sin is an act of DIVINE MERCY, and the fruit of THE SAVIOUR'S INTERCESSION.'

The subject is in conclusion employed to enforce the duty of regarding the intercession of Christ in the forgiveness of sins ; and that of imitating Jesus in the forgiveness of injuries.

We hope these specimens of the volume, will sufficiently recommend it to general use in villages and families.'

Art. VIII, Headlong Hall. 12mo. pp. 216. Price 6s. Hookham,

Jun. and Co. 1816. TT is truly refreshing to meet with a production of chaste and

genuine humour. Our satirists are for the most part of that saturnine complexion, that forbids their relaxing into the easy hilarity which characterizes the pleasantry of Goldsmith or of Addison ; while our professed comic writers seem to bave no other notion of humour than that of caricature or broad farce. Some of our writers exhibit in their attempts to be facetious, an appearance analogous to the Sardonic grimace; and others, in their ursine capers, betray only a desperate determination to be droll, contrary to the irreversible decree of nature. We ought now, perhaps, to proceed to investigate, why our language presents so few specimens of humorous writing, and how far language, climate, and manners, may operate in characterizing the national productions in this respect, determining the solemn irony of Cervantes, and prompting the sparkling mirthful satire of Le Sage, or the keen sarcastic ridicule of Swift. We might then shew what rank such compositions bold in the scale of literature; and trace the decline of this species of wit to the French Revolution, or the Income Tax, or some other obvious political cause. . But these discussions, tempting as they are, being such as, did we occupy the rank of Quarterly Journalists, we should feel it our bounden duty to exhaust in a preliminary dissertation, must now, owing to our narrow limits and the press of business, be unavoidably postponed ; and we shall at once introduce our readers to Headlong Hall, the seat of Harry Headlong, Esq. of the ancient and honourable Welsh family of the Headlongs, of the Vale of Llanberris, in Caernarvonshire. .

The Lord of the mansion has assembled a select party of London literati, to share the hospitalities of Christmas. Among them, the leading "personages are Mr. Foster, (quasi Qworong, from paos and angew,) the perfectibilian ; Mr. Escot, (quasi es okotov, in tenebras, scilicet, intuens), the deteriorationist; Mr. Jenkison (abey bowy, semper ex æqualibus), the statu-quo-ite; and the Rev. Doctor Gaster (scilicet faoine, Venter, et preterea nihil).

The opinions of the former two of these gentlemen differ, as Mr. Jenkison (the round-faced little gentleman of forty-five) observes, toto colo.

. I have often (he adds) debated the matter in my own mind, pro and con, and have at length arrived at this conclusion, that there is not in the human race a tendency either to moral perfectibility or deterioration; but that the quantities of each are so exactly balanced by their reciprocal results, that the species, with respect to the sum of good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, happiness and misery, remains exactly and perpetually in statu quo.

au Surely,” said Mr. Foster, - you cannot maintain such a proposition in the face of evidence so luminous. Look at the progress of all the arts and sciences, --see chemistry, botany, astronomy "

s“ Surely,' said Mr. Escot, “ experience deposes against you. Look at the rapid growth of corruption, luxury, selfishness --"

!“ Really, gentlemen,” said the Reverend Doctor Gaster, after clearing the husk in his throat with two or three hems, “ this is a very sceptical, and, I must say, atheistical conversation, and I should have thought, out of respect to my cloth- " pp. 9–11.

The subsequent arrivals consist of Marinaduke Milestone, Esq. a picturesque landscape gardener of the first celebrity, with a portfolio under his arm, who is not without hopes of persuading 'Squire Headlong to put his romantic pleasure grounds under a process of improvement; Mr. Cranium, and his lovely daughter; Messrs. Gall and Treacle who followed the trade

of reviewers, but occasionally indulged themselves in the composition of bad poetry ;' and 'two very multitudinous versifiers, Mr. Nightshade and Mr. Mac Laurel, who followed the trade of poetry, but occasionally indulged themselves in the composition of bad criticism'.

The last arrivals were Mr. Cornelius Chromatic, the most profound and scientific of all amateurs of the fiddle, with his two blooming daughters, Miss Tenorina and Miss Graziosa ; Sir Patrick O’Prism, a dilettanti painter of high renown, and his maiden aunt Miss Philomela Poppyseed, an indefatigable compounder of novels, written for the express purpose of supporting every species of superstition and prejudice; and Mr. Panoscope, the chemical, botanical, geological, astronomical, mathematical, metaphysical, meteorological, anatomical, physiological, galvanistical, musical, pictori. al, bibliographical, critical philosopher, who had run through the whole circle of the sciences, and understood them all equally well.' pp. 31, 32.

Mr. Milestone soon perceives that 'Squire Headlong's grounds have never been touched by the finger of taste,' and the 'Squire accords with Mr. Milestone, 'that the place is quite ' a wilderness.''

66 My dear Sir,” said Mr. Milestone, * accord me your permis. sion to wave the wand of enchantment over your grounds. The rocks shall be blown up, the trees shall be cut down, the wilderness and all its goats shall vanish like mist. Pagodas and Chinese bridges, gravel walks and shrubberies, bowling-greens, canals, and clumps of larch, shall rise upon its ruins. One age, Sir, has brought to light the treasures of ancient learning : a second has penetrated into the depths of metaphysics : a third has brought to perfection the sci. ence of astronomy: but it was reserved for the exclusive genius of the present times, to invent the noble art of picturesque gardening, which

has given, as it were, a new tint to the complexion of nature, and a new outline to the physiognomy of the universe!”

«« Give me leave,” said Sir Patrick O'Prism, “ to take an exception to that same. Your system of levelling, and trimming, and clipping, and docking, and clumping, and polishing, and cropping, and shaving, destroys all the beautiful intricacies of natural luxuriance, and all the graduated harmonies of light and shade, melting into one another, as you see them on that rock over yonder. I never saw one of your improved places, as you call them, and which are nothing but big bowling-greens, like sheets of green paper, with a parcel of round clumps scattered over them like so many spots of ink, flicked at random out of a pen*, and a solitary animal here and there looking as if it were lost, that I did not think it was for all the world like Hounslow Heath, thinly sprinkled over with bushes and highwaymen."

o - Sir," said Mr. Milestone, “ you will have the goodness to make a distinction between the picturesque and the beautiful.”

“ Will I ?” said Sir Patrick, o och! but I won't. For what is beautiful ? That which pleases the eye. And what pleases the eye? Tints variously broken and blended. Now tints variously broken and blended, constitute the picturesque.

6" Allow me,” said Mr. Gall. “I distinguish the picturesque and the beautiful, and I add to them, in the laying out of grounds, a third and distinct character, which I call unexpectedness.

«« Pray, Sir,” said Mr. Milestone, “ by what name do you distinguish this character, when a person walks round the grounds for the second timet?"

• Mr. Gall bit his lips, and inwardly vowed to revenge himself on Milestone, by cutting up his next publication.' pp. 35—38.

The next conversation takes place after dinner, during the absence of the ladies, when the Burgundy had taken two or three turns of the table, and extorted from Mr. Nlac Laurel the remark that it was ' the vara neectar itsel.' " Ye hae saretainly

deescovered the tarreestrial paradise,' be adds, but it flows wi' a better leecor than milk an' honey.

" THE REVEREND Doctor GASTER.-Hem! Mr. Mac Laurel ! there is a degree of profaneness in that observation, which I should not have looked for in so staunch a supporter of church and state. Milk and honey was the pure food of the antediluvian patriarchs, who knew not the use of the grape, happily for them.-(Tossing off a bumper of Burgundy.)

•Mr. EscoT.-Happily, indeed! The first inhabitants of the world knew not the use either of wine or animal food; it is therefore by no means incredible that they lived to the age of several centuries, free from war, and commerce, and arbitrary government, and every other species of desolating wickedness. But man was then a very different animal from what he now is : he had not the faculty of speech; he was not encumbered with clothes; he lived in the open

* See Price on the Picturesque.
+ See Knight on Taste, and the Edinburgh Review, No. XIV.

« 前へ次へ »