« 前へ次へ »
though simple, would not disgust,' that his arguments, though plain, would not be weak,' and that his application, though • close, would not be offensively personal,' will, we think, appear to readers in general, to be fully justified. Such a Dis. course, as it conveyed to the audience nothing that was new, though it might serve to revive what was forgotten, as it was perfectly scriptural, but not strikingly ingenious, and as the truths it contained were at least familiar to the understandings of his clerical brethren, might be expected to excite no peculiar wish in his audience for its publication. Yet it is, at the same time, so unexceptionable in point of sentiment, and so moderate in point of expression, that it would be difficult to imagine that ihe omission of the custoinary request on the part of the Archdeacon or his clergy, arose from any feelings of disapprobation or personal disrespect,
The following passage may serve as a specimen of Mr. Gura ney's style. ..But suppose that there should be found some solitary individual, who, for filthy lucrc, from necessity in his circumstances, or because he was thought unfit for any other profession, from a desire to obtain a country residence, where he might indulge himself in the pleasures of the field and of the world, had entered into the Church, and received commission to preach that Gospel which he never practises ; must he not be considered as having awfully departed from the spirit of the Church in saying, I trust I am inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon me this sacred office ? must not his conduct dis. gust the true Churchman, offend every Christian, and even give oc. casion to the wicked to blaspheme, and to deride and contemn the Church ?' This would be but a miserable ensample to the flock, who, if they did punctually follow such a leader, must perish together with him. Is the picture too strongly drawn? Then let us, my beloved - brethren, endeavour, by the grace of God, earnestly sought for in constant prayer, to blot out every line of this horrible figure, by becoming universally ensamples to the flock over which God hath made us overseers. We may be slandered by our neighbours, we may be deserted by conscientious Dissenters upon minor points of difference, but we shall never be deserted of our God, nor long be despised of our neighbours, while we conscientiously and individually act up to
the spirit of our Church, as exhibited in her Articles, Homilies, and : Liturgy. pp. 18, 19,
. ',. sie ist so , We cannot, however, dismiss this Sermon, without alluding to the notice it has drawn forth from a contemporary Journal, in an article of a highly offensive character. The Reviewer
confesses that he did expect a philippic personal enough, and **that ihe form of sound words would hardly have been retained
to the end. Yet,' be adds, except certain Calvinistic inu: endoes respecting experimental feeling, &c. there is little
doctrine, and less personality; all is sufficiently tame and spiFritless."
The principal objection the Reviewer brings forward, respects the style of Mr. Gurney's Sermon. It is ‘so vague, so
unsatisfactory, so ill expressed.' And, after punning on the word “frame,' and jesting upon a solemn passage which he chooses to misapply, he proceeds to prove the badness of the style from the following instance.
In page 8. occurs the following inexplicable passage.66 Hope, as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast,
entereth into that (what?) within the rail, wbither our forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus." -- British Critic for November, 1815, p. 234.
Can any thing be more calculated to excite the triumpliant sneer of an infidel, than the conduct of a professedly orthodox Reviewer, who undertakes to criticise in theology, without knowing that while thrusting at a living preacher, he strikes an inspired Apostle !
After this specimen of the critic's consummate ignorance, Mr. Gurney may safely smile at the harmless malignity of his flippant remarks, though he may justly complain that the Conductors of a Literary Journal of so high pretensions, should suffer a writer, capable of thus mistaking the language of Scripture, to disgrace their pages with personal invective.
Mr. Gurney's real offence, however, it should seem, in the eyes of this critic, was not preaching or publishing this Visitation Sermon. The following passage contains, we presume, his indictment.
Now who would suppose after this, that Mr. G. would introduce, under colour of a Bible Association, strange shepherds of various denominations, within the very walls of his own Church, to lead his flock astray, and by their unsuffer• able cant and disgusting dissensions, to desecrate the sanc'tuary of God.'
It is not to be wondered at, that those who find the language of Scripture inexplicable,' should be unfriendly to Bible associations : but the charge implied in the above extract, betrays something worse than ignorance in the mind which framed it. Art. XI. Baxteriana : containing a Selection from the Works of
Baxter. Collected by Arthur Young, Esq. F.R.S. 12mo. pp, vi,
304. Price 5s. 6d. Hatchard. 1815. THE name of Richard Baxter is one which all parties re
I spect, and all sincere Christians affectionately revere. A collection of extracts from his works, cannot fail of being valuable, and the present volume stands, therefore, in small need of our recommendation. But we cannot refuse ourselves the gratification of transcribing the interesting and ingenuous ac-
count given by the venerable Editor, of the origin of this publication.
Eighteen years ago he suffered a severe domestic calamity, which, for the first time in his life, led his mind into a train of thought very different from all that had formed, till then, his pure. suits, pleasure, or occupation. For the first time, he began seriously to think of that which a Christian ought to think of every day of his existence a future state. When the chains which tie us to the world begin to break, it is time to reconsider the principles of the religion we have professed; the heart demands consolation, and nominal Christianity has it not to give; for any solid comfort, we must drink deeper. I read much, and sometimes conversed on the subject, enough to hear it urged, that a man who had been publishing books all his life, should make an open profession of his faith, by adding one to the number; in truth, I should have done this long ago, but found the admirable productions already before the public so numerous, that it appeared presumption to publish any work con. fessedly inferior to those I was in the habit of perusing.. .
Mr. Young proceeds to state, that having early accustomed himself to extract, for his own improvement, the most impressive passages of the works he perused, and finding that the works of Baxter alone had furnished sufficient to fill a volume, he thought a selection from these, especially as some of the works from which they are taken are scarce, might be useful to many readers, on which account he hopes the present intrusion will be forgiven.
The contents of the volume are arranged in seven books, subdivided into chapters. The titles of the books are, “The Moral State of Man ;' • The essential Doctrines of the Cbris
tian Religion;' - The Remedy for the disordered State of • Man-Justification by Faith alone;' . Conversion ; " The * Holy Spirit;' ' Necessity of Good Works;' Death and ' Judgement.' . '
The following impressive testimony, with which the Introduction concludes, will prove, we trust, a salutary appeal to the feelings and conscience of the reader, as it cannot fail of exciting sentiments of veneration for the Author.'
I will not lay down the pen without most earnestly intreating those who are but entering on life, to be persuaded to pay a constant attention to the duties of religion, especially the four great means of grace, prayer, public worship, reading the scriptures of truth, and as much as circumstances will permit, meditating on their contents. I can with truth assure such, that when I reflect on the various errors and miscarriages of my life, previous to my mind tą. king a serious turn, I am clearly convinced that I should have avoided many, had I listened with more submission to the persuasion of a most valuable and pious mother, whom I did not learn sufficiently to esteem till many years after I had lost her; and I speak this in allu
sion both to temporal and eternal objects. In truth, there is but one principle that ought to govern mankind; to think, speak, and act in such a manner as will please God, and to avoid all that will offend him: bot the Supreme Being, the Great First Cause of modern philosophers, but the God of Revelation. O my young friends, let me with truth assure you, that though I have experienced some highly flattering, and partaken of many brilliant scenes, yet would I not exchange the consolation and hope which Christianity gives me while blind, and quickly descending to the grave, for the most pleasing moments of my former life, with rejuvinescence to enjoy them..
1. The tranquillity of a' mind gradually reposing in the clearest "hope of a better world, is an enjoyment that cannot be purchased at too dear a rate. It is not easy, sufficiently to value the peaceful close of a busy life, provided that repose is founded on the bright views of Christian hope looking beyond the grave; the mist of doubts and perplexities dissipated in the meridian splendour of gospel truth ; the storms of life softening into silence; the delirium of pleasure, and the dreams of dissipation fled, and the freed mind resigned to the dictates of reason; the wounds of conscience cured by the balm of eternal love; the heart, lacerated by the loss of those once so dear to us, in full expectation of a re-union never more to be , broken ; every angry passion hushed into peace; the evils of life sunk in resignation to the Divine will ;, the fervent desire of the renoVated heart approaching the verge of never-ending enjoyment; and the whole soul reposing on the bosom of a Saviour's love. These ought to be the privileges of a real Christian, and will be so in, proportion to the steadiness of his faith. May, the perusal of the excel. lent Baxter, contribute to increase and strengthen such faith, and excite such hope in the mind of every reader." pp. iv-vi. . · Art. XII. Athaliah : a Sacred Drama. Translated from the French
of Racine. Foolscap '8vo. pp. xxviii. 96. Price 3s. Edinburgh, ... Oliphant and Co. 1815, W E have frequently had occasion to speak of the difference
between the Greek and the English drama ;-a difference, indeed, so great, as to appear of kind rather than of degree. The Greek drama, a poem of simple structure, of few incidents, of few personages ; abounding in splendid description and dignified sentiment; with much eloquent declamation, and still more empty verbiage ,--the English, a play full and bustling, overflowing with traits of character, and strokes of passion :—the Greek, a thing to be admired; the English to be, felt:-the Greek, chaste and elegant, symmetrical and unimpassioned, as a Corinthian temple; the English, pressing upon the feelings, like the long aisles of a gothic abbey, yet, like them, enlivened with
an inexhaustible variety of beautiful and grotesque imagery.. . We have sometimes thought that the nature of the Greek tragedy, is to be ascribed to its origin. It was originally a bymn in honour of some deity, which was afterwards interrupted by
atures of his ow before him in that the poet; thus
some one who recited his acts and adventures. The recitation was, in process of time, converted into dialogue; the hymn was retained in the shape of chorus.
Whether, however, conveyed in recitation or in dialogue, the subject was the same; the personages of every tragedy, were demigods and heroes. Now, in the first place, the characters of these were ready drawn to the hands of the poet; they would, therefore, never come before him in that vivid portraiture which the creatures of his own brain would assume; never haunt, and press upon his imagination, like known and visible objects, like things familiar, and of which he had rather to record the feelings. and the sentiments than to invent them. The poet, then, was writing after the idea of another, was filling up another's outline; and what wonder if this was done somewhat tamely?
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?" In the second place, The reader or the spectator was as well acquainted with these same ever present personages --with Neoptolemus, and Ulysses, and Medea, and Electra, and Orestes, was the poet; and all that was necessary to be done, was not 'to violate the character, and to adapt the sentiments in general to the preconceived idea...
Thirdly. These high and mighty personages were too dignified to be trifled with : if they wept, or raved, or declaimed, every thing must be done with dignity. Compare Orestes and Hamlet, both under the same circumstances,-preternaturally commissioned to avenge the murder of a father, on the paramour of a mother. Every thing in Orestes, is abstract; he is a son, any son, avenging a father. Everything in Hamlet is individual; even when employed in such a task, you see more, you think more, of his character, than of his commission. But who does not see that his melancholy jokes, bis bitter irony, his 'spatches' of old merry songs, that bad no mirth in them,' would have been highly indecorous in Orestes ?.
The acts of the demigods and beroes, were domestica facta, to the Greeks, were sanctified to them by long and babitual reverence*, had been the tales and marvels of their childhood, and therefore, it was no wonder that they should take possession of their stage. That they should have almost entirely engrossed the French drama, does, we think, cast a tacit reproach upon the originality of the French tragedians: but, adopting the subjects of the Greek drama, they could not, we are of opinion, do other wise than adopt its style. It is a well-known fact, that
* We do not forget Aristophanes; but we may enjoy a professed jest, without losing our veneration for the object of it; we have all laughed at parodies of Shakspeare, but who ever thinks of them, when reading the original?
VOL. V. N.S.