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Who, amidst fashion's taint and pleasure's lure,
Love all thy Gospel loves, and humbly honour Thee.? These lines ask for no encomium : they go direct to the heart. In taking leave of this brilliant anthology, we cannot avoid noticing that, although it has received contributions from some of the most eminent poets in this golden age of our poetical literature--for what former age could parallel the splendid constellation formed by Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, Southey, Crabbe, Campbell, Rogers, Montgomery, not to name our junior optimes ?-yet, the most beautiful poems in the collection, decidedly, are from the pens either of females, or of scarcely known or anonymous writers. How much delightful poetry must there be, judging from what is thus accidentally brought to light, that is continually springing up
and perishing in the quiet glades and nooks of domestic privacy-heart blos soms, that vie in beauty with the most carefully trained and cultured productions of art, but which aim at nothing higher than catching the smile or the tear of affection, or perhaps at being gathered and worn for an hour. Such works as these shew, more than any half dozen splendid chef d'auvres, the character and spirit of the age. It is peculiarly gratifying to find a taste for elegant literature and a susceptibility of the chaste and quiet pleasures of the home circle, prevailing among the higher classes,—to catch glimpses and openings into the habitations of our gentry and titled ones, which tell us that all is not heartless and sterile within the withering zone of fashion. The volume before us is not more creditable to the age on account of the talent displayed by the several writers,
• There appears to have been a line dropped here in transcribing, which would complete the couplet.-R.
than on account of the moral purity and correctness of sentiment by which it is characterized, divested of which, poetry is but a scentless weed, which may be admired awhile for its brilliant hues, but no one takes it to his bosom.
Art. VI. Four Treatises on the following Subjects: I. Mystery of
Redemption. II. Prayer of Moses. III. Doctrine and Duty of Self-examination. IV. On the Faith of the Gospel. By J. A.
Haldane. 24mo. pp. viii, 136. Price 2s. London, 1823. THI 'HE third of these Treatises was originally published in
1806, and a new edition has long been called for. It is a very plain, practical, and useful tract, well adapted both to promote and to direct the Scriptural discharge of the duty which it illustrates. Both in this and the following treatise, Mr. Haldane insists on that view of faith which has subsequently been so eloquently expounded and vindicated by Mr. Erskine; and he shews how any other view of faith lays us open to self-deception.
• When, instead of being engaged in contemplating the truth, our minds are occupied in considering the manner of our believing, we are laid under very strong temptations to persuade ourselves, that our faith possesses all the qualities of saving faith, and hence to draw our consolation. The Scriptures shew us a more excellent way. They do not entangle us in the mazes of metaphysical distinctions.
They address the common sense of mankind; teach us what we are to believe, and describe the effects which the belief of the truth must necessarily produce. Thus, our minds are constantly directed towards the testimony of God; and a far more unequivocal test is given us, by which we may prove whether we believe the Gospel.'
Mr. Haldane very justly remarks, that the true end of selfexamination is, 'not to quiet the conscience, to banish slavish
fear, or to remove doubts and apprehensions of our being
believers,' but, to prove the genuineness of the peace and ' comfort which we enjoy.' The practical importance of this distinction is very great, and it requires to be always kept in view in enforcing the duty.
Our Author's explanation of Psal. xc. 3. “ Return, ye chil. "dren of men," as referring, not to Gen. iii. 19, but to the Divine promise of a resurrection, is not new. The translation in the Psalter favours it : “ Come again, ye children of men.” It appears to us, however, inadmissible for the reasons which Calvin assigns for rejecting it. Alii secus interpretantur, • quod Deus deducat homines usque ad interitum, deinde in
• resurrectione instauret. Sed argutia hæc procul quæsita est, nec quadrat contextu.'
The view of the mystery of Redemption given in the following passage, is highly striking and scriptural.
Another great end of this astonishing act of condescension was, that a stop might be put to the progress of sin. It results from the character of God, that all his works were originally good. Sin, however, entered the universe ; but it did not originate with man. It had gained admission previous to his creation; it had proved the ruin of multitudes of the rebel angels, and by their prince it was introduced into this world. How awful are the effects of sin ! How does it blind the minds of those who are caught in its toils! The angels who excel in strength, who stood in the presence of God, presumed to rebel; and although they immediately began to reap the fruit of their wickedness, yet, impelled by pride and alienation from God, they persisted in the desperate warfare ; attempted to thwart the schemes of their Creator, and to tarnish his glory by the ruin of mankind.
..... Why sin was at first permitted, we cannot tell. It was not owing to want of power, or wisdom, or goodness in the Creator; but it made its appearance, it extended its influence to this world ; and we learn from Scripture, that one grand end which God had in view in dwelling with men on the earth, was to destroy the works of the devil, to arrest the progress of sin, and finally to sweep it from the face of the universe, into that place whence it shall never escape to mar the beauty of creation, and shall only be recollected, to enhance the glory of God and the felicity of all his obedient and intelligent creatures.
• The Scripture informs us, that this world was created by and for Jesus Christ : it was intended as a theatre on which his glory should be exhibited, and that by the church redeemed with his blood, the manifold wisdom of God might be known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places. pp. 25—7.
It is unnecessary to add one word in recomendation of such a work as this, to religious readers. Its cheapness will secure its extensive sale.
Art. VII. The Discipline practised in the Churches of New England :
containing, I. A Platform of Church Discipline. II. The Principles owned, and the Endeavours used by the Churches of New England, concerning the Chureh State of their Posterity. III. Heads of Agreement assented to by the United Ministers, formerly called Presbyterian and Congregational. (From Magnalia Christi Americana, by Cotton Mather, D.D.) 12mo. pp. 130.
Price 3s. Whitchurch. 1823. THIS is an interesting document, and deserved to be reprinted,
although we cannot go the length of regarding this Platà form as standard,' nor do we on many points agree with it. There is much debateable matter in the volume, into which, however, various considerations restrain us from entering. One hint in the Editor's Preface merits attention, apart from any views that may be held respecting baptism and church-membership: it relates to the duty which lies upon parents, to prepare their children, by competent instruction, for becoming members of the visible Church. The indiscriminate and superficial • kind of instruction in sabbath schools,' will not, he remarks, supply the defect of parental care and counsel. We fear that, in some cases, it has been too much relied upon by religious parents whose children may attend such schools. It is much : to be lamented,' remarks Mr. Higgins, that the good old 6
way of every head of a family employing one part of the
sabbath in catechetical exercises and examinations, has been " to so great an extent abandoned.' An evening lecture is but a poor and inefficient substitute for such exercises, to either the parent or the child; and it is matter for regret, that, where there is no afternoon public service, the interval is not so employed. We are persuaded that too much reliance is in general placed on the instrumentality of the pulpit; too much on the routine and mechanism of the school. Neither the minister nor the Sunday School teacher can absolve the parent, or supersede his watchful efforts, or effect much without his concurrence.
The ground taken by the New England divines in reference to the church state of posterity,' will not, we apprehend, be found in unison with the sentiments even of Pædobaptists in general in this country. We must not be understood to intimate our opinion of the work in any other light than that of an historical document, illustrative of the faith and practice of the venerable founders of the American Church. It is observable, that they expressly disclaimed the term Independent, as applied to congregational churches, in which we think they were right.
Art. VIII. Narrative of the Life and Travels of Serjeant B
Written by Himself. 12mo. pp. 302. Price 58. Edinburgh. 1823. TH HE Editor of this instructive and interesting memoir, de
serves the thanks of the public for having overcome the reluctance of the worthy Author to consent to its appearance in print, and for conducting it through the press; but, as the memoir is anonymous, he ought to have given his own name. There can be no doubt, however, of its being both a genuine
harrative and a true story; for it presents such a view of a soldier's life, as could never have been supplied by fancy:
We have advocated, in a preceding article, the claims of music; but this little volume holds up to those whom it may concern, the dangers of music. All our worthy serjeant's wanderings and sufferings sprang from his unfortunate musical propensity. Little did he think, when he was laying out the few half-pence which had been given him, in the purchase of an old fife, that that instrument was to have such an influence in determining his future life, that he should be led by the ear so many thousands of miles, and undergo, as the effect of music, such wondrous transformation. Strange as may sound the expression, too many have found it true in fact, that fifes and flutes and fiddles are edge-tools to meddle with ; that music is, like many other useful things, a good servant, but a bad master, an innocent playmate, but a dangerous mistress. Satan well knows the power of music, if divines do not; and he will not fail to turn it to his advantage if he can. And where the propensity exists, it is in vain to think of its being checked by withholding the means of indulging it.
· This was not the first time,' says Serjeant B., that I shewed my attachment to music; for when f lived at Darnick with my grandfather, there was a weaver in the town, who was famous, far and near, as a whistler, and he used to gratify my musical desire by whistling a tube to me, till I had got it correct, and then gave me another, and so on. But I was then little aware what this was to lead to; for I afterwards got enough of music, as you shall see in the sequel of this book. But it may be seen from this early propensity in me, that “ even a child may be known by his doings."
We have no doubt that the charms of the fife were enhanced to him, by its coming nearest to the human whistle, which, in spite of all that may be said against its vulgarity, is not wholly to be despised. The ploughman's whistle is as natural an accompaniment as the cobbler's song ; mingling with other rural sounds, it harmonizes with the scene. And when heard proceeding from the loom, instead of from the road-side, it still sounds cheerfully; and is immeasureably to be preferred to a vile song, or worse conversation, which the whistler is compelled to abstain from. Nay, ill adapted as this poor man's music is to sacred airs, we have known a psalm tune whistled with a sort of godly merriment, that has served perhaps to call up good ideas in the ninds of the hearers. But we have no doubt that the Darnick weaver was a whistler of martial. music, and that suggested the choice of a fife; and hence sprang all the mischief.