« ForrigeFortsett »
quotes a line from Homer, and for the edification of his spouse, expatiates on the beauties of pododextudos; till the good lady is compelled in vindication of her ‘favourite poet,' to recite a part of Milton's morning hymn, after elegantly remarking that his 'poetic pearls were set in the gold of devotional piety!" We ought to inform our readers, in order to account for this happy illustration, that the lady was, we believe, the daughter of a jeweller. Naturam expellcs furca ; tamen usque recurret. -They had not advanced more than seventy miles from town, before they determined, in the true spirit of adventure, to see whatever could be seen;' and for this purpose they • abandon the dusty turnpike, and seek the picturesque and
the rural, in bye roads, lanes, and commons.' The Author does not inform us, but it is quite natural to conjecture, that they took Dr. Syntax's Travels with them. Nothing, however, occurred in this search for the picturesque ' in Janes and com
mons,' worth the trouble of relation, except their accidental con. versation with a pious weaver, till their chaise became at • length stuck quite fasť (truly a most picturesque description) ' in the tenacious grasp of a deep rut in a clay soil.' At length they find that one horse is scarcely adequate to the business of conveying his master and mistress about two hundred miles, in any reasonable time; and it was a merciful accident for the poor beast that the chaise · became stuck quite fast.' They resolve to leave their vehicle and the horse behind them, and to prosecute the remainder of their journey by the stage-coach.
A stage-coach, if inhabited for any length of time, is a moving microcosm. It is sometimes amusing to encounter the variety of adventures which a long journey in a stage-coach frequently preseuts. It is here we meet with the picturesque' of character; and we wonder the Author of the New Covering” did not avail himself of the opportunity of increasing the bulk and value of his work, by a few sketches of moral scenery. We have indeed one anecdote; but as it is not remarkable, except for the unhappy ignorance it de velops, we shall not detain our impatient readers any longer on the road. One of their fellow travellers, 'a gentleman of ' respectable appearance and engaging manners,' was to stop at the same village to which they were destined ; and on learning the object of their journey, he determined to accompany them to the Church where the 'wonderful Cushion, as
they conjectured, might be found.' On the morning of the day after their arrival they hasten to the consecrated spot, whenmirabile dictu—they learn that it is in a dissenting Chapel -All the rest may be very easily guessed. The Cushion is found distended a second time with the marvels of its his. tory; another dissection takes place; another chapter of autobiography is read—commented on-explained—and justified ; and after several episodes, which have no connexion with the . development of the fiction, and seem introduced for no other purpose than to fill up the volume, and to empty the commonplace book, the “ New Covering” is again re-stitched, and we trust, consigned to that oblivion which it is henceforth destined to enjoy without further molestation.
It will be recollected, that the female interlocutor in the first conversations on this celebrated Cushion, is a very humble, modest, reserved old lady, who is far better pleased that her venerable partner should speak than herself; who seems afraid of disturbing for a moment the train of his reasonings and observations; and who is all complacency and submission as in duty bound towards her gentle lord! Well might the converted Cushion exclaim at the beginning of his narrative, T'empora mutantur! The young wife is the most animated actor, and sustains the principal character in the scenes of this solemn farce. The gentleman of respectable appearance' now and then ventures to put in a word on behalf of old times, established usages, and the religion of his forefathers; but he is a mere man of straw, contrived for no other purpose than to render the victory more decisive and complete.
Our readers will easily ascertain our opinion of this tit for 'tať affair. The fiction is so entirely borrowed from its predecessor, and in many parts so clumsily imitated, that what is excellent in point of argument or description, loses its value from the direct comparison which is immediately instituted to : the great disadvantage of the “New Covering." We frankly admit the justness and force of many observations on the disingenuous and unwarrantable insinuations of the “ Velvet Cushion." We have entered so much at large, however, on its merits and demerits in a former number, that we think any further remarks from us unnecessary. At the same time, we advise the Author, when he publishes again in defence of the Dissenters, to be more accurate in his citations from the Prayer-Book. There are two instances of glaring misquotation from the burialservice, which have appeared in both editions: we believe they were not intentional; but it is a kind of inadvertence that should be most vigilantly guarded against in such a controversy. After making these deductions from the worth of the volume before us, we cannot close our remarks without highly commending the spirit and temper which it displays. There are also occasionally interspersed some delineations most happily executed, which are worthy of being placed in the same collection with the admirable Sketches of the Velvet Cushion.” The following
extract is well told :—it is an affecting description of the Vicar's death and interment.
• The venerable and pious Vicar departed this life rather suddenly; suddenly I mean as it respected his weeping parish, and his anguish-smitten partner; for himself, he was habitually prepared for a better existence. Like Enoch, he walked with God; heaven in his eye, and the world beneath his feet. From the remarks I have occasionally heard by those who, from admiration of the de parted Saint, valued all that belonged to him, and would sometimes come to bestow a look, and drop a tear upon his cushion, I learnt that his dying chamber was a most interesting scene. Composure was upon
his brow ; the sparkle of hope blended with rapture, was in his eye; the words of Christian affection, deep resignation, and devotional piety, so long as he could speak, flowed from his lips. In his last hours, ministering angels seemed to shed the fragrance of heaven from their wings ! All was silence! Not a mortal thing was moving to disturb the solemn scene-save a single tear, that escaped from the eyes of her who had too much sorrow of heart, to manifest much of the ordinary and external signs of grief. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
• The day of his interment exhibited a remarkable scene. I shall never forget it, and the impression will not soon be obliterated from the memory of this vicinity. The Church where he had so long, and so usefully officiated, was crowded to excess with spectators ; silent--and sad spectators ! In addition to the solemnity which the funeral scene is calculated to impress, even in witnessing the burial of any one, though unknown or indifferent to us, all seemed to feel in the present instance, a personal bereavement. There was not an individual in the vast congregation, who did not look as if he had lost his father, or his dearest earthly friend, and when the black ensigns of mortality moved towards the spot where, on the right of the altar, his predecessor lay, and where by his own request he was deposited, tears flowed and siglis re-echoed from every quarter. So great was the religious impression produced by the circumstances of his death and interment, that though he had been very useful before, during a succession of years, in reforming the morals of his parish, in widely disseminating knowledge, and impressing by his holy instructions the lessons of piety, yet the moral and spiritual force of many years of the most exemplary character seemed to be as it were compressed here into a single hour. Many who were insensible cven under the touching pathos of his pulpit addresses, were subdued and led captive by the eloquence of the grave. Even to the present hour, he is in a sense visible his works follow him his image is stamped on a thousand hearts--his glory survives--his Sun indeed is set, but the twilight of a holy example remains, and sheds a serene lustre over the scene of his labours. pp. 55–59.
Art. VIII. An Essay on the Character and Practical Writings of St.
Paul. By Hannah More.' 2 vols. 12mo. pp. xii. 290. Price 12.
(Continued from page 446.) St. Paul's Tenderness of heart, bis Heavenly-minded
ness,' and a general view of the qualities' of his character,-in particular, his knowledge of human nature, bis delicacy in giving reproof, and his integrity, form the subjects of the first three chapters of the second volume. With regard to each of these characteristio excellences, Mrs. More's ohject is to exhibit the Apostle as an example for an every day practice. In illustrating his Heaveuly-Mindedness, our Author has this admirable remark.
• He was not only supremely excellent in unfolding the doctrines, and inculcating the duties of Christianity; he was not only equal in correctness of sentiment and purity of practice, with those who are dryly orthodox, and superior to those who are coldly practical; but he perfects holiness in the fear of God.” He abounds in that heavenly-mindedness which is the uniting link between doctrinal and „practical piety, which by the unction it infuses, proves that both are the result of Divine grace; and which consists in an entire consecration of the affections, a voluntary surrender of the whole man to God.'
Although we profess not to be partial to the antithetical style of our Author, we often meet with sentences which are full of meaning and force.
• True religion consists in the subjugation of the body to the soul, and of the soul to God.'
• His idea of self-denial was to sacrifice his own will ; his notion of pleasing God was to do and suffer the Divine will.'
• Gentleness of manner in our Apostle was the fruit of his piety; the good-breeding of some men is a substitute for theirs.'
A chapter is devoted to the illustration of St. Paul's charge to Timothy, with respect to the love of money,' which deserves to be read with particular attention on account of the importance of the subject : with regard to no subject, however, are the lessons of the Christian moralist so unavailing.
• Even many professing Christians,' Mrs. More remarks, who speak with horror of public diversiuns, or even of human literature, as containing the essence of all sin, yet seem to see no turpitude, to feel no danger, to dread no responsibility, in any thing that rt spects this privare, domestic, bosom sın; this circumspect vice, this wiscreet and orderly corruption. Yet the sins which make no noise are
often the most dangerous, and the vices of which the effect is to pro. duce
respect, instead of contempt, constitute the most deadly snare.'
' There are few vices,' she subsequently remarks, which separate a man less from the friendship of the world,'—she might have added, even of the religious world, but there are
few that separate him more widely from the duty which he owes to his neighbour,“ or stand more fearfully between his soul “ and his God;">' «it drowns men in destruction and perdi“ tion.” • Iniquity,' says Archbishop Leighton, 'is so involved ' in the notion of riches, that it can very hardly be separated ' from them. St. Hierom savs, verum mihi videtur illud, ' dives aut iniquus est, aut iniqui hæres.'
In a commercial country like our own, in which wealth not only is the means of comfort and independence, and the
elemental principle of pleasure, but constitutes the standard of estimation, and outweighs both rank and character in the scale of opinion, it is obvious that the factitious value of money must be indefinitely encreased. And when a high degree of taxation, the stagnation of commerce, and the depreciation of the currency itself, have wrought up the world of business to so unnatural a state, that it is necessary to bring constantly the utmost tension of effort to the discharge of our daily occupation, with a view even to an unambitious competency, it must be admitted, that the danger of our acquiring an overweening and inordinate love of that which costs so much in the attainment, becomes proportionately an object of alarm and self-distrust. Money in fact may be taken as a symbol of all that is seductive in the present world, of all that induced the reiterated cautions and pathetic warnings of our Lord and of his Apostles against the love of the world. Under no form are we, perhaps, less apt to suspect the inroads of this fatal enemy to all spirituality and usefulness. When accused, it • can always make out a good case. The love of gain is urged as duty; it is felt as necessity; it is even deplored at those intervals in which we for a moment awake to a sense of its injurious operation upon our hearts. Covetousness, however, is a vice the existence of which we are the last to perceive and the most backward to acknowledge in ourselves. We think we are provident for our family, while we are only covetous ' for ourselves. The atmosphere of the world is infectious : we find ourselves insensibly catching the tone of its estimates, and falling into its corrupt maxims. . 'The unsuccessful aspirer after forbidden wealth is indeed not only avoided, but stigmatized ; his crime lies not so much in the attempt as in the failure ; while prosperous corruption easily works it, VOL. III. N, S.