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mature and disciplined men. Therefore there is but a meagre proportion of this kind of letter-writing, which has to be made the most of, and extended by judicious paraphrase in Mr Brock's biographical sketch. But it is very different with the younger soldier. Oddly enough, when one thinks of it, it is people who die young, and have no experience, who are most lavish of their admonitions to the world. It is your young beroes who are at once most ready to offer, and have the strongest belief in, the efficacy of advice, and who speak their word, in season and out of season, with a conscientious eagerness most worthy of honour, but which is scarcely so wise as it is brave. How far" Christian experience" can be detached and separated from human experience, it seems hard to determine; but when one hears perhaps of a young invalid, in the very earliest stage of life, whose blossom has been nipped by sickness; or of a young man on the threshold of the world, whom no miraculous decree of Providence has divested of the natural exuberance of youth, as "an experienced Christian," one wonders whether this strange reversal of nature is indeed a fundamental arrangement of Christianity, and whether experience in spiritual, can indeed be totally divided from experience in actual life. But however that may be, it is very certain and apparent that it is the young, and not the old Christians, who do the greater part of the talk and letter-writing which form the bulk of religious memoirs.
Hedley Vicars was, we have not the slightest doubt, an admirable young fellow, worthy of all praise and honour-good, high-minded, brave, a true soldier and Christianbut he was young. In the fervour of his early faith he wrote letters from which, as printed, it would be perfectly impossible to predicate who or what he was; and these letters, with the feeblest thread of story linking them together, form the Memorials, which are in the hundred and fiftieth thousand, or some such uncountable number. From the first few pages, which show him as a rather naughty and mischievous boy, to the conclusion, when the young
leader shouts to his men, "Now, 97th, up on your pins and at them!" there is not one personal feature of identity in the whole volume; and but for that morsel of familiar slang, which throws a pathetic unexpected light for a moment upon the valiant young English gentleman rushing into the agony of battle, with no grandiloquent address upon his lips, but only those common words, touched with the humour of his class and time, we should have closed the book with no more emotion than if it had been but a piece of mechanism adapted for writing letters, which, by some strange chance, had come to an end upon those fatal slopes of the East. We have no wish to meddle with these letters themselves; what a good man writes out of the fulness of his heart to his own pious friends, is a thing with which general criticism has nothing to do, and which never ought to have been put under its eye. We could easily select, as we had once thought of doing, chance passages from these, and from the letters of half-a-dozen other memoirs, feeling confident that no one unacquainted with them beforehand, nor, indeed, many who had studied them carefully, could have distinguished one from another; but we forbear, lest any one should suppose that we have any wish to treat contemptuously or throw ridicule upon words, however often repeated, however like each other, which have been the true expression of a pious heart. may regret that these words are so many, and the meaning so little varied. We might almost be inclined to say that, not after this fashion, in such a superabundance and overflow of talk, do the deepest emotions of the heart usually express themselves. We may be allowed to suppose that in this, as in everything else in the world, there is a fashion and received manner, which people fall into unconsciously; but we cannot either blame or criticise letters which we can well understand the mother, the sisters, the devout women who have followed their young hero's course with prayers too deep for words, weeping over with hearts which break with the fulness of sorrow and of
comfort. Too deep for words! if we could add a single syllable of exception to such letters as those of Hedley Vicars, it would be this: there are so many of those floats of expression which cannot go down into the depths, but must keep to the surface, that one loses sight of the reality which must and ought to remain below.
Our quarrel, however, is not with Hedley Vicars, but with the compiler of his Life. It is written, this lady says, to refute "those who, in the face of examples to the contrary, still maintain that entire devotion of the heart to God must withdraw man from many of the active duties of life; and who would be prepared to concede that, in making a good Christian, you may spoil a good soldier." And to encourage young Englishmen who have more of Christ's religion in their hearts than they have ever avowed in their lives," "to emulate the noble example of a Christian soldier." An admirable motive; but how this can be done by printing some scores of pious letters, in which there is very little about the active duties of life, and still less about the necessities of the profession, seems rather hard to see. What the book does prove is, that the young soldier was full of charity and good works, and had a pen fluent to write of sacred things; that he visited soldiers in the hospitals, read to them, and taught them, is to be gathered from the narrative, but that he made large use of those sentences which begin with "May we," or "Oh!" and end in a note of admiration, is the chief fact proved by his Life. Are young Englishmen to test their love of religion, the genuineness of their devotion, and the true nature of their faith, by their ability to write or speak after the model of these letters? Is it by practising a like exuberance of pious words, that the lads are to emulate this Christian soldier? Is it the beginning lesson of Christianity to enable every one who embraces it heartily, not to be taught, but to teach? This may be the modern lesson most familiar to the religious public, but it is surely not the essence of the gospel.
Let us suppose this book put into the hands of a young man beginning life, to whom those usages of pious talk were unfamiliar, and who had no associations of reverence with them. We cannot tell-it is almost impossible to predict certainly beforehand how anything will affect anybody; but the reasonable presumption seems to be, and we confess it is likewise our own feeling, that the reader, in such circumstances, who takes up this volume respectfully, with no wish to scoff at it, yet with no special prejudice in its favour, must pause, staggered and puzzled, ere he is half-way through. Is it indispensable, before one dare hope one's self a Christian, to be like this model of Christianity? is it a necessary process of grace in the heart, to convert one's home letters into vague addresses, as abstract as if the family there were the members of a missionary association or a prayer-meeting? Must all the personal outbreaks of the heart be rubbed out by much diluted repetitions of a text, or ejaculations over one's own shortcomings ? What is the young soldier-conscious of a gay exuberance of spirit which he cannot subdue, yet with a manful meaning to make his life worth living, whose heart has begun to yearn after the unseen, yet who scarcely knows the way to make of this book when it comes into his hands? He is told that religion is not inconsistent with enjoyment, and that the Christian life expands everything that is lovely and of good report in the natural existence, and he receives as proof of this welcome intelligence the letters of Hedley Vicars! It is possible that no alchemy in the world could wring such letters as these out of himself; it is probable that he feels no vocation at present to teach or testify, that he is shy of disclosing to any one the hunger in his heart, and that the lesson he wants is, how to be, and not how to declare himself a Christian. What is this youth's impression likely to be of the faith which he longs for without yet knowing it, when some pious friend puts into his hand the little volume where Hedley Vicars' letters, enthusiastically approved and received as the type of youthful piety,
are presented to him as a model and example for his own life?
Life is one thing and talk is entirely another; how long are we to have pious aspirations in the foreground, and all the origin and issue of them expressed in a few faint lines behind? There are very many people who will never put their aspirations upon paper, nor tell anybody who or what they pray for, people who could neither quote hymns nor write ejaculatory letters -and yet may be Christians; since Christianity is not a thing either of living or of talking, but, far simpler and harder, of life.
It is strange to see, however, how these publications hold fast by the ancient eighteenth-century idea of religion as a thing associated with gloom and incompatible with cheerfulness, and how they do their endeavour, while denying the same in words, to prove that insane figment. We are perpetually assured that no one who ever saw this Christian's radiant face, or that happy domestic circle, could ever venture again to say that religion is a gloomy thing; and having said so, biographer after biographer lapses into that dreary waste of letters, and takes especial care that the social cheer of the circle they instance, or the smile upon the individual face, shall be thoroughly concealed from us under the blank wall of paper, which is all we get for a life. Who believes that religion is gloomy? Who does not know in his heart, with a certainty beyond demonstration, that the good man is and must be the happy man, and that there is no such certain crown and seal of earthly content as the love and the hope of heaven? But if anything could persuade us to think so, it would be the argument of lives cut down into correspondence, or nicely picked out in choice bits and fragments labelled with the names of certain qualities. For ourselves, we cannot but think the defence and apology as impertinent as it is useless. Who, save a religious writer, dares to say that there is any popular prejudice against religion? The boldest pen of profane literature can only venture on abusing pretences of piety, and knows that a word against
true faith itself makes an end of him at once and for ever; and even caricaturists, who deal in hypocrites and Pharisees, must be very wary of their ways, and take good heed that they do not step across that fastidious and fanciful line of defence which some people call only good taste, but which surrounds, in the most common fancy, the footsteps of true Christians. We do not believe there is a man, even in the lowest paths of literature, who dares imagine for fear of his audience, what is said complacently with the perfect consent of his, by Mr Brock. "Havelock," this gentleman informs us, " maintained that he was not degrading his intellectual nature when he became a follower of Christ
he was not deteriorating his moral nature when he sought to have fellowship with the sufferings of Christ. To those, indeed, who were willing to converse on the subject, he showed that never were men more mistaken if they imagined they must sacrifice their mental manhood in order to have faith in the Redeemer, or if they supposed that they must cease to employ their minds the moment they exercised faith in the Son of God." Who supposes any such thing, can Mr Brock tell us? or if the thought should linger in the corners of some reluctant heart, who is bold enough to express it? We have heard all our lives defences of religion against these imaginary assaults, but we are bound to confess that the assaults themselves have never come under our observation. The peculiarities of pious people have given, and perhaps always will give, various points of vantage to the wit of the world, but the greatest scoffer against puritanism, or pietism, never ventures to affront his audience by an insinuation that those manners which he caricatures are part of the necessary matter of Christianity. It is only through the apologies of religious writers that we find out this accusation; and those apologies which tell us in a few hurried words that the hero was none the worse nor the sadder for his Christianity— that "godliness had neither made him a sentimentalist nor a dolt," and that life was pleasant to him now as heretofore; and then hasten from that
view of the subject, as if life was rather an inferior matter, not worth speaking of, to produce before us, as fruits of his religion, this deluge of pious superficial exclamations, and the much speaking of those prayers and penitences-are indeed the only real arguments we ever heard of in favour of their own statement, that piety is associated with gloom. It is safer for a man to believe that people who share the same nature feel somewhat as he does, than that he alone is enlightened and the whole world lies in darkness. Every man, certainly, whom one meets is not a Christian; but every man, one time or another, has felt something of want and deficiency aching at his heart, and knows, though he may neither acknowledge it nor act upon the knowledge, that the faith of God does not bring melancholy, but is the inspiration of true life. Yet if any
thing could persuade us of so inhuman and unnatural a statement, it would be to see how good people take their pleasure sadly at deathbeds and in sick-rooms, how the lighter literature of religion is almost all elegiac, and how death itself holds something like a professional place in the agencies of modern piety. One of the heroes of this class of books-we believe Hedley Vicars himself-laments the time when he lived without a thought of a deathbed and a day of judgment. This was a young man, and a soldier. Was there no inducement so strong as thoughts of a deathbed to make a Christian of him? Was it a consideration of how to die, and not the love of Christ constraining a force more mighty than a thousand deaths, which turned the face of this young saint towards heaven? Let nobody believe so unworthy an imagination; but while this fashion of religious ness continues while the living particulars of life are ignored and kept in the background, and all the details of death commemorated with a hard fidelity, it is difficult to avoid thinking that, were it within the possibilities of human belief, religious literature might indeed convince us that religion was a system of heaviness and gloom.
It is no such thing, as we all know; it is not an ordeal of preparation for death inevitable, but the most living inspiration of all life; and if any one is daunted by the reading of those Memorials which commemorate young saints, let us beg them to remember that everything human has its fashion, and that this is but the superficial mannerism of the time. Letters as same and tame and unindividual as though they were extracts from indifferent sermons-the strange barter of prayers, which seems in some circles matter of easy arrangement, a kind of friendly bargain God bless you for your letter, and also for your prayers, which I value more than I can express. As but a poor return, while I live you shall have mine;" and all those extraordinary technicalities of a pious life, which, if we did not know to the contrary, we should be half disposed to call profane, are in reality but a mask of the existence which they profess to reveal. Good works and Christian charities, as true as pure religion can make them, lie under all this babble of ill-advised but well-meaning words; and ridicule, however the productions tempt it, is a weapon which we would be grieved to remember we had ever used against the originators of the same. At the same time, we cannot but contemplate with sadness the singular aspect of this branch of literature; it is popular beyond all parallel: critics frown upon the books and sneer at them, but the public gives golden laurels to salve the scratches made by the critic, and buys up by the thousand those trim little octavoes, where works of higher pretence drop into circulation only one by one. Yet it is impossible not to perceive that this class of writing, magnanimously indifferent to natural truth, is like nothing else in earth or heaven, and specially is as far different and widely distinct from the lives and words of the Scriptures as it is possible to imagine. From whence does it spring, and why is its popularity? We give up the riddle to more ingenious imaginations; it is quite beyond any solution of ours.
THE FIRST BENGAL EUROPEAN FUSILIERS AFTER THE FALL OF DELHI.
(Continued from our January Number.)
"Don't you hear the General say,
IN writing the description of the part taken by the 1st Bengal Fusiliers in the operations before and at the capture of Delhi, I avoided, as much as possible, making mention of other corps; and where their gallant acts are introduced, it was more in allusion to, than as a chronicle of, their brave deeds. This I did intentionally, because it was so very difficult to obtain accurate information; and also, because I did not wish to trench on others who were anxious to record the acts of brave men who were personally known to them, and of whom they could write more fully than I possibly could.
In the following narrative I may probably, in some slight degree, deviate from this, since these reasons did not exist, or if so, in a very much less degree, as on moving out into the district, the Fusiliers then forming the chief European portion of the column, and the officers of this small force were all personally acquainted with one another.
For some time rumour had been busy; and the report went that Summul Khan, with a considerable portion of mutineers, consisting of a choice body of cavalry, with the whole of the Joudpore Legion, several Sepoys, and a force of some thousands of untrained rebels, with a battery of six guns, was about Kanoude, a large town about sixty miles west of Delhi. To quiet the district, and, if possible, bring these men to action, a force was sent out under Brigadier Showers, which did good service, and after some hard marching, returned to division headquarters, without having, however, been able to learn any particulars regarding the rebel army. This force captured three strongholds of the enemy, in which were many guns, and treasure said to amount to L.70,000 sterling.
On the return of this brigade, another force was sent out to the west,
having the same object in view. This column was placed under Colonel Gerrard, who had succeeded to the command of the 1st Fusiliers; and with him went "the old dirtyshirts."
We moved out of Delhi, and from the tents pitched near the Cashmere Gate, on the 9th November 1857, but only to get clear of the city, and to be in readiness for the march on the morrow, and therefore encamped on the glacis near the Ajmere Gate. Next morning we made a start, marching a short distance beyond the Kootub, where we halted. On the 11th we marched to Gurgong, and the next morning on to Pultowlee, through eighteen miles of sand -a most trying march for men and animals; indeed, this loose sand continued to offer a serious impediment during the succeeding marches, trying alike to men and cattle. The nights were cold; and though the air remained cool during the day in the shade, the sun always became unpleasantly hot about 9 A.M.
From Pultowlee we marched to Rewarree, where is a strong fort, which had been already occupied by the column under Brigadier Showers. It was taken without opposition, which was so far fortunate, for the defence of these places consists chiefly of a thick mud wall or bank, upon which cannon can make little or no impression, with a deep ditch. Within are well-built buildings. Both time and men would be lost in taking such posts, particularly as they are for the most part supplied with heavy guns. Here the Carabineers (two squadrons) joined us, having marched from Meerut, about eighty-eight miles, in four days. We were very glad to see the blue tunics, the prospect of a fight becoming more distinct.
From Rewarree we marched to Nemboot, where there was a most