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can arrive, that she shall be no more; but, to his sweet surprise, she is getting better, and her affectionate husband is overjoyed at her recovery. The youth, with cheerful step, returns to the place of his employment, till a second sad message calls him to see his father in his last moments; but ere he arrives, his father is no more! He mingles grief with his disconsolate mother, and piously proposes to come and carry on his father's business, and rear up the younger part of the family, and nourish his mother in her old age. After going to that far distant part to settle his affairs, he returns to settle in his father's family; but, O adorable providence! whose path is in the mighty waters, and whose foot-steps are not known, the fever that had afflicted the family seizes him ; and to-morrow he is to be laid by his father's side. Well, one prop after another may be removed, one comfort after another may perish; but still God lives, and is the widow's judge in his holy habitation. In this providence, God says, “Let the widow trust not in a son, but in me.'" pp. 122, 123.
Are we desirous to see the workings of Mr. Meikle's mind, when he himself has been afflicted? We have, in p. 161, a very profitable and interesting description of a Christian who has just lifted up his head from the depths of affliction.
“From a most dangerous situation, in which I continued for two or three weeks, I am now greatly recovered; but I am ashamed before my heavenly Father, that I sliould in the least dispute his holy will. O how rich is his grace, and how tender his love! He has kindly restored me to health; may I never forget my resolutions, nor for what I wished to live a little longer! I see that past attainments can do nothing in new difficulties. I crust daily and hourly receive grace from Christ for what I may be daily and hourly called to.” pp. 161, 162.
Having thus given some extracts from the Monthly Memorial, we shall content ourselves with selecting a few passages from the Secret Survey. Before, however, we proceed, we must remark, that, in our opinion, Mr. Meikle has fallen into a misinterpretation of the passage, “Be ye angry, and sin not.” Certainly it can never be so construed (in accordance with other texts) as to *!!ow passion in any sense allied to * commonly-received acceptation.
As to “ seeming to be angry” for the purpose of intimidating the men of the world, how would such conduct comport with avoiding the appearance of evil? We cannot aliow of any such interpretation. “Nostra arma sunt preces et lacrymae,” said Augustine; and one greater than Augustine has infallibly determined, that “ the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle and patient.” Nor have we a doubt but that Mr. Meikle was particularly of this opinion; but it is walking on a perilous edge to chuse deliberately to “seem to be angry” upon any occasion. We turn with more satisfaction to what our author says respecting the joys and consolations he at times experienced.
“Though there is always a real communion, though not always sensible, as well as vital union maintained between the renewed soul and God; yet at some times, for a few moments, I am favoured with such displays of his love, communications of his grace, glimpses of glory, and foretastes of heaven, that all the powers of my soul are both refreshed and ravished. Nor dare I challenge this as a delusion, for it comes "in a scriptural rational way; and always then God is most adored, the Redeemer more endeared, grace more admired, death more we'come, sin more abhorred, carth more despised, and heaven more longed for. Yet this attainment is but of short duration; for God will have me, even in spiritual things, to walk by faith, and not by sense. What, then, must heaven be, where the joys of God shall pour into the soul through everlasting day!” pp. 193, 199.
The Scriptures inform us, that the belief of the Gospel produced in the early Christians, “joy unspeakable and full of glory;” and why not in Christians now as well as in that period, it being certain that our Saviour is with his church “always, even to the end of the world :'' And to whom isit to be expected that such communications should be vouchsafed but to those who, like Mr. Meikle, are sober and vigilant, and cast all their care upon Jesus Christ. The apostle having mentioned joy and peace as “fruits of the Spirit,” and having opposed them to "works of the flesh”—declares that “against such there is no law.” He assures us, that “the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” and that whosoever serveth God in these, is “acceptable to him, and approved of men.” Who are the men, then, who disapprove of all joy systematically? who apply the scythe of their censure indiscriminately to the noxious weeds and fragrant flowers springing up in the path of a Christian 2–What law can they produce against the reception and experience of any fruit of the Spirit *—Many a Christian, without doubt, during his earthly pilgrimage, is clothed with the sackcloth of heaviness and mourning, and lays it not down till he take up the garments of praise and felicity in heaven: but is it not equally true, that they who exclude joy by system have adopted a scheme very different from that Gospel which is “glad tidings of great joy to all people.” . At the same time, we are most feelingly alive to the supreme importance of searching whence such joy springs, and whither it tends; and we find Mr. Meikle himself jealous over his own heart upon this head, in the very passage we have quoted. One passage, p. 214, had much better have been suppressed. It seems to indicate that the Secret Survey was meant to be secret.—We insert the following useful reflections on prayer for temporal and spiritual blessings.
“When we are very fond of any created good thing, we are apt to have a full belief that we shall obtain that very good thing; and when disappointed, we conclude, that as our faith has been false in this and that particular, so our faith of perseverance and heavenly glory at last may deceive us, and we perish. But this is our mistake. Our faith of spiritual good should be as full of assurance as possible; but with respect to our faith for the blessings of time, it should be far otherwise; our resignation to the divine disposal should be of equal extent with our faith, and then we shall never be disappointed. Again, our faith in spirituals may be particular for this or that grace
Christ. Ouseuv. No. 116.
which we stand in need of, as the disciples who pray, ‘Lord, increase our faith.” But our faith in temporals should be general, that what is good the Lord will give; and we ought not to presume to teach infinite Wisdom what is good for us; since the want of a son, and the death of a dear friend, may do us more good than the gift of the one, and the recovery of the other." p. 220. In an observation which follows, respecting children, there seems a little inconsistency with these remarks. “We are not to expect a promise that our sons shall serve God in the Gospel of his Son, though we may detlicate them to God in that view,” p. 221–No; but surely, if we dedicate them to Jesus Christ in faith, we may and ought confidently to rely that He will hear us. He healed the sick of the palsy, seeing the faith of those who brought him. The passage preceding this, we recommend to the attention of those of our readers whom it may concern. “Moreover, when we have a strong affec. tion for anything, we are ready to take our fancy for faith, and our passion towards any point as a promise given to us that we shall obtain our desire; and especially, if we recollect any scripture-text that will any way apply to our wish or view, we take it as a promise injected to us, and so allow ourselves to be deluded. But we are not to expect revelations from Heaven (whatever God may grant to some saints) as the rule of our conduct, nor are we to apply particular promises in perishing things; though we may believe, if we belong to God, that he will guide us with his counsel while we live, and afterwards receive us to glory." pp. 220, 221. Concerning this posthumous work, we have already delivered our judgment. The poetry is not even moderately moderate. The prose abounds with some singular and some ungrammatical expressions, and has many quaint alliterations. For example, “I am going to a world of friends, where there is neither sin nor self, feud nor fraud.”—“I know not what may be my last words: then, since ignorant of mine ultima verba, may my penultima be a song of triumph over death and the grave.” We discover, too, a leaning towards the * doctrinal system of the 3
Presbyterian Church. Generally, indeed, the Calvinism of our author is clothed with flesh and sinews, and steps forth in fair and comely proportion; though on one or two occasions, there may o more than some readers will relish of the anatomy of the Calvinistic scheme. This, however, we will say, that we most sincerely pity the fastidiousness of that man’s mind, who could turn from this volume, so eminently calculated to excite ('hristian seriousness, with any sentiment allied to disgust and disregard. It is scarcely possible to dip into any part of it, without finding the author, when in the midst of life, such as we should desire to be at the hour of death. But there is one point which, beyond all others, we are desirous to press upon the observation of our readers: we mean, the use which is made, in this work, of the promises of the Gospel and the doctrines of grace. Mr. Meikle did not venture to contemplate the approach of the king of terrors, without the cross of Christ being in sight, on which he who had the power of death was destroyed. He viewed death with composure, because he was one who could humbly say—“Merita mea miserationes Domini.” Having said this generally, we cannot conclude without inviting the bigotted churchman, in particular, to eruse carefully the life of this good É. and recommending it to him, instead of declaring all the ordinances of the church of which Mr. Meikle was a member to be inefficacious, to mark rather, for his own imitation, their manifest efficacy in the conduct of this excellent man. We would advise him, instead of consigning over such men as Mr. Meikle to uncovenanted mercy, to see whether he himself really trusts in that merciful covenant of grace, in which Mr. Meikle evidently reposed all his confidence. We would likewise invite those who have adopted violent and indiscriminate prejudices against all
Calvinists, as being careless and presumptuous, &c. &c. to behold in Mr. Meikle an union of vigilance with composure, and to take notice that he considered the church not only as a feast to which he was freely called, but as a vineyard also, in which he was bound to work. From the worldly-minded man, who considers gloom and religion to be convertible terms, we have one request to make—that he will at least observe a simple fact stated in the preface (if he will not proceed beyond the preface) that few Christians were of a more uniformly cheerful and lively turn of mind than Mr. Meikle, and yet he passed much of his time in meditation on mortality and immortality.
o --- | | The Borough; a Poem, in Twentyfour Letters. By the Rev. G. CRAbbe, LL.B. London: Hatchard. 1810. 8vo. pp. 344.
MR. CRAbbe has long been known to the world as a writer of much originality and considerable merit; the successful cultivator of a field of poetry peculiar to himself. Twenty-seven years have elapsed since the appearance of his first productions, consisting of three short pieces, entitled, The Library, The Village, and The Newspaper. These seem to have heen verv well received; and “The Willage” had merit enough to earn a letter of approbation from Dr. Johnson. The author, reasonably elated by such a testimonial, has inserted it in the preface to the second edition of his works; and the letter, though short and of no intrinsic importance, basyet something sufficiently characteristic of the writer to interest the lovers of Johnsonian scraps. We shall, therefore, copy it for their gratification. Mr. Crabbe, while the work was yet in manuscript, had laid it before the Doctor for revision. Johnson's imprimatur is as follows:
“ Sir, “I have sent you back Mr. Crabbe's poem, which I read with great delight; it is original, vigorous, and elegant. The alterations which I have made, I do not require him to adopt ; for my lines are, perhaps, not often better than his own : but he may take mine and his own together, and perhaps, between them, produce something better than either. He is not to think his copy wantonly defaced: a wet sponge will wash all the red lines away, and leave the pages clean. His dedication will be least liked: it were better to contract it into a short sprightly address. I do not doubt of Mr. Crabbe's success. “I am, Sir, “Your most humble servant, “SAM. Johnson.”
The approbation bestowed on Mr. Crabbe's first performances, seem either to have satiated his ambition or to have disappointed his hopes; for he did not favour the public with any new exertion of his powers till after an unaccountable lapse of twentyfive years. Whatever was the cause of this delay, its effect was certainly that of amelioration. (In a second edition of his works, Youblished in 1808, appeared, for the first time, “The Parish Register;” a poem, in our opinion, decidedly superior to any that he has produced.) There were also added to the collection several smaller pieces, of considerable merit. His last publication is that which forms the subject of the present review.
Mr. Crabbe must certainly be classed among the rural and domestic poets; but, from all others of this class he differs so widely, that his poetry must be considered as forming a distinct genus in the analysis of poetry.) No topics, perhaps, have more frequently furnished materials to the poet than the manners, habits, and sentiments of the vulgar; but it has been always hitherto thought necessary to exhibit them in some disguise, and to suffer
them to borrow from fiction the delicacy and amiableness which nature had denied them. Turning from the corruption of towns and villages, the rural poets have generally repaired to the solitary cottage, or the hermit’s cell, and the peace and innocence, which even there they failed to find, they have been accustomed to supply by their imagination. Far removed from this delicacy, Mr. Crabbe enters into a resolute detail of poverty, profligacy and disease; is more conversant with workhouses, than with grottos; and, instead of the sentimental distresses of Floras, Delias, and Strephons, enumerates the substantial grievances of Bridget Dawdle, Richard Monday, or Peter Grimes. He loves to exhibit his personages just as he finds them, in all their native coarseness and depravity, or in all their simple and unvarnished merit. They owe to his muse no favour, but that of drawing them from obscurity. If such descriptions as those of Mr. Crabbe related to more polished scenes, and to persons of higher rank, they would properly be called satires. (He has, therefore, been judiciously characterized as “The satirist of low life”)” It is to the delineation of character and manners that he chiefly applies himself; and his delineation, if just, is at least severe. Though not unwilling to praise, and well able to give to the charms of humble virtue their true energy and grace, it is by no means with an indulgent eye that he contemplates the scenes before him. (He seems to be more on the watch for matter of censure than of panegyric, and paints the depravity which he finds in colours so vivid, that he has been thought to sacrifice resemblance to effect) Of this, however, we acquit him. 'Life supplies but too copious materials to the pen of the satirist, be his thirst for censure what it may. No doubt such characters as his Blaneys and his Grimeses may be found; but we believe the poet * Edinburgh Review of Crabbe's Bo
has gone somewhat out of his way
“Be it the summer noon: a sandy space
Ships in the calm seem anchord: for they