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Art. XII, No False Alarm : or a Sequel to Religious Union, Scc.
being the Result of a Parochial Visitation through the Archdeaconry of Bedford. By the Rev. R. Shepherd, D. D. Archdeacon of Beda
ford. 8vo. pp. 67. Maxwell and Wilson, 1808. THI HERE is an Erratum in Dr. Shepherd's title, which gives his whole
work an air of inconsistency; it will easily be corrected by blotting out the first word. The propriety of this alteration will be obvious to those readers who know, what every intelligent observer knows, that there is nothing like political disaffection amang the general body of modern dissenters, that there is no prospect of any public disturbance resembling that of the 17th century, inasmuch as the political and religious grievances which occasioned it have ceased to exist, and that the church of England, established by law, supported by the national purse and sword, and profess. edly countenanced by the higher ranks and the great majority of the people, is secure from external force, and has nothing to fear but from the trea; chery or folly of her members, of her servants, or of her officious and scribbling advisers.
We very heartily approve some of the sentiments in Dr. S.'s pamphlet; zeferring to the visitation charge of the Archdeacon of Bucks, (E. R. Vol. III. 621) he says,
• A respectable Divine of the Established Church, in investigating the causes that have most contributed to promote, and spread that dissention and disunion in Religion, which throughout the kingdom at this day 80 darmiogly prevail, attributes them principally, and chiefly, to the "farourite, but delusive doctrine, of Faith and Love;” of which the Con. wenticle preacher is known particularly to avail himself. And the Archdeacon's observation, if the doctrine have the effect which he attributes to it, will instruct us how to counteract its influence in the Conventicle; which will be, by a more frequent use and application of it in the Church, than generally obtains. "It is, indeed, a favourite doctrine ; for it is the most comprehensive one in the whole compass of Christianity; including belief in all Christ taught, and the practice of all that he commanded. Nor can I admit the doctrine to be a delusive one : because it is prescribed by the Church of England to be believed and taught; and has the authority of Scripture in testimony of its truth.'
pp. 23, 24.
This Archidiaconal charge was the chief occasion of Dr. Shepherd's writing his “ False Alarm." A reference was made in it to the following passage of a sermon preached by the Rev. S. Greatheed, before a Society of Christians at Bea ford for propagatiog the Gospel ; "there are so many dark parts of the county (of Bedford), that the most diligent inquiry the preacher could make has left him in doubt wbether an awakening ministry of the Gospel hith yet extended, even occasionally, to one in three of the villages and principal ramlets of that county.” Dr. S., it seems, is very indignant at this representation, and proves the aspersions to be as false as they are wicked;" for he says “ there is not a parish in the county, where the service of the church of England is not performed every Sunday, and in some parishes twice!” Strange and perverse as it may appear,
beed does not consider this assertion as a denial of his allegation, much less as a refutation of it.
'N Dr. S. (he observes, p. 46.) will take the pains of reading the disCourse which he has so rashly and violently censured, he may discover that something more than the performance of the Church of England service, was intended by the phrase, “ an awakening ministry of the Gospel.” It is to be feared, that the manner in which the Liturgy is performed in many churches, tends to an effect very different from any thing that can be called awakening:” and that, if the congregation does not often sleep under what is “stiled” the Sermon, its usual brevity is the chief preventive of such a consequence. By an “awakening ministry of the Gospel,” was meant an administration of the precepts, the warnings, the doctrines, and the promises of the Gospel, with a seriousness and earnestness suited to their infinite im. portance, and adapted to excite the attention and awaken the consciences of hearers.
It appears, from some very just remarks in Dr. Shepherd's pamphlet, that he does know, and that he highly approves, what is meant by “an awakening ministry;" they amount indeed to something very like a confession that such a ministry is not so prevalent as Dr. S. could wish in his archdeaconry; and are creditable to his wisdom as a dignitary, though they demonstrate him to be a disingenuous and absurd polemic. The remarks are just and highly important, though the expressions are incomparably ridiculous in a writer who sneers at the ignorance and illiterature” of “the conven
Let the silver tongue of Eloquence from the stores of learning draw its splendid picture of the beauty of Virtue, or the deformity of Vice; how will it fade before the stronger colours of those divine truths, which in the preaching of St. Paul put the Sadducees to silence, and the pride of Heathen Philosophy to shame! By an elegant harangue we may engage the attention of literary taste: but discourses of this nature will neither warm the heart, nor interest the affections ; they die on the ear, and the impression on the mind scarcely lasts till the congregation have passed the threshold of the church. It is not thus with those great Gispel Truths, on which drawled out in a meeting-house from the lips of ignorance and illiterature we sometimes see a suspended audience hang: addressed vith earnestness, and enforced with the graces of a manly and temperate eloquence which a cultivated mind inspires; while they inforın the understanding, they captivate the heart; implanting there a happy and permanent effect.
Dr. S. shrewdly suspects that the independents “ assumed that name from a tenet of the German Anabaptésts, which was an independence or freedom from all obligations to the Civil Government !!" Art. XIII. A Day in Spring, and other Poems By Richard Westall,
Esq. R. A. royal 8vo. pp. 234. Price 12s. 6d. bds. Murray, 1808. POETRY and painting have seldom flourished in combination, though
they employ the same mental faculties. The very congeniality has perhaps occasioned rivalry rather than alliance, and the mind for whose dominion they may have contended, has been too much perplexed and
pp. 27, 28,
enfeebled by the division of its forces, to acquire such a power and distinction as will result from a concentration of them under the guidance of a single and exclusive ambition. The applause obtained by Mr. Shee's very spirited' “ Rhymes on Art, "(Ecl. Rev. I. 489.) was rather increased by the surprise which it occasioned; it was not frowned on as a sudden intrusion, but welcomed as an unexpected gift. His success has probably encouraged Mr. Westall to print : and in this instance, at least, the public will not regret its liberality. Mr. W. may take nearly as high a station among poets, as he maintains among painters. His poetical muse, if not more fascinating, is considerably more chaste, in both senses of the term, than her sister, who has so long flaunted at exhibitions in such gaudy colours, and sometimes disgraced herself by a subservience. -to the depraved appetite of amateurs. We were surprised indeed to find- so little extravagance of thought and warmth of expression - in the poems now before us. They are at least equal to the best of those productions that do not demand publication, that is, to about three-fourths of British Poetry; and, as they are printed, not correctly indeed, but in a splendid form, and enriched with four beautiful engravings from the author's de. signs, will probably obtain a respectable circulation. The poems are of -various kind and merit; about half of them are “ Odes descriptive of the character of some of the greater poets.” One of the best pieces, we think, is the. Ode on Despair ; we shall copy two passages, the latter of which refers to Richard III, as impressed with the vision so admirably imagined by Shakspeare.
•What time the Mighty Maker stood
(Though long enduring) on his throne of wrath,
And wrapt in ruin this polluted earth;
With giant force a ghastly form
And frown’d terrific thro' the o'erwhelming flood.
• Amidst the shock of meeting arms,
The clang that rends the sky;
“ Tyrant, despair, and die!”
Was closing fast his fiery eye.' p 93. In the word « fast," there is an vulic' y ámbiguity. Does Mr. W. seriously suppose, as we night guess ironi his last stanza, that there will be no pain or despair in the future stüte?
We shall add one specimen from the “Day in Spriog."
• Roaming on, the place I find,
Press the tears of joy away.' p. 18. It would be easy to specify blemishes. In the Ode to Homer we read, * who uttuned thy song," instead of attun’dst. Aught, is twice mis-spelt sought." The fine figure of Twilight in the frontispiece is very cunningły wrapt up close, if she really be “grey-bosom’d,” as Mr. W. assures us shejis; should he live to see Spring again, he will discover, perhaps, that she is green-bosom'd but we hope he will perceive that it would not become a gentleman and a poet to call her so. Art. XIV. A New Argument for the Existence of God. 12mo. PP 68.
Rees and Curtis, Plymouth ; Longman & Co.1808.
than the whimsical hypothesis of Berkeley; it amounts :o this, that matter has no existence, that all the sensations and ideas of nien concerning it are mere illusions, and that as these illusions cannot have been caused by matter, they must have been caused by spirit, that is by God. As the existence of God is not in particular want of “new arguments," we very cheerfully leave to its fate a theory, which, even if it be allowed to establish the existence of the mind that entertains it, and of the Infinite Spirit which amuses that mind with falsehoods, completely subverts all proof of all other existence; and we should think it quite wasting time to tell a writer who ought to disbelieve our being, that we consider his defence of this fantastical system to be wretchedly weak and ill-written, its title to be disingeduous, and its author to be the dupe either of insanity or self-conceit. VOL. IV.
: Hoare's Shipwreck of St. Paul. Art. XV. The Shipwreck of St. Paul. ' A Seatonian Prize Poem. By
the Rev. Charles James Hoare, A. M. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Vicar of Blandford Forum, Dorset, 4to. pp. 18. price
2$. Hatchard, 1808, "HE E that thinks himself capable of astonishing," said Dr. Johnson,
may write blank verse ; but those that hope only to please must condescend to rhyme.” If it was this canon that induced Mr. Hoare to adopt the latter species of verse, he must have formed a modest opinion of himself and a severe one of his predecessors. The plan of his poem
is simple, and many of his turns of thought display a degree of original fancy; his diction is elegant without pomp,
without effeminacy. He has adhered more strictly than was quite necessary to the criptural narrative, and has not even deviated from his precise object so far as to notice the incident of the viper after the shipwreck, though the poem itself commences with a reference to the island of Malta. where it probably occurred. There are several short passages, very neatly shaped and pointed, in the manner of the classical school of English versifiers, the Popes and Goldsmiths ; but we prefer quoting the conclusion, because it will exhibit the author in a character for which we have a much higher esteem than for that of a poet.
• And thou, dread Providence! whose awful name
• But chief for him each dark event dispose,