Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the old peculiarities, shorn of some excrescences, and enlarged by a philosophic apprehension of the Scripture. And perhaps too, a little of persecution, or of somewhat resembling persecution, may be providentially permitted, to train up men with an attachment towards the church, as a hierarchy; as distinct from the state ; and as dignified only by its intrinsic excellence, by its venerable antiquity, and by its apostolic institution.' Vol. II.

pp.

195–199. At page 326, we find Mr. Knox expressing his fear, that the result of the Bible Society's labours would expose the sacred • volume to depreciation, in one class from disappointment, iu • another class from familiarity!' Popery again ! We must not pass over the following passage in letter 139 from Mr. Knox, which is in a strain of liberality that would not have been looked for.

I am slowly reading Dr. Ryland's (of Bristol) Life of Andrew Fuller. He was an interesting man; one of the wisest and most moral-minded Calvinists in his day. But it is strange that, within the narrow sphere of that prejudiced party, the boldest new-modelling of Calvinism which the present day has seen, as bold as that of Baxter himself, should have been effected. In this view, and for other reasons, the book is worth your attention. I think of ordering his entire works. He possessed wonderful strength of mind; and is an instance how Providence can draw forth instruments from the msst unlikely quarter.' p. 307.

Upon Southey's Life of Wesley, we have the following strictures from Mr. Knox.

• The life of J. W. is a valuable record of many things, which must otherwise have passed away. But he is not happy in his remarks, on the emotions of early methodism ; and I think he has brought them needlessly, and somewhat disgustingly forward. Why need he have copied what John Wesley has told, about Mr. Beveridge, at Everton ? I think Mr. S.'s not believing the existence of the devil, is greatly against him. J. W. was in one extreme about the devil ; Mr. Š. is in another. J. W.'s extreme was the less anti-christian. The devil is so prominent a personage in the Bible, that to take him out, is to derange the tableau of revelation; it is to take the shade out of the picture, by way of improving it.' Vol. II. pp. 430, 431.

Now I speak of the Quarterly, how I am provoked, in reading the first article, at those tasteless allegations of ambition and vanity, on which the reviewer, leaving S. behind, rings the changes (nay, I might say, what ringers call a bob-major) on those supposed vices of my

old friend's character. Why will they not see, that the virtues which they ascribe to him, are incompatible with the vices which they seem to take a perverse pleasure in imputing? No man can serve two masters.” To suppose, as they do suppose, that John Wesley acted, at one and the same time, in one and the same exertion, from love of God and man, and a love, which was just as opposite to these, as a love of money or of sensuality, is to imagine a monster, in the moral world, less credible than the centaur, in the natural. I wish I knew how best to stamp on this evidence of reason, my peculiar evidence of fact, before I follow my venerable old friend into that country, where only, as yet, his worth and moment can be adequately appreciated.'

The article on the Life of John Wesley, is abundantly able ; but very unenlightened, and not a little unphilosophical. I could find in my heart to write some remarks on it, if I thought I could please myself, and that the C. O. would afford me a place. My whole soul rises against those vile allegations, of ambition, and vanity; above both of which, my precious old friend soared, as much as the eagle above the glow-worm. Great minds are not vain : and his was a great mind, if any man can be made great, by disinterested benevolence, spotless purity, and simple devotedness to that one supreme Good, in whom, with the united aio inois of the philosopher and the saint, he saw, and loved, and adored, all that was infinitely amiable, true, sublime, and beatific. How little do they know of the human mind, who could imagine such a spirit, liable to the petty gravitations of animal man.' pp. 453, 455.

There is a strange passage at page 466, in which Mr. Knox expresses his opinion, that the real motive which drove Wesley into final secession from the Establishment, was 'the dread of Calvinist infection, then beginning to grow ripe (rife ?) in 'churches’!! Here again, are some admirable remarks.

I dare say,' says Mr. Knox again, you have read the article in the last Quarterly Review, on the lives of Newton and Scott. It is evidently from the same hand, as that in a former number, on the late publication of Cowper's Letters. The spirit of both compositions, is very like that of

-'s tract on Baptismal Regeneration ; and I conceive is little less semi-deistical, than the theology of Göttingen, in the last century. A more profane expression, short of gross blasphemy, than that in the former article, the orgasms of theopathy, could scarcely have been uttered; and though the terms are less audacious in this latter article, the doctrine is equally revolting.

· Man cannot, we are told, distinguish, between that love of God, of virtue, and of man, which proceeds from human principles and motives, and that which flows from the influence of the divine spirit.' That he cannot do so in every instance, much less draw a line of demarcation, between that which is natural, and that which is divine, must indeed be allowed ; but if Christian virtue contained no evidence, in its feelings, or in its fruits, of a more than human source and sustenance, the claim of Christianity itself to our esteem or attention, could hardly be supported: since, in that case, what would it do for us, to engage our regard? or to account for its own lofty professions, and ponderous arrangements? In no conceivable case, could it be more fairly asked,

Quid tanto feret promissor dignum hiatu?' A belief in Providence, beyond that general system, by which virtue is made its own reward, and vice its own punishment,' seems the second object of this writer's contumely. That there should be rash and fanciful conclusions, respecting divine agency, in matters of providence, as well as in matters of grace, is a necessary consequence of human weakness; and it is the part of religious wisdom, to afford to intelligent minds, such rules and principles, as may guard equally against excess, and defect. But thus to confine providence to mere pre-adjustment, and to exclude all present operation (for to this I conceive, the reviewer's doctrine amounts) is to undermine natural, not less than revealed religion. There is a machinery which works well, but we have no more to do with the mechanist, than the possessor of an excellent clock, which never goes out of order, has to do with the artist from whom he purchased it !

• There is a deplorable consistency, in these two views of grace, and providence; and the spirit which conceived and propounds them, appears portentously to resemble that of the scoffers,' who should come in the last day, and say, where is the promise of his coming ? for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue, as they were from the beginning of the creation.'

• It strikes me that this reviewer is the same, who wrote the article on Southey's Life of Wesley ; which life, by the way, I hope your friend will one day be inclined to revise. His liberal, and not seldom profound remarks, are so strangely blended with ridicule and levity, as to expose himself to the charge of very great inconsistency. He again and again, intimates, that the history, both of Wesley, and Whitefield, is marked with a mysterious designation ; and yet he so jumbles together their extravagances and their better principles, as to give no aid to his reader, in making an estimate of the eventual advantage to the interests of religion; though he himself is continually admitting, that some degree of advantage must be allowed to their labours.'

Vol. II, pp. 505-507. What a living paradox was this learned, accomplished, pious, wrong-headed, semi-Papistical dogmatist!

Critical justice compels us to notice with regret the publication of some letters which do small honour to the late Prelate's memory. At page 132, occur some remarks on private judgement, which betray a strange misapprehension of the very import of the term. How would the astronomer, the mathematican, the chy

mist, laugh at the asserter of private judgement !' says the Bishop! How still more justly, it may be replied, would either laugh to scorn the asserter of authority in opposition to the results of private investigation! Truly, the amiable Prelate was no

In the next letter, we meet with this startling, yet too consistent avowal.

• It is my wish and prayer, that I may be saved from the simplicity of Bible religion. I love system, antiquity and authority. I read, during my illness, much of Alison. I am taking more to imagination.'

Vol. II. p. 134. Alas! alas! is this the language of a minister of the Gospel of Christ ? How came Mr. Forster to publish such drivelling as this ? Letter cxxix contains an attack upon the Bible Society, not less discreditable to the good sense, the Christian feeling, and the temper of the writer. In letter cli, the subject is again brought up in connexion with some not very fair remarks on a

[ocr errors]

reasoner.

passage cited from the Eclectic Review, which leads Mr. Jebb to exclaim-' Is not here a good result of Bible Societies and Parliamentary religion ?'

In 1815, Mr. Jebb visited London ; and on one occasion, he attended Divine Service at Percy chapel, where the hymn exceedingly annoyed him.

• I felt,' he says, 'like a stranger dropped from another world into an assembly of strange worshippers, with whom I could no more join, than I could join in the worship of Juggernaut. In the morning indeed, the Psalms displeased me; they were Christianized, and no Gloria Patri was either sung, or indeed existed in the printed psalmbook. I forgot to mention that, before sermon gave a long prayer of his own, and altered the Lord's Prayer; and after the sermon took a still greater liberty, in lengthy alterations of a liturgical collect. Oh innovatores.' Vol. II.

p.

215. Ought this to have been printed by a friend of the Writer's ? Had nothing more been known to us of the character of Bishop Jebb, than this extravagant sally of prejudice and illiberal feeling discloses, we should have been led to set him down as a very weak, and not a very pious man. A Romish priest could not have expressed a stronger nausea at the services of Protestant worship. But even mild and amiable men are subject to intolerant dislikes ; and strange to say, the Editor of Burnet's Lives, who could read and admire the writings of Howe, and Baxter, and Doddridge, who carried his liberality towards Roman Catholics to excess, and towards Wesleyan and other Dissenters, discovered more tolerance and candour than are often to be found in persons of his order,---yet, retreated with aversion and disgust from the evangelical party in his own Church. In his diocese, the late Bishop of Limerick discountenanced and repressed the zealous exertions of some of his own clergy, and thereby, in some quarters, brought almost his Protestantism into suspicion. But in this he acted consistently as a high-church man; and the blame ought not to fall on the individual, but upon the system.

system. He was mistaken, but sincere ; influenced by no sordid or secular motives, but by honest prejudices ; and swayed by ecclesiastical theories which, though Himsy as cobwebs, have had power to fetter more powerful minds than his. While we lament the errors which obscured Bishop Jebb's theological views, and contracted his usefulness, let us do justice to his pious, disinterested efforts to promote the interests of sacred literature and practical Christianity, nor refuse his due meed of honour to a Protestant Kempis.

VOL. XIJ.-N.S.

3 A

Art. III.-Illustrations of Heath's Picturesque Annual for 1835 ;

-Jennings's Landscape Annual for 1835 ;-and, The Oriental Annual for 1835.

THE Picturesque Annual has this year started upon a novel

and striking plan. Mr. George Cattermole has been long distinguished for the skill with which he blends the figure with landscape-historical and romantic groupes with local and characteristic scenery.

The first subject we recollect to have seen from his designs, was the Treasure-seeker'; a single, but expressive figure in a subterranean chamber, lighted by a single lamp, amid ranges of massive columns fantastically carved, and conveying, in the brief compass of a vignette wood-cut, a lively idea of indefinite extent. He has more recently made, as we believe, an advantageous impression on the public mind, by other well-adapted subjects of the same general character, though less decidedly imaginative. We have now before us the proofs of an extensive series illustrating, through the medium of Heath's Picturesque Annual', the works of Sir Walter Scott, under the jingling title of 'Scott and Scotland'. With only one or two exceptions, the whole may be characterised as displaying conspicuous talent, both in design and execution, while some exhibit excellences of a high and rare description. When we have said that the Maid of Neidpath is a sprawling figure of mawkish expression, and that the sternly vindictive Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh is ill-represented by a crazy imbecille in a singularly awkward and hesitating attitude, we have exhausted all disposition to unfavourable criticism. The very first glance infused complacent feelings, while we looked upon an expressive vignette, representing a gallery in an old feudal castle, with the heavily armed trooper under the double temptation of a Jacobus and a

« The West Bow,' is a rich and well-peopled street scene, with admirably managed light: Bonington or Prout has nothing better. There are some excellent Interiors, The highly ornamented tomb in Melrose Abbey, surrounded by gorgeous accessories, and the profuse decoration of Roslin Chapel, are touched by a pencil at once delicate and bold, while the characteristic personages moving or reposing amid those scenes of ruined grandeur, add much to the particular effect.

But the Crypt of Glasgow Cathedral, with Frank Osbaldiston listening to the mysterious voice, is our especial favourite, for the fine management of the light and shade among the massive arches and the skilfully drawn figures. Scarcely, if at all inferior to this, and something in the same way, are the Guard-room in Stirling Castle, and the Great Hall in Craignethan Castle, with Claverhouse and Edith, and the other actors in that striking

dark eye.

« AnteriorContinuar »