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sanction of any other codex than that which we suppose is in the present Lord Malmesbury's bureau:
* That Spain was completely subservient to France; and that if Buonaparte should think the Spanish, by going to war with us, would be more useful for his purposes than the tribute he now received, this would happen.'
Lord Malmesbury wrote sense always-sometimes English.
We will close with one further observation, that these journals show the wisdom of those attempts at peace which were frequently made during the earlier part of the revolutionary war, and which issued in the short peace of 1801. These conciliatory measures were commenced by Pitt in 1795, in the
autumn after he had opposed the motion of Wilberforce for a negotiation with France. They lasted, with various intermissions, till the Peace of Amiens. Neither from them indeed, nor from the Peace of Amiens, was any solid or lasting quiet to be expected. But they proved to the nation at large the nature of the struggle in which we were engaged. They showed the real objects of the enemy-the internecine nature of his assaults—and that our only safety was in victory. This it was which bound together the whole people of England as one man. The last years of the war therefore were eminently popular. And when it pleased God to set a hero at the head of our armies, by whom the patriotism of our statesmen and the valour of our soldiers were duly improved, then it was that those great events succeeded one another in rapid career, which made the last war so glorious to England, and so imperishable a portion of the history of the world.
Art. II.-English Churchwomen of the Seventeenth Century.
London: Burns. 1845. Pp. 362. The Churchwomen of the Seventeenth Century' appear, in these Notices, in a shape which particularly suits them, and brings them out. A more unpretending, solid little book we never saw; its plainness, at the same time, bearing the stamp of true elegance and perfect taste. It reminds us of the manners of a wellbred person in society, with their rigid exclusion of all officious display. It presents a great contrast in this respect to the tone in which modern religious biography has been often conducted. There is no introduction of set phrases and forms of speech, such as come in at certain turns in many books of this class, and which may be anticipated with almost unerring accuracy. There are no reflections introduced for their own sake-no interpolations bearing upon things in general: there is no filling up and rounding off with extraneous subjects. The writer-we detect a female hand-pursues her own even course, and has the character she is describing always close to her. She draws it out with simple effect, and we have the character only before us, and see nothing of the hand which is drawing it. She maintains just that quiet and natural tone which is so desirable in this department, and sets us completely at our ease as to the reality of what we are reading about. The persons we feel sure were just the persons that are here described. For
influence that a book of this class is to have, it is evident how important an impression this is to produce. The mind cannot leave these pages and think it has been looking on a picture. It has come into contact with real persons, and seen religion in living practical form before it. A calm reality pervades the whole book. The writer sympathizes with her characters; her own mind unconsciously mingles with them; and she puts them before us with the quiet self-possession of a person who is describing tempers and forms of religion which she understands, and to which she feels an assimilation.
To any one, then, who may wish to know what the internal domestic religion of good Church-people in those times was, this little book will give the information wanted. It presents, within a small compass, the state of religion in our Church, as the teaching of the Caroline divines had moulded it. It is a picture of the domestic, retired, interior Church of England of that day. It is confined, indeed, to one sex; and so far is a partial picture.
But there is quite enough in it to show what the religious standard of the day was.
There is one reason in particular which makes us glad to see such a book as this. There is a popular impression respecting these times, which meets with a strong and somewhat irresistible answer in it. There is a popular impression that the Church religion of these times was a formal and secular one, that the Puritans were the only persons of vital and spiritual religion, and that Church-people did little more than stand up for a formal ceremonial, and a stiff liturgical routine. The Church religion of the Caroline times and the ‘high Churchmanship’ of a later date has been all put together under one head, and the same charge has served for both. And persons, in thinking of this period, have before them a compound image of ambitious prelates and rubrical innovations on the one hand, and balls and masks, and Cavalier revelling and dissipation, on the other. To the Church has been assigned the worldliness and pomp of the age, and to the Puritanical party the religion. Even moderate and impartial minds are ready to make the concession, and to allow that, though Charles had the best cause, the opposite side had the best men. It is, indeed, easy to see how prominent a feature the gay profligacy of the Cavaliers must be when people only see that one feature, and see nothing else. The faults in the Royalist party were of the more open and palpable sort, such as catch the eye readily. And thus persons go off with an image of a gay Royalist Court, and a dashing Royalist camp, and Cavaliers with white feathers and prancing steeds, in their heads, and think they have got at the state of religion on the Church side, and fix the Church's standard accordingly.
It must be on some such very superficial view as this that the idea we are alluding to is formed, for there is literally no reasonable ground whatever for it. It stands refuted the very first time that we allow our eye fairly to rest on the plain facts of the case as respects these times. What are the very first names that come across us in reading of those times--of what do our most familiar Church names remind us, but of men who lived lives of unwearying self-denial and aspiring devotion; men who watched, fasted, and prayed night and day? George Herbert and Nicolas Ferrar, Hammond and Sanderson, Morton, Thorndike, Ken, and many others, may have pursued a line of devotion with which many cannot sympathize, but that they were men of an intensely devotional spirit appears to be a simple fact, which any dissenter even must allow who knows anything about them. From what quarter do our warmest books of devotion come, our most searching guides to conscience, the loftiest and most ambitious calls to the life spiritual, but from this ? Men judge from
the particular stamp of high Churchmanship which the last century produced, a stamp which had more of the Establishment than the Church in it, as to the necessary tendencies of high Church religion itself; and on this à priori view, imagine the Church form of religion to be necessarily the cold and dry one, and the dissenting the warm and spiritual one.
This is simple imagination. The matter of fact is quite otherwise. The devotional line of the Church at the time we are speaking of was most remarkably warm, fervent, ardent; indeed, to use the common phrase, most spiritual. The Puritans had their peculiar style of spirituality-the Church also had hers. Look, we say again, at the books of prayers, and rules of devotion and charity, which proceeded from the Church minds of that age: look at the whole view they take of what the Christian life is, and you can accuse it of being over lax and cold, too easy, and self-indulgent. We think you will. The Church did not cultivate puritanical indeed, but it nevertheless cultivated Catholic, spirituality.
The little book before us takes us out of the noise and bustle of public scenes, and introduces us into the interior of society, and into the private life of religious families of that day. When persons judge of a whole state of things from one or two superficial, noisy, showy, circumstances, they are going at haphazard. Grant that a Royalist camp did not—as what camp in the world ever did?-present an exhibition of strict religion: a Royalist camp was only one external, accidental concomitant of the Church cause then. It was only one mixed, fragmentary, evanescent feature in a whole course of events. The Church and her children had their own line, and their own way of going on, before any Royalist camp was in existence, and were not interfered with by it. What has the state of religious feeling in the interior of society, in the common, every-day domestic
walks of life, to do with such a casual, secular exhibition as it? The sphere of quiet, ordinary life is, of course, the quarter we should turn to, to form a judgment of what the Church of that day was. That is the sphere in which her teaching works, and there it is that we must look for the fruits of her teaching. There we see her efforts, her wishes, her standard reflected. The course of private life-the tone of private society-what people do at home, in their towns and villages-give the substantial Church of the day. Quiet, ordinary life is the substance of the Church. There may be stirring, bustling scenes going on which history takes more notice of; but to form our judgment from such, is deliberately to judge from an accidental excrescence, instead of the body itself; to go off at a tangent, and overlook, and simply pass by, the main field of inquiry. We are not saying that the public
manifestations of the Royalist party, whether in Court or camp, were at all worse than those of the Puritans, for we think quite otherwise; but we do not enter upon this question: we simply object to either side being judged of from such evidence. Let all religious sides and all parties stand or fall by what they do upon their own ground, and let them be judged of from the tone of their ordinary teaching. Let the Church and the Puritan form of religion, respectively, be judged of from the religious characters that each produces and cherishes within its own bosom, and let us look simply to the height of the standard that each naturally aspires and attains to.
These little Notices' do an important service in bringing us back to this point. They bring the question to an issue upon its own proper basis: they bring us back to the interior of our Church, and show the solid substratum of religion upon which she rested,—the practical, devotional, high spiritual aims which she cultivated within her fold, in her ordinary field of influence; the internal, individual, Christian life to which she brought her favoured children. Let us hear no more of Cavaliers that were very dissipated, and Court ladies that were very worldly and gay, as if such facts as these settled the question. We are now upon our proper ground; we have now the natural sphere of Church influence, the natural standard of her religion, before us. Let us see what it was. We are far, indeed, from supposing that such examples of devotion as we see here are average ones. Of course they are not. If they had been, they would not have been recorded. The average tone of a religious body is always a good way below that of the recorded specimens. Very good people are never very common; and it is only a certain proportion, all the world over, that arrive at anything like high religion. But such instances show the spirit of the body that they belong to; they indicate an aim, a direction, a tendency in the religion of the day. They show what the Church aimed at producing, the object she had before her, and the form and mould of her religion.
The religious characters that we here come across are cast in a particular mould, we say. This is a point which must be remarked on; for it strikes one every page that we turn over. Everybody will see a marked distinction, in tone, feeling, religious cast of mind, between them and pious dissenters. They belong evidently to a different school to what the latter do. Before entering into any comparison of the merits of the two, this fact is obvious at starting. The two classes are cast in two respective moulds, and it is as easy to tell a Church saint from a puritan one, as it would be to tell one species in natural history from another. The former have their mode of thinking and