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Art. II.- The Iris: a Literary and Religious Offering. Edited by the

Rev. Thomas Dale, M. A. London: Low; Hurst, Chance, & Co.

1830. 8vo. 12s. The Amulet: a Christian and Literary Remembrancer. Edited by

S. C. Hall. London: Westley. 1830. 12mo. 12s.

The variety of those little works, called Annuals, which are already well known to the public, and the high literary merit to which most of them lay claim, seemed to give little prospect of success for another of the same class, even if many of its predecessors are not forced to quit the field. Under the auspices of Mr. Dale, however, though others sink, the Iris cannot fail to rise; his talents as a writer, his fame as a poet, his character as a scholar, and his zeal in the cause of true religion, in the face of his unfortunate connexion with the establishment in Gower Street, are a sufficient guarantee for more than ordinary merit in any thing which he undertakes. There is a novelty of design too in the Iris, which, at the same time that it brings it under the more especial notice of the Christian Remembrancer, will entitle it to the patronage of those who are anxious to encourage the diffusion of sober piety and sound principle. Its contents are exclusively of a religious tendency; but, withal, entirely devoid of any tincture of those doctrinal peculiarities, the profession of which is now so much in vogue. To render amusement subservient to the great end of moral and religious improvement, has been the object of the editor; not to sow the seeds of Pharisaical hypocrisy, or to convert the sincere believer into a morbid devotee.

After what we have now said, some of our readers will perhaps be startled at finding among the list of Mr. Dale's contributors, some who are not very well disposed toward the doctrines or discipline of the Established Church. With the editor's acceptance or rejection of assistance from these quarters, we have nothing to do, provided nothing be sanctioned in his volume which can give offence to the sober and rational Christian. It is not with persons or with names that we war; but with false principles and erroneous doctrines. Josiah Conder, for aught we see, is as fair a name as that of Reginald Heber; and if Josiah Conder wrote one of a number of religious and moral pieces, equally pure and unexceptionable with the rest, why let Josiah Conder have the credit of so doing. But should he take advantage of the privilege afforded him, to alienate the minds of his readers from the path in which they have been brought up, then would Mr. Dale be answerable for the consequences, and we should think it our bounden duty “to pour the fiercest vial of our wrath” both upon the editor and the writer. As this is not the case, let both enjoy the meed of their well-earned praise; the one as the author, and the other as the impartial judge, of a work of literary merit.

It will of course be expected that we say something of the embellishments. Be it known, however, that we are no connoisseurs; but not on that account, perhaps, less likely to coincide in opinion with many of our readers. An eye, which is over-nice in searching for a flaw, will be apt to neglect a beauty; and the discovery of some striking excellence will compensate with many for want of effect in the general design. We have been told, for instance, of the exquisite richness of the “Raising of Lazarus” in the volume before us; whereas, for the life of us, we cannot make head or tail of the artist's intention, and we think that many besides ourselves will be found in a similar plight. Besides this, there are ten other engravings finished in the first style of the art. Among these our especial favourites are the frontispiece from Carlo Dolci's “ Thy Will be done;" “ The Flight into Egypt,” by Claude ; " Christ expounding the Law," by Leonardo da Vinci; “St. John,” by Cignani ; and “Hagar and Ishmael," by Baroccio. “A Magdalen," by Carlo Dolci; and the “Incredulity of Thomas,” by Caracci, are also beautiful specimens of the old Italian school. It will be observed that, in accordance with the general design of this Annual, the Embellishments are all Scripture pieces, taken exclusively from the old masters: most of them are accompanied with a characteristic poem from the pen of the editor, so as to form a series of Scripture illustrations; and the rest have had ample justice done them by other hands. Those, however, who are acquainted with the beauty of Mr. Dale's sacred poetry, will not be surprised that we give the preference throughout to those undertaken by himself.

The most prominent attraction in the book, is a poem of some length by the editor, entitled “ The Daughter of Jaïrus." It seems to have been originally written as a companion to “ The Widow of Nain;" which has so justly entitled the author to the distinguished eminence which he holds among the most admired poets of the day. In assuring our readers that it is not a whit inferior to its predecessor, we at once render it unnecessary to make any extracts, as no one will rest contented till he has perused the whole. We shall therefore prove our assertions respecting the general excellence of the contents, by furnishing a few specimens from different parts of the work. And, first, as in duty bound, we present one of the minor contributions of the editor himself, with which the volume opens :

When from Thy beaming throne

O High and Holy One!
Thou cam'st to dwell with those of mortal birth;

No ray of living light

Flashed on th' astonished sight,
To shew the Godhead walked his subject earth :

Thine was no awful form,

Shrouded in mist and storm,
Of Seraph, walking on the viewless wind;

Nor didst thou deign to wear

The port, sublimely fair,
Of Angel-heralds, sent to bless mankind.

Made like the sons of clay,

Thy matchles glories lay
In form of feeble infancy concealed;

No pomp of outward sign

Proclaimed the Power Divine;
No earthly state the heavenly guest revcaled !

Thou didst not choose thy home

Beneath a lordly dome;
No regal diadem wreathed thy baby brow;

Nor on a soft couch laid,

Nor in rich vest arrayed,
But with the poorest of the poor wert Thoy!

Yet she, whose gentle breast

Was Thy glad place of rest;
In her the blood of royal David flowed :

Men passed her dwelling by

With proud and scornful eye;
But Angels knew and loved her mean abode.

There softer strains she heard

Than song of evening bird,
Or tuneful minstrel in a queenly bower;

And o'er her dwelling lone

A brighter radiance shone
Than ever glittered from a Monarch's tower.

For there the Mystic Star

That sages led from far,
To pour their treasures at her Infant's feet,

Still shed its golden light;

There, through the calm, clear night,
Were heard Angelic Voices, strangely sweet.

O happiest thou of all

Who bare the deadly thrall
Which, for one mother's crime to all was given ;-

Her first of mortal birth

Brought Death to reign on earth,
But Thing brings Light and Life again from heaven!

Happiest of Virgins thou,

On whose unruffled brow
Blends maiden meekness with a mother's love!

Blest in thy Heavenly Son,

Blest in the Holy One,
Whom man knows not below, though Angels hymned above!

The following is from the pen of James Montgomery:

Palms of glory, raiment bright,

Crowns that never fade away,
Gird and deck the Saints in light,

Priests, and kings, and conquerors they.
Yet the conquerors bring their palms

To the Lamb amidst the throne :
And proclaim in joyful psalms,

Victory through his Cross alone !
Kings their crowns for harps resign,

Crying, as they strike the chords,
“ Take the kingdom,-it is thine;

King of kings, and Lord of lords !"
Round the altar, priests confess,

If their robes are white as snow;
'Twas the Saviour's righteousness,

And his blood, that made them so.
Who were these ?-On earth they dwelt,

Sinners once, of Adam's race;
Guilt, and fear, and suffering felt,

But were saved from all by grace.
They were mortal, too, like us ;

Ah! when we like them shall die,
May our souls, translated thus,
Triumph, reign, and shine on high!

Pp. 109, 110.

One more extract from the poetry, and then for the prose. We take at random some spirited stanzas by the Rev. H. Thompson, M. A.


Heard ye the call divine ?
Soldier ! brace on thy panoply!

Advance thy Captain's sign!

Conquering to conquer forth He goes :
By thy weak arm his might can crush his proudest foes.

With Truth's unsullied baldrick gird

Upon thy mailed side,
The Spirit's glaive, thy Leader's word;

Let Virtue's corslet, tried

In strife and furnace, guard thy breast;
And let Salvation's helm thy dauntless brows invest.

But most, upon thy martial arm

Take Faith's impervious targe,
To quench the fiery shafts of Harm

Amid the deadly charge.

Then forth on thy victorious way
Speed on, thy steps prepared on Love reveal’d to stay.

Saw'st thou the waters foaming high?

"Tis Passion's restless sea :
Heard'st thou the storm that swept the sky ?

'Tis stern Adversity.

Heed not-tread on the billows, cleft,
Shall fence with crystal wall thy right hand and thy left.

Saw'st thou the broad and arid plain?

No sheltering leaf is there,
No fount, where scorch'd and fainting Pain

Beneath the sultry glare

May slake his lips. Nor fear, nor fly :
Heaven's stores shall ope for thee, when earth and wave deny.
Greater and mightier far than thou,

The hosts that bar thy way:
Yet let not that high spirit bow :

A loftier Power than they

Conducts thy march ; before Him driven
Melts Anak's Titan horde, and rampire wall'd to heaven.

True, dark Ingratitude is there,

And Disappointment cold;
And mean Suspicion, from his lair,

Unwinds his viper fold.

Yet fear not-He whose knight thou art,
With energy divine can nerve thy human heart.

True, Earth, in treacherous charms arrayed,

With eye too wildly sweet,
Would seek to her unhallowed shade

To lure thy pilgrim feet.

Yet yield not. She who woos thy vows,
With crown of bleeding thorn enwreathed thy Master's brows. .

Say not, thy yoke is hard to bear!

But look on Him who bore
For thee a weightier load of care,

And then repine no more.

His yoke is light: His ways are rest :
They that endure with Him, with Him too shall be blest.

Fear not, and thou shalt overcome!

Yea, through His love who led;
With palm of more than conquest's bloom

Twine thine unhelmed head.
Mid white-rob'd hosts of fair renown
The morning star shall shine first jewel of thy crown.

Fear not! in victory thou shalt stand

Upon the glassy sea,
And chant, with heaven's own lyre in hand,

The pæan of the free:

“ Sing to the Lord! the fight is done!
The fearful foe is whelm'd! the rest eternal won!"

Pr. 213—216. From the prose we shall content ourselves with one extract, for it will be a long one. We shall be forgiven, however, for giving at length a relic of the late Bishop Heber.

THE CHARACTER OF NICODEMUS. Nicodemus was a man of the highest rank among the Jews, and a Pharisee of great reputation for his learning and piety. He is described in the Gospel as a ruler, or magistrate, and as a member of their high court of Sanhedrim, or parliament; and the ancient books of the Jews are full of strange and improbable stories as to his wealth, his magnificent liberality, and the wonderful manner in which his prayers were supposed to be heard by God. His substance was calculated as sufficient to feed all Jerusalem for seven years; his daughter's marriage-bed was, in ostentation of wealth, built up with purses of money; his

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