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In this sententious phraseology, which is incomprehensible to the cottage ear, the author seems to delight. Thus, on contentment,' he tells his hearers
• That desire of bettering our worldly condition, which gives birth to labour and industry, may be very well accompanied both with godliness and contentment. It is not only allowable, but exceedingly praise-worthy, to wish to advance both ourselves and families, by care and diligence, provided we are not, as many are, impatient of success; we may be as anxious as we please, to prosper and grow rich, provided we seek to do so only by the means of honest industry, and are content till we do prosper; not hurried into discontent by casual disappointments, nor ready to murmur so soon as the slightest obstacle is thrown in our way; and even if finally we fail of all success, if all our projects are defeated, and all our hopes thwarted, still it is likely to be our greatest gain if we learn to bear this disappointment properly ; surely it requires no great understanding to discover, that the Providence which manifestly ordained and overlooks all things, may have hindered our success for wise and gracious purposes.' P. 149.
Would the author have written differently for a town audience, if he were to harangue them on old-age, than in the following passage?
- Vice is as destructive of the body as it is of the soul; the numerous diseases that intemperance leads to, I need not lay before you ; they are among the very worst foes the body has to struggle with; some are slow and insidious, undermining the constitution by degrees, sapping the foundation imperceptibly, till, perhaps in the high day of youth, or of riper manhood, when our faculties have just attained to their natural perfection, the stamina of life fail, and as the prophet beautifully expresses it, “our sun goes down while it is yet day;" others assault the body more violently, with feverish pangs, and racking pains; these soon bring the unhappy sufferer to the grave. For the body is a delicate machine, capable of doing well for many years if prudently and discreetly managed, but easily broken to pieces if roughly handled, or hurried on too fast. These things being considered, we must needs suppose a inan, full of years, is one who has avoided these imprudencies ; who has, in a great measure, lived soberly, temperately, and chastely; who has preserved his body vigorous and healthy, by labour and industry, his mind unruffled, by a steady purpose of - acting uprightly, and bearing patiently. Besides, we may have some ground to believe, that if a man, whom we now see aged and decrepid, has had his failings in his time, that in his youth he has been somewhat wild, and in his manhood now and then intemperate, yet that as there is probably a measure even in these things, that he has not been incorrigibly bad at any time, so as to deserve to be cut off in his sins ; for, no doubt, though we cannot appreciate matters so thoroughly as to sce to the very end of things, yet those who die in their youth, through wicked courses, of drunkenness, debauchery, and intemperance of all sorts, are known to the great searcher of hearts to be, if not entirely, yet as noar as can be, incorrigibly bad, so that they are cut off suddenly, either because it is known they never will repent, and so had better not live to seduce others, or else they are taken away for fear that if they lived longer, they would so fill up the full mea. sure of their sins, as to be wholly unpardonable.' P. 163.
The cottager must be not a little puzzled to unravel the author's meaning in the ensuing passage ' on good works.
• It will not be enquired whether God's grace has supernaturally purified our hearts, or the application of Christ's merit operated unconditionally to our entire justification, but whether, considering the gracious promises made to us of the help and co-operation of God's holy spirit, and the glorious hopes afforded us of reconciliation through the blood of Christ, we have so far done our part, as that these transcendent benefits may be applied to us. In all cases it would seem to have pleased God so to order matters, that man should do something to help himself; and those who are willing to set mankind free from the obligation of the works of righteousness, would act consistently if they were to endeavour to set them free also from manual labour. To pretend that to attach any merit at all to works of holiness is to derogate from the stupendous efficacy of Christ's atonement, is just as reasonable as to say, that to pretend to cultivate the field is to derogate from the power of God, who in so marvellous and inexplicable a manner has prepared the soil for the growth of plants, and appointed the kindly influences of the sun and air, to bring them to maturity : in either case it would be folly to confound the two questions, for only one is necessary. We need not enquire whether God could accomplish the same ends without our co-operation. No one but an atheist would think of denying such a truism ; but the question that alone concerns us is, whether it appears from Scripture that God meant to deal with us so unconditionally? Now I think it has been shewn, that in the visible order of things, it has pleased God to leave something for man to do, even to supply his bodily wants, and therefore surely we have good ground to conclude from analogy, that all his higher wants would not be supplied without some co-operation on the part of man. But the word of God is beyond all reasoning from analogy ; and if that does dot inculcate the constant practice of every virtue, and discountenance and condemn every vicious indulgence, there is no meaning in words. It is of no avail to lay such a stress, as some do, upon Christ's having shed his blood to save sinners; for he that is most righteous in obedience to God's laws, is perhaps most of any sensible of his imperfect endeavours, and therefore most ready to confess himself a sinner, so that he is in the way of salvation at all events.? P. 231.
The peasant's idea of the Bible will not be much enlarged by this negative description.
It will not lead us into a labyrinth of laboured deductions, and Tefined speculations, but by an easy reference of every action of our Jives, to those two great leading principles, the love of God and of our neighbour; put us in complete possession of such a rule of moral and religious conduct, as may for ever be our guide through all the chances and changes of this mortal life.' P. 279.
Every sermon abounds with similar passages; and, to make the author sensible of this defect, as well as to put him into the way of correcting it, we recommend him to take his volume to any one of the farm-houses of Biddenden, and request the honest householder to read one of them to his family. When the lection is over--in the course of which, however, the poor farmer, we apprehend, will find no small number of embarrassments—let the preacher ask him and his family the meaning of such words as truisms-stamina-derogate-asperity-uncontaminated-palliation-voluptuous
promulgated consonant-transcendently-imbecillitysimplification — metaphysical subtlety -- logical precision — luminousness-accumulation of obligations-speculative reasoner-amplification of trivial events—and similar modes of phraseology, which will be found in abundance in every page. It is from an examination of this kind that a preacher, of the same evidently good dispositions which are manifested in these discourses, will learn to adapt his language and style to the capacity of a country congregation.
ART. XIII.- Public Characters of 1800-1901. To be conti
nued annually. 8vo. 9s. Boarils. Phillips. 1301. AFTER the extensive account we gave of the plan, after examining the propriety of the attempt, and the general character of the work, as it appeared in its two successive publications, we have little to add in the introductory part of our article. The editors speak, with cheerfulness, of the encouragement they have received, of the assistance offer.ed, and the probability of improvement in the progress. In truth, assistance, if carried beyond the communication of facts, is delusive. To write with that attention which the public taste demands, is no easy task, and so prone are literary men, in general, to indolence, that the object must be interesting, to excite their activity. Fame and money, the great spurs to exertion, can, in this case, have no influence; and we must attribute any extraordinary eirorts to an eagerness either to praise or to blame. From either motive, the communication must fail in the great point-impartiality. We indeed perceive, in this volume, superior spirit, more extensive information, and, in many of the lives, no common precision or elegance. Many are written con amore, and, with such a minuteness of narrative, that the biographer inust have been assisted by the subject of his work, or the characters must have been the same. To stop no longer in limine, we shall copy the table of contents, and the list of the portraits, many of which are flattering, and some una faithful, representations.
Mr. Matthew Boulton-Mr. Professor Porson-Mr. Pinkerton Mr. Wilberforce-Mrs. Charlotte Smith-Sir Ralph Abercromby Lord Dorchester - Earl Stanhope - Dr. James Gregory – Duke of Bridgwater - Dr. William Mayor - Mr. Robert Ker Porter-Mr. John Thelwall-Mr. Jefferson-Mr. Bushrod Washington—Dr. John Gillies—Lord Hobart-Mr. Bidlake Lord Loughborough-Mr. Dugald Stewart-Dr, Hugh Blair-Mr. Barry-Mrs. Robinson--Mr. John Ireland - Sir William Beechey-Duke of Portland-Sir Joseph Banks-Sir Peter Parker—Mr. Edmund Cartwright-Lord Grenville -Dr. William Hawes-Mr. Edmund Randolph--Mr. Paul Sandby -Mr. John Clerk-Dr. Lettsom-Mr. George Colman-Mr. Alderman Skinner-Dr. James Anderson-Prince de Bouillon-Duke of Marlborough-Lord-Justice-Clerk of Scotland.
· The Frontispiece. "We have as usual inserted some outline sketches of those persons of whom we could readily procure correct portraits. We offer these to the public simply as rude characteristic sketches, conveying only general ideas, and probably not in every instance, equally fortunate. We flatter, ourselves, however, that in most instances these outlines will be readily recognized by those persons who know the parties, and to posterity and those who do not know them, will convey an imprese sion sufficiently accurate.
· The Chancellor-Duke of Portland-Lord Hobart-Mr. BarryEarl Stanhope-Sir Joseph Banks~Mr. Wilberforce-Mr. Pinkerton -Dr. Blair-Mr. Porter-Lord Grenville-Sir William Beechey Dr. Hawes — Dr. Lettsom - Dr. Anderson - Mrs. Robinson-Mr. Bidlake-Mr. Boulton-Mr. Paul Sandhy-Mr. John Ireland - Dr. Mavor-Mrs. Smith-Duke of Marlborough-Mr. Thelwall.' P. vi.
The life of Mr. Boulton is what such lives should be a faithful narrative of facts, not leaning either to extravagant panegyric, or to oblique censure. We shall select a passage, which, though the facts be generally known, is concise and interesting.
Aided by such talents, and commanding such unlimited mechanical power, Mr. Boulton's views soon expanded, and Soho began to exhibit symptoms of the extraordinary advantages it had acquired. The art of coining had long stood in need of simplification and are rangement, and to this art Mr. Boulton had no sooner turned his ata tention, than, about the year 1788, he erected a coining mill, on an improved plan, and struck a gold medal of the full weight of a guinea, and of the same form as that of his new copper coinage lately put into circulation. The superior advantages of that form are obvious. The impression is far less liable to friction; and by means of a steel gage of equal diameter, money coined on that principle may be examined by measure as well as by weight, the rim being exactly cir.
Crit. Rev. Vol. 38. May, 1803.
çular. Moreover, the intrinsic is so nearly equal to the current value of every piece, that, without a steam-engine and adequate apparatus, every attempt to counterfeit the Soho coinage must be made with loss. The fabrication of base money seems likely, by these means, to bę speedily checked, and hereafter entirely defeated. The reason why Mr. Boulton has not yet been employed by government in the coin age of gold and silver, we have not been able to learn.
The mill at Soho works eight machines, each of which receives, stamps, and delivers out, by the aid of only a little boy, from seventy to ninety pieces of copper in one minute. Either of them is stopped without the smallest interruption to the motion of the others. In adjoining apartments all the preparatory processes are carried on with equal facility and dispatch ; such as rolling the copper into sheets, dividing them into blanks, and shaking them into bags clean and ready for the die. Without any personal communication between the diffe. rent classes of workmen, &c. the blanks are conveyed to the room where they are shaken, and from thence to the coining room in boxes moving with immense velocity on an inclined plane, and accompanied by a ticket of their weight.' P. 4.
Of professor Porson, the account is satisfactory and judicious. The author thinks it necessary to declare, that the whole was written without the professor's knowledge or concurrence. With the venial error of friendship, and the candid declaration that it is the work of a friend, the account leans to the favourable side: the harsher traits, when in troduced, are softened and extenuated. Of Mr. Pinkerton, the account is also satisfactory, though not seemingly brought down to the æra of the publication: it is given with a minuteness of anecdote, which shows the author, in this instance also, to be an intimate friend, and probably countryman, though some circumstances, even of the period described, are apparently concealed, and what the biographer desperat tractatu nitescere posse, relinquit.
We need not enlarge on the lives of Mr. Wilberforce and Mrs. Smith. In that of the latter, we almost lose sight of the authorcss, in the description of her unmerited and severe treatment, of which we find a full, and apparently impartial, account--we should almost suspect (from a note, p. 49) furnished by herself. The lives of sir Ralph Abercromby and lord Dorchester appear to be sufficiently full and faithful: that of earl Stanhope is very copious, warm, and culogetic: apple praise is given to his philosophical and mechanical inventions; and his political life, in unison with what we have described of the temper' of the work, is very favourably embellished. With extensive knowledge, deep reflexion, and much mechanical skill, earl Stanhope is somewhat quixe otical in philosophy, perhaps more truly so in political speculations. We have never seen the sentiments imbibed at Geneva flourish in an English soil.