Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

has increased the passion of botanists for the possession, which has rendered it still more difficult to be met with.' P. 114.

Some species of the epilobium, the leaves of which are va riegated when the roots are confined, abound on the banks of rivers in the south of England, and their seeds are copiously supplied with the down here described ; but we believe no use has yet been made of this plant. The accounts of Pendragon and Appleby castles are interesting ; but much of the information to be collected in this part of the kingdom has been anticipated in our author's former Tours. We were also pleased with the short (perhaps the imperfect) description of Appleby, the tomb and tower of the famous Anne Clifford, with a few circum. stances of her heroic life. We shall conclude our article with one other extract; adding, that it were well if other antiquaries adopted our author's skepticism.

Not far from hence I crossed the Eden, here a beautiful stream, and the banks finely cultivated. After riding about three miles northward, I saw, in the parish of Addingham, the noted druidical temple called Long Meg and her daughters. The circle is formed of sixty-seven rude stones placed upright, and of unequal heights: all are placed single except near the entrance, where there are two stones placed without, opposite to the two which form the entrance and part of the circle, Long Meg, as the tallest stone is called, stands sixty-one feet west from the portal, and just opposite to it: it is eighteen feet high, and fourteen in its greatest girth; is composed of red grit stone, as the others are of granite, lime, and free, stone. The area of the circle was covered with corn, so I must borrow its diameter from Mr. Hutchinson, who informs us it is of three hundred feet. . I refer the curious reader to the learned Borlase for an account of the uses of these circles. Whether this was designed for religious purposes, for national assemblies, for election of princes, or for the celebration of games, as certain circles in Caernarvonshire are reasonably supposed to be, I cannot possibly determine. Nothing is left on which to found a conjecture. It might have stood in a sacred grove of oaks, the shade of which added solemnity to the rites, were they religious: were they political, the people might have stood without the circle of stones, prohibiting a nearer approach to the vulgar; if the former, the arch-druid might have stood near the lofty stone of distinction, his entrance through the portal might be preceded by an awful procession, and sacrifices and all the fourberie of priestcraft be performed in the centre of the area within the sight of the trembling crowd.' P. 164.

ART. VIII.--Sermons on various Subjects. To which is added an

Address to the Deity, in the Manner of Dr. Fordyce. By the - Rev. Richard Marshall, A. B. &c. 8vo. 55. Boards.

Richardson. IT is not very easy to answer the question proposed by the author in his preface-Why will people publish any more sermons?' And his own reply is not perfectly satisfactory. He conceives it possible, by changing the form of old ideas, and adding a little new matter, to compose tolerably elegant, very passable, and very useful practical edifying sermons. We allow the possibility; and in this exercise a clergyman most usefully employs his time; he adds something to his own fund of knowledge, and is able to communicate much to his parish : for whatever by frequent meditation he has made his own, he can instil into the minds of his audience with much greater effect than can be obtained by the finest ideas in the finest language, if merely and servilely copied by himself, and read once a week from the pulpit. But, though the clergyman be well employed in this manner, both for himself and his parishioners, it does not by any means follow that such compositions may be adapted to the public eye, and ought to increase the number under which the press has already groaned. Let the preacher be contented with the satisfaction, and what can be a greater;

of performing his duty in his own district, and of suiting his discourses to the capacities of his hearers. "Tolerably elegant and very passable sermons' may be often those best adapt. ed to such purposes; but something more is required of publications intended for the use of the world at large ; and the advice long since given to poets may not be inapplicable to divines:

Mediocribus esse poëtis , . : Non homines, non Di, non concessere columnæ.” ..The writer evidently does not aim at distinguished excellence; he has however attained the more humble object of his pursuits, and has presented us with tolerably elegant and very passable discourses, such as no one will go out of his way to purchase, yet which every one, should they fall in his way, may read without fatigue.. The sermon on toleration is remarkable for the freedom with which this doctrine is maintained-freedom indeed highly becoming the author's profession, and respecting which, it is to be lamented that so many, who call themselves Christians, should require any instruction upon such a subject. That Christians should be intolerant, seems such a solecism, such a perversion of their Master's precepts, that, if the history of the world for the last eighteen hundred years, and the practice of many, even in this country, where a

great degree of liberality is to be traced, did not prove the proneness of mankind to uncharitableness, we should conceive it absolutely impossible that any sect of Christians should abuse, insult, or plunder their neighbours, because they went to a meeting rather than a church; because, instead of taking off a hat at their prayers, they wore one; or listened to a preacher without, instead of with, a surplice. This wickedness in persons calling themselves Christians cannot be too often or too severely exposed ; and such expostulations proceed with augmented propriety from a minister of the established. church, who, if he be found to possess the true tolerant sentiments of his Gospel, will not only promote in a very high degree' the harmony of his parish, but diminish the tendency of many to wander to other conventicles. * Yet, though mutual toleration cannot be too often inculcated from the pulpit, Scripture alone should afford both precepts and examples. Instances from profane history, however familiar to the minds of the preacher and the higher class of his congregation, are little known to the majority; and we suspect that the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, the day of St. Bartholomew, the revocation of the edict of Nantes, which with sia milar examples occur in one discourse, were far from making the impression intended on his audience. Stil less can we approve of the epithets bestowed on Henry the Fourth of France, and Henry the Eighth of our own country; and the insinuation against queen Elizabeth is not only out of place, but scarcely justifiable from the most prejudiced account of her character. The following observation deserves serious reflexion: .. It has been observed, with great propriety, that there is a Protestant as well as a Roman-catholic popery. This we see discovering itself plainly whenever there appears in any of those churches, which have separated from the church of Rome, an intolerant, uncharitable, furious, and persecuting spirit, openly attacking those who slightly differ from them in tenets, in modes of worship, ia creeds (the fabrication of men), in hierarchy, and in sacred vestments : for the same diabolical spirit incited John Calvin to bura Servetus at Geneva, as that was which provoked the Catholics, in the different countries of Europe to destroy the Protestants. Let it be remembered also that persecution increases the number of those who oppose and who are punished by the persecuting power; because men are inclined to admire patient fortitude, to investigate, and often finally to embrace, those doctrines which enable those who maintain them to bear tortures with calmness and composúre, and to meet death with cheerfulness and joy.

• In the reign of our first Charles, religious disputes and animosities inflamed personal hatred, and increased the miseries of civil war. The devastation, the plundering, and the enormities which were committed by the royal and parliament armies, as each proved victerious, are still visible in the ruins of many of our civil and sacred

edifices; and all the circumstances of destruction are too well known for me, in this place or at this time, minutely to relate. Even now Christians of different denominations are very far removed from that catholic spirit of philanthropy and toleration which ought to be their distinguishing characteristics,

But I hope, from the injuries which have befallen' nations as well as individuals, by the unhappy divisions which I have been descris bing, that Christians will never suffer their passions to be so much enkindled as to incite them again to stain the history of their religion with the commission of such shocking and enormous crimes. Let them not look on their neighbours with hatred or contempt, for maintaining sentiments differing from their own, because (the idea is not my own) it is as absurd to suppose that all minds can be brought to think alike, as that the features of every man's counte. nance should be exactly similar. They are all formed by the wise and good Father of the world, and to hate, to ridicule, to abuse, to insult, or to persecute any of his creatures, is an indirect affront to his Divine Majesty.' P. 139.

From this the general tenor of the discourse may be per, ceived; but all the sentiments on mutual benevolence might have been expressed without any harshness towards modern characters; and the mere precepts of our Saviour would proz bably have had more weight than all the inferences deduced from the state of countries where intolerant maxims have prevailed. As the preacher seems to have traveled out of his req cord, and usurped the province of the historian in one place, he will, we fear, in another instance, be called to account by the physician. Dejection of spirits, ennui, or the tedium vite, is a disorder by no means uncommon in this changeable climate, To resist the attacks of this foul fiend, our author has composed a prayer, to be used by the patient under his paroxysm; and in this prayer he is made to say, 'I confess with shame and contrition that I am often melancholy and dejected; that I am often discontented, restless, and unhappy, without any apparent or adequate cause for being so.' The patient goes on in this manner, informing the Deity of all the circumstances usually attendant on this disease, prays fervently for comfort in the hour of death, and expresses the strongest hope for future happiness. ' But during the operation of this melancholy affeca tion the patient is naturally too much inclined to be thinking of himself and his misfortune: the great difficulty is to free him from himself, and to draw forth the mind, by easy and gradual efforts, to some exertions. It is not uncommon for very pious people to miss their aim entirely with this class of the infirm; and their well-meant endeavours have a tendency to increase rather than diminish the force of the malady. In the same manner this prayer must have an ill effect, and will fix the disorder more deeply in the mind. A general impression of the duty of resignation to God in all circumstances is to be preferred to all

such precise catalogues of symptoms. And while we give the , author due praise for his powers of composition, we would reco commend to him to strike out of his volume several of its sheets, and present them to physicians, to be applied by themselves in circumstances where such prayers may tend to the health of their patients.

[ocr errors]

Art. IX.-Letters on Education. By Elizabeth Hamilton. Sve

75. Boards. Robinsons. 1801, THIS work has been long under our consideration, and we ought to apologise to the fair author for our delay; at least she may be assured that it did not arise from inattention or disrespect. Miss Hamilton's object, in the volume before us, is to explain to the anxious parent the early associations of good and evil, ‘on which the direction of the affections and desires of the heart so much depend.' The second volume, which has just appeared, and will we trust be soon noticed, relates to the cultivation of the understanding.

To speak of these Letters in general, we might observe that they display great judgement, an intimate knowledge of the human heart, and delicacy of sentiment, highly honourable to the writer: yet we think she commits some mistakes, and we are convinced she has not had extensive experience in the business of education. The restlessness, the waywardness of infant minds are not allowed for: she seems not to be aware how often the curb must be relaxed, to render the check easy and effectual-how often the parent or governess must yield, in order to carry conviction to the youthful mind, at least such

haps have collected the want of experience from the title of • spinster,' and other collateral sources; but we would derive it from the work itself. Will she allow us to add, that she too often wanders from the subject, and occasionally digresses into Teflexions not properly applicable to education?

What we have lately observed of the bodily health of children we would repeat concerning their mental improvement, that a child of a naturally good disposition is not easily spoiled. Indulgence and mismanagement may for a time injure the temper; but it will be soon restored by the commerce of the world, or indeed the commerce of a large school-an epitome of the world. Youth is the season of candor, openness, and benevolence; the baser passions by degrees take root; and for this reason, the most fatal, the 'most incurable mental diseases of youth, are selfishness, cunning, and avarice. The first in particular is scarcely ever eradicated.

« AnteriorContinua »