صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

together many things that we believe will be new to most of our readers.

The style of our author we have spoken of as uncommonly engaging. It is chaste, clear, and vivacious; easy and flowing, it beurs you pleasantly along without labor and without tedium. It is well sustained throughout, yet not at all monotonous. It is natural; it conforms to the requirement of the ancient critic, who directs us to write plain and common thoughts in a plain and simple manner; animated thoughts in more lively language; and elevated and stirring thoughts in a style more eloquent and vivid. In short, instead of maintaining a tiresome uniformity, one should let the language always conform to the subject. Dr. Stevens neither tires you by sameness, nor disgusts you by affectation, nor fatigues you by a succession of high-flown and overstrained periods. Satisfied with uttering thoughts worth recording, he can afford to be simple. He utterly eschews the vices of modern period-makers, never thinking it necessary to hide superficial sentiments by the tinsel of fine words. To use the illustration of another: "Does he wish to speak of a large room well lighted ? he does not need to say, “an extensive apartment effectively illuminated.” He would altogether prefer the language of the inspired volume, “Let there be light, and there was light,” which Longinus cites as an illustration of the sublime in writing, to the mawkish substitute proposed by a modern, self-proposed translator : “Let light irradiate the universe; and instantly light flashed into existence !"* What would this sapient writer say to the simple Latin rendering, “ Lux fuit. Et facta est lux ?" If such a one desired to convey into intelligible English Cæsar's address to the frightened pilot in a squall, “ Quid times ? sarem vehis, et fortunam;" or the words of Themistocles to the enraged Eurybiades, "Strike, but hear me!" he would have spread it into several well-rounded periods. Neither does Dr. Stevens fall into that vice, now so common, of introducing new and fashionable words, quite out of place, as if for the mere purpose of showing an acquaintance with them, as some men love to mention familiarly great people with whom they have only a very casual acquaintance. An inadvertence here or there may perhaps be detected, as once or twice the word develop, or development, is used in a sense amply sustained indeed by common usage, but not by strict etymological propriety; and the words “curate” and “vicar” are used with some confusion. Thus on page 258 the Rev. William Grimshaw is styled “cure of Haworth," and shortly after, on page 261, he is called the “heroic

The fact is, Haworth is a perpetual curacy within the parish

• Theol, and Bib. Review ; London, 1815, page 2.

of Bradford, the vicar of Bradford and a board of trustees determining the appointment. Perpetual curates sometimes have curates, like rectors or vicars, when they require assistance in their parochial duties.

No writer is so sharp-sighted as to escape all rhetorical blemishes. Accordingly a few, and only a very few, we meet in this volume. On page 134 “the Witness of the Spirit” is called the common privilege of all believers.” A European would hardly use the expression "high-bred aristocracy,” (p. 37,) or “the highest aristocratic rank,” (p. 167,) high-bred in one case and aristocratic in the other being superfluous. Once only that very common inelegance, "in their midst,” is found, instead of among them, or in the midst of them. And twice only we noticed a violation the rule that requires abstract truths and permanent facts always to be put in the present tense. Thus on page 341, when our author says that “Fletcher modestly observed that God's wisdom was sovereign and unsearchable,” we are naturally inclined to say, And when was it not? Is it not so always ? If "the Athenian orator said that action was eloquence,” (p. 469,) then he implied that it had ceased to be so, which is far from what he intended. He said “it is eloquence." This error is frequently committed when a past tense precedes the abstract truth or permanent fact, the writer improperly assigning the same time to the two distinct and dissimilar ideas. Even Blair himself does not always avoid this error, as in the following sentence : “If any one should maintain that sugar was bitter, and tobacco was sweet, no reasonings could avail to prove it."* Others might be cited from this elegant writer. That able writer and excellent scholar, Dr. Arnold, commits the same error when, speaking of his place of residence at the time, he says: “Yet I should be very false and very ungrateful if I did not acknowledge that Rugby was a very dear home.”+ It is of frequent occurrence when one reports what another said at some former period, as, “Mr. Webster asserted that the Constitution of the United States was the supreme law of the land.'” But these inadvertencies are so few and small as to be hardly worth the naming. The style is characterized by more than usual accuracy, and is deserving of high commendation.

We cannot close these remarks without noticing the mechanical execution of this volume. The typography and binding are excellent, and do credit to the establishment which sends it forth. The type is clear, neat, and broad, pleasant to the eye, and easily read. The binding, of superior workmanship, is at once strong and elegant. Altogether it is a beautiful book. • Blair's Rhetoric. Mill's edition, p. 24. † Life and Correspondence, p. 411.

Nor can we fail to direct attention to the frontispiece, a fine engraving of John Wesley. It is extremely life-like and natural. We have seen no likeness of that eminent man that gives so good an idea of the original. It is a representation of him in his later years. While it bears unequivocal marks of advanced life, it shows

“ An old age serenely bright

And lovely as a Lapland night." In the calm and tranquil features we see the symbols of his grave yet cheerful temper, while the keen and piercing eye denotes his quick and lively apprehension. It is a face one loves to look upon.

Since writing the above we have also seen an illustrated volume of this history, adorned with other portraits of great beauty and interest. Among them are those of the venerable father, and still more venerable grandfather of the founders of Methodism, with Lady Huntingdon and Fletcher, the heroic Nelson, and besides several others, one which we suppose is Susanna Wesley, in her grave and dignified beauty, full of life and grace.

This volume, though complete in itself, so far as it goes, is but the commencement of a history that is to be brought down to our own times. We trust the author will be spared to finish his task; for we feel that the Methodist Church, and indeed the whole Christian family, will owe him a debt of gratitude for this new treasure which his genius and industry have given us. He has gathered fragments of golden ore, melted them into a precious ingot, which shall be for the enriching of the Church's spirit. His vivid details and animating sketches will be a delight to the young, while his truthful history shall instruct the old, and its liberal and Christian spirit will embalm it in the hearts of all the wise and good.

ART. VII.-THOMAS WALSH.

WITH A PORTRAIT.

On the 8th of March, 1748, John Wesley arrived in Dublin, accompanied by Robert Swindells, one of his most useful lay preachers. It was Wesley's second visit to Ireland. He felt a profound interest for the evangelization of the island; and the time he devoted to it amounted to at least six of the most laborious years of his life. He doubtless believed that Methodism had peculiar adaptations to the wants of the country. Berkley, the good Bishop of Cloyne, had published, in his Querist, twelve years before the first visit of Wesley, suggestions respecting the religious improvement of Ireland, almost every one of which found its correspondence in the practical system of Methodism; whether Wesley had read them or not, he traveled, preached, and planned in behalf of Ireland as if he fully comprehended its religious problem, and judging from late events and actual prospects there, his schemes are yet to be found the most effective, however delayed.

By the time of his second visit Methodism had made no small impression on the impressible Irish. As usual, however, its introduction had provoked general hostility. John Cennick, a famous lay preacher, had delivered in Dublin an advent sermon, on the " babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,” etc. A Papist, (a priest some authorities say,) who knew more about the Breviary than the Bible, caught up the phrase, and went away shouting “Swaddlers ! Swaddlers !" The Methodists were thenceforth called “ Swaddlers" throughout Ireland. “The word,” said Charles Wesley, on a subsequent visit, "sticks to us all, not excepting the clergy." "Down with the Swaddlers!” the mob now shouted throughout Dublin; the preaching-house was dilapidated, its benches and pulpit thrown into the street, and kindled into a bonfire. Shillalahs bristled on Stephen's Green at the out-door preaching; battered heads, bleeding noses, and bunged eyes were seen in almost every "open-air meeting.” Methodists, policemen, and even women, were felled to the earth, and several murders occurred. The persecution spread over the island. Ireland gave to the Methodist ministry its second martyr, John M'Burney. Cork was thrown into agitation little short of civil war. Butler, a ballad-seller, gowned like a clergyman, roamed the streets, with the rabble at his heels, shouting "Five pounds for the head of a Swaddler;" the preaching-house and the dwellings of Methodists were taken by assault; John Wesley was hung in effigy, and Charles Wesley and nine others (eight of them preachers) were presented by the grand jury, in an indictment which is said still to stand on the city records as a remarkable presentment,” and which declared that, “We find and present Charles Wesley to be a person of ill fame, a vagabond, and a common disturber of his majesty's peace, and we pray that he may be transported.”

Meanwhile the Methodist evangelists marched steadily forward till they conquered a universal peace, and Cork became a perilous place to Wesley's preachers, because of its Irish politeness and bountifulness toward them; he called it "the Capua of Methodism." ley himself was received at last with honors by the city authorities, at the City Hall, and the people wondered at and honored him as he rode through the streets. He was, as he might well be, astonished at their Hibernian good-nature. His Journals abound with exclamations at their boundless courtesy. They were the “politest people he had ever seen.” Finer "courtesy could not be found at St. James's or the Tuilleries."

For a considerable time his preachers on the island were all sent thither from England. It has been said that if Wesley was not one of the wisest, he was at least one of the most sagacious of men; he knew the importance of a native Methodist ministry, and hoped to see it soon appear among his societies. The most important, if not the earliest, of his Irish preachers was provided during the second visit to which we have alluded.

Robert Swindells, with whom he arrived in Dublin at this time, was soon sent abroad "itinerating" over the land; he reached Limerick, where great interest was excited by the news that one of the “Swaddlers” was to "hold forth" on the parade ground. No people enjoy more the excitement of public assemblies than the Irish; they streamed into the city and toward the public ground. While Swindells was preaching a young man, “who had been trained a strict Roman Catholic, but whose intelligent and melancholy aspect betrayed an unsettled and inquiring mind, took his stand amid the throng, attracted among them not more by the novelty of the scene than by the hope that some words appropriate to his religious anxieties might be uttered by the humble preacher. The needed word was uttered, for the text of the itinerant was: 'Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Twenty years later John Wesley wrote, respecting this Irish youth, that he knew & young man who was so thoroughly acquainted with the Bible that if he was questioned concerning any Hebrew word in the Old, or any Greek in the New Testament, he would tell, after a brief pause, not only how often the one or the other occurred in the Bible, but what it meant in every place. Such a master of Biblical knowledge he says he never saw before, and never expected to see again. His name was Thomas Walsh.” *

This was in 1749, about a year and a half after Wesley's first visit to the country. The name of Thomas Walsh has since been, and will be to the end of time, canonized in the history of Methodism. And yet we must premise, in entering upon a brief sketch of his remarkable career, that the records which remain respecting him relate more to his character than his ministerial achievements. The latter were of the most extraordinary kind; every allusion to them

• History of Methodism, vol. 1, p. 288.

« السابقةمتابعة »