صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

throughout. But, instead of talking of their own affairs, These specimens convey a fair notion of Mr Dunlop's in which the reader might have been somewhat interest- general style; and we therefore do not hesitate to say, ed, they scarcely say a word concerning them, except at that he must either alter it entirely, or cease to make any the commencement of the first Book, and at the conclu- farther attempts at the production of poetry. That he sion of the third. They converse rather " de omnibus might improve we consider likely, from the circumstance negotiis et quibusdam aliis." In the "Argument" to the of there being several passages in his book of a much first Book, we find such references as these,-" Descrip- higher order than those to which we have referred; and tion of Britain, prior to the coming of Christianity," as we are ever anxious to do justice to all men, we have "Its Introduction,”- 66 Account of Icolmkill,"-" Scot-pleasure in selecting one of these for our readers' approland and Ireland Christianised,"-" History of Oswald, bation :King of Northumberland." In the "Argument" to the second Book we have,-" Advance of Popery over Great Britain in the seventh and eighth centuries,""Allusion to Cyprian, Augustine, and the pristine hermits,"" Transubstantiation admitted-Good Works— Indulgences,"-" The practicability of man's discovering and preserving a knowledge of the Divine Character in his own strength,"-" General Account of the Church of Rome,"-" The Culdees,"-" Sketch of Gospel truth,"

-" Original Sin," &c. &c. What connexion all this and much more has with Oliver Cromwell, we do not undertake to explain. All that we can state is, that instead of being political or historical, the poem is, to all intents and purposes, strictly theological, and, with a few omissions, might have been called "Nicodemus," or "Edward Irving," with as much propriety as "Oliver Cromwell."

But as to the merits of the poetry,-what of them? Our opinion is, that 'Mr Dunlop is a sensible and wellinformed man, but not exactly cut out for a poet. His style, which is founded upon Milton, (heu! quanto intervallo!) is terribly laboured, pompous, and inverted, forming, in these respects, a striking contrast to his prose composition, which is distinct and vigorous. Take an example or two of what we call very hard and costive attempts at versification. We think the following passages nearly as dry reading as any of Euclid's propositions :

;

"A maxim 'tis of sages, who explore,
With lucky search, the elements of things,
That in the haughty art of governance,
In arbitrating penalty and pain,
Displeasure moved against the general good
Reward should meet, adjusted to the hurt
And detriment the commonwealth endures:
Although the moral stain and guilt perchance
Of popular and non-offending treason,
Might be o'ergone by a more private sin;
Treason, the vasty basis of the state
Endangering, her loud alarm is just,
And parrying retribution perilous."

"The bark that swims unpiloted, may glide
And roll in circling voyage in advance.
Where wind or tide her worthless range impels;
But to attain the distant mark reserved,
And find the transatlantic beacon sure
Athwart th' illimitable breadth of foam,
All obstacle of air and sea nathless,
The pressure of the potent lath demands
Against the tugging wave, and force oblique
Of blanched sheet, bound faithful to the breeze."

"Urged by primeval custom, nations all
Their scrupling spirits have assuag'd, when ground
With deadly sin, and substituted blood,
That wrath to quench, that was suspect to chafe
And canker in the vengeance-brewing spheres ;
Yet deviate from the true original,

Into idolatrous and perverse rite,
They sacrificed in vain."

"Complete beyond compare, the tangled web
And traversed intertexture of our fate;
And unexpress'd, the involutions strange
Of our polemic broil of swords and words.
None can array the plastic polity
That summon'd into being all the play
Of clashing wits, and stern colliding jar
Of mind confronting mind, in conflict new:
Where old sedate opinion did not crouch,
As wont, in cloister'd abbacies and halls,
But issued on the stage of human life
Unparalleled in sequence and import."

CROMWELL'S DREAM.
"As if in dreams and visions of the night,
When deep sleep falls on man, methought I saw
An ancient city's strengthen'd bounds within,
A lofty scaffold, clothed in doleful black,
Amid a close-wedged multitude uprear'd,
For consequence of stern judicial doom.
Stood round the scene of death th' engines of fate;
Sad expectation bent itself unmoved,
And breathless waiting still'd the living mass,
That on a secret portal strain'd their sight;
From whose recess they long did hope and watch
For spectacle to feast their mourning eyes;
And rest and silence for a space prevail'd.

;

Sudden throughout the crowd a murmur rose
Like sound of zephyr in the tops of trees
And to the view of all men issued one
From the high dome, majestical and slow,
In sables clad: whose now defenceless head
Aforetime graced a golden diadem,
And royal hands a rod of empire sway'd.
But now discrown'd, and from his throne descent,
He stoop'd unweapon'd, 'mid the iron tread
And guard of a closed watch of steel-clad men,
And stern officials of vindictive law,

All refuge fail'd him to the cruel stroke
Of hate and ruthless judgment was he doom'd.
Seemly decorum reign'd, befitting well
His calm and lofty mien; while jewell'd words
From his lips dropt, as with upraised hands
He bless'd his liegemen with a father's love.
Alas! he had a most forgiving eye

To all, save one. And, 'mid the weeping throng,
He singled me, methought, with such a look
As dying Abel to his brother sent;
And witness'd that I had not shelter'd him
In destiny's obscure and cloudy day;
Like the prophetic voice of ancient seers,
His words stuck as an arrow in my veins.
Then stooping solemn, he pronounced a prayer,
And reverently inclined him on the block;
Till glided an ill-favour'd one behind,
Vizor'd in crape, like a foul hidden fiend,
Or delegate of darkness, to fulfil
The frenzied inquisition of the state;
And from the breathing corse sever'd the head,
Dext'rous, and swift from every eye withdrew,
Nor e'er in England's realm was seen again.
The people spake not; and the welkin lower'd.
My soul to this dark tragedy was chain'd,
When straight a force invisible me caught,
And ferried swiftly from the bloody scene
To distant coasts remote; yet still invades
Fierce and upbraiding wail throughout the land.
Men's hearts did fail for shed of royal blood;
And women, judging, from the throeing, earth
Was near her end, convulsed and died aghast.
And ever, 'mid the sad and moaning winds,
His stilly voice enter'd my very heart."-Pp. 10-12.
The following lines are also poetical and good. Mrs
Claypole speaks :

:

"My loving father! many years have sped
Over thy head, and now they trace behind,
And leave some notice as they fleet away:
Silver upon thy temples here and there
Thy hand is sinewy, and autumn's tints
O'erflush thy season with admired decay.
Thine eye is freighted with a nation's cares,
And thou dost question with ascendency,
And speakest to be heard o'er laud and sea,
And France gives earnest heed, and guilty Spain.

Lofty thy port 'mong coronets and swords,
And a starr'd peerage gives obeisance to thee.
But I have known thee in the private vale;
Sisters and brothers have I kiss'd and loved
In childhood's happy bloom: we greeted thee,
Our sire endear'd, and sang at thy approach.'

Mr Bell has, with great propriety, rejected in his Principles the arrangement of Erskine, which is a singularly infelicitous attempt to class the doctrines of the Scottish law according to the division of the Roman jurists, without understanding the principles upon which that division proceeded. Our author's arrangement coincides in the main with that of Lord Stair, with some modifications, however, which the altered state of the law has rendered indispensable. Provided a systematic arrangement admits of the subject being exhausted within its limits, we are not very nice about the precise order

well aware that the very best method must leave some in which the different divisions follow each other, being Black-parts which can only be distinctly understood after we

have mastered the whole. We refrain, therefore, from some objections we felt inclined to urge to Mr B.'s order; in particular, to his treating of the doctrine of obligations prior to that of property. We cannot, however, omit to suggest one improvement, which we find generally adopted by the institutional writers of Germany. It is to discuss, in a preliminary part, the simple doctrines of property, obligations, and persons; and afterwards the more com plicated subjects of property as affected by feudal relations, rights and responsibilities arising from partnership, insurance, bankruptcy, and the like, which uniformly involve more than one of the simple doctrines.

As to the execution of the work, it is every thing we could wish, and calculated to be of use to the practitioner as well as the mere student. The doctrines are simply and lucidly stated; and a list of reported decisions and other authorities annexed to each, which may be consulted for its argumentative treatment. A copious index is added an indispensable part of every systematic law book-prepared, we understand, by the indefatigable Mr Cosmo Ferguson, the compiler of the very excellent indices attached to Mr Bell's Commentaries, and Mr Ivory's edition of the larger Erskine.

In conclusion, we have to add two things. In the first place, there are one or two works which deserve to be excluded from the sweeping censure pronounced in the beginning of this article; especially Mr Robert Thomson's Treatise on Bills of Exchange, Mr Brown's on the Law of Sale, and we might have added, Mr Ferguson's Consistorial Law, had not that gentleman tired of his work in the middle, and patched up the latter part rather slovenly. Secondly, we flatter ourselves that this article itself is rather a successful specimen of the style of writing we have been condemning.

Pp. 31-2.

On the whole, we do not rise from the perusal of this book with any feeling of disrespect to its author, but simply with a consciousness that he has misapplied his talents in seeking to clothe his thoughts in a poetical

dress.

Principles of the Law of Scotland for the Use of Students in the University of Edinburgh. By George Joseph Bell, Esq. Pp. 622. Edinburgh. William

wood. 1829.

Ir was high time that an institutional work on the law of Scotland, suited to its present advanced state, should appear. Since the publication of Lord Stair's Institutes, and even the later work of Mr Erskine, the form of our law has undergone an extensive change-many branches have become obsolete, or sunk into comparative insignificance, which formerly occupied almost the exclusive attention of the courts, and the extension of our commerce has introduced new and complex relations into society, which could not be contemplated in older works.

age.

We have a high opinion of the talents and acquirements of many of our present lawyers as practitioners, but we must make bold to say, that our law literature is at this moment very deficient. There are but few modern books on Scotch Law that rise above mediocrity. The fault seems not to lie so much in the deficiency of the authors, as in the general intellectual character of the We are now-a-days, in all professions, prodigiously learned, and versant in the most profound investigations but there is a mistiness about all our knowledge. We know every thing, and we can argue most plausibly on abstract principles; but when kept close to details, we are generally found deficient in distinctness and mastery over the subject. This, with all due deference to the gentlemen of the long robe, is peculiarly striking in their case. Set them upon the track of a question of abstract right the metaphysics of the law-and you are sure of receiving most luminous and eloquent disquisitions; but bring them to investigate its practical principles, and you find them at fault alike in clear views of established doctrines, and their application to special cases. How different is it with Stair, and some others of our older writers! There is scarcely a schoolboy now alive who could not demonstrate the shallowness of their metaphysics; but when they come to elucidate a legal doctrine, or show its application, their reasoning is like a problem in

rience afforded by a discharge of some years' standing of the duties of Professor of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh.

Euclid.

Mr Bell is by no means free from this defect of his age; on the contrary, we could cull from his writings as striking exemplifications of it, as from those of any writer we know. There is a vagueness about his style that not unfrequently renders it somewhat difficult to see his drift. To compensate for this, however, he has what most of his contemporaries want a comprehensive and systematic knowledge of his subject. His commentaries on the mercantile law of Scotland are not only the best that we possess they are in reality the first, and, as yet, the only treatise on the subject. Mr Bell, therefore, has the honour of being the first who has given to the world a complete and methodised system of what has now he come the most important branch of our municipal law. Nor have his labours been confined to mere theoretical investigations. He has taken an active and influential part in the modifications which have been introduced of late years in the forms and proceedings of our courts of law; and for doing justice to his last work-that which now lies before us--he has been prepared, by the expe

Studies in Natural History; exhibiting a popular View of
the most Striking and Interesting Objects of the Material
World. Illustrated by ten Engravings. By William
Rhind. Edinburgh. Oliver & Boyd. 1830. Sve.
Pp. 247.

THIS is a book excellently calculated for the ingenuous mind of youth. It contains little that is new, and nothing that is profound; but its materials are lucidly arranged, and its thoughts are prettily expressed. The views which it presents of the great system and operations of Nature, whether in their general or minuter features, cannot fail to lead to pure and lofty conceptions, and will at once strengthen the judgment and refine the heart. As to the praise due to Mr Rhind-though the work is one which will always be read with pleasure and edification—we think it right to state, that it is more a tasteful compilation than an effort indicative of much originality of talent ; and is unquestionably more of an elementary than a scientific kind. Such works, however, can never come amiss; and we are always glad to see men springing up among us capable of doing justice to so noble a subject,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

tions of the power, and wrath, and caprice of an unseenunknown Divinity, the patient enquirer into nature will find displayed before him a beautiful system of order, regularity, and mutual harmony,-the consummate arrangement of an all-powerful, benignant, and merciful God.”—Pp. 12-6.

and of clothing it in those attractive colours which naturally belong to it. One or two specimens of Mr Rhind's style will be enough to show that he enters con amore into the task he has undertaken, and that it is well suited to his peculiar genius. From his first section we extract the following pleasing passage on

THE ADVANTAGES OF THE STUDY OF NATURE. "Nature has charms even for the most uninitiated. The green fields and the waving woods, the playful motions of happy animals, the wheeling flights of birds, the buoyant air filled with innumerable insects on glittering wing, the fleeces of white clouds rolling their fantastic lengths along the blue sky, are all capable of imparting a simple pleasure to the mind. But a knowledge of the various operations of Nature is calculated to heighten this pleasure of contemplation in a tenfold degree, and enables one to perceive delicate beauties and nice adaptations, before unheeded or unthought of. A philosophical poet has very beautifully remarked, that the sight of the rainbow never gave him so much pleasure as when he first was able to understand the principles on which it was formed, when he viewed it not only as the arch sublime' spanning the hea vens, but as a curious and beautiful illustration of the rays of light, decomposed into their various constituent colours, by the natural prism of the globes of rain from the dropping cloud. The landscape-painter looks with additional delight on a beautiful scene, because he can enter into the perception of the mellowing of tints, the disposition of light and shade, and the receding perspective of the relative objects.

"The appearance of the silky-like haze rising from the ocean, floating about on the surface of the deep, and hence ascending in clouds of various shapes and hues, and sailing along the sky, and lighted up or darkened as they pass and repass the sun, is a sight of beauty and splendour calculated to please and amuse the eye; but when we know that this appearance from the deep is a species of distillation going on-that a portion of the pure water of the ocean is taken up by the atmosphere, carried along by the winds, and descends upon the face of the soil in refreshing showers, giving life and sustenance to the animal and vegetable world,-to our feelings of pleasure are superadded those of wonder, light, and gratitude.

"It is the same with the botanist, the mineralogist, and the investigator of animal life. A tree is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful objects in nature; the massive strength of the trunk, the graceful tortuosity of the branches, and the beautiful and variegated green of the leaves, are all so many sources of pleasure to the beholder. But when we think on the series of fibres and tubes by which this tree for ages, perhaps, has drawn nourishment from the earth, and, by a process of assimilation, added circle after circle of woody matter round the original stem, till it has acquired its present enormous bulk,-when we reflect on the curious mechanism of the leaves, by which, like the lungs of an animal, they decompose the air of the atmosphere, selecting through the day what part of it is fit to enter into the composition of the tree, and giving out at night a different species of air,-when we think of the sap passing up the small series of tubes during summer, and these tubes again remaining dormant and inactive throughout the long winter, -these reflections awaken a train of ideas in the mind more lasting and more intense than even the first vivid impressions of simple beauty.

"The untutored imagination may have a vague pleasure from the contemplation of meteors and tornadoes, of flaming comets, or darkening eclipses, as the foreboders of important events, or the precursors of national calamities,-the wild savage may listen to the hollow voice of the coming storm, the shrieking spirit from the mountain, his good or evil genius, or the strange cries of unknown birds and animals, with an excited awe and delirious tremor,-but to the enlightened enquirer into nature there are pleasures no less intense, and grounded on a more rational, permanent, and ennobling basis. His admiration is no less great, as he looks on the vast and striking revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and the imposing phenomena by which they are accompanied, because he scans the laws by which they are upheld and regulated; and when he turns to the worlds of animated existence, descending to the minutest points he has a field opened to his view of accurate adaptation, and most curious and elaborate construction, the investigation of

which is calculated to excite the highest feelings of admira

tion.

"Instead, therefore, of being filled with perturbed no

Mr Rhind rarely deviates, in the course of his work, into any speculations of his own, but contents himself with condensing the materials supplied by others. In one instance, however, he offers his own theory upen rather an interesting subject, and we think there is much good sense in it. It is well known that pure air is transparent and colourless, and the reason, therefore, why the atmosphere should have a blue tinge has given rise to some discussion. It is attributed, by one party, to reflection from thin vapours contained in it; and by another, to refraction, the blue rays being supposed to find a less easy transmission through the air than the other coloured rays. Upon this subject, Mr Rhind remarks

"The above are the generally-received explanations of the nion of the cause of this appearance, it would be the followblue colour of the atmosphere. If I might hazard my opiing :-As the atmosphere extends upwards, its density be reflecting the sun's rays in like proportion diminishes, till comes gradually less and less, and of course its power of at last, at the extremest verge where it terminates, there is no reflection at all-a total darkness. The extreme strata then being most rarified, has the least power of reflecting the rays of light; and the light thus reflected is of a bluish tint, or consists principally of the blue rays. In this manner, a dark brown mountain, whose surface has small reflective capabilities, when seen at a distance has a deep blue appearance, exactly similar to the atmosphere. It cannot be the medium of the air through which it is seen that renders it of this colour; for if part of the mountain be covered with snow, which has strong reflective powers, this snow too, that the atmosphere, when seen from the top of a very is still seen of a pure white colour. It has been ascertained, de-high mountain, has a deep blue tint, approaching to black, and this tint becomes deeper the higher up you ascend. It may be observed also, that the centre of the atmosphere, looking perpendicularly upwards, always appears of a deep towards the extreme verge of the horizon, or in the lower blue colour, which gradually passes to a whiter appearance strata next the earth. Here most dense air is accumulated, and here the reflection is most perfect, or nearest approach

ing to white light; whereas, perpendicularly overhead, the rays of light pass through less of this air, the reflection is fainter, and hence the deep blue colour."-Pp. 45-6.

We have room for only one other short extract. It is

upon

shall notice is, the various sounds produced by insects-THE SOUNDS MADE BY INSECTS.-"The last thing we those diversified sounds which are so often heard, and which so enliven the animated creation. Perhaps the uninitiated will be astonished to hear, that the shrill clarion of the bee, the hollow buzz of the dor-beetle, the chirping of the cricket, and the merry voice of the grasshopper, are none of them produced from the mouth of the respective insects. Indeed, no insects have the power of producing sound by the mouth; they do not breathe through the mouth, and consequently can have no power of producing sounds by that organ. The sounds are produced either by the quick vibration of the wings, or by beating on their own bodies or other hard substances with their mandibles, or their feet. The sound of the bee is produced by the vibration of its wings in the air. The cricket, when it is disposed to be merry, beats time with its mandibles against its head and horny sides, in the same manner as a human being, when in good spirits or idle, drums with his fingers on the table. There is a sound which has often struck terror into the

souls of the superstitious, and which is frequently heard behind the ceiling, called the death-watch. This has been ascertained to be caused by a small species of wood-beetle, and most probably in the same way as the cricket produces its sound, by beating with its feet on the wood."

We can safely recommend this work as one which combines a fine tone of morality with much practical and use

ful information.

Isabella's cough is better—“ O, what a miracle! am I in Peace in Believing. A Memoir of Isabella Campbell of the land of the living!" She receives a letter from a Fernicarry, Roseneath. Greenock. R. B. Lusk.

1829.

THIS is the history of a life and conversion naturally arising out of the circumstances stated in the few first pages. Given, a young female of a consumptive habit, living out of society, and having her attention directed to religious matters; the corollary of which, of course, is the terrors, the visions, the raptures, the longings, the assurances, which necessarily follow. Generally speaking, ing, it is not worth while to take notice of this class of publications, even for the purpose of exposing them; for they carry with them, in their absurdity, a sure antidote to any evil effect on well-regulated minds, and the weak zealots to whose feelings they are, for the most part, addressed, may be fairly supposed beyond the influence of rational criticism. But we have been moved by two considerations to deviate a little from this rule in regard to the "Memoir of Isabella Campbell." First, it is not the work of some evangelical sister, or itinerant gleaner of conversions, the usual biographers of such subjects; but written by a parish minister of our Church, whose office and station may be presumed to give some importance to what he has thought fit to publish, with the avowed intention of doing good. And secondly, we esteem it a sort of duty to that portion of the public over which our influence may in any way extend, to expose, once for all, by some remarks on a particular specimen, a species of trash with which the country is at present pestered, more, we believe, than at any former period since the first rise of Methodism.

The success of modern conversions, all of which proceed upon the same principles, depends solely upon the presence of a particular temperament. As surely as the physician knows the constitutional complaint, so surely does the most ordinary observer know the religious malady with which it so often stands connected-by its infallible diagnosis. Terror is commonly the first stage. Accordingly, our poor convert, Isabella, is distressed by doubts of her election, by temptations to blasphemy, by the dread of having committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. Then, as usual, she is suddenly relieved by a book, an impulse, a text, and a sermon, and the work of conversion is begun. At this point commence those joyful experiences, those flights of the soul, those rapt illuminations, that give their highest and most peculiar colouring to the pages of evangelical biography. "At times," says Isabella, "such a flood of glory rushed upon me, that, had it continued, I felt this frail body could not have endured-I must have

died."

One of the most noted effects of enthusiasm is that perpetual use of daring and familiar language, founded on gross notions of divine things, to which, next to profane levity itself, a sound mind has the most shuddering repugnance. Take, for example, such phrases as these, which are thickly scattered throughout the book before us : "Lord, hold thine hand, or increase my capaciousness,”"She had found much comfort in being able to put a blank into God's hand in all her temporal concerns,' “O, for rapacious appetites to eat continually of this manna!"—"How am I lost, lost, drowned in thee!" Akin to this, is the fondness of those good people for connecting their illuminations with outward circumstances, some of them homely enough. Thus, for example, our heroine's sister—a convert, too—says, "Just when I was sweeping the floor, a few days ago, the words of David came with great clearness to my mind."* dinary occurrences, too, are often represented as if they were direct and uncommon interpositions of Providence, and distinguished by suitable expressions of rapture.

Or

friend" I could not help considering it as an answer to my prayers; I could not help being overwhelmed with a sense of the Lord's goodness." She makes the acquaintance of a pious sister-" Our meeting is a wonderful manifestation of the tenderness of our God." She is visited by a wandering evangelist" O, all this goodness is insupportable!" These converts, moreover, always affect an incredible and unattainable indifference to sufferbut Isabella went even farther than this-" She was not satisfied as to the entireness of her resignation to the divine will, unless consciously thankful for every pang that thrilled through her frame." This was surely the ne plus ultra of thankfulness.

"

6

I

Our converts have mighty notions of what they can Often, and ought to do in the conversion of others. during the night, she would say to her sister, Arise, dear, and pray; it does not do for you to take rest all night when immortal souls are perishing around you. have been pleading for hours, and do not feel much weakIt was no doubt very proper for Miss Campbell ened.'" to pray, but if she exerted her gift for us, as it appears she did for a certain "Mr we should rather decline the compliment. "I cannot tell you," she says, "how much I am indebted to our friend for bringing Mr

99

We should like to know whether it is to be inferred from this, that sweeping the floor has any thing to do with a clearer insight into the sense of inspiration?

[ocr errors]

44

here, for I have had such unutterable pleasure in praying for him. O, that the great Head of the Church would magnify his glory, by making him do and suffer This gentleman, who, we much, for his name's sake.” presume, is no other than the great Apostle of the Faith of Assurance in the West, is no doubt anxious to suffer. Modern converts, in ceasing-very properly—to rely on morality for salvation, appear sometimes not so properly -to make wild work with moral distinctions. Yes, says our author, "though many do not think it, the best moral character that ever trode the world, and the man who is a pest to society, are alike the children of wrath." And we might quote still stronger declarations of the same kind from pages 20 and 59. Does the reverend biographer think that naked and startling assertions like these, supposing them to receive some apparent countenance from a refinement in orthodoxy, are calculated to serve the interests of practical religion in the world?

But that which most strongly characterises the class of believers to which the heroine of this book belengs, is the assurance of their personal salvation. Indeed, the scope and tendency of the work is manifestly to hold up this as the life of religion, as the distinguishing evidence of a true Christian character. It may be known to many of our readers, that certain high-flown opinions on this subject (opinions which, to prevent misconstruction, we must say distinctly, receive no regular countenance from either of the parties into which our church is divided) have been recently maintained by one or two zealous ministers in a Western presbytery, and are alleged to have produced extraordinary effects in the way of religious revival and conversion. Isabella Campbell appears to have been one of the first fruits of this pious work, and her biographer is naturally anxious to obtain, for his peculiar views, all the support which the example of so fair and attractive a character was likely to give them. It is not our intention to trouble our readers at length with the ravings of an enthusiastic girl, on the subject of her own assumed salvation, and that even of certain of her neighbours, whom she expressly distinguishes. Such as are curious to see the whole amount of her extravagance on this point, we simply refer to the following pages of the book: 129, 276, 278, 462, 463, 180, 247, and 307. We could easily prove (indeed, we had prepared ourselves to do so, but our limits forbid so long an investigation as this would require) that this fair convert's views of assurance are opposed to the standards of our Presbyterian Church. Suffice it to say, that, contrary to the perva ding scope of the book, our Confession and Catechism are

|

recover ourselves, a strapping sergeant entered the parlour with a huge bow, or rather rain-bow, of party-coloured ribands in his cap. He came, he said, to offer a substitute females asking him in the same breath, Who and what for me; but I was prevented from reply by the indignant did he think could be a substitute for a son and a husband?' The poor sergeant looked foolish enough at this turn; but he was still more abashed when the two anxious ladies began to cross-examine him on the length of his services abroad, and the number of his wounds, the campaigns of the militia-man having been confined doubtless to Hounslow, and his bodily marks militant to the three stripes on his sleeve. Parrying these awkward questions, he endeavoured to prevail upon me to see the proposed proxy, a fine young fellow, he assured me, of unusual stature; but I told him it was quite an indifferent point with me whether he was 6-feet-2 or 2-feet-6,-in short, whether he was as tall as the flag, or under the standard.' The truth is, I reflected that it was a time of profound peace; that a civil casional drill, that I could make shift, like Lavater, to war, or an invasion, was very unlikely; and as for an ocright-about-face. Accordingly I declined seeing the substitute, and dismissed the sergeant with a note to the WarSecretary to this purport: That I considered myself drawn ; and expected, therefore, to be well quarter'd: That, under the circumstances of the country, it would probably be unnecessary for militiamen to be mustarded;' 'but that The Comic Annual. By T. Hood, Esq. London. if his Majesty did call me out,' I hoped I should give him Hurst, Chance, & Co. 1830. The females were far from being pleased satisfaction.' 12mo, pp. 174. with this billet. They talked a great deal of moral suicide, WE cannot at present enter into any detailed account wilful murder, and seeking the bubble reputation in the of this liveliest of all the Annuals; but we shall make cannon's mouth; but I shall ever think that I took the two extracts as a specimen of its literary contents. The proper course, for, after the lapse of a few hours, two more of the General's red-coats, or Ġeneral postmen, brought me first is a prose sketch, entitled a large packet sealed with the War-office Seal, and superscribed Henry Hardinge;' by which I was officially absolved from serving on horse, or on foot, or on both together, then and thereafter. And why, I know not-unless his Majesty doubted the handsomeness of discharging me in particular, without letting off the rest ;-but so it was, that in a short time afterwards there issued a proclamation, by which the services of all militiamen were for the present dispensed with,-and we were left to pursue our several avocations, of course, all the lighter in our spirits for being disembodied."

6

agreed, that Assurance is not of the essence of Faith;* and while it must be admitted that they allow a high degree of assurance in some Christians, they take care to connect this with such extreme qualifications of faith and holiness, as must always keep a modest spirit on the safe side of reserve, and as leave the assured fully chargeable with all the responsibility of fixing their religious attainments at that high estimate which alone can warrant their confidence.†

In conclusion, we have only to add, that the Reverend Mr Story, the editor of this work, might, we think, have employed his influence more usefully in correcting than in heightening, and, in so far as her example was likely to produce any effect, in qualifying than in recording, the enthusiasm of a character which appears, in many respects, to have been amiable and promising.

To our religious readers, our remarks will, we trust, stand sufficiently vindicated by the spirit in which they are written; inasmuch as they have been dictated wholly by an honest regard for the interests of pure, and rational, and evangelical truth.

DRAWN FOR A SOLDIER.

I

"I was once-for a few hours only-in the militia. suspect I was in part answerable for my own mishap. There is a story in Joe Miller of a man, who, being pressed to serve his Majesty on another element, pleaded his polite breeding to the gang as a good ground of exemption! but was told that the crew being a set of sad unmannerly dogs, a Chesterfield was the very character they wanted. The militiamen acted, I presume, on the same principle. Their customary schedule was forwarded to me, at Brighton, to fill up; and in a moment of incautious hilarity-induced, perhaps, by the absence of all business or employment, except pleasure-I wrote myself down in the descriptive column as Quite a gentleman.' The consequence followed immediately. A precept, addressed by the High Constable of Westminster to the Lower ditto of the parish of St M***, and endorsed with my name, informed me that it had turned up in that involuntary lottery, the ballot. At sight of the orderly, who thought proper to deliver the document into no other hands than mine, my mother-in-law cried, and my wife fainted on the spot. They had no notion of any distinctions in military service -a soldier was a soldier-and they imagined that, on the very morrow, I might be ordered abroad to a fresh Waterloo. They were unfortunately ignorant of that benevolent provision, which absolved the militia from going out of the kingdom- except in case of an invasion." In vain I represented that we were locals;' they had heard of local diseases, and thought there might be wounds of the same description. In vain I explained that we were not troops of the line; they could see nothing to choose between being shot in a line, or in any other figure. I told them, next, that I was not obliged to serve myself;'-but they answered, 'twas so much the harder I should be obliged to serve any one else.' My being sent abroad, they said, would be the death of them; for they had witnessed, at Ramsgate, the embarkation of the Walcheren expedition, and too well remembered the misery of the soldiers' wives at seeing their husbands in transports! I told them that, at the very worst, if I should be sent abroad, there was no reason why I should not return again;-but they both declared, they never did, and never would, believe in those Returns of the killed and wounded.' The discussion was in this stage when it was interrupted by another loud single knock at the door, a report equal in its effects on us to that of the memorable cannon-shot at Brussels; and before we could

6

• Confession of Faith, chap. xviii. sect. 3; Larger Catechism, quest 81.

+ Confession, chap. xvi, sect. 2.

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »