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caused diversities in this shape. In order, perhaps, not to elevate the dead letter above the living spirit, He did not see fit to leave us any Written Record of the new law He came into the world to promulgate. The history therefore of His life, His actions, and His precepts, transmitted to us by His first followers in the Gospel, naturally bears the impress of their own views, their own notions, and their own personal individuality. The style and language of their narrative, and the interspersion of preternatural occurrences, were, we cannot doubt, more especially suitable to the ideas of those for whose instruction they were primarily and immediately designed. It is to this circumstance, and the unimportant discrepancies which naturally exist in documents emanating from different hands, that the difficulty, which many have at all times experienced, of submitting to them a literal and unqualified acceptation, is mainly attributable. It is not intended by this to assert, that the authors of these records made any additions to the original words of their Master with the consciousness of their not being genuine, but that they have transmitted to us the picture of His life, death, and teaching, as they, in their childlike views of the world, understood it, or as it was reflected in their own minds.
"Had the heads of the Church regarded this collection of the earliest traditions in such a point of view-had they considered them as a book 'written by man and for man,' and left the belief in its contents to be freely exercised-Christianity would have found much warmer friends and adherents [amongst such as Mr. Cottrell?], and its records more sincere supporters. Instead of this they made of them-what their unpretending and modest authors never meditated—a binding rule, a sort of strait-waistcoat for the faith of Christendom, and an apple of discord for theologians. Out of the unpretending Gospels and letters of the Apostles to their newly-established congregations were made' books of Divine authority,' directly inspired by the third Person of the Trinity, and specially dictated, indeed, to the pen of their authors by the Holy Spirit himself-word for word, and letter for letter. This collection of books was formed into a canon of Christian doctrine by different synods, especially that of Laodicea, in the year 364, in which, exclusively, is contained the whole compass of all the truths of salvation, and the standard of Christian faith. At the same time, not only were all the true and reasonable doctrines of the New Testament, but as those which were based upon antiquity, all the myths and miraculous narrations out of the religious records of the Jews, from the Creation and the Fall in Paradise, down to the dragon of Babylon, formally and solemnly sanctioned as universally binding and inviolate articles of faith for all ages, all nations, and stages of moral cultivation through which mankind may pass. It was almost made an indispensable condition of salvation to subscribe unqualified acquiescence in the contents of the whole Bible—and human reason, conscious of its freedom, was cruelly and barbarously summoned to believe, word for word, and to the very letter, palpable impossibilities and contradictions, and to live and die by them."-pp. 33-35.
VOL. XI.—NO. XXII.-JUNE, 1849.
It is almost superfluous to offer comment on the above passages from Mr. Cottrell's work. The excessive weakness and absurdity of many of his statements will be evident to any well-informed person; but the assurance with which they are put forth, shows pretty plainly, that their author has not pursued his studies in German literature without imbibing its spirit and tone in reference to Christianity. Mr. Cottrell talks of the "subtle poison" of a Froude, as if he himself had some object of faith beyond the writer whom he censures; but it is, in our opinion, a matter of very little consequence, whether a man denies the inspiration of Scripture and the authority of all Christian doctrine along with it; or whether he goes further, and rejects the very idea of God. The former we believe to be as great a sin as the latter, and more mischievous in its effects. The appearance of such openly infidel books as that of Mr. Cottrell is a sign of the times which should not be neglected. We are much surprised that any publisher laying claim to the slightest respectability, and more especially one who publishes for Clergymen of the Church of England, could have been induced to publish such a work as that of Mr. Cottrell.
Iv.-Visit to Monasteries in the Levant. By the Hon. ROBERT CURZON, Jun. London: Murray.
We have seldom met with a more entertaining narrative than that which Mr. Curzon has given of his adventures in the Levant in the pursuit of his literary objects. His visit to the monasteries of Egypt, Syria, and Greece, appears to have arisen from no peculiar interest in the present pursuits, tenets, or studies of their inhabitants, but from a desire to possess himself of some of the literary and antiquarian treasures which they retain; and no small portion of the interest of his story attaches to the ingenuity with which he contrived to purchase manuscripts from superiors of monasteries who were wholly ignorant of their value. Mr. Curzon seems to have formed no very high estimate of these poor monks, if we may judge from his usual system of commencing negotiations with them, by inducing them to discuss a bottle of Rosoglio. We have no doubt that Mr. Curzon's mode of proceeding was that which promised most success; and we suppose that any little artifices of this kind are considered allowable by book-fanciers just as they are by jockies; but we must confess that our amusement at the adventures related by Mr. Curzon, is frequently interrupted by doubts as to the strict propriety of the courses taken in dealing with the monks. To us, we must say, that the jocose tone in which the practices and tenets of communions differing from our own are very commonly spoken of, is
painful, conscious, as we are, that there is much in those practices which is deserving of censure, and which may readily present matter for ridicule to a stranger. Mr. Curzon's talent for humorous description is a dangerous one: in one tale, which is full of drollery, he relates "the Legend of King Solomon and the Hoopoes:" the story throughout appears to imitate the language of Holy Scripture; and in one part the sacred words, so familiar to us in connexion with the work of creation, are introduced without scruple to point a sentence. We must just quote a few words, underlining the scriptural quotations and phraseology.
"Now the king of the hoopoes was confused with the great honour of standing before the feet of the king; and making his obeisance, and laying his right claw upon his heart, he said, O king, live for ever! Let a day be given to thy servant, to consider with his queen and his councillors what it shall be that the king shall give unto us for a reward.' And king Solomon said, 'Be it so.' And it was so."-p. 154.
We do not accuse Mr. Curzon of any intentional irreverence; but we do feel that this sort of thing is really most disrespectful to the Word of God; and we think that Mr. Curzon's rank and abilities furnish no kind of justification for his participation in a practice which is becoming far too frequent, of using scriptural or other sacred allusions to add point or zest to a joke. We must protest against this degrading mixture of the most sacred and awful things with what is ludicrous or ridiculous. It is, if it be rightly considered, a species of profaneness.
There are many passages in Mr. Curzon's book which satisfy us that he is not without religious impressions, and that he would not voluntarily offend those of others; so that we shall only add to our preceding cautionary remarks, that, bating the defects to which we have referred, we have seldom perused so delightful a volume in its way. Its sketches of oriental life and manners are in the highest degree vivid, and by a few masterly touches, convey to us a distinct idea of the whole.
We extract a single passage in illustration of the style of the work. It refers to a nocturnal excursion which the author made, in company with a Coptic carpenter, to examine some manuscripts which the latter had concealed in a tomb of one of the Egyptian kings. We must introduce the reader to the scene in the tomb.
Having found these ancient books we proceeded to examine their contents; and, to accomplish this at our ease, we stuck the candles on the ground, and the carpenter and I sat down before them, while his son brought us the volumes from the steps of the altar, one by one. "The first which came to hand was a dusty quarto, smelling of
incense, and well spotted with yellow wax, with all its leaves dogseared or worn round with constant use: this was a manuscript of the lesser festivals. Another appeared to be of the same kind; a third was also a book for the Church Service. We puzzled over the next two or three, which seemed to be martyrologies or lives of the saints; but while we were poring over them we thought we heard a noise: 'O! father of hammers,' said I to the carpenter, I think I heard a noise: what could it be? I thought I heard something move.' 'Did you hawaja?' (O merchant) said the carpenter; it must have been my son moving the books, for what else could there be here? No one knows of this tomb or of the holy manuscripts which it contains. Surely there can be nothing here to make a noise; for are we not here alone, a hundred feet under the earth, in a place where no one comes. It is nothing: certainly it is nothing;' and so saying, he lifted up one of the candles and peered about in the darkness; but as there was nothing to be seen, and all was silent as the grave, he sat down again, and at our leisure we completed our examination of all the books which lay upon the steps.
They proved to be all Church books, liturgies for different seasons, or homilies; and not historical, nor of any particular interest, either from their age or subject. There now remained only the great book upon the altar, a ponderous quarto, bound either in brown leather or wooden boards; and this the carpenter's son with difficulty lifted from its place, and laid it down before us on the ground; but as he did so, we heard the noise again. The carpenter and I looked at each other: he turned pale-perhaps I did so too; and we looked over our shoulders in a sort of anxious nervous kind of way, expecting to see something— we did not know what. However, we saw nothing; and, feeling a little ashamed, I again settled myself before the three candle ends, and opened the book, which was written in large black characters of unusual size. As I bent over the huge volume, to see what it was about, suddenly there arose a sound some where in the cavern, but from whence it came I could not comprehend; it seemed all round us at the same moment. There was no room for doubt now: it was a fearful howling, like the roar of a hundred wild beasts. The carpenter looked aghast : the tall and grisly figures of the Egyptian gods seemed to stare at us from the walls. I thought of Cornelius Agrippa, and felt a gentle perspiration coming on which would have betokened a favourable crisis in a fever. Suddenly the dreadful roar ceased, and as its echoes died away in the tomb, we felt considerably relieved, and were beginning to try and put a new face upon the matter, when, to our unutterable horror, it began again, and waxed louder and louder, as if legions of infernal spirits were let loose upon us. We could stand this no longer : the carpenter and I jumped up from the ground, and his son, in his terror, stumbled over the great Coptic manuscript, and fell upon the candles, which were all put out in a moment; his screams were now added to the uproar which resounded in the cave: seeing the twinkling
of a star through the vista of the two upper chambers, we all set off as hard as we could run, our feelings of alarm being increased to desperation when we perceived that something was chasing us in the darkness, while the roar seemed to increase every moment. How we did tear along! 'The devil take the hindmost' seemed about to be literally fulfilled; and we raised stifling clouds of dust, as we scrambled up the steep slope which led to the outer door. So then,' thought I, the stories of gins, and ghosts, and goblins, that I have read of and never believed, must be true after all, and in this city of the dead it has been our evil lot to fall upon a haunted tomb.'
"Breathless and bewildered, the carpenter and I bolted out of this infernal palace into the open air, mightily relieved at our escape from the darkness and the terrors of the subterranean vaults. We had not been out a moment, and had by no means collected our ideas, before our alarm was again excited to its utmost pitch.
"The evil one came forward in bodily shape, and stood revealed to our eyes distinctly in the pale light of the moon.
"While we were gazing upon the appearance, the carpenter's son, whom we had quite forgotten in our hurry, came creeping out of the doorway of the tomb upon his hands and knees.
Why, father!' said he, after a moment's silence, if that is not old Fatima's donkey.'"-pp. 123-127.
V. -Sermons on Events in Sacred History. By JAMES COOPER, M.A., Perpetual Curate of St. Jude's, Bradford. London: Hatchard.
THERE is nothing calling for any particular remark in this volume of Sermons. They do not appear to exhibit_talents or attainments above the average. They are addressed evidently to a congregation in some degree educated.
VI.-The Signs of the Times. Sermons preached in Advent, 1848. By WILLIAM DODSWORTH, M.A., Perpetual Curate of ChristChurch. St. Pancras. London: Masters.
THIS series of Sermons preached in Advent connects the events of the days in which we are living with the signs of the second Advent of our Lord. They are written in a very solemn and awakening tone, and are calculated to turn the thoughts which naturally occur to man in the present times to the best possible