« PreviousContinue »
It is to be regretted that such writers as Messrs. Birkett and Bigg do not understand, that, although verses may do very well for an album, or may be praised by kind-hearted friends and neighbours, it does not exactly follow that they are suited for the eye of the public.
Mr. Bigg is far the more ambitious of these two writers.
This young aspirant for poetic fame informs us, that he was eighteen when he wrote his poem, and nineteen when he published it; so that he must be about twenty now. He is therefore, we trust, not too old to learn; and we certainly advise him to learn many things before he publishes a second poem; amongst the subjects we would recommend especially to his notice, are, the proper use of words, composition, rhythm, time, and-if he would not find our list too comprehensive, we would add,―modesty and common sense. Let him be particular in his study of "Master Shakspeare;" let him, moreover, study the writers of other lands, both ancient and modern. Let him break in his Pegasus, and cure it of its ugly trick of kicking, lest he meet with the fate of the author of Sandford and Merton.
We will, however, give him one drop of comfort: we do not give a decided opinion; all we say is, that Mr. Bigg, if he will divest himself of the delusion that he is a poet now, may possibly become one hereafter.
XVIII.-The Haunted Man, and the Ghost's Bargain; a Fancy for Christmas Time. By CHARLES DICKENS. London : Bradbury and Evans. 1848.
THE present tale has a more directly religious bearing than Mr. Dickens's preceding publications; and it is pleasing to trace in the works of such a man the gradually increasing acknowledgment -a verbal, formal acknowledgment, we mean,-of those great truths which alone can render man wise or happy.
Throughout all his writings, there has always been a pervading atmosphere of pure natural religion; but the more decidedly Christian character has developed itself more of late years. To pass over the Sketches, many of which could not, by any possibility, have been written by one who was not a Christian at heart; the light in which the clergyman is represented in Pickwick is a clear symptom of the author's feelings; the more so, as he is introduced as it were gratuitously, and has no effect whatever on the story.
It is, however, in "The Haunted Man" that we have clearer indications of positive as well as practical Christianity. Not only does the whole story warn us to be kind and true to others, and
contented in our own hearts; not only are we taught throughout that even those very things which appear curses are, when rightly understood, blessings, so that to be bereaved of them would be itself a curse; but the doctrine of Christ crucified is-in few words, it is true, but still clearly and emphatically-made the centre of love, the source of joy, and the mainspring of hope and life.
XIX.-Lecture Sermons, preached in a Country Parish Church. By WILLIAM NIND, M. A. London: Hatchard. 1849. THE many who have read the first volume of these Sermons, will welcome, no doubt, with joy, the appearance of the second. There are indeed few Sermons that are readable, and fewer still that are preachable: we do not understand the fact, but fact it is. Mr. Nind's Sermons possess both these merits; and those of the second volume are even plainer and simpler than their predecessors: they have not so much originality; but the style is more flowing. Still, however, there is at times a want of fluency and absence of rhythm, which frequently hurt the ear, even when the judgment is pleased, especially in the openings of the Sermons in the first volume: and though the diction is simple, it is not always Saxon enough. In our opinion, no writer, especially the author of Sermons intended for a country parish, is at liberty to use a word derived from any other source where one can be obtained from the Teutonic without inelegance or obscurity. The volume, however, has high though unpretending merits; without entering into, or even touching upon, or alluding to the questions which agitate the Church, Mr. Nind, simply and unobtrusively, without fear or favour, endeavours to expound the most important and practical doctrines. Thus the efficacy and the responsibility of baptism are admitted, though not placed as prominently as we should wish; thus the doctrine of justification by faith is clearly put forward; thus the necessity of personal holiness and the certainty of future judgment are continually insisted on. We recommend both volumes most heartily.
xx.-Liber Precum Publicarum, Ordo Administranda Conce Domini, Catechismus Ecclesiae Anglicana, Psalterium. Londini: Impensis JOANNIS GULIELMI PARKER, in vico dicto West Strand, MDCCCXLVIII.
VERY well and neatly got up, and does great credit to the publisher. Every Englishman going abroad should have a copy. Its study and use in Latin might perhaps exercise an influence in leading the minds of some, who are now in comparative darkness,
to a taste for purer and higher things, and might tend to disengage them from their superstitions by showing, that the renunciation of Romish errors does not lead to infidelity. It is to be regretted that there does not exist, in this country, a single institution where converts from the errors of Rome may find refuge, and receive instruction and discipline at that critical period when soul or body are often one or both irrecoverably lost from the want of some fostering hand to cherish and to guide.
XXI.-A Catechism, compiled and arranged for the Use of Young Persons. By EDWARD B. RAMSAY, M.A., F.R.S.E., Incumbent of St. John the Evangelist, Edinburgh, and Dean of the Diocese. Fifth Edition. Edinburgh: Grant. London: Rivingtons.
THIS excellent little volume has reached a fifth edition; we trust that it may obtain a fiftieth. It is sound and clear, the great requisites in such a work. We advise every parent or teacher to possess themselves of it: it is pre-eminently good.
XXII.-Every Child's History of England. By MISS CORNER. London: Dean.
A MOST pernicious book; we are in doubt whether the authoress be a papist or an infidel.
XXIII.-1. Thoughts in Verse, from a Village Churchman's Note-Book. By the Rev. SAMUEL CHILDS CLARKE, M. A. Oxford: Parker. 1848.
2. The Triple Judgment; or, The Origin of Evil. By ETHELMUND, a Saxon Bard. London: Shaw. 1848.
MR. CLARKE and the Bard "Ethelmund," do not rise beyond mediocrity as poets.
The illustrations of the first volume are exceedingly tasteful, and deserve a better fate, with the exception of a grotesque figure apparently intended to represent the ideal of a Village Churchman. It is a very fat friar-fatter than any we ever beheld in those lands where, some years since, friars had the opportunity of growing fat. The original must assuredly have been a portrait of Friar Tuck. The verses themselves are utterly devoid of any merit of any kind.
As to the resuscitated Ethelmund, we strongly advise him to
return to his grave, and remain there. We cannot imagine how even a man's own vanity could lead him to employ such a composition for any other use than that of lighting fires.
XXIV.-Kings of England. A History for Young Children. London: Mozley :-and Masters. 1848.
A VERY well written volume-sound and moderate in its principles both of Church and State-decided throughout, but never offensive; though Dunstan and Becket are treated, perhaps, too tenderly, and Edward the Confessor praised rather too strongly. The book was much wanted, and we feel grateful to the author for having done real service to the rising generation.
The Words from the Cross. A Series of Lent Sermons. By W. H. ANDERDON, M.A., Vicar of St. Margaret's. Leicester. London: Pickering. Leicester: Cropley. 1848. We have seldom been so much pleased with any course of Sermons as with these they are simple, loving, earnest, real. Reality is a quality too frequently wanting in such collections—a quality, indeed, the absence of which renders the vast majority of able Sermons almost totally inefficient. The little volume before us is equally suited for the closet and the pulpit-for devotional or didactic use. We have been delighted not only by the unaffected beauty of the work taken as a whole, but by the manner in which, on delicate and difficult questions, exactly the right thing is said, without one shade or one line too much or too little. The following passage meets our eye on opening the book:
"What were our early years? Were we sheltered in a holy home, and did we break through the enclosure that should have guarded our purity? Was the early dew of our baptism scorched up by the glare of sin, and unrenewed by faith and prayer? Did we forfeit our privileges before we became awake to them?
Again: what have been our latter years? Have we walked on blindly, missing opportunities, neglecting warnings, stopping our ears against invitations, amusing our listless spirits with every trifle upon the road, admiring our fancied selves because ignorant of our real selves, falling, perhaps, into more grievous depths of sin, going clean contrary to the express will of God, and doing that for which the LORD of Life and Glory came to die?
We were blind. knew nothing of We had no eyes The spiritual, the
Father, forgive us, for we knew not what we did! There were upon our eyes as it had been scales. We ourselves nor of Thee. The present was our home. but for the things which are seen and temporal. VOL. XI.—NO. XXI.—MARCH, 1849.
eternal world was to us as though it were not. Thy Presence was shrouded from us: we were under eclipse. No wonder, then, that we walked in darkness, knew not what we did, where we stood, whither our wayward feet were conveying us.'
The passage is rather too long to quote; it merely exemplifies the style and tone of the whole work. The manner in which the writer speaks of the Blessed Virgin has peculiarly delighted us, stinting her of none of that honour and reverence which is her due, yet sternly denouncing the sin of Mariolatry.
XXVI.-Brief Sketch of Human Nature in Innocency. By the Rev. W. GURDEN MOORE, M.A., Vicar of Aslackby, Lincolnshire. London: Painter. 1848.
FROM what we have seen in the volume, there does not appear to be any thing in it either very new or very striking.
We extract a sentence, that our readers may judge for themselves of the style :
"The powers we now possess are naturally incapable of such nice discrimination as to resolve into their elements the severalities of which our being consists."-p. 64.
XXVII.-Journal in France in 1845 and 1848, &c. By THOMAS WILLIAM ALLIES, M.A., &c. London: Longmans. WE have perused this volume with much interest, and, we confess, with still more regret. The position and some of the principles of the author forbid us to express fully the uneasiness which we feel in regard to himself; but the fact is, that Mr. Allies, in his anxiety (we presume) to promote what he thinks more just and tolerant views of Romanism, describes that system in such a way, that the effect is calculated to be extremely injurious. There is much in the volume which betokens (we will not say an unsettled mind, but) a mind which is strangely reconciled to practices and theories which have been justly disapproved by the Church of England. The tendency of the volume is, we think, adverse to the English Church and favourable to that of the Church of Rome.
It is throughout a panegyric on Romanism at the expense of the Church of England. The work in many parts might have been the production of a Romanist. Take the following passage as an instance :
"The sun shines, though we are blind to its rays. Wisdom utters her voice in the streets, though none listen to her. Now incomparably the most important facts in the Roman Church are those which concern