Page images
PDF
EPUB

and excellent observations, which not only shew that Mr. J. has studied his subject with great attention, but prove, at the same time, that a pious and conscientious regard for the proper performance of every part of the ministerial duty, with the sole purpose of instructing the ignorant, reclaiming the profligate, and building up believers on their most holy faith, has absorbed all minor considerations, so that the preacher seems only to live that he may fulfil the ministry which he has received of the Lord.

On most of the subjects which our author has treated in this discourse, he has left us little to censure, or wish retrenched, and little of importance to supply. We could have wished, however, that, on the last head, he had been more explicit in his directions concerning the constant, absolute necessity of preaching Christ crucified, as the Lord who bought us, as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world; through whom alone we can have access unto God; from whom and through whom all right internal principles must come, and through the vicarious efficacy of whose sacrifice alone any soul can find redemption from the power, guilt, and destructive nature of sin.—This most sacred doctrine we have ever seen to be that alone which humbles the haughty spirit of man, defiles the horn of pride in the dust,magnifies the» law and makes it honourable, cheers the desponding sinner, and exhibits, in the most luminous and impressive manner, the majesty and the mercy, the grace and the justice of the Maker, Judge, and Redeemer of mankind.

In general, the limits of our Review will not admit of so particular an examination of single sermons as we have here undertaken. Our apology for this is, the importance of the subject, the peculiar circumstances of the occasion, and the cheering prospect of extensive good, which must result, under the blessing of God, from such well directed and eminently supported endeavours. When we consider such a sermon,

^preached before, and published at the desire of, an Archbishop eminent for his steady and rational piety, and a large and respectable body of the Clergy of the united dioceses of Cashel and Emly, who, by their request for its publication, avow that they adopt its spirit, and have unitedly pledged themselves to the accomplishment of its truly evangelical object, we are led to augur most favourably in behalf of that part of our much-neglected, poor, and distracted sister-island, which, by the gracious providence of God, is placed under the spiritual direction of such a Prelate, and such Clergy".

"We most devoutly wish that every member of this united and reverend body, in principle, practice, and success, may realize the desires expressed in this affectionate discourse; and that pastors there, of all descriptions, may so exert themselves in their glorious and arduous work, that the church of Ireland may shake itself from the dust, arise and put on its beautiful garments, that from henceforth neither the uncircumcised nor the unclean may ever disgi'ace it!

Of the sermon in general, we may remark, that it is neatly and perspicuously written, without any tincture of reprehensible enthusiasm on the. one hand, or any mixture of un. influential and antichristiau moral declamation on the other. We cannot fulfil the duties of our office without cordially recommending it to our readers, and especially to the clergy of the United Kingdom ; and we earnestly hope, that it may induce all, who need the admonition, to neglect what is unconnected, and coutemn what is inconsistent, with the solemn and spiritual nature of their sacred office, remembering that many things which are highly esteemed among men, learning, talents, riches, dignities, influence, and reputation, if preferred to the gospel of Jesus, are an abomination in the sight of their Master and Judge.

Art. XI. The Bees; a Poem, in Four Books; with Notes, Moral, Political, and Philosophical. By John Evans, (Shrewsbury), M D. F.R. M.S. Edin. Book I. 4to. pp. 90. Price 7s. Longman and Co. 1806.

"^TE must not require that every writer in verse should equal the sublimity of Pindar, or the delicacy of Anacreon, any more than that every composition in prose should flow with the sweetness of Xenophon, or burn with the flame of Demosthenes. It is possible* to merit the title of a useful writer, without either deserving, or claiming, the rank of the orator or the poet. If this consideration were duly admitted, we should never have seen any worthy and ingenious author sacrificed on the altar of criticism, to the mercenary satire of critics, or the prurient malignity of readers, for deficiencies which he never denied, or failures which he ingenuously admitted. We certainly do not class Dr. Evans with the author of the Georgics; he does not expect that we should; but we readily allow that his poem may be read with considerable pleasure and advantage, and, as he appears well qualified for the task, we doubt not that, when it is completed, a vacancy in English literature, on the most interesting subject of Natural History, will be respectably supplied. He has not the bold and inventive imagination, the rich and profuse colours, the smoothness and tinsel of Darwin ; on the contrary, his versifi

cation is often heavy, his metaphors arc sometimes obvious or incongruous, and a few of his lines obscure. We rejoice/ however, that he is not chargeable with that atheism or indelicacy, of which Dr. Darwin's poetry affords too many instances, and the disgrace of which, his talents will not atone, but only perpetuate. " Dr. Evans freely admits the existence and providential superintendance of his Maker; and from the seriousness and cordiality of his admission, and the moral views to which he often adverts, we are willing to believe that his faith includes many articles which the volume of inspiration has added to the page of nature.

'As this poem is at present incomplete, we shall not anahyse the plani but merely transcribe two passages, illustrating the faults and merits of the work.

The following lines are selected, by way of specimen, from a description of vernal flowers which we have not room to quote at length.

The slyer Ophrys,* with insidious care?
Hangs the mock insect in her sea-green hair,
Shews to the robber bee her seeming guest,
And clasps the rnimic spoiler to her breast.
E'en thou, smooth-sandal'd Mistress of t,he Lak^,
,' Shalt the Full splendour of the scene partake,'
When thy own Trefoil, f like some lady fair,
With feathery fringes braids her streaky hair,
Gems her light curls with many a rosy bud,
And floats her threefold mantle on the flood—'

After describing in some pleasing lines the transformations of the female bee, our Author proceeds,

But now, when April smiles through many a tear,
And the bright Bull receives the rolling year,
Another Tribe, to different, fates assign'd,
In ampler cells their'giant limbs confin'd,

* The slyer Ophrys] Ophrys apifera, Bee Orchis, affords a striking instance of Nature's kind provision against the depredations of insects; who, when hovering hear, might suppose'the nectaries pre-occupied by others of their own kind, the lower lip of the tlossom resembling a small humble bee, and the side-lobes its wings. Eng. Botany', 283.

f When thy own Trefoil] Menyanthes trifoliata, Buckbean, is perhaps the most elegant even of our aquatic plants, which principally vie in beauty •with the. most favoured exotics. Attentive to ornament, as'well as use, Nature hath enlivened the dreary bog with the bright polished leaves, red buds, and beautifully fringed streaky blossoms of this plant j and floats ori the stagnant ditches the smooth, pectinated leaves", crowned with spikes of purple, yellow-eyed flowers, of the Hottonia palnstris, Water Violet, winch has very' uutch the air of a tropical plant. Eng. Botany, '3Qi,

Burst through the yielding wax, and wheel around
On heavier wing, and hum a deeper sound.
No sharpen'd sting they boast; yet, bu/zing loud?
Before the hive, in threat'ning circles, crowd
Th' unwieldy Dron ts. Their short proboscis sips
No luscious nectar from the Wild-thyme's lips,'
From the Lime's leaf no :iruber drops they steal,
Nor bear their Groovelf.ss thighs the foodful meal;
On other's toils, in pamper'd leisure, thrive
The lazy Fathers ot th' industrious hive.
55j|54j)G . While love and pleasure thus your hours employ,
How short, vain rlutterers, is your dream of joy!
Ere the fourth Moon unyoke her silver car,
For you the fates their deathful woof prepare.
No widow'd matron mourns your hapless doom* , .,,

Nor drops the tear of duty on your tomb.
Each kind affection turn'd to deadliest hate,
Springs the fierce female on her once lov'd mate;
Or, darting from the door, with tenor wild.
The father flies his unrelenting child.
Far from the shelter of their native comb,
From flow'r to flow'r the trembling outcasts roam,
To wasps and featherM foes an easy prey,
Or pine, 'mid useless sweets, the ling'ring hours away.' .; 1

The rjotes are popiflus, instructive, and interesting. The remainder of the poem will be published very speedily.

Art. XII. The Fall of Eminent Men in Critical Periods a National Calamity-: .'.A Sermon preached at the Gravel-pit Meeting, Hackney, 21st Sept. 1806, on occasion, of the recent Death of the Right Hon. Charles James Fox. By Robert Aspland. 8vo. pp. 28. Price 1 s. Longman and Co.

Art. XIII. A Discourse occasionedhy the Death of tlie Rt. Hon. C. J.Fox; delivered at the Unitarian Chapel in Essex-street, 12th Oct. 1806. By Thomas Belsham. 8vo. pp. 32. Price It. Johnson.

&HrHE late Sir George Saville, Dr. John Jebb, and the **• learned Solicitor General, John Lee, Esq. men whose names, (says Mr. Belsham) "would do credit to. any cause, and who were all of them the public and personal friends of Mr. Fox, were regular attendants upon the Unitarian worship in Essex-street, from the time when the chapel was nrst opened, in the year 1774, by the author's venerable predecessor, the Jlev. TheopMlus Lindsey, till the time of their decease." p. s.

These facts are reasonably adduced by Mr. B. in apology for preaching and publishing a sermon on Mr. Fox's death. Mr,

I

Aspland (who succeeded Mr. B. at Hackney, when the latte was translated to the Metropolitan Chapel at Essex House) had jio such motive to assign for a similar conduct. We cannot, however, doubt, that both these discourses originated from the same principle. The great statesman, who, in each, is panegyrized and lamented, was evidently a peculiar favourite with the Unitarian dissenters. His well-known indifference'to Christianity in any form whatever, if not a recommendation, was alpably no impediment to their esteem and admiration; and is political course having been almost completed in opposition to the existing government, coincided with the views which they mostly entertain and profess.

It may, therefore, well be expected, that both these eulogies are penned con amove. They differ, nevertheless, in various circumstances; and in none more than in the passages of' scripture which are assumed fby force of custom) as the texts. Mr. Aspland's is very appropriate, Isaiah ii. 22, and iil_ 1,2, 3. Mr. Beisham's, we think rather unfortunate; as, in quoting 2 Samuel xvi. 23, he appears to have felt a necessity of omitting the, names of Ahitophel and Absalom! lest cavillers should be disposed to draw invidious comparisons. It strongly expresses, notwithstanding, (and we believe without the least exaggeration) the estimation in which Mr. Fox was held by the preacher and his friends, to whom " the counsel which he counselled in those days was (at least of equal authority) as if a man. had enquired at the Oracle Of God." The exalted and unmingled panegyric exhibited in each of these discourses, demonstrates the truth of this observation ; and Mra B. honestly avows his apprehension, that '' the hopes of mankind (that is, of English Unitarian dissenters) w,ere too highly elevated, and too much confidence was placed in human sagacity and power." p. 30/ With this, as the only part of Mr. B.'s sermon which has any reference to religion, we shall dismiss that article.

Mr. Aspland's. subject has naturally led him to add more of serious remark to eulogium, . We extract a paragraph in pp.. T, 8, as containing an impressive view of losses which should peculiarly excite national reflection at this crisis:—

* It deepens the gloom and augments the distress of our condition, that whilst dangers multiply around us, death hasj time after time, extinguished those talents to which we looked for deliverance. An unusual mortality has prevailed among our great men, and swept away our warriors and statesmen. Within the compass of a year, the nation has been deprived, by death, of no less than four (not to mention more) of its chiefs, and leaders, two eminent in cbunsej and two in arms; A Military Chief, whose bravery had been tried in the East and in the. West, whose unostentatious wisdom produced him; still more than hfs ctfu*age, the respect and confidence of hi« country,and who,having in a period of danger and alarm, relieved the distress

« PreviousContinue »