« PreviousContinue »
paring for it; in words to celebrate words.-by Christ, through Faith, he is 'the everlasting kingdom, but not in fully redeemed from all his guilt-by' the heart to choose the way of entering' it; Spirit, tlirongh Obedience, he is graderto speak the language of religion, with ally restored to purity of heart,mand so, out possessing its faith, or its obedience. through an abundant Perseverance to Of all practical errors, my bretliren, the end, he obtains the blessing of the none is so easy to confute, yet none so pure in heart, which is, to see God." hard to overcome, as that a preparation pp. 186–188. for death is by no means necessary, or may be very safely delayed; that time
The author indeed on this occais yet long, and death distant; that a sion may be said to bave risen wille life of business will be accepted for a the affecting nature of his subject, life of holiness; aud that at the close and has furnished us with what we of all, seventy years of sin, perhaps an consider the best sermon in the bour of repentance, and then an eternity volume, as well for the point and of happiness, may be found consistent with each other, and with the demands accuracy of its style, as for its of God."" p. 181.
depth of feeling and originality of
sentiment. Our limits restrain us We subjoin some farther very from multiplying extracts; but we appropriate observations on the cannot refuse ourselves the gratisame subject.
fication of giving to our readers “ In making a due preparation for portrait of one whom we too had she was attached with almost more than sermons of this volume have been maternal affection-bot gifts received so copious that we can afford no from a gracious Providence, which she space for the Occasional Discourses, again entrusted to His care? She quit: to wbich therefore we must now ted them without a sigh, knowing in only refer our readers, whom we whom she had believed, and being per have enabled to judge wbat they suaded that He was able to keep that which she had committed unto Him have to expect from the perusal, by against that day.'Hers had been a the specimens already placed before life of PREPARATION; and hers was them. We need only add, that they most trnly a death-bed brightened with will not be disappointed.
the following affecting and faithful death, the Christian will, as we have the happiness of knowing, and to already seen, have respect to far more than any last and closing act. When
whose genuine simplicity and ferstretched on the bed of mortal agony; vent piety we rejoice again and strength and memory failing together; again to bear our humble testiand the fountain of life ebbing fastmony. (See Christ. Observer for away; something may be done, though January and April, 1821, pp. 67 perhaps imperfectly, by one who had and 210.) been previously prepared. To arrange his affairs with prudence, and dispose
" I would not here conceal the moof bis worldly effects will justice; pa. tive to my last observation, and in truth tiently to bend beneath the common to my selection of the text itself, for the curse; to die in penitence for sin, in purpose of delineating the Christian in charity with all, and, if weed be, making death. Lately, my brethren, have many ample restitntion for his wrongs,-are of us been warned by the voice of death acts, indeed, which become well the speaking to us in frequent and affecting trying moment; but are acts, which, in visitations. In one I have myself been the Christian's view, fall exceedingly called to sustain a very painful share. below a real preparation for death. Suffer the mention of a departed Chris.
“ To one preparing for his last ac- tian, though unknown by face to most count, and final departure out of life, here present, whose frail covering of two things are especially needful. T'he flesh I have jnst returned from follow. first, a state of pardon and acceptance ing to the tomb; but whose disembodied with God; the other, a meetness for his spirit has, I trust, now entered on the heavenly inheritance. The one entitles prelude to those sceues of unspeakable him to an admission into bliss; the other bliss which we have described. On her qualifies him for its enjoyment. The dying lips hung the very words of my one restores him to the favour of God, text, with only a slight but most inter, which by sin he had forfeited; the other esting variation ; ' An entrance is ini10 His image, which he had lost. The nistered—is ministered abundantlyone he knows to be beyond the claim of abundantly-into the everlasting kingbuman merit; the other, beyond the dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus reach of human power. 'For both he' Christ.' What, my brethren, were the Jooks, and not in vaini, to God alone. scenes of earthly bliss she was then By the blood of Christ is procured the quitting, compared with the anticipat. hope of his acceptance with God; by ed entrance into heavenly joy? What the Spirit of Christ he obtains a meet were even a beloved husband, aud nine Dess for His Fatber's kingdom. In other helpless pledges of their love to whom
2 H 2
In conHOPE. To her had been imparted faith clusion, we cannot refrain from conwithout presumption, and virtue with. gratulating the public on the speout self-righteonsness. Her life, accord. eimen of sound Church of England ing to human judgment, had been a life divinity, which is presented to them of charity, the fruit of faith; and her in the volume before us, in which last illness was occasioned, through
we have ardent piety without enDivine permission, by an act of selfdenial in shewing mercy to the poor.
thusiasm, discretion without coldHer last disorder was sudden, and ex- ness, and orthodoxy without bitremely painful. Bnt no murmur es. gotry; and such a happy and inticaped her lips; and-must it not be mate union of doctrine with pracmentioned with becoming pleasure ?- tice, that it is scarcely possible to no expressions of surprise at her danger read the author's development of testified a mind unprepared for ber last his principles without directly apchange. On the contrary, her few in- plying them to the conscience, or tervals of ease were employed in expressing her comfortable hope : and; tion of duties without a reference
to follow him through his delineawhen she referred to a certain dread of death which had ever dwelt on her 10 those elevated principles by mind, it was only to declare that the which alone the obedience of the sting of death was removed, and that heart can be secured. she met it without terror, or any uneasy
We are glad to find that a third apprehension. Her expressions of hu- edition of this work has been already mility were deep and unqualified; her called for, and the author bas, we reliance upon her Saviour, entire and trust, availed bimself of the opporunshaken. Her soul seemed, in the tunity which it has afforded him of language she quoted, as if in haste
to correcting the defects of the first be gone, and be wafted away to His
edition. throne.' And her 'sure and certain
We could have much hope' was this, that she was going where wished that the sermons had been every clond of ignorance and darkness all so reduced in length, as to adwould be done away; where there mit of their being conveniently would be no night; where she should read in families; and, even for prisee face to face, and know even as she vate reading, they would thus be was known;' and where she should rendered more useful, for it not unsoon, very soon meet, in the perfection frequently happens that the effect of blessedness, those who were most dear and precious to her here, since produced by strong and discrimithere even 'a thousand years are but as
nating statements of truth is greatly one day.' Amongst her last requests to weakened by the expanded explaher friends around her, was
one to nations, that have either intervened, satisfy every promise she might have or preceded, or followed them. One made, and every expectation she might of the most difficult attaigments in have even distan!ly raised, which bad composition is the art of compresnot been strictly fulfilled. Her last act sion; and we would particularly was to wipe a tear from the eye of her recommend the study of this art weeping husband, and direct him to the to our author, as likely to give inregions where they shonld weep no
creased efficiency to sermons posmore." pp. 206—208.
sessing so many just claims 10. Our extracts from the first eight public attention.
The Pirate, by the Author of view to the general trash of the “ Warerley, Kenilworth, 8c;" circulating library; we shall not
80 strictly confine our remarks, as (Continued from p. 172.)
not occasionally to urge arguments In our last Number we stated our which may not apply, at least in intention of entering, somewhat at their full force, to the writings inilarge, into a view of the evils which mediately under our consideration; appear to us to flow from a habit a warning which we think it but of trifling reading, particularly in fair to give, lest we should seem to the line of fictitious narrative. In impute to the author of Waverley order fairly to meet the case, we faults with which he is not chargedivided works of imagination-not able. Our readers, therefore, in very logically perhaps, but conve- justice both to the author and to niently for our purpose-into three us, will make the necessary abateclasses ; namely, those which are ments in the application of our stricwritten with an obviously bad in- tures to his particular case. tention; those which are written The first objection which presses with no definite intention at all, upon our attention in regard to the except fame or profit to the author babit of novel-reading, is the INand amusement to the reader; and JURIOUS excitement which it tends those which are written with a po- to produce. And bere let it be sitively good intention. The first kept in mind, that the works of class we dismissed in a few words, fictitious narrative to which our obas too palpably evil to require an servations are ineant to apply, are argumentative reprehension. The those which are written with no desecond class seemed to deserve a finite views, except of fame or promore lengthened discussion; and fit to the author, or of amusement to to furnish a basis for our remarks, we the reader. Now, works of this deselected, as a somewhat favourable scription may differ widely in their specimen, the tales of the unknown degrees of morality, or immorality; author of Waverley; and had pro. but one property is common to alceeded so far in our plan as to give most all of them, that they are inan outline of “The Pirate," with ex- tended to be stimulating. If they tracts,--this being his last produc- fail in this, it is generally the aution, and though inferior to several thor's misfortune, and not his perwhich have preceded it in literary pose. He intends his work to be merit, yet presenting a fair sample irresistible in arresting the imaginaof the moral qualities of his novels. tion, and absorbing, for the time,
Now, we do not hesitate to say, every faculty of the mind, and every that even were no novel more ex. affection of the heart. If his readers ceptionable than the Pirate, or than can contentedly eat, drink, sleep, Waverley, or Kenilworth, or any study, or pray from the time they other of these tales, the effect of commence his narrative, till they habitually indulging in the perusal have followed the vicissitudes of of such works would be decidedly his hero or heroine to their concluinjurious; and we purpose to for. sion, it is so much detracted from tify our remarks by a specification the potency of his genius. He of some of the evils:which appear wishes his spell to be inextricable: to us paturally to result from this his ideal world is to cast into the habit. We should however premise, shade all the tame realities of this that though we have selected the visible sphere : joy and sorrow, Waverley Novels as a sort of stand. health and duty, are all to be forard by which to try the question at gotten while, following the mazes issue, and have thus taken ground of the artist's fancy, the enchanted much less favourable to our own reader plies the volume by the ray views than if we had extended our of the sickly taper into the darkest watches of midnight. We do not mathematical treatise may create as aver that every novel is thus allur- long and powerfully sustained an ing; but this is only to say that interest as a yovel ; and that the every novel is not written by a Ri- excitement will be injurious, if it chardson, a Burney, a Ratcliffe, or cause a person to neglect any duty by the author of Waverley. Wbat of life for its gratification. But is called a “good” novel, and then there are many qualifications what for ihat very reason perhaps in the one case, which do not apply we ought to call a "bad" one, cer- to the other. For example, the tainly approaches this standard of interest excited by the Principia of excellence. It introduces its reader Newton, is not of an impassioned to a new world; it rivets his atten. character: it may indeed,' like a tion by an artfully adjusted series novel, so arrest ibe mind as to of incidents, and a highly-wrought cause the student to neglect the description of characters; stimu- claims of business, or devotion, or lating the feelings and the curiosity health itself; but it does not miniin so powerful a manner as, for the ster to any corrupt appetite, which time, to render almost every thing is more than can be said of most else uninteresting in the compari- novels : nor is such a course of
The excitement may be more reading open to various other imor less' injurious in its character, portant objections, which we shall or in its intensity, or in its dura- bave to urge against an inordinate tion. In many novels, the charac- indulgence in works of fiction. ter or quality, so to speak, of the Again; the faculties called into excitement, is of a decidedly es- exercise by severe study, are of a ceptionable kind : they add fuel 10 very different nature to those which the flame of passions which we are are stimulated by novel-reading; bound to mortify and subdue : they nor is the vigour of the mind imlead the reader to the margin of paired, but on the contrary intemplation, and too often precipi- creased, by such an application of jate him over the brink. We shall its powers. Besides whichi, the not complain very seriously of the one may be an affair of business ; Waverley Tales in this respect; for whereas the other can only be at the excitement they cause is not for best a recreation. A Cambridge the most part strictly that of the wrangler, we allow, may be as passions. But still an intense ex. much engrossed by his pursuits, as cilement of long duration, even if a novel reader ; but the one is envot positively vicious, is generally grossed in his proper calling, the hurtful in its effects. It enervates other for no assignable good end the mind; it generates a sickliness or purpose whatever. If a clergyof fancy; and it renders the ordi- man in active duty, as a mere nary affairs of life insipid. Should amusement, were to give up his it be objected, that this argument, mind to the same degree of matheif allowed at all, would go much matical study as he might lawfully too far; that it would banish music, do when a college student, he would and poetry, and all works of ima- doubtless be open to a part of the gination, and many of the severer charge which we are urging against sciences themselves, since all these novel-reading : he would find his cause excitement; it may be replied, studies entrenching on his publie that it would certainly go so far as labours, and would shrink per10 restrict these within due bounds, haps from the ordinary calls of his where they are matters of mere re- duty to indulge in these pleasures creation : -- where they are matters of intellect. There would however of business, they do not come still be many degrees of difference fairly within the scope of the pre- in the two cases; though iu both sent discussion. We admit that a the claims of a family, or a parish,
might be neglected in the intoxica- curiosity, is but too plain : the midtion of habisual mental excitement. night novel, is it does not colour
Our argument, however, is by the next day's conversation, gives no means intended to go so far at least its tone 10 the feelings ; as to exclude a temperate degree and it is well if it do not through of mental excitement arising from the day occupy by stealth many a a variety of pursuits, as well as moment clandestinely taken from from the study of nathematics. business requiring close and undiWith respect to such poetry, or vided attention, and if it do not mousic, or fictitious literature, as also engross the thoughts even while have no vicious tendencies, the it is not allowed to fill the hands. chief danger consists in the inlen- A mind under the genuine influsity and duration of the excitementence of novel-reading, sbrinks from they produce. But the intensity every thing like effort in study. It and duratiou of that produced by is stimulated with artificial condinovel reading is usually very con- ments, till it loses all natural and siderable. Few novel readers can healthy appetite. Not only the take up a well written tale, con- graver departments of literature, sisting of several volumes, for five but even books of amusement of a or ten minutes at a time, and lay less piquant character become dull it down again, and return to the and prosing in comparison with ordinary and less interesting pur- these highly seasoned viands. We suits of life, without baving their question whether a few months unminds injuriously stimulated, and restrained indulgence in. Waverley being led to cast many " a longing novels themselves, sober and manly lingering look behind.” There is as they are when compared with au evil in this respect in the general the ordinary class of such producconstruction of our novels : they tions, would not generate for a are usually long-much longer than time at least, a dislate, for our any person ought 1o be able to find standard essayists, and for most time to read at one, two, three, or writers of true and unromantic nareven many more sittings; yet they rative; to say nothing of the more are so contrived, as to be incapa. serious walks of metaphysics, theoble of being read iu repose by in- logy, and other absiract studies, stalments. The mind is absorbed; which could not be supposed to the imagination is healed; and the present any attractions to the baaffections are engaged. The mo- bitual novel-reader. ment arrives to lay down the vo- Were we Medical Reviewers inJume; but it is not so easy to ba- stead of Christian Observers, we nish the subject : we quit it in a might feel it necessary to add to feverish state of inind, and are in our charge against novel-reading, this sever till we relurn to il. Bu- on the score of excitement, the siness, study, devotion, the re- physical evils often attendant on quirements of nature, and the obli- the practice when carried to excess. gations of society, are but an irk- We know, at least, that medical some parenthesis, vill some imagi- men have frequently urged this nary hero is extricated from his pe- point; and have stated ihat the rilous jeopardy, or some sentimental habit of novel-reading is almost as heroine is united to the object of enervating to one class of their her uncontrollable affections. The patients as the use of opium, or of result, may be best seen in young spiritous liquors, to another. It is ,and badly educated persons, and in very clear, that the passions of the general wberever the mind has not buman mind cannot be strongly exbeen disciplined to self-control. In cited day after day, and year after such cases, the struggle between the year, without causing subsequent call of duty, and the stimulus of lauguor and cxliaustion, both inen.