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The Works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A., with Memoirs of his Life. By
Edmund Calamy, D.D.
Mr. Howe was one of the most eminent men of nil times* and his name has come down to posterity without reproach. His talents were of the highest order, his learning varied au<i profound. He was peculiarly distinguished by a rich flow of natural and manly eloquence, and his works are an imperishable monument of his fame. Christianity was his religion j and though through his long life party spirit ran high, and he was called to occupy a conspicuous station, he was calm amidst its fury, and maintained his principles without compromising his character for prudence, benevolence, and those milder graces of the Christian profession which are its brightest ornaments. His biographer truly observes of him, that " be seems to have been born into the world to support generous principles, a catholic spirit, and an extensive charity.' This would be high praise at any time, but in the circumstances in which he was placed it exhibits the rarest excellence. The manner in which he became one of the domestic chaplains to the Protector, and the noble disinterestedness, integrity, and firmness with which he discharged the duties of his perilous office are infinitely to his credit. He was a priest at court without ambition or servility; and when fanaticism had grown into fashion, he opposed to it the gentle fervours of an enlightened and rational piety; and this at the risk of Incurring the displeasure of a patron who wielded the power of the state, and whose resentments were most dreaded by those who were best acquainted with his character. Mr. Howe knew him intimately, and was high in his favour, yet he fearlessly combated before him, and in the presence of a numerous congregation at the chapel of Whitehall, a notion which he was known to entertain, and to which he attached the greatest importance. The anecdote is thus related by Dr. Calamy:—" I had heard from several (and ft had been confirmed to me by Mr. Jeremy White, who lived at Whitehall at the very same time with Mr. Howe), that the notion of a particular faith in prayer prevailed much in Cromwell's court, and that it was a common opinion among them that such as were in a special manner favoured of God, when they otiered up prayers and supplications to him for his mercies, either for themselves or others, often had such impressions made upon their minds and spirits by a divine hand, as signified to them not only in the general that these prayers would be heard and graciously answered, but that the particular mercies that were sought for would be certainly bestowed; nay, and sometimes also intimated to them in what way and manner they would be afforded, and pointed out to them future events beforehand, which in reality is the same with inspiration. Having heard of mischief done by the prevalence of this notion, I took the opportunity that offered, when there was nothing to hinder the utmost freedom, to Inquire of Mr. Howe what he had known about this matter, and what were his apprehensions concerning it. He told me the prevalence of the notion that I mentioned at Whitehall, at the time when he lived
there, was too notorious to be called in question; and that not a little pains were taken to cultivate and support it, and that he once heard a Bermon there (from a person of note), the avowed design of which was to maintain and defend It. He said he was so fully convinced of the ill tendency of such a principle, that after hearing this sermon, he thought himself bound In conscience, when it came next to his turn to preach before Cromwell, to set himself industriously to oppose It, and to beat down that spiritual pride aud confidence which such fancied impulses and impressions were apt to produce and cherish. He told me he observed that while he was in the pulpit Cromwell heard him with great attention, but would sometimes knit his brows and discover great uneasiness. When the sermon was over, he told me a person of distinction came to him and asked him if he knew what he had done; and signified it to him as his apprehension that Cromwell would be so incensed upon that discourse that he would find It very difficult to make his peace with him, or secure his favour for the future. Mr. Howe replied that he had but discharged his conscience, and could leave the event with God."
To the honour of the Protector he neither dismissed his chaplain nor visited him with any direct marks of his disapprobation.
The Act of Uniformity, the most impolitic and unjust that ever passed into law during the tyranny of the Stuarts, drove'Mr. Howe, and two thousand exemplary and laborious clergymen from their pulpits and their flocks, and replaced them, for the most part, with very inefficient successors. From the known liberality of Mr. Howe's views on the subject of ecclesiastical discipline, his non-conformity excited great astonishment In the High Church party. Dr. Wilkins, on one occasion, ventured to question him as to his motives in taking a step so fatal to all his worldly prospects, intimating that from his known latitude in such matters he fully expected him to have been among those who would have submitted to the law. Mr. Howe declined entering upon the subject further than to assure his friend that the latitude of his, which he was pleased to notice, was so far from inducing him to conformity, that it was the very thing that made and kept him a non-conformist." Mr. Howe was not without his share of suffering for conscience* sake. And it Is to the everlasting disgrace of the Protestant Church of England that she not only thrust such men out of her pale, but persecuted them with the most unrelenting severity. This however did not sour his temper or provoke retaliation even In word or spirit. He bore meekly the injuries heaped upon him, and laboured incessantly to quell the violence which on both sides threatened the total extinction of charity. He occasionally communed with the Church which had done him so much wrong, and felt and manifested the deepest anxiety, if he could not reconcile conflicting opinions, to soften the asperities of those who maintained them with Bo much heat. In the reign of James, the well-known policy of the court was to re-establish popery, by making large concessions to the non-conformists, and by thia meaus weakening and frightening the Church into a compliance with lis insidious designs. Some of the dignified clerpy were alarmed lest the Dissenters should be brought in, and themselves displaced. Poor Dr. Sherlock was for a season panic-struck, and either to allay his fears or confirm his suspicions, invited Mr. Howe to dine with him. Dr. Calamy gives the following amusing account of what took place after dinner :—" The discourse ran mostly upon the danger the Church was at that time in of being entirely ruined. The Doctor freely but pretty abruptly asked Mr. Howe what he thought the Dissenters would do, supposing the preferments of the Church should be made vacant* and nn offer should be made of filling tbem up out of their number t Mr. Howe was so surprised with such a question as this, which he little expected, that he was at first at a loss for an answer. Whereupon the Doctor drew out his dark and melancholy scheme very distinctly, with all Imaginable marks of concern. He told them he thought the Bishops would be as certainly cast, as they were at that time imprisoned in the tower j that the rest of the clergy who had so generally refused reading the King's declaration would follow after them; that it was not a thing to be supposed that their places would be suffered to continue vacant; and that no way could be thought of for filling them up again, but from among the dissenters; and who knows, said he, but Mr. Howe may be offered to be master of the Temple i (the preferment at that time held by the querist). And therefore he intimated he was very desirous to know how they would be Inclined to behave, upon such a supposition, of which be believed him to be as capable of giving an account as any man whatsoever.
"Mr. Howe told the Doctor that these were things altogether uncertain -, but that if it should so happen thut matters Bhould fall out according to his fears, he could not pretcud to answer fur the conduct of the Dissenters, among whom there were several parties that acted upon different principles j and that, therefore, it was most reasonable to suppose their conduct might be different. He signified to him that he could answer for none but himself; and that he thought, for his part, if things should ever come to the pass he mentioned, he should not baulk an opportunity of more public service (which he Mas not aware he had done anything to forfeit), provided it was offered to him on such terms as he had no just reason to except against} but then, he added, that, as for the emolument thence accruing, he should not be for meddling with that, any otherwise than as a hand to convey it to the legal proprietor. Whereupon the Doctor rose up from his seat and embraced him; and said that he had always taken him for that ingenuous, honest man, that he now found him to be, and seemed not a little transported with joy. Mr. Howe afterwards telling this passage to a certain great man in the Church, to whom the Doctor was well known, and signifying how much he was, on a Budden, to seek for an answer to a question he so little expected, which was bottomed upon a supposition that had not so much as onte entered into his thoughts before, he immediately made this reply :—* Sir, you say you had not once thought of the case, or so much as supposed anything like it; but, you must give me leave to tell you, if you hud studied
the case seven years together, yon could cot have said anything that had been more to tte purpose, or more to the Doctor's satisfaction." ** Mr. Howe's letter to the incomparable Lady Russell, suggesting to her sources of consolation on the legal murder of her husband, is one of the noblest specimens of Christian eloquence to be found in any language. We have been greatly interested in the perusal of the Memoir of this great and good man; and regret, in common with all the friends of religion and mankind, that, comparatively, Bo few materials were in the possession of his biographer. Mr. Howe, though a Puritan, was eminently cheerful;—his wit was Bpnrkllng, and his conversation and manners most pleasing and attractive. We hare left bat little space to *penk of the massy tome before usLnrge as It is it is filled with intellectual treasures. "The Living Temple," "The glorious Living Temple I" "The Blessedness of the Righteous," which transport us to the heaven of heavens, are above all criticism. And the incomparable treatise—" The Vanity of Man, as mortal,**—who can read it without emotions the moat pleasurable and sublime t Here are seven octavo volumes comprised in one, and yet the type is large and clear, the paper of a strong texture, and the face of the page beautiful; and, for correctness, we may pronounce it, beyond all precedent, the most accurate piece of typography that has Issued from the British press. The Portrait is tinelyexecuted, and gives us assurance of a man. It is an index to the whole volume.
Memoir of the Duchess of Abrantes.
Who has not passed some of the most sgreehle hours of his life In-lounging over those graceful records of a licentious but elegant epoch, in which the heir of the petit soupcr was the historian of his limes? Who does not regret —since we are to hare details of fashionable life —the ease, the wit, the life, the luxury to be found in a page of our old French memoirs f
That polished facility of style, for which the French school was formerly so celebrated, has passed away with the manners which created it. When the career of a courtier depended on the brilliancy of his conversation, every energy and accomplishment was bent on the endeavour to give to his language that easy flow and pointed epigram, in which a nothing can be most playfully said, and a repartee most aptly given. Formed by conversationalists for the purposes of conversation, the French language became so beautifully conversational, that the man of the world found, in using the language of society, he possessed the purest style that could be desired by the man of letters.
The author who was a gentleman had only to write as he talked to be classical and correct; and all that he wanted, to commence a book, was ideas. These every one could find In his own life; and of his own life almost everyone was capable of making a work of interest.
The Revolution destroyed not only the old regime, but the language of the old r/'glme;— it is completely lost.
The pompous jargon of the tribune, the bombastic style of the empire, and the doctrinal tone of the professor, have since been alternately the mode; aud have now altogether mtroduced a style which has neither clearness, brilliancy, nor simplicity to recommend it. The book before us, abounding In false aphorisms and gaudy decorations. Is an apt example of the dogmatic, declamatory style of the literature, and, what Is worse still, of the conversation, of the period.
But, passing over this, which is a fault not easily to be forgiven, but necessarily to be expected, these Memoirs, though written by a lady, evidently disgusted at being no longer "a personage," are still delightful from the delicious regret with which, in the decline of life, she lingers over the pleasures of her youth.
There is a richness and raciness about her pictures,—she describes all that charmed her with such a brusque and present energy,—that, notwithstanding the trace of disappointment that here and there appears, you see her, throughout her work* as the Allegro of Malmaison rather than the Fenseroaa of Versailles. This identity with the post Is no slight accomplishment In a memorialist: but this is not all; the subject-matter itself of these Memoirs is one which, if treated with common ability, could not fail to attract attention.
The youth of Napoleon—and in his youth we include the period antecedent to bis greatnessdrawn with the light touches of a female hand, and seen under those minor lights and shadows only perceptible to a female eye, forms the material of a work to which the future historian must gladly refer for information, and which we, of the contemporary day, cannot fail to regard with peculiar interest.
One of these details—which would have escaped any but a woman—is the great attention which the General paid to his hands and nails after his victory over the Sections. We see, in this little circumstance, the dawn of the future Emperor—the husband of Maria Louise—who sought to fill his ante-chambers with the rotten races of the old nobility, and who sacrificed the jrestlge of his fortune to be the son-in-law of the legitimate tyrant of Austria.
There are a thousand little traits of this description, not only of the Emperor himself, but of his family, which give an insight into the character and manners of that singular society, which .seemed rather the masquerade of a court than Its reality.
The Duchesse d'Abrantcs, moreover, is almost our beau ideal of the tine lady of the empire:— handsome, intriguing, imperative—with dark eyes, a masculine air, and easy manners, with the courage of an Amazon ou horseback, and whipping a blood-horse, in a gig, till it rau away with her; enjoying a romp of any kind, and affecting the society of men of letters; always spouting forth praises of French valour, and railing against English duplicity,—It Is necessary to keep all the circumstances, which formed her character, before our eye, in order to admire or forgive it. She lays down most startling maxims with great solemnity; she indulges now and then in figures of marvellous incomprehensibility.
She makes what are meant, no doubt, to be very wise and very deep reflections; and it is astonishing how much better she would write if she would but profess ignorance and condescend to be simple.
For example—" France became the rightful proprietors of all the treasures which fell Into her possession by the force of arms, because she knew and appreciated their value 1" What a most excellent theory for Jonathan Wild 1—it Is but to know and appreciate the value of a purse to give one a right to take it whenever one pleases.
Then for the rhetoric—" The helmet of Attila, wrested from the museum of the Gallery of Apollo, was a booty well worthy of the pillager*/' &c. We should recommend to Madame Junot's earnest attention that splendid passage in a contemporary orator's speech, which we remember producing such bursts of applause at Cambridge:—"Ere the harpies of literature had pounced upon the yet untaated banquets of the mind;" meaning, before the Edinburgh Review was set up. But we have neither time nor space to say more than that the Memoires of Madame la Duchesse are more entertaining, perhaps, than she intended them to be, but not quite so profound,
Liresof Illustrious and Distinguished Scotsmen, from the earliest period to the present time, arranged in alphabetical order, and forming a complete Scottish Biographical Dictionary, By Robt. Chambers, Author of " The Picture of Scotland," &c. 8vo. 1832.
The Editor, in the advertisement prefixed to this first volume of Scottish Biography, announces the design of the work : he tells us " that it is to contain a complete and succint account of the lives of all natives of Scotland, who have attained eminence, whether in the literary, scientific, religious, or political world; each to be treated at a length suitable to his particular merit or fame, and the whole to be arranged, for reference, in an alphabetical order ;"—and ft is our duty to assure the public, that this design as far as the first volume extends is accomplished to the letter. The literary department discovers industry of research, great power of condensation, perspicuity of arrangement, and, bating a few Scotticisms and inelegancies, a remarkable correctness In style and composition. The merits of the articles, in point of mental character, are various—some are written with considerable vigour, others are less distinguished; but there 13 not a page in the volume that can be pronounced unworthy of an undertaking, which will form a standard work in the literature of Scotland, and a book of reference in every library throughout the British dominions. The portraits are indeed splendid. Each is a study in itself. Duncan Forbes—William Hunter— and Andrew Fletcher, are glorious specimens of the " human face divine:" we are sure that they must be authentic and original, and seldom have we seen engravings so well executed. We trust the proprietors will be remunerated for their liberal confidence in the public taste, and that they will be encouraged to complete their design in the same spirit with which it has been commenced. We perfectly agree with them in their estimate of biography, as one of the most useful species of writing; and we sympathize with their patriotic enthusiasm when tbey express their conviction that" Scotland yields to no other country on the face of the globe, in the riches of her materials for biographical composition, and more especially in furnishing Illustrious incentives to virtuous conduct and honourable exertions in the paths of ordinary life." But it is but justice to let them speak for themselves. With the following quotation we take leave of them for the present, merely stating that the volume which is thus introduced to the world, extends from the letter AtoC, beginning with Abercromby, and ending with Creech :—
"Perhaps it Is not altogether national prepossession which prompts the publishers of the present work to believe, that if any class of great men more than others are likely to hold forth auch examples, it is those of Scotland—a country In which the diffusion of education, and the enterprising character of the people, have certainly given rise to more examples of the triumph of genius over circumstances, than are to be found in any others in proportion. Hardly any other country perhaps could show a class of characters exactly parallel to the Wallace, the Knox, the Buchanan, and the Burns of Scotland ;— men to whom native rank was nothing, and who overcame all obstructions, in their respective paths, by the pure force of character and intellect. Hence it is the confident hope of the publishers, that by limiting the present work to Scotland, not only will the general picture be more unique, and In better keeping, but It will more expressly comprehend an array of men, whose lives are of a practically useful and exemplary character.
'* To the native of Scotland, who must see In this work a laudable attempt, for the first time, to concentrate the achievements, the sufferings, the virtues, and the glories of his countrymen, little need be said to recommend it to his favour. The appeal which country at all tines makes to his bosom, could not be well more direct in any case than the present. If he but reflect upou her chivalrous warriors and kings—her thrice* honoured host of reformers and martyrs—her noble array of scholars and philosophers, historians and poets—who have caused her name to be respeoted all over the globe—he must acknowledge that few works could have a more powerful claim on his attention."
Venice; a Poem. Ronianus and Emilia; a Dramatic Sketch.
Poetry has Its weeds as well as agriculture. It is the duty of the critic to point out their varieties, and to furnish illustrations of the distinctive characters of each. Some are poisonous,—others are so far harmless that they are mere cumberers of the ground. Some are flowers without fragrance, others are common fool's parsley. And all prove either the poverty or luxuriance of the soil. But the literary husbandman Is bound to root them up before he attempts the task of profitable cultivation. We are sorry that many of them prefer cockle to wheat, and cherish what their own Interest and that of the public calls upon them to destroy. That '■ Venice" belongs to one of the classes to which we refer, will be readily conceded by all the lovers of genuine poetry, who remember—
and who that have read can ever forget'—Byron** beautiful, inimitable description, containing the line—
"»Tis Greece, but living Greece- no more," and the following miserable and laboured attempt. Is it not cockle among the finest wheal i "When o'er the warrior's couch we be rid «nd»igfcWhere glory's tenement is spread to die, Mark life's red fever quiver in its shrine. And view the bright eye shroud its beam divine; When sickly slumber crouches on each limb. The tott'ring Reason, vacant, wild, and dim. Flings from her shadowy throne the mani*:
gase, Wllder'd in darkening being's latest rays; When life's small spark is shirer'd, and the
breath Pants In the joyless gloominess of death j When from the sinking lamp a still, cold glow Just bares the stricken lineaments of woe. And just reveals the pale, chill cheek, whose
bloom Has shut iti portals for the humid tomb; We stand and look, in stifled sadness there. On the dim eye% fix'd In its last wild stare.— On the extended arm—the gather'd lips,— And darkly feel that foiled mind's eclipse; Feel for a moment o'er us fold the night That hangs around that spirit's blasted light? Till nature bounds to vividness anew, And all her ruin clogs the angulsh'd view; While aught that sanctities the glimmering eye Of desolation and of memory Awake, and teem around the heated brain Tears of despair j— but, ob, how fondly vain 1 Thus Venice seems upon her marble bed Coldly alive, or tremulously dead." Komanus and Emilia contains some good passages; something of nature, and yet the story Is extravagant, and the whole improbable. We should Bay of Mr. Luis Cambray that he la a poetaster, but that be will never be a poet. We advise him to weed out the fancies of his brain; to abandon the Muses and Helicon.
Mr. Goldsmith, In a well-written preface, thus Introduces the present volume to his readers. We differ from him in politics; but we think that in the field which he has now chosen for his labours he will be useful:—
"It Is now eight years since I have written a line which has appeared In print, and all that lime I have been out of England; It is, therefore, with no small share of diffidence that I appear again before my countrymen in my old capacity as an Author. I fear that I am almott a stranger to a great portion of the present public; but I feel in some degree encouraged in addressing those who formerly received me with favour.
"What gave rise to my present undertaking; I shall state In a few words. In the course of conversation In 1625 with M. de Villele, with whose friendship I have long been honoured, that eminent statesman observed, that he wu desirous to see a work which would give a faithful account of the resources and Industry of France; and as he was well acquainted with
the course of my studies during the many years 1 hud resided in the country, he was so good as to say that he thought me not Incompetent to such an undertaking. Thus encouraged I Bet to work, persuaded that In making known the statistics of France, my work might. In many respects, be useful in England. I speak of France during the government of the Bourbons; Bince then, according to the evidence of facts, as will appear in the course of this publication, 'Chaos is come again.*
"Of this chaotic confusion I hare endeavoured to give an intelligible account; it was no part uf my province to reduce it to regularity or order.
"The present volume has not exhausted above a fourth part of my materials; should it be favourably received, I shall endeavour, in preparing the remainder for publication, to make the whole more worthy of attention, than I have been able to render this preliminary volume, which has passed through the press during the numerous changes which are incident to a state pf revolution."
When we say that Mr. Goldsmith's preface Is well written, we protest against his ultra principles. We equally hate despotism and anarchy. If Louis Philippe continue the game he seems at present disposed to play, we care not how soon he is deposed. Frenchmen will, after a few mure struggles, obtain "justandtrue liberty —equal and impartial liberty." If they do nut yet understand it, events will be their instructors. If the lessons of the last thirty years are lost upon them, they deserve to be enslaved. But through all the "varieties of untried being '* which they may be doomed to experience, their fiual regeneration may be obstructed, but canuot ultimately fail. Its principle is indestructible. The present is an interesting and awful crisis. The chaff will, "ere long, be separated from the wheat, for He whose fan is in his hand will thoroughly purge hfs floor." Afflicted humanity must be content to suffer; for suffering is the only effective teacher. The drama of blood is again about to open upon the nations; may heaven preventour assisting in the dreadful spectacle 1 The wrongs of Poland, at no distant day, will be avenged. What are the Belgians and the Belgian question, as causes of war, compared with the atrocious inflictions which have blotted Poland out of the map of Europe i
We thank Mr. Goldsmith for appending to this introductory volume the document containing the rights of dramatic authorship in France: It may ail'ord important matter for discussion when the subject again comes before Parliament.
The Christian Warfare Illustrated. By the Rev. Robert Vaughan.
The antagonist powers of good and evil are incessantly carrying on their relentless and exterminating war. The issue of the mighty conflict, we are happy to know, is not doubtful. But the issue, as It regards many of the individual combatants, cannot be predicated by human intelligence. The soldiers are frequently seen changing sides, and some fight so languidly lu the cause of truth and righteous
ness, that we cannot but tremble for the result. They will not overcome, and how shall they receive the Crown of Life r The Christian warfare must be strenuously maintained with perseverance to the end. lu order to this, its principles must be understood—their operation upon the heart felt and cherished—and their resistance to every opposing innuence unremitting till the victory Is complete and goodness for ever triumphs. Mr. Vaughan, as one of the leaders of the host, who has laid down a plan of tactics, both offensive and defensive, Is already well known as an able biographer and historian; his Life of Wickliffe and Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty have acquired for him a reputation that will always secure a cordial welcome to every new production of his pen. He uow appears In the character of a theologian; and his divinity Is rational, scriptural, and practical.
In the present volume he has supplied an exhibition of the effects of Christianity on the mind of its disciples, considered in the leading diversities of their characters and circumstances. He has ably distinguished between what is real and counterfeit—between the operation of sound and fallacious principles. He also shows that there Is nothing in the acknowledged imperfections of Christians to furnish a valid objection to Christianity, nor against our anticipations of the future moral grandeur with which they Bhall be invested In a world of unsullied purity, where the spirits of the just are made perfect. He shows that the improvement is advancing upon earth, which will secure this glorious consummation in heaven. To those who view Christianity in the light of a divine communication, and the perm of all the excellence which the human character is capable of attaining, and of all the felicity which it is qualified to enjoy, we cordially recommend this work of Mr. Vaughan. The style is clear, Its tone vigorous j and it is equally free from fanaticism and bigotry. Will the time ever arrive when the Christian will be the only warfare ) We are Inclined to think that when tliis becomes universal, and not till then every other will cease.
Advice to a Young Man upon first going to Oxford, in Ten Letters from an Uncle to his Nephew. By the Rev. Edward Berens, M.A. late Fellow of Oriel
Many a man leaves Oxford on whom advice has been thrown away, and he enters the Church without a single qualification for the discharge of his sacred functions. Nowhere is reform so peremptorily called for as in our Universities. Seminaries of religion they ore not; and if a youth saves his morals, surrounded as he is with a contaminating atmosphere, he may be said to escape, like Daniel, from the lions' den, or the three Hebrews from the burning fiery furnace. There are, doubtless, religious men at Oxford and Cambridge, but they are not produced by the system of education and discipline designed to regulate and restrain a college life. We are thankful to those who know its dangers for suggesting to the thoughtless and inexperienced such salutary cautions and admonitions as may guard them from the whirlpool and the prccl