페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

pon the hypocrites and apostates when the measure of their iniquity hall come to the full. p. xl.

This is language which goes far beyond all the bounds of sober nd effective writing, and wbich must be regarded by all honourble men as furnishing matter of just and gross offence to the parties against whom it is immediately directed. It is language which Dr. Carpenter, we apprehend, may be allowed to rebuke As both manifesting a wild alarm,' and indicating the existence of a spirit opposed to liberal and equitable principles. For Uni

arianism we have no predilections; but Unitarians and other Dissenters (for Dissent is evidently part of the offence) may ceraioly claim to be heard wben such heavy denunciations as this are made against them, in reference to the civil institutions of the country, which, it might, perbaps, be shewn, they as highly vemerate, and would as fearlessly support, as their clerical accusers. These dignified personages might easily, we think, detect a zeal and activity at work in other directions than those in which they depounce them, and threatening, apart from Unitarianism or Dissenterism, to unchristianize the land, and provoke the majesty of Heaven. We must notice that Dr. Carpenter's language and manner, in remarking on the preceding effusion and other passages of a similar character, are truly excellent, worthy at once of applause and imitation.

It might be well if religionists would, in their controversies with each other, refrain from criminations which are devoid even of credibility, and limit their accusations to particulars in respect to which there is at least some ground of allegation. We should, for our own part, bave judged that do well informed writer woold, in these times, accuse any party of deliberately falsifying the Gospel; yet is this one of Bp. Magee's charges against Unitarians. The disposition in which alone such a measure could originate, no man bas any right to attribute to another; and unless Voitarians are to be represented as being alike bereft of their senses and base in their principles, they would surely never engage in a practice the detection of which is so perfectly easy and certain. "We must, therefore, admit, that Dr. Carpenter is but too amply justified in charging to the account of his opponent, the indulgence of a spirit which bears down all the restraints of decorum, when he describes Unitarian writers as abusing authorities without shame or scruple ; and

this too, not merely in the ardour of controversial contest, but 1 with the cool and deliberate purpose of falsifying the word of

God. We should be glad to learn what enlightened conviction of the errors and dangers of the Unitarian doctrines, could be produced by this kind of writing, and what aid it has afforded to the cause of evangelical truth. Nor is it very probable that

[ocr errors]

such an attempt at crimination as this, should excite even that sort of prejudice against the principles of Unitarianism, which by some persons would be accounted laudable, and be viewed as a safeguard from the danger of seduction. It is too gross to be in any respect, or with regard to any persons, efficient as a means of monition and persuasion. It is not argument, nor is it counsel. Of Unitarian criticisms there is room, in some important cases, to complain, and they miglit be justly exposed as being evasive, violent, and offensive; but wbat credit can be hoped for, on enlightened grounds, for such a statement as the preceding?

We recognise in Dr. Carpenter'a sobriety of feeling whieh is in striking contrast to the flippant manper of soine Unitarian writers. His remarks on the religious observance of the Lord's day are well worthy of being transcribed.

• The simplest principles of benevolent policy require that there should be a frequent stated cessation from the labours of life ; and the spirit of the sabbatical law points out the same thing, and perhaps decides the frequency and extent of such cessation. Whatever intetferes with this, unless required by immediate necessity, or really productive of a more general attention to it, I'consider as forbidden by benevolent policy. But regarding this cessation as most closely connected with the religious and even mental amelioration of mankind, and particularly as essential to the proper discharge of public worship, I deem every needless interruption of it, to be forbidden by Christian duty, as distinctly as if a direct precept had forbidden it.

And I am equally satisfied that the principles of Christian duty re. quire, that even if we do not ourselves find that suspension of innocent amusements and social intercourses, which others do, necessary for religious improvement, yet, that we should be careful, lest in the use of what we deem lawful and harmless, others should be interrupted in their more strict (yet alike conscientious) observances; or their feelings unnecessarily wounded; or they themselves led to liberties which their consciences would condemn. Many things which might to ourselves be lawful, may not, with a view to others, be expedient.

• These principles lead me to think it required by Christian duty, that the common labours of life, (or in other words the pursuits of worldly interest,) should be suspended on the Lord's day ; that its engagements should, as much as possible, be so far accordant with the discharge of public religious duties, that they should not interfere with them, nor prevent their efficacy; and that its relaxations should be of that sedate, though cheerful nature, that good impressions should not be effaced by them, the religion of others disturbed, their minds distressed, or å stumbling-block to their consciences thrown in their way.

• If any consider the serious employment of the Lord's day an apology for the neglect of religion the rest of the week, then they are guilty of a great abuse of their spiritual advantages, and may be supposed to know little of vital godliness and practical faith. Fre: quently, however, the flames of devotion lighted up in the house of prayer, are found to cheer and animate and guide through the week: and, where the efficacy of those engagements is less experienced, acknowledged principles of duty are strengthened and brought to mind; the influence of the mere worldly pursuits is lessened ; and motives are supplied for the more private exercises of religion, which, without its publio services, would have been unthought of or ineffectual.'

pp. 2624

It is not our intention to notice the several topics of discussion in this volume. To the strictures on the statements of the can. did and amiable Author of the “ Scripture Testimony to the “ Messiah," a full reply has been given in the Appendix (No. IV.) to the second volume of that work. It is not with perfect justice that Dr. Carpenter classes such a man with some of the writers on whose dishonourable artifices he has occasion to animadvert, or that he sets up the Unitarian inquirer' as a model of candour and fairness, in contrast with the Orthodox accu• ser.' Dr. Carpenter has by no means in every instance exonerated his clients from the censures directed against them; and while we deprecate all attempt to recriminate, fully admitting that nothing can justify or palliate the dereliction of controversial integrity which has been shewn by some who have assumed the office of Christian advocate,- we must nevertheless enter our protest against the highly disingenuous manner in which the attack upon orthodox principles has been frequently carried on by Unitarian writers. While a morbid sensibility is exhibited by them in respect to any thing approaching to illiberality on the part of their opponents, they are themselves very far from having the monopoly of candour or Christian temper.*

[ocr errors]

• Of this a flagrant instance occurs in the last Number of the Monthly Repository. A correspondent, who signsbimself Q. E. D., has the effrontery to assert, that, in arguing for the doctrine of the Trinity from

Scripture, the Three Witnesses Text is always first named. In the same paper, which contains an angry attack upon a recent article in the Eclectic Review, Dr. Dwight is represented as maintaining a plurality of Divine Beings. But gross as the blunder is, it appears to be unintentional : the Writer seems not quite acute enough to distinguish between a hypothetical and a positive statement. But no such apology can be offered for the flippant misrepresentation of Dr. Dwight's argument drawn from the inscrutable nature of the Divine Essence, to repel the confident assumptions of the deniers of the Trinity. The insinuation too, that Newton was one of those Unitarians to whom the Reviewer specifically referred as rejecting the whole of the Christian system, is worthy of the same pen. The American Doctor whom Q. E. D. so ignorantly reviles, has an excellent discourse expressly treating of the objectionable mode in which the Unitarians conduct the Controversy, which we may venture to recommend to the perusal, not of Q E, D., but of Dr. Carpenter. It is the forty-first of the Series.

Art. y II. Rome, a Poem. In. Two Parts. 8vo. pp. 146, Price 6s.

London. 1821.
THE Author of this poem pays,

in his Preface, some elegant compliments to the critics-ihose 'modero harpies, -ebat• tering thieves who suck the eggs of the nightingale,-mousers whose kindness, like the indulgence of a cat to a wowoded . mouse, is worse than their severity ;' and he is simple enough to implore the proteetion of the Public' against us. "He might just as rationally implore the House of Commons to protect bis couptry against Lord Londonderry. He had much better have thrown himself at once upon our clemency, instead of bestowing, upon us these hard names, and calling in question our preroga tives. Why, his appeal to our constituents will be indebted to our zeal in forwarding it as addressed, for ever reaching them. In consideration of the inexperience of the offender, we have been induced to overlook bis rashness; and, as from bis earnest and tremulous deprecation of severity, we judge that be bas much at stake in the success of his volume, we will endeavour to shew ourselves to be, according to another of his ingepious similjes, more of cooks than epicures,-less fastidious than considerate of the labour of providing, picking, and dressing.' But we will not roast our nightingale. The following strains are at least plaintive enough to stop the mouth of Cerberus, if not to win the ear of Pluto himself.

! Presumptuous he, who now his feeble wings
Advent'rous spreads, yet trembles as he sings,
Shrinks from the critic's scourge, whose lash severe
Draws from pale Famine's eye the bitter tear-
Stings with a scorpion's point the bosom's core,
And dooms the trembling bard to sing no more;.
Robs him of all his cherish'd golden dreams,
And turns to gall the Heliconian streams.
To that fell cloud bis smiling harvest yields,
Like the black swarms that waste the Lybian fields:
Beneath that frown, bis golden sun's o'ercast-
Hope's trembling blossoms wither in the blast;
His airy castles fall--bis laurels faule,
That promised age a sweet, an honour'd shade;
His children shrink beneath the win'try shed,

And stretch in vain their little hands for bread.' pp. 19-20. We take this to be a fancy picture. Our Author bad not been home from his travels long enough to get married and have children already; nor are we to imagine that the proceeds of the present work are destined to meet the exigency of a baker's bill, or a quarter's rent. Nevertheless, wben we think of Kirke White, we are ready enough to believe, that an acute degree of suffering, and even a serious injury may be inflicted by the fandom hand of a professional eritic; and we feel disposed to re: commend at once this honest six shillings' worth to our readers, rather than put our Author's profits in jeopardy, by fastidious criticism, or torture his feelings 'with what he might deem the refined cruelty of faint praise. His subject, though not unsung, is, for a descriptive poein, a good one. Dyer's erudite elegy in blank verse on the Ruins of Rome, is in a style little adapted to please modern readers of poetry. But Lord Byron's portrait of

the Niobe of nations, could surely not have been seen by our Author, when he wrote his preface. It is as well, perhaps, that he had not seen it. The great disadvantage of all such subjects, is, that they admit of little more than description, and the most elegant description soon becomes tedious. Our Author's sketches are by no means inelegant, but he himself becomes beartily tired of Roine before he has arrived at the end of his poem; and he is glad to get back to his native Erin, and to forget all the Cæsars, Michael Angelo, and the Pope, in the galaxy' of Irish talent-Sterne, Goldsmith, Burke, Curran, the

Kirwans, Grattan, Philips, Bushe, LADY MORGAN, Mise O'Neill (!!!) Moore, and Wellington. This decline and • fall' of his subject must, however, be pronounced rather in Irish taste : it does more credit to our Author's patriotism than to his power of discrimination. But a good epicure will not quarrel with his company; and at a Lord Mayor's feast, the Duke of Wellington has in person found himself in a scarcely less motley assemblage than that in which our Poet bas here placed his name. Yet, we fear that, to many readers who are neither 'cooks' nor epicures, this arrangement of the bill of fare will appear strangely infelicitous--an Italian dessert ending in potatoes and buttermilk. And wo be to the Author, should he fall into the bands of a Quarterly Reviewer, for his compliment to Lady Morgan! It is but fair that his own apology should be heard for thus breaking down with his subject, and leaving his reader in a bog.

* This little poem was written immediately on the Author's return from Rome, while the glowing scenes of Italy were still warm in his memory; and bis descriptions are merely a transcript of ideas which arose in his mind, while contemplating the wonders of art and nature, so numerous in that charming country, He paints no scene from the florid pictures of Eustace, or other enthusiastic travellers, but has examined every thing impartially with the eyes which natüre bestowed on him.' The pompous title of “Rome" to so short a poem, may excite a smile, and bring to recollection the old fable of “ Parturiunt Alontes;” but the truth is, that the Author undertook what he was unable to perform; his intention was to take a wider range, ayd embrace nearly the whole of Italy; but he sank under the weight of his subject, like a

« 이전계속 »