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and the gravest subjects are now to be held forth in a slang, compounded of all the motley whimsicalities, which conceited ingenuity can fabricate in imitation of the scriptural, the classical, the poetical, the commercial, the fashionable, and the vulgar, dialects, and from its own sheer perversity and extravagance. This fantastic style is probably attributable in part, as we have already hinted, to the preacher's mind being too careless about his subject; in which state its inventive activity is sufficiently exempt from the absorption of feeling, to be desirous of amusing itself by flourishing all sorts of vam nities along the composition. And it is partly the result of a systematic endeavour to maintain a constant" appearance of thinking originally. We have repeatedly observed the fact, that there is no expedient by which a writer' or speaker inay so effectually persuade himself that he always thinks originaliy, as to get a babit, of expressing himself strangely. We would therefore intreat our divine to rid himself of this monstrous dialect, if it were only to preserve to himself the power of discriminating the comparative qualities of his own ideas and compositions, and even if his present inode of expression were not so offensive to correct taste. He does think originally sometimes; but what is likely to be the consequence of an author's taking up a notion that he always does so ?
It needs not be remarked, that, in some of the sentences we have transcribed, the affected cast is fully as much in the form of the conception as in the mode of expression.
Our ļiterary dissatisfaction reaches its greatest height, at those parts of these sermons, which are intended to be pa. thetic and sublime. It is not that the writer does not often make a judicious selection of the topics, scenes, and circun.. : stances, adapted to touch the heart ; nor that he does not - sometimes attain considerable elevation of thought. But there
is an utter want of that element of sentiment, or passion, which is essential to pathetic and sublime eloquence. An energetic, simple, feeling must prevail through every sentence, to the exclusion of every appearance of managing ingenuity or ostentation. The effect of such compositions is just the reverse of that produced by those before us, which quell, and prostrate, and freeze our feelings, exactly in proportion to the measure of pathos or grandeur exhibited. We have an unaccountable impression, as if the author would laugh at us if we were affected by the pictures he is displaying. . We reproach ourselves for the feeling ; but with our best efforts we still fail to divest ourselves of a feeling, that the orator, while addressing the passions, is biinselt in a state of the utmost composure; and our minds perversely, or perhaps complacently, prefer maintaining their tranquillity too, in gentle accordance with his, to the emotions which should seem to be demanded by those splendid or those pitiable objects which he places before us. But still we cannot like ourselves, while the most melancholy visions are opened be. fore us of destroying armies, desolated countries, burning cities, murdered families, without moving us to terror or compassion ; while valorous and magnificent sentiments of patriotism excite in us such a very moderate degree ofimpatience to die for our country; or while the more tender images of maternal and infantine distress, or female peni. tence, leave us capable of diverting so soon to indifferent objects. Nor can we like the oratory, which, in displaying these objects and scenes, continually reminds us, and keeps us perfectly cool by reminding us, of rhetorical artifice and. stage effect.
To regain their own good opinion, our minds will have it that almost al} the fault is in the exhibitor; and that if he had been any thing more than a mere actor, or rhetorician, there would have been no possibility of avoiding to melt or burn while beholding him make such representations, There is hardly one moment of true sympathetic beguilement; when there seems to be the most impassioned vehemence, the very rapture of eloquence, it is all seen through with perfect ease. The following rhapsody on veracity, for instance, seems to dash off much in the style and manner of an impetuous torrent of passion ; and really it indicates much force, of conception ; but the quaintly expressed conceit of the :
heart bursting in twain,' the affected cast of several other expressions, and the artificial hurrying rapidity, all concurwe should not say, to prove the writer, - but certainly to preserve the reader, as free from real passion, as in constructing or perusing one of the diurnal pieces of rhetoric on the wheel of fortune. .
* I have hitherto considered the love of truth on the negative side only, as it indicates what we are not to do ; but there is an he. roic faith, ... à courageous love of truth, the truth of the Christian warrior, an unconquerable love of justice, that would burst the heart in twain, if it had not vent, which makes women men, — and men saints,* ... and saints angels. - - Often it has published its creed from amidst the flames; --- often it has reasoned under the axe, and ga. thered firmness from a mangled body ; - • aften it has rebuked the madness of the people ; -- often it has burst into the chambers of princes, to tear down the yeil of falshood, and to speak of guilt, of sorrow and of death. - Such was the truth which went down with Shadrach to the fiery furnace, and descended with Daniel, to the lion's den. nap Such was the "truth which made the potent Felix tremble at his elo
In spite of the eloquent rapidity there must here have been a pause, and a soft smile, to intimate to the female part of the auditory that this was only rhetoric. . . . torino ato i tid,
quent captives - Such was the truth which roused the timid Pei ter to preach Christ crucified before the Sanhedrin of the Jews; and such was the truth which enabled that Christ, whom he did preach, to die the death upon the cross.' V. I. p. 45. ,
Two or three short passages, belonging to the pathetic department, will show that the orator can select his images with judgement, and delineate them with strength; but if any reader finds also the affecting simplicity of real feeling, we must submit to envy his better perceptions. The following is from a Sermon, for the Scotch Lying-in Hos. pital.
• If the image of a paredt forsaken at this time of her distress, has aught in it which appeals to your compassion ; how awful the spectacle of a mother," driven by hunger and despair, to the destruction of her child. To see a gentle creature hurled from the bosom to which it turns - grasped by the hands that should have toiled for it, mangled, by her who should have washed it with her tears, and warmed it with her breath, and fed it with her milk. You may enjoy a spéc. tacle far different from this, you may see the tranquil mother on the bed of charity, and the peaceful child slumbering in her arms ; you may see her watching the trembling of every limb, and listening to the tide of the breath, and gazing through the dimness of tears, on the body of her child. The, nian who robs, and murders, for his bread, would give charity to this woman; good christians have mercy upon her, and death shall not snatch away your children, they shall live, and prosper; mankind will love them! God will defend them !
I am speaking to those who will understand me, when I remind you of the feelings of a poor industrious man, whose earnings, exhausted in the purchase of food, disable him from making any provision at this season for the comforts of his wife. When you see him toiling from sun to sun, and still unable to rise above the necessities of the present hour ! will you not save to such an useful, honest being, the anguish of returning to a sick house ; the sight of agonies which he cannot relieve, and of wants to which he cannot administer? give me a little out of your abundance, and I will lift off this weight from his heart ; listen to me when I kneel before you for humble, wretched Creatures; help me with some Christian offering, and I will give meat to the tender mother, and a pillow for her head, and a garment for the little child, and she shall bless God in the fulness of her heart. I fear I have detained you too long ; but the sorrows of many human beings rest upon me, and many mothers are praying that I may bring back bread for their children: I told them that this antient Christian peo ple, had never yet abandoned the wretched, that they had ever listened to any minister of Christ, who spoke for the poor ; bade them be of good comfort, that God would raise them up friends, and when they showed me their children, I vowed for you all, that not one of them. should perish for hunger; do not send me back empty handed to these victims of sorrow; let not the woman and the“ suckling be driven from their comfortable home ; listen to the voice of the woman in travail, and minister to the wailing and spreading of hands ; if one social tie binds you to human life; if you can tell how the mother's heart is
twined about her child ; if you remember how women lighten the sorrows of life, if you are the disciple of the Saviour Jesus to whom they kindly ministered, forsake them not this once, and God shall save you in the hour of death, and the day of sharp distress.' '
Of a similar character is the peroration of the sermon, intitled "The poor Magdalene.'
..My fellow Christians, and my brothers, hear now my last words before you quit this solemn place, and return to the business and bustle of the world. Half a century will scarce elapse, and every being here present will be dead ; new men, and new events, will occupy the world, and the dreaded pit of oblivion will shut over us all. Is the thought of an hereafter dear to you? Is it your care to meet the great God with good deeds? Have pity then on these forlorn women ; for if you have no pity on them, they will speedily be forsaken by all : lay up a sweet remembrance for the evil day; and know, that the best mediation with God Almighty, the Father, and his Son of mercy, and love, is the prayer of a human being whom you have saved from perdition.' V. I. p. 262.
We have only one more remark on the composition. The thoughts and sentences are not formed into a proper se ries and sequence. Instead of the sense being carried on in a train of finished sentences, each advancing it one distinct step straight forwards, it is dispersed out into a multitude of small pieces on either hand. Instead of advancing, if, we may so express it, in a strong narrow column, one thought treading firmly and closely after another, the composition presents a number of thoughts, collateral and related, rather than consequentially dependent, hurrying irregularly forwards almost parallel to one another. A short example, taken nearly at random, shall conclude the article.
• If there is any worldly thing worth the notice of a religious mind, it is to be cared for by good and upright men; to feel that you have endeared yourself to those who have sagacity to discern what you really are, and to compare you with the rest of the world ; to enjoy that noble proof, that your struggles for righteousness have not been fruitless, or your efforts to meliorate your fallen nature quite in vain ; that you have some value, some attraction, some source of conciliation, some little portion of good ; that you are not quite left alone and abandoned in the wilderness of life. This is one of the greatest goods the world affords ; and I wish most forcibly to impress upon the younger part of my congregation, that the friendship of just, able, and pious men, is the highest prize they can obtain; the most signal blessing which God bestows; the soundest proof of having done well; the best security for doing well; the highest human barri er against all sordid impurities, and base compliances ; the greatest comfort, and hope, and embellishment of life." V. II. p. 387.. .
Art. XVII. Porter's Travelling Sketches in Russia, and Sweden, during the
Pears 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808. (Concluded from p. 477.)
burg, the emperor Alexander, and the famous statue of Peter the Great, -- Mr. Porter* has been anticipated by a brother knight and traveller, whose arousing volume we re.. viewed in one of our early numbers. (Vol. ii. pp. 29–38.) Any quotation from the present writer, on either of these
subjects, would only serve to confirm the sentiments expressed · in our extracts from that work. Mr. Porter complains that
the outstretched arm of the statue is too straight and stiff, the waist too long, the legs and thighs too small; the design generally, however, he thinks admirable, and the horse ful. ly equal to the celebrated antiques lately brought to the Thuilleries from Venice, wbither they had formerly been transported from Constantinople. Mr. P. is equally severe on the ill-advised jealousy of Falconet, the sculptor, in chiselling
away the sublime ruggedness and magnitude of the Wyborg • rock which serves as a pedestal to this extraordinary statue.
A distant view of it is given in one of the plates. .: Of the emperor, our countrymen's opinion has most essen
tially changed, since the time when Mr. P. landed in Russia.
From his account; we should be disposed to consider this - prince as a man of amiable and generous dispositions, desirous is of contributing to the welfare of his subjects, but better quali..fied to be the squire of an English parish, than the monarch
of a quarter of the globe. . If we are rightly informed, how:: ever, the pestilent influence under which he droops has no
less depraved his private character, than prostrated his imperial dignity. He would have lost nothing in our estimation, by merely adopting a pacific instead of a warlike policy; nor even by preferring the alliance of France to that if Britain, had the preference been considerate and voluntary. But in. stead of regretting only the errors of his government, we lament to be under the necessity of contemning him as the terrified vassal of a tyrant, as the slave of an assassin-ambassador, and the dupe of courtezan-spies. This change in the character of the emperor, as well as in his relation to our country, will give an air of extravagance to many passages in this work, which refer to him in terms of rapturous admiration ; and may produce, among inconsiderate or uncandid readers, a very unfavourable opinion of Mr. Porter's good
* Our author was honoured with the Swedish orders of St. Joachim and the Amaranth ; but as he does not assume the style of knighthood in this work, we have omitted the appropriate prefix to his name.