« PoprzedniaDalej »
• The great Constantinople
For three long years of pleasure ;
To fill thy chest with treasure;
Their tribute duly bringing ;
With three tall belfries ringing.' We can spare room for only one more extract, and we shalĮ take a ballad descriptive of a naval engagement, supposed to be written about a century ago.
• A ship as black as night
Towards Cassandra flew,
And banner heavenly blue.
To meet her ploughs the brine; " Lower that flag,” she cries,
And back those 'sails of thine !" • « We strike nor flag nor sail !”
Replied the dauntless Chace;
Who fears the battle's face".
Brave Boucovalla's son ;-
And let your braces run!
Must tinge the waves below !"
And near'd her sable foe,
With Stathas at their head.
And Ocean's self is red!
That turban'd host are slaves !
Upon her native waves !' Of the fidelity of these translations we have not the means of judging. The versification, it will be seen, is loose, but spirited, and for ballads, perhaps, sufficiently correct. The Author speaks of his performance in terms that must disarm the severity of criticism. The Author of Hohenlinden trans
lating the songs of peasants,' he says, would have been a • blood-horse harnessed to a cart;' but, as for himself, he is ready, if ordered by his friends of the Greek Committee, to lower his literary efforts. even to chalking up Greece for ever.' We fear that this would not answer so well for the object pro• posed, as chalking up. Buy Warren's blacking' in the streets of Rome. The Greek Committee will, we hope, find Mr. Sheridan better employment; and as for the Author of Hohenlinden and of Theodoric, he knows better than to deem it a degrading task to translate some of these songs of peasants into living verse, and he might be worse occupied. The profits of this volume are to be given to the Society for the promotion of Education in Greece.
Art. III. The Life of the Rev. Philip Henry, A.M. With Funeral
Sermons for Mr. and Mrs. Henry, by the Rev. Matthew Henry,
8vo. pp. xlviii. 488. Price 158. London, 1825. We should hope that we have few readers to whom it can
be necessary to recommend one of the most valuable pieces of biography extant; the life of Philip Henry, written by his Son, the Author of the well known Exposition of the Bible. To say that every Protestant Dissenter ought to have it in his library, would be to under-rate the character of Henry and the merits of the work. Like Archbishop Leighton and Bernard Gilpin, Howe, and Doddridge, Philip Henry belongs less to the communion of which he was a member, than to the Church Catholic; and although if Dissent needed defence in the present day, the lives of such men would furnish its best apologies, yet, the charm of their biography is, that it elevates the reader into a holy atmosphere where the noisy contentions of sect and party are no longer audible. Dr. Wordsworth has done himself honour, and his readers a service, by inserting the life of Philip Henry in his Ecclesiastical Biography, remarking, that if he could any where have found nonconformity united • with more Christian graces,' than in his character, the example should have found a place in his volumes. All parties, in fact, have concurred in so warmly eulogizing both the subject and the author of the memoir, that it is both the reader's fault and his loss, if he has hitherto remained unacquainted with it.
The curious and indefatigable pains bestowed by the Editor of this edition in the shape of annotations, additions, twentyeight appendices, and a corps de reserve of notes, may be compared to what is called by print-collectors illustrating a volume ; but in this instance, it is not the copy, but the whole edition which is illustrated ; literally so, in the first place, by two original portraits, one of Philip Henry, and the other of Mrs. Henry: the latter has never before been engraved. The memoir itself has been carefully compared with the original in Matthew Henry's hand-writing. The additions consist chiefly of letters and other extracts from the unpublished papers of the Henry family in the Editor's possession. For their bulk, the following apology is offered :
• Objections may arise to such large additions to the original volume; and it may be feared, that the Editor, through partiality, or for other reasons, has been led to introduce passages too unimportant for publicity. He hopes, however, to stand acquitted at all events, by those who regard his end, and that, on perusal, the book will display somewhat of watchful caution for the avoidance of such an error. He does not expect, indeed, that all will approve either the plan adopted or the selections furnished. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to arrange or extract from a mass of theological effusions like Mr. Henry's, so as to give universal satisfaction. Nothing is made public, it is hoped, which can justly be deemed offensive to a discriminating judgement, inconsistent with a due regard to the venerated writer, or prejudicial to the interests of that charity for which he was so deservedly famed.'
Except as augmenting the price of the volume, few readers, we apprehend, will be inclined to object to any of the additions from Mr. Henry's papers, nor can their contents stand in need of any apology. And even with regard to the other additions, the reader will feel too much obliged to the Editor's literary diligence, and be too favourably impressed with his biographical enthusiasm, to quarrel with those which he may deem trifling or superfluous. The immense number of the Editor's references, and the multifarious reading which they indicate, form certainly a striking and somewhat curious feature of the volume. We have not for a long time been accustomed to see such authors as Caryl on Job, Baxter, Nicholas Udall, Hooker, Lord Bacon, Locke, Morning Exercises, Clarke's Lives, Nonconformist's Memorial, Fuller, Gurnall, Goodwin, and other worthies of olden time, laid under contribution and cited at the foot of the page as familiar acquaintance. If these notes are not always illustrative or useful, -as, for instance, when they consist of bare references to some book in which the Editor has found a sentiment accordant with his own, (see pp. X. XX. xxvi. xxvii.) or when Plutarch and Cæsar are subpænaed as evidence of the age of Alexander at the time he had conquered the world,-still these take but little room ; and they shew both with what minute labour the work has
been compiled, and how legally precise is the correctness which the Editor has been solicitous to observe. In fact, if sometimes the antiquary appears, and sometimes the influence of a professional regard to precision,—the most conspicuous feature in Mr. Williams's part of the work, is a spirit of piety, together with an enthusiasm which does him honour, in regard both to his subject and the divines of other days. There is much good sense and justice in the following observations.
• It cannot escape remark, that those associations with eternity which, by a moral necessity, attend written lives, gain, in a case like the present, special ascendancy : they seize the mind with a firm grasp, and, if duly cherished, disentangle it from the world. Having traced the earthly sojournings of the heaven-bound traveller, and impressed the increasing development of principles as unvarying as they are immortal, every advance towards the “ final hours sions new and refined excitements. At length placed in imagination upon the brink of that river which “has no bridge, we gaze upon the pilgrim as he draws nigh to the water, and listen to his parting salutation; as the billows rise and swell around him, every thing irre. levant and unhallowed is absorbed in personal interest ; the reign of stillness” commences, and other cares and other thoughts, save those of future and interminable existence, are silenced and suppressed.'
In all that Mr. Williams says on the subject of the value of religious biography, we fully concur ; and his caution is judicious : • Let the eye be intently fixed upon high examples, • and not upon those who rank at best only as inferiors in the • school of Christ. There is no lack of religious memoirs and obituaries in the present day; but these have too often a tendency to depress and obscure the standard of Christian excellence, rather than to excite a holy emulation. These tributes of friendship, memoirs, remains, and diaries, may, we admit, awaken serious thoughts in the young; may have a softening influence on the heart, exciting sentiments of a pensive and religious character; and sometimes they may console the reader by the faithful disclosure of kindred infirmities. Of the most feeble performance of this description, positive error being excluded, who would venture to say, that it could do no good ? Still, it will not be maintained that these pensive or consolatory sentiments are of that high order which it is the proper end of religious biography to produce. There is always, it is to be hoped, existing among us, a staple Christianity of a quality not inferior to these specimens, in the lives and characters of some at least of the men with whom we are surrounded; affording the basis of Christian friendship and the cement of all improving intercourse. There are many individuals who, had they died at one and twenty, would have furnished matter for most interesting remains, and whose living examples would weigh against many an octavo volume, but who, perhaps, will live so long as to escape from biography, which of late has only embalmed the remains of the vouny, and to forestal this sort of posthumous reputation. Still, the present is not, we fear, the
age of heroic models; or if it be, the medium of the times we live in is not favourable to our seeing them in that impressive light in which the saints of other days stand out to our imitation. If there be any optical illusion in the forms and colours which the distant objects of biography present, it is a beneficial one. Of this, any one day, we think, convince himself, who will compare the impression produced by the perusal of such lives, with that which is excited by the best specimens of modern biography. When we contemplate real excellence, the imagination becomes the friend of virtue ; and the imagination is always most excited by that which is venerable with antiquity or shadowy with distance.
Let us hope that posterity may derive many of its models from the present age; but we must take ours from the days of our fathers. On this subject, we cannot do better than transcribe the sentiments of two eminent men, as given by Mr. Williams in the form of notes,
«« It doth us good to read and hear such true, holy, and approved histories, monuments, orations, epistles, and letters, as do set forth unto us the blessed behaviour of God's dear servants.”
Bishop Coverdale.' 66 The names of the ancient fathers should be very precious with us, and the remains of their life and labours ; the first Reformers in our own land ; in other lands; the good old puritans ; those ministers and Christians who have been eminent in our own country. We should not despise the way of our Fathers, but be ashamed to think how short we come of them. We must regard their testimony, and, as far as it agrees with the word of God, put a great value upon it. We must follow them as far as they followed Christ.”-Malthew Hen. ry. Orig. M.S.'
These may be taken as a fair sample of the notes. We shall give a few more interesting specimens. The following is inserted in illustration of Mr. Henry's ' plain and practical way of preaching.'
• Let your preaching be plain. Painted glass is most curious : plain glass is most perspicuous. Be a good crucifix to your people: preach a crucified Saviour in a crucified style. Paul taught so plainly that the Corinthians thought him a dunce. Let your matter be substantial, wholesome food; God and Christ and the gospel, faith, repentance, regeneration. Aim purely at God's glory and the salvation of souls. Study, as if there were no Christ: preach, as if there had been no