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herself,' says her Brother, my sister's imagination, which, throughout her life, had been too much alive to ideas of 'terror, seemed in a great degree quelled (towards the last) by the langours of disease. Thus her mind was relieved from ⚫ those unreal fears which otherwise might have possessed her thoughts in the near approach of death. For many months, she had the last enemy steadily in view, and must have been able almost to watch his approach, and hear his footstep drawing nearer; but all apprehension and distrust were gone. The last day but one before she died, she said: I am now quite happy-as happy as my poor frame will bear.'
Of her Biographer, we need say nothing, but that a large circle of friends, and indeed all who knew Jane Taylor either personally or in her works, will feel under lasting obligations to him for the well drawn portrait and valuable memorial which he has presented to them of his accomplished Sister.
Art. V. The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul; by P. Doddridge, D.D. With an Introductory Essay, by John Foster. 12mo. Price 6s. pp. 627. Glasgow. 1825.
HIS is one of the very valuable series of Select Christian 'Authors' now in course of publication from the Glasgow Press, and which, we believe, owes its origin to the recommendatory suggestion of Dr. Chalmers. Some of the introductory addresses, which form a distinguishing feature of the work, are of permanent worth. Mr. Erskine's, in particular, are marked by all the peculiar richness and piquancy of his style of thought and composition. But in all respects of originality and impressiveness, the Essay' before us must stand alone. It occupies more than a hundred and sixty pages of the volume; and exhibits, in undiminished excellence, the same extraordinary faculty of unborrowed conception, with even superior powers of vivid representation. The character of this striking production is essentially dramatic, though the forms of monologue and dialogue are not preserved; and we have been not a little reminded of Randolph's Muse's Looking-glasse, by the succession of characters and scenes which it causes to pass before the intellectual eye. A higher praise, must, however, be assigned to it, than that which belongs to the successful exertion of talent on subjects of common interest. The great concern is never lost sight of, and circumstances of slight import and unheeded occurrence are made the vehicles of profound reflection and impressive admonition.
There are more ways to derive instruction from books, than the direct and chief one, of applying the attention to what they contain. Things connected with them, by natural or casual association, will sometimes suggest themselves to a reflective and imaginative reader, and divert him into secondary trains of ideas. In these the mind may, indeed, float along in perfect indolence, and acquire no good; but a serious disposition might regulate them to a profitable result.
• Of these extraneous ideas, the most obviously occurring, as being the most directly associated with the book, may be some recollections or conjectures concerning the author. Perhaps the most remarkable circumstances of his life and qualities of his character are well known. Some of these may come on the reader's mind, suspend his attention to the written thoughts, and draw him away into meditation on the person, perhaps now no longer on earth, who once thought them, and deliberately put them in the words just seen on the page.
• Sometimes the conjectural reference to the former possessors and readers of books, seems to be rendered a little less vague, by our finding at the beginning of an old volume, one or more names written, in such characters, and perhaps accompanied with such dates, that we are assured those persons must long since have done with all books. The name is generally all we can know of him who inserted it; but we can thus fix on an individual as actually having possessed this volume; and perhaps there are here and there certain marks which should indicate an attentive perusal. What manner of person was he? What did he think of the sentiments, the passages, which I see that he particularly noticed? If there be opinions here which I cannot admit, did he believe them? If there be counsels here which I deem most just and important, did they effectually persuade him? Was his conscience, at some of these passages, disturbed or calm? In what manner did he converse on these subjects with his associates? What were the most marked features of his character, what the most considerable circumstances of his life, in what spirit and expectations did he approach and reach its close? The book is perhaps such a one as he could not read, without being cogently admonished that he was going to his great account; he went to that account; how did he meet and pass through it? This is no vain reverie. He, the man who bore and wrote this name, did go, at a particular time, though unrecorded, to surrender himself to his Judge. But I, who handle the book that was his, and observe his name, and am thus directing my thoughts into the dark after the man, I also am in progress toward the same tribunal, when it will be proved, to my joy or sorrow, whether I have learned true wisdom from my books, and from my reflections on those who have possessed and read them before.'
From this primary idea of the casual associations connected with the mere tangible substance of a book, Mr. Foster leads the reader forward through an ascending train of speculations,
sometimes attractive by their ingenuity, and sometimes almost oppressive by their awful bearing on actual experience, up to considerations of the most overwhelming importance in their application to life, death, and eternity. The book-its Author -his character, as contrasted or illustrated by his writingshis motives-his influence for good or evil-all these, with their collateral and incidental elucidations, pass in review, and are followed up by a lively and heart-searching representation of the process of thought and feeling which might be supposed to take place in the minds of different individuals when brought in contact with such a book as the Rise and Progress. The unbeliever' is left without excuse for his contempt and gainsaying, and convicted, on his own chosen ground of argument, of weakness and self-contradiction. Ingenuous, but thoughtless and dissipated youth, is addressed in language of a different kind, but equally cogent.
If, nevertheless, you are still positive in the resolution that you will devote your attention to religion at a more advanced period, I would represent to you, that what you are meanwhile losing, is not merely so much time. You deem there is a peculiar value and charm in this prime of your life, so that you rejoice you are not old, nor middle-aged. You do so even independently of any direct thought of being so much further off from the latter end. And what is this so valued peculiarity of youth? Doubtless it is the plentitude of life, the vigour and elasticity of body and mind, the quickness of apprehension, the liveliness of emotion, the energy of impulse to experiment and daring. Now consider under what signal advantage with respect to the subsequent progress, religion would commence its course in the strength of these animated forces. It would be like taking a steed of fire for some noble enterprise, instead of one already tamed with time and labour, or nearly worn down. You would thus be borne onward a greater length before the vigour of nature begins to remit, and would have acquired a principle of impulsion to advance, after that peculiar vigour should have ceased. Your youth at leaving you would seem to send its spirit forward with you. The religious career thus commencing, would have all the advantage which a stream, of vast length of course, acquires from rising and running its first stage on the slope of a lofty mountain, as compared with that which is put in motion on a tract little better than flat, and creeps heavily on for want of such an impulse from its origin. So important is it to the progress of religion, that it should have the utmost benefit from its rise.
Do not practise any dissimulation with yourself on the subject. In making the resolution that sometime (and, now, honestly, is not that a time willingly regarded as far off?) that sometime you will apply yourself to religion, you plainly intend that you will not be religious, that you will be estranged from religion till then. But, in resolving that it shall not command you, you necessarily must wish that neither
shall it disturb you. You wish that, during all the time, no interfering, no opposing, alarming principle may abide in your mind: because you desire to enjoy fully, and in peace, the kind of happiness which you are to exclude religion in order to enjoy. You are wishing, then, in effect, that your affections and tastes may be entirely in harmony with a system of life devoid of religion, that your judgement may accommodate itself not to condemn your proceeding, and that your conscience should either be guided to acquiesce, or repose in a long, deep sleep. That is to say, while you are resolving that at some advanced period you will be religious, you are also resolving that, during the long preceding time, you will yield yourself to a process for consolidating those very habits which will fix your mind in a confirmed antipathy to religion. You are intending to enter at last on consecrated ground, and yet are surrendering yourself to a power, which will hold you back with the grasp of a fiend when you attempt to approach its border. You presume that the latter stage of your journey shall be an ascent to heaven, and yet, in this earlier one, you deliberately choose a track in which you can calculate how each downward step goes in aggravation of the arduousness of that ascent, if you shall indeed ever attempt it as if a man who had to reach the summit of a vast mountain, and might do it on one side by long, gradual, and comparatively gentle declivity, should prefer essaying it on that other side, where, descending first to a great depth to reach its base, he must then climb its precipices. Whatever I am now gaining, he might say to himself, in the way of pleasant indulgence, in this descent, is so much that I shall find to have been gained against me by the difficulty on yonder steep.'
If we were called upon to point out the peculiar excellence of Mr. Foster, we should be inclined to place it in that singular force and vivacity with which he urges the stern, uncompromising claims of duty, and lays open the fallacy of the various pretexts by which it is evaded, together with the vanity and danger of the pursuits which are permitted to interfere with its adequate discharge. His Missionary Sermon is a noble attestation to his skill in the management of this powerful argument; and the following extract from the essay now in our hand, is not inferior in energy and truth.
It may be allowed to descend to still more special illustrations. We may suppose one of you to direct his look, or his walk, over a piece of ground, in which he has the rights of a proprietor-till his successor shall take them. He might reflect, that this space of earth has more occupied his thoughts and affections, has been beyond comparison a more interesting reality to him, than the author and sustainer of the whole creation. Then let him look again on the soil, exert one solemn act of thought toward him by whom, and in whom, all things exist, and judge whether this be not a horrid impiety. Another of you has gazed upon, and leaned over, the material which represents wealth, and confers the power of it; he has stood
by his god, delighted and absorbed, without thought or care respecting any other, in earth or heaven. It should be possible, when he shall find himself in this situation again, to constrain himself to one effort of serious reflection; and when he has done so, let him tell whether he did not seem to hear a voice say, "Thy money perish with thee." Some of you may be men of a more refined taste, and may have drawn into your possession a rich collection of the works of genius, in literature and art. Let them confess to themselves whether they have not contemplated the splendid and growing accumulation with a delight, a care, and a pride, of incomparably stronger prevalence in the mind, than any sentiment regarding the Divinity. To be thus environed with the productions (even though they little, in truth, consulted them) of the most vigorous and cultivated minds of many regions and ages, constituted, perhaps, a kind of heathen elysium, in which they were insensible of any necessity of converse with the perfect Intelligence, the Source of all mental light, of all beauty and grandeur. But, shall their dwelling amidst the collected results of thinking, be itself a cause to disable them for reflection? If not, let them consider what is the true quality of that passion by which they are rendering this abode the scene of a voluntary exile from "the Father of lights," raising as it were a wall constructed of the works and monuments of human intellect, to shut themselves up from his communications. And let them reflect how melancholy it must be, to go away from amidst the pomp of literary treasures, poor (and the more so for the very passion for possessing them, and the idolatry of them as possessed) in all the attainments and dispositions preparatory to an entrance on that scene where no truth, no intellectual glory, no ideas or realities of sublimity or beauty, can be apprehended separately from their Divine Original. Let the gratified possessor look again at the imposing array of the vehicles of all that has been the most powerful, admirable, and enchanting in human thought and fancy, but with a reflection with which he may never before have surveyed the spectacle. Here is the intellectual world It is but a small concentrated, as is were, and embodied before me. portion of it which the brevity of life, with its many employments and grievances, will permit to be of any avail to me for a valuable use; but I find there is a principle operating, which can turn the whole collectively to a pernicious effect. For, the more I delight myself in being surrounded with this affluence of the productions of mind, the less I am disposed to communication with Him whose living influence on my spirit can alone make me wise and happy. But can I be content to think that I shall, after a little while, retire from this proud temple to the honour of human intellect, actually doomed to take with me an unfitness acquired in it for the life of intelligence and felicity in the immediate presence of God?
We could easily and willingly multiply extracts such as these, but we have given enough to excite a wish to possess the whole. Gratified, however, as we are with the appearance of this essay, we are not quite sure that it is the best possible