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state of the world in the latter days, the millenium, and the final destruction of all things, are topics connected with the subject and successively taken into consideration. On the probable state of the world, in the latter days, Mr. T. might, as we have already remarked, with propriety, have been more diffuse. It is a wide field, which the poet cannot enter without finding a rich harvest before him ; a vast supply of materials for fancy to work upon; and though much obscurity overshadow's it, is, in such degree, only as to add to the general effect of grandeur and sublimity.
That he speaks well of his own country, its laws and its relia gion, is as it should be; and if his readers be of our stamp, he need not fear having said too much.
“Some apology is necessary for the frequent mention of our own great and good country: but as the history of a king is the history of a nation, so is that of Britain the history of the world : the consequences of the part for instance we have acted in the late contest, and may be required to act in the present crisis, may be productive of greater and more lasting happiness to mankind, than any other event merely human, recorded in the annals of any nation.” P. xxv.
We think no apology necessary. The extract just made, written in April, seems prophetical of the events which the following June presented to us-Europe delivered, and Britain (juvante Deo) the deliverer. To the wisdoin in council, and energy in action, which marked the decisions of the British Government, all these wise plans must be referred, and the whole of that broad and honorable policy be traced, which have been blessed by God to the preservation of civil and religious order throughout Europe. For what great events we, as a nation, may yet be reserved, is known to him only who disposes all things to bis own wise and gracious purposes. In a belief, that a millenium, a sabbatical rest for a thousand years, is reserved for the Church of God, we are inclined to agree with Mr. T. This belief was very prevalent in the early ages of Christianity, but lost ground as the papal power gained strength. At the Reformation it again recovered itself, and in these latter days seems regaining consideration with all who study the Holy Scriptures, and have time to think calmly and deeply on serious subjects.
There is, and ever must be, much of mystery in high themes like these; but let not any well disposed man, whether he be philosopher, historian, or poet, be led from the contemplation of thein, on the ground that they are subjects not intended for us to handle : true it is, that the study of any part of the Holy Scriptures may be turned to bad account; the infidel may read a mi. racle, and hold it up to scorn; the enthusiast may bewilder his
Ss VOL. V. JUNE, 1916.
mind with visionary dreams by misapplying the divine promises ; and the fanatic may charitably exclude from salvation all who have not all his own particular notions of Christian faith. But to argue against its utility from the abuse of any thing, is always bad reasoning. We would rather encourage a calm and steady research, in humility and reverence, into every part of Scripture, as well the prophecies, as the doctrines and precepts. Indeed to do that we are not merely permitted, we are commanded, we are encouraged. To study, with judgment and humility, the word of prophecy, to look forward to the triumph of God's Church over every obstacle, to meditate on the grand consummation of all things, is to exercise the mind worthily, is to ensure a blessing on our exertions,
The Poem we have been considering tends to encourage such researches, and they may be, to our apprehension, so pregnant with advantage, by purifying our heart, and giving it juster view's both of God and his creatures, by supplying our thoughts with fit matter to dwell upon, that we confess ourselves highly gratified in finding a poet devote his talents in so great and good a cause. Speculations like his, (if speculations they may be called) foster only amiable feelings, and we can hardly imagine any one so in. sensible as not to be interested in them. We have spoke some, what freely of the work, as a composition, because we wish well to Mr. T's fame. The Poem is yet unfinished; open therefore to any improvements which the author may hereafter make. The main point we would press upon Mr. T's attention is REVISION. He has chose a subject beyond the common apprehension of men's minds, a, subject too vast for him to have done justice to at present : we would speak guardedly, considering his present laudable effort as an earnest of still better things. His imagina. tion is vivid, but his diction wants strength to express his thoughts. This he would himself perceive, if he could read some passages, of Armageddon as from any work strange to him. Let him put aside his Poem for a season, till he can look at the whole with strengthened and unbiassed judgment; he will then, if he mistake. not, in part recast it, curtailing some portions, enlarging others. He will then see with a critic's eye those blemishes, which now, from long familiarity with them, he notes not; for in composi. tion, as in morals, we may be so familiarized to our own faults, that at last we even cherish them. In the dedication to his Grace of Devonshire, Mr. T. has well expressed what we would briefly give as our opinion of the Poem. “ The author's talents are not equal to his ambition” –let us add, they are not yet equal to his honest and laudable ambition.
If the work be hereafter compressed into ten or eight books, for we know of no magic in the number twelve to induce the
continuance of it. It will more than gain in strengtlı, what it loses in bulk; though as we have been free to suggest, much important and interesting matter may with great effect be added, and the Poem of Armageddon, if not the first epic poem we boast, may be a benefit to mankind and an honor to its author.
Mr. T. is young ; many years must elapse, ere he reach the age when Milton began his Paradise Lost. Mr. T. may draw much encouragement from this fact. Let him go on storing his mind with learning, gathered as well from reading as observation and reflection; it will form a sound and discriminating judg. ment, which is what a poet generally most needs. Let Mr.
T. act upon this principle, and we have no hesitation in foretelling, that, when the Poem in a few years makes its appearance, completed by such judicious curtailments, and added beauties, as he will then be so well able to manage, it will be a poem worthy of the age, and the nation. We, if life be spared us, and all who read it, shall do so with increased pleasure, and find in it a proof, that the author, whose mind is cast in a high mould, and whose aim is worthy his sacred calling, has not neglected the talents committed to his charge; but rather, as every wise man ought to do, and as every good man will strive to do, he has, with increasing age, increased his knowledge, refined his taste, and im. proved his judgment.
Art. III. A Course of Sermons, preached at Great St. Mary's
Church, before the University of Cambridge, during the Month of April, 1816. By the Rev. William Sharpe, A. M, Chaplain of Trinity College, Cambridge, 8vo. pp. 96.
3s. Rivingtons. 1816. THESE Sermons relate to the four following subjects; Original Sin, Regeneration, Justification by Faith, and Final Perseverance. From the Introduction, prefixed to them, we learn that Mr. Sharpe was appointed one of the select preachers for the Academical year, which has just elapsed ; and that he selected these subjects, in order to correct some erroneous no. tions, which Mr. Simeon (who it seems had likewise been appointed a select preacher for that year) had endeavoured to propagate from the same pulpit. But we will let Mr. Sharpe speak for himself,
“ The author of the following Sermons thinks it may be right $0 preface them by a few explanatory remarks, now that he has
been induced to lay them before the public. It was originally far from his intention to enter upon controversy in the course of Sermons, which he had the honour of being appointed to preach lately before the University ; but, on hearing the discourses of the first of the Select Preachers of the present year, it appeared to him that they ought not to pass ontirely unnoticed ; and, as he undersiood the matter was not likely to be taken up in a higher quarter, he himself resolved to offer some observations on certain doctrines, for the support of which those discourses were composed. He is not ignorant in what a difficult and delicate situation he has placed himself by undertaking to comment on writings which have not been published ; but, as he is conscious of no wilful intention to misrepresent, so has he good reason to believe that in the present instance no charges can be brought against him on that score. The truth is, he was so forcibly struck with many passages of those Sermons, that he could not forbear taking the earliest opportunity, after he heard them, of expressing their sense, and, (as nearly as he could,) their words, in writing, and it is on those cotemporary notes that he has grounded all his remarks, which relate to the Rev. C. Simeon. The circumstance, then, just mentioned, first suggested to the author the subject of the ensuing Sermops; but their design is of a much more general nature, than to combat the sentiments of any single individual, however respectable in himself, or however powerful in his influence over others. They contain tain an examination of the principal discriminating opinions of that large class of the members of our Church, who profess to hold the doctrines of the Gospel in a greater degree of purity than the rest of their brethren; the accuracy of the tenets, commonly called evangelical, is here attempted to be ascertained, and, principally, by a reference to Scripture."
In the first Sermon Mr. S. very properly argues agaiust the absurd and dangerous tenet of the Calvinists, in regard to the total corruption of human nature. The doctrine of the Church of England, in the Article of Original Sin, is, that “ man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil." But the Calvinists, who depart from this, as well as from other Articles of our Church, are not contented to represent man as far gone from righteousness, and inclined to evil, but as totally lost to all righteousness, and as absolutely incapable of doing any thing that is good. They represent man as a mere lump of depravity; and, if we may judge by their stateinents, this depravity has great advantages, as it affords more room for the operation of grace. In answer to this, says Mr. S. p. 6). “ We firmly believe, that man is a fallen creature ; but we strenuously deny that he has fallen like Lucifer, from the heights of heaven, to the very lowest pit of moral degradation, and darkness, and depravity.” He then proceeds to shes, and we think
very very successfully, in what manner the Calvinistic theory, “ so far from exalting the character of the Almighty, robs him of some of the principal and essential attributes of divinity.” And he concludes the first part of this Discourse by shewing the pernicious effects which the Calvinistic doctrine of human depravity must have upon our morals.
“ Let us advert (says Mr. S. p. 11,) to the practical effects, which this doctrine has a manifest tendency to produce. It de stroys then, in the first place, that proper degree of respect for himself which every one naturally feels, and which is one of the strongest safeguards of innocence and integrity that can exist independently of religious considerations ; for a convert to these opinions must necessarily think, that he has neither innocence nor integrity to take care of, and that, on the contrary, he is so utterly vile, polluted, and abominable, that let him commit what crimies he will, he cannot possibly suffuse his soul with a blacker dye, than that which it received from its original mould. Nay more, he has an excuse for sinning, and in that a strong inducement to it; for he will attribute his sin, (and reasonably enough) not to his own involuntary agency, but to that vital principle of deep depravity interwoven into his moral constitution, the motions of which he has no power to controul by the exertion of opposité affections and desires."
The second Sermon is a continuation of the same subject ; . and here Mr. S. examines the principal passages of Scripture ; which bear upon this question. Our limits do not allow us to follow him through the whole range which he has taken : but we are satisfied that every impartial reader will agree with him in the conclusion, that the general sense of Scripture is adverse to the Calvinistic doctrine of Original Sin.
The third Serinon is on Regeneration ; a subject, which has produced much bitter controversy, and has given rise to some tumultuous meetings at a place, which had been always distinguished by the strictest decorum. And bere we cannot neglect the opportunity of returning our warniest thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who presided at Bartlett's Buildings on two trying occasions, and maintained by his firmuess botă the diguity of the Church, and the purity of its doctrines. Nor must we omit our thanks to the Bishop of London, and the other members of the Committee, who had a task of great delia cacy imposed apon them, and who executed their task in a man. per, which justly entitled them to the approbation of the Boards But let us return to the Sermon before us. Though, according to the doctrine of our Church, Regeneration takes place at Baptism, this is not the doctrine of all its ministers : for there are sume who deny, and still more who think it doubtful, whether Regeneration does take place at Baptismi. But says Mr. S. at p. 47.