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grass, and motion to every particle of Spurinna or the Comforts of Old Age. blood which circulates through the veins With Notes and Biographical Illusof the ininutest animal; that, though his trations. BY SIR THOMAS BERmind takes into its comprehensive grasp,
London. Long. immensity and all its wonders, I am as
man and Co.; pp. 248. 1816. much known to him as if I were the single object of his attention; that he marks SPURINNA was a hale old man, who all my thoughts; that he gives birth to had pursued such a temperate course every feeling and every movement within of life, that in his seventy eighth me; and that, with an exercise of power year he discovered no symptom of which I can neither describe nor com
old age but the wisdom. Of his prehend, the same God who sits in the highest 'heaven, and reigns over the method of living, Pliny has given an glories of the firmament, is at my right elegant description, in the first letter band, to give me every breath which I of his third book: it was the gratifidraw, and every comfort which I enjoy. cation he derived from the perusal of
“ But this very reflection has been this letter, that influenced Sir Thomas appropriated to the use of Infidelity, and Bernard, in fixing on the title of the very language of the text has been Spurinna. made to bear an application of hostility
The following extracts from the to the faith. • What is man, that God should be mindful of him, or the son of preface will convey to the reader some man, that he should deign to visit him?" conception of the plan of the volume. Is it likely, says the Infidel, that God would send his eternal Son, to die for the sessed, no one could have made a better
• Of the materials which Cicero pospuny occupiers of so insignificant a province in the mighty field of his creation: use, than he has done in his Essay on Old Are we the besitting objects of so great purer and more valuable sources of con
Age. But the Gospel has since opened and so signal an interposition? Does not the largeness of that field which astronomy theism and heathen Philosophy. The
solation, than are to be found in Polylays open to the view of modern science, miserable uncertainty, or affected indif. throw a suspicion over the truth of the ference, of some of their best and wisest gospel history; and how shall we reconcile the greatness of that wonderful
men with regard to a future state, form a movement which was made in heaven for striking contrast to the sure and certain the redemption of fallen man, with the God, and faith in the merits of our
hope, which reliance on the word of comparative meanness and obscurity of Redeemer, will supply during age and our species? “ This is a popular argument against
infirmity, to the poorest and humblest
Christian. Christianity, not much dwelt upon in
“ In adopting the form of a dialogue books, but we believe, a good deal insinuated in conversation, and having no
passing between eminent men of the small influence on the amateurs of a
same period, I have followed the example
of Cicero. The venerable Bishop Hough superfécial philosophy. At all events, it is right that every such argument should who enjoyed an extraordinary degree of
is the Cato of my Drama; a prelate, be met, and manfully confronted; nor do health of body and mind, to the advanced we know a more discreditable surrender of our religion, than to act as if she had lived, respected and beloved.' He is well
age of ninety-two ; and died, as he had any thing to fear from the ingenuity of her known for his manly resistance, as Presimost accomplished adversaries."
dent of Magdalen College, to the tyranny Thus the reader has before him, lately published by our friend Mr. Wil
of James the Second. His private letters, this specious objection, in all its force, mot, present an amiable portrait of his Dr. Chalmers has nothing extenuated mind; and have enabled me, in some deit, nor hath he put down aught in gree, to mark his peculiar manners and inalice. How successfully he meets mode of expression; so as to offer a view and refutes it, we shall endeavour to of his character in his ninetieth year, in show in our next number. In the which succeeded the hard frost of 1739, the meantime, the specimen we have point of time which I have fixed for this now furnished of the lofty concep- friend and correspondens, Bishop Gibson,
Dialogue. The two other parties are his tions and beautiful illustrations which then Bishop of London, and Mr. Lyttelpervade this volume, will no doubt stimulate many
ton (afterwards Lord Lyttleton) his neighof
our readers to have bour in the country.” immediate recourse to it, without waiting for any further account of it In considering the inconveniences from us and we greatly mistake if of age, the author has adopted the the highaest expectations which they Ciceronian arrangement, and classed can form of it be disappointed. them under the four following heads:
1. That it unfits for public life : 2. is but I am most grateful, that the moderate attended by infirmity of body: 3. degree of understanding, which God has diminishes the power of animal en
been pleased to give me, is not impaired; joyment: and 4. is a state of anxiety and I have a consoling hope, that when on account of the approach of death. judge mankind, you and I, with all faithUnder each of these divisions, many | ful people, shall through the mercy of valuable observations occur, inter- God, and the merits of our Redeemer, spersed with a pleasant admixture of find a place at his right hand. What our anecdote. We can only make room portion may be in that kingdom is known for the following quotation.
only to his father and himself: but this
is revealed to us, that at his right hand “ BISHOP GIBSON.
Assuredly, Bro- are pleasures above our conception to all ther, there cannot be a more animating eternity. I have no doubt but that I have motive to virtue and piety, than the pros- lengthened my life, and preserved my pect of eternal happiness. Whenever health, by the calmness and composure the arch-fiend-our great enemy, is most which I derive from frequent meditation earnest to pervert and corrupt us, he on this subject; for what can be more delabours to erase from the mind the hope lightful and invigorating to the mind, of immortality: and as Dr. South has than to contemplate with the eye of quaintly expressed it, when once infide- faith, a period now no longer distant, lity can persuade men, that they shall die when I shall arrive at the eternal manlike beasts, they well soon be brought to ' sion, where the glory of God shall lighten live like beasts also.'
it, and the Lainb shall be the light thereBishop Hougi. Yet this hope has of? The earthly house of this pilgrimage cheered the heart of man in all ages. shall then be dissolved, and I shall have Some of the wisest and most virtuous a building of God, a house not made with heathens have perceived that our future, hands, eternal in the heavens; and shall existence is the only one, deserving the exclaim with the Apostle, ‘ I have finishname of life; and that the soul, during its ed my course, I have kept the faith : confinement in a mortal body, is doomed henceforth there is laid up for me a crown to a state of penance and probation, of righteousness, which the Lord, the looking with desire to its native seat in righteous judge, shall give me at that heaven. If we consider the faculties of day.'—The sun shall then no more be my the mind, the rapidity of its conceptions, light by day, neither for brightness shall its recollection as to the past, its sagacity the moon give light unto me; but the with regard to the future, and its discove- | Lord shall be my everlasting light, and ries in every branch of art and science, it our God shall be my glory.-Nation shall must be evident that this active and com- not then lift up sword against nation, prehensive principle cannot be corporeal neither shall they learn war any more: or mortal. O my sons, (said the dying for there shall be no more death, neither Cyrus) do not suppose that, when I shall sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be separated from you by death, I shall be any more pain.-And is not this a subcease to exist. You beheld not my soul, ject, my dear friends, to awaken all the while I have been with you; yet you enthusiasm of gratitude in my breast, and were persuaded of its existence, by the abundantly to recompense for the little actions you saw me perform. Infer the aches and pains, the weaknesses and insame, when you see me no more - I never firmities, of old age? With these conwill be induced to believe, that the soul templations present during the day, and can properly be said to live, while it re always ready to tranquilize my waking mains in this mortal body; or that it will hours at night, is it wonderful that I cease to have existence, when death has should, with so little suffering or anxiety, dissolved the vital union. Neither can I have advanced to my ninetieth year? or be persuaded, that it will become void of that I should exclaim, that neither death, sense, because it has quitted its connec- nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor tion with senseless matter; or that, on powers,---nor things present, nor things the contrary, its intellectual powers must to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any not be improved, when refined from cor- other creature, shall be able to separate poreal mixture.'
me from the love of God, which is in “MR. LYTTELTON. I have frequently Christ Jesus our Lord.—The calm and admired that passage, my Lord, and con- steady perseverance, with which the sidered it as one of the most favourable martyrs for our faith in the times of priexamples of the consolations of heathen Initive Christianity, and the victims of philosophy
bigotry in our latter days, have endured “ Bishop Hough. What, however, all the torments which malice and ingeare these faint glimmerings of upassisted muity could invent and inflict, has ever reason, compared with the divine light of been a subject of admiration and astonishRevelation, which shineth more and more ment to the world. If, however, we reunto the perfect day?- My strength in- flect that (like as to the Proto-Martyr deed declines and my end approaches: Stephen, when he looked stedfastly into
Heaven, and saw the glory of God, and | The Prospects of the New Year : or, Jesus standing on the right band of God) God a National Refuge in times of these contemplations must have been pre- trouble. A Sermon delivered in sent to the mind; and that they then
Leman Street Chapel, Duke Street, anticipated with hope and faith, the blessed regions to which they were im
Blackfriars, London. On Lord's mediately advancing, and the glory and
Day's Afternoon, January 5, 1817.
BY THOMAS CURTIS. London. felicity prepared for them,--their stead. fastness and constancy become less matter
Gale and Fenner. Pp. 36. 1817. of wonder. It was this Christian hope, We must absolutely enter our prothis foretaste of the bliss of Paradise, test against Mr. Curtis's manner of which enabled the expiring martyr, accommodating the words of the living Maccail, to exclaim, Farewell sun, God to purposes altogether foreign moon, and stars; farewell kindred and
to their true intent and meaning. friends,-farewell world and time, -fare- Nor can we repress our astonishment well weak and frail body:-welcome that a person of his capacity, and eternity, -welcome Angels and Saints,welcome Saviour of the World, and wel- professing such sentiments as he come God, the Judge of all.'»
does, should indulge in such fanciful
interpretations of the holy scriptures In his Essay on Old Age, which as are calculated to excite the derision has always excited the admiration of of the scoffer and to promote the the classical reader, Cicero seems to laughter of fools.
“ 'The prophet have collected all the rays of heathen that hath a dream, let him tell a philosophy into a focus; but the dream; and he that hath my word, darkness of the tomb defied his at- let him speak my word faithfully : tempt at invasion. It required a What is the chaff to the wheat? saith greater than Cicero, to bring life the Lord.” Jer. xxiii. 28. Surveying and immortality to light," and the the aspect of the present eventful invisible world continued to be enve- period, Mr. Curtis like every other loped in mist, till the Star of Bethle- man of sober reflection, is deeply afhem arose to chase away the clouds. fected at the distresses which have The reflection of the mild glories of come upon us as a nation, and this this fairest gem in the “ diadem of honourable feeling is mingled with night,” sheds a lustre on the present alarm, lest our impatience should production, superior to the brilliancy hurry us into the adoption of vain of the Roman orator, and we would and impracticable plans of reform. recommend it to every one who is Here he sees, or thinks he sees, great qualified for the undertaking, to com- danger arising from the factious conpare the heathen with the Christian duct of certain political demagogues, philosopher. He will find the latter, against listening to whose counsels substituting certainty for doubt, and he, in the spirit of true benevolence, adopting that celebrated passage, most solemnly warns us. All this is “Oh præclarum diem,” &c. in rete- very good; and had he taken for his rence to a nobler meeting, and with text the words of the wise man. out any hesitation annexed to it. son, fear thou the Lord and the
We cannot conclude without thank- king; and meddle not with them ing the author for his acceptable that are given to change”-he would present to the public, and expressing have so far escaped our censure : our wish, that the book may meet But who in his wits, would ever have with an extensive circulation among thought of taking for such a purpose the higher classes of society for the following remarkable text: " And whom it is more particularly adapted. when they shall say unto you, Seek We regard with peculiar complacency, unto them that have familiar spirits, a nobleman, who employs his talents and unto wizards that
and - not in aiming to shine the first in mutter : should not a people seek the camp or in the senate,-not in unto their God?” &c. Isaiah viii. 19. investing misanthropic sentiments Now if we look into the plain, literal with all the charms of poetry—but in meaning of these words, we shall teaching Christianity to his fellow find that, in the days of the prophet,
the children of Judah gave heed to wizards, dreamers, necromancers, and false prophets, in direct violation of the divine law, recorded in Deut. xviii. 10, 11, 20.
Like Saul, they VOL. III.
sought unto them that had familiar see its impropriety in a proper light, spirits, and applied for direction we now pass on to other matters. “ from the living to the dead,” in- We have already intimated our apstead of having recourse ta the true probation of the general drift and God, and hearkening to the words of design of this discourse, which is to his law: in opposition to which advocate the cause of benevolence, abominable practice, the inspired and guard us against being infected writer'calls their attention to the lively with the spirit of sedition and tumult. oracles, “ to the law and to the tes- To the little doctrinal sentiment that timony.” ver. 20. But who would it contains, we have not much to obever have expected to find Mr. Curtis ) ject: but the style in which it is comapplying this passage to the popular posed, really surprises us exceedingly; demagogues of our day--the #unts for though it does not by any means and the Cobbetts, and all the rest of reach the turgid declamation of Mr. our political leaders! What else can Richard Winter Hamilton, (See our we make of the following words Mag. Vol. I. p. 209.) we regret to say
“ Truth will compel us to add to this that it approximates too nearly to that picture of real distress, and much real model. Mark, reader, how the Serfeeling,-(as will indeed, in such cases, mon opens by all prudent men be expected) much “ We have just survived the largest Irritation of spirit, and some Insubordi- ordinary revolution of created things nation, in the ranks, if not in the parties another year. Our custom has been for that claim relief;-chiefly attributable some time past, you will remember, my to the false views and feelings of other brethren-io ask of these, momentous ranks, the necromancing wizards' of Harbingers of Eternity some instruction, our text. Those who seek to the “ fami.
as they appear, and to pause over the liar spirits' of popular discontent and period of their departure.
For as the outrage to all the bad passions of the revolution of those heavenly bodies, which heart—to envy, pride, and personal re- are ordained by divine wisdom ‘ for sígos venge,-just at the moment when we and for seasons, for days and for years, most want an Union of all the best and embraces in its compass all our time as strongest feelings of our nature to enjoy they form and furnish the great Presencethe blessings of peace in the spirit of Chamber, in the midst of which the living peace! As if to patronize discontent God takes his station as the Origin, the were both wiser and better than to relieve Animating Spirit, and Impartial Judge distress-or universal anarchy a safe and of all our gifts, our graces, and our duties salutary prescription for particular and -these living witnesses have seen much personal grievances !
of our character in their passage; and “ We shall find, indeed, in the entire the complete change of all this mighty review of our affairs as a people' at this scenery may well remind us of that final time, some suitability in the whole of our change to which all things around us are text, and its connection---some room for hastening—may remind us, too, of the the rebuke implied, as well as for the distinguishing prerogative of their only direction afforded us, by the Prophet. Great Inbabitant to remain Himself unFor every spirit of this world that would changed-and of each of our respective prescribe a remedy for our entire case- stations amongst them while they last." that would attempt to reach the roots of discontent on the one hand, or of profu
Now it strikes us that had Mr. sion and hard-heartedness on the other, Curtis been writing an Ode on the independent of a constant reference to New Year, by throwing this sentence the revealed will and presiding providence into lines of an equal number of of the most high God, will fall ultimately syllables, it would liave done admishort of its object: will be found either rably well for blank verse ; but it is a mere spirit of heat without light, with quite out of character for humble have been in all ages of the world but prose! The great apostle of the too familiar–or a cold and calculating Gentiles certainly did not preach in policy that has de feeling for any rank, this style. “And I, brethren, when nor idea of any sufferings, but its own--a I came to you, came not with excelSomething that is always peeping' into lency of speech or of wisdom-I was distress, but never relieving it, and mut- with you in weakness, and in fear, tering forth the duties and ability of and in much trembling; and my others, to the neglect of all its own.”
speech and my preaching, were not This is a specimen of the use, we with enticing words of man's wisought rather to say the dbuse, of the dom" _“lest the cross of Christ holy scriptures in which Mr. Curtis should be made of none effect.” Alas! indulges himself; and hoping he may 'how much wiser are we grown nowa
a-days, than the first preachers of the This language might suit the mouth gospel were.
of a Heathen philosopher, but it is Having never been favoured with Atheistical, in the creed of a Chrisan opportunity of wiinessing the pub- tian divine. Mr. Curtis, however, lic worship in “ Leman-sireet Cha- calls us back again, and tells us that pel,” we are incompetent to form what he means to affirm is, that God any judgment of the class of persons is “a living, penetrating, intense who sually attend Mr. Curtis's presence !”. We are now just as wise ministry; but this much we think as we were before. Does the preacher ourselves warranted to affirm, that mean to teach us that the term God unless they greatly surpass, on the and Presence are convertible, so aš score of intellectual attainment, every that the latter is exegetical of the other congregation in Londun with former? If so, it must then follow which we have any cquaintance, his that Presence is God—the Creator preaching, provided the Sermon be- and the alone object of worship! Now fore us be a fair specimen of it, will if we ask Dr. Johnson to define to us do them just as much good as if he the meaning of the word “ Prepreached to them in Greek. They sence,” he will tell us that it is the may indeed be charmed with the opposite of absence"-and thus, acmodulations of his voice, and the cording to Mr. Curtis, the living and gracefulness of his action-but their true God is reduced to a mere nonenunderstandings will remain unin- tity! A happy specimen of the manformed and their hearts unaffected. ner in which persons impose, first We question if Mr. Curtis himself | upon themselves, and then upon always understands his own mean- others, by words to which they affix ing. Take, for instance, the follow- no definite meaning. ing paragraph.
As we have extracted the first sen
tence of this Sermon, we shall now “ Look to it, my brethren, of every take our leave of it by quoting the rank-God is a Spirit but not an abstrac
and if any of our readers are tion, that is, not a Spirit abstracted from the works he has made. He is a living, made either wiser or better by it, our penetrating, intense Presence.- Neither souls shall rejoice, even ours. an idle spectator of your conduct, nor a
Acknowledged Goodness, the only gloomy Eastern Monarch retiring into the root of Rights, and Duties the only fruit arbitrariness of his power as a refuge of them, form the tree of Christian Life from its exercise. He is the living Gover. in the midst of the paradise of God. As nor or God. The only Governor that is the claims of Gratitude for this goodness alive to every act and thought in his dominions. And forget not ye are living in his closet, and his personal communion
more particularly concern the Christian men and women-and that as God is not the abstraction of a philosopher, neither the inseparable companions of each other
with his God ; Rights and Duties will be are his people, nor any people living, the in his thoughts, in his language, and in his members of a philosophical republic.” conduct before men.- Let this be the
bias of your Political Vocabulary in What, now, we ask, are we to un- these times, my brethren. You will find derstand by this strange sentence! it living peace, living contentment-living “ God is a Spirit-but not a Spirit joy, and may you find it ultimately, Life abstracted from the works he has Eternal! Amen." inade !" Here then let us ask - If We know not how the case may God is not a Spirit abstracted from be with others, but for ourselves we the works he has made-is he in
can truly say, that after reading such cluded in the works he has made, so
a Sermon as the one now before us, as to form a part of those works? or in which there is such an affected are we to understand Mr. Curtis's refinement of style, such a continued meaning to be, that “the Universe is
glitter of language, without any solid God,” which was the doctrine of sentiment to feed the mind, we recall Epicurus! If this be not his mean- with emotions of the profoundest ing, we protest that we know not admiration, the conduct of him who what it is. Perhaps, being a poet; could say, “ I thank God that I speak he had his eye upon Pope's well with tongues more than you all; yet known lines
-I had rather speak five words with All are but parts of one stupendous whole, my understanding, that I inight Whose body nature is, and God the soul; teach others also, than ten thousand To Him no high, no low, no great, no small; He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all!
words in an unknown tongue.”