Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

caries; and expresses his satisfaction at the quality and reasonable charge of a casual tavern dinner. A visit to Bedlam' draws from him an animated and amply merited eulogy on that admirably managed establishment. M. Montulé visited the Tower, and saw, pour de l'argent, all its curiosities; we feel ashamed of the miserable rapacity that levies so exorbitant a tax for so paltry an exhibition. The whole cannot be seen by a single person for less than six or seven shillings! We cannot agree with M. Montulé in his criticism on the colonnade which surrounds the tambour of the dome of St. Paul's. To our apprehension, its effect is admirable, and we should be more disposed to censure the heavy and naked stylobate on which it rests. We quite coincide with him in his dislike of the tasteless tourelles' which flank the pediment; we would, moreover, without ceremony or delay, cashier the balustrade, which Sir Christopher was compelled to add, against his better judge

[ocr errors]

ment.

In the House of Commons, the Speaker in his wig reminds our Traveller of the Malade imaginaire, and he mistakes the Mace for the King's Sceptre. Towards the close of the volume, we have a sketch of our constitutional history, and of our juri dical system, from which we learn that when the Grand Jury has found a true bill, the Petit Jury is obliged to bring in a verdict of condemnation.

6

Bath reminds M. Montulé of Genoa, with the trifling difference, that it has a running stream instead of a noble bay. On his approach to Birmingham, he discovers that it presents an admirable aspect.' He gets into a worse humour with the English as he whirls along, and before he reaches the 'great workshop of the world,' he finds out that our rabbits, quite conscious that they are under the guardianship of the law, are perfectly free from their natural timidity. His description of the country about Dudley is brief but good, and reminds us of our own surprise and gratification when we first traversed that singular scenery, the Campi Phlegrai of England. At Liverpool, he finds out, that though the English are a thinking people, they think about little things and about their own interests; he forgives us, however, in consideration of Newton, Addison, Shakspeare, and Pope.

I shall state a circumstance which may serve to illustrate the calculating habits of the English, in contrast with those of mere routine by which we are distinguished. I had seen near the PontNeuf, at Paris, a very ingenious steam-engine, constructed for the purpose of removing the mud from rivers and harbours.........In all that I heard from the spectators, there was nothing in favour of this

truly useful invention; a few sarcasms and witticisms, and nothing more. I found the same machine at Liverpool, where it was just brought into use An immense crowd was examining it with attention; every one congratulated the author of so precious a discovery; a few individuals modestly suggested probable improvements.There is France and England.'

Manchester is hastily dismissed, but not without a becoming expression of indignation at our home slave system which sacrifices the health and happiness of multitudes of unhappy children to the demon of gain. On the road to Carlisle, he witnesses a boxing-match, and he seems rather inclined to patronise that humane and salutary custom. Scotland seems much to his taste. The situation and architecture of the ⚫ Modern Athens,' draw from him the admission that the first is the most agreeable' in the world, the second in the best 'taste.' He had found the English cold and reserved; he finds the Scotch gay and chatty—' children playing,'' dogs running about,' and wisdom in abundance.

[ocr errors]

After Edimbourg comes Glasgow with its commercial noblesse ;' then Wallace and Miss Porter, Dumbarton and the Clyde, Greenhok the port of Glaskow,' Inverary and the Duke of Argyle, all hurried over with a rapidity that, if generally adopted, would make the getting up of travels' a very easy species of manufacture.

[ocr errors]

We shall not attend M. de Montulé through his harlequinade to Staffa and through Ireland to the Giant's Causeway. His movements are too rapid to allow room for much description, and a simple itinerary would have answered the purpose nearly as well. He finds time, however, to invent a marvellous theory of basaltic formation, and to sneer at the confortable of a breakfast-table in the north of Ireland, because it only presented eggs, roast beef and mutton, butter, and tea: nothing of all this would satisfy our traveller, and he negotiated with great spirit and firmness for a glass of wisky.' He returns to England, quarrels with Sunday because the people walk slowly and the theatres are shut; gives no less than three pages and a quarter to admiration and description of Portsmouth with its arsenal; and reaches London in time for the Coronation. The events of that day convince him that English liberty is

the shadow of a shade,' since a lord's coachman cut at some of the mob with his whip, and the cuirassiers paid no attention when the populace shouted Queen, Queen.'

The volume which relates to Russia, we shall dismiss without comment, both because we have recently given an article on that country, and because M. Montulé's is not precisely the

[ocr errors]

text that we feel inclined to discuss. If, however, he does not write either eloquently or profoundly, he is, on the whole, neither illiberal nor splenetic, and we part from him in good humour.

Art. III. Discourses on Prophecy, in which are considered, its Structure, Use, and Inspiration. By John Davison, B.D. 8vo. pp. 559. Price 15s. London, 1825.

T is curious, and, were the subject less awful, would be amusing, to mark the triumph of the infidel at the supposed invalidation of some minor evidence of the Christian faith. When some new sophism, or some antiquated and hundred times refuted cavil is put forward, as a definitive argument in demolition of some small segment of the great circle of demonstration which surrounds the evangelical system, it is forthwith set down as a complete and final victory, which ought to be followed by an unconditional surrender on the part of the champions of the Bible.

Supposing that to be true, which is demonstrably false, that some single link of the chain had proved faulty, or even extending the supposition to every distinct class of evidence but one;-still, while that single mode of proof remained unshaken, it were an entire and sufficient attestation of the claims of Christianity. This is, perhaps, sometimes lost sight of. Our jealousy for the security of the ark, may render us too anxious concerning some of its exterior defences. We would not by any means undervalue the peculiar advantages which we derive from that altogether extraordinary combination of testimony which surrounds the gospel as with an impregnable munition,-history, with its cloud of witnesses-miracles, with the manifest finger of God-prophecy, with its gradual fulfilment and opening prospects; but we shall do well to take heed lest, while we stand in admiration of the whole, we lose sight in some degree of the distinct value and importance of the several parts.

There is another view of the evidences of Christianity, which is, perhaps, not very often taken, and which Mr. Davison has placed in a very striking light. After having shewn that the failure of one class of evangelical evidence would be compensated by the positive force of the remainder, and that the grand system of testimony is supported by arguments drawn from distinct and independent sources, he proceeds as follows.

. Would he (the unbeliever) put the case, that the Miracles of the

New Testament are not completely authenticated, that Prophecy is not luminous enough, the morality of the Gospel not so extraordinary as to be clearly beyond the wisdom of man, and the personal character of its Founder not so much above all example, the propagation of the Gospel, by such instruments, not incapable of being explained on human principles, its profound adaptation to the nature of man not unlike an accident, the sincerity and martyrdom of its first teachers, who attested the facts of it, possibly a delusion? Still he is only at the beginning of his difficulties, and must for ever remain there, till he is prepared to resist and reply to the reason which arises from these considerations put together, and repel the claims of a religion which they so strangely conspire, each in some degree, and all with a more pregnant evidence, to corroborate and establish.

The dispassionate inquirer will read these evidences in another sense. In each of them he will trace some real and substantial testimony, something not to be invalidated. Finding here, on the whole, so much, and in all the rest of the world so little, to create or fortify a rational faith, he will recognise in them the discriminating proofs, which designate the truth and certainty of the Revelation to which they adhere, and thereby command his assent to "the record which God hath thus given of His Son."

As to the believer in Revelation, he, with respect to this variety of evidence, may observe upon it, not without some confirmation of his faith, how many of the divine attributes are pledged and engaged to him, for the truth of the Gospel. For the evidence of it embodies to his view the very fullness of those attributes, there being no one just idea we can frame of the Supreme Being, which does not find a place in some point of that attestation. The sovereign Power of God, overruling nature as his creature, is seen in the miracles-His Omniscience in the Prophecies-His Holiness in the laws of the Gospel-His Wisdom in the adaptation of it-His Providence in its propagation-and not one, but many of the divine perfections, illustrated in the life of his Incarnate Son, Benevolence, Long-suffering, Wisdom, Holiness. The very evidences, therefore, of the Christian Religion have impressions of the divine nature irradiating them, and thus they coincide with the system of that religion itself, wherein the Divine Being, in the exercise of these his perfections, is proposed to us as the object of faith, with its consequent affections and duties.'

It is a remarkable feature in Scripture prophecy, that, while it supplies one of the most signal attestations of the truth of Christianity, it furnishes a concurrent series of illustrations and evidences of its own verity. Prophecy was intended for a two-fold purpose. It was to prepare, during a long course of years, the minds of men for one grand event, and it was also, thereafter, to be appealed to, both in the expectations it had awakened and in their entire fulfilment, as the dictate of the Divine purpose, and as the "testimony of

[ocr errors]

Jesus." Hence, its complicated character, commanding continual attention by its awful menaces, its impressive signs, its high appeals, its stern and uncompromising morality, compelling reverence by the frequent and startling fulfilment of a portion of its predictions, and making all subservient to its main design of bearing witness to Him who was to come, in 'the fullness of time, to consummate, not to destroy, the Law and the Prophets. Thus, while it testified of Jesus, it bore witness to itself; there was no deficiency in its authoritative address; there was no failure in the entireness of its accomplishment. From this peculiar character, both of contemporaneousness and futurity, difficulties of interpretation would necessarily arise, independently of those which must essentially belong to publications so closely connected with the deepest mysteries of the Divine counsels; and from want of due discrimination in this particular have probably originated some of the conflicting opinions which divide theological inquirers, especially on those points which refer to the restoration of the Jews. But whatever hinderances may have beset the path of investigation, there has been no deficiency of explorers, all with their urgent claims to exclusive consideration as the grand discoverers, and each with his special machinery for clearing all obstructions. The Rabbis, the Fathers, popes and presbyters, laymen and divines, have come forward in their turns; and, although there has been much dishonesty and more blundering in a large portion of their bewildering commentaries, yet, it must be said to the honour of theological science, that on no subject in the whole compass of intellectual exertion, has the human mind been more keenly or effectively employed. Mr. Davison, for the present, brings up the rear of writers on Prophecy, and so well has he performed the task he had undertaken, as to take high rank among the ablest of them all. His general object is briefly stated in the following extract, but we shall feel it necessary to go somewhat more largely into the specific contents of the volume.

The First of these Discourses is employed in treating of the Christian Evidences in general, and the Connexion of Prophecy with the rest.

The Second, in considering the Moral Contents of the Prophetic Volume, as distinguished from its Predictions.

In the Four next, I have entered into the Structure of Prophecy, and the Course of its Dispensation.

In the Six last, its Inspiration and Divine Prescience are examined.'

The object of this distribution of the subject is to shew,

« AnteriorContinuar »