Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

the interpreters, and revelation, conscience, sioned; with a voice weak and unmusical, and history, the records. It was that sci- and to whom no muse was propitious. His ence which explains the internal connexion habits, and his very theory of composition, of this world's history; in which law and were such as seemed to promise empty ethics and politics have their common ba- pews and listless auditors; for every dissis; which alone imparts to poetry and art course was originally constructed (to use their loftier character ; without which the his own phrase) as a “skeleton,” with all knowledge of mind and of mental opera- the hard processes and the fine articulations is an empty boast, and even the sever-tions as prominent as his logical anatomy er problems of the world's material econo- could render them—the bony dialectic bemy are insoluble. It was that science for ing then clothed with the fibrous and musthe diffusion of which the halls and colleges cular rhetoric, in such manner as the medof that learned university had been almost itations of the preceding or the impulses of exclusively founded—the only science which the passing hour might suggest. Such was Cambridge neglected, and which Charles his faith in this new art of oratory, that, Simeon taught. And yet the teacher was in a collection entitled“ Horæ Homileticæ," neither philosopher, historian, poet, artist, he gave to the world many hundred of lawyer, politician, nor physcologist. He these preparations, to be afterwards arwas simply a devout and believing man, rayed by other preachers in such fleshy inwho, in the language of Bunyan, dwelt far teguments as inight best cover their ghastfrom the damp shadows of Doubting Cas- liness. Deplorable as the operation must tle,' amidst the sunshine of those everlast- have been in other hands than those of the ing hills whence stout Mr. Greatheart and inventor, he well knew how to make his brave Mr. Hopeful, in days of yore, sur- dry bones live. They restrained the otherveyed the boundless prospect, and inhaled wise undisciplined ardor of his feelings, the fresh breezes which welcomed them at and corrected the tendency of that vital the close of their pilgrimage. Thither heat to disperse all solidity, and to dissolve their modern follower conducted his pil- all coherence, of thought. His argumengrims by a way which Mr. Worldly-wisdom tation might occasionally irritate the uncould never find, and which Mr. Self-confi- derstanding, his illustrations wound the dence despised when it was pointed out to taste, and his discourses provoke the smiles him.

of his audience. But when, as was his In the Church of the Holy Trinity at want, he insisted on fundamental truths, Cambridge, every Sunday during more or enforced the great duties of life, or dethan half a century witnessed the gathering tected the treacheries of the heart, or traced of a crowd which hung on the lips of the the march of retributive justice, or caught preacher; as men hearken to some unex- and echoed the compassionate accents in pected intelligence of a deep but ever vary- which the Father of mercies addresses his ing interest. Faces pale with study or fur- erring children, it was a voice which penerowed by bodily labor, eyes failing with trated and subdued the very soul. It was age or yet undimmed by sorrow, were bent an eloquence which silenced criticism. It towards him with a gaze, of which (with was instinct with a contagious intensity of whatever other meaning it might be com- belief. It sounded as the language of one bined) fixed attention was the predominant to whom the mysteries and the futurities of character. Towards the close of that long which he spoke had been disclosed in acperiod, the pulpit of St. Mary's was, occa- tual vision, and so disclosed as to have dissionally, the centre of the same attraction, sipated every frivolous thought, and calmed and with a still more impressive result. every turbid emotion. For there were critics in theology, and If the Church of England were not in critics in style and manner, and critics in bondage with her children to certain Acts gastronomy, thronging and pressing on of Parliament, she would long ere now have each other, as once on Mars' Hill, to hear had a religious order of the Simeonites; what this babbler might say ; listening with and would have turned out of her catalogue the same curiosity, and adjudicating on some of her saints of equivocal character, what they had heard, in very much the and some of doubtful existence, to make same spirit. Yet he to whom this homage room for St. Charles of Cambridge. What was rendered, was a man of ungraceful ad- have Dunstan, and George of Cappadocia, dress; with features which ceased to be and Swithun the bishop, and Margaret the grotesque only when they became impas- virgin, and Crispin the martyr, done for us,

[ocr errors]

that they should elbow out a man who, tears and the benedictions of the poor ; and
through a long life, supplied from the re- with such testimonies of esteem and attach-
sources of his own mind, to the youth of ment from the learned, as Cambridge had
one of our universities, the theological edu- never before rendered even to the most
cation not otherwise to be obtained there ; illustrious of her sons; and there he was
and who, from the resources of his own he- laid, in that sure and certain hope on which
reditary fortune, supplied the means of he enabled an almost countless multitude
purchasing, in the most populous cities of to repose, amidst the wreck of this world's
England, from forty to fifty advowsons, promises, and in the grasp of their last and
that so the ecclesiastical patronage of those most dreaded enemy.
vital organs of our commonwealth might be What is a party, political or religious,
ever thenceforward exercised in favor of without a Review? A bell swinging with-
zealous, devout, and evangelical ministers ? out a clapper. What is any society of men,

In that last ugly epithet lies all the mis- if not recruited from the rising generation ?
chief. 'He is not a Jansenist, may it A hive of neutral bees. Reviewless, Clap-
please your majesty, but merely an Atheist,’ | ham had scarcely been known beyond her
was once accepted as a sufficient excuse of own common. Youthless, her memory had
a candidate for royal favor. He is not an never descended to the present age. At
evangelical clergyman, but merely a Parson once wrapped into future times, and
Trulliber, was an equally successful apolo- thoughtful of her own, she addressed the
gy with the dispensers of fame and promo- world on the first day of each successive
tion in the last age. Among them was month through the columns of the Christian
the late Bishop Jebb, who, in his posthu-Observer;' and employed the pen of him on
mous correspondence, indulges in sneers whom her hopes most fondly rested, to
on the gospeller of Cambridge, as cold and confer splendor and celebrity on pages not
as supercilious as if he had himself belonged otherwise very alluring. To Mr. Macaulay
to the Trulliber school of divinity; instead of was assigned the arduous post of Editor.
being, as he was, an elegant inquirer into He and his chief contributors enjoyed the
the curiosities of theological literature. advantage, permitted, alas ! to how few of
So great a master of parallelisms and con- their tribe, of living in the same village,
trasts might have perceived how the splen- and meeting daily in the same walks or at
dor of his own mitre waned before that no- the same table, and lightening, by common
bler episcopate to which Charles Simeon counsel, the cares of that feudal sovereignty.
had been elevated, as in primitive times, by The most assiduous in doing suit and service
popular acclamation. His diocess embraced to the Suzerain, was Henry Thornton. But
almost every city of his native land, and he whose homage was most highly valued,
extended to many of the remote dependen- and whose fealty was attested by the rich-
cies which then, as now, she held in sub- est offerings, was the young, the much
jection. In every ecclesiastical section of loved and the much lamented John Bow-
the Empire he could point out to teachers dler.
who revered him as the guide of their youth, He was the scion of a house singularly
and the counsellor of their later years. In happy in the virtues and talents of its mem-
his frequent visitations of the churches of bers; and was hailed by the unanimous
which he was the patron or the founder, acclamation of the whole of that circle of
love and honor waited on him. His infirm- which Mr. Wilberforce was the centre, as
ities disappeared or were forgotten, in the a man of genius, piety, and learning, who,
majesty of a character animated from early in the generation by which they were to
youth to extreme old age by such pursuits be succeeded, would prosecute their own
as, we are taught to believe, are most in designs with powers far superior to theirs.
harmony with the Divine will, and most A zeal too ardent to be entirely discreet,
conducive to the happiness of mankind. which gave to the world two posthumous
He had passed his long life in the midst of volumes of his essays in verse and prose,
censors, who wanted neither the disposition has, unintentionally, refuted such traditions
nor the power to inflict signal chastisement as had assigned to him a place among phi-
upon any offence which could be fastened losophers, or poets, or divines.
on him; but he descended to the grave un- so rare were the component parts of his
assailed by any more formidable weapons character, and so just their combination,
than a thick and constant flight of harmless that, but for his premature death, the bright
epigrams. He descended thither amidst the auguries of his early days could hardly have

And yet

[graphic]

THE CLAPHAM SECT.

1844.)

31 failed of their accomplishment. His course justified even when seemingly defeated by of life was, indeed, uneventful. A school the event; for it showed that those powers education, followed by the usual training had been destined for an early exercise in for the bar-a brilliant, though brief suc- some field of service commensurate with cess, closed by an untimely death, complete the holy ardor by which he had been cona biography which has been that of multi-sumed. Of those who met around his tudes. But the interior life of John Bow- grave, such as yet live are now in the wane dler, if it could be faithfully written, would of life; nor is it probable that, in their rebe a record which none could read without trospect of many years, any one of them can reverence, and few without self-reproach. recall a name more inseparably allied han

To those who lived in habitual intercourse that of John Bowdler to all that teaches the with him, it was evident that there dwelt vanity of the hopes which terminate in this on his mind a sense of self-dedication to world, and the majesty of the hopes which some high and remote object; and that the extend beyond it. pursuits, which are as ultimate ends to oth And thus closes, though it be far from er men, were but as subservient means to exhausted, our chronicle of the worthies of him. So intent was he on this design, as to Clapham, of whom it may be said, as it appear incapable of fatigue, frail as were was said of those of whom the world was his bodily powers; and as to be unassaila- not worthy, “These all died in faith.' With ble by the spirit of levity, though fertile but very few exceptions, they had all parand copious in discourse almost to a fault. taken largely of those sorrows which probe It is the testimony of one who for nearly the inmost heart, and exercise its fortitude twelve months divided with him the same to the utmost. But sweet, and not less narrow study, that during the whole of that wise than sweet, is the song in which period he was never heard to utter an idle Gedrge Herbert teaches, that when the word, nor seen to pass an idle minute. He Creator had bestowed every other gift on stood aloof from all common familiarities, his new creature man, he reserved Rest to yielding his affection to a very few, and, himself, that so the wearied heart in search to the rest, a courtesy somewhat reserved |of that last highest blessing might cheerfully and stately. His friends were not seldom return to him who made it. They died in reminded how awful goodness is, as they the faith that for their descendants, at no watched his severe self-discipline, and lis- remote period, was reserved an epoch gloritened, not without some wandering wishes ous, though probably awful, beyond all forfor a lighter strain, to coloquies, didactic mer example. It was a belief derived from rather than conversational, in which he was the imitations, as they understood them, of ever soaring to heights and wrestling with the prophets of Israel; but it was also gathproblems inaccessible to themselves. But ered from sources which to many will seem they felt and loved the moral sublimity of better entitled to such confidence. a devotion so pure and so devout to pur

Revolving the great dramatic action of poses the most exempt from selfishness. which this earth has been the scene, they They were exulting in prospects which it perceived that it was made up of a protractappeared irrational to distrust, and were ed conflict between light and darkness. hailing him as the future architect of plans, They saw that, on the one side, science and to be executed or conceived only by minds religion-on the other, war and superstition like his, when from the darkness which had been the great agents on this wide shrouds the counsels of the Omniscient theatre. They traced a general movement went forth a decree, designed, as it might of events towards the final triumph of good seem, at once to rebuke the presumption of over evil; but observed that this tendency mortal man, and to give him a new assur- was the result of all-controlling Providence, ance of his immortality. It rent asunder which had almost invariably employed the ties as many and as dear as ever bound to bad passions of man as the reluctant instruthis earth a soul ripe for translation to a ments of the Divine mercy-sending forth higher sphere of duty; and was obeyed a long succession of conquerors, barbarous with an acquiescence as meek and cheerful or civilized, as missionaries of woe, to preas ever acknowledged the real presence of pare the way for the heralds of peace. They fatherly love under the severer forms of saw, or thought they saw, this

economy of parental discipline. His profound convic- things drawing to its close. Civilization tion of the magnitude of the trust, and the and, in name at least, Christianity, had at endowments confided to him, was really length possessed the far greater and nobler

regions of the globe. Goths and Vandals (ter things, but, among the rest, in much were now the foremost among the nations. equivocal oratory, and in at least one great Even the Scythians had now become mem- effort of architecture. bers of a vast and potent monarchy. The Midway between the Abbey of WestminArabs had again taken refuge in their des ster and the Church of the Knights Temerts. If Genghis or Timour should reap- plars, twin columns, emulating those of Herpear, their power would be broken against cules, fling their long shadows across the the British Empire of Hindostan. The strait through which the far-resounding mightiest of warriors had triumphed and Strand pours the full current of human had fallen; as if to prove how impregnable existence into the deep recesses of Exeter had become the barriers of the European Hall. Borne on that impetuous tide, the world against such aggressions. On every mediterranean waters lift up their voice in side the same truth was proclaimed, that a ceaseless swell of exulting or pathetic demilitary subjugation was no longer to clamation. The changeful strain rises with be the purifying chastisement of Christen- the civilization of Africa, or becomes plaindom.

tive over the wrongs of chimney-boys, or But the religion of Christ was conquer- peals anathemas against the successors of ing and to conquer. Courting and exulting Peter, or in rich diapason calls on the in the light, it had made a straight alliance Protestant churches to awake and evangelwith philosophy—the only faith which could ize the world. No hard task to discover ever endure such an association. Amidst here the causes corrupte eloquentiæ! If the the imbecility and dotage of every other shades of Lucian or of Butler hover near form of belief and worship, it alone flourish-that elevated stage, how readily must they ed in perennial youth and indomitable vigor. detect the anti-types of Peregrinus or of If any thing in futurity could be certain, Ralpho! Criticise, for there is no lack of it was the ultimate and not very remote do- extravagance. Laugh, for there is no stint minion, over the whole earth, of the faith of affectation. Yet resuse not to believe, professed by every nation which retained that, grotesque as her aspect may occasioneither wisdom to investigate, or energy to ally be, Exeter Hall has a history, a doctrine, act, or wealth to negotiate, or power to in- and a prophecy, of no common significance. terpose in the questions which most deeply Of that history, the preceding pages may affect the entire race of man. If any duty afford some general intimation. The docwas most especially incumbent on those who trine is that of an all-embracing, all-endurexercised an influence in the national coun- ing charity---embracing every human intercils of England, it was that of contributing, est, enduring much human infirmity.-as best they might, to speed onwards the The prophecy is a higher and more arduous approaching catastrophe of human affairs-theme. the great consummation whence is to arise It is a prophetical age. We have Nominalthat new era with which creation travails ists who, from the monosyllable ' Church,' and is in birth, which poets have sung and educe a long line of shadowy forms, hereafter prophets foretold, and which shall justify to to arise and reign on Episcopal or patriarthe world, and perhaps to other worlds, all chal thrones—and Realists, who foresee the that Christians believe of the sacrifice sur-moral regeneration of the land by means passing thought and language, made for of union work houses, of emigrant ships, or the deliverance and the exaltation of man- of mechanics' institutes-and Mediævals, kind.

who promise the return of Astræa in the When such thoughts as these force them- persons of Bede and Bernard redivivi—and selves on the German mind, it forthwith soars Mr. Carlyle, who offers most eloquent rows towards the unapproachable, and indites for the reappearance of the heroes who are the unutterable. When the practical Eng- to set all things right—and profound interlishman is the subject of them, he betakes preters of the Apocalypse, who discover the himself to form societies, to collect sub-woes impending over England in chastisescriptions, to circulate books, to send forth ment of the impiety which moved Lord teachers, to build platforms, and to afflict Melbourne to introduce Mr. Owen to the his neighbors by an eloquence of which Queen of England. In the midst of all one is tempted to wish that it was really these predictions, Exeter Hall also propheunutterable. Such was the effect of these sies. As to the events which are coming bright anticipations on the Clapham mind upon us, she adopts the theory of her Clap—an effect perceptible in many much bet-hamic progenitor.

SAINT MARC GIRARDIN'S “LECTURES i published some years ago, fell still-born ON THE DRAMA."

from the press. We know of no other work

in which such varied learning is so skilfully From the Foreign Quarterly Review.

brought to illustrate'such pregnant thoughts. Cours de Littérature Dramatique : ou, de It is as full of thought as an egg is full of

l'Usage des Passions dans le Drame. meat; and this thought is profound, clear (On the Employment of the Passions in as crystal, and suggestive of whole trains the Drama.) Par M. Saint Marc Girar

of novel speculation. Then what a style ! din. Paris. 1843.

clear, sparkling, epigrammatic, and felici

tous : unceasing in its vivacity, undimmed M. Saint Marc GIRARDIN is a philo- by a spot of affectation or obscurity. A sophic statesman, a writer in the Journal style such as no other German ever wrote; des Débats,' and professor at the Faculté and which, if Germans would but imitate, des Lettres." The present work consists they would enhance a hundred-fold the valof the lectures delivered by him at the ue of their works. A style which renders Collège de France, to crowded and enthu- a dull subject attractive; in this the reverse siastic audiences; and well did they merit of German writing, which generally contheir success. Mistake not, reader, M. trives to make an attractive subject dull. Saint Marc Girardin for his namesake, M. There are men who profess to think the Emile Girardin, who married Delphine question of style a trivial one; we confess, Gay (la Muse de la Patrie), who shot Ar- to us it is most important. Style is not, as mand Carrel, who invented la presse à generally asserted, the mere dress of the quarante sous,' who, born poor, has made thought, the outward and insignificant maand dissipated some millions of francs ; aterial, which none but coxcombs would man of boundless audacity and of great no-compare with the form it clothes. Style is toriety, a man not without talent, but a man not dress, but form. It is the shape assumof very different character and calibre from ed by the thought. It is the vase which the professor of the Collège de France. contains the thought, and if made of earthM. Saint Marc Girardin is an honor to the enware, the light of the thought will fail to journalism of France, an honor to the penetrate it; if made of alabaster it will literature of France. Learned without shine softly; if made of crystal it will shine pedantry, and acute without Hippancy, he resplendently. Germans generally use the possesses all the qualities which make a commonest earthenware; some few alabaswriter estimable. He has keen insight, ter; Goethe and Lessing crystal. sound judgment, healthy morality, varied The · Cours de Littérature Dramatique' acquirements, and an elegant style. We resembles the Laokoon' in the admirable have not read a work for some time which co-ordination of its materials, in strength of has given us such satisfaction as the 'Cours

argument and clearness of exposition, and de Littérature Dramatique.' The subject in the acuteness and suggestiveness of the is interesting, the execution brilliant. It thoughts. · It also owes something to the is a work which awakens all kinds of pleas • Laokoon:' but even in its obligations we ant recollections, and rouses attention to see the workings of an independent mind. some of the most beautiful passages of an- M. Saint Marc Girardin's object is to excient and modern art. It is a book emi-amine the manner in which the ancient nently suggestive. It not only gives new poets, and those of the seventeenth century, views, but suggests others in abundance ; expressed the natural passions of mankind, and this, perhaps, is the most valuable such as love, parental love, love of life, quality a book can possess. In this and jealousy, honor, &c., and the manner in other respects it reminds us of the ' Lao- 'which they are expressed by the moderns. koon' of Lessing.

His book has a double aim; to point out We do not say it equals that incompara- the true, in a criticism of the ancients, and ble work; but it resembles it in the leading the false, in a criticism of the moderns. characteristics. The · Laokoon' is a mod. The rules of good taste and sound healthy el and a masterpiece of critical writing, feeling are exemplified in the one; the ex. which surpasses every thing in its kind ; cesses of caprice and falsehood are signalyet strange to say, it is comparatively un-ized in the other. This work is an invaluknown in England, and the translation, able guide to the young poet ; because it

* He has very recently been elected a member not only lays down general principles, it of the Academy.

illustrates them fully; in this respect, a SEPTEMBER, 1844.

3

« VorigeDoorgaan »