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The twelfth sermon is on a very useful subject, to an academical audience especially, the study of the Scriptures. After describing the character which many parts of them must ever bear as specimens of time writing, he says
" This character of the writings which constitute the Books of Revelation, depends not upon the judgment of any one critic, much less upon a conjecture, however probable, concerning his judgment. Even an ordinary and cursory reader cannot but be delighted with the simplicity and dignity both of the sentiment and expression. But the man of letters, who studies with attention the holy Scriptures, must find in their composition all those excellencies which are required either to please or to astonish the mind;-in the narrative, clearness and consistency, an assemblage of circumstances interestingly descriptive of ancient manners, and not connected by art but by inherent probability, not embellished by fiction but recommended by unerring truth;-in the poetical parts, new and beautiful thoughts, drawn immediately from nature, and enlivened by bold and sublime metaphors, and these too not rarely dispersed, but, as far as is consistent with a pure and unaffected style, crowded in almost every
line. Indeed if the * observation, so universally approved in criticism, be well founded, that impressive and animated writings are the result of lofty and grand conceptions; where can we so reasonably expect to meet with such writings, as in those parts of Scripture, which abound in descriptions of the all-perfect God? Since the subject is the greatest which can possibly enter into the conceptions of man; and though we exert on it the utmost of our strength and ability, yet, agreeably to an admirable t observation of the son of Sirach, we can never go far enough."'--pp. 281, 282.
On the pleasures and advantages of these studies, compared with all other, he thus expresses himself
When the pleasure of novelty ceases, the heat of ambition abates, and reason begins coolly to operate, we are soon convinced in the progress of all sublunary pursuits, how inconsiderable an advancement we have made towards real happiness, and how useless it is to enlarge our views without making them terminate in some agreeable object.
• What but this has stimulated the greatest men and best philosophers in all ages, after they have arrived at the summit of human fame, to seek for private happiness from religious studies? What could have induced so many of our late philosophers to turn aside from other subjects, by which they had acquired so much credit, to an investigation of revealed truths, less calculated to escite admiration, were it not that such studies were more conducive to permanent satisfaction ? And, indeed, what but that continued and elevated satisfaction of mind, which is derived by the learned Christian from his illustrations and vindications of divine truth, made them value themselves, not less on the assistance
which they were supposed to have given to the cause of revealed religion, than on that whole display-of * elegance, with which they had refined our language-of + accuracy, with which they had unfolded the powers of the human mind-off clearness, with which they had exhibited the beauties and wonders of nature-or of s certainty, with which they had demonstrated its most abstruse and hidden lawsi'-pp. 284, 285.
But we must abstain from any farther extracts; and perhaps have now done enough to give the reader a general idea of these discourses, and to enable him to judge that our character of them is sufficiently correct.
Art. V. L'oyages and Travels in the Yeurs 1809, 1810, and 1811;
containing Statistical, Commercial, and Miscellaneous Observations on Gibraltar, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Serigo and Turkey. By John Galt. 4to. pp. 435. London; Cadell and Davies.
1812. THERE is no species of writing on which we feel less disposed
to exercise any severity of criticism than books of foreign travel. Information is generally derivable from the worst of them, and, where that fails, the want of it is not unfrequently made up in amusement. For this we are so grateful, that we are unwilling to put a check upon the scribbling mania of travellers; and we are the more inclined to be lenient because we have reason to think that the dread of critical exposure has prevented the publication of the journals of some of our countrymen, which would have been a real acquisition to literature.
It was therefore, with any other idea than that of finding fault, - that we opened the volume before us; and if we find ourselves compelled to use the language of censure, it is because we have seldom met with a work of the kind which it was less possible to commend. The trifling error of Serigo for Cerigo, in the title-page, indeed, led us to imagine that we had to do with no great clerk; but we thought that this defect, even in a voyage through Sicily and Greece, might have been abundantly compensated by a plain account of the actual state of things from a plain man; one who, spelling the names of places just as he heard them, might possibly describe the places themselves just as he saw them.
The first sentence of the preface strengthened our hopes. • This work' (Mr. Galt says)' is part of a design which I had
formed, of giving such an account of the countries connected with the Mediterranean, as would tend to familiarize them to the British public. It will appear sufficiently evident, in many places, that a great part has been printed from the original notes. I am not aware that this will be regarded as a fault, although it may expose me to the animadversions of verbal criticism. But I ought to apologize for publishing, unamplified, a number of remarks which were noted down as hints for dissertations. I was apprehensive that my book would have been enlarged without being augmented with information, and I would rather it were thought defectire in disquisition than deficient in facts which suggest reflections.' Classical inquiries formed no part of the objects of my journeys.'p. iv.
This was well ; and with such good intentions we could have excused the 'WFOOWTOV Trnauyes' which Mr. Galt prefixes to his volume wider the title of the Mediterranean described, though communicating nothing new. But when he enumerates Persia as one of the countries to which the navigation by the Bosphorus and Black Sea affords a ready access, we presume that the mountainous and barren country which intervenes between the shores of the latter and the confines of Persia never occurred to him.
At Gibraltar, Mr. Galt seems to have been principally struck with what he calls the 'sinister appearance of the Jews. There is, indeed, a sort of hiøt at a dissertation on the military establishinent there which Mr. Galt does not think very expensive to the nation; and which inight even be made a saving concern, by attending to his suggestions. Ceuta,' he says, "should be made ours,' we suppose by taking it from our allies; we should then be effectually masters of the Straights;' and then, as the British nation never refused the Sound duty to Denmark, why a toll should not be levied by us,' Mr. Galt is • at a loss to understand.'
Sardinia being little visited, we pick up a few interesting facts touching the present state of the island. From this part of the narrative we shall extract what we conceive to be a very favourable specimen of Mr. Galt's style and mammer.
• The inhabitants of Sardinia' (I speak of the common people)' are yet scarcely above the negative point of civilization; perhaps it would be more correct to say that they appear to have sunk a certain way back into barbarism. They wear, indeed, linen shirts, fastened at the collar by a pair of silver buttons like hawk's bells; but their upper dress of shaggy goat skins is in the same savage style. A few have got one step nearer to perfectibility, and actually do wear tanned leather coats, made somewhat in the fashion of the armour worn in Europe in the fifteenth century.'
• The state of society is probably not unlike what existed in Scotland about a hundred and fifty years ago. Family pride, a species of political scrophula, is in Sardinia particularly inveterate. But the exclusive spirit of the nobles begins to be counteracted by the natural
disposition of the sovereign to extend his own authority. Many parts of the country are in what a politician considers only as an unsatisfactory state. In the district of Tempio this is greatly the case; the mountains are infested with banditti ; and the villages are often at war with one another. A feudal animosity of this kind, which had lasted upwards of half a century, was lately pacified by the interference of a monk. The armies of the two villages, amounting each to about four hundred men, were on an appointed day drawn out in order of battle, front to front, and musquets loaded. Not far from the spot the monk had a third host prepared, consisting of his own brethren, with all the crucifixes and images that they could muster. He addressed the belligerents, stating the various sins and wrongs that they had respectively committed, and shewing that the period had arrived when their dispute should cease, for the account current of transgressions was then balanced. The stratagem had the desired effect, and a general reconciliation took place.
• The country is divided into prefectures. The prefect is a lawyer, and is assisted by a military commandant, who furnishes the forces required to carry his warrants into effect. This regulation has been made in the course of the present reign, and may be regarded as an important step towards the establishment of a public and regal authority over the baronial privileges. In the provinces justice is distributed by the prefects, whose functions seem to correspond in many respects with those of the Scottish sheriffs. When any particular case occurs in which the king considers it expedient to appoint a judge of the supreme court in ihe capital, on purpose to try the cause upon the spot, wherever this extraordinary justiciary passes, the provincial courts of justice are silent, and superseded by his presence.'
* The Sards possess, in a great degree, the venerable savage virtue of hospitality. They are courageous, and think and act with a bold and military arrogance; but the impunity with which they may offend fosters their natural asperity. They are jealous of the Piedmontese, and, on this accounts the king has not encouraged emigration from his late continental dominions to settle in Sardinia.
* There is in Cagliari an institution worthy of being particularly no. , ticed. It is formed for the purpose, as it were, of affording an opportunity to humble-born genius to expand and acquire distinction. The children of peasants are invited to come into the city, where they serve in families for their food and lodging on condition of being allowed to attend the schools of the institution. They are called Majoli, and wear a kind of uniform, with which they are provided by their friends. Some of the Majoli rise to high situations; the greater numa ber, however, return back to the provinces and relapse into their here. ditary rusticity; but the effect of their previous instruction remains; and, sometimes, in remote and obscure valleys the traveller meets with a peasant who, in the unconth and savage garb of the country, shews a tincture of the polish and intelligence of the town.' pp. 8, 9, 10.
It is curious that Mr. Galt, who never fails to observe upon the VOL. VI), NO. XIV.
evils consequent on' priestcraft,' &c. should, in narrating the quarrel of the villages, take no notice whatever of the benign influence of the church in the prevention of evil. The good sense of the king in.not encouraging emigration from his continental dominions, is worthy of our admiration, especially when his conduct iu this respect is contrasted with that of his neighbour and companion in adversity, the King of Sicily.
Recurring to his own more immediate pursuits, Mr. Galt complains that, except the facilities voluntarily offered by Mr. Hill, our minister, nothing has been yet publicly done to encourage the British merchants to explore the abundant commercial resources of this island.' We do not exactly see what other public measures could, with advantage, be adopted, though Mr. Galt, without condescending even to hint upon what grounds such a measure is desirable, recommends a commercial treaty. We hear, however, of no competition in the Sardinian market which should make us particularly anxious for exclusive privileges; and, except in the articles of corn and wine, (the observations on which apply with tenfold force to Sicily,) the trade seems unrestricted. By Mr. Gali's oivn account, the Sards' do vot require much assistance from the manufactures of foreign countries; and, notwithstanding the warmth of the climate, and fertility of the soil, the exportable commodities of the island are not numerous.' We have no doubt that all this might be iniproved, nay, we have no doubt that, in spite of the numerous and ignorant nobility, and the ecclesiastical locusts, the state of Sardinia is improving, and the demand for foreign productions gradually increasing ; but a commercial treaty would, in our opinion, have as little effect in advancing the one or the other as, we fear, the revocation of the Orders in Council will have in relieving the distresses of our own manufacturers.
Mr. Galt lands in Sicily at Girgenti, and the Hippancy and bad taste of his first observations would have been sufficient of themselves to prevent our forming any very agreeable auticipa. tions of the rest of his voyage. He tells us that, although a few houses at the Mole should no more be considered as a fair specimen of the general domestic accommodations of Sicily than a fishing village in the neighbourhood of an ordinary English town would be of those of England, there were, nevertheless, such un, equivocal indications of an hereditary disposition to filthiness that it was impossible to flatter myself with the hope of finding much comfort.'
A philosopher might regret that Mr. Galt should have neglected to explain the nature of those symptoms which, at once, mark the hereditariness of the malady: we allow the prevalence of the disease in Sicily, and always considered it there, as elsewhere, contagious ;