No Enthusiasm; a Tale of the Present Times. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Westley. 1822.

THE author of this work has been rather unfortunate in the opening of the piece. He has introduced his hero to his readers in circumstances not greatly calculated either to interest, or to excite reGEORGE FALKLAND, the hero of the story, is presented to us in the character of a young man of sound religious principles, and of practical Christian habits. He chances to arrive at the town of Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, where, at the inn in which he lodges, he falls in with the curate and the attorney of the place, whose characters are pourtrayed in colours not the most flattering. In the course of conversation with these persons, to whom he was an entire stranger, he hears some indistinct particulars of a young lady in the neighbourhood who was described by them as a methodist, but withal allowed to be very pious and very charitable to the poor. The information received, scanty as it might have been, seems to have made a deep impression on his mind, and he forthwith grasps at the conclusion, that this lady is marked out as a meet companion for him. He seeks every opportunity of seeing her, and even goes the length of lying in wait for her within the precincts of the garden of the house in which she lived, where the unexpected appearance of a stranger between nine and ten o'clock in the evening might have disturbed the faculties, and even endangered the life of the interesting favourite. At length he gets introduced to the " lady in black," at a public exhibition of fire works in the place, where our knight errant was so valiant as to defend the young lady from the


effects of a squib at the expense of his own clothes and arm, both of which suffered in the conflict. This, no doubt, made a deep impression on the mind of her who had been unintentionally the occasion of the misfortune; and she is represented as from this period taking a deeper interest in the history of Falkland, who, however, leaves Tewkesbury in the course of a few days after, not, as he hopes, without having made a favourable impression.

Now, in all this, we may say, there is, to affirm nothing worse of it, something extremely silly. Taking our hero as the common average of young persons of his age and station, and without the most distant reference to moral or reli gious principle, we would feel inclined to characterize him as a very susceptible young man, and as in imminent danger of precipitating himself into difficulties by rashly acting on the impressions of the moment. But when we recollect that our hero is at this time sup posed to be a religious character, and is introduced to us under that idea, we may be allowed to feel something of surprise mingled with displeasure, at the representation of such a specimen of solid principle, of chastened feeling, and of steady habits. We must say that such a picture is not calculated to recommend religion; and we shall be very much and very agreeably disappointed indeed if the greater part of the readers of this work do not think that they have got a sufficient specimen of it when they have proceeded the length of the "fire works" and the "squibs" at Tewkesbury. With these said "fire works” and "squibs," there are strangely interlarded the proceedings of a Bible Society meeting, at which our "hero of the squib" makes a conspicuous figure, and withal obtains a new set of acquaintances in the amiable family of the worthy vicar

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of St. Mary's. All this exhibition ard renders its prosecution as a buappears to us absurd and nonsensi-siness for life unnecessary, and he cal; and we can see no other tend- resolves on following the usual ocency in it than to expose religion cupations of a country gentleman at to contempt, and to injure the large. It does not appear that his cause which the author has avowed- parents had paid much attention ly in his aim. to his early education, farther than by allowing him the ordinary advantages of general instruction, and he came to London with principles unformed, and habits unsteady. The hearing of a popular preacher-we presume from the description that this was Daniel Wil. son of St. John's-appears to have been the first occasion of his mind being somewhat awakened to the importance of divine things. For a considerable time he lingered in a state of uncertainty between conscience and inclination; and whatever his impressions may have been, they are not sufficient to deter him from free indulgence in the company and fellowship of the world. Introduced to the gay family of Ratcliffe, he seems to be in his element, and soon manifests a strong attachment to one of the daughters. The affection is mutual, and it is encouraged by the friends of the lady. Meanwhile, the family retire for a few months to the country, and Falkland is left to his own reflections. He again goes in company with a singular character of the name of Clementson, who had been introduced to him by his friend Sturdy, to hear the same preacher whom he had heard on his first coming to London. The impression now made was deep, and powerful, and lasting. The consequence was, a decided resolution to give up his worldly acquaintances, and to associate with those whom the world ridicules under the cant names of Saint, Methodist, or Enthusiast. He thus exposes himself to the displeasure of his former friends; and the attachment which he felt for Jane Ratcliffe is sacrificed for his attachment to con

We are at a loss to understand the reason of the Tewkesbury adventure, as its introduction in this place does not seem to influence, or indeed to have any immediate connection with the sequel of the story. Indeed after leaving our hero on the road to Shrewsbury, whither he was going on business of import ance, we are led several years back to the history of Falkland's parents, and the earlier period of his own life. His father was a man of great landed property, but, like many of the same class, gave himself up to the implicit guidance of a rascally steward, who contrived to swindle him out of the greater part of his wealth; the consequence of which is, that, at the death of the old gentleman, his widow and daughters are left with a simple jointure of £400 a-year; and our hero, in place of finding himself, as he expected, in affluent circumstances, is absolutely pennyless. In this state of things, he is advised to have the conduct of the steward rigidly scrutinized, and all his money transactions with old Falkland overhauled; and with this view he applies to a friend of his own in London, a thorough-paced limb of the law, who most readily undertakes the business; and after a keen litigation in the different courts, succeeds in restoring to the family a very large proportion of their property. In the meantime, George is advised to apply himself to the study of the law as a suitable profession for life; and under the able instructions of Solicitor Sturdy and Counsellor Ratcliffe, is making commendable progress, when the successful issue of his suit with Monckton the stew

science and to principle. He relinquishes all connexion with the family, and turns his thoughts to objects more congenial to his mind. It is just at this time that he comes to Tewkesbury, and has the strange adventures with the "lady in black" formerly noticed. He was then on his way to attend the meeting of the court at Shrewsbury, where his last issue with the steward was to be tried, and on the result of which depended a considerable share of his worldly comfort and respectability. He did prevail in the suit, and regained a very large proportion of his father's wealth. In consequence, he takes up his residence along with his mother and sisters, in the more fashionable part of London, and lives in a style becoming his rank, while he studiously avoids the gaieties and follies of the metropolis. This does not please the worldly-minded mother, who is surprised and vexed to find that not only her only son, but her youngest daughter Julia also, had become converts to all the horrors of Methodism. Our hero stands

firm to his principles, is consistent in his whole behaviour towards her, repels with ability and firmness all the assaults made on him either by argument or by ridicule, and by consistent and uniform demeanour, as well as by the mildness and amiableness of his manners, gradually gains on the good will, even of his mother. It does not appear, however, that any change essentially took place on her mind. The eldest daughter, Fanny, who retains the same opinions with herself, is married to the son of a medical practitioner of eminence in the city; but, to our hero's great grief, sadly tainted with Unitarian principles. Our hero, himself, after overcoming several difficulties, partly real and partly imaginary, at length

sets out for Tewkesbury; and the book concludes rather abruptly with the "note of preparation" for his nuptials with Miss Eltram, the young lady, his interview with whom is the opening scene of the work.

In prosecuting and filling up the above detail, a considerable variety of character is exhibited on the stage, and several useful sketches of human life and manners are drawn. As a specimen of the author's style and sentiments, we may quote the following lively remarks on the terms of reproach usually affixed to religious charac


"I have sometimes thought that Methodism is a disorder propagated by a peculiar state of the atmosphere in certain quarters of the metropolis, and confined to particular streets, like the Mallaria of Italy; and I have been confirmed in this opinion, by observing one very remarkable test of the malady. A man may go into Bartlett's Buildings, and subscribe whatever sum he pleases for the distribution of the Bible, without incurring the imputation of Methodism. But let him only go down Holborn, across Fleet Mark

et, just enter Bridge Street, and turn down

a certain street on the left hand, and the very same act of benevolence will characterize him at once a Methodist and a Sectary. furnish data, from which the disorder might Now, this singular phenomenon appears to without difficulty be traced to its source; and I really think it a duty of some of our theological chemists to analyze the air of these two situations, with a view to correct the pestilential elements contained in the ble effects. one which are productive of such deplora

Another peculiarity of this extraordinary disorder is, that it varies with the different perceptions by which it is contemplated. It is, like the North, here or there,

this way or that way, according to the situation in which its observer may happen to stand. Thus, a man with only half a grain of the sense of religious obligation, who may seem to one who is himself within the pale of orthodoxy, to be but few removes from the seat of the scorner," will be set down as a Methodist by the openly careless and profane. The man of orthodoxy is

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thought to carry matters too far, by him who is himself a Methodist in the estimation of those below him; and he in his turn extends this censure to the poor evan

gelical professor, who stands one degree higher in the mysterious scale. It would appear, therefore, that Methodism is a discovery not possessing within itself any specific principles, but constituted by the exuberance of symptoms in themselves innocuous, and sometimes praiseworthy; just as in the body corporate, a man may be in an extremely dangerous state, whose only disorder is too high a flow of health. And, perhaps, from this analysis, we may arrive at the true nature of the malady; for as there seems to be a regular ascending gradation in this world, we may fairly conjecture that scale is continued in the next, and that the glorified spirits and angels would be regarded as Methodists by those infected by the disorder in its most virulent form here, if the veil which separates the two worlds were once removed. This points out at once the danger and the seat of the disease, but its remedy still remains a secret," &c. P. 291, 292. vol. i.

We have no doubt of the excel. lent motives which influenced the author in the publication of this work, but we question the prudence and the practicability of the attempt which he has made. What is the nature and character of the attempt? It is neither more nor less than to teach the higher principles and lessons of evangelical Christianity under the guise of a tale, "founded on facts" no doubt, but mixed up with a variety of ingredients, the result of fancy and imagination alone. We have no objection to such works as " Discipline," or " Display," or " the Antidote," or even to "Calebs ;" and we shall always feel gratified in introducing to the favourable notice of our readers such works as combine innocent amusement with moral and religious instruction. But the object of "No Enthusiasm" seems to be of a bolder cast than this. Its aim is to vindicate the great doctrine of regeneration, and

the kindred elements of spiritual truth from the charge of enthu siasm, and to recommend them by the means of an agreeable history to the approbation of those who are prejudiced against the whole system, when set before them in plain and unvarnished statement. Now, we will not deny that a man of powerful original talents, and a capacity for elegant writing, may succeed in which may be acceptable even to producing something on this plan, the enemies of spiritual religion; but then the warm reception given to him will be occasioned, not by the principles of his work, but by the ability with which they are il lustrated, and the interesting character of the narration with which they are linked. For the sake of these, the Methodism of the work may be tolerated; and the author will be mortified to find that he and his work are praised at the expense, or in the place of, those great truths and principles which it is his avowed aim to illustrate and to recommend. In the case of an author, whose talents are not of the highest order, and whose narrative cannot be characterized as particularly interesting, there is the absence of those accompaniments which may insure reception to a work on the plan we have supposed; and what remains to interest or to affect ? There remains, it is true, all that which gives to religion its real value, and on which the hopes of a fallen creature can with safety be founded. There remain the "first principles of the oracles of God," the high discoveries of the Gospel revelation, the truths which angels admire, and which martyrs at the stake have found to be their only consolation. There remain the principles which form the human character to the resemblance of

The author seems to use this term as the same with corporeal. The etymology is fair, though the application is rather unusual.

God, and which give to society all that is really valuable in the charms of moral loveliness. And is it then forgotten that all this, however valuable in itself, has no attractions for the class of readers whom we suppose to come in contact with it, and that the attempt to take them by surprise, as it were, and to introduce them by a sort of coup de main into the very midst of the sacred penetralia, will, unless admirably well sustained, rather increase the disgust than diminish it? There are readers, it is true, who will bear with the poverty of the tale, for the sake of the valuable truths with which it is associated, but these are the very readers for whom such compositions are not designed. Such readers would have far greater pleasure in the perusal of a plain and simple statement of Scriptural principles, while readers of a different class are not so silly as to allow themselves to be wheedled or cajoled into the belief of what they call Methodistical jargon. In our review of Happiness, we remonstrated against the notion of teaching the system of dirinity under the guise of a " tale;" and now we may remonstrate equally against the attempt to teach the very highest lessons of spiritual religion under the same guise. The attempt is too bold for an author of second rate talents. We might trust it in the hands of such a writer as More, and yet she has not ventured upon it. The very utmost she has ever attempted is the exhibition of character founded on Christian principles, and it is still doubtful how far even she has been successful in her aims. Calebs has, no doubt, been read and admired by readers of every name and class; and yet we question much if it has been, in any great number of instances, the means of converting men to the love and to the reception of evangelical truth.

There is a character of sacredness' attached to the doctrines of grace, (the doctrine of conversion, for example, or the influence of the Holy Spirit,) which disdains, as mean and unworthy of them, an alliance with the stories of youth and of love. The elements, like the iron and the clay in Nebuchadnezzar's image, will not coalesce. They want the attracting principle. An apostle has given us a solemn warning against the danger of building on the "sure foundation," with such base materials as those of "wood, hay, and stubble," and we much fear that the caveat has not been duly attended to by those who, with the very best intentions, have attempted an unseemly alliance between the "altars of Israel" and the "bells and pomegranates" of Egypt and Arabia. If narration is to be employed, as it ought certainly to be, as the vehicle of truth to such as throw aside every thing else as uninteresting, then let us have recourse to the biographies of those great and good men who have adorned "by the fruits of righteousness" the doctrine of grace. Of such biographies we have now a goodly number, and we cordially long for an accession to the store.

Independently of our objections to the nature of the attempt which the author of this work has made, we have some solid objections to certain parts of the work itself. We mean not to speak so much of the intellectual character of the piece, farther than to say, what indeed we hinted above, that there is nothing in the tale that is particularly interesting. The young man may be very amiable and very good, and his history may be interesting to his friends, but he is only one of many. There is nothing either in his previous character as a young man, or in his ulterior character as a confirmed Christian, that is at all striking. There is nothing un

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