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ing a small spark of the original flame, which, however, was, through their ignorance, frequently diverted to the worst purposes. But it still survived, and, although nearly extinguished, not altogether divested of its energetic property, was assistant to reason in operating the final extrication of the miserable savage. From the first to the conclusion of the fourth era, the travellers in the march of civilization are misled by the false religion to which we before adverted, and which, continually increasing in pomp and influence, is, when left wholly to its own resources, daily farther removed from the true standard.
About the close of that period, the Christian religion was exhibited to the world in the peculiar form in which it is now known to us. The blessed Saviour appeared, and fulfilled his great mission among a people prepared by an extraordinary destination for his reception. The time selected for the stupendous event was when Paganism, and its calamitous attendants, had acquired such strength as nearly to quench the genuine spark of the original revelation, and to threaten, by a chain of inevitable consequences, to drive backward the course of civilization, and afterwards to plunge the world into a state of darkness still more hopeless than that irom which it had, to a certain extent, emerged.
A nation which has adopted Christianity by consent of the majority, as a standard of religious faith, has passed into the fifth stage of civilization, and secured itself from the danger of the reaction of the decisive nature to which society is supposed, by the advocates for exclusive reason, to be at all times liable.
By grounding our conclusions upon the basis of Christianity as well as of reason, our prospect is, therefore, cleared of that uncertainty by which it is otherwise obscured. Christianity, a dispensation immediately emanating from God, we are assured by reason, as well as revelation, must accomplish all it proposes to perform; and we know from the same source, that none of its mighty and benevolent ends are compatible with the ignorance and depravity of society. Hence the assurance which the enlightened Christian entertains of the continued progression and permanent duration of the general improvement of the world.
To proceed with our summary. The fifth stage is engrossed by the business of establishing a superior religion towards its close, and by the necessary duties attending its purification, or separation from the worst ingredients of the ancient superstition: the various improvements which are characteristic of the sixth conclude at that point which marks the state of the most polished communities of our own times.
The future has been divided into two additional eras. At the conclusion of the first, one nation at least is supposed to be so circumstanced as to possess a highly-improved population, a majority of which are, so far as is consistent with human frailty, decidedly virtuous, and nearly, if not wholly freed from those prejudices which have hitherto impeded the progress of civilization. We have pointed to in able results of such a situation. The simplification of the system of government, and the gradual removal of a variety of useless institutions and customs which at present embarrass society, --the attainment of the highest practicable liberty, together with perfect security of life and property,—the advance of the arts and sciences,-and, chiefly, a considerable alteration and amendment of various anomalous arrangements, which have, from time to time, been adopted in ages of defective experience, for the professed, but questionable, object of promoting the interests of religion.
The last era opens with the universal diffusion of those important benefits, when the degree of civilization to which we are now aspiring shall mark the internal economy of all the nations of the earth. Such a state of things, it is evident, would not only be productive of general happiness, but be conducive to the still further improvement of each particular community. And here it is proper to declare distinctly our firm conviction, grounded, as we humbly but confidently conceive, upon the calm deductions of reason, as
well as the less ordinary source of knowleilge providentially placed within our reach, that Christianity, in some of its various legitimate formularies, will eventually spread over the whole habitable globe, -that it will completely supplant idolatry, although shielded in its strongest holds by the most inveterate prejudices,—and that the equally deleterious superstitions which, amidst the gloom of ignorance, have sprung up since the advent of the Messiah, will gradually yield to its superior influence. We cheerfully rest all our hopes of future prosperity upon this interesting point of faith, and candidly admit, that the chief of our most important conclusions are built upon no other foundation.
But we hazard little in thus openly exposing the main-spring of all our fiattering expectations. The attention of mankind is daily more and more directed to the evidences of that holy dispensation, and every liberal and enlightened mind is, sooner or later, induced to acknowledge, that ChrisTIANITY and TRUTH are synonymous terms.
Magna est veritas, et prævalebit. We cannot believe ourselves to exist under the immediate superintendence of an Almighty Being, the author and dispenser of every good, - we cannot fix our hopes of personal durable advantage upon the religion which we receive and cherish as his peculiar and most valuable gift, without feeling the conviction, that a benefit of this high character cannot be for ever partially distributed, but must at length be indiscriminately administered to all the family of man. In vain shall we find arrayed against this doctrine the difficulties and impediments which, to our narrow apprehension, appear to confound our ardent expectations of so great an event: that event is in the hands of an Agent before whom all opposition is powerless, and to the accomplishment of whose designs all circumstances, however unfriendly their apparent tendency, concur with the force of fate.
( To be continued.)
BAY LEAVES; BY T. C. SMITH. EDINBURGH:CONSTABLE & COMPANY.
1824. So much poetry, and good poetry, sures arising from “retired leisure," too, is now ushered into the world, on and the cultivation of all those refinly to be forgotten, that if the doctrine ed and benevolent feelings which we of the calculation of chances were to delight (and surely not in vain) to be applied to the subject, the result associate with the study of poetry. would present an appalling prospect How far this observation may be to the candidates for poetical faine. applicable to the little volume before And yet, with such a prospect before us we cannot say ; but we think it them, and in defiance of demonstra- likely, from the appearance of many tion itself, we have no doubt that of the pieces it contains, that in their they could continue to increase, and composition the author thought much multiply, and replenish the earth, more of giving vent to his own feelpretty much as they do at present, ings, and of refining his taste, and when they are permitted to draw relieving the dryness of other studies their conclusions for themselves. and duties by this exercise, than of And the reason of this we take to mere writing for the public. And be, that the noisy pleasure derived hence there is something natural, and from popularity is quite a separate unaffected, and pleasing about it;matter from the quiet but seducing an absence of that artificial excite
njoyment of composition ; that poe- ment, and laboured exaltation of feelTy must be, in a great measure, like ing, which are the natural result of irtue—its own reward; and that a a desire to strike and to captivate aan may feel very indifferent as to that callous and" many-headed he given number of copies which he beast, the town ;" and at the same nay circulate, while he can secure to time more care, more correctness, himself, in the mean time, the plea- both of thought and versification,
than is generally to be found in That which existeth in the mind, those poems which are meant only to And mocks controul. meet the eyes of friends, and seldom destined to encounter the notice of We are sure our readers must like any critic so severe as the author our next specimen. It is full of poehimself. The poems, we think, bear tical feeling and harmonious versifi. a considerable resemblance to those cation. of Mr Alaric Watts, for whom the author seems to entertain a warm ad. Think not, beloved ! time can break miration.
The spell around us cast; One or two specimens will enable Or absence from my bosom take our readers to form their own opi.
The memory of the past : nion of Mr Smith's little volume. My love is not that silvery mist, The following are entitled Stanzas :
From summer blooms by sunbeams kist,
Too fugitive to last-
The brightness of its early stains.
In tainted breast which glows ;
All wild and thorny as the briar,
Without its opening rose ;
A gentler, holier, love is mine,
Unchangeable and firm, while thine Death's awful brow !
Is pure as mountain snows;
Nor yet has passion dared to breathe The laughing cheek's warm sunny glow A spell o'er Love's immortal wreath.
Is dim and pale ! The bright eye answerless !--but oh, And now, when grief has dimm'd thine Grim tyrant, who would look below
eye, Thy sable veil ?
And sickness made thee pale ;
Think'st thou I could the mourner fly, It were a banquet for Despair
And leave thee to the gale ? To dwell upon:
Oh no!-may all those dreams depart Wreck of the beautiful and fair,
Hope sheds upon a youthful heart,
If now my bosom fail ;
Or leave thee, when the storm comes on, No, Memory, no! thy glowing dream
To bear its turbulence alone.
Let others change when Fortune flies, Of life was gilded by a bcam,
I cannot change like them : That once was bright ?
Let others mock the tears which rise,
I can't thy grief condemn. Death hurries by on pinion fleet,
Though from the tree the bloom has past, And mars each bliss ;
Still fond and faithful to the last, Dividing friends whose love was sweet, I'll twine around the stem ; Perchance in other worlds to meet, And share the fate, whate'er it be, But not in this.
Reserv'd by destiny for thee.
Why revel, then, like bird obscene,
Upon the dead ?
That they are fled ?
Which warmeth not.
Were best forgot.
The ivy round some lofty pile
Its twining tendril flings;
More firm its verdant rings :
Thus shall my bosom cling to thine,
Unchanged by gliding years ; Through Fortune's rise, or her decline,
In sunshine or in tears :
And though between us oceans roll, Though brightly o'er the hollow check, And rocks divide us, still my soul
the smile—the laugh may break, Can feel no jealous fears,
Like bubbles bursting on the breast of Confiding in a heart like thine,
Acheron's dark lake ; Love's uncontaminated shrine !
They are but outward signs to hide the
deadly pangs we feel, To me, though bathed in sorrow's dew,
As o'er the lone and mould'ring tower The dearer far art thou :
the rose is taught to steal. I lov'd thee when thy woes were few, And can I alter now?
Mr Smith succeeds very well in That face, in joy's bright hour, was fair, that which the Italians call the test More beautiful since grief is there, of a poet, and which the indifferent
Though somewhat pale thy brow ; success of most of our English writers And be it mine to soothe the pain
shews at least to be a matter of very Thus pressing on thy heart and brain. considerable difficulty-the composiYes, love ! my breast, at sorrow's call,
tion of the sonnet. He seems to be Shall tremble like thine own :
well acquainted with Italian and If from those eyes the tear-drops fall,
Spanish literature, and is aware how They shall not fall alone.
much the effect of these little pieces Our souls, like heaven's aerial bow, depends on the exact observance of Blend every light within their glow, those recurrences of rhyme, which Of joy or sorrow known :
Petrarch, who borrowed them from And grief, divided with thy heart, the Sicilians, has now inseparably Were sweeter far than joy apart.
associated with the idea of a good
sonnet. This one we think is very We shall quote the opening stanzas of another piece. The imitation of pleasing and classical. It is address
ed TO A STREAM NEAR VALLS, IN Byron's affecting verses, “ There's
CATALONIA.” not a joy that time can give like that it takes away,” is perhaps a little too
Whoe'er thou art, that o'er this stream visible, the resemblance in some cases presides, extending to the adoption of particu.
Winding its course soft murmuring lar images, but they display, we
through the vale, think, very considerable powers of Accept my thanks ; for with thy crystal
tides language and versification.
This wearied frame does spirits new Think not because the eye is bright, and
inhale. smiles are laughing there,
Long may the stream, that now so gently The heart that beats within is light, and
glides free from pain and care ;
On its sweet banks the laughing Sum. A blush may tinge the darkest cloud, ere
mer hail ; Sol's last rays depart,
And, while its willows tremble on the And underneath the sunniest smile may
sides, lurk the saddest heart.
Catch through their drooping leaves
the fragrant gale. Mirth's sudden gleam may light the cheek
For ne'er did Pilgrim clearer stream sur. though joy be far away,
vey, As blossoms oft adorn the tree that's
Trickling through mossy grot, or verhast'ning to decay:
dant plain ; It is but as the varying hue of April's way.
Nor rill, or fountain, in the blaze of day, ward hours
A hue so bright, or wave so cool retain; A su-nbeam bursting brightly through, Though now I leave thee, never to rewhen all behind is showers.
My memory still shall bless thy lucid urn. For there are pangs the sorrowing heart will oft in darkness shroud,
The volume concludes with a frage That lurk within its lonely depths like
ment of a Romance of Chivalry in lightning in the cloud :
the Spenserian stanza, which also As falls our shadow on the path when
contains some powerful verses ; but bright the sunbeams glare,
we like Mr Smith best in his less Whichever way our thoughts are turn'd, elaborate, and more occasional com
that darksome shape is there ! positions.
A DEFENCE OF THE LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE EDINBURGH BEVIEW,
To the Editor of the Edinburgh Magazine. SIR,
Having in my last letter refuted the reviewer's charges against the Catholic Church, of subtracting from and adding to Scripture, I shall now proceed, in continuation of my plan, to discuss the remaining topics handled by him ; and if, in doing this, I should inadvertently overlook (which I do not anticipate) any of his arguments, I beg you will impute the omission, not to any desire on my part to evade them, as I feel a strong inclination (and I think I shall be successful) to strip the reviewer's reasoning of the flimsy sophistry which covers it.
The first point which occurs to be noticed is the reviewer's assertion, that some of the doctrines and practices enumerated by him “ lead to immoral consequences.” He thinks it “ unnecessary to run over them all, to shew this,” but, as a sample, he says he “shall only take the doctrines contained in the mass,” which the devil, be it always remembered, with a logic more plausible than that of the reviewer, argued against, in order to induce the Father of the Reformation to abrogate, and to whose arguments Luther yielded, as related in the famous conference published by Luther himself
, referred to in my late letter! But does the reviewer substantiate his charge? Substantiate, did I say? Why, he does not even attempt to draw a single immoral consequence from these doctrines, though viewed by him, as many of them are, through the optics of a fallacious vision. How disappointed must moralists feel at this failure of the reviewer to redeem his pledge, and enlarge their ethical knowledge ! That church history which the reviewer boasts of having made “ a favourite study,” however, falsifies his assertion, by affording a practical demonstration to the contrary, in the holy lives of many of those who figure in its pages, and who gloried in the profession of those doctrines which the worldly wisdom of modern innovators has reprobated. This is not the language of religious egotism—the enemies of the church have acknowledged its truth.
The unwarrantable and hasty assertion of the reviewer naturally suggests the inquiry whether any improvement took place in the morals of those who rejected the doctrines alluded to by him. To obtain a satisfactory answer, we must go back to the period of the Reformation, or shortly after it had obtained a footing, and contrast in the persons of the reformers themselves, and their disciples, the state of morality prior and subsequent to that extraordinary era; for if any real improvement was to be expected by a change of doctrines and practices, we must look to those who adopted the change, to ascertain the state of the fact. The result of such an investiga: tion will, I aver, prove the lamentable fact, that, instead of any such expected improvement, a general dissoluteness of morals ensued among the professors of the new religion ; and as the salutary restraint of church authority, in matters of faith, had been disregarded, error, which has no limits, succeeded, and religion was disregarded, and the Scriptures were made a play-thing for the fancy of every fool who conceived bimself wiser and more enlightened than the whole church ! Truly it is not to be wondered at that Deism and Atheism (which, before the Reformation, had scarcely been known among Christians) should have followed from such Gospel liberty: But lest the reviewer, who seems familiar with “ pious frauds,” should imagine that I am at the same dirty work," as he elegantly expresses himself, I shall now produce a few unexceptionable authorities to corroborate what I have just stated. To begin with the highest, that of Luther. “ The world,” says he,“
grows every day worse and worse. It is plain that men are much more covetous, malicious, and resentful-much more un