« AnteriorContinuar »
The year which is now terminating, in its early days, found the army of England pining away of starvation, sickness, and want in the trenches before Sebastopol, and on the bleak wilds of Balaklava,—the result of incompetence, routine, and pride. The military departments had completely broken down, and some fearful catastrophe seemed impending. The lavish expenditure of public money, and unheard-of private generosity, seemed all vain to drive off gaunt famine from the men who had fought at Alma, Balaklava, and Inkermann. Official mismanagement locked fast the comforts intended for them, and terrific hurricanes rendered their condition still more wretched. Spring alone, with the return of more genial weather, brought some hope. The sudden death of Nicholas led many to imagine that the war would terminate : but the war-spirit was too much excited in Russia, and she had suffered too little, to allow her to accept the propositions of the Vienna conferences, and they terminated without any symptoms of returning peace to the nations of Europe. The seige of Sebastopol, or rather of its southern part, progressed, but slowly. Every successive sortie of the garrison failed to any material extent to retard the works of attack. Almost inch by inch was wrested from their grasp. On the 18th of June, however, the Allies met with a serious repulse. The genius of Todleben, and the energy of the Russians, had raised greater difficulties than had been anticipated. Lord Raglan's health succumbed before ths disaster, and after a few days illness he died, without having show, ay of the higher attributes of generalship, universally lamented as a man of kindly and now heart. Sekinia, having joined the alliance of France and England, had sent a Wi-tujuipped and thoroughly-trained force to the Crimea. The Turks, too, were at Eupatoria, under Omar Pasha; an immense naval armament lay idle, while Odessa was open, and had only sustained a mock bombardment; but beyond the taking of Kertch, and the scouring of the Sea of Azoff, the seige occupied the undivided attention of the Allies. A mightier and final effort must be made; and that was a work of time. Meanwhile in the Baltic the immense fleets which had been sent out achieved, on the 11th August, the destruction of the arsenal and storehouses of Sweaborg, and the intelligence that it was no more, too late for Parliament, but in time for the Queen's visit to Paris, which was also graced with the news of the great victory of the Tchernaya, at which the Russians lost about 5,000 men. Sweaborg, we fear, is stronger than ever. Nothing more of any consequence was done in the Baltic, and the ships are now wintering at home. On the 9th of Sept., the Malakhoff fell into the hands of the French, and in the darkness of the night, and the grim dawn of the morning, after blowing up the principal forts, led the remainder of the garrison across a bridge of boats, unimpeded, to the northern side. And the Sabbath morning's sun rose upon a smouldering mass of ruins. The allies gained the south side of Sebastopol at sacrifice of 15,000 killed and wounded. It was prophesied that the north forts would be abandoned, and alleged that the Russian army was in full retreat upon Perekop; but prophecy and statement were alike falsified. For more than six weeks the weather was peculiarly favourable for field operations, preparation was great, and expectation was high, but doomed to disappointment. Kinburn was taken, but to no apparent purpose. The reconaissances in the Baidar Valley, and at Eupatoria, were also without result, except the capture of some cattle and stores.
Meanwhile, in Asia, Kars was threatened by Mouravieff. Months rolled past, and the allied governments and armies sent it no succour. With a skill an energy, and valour not surpassed in the history of the war, General Williams and his brave men resisted every attack, and only succumbed at last to absolute starvation. Many will ask why they were left to their fate, why Omar Pasha was left so long at Eupatoria, and delayed so long at Constantinople, why the Times in several leaders pleaded so hard that he should be kept in the Crimea, where no field of action was open to him, and why no effort has been made till it was too late, to prevent the news of a Russian victory, with the capture of 130 guns, a large quantity of ammunition, and 6000 prisoners of war, spreading in territorie contiguous to British India, where England has few friends and many foes. While we write, the intelligence reaches us that Omar Pasha, hearing of the fall of Kars, and dreading the severity of winter, with a Russian army threatening his flank, has recrossed the Ingour, and retired to Souchum-Kaleh. The Russians have had a great council of war, and have resolved upon concentrating their forces upon the most important points, and taking the offensive in the Crimea. To-day there are signs of peace, to-morrow there are rumours of war. The end is not yet; and human eye cannot discern it. The day of deliverance for oppressed peoples seems yet far off : but we trust in God.
Our retrospect of social, political, and ecclesiastical affairs our space presses us to leave të jer next nuniber.
We cannot more appropriately commence our intended selections from choice and rare books,—the results of the retired thoughts of such authors as are not familiar to the popular reader-than by nuggets' from John Hales' Golden Remains.' We are greatly mistaken if many are acquainted with his writings, and still more mistaken if our readers do not thank us for such specimens as we shall proceed to quote from two old books now lying on our desk.
Before we answer the question,--Who the author is—we shall give some things that he says, which will awaken a desire to know more of the writer. Inde: pendently of the superior wisdom conveyed by his weighty words, there is one leading peculiarity and attractiveness in his style, which gives brilliancy to its antique quaintness, and is ever greedily drunk in by the popular ear; we mean the suggestive or illustrative use to which he puts the immense stores of facts and tradition that were embraced by his wonderful learning. Lord Clarendon described him thus :- One of the greatest scholars in Europe; and who had read more, and remembered more, than any man I ever knew.' Dr. King, bishop of Chichester, in a letter to · Honest Isaac' Walton, refers to the best critic of our later time, Mr. John Hales, of Eton College.' It was from this variety and extent of knowledge, that Mr. Hales drew those illustrations at once witty and profound, that by the aid of a story out of our books,' or some historical parallel, (the favourite method of the apostle Paul,) expressed in a familiar forin some recondite truth, or clenched some elaborate argument. We shall content ourselves for the present with a series of mstances of this instructive method, as specimens of style, and as lessons of wisdom.
In a discourse on · A buses of Hard Places of Scripture,' we have an admirable description of the force of prejudice in discovering proofs of what has been already adopted :— Pythagoras's scholars having been bred up in the doctrine of Numbers, when afterwards they diverted upon the studies of Nature, fancied into themselves somewhat in natural bodies like unto numbers, and thereupon fell into a conceit that numbers were the principles of them. So fares it with him that to the reading of Scripture comes fore-possest with some* opinion. As Antipheron in Aristotle thought that everywhere he saw luis own shape and picture going before him; so in divers parts of Scripture where these men walk, they will easily persuade themselves that they see the image of their own conceits. (P. 4.) Besides this warping power of prejudice, or prepossession, which prepares men to see either in nature or in the Scriptures what they carry in their eye, we have a second thing occasioning us to transgress against Seripture,' namely, haste or immaturity ;-'in our young and green years, (which some never outgrow] before time and experience have ripened us, and settled our conceits.' For that which in all other business, and here likewise, doth most especially commend us, is our cautelous (discreet and wary) handling of it. But this is a fower seldome seen in youth's garden.'
· Presumption is greater than strength; after the manner of those who are lately recovered out of some great sickness, in whom appetite is stronger than digestion. These are they who take the greatest mysteries of the Christian religion, to be the fittest arguments to expend themselves upon. So Eckius, in his Chryssopassus, wherein he discourses the question of Predestination, in the very entrance of his work, tells us that he therefore enterprised this argument because, forsooth, he thought it to be the fittest questions in which he might juveniles culores exercere (employ his youthful arduur.] The ancient masters of fence amongsthe Romans were wont to set up a post, and cause their young scholars to practise upon it, and to join and fight with it as with an adversary. Instead of a Post, this young Fencer hath set up for himself one of the deepest mysteries of our profession to practise his freshmanship upon. Which quality, when once it finds Scripture for its object, how great inconvenience it brings with it, needs no large discourse to prove.' (P. 5.)
This rashness of a green and immature judgment is further illustrated after the , fashion of that motto, a little learning is a dangerous thing,' wherein the failings of those who have lately acquired a smattering of knowledge are unfolded. For as it hath been notect of men, who are lately grown rich, that commonly they have all the faults of rich men, and many more ; so it is true of those who have lately attained to some degree and mediocrity of knowledge. Look what infirmities learned men have, the same have they (the half-learned, who have just entered the precincts of knowledge) in greater degree, and many more besides. Wherefore, if Hippocrates required in his physician two things, great industry and long experience, the one as tillage to sow the seed, the other as time and season of the year to bring it to maturity; then certainly by so much the more are these two required in the spiritual physician, by how much he is the physician to a more excellent part.' (P. 6.)
This immaturity and rashness of half learning, is especially exemplified in the shallow infidel sporters of these days, who from some second-hand knowledge of · geology,' or of various readings, straightway talk with scientific and learned ignorance about matters wholly beyond them.
* The third motioner to this abuse of the Scriptures' noted by our author, is 6.the too great presumption upon the strength and subtilty of our own wits.'
Subtle witted men in nothing so much miscarry as in the too much pleasing * No matter whether this . opinion, of which men are pre-possest,' be orthodox, rationalistic, or the coarsest infidel prejudice : the effect is the same.
† Aristotle's Rhetoric, 2.
themselves in the goodness of their own conceits. Where the like sometimes befalls them which befell Teuxis the painter, who having to the life pictured an old woman, so pleased himself with the conceit of his work, that he died with laughing at it.
To this sharpness of wit, joined with self-conceit, our author attributes many of the heresies and hair-splitting niceties which early perplexed the Christian church : 'the Grecians, till barbarism began to steal in upon them. were men of wonderous subtlety of wit, and naturally over-indulgent unto themselves in this quality. Those deep and subtle heresies concerning the Trinity, the divi nity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, the union and division of the divine substance and persons, were all of them begotten in the heat of their wits.'
This rank growth of weeds led to barrenness, and Grecian wit, being wasted on such trifling, died out : “ Wherefore as God dealt with his own land (Judæa) which being sometime the mirror of the world for fertility and abundance in all things, now lies subject to many curses, nnd especially to that of barrenness. So at this day is it with Greece, (mentally) where sometimes was the flow of luxury and wit, now there is nothing but extreme barbarism and stupidity.'
– God, as it were, purposely plaguing their miserable posterity with extreme want of that the abundance of which their fathers did wantonly abuse.' (P. 78.)
The same occurs to our Freethinkers and men of Reason generally ;-'professing themselves to be wise, they become fools,' and are often smitten with a manifest imbecility“that they should believe a lie, because they receive not the truth' in the love of it: hence the strong delusions ' to which strong-minded' men bow.their necks in abject slavery; whilst, like other lunatics, they transform their chaine :oto ornaments, and imagine that their asylum of idiocy is the palace of Reason.
Our author thus excellently sums up this topic of rash confidence and selfconceit as the third motioner to this abuse of Scripture:'— The reason of all, that hitherto I have delivered on this point, is this, Sharpness of wit hath commonly with it two ill companions, pride and levity. By the first it comes to pass that men know not how to yield to another man's reasonable notions ; by the second, they know not how to keep themselves constant to their own.' (P. 8.)
Every one of the least observation will perceive how truly this levity' dèscribes the protean theories and tactics of infidels,—to one thing constant never.' They are always the same only in this, that they are always changing:
After examining these three points which lead to the abuse of Scripture, as, indeed, they vitiate inquiry on all subjects, our author notices the two classes described as liable to this fault, the unlearned and the unstable.' (2 Peter iii. 16.)
This leads to a definition of learning-and a short dissertation upon it. Learning in general is nothing else but the completest skill of any man in whatsoever he professes. Usually we call by this name [learning) only our polite and academical studies ; but, indeed, it is common to every one that is wellskilled, well practised in his own mystery.'
The unlearned,' therefore, whom here our apostle rebukes, is not he that hath not read a multiplicity of authors, or that is not as Moses was, skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians : but he that taking upon him to divide the word of God, is yet but raw and inexperienced; or if he have had experience wants judgment to make use of it. Scripture is never so unhappy, as when it falls into these men's fingers.' (P. 9.)
Those who thus parade Scripture-quoting largely without knowing more than the words, avoiding all inquiry into the connexion and meaning of the passages they adduce-are pictured in this similitude :- Belike as he that bought Orpheus' harp, thought it would of itself make admirable melody, how unskilfully soever' he touched it; so these men suppose, that Scripture will sound wonderful musically, if they do but strike it, with how great infelicity and incongruity soever it be. The reason of these men's offence against Scripture, is the same with the cause of their miscarriage in civil actions : as 'Thucydides saith,—“Rude men of little experience, are commonly more peremptory : but men experienced, and such as have waded in business, are of slow determination." Quintilian, making a question why unlearned men seem many times to be more copious than the learned (for commonly such men never want matter of discourse) answers, that it is because whatsoever conceit comes into their heads ; without care or choice they broach it, whereas learned men are choice in their invention, and lay by [leave out] much of that which offers itself.? (P. 10.)
In the expounding of Scripture, our author shows, from the importance and nature of the subject, that great knowledge and judgment suited to the case are required: for if when revelation was directly imparted, it was needful for men to study-'if
, I say, in these times St. Paul required diligent reading (for a teacher] and especially forbade greenness of scholarship; much more, then, are these conditions required in our times, wherein God doth not supply by miracle our natural defects, and yet the burden (difficulty) of our profession (the Ministry) is infinitely increased.” * For if we add unto the growth of Christian learning, aş it was in the Apostles' times, but this one circumstance, (to say nothing of all the rest,) which naturally befals our times, and could not be required at the hands of those who guided the first ages of the church ;-that is, the state of succession of doctrine in the church from age to age, a thing very necessary for determin. ing the controversies of these our days : how great a portion of our labour and industry would this alone require?'
Only let us not think sedendo et votis debellari posse—that the conquest will be gotten by sitting still and wishing all were well ; or that the walls of these strong cities (Popery, &c.], will fall down, if we only walk about them and blow ram's horas.
But as the voice of God's people sometime was, by the sword of God and of Gideon, --so that which here gives the victory, must be the grace of God and our industry. (P. 11.)
The lessons given in connection with the ' unlearned' to teach the knowledge requisite for expounding Scripture, are followed up with this remarkable passage respecting the unstable;' it is worthy of being deeply pondered :--The man that is unstable in his religion, can never be free from violating of Scripture. The especial cause of this levity and fitting disposition in the common and or, dinary sort of men, is their disability to discern the strength of such reasons, as may be framed against them. For which cause they usually start and many times fall away upon every objection that is made.
In which too sudden entertainment of objections, they resemble the state of those who are lately recovered out of some long sickness; who never more wrong themselves, than by suspecting every alteration in their temper, and being affrighted at every little passion of heat as if it were an ague-fit." (P. 12.)
To purchase them a settledness of mind, this temper must be found in every (such) reader of Scripture, he must not be at a stand, and require an answer to every objection that is made against them. For as the philosopher tells us, that mad and fantastical men, are very apprehensive of outward accidents, because their
soul is inwardly empty. and unfurnished of anything of worth which might hold the inward attention of their minds : so when we are so early dored and amated (amazed) with every sophism, it is a certain argument of great fect of inward furniture and worth, which should, as it were, ballauce the mind, and keep it upright against all out ward occurrents whatsoever." (P. 13.)
Hence the importagce of familiarizing men with objections, that they may not be amazed and teaching them evidence, that objections which are not answered may be outweighed.
BOOKWORM รนไชส. 1
To be continued.)