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The churches are often made the places of temporary entertainment for strangers, as being larger than the apartments of the dwellings. In many instances, the inhabitants use them also as depositaries for their better clothes, which are lodged in chests that serve also as seats. They are, for the most part, uniserable structures, with respect to convenience of any kind, but especially in the article of light, the small allowance of which must, we should think, reduce the priest, on a misty day, to depend on his memory in performing the service. The established religion is Lutheran, from which, it seems, there are no dissentients. The service consists of a litany, chanted, by the priest from a book, preceded, and at intervals, accompanied by singing, (which is performed by the men only) and followed by a sermon.
The sacrament was added in the church near the Geysers. It was administered to the men first, and then to the women, the priest putting a wafer and some white wine into the mouth of every individual, repeating at the same time a short prayer. The singing was, to our author, excessively unmusical.
Mr. Hooker returned southward to Skalholt, a few years ago the capital of the island, and now consisting of one good turf house, three or four smaller ones and a church." This track was in a direction towards Hecla, which it was his intention, and indeed had been a very principal object of his visit to the country, to ascend. But he was unsuccessful in all his attempts to obtain a guide ; all the peasants peremptorily refusing to attempt what they declared to be impracticable in consequence of the state of the rivers and marshes, from the long and heavy rains. Admitting it would have been an undertaking of great toil and difficulty, he was, nevertheless, confident of its being practicable; and he attributes the dread and refusal chiefly to superstition; many of the people believing volcanic mountains to be the abode of the damned,' and all the lower class regarding them with the greatest horror.' It was with extreme mortification that Mr. #. was compelled to relinquish his design, notwithstanding that he had been informed by Icelanders of respectability, who had visited this mountain, that he would see nothing remarkable upon it, but what he had seen elsewhere.
He saw much that was grand and inexpressibly dreary in the country, and much that was wretched in the physical condition of the people, on his way back to Reikevig. Thence he made an excursion to be present at an annual salmon-fishing, in the river Lax Elbe, where he saw two thousand two hundred caught in one day, and bought by his English friend Mr. ; Phelps.
Two thirds were cured for exportation, and the other given to the persons who had been employed in the
fishery. This annual day presents a scene of extraordinary festivity and sociality ; as most of the people from a great distance round assemble at the spot, in their best dress, and all classes mix and converse on terms of kindness and equality.
There was time allowed him before the departure of the ship, for rather a long and most interesting excursion to the northward, into the district of Borgafiord, and a shorter one to the southward, through scenes of a character incomparably wild and solemn, but bleak and barren, and sometimes almost horrid. As our concluding extract we trauscribe the description of one scene at Kreisevig, in: the sulphur mountains, in the Guldbringe district. A sulphur-spring was the central object.
• We rode some way till the softness of the earth beneath, caused the horses to sink too deep to render it prudent to continue that mode any longer; and we therefore left our steeds, proceeding onwards, as far as it was by any means safe to venture, with the utmost caution. The appearance of the surface is often very deceitful ; for, when it seems most firm, a thin indurated crust of crystalized sulphur and bolus* not uncommonly conceals a considerable mass of the same materials in a hot and alnıost lie quid state, so that we literally walk “per ignes, suppositos cineri doloso.” This kind of soil became still more and more dangerous the nearer we approached to this spring, and, indeed, prevented our being so close to it as we wished. An elevated rim, about two feet high, and three feet in diameter, composed of a dark bluish black bolus, formed a complete circle round the mouth of the spring, the water in which was sometimes quiet, and sunk about two feet in the aperture ; at other times it ejected with great noise a turbid and blackish liquid to the height of from five to seven feet. At all times clouds cf steam, strongly impregnated with sulphureous exhalations, were issuing from the aperture; but during an eruption of the waters, the quantity of both was very considerably augmented. The view of this spring, from a little lower down the mountain, together with the surrounding scenery, had an effect the most extraordinary that can be conceived. From the dark coloured and elevated margin of the fountain, extended for a great way in every direction, the yellow crust of crystalized sula phur, raised into a gently swelling hillock by the soft bolus of unmeasurable depth beneath; and from the centre of this trembling mass, a crater was vomiting forth, with a tremendously roaring noise, to the height of four or five feet, a thick blackish liquid, accompanied by vast bodies of steam, which now ascended perpendicularly, and now were driven down the sides of the hill, by the frequent eddying gusts of wind which issued from the chasms that abounded in the neighbourhood. A back ground worthy of such a picture, was supplied by the dark and rugged sides of the mountain, that, extending all around, formed a chain of rocks, which, in addition to
*• It may be well to observe that bolus is described by mineralogical writers as a viscid earth, less coherent and more friable than clay, inore readily uniting with water, and more freely subsiding from it. It is soft and unetuous to the touch, ad. heres to the tongue, and by degrees melts in the mouth, impressing a slight sense of astringency. Vol. VIII.
the rudeness of their figure, were the most barren that can be imagined. A few lichens and mosses alone broke the uniform blackness of their surface.'• In spite of the absence of every beauty that could attract, or excite a pleasurable sensation, I doubt whether a traveller ever turned his back upon Ætna with more regret than we felt when we quitted the strange desert scenery
of this place. To myself, indeed, the regret, was no more than the being deprived of the powers of beholding one of the most awfully impressive scenes that the world can furnish, or even imagination can conceive; but not so with my companion (Mr. Phelps) who had hoped, that it might have been possible, to have met in the sulphur-springs with an article of commerce, that might at once have been highly advantageous to himself, and beneficial to his
country, but who now found to his extreme, vexation, that small as is the distance of Kreisevig from the sea, the obstacles interposed by the nature of the intervening country were such as forbade the idea of a commercial speculation,'p. 200..
Our anthor set sail to return to England near the end of August, and when the ship was twenty leagues distant from any shore it was found to be on fire, from the malicious contrivance, as it was afterwards prored, of some Danish prisoners at Reikevig. When they were all in expectation of almost immediate destruction, they saw a vessel approaching which proved to be an English ship, the Orion, which had quitted the harbour, at the same time, but had, by means of superior sailing, been left far behind. The captain of this ship, however, had boldly ventured on a nearer, and reputedly dangerous course, and thus most providentially came up just in time, in time to one moment, to save all the crew. The whole cargo perished however, and all Mr. Hooker's collections and drawings. The description of the burning vessel, which was large, and laden with tallow and oil, is very striking.
We must here take leave of this most interesting book. It contains much that we have not noticed, relative to the gorernment of the island, its history, and the state of the inhabitants; but for a proper notice of these another opportunity will soon be presented. There are several neat plates, and a number of small figures in the pages of letter-press.
Art. IV. Redemption ; or, a View of the Rise and Progress of the
Christian Religion, from the fall of Adam to its complete establishment under Constantine the Great. By the Rev. Montagu Pennington, M. A., Vicar of Northbourn in Kent, and Chaplain to the Right Ho.
nourable the Earl of Hopetoun. Svo. pp. xxii, 387. Rivingtons. 1811. WITH Mr. Pennington we think it is to be regretted, that
many Christians are so ignorant of the history of their religion,-particularly of that part of it contained in scripture. To trace the purposes of God, with regard to the salvation of the soul, from their first disclosure in paradise, through a series
of predictions brightening upon each other, and a succession of religious dispensations, the latter improving upon the former-to trace these purposes, and to observe how wonderfully they have been furthered by the events of time, is an exercise, serving no less to gratify our curiosity than to confirm our faith, and improve our hearts. But however infrequently Christians may engage in this exercise, and therefore how ever ignorant they may be of the origin and progress of their religion, we are rather doubtful whether, as our author insinuates, it is owing to the want of appropriate books. The second part of Bossuet's well-known Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle, treats entirely of this subject.
In this admirable work, the steps which infinite wisdom took to prepare the way for the introduction, and to effect the establishment of the Christian religion, are pursued, and the adaptation of the expe. dients made choice of by the supreme Ruler, both to the state of the world and the subservience of the great design, is displayed with more than the usual learning, penetration, and eloquence of that extraordinary man. There is likewise a treatise intitled A History of the Work of Redemption,' by Jonathan Edwards; in which that acute and pious writer shews, how the scheine of human redemption, both in respect to individuals, and as embracing all the saved, has been carried on from the origin to the consummation of the world.
The coniposition, indeed, of this volume is by no means attractive; but whoever will take the pains to peruse it, will be amply repaid by the profound views and devout reflections of the author,by the light which he casts upon the events of scripture his. tory, and their connexion with the redemption of man, as well as by many original illustrations of the sacred oracles, and additional confirmations, both of the truth of the whole, and of particular branches, of the Christian doctrine.
The plan of Mr. Pennington's book, though it might seem to coincide with that of the works just mentioned, is, in point of fact, much more limited. He gives only a brief view, in chronological order, of the predictions directly referring to the Messiah, pointing out their application to him, and the manner in which the expectation of him was kept alive among the faithful through so many ages; while a very slight sketch is added of the state of Christianity, from its introduction to the age of Constantine. In surveying the work of man's redemption, as carried on in different ages, it is obvious that our attention should be directed, not only to the degree in which the purposes and effects of the incarnation and death of Christ were disclosed ; but also to the influence which the varieties thus disclosed possessed upon the minds of men. This latter, indeed, should be the principal object of our attention. For
the light which heaven bas shed, at different times and in various degrees, upon its general or more particular passages, was imparted to influence the heart; and men are no further redeemed than as they learn, from wbat God has revealed of his character and designs, to submit to his will. Hence it appears that Mr. Pennington embraces in his view of the rise and pro. gress of the Christian religion but a part of the subject, inasmuch as he adverts merely to the disclosure, without taking notice of the operation, of the principles now constituting Chris. tian truth.
The work, however, though thus confined in its object, may not be without its use. It affords a clear view, and judicious explanation, of the principal prophecies respecting the Messiah, arranged in the order in which they are supposed to have been delivered ; and is therefore very appropriate for those who have no access to more extensive and elaborate performances. As a specimen of the general character of the composition, we may insert the following reflections on the 2nd chapter of Isaiah. . Such
appears to me to be the sense and application of this wonderful øracle ; and could any such have been produced in the annals of pagan mythology, written so many years before the events took place, and ful. filled with respect to so many seemingly contradictory circumstances, the works of the ancient learned would have resounded with the praise of it. It would have been the theme of every philosopher, and the subject of every poet. But the application of the prophecies to christianity was inade by slow degrees. Its first professors were low and illiterate men, and even after they were enabled to speak other languages by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it does not appear that they ever made use of gentile learning (St. Paul perhaps in some few instances excepted) for the spread. ing of the gospel of Christ. And even St. Paul in general either disdained or thought it improper, to use the enticing words of men's wisdom.
• The prophecies themselves were but little known to the gentile world: the Jews separated from all other nations by institutions singularly repulsive, and proud of their descent of their promises, and of their knowledge of the true God, always considered themselves as a chosen generation, an holy nation, a peculiar people. They held in contempt therefore, as well as hatred, all the gentiles, and were in their turn hated and despised by them. For this reason the heathen poets and philosophers, when they borrowed from the Jewish books, as in many instances they appear to have done, never acknowledged their obligations to them. For not only the sole key to a great part of the heathen mythology is to be found in the Bible, but there is sufficient reason to believe, as was before mentioned, that the Sibylline verses were taken from the Jewish propbets, and that they gave rise to Virgil's celebrated Eclogue of the golden age, and a glorious king to come.
• For these reasons the Jewish prophecies made but little impression upor the heathen world, till they were opened to thein and explained by St. : Paul, after they had been fulfilled by Christ. Plaio as this last mentioned