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silent objects which give an impressive idea of what there ha* been in the past; mounds and depositions which tell of ancient boiling fountains of enormous magnitude; 'especially,' says our Author, ' one which exhibits the remains of a mount twice 'as large in circumference as that of the great southern Geyser.'
In advancing laboriously northward, it w;is not an unpleasing1 diversification of the scene, to come into a tract of fine meadows, numerous flocks, and good farmhouses; or to fall in with a travelling company of the natives, one of whom was an ingenious goldsmith and watchmaker, and another, mistaken at first by Dr. H. for a dull and stupid roan, surprised him by an intelligent and animated talk on a plurality of worlds, zealously maintaining that those worlds must be inhabited, and regretting he could not see Dr. Herschel, to whom he should be glad to propose many questions. It was a still greater luxury to pass a few days at Modrufell, with an enlightened, and zealous, and excellent clergyman, whom he had seen and admired (he preceding year, and who evinced an ardent interest in all that is done, and is to be done, for the Christian cause, in Iceland and in the wide world.
After going on some distance eastward from this last mentioned station, the Traveller hastened his return to the south, directly through the centre of the island; and we soon find him again at the Geysers, at Skalholt, and in the neighbourhood of Mount Hekla, with extremely brief intermediate notices of his course. Wonders had already been too much multiplied to be any longer, with a few exceptions, minutely recorded. From those of the volcanic class there was no escape or remission but by quitting the island. When a little to the south-west of Skalholt, he says,
'After passing a number of red cones, of immense size, I encountered a dreary tract of lava, over which I had to scramble for several hours, and which presented such prodigious heights and gulleys, tliat were the sea, when brought into agitation by the most violent storm, and running, as the phrase is, mountains high, suddenly to con
feal, it would scarcely furnish a counterpart to the scene before me. Vhat then must have been the terrific appearance of this region, when the red hot flood of melted substances rolled across it, consuming every thing that Jay in its way, and raising its fiery waves to the height they still exhibit!'
He had not time to visit the wild scenes of the Gullbringe Syssel, the south-western peninsula. The last superb spectacle he was destined to contemplate and describe, were the boiling springs and geysers of Reykium. He reached Reykiavik but just in time to make a few hasty arrangements before the sailing of the Danish vessel, in which he embarked on the 20th of August, and after a rough passage of seventeen days, arrived at Copenhagen. He describes the deep emotions with which lie looked back on this unparalleled region while it receded, and at length vanished from his sight.
Displeased as we sincerely are at the measureless length of this article, we are yet willing to hope that the extraordinary interest of the book, of which, after all, it is but a slight abstract, may be an accepted apology. The grand and the strange phenomena of Nature form, perhaps, on the whole, the most attractive portion of the descriptive narration brought us from foreign climes ; and in this order of subjects this journal in Iceland contains as much as could be collected from some twenty respectable contemporary books of travels. Those of our readers who may not yet have obtained it, may in the mean time see, in these pages, a faithful slight sketch of the magnificent picture; and they who have hastily looked over that original, may here in few moments renew in their memory the images of the most prominent objects.
Of one matter, continually and necessarily intervening in the course of the narration, we have made but very few notices, that is, the communications held with the clergymen, magistrates, and commercial residents, at all the stations, relative to Dr. H.'s main object, the circulation of the Scriptures. Every where these principal persons shewed the greatest readiness, in most instances a lively zeal, to co-operate in his design, by undertaking to ascertain the wants of the people, in this respect, and concerting with him the best plans for supplying them. This information and these plans will be rapidly combined and brought to their practical effect, by the Icelandic Bible Society, of which he had the happiness to promote and to see the provisional formation, under favourable auspices, before he left the island.
Great and urgent as the want of the Sacred Book might naturally have been presumed to be, it was found to be actually still greater than had been presumed. Under such a destitution of the standard of religious faith, it was somewhat surprising, and greatly delightful, to our Author, to find that a peculiar Providence had preserved much of the purity and simplicity of that iVitli among the people. This preservation he attributes in a considerable degree, as an immediate cause, to Vidalin's printed sermons, a book universally popular among them, and, he says, deserving to be so, for its genuine principles and spirit of Christianity.
The state of the people is no small testimony in favour of their •clergy, with whom, on the whole, he was greatly satisfied and pleased. The friendly and even affectionate treatment so constantly experienced by the stranger, and the gladness excited by his object, naturally inclined him to pronounce rather too positively for so .very transient an acquaintance. Perhaps reflection .•ometimes made him sensible of this; for we have observed here and there, especially in tbe emphatic and distinguishing prise of several individuals, some expressions appearing to carr> w implication of a defect of the religious spirit in many otrwrs a the class. Nevertheless, the genera! effect of his testimony, titer every fair abatement, seems to be, that the Icelandic di-rrj are as much superior, in moral and religious character, to the* of other countries, as the people are in this respect superior if other nations. As to learning, it seems a considerable Dodw of them evinced attainments rather wonderful in a polar island -without schools. It is almost the universal practice of tfe preachers to read their sermons.
Dr H. gives an interesting brief history of the commerce rf Iceland, a very simple concern indeed, bui of extreme important? to the people. They exchange fish, salted mutton, oil, tallow wool, and woollen stuffs, skins, feathers, and sulphur, again* rye, barley, oat-meal, pease, bread, potatoes, rum, brandy, wiae. coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco, salt, wood, iron, flax, lines, honks, hdigo, cotton, and silk handkerchiefs. Coffee and tobacco, uV latter of which they chew, are consumed in a quantity disproportionate to their means. For this traffic they come down in Just to the Diini- ii factories on the different parts of the coast, but especially to Reykiavik. Their treatment by the merchants and fkciorc is just such as might be expected towards persons who are Iron year to year on the debtor side of the books, in which predicament they are willingly kept by their dealers, for an obvious parpose. Many of them are thus in a kind of slavery all their lives. As to the history of their commerce relatively to its regulation by government, it is very much a matter of course that it should be a record of gross mismanagement and oppression.
It is needless to say how many important matters for geological discussion are supplied by the multifarious descriptions of to? composition of so strange a territory: Dr. H. is wisely sparing of theoretic speculation. He has introduced several curiou* philosophico-biblical speculations. He is very often reminded by the objects before him, of facts and sentiments in the Bible, and suggests many real parallels, perhaps some rather fbrrnl ones. His mode of expression is generally perspicuous, free, and unaffected; very seldom that of a man eager to make tbe most of his subject. The incorrectness sometimes observable, roay be partly ascribed to his having become almost a foreigner to his own language and country.
Besides a map, rather too scanty of names, but, we apprehend, more correct than any former one, there are thirteen plates, after sketches by the Author and a Captain Frisak. Not making tbe first pretensions, on the score of art, they are, however, very neat and illustrative. That which represents the great Gayam, is very striking, and gives, we think, a more picturesque imagv of the phenomena, than the prints in the works of Sir Q Mackenzie and Mr. Hooker.
The book concludes with a lon<» Appendix, of very considerable curiosity aud interest. It consists chiefly of an historical view of the Icelandic translations of the Bible, and an inquiry into the history and qualities of Icelandic Poetry. This latter takes us back into the Scandinavian heroic age, displays the character and vocation of the Skalds, relates the oriffin of the Edfl i, recites, among other ancient strains, the whole death-song1 of Heguer-Lodbrok, with a prose translation, and investigates at much length the modes and rules of Icelandic vpi-sifieition.
Art. VII. Psyche; or the S<ul; a Poem in Seven Canto*. By John Brown, Esq. l2mo. 7s. London, 1818.
\\T I'j feel quite at a loss in what terms to convey our opinion TM TM of this long string of rhymes, and are altogether unable to determine the Writer's intention in putting them together. The "Poem," if, in courtesy, it must be so called, though by no means clever, is evidently the production of a man capable of better things, and who is wasting respectable talents on the composition of dull and unprofitable conceits. He rhymes with facility, is a tolerable band at telling a story, now and then exhibits something like point, and occasionally is guilty of what distantly resembles wit. We guess, for it is only guess, that he means to ridicule the reasonings and theories of metaphysical writers, and it must be admitted that they are fair game,; but it will require a more skilful hand than that of " John "Brown, Esq." to bring them down.
Ned and Tom dialogize together respecting the nature and seat of the soul, if we rightly apprehend the matter, and we believe that they come, at last, to some indeterminable determination on the subject. But without any further dissertation on the merits or defects of the composition as a whole, we ■hall quote the following lines as a proof that when the Author can persuade himself to cease to be perverse, he can write with considerable beauty both of versification and description.
—" ' As when the sombre shades of night
And all u bright, and all is bless'd.*' ' p. 224.
We suppose that the Author has had Butler and Swift In view, as his masters in satirical composition; he has howeTer neither the ease of the one, nor the pithiness of the other. We think lie would have done wisely had he omitted his sneers at the Trinity, and his admiration of Socinus. lie could hardly expect to make converts in so oil' hand a way; and if he wrote for public approbation, he could scarcely hope to obtain it, by sacrificing truth and modesty to the humours and caprices cf sectarianism.
Art. VIII. Narratives oj the. Lives of the more eminent Fathers of the Three Pint Centuries; interspersed with copious Quotations from their Writings, Familiar Observations on their Characters and Opinions, and occasional References to the most remarkable Events and Persons of the Times in which they lived. Inscribed, by Permission, to the Hon. and Right Rev. the Bishop of Gloucester. By the Rev. Robert Cox, A.M. Perpetual Curate of St. Leonard's, Bridgenorth, 8vo. pp. 402. Price 10s. 6d. 1817.
A WRITER of competent ability, and sound and indepen•"• dent mind, might confer an important obligation on the theological student, and render essential service to the cause of truth, by a strictly upright and severe examination of the records of ecclesiastical history, and of the works which it consigns to us as the writings of the ' Fathers.' Such an investigation, it may safely be affirmed, has never yet been mad r. Treatises and bulky volumes, almost numberless, relative to the early periods of the Christian History, have been given to the world; but a work that might be of real utility in determining the degree of credit due to the memorialists of the Church, and in ^settling the contending claims of truth and error in the different writers of the early ages, within and without its palej is a task reserved for some future author. Jortin has, in several instances, exhibited specimens of the, manner in which, such a work should be conducted ; but however distinguished the talents and character of that admirable writer were, there are certain indispensable qualifications required in him who' undertakes the office of an Ecclesiastical Critic, which even', he did not possess in their full measure.
Mr. Cox certainly is not one of the men to whom we shonld look for the accomplishment of our wishes. His pages are indeed occupied with the details of only a part of the history writings of the Fathers, but that part is one confessedly of great importance, since it includes the first three centuries of the Christian era, and gives memorials of the following persons: Simeon, Son of Cleophas; Clement, of Rome; Ignatius; Polycarp; 'Justin Martyr; Ireneus; Tertullian; Origen; Cyprian; and Dionysius, of Alexandria; ample scope is presented even in this enumeration of Authors, for the exercise of