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been delivered, and which, as the Jews had done, was ignorantly fulfilling the prophecies that it thus preserved.
“When the shades of ignorance were dispelled on the rivival of letters, divine knowledge had its share of cultivation; and as editions and versions of the scriptures at large, and of those of the New Testament in particular, appeared at different times, new manuscripts were gradually brought out to public notice." P. 121.
Sermon IV. (from Acts, i. 6, 7.) was preached at Bangor. From this we cannot afford room for more than a short extract.
“Is it not matter of serious concern to every Christian, to every Christian minister especially, to vindicate his religion from every injurious imputation? We, my brethren, in particular, should be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear.'
“To the want of this readiness and ability one may ascribe, in a great measure, at least, the corruption and decay of Christianity in a neighbonring kingdom, and too generally all over the continent, if not in our own country likewise. For there, more especially, the profligate church of Rome, taking advantage of the dark or middle age,' as it is called, burdened the rational religion of Christ with a load of absurdities, which its very ministers disbelieve; and which the bulk of their philosophers, being but partial and sceptical inquirers after truth, mistake for Christianity itself. And thus, by degrees, have they been sinking into the dregs of materialism and infidelity, and have, at last, in their madness, banished religion from their land.
“But, thanks be to God, 'we have not so learned Christ.' We have embraced his religion upon different principles, and can, I trust, satisfactorily prove it to ourselves and others, to be most rational, most holy, and divine. As to inquirers, of a presumptuous cast, “who seek to know above what is written,' the best and securest way of dealing with such, is to point out the unreasonableness of their demand, and to expose its absurdity. "Nor can this be foreign from the purposes of the present solemnity; for here we are assembled to inculcate, on ourselves and others, the belief and practice of the only pure religion in the world; which it were idle to attempt, without previously removing all possible objection.” P. 141.
The following observations are quite as applicable, (if not more so,) to the present times as when they were first delivered.
“Seeing the infinite advantages, as well as the necessity, of subordination in all civilized society, and knowing the peculiar privileges we enjoy from our divine religion, and under our admirable constitution; the glory of its real friends and the envy of its enemies; let us, in the hour of peril, rally, one and all, in our different stations, around that constitution, and faithfully discharge our several duties; being ever ready to lose our lives in preserving that, which our forefathers lost their lives in obtaining. God forbid we should ever degenerate from them! But let us ever rest assured, that those several duties can never be faithfully discharged without a due sense of religion. In this, alas, there is room to fear we are fast degenerating! Within but a few years the grand and petty jury, at our different assizes, were wont to consider it as part of their duty to attend such a solemnity, as the present, and the house of God was filled with his worshippers. “But now they make light of it, and go their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise,' or are, perhaps, occupied with more frivolous concerns. In the day of danger and affliction our · fathers trusted in God, and were delivered.'
“It becomes us to be animated by their piety, no less than by their valour: NO. XIII.
and the more so, because in these our days a proud, unnatural, irreligious, and most wretched independence has been proposed and recommended, as the first object of desire, to each individual. Yes, we have been told, in contradiction of our daily experience, and notwithstanding the infinitely various inequalities which we see between man and man in mental, as well as corporal, endowments, that we are nevertheless all equal. The reverence and affection, which the sense of inferiority and the consciousness of obligation were intended to create, are now condemned as the effects of a mistaken judgment and an abject spirit; and, in their stead, are introduced discontent, and envy, and conceit, and impatience of all subordination. Loosened therefore are all the ties that bind, not kingdoms only, but families together. And thus, at once, the best security of public peace is shaken, and all the charities of domestic life destroyed, and all its comforts sapped and undermined! Civil society, is, in short, annihilated! But neither is this the whole, nor even the chief part of the evil! this impatience of all dependence of one man upon another is the consequence, only, of a still more diabolical temper, which implies, in fact, an impatience of all dependence even upon God himself. When visited with afflictions, or encompassed with difficulties, we are now no longer to derive comfort from God, and trust in his providence and protection. When we feel, as we must feel in innumerable instances, our own ignorance and infirmity, we are now no longer to look up for direction to the revelation of his will! we are to consider it as wisdom to let loose, unrestrained, every inordinate desire, and as meanness to 'fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell! We are taught, in fact, to say with the fool, there is no God! And when we shall perfectly have learnt this impious and horrible creed, what is the liberty or satisfaction, to which we shall have attained? Why, we may then, without remorse, become every man the instrument of his neighbour's misery, and of his own shame: we may then exchange the firm hope of a blessed immortality for the gloomy idea of annihilation.
“From a system of such consummate wickedness, infamy, and falsehood, let us always pray in the energetic language of the litany of our church, and say from the heart and soul, good Lord, deliver us!" P. 179.
If we had given way to our own inclination we should have extended our quotations, but we have already exceeded the limits which could be conveniently assigned to the review of a single work of small dimensions. Most sincerely do we hope that the pious and aged author may have the satisfaction of witnessing its extensive circulation, not only in the Principality, but throughout the island.
We cannot dismiss this article without noticing the opinion which Dr. Williams (preface, p. ix.) expresses respecting the fate of the Welsh language.
“As to the Welsh language itself, the literature of Wales (as Dr. Owen Pughe justly observes) is at this time in the last stage of its decline:" which observation is fully confirmed by Mr. Knight, who says that but ‘few scholars now speak the language, fewer still write it; and among the gentry it has long since ceased to be the vernacular tongue. Had not, indeed, the church service been performed in Welsh in this and a few other parts of the Principality, the language, like the Cornish, would long, ere this, have vanished from the face of the earth.
“Nor will the revival of Eisteddfodau ever bring it into vogue again: for
the most one can expect from the Eisteddfodau is the publishing of some old Mss. which not one in a thousand would read; nor, if they did, would understand. No, no; the meridian of the Welsh, both people and language, is gone by, never more to return,
-fuimus Cambri, fuit Wallia, et ingens Gloria Cambrorum
There are subjoined two discourses in Welsh, displaying the same unaffected piety, and creating the same interest in the breast of the reader as the others. In the latter, as in the whole book, which, in these days, is a rare quality indeed, we do not think there is a single line calculated to produce any thing approaching to religious disputation.
The Last of the Sophis. A Poem. By C. F. Henningsen, a
Minor. London: Longman and Co., 1831. This is, indeed, an age fertile in the production of poetry. In all ranks of life are to be found literary men, and amongst these a great number are professed poets, or the rather, according to our ideas, makers of verses, measurers of epigrams, perpetrators of acrostics; with not a few whose delight would appear to consist in the most servile imitation of the lamented Byron, whose excellencies these literary toad-eaters cannot understand, but whose defects are lauded by them as beauties, and, consequently, are the more glaringly exhibited; as the faults of a manufactured article are more easily discoverable when mounted in tinsel, thạn when set in gold.
We will not here enter into a discussion of what may be the causes of the dearth of sterling poetry amongst us; thougħ, in our opinion, many things combine to keep down and enslave the glowing spirit of the British muse: for be it remembered that although she sleeps, she yet is mighty, and must, ere long, exhibit a glorious resurrection. Possibly not the slightest obstacle, to any great poetical fame, among the votaries of the art in England, arises from the commercial calculating habits of the people, who are led to believe that every thing which is not deducible from the rules of arithmetic, double and single entry, barter, drawback, profit and loss, is, as a matter of course, unworthy the slightest attention of a lucid understanding: so long as this shall be the case, so long shall we be destitute of any thing like the fervour and grandeur of those writers who once shed a lustre on their age
country. Poetry flourishes not in the busy haunts of men, but lives and moves and has her being amid the mountains, the vales, the rocks, the woody dells, the streams. She is ever sweet and condescend
ing, as she is lofty and noble: the halo of her glory is seen hovering not only o’er
“The cloud-clapp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,” but things less dazzling, though not less interesting, share her capacious heart, and are fostered by her maternal care. Poetry, like sleep, may be truly called “nature's soft nurse:" dear to her is the cry of the infant, the bleating of the lamb, the song of the birds, the chime of holy bells, beneath whose towers
“The pealing anthem swells the note of praise;" dear the milkmaid's lovelorn ballad, and the village song of honest heartfelt mirth, “the gun fast thundering, and the winded horn,” the low lament of rustic wo, heard ʼmid the shaded oaks, where suffering age is seen with tottering steps, mourning o'er the bier of virgin innocence, its prop and stay,—its hope and pride. All these, and ten thousand other objects, are called up before the magic wand of poetry, who reigns and revels in the abundance and beauty of the universe.
Thanks be to God there are some even in the present day (and the author of “The last of the Sophis” is amongst them,) who are alive to these inexhaustible stores, and who have evinced that they are so, by the production of poems that will perpetuate their names. Byron was a wonder,-a giant who far surpassed all his contemporaries, as they themselves are ready to admit; yet was the light he shed, however brillant, but a coruscation, taking a course wild and eccentric as that of the chariot of Phæbus under the mad direction of Phaeton. Vain, indeed, are the regrets of his fondest admirers, that his genius did not blaze with a fame steady as it was great and wonderful. After him come the names of Campbell, Wordsworth, Scott, Wilson, Crabbe, and James Montgomery: the first of whom is indeed a bard of the heart, and the rest are worthy of an honorable place in the temple of the goddess. Besides these, we have our Cambrian queen of song the delightful Felicia Hemans, and proud are we to acknowledge her fame as shedding honour on the loved land of our fathers. We have also her of the lofty strain and pastoral lay, Mary Russell Mitford. We have James Hogg, the untutored and highly gifted bard of Caledonia; and though last, not least, we have the forest minstrels William and Mary Howitt who, husband and wife, live together according to God's holy ordinance, and write their sweet verses under the fervid sympathy of their united inspiration.
But the stirring nature of our subject is leading us away from a new and young aspirant to poetic fame, whom we would not, neither could we feel disposed to, neglect.
The poem of “ The last of the Sophis" will possibly induce our
Cambrian friends to ask why we have introduced it to their notice; we will tell them: the scene of the poem is laid in Persia and Tartary, and our Welsh subscribers are too well versed in antiquity not to know that the ancient Britons were originally an Asiatic tribe, the descendants of Japhet, who peopled the whole of Western Europe, including the British Isles; and that, therefore, when we place before them a poem founded on historical facts, relating to the history of Persia, we are giving them an account of the soul-stirring actions of those who are connected with them by blood. But this is not our only reason: the inhabitants of Wales, we take it, possess as great a proportion of intelligence as those of any other part of the world, and therefore cannot but feel a great interest in any literary production of general interest; added to which, we will venture to assert that the poem before us possesses very superior claims to their attention, not only from the manner in which it is executed, but from its being the production of a youth not yet seventeen years of age. We must confess that, generally speaking, we have an aversion to precocity, whether it be exhibited poetically, scientifically, or otherwise, inasmuch as we have seldom or never known that the flattering promises of very early genius have been fulfilled in riper age; and did we not see, in the volume before us, indications of strong and masterly intellect, together with an extent of attainment that we sincerely believe will, in future, bring forth the worthiest fruit, we would not have entered into its examination.
The scene and action of the poem is in the time of Nadir, better known by the name of Kouli Khan, who, though sprung from the lowest origin, effected by treachery, murder, and every crime, the summit of human ambition, viz. a throne. He has driven from the country Mandano, the last of the line of Sophi, or Sephi, who seeks an asylum amongst the Daghistan Tartars, where he attains high rank and honours, and becoines enamoured of the daughter of their chief, the darkly beautiful Zuleyda. Kouli Khan having, meanwhile, overrun Asia, turns his arms against the hordes of Daghistan, which event, unfortunately, delays the intended marriage of Mandano and Zuleyda. By the cunning and violence of a pretended dervise, Mandano is robbed of his betrothed bride. This event, and his natural hatred towards the usurper Kouli Khan, give rise to incidents of the story, which are fearful in the extreme, and altogether full of that wild and romantic interest, which is so plentifully scattered through the records of the Fast, and a knowledge of which gave rise to the equally romantic actions of chivalry in Britain, first evinced, be it remembered, by the renowned King Arthur of Wales. But we must lay before our readers a few specimens of our young author's powers, or we might feel inclined to go, in our prosing critical mood, into the pith and marrow of his story, which would be, as regards the sale of the book, ex