Images de page

the profpect of gaining a convert. We would here take our leave of Mr. Benson, but we feel it incumbent on us to reply to a queftion which he evidently puts from a conviction that it cannot be anfwered. "Why (fays he) fhould the Methodists be compelled to declare themfelves Diffenters, which would infallibly be the cafe were the Legiflature to take the steps recommended in the report?" We anfwer, that the Legislature does not make but finds them fuch. Most of them are avowedly fo; others covertly; and fome perhaps inconfcioufy even that purer part of them in the Wefleian connection, to which Mr. Benfon boafts that he belongs, are Diffenters by his own confeffion. And where is the hardship of calling perfons by their proper names? Or where is the honefty of profeffing with our lips what our deeds difclaim? Mr. B. indeed attempts to palliate their feparation from the church by confining the inftances of it to "a few places where the parishes are extenfive; and to fome others where the church minifters are notoriously wicked, or inculcate doctrines which THEY (the Methodists) judge to be of dangerous tendency." The firft of these affertions is untrue; the fecond plea is inadmiffible; because they have no authority to judge in thefe matters. And it is not merely the circumftance of preaching in church hours (though this we allow is an aggravated act of difobedience) but it is the preaching at any time in a place not under episcopal jurisdiction; it is their irregular aflumption of the clerical functions; it is their uniform and undiffembled contempt of church difcipline which clearly conftitute them Diffenters. We would recommend to Mr. Benfon's perufal the opinion of a Reviewer who cannot be fufpected of partiality to the Church of England, and who will hardly be accused of severity towards any who differ from her perfuafion.

"If they approve the doctrines, they certainly object to the discipline and government of the Church; and therefore they ought no more to arro gate to themselves the title of churchmen than most of the Proteftant Diffenters, who are exactly in the fame predicament. The clergy have certainly fome plea for remonftrating against the conduct of that clafs of Methodists which Mr. Beafon undertakes to defend. Their very fyftem of discipline is adverse to that of the established Church; they choose their own preachers; they appoint laymen to the ministerial functions; and they will submit to no epifcopal controul. They are, therefore, in fact, Diffenters; and when they fpeak of the establishment as their Church, they must either be infincere, or they do not confider what they fay; which laft we believe to be the true ftatement. Since, however, the matter is now publickly agitated, let the Methodists be taught to regard themfelves as Diffenters, if not on points of doctrine, yet on points of difcipline; and let them not talk, as Mr. B. does, of their being compelled, in cafe the fuggeftions of the reporters are adopted by parliament to separate from the church.' Mr. Benfon's threats are a proof that he has no idea of ecclefiaftical fubordination." Monthly Reviews for Jan. 1801.

P. 90.

Mr. Benfon will perceive that we are not the only critics who confider the Methodists as Diffenters. The Monthly Reviewer,


indeed, appears anxious to claim them as fuch and to enlarge his favourite ranks. We would earneftly, on the contrary, intreat these her undutiful children to return to the bofom of that parent church, whose authority they have unthinkingly renounced. They poffefs (we admit in many inftances) great and laudable zeal for the doctrines of divine revelation; and why not for the positive ordinances of divine institution? God expects from his people as great regard to thofe pofitive laws which he commands us to obey, as to thofe pofitive doctrines which he enjins us to believe; nor is it lefs our duty to conform to that ecclefiaftical polity which was ordained for the government of the Church as a visible fociety on earth, than we are concerned to preferve the purity of that faith which diftinguishes us as Chrift's difciples.

Adonia: A defultory Story. 4 Vols. 12mo. Black and Parry. Lon




AD Adonia iffued from the prefs, like many monsters of abfurdity, under the name of novels and criticifin, been already girded with her quiver to hunt it down, the long paffage which we hall felect as a fpecimen of, and excufe for, the publication would have induced her to unloofe the fibula which held her arrows together, and she must have laid by every one of them.

"Though, fince I began thefe memoirs (at the age of fifteen) I have added little or nothing to my ftock of book-learning; I do not mean to affront you, my patient reader, by fuppofing that you have not already difcovered that flock to be fufficiently fcanty, without requiring that I should be the herald of my own thame; though I am fenfible that my story might have been better contrived, my characters more natural and varied, my language more correct above all, that the political confab between the Marchionefs and my friend Johanna, might at leaft have been difguifed in a newer drefs; I am contented in my nineteenth to abandon all struggle for literary eminence to which I once afpired, and to refume, without lofs of time, and send into the world, with all its imperfections on its head, a novel, which only a few months ago I threw by me as hopelets of comple ton. My motive for th's intrufion on the public is not a perfonal one, or I might perhaps blufh to avow that "I write for fortune, and not for fame:" but, if my book fhould have the good fortune to experience a reception equally favourable with the middle clafs of the other novels of the day, and thence enable me to affift in relieving the neceflities of a very near and dear friend (plunged in unexpected misfortune, and yet too delicate to accept the common modes of fuccour as likely to inconvenience thofe the loves) i fhall not regret having facrificed, to obtain fuch a recompenfe, the feelings which otherwife would have deterred me from expofing myfelf to the imputation of vanity or the reproofs of criticifin."

When fuch are the object and humility of the author, had it been ranked only "with the mid lle clafs of the other novels of the day,”. we should have paffed over it with compaffionate filence or contemptuous negleft; but this writer who can fo well appreciate his or perhaps her own demerits, and yet can display fo much reading, fo much


obfervation, fo much mind, ought not to be contented in the nineteenth year to abandon all ftruggle for literary eminence."

[ocr errors]

"My language might have been more correct;" it certainly might have been more equal. At the commencement of the work (begun at fifteen indeed) it is affectedly rough and encumbered like the rumblings of Johnfon-many double epithets make the sentences halt, and confufe instead of ftrengthen the idea-fuch as correfponding mental endowments:" here the poffeffive adjective would have been better as a fubftantive in the poffeffive cafe, and "of that partial evanefcent kind"-there wants the conjunctive and between partial and evanefcent" too keenly-exercised fenfibi-· lity"-" foftly-interefting afpe&t." By placing the fubftantive before the adverb and the epithet, the language would have flowed eafier; these are trifling errors, but they are fashionable errors of the day, and when fanctioned by fuperior writers, will branch out into various blemishes which, in, their event, might destroy the construction of our profe, as much as the affected De la Crufcas have already done the language of verse.


My characters might have been more natural and varied." It is humility to think fo-all the characters have some ftrong trait to mark and diftinguish them; they are as varied as they can be fince they are all placed in elegant life.

A character of the Marchioness D'Eftreaux is given with neat difcrimination

"How unjustly used I to judge this admirable woman, would the fay to herfelf? Becaufe I faw her unmoved and felf-collected, under the preffure of exigencies which would have difcouraged common minds, I cenfured her as ftoical or mafculine; and because the bore no part in the tri ing diftreffes and weak murmurings excited by thofe frequent and unimportant afflictions on which other women are forward to difplay their fenfibility, I confidered her inacceffible to all the fofter emotions. Haughty and referved in her general carriage as a weakness of that pride, which I now find fprings lefs from hereditary pretenfions than a confcious clevation of mind, which naturally impels her to keep aloof from infignificant fociety, and the influence of interefting objects. This woman, whom I have feen liftening unmoved to a tale of fictitious diftrefs, which convulfed the bofom of every other auditor; whom I have feen fiile contemptuously on the most extravagant expreffions of felf-created woe, can fympathife in every throb of real anguifh; can devote her whole time and thoughts to confole the mental affliction, and alloy the bodily futferings of a friendlefs orphan, whofe tears would flow, unheeded by the reft of the world, and from whom fhe can expect no other return than powerlefs gratitude and unavailing love."

"The progrefs of fashionable admiration, and the fate of beauty unfortified against flattery," are charmingly defcribed in the fecond volume; but the quotations are already fo long, and numbers prefs fo equally for notice, that we muft recommend the work itfelf for entire perufal.


My ftory might have been better contrived"-it is published as a defultory ftory; it certainly might have been more artificial, and, to ufe a modern term, "conglomerated;" but it is interefting, it is probable,


it is fufficient, to make the fentiments, the obfervations, and the elegant advice flow from it with fuch a natural ease as to render them pleasurable as well as improving.

In this novel which "afks not for fame but forbearance-which hopes not to inform but to amuse without injuring," the reader will find "nothing to contaminate," but much, very much, to enjoy,

The writer modeftly fays, "the work is far from perfection, and I laid it by in difguft." If the public do it that justice which its merit demands, we doubt not of feeing hereafter fome work of this author's nearer perfection, and more worthy ftill of criticifm.-It is interfperfed with fome picturesque and delicate poetry.

The author feeling a reverence for the Deity makes the heroine fay, "It is an offenfive and diftorted adulation that would dare to unite a mortal's with that hallowed name;" yet falls into a ludere cum facris, by making the fame heroine ask her lover, in precife words," to give a reafon for the hope that is in him." Surely, in the hurry of writing, the mind did not recollect from whence fuch a quotation was taken.


A Sermon preached at Hendon, in the County of Middlefex, on Sundays, the 14th and 21st of December, 1800, after his Majefty's Proclamation, recommending Economy and Frugality in the Ufe of every Species of Grain, had been read. By Charles Barton, B. D. Fellow of Corpus Chrifti College, Oxford, and Curate of Hendon. 8vo. PP. 16. Ri vingtons. London.


seasonable and useful difcourfe on the late unproductive harvest.


Rev. Preacher, (from Pfalm cvii, 34-" A fruitful land maketh he barren, for the wickedness of them, that dwell therein") calls the ferious attention of his audience to the religious improvement of thefe eventful times, and the prefent alarming ftate of the country. He juftly afcribes the deficiency in the last year's crops, fo far as natural causes contributed to the calamity, to an unfavourable feed-time, followed by extreme heat, in a very early part of the fummer; by which a confiderable proportion of grain was not fown in proper time, and fome not at all; while much, that was fown, being ripened before it had attained a juft maturity, failed of the ufual produce. Mr. BARTON fuccefsfully contends against the erroneous notion, whether origi nating in ignorance, prejudice, or wickedness, that the deficiency is wholly artificial, and to be traced to the avarice of individuals, as its fource. That fome abufes do exift, he thinks, cannot be denied, but as a concurrent, not a leading, caufe of the diftrefs; and that the very existence of these abufes is the effect of fcarcity. Mr. B. in unifon with the paternal fpirit of the Proclamation, points out importation and economy, as the only remedies in our power and happy are we to bear public teftimony, that, while government have been indefatigable in their exertions to procure large fupplies of foreign grain, a general and very confiderable retrenchment has already taken place

in every rank of the community; if not to the removal of the calamity, yet, certainly, to an alleviation of its preffure, and, perhaps, to the prevention of actual famine.

Mr. B. addreffes himself, with great propriety, alike to rich and poor; calling upon all, in their respective ftations, to co-operate, with the wisdom of the Legiflature, in giving full effect to the benevolent defign of the Royal Proclamation. His admonition to domeftic fervants (who feel lefs than any other order in fociety the preffure of the times, and who have in their own hands the power of preventing, in a confiderable degree, a waste of the neceffary articles of life) is juft and pertinent. In conclufion, he very earnestly exhorts all to look beyond fecond caufes to the one Great First Caufe, the Almighty Creator and Ruler of the Univerfe; to acknowledge his judgments; to fee the fins of the nation in its punishment; and, by timely and effectual reformation, to avert, if poffible, the divine difpleasure.

The difcourfe does equal honour to the head and heart of the author; and his parishioners, in foliciting him to publish it, have rendered it capable of be coming more extenfively beneficial. Their conduct forms a pleafing contraft to that of another country parish, in which, as we have been credibly informed, the clergyman was interrupted in reading the Proclamation on both the Sundays, on which it was ordered to be read, and, at length, obliged wholly to relinquish the attempt. Of the fact we entertain no doubt; and we regret, that we cannot expofe, as it deferves, fo difgraceful an act, by naming the parish.

The prefent Scarcity, its Caufes, and its Cure, together with the Duties to which it call: all Ranks and Defcriptions of People; confidered in a Sermon preached in St. John's Church, Manchester, on Sunday, the 21st Day of December, 1800; being one of the Days appointed for reading his Majefty's Proclamation on the Subject. By J. Clowes, M. A. Rec tor of the faid Church, Manchefter. Publifhed at the Request of the Congregation. 8vo. Pp. 29. 1801.

M. CLOWES (taking his text from Amos, Ch. iv. ver. 6.) divides his fubject into three principal heads; viz. (1.) The primary cause of the prefent fcarcity; (2.) The most probable means of relief; and (3.) The duties arifing from thence. Under the first head, he afcribes the awful calamity to the difpleasure of Almighty God, whether inflicted, by the inftrumentality of unfavourable feafons, human wickedness, or any other fubordinate caufe, employed for the correction of a guilty nation. In the fecond divifion of his

difcourfe, he earnestly exhorts to that individual and general reformation, which affords the alone well-grounded hope of regaining the divine bleffing: and, in the third, and laft, place, he recommends to the rich, economy and benevolence; to the poor, patience and refignation; and, to all orders in the community, an improvement of this national vifitation, by felf-examination, penitence, and prayer.

This difcourfe is evidently the production of a pious mind, and compofed under a ferious fenfe of the manifold evils that fpring from refting in fecond caufes, and leaving the one Great First Caufe wholly out of the question. A fpirit of piety, creditable to the writer's heart, pervades the difcourfe, which is, at once, plain and impreffive.




« PrécédentContinuer »