Page images
PDF
EPUB

magistrate to enforce them in all their rigour; and as a late learned writer jaitly observes, “it ought not to be left in the breaft of every merciless bigot, to drag down the vengeance of those occasional laws upon inoffen live, though mikaken subje&s, in opposition to the lenient inclinations of the magiftrate, and to the deftruction of every principle of toleration and religious liberty." V.-Preached in the Church of St. Andrew's, Dublin, on Sunday

the 6th of February, 1780, in aid of a charitable Fund for the Sopport of ewelve Boys and, eight Girls. By Thomas Campbell, L L.D. Published for the Benefit of the Charity, 410. 15. Dablin printed.

It appears that, beside the anno al collection, the funds for the fupport of this charity are only an eftate of twenty-four pounds a year, and a lease of twenty pounds bequeathed by the late Colonel Paul, which lease is on the eve of expiration: it therefore seems greatly to need the recommendation it receives from Dr. Campbell. His discourse from Matt. v. 48, is ingenious and sensible. Towards the close he observes,' a black and gloomy cloud has long hung over this, hitherto, unfortunate illand. The numbers of our poor grew greater, as the means of relieving them grew less ; public confidence failed, and yet our charity was not chilled; but our hands could not obey the warm dictares of our hearts. These collections have of course, been every where smaller, this season, than in former years; but, happily, that alarming cloud is now dispersed, a political day-spring hath vifited this land, public credit is already restored. Your barrel of meal will not wafe, neither will your cruse of oil fail.' VI.-Preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's, on

the 25th of Occber, 1779; being the Anniversary of his Majesty's Accellon to the Throne. By James Williamson, A. M. Fellow of Hertford College. 8vo. 1s. Dodfey.

After speaking of the advantages which he supposes attend hereditary fucceflion, the preacher proceeds to contider an objection which has been sometimes advanced, that the chriltian religion is at variance with those principles by which human focieties are improved and brought to perfection. The objection is ftated at length, in the words of Mons. Bayle; the answer is necessarily more prolix, and after other remarks, summed up in the following terms: On the whole it appears, that those who adopt Bayle's notion of our religion, have never attended to Our Saviour's prophetic character, and the circumfiances and expeciations of the Jews; and are moreover milled by not distinguishing between the orders and directions given for propagating the Christian religion, and the Christian religion itself, than wbich po two things can be more distinct ; for the viứble kingdom of Satan must be abolished in any nation, before it can have the lealt pretensions to call itse!f Christian : and while this work was carrying on, the moft effectual aid which the pious Christian could lend must be derived from his prayers and works of charity. The strong holds of Satan were tob well fortified to yield to the carnal weapons of human warfare. And the first christians were not nations of christians, but as sheep among wolves; and therefore a more than ordinary circumspection would be necessary : and as human societies would not protect them, it was also neceslary that they should be constantly looking for supernatural pro

tection

te{tion from God. But after this visible kingdom of Satan was abolithed by the extirpation of idol worship, human affairs, we may fuppose, returned into their natural channel; and it is agreeable to the general plan of God's dealings with mankind, to lend them no farther fupernatural aid than what their circumstances absolutely require. Other considerations are added to remove the difficulty, of which our limits will not allow a particular notice. In the cloie of the discourse it is observed, what great advantage Christianity affords for rendering government easy and beneficial to mankind. One remark we cannot avoid inferting ; *It is impoflible, says he, that a Christian King could employ any other than pious chriftians in places of trof and consequence. If this be true, what opinion must we form of kings and courts, almost if not entirely, throughout Christendom! VII. A Vifitation Sermon. --Preached at Truro, Cornwall, May 18th,

1779; with a Preface PRE FIXED, and a Dedication to the Earl of Dartmouth. By Samuel Furly, B. A. late of Queen's College, Cambridge, 4to. is. Dilly,.&c.

This discourse will be highly acceptable to those who have learned to despise the beggarly elements of human reason, and to value the doctrines of religion in proportion to the degree in which they are myr. terious and incomprehenible. By such readers the following passage, though to the unenlightened it may appear little better than errant noniense, will be thought peculiarly sublime and edifying:

• The word of God, we are by no means backward to affert, is replete with myfteries so exceeding high, so very abftrufe, fo superlatively strange, that could the veil which now in part covers them be wholly removed, their extreme splendour might be in supportable to the soul with its present faculties, imprisoned in these tenements of clay. If excess of joy, if height of surprize has been found to overpower, even to initant dissolution, some persons, it cannot be thought impossible, but that man in this life may be under an incapacity to endure such an extacy, in which all the thoughts would be absolutely absorbed.'

It would be very kind, if these favourites of heaven, who are permitted to take a peep behind the veil of mysteries, would, in condescension to the common herd of ignorant mortals, more plainly de. clare the wonderful things they have seen ; or that, in compaflion to our blindness, they would say nothing of things which we cannot comprehend. VIII. The Example of Jesus in his Youth, recommended to Imitatien.

At St. Thomas's, January 1, 1780, for the Benefic of the CharitySchool in Gravel-lane, Southwark. By Andrew Kippis, D.D. F. R. S. and S. A. Printed at the Request of the Managers, 8v0. 6d. Goidney.

A plain, serious, pradical discourse, recommending the early culrivation of piety and virtue, from the acount which is given of Our Saviour's childhood by St. Luke, ii. 52. IX. The Perfection of the Christian's Character, -Confifting particu.

larly in Sincerity, Uniformity, Progresiion, Comfort, Agreement and Peace. Preached at the Meeting house in Barbican, May the bih, 1779, before the Assembly of Protestant Diflenters of the

General

General Baptift Denomination. By James Walder. 8vo. 6d. Buckland, 1779.

There is a pleasing simplicity and plainnefs of speech in this discourse. The truths it recommends are of the greatest importance, and they are recommended in a manner which appears to indicate the integrity, piety, and benevolence, of the man who pleads in their favour. His texe is 2 Cor. xiii. il. In his advertisement prefixed, he afferts the right which every man has to make choice of and profess what religion he pleases, and to worship the supreme Father Almighty in what way and manner he thinks most acceptable to him, without the controul or interruption of any civil power whatever. “Yet, says he, I cannot omit this opportunity of expressling my fincere gratitude and thanks to the worthy members of the British Parliament, for the relief granted to Diffenting Ministers by the late act, which I rejoice in as a great enlargement of religious liberty. The declaration, annexed to the bill, I can readily subscribe, not as believing or acknowledging the magistrate's right to demand it, but as believing the matter and substance of the declaration to be true.': X. Preached in the Parish Church of Richmond in Surrey, Feb. 4,

1780, being the Day appointed for a General Fait. By Thomas Wakefield, A.B. Minilter of Richmond. 4to. 18. Davenhill.

This is tolerably well written, and appears to be the production of a mind that is impressed with pious and patriotic principles, and wishes to extend the good influence of them amongst his parishioners, to whom this discourse is inscribed, and who honoured it with their approbation.

CORRESPONDENCE. ... The letter from Mr. C. G. of Penrith is acknowledged. We would not have the Writer give himself the trouble to send the book mentioned in his letter ; when we see it advertised for sale, it will fall into our hands in course.

++ The Gentleman who sent his Proposals for printing by Subfcription, a volume of Esays, Letters, &c.' did not, perhaps, know, that all advertisements printed on the Covers of the Review, are to be paid for; and that they are subjected to the duty, in the same manner with those that are inserted in the news-papers.

+1+ We are obliged to G. H. for his information concerning the first edition of the “ Essay towards attaining a true Idea of the Character, &c. of King Charles I." of which an account was given in our lat. We had recollected the original publication, in 1748, before the receipe of our Correspondent's letter ; and we can, in return for his favour, inform G. H. that the Elay, &c. is generally fupposed to have been the work of a celebrated writer among the Diflenters at Exercr.

Τ Η Ε

MONTHLY REVIEW,

For U

J V NE, 1780.

0000000000000000000000000

IN

ART. I. The Dramatic Works of Beaumont and Fletcher ; collated

with all the former Editions, and corrected, with Notes criticał and explanatory, by various Commentators : and adorned with Fifty-four original Engravings. In Ten Volumes. 8vo. 3 1. in Boards. Printed by Sherlock, and sold by Evans. N our remarks on the tragedy of Bonduca, we binted our appro

bation of the present edition of Beaumont and Fletcher... On a more particular examination of its merit, we are by no means difpof ed, either from a sense of justice, or from a less worthy motive, to retract the opinion we have formerly given of it. That opinion, indeed, was only delivered in a transient way, and in very general terms. We shall now attempt to justify' it by a more particular investigation of the genius and writings of the Authors, and of the respeaive merits of their several Editors.

The rank which Beaumont and Fletcher ought to hold in the dramatic line hath been long adjusted. The decidon hath been made by time itself, which never fails to settle all claims, by an impartiality which cannot be questioned, and by an authority from which there lies no appeal. Friendship that was unwilling, or ignorance that was unable, to see objects in their true light, exalted these bards to the very summit of poesic excellence, and, by a partiality that was equally abfurd and invidious, placed even Shakespear himself below them. Their poetical encomiatts lavished on them more applause than the sublimelt genius ever merited : and, in the rage of panegyric, exhausted their invention for hyperbole. One of Fletcher's panegyrists says, that

- His scenes were acts, and every act a play! If this hyperbole had been carried as far as it would go, the author might t'with equal propriety have said, that each sentence was a scene, , and every word a sentence!

Beaumont and Fletcher, though reduced from the rank to which they had been exalted by the partiality of their injudicious friends, or the envy of Shakespear s enemies, must be considered as writers SVOL. LXII.

Ee

of diftinguished merit, and will probably continue to be models to fucceeding dramatists, while wit and good fenfe fhall be held in any estimation on the English cheatre. Their productions have been copied with abundant freedom by many writers whose works are confidered as no mean acquisition to the stage. The obligation hath been frankly acknowledged by fome: while others have left the more curious Reader to make the discovery for himself. This arowal or concealment of an obligation hath frequently been the effect of pride operating different ways: for we cannot avoid remarking, that it is often as decisive a characteristic of pride to point out the fource of our ideas when we can thew a fuperior dexterity in the application and management of them, as it is an evidence of the same principle to endeavour at other times to conceal it with ingenious care, in or. der to make the whole pafs for a creation of our own fancy.

With respect to our dramatic bards, it is but justice to acknowledge, that, in general, their plots are regolar. Their characters are on the whole well drawn, and properly marked and fupported. Their language is easy and elegant ; clear and perspicuous. Their plays abound with a variety of beautiful passages; and a fele&tion might be made out of them to illuftrate every species of compofition, and delineate every emotion of passion.

Mr. Seward, the former Editor, devotes a large part of his preface to a comparison between the language and characters of Beagmont and Fletcher and those of Shakespear. The grand characteristic of Shakespear's language is energy-an energy which astonishes the imagination! That of our Authors is elegance--a diffusive elegance, which pleases the fancy and soothes the heart. Shakespear will frequently give more expression by a word than Beaumont and Fletcher are capable of affording by many lines. A thousand instances might be given of this, if it were necessary, to prove Shakespear's superiority to his contemporary poets in that which is the very firft ex. cellence of dramatic composition-an irresistible force of language. Mr. Seward hath produced several passages to prove, that in many places Beaumont and Fletcher are superior in language, descrip.. sion 'aod fentiment to Shakespear. We think, however, that he might have fupported his comparison by instances that would have better served his purpose. The passage quoted from the Maid's Tragedy, is indeed exquisitely beautiful, and a painter might well copy from the poet: but in long descriptions it is not easy to see the whole at once. The impression grows languid and faint, and the principal effect is either weakened or totally loft. An energetic, comprehensive

ensive expression gives the whole at one glance, and produces a more powerful, because a more immediate effect. The rainbow is an object the more beautiful, because its impression is instantaneously felt. Divided into fruitrums of a circle, and seen only in small parts, its principal effect would be entirely lot.

We shall present our Readers with a specimen of Mr. Seward's tafle and fagacity in the line of comparison, by a quotation of the passages compared, at full length, with the critic's remarks on them.

• At the letter end of King John, the King has received a burning poisor : and being ak'd

How

« PreviousContinue »