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ring to and collecting good authorities. A very considerable portion of the entire history is occupied by the single reign of George the Third; but when we consider that his reign extended over a period of sixty years, and that the greatest and most important discoveries and events with which we are acquainted were literally crowded into it, the attention bestowed on it will scarcely appear to be disproportioned. Of things then begun, we have not yet seen the end. There is great clearness in the historical details of this volume also, and the style is more free from certain common-place and uncouth expressions with which we found some fault, than the former parts of the work. We have already expressed our pleasure at seeing a history thus written, giving, as far as is practicable, not only a gazette of battles, and sieges, and changes of ministry, but an account of the nation itself-the people-their state and progress; and divided into distinct portions, treating respectively on these different subjects.
Of the embellishments of this volume we do not know that we have anything very new to say. We still prefer the views and interiors to the portraits-most of the latter are hardly executed, and many of them not much like the originals, those that are most like, being but what we call provoking likenesses; that is, just like enough to enable those who are acquainted with the originals to know for whom the pictures are intended, but not sufficiently resembling those originals, to give an accurate idea of them to persons who do not know them. Of the portraits of the foreign illustrissimi we are no judges; but we happen to be acquainted with a German nobleman, who, during the occupation of France by the allies, was an officer of rank in the Prussian army, and who was well acquainted with the persons of several of the Buonaparte family. We one day showed him the portrait of Joseph Napoleon, and asked him if it was like. 'A little, a very little,' was the answer:-' and this?' turning to the portrait of Jerome, 'O, not like him in the least, and I think I should know, for I had him under my surveillance for two months, and saw him almost every day; and whenever he chose to ride out, either I or one of my officers had to take off our hats, and beg to have the honour of riding with him; so I think I ought to know.' We think so too; so that if from one,
or rather two, we are to judge of all these portraits of distinguished foreigners, there is not much to be said for them on the score of resemblance: probably they may not be taken from the best originals.
Art. VI.-An Exposition upon the Prophet Jonah. By George Abbot, D.D., Archbishop of Canterbury. A New Edition, by Grace Webster to which is added, A Life of the Author. In two volumes. Pp. 344, 351. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. WITH whatever favour the present state of our modern literature may be justly regarded, there are some features of it which must awaken concern in all healthy minds. The exceeding popularity of what is truly called 'light literature,' as contrasted with the general distaste for solid and substantial works, is an unpromising circumstance. It is cheerfully admitted that the portion referred to is characterized by some qualities of great excellence and usefulness. A moral and generous tone pervades it.
Social oppressions and hypocrisies are exposed and rebuked with a wit and humour that are often more effective than serious condemnation. If ridicule is not a test of truth, it is a sharp reprover of falsehood. A laugh may sometimes do more than a frown; and many will welcome the one, who would avoid the other.
Still, after all allowances, there is room for grave suspicion that the character and tendency of much modern literature are injurious to these habits of serious thought and earnest study, which marked our forefathers. The craving for stimulus is not a sign of health. Pithy, pungent, jocular, productions may have their use, but are not substitutes for reasoning and erudition. To build up the mind and heart is no child's play. Knowledge and moral strength can only come of hard work. There is no 'short and easy method' with ignorance and sin. There is no 'royal road' to spiritual learning and excellence. An age that lives on superficial literature must be puny and weak and worthless. Fiction and fun may afford innocent amusement, but sincere and devoted toil, and deep acquaintance with the facts and philosophy of God's providence, alone can yield the peaceful and permanent fruits of a well-ordered, well-furnished, intellect and a holy and righteous soul. It is, therefore, with unaffected delight that we witness the taste, whenever exhibited, for our older literature, and contemplate the provision, in cheap and well edited editions, which is so abundantly made for its gratification. The work before us is by no means one of the worst of these reprints.
Archbishop Abbot was a man of considerable importance in his day. Descended from respectable parents, who were staunch protestants in trying times, he never disgraced his origin when placed in positions of perilous temptation. A curious circumstance is recorded respecting his birth:
While his mother was pregnant she had a dream, which, according to the whimsical fancies of those times, proved at once an omen and an instrument of his future fortunes. She imagined some one told her, that if she could eat a jack or pike, the child she went with would prove a son, and rise to great preferment. Not long after, in taking a pail of water out of the river Wey, which ran by their house, she accidentally caught a jack, and thus had an odd opportunity of fulfilling her dream. This story being much talked of, and coming to the ears of some persons of distinction, they offered to stand sponsors of the child; and the godson received many testimonies of affection and kindness in after life from those connected with him by this unexpected relationship.'-p. 6.
Displaying superior parts, while yet a child, he was sent to the Free School in his native town, Guildford; at sixteen, he became a student of Balliol College, where he applied his powers with diligence; and in due time he entered into holy orders, and honours and offices such as fall to the lot of the most favoured sons of the church, followed in their season.' He took the degree of Doctor in Divinity in 1597, and was elected Master of University College; was installed Dean of Winchester in 1599; and was chosen, the first of three times, in 1600, Vice-Chancellor of the University. He was one of King James's translators of the Bible, having been appointed, with seven other Oxford-men, to take charge of the Evangelists, Acts, and Revelation. He became, within a year and a half, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury; and having taken part in various important discussions and proceedings, passed through much honour and some disgrace, he was removed, August 4, 1633, at the age of seventy, to a holier and more peaceful scene. Different accounts have been given of his character, as of that of all public men, by different writers. It seems indisputable that he was a godly man, having at heart the interests, as he understood them, of 'pure and undefiled religion.' His theology was Calvinistic, and he was little disposed to put things ceremonial into the place of spiritual principles. His decided opposition to popery, and to popish tendencies, and his leaning towards the puritans, subjected him to slight and suffering. Not cut out exactly for a courtier, his course was in general one of sincerity and uprightness. Not unaffected by the corrupting influences of his position, he showed on several memorable occasions marked integrity and uprightness. His virtues were his own, his faults were mainly those of his peculiar lot and age. In other times he would probably have left a name worthy of the reverential affection of all good men.
He published several treatises, large and small. One of the
chief was, 'An Exposition upon the Prophet Jonah,' which consists of sermons preached in St. Mary's church in Oxford, (how illustrative of the efficacy of subscription to secure uniformity of faith, would be the history of the doctrinal opinions dispensed in that venerable edifice?) It was so well received, that, even in those days, when the reading public was very limited, a second edition was published within three years, although the higher classes, who then constituted a majority of that public in England at that time, were by no means favourable to an evangelical, practical strain of preaching.' It has continued to hold a respectable place in theological literature to the present day.
A prejudice against the work may possibly be excited by the fact, that it contains no less than thirty discourses on fortyeight verses of a scripture, which, however interesting in its narrative, has not been often thought remarkably fruitful of theological and spiritual instruction. This prejudice we should like, if possible, to remove, convinced that it is unsupported by reason. Two views may be taken of a work of this kind; it may be regarded in relation either to the particular scripture which forms its immediate occasion and subject, or to the matters of general truth and godliness. To expound' the book of Jonah, speaking strictly, might not require more than a fourth of thirty discourses, but such exposition was not the design of our author. His real purpose was, taking advantage of his own expression, to give an exposition upon the book. The scripture treated furnished a starting-point, rather than a course, for his remarks. Giving its sense, he ramified it. Finding an idea, what should prevent him considering it as the form and notice of a universal doctrine? Finding a fact, what should hinder its being interpreted as the application of a universal law? To a habit of generalization, the most naked events and passages may yield abundant suggestions. This is the proper way of spiritualizing the Bible. This is a safe and high method of typical instruction. Where is the limit to a mind which, filled with enlightened principles and holy tastes, not content with taking facts and sentiments in their mere reality and apparent isolation, recognises and employs them as parts of a system, bearing the impress of the divine unity, unity of thought, of character, and of end? A great and injurious mistake is commonly made upon this subject. It is held sufficient disparagement of a production that the quantity of its matter bears no proportion to the seeming magnitude of its subject. But the matter is equally excellent whether it does or does not; and if the immediate subject, nothing, perhaps, in itself, be used simply as a guide into the regions of confessedly important truth, what then? Is the value of the thread to determine the importance of the passage
which it helps a man to make through the windings of the labyrinth?
Dr. Abbot treats the book of Jonah in the way now mentioned. Taking a verse or two for his text, he does not confine himself to their simple meaning and first application, but branches out into all the topics to which they may conduct an ingenious mind. 'That which,' he observes in starting, 'Jerome said to Paulinus concerning the seven Catholic or General Epistles (for so they are called) of James and Peter, and John and Jude, that they are long and they are short-short in words, long in substance,'-may, I think, be well spoken of this prophecy of Jonah, that it is long and it is short-short, if we respect the smallness of the volume, but, long if we regard the copious variety of excellent observations which are therein to be found.' The author, without of course the advantage of the criticism and exegesis of our own day, furnishes a full and sufficient exposition of the 'small volume;' but it is as a collection of wise and useful observations that we are disposed to value his production most. His field is large. Scarcely a theological or practical point is left unnoticed. The favourite doctrines of the Calvinistic school are introduced with ease and cordiality. The exciting questions of his own times are referred to, as naturally as if the author were engaged in sharp polemics. The successor of Saint Peter, as he merrily terms himself,' is brought in with the facility of a prominent idea. And almost every class of men, good and bad, receive instruction, admonition, warning, or encouragement, as they might from a discourse on the 'Ten Commandments,' or the 'Beatitudes.' Learning, of various kinds, is always ready to illustrate and confirm the doctrine. Fathers and philosophers are ever on the spot. Judgment, clear sense, and pithy language, never fail.
It is with much pleasure that we behold a reprint of this valuable work. In genuine worth, it is to many modern works of a like kind as the solid weight to the small dust of the balance.' Miss Webster's edition is neatly got up, and contains a well-written life of the estimable author.