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Art. XII. A Short Account of the late Mr. Richard Porton, A. M. & Greek Professor, of Trinity College, Cambridge; with some few Particulars relative to his extraordinary Talents. By an Admirer of a Great Genius. 8vo. pp. 23. Price 23. Baldwin, 1808.
THERE are several curious anecdotes of Porson in this strange farrago ot of learned gossip; of which we only give a brief notice, for the present, reserving its contents to be re-considered when some regular Memoir, worthy of this incomparable scholar, shall come before the world. A large volume, we well know, might be filled with most humorous and surprising tales of his prodigious erudition, unexampled extent and readiness of memory, poignant wit, and crapulous extravagances. We hope that no writer who has a character, especially a clerical character to maintain, will imitate that matchless effrontery, with which some friends of the deceased Professor have presumed to deny, or affected not to know, the lamentable excess to which he indulged this one unhappy propensity. Whatever may be the motive of such an attempt to impose on the public, whether a feeling of partiality toward the vice itself, a jealousy for the honour of that party and circle, theological or political, which claimed the credit of his countenance, a concern lest the reputation of learning and learned men should suffer some injury from this blemish on the character of the first of Grecians,' or, lastly, whether it be simply the kind, but overweening and useless, solicitude of friendship for his posthumous fame, we will take this opportunity to say, that the attempt will utterly fail; and produce no other effect, than that of accumulating disgrace on the authors of the cheat, exciting the public attention still more strongly to the numerous anecdotes which are perfectly notorious, and drawing forth from obscurity multitudes of others which have never been much known, or are now almost forgotten: Surely, too, there is no great policy in lauding the chief scholar of the age for his piety, who so constantly and gla ring addicted himself to excesses, which all the sceptics of the nation would rejoice to discover in a votary of the Tabernacle, as decisive of the hypocrisy' of the Methodists', and demonstrating the licentious tendency of preaching the doctrine of the atonement. These hints have no reference to the pamphlet before us, which is understood to some from the hand of the learned, but whimsical Mr. Richard Weston it pretends not to deny the melancholy fact, but mentions a few of the Professor's excentricities, avowedly concealing " many particulars, as effusions of his convivial hours," which, "if they were witty, were not always wise," and reminding us, "Who does not occasionally, in something or other, break the golden rule of ne quid nimis ?"
Art. XIV. The Life and Death of the Christian. A Sermon, dccasioned by the Death of Mr. Thomas Hayter, of Gosport, who departed this Life November 29, 1808, in the 83rd year of his age. By David Bogue. 8vo. pp. 30. price 1s. Williams and Co. Maxwell and Co. Ogle, 1809.
HIS discourse is not unworthy of the preacher's established character. It is replete with important truths,and adapted, both by example and precept, to excite religious feeling and Christian activity. The character of his departed friend appears, by the interesting sketch which is neatly
introduced in this sermon, to have belonged to that numerous class whose lives are more useful than splendid; who secretly and unassumingly contribute far greater benefits to the world, which knows nothing of their existence, than the noisy disturbers of its peace whom it loads with distinctions and honours. The account of his character is so discriminative and striking, that few ingenuous readers will contemplate it without that pungent conviction of inferiority and defect, that earnest desire for improvement, and those devout aspirations and holy resolutions, which it is the proper effect of Christian biography to inspire.
· The text is Acts xiii, 36. For David, after he had served his own generation according to the will of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers Considering the first part of the text as descriptive of a believer's life, Mr. B. illustrates the idea, by (1) explaining what the will or design of God is in placing man upon earth, and very briefly sketches the outline of Christian duty: (2) shewing that the life of David agreed to this description; and (3) delineating the principles and conduct of his de ceased friend, in farther developement of the expression. The second part of the discourse illustrates the observation, that after the servants of God have performed their allotted service, he dismisses them by death into an eternal world; and hence it proceeds to mention the feelings and expressions of this good man while awaiting his last struggle. With what emotions should those, who are perfectly satisfied of their own merit and security, when reflecting on a course of conduct far less regular, devout, and unexceptionable than Mr. Hayter's, peruse the account of that sorrow and self-reproach, which his humility and sanctity of mind suggested as appropriate to such a character as his! It is only one instance, indeed, of thousands that occur every year, in which the saint manifests the consciousness of sin, and reliance on mercy alone, which become the sinner, while the sinner looks back on a profligate life and forward to the divine tribunal with as little alarm as might be expected from a saint.
Art, XV. The Siller Gun: A Poem, in four Cantos: with Notes, and a Glossary By John Mayne, Author of the Poem of " Glasgow," &c. 12mo. pp. 153. Price 4s. Richardson. 1808.
THIS Poem, as the author says, is founded on an ancient custom in Dumfries, called Shooting for the Siller Gun. The Gun is a small silver tube, like the barrel of a pistol,' (about ten inches long) but derives great importance from its being the gift of James VI; that monarch having ordained it as a prize to the best marksman among the Corporation of Dumfries.' dIt is worn by the successful marksman, in his hat, for the day only; being invariably redeemed with some honorary equivalent, and preserved for a future anniversary. This custom, which was at first annually, is now only occasionally observed, and never but on the birth-day of the reigning king. Mr. Mayne's poem, which is by no means destitute of humour and interest, describes the various circumstances of ceremony and coarse festivity with which this exercise is accompanied. It is extended to four cantos, of which we could give no satisfactory idea by any abstract or extract consistent with the observance of suitable limits. Many notes are added, to il lustrate the poem, by anecdotes, descriptions of customs, and fragments of
local or national history. One stanza may be quoted as a specimen of the dialect, and form of versification, which the author adopts.
Wi' dancing, sangs, and weel-tim'd daffin,
And love in youthfu' breasts was flaffing
Ancient Ballads; selected from Percy's Collection Explanatory Notes, taken from different Authors, for the Use and Entertainment of Young Persons. By a Lady. pp. 211. Price 4s. Vernor and Co. 1808.
THE object of this publicatton, which is to furnish those, who wish to
read specimens of the Ancient Ballads collected by Percy, with a Selection from which indelicate pieces are excluded, undoubtedly merits commendation. We do not think, however, that this species of ading is peculiarly adapted to improve the minds of youth, either by exalting their sentiments, expanding their conceptions, or refining their taste; and better ways unquestionably may be found of providing for their amusement. Art. XVII. The Minor Minstrel, or Poetical Pieces, chiefly Familiar and Descriptive. By W. Holloway, 12mo. pp. 182. Price 4s. bds. Suttaby, Seeley. 1809.
HUMBLE as the objects are, to which Mr. Holloway professedly as
pires, they are neither unworthy, nor easy, of attainment. To gra tify youth, and amuse general readers, by the simple delineation of Nature, and the dissemination of sentiments founded on piety, morality, and benevolence, in such a manner as not to offend the ear of Taste, is in the power of but few writers, still fewer of whom have goodness of heart or condescension enough to make the attempt. Mr. H. has in general succeeded very well, though we think the merit in some of these pieces convicts him of having aimed too low in others. One short poem it will be but fair to extract; it is intitled William the Thresher, a Sketch from Nature.'
Who owns that snug cot in the lane, that we pass, Whose flinty foundations are bedded in grass
Whose corners are guarded with fragments of rock,
From the wheels of the wain, and the waggon's rude shock? 'Tis his, who, from youth to decline of his days,
Has dwelt there, a stranger to censure or praise,
Poor William the Thresher; who forward and back
The heifer, across the green path as she lies,'
And all the day long you may hear his flail sound,
As you walk on the hill, through the woodlands around;
Save when the ripe harvest his labour demands,
Then, stripp'd, in the corn-fields he joins the gay bands;
A trifle for winter's dull season provides.
He n'er saw the city, nor often the town,
So liv'd the first swains, in the world's golden days,
Art. XVIII Pious Remains of the Rev. James Moody, late Minister of the Gospel at Warwick: consisting of Memoirs of his Life, and a Selection of his Letters; together with a few original Hymns. fcp. 8vo. pp. 223. price 4s. bds. Williams and Co. 1809.
A few sentences from the advertisement to this publication will apprize the reader of what he may expect it to furnish. • The principal part of this volume will be found to consist of familiar letters, written under the impulse of the warmest friendship, and characterized by no small degree of that ease and negligence of style, in which it is allowable to indulge when addressing near relatives or intimate acquaintance, especially when subject to the pressure of numerous and important engagements. Letters of this description, although less prepared to meet the severity of criticism, and to gratify a taste of fastidious delicacy, will probably afford both pleasure and edification to the numerous friends of the excellent and amiable man by whom they were written; since they will present a faithful transcript of his mind, and exhibit an eminent example of true piety, of diffusive benevolence, and of indefatigable zeal in the service of God. It is in compliance with the earnest desire of many who valued the ministerial labours and private friendship of the Rev. James Moody, that his mourning and affectionate widow has resolved on this publication; and if their wishes should be gratified, and their expectations answered, by this volume, no painful anxiety will be entertained as to the reception with which it may meet from the public at large,'
Some particulars of this excellent man's life and character we have already mentioned, in reviewing Mr. Burder's Sermon at his interment: (Vol. iii. p. 367.) several others are added in these Memoirs, which, however, we shall not extract, presuming that all who felt peculiarly attached to him, and who are qualified to relish the piety, affection, and good sense, of these interesting letters, will refer to the work itself. Art. XIX. The Charge delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. Alfred' Bishop, over the Independent Church at Ringwood, Hants, Sept. 1, 1808, by the Rev. John Pye Smith, D. D. together with the Introductory Address by the Rev. W. Kingsbury, A. M. and the Confession, &c. by Alfred Bishop. Published at the Request of the Church and Congregation. 8vo. pp 45. Price 1s. 6d. Conder, Williams. 1809. PUBLICATIONS of this nature are generally more adapted to interest
a particular circle of friends, than to challepge public attention or applause. This pamphlet, however, will not only serve to recall a variety of delightful feelings, salutary instructions, and momentous vows, to those who were present on the occasion to which it refers, but may justly be expected to circulate widely among others, who can duly estimate the zeal, tenderness, and candour which appear in the Address, the unaffected and judicious piety which is manifested in the Confession, and the mingled wisdom and meekness which distinguish the Charge.
The text, from which Dr. S. deduces the comprehensive and valuable advice here delivered to his pupil and friend, is I Tim. iv. 12-16; applying, as he explains it, to the following objects of attention; the preservation of personal religion; the conduct of studies; the discharge of the public ministry; and the regard due to moral character. We were much pleased with the exhortation to a diligent study of the original scriptures with the helps of enlightened criticism, and of those important controversies which are unhappily agitated among theologians. The remark with which this advice is terminated, deserves particular attention :
• But, while I would urge, with every effort in my power, the duty of FREE enquiry; suffer me, my dear brother, to remind you, that no research after divine truth can be free, if it proceed not from a mind purified from the worst of prejudices, those of a carnal and unsanctified heart; and if it be not conducted with true seriousness of spirit, with deep humility, and with fervent prayer.' p. 37, 38.
Art. XX. The Twin-Sisters; or, the Advantages of Religion. Second Edition. 12mo. pp. 208. Price 3s. Harris, 1807.
Art. XXI. The Orphan. By Eliz. Sandham, Author of the Twin-Sisters, Trifles, Juliana, Alithea Woodley, &c. 12mo. pp. 127. price 28. 6d. Harris, Longman and Co. 1808.
As long as works of fiction are admitted into the nursery, it will be of importance to give currency to those which are at least harmless in their tendency, if for no other purpose than to discountenance those which are noxious. The little tales, of which we have just copied the titles, in point of morality more than answer to the description of those which we deem worthy of encouragement; and are written with a degree of ingenuity and taste, that increases our disposition to recommend them.