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John Belfield, and meeting with a himself very freely in the matter.great variety of modish females, whose He requests that a month might pass, characters are particularly delineated, before his daughter was pointedly adand after being introduced to a clergy- dressed upon the subject, during which man, who becomes a principal person period he wishes his young in the narrative, being the rector of continue at the Grove, and to take the parish in which Mr Stanley lives, part in the exercises of the family; no and from whom Cælebs receives a full doubt, that an opportunity might be account of the engaging family at Stan- afforded for ascertaining whether the ley Grove; he repairs thither, and is attachment which had been declared received with all the kindness and af- by the one party was returned by the fection which could possibly be shewn other. The rest of the book is chiefto the son of a much valued and de- ly occupied with an account of the parted friend. Mr Stanley's family principal occurrences of this momenconsisted of his lady and six engaging tous period, during which, Sir John daughters, and really the account Belfield and his lady arrive at the which is given of the inhabitants, and Grove, and become prominent characthe whole domestic economy of the ters in the history; and the reader is Grove, is so very pleasing and attrac- also introduced to several of the neightive, that well, we think, might good bouring gentry, who furnish the opold Edwards exclaim to his master, portunity of a great deal of conversa“Sir, we are got into the right house tion on many most important subjects. at last.” Lucilla, the eldest of the At length, the eclaircissement is Misses Stanley, soon becomes the he. brought about by a very natural and roine of the story, an event by no interesting circumstance, and is cermeans to be wondered at, when all the tainly made with much delicacy and circumstances of the case are taken in- propriety. It is almost unnecesary to to consideration. This young lady add, that matters are soon agreeably seems to have united in her person so arranged, and the wedding,—that many natural good qualities and solid constant consummation of every good attainments, so much genuine sense story,—is appointed to take place, but and valuable information, so much e- ' not until after three long, tedious legance and gentleness, together with months. This last circumstance is the a piety and benevolence, which doub- only one, during the whole narrative, ly enhanced all her other properties, which can occasion a single uneasy that every right-hearted young man, feeling to the mind of the reader, and we are persuaded, must have entered after all, we think every Colebs will with a lively interest into the acknow- be weil off, if he obtain bis Lucilia ledgment which Calebs is compel- with as little seeming difficulty as our led to make, that “ before he was a hero did. a week at the Grove, his precautions A circumstance comes out towards “ had vanished, his panoply was gone, the conclusion, which fully explains “ and yet he had not consulted Mr the meaning of the injunction which “ Stanley." The deepimpression, how- had been laid upon Cælebs by his faever, which had been produced upon ther, that he should not make his his mind, soon impels him to make Mr choice, until Mr Stanley had been Stanley acquainted with the state of his consulted. These two gentlemen had affections. This declaration is receiv. been long and intimately attached, and ed evidently with feelings of pleasure in one of those sacred hours which and approbation, although Mr Stanley friends such as these sometimes spend seems to have considered it most pru- in the society of each other,--hours, dent at the time to decline expressing in which the heart opens, enlarges and
expands into all the expressions of af- feelings somewhat of a different kind. fection and esteem ; when every thing They, on the other side, expected to like fear or suspicion, every thing like be gratified with an entertaining no. restraint or reserve is chased away by vel; instead of which, they aver, that the overruling presence of unbounded they meet with little else than religion confidence ;-hours, of which they on- from beginning to end, at least, that ly know something who have enjoyed the alternate chapters are nothing but the pure satisfaction which they af- a tedious course of theological discus: ford; in one of these seasons, and e- sions. We stay not at present to conven while Miss Stanley was yet in in- sider the opinions of this description fancy, the idea had occurred to them, of men, with whose slashing mode of that the day might arrive, in which procedure we are certainly, however, their families might become allied to not more disposed to quarrel, than with each other, by the union of their child- the practice of those individuals, (and
Without allowing such a pro- the number of them is by no means spect as this, which was dependant 11- small, especially in the female world,) pon so many events, over which they who have adopted the system of being could have no controul, to take too fast well pleased with every thing that a hold of their minds, it still appears they meet with, be it good, or bad, or to have been cherished with much indifferent ; who have not, therefore, fondness by the parents : nor do the a single fault to find with the present young people seem to have been less publication, and who can include in delighted when it was made known to one short sentence the fullest characthem. So very interesting a circum- ter which they find it possible to give stance indeed as this, could not fail to of it. We have but little patience for give a double relish to that happiness, this summary "manner of going to which had been so liberally poured work, because we have an idea, that into their lot. The marriage would it betrays either the existence of a take place towards the close of last weak and insipid mind, or the prevayear, so that we rejoice in the thought, lence of an inattentive and indolent hathat this young pair are now in the bit of reading. For our part, therefull enjoyment of conjugal and domes- fore, we would have all the readers of tic felicity at the Priory.
work to enter a little more Amongst the various classes of meri, particularly into the substance of it, whose curiosity has been drawn to this to institute a strict and scrupulous enwork, there are some, who seem to quiry into the different principles have been agreeably disappointed by which it contains ; and to form an esthe perusal of it. From the title un- timate for themselves, of the value of der which it appears at first, they were
those remarks, with which they will led to conjecture, that it was nothing here meet, on the important subjects better than another of those soft, sense- which it professes to discuss, the reless, and effeminate romances, which are marks on human character, on female so instrumental, thro' the medium of education, on personal accomplishthe circulating library, in perverting ments, and on domestic management. the morals and the taste of the rising And we would even have them to generation. Instead of this, they have find as much fault as they please, profound it to contain an illustration of vided they do not exercise this liberty certain rules for the regulation of hu- at random, and are equally disposed, man opinions and conduct, incorpora. on the other hand, to profit by what ted with a very interesting story.. they cannot but approve, by permitThere are others again, who have ting it to obtain a just influence over been cqually disappointed, but with their minds. If the book be exami
ned in this manner, we venture to say, consent to gild the pill for every patient that it will in general be productive who refuses to receive it in its simple of very essential benefit to the world. state. In plain language, we desire to
From these hints to the readers, we give the author of the present work shall now turn to the work itself, and full credit for the motive with which to the author of it, and shall proceed to we conceive it to have been understate the opinion which we have form- taken; that of introducing into circles, ed with regard to both.
where probably it never would otherThere is no expedient, perhaps, to wise have found its way, a fair, cana which authors have recourse, in order did, and complete view of some of the to draw the attention of mankind to most important truths of Christianity, their works, which in general is more and of the influence which they have likely to be successful, than that of upon the happiness of human beings, ushering them into the world, under when they become the great and leada quaint and fanciful title. This cir- ing principles of their daily conduct. cumstance, however, it must be con- At the same tine, it is necessary to fessed, is in general a suspicious syny)- qualify in some respects this general toin. At first sight, it seems some- opinion. We fear that the plan of what to resemble those sly paragraphs mixing up religion with materials, with in our newspapers, (of which we have which, in the minds of the majority of of late been gratified with a plentiful readers, it will be found difficult to variety,) where the curiosity of the make it coalesce, is an experiment atunsuspecting reader is excited by some tended with considerable hazard. remarkable fact or some striking ob- Not that these materials and the prinservation which appears in limine, but ciples of religion are at all incongruous which only serves to carry him pre. in themselves; not that many indivisipitately into the heart of a lottery duals may not derive benefit from juggle.
their being interwoven with each oVery different, however, is the case ther in a narrative of this kind ; but with the work now under review, al- what we are afraid of is this, that a though it is certainly presented to work such as the present, being genethe public somewhat in disguise. In- rally considered altogether as a comstead of being a wily bait to catch and mon-place book, and passing through to destroy, it is in reality a wholesome the hands of the public merely as and salutary panacea, the plain ingre- rart of their light reading, the chadients of which the taste of most men racter of those great truths of Chrismight not probably be brought to re- tianity, which are here brought into lish, until it has been mixed up with view, may be considerably injured. other materials, which render it more Granted as it must be, that many inpleasant to the palate, without dimi- dividuals will naturally be led to read nishing its virtue. We mean not in- the book from 'motives far removed deed to say, that its efficacy will be from those of a serious cast; and supfelt in the experience of all to whom posing for the sake of example, that it is administered. There are certain not a few young persons will be impelconstitutions so much damaged, as to led to the perusal, from hearing that be proof against all medicine. There it contains the account of an interestare some diseases, to which there is no ing courtship ; is there not some risk, antidote whatever. Still, however, it we would ask, that these religious is the duty of a faithful physician to
truths will be bandied about amongst do his utmost for a suffering world, them in a manner which but ill acand when contending against the cords with their solemn and important power of a dangerous epidemic, he must nature? If we may be allowed to use
a homely Scots phrase, which com- between this and her former publicapletely expresses our meaning, we tions, both with respect to its compowould say, that we are jealous of re- sition and substance. Her style of ligion being thus made a bauchle of, writing possesses a peculiar union of cothat is, according to the learned lexi- piousness and conciseness, with which cographer of our ancient language, we have long ago been struck. She
so frequently and familiarly used, as has a certain short nervous manner of " to shew that men have no respect expressing her thoughts; a sententious 66 for it."
and energetic way of contrasting the There are certain feelings of solemn opposite qualities of objects, so as and devout reverence with which all most fully to describe their peculiar religious concerns ought ever to be nature. Even in her poetry this chaconnected, and from which it is of pe- racteristic is retained. * But our ideas culiar importance that they should on will perhaps be better understood by no occasion be separated in the young a few examples. The following are mind. Nox is this a doctrine which fair specimens of the style of writing we consider it unimportant to inculcate to which we have alluded:a. in the present day, and in this country, where Christian knowledge is per- influence me to act, as well as proofs
“ I wanted examples which should haps more generally circulated than in any other nation in the world, but which should incline me to believe ; where we have innumerable opportu
something which would teach me what
to do, as well as what to think. I nities of seeing religion treated as if it wanted exemplifications as well as prewere altogether a matter of ordinary cepts. I wanted from beholding the efinterest, with far less respect at least fect to refer back to the principles. I than is its due.
wanted arguments more palpable, and Let it be remembered, however,
less theoretic.” that the effect which we have now
“My former friends and acquaintance
had been decent and regular; but they described, and which we shall exceed- had adopted religion as a form, and nor ingly deprecate, if it shall in any case
as a principle. It was compliance, and result from this publication, is by no not conviction. It was conformity to means a necessary one. It is in the custom, and not the persuasion of the power of every reader to guard him. heart." self against it ; and these observations Again," Economists of a higher class perhaps may not, in this view, be al- execute the well ordered plan as an in
dispensable duty, but not as a superlatogether without their use.
tive merit. They have too much sense The present work being presented to omit it, but they have too much to the public in an anonymous shape, taste to talk of it. It is their business, their curiosity has naturally been not their boast. The effect is produced, much excited with regard to the au- but the hand which accomplishes it is
The mechanism is set at thor. They will certainly not be not seen. dissappointed to understand that it is work, but it is behind the scenes.now acknowledged to be the produc- The beauty is visible, the labour is kept
. tion of Mrs Hannah More,-a name already well known in the republic of In like manner, the. Antinomian's letters. There are indeed various account of Dr Barlow : « He means circumstances which had led us in our well, but knows little. He sees someown minds, to ascribe the work to thing, but feels nothing. -Mort erthis excellent lady, previous to the a- gument than unction. Too much reavowal which has been made upon the soning, and too little religion; a little şubject. In the first place, there are light and no heat.”. fertain striking features of resemblance In the following instance, however,
we are afraid the author has outdone man, and of the evil nature of sin. herself. It exhibits a specimen of They have both somewhat more plauplethoretic conciseness, which is almost sibility than principle, and are rather surfeiting :
concerned to maintain an exterior de
cency and propriety of conduct, than “ Poetry has of late too much dege to acquaint themselves intimately with nerated into personal satire, persiflage, the doctrine of Scripture. They apand caricature, among one class of wri. ters ; while among another, it has exhi. pear both desirous of keeping measures bited the vagrancies of genius without with certain fashionable prejudices the inspiratiop; the exuberance of which they had imbibed; and altho' fancy without the curb of judgment; neither of them would upon any acand the eccentricities of invention with count be considered the enemy of reout the restrictions of taste. The image ligion, yet it would seem, that they has been strained while the verse has been slackened.
were frequently iņ circles where they We have had pleo. nasm without fullness, and facility with could not keep from thinking that it out force. Redundancy has been mis. made both their good sense questiontaken for plenitude, fimsiness for ease, able, and their good breeding too, if and distortion for energy. An over-de. they appeared boldly to stand up in sire of being natural has made the poet its defence. In like manner, altho' feeble, and the rage for being simple they wish to preserve an unblemished sensibility is sickly, and the elevation reputation, yet both seem to be a lit
tle more afraid of receiving a strictly vertiginous."
religious character from the world, Independent, however, of the simi: than of any of the vices which go to larity perceptible in the style, there constitute a profligate one. will also be found in Cælebs' many In the same manner, Mrs Ranby of unequivocal proofs of the same exten- 1809, seems to be only Theodosia of sive knowledge, and sound sense; of the 1803, pretty exactly personified. The same refined taste and unaffected pi- one has a peculiar phraseology; so ety, and of the same discrimination of has the other.
6 leans to character, which most of Mrs More's mysticism, and is in quest of transports other writings display. But this is and supernatural impressions." The not all.
other “ holds those as unworthy of her Some years ago, there appeared in intercourse, who cannot catch at a cera religious magazine, published month- tain mystic meaning, who do not fully in London, a series of papers under ly conceive of impressions, and cannot the title of Modern Characters'. It respond to mysterious communicais long since we were led to admire tions." They were fond of the same these descriptions, and we have lately parts of Scripture, and had an equal understood that they were from the aversion at all public amusements.-pen of Mrs More.
In this opinion Cælebs was considered by Mrs R. we are now confirmed, as we have an '" to have but low views of divine idea, that several of the characters in- things," and her husband, she remarktroduced into the present work are ed, was unacquainted with religious just those which' were so well pour- feelings, and knew little of the nature trayed in the Christian Observer, repre- of conversion.” Just in the same sented more exactly to the life. Thus way Theodosia professsed to have little the history of Lady Belfield seems to respect for Eusebia, on account of her develope a character, which is very seeming to be so very ignorant on nearly the Amanda described in the these subjects. Another striking cirObserver. The fundamental want of cumstance in which these ladies ah is a just view of the depravity of gree may also be mentioned. Theos