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hermeneutical writers, of great value to the student. Dr. Davidson's familiarity with the German language, in addition to his classical proficiency and pious discrimination, render him a guide whom isolated students will do well to follow in the selection of their books.
Convenient indexes render the mass of information contained in the volume easily accessible; and a beautiful type commends the whole to the adoption of those for whose use the publication is primarily designed. The “Sacred Hermeneutics” was published “under the impression that such a work was needed,” and we trust that its speedy dissemination will recompense the labour and the learning expended in its production.
1. Personal Recollections. By Charlotte Elizabeth. Seeley. 1841.
8vo. pp. 367. 2. Judah's Lion. By Charlotte Elizabeth. Seeley. 1813. 12mo.
3. Second Causes, or Up and be Doing. By Charlotte Elizabeth.
Dublin : Robertson. 1843. 8vo. 4. Principalities and Powers in Heavenly Places. By Charlotte Eliza
beth. Seeley. 1842. 8vo. pp. 322. Ir Charlotte Elizabeth were now to prepare for the press a complete edition of her own works, they would occupy a space very little inferior to those of Jay and Chalmers, and would often be found on the same shelves ; differing, indeed, in not a few respects, from the writings of those great men, but furnishing a pleasing proof that pastors and professors are not the only persons whose literary offerings are devoted to the cause of Christianity. We can answer for the revered ministers to whom we have referred, and who may be regarded, perhaps, as standing at the head of two very different classes of religious writers, that they would regard the company of their gentle rival with no other emotions than those of high satisfaction, and of gratitude to Him who, when he was upon earth, made known the doctrines of his kingdom to “pious women,” as well as to “faithful men ;” and who now looks down benignly on the industrious labours of " ready writers,” whether male or female, in his service.
We are not, indeed, the admirers of all the opinions of which Charlotte Elizabeth is the zealous advocate; and, on a previous occasion, faithfulness to our views of truth has compelled the expression of our dissent, which dissent, if we proposed a lengthened critique on the volumes now before us, we should be obliged to reiterate. To say nothing about the difference between Nonconformist and Establishment principles, we differ totő cæló from our author on her Orange politics respecting Irish affairs; we do not like her unmixed censure of Romanists, and her unmingled praise of Irish Protestants; we differ from her on the subject of the second advent, and the personal reign of Christ during the millennium ; and we differ respecting the restoration of the Jews to Canaan, and, therefore, from many of the sentiments contained in “ Judah's Lion;" so that if we were in a disputatious mood, (which the female presence however prohibits,) we could easily treat our friends to as hypercritical an article as the most testy old bachelor would wish to have served up before him. But instead of acting this part, we shall, having made our protest, “ agree to differ” on the points named, and proceed, without further delay, to lead forward the friend who will furnish to our readers some of her very interesting “Personal Recollections."
We have had for some time a wish to communicate to our readers a sketch of the writer, whose numerous books, so widely circulated. have given to her a conspicuous place among Christian female authors; but we were not at that time aware of her strong dislike to be the subject of any memoir which was not drawn by her own hand.
She says, –
“ I have most distinctly intimated to all those friends who possess any letters of mine, that I shall regard it as a gross breach of confidence, a dishonourable, base, and mercenary proceeding on their part, if ever they permit a sentence addressed by me to them to pass into other hands. Indeed, to such an extent have I felt this, that for many years past I have kept some friends under a solemn pledge that, immediately after my death, they will proclaim my having so guarded my correspondence, in order, if possible, to shame the individuals from a course with regard to me which I have never been inveigled into with regard to others. Looking on epistolary communications as a trust not to be betrayed, I have invariably refused to deliver to the biographers of my departed friends any letters of theirs that I might possess :—the first application for them has always been the signal for committing the whole budget to the flames.”—pp. 2, 3.
The influence of early associations is strikingly manifested in the following passages :
“ I must remind you that my birth-place was Norwich; a fine old town, distinguished for its many antiquities, the beauty of its situation on a rising ground, interspersed with a profusion of rich gardens, and studded with churches to the number of thirty-five, including a majestic cathedral. Many years have elapsed since I last beheld it, and perhaps the march of modern improvement has so changed its features, that were I now to dwell upon my recollections of that cherished home, they would not be recognised. But I cannot forget the early impressions produced on my mind by the peculiarities of the place; nor must they be omitted here. The sphere in which it is my dearest privilege to labour, is the cause of Protestantism; and sometimes, when God has blessed my poor efforts to the deliverance of some captive out of the chains of Popish delusion, I have recalled the fact of being born just opposite the dark old gateway of that strong building, where the glorious martyrs of Mary's day were imprisoned. I have recollected that the house wherein I drew my first breath, was visible through the grated window of their prison, and a conspicuous object when its gates unfolded to deliver them to unjust judgment and a cruel death. Are any of the prayers of those glorified saints fulfilled in the poor child who was brought into the world on that particular spot, though at the distance of some ages ? The query could not be answered, but the thought has frequently cheered me on.
The stern-looking gateway, opening on St. Martin's Plain, was probably one of the very first objects traced on the retina of my infant eye, when it ranged beyond the inner walls of the nursery : and often, with tottering step, I passed beneath that arch into the splendid garden of our noble episcopal palace; and certainly, if my Protestantism may not be traced to that locality, my taste may."-pp. 5, 6.
And after speaking of the temporary blindness produced by too much reading, she says, –
" This was a grievous blow to my tender parents : the eclipse was so complete that I could not tell whether it was midnight or midnoon, so far as perception of light was concerned, and the case seemed hopeless. It was, however, among the all things' that God causes to work together for good, while Satan eagerly seeks to use them for evil. It checked my inordinate desire for mere acquirements, which I believe to be a bad tendency, particularly in a female, while it threw me more upon my own resources, such as they were, and gave me a keen relish for the highly intellectual conversation that always prevailed in our home. My father delighted in the society of literary men: and he was himself of a turn so argumentative, so overflowing with rich conversation, so decided in his political views, so alive to passing events, so devotedly and so proudly the Englishman, that with such associates as he gathered about him at his own fireside, I don't see how the little blind girl, whose face was ever turned up towards the unseen speaker, and whose mind opened to every passing remark, could avoid becoming a thinker, a reasoner, a tory, and a patriot.”pp. 10, 11.
“* About this time, when my sight, after a few months' privation, was fully restored, I first imbibed the strength of Protestantism as deeply as it can be imbibed apart from spiritual understanding. Norwich was infamously conspicuous in persecuting unto death the saints of the Most High, under the sanguinary despotism of popish Mary; and the spot where they suffered, called the Lollards' Pit, lies just outside the town, over Bishop's Bridge, having a circular excavation against the side of Moushold Hill. This, at least to within a year or two ago, was kept distinct, an opening by the road-side. My father often took us to walk in that direction, and pointed out the pit, and told us that there Mary burnt good people alive for refusing to worship wooden images. I was horror-stricken, and asked many questions, to which he did not always reply so fully as I wished ; and one day, having to go out while I was inquiring, he said, “I don't think you can read a word of this book, but you may look at the pictures : it is all about the martyrs.' So saying, he placed on a chair, the old folio of Foxe's Acts and Monuments, in venerable black letter, and left me to examine it.
" Hours passed, and still found me bending over, or rather leaning against that magic book. I could not, it is true, decipher the black letter ; but I found some examinations in Roman type, and devoured them; while every wood-cut was examined with aching eyes and a palpitating heart. Assuredly I took in more of the spirit of John Foxe, even by that imperfect mode of acquaintance, than many do by reading his book through ; and when my father next found me, at what became my darling study, I looked up at him with burning cheeks, and asked, “Papa, may I be a martyr?'”—pp. 13, 14.
The following fact and the reflections to which it gave rise, show how the mind of Charlotte' was engaged respecting the all-important subject of personal religion at an early period, and furnish us with as good a plea as we could desire, for our condemnation of the Church Catechism :
" I must frankly confess that, accustomed as I always was to analyse the meaning of every thing I studied, a passage in the catechism which we punctually repeated every Sunday, proved a great snare to me. I, of course, felt bound to receive it all as unquestionably correct in doctrine ; and at the same time I took it according to the plain, literal signification of the words. In this frame of mind, I recited weekly the declaration, “I believe in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God. Now I knew what sanctification meant, I knew that the elect people of God were those who should be saved; I knew that to say . He sanctifieth me,' was the same as to say “I am sanctified by him :' and I knew, that according to the obvious sense of the passage, I was numbering myself with that elect people. Many an alarming inquiry, which if followed up by a prayerful appeal to the Bible, might have led me then to Jesus, was effectually stifled by this misconception. I know that the clause can be explained so as to do away with this wrong inference; but I cannot help lamenting that expressions put into the mouths of children as a confession of faith, should be left liable to any such misconstruction. My attachment to the established church of England is warm and sincere : it has, as the sequel will show, withstood many assaults, and increased in proportion as it was assailed; but its formularies, however excellent, are the work of fallible man, therefore imperfect and open to improvement; and this little word .me' in the clause alluded to, is a most mischievous misleader.”—pp. 38, 39.
It will be seen by the next passage, that our author had a dash of the heroine in her nature ; that her history had been greatly diversified, and that, under all circumstances, “kindness goes a great way.”
“While at Annapolis and at Windsor, I had a horse provided for me of rare beauty and grace, but a perfect Bucephalus in her way. She was only two generations removed from a splendid Arabian, given by the good old king to the Duke of Kent, when H. R. H. went out in command to Nova Scotia. This creature was not three years old, and, to all appearance, unbroke. Her manners were those of a kid rather than of a horse : she was of a lovely dappled grey, with mane and tail of silver, the latter almost sweeping the ground; and in her frolicsome gambols she turned it over her back like that of a Newfoundland dog. Her slow step was a bound; her swift motion unlike that of any other animal I ever rode, so fleet, so smooth, so unruffled -I know nothing to which I can compare it. Well, I made this lovely creature so fond of me by constant petting, to which I suppose her Arab character made her peculiarly sensitive, that my voice had equal power over her as over my docile, faithful dog. No other person could in the slightest degree control her : our corps, the 7th battalion of the 60th Rifles, was composed wholly of the élite of Napoleon's soldiers, taken in the Peninsula, and preferring the British service to a prison. They were principally conscripts, and many were evidently of a higher class in society than is usually found in the ranks. Among them were several Chasseurs and Polish Lancers, very fine equestrians; and as my husband had a Field Officer's command (on detachments) and allowances, our horses were well looked after. His groom was a Chasseur; mine, a Pole; but neither could ride Fairy, unless she happened to be in a very gracious mood. Lord Dalhousie’s English coachman afterwards tried his hand at taming her, but all in vain. In an easy quiet way, she either sent her rider over her head, or hy a laughable manæuvre, sitting down like a dog on her haunches, slipped him off the other way. Her drollery made the poor men so fond of her that she was rarely chastised ; and such a wilful, intractable wild Arab it would be hard to find. Upon her I was daily mounted ; and surely the Lord watched over me then indeed! Inexperienced in riding, untaught, unassisted, and wholly unable to lay any check upon so powerful an animal, with an awkward country saddle, which, by some fatality was never well fixed, bit and bridle to match, and the mare's natural fire increased by high feed, behold me bound for the wildest parts in the wildest regions of that wild country! But you must explore the roads about Annapolis, and the romantic spot called “The General's Bridge,' to imagine either the enjoyment or the perils of that my happiest hour. Reckless to the last degree of desperation, I threw myself entirely on the fond attachment of the noble creature; and when I saw her measuring with her eye some rugged fence or wild chasm, such as it was her common sport to leap over in her play, the soft word of remonstrance that checked her, was uttered more from regard to her safety than my own. The least whisper, a pat on the neck, or a stroke down the beautiful face that she used to throw up towards mine, would control her ; and never for a moment did she endanger me. This was little short of a daily miracle when we consider the nature of the country, her character, and my unskilfulness. It can only be accounted for on the ground of that wondrous power which, having willed me to work for a time in the vineyard of the Lord, rendered me immortal until the work should be done. Oh that my soul, and all that is within me, could sufficiently bless the Lord, and remember all his benefits !"-pp. 85—7.
The scene of these triumphs was Nova Scotia, whither Mrs. Phelan had accompanied her husband, and where she spent two years. Had we space, we should be glad to copy her interesting remarks on that country; but we must follow her to Ireland, where she first became acquainted with the Gospel, and for the spiritual welfare of whose population she is more ardently desirous, as indeed she had been and is still most laborious.
Soon after she went to Ireland, she says, –
" It was then that I came to the resolution of being a perfect devotee in religion : I thought myself marvellously good; but something of a monastic mania seized me. I determined to emulate the recluses, of whom I had often read; to become a sort of Protestant nun; and to fancy my garden, with its high stone walls, and little thicket of apple-trees, a convent enclosure. I also settled it with myself to pray three or four times every day, instead of twice; and, with great alacrity, entered upon this new routine of devotion. Accordingly I went to work, transcribed all the commands that I felt myself most in the habit of neglecting, and pinned up a dozen or two of texts round my room. It required no small effort to enter this apartment and walk round it, reading my mementoes. That active schoolmaster, the law, had got me fairly under his rod, and dreadful were the writhings of the convicted culprit! I soon, however, took down my texts, fearing lest any one else might see them, and, not knowing they were for myself, be exasperated. I then made a little book, wrote down a list of offences, and commenced making a dot over against each, whenever I detected myself in the commission of one. I had become very watchful over my thoughts, and was honest in recording all evil; so my book became a mass of black dots; and the reflection that occurred to me of omissions being sins too, completed the panic of my mind. I flung away my book into the fire, and myself into an abyss of gloomy despair. Hitherto I had never known a day's illness