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at all, in any sense of the word belief,- What loss of all confidence, what no belief but one definable as mere theo- dreary hopelessness, is faintly conretic moonshine, which would never stand veyed in the following passage from the wind and weather of fact." p. 164. the last letter received by Thomas
Carlyle from the dying Sterling :Evidence of the struggle that was going on between a belief in the Gos “I tread the common road into the pel of our blessed Saviour, and in that great darkness, without any thought of according to Goethe, may be traced fear, and with very much of hope. Cerin the following extracts from a letter
tainty indeed I have nowe. With regard to Carlyle :
to you and me I cannot begin to write;
having nothing for it but to keep shut the “ As to reading, I have been looking lid of those secrets with all the iron at Goethe,- much as a shying horse looks weights that are in my power. Towards at a post. In truth I am afraid of him. me it is still more true than towards EngI enjoy and admire him so much, and land, that no man has been and done like feel I could easily be tempted to go along you. Heaven bless you! If I can lend with him. ...... A thoroughly, nay, you a hand when there, that will not be intensely pagan life. ....... I never wanting. It is all very strange, but not take him up without an inward check, as one hundredth part so sad as it seems to if I were trying some forbidden spell.” the standers-by." p. 33 1. p. 193.
Contrast such a letter of this chrisThe subjoined extract from a letter tian” minister with the letter of one of to his little son, affords us also further the first christian minister,-formerly melancholy proof of the knowledge his own model,-“I have fought a that was in him,- not, however, as good fight, I have finished my course, constituting the firm rock on which I have kept the faith. Henceforth he had built his house, which, as we there is laid up for me, a crown of shall see, falls when the storm comes, righteousness, which the Lord the the rains descend, and the floods rise righteous Judge shall give me at that around him.
day." How different the conclusion “ If you try to be better for all you read, to which we now arrive!“Surely it as well as wiser, you will find books a is an evil thing, and very bitter, that great help towards goodness as well as thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God.” knowledge,-and above all other books, Such was the reflection which the life the Bible; which tells us of the will of of Sterling suggests to our mind, God, and of the love of Jesus Christ to. equally applicable to the Jews of old wards God and men.”
and to Christians now Assuredly this is but meagre coun “Poor Sterling !” as his biographer sel for a christian minister to give his repeatedly apostrophises him,-aye, son. How much more hopeful, both for and “poor" Carlyle, and “poor" father and son, would have been the di- every one who has no part in the rection to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit riches of Christ, who cannot in his in implanting and perfecting repent- dying hours look to the cross of Christ, ance towards God, and faith towards and see all his sins and sorrows nailed our Lord Jesus Christ. “Poor Ster- there,--who cannot, rejoicing in jusling,"-he would have his boy, “ try tification by faith, and the sanctificato be better" by reading books. Many tion of the Holy Spirit, look up to . an unlettered saint is far better by God as his reconciled Father through the hearing of the Word alone.
the atonement of Christ. We meet with names among the John Sterling's literary labours, most intimate friends of his latter like his whole life, were desultory, time, which are now before the world discursive, few,-one novel, two or under aspects different from what three indifferent poems, and sundry evangelical Christianity points out as contributions to magazines. In all the best for the hour of death. Strauss' human attributes, most attractive, and work is often in his hands, and has its it may be said lovable, was his chareffects on his unstable mind. But we acter. If any doubt had existed on draw to the end.
the fact or the extent of scepticism in
this bright human intelligence, Tho- ceed in disguising the fact by peculimas Carlyle has now removed it; the arities and force of style.
This truth biographer has torn off all disguises, we would fain hope that the author and has exposed to view a melan- may himself yet discover, and live to choly wreck, a fearful and lasting apply his great powers of mind to the beacon, to endure so long as the writ- effecting of some degree of reparation ings of this biographer shall last for the incalculable errors fostered which, for this particular occasion, and promulgated by his writings,we fear will be longer than we could in none so openly as in this essentially have wished.
lamentable and bad book. This biography itself,--as a literary work, we may remark that it has less of the author's flagrant faults of cor MAN : his ReligioN AND HIS WORLD. rupt Germano-English than some
By the Rev. HORATIUS Bonar. other of his works; for the matter, it has in the same proportion, more than
pp. 238. London : Nisbet & Co. any work by the author, an unblush The character of the above Work ing avowal of disbelief: it expresses may be gathered from the following no avowal of belief in any thing, un passage extracted from Mr. Bonar's less it be the author's supreme con
preface :tempt of every one's opinions but his
“No minister of Christ can have had own,-a towering assumption of superiority to all creeds,-an implicit intercourse with the religious world,'
many dealings with his people, or much confidence in his own notion that all without being constrained to suspect that creeds are but forms of cant. It the shapes and phases of formalism or would seem that the bolder the scep nominalism are far more varied and subtical scorn, the less need of ambigu- tle than could at first have been believed. ous phraseology. This book is partly The false has a thousand gradations, each a contradiction of some of Carlyle's rising nearer and nearer to the true; the former writings, while it is a clearer
unreal takes on many guises so like the development of sentiments hitherto real ; the forged so resembles the authencouched in obscure verbiage; e.g. it tic; the stolen is so like that honestly
obtained ; contrasts with the
the imitated is so like the ori" Letters and
ginal; the human so like the divine ; Speeches of Cromwell;" it has a re
that whilst he soon begins to suspect the lation to “ Sartor Resartus." The hollowness and spuriousness of much admirers of Mr. Carlyle's writings that he sees, it is with exceeding difficulty have always felt perplexed to know that he can lay his finger on the exact what opinions, if any, the author re line or point of difference, and say, 'Here ally held upon religion; there can is the root of bitterness-thus and thus henceforth be little doubt upon this it has sprung up.' point. In this last production of his Mr. Bonar illustrates these remarks pen he has removed the mask, and by a very solemn anecdote, related by avowed, even claimed, his share of Krummacher :that teaching which resulted in the “ It shews how very far a man may go cheerless prospect of death that Ster- in religion, while all is hollow ; and this ling so faithfully described from his without any direct hypocrisy or wish to own feelings as the natural fruit of deceive. cold intellectual scepticism.
“. Several years ago there lived not Mr. Carlyle’s writings may have far from us a very gifted preacher, who roused many from idleness, or frivol- had, at the period of which we speak, for ity, to the manly performance of their
a considerable time, announced with worldly duties; they here, however, great energy and success the word from furnish evidence that mere earnest
the cross, and who, as we may suppose,
had his share of enemies. One of his ness in work, unless under the controul of the highest motives and prin- distaste for the truth, had long ceased to
opponents, a man of information, from a ciples, is nothing more than walking frequent the church. One Sabbath mornin a vain shadow, how completelying he thought he would once more heax soever Mr. Thomas Carlyle may suc the stern man preach. He went to churches
The preacher treated of the narrow way, In this small volume Mr. Bonar which he made neither smaller nor wider than it is made in the Word of God. nation of the different phases of re
enters upon a very searching examiDuring the sermon, the visitor thinks ligious profession, whether as exhibited within himself— How is this ?--if what in the direct opposites of character, in the man is saying be the truth, O my God, what will be the consequence ?'
which men frame and express for This thought cleaved to him. Wherever
themselves their own independent he went he heard the whisper in his notions of the things pertaining to heart— Is it truth or falsehood? At last God and His worship,--as also in the he thought of going to the preacher to slavish following of opinions and forms ask him, upon his conscience, if he was derived from mere hereditary preconvinced of the truth of what he had as- judices, the force of education, or any serted. 'Sir,' he accosts the preacher, similar unthinking principle of ac• I was one of your hearers a short time tion:since, when you preached the only way of salvation. You have disturbed my in. “ If we receive truth because our faward peace, and I cannot refrain from thers received it, ours is a hereditary asking you solemnly, before God, and creed; if we receive it because the upon your conscience, whether you can
Church has transmitted it to us, it is a prove your assertions.' The minister traditional creed ; if we receive it because replies with decisive assurance, that he of its venerable age, it is an antiquarian had spoken God's word, and consequently creed ; if we receive it because great or infallible truth. O my God!' exclaimed even good names are affixed to it, it is a his visitor, 'is it thus ? Dear sir, what man-taught creed ; if we receive it bewill become of us ?' Of us, thinks the cause reason has wrought it out and re. minister, rather startled; and repulsing commended it, it is an intellectual creed. the strange 'us' from his heart, he com In all these cases it is a human creed, mences expounding to the querist the resting upon human authority. It can doctrine of redemption, and exhorts him be traced no higher than a human source, to repentance and faith. But the latter, however true in itself. In other words, as if he had not heard a single syllable it has not been honestly come by-it has the preacher was saying, interrupts him been stolen. God Himself is the only and with increasing warmth repeats the authority we can recognise; and God anxious exclamation, ' If it is the truth, has said it' is the only resting-place for dear sir, I pray you, what shall we do ?' our faith. If it contents itself with any Terrified, the preacher staggers back. other foundation, it is either credulity or We, he thinks; what means this we? unbelief, or both together. •God hath and striving to conceal the uneasiness spoken' is the one foundation of our and confusion of his heart, he begins faith ; not our fathers held it, or our anew to explain and exhort. Tears start
church received it, or our authorised to the eyes of his visitor, and, clasping creed embodies it, or our best divines his hands like one in despair, he exclaim have maintained it, or reason has demonwith a voice that might have moved the strated it; for to believe what God has very stones, Dear sir, if it is the truth, said is one thing, and to believe it simply then we are lost !' The preacher stands because He has said it, is another. It is pale and trembling, and his speech fails quite possible to receive God's words, him. He casts his eyes to the ground, yet not to receive them solely because and then embracing his visitor, amid He has spoken them. sobs, he says, ' My friend, down into the “We do so, when, in our inquiries, we dust, and let us pray and wrestle,' They consult man before consulting Godbend their knees, they pray, they embrace when we study first and pray afterwards, each other, and the stranger departs. or when we study without prayer at all. The preacher locks himself up in his In such study much apparent progress chamber, and on the Sabbath following may be made in apprehending God's he is indisposed, and unable to appear in word;' much truth may be reached, so the pulpit. The next Sabbath is the that our orthodoxy will be unchallenge.
On the third, he appears before able even in its minutest formule, but it the congregation grief-worn and pale, will not be honestly attained it will be yet with looks of joy, and commences stolen ;' not gotten from its true Owner, his sermon with the affecting declaration but derived from man or from self, that it was only now that he also had God not being consulted in the matter, made his way through the narrow gate.'” Ah! it is not, first the study and then
the closet-but, first the closet and then has been a series of sinkings and risings,.. the study; it is not, first the commentary yet that now such vibrations are to cease, and then the Bible-but, first the Bible and the buoyancy of the world is to be and then the commentary ; it is not left unhindered to bear it upward. The first theology and then Scripture--but Divine finger, both in providence and first Scripture and then theology ; else prophecy, is pointing to a different scene. we are but purloiners of Divine truth, It shews us this mysterious purpose of not honest purchasers of Him who has Jehovah still at work, pursuing its resistsaid, “Buy the truth, and sell it not.' It less though apparently most tortuous is in fellowship with Father, Son, and course, whatever statesmen or philosoSpirit, that we must acquire our ortho. phers may plan or speculate. . It reveals doxy, and arrange our systems, and get many a winding, many an obstruction. hold of the form of sound words, and many a fearful break still in prospect, stablish ourselves in the faith. If this many a terrific descent down which our connexion be dislocated, if this order be world shall be precipitated, ere it reach reversed, then are we pursuing an un- its destined elevation and stabiiity. It lawful and unblest course ; we are steal- tells us that the world's 'worst days are ing God's words from our neighbeur not yet passed, and that, however near instead of getting them where He would morning inay be, midnight is between." have us get them, in a far truer and mor, blessed way-directly from Himself.
In these days of much and varied
religious profession, and of ceaseless Thus much for Mr. Bonar's view activity,- when men, both religious of man and his religion. Mr. Bonar and worldly, are striving, each accordin like manner accurately anatomizes ing to their several estimate of the man's view of this world, in his value of principles impregnated by thoughts of the present; his theory of Divine or fleshly wisdom, to amelioprogress; his hope of the future; and rate the condition of their fellow men, he ends with bringing all man's mise- — this short analysis by Mr. Bonar, rably poor, and at best, but limited will serve as an able auxiliary to detect views of the world, its present and its what is hollow in the personal profesfuture, in strong contrast with the sion of religion ; and what is of man, Divine verdict pronounced on all and what is of God, in the views things past, present and to come. taken of the aspect, the wants, and the
destinies of the world. “ This is the theory of the world' which Scripture in such manifold forms presents to us. God's purpose-His eternal purpose is spread out before us, THE SCRIPTURE Pocket-BooK FOR not darkly or briefly, but in detail ; and this purpose, by which all things, great
1852. Religious Tract Society. and small, are steadily regulated, is in regard to the future, manifestly a con
The Religious Tract Society have tinuation or unfolding of principles als again issued for the coming year, their ready in play, and which have been acted usual very useful Pocket-Book. It on from the beginning. Whatever view contains a very pretty, and we believe we may take of the details of that pur- a faithful and beautifully coloured pose, respecting the events of the latter frontispiece of Torquay, with its harday, it is of no small moment that we bour and surrounding heights. With should recognize a Divine purpose through the usual information of an almanack, out. -a settled, adjusted scheme of action this publication combines the peculiar and course of event,-a determinate or
features of a diary, with a good selecdering of all things, which, while it bears
tion of Scripture texts, well fitted to on unswervingly in its own fixed line, throwing aside to right and left the thou
suggest a profitable daily meditation. sand vain schemes of man, leaves no
The latter portion of this Pocketroom for the infidel to mock, and gives
Book is filled with interesting scraps no excuse to the fatalist to fold his hands. from various religious authors, both
“ Many seem to be fully persuaded in prose and poetry. The christian that the darkest days of the earth are lady will find either in this book or over, and that, though its history hitherto its elder published contemporary
“The Christian Remembrancer," a value of the whole of its contents. useful and suggestive pocket com- The book has again come under our panion for the new year.
notice, and a fresh perusal has made us desirous to record the pleasure and
profit its pages have given us. The Casket Ripled; or, Guilt and
We think it well that Dr. Cumming its Consequences. By Mrs. Best. has printed these sermons as actually 18mo, pp. 135. J. P. Shuw. delivered, without giving them “the
exact polish resulting from elaborate HISTORY OF A Family Bible. 18mo,
writing;" for, apart from that accu
racy in doctrine and statement which pp. 150. J. F. Shaw.
all public ministrations should ex
hibit, we cannot but agree with their These are two interesting little
author that these utterances from the books by the well-known authoress of
pulpit “retain, in consequence, a freethe “Tracts on the Old and New
dom and simplicity that will render Testament." Mrs. Best has in each little volume blended together in a
them more useful to the popular
mind." tale, a collection of facts, to set forth
The whole series of the Lectures real christian principle, and the only
are full of richly illustrated instrucsource of strength in the hour of
tion on the deep meaning conveyed temptation ; while in the latter volume
by the miracles of Jesus, not only in she has made the “History of a Fa
their then signification, but in their mily Bible " tell its own tale of the
bearing upon after-times. The introBook of God being “our guide in
ductory remarks on the true nature life, our solace in affliction, and our
of a miracle are particularly valua. help in adversity.” For rewards in
ble at a time when Rome is impuschools, and for our coming Christmas
dently thrusting into the light of the rewards or remembrances of love,
nineteenth century her false and either of these little books will be
ridiculous tales, to which she dares to both an acceptable and an unexcep
give and demand the same credibility tionable gift.
as the wonders which Jesus wrought.
In mentioning one of Dr. CumFORESHADOWS; or Lectures on our
ming's last works, we expressed the
fear that he was in danger of overLord's Miracles, as Earnests of the publishing, and so, satiating his readAge to Come. By the Rev. John ers; but whoever will procure and Cumming, D.D. pp. 579. A. Hall read these “ Foreshadows" will think & Co.
with us, that, while he feeds his own
congregation with such a provision In our last number we published from his almost exhaustless store, the an extract from Dr. Cumming's vo- Church at large will be much benelume on “the miracles of our Lord,” fited by the occasional publication of which gave a very fair sample of the such a volume as that before us.