Imágenes de páginas

without its destruction having been, either just penally, or necessary, because it could not any longer answer its proper purposes. And this ripeness for destruction is the sure consequence of Toryism and Conservatism, or of that base system which joins the hand of a reformer to the heart of a Tory, reforms not upon principle, but upon clamor; and therefore both changes amiss, and preserves amiss, alike blind and low principled in what it gives and what it withholds. And therefore I would oppose to the utmost any government predominantly Tory, much more one exclusively Tory, and most of all a government at once exclusively Tory in heart, and in word and action simulating reform.


To T. S. Pasley, Bart.-1836.

The Popish and Oxford view of Christianity is, that the church is the mediator between God and the individual: that the church (i. e. in their sense, the clergy) is a sort of chartered corporation, and that by belonging to this corporation, or by being attached to it, any given individual acquires such and such privileges. This is a priestcraft, because it lays the stress, not on the relations of a man's heart toward God and Christ, as the gospel does, but on something wholly artificial and formal,-his belonging to a certain so-called society and thus,-whether the society be alive or dead,-whether it really help the man in goodness or not,-still it claims to step in and interpose itself as the channel of grace and salvation, when it certainly is not the channel of salvation, because it is visibly and notoriously no sure channel of grace. Whereas, all who go straight to Christ, without thinking of the church, do manifestly and visibly receive grace, and have the seal of His Spirit, and therefore are certainly heirs of salvation. This, I think, applies to any and every church, it being always true that the salvation of a man's soul is effected by the change in his heart and life, wrought by Christ's Spirit; and that his relation to any church is quite a thing subordinate and secondary although, where the church is what it should be, it is so great a means of grace, that its benefits are of the highest value. But the heraldic or succession view of the question I can hardly treat gravely there is something so monstrously profane in making our heavenly inheritance like an earthly estate, to which our pedigree is our title. And really, what is called succession, is exactly a pedigree, and nothing better; like natural descent, it conveys no moral nobleness-nay, far less than natural descent; for I am a believer in some transmitted virtue in a good breed, but the succession notoriously conveys none. So that to lay stress upon it, is to make the Christian church worse, I think, than the Jewish but the sons

of God are not to be born of bloods, (i. e. of particular races,) nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (i. e. after any human desire to make out an outward and formal title of inheritance,) but of God, (i. e. of Him who can alone give the only true title to His inheritance, the being conformed unto the image of his Son.) I have written all this in haste as to the expression, but not at all in haste as to the matter of it. But the simple point is this: does our Lord, or do his apostles, encourage the notion of salvation through the church? or would any human being ever collect such a notion from the Scriptures? Once begin with tradition, and the so-called Fathers, and you get, no doubt, a very different view. This the Romanists and the Oxfordists say is a view required to modify and add to that of the Scripture. I believe that, because it does modify, add to, and wholly alter the view of the Scripture, it is therefore altogether false and anti-christian.


To J. C. Platt, Esq.-1836.

There never was such folly as talking about a reform in the House of Lords, when it is very doubtful whether, if Parliament were dissolved, the Tories would not gain a majority even in the House of Commons. It is nonsense to talk of its being a struggle between the aristocracy and the people; if it were so, it would be over in a week, provided they mean by the aristocracy the House of Lords. It is really a great contest between the adherents of two great principles, that of preserving, and that of improving; and he must have studied history to very little purpose, who does not know that in common circumstances the former party is always the most numerous and the strongest. It gets occasionally overpowered, when it has had rope enough given it to hang itself; that is, when it has carried its favorite Conservatism to such a height, that the mass of unreformed evil becomes unendurable, and then there comes a grand reform. But that grand reform once effected, the conservative instinct again regains its ascendency, and goes on upon another lease; and so it will ever do, unless some rare circumstances enable a thoroughly enlightened government to remain long in power; and as such a government cannot rely on being popular,-for reform of evil in the abstract is gall and wormwood alike to men's indolence, and love of what they are used to, as to their propensities for jobbing,so it is only accident or despotism that can keep it on its legs. This is the secret of the Tory reaction; because men are all Tories by nature, when they are tolerably well off, and it is only some monstrous injustice or insult to themselves, or some atrocious cruelty, or some great reverses of fortune, that ever make them


To H. Balston, Esq.-1839.

Another point to which I attach much importance is liveliness. This seems to me an essential condition of sympathy with creatures so lively as boys are naturally, and it is a great matter to make them understand that liveliness is not folly or thoughtlessness. Now I think the prevailing manner among many valuable men at Oxford is the very opposite to liveliness; and I think that this is the case partly with yourself; not at all from affectation, but from natural temper, encouraged, perhaps, rather than checked, by a belief that it is right and becoming. But this appears to me to be in point of manner the great difference between a clergyman with a parish and a schoolmaster. It is an illustration of St. Paul's rule, "Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.' A clergyman's intercourse is very much with the sick and the poor, where liveliness would be greatly misplaced; but a schoolmaster's is with the young, the strong, and the happy, and he cannot get on with them unless in animal spirits he can sympathize with them, and show them that his thoughtfulness is not connected with selfishness and weakness.


To Mr. Justice Coleridge-1836.

I have left off reading our divines, because, as Pascal said of the Jesuits, if I had spent my time in reading them fully, I should have read a great many very indifferent books. I never yet found one of them who was above mediocrity. But if I could find a great man among them, I would read him thankfully and earnestly. As it is, I hold John Bunyan to have been a man of incomparably greater genius than any of them, and to have given a far truer and more edifying picture of Christianity. His Pilgrim's Progress seems to be a complete reflection of Scripture, with none of the rubbish of the theologians mixed up with it. I think that Milton,-in his "Reformation in England," or in one of his "Tracts," I forget which, treats the church writers of his time, and their show of learning, utterly uncritical as it was, with the feeling which they deserved.

1 His admiration of the Pilgrim's Progress was very great:-"I cannot trust myself." he used to say, "to read the account of Christian going up to the Celestial gate, after his pas sage through the river of Death." And when, in one of the foreign tours of his later years, he had read it through again, after a long interval, "I have always," he said, "been struck by its piety; I am now struck equally, or even more, by its profound wisdom.”


To W. Leaper Newton, Esq.-1840.

It is with the most sincere regret that I feel myself unable to give an unqualified support to the resolution which you propose to bring forward at the next general meeting of the proprietors of the North Midland Railway Company.

Of course, if I held the Jewish law of the Sabbath to be binding upon us, the question would not be one of degree, but I should wish to stop all travelling on Sundays as in itself unlawful. But holding that the Christian Lord's Day is a very different thing from the Sabbath, and to be observed in a different manner, the question of Sunday travelling is, in my mind, quite one of degree; and while I entirely think that the trains which travel on that day should be very much fewer on every account, yet I could not consent to suspend all travelling on a great line of communication for twenty-four hours, especially as the creation of railways necessarily puts an end to other conveyances in the same direction; and if the trains do not travel, a poor man, who could not post, might find it impossible to get on at all. But I would cheerfully support you in voting that only a single train each way should travel on the Sunday, which would surely enable the clerks, porters, &c., at every station, to have the greatest part of every Sunday at their own disposal. Nay, I would gladly subscribe individually to a fund for obtaining additional help on the Sunday, so that the work might fall still lighter on each individual employed. * *

I believe that it is generally agreed among Christians that the Jewish law, so far as it was Jewish and not moral, is at an end; and it is assuming the whole point at issue to assume that the Ten Commandments are all moral. If that were so, it seems to me quite certain that the Sabbath would have been kept on its own proper day; for, if the commandments were still binding, I do not see where would be the power to make any alteration in its enactments. * * I should prefer greatly diminishing public travelling on the Sunday to stopping it altogether; as this seems to me to correspond better with the Christian observance of the Lord's Day, which, while most properly making rest from ordinary occupation the general rule, yet does not regard it as a thing of absolute necessity, but to be waived on weighty grounds. And surely many very weighty reasons for occasionally moving from place to place on a Sunday are occurring constantly. But if the only alternative be between stopping the trains on our railway altogether, or having them go frequently, as on other days, I cannot hesitate for an instant which side to take. * *

The main question is, whether that rest, on which the commandment lays such exclusive stress, is really the essence of the Chris

tian Sunday. That it should be a day of greater leisure than other days, and of the suspension, so far as may be, of the common business of life, I quite allow; but then I believe that I should have much greater indulgence for recreation on a Sunday than you might have; and, if the railway enables the people in the great towns to get out into the country on the Sunday, I should think it a very great good. I confess that I would rather have one train going on a Sunday than none at all; and I cannot conceive that this would seriously interfere with any of the company's servants; it would not be as much work as all domestic servants have every Sunday in almost every house in the country. At the same time, I should be most anxious to mark the day decidedly from other days; and I think that one train up and down would abundantly answer all good purposes, and that more would be objectionable. * * I am really sorry that I cannot go along with you more completely. At any rate, I cannot but rejoice in the correspondence with you to which this question has given occasion. Differences of opinion give me but little concern; but it is a real pleasure to be brought into communication with any man who is in earnest, and who really looks to God's will as his standard of right and wrong, and judges of actions according to their greater or less conformity.


ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, a happy imitator of the old Scottish ballads, and a man of various talents, was the son of humble parents, and was born at Blackwood, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, December 7, 1784; and, after having received an ordinary school-education, he was apprenticed to a stone-mason, and for some years followed that business. But, growing weary of this, in 1810 he removed to London, and connected himself with the newspaper press. In 1814, he was selected by Sir Francis Chantry as a superintendent and assistant in his studio, and it is thought that that eminent sculptor is indebted to Cunningham for the marks of imagination and fancy that appear in his works. He continued in the establishment of Chantry, and at the same time constantly employing his indefatigable pen, till his death, which took place on the 29th of October, 1842.

Allan Cunningham was a most industrious writer,' and all his works, whether of prose or poetry, are instructive and pleasing in an unusual degree. He evi

The following works are from the prolific pen of Cunningham:-" Gallery of Pictures,” 2 vols.; "Lives of Painters, Sculptors, &c.," 6 vols.; "Lord Roldan, a Romance," 3 vols.; "Maid of Elvar, a Poem" "Faul Jones, a Romance." 3 vols.; "Songs of Scotland," 4 vols; "Traditionary Tales of the Peasantry," 2 vols.; "Sir Michael Scott, a Romance," 3 vols.; "Sir M. Maxwell, and other l'oems;" "Life of Burns," &c.

« AnteriorContinuar »