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's Rehearsal Transprosed,' appears the following ironical lament on the “doleful evils' of the press, which must serve as a sufficient specimen.
co The press hath owed him (Parker) a shame a long time, and is but now beginning to pay off the debt. The press (that villanous engine) invented much about the same time with the Reformation, hath done more mischief to the discipline of our Church than the doctrine can make amends for. It was a happy time, when all learning was in manuscript, and some little officer, like our author, did keep the keys of the library ; when the clergy needed no more knowledge than to read the liturgy, and the laity no more clerkship than to save them from hanging. But now, since printing came into the world, such is the mischief, that a man cannot write a book, but presently he is answered. Could the press but at once be conjured to obey only an imprimatur, our author might not disdaine, perhaps, to be one of its most zealous patrons. There have been wayes found out to banish ministers, to find not only the people, but even the grounds and fields where they assembled in conventicles; but no art yet could prevent these seditious meetings of letters. Two or three brawny fellows in a corner, with meer ink and elbow grease, do more harm than a hundred systematical divines, with their sweaty preaching. And, what is a strange thing, the very spunges, which one would think should rather deface and blot out the whole book, and were anciently used for that purpose, are become now the instruments to make them legible. Their ugly printing letters, which look but like so many rotten tooth-drawers; and yet these rascally operators of the press have got a trick to fasten them again in a few minutes, that they grow as firm a set, and as biting and talkative as ever. 0, printing ! how hast thou disturbed the peace of mankind! That lead, when moulded into bullets, is not so mortal as when formed into letters! There was a mistake, sure, in the story of Cadmus; and the serpent's teeth which he sowed, were nothing else but the letters which he invented. The first essay that was made towards this art, was in single characters upon iron, wherewith, of old, they stigmatized slaves and remarkable offenders; and it was of good use, sometimes, to brand a schismatic; but a bulky Dutchman diverted it quite from its first institution, and contriving those innumerable syntagmes of alphabets, hath pestered the world ever since, with the gross bodies of their German divinity. One would have thought in reason, that a Dutchman might have contented himself only with the wine-press.”' pp. 45, 46.
We have been led into writing too long an article for so small a book, but the subject must be our apology; and we have to thank Mr. Dove for the opportunity of dwelling upon the character of Andrew Marvell.
Art. V. The Christian Warfare illustrated. By the Rev. Robert
Vaughan. 8vo. pp. 410. Price 10s. 6d. London, 1832. ALTHOUGH it is not announced in the title-page, our readers A will probably be aware that the Author of this volume is the Biographer of Wycliffe, to whose pen the public are indebted also for the Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty. It is not always that laborious literary pursuits, honourable as they may be in themselves and valuable in their results, have been combined, in the Christian minister, with spirituality of mind, active zeal, and pastoral fidelity. The volume before us will shew, however, that they are not incompatible; -that secular studies do not necessarily unfit the mind for the functions of the sacred office ;--that they may not only be subordinated, but rendered subservient to the proper business of a Christian pastor. We do not imagine that Mr. Vaughan has had any idea, in putting forth this volume, of vindicating himself from the possible suspicion of his being exclusively devoted to literature or supreniely anxious for literary fame. But it is adapted to render the reputation he has acquired by his former writings still more creditable, by shewing that they have not had the effect of secularizing his mind, of alienating him from the humbler yet higher avocations of the pulpit, or of diverting the flow of his affections from their proper consecrated channel.
And we think we can perceive in the style of these theological compositions, one advantageous effect of his literary labours. They are remarkably free from the provincialisms of any theological school, although there is no appearance of any effort to deviate from customary phraseology. How is it that laymen are generally the best religious writers, the most lucid, natural, and popular? Chiefly, we imagine, because they have learned to think and to write in the language of general literature and social intercourse, before they have taken up their theological theme. Whereas the Christian church is both internally distinguished, and in some measure separated from “ those without,” by a variety of dialects, each harsh and obscure to all but those who speak it; and hence in some degree originate the chibboleths and sibboleths, the logomachies, and the mutual prejudices which divide the various schools and sections of the religious world. There is nothing so musical to some ears as a brogue; and from the same cause, perhaps,-early association,-persons are apt to become attached to the improprieties of a technical and deformed phraseology. In all ages too, and among men of all religions, there has been discovered a strong propensity to invest religion with a sacred language removed from vulgar discourse, and forbidden to all but the priests. The Sanscrit of the Brahmins, the Koran Arabic of the Moslem, the Latin of the Romish
Church, the Greek of the Slavonic churches, are each, to the vulgar of the respective communities, a veil to seclude the arcana of truth from their profane survey. The same disposition to worship the symbols of Truth, rather than Truth itself, to reverence the letter above the spirit, may be detected in the refinements of metaphysical theology and the scholastic jargon, which as effectually concealed religious truth from the uninitiated as an unknown tongue. Now human nature is still every where the same, and every general propensity is likely to manifest itself, with more or less subtlety, under all the modifications of society. Is it not, then, a possible case, that, even among Protestants, who abhor the idea of imprisoning Truth in a dead language, and who acknowledge the duty of publishing it to all, there may yet survive an unconscious fondness for a sacred dialect, of artificial construction, in which religious ideas become invested with a solemn obscurity and mystic force to the devout, while they are locked up from the rude understandings of the many ?
But the technicalities of religious phrascology, so offensive, and often so little short of incomprehensible to men of the world, while openly defended by many, are, by the greater part of those who speak the language of theology as the native medium of their thoughts, not perceived to be such. From early training, from the habit of reading books, and hearing sermons and religious conversation in the artificial phraseology which has become appropriated to religious ideas, ministers brought up within the happy but confined circle of their own connexions, and passing from the seclusion of the academy to the pulpit, are little aware that they have acquired a style of speaking and writing broadly distinguished from that of the times in which they live, and from the common medium of society. The study of the divines of the sixteenth century, so beneficial and indispensable to the young academic, so profitable to all, is necessarily attended with some disadvantage, if they are used as models of composition, and as authorities for phraseology. There is a charm in their pithiness, and quaintness, and antithesis, and wit; in their antiquated diction, once as familiar and vernacular as that which has now succeeded to it in common life; in that phraseology which was the costume of mind in past ages, but the assumption of which would now be ridiculous. It is not, however, by conversing with the dead, that we learn how to make ourselves best understood by the living. We must often learn in one language, what we must impart in another. We have to learn in the schools of the prophets, what we have to expound to the world. We may study at the feet of Gamaliel, but we have to preach at Areopagus and in the market-place. That men should not understand one another's speech, was the curse inflicted at Babel; but, while some may glory in speaking an unknown tongue, the
effect of the Pentecostal effusion was, that every man heard the truth proclaimed in his own language.
These remarks may possibly appear to some of our readers a little irrelevant or uncalled for ; but they have been suggested by the remarkable contrast that Mr. Vaughan's natural, chaste, and perspicuous diction in the present volume, forms to the broad dialects of sectarian theology. We do not refer merely to our contemporary theological literature, such as it is, but to the mass of religious publications which are continually being reprinted. There prevails just now a rage for reprinting the works of our older divines, not in library editions, for the use of the student, but in a cheap and popular form for circulation among all classes. We have two religious bookselling societies vying with each other in reviving the quaint divinity of other days. Of the style and phraseology sometimes to be met with in such works, we shall venture to give a specimen or two.
"O sirs, do not you remember that Lazarus did not fret nor fume because Dives had robes for his rags, and delicacies for his scraps ? for he well knew that though he was sine domo, yet not sine domino. .... A man were better to have a serpent tumbling up and down in his bowels, than to have envy gnawing in his soul.
Brooks's Ark for God's Noahs, p. 67. - When Jacob was all alone, and in a dark night, and upon one leg, and when his joints were out of joint, and he very much over-matched, yet then he holds God fast; he wrestles and weeps, and weeps and wrestles ; he tugs and sweats, and sweats and tugs; and will not let go his hold, till, like a prince, he had prevailed with God.' Ib. p. 146.
The grossness and impropriety of these passages will at once startle our readers; but is the following language better adapted for the popular communication of religious knowledge ?
Before I proceed to the next distribution of Christ's righteousness, I would observe three things concerning his obedience to these laws. 1. He performed that obedience to them which was in every way perfect. It was perfect with respect to the principle from which he obeyed : this was wholly right; there was no corruption in his heart. It was perfect with respect to the ends he acted for; for he never had any by-ends ..... The second distribution of the acts of Christ's obedience is with respect to the different parts of his life wherein they were performed.' &c. Edwards's Hist. of Redemption, p. 214.
We could easily multiply specimens, but it would be invidious. Our object is, not to depreciate the intrinsic value of such works, many of which may deservedly rank among the classics of theology, but to shew that, like other ancient classics, they require translation to suit them to unlearned readers. Even Howe, Owen, Gurnall, and Flavel, and other masters of our Israel, whose works never ought to be missing from a minister's library, are not
writers for the multitude, gentle or simple, polite or rude; and although we may deem theirs the very mother tongue of Theology, it is a foreign idiom to the present times.
The sermons and religious writings of the day are not, however, chargeable with the quaintness and uncouthness of the older divines. The prevailing character is a fluent and inoffensive mediocrity. Still, it is technical. The preacher or writer lives in a little circle of his own, the dialect of which he speaks; and he is not aware how obscure is his language to those of another section of society. It is true, he may mix with other men, and converse with them, and be understood by them ; but then religion is not the subject of their communication, and he speaks a common language. But his religious discourse is in another idiom. If he should find himself not understood, he has at hand a self-soothing explanation of the phenomenon: The natural ‘ man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God:—they
are spiritually discerned.' But surely there is a wide difference between not understanding things, which must be grasped by the moral perception, and not understanding words, which appeal to the rational faculties,-between not perceiving the truth of a proposition and not understanding its terms. No doubt, the state of men's hearts is the main cause of their not understanding and not believing the Gospel ; but, knowing this, we are bound to be the more careful that nothing extraneous to the Gospel itself, no obscurity or offensive peculiarity in the manner of stating its truths, shall contribute to hinder its being intelligently perceived and embraced.
With regard to preachers, however, there is this difficulty attending the attempt to speak in any but the authorized terms and phrases of the sacred language; that, to a large part of their congregation it may be, the latter has become the most familiar and intelligible, or, at least, the most impressive medium. They think they understand what is said to them in certain hallowed phrases; and they must be, and ought to be, taught, admonished, or consoled, in the style which will best fix their attention, and come home to their hearts. Yet, it might be profitable to present to them occasionally the same sentiment in both idioms; the technical and the popular or conventional. In order to this, a minister must learn in his study, to translate his own ideas into secular phraseology ; must acquaint himself with other idioms of thought than his own; must accustom himself to other sorts of composition than sermon-writing ; must cultivate literature, not for its own sake, but for its effect in enriching the mind, and as a means of polishing those intellectual weapons which are to be consecrated to the service of Divine Truth.
But we must not pursue the subject. If Mr. Vaughan's matter were not as intrinsically excellent as his style is chaste and pleas
With regarattempt to speak in an what, to a large pas