« AnteriorContinuar »
man figure among the Chinese. Surely this looks like a determination to bend every thing to a certain system. We have, neverth+less, no scruple in making the ackiiou ledgment, that this second section is by far the most interesting and amusing part of the whole work. There is less elaborate display of this sort of learning, fewer of the Sesquipedalia Verba, of which the author seems in general too fond, much curious information, and many entertaining anecdotes. The notes bowever here, as elsewhere, are unnecessarily prolix, the quotations from well known books oftentimes supertluous, and the proclamations, advertisements, and gazettes, permitted to occupy too large an interval.
In the commencement of the Third Section, which describes some of the principal games of cards, we immediately distinguish the same fondness for system. Mr. Singer having reasoned himself into the belief, that as the game of chess was symbolical of war, and as cards are in all probability an extension of the pieces of that game, ergo, we may naturally expect that the earliest game of cards would be an emblem of a warlike combat.
But surely this is a most illogical deduction, and looks very like the “ stet pro ratione voluntas.” If we are not very much mistaken, many will be inclined to dispute the assumption, and many more to deny the inference. The author candidly confesses, that he has not been able to trace any vestige of this ear. liest game on the cards; and it may be contidently asserted, that in all the principal games here enumerated and described, ihere is uothing which appears to us (who indeed acknowledge our ignorance in these affairs, having not often turned up trumps) at all analogous to military warfare. Notwithstanding what is here asserted, that the introduction of the queen is attributable to French galiantry, we should be inclined to contend that the appearance of this august female personage is necessarily associated with pacific ideas. We are also disposed to consider the knave not at all of a warlike cast and character. He rather reminds us of the fool or jester of the court, who, in all the king, doms of Europe, as well as in our own, was considered as a necessary appendage of royalty. The above is not given as an opmion which is conceived to be of any material weight, but it is one, and Mr. Singer's is no more, matter of reasonable conjecture.
The games of cards, which are here described at some extent, and sometimes will more circumsan iality than seems quite necessary, will be found in the varivús books of games, and sports, and pastimes, which have at various times appeared. Large quotatious are given from Cotton's Complete Gamesle,
from VOL. VI. SEPTEMBER, 1816,
from Minsbew, Strutt, from Sir John Harrington, Rowland, and many others. Indeed the notes are very copious throughout the volume. It was rather a cause of mortification that we were not reminded of some of the favourite games of our youth, having been much delighted on former occasions with the royal game of Putt, Laugh and lay down, and, above all, with that most ingenious and fascinating game, Beggar my Neighbour. By way of moral to the whole, and to take leave of his subject with becoming gravity, Mr. Singer concludes his Third Section with the following anecdote.
• The celebrated Mr. Locke is reported to have been once in company with three distinguished noblemen, his contemporaries, the Lords Shaftesbury, Halifax, and Anglesea, who proposed cards, when Mr. Locke declined playing, saying, he would amuse himself by looking on. During the time these noblemen were at play, he was observed to bụsy himself by writing in his table book. At the conclusion of their play, Lord Anglesea's curiosity prompted him to ask Locke what he had been writing. His answer was, • in order that none of the advantages of your conversation might be lost, I have taken notes of it.' And producing his note book, it was found to be the fact. The inanity of such a collection of disjointed jargon, it is said, had the desired effect on the three noble philosophers: the reproof was not lost upon them, and cards were never again attempted to be substituted for rational conver. sation, at least in the presence of Mr. Locke."
An Appendix is subjoined, consisting of fourteen articles, chiefly extracts, elucidating, or intended to elicidate, the matter which precedes. Among others, is an extract from Cotton's Gamester, nearly to the extent of an entire sheet. Nothing occurred which particularly impressed us with the necessity of detailing the contents of these different papers.
There is one thing which will admit of no dispute: the author has produced a beautiful book: the typography is excellent: the engravings, both those on copper and those on wood, cannot be too highly commended, and they are inserted with no parsimonious restriction. The work is inscribed to Mr. Roscoe, in testimony of the highest admiration of his domestic and patriotic virtues. The former we are by no means disposed to call in question ; with respect to the second, the word patriotism has ever been, and ever will be, variously interpreted. It seems more than probable that Mr. Singer entertains a very different idea on this subject from what has been consistently and invariably avowed by the British Critic. Be this as it may, we trust, that by the extensive circulation of his work, Mr. Singer will tinally be found to have played his Cards well.
Art. VI. Lectures on the Evidences in Favour of Christid.
nity and the Doctrines of the Church of England : intended for the Use of Young Persons, and particularly as preparatory to their first purtaking of the Lord's Supper. By the Rev. Henry Walier, M. X. "Fellow of St. John's College,
Cambridge. 12mo. 158 pp. Rivingtons. 1816. AT no period in the annals of this nation has the religious edu. cation of the higher ranks been an object of more serious, nay, of more awful importance, than at the present moment. Qu the oue side, a freezing and philosophical indifference would blend truth aud Falsehood, zeal and bigotry, sense and nonsense, Scripture and infidelity, in one common mass, and by extending an affected courtesy alike to all, would pass upon all alike the sentence of contempt and condemnation.
On the other hand, fanaticisin in all its various branches is busy to inoculate even the youngest minds with its dangerous and delusive errors, and readily joins with the former enemy in undermining that Church, which is equally distant from both extremes.
Thanks to the aniniated, the laborious, and the unremitting exertions of the National Society, the poor of this nation are now educated in the principles and the practice of our pure and apostolic Church. But it is in vain that to the lower orders of this kingdom this blessing is extended, if the children of the highest be suffered to remain in a state of religious ignorance which would disgrace even a pious heathen. If these be perniitted to rise up to manhood in a state of darkness as to the first principles of the Christian religion, contented only with an atten. dance upon a formal worship, which to their uninstructed mind speaks no meaning except that of tiresome repetition, can it be wondered, that in after life they should separate themselves into the two opposite divisions of indifference and fanaticism; and that instead of becoming a support they should become a scandal to that Church in whose doctrine and discipline they ought to have been educated. It is the pride and the glory of our Church that the more minutely her articles of faith are considered, the more severely her discipline is examined, the more strictly her practice is tried by the test of Scripture and by the spirit of the Gospel, the more will her claims to our affectionate support as Christians and as men, be furthered and enlarged. Ignorance and conceit are the two great enemies with which it has ever been the lot of our Church to coutend. Most incumbent therefore is it upon all those, to whom either in private or in public the charge of the children of the higher orders is committed, first to ground their pupils in the high aud leading doctrines of Christianity, and theri
as the reasoning powers gradually expand, to point out to them the correspondence of the articles, the liturgy and the discipline of our National Church, with both the letter and the spirit of the Gospel. We cannot entertain a doubt but that in all our chief seminaries, both public and private, these great points are insisted upon with all the care and anxiety which they so imperiously demand ; that no time or exertion is spared anxiously to impress upon the rising generation Christian faith, Christian hope, and Christian practice ; that no opportunity is lost early to guard the inexperienced mind from the growing errors and absurdities of the day, and earnesily to engage its affection and love in the cause of that primitive and apostolic Church, which is founded upon the Apostles and Martyrs, Christ himself being the corner-stone.
We doubt not but that these duties have been so carefully and so continually performed, that any recommendation on our part of instruments to assist in their execution would be superiluous. If this were not the case we should earnestly recommend the volume before us, as a work peculiarly adapted to instruct the minds of our rising youth in the great and leading doctrines of their Christian profession. It is intended by it's author for the use of young persons, as preparatory to their first partaking of the Lord's Supper; being not merely as an explanation of that rite, but as containing a clear and compendious statement of the doctrines of Christianity, of the articles of our Established Church, and of the evidences on which they are to be received.
Mr. Walter has given us eight introductory lectures on the general evidences of Christianity, which are not only in themselves short, clear, and convincing, but are especially adapted to arm the mind against the attacks of infidelity in after life. We capnot give a better specimen of our author's style than that which is contained in the following extract.
“ I by no means wish to prepare you for becoming a disputant on these subjects. Presumptuousness is a fault, as well as irreligion. In all discussions, the person, who defends any system against objections started at the moment, labours under considerable disad. vantages, because his opponent chuses the ground of attack, and has probably considered and defended the same arguments before. The effect of your examining earnestly and carefully into the proofs of the truth of Religion, and being once decidedly satisfied that those proofs are correct and clear, will I trust be this,—That whatever ob. jections you may afterwards hear made to parts of Revelation, or to the Articles of your belief, you will reflect that, as truth cannot be changed, what was once proved true to your satisfaction, must remain true, notwithstanding any-perplexing arguments to the con. trary. Objections to Religion itself will have no weight with you, as long as the proofs of its truth remain unassailable.
“ You will probably understand my meaning better, if I borrow an illustration of it from the science to which you have lately begun to turn your attention. You have learnt to prove that the exterior angle formed by producing one of the sides of a triangle, is greater than either of the interior opposite angles. From superior know. ledge on this subject, and a habit of considering these properties of lines and figures, I might be able to bring forward many objections to the truth of this proposition, and to deduce many absurdițies. These objections you might not be able to answer, and the absurdities might perplex you; but still, having been once convinced that the truth of the proposition was fairly and correctly proved, you would remain convinced of its truth ; you would feel assured that, however plausible my reasoning appeared, there must be some fallacy in it; and that as long as the proof of the proposition reniained unassailable, the proposition itself must, in strictness, be so too. In the same manner, after having convinced yourself, by an attentive examination of the proof, that Christianity is true, your belief of its truth will not be staggered by partial objections. When you hear either arguments or sneers against religion, you will re. member, that what was once proved to be true must continue true; and without being obliged to call to mind all the steps of the proof by which you were convinced of its truth, you will feel satisfied that there must be some fallacy, some false reasoning in the arguments against religion, though you may not be able to detect at the moment, what that fallacy is, os what part of the reasoning is incorrect," P. 10.
We trust that these cautions, never more necessary than at the present day, will sink deep into the mind of the young reader.
We can particularly recommend to the notice of those engaged in the educatus of youth the very simple yet most convincing manner in which Nir. W. demonstrates the necessity of articles of faith, or in other words, of an Established Church. We shall give the whole lecture.
“ Having proved that the Holy Scriptures have been written under the guidance and inspiration of'the Holy Spirit, we must now carefully examine what it is, which they require us to believe. On the most disputed points, of this very important question, we are happily provided with a guide in the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England.
“ You must not expect to find either precepts or doctrines laid down in the Bible with such precision, as is attempted in human laws. The Scripture commands you to · Honour your father and mother,' leaving it to your own breast to decide, what line of con. duct is best adapted to the spirit of this Commandment. Our Saviour in the institution of that Iloiy Sacrament, of which you are about to partake, merely says; .Do this, in remembrance of me,' leaving the manner, in which it should be done, lo be regulated by the Church.