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that it has no necessary connection with arrogance of character. But however that may be, teachers, no doubt, will arise among us. This most sensitive nerve has been touched, and already I have had the pleasure of two communications on the subject of religious instruction ; both from strangers.
• One of them, who dates from New Jersey, writes as follows. “ I have read your notes on a journey from the coast of Virginia to “ the Illinois territory; and I sincerely wish you success in every “ laudable undertaking. The religion of Jesus Christ, disentangled “ from the embarrassments of every sect and party, I hope you will
encourage to the utmost of your power and abilities. In the “ genuine, uncorrupted, native, and pure spring of the Gospel, you “ view the world as your country, and every man as your brother. " In that you will find the best security and guarantee of virtue and “ good morals, and the main spring of civil and religious liberty," “ &c. &c.-As this gentleman's good counsel was not coupled with any tangible proposition, his letter did not call for a reply ; in fact, the writer did not favour me with his address.
• My other zealous, though unknown friend, who dates still more to the north than New Jersey, informs me that many are coming west, and that he wants to come himself if he can “ pave the way. “ We must," he says, “ have an Unitarian church in your settle" ment, wherever it may be, and I will, if I live, come and open it. “ I am using every means in my power to promote the principles in
and ultimately to raise a congregation, and give, if " possible, a mortal stab to infidelity and bigotry." To this gentleman I replied as follows:-“ As to your idea of coming out in the " character of a minister, I have not a word to say, dissuasive or “ encouraging. For myself I am of no sect, and generally in my “ view those points by which sects are distinguished are quite unim“ portant, and might be discarded without affecting the essence of “ true religion. I am, as yourself, a foe to bigotry; but it is a “ disease for which I think no remedy is so effectual as letting it “ alone, especially in this happy country, where it appears under its “ mildest character, without the excitements of avarice and ambition." -So endeth the first chapter, of the first book, of our ecclesiastical history. pp. 91–94.
It is not within our province to call Mr. Birkbeck to account for his private sentiments in religious matters. We cannot but wish that be bad abstained from the profane jest on bis titlepage, and, for his own sake, we wish that a different tone of sentiment pervaded his “ Letters.” We are, however, well persuaded that he will act wisely to let bigotry,' and Socipianism, and religion too,' alone.' The time will come when these busy worldlings will be instructed by their own wants, into the necessity of what now they imagine they can dispense with; when, in a very different respect, life,' as its last moments are fast ebbing away,' will appear only too valuable.' Teachers, no doubt, will arise,' and in the hour of pain or of sorrow, and in the crisis of nature, they will be listened to. And let not our
Colonists dream that the Bible will then appear to be a useless article among the stores of a Back-wood settlement. That land of liberty and of bope! it must belp to colonize the Grave; and those who seem there to have their goods laid up so safely for many years, may have, in a night, their souls required of them.
Art VII. The Consolations of Gospel Truth. Exhibited in Various
Interesting Anecdotes respecting the dying hours of different persons who gloried in the Cross of Christ; to which are added, some affecting Narratives describing the horrors of unpardoned Sin, when Death and Eternity approach. By John Pike, Minister of the Gospel, Derby. 12mo. pp. 192. Price 3s. 6d. Derby, 1817, THE title-page sufficiently describes the nature and design of
this little compilation. The Editor quotes, in his Preface, a remark from The Spectator, that there is nothing in history
which is so improving to the reader, as those accounts which < we meet with of the deaths of eminent persons, and of their < behaviour at that dreadful season.' The narratives comprised in the present selection, are principally adapted to
display the consolations of the Gospel in a dying hour. The names of Risdon Darracott, James Hervey, Harriet Newell, Toplady, La Flèchière, Janeway, Mrs. Housman, M. Homel, &c. which appear in the Contents, will indicate the sources from whence these specimens of the power of religion are derived. • The authenticity of many of the facts,' Mr. Pike remarks, ' is well known and undisputed.' It would have been as well, however, if he had in every instance referred to the authority on which they rest, or the work from which they have been taken. Notwithstanding the respectable attestations of the authenticity of the case of William Pope, we are inclined to doubt the propriety of its publication. The extreme difficulty of distinguishing between the operations of a wounded conscience, and the morbid horrors of a distempered mind, which they may at length induce, renders it next to impossible to draw any certain conclusions respecting the actual case of the wretched individual. Thus much only it is necessary, or perhaps safe, to urge as the lesson which such scenes supply; the treinendous folly and danger of deferring repentance to a period wben it may become physically impossible,—when the mind, unable to endure the stings of remorse, becomes the easy prey of the borrors of phrensy. Scarcely less terrible, however, is the stupid apathy with which numbers pass into eternity, whose guilt may not have been less aggravated than that of an Altamont. • The general character of the selection is highly respectable, and we hope that its usefulgess will answer to the design of the pious Editor.
Art. VIII. Iceland; or the Journal of a Residence in that Island, during the Years 1814 and 1815.
Continued from our last Number page 30 ) THE journey north-eastward from Holum, was over tracts THE
of inconceivable wildness and desolation ; vast fields of lava and volcanic sand, with grand mountains on the distant horizon, and sometimes nearer at hand; torrents to be forded, and ravipes and chasms to be avoided. In one of the most extensive views, the Author says, 'to whatever side we turned,
nothing was visible but the devastations of ancient fires, or ' regions of perpetual frost. We were not only far from the • habitations of men, but deserted even by the beasts of the field
and the birds of the air. Here “no voice of cattle is ever “ heard : both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fed ; they
are gone." ' Volcanos that have never been explored, nor even obtained names, rose in the distance, in beautiful pyramidal forms, most of them partially covered with snow, and with cones appearing quite red, from the scoriæ which form their external substance. The track was found or made with difficulty for many miles, and for twenty hours, along the side of the Arnar. fell Yokul, a prodigious ice mountain.'. In one stage, a sufficient hint of danger was given by some heaps of bones, which were considered as proof that the horses of some former travelling party had perished under the severities of the progress.
The travellers came at lengtb to the rough and rapid descent from this dreary but majestic scenery, into the green and iobabited valley of Eyafiord, which by contrast appeared to them enchantingly beautiful. For Iceland, there is a considerable population in the tract round this inlet, assembled in little companies at a number of farm-establishments well stocked with sheep and cattle, the principal riches of the Iceland peasant. A short sojourn among them gave opportunity to observe their domestic economy, their amiable character, and especially the state of their necessities and wishes with respect to the possession of the Bible. Our Author may well be believed when he says, that had his preceding exertions and fatigues been greater than they were, they would have been much more than compensated by the pleasure of witnessing the animated interest which was universally manifested in the object of bis visit. He describes with much feeling the earnestness to obtain the sacred treasure, and the grateful and exulting emotion of the individuals to whom his yet very scanty store could afford the privilege of purchasing a copy of the New Testament, or the gift of one in a case of extreme poverty, or in the instance of some friendly service received, of which repayment, except in this form, would not be accepted.
In the house of the Sysselmand, or chief magistrate of the
district, Dr. H. found a respectable library; and in the more select collection of his wife, a woman distinguished for piety, were observed. Hervey's Meditations, Newton on the Pro• phecies, Blair's Lectures on Christ's Sermon on the Mount, • Sherlock on 'Death, &c.' The Sysselmand has substituted, in his family, the reading of the historical books of Scripture, for that (which, it seems, is still very general) of the romantio pagan histories denominated Sagas. The description of this magistrate's method of family worship, introduces a highly gratifying, but, by comparison with our own country, mortifying statement, respecting the habits of the Icelanders in general.
• The exercise of domestic worship is attended to, in almost every family in Iceland, from Michaelmas to Easter. During the summer months the family are so scattered, and the time of their returning from their various employments so different, that it is almost impos sible for them to worship God in a collective capacity; yet there are many families, whose piety is more lively and zealous, that make con science of it the whole year round.'
There being no public service in the vicinity of the station in this valley where our Author happened to be on the Sunday, he ascended an eminence for the purpose of solitary devotion, and was reading in the Psalms, when, he says,
• I heard the notes of harmony behind me; which, on turning about, I found proceeded from a cottage at a little distance. The inhabitants, consisting of two families, had collected together for the exercise of social worship, and were sending up the melody of praise to the God of salvation. This practice is universal on the island, When there is no public service, the members of each family, (or where there are more families they combine) join in singing several hymns; read the gospel and epistle for the day, a prayer
or two, and one of Vidalin's hymns. Where the Bible exists, it is brought for. ward; and several chapters of it are read by the young people in the family. What an encouragement for the distribution of the Scriptures ! · The inhabitants of the district of Eyafiord, are described as the most enlightened and intelligent on the island. They pay great attention to the education of their children ; and from the superior fertility of their soil, they are better supplied with the means of obtaining books for their instruction; at the head of which books, however, it had hitherto been out of the power of many of them to place the Bible. This will not appear strange when we advert to the circumstance mentioned in this part of the book before us, and which has already been introduced among the many curious anecdotes circulated respecting the Bible, that previously to Dr. Henderson's visit to the north of Iceland, there bad been a long and earnest dispute between a ehurch on the mainland and one in the island of Grimsey, at
the distance of sixty miles from the coast, for the right of possession of an old copy of the Scriptures, which had been lent, a great while since, from the former to the latter, and was by both held too valuable a treasure to be surrendered.
Before proceeding on the tour of the eastern coast of the island, our Author inade a short excursion westward, accompanied by a clergyman of the name of Jonson, of very extra. ordinary literary attainments, and, by Dr. H.'s description, not less distinguished by his moral and religious ones. An unexpected gratification, in this excursion, was an interview with Thorlakson, the translator of Milton, and most noted modern bard in this region, ouce so prolific of poetry. On Dr. H.'s authority we may believe, that the performance has great force and representative truth, even though we were to make considerable allowance for the pleasing impression made by the worthy old man's kind and primitive manners, and for Dr. H.'s quite inevitable partiality for every thing bearing the solemn and romantic character of Iceland. Only three books of this translation were ever printed. Genius, virtue, and theology, have never been less commutable for wealth and state than in the instance of Thorlakson, who was found by our Author in the receipt of ecclesiastical emolument to the amount of six pounds, five shillings sterling per ann. to be divided with a curate. He was accustomed to work with his family in the bayfield, notwithstandinging his age and infirmities, and was accom inodated, for the uses of both a study and bed-room, with an apartment of the dimensions of eight feet by six ; in which temple of the muses it was, that he had followed throughout the stupendous career of the Author of Paradise Lost. But, doubtless, his place of study would often be the open scene of nature, in a region of which the landscapes and aspects might well compensate the diminutiveness of his habitation.
From the several intelligent clergymen with whom Dr. H. conversed, he learned • that the standard of morality was never higher in the north of Iceland, than it is at the present day. Crimes are almost unheard of; and such as do make their appearance are of the less flagitious and notorious kind. The sin of drunkenness, to which certain individuals were addicted, previously to the commencement of the war, has been in a great measure annibilated by the high price of spirituous liquors.'
The Traveller's progress brings muccessively in view many curious pictures of manners and customs, under the forms of domestic arrangement, rites of hospitality, religious worship and instruction, relics of superstition, and civil regulations. In the last class, there is a practice which must bave a strong plea of necessity to make it comport with the general kindness of the Icelandic character.