Page images

is marked with pashta. It is quite clear, that the time of the former verbs, is more remote than that of the latter; for the work of creation was made and completed before God rested from his work which he had made; and equally clear is the evidence of Mr. Bellamy's egregious errors. Ch. iv. 12, zayn with pashta, is in the future time : so Mr. Bellamy himself renders “shalt serde." Verse 14, nun with pashta, has no remote reference; “Thou hast “ driven me," or more accurately, “ Thou art driving me this “ day." Ch. xix. 34, N1 with the accent repeated, “ Go thou.In Exod. xx. 3, pashta is put on a verb importing future time, nwyn as “ Thou shalt not make.” These are not rare instances of the use of the accent pashta, which is perpetually occurring in the Hebrew Scriptures, without the least connexion of the kind which Mr. Bellamy has had the temerity to say is universally included in its use. His reveries on the preter and pluperfect tenses of Hebrew verbs, (for they are nothing more than reveries,) would, in their application to the Bible, make strange work with its language: all time and all propriety of idiom would be constantly violated, and every page would be full of confusion. Every man capable of reading his Bible, would read Gen. iii. 13. « And Jehovah God said to the woman, Why hast thou done “ this? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me and “I ate." But according to Mr. Bellamy's brilliant hypothesis, he is instructed to read : “ And Jehovah God had said to the wo“man, Why hast thou done this? And the woman had said," &c. Instead of " I will multiply thy sorrows" (vs. 16), he must now read," I had multiplied thy sorrows," and he must believe that the punishment of their transgression had preceded the sin of our first parents. But enough has been said to shew the utter fallacy of Mr. Bellamy's strange assumptions. His audacity, is, we believe, unparalleled in the history of Biblical Criticism; and his pretensions are in the highest degree disreputable to him. Such boldness of assurance could be tolerated only in the event of his assertions being proved to possess the most rigid accuracy: it is unspeakably disgusting in its present connexion with baseless system and visionary hypothesis. Under what influence this gentleman has prosecuted his Hebrew studies, we are not informed, but never was the perdidi tempus operose nihil agendo, more appropriate to any man, or to any employment, than to the pompously displayed, but vain and futile lucubrations of Mr. Belamy respecting the tenses of Hebrew verbs. In our next Number, we purpose entering on the examination of his New Translations.

(To be continued.)

Art. II. Iceland; or the Journal of a Residence in that Island, during

the Years 1814 and 1815. Containing Observations on the Natural Phenomena, History, Literature, and Antiquities of the Island, and the Religion, Character, Manners, and Customs, of its Inhabitants. With an Introduction and Appendix. By Ebenezer Henderson, Doctor in Philosophy, Member of the Royal Society of Gottenburgh, Honorary Member of the Literary Society at Fuhnen, &c. &c. Illustrated with a Map of Engravings. 8vo. 2 vols. p. 850. Price il. 8s. Edinburgh. 1818. THIS is one of the comparatively few narratives of travels,

the restriction of which to a circulation in manuscript among the writer's friends, (the utmost latitude rightfully claimed by many that have come forth in ostentatious form and pretension through the press,) would have been altogether unpardonable. Dr.

enderson bas traversed, more extensively than any other British traveller, a field which we will confess to be more captivating to our imagination, than any other scene; more so than any fair tract that may have been denominated the garden of the world; more so than the region bearing the most majestic monuments of imperial Rome; more than even that on which linger the fame and the exquisite memorials of Grecian genius and art; and more than those other portions of the world which display tbe sublimities of nature.

Of all the parts of the earth as yet sufficiently explored, the tropical regions of South America are qualified to maintain the

proudest rivalry with this island of the northern ocean; in some · particulars, as it is too obvious to need mention, greatly surpassing it. But there, the prominent spectacle of man, in all his basest and most odious properties, forms a wretched obtrusion on the scene, and a great disturbance and depression of the sublimity of its effect. In Iceland, that effect suffers no such counteraction and diminution. Man is there so simple, so innocent, and so scanty, an accident to the assemblage of wonders, as to be absorbed in the grand prevailing character of nature; leaving it in all the entireness of its own attributes and influ

Thus undeteriorated by man, the scene has, in a degree probably surpassing every other, one perfect, simple character, that of gloomy and awful sublimity. This element presses on every sense,' and every faculty, almost every where. The various forms and modes in which it so presses, are in perfect and unequalled harmony. Indeed, they have such a resemblance and congeniality as might have the effect of monotony in a less striking and commanding class of phenomena. Whether in length of time the impression of even such majestic phenomena, might not in some degree give place to this sense of monotony, we can



not presume to judge ;--we should like to hear our Author's deliberate opinion on such a question ;--but it is certain that this must be the class of objects with respect to which the progress must, in a contenuplative and lofty spirit, be the slowest toward such a familiarity as should partake of insensibility.

With persons of less austere taste, and who would greatly prefer, to this gloomy and dreary combination of the mundane elements, such a scenery as that, for instance, which Claude constantly delighted to represent, we might be unwilling to provoke a dispute, quite sensible on how many accounts preferable a continent or a world composed according to those representations, might be to one fornied in the dark and frowning character of Iceland. Nor can we be unaware that the imaginative mind, contemplating at a distance, and at its case, the grandeur of this province of Nature's kingdom, keeps out of view, with poetic deception, many circumstances which, in an actual residence or sojourn, would press on the enthusiast so incommodiously and inevitably as often to repress his lofty emotions.

There is also another deception in this distaut contemplation. Iceland seems the very metropolis of the terrestrial empire of Fire. It is almost covered with the effects of the tremendous agency of that element. Now, in dwelling on a vivid description of those effects, the imagination beholds at the same time the agency that produced them. There is described, perhaps, a vast stream of Java, now still, and cold, and of a deep brown hue. But the mind does not confine itself to that image; it imagines this lava in its primary state and action of a fiery torrent, and seems also to feel the trembling of the earth, to hear the dreadful roaring of the volcano, and to see the black hemisphere, with its partial direful illumination of flames and lightnings. And as a very large proportion of the whole region is overspread with these streains, the imagination thus combining the

agency with the monuments of that agency, and thus itself enflamed and sublimed, has the whole scene presented to its view under an aspect of perpetual conflagration and terrible magnificence,--an aspect so immensely different from the actual state of the island, in which during perhaps a considerable number of years, not one of its many volcanos is beheld in that temporary activity which has given it permanently a character so much more striking than that of other mountains.

If asked whether, therefore, in case of an actual residence or visit in Iceland, we should regret that it did not correspond to the sublime vision in our imagination, by the most tremendous phenomena of fire all around us, to the consternation and destruction of the inhabitants,- we should of course answer in the negative; but it would not be the less true that, in the inaction of that formidable element, the real scene would want the attri

[ocr errors]

bute which had given to the visionary one the most irresistible potency over the imagination.

Nevertheless, the actual and permanent character of that marvellous tract, in what is exhibited of the present agency of the elements, and in the awful traces of the former miracles of that agency, on which, while presented to the eye, the imagination may dwell retrospectively, will have beyond all comparison a mightier power on the contemplative spectator's mind, than any possible magnificence and aggravation of the imagery he can form from description ; notwithstanding that he introduces in that imagery, as if they were permanent, those stupendous phenomena which in the real scene are of rare occurrence. And whoever has somewhat extensively surveyed this tract, with the interest it claims to excite, and which it did excite in the Author of the present volumes, carries in his mind an assemblage of images and sentiments that no other part of the world which he may be destined to behold, will supply images and sentiments deserving or able to supplant or eclipse. Susceptible as Dr. H. will be to the impression of every thing beautiful or sublime in the sublunary works of the Almighty, in whatever remote region be is expecting to traverse, in prosecution of the same general purpose that directed bim to Iceland, he anticipates, we bave no doubt, that to latest life the grand spectacles of that, region will maintain a commanding prominence on his wide intellectual landscape, formed of all that his memory shall retain of the most striking views of Nature which he shall bave bebeld,

It is well known to the religious public, that Dr. H.'s mission to that island, was in the service of the Bible Society, or rather of the Bible itself. He was appointed to ascertaiu the extent of the wants and wishes of its inhabitants (and happily be found their wants and their wishes to be the same) relative to the new edition of the Bible in their language. This he soon discovered impracticable in any other way than that of an actual visit to nearly all the inhabited districts. His undertaking therefore was no less than that of making the whole circuit of the island, diverting, at some points, considerably inland. This extensive tour was very laborious, and in several of its stages extremely perilous. He nevertheless maintained an animated tone of spirit; he had the consciousness of being intent on the service of the best possible cause; he had a firm confidence in the guardianship of Providence; he met with very much to gratify him, in his reception among the people, and especially in their universal disposition relative to his main object, and then, gra-, tuitously thrown, as it were, into the account, he had, in long succession, those strange and solemn aspects of matter which

arrested him often with an awful significance of the Sovereign Mind.

Embarking on the 8th of June, 1814, at Copenhagen, under the benefit of the most friendly and provident attentions of the Danish proprietor of the vessel, and his brother, Captain Petraeus, he obtained the first sight of Iceland on the evening of the 12th of July, and after a tedious voyage, arrived on the 15th at Reykiavik. In advancing up the Faxè Fiord, he was delighted and elated in the view of some of those commanding features of nature, of which he was destined to behold so grand a succession. While certain of being welcomed by the people, he felt as if welcomed also by the silent but noble material foras in the vicinity of the port.

• Their lofty height, the beautiful girdle of silver clouds that surrounded them considerably below the top, the magnificent appearance of the summit above, and the solemn gloom which covered the inferior regions :--all conspired to impress the mind with reverential and admiring ideas of that Power who laid the foundations of the earth, and at whose wrath the mountains tremble and shake.

• The first act of kindness shewn us by the natives, was their mounting us on their shoulders, and carrying us ashore from the boat. On landing we were met by a crowd of men, women, and children, who filled the air with the exclamations, “ Peace, come in peace, of the Lord bless you, &c.” ?

The first essay of travelling was made a day or two afterwards, in a ride, to visit, at Gardè, the Rev. Marcus Mag6 nusson, the archdeacon of Iceland.'

- In our way we fell in with the first effects I had seen of subterraneous fire--a tract of lava, rugged and wild, which at first sight, threatened to put a stop to our journey. To whatever side we turned, nothing presented itself to our view but the dismal ruins of moun. tains, which have been so completely convulsed by the contention of the elements bepeath, that, after having emitted immense quantities of lava, their foundations have given way, and the whole structure has fallen in, and continued to burn till the more fusible parts were entirely calcined. Large masses of rock, which one would scarcely suppose had been affected by fire, lie interiningled with the lava, which has burned with the most dreadful violence.'

It was with great regret that he found he was too late in the season for seizing an inportant advantage for the promotion of his object.

· Had I come a month sooner, I should have arrived in the very middle of what is called the Handels tid, or period of traffic, when several hundreds of the inhabitants repair to this place from all quarters of the island, and barter their home productions for foreign commodities, and articles of necessary use for the winter. They had all now returned to their respective abodes, and there was no other

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »