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capacities of the young; and he has enlivened them by the introduction of several unexceptionable and interesting anecdotes. We have soine objections to the quaintness of the divisions, and the use of arithmetical terms, which occur in the first discourse; but, on the whole, we recommend the work as very serious and affectionate, and of useful tendency.
We transcribe the following passage, taken without selection, as a specimen of the contents of the book.
• Let us now pass on to Division. Division, not of money, but of time ; and let me earnestly entreat that you would divide the present year in a suitable manner, so as to number every day with some good, either done or obtained : and take care that every hour be improved to some useful purpose. There are twenty-four hours in one day and night; out of these we may reckon eight hours for sleep; then eight hours for school-time, for learning your lessons, and storing your minds with knowledge and wisdom; and then there will remain eight hours for eating, drinking, dressing, reading the Scriptures, and prayer to God; and still you will find plenty of time for your amuse
Let your sports be innocent and harmless, invigorating and healthy. Let no day pass without reading one chapter at least in the
word of God, nor without earnest prayer to Him for his blessing on yourselves, your parents and friends, your teachers, and your education."
Art. IX. 1. Sermons translated from the French of Daniel de Super
ville, formerly Pastor of the French Protestant Church at Rotterdan : with Memoirs of his Life. By John Allen. 8vo. pp. xvi.
402. Price 9s. Burton andBriggs. London : 1816. 2. Sermons on various Important Subjects, translated from the French
of Daniel de Superville, Sen. By John Reynolds, Minister of the
Gospel. 8vo. pp. 402. Price 8s. Bacon and Co. Norwich : 1816. WI
E have sometimes felt a disposition to regret that Dr. Dod
dridge's criticisms on French Preachers, were suffered to meet the public eye. There are very few whose qualities he has happily discriminated; many, to the estimate of whose merits and defects, we have very considerable objections. Among the latter, Superville holds a conspicuous place; his value is most injudiciously overrated. Lastead of having his comparative rank adjusted fairly and impartially, he is placed at once high among the highest. The truth is, that Dr. Doddridge was but superficially acquainted with the writings of the French Divines, and, as we suspect, very imperfectly so with the man whom he has eulogized in the following extravagant language
. As for the French sermons, I never met with any of them
that are to be compared with those of Mr. Superville, the Pro** testant divine at Rotterdam. He especially excels in the beauty of bis imagery, deseriptions, and similes, and some of the most pathetic expostulations I ever saw.'
It is quite incredible that the Dr. would have written this passage, had he been familiar with the purer models of French eloquence. With Bossuet and Massillon it would be puerile even to name the Pastor of Rotterdam. In 'imagery, descriptions,
and similes,' be is surpassed by several of the second class of the French school; and in pathos, he is far, very far, below Cheminais. Mr. Reynolds, however, not content with adopting this piece of excessive eulogy, as the motto of his book, and consequently as the measure of his own estimation of Superville, has, with a qualifying hint, quoted a similar passage from Caillot's specimens of French Protestant eloquence.
• 'I have had,' says Caillot, the happiness of discovering in them specimens of real eloquence, which are equal to the most excellent of our Bourdaloues and Massillons. How sublime is the exordium of the Sermon of Superville, upon the Nativity of Christ. His Sermons, collected in four volumes 8vo. are worthy of being ranked with those of Saurin : and contain several specimens, equally characterized for excellence of style, and accuracy of thought.'
If this injudicious exordium had not been much too long, we should have translated it for the purpose of enabling our readers to judge for themselves; to us it appears at once elaborate and common-place, ambitious and unimpassioned. The sentiment with which it begins, gives promise of an interesting development; but the Preacher immediately goes off into obvious illustration, expressed and unfolded in language as unlike the refined, nervous, and elevated style of the French classics, as can well be conceived. As to his affirmed equality with Saurin, it is quite an absurdity; he is as far below Saurin, as Saurin would have confessed himself below Bossuet. In justice to Mr. Allen, we must remark, that he has judiciously abstained from bringing forward any such exceptionable criticisms; he has left his author to stand or to fall by his own merits, and those merits are quite substantial enough to recommend him to English readers, without the aid of exaggeration.
Mr. Allen's Memoir of Superville, is a brief but interesting and satisfactory production. There is one trifling particular, however, in regard to which either he has expressed himself in an unusual way, or has erred through haste. He says, that Superville was born at Anjou,' which, in truth, is not a town but a province. The fact is, that Superville was born at Saumur, in Anjou ; where Mr. Allen had already stated his father to have been settled. In the Protestant College of his native town, and afterwards at Geneva, he enjoyed every advantage of theological education. In 1683, be was chosen pastor of the
church at Loudun'; and on the revocation of the edict of Nantz, he quitted his country, and settled at Rotterdam, where he remained in honour and usefulness, until June 9, 1728, on which day he died, aged nearly seventy-one years.''
Superville seems to have been an amiable, excellent, and highly accomplished man; admirably adapted for his office, and well-fitted for the support and edification of the Church in troublous times.' His talents as a preacher, were undoubtedly of a superior order, but accompanied with considerable defects. His style, we have no hesitation in saying, is bad. There is an evident constraint about it; and so completely an air of translation, as to have, we think, somewhat more of the character of an original in some parts of Mr. A.'s rendering, than in the writer's own refugee French. In order fairly to try its quality, after having read a few passages, we turned to one of Bossuet's worst sermons,— On the immaculate Conception of
the Virgin Mary'. It seemed to be a transition from poverty to richness, from harshness to melody, from stiffness and cold ness, to fulness and flow. There is, too, if we mistake not, a degree of vulgarity in many of his phrases ; but this is lost in a translation, as it consists, not in the matter but in the form of the expression. Nor does his eloquence strike us as natural; it does not go off easily; it is forced out by effort, instead of being the spontaneous flow of feeling and imagination. His descriptions are laboriously worked up, and some of his similes appear brought in with the resolute determination of saying something extremely fine. Still, with all these faults, Superville was a man of great powers, a sound reasoner, a persuasive and striking preacher; and in the rapid passages of public delivery, many of those defects which are prominent in a slow and deliberate perusal, would entirely disappear.
It is a fortunate circumstance that these two volumes interfere very little with each other. Mr. Reynolds's contains thir, teen sermons : The Glory of the original Innocence-Man destroyed by himself-a Portraiture of the Heart of Man (three sermons)--the Ascension of Jesus Christ-the Outpouring of the Spirit---the Practice of the Word the Miracles of Jesag Christ Proofs of his Mission--the Injustice of Prejudice against Jesus Christ and his Doctrine-the Commandments of God rendered easy by his Love-the Use and Abuse of the Judgments of God- the Lord's Supper. .
Mr. Allen has selected eleven : The Mysteries of Provi. dence--the Importance of Salvation—the Glory of the Primitive Innocence-Man ruined by himself-Christ the only Way of Salvation the New Creature the Conflict between the Flesh and the Spirit--the Advantages of the Gospel above the Law.
True Love to Jesus Christ-Joshua's Choice of the True Religion-Death conquered.
Tho Sermon on the Mysteries of Providence, is an admirable composition, well constructed, and full of, important matter. The division is simple, and yet striking. From the 45th chapter of Isaiah, 15th verse: “ Verily thou art a God that hidest " thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour"-Superville deduces these two general truths: the first, that God, the Saviour of
Israel, is a God that hideth himself; the second, that this • God, who hideth himself, is, nevertheless, always the Saviour
of his people. The exordium we shall extract.
< Whenever the Bible gives a description of the Deity, or an ac count of any of his appearances, it almost invariably exhibits a combination of fire and cloud, of light and darkness. Does Jehovah manifest himself on Sinai? we behold, there, these two symbols of his manifestation : lightnings flash in the eyes of an affrighted people, and a cloud envelops the mountain. Does God deign to indicate his presence in the tabernacle? a cloud overspreads that pavilion by day, and a fire covers it by night. If David intend a magnificent celebration of some work of the Lord, he tells us, that “ fire went out of " his mouth, and brightness was before him;" while, at the same time, “ darkness was under his feet, and he made darkness his secret « place:" and in another psalm, that “ clouds and darkness are « round about him," and " a fire goeth before him.”
* I confess, it might be supposed, that the darkness and light, the cloud and fire, were united in these descriptions, merely to give us a grand and awful idea of the Deity, and to display the power of Him who forms the thunders, the whirlwinds, and the tempests, and employs them at his pleasure to execute his judgments. But since God himself has combined these two things in the symbols he has given us of his presence, we may go farther, and remark, that this combination is well adapted to represent what God is with relation to us, both in his nature, and in his conduct. An ancient philosopher most correctly observed, “ that there is nothing at once so known, e and so concealed, as God." Do you want to know that there is a God? Behold the light. Do you want to know what he is? Look at the darkness.
• Do we inquire after a God? We discover him every where, like the splendour of the sun at noon-day, which makes itself perceived as soon as we open our eyes.
“ All the creatures proclaim their « author: His eternal power and Godhead are clearly seen being “ understood by the things that are made.” But do we wish to comprehend his nature ; to form just ideas of his perfections; to develop the secrets of his providence; to penetrate his counsels, his ends, his operations? This is an abyss in which we are lost. Here we find deep and venerable shades which we cannot pierce. God acts; but it is behind the curtain. God speaks to man; but it is from the midst of the cloud. God manifests himself; but it is in visions of the night, in ways mysterious and obscure. God shews himself; but it is only his « back part:" him "no man hath seen,
« nor can see." He dwells in light; but it is a light which is inaccessible, and secures him from the temerity of our investigations, as much as the thickest darkness. This great God, then, is concealed
But if there be always some obscurity, always something impenetrable in his conduct; there is, nevertheless, also some splendour and fire : there is something luminous, which strikes the eyes, enlightens the mind, and justifies bis providence. The miracles which he sometimes employs, for the deiiverance of his children and the confusion of his enemies, resemble the lightning which flashes from the cloud, and discovers him who appeared immerged in darkness. The prophet Isaiah had in view this admirable union of obscurity and splendour which is found in the divine conduct, and intended to assert it, when he exclaimed : “Verily thou art a God " that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour."
Allen, pp. 1-3. The following citation from the same Sermon, is an instance of a common allusion beautifully managed :
· While God hides himself, the patience and confidence of the faithful are
more conspicuously exhibited; like the moon and stars, which never display more brilliancy or beauty, than when the sun is set and day-light is no longer enjoyed. If, therefore, the constancy and faith, the humility and resignation, and zeal of the righteous be virtues necessary to their salvation ; if those virtues be never more beautiful and perfect in themselves, or more pleasing to God, than when he keeps himself concealed, and seems to leave us causes of complaint, and occasions of falling ; let us confidently affirm that he hides himself, only in order to be the Saviour of his people.'
Allen, p. 24. The passage to which we shall next refer, is from the Sermon on The New Creature.' It is well wrought up; but the translation is rather careless, and does not do justice to the original.
• In the regenerate man, all things assume a new appearance. The sinner is like the chaos, where every thing was in utter disorder; the light was confounded with the darkness, the humid with the dry, the cold with the hot; all was destitute of life and motion. But from the midst of the chaos arose a world beautifully arranged; the light separated from the darkness, every thing took its proper place, disorder ceased, and order every
As much as the universe, in the beauty and symmetry in which we behold it, differs from the rude and confused mass of the primitive chaos, so much does the regenerate man differ from the sinner. There are no longer simply a few gleams of reason, blended with innumerable prejudices, confused ideas, and false maxims of the flesh; there are no more some vague and imperfect glimmerings wandering amid the shades of ignorance and error. A light distinct and pure reigns in the superior part of the soul, as in a firmament, enlightening the understanding and driving away the false opinions and delusive imaginations of the Vol. VII. N.S.