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answer this but by a plain appeal to fact. Is Bishop Marslı, with his new set of articles, to expound the system of the Church? or are we to give our credence to the respectable men who stigmatize his measures as enormous impositions ? Wbich side does Mr. Maturin take in the Regeneration controversy? Did he never happen to hear of a Calvinistic liturgy and an Arminian clergy? We might ask him a bundred such questions, but we have neither space por leisure to waste in refuting a mere array of pompous words and empty pretensions. Of the Liturgy, be observes with matchless simplicity, that its opponents
complain that it must want the force, fervency, and apparent sincerity of extempore prayer; I admit that it must, and 'perhaps 80 much the better!!! Mr. Maturin expresses himself more accurately than he would have bis readers think, when he speaks of having given his feeble testimony' to the praise and glory of bis Church. But we will not part thus with him : we bave spoken highly of his ability in a former page, and we give the following extract as a justification of our eulogy.
• Here, my brethren, let me pause, and direct your attention for a moment to the characters of those extraordinary men, the Jewish prophets. Their history, told simply as it is by themselves, appears to me enough to convert infidelity. They seem solely to have lived to God, to have passed through mortal existence in a sacred abstraction from its seductions, its infirmities, and its passions. When we read of Elijah defying the rage of the king and the madness of the people, and trusting himself fearlessly to the desert and to famine, for the sake of God and of his truth ;--of Isaiah, the uncle of a monarch, disregarding the splendour and power of a court, and bearing awful and single testimony against its depravity and danger ;-of Jeremiah, who, whether brought before the presence of his king, and beholding his countenance in complacency, or plunged by his wrath into a dungeon,...... alike in palace and in dungeon testifying the truth of God, and calling on the infatuated peuple (while his voice could yet be heard) to witness the fulfilment of thai lruth ;--of Daniel, who even in the court of the king of Babylon dared to announce to him the destruction of his kingdom; and braved the anger that might have crushed the “ prophet of ills” to dust before his unwelcome message was said :-while we read of such men and such things, we are struck with the sublime and unearthly superiority of those beings, not only to their cotemporaries, hut to all mankind. I know that bistory abounds in instances of self-denial as severe, and of voluntary suffering as terrible, but what those who form the heroes of historic narrative underwent, was for themselves, their own pride passions-interest - self in some way is apparent through all their heroism. But what these men did and suffered, they did and suffered for God; “ they endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Their superiority was owing to no external cause; they were slaves, prisoners, victims, " destitute, afflicted, tormented :" their superiority was owing to that communication with God, and with the powers of the invisible
world, which makes the present, with all its seductive and dangerous ncarness, all its tangible claims, appear in comparison as the drop of the hucket, or the dust of the balance--a thing to be glanced at, weighed, found wanting, and disregarded. Their history leaves on the mind this indelible impression : “ If these men were not of God they could do nothing"—they could not at least have been the men they were.'
There are not a few passages, perhaps, superior to this; we had also marked a few instances of bad taste, of which we shall only mention the irreverent and offensive vulgarism God
As this article was about to be forwarded to the
press, we met, half-accidentally, with a new tale,' in four volumes, by the Author of the Sermons to which we have just adverted in terms of eulogy. With our views and feelings, we cannot have much disposition to employ ourselves in this kind of reading : to say nothing of eternity, we have lived long enough to learn that the realities of life have in them an absorbing interest, compared with which the exaggerations of romance are tame. But in the present instance, the curiosity, mixed with sometbing of a higher feeling, excited by the Writer's naine, and the strange contrast between the subjects of the volume we had but a few hours previously been reviewing, and the baser matter on which Mr. Maturin has employed his noble faculties, have so far tempted us out of our usual course, as not only to carry us, somewhat hastily we confess, through the wild fictions of “ Melmotb the Wanderer," but to induce us to give some intimation of their nature and contents, as an appendix, not without its meaning and its moral, to the original article.
We are not quite sure that we bave an accurate notion of the precise character of the bero of this strongly conceived, and powerfully (though unequally) written romance. As we understand it, however, he is a man of wild and desperate curiosity, who, having sought initiation into the fearful secrets of the invisible world, has been induced to avail bimself of infernal agency, and to form a dreadful compact with the prince of darkpess. The terms of this covenant with hell, may be stated by Melmoth himself.
I obtained from the enemy of souls a range of existence beyond the period allotted to mortality-a power to pass over space without disturbance or delay, and visit remote regions with the swiftness of thought to encounter tempests without the hope of their blasting me, and penetrate into dungeons, whose bolts were as flax and tow at my touch. It has been said that this power was accorded to me, that I might be enabled to tempt wretches in their fearful hour of extremity,
with the promise of deliverance and immunity, on condition of their exchanging situations with me...... No one has ever exchanged destinies with Melmoth the Wanderer.'
In one of Mr. Maturin's Sermons, there is the following passage.
• At this moment is there one of us present, however we may have departed from the Lord, disobeyed his will, and disregarded his wordis there one of us who would, at this moment, accept all that man could bestow, or earth afford, to resign the hope of his salvation ?-No, there is not one--not such a fool on earth, were the enemy of mankind to traverse it with the offer !'
This observation supplied Mr. M. with the hint of his tale, and at first led us to suppose that his hero was a fiend despatched like Belphegor to earth, though on a different errand.
The passage, however, which we have previously quoted, affords the true key to his character, although Melmoth is made to express himself hypothetically. Hence, amid all the demoniacal fierceness and malignity of his character, there are occasional, though brief relentings, faint touches of human feeling, transient flashes of something like communion with his species, which in some small degree mitigate the terrors of this awful being, who moves restlessly and rapidly through the world for his allotted term of one hundred and fifty years; anxiously but vainly seeking, among the most dreadful scenes of misery, some wretch who would consent, for present rescue and unbounded means of enjoyment, to barter his hopes of salvation, and thus relieve Melmoth from the penalty of his bond, by accepting as his substitute, his power and his despair. His adventures are described in a series of tales, which are introduced with considerable skill in such a way as to increase the general interest. The descriptions of the awful and agonizing visitations among wbich he is continually moving, and of which he makes every effort to take advantage, are worked up with tremendous truth and force, though sometimes with a minute accuracy which defeats its object by exciting disgust rather than terror, and reminds us of the Newgate Calendar, or the adventures of Jean Baptiste Couteau, rather than of the terribil viu of the painters of Scheduni and Frankensteio.
The Wanderer first drew breatb in an Irish castle, anno 1616; and the living agents of the romance, including himself, are introduced to us in 1816, on the same spot; where his portentous re-appearance has the effect of frightening to death his lineal descendant, a rich miser whose dying exhibitious of the master passion are portrayed with great strength. The heir, a young man of much mental energy, discovers a picture by which he afterwards recognizes the Wanderer,' whose form
and aspect were only remarkable from the strange and portentous lustre which flashed from his eyes. The younger Melmoth is directed by his uncle's will to a mysterious and mutilated manuscript, wbich with much difficulty he decyphers, and finds it to contain the adventures of Stanton, an Englishman who, about the year, 1676 visited Spain in the course of his European travels. From ibis tale, we cannot avoid transferring to our pages the following magnificent description.
. On the night of the 17th of August, 1677, he found himself in the plains of Valencia, deserted by a cowardly guide, who had been terrified by the sight of a cross erected as a memorial of a murder, had slipped off his mule unperceived, crossing himself every step he took on his retreat from the heretic, and left Stanton amid the terrors of an approach. ing storm, and the dangers of an unknown country. The sublime and yet softened beauty of the scenery around, had filled the soul of Stanton with delight, and be enjoyed that delight as Englishmen generally do, silently. The magnificent remains of two dynasties that had passed away, the ruins of Roman palaces, and of Moorish fortresses, were around and above him; the dark and heavy thunder-clouds that advanced slowly, seemed like the shrouds of these spectres of departed greatness ; they approacher, but yet they did not overwhelm or conceal them, as if nature herself was for once awed by the power of man; and far below, the lovely valley of Valencia blushed and burned in all the glory of sunset.
... Stanton gazed around. The difference between the architecture of the Roman and Moorish ruins struck him. Among the former are the remains of a theatre, and something like a public place; the latter present only the remains of fortresses, embattled, castellated, and fortified from top to bottom--not a loop-hole for pleasure to get in by-the loop-boles were only for arrows; all denoted military power and despotic subjugation a l'outrance. The contrast might have pleased a philosopher, and he might have indulged in the reflection, that though the ancient Greeks and Romans were savages, (as Dr. Johnson says all people who want a press must be, and he says truly,) yet they were wonderful savages for Their time, for they alone bave left traces of their taste for pleasure in the countries they conquered, in their superb theatres, temples, (which were also dedicated to pleasure one way or another,) and baths,* while other conquering bands of savages never left any thing behind them but traces of their rage for power. So thought Stanton, as he still saw strongly defined, though darkened by the darkening clouds, the huge skeleton of a Roman amphitheatre, its arched and gigantic colonnades now admitting a gleam of light, and now commingling with the purple
• It occurs here, rather unfortunately for Mr. M.'s hypothesis, that the Moors have left 'traces' of this sort quite as decided as the Romans : their mosques, their palaces, their gardens, are all exquisite of their kind,
thunder-cloud ; and...... the solid and heavy mass of & Moorisb fortress, no light playing between its impermeable walls—the image of power, dark, isolated, impenetrable. Stanton forgot his cowardly guide, his loneliness, his danger amid an approaching storm and an inhospitable country ...... all this was forgot in contemplating the glorious and awful scenery before him-light struggling with darkness—and darkness menacing a light still more terrible, and announcing its menace in the blue and livid mass of cloud that hovered like a destroying angel in the air, its arrows aimed, but their direction awfully indefinite. But he ceased to forget these local and petty dangers, as the sublimity of romance would term them, when he saw the first Aash of lightning, broad and red as the banners of an insulting army whose motto is Væ victis, shatter to atoms the remains of a Roman tower; the rifted stones rolled down the hill, and fell at the feet of Stanton........ He stood and saw another flash dart its bright, brief, and malignant glance over the ruins of ancient power, and the luxuriance of recent fertility.'
Amid this awful scene, the Wanderer first presented himself to Stanton: as a number of peasants slowly passed along, bearing the bodies of two persons who had been struck by the lightning, he was startled by the loud, wild, and protracted' laugh of that mysterious being. By the circumstances of this meeting, and by subsequent occurrences, the mind of Stanton was inflamed to an insane excess of curiosity, increased by a glimpse and momentary converse in London, until a mercenary relation, taking advantage of his eccentricities, confined him in a private mad-house. Here, while driven to the very verge of madness by the cries and yells which incessantly harassed bim, and by his own sufferings and despondency, Melmoth appeared before him; the melodious smoothness of his voice, contrasting frightfully with the stony rigour of his features, and 6 the fiend-like brilliancy of his eyes. The tempter offered liberation and felicity, but at a dreadful price :-he was repelled with borror, but the impression was never effaced ; and when Stanton afterwards procured his liberty, he set forth, with morbid restlessness, to pursue his strange visitant. His quest was unsuccessful, but in the course of his inquiries, having ascertained the Wanderer's Irish origin, he visited Ireland, and left at the castle, the manuscript which was now costing the younger Melmoth so much pains to decypher. A tremendous storm and sigoals of shipwreck having called the latter to the shore, he there sees bis terrific ancestor standing on a crag, unruffled even in the skirts of his clothing by the raging tempest. In an attempt to scale the rock, young Melmoth falls into the sea, and is only rescued from death by a Spaniard swimming from the wreck, the sole survivor of its crew. This brings on the story of Monçada, with a long series of monastic sufferings and persecutions, terminating in the dungeons of the Inquisition,