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E'en so—but why the tale reveal
To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
At last, at last, unite them there!" We should say that Mr. Burbidge (to repeat an expression already frequently used for want of a better) had a more decidedly poetical temperament than Mr. Clough: his lines throughout flow more easily, and there is more fancy and imagination, and less metaphysical thought in his poems. We like his opening lines upon Florence, and others further on in the volume (p. 95 and 116), suggested also in that city, when walking in the Boboli gardens. The following lines entitled "Portraiture” (p. 71) we think must be admired :
“With pain her gloomy eyes did she uplift,
That woman old; with many a tempest torn,
There stood before her the enquiring child :
Lay no weight heavier than a light surprise ;
The verses next following, p. 72-79, have all more or less beauty in them. Those headed “Aspiration" are in the finest style of serious thought, in Mr. Clough's manner, with more simplicity of diction than he generally employs, although we do not comprehend the fifth verse. We should like to know what Mr. Burbidge would express by “the crystal wall.” He assumes rather a free poetical license (in p. 81) where he uses or rather coins the word “
promont” for promontory
"As I upon a promont of creation,
Where it o'erjects the inexistent void
Had stood to gaze," &c. This is not like Mr. Burbidge's usual style of writing, and ought to be avoided. Some lines entitled “I would” (p. 87) are well worth perusal for the beauty of the sentiment expressed in them. From among many sweet verses, and some beautiful sonnets, animated by a lofty religious spirit, we can only further select the following specimens of the Burbidge's poetical powers (Sonnet, No. XIV. p. 143; and No. VII. p. 154), to close our review:
“ Searching the skiey depths all night in vain,
Just when Despair and Doubt were swallowing all,
Lord, I will take no comfort but of Thee.
hath cut down that cheerful tree;
road henceforth Lies hot before me, wearisome and bare, And no green garland, twined among my hair, Will guard, as it was wont, my tortured eyes, What then? The sweeter after this stripped earth Will be the shady rest of Paradise.”
ART. VI.-SHORT CONCLUSIONS FROM THE
LIGHT OF NATURE.
Short Conclusions from the Light of Nature.
F. & J. Rivington. 1849. .
The tendency of modern theology to recede from mere textual criticism and interpretation into the discussion of religion in its first principles is visible on the very face of the Publishers' advertisements. Here is another contribution to the ever-increasing class of works, which, while preserving a reverential attitude towards Christianity, pass behind it in quest of the ultimate grounds of faith; and aim to discover, in the structure of the universe and the course of human experience, some real traces of the leading truths verbally embodied in historical Revelation. This little volume belongs, however, to the age more in its subject than in its method. It contends for the fundamental doctrines of a natural Theism,-“the existence of an Intelligent and Personal Creator, and a Future Life for man,”—by such arguments as approved themselves to the old school of latitudinarian divines. Of that sagacious and admirable class of men the author indeed continually reminds us by his good sense, his clear statement, his humane feeling and truthful simplicity. Something more of metaphysical penetration, and an understanding differently (we do not say more wholesomely) trained, would be requisite in order to reach the subtle difficulties with which modern philosophy perplexes the great system of Theism : but the reader who is happy enough to know nothing of these, and for whom Spinoza and Hegel have lived in vain, will be pleased to revive, in the pages of this treatise, his pleasant remembrance of Paley and Crombie. As the work contains only in outline, reasonings which, in a more ample form, the author reserves for future publication, we shall take example from his brevity, and touch at present only on one or two characteristic points.
When we open a book of philosophical pretensions, we are in the habit of testing it, in the first instance, by this
inquiry ; whether the author can hold his balance between the antagonist tendencies of Idealism and Realism. If he cannot,-if he is so fascinated by the claims of either as to encroach upon the rights of the other, it is easy to fore
, see the entanglements into which every course of reasoning upon the nature and origin of things must lead him. Our author has not escaped the common snare. He is not only a Realist, but a Materialist,—that is, he maintains “that mind is the result of the organization of what we call matter.” With this doctrine it has always been impossible to establish Theism in any hearty and permanent union. The reason is obvious. The Materialist follows one order of deduction; the Theist, just the inverse, the data and quæsita changing places. The one demands material forces in order to account for mind; the other asks for a Mind in order to account for material forces. The one sees in physical power the real ground of the actual phenomena of nature, and traces it in its ascent through the gradations of being, till it culminates in Intelligence and Will; the other treats Thought and Purpose as the primitive reality, and follows it down in its descent through the material universe which it animates and directs. These two modes of thinking cannot co-exist except in uneasy and precarious combination. Once allow that the force of attraction and repulsion is adequate to the production of mind, and what more does the Atheist want? The highest class of phenomena being made over to it, is there anything to which it is not competent? It is a mere accident that saves this kind of Theism from complete surrender. All that now goes on in the universe, following the path of regular law, might accommodate itself readily enough to the atheistic theory : and if the present order, or any other on which it depends by natural links, had always existed, there would have been no opening for the admission of a Divine Will. But happily there occur breaks in the adamantine chain which science cannot yet complete: and until the origin of species is better accounted for, and Sir C. Lyell's geological theory more fully established, there will remain room for the Supreme agency at the Formative Epochs, in which the old idea of Creation is still permitted to take a scattered refuge. When Divine power is thus resorted to, merely to fill in a hiatus in the naturalist's re