Page images
[ocr errors]

but Mr. Hankinson's appearing to the examiners too good to be passed by unnoticed.

Some of our readers may, perhaps need to be informed of the origin and nature of the Seatonian prize. It is briefly this—The Rev. Thomas SEATON, late Fellow of Clare Hall, bequeathed to the University of Cambridge the rents of an estate, producing some £40 a year, to be given to that Master of Arts who should write the best English Poem on a sacred subject. The Poem is to be printed, and the expense deducted out of the product of the estate : the remainder is given as a reward to the composer.'

We learn from a prefix to the first of Mr. Hankinson's Poemsentitled “David PLAYING THE HARP BEFORE Saul;' that

The Examiners gave notice, that should any Poem appear to them to possess distinguished merit, a premium of £100 would be adjudged.'

The above premium was awarded to the Rev. T. E. HANKINSON, M.A., of Corpus Christi College.'

The same was the case with the successful Poem of 1838, entitled, ETHIOPIA STRETCHING OUT HER HANDS UNTO God.'. Possibly these two Poems may be regarded as possessing more intrinsic merit than any of the others. For ourselves, we are disposed to think that in none of them was the author more successful--at least in the sentiment, if not the poetry—than that of “JACOB,' the successful Poem of 1834,

As our limits would absolutely forbid us to attempt any thing like a review of the whole volume, it shall suffice us briefly to notice a few of the portions of this Poem, which we think well deserving the attention of our readers. It

opens with picturing before us a day on which the changes of the weather, and the alternations of rain and sunshine, are such as might well fill the contemplative mind with a variety of thoughts, which can be more easily conceived than expressed. An aged man is then introduced, gazing wistfully' on the aspect of the moody sky.'

As if each change on memory's mirror cast

Some imaged scene of joy or sorrow past.' The state of his mind is depicted in the lines

' An inward consciousness of peace divine,

Gilding the shadows of his day's decline,
As if his aged brow, and tresses white

Emitted rather than received the light.' In a very brief period a change is represented as coming over his beaming countenance, and the angel of death fulfils his work.

• The glory was eclipsed! the soul was set !

Set to a world o'ercast with sin and sorrow,

To rise unclouded on a fairer morrow.' It need scarcely be observed that this aged man' was none other than the Patriarch Jacob, the subject of the Poem. Before, however, this last scene had taken place, he is represented as narrating to his grandchildren— the offspring of his favourite child,' in whose society he delighted—the history of his past life. This history forms

非 *

the burden of the Poem. It is treasured up by them, as might naturally be expected under such circumstances.

. There is a mystery in parting words—
A spell that sways affection's deepest chords;
And oft, when least expected, make us start,

At that Eolian music of the heart.' A Poem written on so well-known a history as that of Jacob, cannot be expected to savour much of novelty, or to leave much room for the discursive flights of an imaginative mind. That before us is rendered chiefly interesting by the very pathetic manner in which it details the numerous incidents of the truly variegated life of the afflicted Patriarch, and by the theological justice of the strain in which those events are commented on.

As an example of the pleasing pathos which pervades the Poem, we would quote the following lines, referring to the period of Jacob's constrained departure from the home of his childhood.

· Alas!

my brother-as I lay alone
On the hard pillow of the desert stone,
Forced from my home, my happy home, to flee,
How turned my soul in bitterest thought to thee!
Together born! together rocked to rest!
And fed and pillowed by the same dear breast !
Together !-How that word in after years,
Unseals the heart-spring's unavailing tears ;
I shed them then-how oft I since have shed
For friends—the absent-the estranged-the dead-
The partners of youth's joys, or childhood's mirth,

All gone! and I am left alone on earth.' This strain of pensive thought leads the dying Patriarch to reflect, in a most appropriate manner, upon that darkest page in his history, which may justly be said to have given a tinge to all his future life. Every attentive student of scripture must perceive that the only satisfactory key to the succession of trials and afflictions through which he was called to pass, while yet so evidently a highly-favoured servant of the Almighty, is, to look


him as one who was chastened of the Lord, that he might not be condemned with the world.The following lines will amply prove that such is the light in which his history was regarded by our author :

My brother!-yes, I wronged thee, and I date
From that sad hour, the darkening of my fate;
For all was bright till then,-and thence begin
The shades of sorrow and the stains of sin.
How much I suffered for thy sake is known

To Him who knows the heart,--to Him alone.' Perhaps it might have been still more satisfactory had a more decided reference been made to the flagrant sin against God, committed by Jacob at the instigation of his mother; put in contrast with which, that against his brother was comparatively trifling. With still greater propriety than the Psalmist, might he have adopted the language,

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.

But we must content ourselves with one more quotation from this pleasing, and, as we think, valuable and instructive Poem. It repre


[ocr errors]



sents the Patriarch, turning aside for a moment from some of the most afflictive events of his life to address to his beloved grandchildren a few practical reflections on the same.

Dear children! I have learned at length to know
The gain of grief,--the blessedness of woe;
To feel that heavenly peace, vouchsafed alone
When all the blandishments of earth are gone.
Yet long I struggled with the chastening rod,
Marvelling and murmuring at the ways of God,
Who seemed to shroud his smiles in wayward gloom,
And blight the hopes himself had bade to bloom;
I know Him now !-and ah! I know the heart,
That thus in mercy he ordained to smart, -
In mercy made each earthly prospect dim,

That it might centre all its love on Him.' The other Seatonian prize Poems contained in this volume, to which reference has not yet hitherto been made, are on the following subjects, The PLAGUE STAYED,' St. Paul at PHILIPPI,' 'ISHMAEL,'

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS,' The CALL OF ABRAHAM,' The CROSS PLANTED UPON The HIMALAYA MOUNTAINS.' There is also another inserted, entitled “The STORY OF CONSTANTINE,' which was written for the Seatonian prize in 1836, but was not successful. Probably the following introductory remark, by the editors, may account for this failure, especially when the last fact is taken into consideration :

'An Introduction was prefixed to this Poem when it was sent in to the Examiners, which the Editors have suppressed because it had no connexion with the subject of the Poem, and referred to events of the day of a political character.

There is reason for supposing, that on this account the prize was not adjudged to it. No prize was given in this year.'

In addition to the Seatonian Poems, this volume contains, “The Druid's LAMENT,' which was written for the Chancellor's Medal in 1827, and to which we have already referred as having obtained a

second prize' at the hands of the examiners, by order of the ViceChancellor.

A variety of Miscellaneous Poems' and hymns complete the volume, evincing the same poetical talent, and the same pleasing and scriptural views. A few are of a somewhat ludicrous and amusing nature, but possibly the omission of one or two of them might not have detracted from the value of the volume. Of the “SERMONS' our notice must be very brief, for several rea

Did we attempt any thing like a review of the numberless volumes of sermons which issue from the press, we should seldom have space to treat on any other species of productions. We believe, from the specimens we have perused of those contained in the volume, that they are sound, scriptural, and evangelical in their nature and tendency, and that their style is clear and forcible, and sometimes eloquent. Possibly they would have been more systematic had the author studied more of the · Mathematics, which, in one of the Poems, he ridicules—though only in jest—in conjunction with the classical literature, towards which his natural taste inclined him, and in which he distinguished himself at the University. * Gen. xxxv. 9–12.--God appeared to Jacob and blessed him, immediately before the death



of Rachel.'


[ocr errors]

From the second sermon, on Jer. viii. 20, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved,we extract a passage which appears to us striking and important, and may be taken as, at least, a fair specimen of the style of the volume

Not long after the human creature is capable of intellectual or spiritual impression, the Lord by his Spirit addresses to him the command, or rather invitation, “ My Son, give me thine heart.”. Amid the wonders which the inquisitive mind of childhood drinks in with eager thirst after knowledge, the attributes, acts, and requirements of the Godhead invariably find a place. Indeed, so frequently does the knowledge of a child in these matters, far outstrip the information he has received, that we are well inclined to believe that the divine Spirit holds direct communication with the infant soul upon subjects, which the human teacher has scarcely ventured to touch. Howbeit, the period of childhood or youth, is (I believe invariably, but I am safe in saying generally) a time when spiritual impression is made, and the soul solicited, in the dawn of its opening powers, to consecrate itself to God. “ When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” And sure we are, that the minds of many, who even to a remote period of life, dwell with unshaken interest upon the seasons of childhood, will bear witness that this text is applicable to them. They can remember the awe with which they used to look upon evil, as a great wickedness, and sin against God.” They can remember how they were affected, when they were first made aware of the love of Christ, and his sufferings in their behalf; how tears of genuine sorrow have flowed down their cheeks, when they have been kindly remonstrated with, after having been betrayed into some fault; how a glow of responsive affection filled their hearts, whilst they heard from the lips of a tender parent or faithful minister the message of reconciliation; how they were struck with the mingled condescension and mercy which through such human instruments “besought them in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God;” how the first death in the family of a relative or friend, perhaps a father or a mother, almost opened to their eyes the awful realities of a future state; and the warning struck upon their heart, as though breathed from the very lips of the dead, Prepare to meet thy God.'

The volume contains thirty-one Sermons : four of them were preached before the University of Cambridge, when the author occupied the pulpit of St. Mary's, as select preacher in November 1842. T'he rest were preached at Camberwell—the last in April 1843--not long, we imagine, before his death, with the particulars of which lamentable event we are not acquainted, further than that it took place at a comparatively early age-we think in his thirty-ninth year. The general tenour, however, both of his Poems and Sermons, might serve to convince any one unacquainted with his life and character, that he was one of those whom his Lord, when he came, found watching,and to whom would be addressed the joyful sentence, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.





REPORT FOR 1843-44.


Introductory remarks.--As the Society proceeds, from year to year, in the great work for which it was incorporated, the claims upon its consideration, and the appeals to it for its assistance, from the various Colonies and Dependencies of the Crown, are continually increasing in number and urgency. This, however, does not arise from any deficiency of exertion on the part of the Colonists themselves, or any indolent reliance on external help; for never before did they make such vigorous and systematic efforts, as they are now making, for the erection of Churches and Schools, and the maintenance of Clergymen; and never did the Society insist more strongly on their supplying, as far as possible, their own spiritual wants from their own local resources.

In Canada especially, and the West Indies, the people are doing what they can for themselves; but they cannot do all that is required. The Province of Canada West has been peopled principally within the present century. The population, made up for the most part of agricultural labourers, exceeds half a million, and a large emigration of the poorest class is yearly increasing the number. They are without endowments of any kind, except what may be derived from a portion of the Clergy Reserves. They have, therefore, every thing to do for themselves-Schools to build and support, Churches to raise, and Clergymen to provide for. The Society, therefore, while it requires them to strain every nerve in their own behalf, feels the importance of continuing to them such supplies as are still indispensably requisite for the service of Religion in all the more recent settlements of that Colony.

What,” says the Bishop of Toronto, in his recent Charge, 'would a Bishop of Upper Canada be, but for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel ? What could he do for the advancement of Christianity in

his diocese, were there any falling off in her resources, to cripple her energies, or compel her to withdraw a portion of her bounty? Indeed, I may with truth say, what would become of the Colonial Church, should the means of this noble Institution be diminished ? Our wants are increasing much faster than she is able to meet thein, notwithstanding her generous and open hand. Were the hearts of Churchmen in the right place, instead of so small a sum as thirty or forty thousand, more than three hundred thousand pounds per annum would flow into the treasury of the Society, to spread the blessings of the Church through all the Colo

There never was a time,” says the Bishop of Nova Scotia, June 3, 1844, when the opening for the spreading of the Church was so encouraging as it now is; and if we must stop, I could hardly live amid the overpowering discouragement.!

The development of the Colonial Church by the happy increase in the number of Bishops, and the demands arising from a higher appreciation, and consequently more general desire of the ministrations of Religion, have outrun the means of assistance which have been placed at the Society's disposal.

The Total Receipts of the Society during the past Year, have been 68,2871. Ils. id.

The Total Payments, 94,5381.113.2d. Of the total Receipts of the Year, 16,5191. 19s. 5d. has been for specific purposes; and to meet the expenses of the year, 24,4991. 2s. 6d. of the Society's Capital for General Purposes, and 1921. of the Fund for Specific Purposes, has been sold. These sums, together with a part of the balance in the hands of the Treasurers at the last audit, make up the amount of expenditure.

[ocr errors]

Remarks on the Finances. Great exertions have been made to raise the income of the Society to meet the increasing claims. Within the last seven years the income has

« PreviousContinue »