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of gospel truth and holiness. And although he asks them in the language of strong rebuke, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” he manifestly teaches them that all those who are under the government of Jesus Christ are no longer infatuated by those bewitching errors, nor insnared by those alluring vices, which distinguish and debase the characters of apostates from the truth.
This suggests the remedy for all these evils. With whatever pertinacity some may plead for the existence of witchcraft, in the popular acceptation of that word, it is manifest that, in the opinion of St. Paul, all who had “put on Christ," who "walked in newness of life,” and were therefore really and truly Christians, were in no danger, so long as they resisted the “ works of the flesh" and "lived by faith in Jesus Christ," of being led away by this “error of the wicked.” Let, then, Christianity prevail in all its purity and renovating power, and all wizards and witches, necromancers and sorcerers, of whatever class, shall be banished from human society. Their books shall be burned, their wily arts confounded, and their fascinating charms shall have lost their bewitching allurements, and the entire craft, with all its means of deception, shall be utterly annihilated.
Saul went not to the witch of Endor until the Lord had departed from him. And this is a lamentable instance of the changeability of human nature. He who once denounced witchcraft in the boldest terms, and placed its abettors under the ban of his empire, punishing them with the penalty of death for all such treasonable offenses, now, that God had forsaken him, threw himself into the arms of this artful pythoness, and invoked in his behalf a power which heretofore he had derided and condemned ! Such is the fate of those who forsake the true God!
Hence no one who is “ filled with the Spirit” of God, will feel any inclination to resort to these deceitful oracles to ascertain his own fate, or the fate of others. He has “a more sure word of prophecy, unto which he does well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place;" and so long as he follows this light, he will not only shun the darkness occasioned by these dense clouds of error and superstition, but he shall have “the light of life,” and it will shine upon him, both on his understanding and conscience, “more and more unto the perfect day.”
Here, then, is the sovereign remedy. Christianity can have no
concord with this demon of darkness. Its light, its power, its purity, disdain an alliance with the prince of darkness, weakness, and impurity, and, therefore, they cannot both hold dominion in the same heart at the same time. The “strong man, who keepeth his goods in peace," and has bewildered the understanding, and corrupted the imagination of his deluded followers, “when a stronger than he is come," must submit to be bound, to have his goods spoiled, and to be cast out, and dispossessed of his usurped dominion.
That the illuminations of Christian truths, beaming forth through the medium of a refined and cultivated intellect, will banish the darkness, not only of heathen idolatry, but also of all the trickeries of witchcraft, who can doubt? The only effectual way, therefore, to banish this doctrine of demons, and those works of the flesh, which are its legitimate fruits, from the face of the earth, is to secure by a holy life, and by an active benevolence, the complete triumph of Christianity all over the inhabited globe. While “God is” thus “in his holy temple, all the earth shall keep silence before him.”
How can it be otherwise ? If he take possession of his temple, can the usurper hold his court there? But Christians “are the temples of the living God." If he, therefore, become enthroned in their hearts, shall he not put down all thrones and dominions which exalt themselves against him? And has he not denounced war and death against all witches, wizards, necromancers, and sorcerers, as blasphemers of his name, as workers of treason against his thtone and kingdom, and as complotters with all his other enemies against his holy and peaceful reign upon earth? Who, then, that has sworn allegiance to this high and holy King, will seek to these enchanters in preference to confiding their interests to the Lord of hosts?
Let, therefore, this religion prevail. Let Christianity lift up its banners, and let its sons and daughters fight under the Captain of their salvation, and they need not fear all the powers of darkness. Neither wizards nor witches shall invade their habitation, nor have power to "hurt or destroy in all God's holy mountain,” so long as they are guarded, protected, and supplied by the King of Zion.
Wesleyan University, 1841.
Art. VII.— The Life and Poems of Rev. George Crabbe, LL.B.
In 1834, Rev. George Crabbe, A. M., furnished the public with a memoir of his venerable and talented father, then lately deceased. Very seldom has a “Life” been written which was so peculiarly appropriate, in the style of its literary execution, to the character portrayed, and certainly none wherein the writer has more thoroughly revealed his own character in the act of exhibiting that of another person. From this production, and the few, very few, biographical notices of this poet, with which the public has been favored by the magazines, we shall endeavor to present a short outline of his literary career, and a brief analysis of his poetical works.
GEORGE CRABBE," the poet of the poor,” was the eldest son of the salt master of Aldborough, Suffolk, England. His father was a man of vigorous mind and strong passions, and famous, in his own neighborhood, for his facility in mathematical calculations. The village in which the poet was born, at the period of his birth, was a poor, miserable, straggling town, lying between a cliff and the ocean's beach. “It consisted of two parallel and unpaved streets, running between mean and scrambling houses, the abodes of sea-faring men, pilots, and fishers. The range of houses nearest the sea had suffered so much from repeated invasions of the waves, that only a few scattered tenements appeared erect among the desolation.” The beach was covered with loose shingles, and the remnants of the fishing boats which had gone to pieces, sometimes covered with fishermen preparing for departure, or sharing the spoils ; " and nearer the gloomy old town-hall (the only indication of municipal dignity) a few groups of mariners, chiefly pilots, taking their quick, short walk backward and forward, every eye watchful of a signal from the offing."
The neighboring landscape consisted of “open commons and sterile farms, the soil poor and sandy, the herbage bare and rushy, the trees 'few and far between,' and withered and stunted by the bleak breezes of the sea." Here, where nature had forgotten to drop beauties, among men whose manners were never familiar with cultivation, and whose passions were never the obedient subjects of moral restraints, he spent the first days of his life.
His father, in the earliest period of the poet's life, was of a domestic habit; and although more devoted to mathematical calculation than to any other intellectual pursuit, he was accustomed “occasionally to read aloud to his family in the evenings, passages from Milton, Young, or some other of the graver classics, with, as his son thought long afterward, remarkable judgment, and with powerful effect.”
Though Crabbe was born so near the water, he “had few of the qualifications of a sailor," and on their little fishing excursions his father would frequently lose his patience at beholding the awkwardness of George, and exclaim, " That boy must be a fool! John, and Bob, and Will, are all of some use about a boat; but what will that thing ever be good for ?" The memoir informs us that this was a mere temporary ebullition of anger, for Mr. Crabbe did not fail to perceive indications of more than ordinary talents in his eldest boy, and did all that he possibly could to furnish him with a good education. The poet's first reading, like that of most boys of lively minds, led him principally to romance; and when that came in the charming dress of verse it was doubly acceptable. His father received a periodical publication called, “Martin's Philosophical Magazine,” each number of which contained a sheet of poetry; and at the end of the year, when he sent the work to the binder's, he cut out these sheets, which “became the property of his son George, who read their contents until he had most of them by heart." He became famed throughout the neighborhood for his fondness for books, and, of course, was considered quite a prodigy. One day as he was passing through the village, he happened to displease one of his companions, who immediately exhibited signs of inflicting a chastisement; but another boy interfered in behalf of "the studious George.” “You must not meddle with him," said he, “ let him alone, for he ha' got larning.”
Our poet's first stanza was addressed to a fair little lady who attended the same school with himself, cautioning her not to be “ too much elevated about a new set of blue ribands to her straw bonnet." When he arrived at his fourteenth year his father determined to apprentice him to a surgeon; and, consequently, he was
removed from school. No situation could be immediately found, • and George, meanwhile, was employed as an assistant to his father
in the warehouse, and engaged in drudgeries which he most thoroughly detested. He soon found a situation, and was apprenticed to a surgeon near Bury St. Edmund. This master not only gave George instruction in his own business, but, very gratuitously indeed, furnished him with sundry opportunities to engage in agricultural pursuits on his own farm; which, together with the manner in which he was fed and lodged, was not so very agreeable to him: and he consequently, after having remained about three years here, went to a Mr. Page, at Woodbridge, near Aldborough, where he concluded his apprenticeship.
While at Woodbridge he became acquainted with Miss Sarah Elmy, the niece of a wealthy farmer in the neighborhood of Parham, for whom he cherished an ardent affection for twelve long, painful years, and to whom he was finally married. Shortly after this, when he was in his eighteenth or nineteenth year, he contended for a prize on the subject of hope, in one of the minor literary magazines of the day, and tells us himself, that “ he had the misfortune to gain it.” Only the conclusion of that poem has been preserved in a note in the memoir.
Before he left Woodbridge, he published at Ipswich a short poem, entitled “Inebriety." His memoir tells us that it was rude and unfinished, and exhibited a marked devotion to the style of Pope. In it he took more than one occasion of “girding at” the cloth, as his son expresses it. He has these two lines,–
“Champagne the courtier drinks, the spleen to chase,
The colonel Burgundy, and Port his grace.” To these lines his biographer very appropriately subjoins the following remark: “He was not yet a ducal chaplain.” There are one or two other extracts which, if our article were not limited, we would copy. They paint a faithless priest, betraying the cause of his Master by joining in the unholy indulgence of a bacchanalian revel. They were written in our author's twentieth year, before he attached himself to the church, and, we may add, before the commencement of the temperance reformation. This poem was unsuccessful.
In 1775 he concluded his apprenticeship and returned to Aldborough, hoping to be able to visit London, and to complete his professional education there. His father's affairs being somewhat deranged, he found his hopes, in this respect, blasted. He had now quite as much leisure as he could possibly desire, and he devoted himself to the study of botany, for which he ever maintained