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NOTICES OF BOOKS.
THE PRIZE TALE. THE SOLDIER'S PROGRESS: Pourtrayed in the life of George Powell. By SARAH SYMONDS. 18mo. pp. 115. Embellished with six coloured Engravings, from designs by John Gilbert. London: Willoughby and Co., and all Booksellers.
This interesting work has the following origin. In the spring of 1849, the publishers issued a series of prints, designed by John Gilbert, Esq., with a few words on peace and war, by Elihu Burritt; and so rapid was their sale, and so decidedly was public opinion expressed in their favour, that they were induced to render permanent that which otherwise might have been merely transient. With this view they offered a small prize for the best prose tale to illustrate the tableaux. To the present work was the prize awarded. It is a faithful and mournfully interesting picture, which in its leading features has been realized in myriads of instances. A thoughtless youth, half intoxicated, and seduced by the false visions of glory pourtrayed by a recruiting sergeant, enlists, and leaves behind him an aged, widowed, and broken-hearted mother and an intelligent affectionate maiden to whom he was betrothed. He soon finds out the mistake he has made, and bitterly repents his folly when too late. His high spirit resents the treatment he receives, and he is flogged and incarcerated; but he escapes his prison, and deserts. He is detected, and again flogged until nature faints, and he is carried away insensible to the hospital. This severe discipline teaches him subordination and obedience. He is allowed to marry; the regiment is ordered on foreign service. He is in the bloody carnage at Waterloo. He bravely fights, and falls wounded on the sanguinary field. The prancing cavalry pass over him, and the iron hoof of one tramples on a limb, and shatters it. When the battle ceases his anxious and distracted wife finds him bleeding and unconscious among heaps of prostrate slain; but her arrival is just in time to arrest the stroke of the murderous guerilla, and to staunch the wound where life's current was fast welling out. He is carried in a waggon from the field of slaughter to the crowded hospital, where he but slowly and partially recovers from his wounds. Being no longer fit for
actual service, he is discharged on a scanty pension. After four years' absence he reaches home, a poor, emaciated, decrepid, worn-out man, just in time to witness the dying hour of his aged mother, who by grief and anxiety is hastened to the tomb. His own shattered constitution bears up only a a few months, ere he also sinks into the tomb, leaving behind his wife, a desolate and broken-hearted widow, of whom the neighbours say, "She'll not be long after him." Here end the young soldier's visions of military glory. The tale is well written; it graphically describes the hidden woes of the soldier's life, and is admirably calculated to strip the nodding plume, the gay epaulette, and the exciting sounds of martial music of their power to fascinate and betray the ardent youth. It is well worthy of an extensive circulation.
THE DOMESTIC WORSHIPPER: Consisting of Prayers, selected Scripture Portions, and Hymns for Morning and Evening; with Prayers for special occasions. Edited by Rev. SAMUEL GREEN. 12mo. pp. 372. London: B. L. Green.
There are 112 prayers adapted to a course of family worship for two months. Each prayer is accompanied with a hymn, and a reference to a portion of Scripture. Where there is confidence and ability to conduct family worship from the spontaneous effusions of the soul, such devotion is of course far preferable to the utterance of a printed form; but where these requisites are absent, a form becomes necessary; and in such cases the work before us will be found very useful. The prayers are simple, comprehensive, and thoroughly evangelical.
THE WAY OF SALVATION: A Reply to the important inquiry, What must I do to be saved?" By P. J. WRIGHT. 18mo. pp. 72. Second Thousand. Published at our own Book Room, and may be had from any of our Ministers.
We have just received a fresh supply of this excellent little work. It clearly unfolds the plan of salvation, and directs the penitent at once to the Cross of Christ. We presume that as the winter approaches, our ministers and friends will be holding special services to promote the conversion of sinners. To an awakened, contrite soul carnestly seeking mercy, and to young converts ge
nerally, this cheap little manual of Mr. Wright is an invaluable boon; indeed, we know of no book of the size and price so well adapted to afford the direction and consolation required by those for whose benefit the work was prepared.
THE JORDAN, AND THE DEAD Sea. 18mo. pp. 192. Religious Tract Society.
In this little volume we have much valuable information respecting the topography of a country of unparalleled interest to the Christian.' Information which in other times would have swelled to volumes, and cost a considerable sum to obtain, is here condensed and placed within our reach for a few pence. It is distinguished by learning and research.
IONA. By Rev. W. L. ALEXANDER, D.D. 18m0, pp. 192. Religious Tract Society.
Iona is one of the smallest of the British Isles, situated in 56 deg. 59 min., near a rugged and barren part of the Scottish coast, surrounded by dangerous seas, and possessing no sources of internal wealth, yet has obtained an imperishable place in history as the seat of civilization and religion at a time when the darkness of heathenism hung over almost the whole of Northern Europe, and as the source whence these blessings were very widely diffused in countries whose inhabitants have ever since been in the foremost ranks of the human race. The work is erudite and deeply interesting to the antiquarian and the Christian.
CHARLES HAMILTON: or Better Rub than Rust. By GEORGE E. SARGENT. 18mo. pp. 115. London: B. L. Green. All the series of Mr. Green's juvenile books are excellent; but this we think is the best of the series which has yet appeared. The story is so true to
nature, so descriptive of real life, and so fraught with practical illustrations of the best sentiments that it cannot fail both to interest and profit the youthful reader. It is here shown in the most attractive and impressive manner how religion can fortify the mind under disappointment and adversity; how industry, self-reliance, integrity, and perseverance can elevate our character and condition, despite the most discouraging events. We earnestly recommend it to our readers.
PART I. NOTES, EXPLANATORY AND PRACTICAL, ON THE GOSPELS. By Rev. ALBERT BARNES. Carefully revised by Rev. SAMUEL GREEN, author of the "Biblical and Theological Dietionary." London: B. L. Green.
This is the first part of Mr. Green's cheap edition of Barnes's "Notes on the Gospels." Nothing need be said respecting the character of Barnes's Notes: they are extensively known, and their excel lence is universally admitted. This edition is amazingly cheap, and well got up. The paper, type, and workmanship are of superior quality, and the work itself, as stated in the preface, has undergone a careful revision, and some important editions by the editor.
SCRIPTURE LESSONS: or the History of the Acts of the Apostles, in Question and Answer. Designed for the use of Bible Classes. By Mrs. HENDERSON. London: B. L. Green.
This work is the sequel to a work, by the same authoress, on the Gospels. The plan is that of question and answer on the leading truths and facts which are consecutively placed before us in "The Acts of the Apostles." It is executed in a manner which displays good sense and considerable ability, and places a large amount of Biblical information at the disposal of the reader. The doctrine is decidedly evangelical, but Calvinistic.
OBITUARIES AND RECENT DEATHS.
MR. JOHN SPOONER, OF CHEADLE, LONGTON CIRCUIT. THE ravages of death affect persons of all countries, of all ranks, and of all ages. The young are smitten by the "king of terrors," and in early life are summoned from time to eternity. Yes, multitudes of our fellow creatures soon after they appear on the stage of life fall victims to the stroke of death, and
thus terminate their earthly pilgrimage. May all our young friends whose spirits are buoyant and whose prospects are bright remember that ere long they will finish the journey of life and enter the regions of the silent and numberless dead. The middle-aged, too, whose bones are full of marrow, and whose strength is firm, who have risen high in the scale of social existence, and whose physical and mental powers are fully
developed, are taken away in the midst of their days, and compelled to surrender their bodies to the dominion of the grave. It is our fervent prayer that all the readers of this paper who have reached the meridian of life may 66 'prepare to meet their God," so that at the "expected end" they may secure a dwelling place in the mansions of light and glory. But the aged, with their grey hairs, and tottering limbs, and bending bodies, are destined to pay the debt of nature or of justice; and after a long life of virtue and happiness, or of vice and wretchedness, while their bodies are laid, amid the tears of relatives and friends in the tomb of mortality, their spirits go to God to receive their final and righteous doom. O that all our aged readers were wise, that they would consider their latter end, and thus lay up imperishable treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through nor steal.
John Spooner, the subject of this brief and imperfect account, lived in this world of sin and woe till he had arrived at a good old age, and then went down to the grave in sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life. He was born at Cheadle, in Staffordshire, in 1772, and was the second son of William and Mary Spooner of the same place. His parents at this time were not only entirely destitute of true religion-the pure and undefiled religion of the Bible, but lived without God in the world and were exceedingly profligate and wicked. Placed amid circumstances and influences so unfavourable to the cultivation of virtuous habits, we are not surprised to learn that young Spooner imitated the example of his parents, and soon became a champion in the service of the "wicked one," living in the indulgence of vicious dispositions, and walking according to the course of this world.
When about twenty-three years of age he was married to Miss Edith Johnson, of Cheadle, who, like himself, was a stranger to the sublime and satisfying pleasures of true piety.
The means employed by a gracious God to bring guilty and rebellious sinners to a knowledge of the truth as it in Christ are not only efficacious in their influence but varied in their character. The remonstrances of conscience, the advice of friends, the teachings of the Bible, the influences of the Spirit, are designed to subserve the purposes of in
finite Wisdom, and lead the sinner to Christ. It appears, however, that an afflictive dispensation of Divine providence was the means of arousing Brother Spooner to a sense of his spiritual condition, and convincing him of "sin, and righteousness, and judgment." In the year 1810 two of his children were taken away from the evil to come; and as he beheld the ravages of death, he was aroused from his guilty slumbers, and felt assured that he was unfit to die and go into an eternal world. In connection with this painful and providential, but sanctified event, he hesitated not to affirm that, whilst walking one day in his garden he heard an audible voice addressing him on subjects of vital importance, and assuring him that if he persisted in living without salvation, he never would see his children again. With these impressions and views he went into the house, informed his wife of the circumstance which had transpired, and most emphatically declared his determination to forsake his evil ways and give his heart to God.
Brother Spooner being now the subject of anxious solicitude in reference to his spiritual interests attended regularly the house of prayer, and observed the ordinances of religion, saying in the language of David, "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." The faithful ministration of the truth proved to him highly instructive and beneficial. A short time after his mind became impressed with the value of religion and the necessity of fleeing from the "wrath to come;" he heard a discourse on the dreadful consequences of sin and the blessed results of saving grace. This discourse was a nail fastened in a sure place. He saw the desirableness of religion, and he felt determined to secure it. At this stage of his religious career our brother was invited by a member of the Wesleyan society to attend the class mecting-a meeting for the relation of Christian experience, the advantages of which eternity alone will unfold. He unhesitatingly accepted the invitation, and thus furnished to "inquirers" and penitents an example worthy of imitation.
We have been informed that at this period of his history he was the subject of great mental anxiety, arising from the insinuations and devices of the wicked one, the revilings of his former
companions, and the convictions he had of his sinful, guilty, and degenerate condition. He felt that he was the vilest of the vile, the "chief of sinners." With his conscience thus burdened and distressed he repaired to his closet and offered carnest prayer to God for mercy and forgiveness, and reposed unshaken confidence in the all-atoning sacrifice of the world's great Redeemer; and whilst he thus looked unto Jesus, his sins, which were many, were all forgiven, his mind was filled with peace, and he could "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." How true is the saying of the prophet, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon;" and equally true is the averment of the apostle, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
From the statements which have been made respecting the character and conduct of our late brother's parents, the readers of this memoir will not be surprised to learn that at the time of his conversion he was unacquainted with the alphabet of the English language; but mark the course which he adopted in order to acquire Divine knowledge. We are told that he went to the Sabbath school, and took his seat in the alphabet class; and by persevering in this course he was soon able to read the sacred Scriptures, which were to him well-springs of knowledge, and consolation, and joy.
Our late brother, having tasted of the good word of God, and felt the powers of the world to come, began to labour in the vineyard of the Lord. The members of his own household were the special objects of his sympathetic and Christian efforts, and he endeavoured by every practical means to lead them to Christ and to heaven; and it is highly satisfactory to know that by his humble and persevering instrumentality both his partner and his mother were induced to abandon the service of sin and Satan, and become disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. How certain is success in the cause of Christ! How splendid are the triumphs of Divine grace! "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
In the year 1819, for reasons which were satisfactory to our late friend, he withdrew from the Wesleyan community, and joined the New Connexion-an act of which, so far as we know, he never repented, believing that our ecclesiastical polity was more in accordance with the principles of the New Testament than that of the parent body. He continued in church fellowship with us amid reproaches and afflictions, until he finished his earthly sojourn and became a member of the church triumphant in heaven.
As Brother Spooner's piety in the estimation of those friends with whom he associated was unquestionable, and believing, as they did, that he possessed qualifications for general usefulness, he was appointed to the important office of a leader, which he sustained for many years. He felt deeply interested in the spiritual welfare of those commited to his care; and there is reason to believe that his labours were not in vain in the Lord. During his religious course he gave the most satisfactory proofs of the reality of his faith in the essential doctrines of the Gospel, and of his sincere and supreme affection to the Saviour of the world. In the midst of opposition on the part of some, and of apostacy on the part of others, he was steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. In this world of inconsistency, and change, and hypocrisy, he adhered to the cause of truth and righteousnses, and nobly resolved to devote his talents, his influence, and his life to the glory of God. He was, in the opinion of some, of all “a good man."
In October last, revival services were held at Cheadle; some of which our es teemed friend attended, and in which he felt greatly interested. It is believed, that in returning home one evening, from one of these services, he caught a violent cold, which produced general debility, and prevented him from attending the means of grace with his accustomed regularity; but, with declining strength he could say, "As the outward man decays, the inward man grows stronger and stronger," or in the words of the psalmist, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." He appeared submissive to the will of God, and the arrangements of Divine providence, and could say in the language of his blessed Redeemer, "Not my will, but thine be done." On Sabbath-day, March 10th, it was evident to his rela
tives that nature was rapidly giving way, and that, ere long, the mortal tabernacle would be taken down; but he could say with confidence, "For I know that if the earthly house of my tabernacle be dissolved I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." On the Wednesday following his departure was anticipated by his friends, and on being interrogated as to the state of his mind, he emphatically replied, "Heaven's my home!" On being assured that God would not leave him in his last moments, he remarked, that He had manifested himself most powerfully to his soul, and that he must die before he could see God as he is, in all his glory. On the next Sabbath it was obvious to all who saw him that his days were numbered, and that the mortal conflict would soon be over. The writer of this paper called upon him during the interval of public worship, and although the power of speech was gone, and he was rapidly approaching the gloomy valley of the shadow of death, yet he could rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation; and about nine o'clock in the evening of that Sabbath, March 17th, he exchanged earth with all its interests and temptations, and sorrows, for heaven, with all its satisfactions, and triumphs, and glories.
"Death is the crown of life."
"Were death denied, poor man would live in vain;
Were death denied, to live would not be life;
Were death denied, even fools would wish to die.
Death wounds to cure, we fall, we rise, we reign!
Spring from our fetters, fasten in the skies,
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight;
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost."
upon their feelings and moral character, they were not qualified to train up their son "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Consequently he grew up to youth's estate without any of those gracious influences which so richly descend upon the children of truly pious and consistent parents. His mother dying whilst he was young, he was thus deprived of her who by nature was perhaps best adapted to throw softening influences around him; and was cast upon the wide world, and left to a great extent to form his own character as best he could.
"When thy father and mother forsake thee, then the Lord will take thee up." So it was with young Evans. Divine Providence was very gracious to him, and emphatically "took him up." On being apprenticed to a respectable painter in Shrewsbury, he began to develop what is commonly understood by a "steady" character. He won the approbation of his master, passed through his servitude in an honourable manner, and was upright in his outward conduct, secured the confidence of all within the circle of his acquaintanceship, and ultimately settled in business with encouraging indications of
About fifteen years ago, the Rev. P. T. Gilton, then stationed in the Dawley Green circuit, cast an eye of Christian affection towards the ancient town of Shrewsbury, where our community at that time had no existence, and where, in fact, except to a few it was unknown, and longed earnestly not merely to widen the sphere of our influence, but to preach that Gospel by which some should be saved. After carefully surveying the field of operation, and prudently laying his plans, and devoutly supplicating the blessing of heaven, he entered the town, practically, as a home missionary. All honour to Brother Gilton! the mere pre-occupancy of the town by other communities did not deter him; an imaginary difficulty in finance did not scare him; there was the town with its thousands of immortal beings, within a reasonable distance of an organized circuit, and consulting not so much "with flesh and blood " as with the spirit of benevolence within him, he went and in the name of his Master planted another flag of reconciliation, around which numbers have rallied and sung the "new song." O why should not other circuits and other ministers imitate this example? Faci