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to identify the personages of Revelation with the Quixottes of romance- -but no, there is no such thing in these volumes, notbing to contaminate the religious, or undermine the awful solemnities of religion ; no, but on the contrary they contain, to say the least of them, a well meant defence of one of the most vital and essential doctrines of the gospel ; viz. the doctrine of the Divinity of the Saviour. We were about to add, that parabolical instruction, which is undoubtedly a species of religious novel writing, has always been permitted and even encouraged ; but as our intention is rather to give some account of the substance and execution of the work now before us, than to discuss the propriety of such writings, we shall at once enter on the execution of our plan.
We have in this, as we should have in all works of fancy, a principal personage conducted through a variety of scenes, some of which would be really distressing, had we not the quieting and consoling assurance, derived from experience, that the more dark and disconsolate the fate of heroes and heroines may be, during the midnight of their distresses, the more bright and brilliant will be the morning of their deliverance. The plot, though tolerably well conceived, is very simple ; yet of that description of simplicity, which from its near coincidence with reality, gives it a greater alliance to things that “might have been,” than if it was more full of “hair breadth escapes."
We understand that this novel is the production of a Lady; that she is one of piety and talents we have no merit in believing, for every chapter in the work, evinces that she is both, though we are much deceived if she has done her talents justice ; but in addition to this, that she is a Lady of a kind and amiable heart, we would venture, even at the risk of our critical infallibility, to assert; if indeed it can be called a venture, after having perused this tale. We confess that when we first heard the title, we had very moderate expectations of it, as it sounded so like the Belindas and Amandas, &c. of the last century,
“ Issuing sighs that smoked along the wall.”
in the sickening loathing of their sickening loves. But if its name alarmed us much, its subject made us still more distrustful. We immediately-for who can at once stop the precipitous torrent of his aroused reflections? assigned it a station among that crude undigested mass of novels, wbich proceeding from brainless heads and diseased imaginations, add a little to the labour and profit of the printer, and then enjoy an existence infinitely more placid and undisturbed than the polypus. This feeling was changed by the opinion of friends on whose judgments we
place much dependence; and having perused it attentively for ourselves, we confess we were both pleased and instructed by it. And in order to justify our own complacency, as well as to convey to our readers a due sense of our penetration, we are happy to inform them, that the merits of this work are duly apppreciated in London, the very mart and home of literature, where it is republished under the title of, “Justina, or Pure and Undefiled Religion.”
But to the story. Mr. Melross, on account of a failure in his mercantile concerns, is obliged to leave this country for the metropolis of England, whither he carries with bim Justina, the beroine of the tale. After much exertion, and the sacrifice of his American estates, he discharges all his debts, and dies in poverty and happiness. Justina, after an absence of nine years, returns to the land of her Fathers, beautiful in person and amiable and accomplished in mind. Sometime after her arrival from England, and during her stay in the beautiful and romantic islandis of the Bermudas, whither she went to accompany an invalid friend, her sister Augusta became acquainted with two gentleman of the names of Elmore and Arlington. Betwixt Augusta and the former of these gentlemen there arose a mutual attachment. Shortly after the arrival of Justina from Bermuda, she discovered that she possessed sentiments towards the noble minded Arlington, dearer far than friendship. which for many reasons she felt confident was mutual. Arlington however was deeply in love with Augusta, though she was plighted to his friend; and by one of those unaccountable freaks of the human heart which are of such infinite importance to novel-writers, Elmore forsakes the disconsolate Augusta for her sister. Here arises a misunderstanding betwixt the two sisters, upon which turns much of the interest of the story. Elmore is at once, and decidedly, rejected by the amiable Justina, who strongly recommends ArIington to Augusta, though in doing so, she rends her own tenderest affections. What however induced Justina to persevere in this, was the fact that she unavoidably gave Arlington the knowlerige of her attachment to him. She feared therefore, should Augusta reject him, he would attribute his rejection to her interested interference. No sooner however did Augusta discover Elmore's attachment to her sister, than she dicovered, as she thought, Justina's reasons for pleading so warmly for Arlington, whom she then rejects, and no sooner is he rejected than he believes it occasioned by the duplicity of Justina. Several circumstances, naturally conceived and well described, give a strong probability to both these suspicions. This leads to a separation betwixt the two sisters. Justina goes to New-York; and soon afterwards to Philadelphia, where she meets with an opulent
old gentleman who had been once attached to her mother. Af ter his death it was discovered that he had made a singular and astonishing will, which involves Justina in much unmerited misery.
But is it right to anticipate the reader, or satiate his mind with the tale previous to reading it? I know it is a task for doing which for myself. I should thank no person. What we have here given is a very imperfect skeleton, which cannot be filled up but in the entire language of the work.
This novel has strong claims to the patronage of the public. It is completely national, entirely American in its characters, its scenery, and its spirit. Those who read merely for present gratification, will find in it many passages of an interesting description, well calculated to keep up that delectable excitement of feeling, which like high spiced viands, stimulate the palate, producing pleasure in proportion to their pungency,
To those whose designs are more rational, and who seek to be instructed while they are gratified, we would give those volumes a strong recommendation. It is impossible to read them without exclaiming concerning riches and honours.
« The earth has baubles, as the water hatb,
We would claim little sympathy with the heart that can read these volumes, and not feel some holy emotions—some detestation of that pride of heart which exalteth its possess, or like Haman of old.
upon a gibbet of his own erection, where he hangs the miserable victim of his own folly and infatuation. How forcibly do they portray that want of order and regularity so lamentably prevalent in the education of children! and what bitter and caustic satire are the characters of Miss Mortimer and Miss Delway, on many young ladies whose names are familiar to our lips, and whose giddy frivolous countenances are visible to our imaginations. The greatest curse that can befall such, is to have handsome faces ; beauty of countenance makes them the more remarkable, and the more they are known, the more they are despised. Like a lamp in a tomb, it allures us to a place we might otherwise have passed, and, where, when we have arrived, it serves only to exhibit the deformity with which it is surrounded.
We feel sorry that our bounds forbid us to make many extracts from the work ; yet such is the coincidence of our sentiments with our heroine, in speaking of those seduced and erring creatures of her own sex, for whom women in general exhibit so little sympathy, while they can caress the seducer, that we cannot deny ourselves nor our readers, the gratification of giving it in the author's words. When the accomplished Ferdinand Cavendish was exhibiting penitence for crimes of the above description, he asked Justina if the “austerity of her virtue allowed of no pity to penitent offenders?" Hear her reply. * My pity,” said Justina, " is not for you ; you have nothing farther to do, than to throw from your sated and faithless heart, and banish from your presence, the victim and partner of your guilt ; efface from your conscience and memory all that is past, in order to come forth accepted and even applauded by the world for so doing. My pity is reserved for those whom the world pursues with a scorn which never relents. Unable to earn their bread by honest industry, for want of character; forbidden by the laws of society, even to approach the virtuous; driven by despair from crime to crime, their closing days are famine and wretchedness of every kind, and their only refuge is the grave. It is these, sir ; it is the victim and partner of your guilt, and not you that I pity." - Page 43, Vol. 2.
These are ideas which are honourable to the female character, and were such a feeling more cultivated, the language of the noblo bard would not be as true as it is elegant:
“ And every wo, a tear can claim,
But to some readers, nay, we believe to many, the chief recommendation is as yet unnoticed. It will immediately appear to a reader of even limited powers of apprehension, that our author is strongly opposed to Unitarianisin ; that she is a devoted believer in the divinity of the Saviour. On this part of the subject we do not intend to dilate, leaving the work to speak for itself, believing, from our own impressions, that its influence must be considerable on the side of orthodoxy. Of religion, in general, however, we are constrained to say, that the writer is an amiable advocate of that which is taught in the Gospel, and which purifies the heart and warms it to benevolence. Her pure pages all flow agreeably to that vital practical godliness, which to an awakened sinner is as much superior to the fashionable religion of the day, as to a hungry man, a feast is preferable to the form of the viands reflected in a mirror.
We are almost tempted to call our amiable author to the field of honour, to answer for her severe satire contained in this work upon our sex. There is not a gentleman of any interest in the work, who cannot apparently change his attachments with as much ease as his dress. We trust that this pliancy of affection is not as general in the drama of life as in these volumes. Elmore changes and re-changes, and after all makes an acceptable and tolerably romantic lover. The grave and dignified Arlington, loves and changes his love, with a very graceful ease, and still is apparently no prodigy. Cavendish burns with the purest affection, and yet in a few weeks transfers his love with all its ardour and enthusiasm to another. Our first reflection on this subject was that our author intended that the notable sarcasm of Shakespeare, should read
Frailty, thy name is-man."
But this impression was effaced by the character of Mrs. Mortimer, and his daughter-- Miss Midway and Mrs. Grafton.
We were also disposed to question the consistency of Mrs. Islington's character, as we confess we scarcely recoguised in the warm defender of the christian character, the polite Mrs. Islington whose numerous cards of invitation, called forth so much vanity, and whose splendid ball gave so much giddy pleasure to the butterflies of fashion. Indeed the contrast is so great, that we feel much hesitation in subscribing to the identity of the characters.
We now take leave of our author, with an assurance of our thanks for the pleasure she has afforded us, and of our readers, with a strong recommendation of the principles inculcated in this work. both moral and religious, to their attentive perusal, and assiduous attention.
FOR THE AMERICAN MONTHLY MAGAZINE
ADAM SMITH's THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS.
Continued from page 364.
PASSIVE IMPRESSIONS AND ACTIVE PRINCIPLES.
*** But unhappily for that satisfaction, this reception is generally such as to displease and disappoint, to rebuke and to rebuff -melancholy and chagtin, united at first with something of presentiment, is the almost necessary consequence; and it is as im
VOL. I.-No. vi. 67