« 上一頁繼續 »
things are, and on which they depend, the Divine Will, with man through the connecting medium of Divine Truth.' p. 30.
Metaphysics have assumed almost every form, but we do not remember, that they ever before appeared to us in the shape of Vulgar Fractions.
'Indeed the understanding which any individual possesses of a subject might be mathematically defined ihe
med the actual character of his mind and there is a constant struggle for the numerator and denominator to become the same by a change in the one or the other, that the result may be unity, and the understanding perfect.'
p. 34. We intended to controvert some of the positions taken by this writer ; but we soon found, that the very principles assumed by him, were mere assumptions so far as we could discern, leaving us, of course, no common ground on which to stand. Besides, to many of his statements we could attach no 'meaning whatever; and it is an awkward thing to dispute an assertion, when so far as we can see, nothing has been asserted. It only remaining for us, therefore, to thank Mr Reed for the good we have found in these pages, and to regret, that he has connected it, as we think unnecessarily, with other matter, which, to readers generally, must make these Observations, considered as a connected treatise, unintelligible and useless.
Notices of Recent Publications.
21. A Discourse on the Principles of Action in Religious Bodies: delivered
before the New-York Eastern Christian Conference, at Broadalbin, June 10, 1826. By Simon Clough, Pastor of the First Christian Society in the City of New-York. 12mo. pp. 24. New-York, Vander
pool & Cole, 1826. This Discourse, like that which we noticed from Mr Clough some time since, is a sensible and manly performance, and will doubtless exert a good influence. Its great design, like that of the former, is to advocate and establish the principles of christian liberty. The principles of action in religious bodies, he says, are two; force and choice ; and having shown at length that force is unwarrantable and mischievous, he proceeds to prove that choice or free assent, is the only legitimate ground for Christians ; that is, as he explains it, none are to be required to believe or to do any thing concerning religion, except as they
are persuaded to it by their own free and unbiassed understanding of the sacred word. This is the great principle on which the Reformation proceeded ; to be preferred to the other, because it annihilates dominion over conscience ; because it destroys the foundation of persecution ; because it is productive of a higher state of piety and devotion ; because it is the only system on which all Christians can be united in one body. The objections, that if this principle prevails all regular order and discipline will be destroyed and confusion ensue, and that it will open a door for every heretical opinion and the complete corruption of the gospel, are satisfactorily answered, and the Discourse closes with the following paragraph.
“My brethren, these are the great and glorious principles upon which all the churches in the Christian denomination are founded, and upon these principles we have ever acted as a body. We embraced them from a conviction that they were just and equitable, and renouncing party spirit and sectarian domination, we gave to each other the right-hand of fellowship, and under many discouraging circumstances entered into the vineyard of the Lord, and by active diligence and persevering exertions, by the grace of God, we have reaped a rich and glorious harvest. Churches bave been planted and multiplied in every State in the Union, and in the British Prov. inces of North America; the asperity of party feeling has been greatly softened, and Christianity presented to the world in a more amiable and lovely form. May we still go forward dictated [?] by the same spirit, and governed by the same principles. Let us still unite zeal with charity, and piety with liberality. Let us be conscientious and decided in our own sentiments and opinions, but let us respect the sentiments and opinions of our brethren, who conscientiously differ from us, remembering that we are all fallible and liable to err. May we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and the God of love and peace will droell with us. Amen.'
22. The Juvenile Miscellany. For the Instruction and Amusement of
Youth. Vol. I. No. 1. Boston, J. Putnam. September, 1826. This is a little work for young people, to be published every two months. We think well of the design, and are satisfied on the whole with the execution of the first number. It presents specimens of very successful attempts to adapt instruction to young minds, and to blend entertainment with knowledge. Some of the pieces are of the highest merit, and give promise of a valuable work. Still there are some faults, which time, experience, and good judgment must correct. We notice an occasional smartness in the style, which approaches too nearly to flippancy, and a few expressions which are not quite adapted to young readers. We question the advisableness of publishing conundrums, unless of a higher order than most of those in the present number. We are sorry to see the only piece of a directly religious character thrown in at the end of the book, in a very small type, as if for no purpose but to fill a vacant space. Such an article should hold a prominent place.
We are very sincerely anxious for the success of this work. We are aware of the extreme difficulty of well sustaining it, as no class of readers is so hard to write for as children. We are ready therefore to judge candidly of the labors of those who are willing to risk so much in so hazardous an undertaking. If they fail, it may be oply because they are better suited to higher efforts. If they succeed, as from this specimen we think they will, they will have the praise of success where failure would be no disgrace, and will be rewarded with the consciousness that they are doing great good.
23. An Address delivered at Plymouth, Mass. at the Consecration of Ply
mouth Lodge,' Sept. 6, A. L. 5826. By James Gordon Carter. Plymouth : Allen Danforth. 1826.
We are glad to find in this Address a departure from the usual manner of masonic orations. Instead of attempting to trace the history of the craft' to the time of Adam, or of throwing round it a deceptive air of mystery, to make the vulgar wonder, or of wounding the reputation of an order, excellent in its principles and tendencies, by extravagant praises of it, the speaker occupies most of the time allotted him with a series of statements and reflections respecting the progress of the world, alike encouraging to the patriot and the Christian. In the course of them, he introduces a beautiful illustration of his subject, drawn from the elevation and influence of the female character, and bestows the following handsome, and, for aught we know to the contrary, just commendation upon the 'genius of masonry.
"The genius of masonry is peaceful. It enters not into the great strifes and commotions, which disturb the world and chastise mankind. It goes not in the van to battle; but it follows, with its kind sympathies, the desolations of the conflict, to administer consolation and relief. Or it lingers around our homes to mitigate the anguish of the widow and the orphan. These masonry regards with peculiar tenderness. And who would not leave them an inheritance in the kindness and protection of this institution? How grateful to them is the little charity, which draws not after it the eyes of the world! How reviving the little stream, which flows secretly in, to the relief of the heart that is sinking in despondency. Here, if anywhere, we learn the luxury of doing good
"We are associated upon the broadest principles of philanthropy. We are bound to no dogmas, and linked to no parties, in philosophy or religion. We are neither of Plato or Aristotle, nor of Paul or Apollos. But he knows nothing of masonry, who has not acknowledged the existence of, and offered his devotions to God. This is the basis and sustaining power of all society. As well might a city be built, without ground to hold and support it, as society be made to unite or subsist, without the acknowledg. ment of a God and a Providence. Neither religion, nor the state has any thing to fear, but much to hope, from us. We inculcate loyalty to the state, as well as piety to God ;-justice to our neighbour, as well as peace, and charity, and good will to mankind. Although masonry has much that is peculiar to itself, it has also much that is common with other institutions. It differs from other benevolent associations, less in the objects it has in view, than in the means of obtaining them, less in the subjects of instruction, than in the manner of instructing. pp. 29_31.
"There is this institution left, into which the petty and fierce spirit of party in politics and religion can never enter. Though we differ in opinion on all these subjects ; yea, though we be arraved in the opposite ranks of conflicting armies; when the bad passions have done their worst, and the conflict is over; when our duty is done to our neighbour, and to our country; we have then one to perform to "a distressed worthy brother." Surely, if there be balm in Gilead, there is that in us which can ihus make “good” to triumph over "evil.” And I put it to you to say, whether your condition be high or low, rich or poor, if you ever feel the joy of your existence more, than in the overflowing of your hearts with brotherly love ; when you repair to that sacred retreat, where the poor man may for a time forget his poverty and dependance, the rich one must leave behind him his purse and his pride, the prince must throw off his stars and bis diadem, and all uvite to promote objects of the most expanded philanthropy. p. 33.
The address is introduced by allusions to the pilgrim fathers, naturally suggested by the place of its delivery, if not by the occasion, and concludes with a glance at the signs of our own times,' not less marked by generous and patriotic feeling. As to the style of the performance, we are happy to find it characterized by the author's usual simplicity, without the baldness and abruptness of expression which, perhaps, have been the faults of some of his former writings.
24. The Classical Reader ; a Selection of Lessons in Prose and Verse.
From the most esteemed English and American Writers. Intended for the Use of the higher Classes in Public and Private Seminaries. By Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood, and G. B. Emerson, of Boston.
Boston, Lincoln and Edmands, 1826, pp. 420. This book bears ample testimony to the good taste and various reading of its compilers. It deserves a place not only upon the forms of our schools. It should also be found upon the shelves of all who would possess, in a neat and compact volume, specimens of the choicest literature of the past, and the passing age. It professedly draws most copiously from works of the present day; and, although a few pieces do seem to us to have been selected more out of compliment to their authors than their merits, still, while looking at those produced within the last few years, it is grateful to our patriotic feelings, to see our own wriers standing side by side with the best of England's, not only without a blush upon their faces or our own, but with the conviction that they bestow as much honor as they receive by their station.
But that which gives this school book a still better claim to the public favor, than its high literary character, is, not its mere perfect freedom from every thing offensive to religion or morality, (for a quality it would be utterly disgraceful to be without, it is no great merit to possess,-but the correct, elevating, and persuasive tone of moral and religious sentiment that pervades every serious piece in the volume. Our youth will not merely be in no danger of being made worse by it. They cannot become familiar with it without becoming better. In this point of view, we regard it as inestimable. And it is when we consider its unrivalled excellence in this respect, that we most regret there should be the least occasion to fear this volume may fail of its good effects, by not being sufficiently simple for the intellects of those for whoin it is especially designed But one of the compilers, at least, has had so much experience in opening, and must therefore be so well acquainted with the average capacities of youthful minds, that we are glad to see reason for suspecting the correctness of our apprehensions.
Unitarian Chapels in England, Wales, and Scotland. (A highly respected correspondent has furnished us with an account of these chapels, accompanied with another of the Institutions in England under Unitarian control. Both papers we intend to publish, in the course of two or three numbers of our Journal. It will be borne in mind by the reader, however, that in that we first publish, Chapels only are enumerated, so that although the two will together give us a better view of the present powers, resources, and prospects of Unitarianism, in England, and also of the fates of non-conformity there for the last hundred years, than can be any where else obtained,' yet that it will give us by no means a full view. It is only the best we can at this moment find. More societies than those here enumerated we know there are. But they do not yet worship in Chapels of their own. Even as a list of Chapels it may be imperfect, and if so, we hope our English brethren will set us right, and furnish us with fuller and better accounts of their condition and prospects than we are now enabled to make out for ourselves. Besides, it is an