網頁圖片
PDF

dogmatic theology, in Christian ethics, in church government, superior to articles in these departments contained in our best religious quarterlies. Into them flow the most condensed, the most thoroughly digested, the most profound, the most accurate, the most truthful discussions, on all the important doctrinal and practical questions of Christianity. In them, too, the reader finds a guide to the selection of new books for his library. He is informed in advance, of the merits and defects of the successive issues of the press. He is no longer exposed to buy a book, only to repent the purchase. His quarterly is not indeed infallible in its criticisms, and may mislead him; but the danger is small. The success of a critical review depends on a reputation for impartiality and soundness of judgment, which can be secured and maintained only by the uniform justness of its criticisms. The editors are therefore moved by the strongest considerations of selfinterest, to exhibit the true character of the work under review, to exaggerate no excellence, to gloss over no fault. Although the periodicals of which we speak, should fail in many instances to exercise a sound judgment, and express correct opinions, yet they are not without value as mere stimuli of the intellect. They furnish quarterly to their readers various materials of thought and investigation. They excite reflection and inquiry. What they fail to establish to the reader's satisfaction, he is led to investigate for himself. A conviction of their fallibility puts him on his guard against hasty assents to their reasonings and conclusions, and an excited interest in the topics discussed, impels him to reexamine them for his own satisfaction. This effect follows, in thinking minds, the reading of any work of interest; yet it is the periodical, emphatically, which, by its freshness and variety, stirs up the read

er's intellect to the most vigorous and unremitted exertion. Nor is there any other cause so prominent as that of the periodical, of that diffusion of knowledge and literary taste among the better class of our citizens, which begins to distinguish this country. Even the learned theological review finds delighted readers among intelligent men who are not of the sacred profession. And other periodicals prepared expressly for general circulation, are now the vehicles, not of information merely, but of literary taste and discrimination, of intelligence and mental power, to thousands of families, of every occupation in life. What we have thus said of the claims of the higher class of periodicals on the support of an intelligent community, may be applied with emphasis to the work before us. The BIBLIoTHEcASACRA deserves to be considered a necessity—an indispensable part of every minister's library. Neither in this country nor in Europe is there a work occupying the same ground, of equal ability. It commands the services of our best biblical scholars, and of our most learned and discriminating divines. In the course of years, it will become the repository of the learning of this age, in the department of theology, including all the furniture of an accomplished minister of the Gospel. It is well—it is of incalculable importance—for every Christian preacher to be furnished with this materiel of usefulness, as it comes from the press. The want of money is the sole obstacle, we presume, to so wide a circulation of the work—an obstacle which may be easily removed by wealthy parishioners, who have the sagacity to perceive that the benefit will flow through the pastor to the people, and the liberality to find happiness in such acts of beneficence. We commend the matter to the consideration of wise and generous men.

Sermons by Hugh Blair, D. D., F. R. S. Ed. ; together with the Life and Character of the Author. By JAMEs FINLAyson, D. D. New York, published by John S. Taylor & Co., 145 Nassau st.

Who is familiar with the polished discourses of this eloquent professor of belles-lettres in the University of Edinburgh Every intelligent citizen of our country knows the name of Hugh Blair; every writer of distinction took his first lessons in English style from him. But who reads his instructive, elegant, lucid sermons 2 Who seeks to mend his heart and life, as well as refine his taste, by the study of these finished writings A few, too few. Whoever may be led, by our recommendation, or by his own good angel, to read them in course, will feel he can never thank God enough for the doctrine, the reproof, the correction, the instruction in righteousness, which they have conveyed to him. It is in the departments of Christian experience, of morals, of holy living, that Blair is so full, so instructive, so impressive. He teaches us how to mortify all evil passions, to cultivate all amiable affections, to bear all trials, to practice all virtues. Every subject of moral interest—fortitude, patience, moderation, contentment, integrity, friendship, courtesy, religious joy, prayer; envy, luxury, idleness, dissipation, licentiousness—is discussed by him in a rich vein of thought, and in a style terse, polished and impressive. He is not a mere moralist—a mere theist. In his creed he is a true Scotch Presbyterian, and his creed lies as a substratum beneath all his discourses. Yet he is not a doctrinal preacher, in the ordinary sense of the term. His sermons, with a basis of doctrine, are manifestly framed to reclaim the vicious, the atheistic, the worldly; and to guide in a life, honorable to Christianity, all believers in our Redeemer. He

would teach us to estimate fairly the value of every interest, of life, of the world, of eternity, and to mark out to us the path of wisdom in relation to them. This he does with the skill of a man of learning, of reflection, of religious experience. Indeed, we know of no body of discourses better adapted than this neglected volume, to rectify the moral conduct of Christians, and, at the same time, invigorate their understandings, augment their knowledge, and purify their affections.

Yonnondio, or Warriors of the Genesee : A Tale of the Seventeenth Century. By WILLIAM H. C. HosMER. New York, Wiley & Putnam ; Rochester, D. M. Dewey.

The scene of this poem is laid in the valley of the Genesee, in 1687. The French general, the Marquis De Nonville, having made an attempt to conquer the Senecas, and take possession of their country, in the name of Louis XIV, met with vigorous resistance from the Indian warriors. The reader is therefore entertained with examples of savage bravery, which, if not a part of actual history, bear a striking similitude to the reality. Yet the fictitious characters and events, the creations of mere fancy, constitute the chief interest of the tale. The author has a fine sense of poetic harmony, and a chastened taste, which, so far as we have noticed, has saved him from extravagances in thought and diction—a prevailing fault of young writers. We anticipate for him an honorable rank among the poets of our country.

The Memento: A Gift of Friend. ship. Edited by C. W. EveREST. New York, Wiley & Putnam, 161 Broadway. 1845.

A BEAUTIFUL volume of original prose and poetry; beautifully printed, beautifully bound and embellished, the several pieces beautifully written, the sentiments pure, the conceptions poetic, the versification harmonious, the diction classic | Not a tale nor a poem, on which our eye has rested, is unworthy of its place in the choice collection. It is well the publishers did not issue it as a mere annual. It deserves a longer life— a life among the lighter literature of New England, as a standing specimen of the elegance with which her youthful genius can think and utter itself. It is painful to be confined in our extracts to two stanzas.

REST. BY William henry Burleigh.

'Tis not the solding of the hands in sleep,
Stretch'd on the couch, while o'er the half.
clos'd eye
Dreams flit, and visions dance, fantastic, by ;
'Tis not, in idle luxury, to weep
Q'er woes fictitious—or your sorrows keep
For . woes that claim the heart-breath'd
sign ;
(Though born of heaven is human sympathy;)
'Tis not, secluded in some forest deep,
To pass your days in converse with o great
Spirits of olden time, or raptured o'er
The poet's page of inspiration pore,
Till with high thoughts your soul is all elate;
'Tis not, in monkish den, to tell your beads,
Anole prayers, nor saint, nor Virgin
eeds.

These are not REst—the good we seek to
win-
Jife's crowning bliss, desired by all, yet still
Qur grasp eluding, baffling human skill.
'Tis freedom from the vassalage of sin–
Not outward quiet, but a peace within;
'Tis full obedience to a Savior's will,
That ready stands his purpose to fulfill;
It flies not from the toil, and dust, and din
Of peopled Earth—the tumult which dis-
tracts
The Quietist, whose heaven is solitude;
But, undisturbed by cries and clamors rude,
With faith unshaken and strong purpose, acts
For man, for time, for God ' ... Oh, truly blest,
The soul that knows this high and holy REst:

Twenty sixth Annual Report and Documents of the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.

We have just received this vol. ume of documents which will demand of us a more extended notice hereafter. More than one hundred pages are occupied with the Report of the Rev. George E. Day, who has recently, under a commission from the New York Institution, spent some months in a personal examination of schools for the deaf and dumb in Europe, more particularly those of Germany. For this service Mr. Day was admirably qualified, by his candor and ability, his familiarity with the German language, and his practical acquaintance with the instruction of deaf-mutes, both to observe intelligently and accurately, and to judge fairly and correctly. He gives us no reason to be dissatisfied with our own institutions, but is fully convinced that the method of instruction which prevails in them is surpassed by no other, and that the introduction of articulation and reading on the lips, as recommended by the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, is by no means to be recommended.

A Vocabulary of Elementary Lessons for the Deaf and Dumb; by HARVEY PRINDLE PEET, Principal of the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb. New York. 18mo, pp. 286.

A notice of this valuable work is prepared, but necessarily postponed to our next Number.

ERRAtum—A passage on pp. 88 and 89 of this volume, commencing thus, “This fact, taken in connection with another,” has given offense to some of our patrons, because it seems to charge Dr. Nettleton either with incapacity to understand, or with

an indisposition to state fairly, the theological views of Dr. Taylor.

We hoped to

avoid this inference } the qualifying clause, “ or so that Dr. Taylor and his friends

would acknowledge t

em (the views attributed to him by Dr. N.j to be his.”

But as

this proved insufficient, we wish now distinctly to disavow an intention of questioning, in the passage referred to, either the ability or honesty of Dr. Nettleton.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

NEARLY five years have passed since the death of Mason. His short and brilliant career was closed on the 26th of December, 1840, at the age of twenty two years. The fact was duly announced by the journals of the day, in terms expressive of unusual sorrow for the departure of one so promising and so much beloved. But whatever the impression made by this melancholy event within the circle of relatives and a numerous band of college and scientific friends, it could not be expected that the world should long remember a passing notice. Obituaries are generally deemed the tribute of private friendship, rather than the expression of the public judgment, unless a wide reputation has previously existed; and besides, the candidates for honorable mention after death have become numerous in these days, so that almost every attentive Sunday school pupil is thought a fit subject for newspaper eulogy.

The distinction which Mason had acquired at the time of his death,

* Life and Writings of Ebenezer Porter Mason, interspersed with hints to Parents and Instructors on the Training and Education of a child of Genius. By Denison Olmsted, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy in Yale College. 40

Vol. III.

deserved more than such ephemeral record. The impression he left behind him of his genius and worth will long remain in the university where he graduated, and where he spent the greater part of his short subsequent life. A general desire was expressed, soon after his death, by those who had known him, that he might not pass away without some permanent memorial. Persons of mature judgment, and of the highest reputation in those departments of learning in which he had excelled, united in the opinion that a memoir should be prepared, as a tribute due to his merits, and as a means of prolonging the influence of a noble example. Classmates and other intimate personal friends urged strongly in behalf of the deceased the claims of justice and affection. In accordance with these suggestions, Prof. Olmsted undertook to write the biography of his favorite pupil, and to prepare for the press a selection from his literary and scientific papers. This work he was qualified to perform by a long personal acquaintance, and by the fullest knowledge of his scientific attainments. To aid him in his undertaking, relatives and intimate friends confided to his inspection a correspondence extending through the greater part of Mason's life. This correspondence would of itself, by a simple chronological arrangement, form a most interesting piece of autobiography. It contains a full and frank disclosure of the motives and rewards of a student ambitious of a noble reputation and successful in gaining his end. It was written only for the eyes of friends, but containing not an unworthy line or sentiment. They violated no pledges in giving it for publication when the grave had closed over the remains of the writer. On the contrary, there was brought to light what will form a lasting monument of a manly sensibility and the most amiable virtues. This biography by Prof. Olmsted is the repository of most of the facts which we present to illustrate and confirm the truthfulness of this representation. That a faithful portraiture of his character is given in this volume, will be attested by all who ever had the good fortune of a personal acquaintance with him, and those who knew him most intimately will give their heartiest approval. We are surprised, indeed, that so interesting a volume of biography should have excited so little attention. It is said that the demand for it hitherto has been limited chiefly to personal friends and men of kindred pursuits. Few others seem to be aware of the existence of one of the most interesting biographies the American press has furnished. There is a peculiar difficulty in interesting the public at large in the memoirs of a young person for whom is claimed the possession of uncommon talents. Whatever is said in the way of praise will be attributed to partiality, and although the regard of the biographer for the reputation of one deservedly esteemed by friends will be pardoned, yet in general the greater his apparent sympathy and admiration, the greater will be the

incredulity of the world. The number is extremely small who have won an enduring reputation before the mature years of life were reached. Even if, as is oftener the case, great projects were planned and in good part accomplished in early life, still there is demanded the supervision of a ripened judgment. There may be instances like that of the son of Augustus, who was immortalized by the fortunate lines of the poet. “Heu miserande puer! si qua fata aspera rumpas Tu Marcellus eris.” But generally an enduring reputation rests not alone upon promise, not even that which is unequivocal in the estimation of the learned. There must be actual performances. This irreversible law is not to be called in question by village Hampdens or mute inglorious Miltons. The world will be incredulous of mere testimonials. To prove the existence of uncommon talent by such evidence, is the next hardest thing to proving a miracle. Men will not believe unless they see the wonders wrought. No exemption is claimed from this law in favor of Mason. He gained a reputation on the conditions it prescribes, and it will remain secure by the same unalterable law. We appeal indeed with confidence to the expressed opinions of men most competent to judge as to what he was ; but we rest his claims to remembrance mainly on what he did, what he actually wrought out with his own hands. It is true, indeed, that just when he had begun to reap the rich re. wards of the closest mental and practical training, and while his friends were exulting in the fullest realization of their hopes, the destroyer came. The laurel was inwreathed with the cyprus, Science crowned her votary and then min. gled her tears with Friendship over his grave.

« 上一頁繼續 »