網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

with great care and elegance, and we have no doubt will be a valuable work.

4. Mr. Greenwood's Discourse at the Ordination of J. T. Sargent, as Minister at Large. Boston.

This sermon is peculiarly interesting, and written on a peculiarly interesting occasion. We understand that there will be another chapel built for Mr. Sargent to occupy. This is good news. The ministry at large is a noble work, and must go on increasing in every city. Boston and Dr. Tuckerman will always have the credit of originating it.

5. Timothy Walker's Address before the Ohio Historical Society. Columbus.

This is an interesting address, worthy of the author's reputation.

6. Danger and Duty of the Young ; a Sermon. By A. Wylie, President of Ia. College.

This discourse was delivered by Dr. Wylie to the Senior Class previous to commencement, 1837. The text is,“ Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Ps. 119. 9.

This is a very serious, rational, practical address to young men in a very interesting situation. We should have more to say about it, were we not called on to notice another address by the same author.

7. Address on the Importance and Best Method of Cultivating the Moral Faculties : delivered before the Education Convention of la. By A. Wylie, D. D.

We cannot do better than extract from this production several passages. Dr. Wylie begins by analyzing the moral faculties. He first speaks of Conscience, the leading moral pow

er-then of auxiliary moral powers. The first of these is Interest. Of this he remarks

s. It ought not to be ascribed to human depravity, that men are so much lead by their personal interests. The fact is, they do not value their interests enough. They injure themselves more than they injure one another. In truth, no man can be injured by another so much as by himself. Another may kill his body : his soul is' inválne ble to any power but his own.

Self-love leads us astray, not because it has too much vigor, but because it does not see well. Give it light, and then, full scope. Self-denial, which is a virtue of high importance, is as necessary to happiness, as it is to complete the excellence of a good moral character. It never sacrifices interest in the long run; it only requires us to forego, present gratification for some greater good in prospect.

And does not selflove require the same? Advantage, for a time, and in some particular juncture, may seem to accrue from doing wrong; but, on the whole, no one will ever be the loser, by the performance of his duty, or the gainer by neglecting it."

He then makes the following remarks on sympathy:

“Next in order, it is proper that we notice Sympathy; because, intended to operate as a check upon self-interest, it may be more advantageously viewed in connection with it. Sympathy disposes to feel in common with others; as self-interest makes us feel what is proper to ourselves. It transfers our consciousness to another breast, identifies us with him, and makes his cares our own. It concentrates upon one great object the energies of a multitude, and is more easily excited, as well as operates more powerfully, where numbers are concerned, As, in the progress of a conflagration, each several piece of the combustible pile, taking fire from the other pieces around, communicates it, in turn, augmented by the heat which itself involves, till, at length, the whole, glowing throughout with the accumulated force of so many pieces, presents the appearance of a pyramid of flame, roaring and raging in the wind which itself creates; while the spectators, at a distance, gaze with mingled admiration and dismay, sensible how vain are all human efforts to check the victorious element; so it is, when the force of sympathy spreads some strong sentiment among a great people. Then private interests, opinions, feelings, are all sacrificed, or forgotten. One grand movement draws every thing into itself. It seems as if the partitions that separate individuals were all dissolved, and men actually flowed together, heart to heart, soul to soul, strength to strength, mind to mind, and body to body, and means to means, like the commingling of many waters in the great ocean.

Then it is, that the spirit of revolution goes abroad, and, with more than the strength of a Titan, heaves a continent or sinks a continent in the

abyss. Then it is, to speak without a figure, that the PEOPLE act in their might. Then their oppressors are brought to an account for their long arrears of crime; their fetters broken, their sceptre shivered and trampled under foot.”

Of emulation and the sense of the ridiculous, he thus speaks:

“Emulation, we may notice, in the next place. To excel is its object. It makes, of the attainments of others, a mark on the scale of merit ; higher than which it makes an effort to reach. It seeks to surpass a competitor, without regarding him as an enemy. It is, indeed, often attended with ill will and unfair dealing ; but not necessarily so. An honorable man scorns to take advantage of his rival. To suppress the workings of emulation, for the reasons that it is liable to be corrupted into envy, or apt to generate hatred, when stimulated into excessive exercise, is unwise. If every thing were to be banished from the human character, or from the human condition, which is liable to such abuse and perversion, essential injury would be done to both. Neither the mind of man, nor his abode, would be benefitted by extinguishing the fire, which imparts spirit and vigor to the one, and comfort to the other. We know what man can do, by seeing what he has done ; and we are animated to unusual efforts by a generous rivalry with those around us. The wise teachers of antiquity, among the rest Paul, an inspired apostle, and Longinus, “the prince of critics,” unscrupulously appealed to the emulation of their pupils and followers. The fact that great and illustrious men have always appeared together, like constellations in the sky, can only be accounted for by their efforts to surpass each other. The gymnasia, schools and public games of Greece were established and conducted avowedly with the view of stimulating the principles of emulation to its highest pitch; and all the world knows and admires the wonderful effects which the system produced. Philosophize as we may, we never shall be wiser nor stronger than Nature, whose hand has implanted in our breasts the principle in question ; and thus has rendered idle all our attempts to pluck it up. To cultivate and improve it is the task assigned to us.

“Next, among the moral principles auxiliary to conscience, we may notice a sense of the ridiculous. This finds legitimate employment in exposing, as objects of contempt and derision, such absurdities of character and conduct as cannot be touched by the graver and more serious sort of argument. It has been said, that mankind will not be laughed out of their views. Neither will they be argued out of them, much less scolded, or frowned out of them. What then? Shall we lay aside sober argument, grave censure, along with ridicule, and every human means of improving the character? No surely; “ Est quodam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra.” We may do something, by reason and argument, with such as are prepared to listen to reason and argument; to others, such as have

suffered their moral feelings to grow torpid by low, sensual habits, I nee no reason why the “satyric thong” should not be applied so as, if possible, to sting them into sensibility.

" There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle, like a standing pool,
Who do a wilful stillness entertain,
On purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I AM SIR ORACLE ;

And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.” With such pompous blockheads it is difficult to argue on this, or indeed, any other moral subject. With them it suffices, instead of all argument, to say, that the Saviour never laughed. But, supposing this allegation to be true,-for it is a mere allegation without proof -does it follow, because the Saviour never resorted to ridicule, that the feeling which it awakens is an improper feeling ? His example is not in all points, set for our imitation. But it is so far from true, that the Saviour never resorted to ridicule ; even in those fragments of his discourse that the fishermen have recorded; that I undertake to affirm, that whoever will attentively peruse these discourses, without finding specimens of the most poignant ridicule and satire, would not be apt to find them even in the works of Swift or Cervantes."

The following striking passage deserves notice:

“And here I have one remark to make, which, though it is merely of a negative character, I consider of so much importance, that I shall devote to its illustration a considerable portion of what remains of this discourse. It is this, that in the culture and training of the moral powers, no small part of our care ought to be employed in what, at first view, might seem to amount to just nothing at all, I mean, avoiding to throw any obstructions in the way of nature, which might either retard their growth or give to them a wrong direction. Analogy suggests this caution. In cultivating the productions of the soil, man's labor does little more than remove obstacles out of nature's way. The life-giving influence is hers. Not a particle of it belongs to man. He sometimes becomes too officious, and of course mars nature's work. Let him stand out of the way! “ Laissez moi faire;" is nature's command to him, when he would obtrude himself into the manipulations of her great laboratory. So in the moral world. There is a department in it, to be sure, allotted to man, but it is a very humble department; that of means. Efficiency is in nature alone, or to speak religiously, in God. Let us examine, first, the appetites.Appetite misleads neither brute nor man, when nature is left to herself. But, do we leave nature to herself, in our treatment of the appetite of our children? On the contrary, do we not urge it and goad it, by every sort of stimulant that art can invent? Appetite

itself, especially in the young, gives sufficient relish. To the thirsty is there any beverage so pleasant as pure water ? To the hungry palate, does any thing taste sweeter than bread? Well do I remember how, in early life, I used to enjoy on a frosty morning, as I went from the cup-board to the barn-yard, my slice of simple bread; and how the expecting cattle seemed to enjoy with equal relish their portion (the straw,) of the same vegetable whose precious fruit had yielded the choicer portion to me. Did time permit, I might refer you to what the wise ancients have said on this subject, particularly Xenophon, in his remarks upon the Persians, both while they retained their primitive simplicity of manners, and afterwards when they became corrupted and enervated by the refinement of luxury. But I cannot afford time to treat the subject so much at large. Suffer me to say, however, what a thousand observations made in passing through life, have amply confirmed, that scarcely any thing more hinders the development of both the intellectual and moral powers, than the practice, now almost universal, of pampering the appetite in youth. It gives the brute, in man, a start of the rational: and oftentimes, such a start, that the latter never comes into view at all ; but the boy, and afterwards the man, exhibits nothing but brute-all brute, stupid brute, and not unfrequently, a rampant vicious brute."

66 who

The following is all which we can extract:

“I have reserved, for the last place, that which has had more to do in corrupting and misleading the moral powers than any other single cause, or perhaps, all other causes combined. I mean false views of religion. It is difficult to speak briefly on this point; and yet so as not to be misunderstood; and still more difficult to speak so as not to give offence. And I firmly believe, that were He, spoke as never man spake," to come again among us, as he did among the Jews, (who were in their own view a very religious people,) and to teach precisely the same truths which he taught them, giving them the same palpable point and bearing on persons and practices that he then did, he would meet with the same reception-generally shall I say?---too generally I fear---that he met with from them. On the dogmas of polemic theology, which are considered of such vital importance, it is a question whether he would give us any more satisfaction than he gave to the woman of Samaria and others on the like nice points; and he would have occasion to inculcate, now, as then, the superiority of moral duties over religious rites, the benignity of the Divine nature, the worthlessness of Pharisaical pretentions, the turpitude and damnable atrocity of fanatical zeal and party strife, the insignificance of "Mint, annise and cummin," the precedence of the agenda before the credenda of religion, or of doing before opinion; and he would, as then, take the ground of strong and decided and uncompromising opposition against, I shall not presume to say whom, but I may safely say, against things and practices esteemed by many

« 上一頁繼續 »