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We are aware Mrs. Hale denies this charge. She says, “Agrippina has been accused of poisoning her husband, but on no sufficient grounds.” Mrs. Hale should not have written that sentence. Dion Cassius, (Lib. 60, Sec. 34,) Tacitus, (An. Lib. 12, Sec. 66-7.) and Suetonius (Claudius, Sec. 44) all assert unequivocally that fact; and the two former even mention the person (Locusta) througb whom she administered the poison. Tacitus declares that even all the particulars of the deed were afterwards fully known, and were stated by contemporary writers.
But Mrs. Hale dwells upon this example of maternal love. "In all this great historical drama, who was the manager, who was the most efficient actor? man or woman? Whose was the superior mind? Who was the intellectual agent? Was it the wily Seneca? the ductile Burrhus ? the sordid army? the servile senate? the excitable people? or the consistent, concentrated Agrippina ; who, actuated by one all-absorbing feeling, in the pursuit of one great object, put them all in motion? that feeling was maternal love, that object the empire of the world.” Maternal love! If it were possible to degrade that sacred name, the selection of such an example would surely do it. Was it maternal love that offered to her son—“ suum potius cubiculum ac sinum”? (Tac. An. Lib. 13, Sec. 13.) But we will not pursue the subject. We cannot account for the appearance of such a memoir in this volume.
We do not condemn the wbole work for the faults of a few pages of it. Many of the other memoirs, which we bave read, seem to be fairly done, though in some other instances, Mrs. Hale has not been, in our opinion, a sufficiently stern censor of vice.
We chanced to observe that Mrs. Hale speaks of Dr. Hawes, as “pastor of the Baptist church, in Hartford.”
The reader will find in the end of the volume a list of female missionaries of the American Board, of the Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal Foreign Missionary societies. We refer to this, on account of a note which is appended to the list. To explain it, we are compelled to say that of the female missionaries, whose names are recorded, 512 belong to the American Board, 141 to the Baptist, 85 to the Presbyterian, and 32 to the Episcopal society. In view of the smallness of this latter vumber, Mrs. Hale says, “at the first view we are inclined to exclaimhow small the number of female missionaries sent out by our Episcopal churches ! And so it is—yet, the few have done much, and are now wielding great intluence. Is it not because these women were better qualified for their work than those of other denominations?" The italics are ours. We leave the unfounded assumption upanswered. The insinuation was unworthy Mrs. Hale. She has done a wrong to some of the most, highly educated and refined females that have adorned the Christian Church. Memoirs of the Lives of Robert Haldane of Airthrey, and of his brother, James
Alerander Haldane, Esq., of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law. New York : Robert Carter & Brothers, 285 Broadway. 1853.
We have read this volume with deep interest. We find here a new illustration of the power of the Gospel to mould the heart of man, and of the influence of men thus formed upon the world. Descended from an ancient family, and possessed of hereditary wealth, both brothers entered the naval service of their country, where already more than one pear relative had attained to distinction. They themselves had excited the highest hopes of brilliant success, but the providence and the grace of God withdrew them from the bloody fields of war, to proclaim the Gospel of Peace. It was these brothers, who, at a time of spiritual death in the church of Scotland, were made the instruments of producing a revival of religion, which bas continued to exist down even to the present day. It was the elder brother, Robert Haldane, who, upon the restoration of peace, was again made the instrument of a revival of pure religion on the Continent, at Ġeneva and Montauban, the blessed fruits of which were seen in bringing into the kingdom such men as Malan and D'Aubignè, and which was the beginning of the efforts since made to evangelize the continent. Both brothers devoted wealth, influence, and talent to the cause of VOL. XI.
of Christ. The results of their labors show how much can be accomplished by a sincere, single devotedness of soul, and by a controlling purpose of life, to serve the spiritual interests of men. They died as they lived, firm in faith, and rejoicing in hope. We think this volume is entitled to a prominent place in the religious biographies of the age. Religion Divorced from Theology. A Farewell Discourse, preacher before the
Congregational Society in Groveland, August 29, 1852. By David A. WASSON. Second Edition. Published by request. Boston: Printed by Thurston, Torry & Emerson. 1852. pp. 32. The author of this Discourse has favored the readers of the New Englander with two able articles—“Isaac Barrow” and “Bacon"-composed in a sustained, carefully wrought, and individual stylo of writing. We may be supposed, therefore, to take an interest in whatever he writes. The present discourse has reached a second edition, and we should have noticed it before, had not the copy for the New Englander failed to reach the Editor. We know not that we understand the circumstances under which this discourse was delivered, and there may be bearings of it which we do not perceive; but upon the main point, of the utter worthlessness of creeds and formularies when bereft of the spirit which gave them life, we strongly sympathize with the writer, while at the same time we hold that it is only the truth the vivid realization of the relations which the human soul sustains to God and Eternity—that gives rise to and supports a permanently beneficial course of Holy Living. We presume Mr. Wasson would not dissent from this ; for external action must be too mechanical and formal to satisfy a mind that is in earnest, and that ponders seriously the deep things of the soul. We give the following extracts.
“ Previous to the Reformation, Catholicism bad become, to a large degree, both incredible and insincere. It satisfied neither the reason nor the conscience of those who really had a reason and a conscience of their own. But it laid upon all the duty of intellectual submission, of passive, unquestioning acquiescence,-just as the same is laid upon us as a duty now, by the Protestant Popery of the day,and for a time succeeded in keeping down the up-struggling intellect and moral sense of the people. Still, Mind and Heart would not sleep; still, earnest and sincere souls yearned, with longings that would not be wholly silent, nor always denied, for somewhat better, deeper, truer,-they as yet hardly knew what.
" When at length the Bible became known, their need seemed at once to be supplied; and that long repressed and smothered heat of their souls flamed forth in strong practical endeavor. That ancient and venerable writing was all new and fresh to them; its depth and richness seemed unfathomable and inexhaustible; and the division into chapters and verses favored a ready application to life. And out of this faith in the Letter of Scripture arose at once a Radicalism, the most uncompromising and the most reverent the world has seen for many and many a century. Of this the Puritans gave the best instance. They rose up, heart-full with determination to renew and remould all things according to the Letter of the Bible. All private and public conduct; all institutions and organizations, religious, social and political; all education and culture were to be strictly and faithfully conformed to and shapen by the Letter of Scripture. Whatever came in the way of this,-however long established, however endeared, however wrought into the structure of society,
-was to be torn away and flung aside. No private affection, no private nor public interest, was allowed to interfere in bindrance of this one grand duty of renewing all things according to their new light. Once for all it was to be recognized that this earth is the Lord's,-a place for divine justice, truth, mercy, to act in; that we are not here to feed ourselves fat, and each cunningly engross to himself what sweetmeats and gewgaws he may; that we are here to obey a will higher than our own private, egotistic will, and to subserve interests grander than the interests of our stomachs, pockets
, and nervous susceptibilities; in fine, that the world belongs to the Infinite God, and that we are here to live forth His life and to do His work. The sacred energy of this conviction,—this
faith-everflowed in the noblest action; it made them also terribly severe upon the idlers, the pleasure hunters and self-seekers of the world. They called upon all men to come over and be upon the Lord's side, and engage in the work of making this earth divine. The uncompromising sternness of their Radicalism gave a like sternness to their character and manners; they became almost fierce and ruthless in the resolution with which they bore themselves. With firm lips and knit brows, and clenched hands, but with thoughts both reverent and kindly in their souls, they strode toward the mark. Did, the timid or selfish, and perhaps semiconscientious conservatives of that day cry out, You will overturn and destroy every thing?' There came back no apology, excuse, or the like, but only the stern prayer and watchword of the Puritans, • Overturn and overturn, till he whose right it is shall reign king of nations as now king of saints; a prayer sometimes traditionally uttered in our day, and which, as spoken commonly, means-nothing. Said Hooker of Connecticut, "The priestly and prophetical character of Christ has been sufficiently acknowledged; the great work remaining is to install him in his kingly office. Or, as we should phrase it, the great work remaining was to give a living practical and social application to Christianity.
“ Now, in what I have named, lay the true Religion of the Puritans; in their adoring recognition of a spiritual law of life, and their devoted endeavor to bring that law into practical operation. Their idea of such law might not be the purest, nor the largest, possible; it was not; but such a law they did joyfully and reverently recognize, such a law they did strive with right faithful endeavor to actualize on this earth. Therein, I repeat, lay the Religion of the Puritans; not in their theology, which only came after, but in this earnest recognition of spiritual law, and this religious fidelity to the same."
"The Catholic Church had a theological system, which professed to be a sufficient answer to all questions. To this they could point, and, with a perversion of language, truly, say, “This is our Faith. The Reformers at first had no such system ; and they, doubtless, found themselves embarrassed by the thousand times repeated and taunting challenge, "Tell what you believe.' Moreover, the habits of thought of that period in pelled every speculative man to exercise bimself in producing a theological system. We have grown wiser, I hope ; have learned modesty ; if not, we deserve to be whipped for obstinate and unnecessary stupidity. But, indeed, it must be plain to us at last, that we cannot form even a complete theory of man, much less a theory of God and the universe. We have learned, I hope, to look nearer home, and to mind our own business better ; to leave God to carry forward His work, and to give our chief attention to ours. Not so then, however. The Reformers were some three hundred years our juniors, and had not learned so well what man can, and what he cannot, do. Accordingly, urged on by the circumstances of the times, and withal thereto inwardly incited, they soon produced a scheme of dogma, drawn by logical process from the Letter of Scripture, as complete and pretentious as that of the Catholics themselves. At once, around the points of difference between this and the old theology, controversy began to rage ; and soon there grew up on both sides a peculiar phraseology, by a man's use of which his affinities could readily be discovered. An immense importance began to be attached to theological opinions, even to phrases and words ; because these were the badges by which the parties were designated. Yet observe this, the ground of the attachment of the Puritans to Calvinistic theology was not speculative, but moral; namely, as it symbolized the great spiritual movement in which they were engaged,-symbolized that earnest individual recognition of spiritual law, and that devoted endeavor to actualize the same, which constituted their religion." Ancient Christianity exemplified in the private, domestic, social, and civil Life of
the Primitive Christians, and in the Original Institutions, Offices, Ordinances, and Rites of the Church. By LYMAN COLEMAN. Philadelphia : Lippencott, Grambo & Co. 1852.
We wish this book were in the bands of every Congregational pastor, and every intelligent Congregational layman in the land. The reader, who is a Congregationalist, will here see that it was spiritual religion, and not the religion of forms,
that for more than two hundred years prevailed in the Christian church. He will here see that the form of the simple Commonwealth was the form of church gove erument for more than two hundred years—the Congregational church government, just such as he is familiar with. He will here see how gradually, through the natural workings of the depraved heart, the priesthood usurped the power originally lodged in the whole brotherhood, and that the vaunted examples of the fourth century are mere usurpations. Congregationalists must return to the study of church history. The history of the first two centuries—the history of the church be. fore the priesthood grew corrupt—is ours; it demonstrates the Apostolic origin of our church. The most learned and profound bistorians of the church-the learned scholars of Germany-affirm it. Mr. Coleman has done a good service in writing this book. We hope he may continue his useful investigations; and we hope too Congregationalists will take such an interest in his labors, as to encourage him to
The Mystery Solved; or, Ireland's Miseries, the grand Cause and Cure. By Rev. • EDWARD Marcus Dill, A. M., M. D., Missionary Agent to the Irish Presbyterian church. New York : Robert Carter & Brothers, No. 285 Broadway. 1853.
One of the strongest arguments, though an indirect one, we have ever read against the Papal priesthood. It is not political oppression which has destroyed Ireland, but a corrupt, brutalizing priesthood, who, under cover of pleading and repelling the political wrongs of an oppressed people, have sought to degrade their souls. This is here proved. A comparison of the Protestant province of Ulster with the Catholic provinces of Connaught and Munster, tells the whole storyand we have in this book the comparison made, not by rhetorical declamation and idle invective, but by statistics. There are several classes of persons to whom we would recommend this little volume; first, those politicians, who just before election contribute large sums of money to be handled by the papal priesthood ; secondly, those noisy orators who spout about the wrongs of Ireland, for they will here see that the greatest wrongs have proceeded from her tyrannical priesthood; and finally, all genuine Protestants who would know the greatness of the blessings which the Reformation has conferred upon them. Far 0ff; or, Asia and Australia Described, with Illustrations. By the Author of
the “ Peep of Day,” etc., etc., etc. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 285 Broadway. 1853.
One can hardly read this charming little volume without wishing that more of our juvenile literature was like it. If truth is often stranger than fiction, and more profitable, so may it be equally entertaining. We take this book as an example. Blending happily instruction and entertainment, it is also pervaded by a genial religious influence. Furnishing brief sketches of countries and tribes “far off” in Asia and Australia, of which comparatively little is known, it sets forth, in connerion with them, the value of Christianity to civilize and meliorate the condition of mankind. We wish it a place in all our domestic libraries, as also in those collected for Sabbath schools and Bible classes. History of Greece. By GEORGE Grote, Esq. 10 vols. New York: Harper &
Brothers, 229 and 331 Pearl street. 1853.
This is by far the best History of Greece in the English language; and English literature has not been deficient in this department. Dr. Gillies' history is well known. He was a man of respectable learning, and bas given in a somewhat ambitious style, the current account of Grecian events. But he possessed no power of historical criticism and very little true insight into the life and spirit of ancient times. Mitford did indeed make a new and independent examination of the original sources of Grecian history, but his mind was narrow and he was unable to combine the multitude of separate events into one whole. It is rather a narrative of many disjointed events, ihan a development of the life of the people, seen through these events. Besides be wrote with all the prejudiced feelings of modern political partisans. His views of what history should be, never went beyond a political pam
phlet. All tyrants are praised, and every friend of freedom is condemned. In addition to all this, though the author of an Essay on the Harmony of Language, he writes in a style the most barbarous and discordant. Still, the very prejudice with which he wrote gave keenness to his investigations, and we are indebted to him for a few things not before known or understood. Thirlwall's history comes next in order. It exhibits sagacity and candor. It also embodies in a commendable manner the results of modern scholarship. It corrects many false statements of Mitford and the author is on the whole quite impartial in his estimate of the ancient political systems. Still there was room for another history. Thirlwall's history is not particularly well written. It is not a carefully digested and thoroughly arranged work. It is destitute of every artistic merit. The author is without imagination, and without any of that idealizing power, which gives to history the completeness and perfection of a work of art.
We do not say that Grote's work reaches the ideal of Grecian history, but it is a very, great improvement upon former histories. It is characterized by profound scholarship, a just and independent judgment, breadth of view, and a genuine sympa. thy with the cause of popular liberty. It is generally admitted by scholars that he has thrown new light upon many subjects. We may mention as examples, his views of the Homeric poems, and his estimate of the Sophists in the time of Socrates. We might refer to many others. But we do not propose a full account of this history; we wish merely to commend it to our readers, as by far the best in our language. Select British Eloquence : Embracing the best speeches entire, of the most eminent
Orators of Great Britain, for the last two centuries; with sketches of their lives, an estimate of their genius, and notes, critical and explanatory. By ChauncEY A. GOODRICH, D. D., Professor in Yale College. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1852. 8vo. pp. 947.
This valuable volume has been before the public less than three months, but it is already so well known and has been so favorably received, that criticism of ours is almost needless. We cannot forbear to add our judgment to that of other critics, that it is a volume of great value, and is alike honorable to the author and to the literature of the country. Its character is well described by the title. It consists of the best speeches of all the eminent British Orators from Sir John Eliot, who was born in 1590, to Lord Brougham, who is still living. The speeches selected are the best and the most characteristic speeches of each orator, and they are given entire. In the case of the more eminent, Chatham, Burke, Fox, Pitt, Erskine, Capping and Brougham so many are selected, that the scholar who is not ambitious to possess the collected works of each of these great men, may be assured that this volume contains enough to satisfy his practical necessities. Prefixed to the selected speeches of each orator, is an elaborate sketch of his life, distinguished for diligent research, careful judgment, condensed information, and felicitous description. No person who has not given himself to studies of this kind, can appreciate the difficulty of ascertaining the exact truth in respect to the character of the leading orators of Great Britain, by reason of the strong prejudices for and against them, which are transniitted as the beir-looms of party, to succeeding generations. A sober and critical estimate of the genius of each is almost as rare, for the same reason. To prepare sketches of this kind has involved geat labor on the part of the author, a labor which he would not have encountered, bad he not been aided by the studies of bis life. Could he not have drawn upon the gathered stores of bis professional studies, he would not have undertaken this special labor. In these sketches, we have the choice, well-ripened fruits of years of enthusiastic and devoted study. The thousands of pupils who have been excited by the enthusiasm of the author, and instructed by his criticisms, will find in this work, a pleasant memorial of valued instruction, as well as a permanent addition to their intellectual wealth. In addition to these sketches, the numerous foot-notes, explanatory illustrations, answer a multitude of inquiries which no ordinary student of the history of English Politics, can answer for himself
. To prepare these potes has been the work of labor and of time, involving as they have done, the sagacity to start the question, the knowledge