Obrazy na stronie

an unhealthy and morbid one,—to wink out such principles, to frown upon such efforts. And this, so far as we can collect, chiefly for two reasons. First, they are held to be unnecessary; secondly, they are held to be injurious. Unnecessary, in a doctrinal sense, inasmuch as in all denominations, and under every profession of the gospel, the Christian virtues have been found to live and grow,—and saints there have been, humbled at the foot of the cross, who from age to age have constituted the true catholic church, into which it is our business to throw ourselves, and with which alone we should be ambitious of communicating-irrespective of the errors, superstitions, inventions, and corruptions, with which they may severally, and all more or less, be found to be encumbered. And then, mayhap, the Fathers are quoted. Or Pascal, or Fenelon, or Calvin, or Oberlin, or Channing, are held up as illustrations of the principle enunciated, and only not as its teachers and recipients. We take this catalogue of names promiscuously. But in any series which should be selected, it is certain to be found that the minority will be those who would thus fraternize, and find in this practical accordance, apart from traditionary or metaphysical dogmas, the pure principle of catholicity. And why? Because it is of the true nature of superstition, corruption, fanaticism, and all their cognate forms, to narrow the mind, and while degrading the intellect, to detrude the charities, and foster the antipathies rather than the sympathies.

In the practice of the Church, and by the tendency of Orthodoxy, the most catholic are the most excluded. In the fashion of some new philosophies, the least catholic might seem to be the most revered ; and certainly no whit the less entitled to our Christian admiration and homage for the signal deformities by which their faith was marred, their zeal was misdirected, and their catholic spirit (!) often most deplorably infected.

What a strange inversion of process has seized upon the minds of some who occupy, or would occupy if they could, the attention of our day! As if with such spirits as these we were to fraternize, instead of they with us! Yet when this latter shall be attempted, it will be time enough, surely, to offer to us the option of joining with them to constitute a true catholic church. Besides—is it, indeed, unnecessary to aim at pruning away the unsightly excrescences which have grown around the fair form of the truth as we believe it to have come from the Founder of our faith? And is the fallacy of cum hoc, ergo propter hoc, to blind us to the glorious improvement not only to its aspect, but its efficacy, which would ensue from the correction of those deformities, the removal of those incumbrances? Who would admire St. Paul's the less—who would not the more be impressed by its beauty, and raised into sympathy with the genius which created, and the purposes which hallow, it-were the masses of brick which encircle it pushed away, and its spaces to be enlarged to the proportion of its splendour? Who would honour Sir Matthew Hale,—who, rather, does not think of him with sorrow and pity,—as a believer in witches, and a sentencer of old women to death for their tampering with crooked pins ? Let him be as virtuous or as saintly as he would, who would not be humbled for the dishonour put upon a human soul, as he reads in the Diary of an Ashmole, an eminent labourer in literature,"1581, April 11, I toking early in the morning a good dose of elixir, and hung three spiders about my neck, and they drove my ague away. Deo gratias,” &c. Who, in fine, even had he not been “ the meanest as well as greatest of mankind,” but must think in sorrow either for his doubtful sincerity or his profound simplicity, as he reads Lord Chancellor Bacon's "Characteristics of a Believing Christian?

But we have not space to enlarge on this branch of our subject, and dismiss it with a profession of our unreserved accordance in the wise suggestion of Mr. Wicksteed, on the duty which lies upon us not only to prevent the doctrine of Christ from being corrupted, but—"If, as we incline to hope, the higher minds of Orthodoxy have a Christianity superior to the language employed in their formularies,—if they are nurturing an esoteric interpretation, of which these formularies are but a limiting and cramping expression,-then it is equally incumbent on us to make an assiduous protest against those portions of the articles, creeds, and liturgies, which thus fetter and confine the worthier aspiration, and the free development, of the thoughtful-while they retain the vulgar in their chains, and degrade them to their level.” And again : “As long as these things, the product of rude and gross ages, exist, they cannot fail to exercise a repressive and deteriorating influence on religion and man." (Pp. 11, 12.)

And shall we, lastly, be restrained from the undertaking of this duty by the apprehension of being thought SECTARIAN, and by objections taken to a work of CONTROVERSY? It is really time that this matter should undergo some more searching investigation than it has had. For the present, we may not more than glance at some of the suggestions which these objections as to the injury inflicted on religion and society by the methods referred to, call up in our minds. As to sects, what are they? what but methods of co-operation for fostering, extending, and practically applying opinion? And what is opinion? Let Milton answer : “Knowledge in the making." And what is knowledge ? The power, under God, which can be the alone legitimate sovereign of the world. But sect may be abused. So may knowledge itself. Shall we have no knowledge then? We repeat, that sect, a natural and just result of sympathy in the highest interests of man, will spontaneously commend itself the moment that men are civilized and serious enough to worship. It is the outward and visible sign of the love of truth. And as the love of truth grows, it will arm itself with the suitable means of diffusing its own feeling. Freedom will be its chosen companion. Discussion will be its frequent and favoured expedient. In fine, let sect be established on its true foundation, and its process and tendency will be to unsectarianize--by the natural gravitation of all free and instructed minds to common forms of truth.

But if sect be legitimate in this large and generous sense, controversy must be its condition. For what is controversy? “The necessary conflict of imperfect ideas designed for their general progress.” It is the combat of truth with error; or, if you will, of error with truth. Whichever it be, the only conceivable, as it has hitherto been the actual, means by which knowledge has been advanced, civilization has been established, and revelation itself has found footing in the world.

Christ himself was its great exemplar. In his name we would undertake it; in his holy and loving spirit—"witnessing a good confession” for the truth's sake, the brethren's sake, the world's sake—we would desire to pursue it ourselves, and would lay it on the conscience of all good, generous, and faithful men.


NEW PUBLICATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN TRACT SOCIETY. 1. Memoir of Joseph Tuckerman, D.D., of Boston (U.S.). 2. The Young Wife and Mother. 3. Amy Gordon, a True Story. By Miss H. M. Rathbone.

4. Aid to Prayer, or Devotional Meditations for every Day in the Week. By the Author of "How to make Home comfortable.” 5. The Confession.

We are happy to see the Christian Tract Society steadily pursuing its course of usefulness, and we can truly say that the tracts which it has pub. lished this year are not only fresh and novel in subject, but fully equal in quality to any that have preceded them.

The “Memoir of Dr. Tuckerman" is one of the most interesting and instructive pieces of biography that we have ever read, and ought to be in the hands of all who desire, and of all who, unfortunately, do not desire, to do good in the generation in which their lot is cast. Nature had bestowed upon that excellent man a temperament peculiarly suited to the work to which he was called ; he was sympathetic, ardent and persevering; his whole soul waked up within him at the very sight of the physical and moral destitution of his fellow-beings around him, and he rested not content till he had roused in others something of the same generous enthusiasm which animated himself. His spirit lives in the Domestic Missions which are now happily established among us, and we shall be mistaken if this tract will not do much to demonstrate their utility, and to extend their sphere. We are greatly indebted to Miss Carpenter for the pains she has taken in preparing this Memoir, and we shall be glad if it lead the way to a more extended biography, for which she hints in the Preface that materials are not wanting. We have room for only one extract, but this will shew the right and earnest spirit in which this devoted man engaged in his work, as well as the success which he met with.

“One morning I entered a room that I might make some inquiry respecting a family. Every thing in this room was in confusion. The floor, the furniture, and the dress of the woman whom I saw there, were alike filthy; and a man was lying upon the bed in the deep sleep of thorough intoxication. I had never before been in that room. But it was a matter of course that I should at once learn what I could of this family. And I soon learned from the wife that her husband was a journeyman mechanic, and abundantly able to provide for his family if he would but give up the use of strong drink. It was my practice on Sunday to visit certain families, in which the husband and father was seldom to be found at home on other days, except at meal-times. I, therefore, told this woman, that I would see her again on Sunday, when I hoped to be able to speak to her husband. She expressed her wish that I would, and I left her. At nine o'clock on the following Sunday morning I was there again. I knocked at the door, and entered. The man whom I had seen upon the bed on the preceding Friday now stood before me. I said to his wife, “You have mentioned my intention to call here this morning?' 'No, sir,' she replied. Her husband was obviously much surprised at seeing me enter his room. I, therefore, immediately offered him my hand, which he accepted; and I said to him, 'I was here on Friday morning, and saw you upon the bed; and have taken the liberty to call upon you.' We were all soon seated. I did not say to this man, 'I saw you drunk upon your bed.' He well knew what was the condition in which I had seen him. At once, however, we entered upon the subject upon which I wished to communicate with him. I addressed him with the respect due to a man, and the interest due to a brother. He was touched, affected; and within half an hour threw open his whole heart to me. He assured me that he would not taste any intoxicating drink till he should see me on the next Sunday. At that time I was with him again, and had the testimony of his wife that he had been faithful to his promise. I passed another half hour with him. We were already friends. Again he engaged to go through the week without tasting any thing which could produce intoxication. Again, and again, and again, he renewed his pledge to me, and was faithful to it. After six

or eight weeks I found him on Sunday morning in a new suit of clothes-the fruits of his own earnings. Soon a new cooking stove was provided. The dress of his wife also was clean and comfortable. And never shall I forget the bright and happy expression with which she one morning said to me, 'I have now been married twenty years ; and in all those years I have not been so happy as I have been during the last three months. Had I treated this man otherwise than with respect and sympathy, how would he have received me, and how would he have treated my endeavours to reclaim him from intemperance:"_Pp. 57—59.

“The Young Wife and Mother” we regard as a very superior tract, and can only express our hope that we shall have many more from the same quarter. It conveys an old but oft-neglected lesson, which rich as well as poor would do well perpetually to bear in mind,--that children learn more from example than from precept, and that all the direct teaching in the world will be thrown away upon them, unless they see in their parents a living pattern of love, gentleness, patience and self-denial. The only thing we regret is that the characters are not more fully developed,-a defect which may, however, be remedied by the publication of a sequel. To shew the spirit and manner of the tract, we may quote the following passage:

“It was not on one side only that Jane's efforts were given; before her child could speak, she taught her to rejoice in the return of her father. The mother made the fire sparkle,-a sight which the child loved,--and she ran with her to the door and encouraged her gleeful shout when the father was seen approaching. And soon, sometimes even before the mother was conscious of that approach, the sound of the coming footsteps was noticed by the quick ear of the child. • You will help me to get ready for father-father will soon be here! These words said with pleasure, associated with the clean apron, the bright fire, the playful toss, fixed a feeling of satisfaction in the evening return which gave delight to all. How different is it when the mother roughly bids her children get out of the way because their father is coming, or when he comes in with surly roughness! In this other case, the parents may mean kindly by their children, but they have not been accustomed to think of the value of gentleness of voice and manner.

“ • Take care, Jane,' said the husband one day as he marked his wife's fond look of affection turned on the little girl— Take care, or that child will make a fool of you yet; why, after all, you know, she will be but a common little girl.'

I know that, William,' replied the wife, after a few minutes' silence; 'I know it is true that, in the eyes of others, she will be but a common little girl ; I know that I must not bring her up to expect more favour than she will find; but to us, William, she is no common little girl, -she is our own, committed to our keeping, to be brought up, please God, to be good, useful, and happy. I have sometimes thought, William, that the commandment, 'Honour thy Father and Mother,' is not the only commandment with promise; surely there is another, Provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When we are old, we shall be a common old man and woman, shall not we? to all passers-by, and to those who know but little about us ; but not so, I trust, to our children.'

“William gave a kiss to both wife and child, saying only, “Well, do not spoil her, that is all, for no good comes of spoiled children any way,' and went out to work.”—Pp. 7, 8.

“Amy Gordon” is the true story of a convicted and transported thief, who, in the midst of all her iniquities, has enough of right feeling left to care for her younger and still uncorrupted sister, and sufficient of the “good ground" in her own heart, to receive and cause to fructify the “good seed” which is sown in it, before her departure, by one of that earnest sisterhood, who, like Mrs. Fry and Sarah Martin, visit those who are “sick or in prison," and deem no effort lost, even though for a time there seems but little chance of success,

for the recovery of the sinner to the paths of virtue and of truth. The story is simply yet powerfully told, and bears the strong impress of reality.

Nos. 4 and 5, not published but adopted by the Society, are both of them excellent and useful tracts, though we cannot but think that the penalty which the poor girl in the “Confession" paid for going to see an execution, was somewhat more severe than what she deserved.

England under the House of Hanover, &c. By Thomas Wright, Esq., M.A.,

F.S.A.* The second volume of this work professes to contain the history of the reigning House from 1770 to 1819. The materials furnished by the caricatures which are described or copied, are sufficiently entertaining. The figures of George III., Charles Fox, Burke, Lord North and Sheridan, which form the staple of a large portion of the caricatures of the latter portion of the 18th century, are so easily recognized, that the explanations of Mr. Wright are in many cases scarcely necessary. Little care seems to have been taken by him in weighing his facts. He has not even taken the trouble to give uniformity and consistency to his views. In describing what he calls the French Revolutionary period, he writes without discrimination, and for the most part follows blindly the extravagant, and not unfrequently malignant, representations of men and measures put forth by the venal court-writers of that period. William Pitt, unlike the Ministers of the present Sovereign, met the storm of the French Revolution by a more resolute resistance to public opinion,—by the corruption of one class and the intimidation of another. Had the same evil policy prevailed in 1848 as was sanctioned by the House of Hanover in 1791, who can doubt that England would have been involved in disasters and miseries like those of France ? Mr. Wright (p. 174) is compelled to admit that the Government of 1789 was characterized by "reckless corruption and a selfish contempt of the interests of the people;" yet, in the very same sentence, he proceeds to speak of the patriotic men who endeavoured to stem this flood of corruption as " a school of so-called philosophers industriously disseminating principles which tended to undermine and dissolve the existing frame of society.” The “philosophers," described by Mr. Wright as taking an active part in the politics of that period, are Price and Priestley. There are sufficient proofs to any well-prepared reader that Mr. Wright knows little of the political opinions of these eminent men, beyond their being in opposition to the Government of the day. He thus introduces Dr. Price in connection with the Revolution Society:

“Among the more enthusiastic members of this Society was an old man, a preacher of the gospel, who (singularly enough) had been, on more occasions than one, the financial adviser of young William Pitt, who had not taken alarm at his zeal for the cause of American independence as he now did at those outbursts of the same zeal which merited for him the title of

* That Revolution-sinner, Doctor Price."" Dr. Priestley is in a similar spirit spoken of as one that “merited a more honourable celebrity by his researches and discoveries in science, than by his political and religious opinions." That there should be in a popular writer little disposition to do justice to the religious opinions of Priestley, will surprise no one; but there is ground for both surprise and complaint that those who take upon themselves to write history should not do justice to the wisdom of one who, sixty years ago, advocated, amidst opposition and scorn, political principles which are now the basis of English legislation. It would be an affront to the readers of the Christian Reformer to stop to vindicate men, influenced as Price and Priestley were by the purest patriotism, from the charge of disseminating anti-social and destructive principles.

* Continued from p. 107. VOL. V.

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