« ElőzőTovább »
the questions are incapable of decision, or even of discussion. They are regularly brought forward, we believe, by the successive classes in our colleges, but they ought forthwith to be relinquished. What reasonable man would contend on such interrogatives as these? Has Christianity been a temporal benefit? Is a savage state preferable to a civilized? Are wars beneficial ? Has the discovery of America been beneficial ? Do spectres appear? Some of the remarks of Dr. Dwight on duelling, the profession of law, the perfectability of the human race, the study of the ancient languages, and a few others, strike us as very weighty. There is sometimes an air of dogmatism or downright assertion, which is unpleasant. It perhaps results from the ne. cessarily concise manner in which his sentiments are reported. On the whole, the reader will derive considerable amusement, as well as valuable information from the volume.
4.—Poems by the Honorable Mrs. Norton.
Boston : 1833.
The tenor of Mrs. Norton's verses may be gathered from the following subjects: escapes from the snares of love, the bride, I was not false to thee, when poor in all but hope and love, recollections of a faded beauty, would I were with thee, the one you loved the best, marriage and love, &c., subjects which are unfathomable to us. We tried to wade through the volume, but soon became disheartened, meeting with such obstacles as this,
“But oh! what will they say of you,
What can they say of me,
As I have vowed to be?"
We have seen some interesting verses from the pen of Mrs. Norton, but this volume does not contain them. Mrs. Norton is editor of the London Court Journal, a mirror of fashion and folly.
5.—Journal of a Voyage from Calcutta to Van Diemen's Land;
comprising a description of that colony during a sir months' residence, from original letters selected by Mrs. Augustus Prinsep. London : Smith, Elder & Co. 1833. pp. 117.
This book is written in a dashing, and rather facetious style. The securing of personal comforts for the tourist himself, engrosses an inordinate share of attention. He complains, however, in a lively, and sometimes, in a half earnest manner, as though he did not wish for the sympathy of the reader. He states some interesting facts respecting Van Diemen's Land, with which country he was highly gratified. The population in 1819, was 5,000, in 1830, 24,000, of whom 12,000 were convicts. The society of Hobarton, the principal place, is represented as very pleasant, though it was founded on the dregs which were imported from England. Their mother language will soon undergo a change. “The next generation will certainly expel the h from its place in the dictionary, and admit it as an aspirate to the h'apples and h'oranges.” A meteorological journal which was kept during one hundred and thirty days, from October 16th to February 23d, gives the following results : rainy days 42, strong wind 24, fine and pleasant 28, very fine 29, wind too hot 7. Hottest day, 25th January, thermometer 99.10 in the shade. Coldest day, 16th October, thermometer 56o. Hobarton stands on the only excellent harbor, and is advancing very rapidly. There are spots of land within the town worth £2,000 per acre. Land, which in 1824, was sold for £4 per acre, was worth £40 in 1830. Great attention is now paid every where to the education of children.
6.-Hints on the Portable Evidence of Christianity, by Joseph
John Gurney ; to which is prefired an introductory essay, by F. Wayland, president of Brown University. Boston : James Loring. 1833. pp. 220.
"In the course of a social evening's conversation,” says Mr. Gurney, "I heard that eminent Christian philosopher, Dr. Chalmers, make some instructive remarks to the following effect. The historical evidences of Christianity are abundantly sufficient to satisfy the scrutiny of the learned, and they are within the reach of all well educated persons. But the internal evidences of the truth have a still wider influence, for they are open and intelligible to every sincere inquirer. Every man who reads the Bible with attention, and observes the value and excellence of the book, every man who compares what it says of mankind with his own experience, and marks the fitness of its mighty scheme of doctrine to his own spiritual need as a sinner in the sight of God, is furnished with practical proof of the divine origin of our religion. I love this evidence; I call it the PORTABLE evidence of Christianity.' My object," continues Mr. Gurney," is to develop these views; and trust no apology is required for iny adopting the term by which Dr. Chalmers so happily distinguished his favorite kind of evidence. The Bible is a portable book, and the Christian, whether at home or on a journey, ought always to keep it within his reach, and make use of it as his daily companion."
It is president Wayland's object, in the introductory essay of twenty-four pages, familiarly to illustrate the plan of the author, and to offer a few suggestions respecting the manner in which such a book ought to be read. Studies of this nature require thought. The study of the evidences of revelation requires the exercise of memory, abstraction, generalization, and of that power
of the mind by which we decide at every step, whether the thing proposed to be made out be really made out or not.' This study not only requires thought, but it requires that we should know what we are thinking about. The questions at issue are, When is any fact proved ? and, Are the facts in the Bible proved? After reading a portion, time ought to be taken for reflection until the truth makes some impression on the mind, and awakens some sensibility in the conscience.
The volume is divided into two parts. 1st. The Bible considered alone, embracing the following topics: excellence of Scripture and accordance of its parts ; prophecy compared with history; the Supreme Being; the moral law; example of Christ ; general account of the Saviour; the Father, Son, and Spirit, one God. 2d. The Bible compared with experience, comprising remarks on a future life, moral government of God, sinful and enslaved condition of man, repentance and mediation, and fitness of the scheme of redemption.
We think the volume to be worthy of the commendation which president Wayland bestows upon it. The style is clear, and wholly free from theological technicalities. The thoughts are of great importance, and when suggested by bishop Butler and others, have been well considered by Mr. Gurney, and have acquired additional value as emanating from a mind so thoughtful, and a heart so Christian, as the author shows himself to possess.
7.- Missionary Sermons and Addresses. By Eli Smith, mis
sionary to Syria. Boston: Perkins & Marvin. 1833.
The sermons in this volume are on the following subjects : moral and religious condition of western Asia ; duly of Christians to live for the conversion of the world ; farewell request in behalf of the Syrian mission. The addresses are on the trials of missionaries, and on the present attitude of Mohammedanism in reference to the spread of the gospel. The last was originally published in the Quarterly Observer. Mr. Smith has been stationed for some time at Malta, though he has travelled extensively in Greece and its islands, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Armenia, Georgia, and Persia, about one thousand miles eastward by land from Constantinople. Ile brings a large share of intelligence and Christian philosophy to his researches, and detects with much discrimination the manners and characters of the motley and curious specimens of human nature which came before him. We have rarely been more edified with an oriental traveller. In countries where truth does not belong to the code of morals, and where gross imposition and cunning fraud are so common, it is a rare qualification in a journalist to reach the real facts, and state them with candor and entire consistency.
8.-Forty years' residence in America; or the doctrine of a
particular Providence exemplified in the life of Grant Thorburn, seedsman, New York. Written by himself.
Boston : Russell, Odiorne & Metcalf. 1833. pp. 264. MR. THORBURN is truly a seedsman of the old school. Though he has a profound antipathy to book critics, as he calls them, yet we shall proceed, nothing daunted, to make some remarks upon this singular autobiography. Grant Thorburn was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, February 18, 1773. His father was an honest nail maker, and a Presbyterian. His mother dying in his third year, he was neglected by a cruel nurse, and fell into a sickly state of body. He was afterwards sent to live on the high hills of Mid Lothian, where he soon regained his health and spirits, but not his growth, his height being only four feet ten inches. At no period of his life has he weighed more than ninety-eight pounds. In 1792, when the French revolution commenced, he joined a society, called the Friends of the People, and was soon, with seventeen others, taken prisoner to Edinburgh. On the 13th of April, 1794, he sailed with his brother for New York, both having twenty shillings sterling for contingent expenses. On the 16th of June, they reached New York, with six and a quarter cents in their pockets. On the first morning, after lodging in a dismal garret, Grant arose, feverish and discontented, and for the sake of passing the time, opened his case of books. The first thing which caught his eye was a small pocket Bible, placed there by the hands of his good father. His eyes fastened on the words, “ My son, forget not my law,” &c. He read to the end of the chapter, and found it was the third chapter of Proverbs. Looking on it as an immediate message from heaven, he fell on his knees, " with his face to the east, where lies Scotland,” at the hour when his father's family were assembled for worship, and resolved, in God's strength, to take this third chapter of Proverbs as his pocket companion. He has found to the present day, that in keeping of God's commandments, in this life, there is great reward. He has seen pestilence and death walking the streets of the city, for twelve different summers, while neither he, nor any of his family have been hurt by day or by night; being in every instance, as he thought, providentially prevented from leaving the city. He was for some years, employed as a nail maker, with various success, and afterwards commenced a grocery concern in which he was unsuccessful. He was then providentially directed to the business of selling seeds and plants, his mind having been turned to the painting of green pots, which induced him to purchase the first plant that ever attracted his attention. Having entered into the design of raising plants for himself, he lost all his property, and was thrown into jail. Still he held on with good
courage, dwelling on the text, “ acknowledge him in all thy ways, and he will direct thy steps.” He commenced the same business again, under happier auspices. In 1825, he purchased the Friend's meeting-house in Liberty street for a seed shop, paying for the building and ground, $20,500 ; at the present time worth $50,000. It is the largest seed establishment in America, and now in the full tide of success.
The book is highly amusing and instructive, though its grammatical errors are so glaring, that we are not inclined to believe what Mr. Thorburn says, on the sixteenth page, concerning his literary proficiency. He has an uncommon share of good Scotch sense, and utters truths in his homely way, worthy the attention of all housewives and political economists. There is occasionally some language, which is unnecessarily low, and some unsuccessful attempts at wit. On the other hand, there are descriptions not lacking at all in real pathos ; such as the following. eight o'clock, A. M. on the 8th of August, 1818, I stepped into the same room I had parted from my father, brother, and sister in, on the 3d of April, 1794-a period of twenty-four years. As was his custom, my father was just opening the old Scotch psalm book, to commence family worship before breakfast; the same old family Bible lay on the same old oak table—the same eightday clock stood in the same corner—the same bedstead and curtains, under which I formerly slept, the same shovel and tongs stood by the same fire-place, in short I was at home; had I found my father in a palace I would [should) not have been at home. I could not speak, but sat down and cried for ten minutes with real pleasure.” 9.-Manly Piety, in its principles. By Robert Philip, of
Maberly chapel. New York : J. Wiley. 1833. pp. 238.
Mr. Philip is a dissenting minister, settled in the suburbs of London, and seems, by the dedication in this volume, to have been a protege of the Rev. Dr. Philip, of South Africa. He has written a series of experimental “ Guides,” for various classes of adult persons, one of the most valuable of which has been lately republished in Boston. He now appeals to the young, as one who both knows and remembers the usual pleasures and perils of youth; and who can never forget the manly counsel and example which he himself received from the philanthropist to whom this new series of Guides is inscribed.” The second volume will be on manly piety in its spirit. The present volume embraces the following topics; manly estimates of both worlds, manly estimates of true wisdom, manly views of salvation, manly faith in Providence, manly honesty in prayer, manly views of divine influence, manly views of religious mystery, manly views of divine holiness.