« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
and this numerous tribe is scattered all along the mountains among the Miao tse, who, though living in China, have never submitted to its government. We have a host of Karens, already converts to the Christian faith, and living, too, in the vicinity of their Chinese brethren. Our Assamese mission will probably spread into the same neighborhood; and Ava itself is not so much separated from the Chinese borders by distance, or by mountains, as by present political disturbances. Hitherto, there has not been enough of law and order in that quarter to render it advisable that missionaries should be planted there. But if we may draw conclusions from the past, if we may calculate on the tendencies of things, if, from the signs of the times, we can foresee the future in any respect, we may predict, that at no distant period, the English rule in the East, spreading with every new collision, will reach to the Chinese boundary line. Should such an event transpire, and bring our missionaries under English protection, at the very point where Chinese Karens and Christian Karens can come in contact, and where our missions would most naturally spread out, it is easy to perceive, that it will open by far the most favorable way for carrying the gospel to the vast empire of China.
LITERARY NOTICES. *
1. A Discourse, delivered at the opening of the Providence Atheneum,
July 11, 1838. By Francis WAYLAND. Published at the request of the Directors of the Athenæum. Providence, 1838.
We sat down to this discourse, with pencil in hand, resolved, without fear or favor, to magpify our office as critics. It was not long before we came to a capital fault, the return of the old familiar phrase, “But this is not all,” and its cousin german, “ Nor is this all.” We took umbrage, tuo, at the expression, “ whatever of true or beautiful or good," and determined to maintain, at all hazards, that it was neither true, por beautiful, nor good. But we read on; and begun to feel the influence of the author's power and the impor
* Two or three of these notices were prepared for a former number, but were neces. sarily omitted.
tance of his subject until we were ashamed of our petty criticisms. Compared with the author's earliest productions, this Discourse betrays less solicitude and sensitiveness in regard to the delicacies of language, but greater mental resources and more manliness of bearing. The former seemed to be the author's very best; and in measuring his stature, we had the impression that he was standing on tiptoe: in the latter, bis position is firin and easy and his mien natural; and when his discourse is finished, there is a strong conviction left in our minds, that,—to use a Yankee phrase, “there is more where that came from."
We confess that, in the discussion of practical subjects of momentous interest, we cannot admire mere prettiness of style and ladylike ornaments, nor respect the man who seems to make them his aim. In elegant literature, where an author's production is designed to please as a work of art, we are charmed with beauty not less than others. Nor do we object to it in any case, provided it comes unsought. But to require it on all grave subjects, or even to regard it as a special merit, is as absurd as it would be to require that a military commander should have a pretty face and a genteel form. In the celebrated contest between Demosthenes and Æschines, we despise the feeling, that could accuse an opponent of neglecting the graces of Attic diction; but we venerate the high-minded patriot who could reply, that his mind was occupied with weighter concerns.
On the occasion of opening an Atheneum in one of our flourishing cities, nothing could be more appropriate than an exbibition of the advantages which would result from the universal diffusion of useful knowledge. In discussing the subject thus happily chosen, the author bas, in a vigorous and earnest manner, poured forth golden sentiments, which we could wish might be heard in every city and village in our land. The first part of the Discourse, which breathes throughout a generous patriotic spirit, exhibits the economical advantages resulting from the diffusion of knowledge; the second treats of the social benefits arising from it. From the third, which discusses its political importance, and the political evils resulting from the sensuality of the rich, we select the following passage:
“ Since the tendencies to sensuality are so strong, and their results so deleterious, it is surely of importance to present something else wbich may temper the eagerness for organic pleasure, and allure the soul, even for a while, from the gratification of the appetites. It is surely useful to place before the eyes of men, the fact, that they are not all carnal ; that they have an immaterial nature, which, little as they may have thought of it, is capable of holding communion with the wise and good of other ages ; nay, of holding intimate communion with the Creator himself. The mere knowledge of this fact will frequently suffice, at the outset, to determine the choice, for life, in a mind of bigh natural aspirings, and turn it off for ever from the beholding of vanity. And, at a later period, when the soul has drained tbe cup of sensual pleasure, and has discovered the tastelessness, if not the bitternuss of its dregs, the means of intellectual gratification being placed within its reach, may crimson the cheek with the blush of ingenuous sorrow, redeem many a lost one from the slavery of the senses, and restore him to the dignity of a thinking, independent, reasonable being.
Not only, however, do we propose to substitute for the gratification of the senses something else; we substitute something which the reason and conscience of men themselves confess to be better. Sensuality degrades a man in his own estimation. His spiritual nature scorns the indignity to which she is subjected. Alone, the man dare (s) not think upon himself, and in society he shrinks from a comparison with high-souled, independent purity. And even the lighter forms of frivolity, though they be not chargeable with the atrocity of vice, yet cannot escape the confession of their own inherent littleness. On the contrary, intellectual cultivation restores the man to his true place in the creation of God. He learns to rejoice that he is a thinking being. His mind becomes to him a kingdom. Delivered from the thraldom of the senses, he can look with pity on the gilded manacles which are ostentatiously displayed around him, and rejoice, that, except from the commission of wrong, it is not possible that he should ever be despicable."
Again: “It can have escaped the observation of no one, that one of the greatest political dangers to which this country is exposed, arises from a feeling of estrangement between the rich and the poor. I do not suppose, however, that the capitalist and laborer will ever be here arrayed in arms against each other. In a country where neither entail nor primogeniture can exist, the conditions of men change so rapidly, that a contest between these two classes, by physical force, is scarcely to be apprehended. We have, however, reason to fear, that this feeling of estrangement may lead the different classes of society to look with indifference upon the rights of each other. The majority, for the time being, will then trample upon the rights of the minority; constitutions, and law, and equity, will be forgotten, and the only rule recognised, will be the will of the strongest. Each party, as, in the mutation of politics, it comes into power, will improve upon the example of its predecessor; and thus, each in turn will suffer and inflict the most aggravated wrong. The result of this may be easily predicted. All men hate injustice when they themselves are the sufferers; and, as all in turn suffer, they will all in turn lightly esteem that form of governinent under which injustice may so easily be perpetrated. A growing disaffection toward republican institutions will thus be engendered, and all will consent to submit to the tyranny of one, in order to be delivered from the tyranny of many. This, I hold, to be the danger, to which, at this moment, we are in this country exposed ; and I almost fear, that, from this very cause, some symptoms of a want of confidence in the permanence of our free institutions have already become apparent.”
We close with one more extract:
“ Intellectual cultivation opens to men a new path to social distinction. So long as men are merely occupied with the accumulation of wealth, the possession of wealth confers the only title to cminence. Hence, society is divided, horizontally, into two classes, the rich and the not rich, the capitalist and the laborer. But, so soon as men begin to reflect, and, by reflection, to expand and invigorate their own intellects, a mighty change of opinions is immediately effected. The man discovers within himself a new element of value, and he discovers that the saine element exists, in different degrees, in the other men around him. A new order, the order of merit, is created, and its distinctions are cheerfully conferred on every one who is worthy. Poverty here works no exclusion, and wealth furnishes no recommendation. The man who is denied admission to the aristocracy of property, is welcomed into the prouder and nobler aristocracy of talent. He feels that he may occupy a position in society according to his deserts, and the aspirings of his soul are satisfied. Now, the benefit of all this is twofold. In the first place, it moderates the insolence of wealth, by setting at naught its exclusiveness, and teaching that distinctions more permanent and more illustrious than it can possibly confer, are open to all. And, on the other hand, by reducing the value of wealth to its true level, it becomes in a less degree an object of envy; and thus, by making it less exclusively desirable, makes the possession of it vastly more secure.
But, while intellectual cultivation opens a new path to distinction, its tendency, far from setting men at variance with each other, is directly to bring them into harmony. The intellectual gifts of the Creator are impartially bestowed upon the rich and the poor. Wealth presents few, if any, peculiar opportunities for development of mind. The capitalist of twenty thousand a year has no more leisure for study than the industrious mechanic. And thus we find, in fact, that 'the names which have done the most to render our country illustrious, the Franklins, the Rittenhouses, the Bowditches of science, have sprung from the industrious classes of society, and have laid the foundations of their fame in the hours redeemed from the labors of a toilsome profession. Hence, when men meet together as intellectual beings, the rich man has nothing whereof' to boast, and the poor man nothing whereof to be ashamed. Every other distinction fades away before the distinctions of knowledge and virtue. Here, it is a wise man that is strong, it is a man of understanding that increases strength. In such society, the palm is always awarded to the wisest; artificial distinctions are forgotten, and no man can claim superiority over his fellows, except it hath been freely awarded to himn for the reason that he hath deserved it."
2. The Personality of the Deily. A Sermon preacheit in the Chapel of
Harvard University, Sept. 23, 1838. By HENRY WARE, JR., Professor of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care. Published at the request of the members of the Divinity School. Boston. Jamies Monroe & Co. 1838.
This is a timely and valuable discourse. At a period when the ravings of a frantic philosophy, destructive alike of sound sense and of pious feeling, are promulgated, it is cheering to see such a cham
pion come forth to demolish the theory of a God, made up of abstract principles, on the very spot where it had been proposed. No mystification can conceal the absurdity, as well as impiety, of divesting the Deity of those personal qualities and feelings, which alone can call forth, sustain or justify our filial love. To speak of loving a mere abstract law of order, were a solecism; and to worship an impersonal infinity, would be irrational in theory, and in practice impossible.
In opposing the sentiment alluded to, Dr. Ware maintains, 1, that what is first and chief in the universe, is conscious, active mind; and that abstract principles are but the laws of its various relations ; 2, that disrobing God of his personality amounts to a virtual denial of his existence; 3, that it destroys the object of worship, and thus annihilates that essential duty of religion; 4, that it removes the sense of responsibility; 5, that it contradicts the Bible; 6, that it destroys the possibility of a revelation, in any intelligible sense.
We will give the reader a brief specimen of the author's man. per :
“ The doctrine amounts to a virtual denial of God. Indeed, this is the only sense in which it seems possible to make that denial. No one thinks of denying the existence of principles and laws. Gravitation, order, cause and effect, truth, benevolence,-no one denies that these exist; and, if these constitute the Deity, he bas not been and cannot be, denied. The only denial possible is by this exclusion of a personal existence. There can be no atheism but this; and this is atbeism. If the material universe rests on the laws of attraction, affinity, heat, motion, still all of them together are no Deity; if the moral universe is fouuded on the principles of righteousness, truth, love, neither are these the Deity. There must be some Being to put in action these principles, to exercise these attributes. To call the principles and the attributes God, is to violate the established use of language, and confound the common apprehensions of mankind. It is in vain to hope by so doing to escape the charge of atheism; there is no other atheism conceivable. There is a personal God, or there is none."
We feel no disposition to stop and inquire whether there be any deficiencies in this discourse, arising froni the writer's theology. We are not in pursuit of heretics at present, and even if we were, we should have to argue chiefly from silence, or resort to other evidence to make out a very bad case. We choose rather to welcome the appearance of such sermons from whatever quarter they may come.
3. An Address delivered before the Peithessophian and Philoclean Societies
of Rutgers' College, on the literary character of the Scriptures. Delivered and published by request of the Peithessophian Society. By ALEXANDER H. EVERETT. New York. 1838.
This Address, which we had the pleasure of hearing, and which we are happy to see in its present form, is, as might be expected from its distinguished author, appropriate, tasteful and rich. We