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inclined to think, nor our rationalism. It is our selfishness, our worldliness, our insincerity, our unfaithfulness to the truth and right, sins which we fear are as common in Eastern countries as in our own. What are the effete Oriental religions doing for the world to-day, however pure may have been their origin in the minds of great prophets ? Let not the Brahmo Somaj copy their mummeries, their rigid ceremonialism, their monkish austerities, their trances, their dancing dervishes, or “God-intoxicated" saints. Some forms of worship are undoubtedly necessary, not only for the masses of men, but for all of us, high or low. We need places, rites, symbols, creeds even, to hold us together as religious believers, and call back our wandering spirits. But let them be as simple as possible, and encroach little upon the work of our lives. Let not the Brahmo Somaj be turned away from its works of enlightenment and love by an elaborate ceremonial of worship. A spasm of new forms and ceremonies will never restore a defunct body, dying of “cold intellectualism.” Even the High Church party see that all their medieval ritual will not keep them alive as a church. Individuals may be willing to fast and pray most of the time; but their leaders see that deeds of charity are what unite men, and so, to-day, they ask for “ mercy, and not sacrifice,” when they appeal to the world for helpers.
We must look a little further into our friend Mr. Mozoomdar's pages.
In arraigning Protestantism, he says, “You have dethroned the pope, anid all ministers have lost their hold upon their flocks." We do not believe this. The clergy have lost temporal power,— the dominion of fear; but we believe that Protestant ministers have to-day as strong a moral and spiritual influence upon their people as the clergy had in any age of the world. “A hundred churches,” he says, “crowd the waysides,
each congregation fying at each other's throats," etc. All honor to our country that hundreds of churches are scattered everywhere, when we can travel leagues in the East and hear no bell to call us to prayer, except in the crowded marts of civilization. “You protest against the Bible," he says, “ until the Sacred Scriptures become as any other vulgar book, a mass of printer's ink and waste paper.” We believe that the Bible was never more truly valued among thinking people than it is to-day, when it is fast becoming divested of the foolish verbal idolatry thrown around it. “A cold, loveless, dogmatic, carnal, socialistic spirit overruns the (Western) world,” he continues.
And here he brings us to an attitude of self-defence, when he adds, as a result of this carnal spirit, that “men in the abodes of devotion patronize tea-parties and dances and all sorts of social profanities."
If there is any one thing that the Church of to-day takes satisfaction in, it is that she endeavors to sanctify amusements by her presence, and not sit aloft in holy horror and let the devil take charge of them. Hence, our tea-drinkings, our church kitchens, our charades, our dances even, our unity clubs, our fun, our frolic, our studies of poetry, our talks about great men and women, our social and fearless study of the most human book in the world, the greatest book,- our Bible.
Let no foreigner touch with his destroying scalpel these sweet humanities born of our age. He may attack our dogmas, our creeds or no creeds, and we shall not care. But let no Oriental blind his eyes to the spectacle of a free church and free people, amid many imperfections and shortcomings working out their religion in the greatest practical and social reforms that the world has ever known.
We know that we have need of more love, more faith, more prayer. If our brethren of the Brahmo Somaj have these great gifts, we reach out our hands in fellowship across the seas. Our sympathies are with this Eastern land, yearning for higher light and wisdom. But we cannot exchange all the great results of our present religious civilization for the rapt piety of solitary Eastern seers, even though they may come closer to the being of God than we, stumbling through this work-day world, and trying earnestly to do his will among our brethren of every name.
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This month brings round again the season when our beloved senior editor, Rev. E. H. Sears, departed from us; and we love to recall his image, sweetly associated in our minds at the holiday time with the sound of Christmas bells, the jubilee of the glad New Year, and the great hope of immortality.
We cast also a flower of remembrance on the newly made grave of Rev. W. H. Cudworth, the valiant and devoted soldier of Christ, who died at his post, and spends his New Year with his Master in the heavenly mansions,
MARTHA P. LOWE,
REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
TWO RECENT BIOGRAPHIES.*
It is almost ten years since the departure of the rare and lovely spirit, who will be most widely remembered as the wise and efficient Secretary of the American Unitarian Association, the story of whose work is at length before us in this full and tender record by his wife. The retirement of Dr. Dewey from the active work of life is still farther back. So that he is known to the majority of this generation only as one of the famous preachers of the earlier period of the Unitarian Church in this country; and his works, now just republished in a large, single volume by the Unitarian Association, stand with those of Channing among the classics of our pulpit literature. Yet his life went on, in the quiet of his beloved Sheffield, serenely and with small abatement of intellectual interest and enjoyment, until within the last two years; and loving hands have gracefully joined a careful selection of his letters, wisely mingling the graver and the sportive, with the autobiographical sketch Dr. Dewey prepared near twenty-five years ago.
We are sure of the interest of the readers of this Review in the lives these books enshrine, and in calling attention to them shall follow the method, wisely chosen by both biographers, of letting them speak for themselves, as far as possible. Yet it should be said that, while of Dr. Dewey preaching was, as Dr. Bellows we think has said, the great action of his life, Charles Lowe's work was something infinitely better than any words of his that can be recorded, and that his character and spirit showed an essence and aroma of something finer still, that must, for the most part, escape delineation. Those who knew him well, and who worked with him in the causes that commanded his interest
[* Memoir of Charles Lowe. By his wife, Martha Perry Lowe. Boston: Cupples, Upham & Co. 1884.
Autobiography and Letters of Orville Dewey, D.D. Edited by his daughter, Mary E. Dewey. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1883.)
and unsparing devotion, will recall in the scenes through
He was the finest being I ever met with, or ever expect to meet with.
He had the greatness of goodness. A foreign magazine said of him, soon after his death, that he was not a great orator nor a great scholar, but he was a great character. For his eminence of use and influence, which was for many years marked among us, was of moral more than of intellectual quality, though his wisdom, good judgment, and strong sanse were eminent also. But, indeed, there is a moral quality in these things too. The true heart and will go far to keep the head right and clear of vagaries. It was remarked by Dr. Bellows at his funeral, that Mr. Lowe rather had a rounded fulness of mental qualities than any consummate gift in a special direction, and that he had everything essential to a first-rate career except a good physical frame. The remark is just and wise ; since, if we think of it, the men who in our time have oftenest risen to high careers of usefulness and honor have been those who have had this full and rounded stature of powers and attainments, without extreme brilliancy in any special direction. But the practical point in this case is that the admirable balance and completeness were not wholly nor mainly a gift, but in large
part by wise diligence, and the spirit that fits itself for service, achieved. It was not only in the play of happy impulses, but in the exercise of moral energies and the command of his well-trained abilities for large and generous ends, that he attained such genial and fruitful symmetry of powers. There was added to the amiability of a kindly nature the higher excellence of a true and helpful purpose in life and a loyal consecration to noble causes. How central this purpose and consecration were all who came near him felt, and the complete record even of his broken and enfeebled years attests.
It was in the practical range of thought and work that Mr. Lowe was eminent. The Memoir speaks repeatedly of a distaste for abstract studies; and it may be doubted if, with all his studious habits and marked literary tastes, he would have ever gained much distinction in philosophical or critical investigations, even if his weak health had not interrupted and curtailed his activities in all directions. But he was admirably furnished in temper and spirit, as well as through the more intellectual qualities of leadership, for the service he rendered the Unitarian body as its counsellor and administrator in a difficult and critical period. The record shows, indeed, what the memories of those who came into near relations with him amply confirm, that, from his first entrance upon the ministry, he commanded confidence and warm appreciation wherever he was, so that his opportunity of work was always many times beyond his power. His pastorates at New Bedford, Salem, and Somerville, short as was each of them,- broken, too, and terminated by illness in each case,– were periods of strenuous and fruitful work, marked not only by the planning and execution of measures of religious, charitable, and philanthropic activity, but by the appreciative regard and co-operation of his parishioners, and followed by their grateful affection and remembrance. It was his felicity to make attractive and commanding the ideal of a church which lives deeply and grandly in the spirit of generous fellowship and the practical service of humane and sacred causes. Modest in personal claims, conservative