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see a broad foundation laid for an age of light literature, or an age of discovery, or an age of commercial grandeur, than for an age of thought.
It is both an evidence and a result of the absence of original thought, that, when great and profound thoughts are brought to light, they are appreciated only by a few. Hence, there is little encouragement to the thinking portion of the community to cast them abroad upon the sea of excitement. Men ask for that which they can easily digest. Thus our religious congregations give their ministers two main directions; first and chiefly, be short; and secondly, be simple. They do not wish, in general, for abstract truths, discussed by the power of a master-mind. They do not relish the strong meat of divine doctrine. A discourse, such as would set some knotty points in a true light, however gorgeously it might be written, or eloquently delivered, is not the most welcome. It might delay the dinner too long. Or, the young people would become fatigued. Or, if the truth were stated, neither young nor old, as a body, relish the productions of laborious and patient thought, where the processes of thought are exhibited, because they themselves cannot endure the effort of thinking. Hence it is, that the books in most demand are those which can be read without mental activity. Such are the books, tricked out with the most inviting finery by the booksellers, and advertised by them in the newspapers. And, such are the books, which crowd the shelves of our circulating libraries, as if they were possessed of more value than any other. Old authors, who cannot be read without thought, must stand aside. Men have been treated, for a considerable period, like children, whose meat must be divided for them into little morsels, lest they should be choked. And now they wish to be children in fact. They have no patience to cope with a great thought, unless some one will divide and simplify it for them. The tendency of our age is, therefore, to dwell upon that which may be taken in by particles. It is an age of facts, rather than of philosophy. We look for events, which can at once be understood, without the labor of thinking. If we take up the papers, we seek for the news. If we obtain a book, we turn to the incidents. If we converse, it is most often upon plans, or occurrences. There is a proper use of facts. But that use is generally not made of them. They are the basis of true philosophy. As subjects
of thought, of arrangement, of generalization, of deductions, they are of priceless worth. But in any other view, the continual familiarity of the mind with them, as they occur in succession, immediately to be displaced in the memory by others of like character, they weaken the mind more than they strengthen it. Thus, the profusion of facts to which we have access, instead of becoming the foundation of original, profound thought, may be one of the chief obstacles to it. And the disposition of our age to deal in facts more than in philosophy, is an indication of its true character in respect to discipline and thought.
The nature and urgency of professional employments is another obstacle to the attainment of which we have spoken. The class of profound thinkers must be looked for, chiefly, among professional men. They have, generally, enjoyed the best opportunities of cultivation. They are under higher obligations to the community in this respect than any others. Their studies and employments conduct them to sources of profitable thought. The germs of thought are continually in their minds; and require only the cultivation of a willing spirit, aided by opportunity, to make them yield a rich harvest to their possessors and to the world. The themes with which public men are concerned, in each of the professions, are eminently fitted to awaken the soul; and to impart discipline and power to the intellectual abilities. But so much is demanded of them, that they have no leisure to become great men in the realm of mind. We have no privileged classes. There are few, whose wealth will permit them to be students, exclusively; and those who have the means, often have not the disposition. Those who would become intellectually great must seize their opportunities of reflection and of study, where and when they can find them; and be contented with the respect and veneration of a few familiar friends, and the reward of thought in their own bosom. The driving world will not pause to admire, nor help them. Servants of all, they must do the service required at their bidding, whether it be congenial or uncongenial with high thoughts, and extended learning, and mental strength. They must promote the ends of their masters, whether their own intellectual ability is increased by it or not. Thought is deemed a man's private business, to which he is to attend, when and as he can; as if others could reap no good from it.
VOL. VII.-NO. XXV.
The duty, therefore, is to be urged upon men as individuals. Every one must conquer the obstacles to it for himself. And every one who attains this conquest will reap the reward in his own intellectual culture; in his enlarged views of truth; in his communion with that which is exalted and ennobling. EDITOR.
1. The Poems of John G. C. Brainard. A new and authentic collection, with an original memoir of his life. Hartford. Edward Hopkins. 1842. pp. 191. 16mo.
Brainard is known, chiefly, as the Editor of the "Connecticut Mirror," published at Hartford, and as the author of the small volume of poems, which were originally printed in his paper, and afterwards collected and published by themselves. The first edition was printed in 1825; the second, containing additional pieces, appeared, after his death, in 1832. He was born in New-London, graduated at Yale College in 1815, and afterwards studied law. But the pursuits of his profession were not in harmony with his spirit. He soon abandoned it for the employment of an editor, in which he continued till he was no longer able to perform its duties. He died at the early age of thirty-two years. The memoir of him is apparently very just and very thorough. The author had but few incidents to relate; but he has used them to good advantage, and presented an excellent critique on the character of the poet. Most of Brainard's poems were thrown off in haste; and some of them may be expected to bear the marks of carelessness. But the spirit of the poet is too richly and visibly enshrined in his productions to be mistaken. He possessed exquisite sensibility, and ready wit. His imagery is mostly drawn from American scenery; so that he sustains the character of a true American poet. The versification, in many instances, is extremely sweet. The work is entirely free from any thing, which would offend the taste or defile the heart. Brainard died, an humble Christian. The mechanical execution is very superior.
2. Hymns for the Vestry and the Fireside. Boston. Gould, Kendall and Lincoln. 1841. pp. 200. 12mo.
We have here another addition to the already numerous collections of hymns for social worship. We hope, at a future time, to notice it more fully. The appearance of the page is neat and tasteful. Several of the hymns, which possess great merit, are drawn from fugitive pamphlets and papers, and from foreign compilations. These, with a few originals, are an acceptable addition to our stock of sacred poetry. The general circulation of the book, we believe, will be instrumental of producing purity and depth of Christian feeling, and of elevating the taste of the religious community. Poetry forms an appropriate expression of pious exercises. It is a highly auspicious event, when such aids are furnished to the inexperienced as will assist them in this delightful employment, and yet avoid the excitement, through any association of ideas, of an animal warmth, which may be mistaken for fervent
piety. In a work so difficult as the preparation of a selection of hymns, which is to be subject to the criticism of persons of various temperaments, we feel it incumbent on us to award to the editor the meed of praise for so much that is good, rather than to reproach him, because, in our view, some parts are not perfect.
3. Onesimus: or the Apostolic directions to Christian Masters, in reference to their slaves, considered. By EVANGELICUS. Boston. Gould, Kendall and Lincoln. 1842. pp. 54. 12mo.
This little work is written in a mild, Christian spirit; and is eminently scriptural in its principles, and in the application of them. We see not how it can fail to secure the approval of those who regard the word of God, as their standard of faith and practice. All the passages in the New Testament, which belong to the subject in question, are examined, and the light of the profane history of that period is brought to aid in the illustration of them. The essay is divided into three parts; first, Introductory Observations; secondly, American Slavery, compared with that which occasioned the apostle Paul's directions to masters; thirdly, The apostle's directions to masters, examined. The author confines himself to the points proposed, and gives them a full and fair discussion. We hope it will enjoy a wide circulation.
4. The Holy Spirit. A discourse delivered at the ordination of George Knox, as pastor of the Baptist church in Topsham, Dec. 15, 1841. By Z. BRADFORD, pastor of the Baptist church in North Yarmouth. Portland. 1842. pp. 20. 8vo.
This discourse, we believe, is the first in which its author has appeared in print. It is highly gratifying to find views so scriptural advocated by our young men, and pressed so earnestly upon the attention of Christians. The style of the sermon is generally strong and vigorous; and its typographical execution is good. Where there is so much to commend, we should do wrong to be offended by an occasional oversight. We are too well aware of the haste with which clergymen, having the cares of a large parish on their hands, are often obliged to prepare their discourses, even for special and important occasions, to be surprised when slight errors of composition occur. We may be permitted, however, to remark that the term "godship," which the author uses, seems to us less reverent than the corresponding term "divinity." The Saxon word, in this case, we deem inferior to the Latin. On p. 5 is the expression, "There is a latter, and the last temple now going up by those who have come from the captivity of sin," which is evidently a mere slip of the pen. On p. 9 is the incongruous assertion, "We should stand on the verge of an impassable abyss, limbless and wingless." A tree, or a cup, or a pillar, may be said, metaphorically, "to stand." A man may be said, metaphorically, "to stand on his head." But we doubt if any metaphor can justify the affirmation, that a man "stands, limbless."
The text is Zech. 4: 6, "Not by might, nor by power; but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." After the introduction, which is partly historical and partly theological, the author presents the main points of his discourse, as follows: If we would profit by the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, we should venerate his character, respect his office, pray much for his influence, and walk according to his dictates.
We have only room to present the following extract as a specimen of the character and manner of the discourse:
"The Holy Spirit is the great agent in the conversion and salvation of men. He was the sole, ultimate agent in erecting the temple by Zerubbabel. This I consider as the doctrine of the text, and as a Bible doctrine. I shall not therefore attempt to counterpoise human instrumentalities against the Spirit's agency, or compound them, deciding their ratio, or harmony, in the work of salvation. I understand the text to say that the Holy Spirit is the one, and only agent, by whom God's intentions of grace are brought about. This will not militate against the doctrine of free agency, or obedience, or the use of means, more than the fact that God governs the seasons, the light and winds of heaven, precludes the importance of our improving them, to gain his blessing. So far from this, it inspires, and nourishes hope; is a lure to action,-reveals the source of our strength, the author of our blessings, and can but lead us to acknowledge, and honor the divine Spirit. The object of informing Zerubbabel of this truth, was to quicken, not slacken and unman him for labor. The design of God in revealing the doctrine of the trinity, appears to be, that we may discriminate the office of each of the "Three-One" in the work of salvation. It eminently facilitates our understanding of the subject. God the Father originates, the Son came forth to execute, and the Spirit applies."
5. Antiquity of the Baptist Church. A review of the Rev. George W. Langhorne's Inquiry into the Antiquity of the Baptist Church. By C. LILLYBRIDGE, A. M., M. D. Elizabeth City, N. C. 1841. pp. 60. 8vo.
We recognize in the author of this pamphlet an esteemed graduate of one of the earliest classes of Waterville College; and we are happy to find him, amid the care and duties of the medical profession, defending so ably the views of that branch of the Christian church, whose principles he long since espoused. It is scarcely necessary to give more than a brief account of the origin of the pamphlet. It was caused by another, by a Methodist clergyman, which set forth very inadequate and erroneous views of the case; and which, from the state of things in the community where the pamphlet circulated. seemed to demand a refutation. Dr. Lillybridge was importuned by several friends to undertake the work; and, after much reluctance and delay, consented to engage in the enterprise. He remarks in his preface, "Having undertaken the work, our feelings inclined us to enter more extensively into the history of the Baptists, than a mere reply to Mr. L.'s pamphlet required. These feelings were produced by the conviction which we have long entertained, that something was needed for the benefit of our brethren, whose opportunities for reading are limited, to show where and under what names the Baptist church existed, previous to the Reformation." We should judge from the account of Dr. L., that the pamphlet reviewed by him contains many uncourteous remarks, if not false accusations. A portion of the Review before us is occupied in replying to those unjust charges, and doubtless is valuable, in that respect, in the region where it was designed especially to circulate. It has a local appropriateness, of which persons residing at a distance are incompetent to form a judgment. Besides what it contains of a controversial character, the pamphlet of Dr. L. also presents a very judicious compilation of the testimonies, which prove the prevalence of Baptist opinions in the world, from the days of the apostles to the present time. We are happy to see an exhibition of this form of the