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notes, to the name of a learned critic or theorist, he presents elementary truths of high value. Without pretending to that which is new, he has given us an arrangement of facts, well calculated to interest and profit the reader.
7. Memoir of Mrs. Mary Lundie Duncan: being recollections of a daughter, by her mother. From the second Edinburgh edition. New York. Robert Carter. 1842. pp. 268. 12mo.
It is not extravagant to say that we have read this book with unmingled pleasure. It is eminently a biography of the heart. It is not indebted, for any portion of its interest, to awakening incident; and hence, to those who read only for the purpose of gratifying an idle curiosity, it will have no charm. It is a truly religious memoir, giving a beautiful and discriminating account of the work of the Holy Spirit, in the progressive sanctification of a human heart. The author had abundant materials, which she has used with fine taste. Maternal affection and Christian judgment united to guide her pen, in the delineation of the character of her interesting subject. Almost every page is marked by exhibitions of parental fondness. But every page also testifies, that the picture drawn before us derives its attractiveness from the deep piety of the ascended Christian, rather than from any praise lavished by human love. We admire almost as much the resignation, the humility, the calm hope of the living mother, as the excellences of the departed child. The mother, in fact, writes her own memoir, except for the incidents which are needed to fill up the history of her personal experience. As an exhibition of character, we become acquainted, in the book, with the mother, as truly as with the daughter. Like the Scotch memoirs, generally, which have found their way to this country, the interest of the work holds us till the close; and we rise from the perusal with the feeling that we have enjoyed a very rich occasion of spiritual profit.
Mrs. D. was the daughter of a devoted clergyman of the church of Scotland. At the early age of eleven or twelve years, she became hopefully pious, and was admitted as a communicant to the Lord's table. In July, 1836, she was married to the Rev. W. W. Duncan; and died in June, 1810, aged 25 years. Her journals and letters indicate a high degree of discrimination, and great faithfulness in watching over her own heart. If the Memoir were put into the hands of our young church-members, extensively, it would not fail to be productive of great good. Many are profited by such living examples of Christian character, much more than by precept or admonition. We wish for the book a wide circulation.
8. Eloquence of Nature, and other Poems. By S. DRYDEN PHELPS. Hartford. Gurdon Robins. 1842. pp. 168. 12mo.
The circumstances which have brought this neat collection of verses before the public, are sufficient to disarm criticism. The poems are the early productions of a young man, still pursuing a career of literary training; and the book before us is a praiseworthy effort to secure the pecuniary assistance, which is necessary for the successful prosecution of his purpose. It is gratifying to us, to have the opportunity, in any way, to encourage a student, actuated by so laudable a spirit. The aid which comes as a fruit of personal exertion, has in it a double value
VOL. VII.NO. XXVIII.
its pecuniary worth, and its adaptation to secure strength of character, and mental independence. He who has to struggle the most sternly against obstacles in his way, will, other things being equal, rise to the highest eminence, and sustain most honorably the stations which he may be called to fill. A great end to be attained in education, is the calling forth of all the powers of the soul; it is to exalt man to the dignity of a true man; it is to develop in him abilities which will fit him for all the exigencies that are likely to arise in life. And the sort of aid which will best secure this result, though it may demand strenuous personal exertion, and be accompanied by painful anxieties, is the best for him who aspires to be great, and good, and useful. The necessity, which may produce such a result, ought scarcely to be viewed as a misfortune. It is rather a part of the means of the most finished education. The poems in this collection, as might be expected, occasionally bear the marks of being early efforts. In a few instances occur words, or parts of lines, which seem to belong to prose, rather than to poetry. But such cases are not numerous. In general, the book exhibits the true spirit of a poet; the language is mostly choice, and the measure harmonious. The writer not only excels many who claim the name of poet, but affords fair promise of future greatness. A more extended course of education will give him a wider compass of words, and imagery, and topics, and add to the richness of a style already good. Some of his pieces remind us of the productions of Bryant, and are fully worthy to stand with them, side by side. Many of the poems are of a religious character, and all are wholly unobjectionable in their moral tendency.
9. Songs and Ballads: translated from Uhland, Körner, Bürger, and other German lyric poets. By CHARLES T. BROOKS. Being Vol. XIV. of the Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Edited by GEORGE RIPLEY. Boston. James Munroe & Co. pp. 400. 12mo. After the criticisms which we felt compelled, in a former article, to record, upon Vols. XII. and XIII. of the Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, we are happy, in noticing this volume, to speak in a tone of approbation. Most of the pieces are translations by Mr. Brooks. A few were contributed by his friends. Many of them are very sweet and simple. They are close imitations of the German, and, at the same time, specimens of faultless harmony, and of choice English. We might quote several, whose beautiful truthfulness, and exact likeness to nature, render them extremely touching. Such is the piece, entitled "The Serenade," on page 29. The Germans, like true poets, have the faculty of discovering resemblances, with a quickness of vision truly astonishing; and of working up minute incidents, as the theme of the most charming melodies. This faculty, indeed, seems to be the peculiar gift, not of poets only, but of most of the nations of continental Europe. We find, in their books, events of so trivial a character, that an American, or an Englishman would never think of speaking of them, made the basis of a thrilling article. This attention to little occurrences, of which they make such use, may be attributed to any one, of several causes; either a freshness of mind, an unsophisticated naturalness, a perpetuity of youthful ardor, for which, even their old men are distinguished; or, the habit of noticing whatever takes place; or, the absence of great events and subjects of thought, leaving the mind at
liberty to dwell upon those which are of minor importance. It is pleasant to observe the high interest, with which a foreigner often relates affairs of very little consequence. The habit may, however, contribute to the advantage of true philosophy, whose office it is to collect facts, and make deductions from them. Persons who live under the governments of continental Europe, have less to concern them in the affairs of the administration, than the inhabitants, especially, of America. Here we are all lords. The government resides in every man's bosom. The liberty to discuss its weighty proceedings, and to regulate them, is our birthright as freemen; and every man feels so deeply his personal responsibility, that there is too much business for our co-ordinate sovereigns, to allow them to descend to things of little moment. The great question is, will it be consistent with our dignity, to continue these, our servants, in office? But the ability to make much of little circumstances, is just what the poet needs. It is the token of that prolificness of mind, which is required, to enable him to find materials every where for his art.
The poetry of men is a true expression of the character of their minds, and of their prevailing habits of thought. The topics upon which they dwell with most interest, they will draw out in numbers with the most spirit. This is finely illustrated in the volume before us. Wherever we know distinctly the character and history of any of the authors, we perceive that their songs are in harmony with them. Hence, the volume gives us specimens of the humorous, the cheerful, the patriotic, the martial, the domestic, and the religious, of various degrees of excellence, but none unworthy of a place in the collection. The specimens are from upwards of thirty different authors, printed with great accuracy and good taste. The book will serve as an acceptable gift to the lovers of poetry. We present a single extract, furnishing an example of the life and spirit of the religious portions of the book. It speaks in the language of the heart. The original is by Kosegarten.
VIA CRUCIS, VIA LUCIS.
Through night to light!-And though to mortal eyes
Good cheer! good cheer! the gloom of midnight flies;
Through storm to calm!-And though his thunder-car
Through frost to spring!-And though the biting blast
Good cheer! good cheer! When winter's wrath is past,
Through sweat to sleep!-And though the sultry noon,
Through cross to crown!-And though thy spirit's life
Good cheer! good cheer! Soon ends the bitter strife,
Through woe to joy!-And though at morn thou weep,
Through death to life!-And through this vale of tears,
To the great supper in that world whose years
Of bliss unfading, cloudless, know no end.
10. Christ our Law. By CAROLINE FRY. New York: Robert Carter. 1812. pp. 272. 12mo.
The topics discussed in this book are the nature of law, Christ, in his sovereign love, in his incarnation and substitution, in his justifying righteousness, our responsibility to him, his regenerating Spirit, saving faith, the obedience of faith, repentance unto life, his sanctifying grace, his holy ordinances, our union and communion with him. The book is written in a rich, fervid style, much superior to that of the author's other works; and is, at the same time, doctrinal and practical. Its doctrinal views are generally sound; and its practical admonitions, instructions, and encouragements, appropriate and forcible. It manifests strong thought, a clear apprehension of relations and dependencies, and great familiarity with the articles of an evangelical creed. It breathes a deeply pious and earnest spirit; and on the whole, cannot be read without religious benefit. It is just such a sweet and judicious interweaving of instructions pertaining to the creed and the life, as we need, to promote doctrinal knowledge and taste. We are sorry that so beautiful a book should be marred by any spot. But we are compelled to say, that, like all human productions, it has some imperfections. In the chapter on ordinances, a prominence, which we regret, is given to infant baptism, as an act of obedience, a divine ordinance, &c.; and the author attempts, very briefly, to defend it. The views of the author on the subject of baptism are more clear and scriptural, in some respects, than those of the English church, to which she belongs. Still she needs further illumination. She has written a good book; and we earnestly wish that in the next edition, the publisher, with or without the consent of the author, would expurgate it of the passages, to which we have alluded.
11. The Mute Christian under the smarting rod. By Rev. THOMAS BROOKS, London, 1669. Second edition. Boston. Seth Goldsmith; Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, 1842. pp. 246. 12mo.
Many of the writings of the age to which this book belongs are of sterling value. In order to be admired, they need only to be known. The works of Mr. Brooks are distinguished by the pure Saxon-English which appears in them, by terseness of style, numerous apt illustrations, and citations from the oldest writers, and a rare directness and force. He speaks "from the heart and to the heart." The "Mute Christian" is a precious manual for the afflicted, a token for mourners. It teaches the proper manner of bearing trial, and yields consolation in it. The London Religious Tract Society, by an edition of the book in 1826, brought it into notice. In this reprint, the American editor has restored some of the illustrations of the author, which had been omitted or altered. The topic is a recommendation of the book. Such themes are now rarely treated in print. In the hurry of the age, few take pains, by so protracted and laborious effort, to "bind up the broken-hearted." A better gift to Christians under affliction could not be devised.
12. The Common School Grammar. A concise and comprehensive Manual of English Grammar: containing, in addition to the first principles and rules briefly stated and explained, a systematic order of parsing, a number of examples for drilling exercises, and a few in false syntax: particularly adapted to the use of common schools and academies. By JOHN GOLDSBURY, A. M., teacher of the High School, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 94. 12mo.
A Sequel to the Common School Grammar; containing, in addition to other materials and illustrations, notes and critical remarks on the philosophy of the English language; and explaining some of its most difficult idiomatic phrases. Designed for the use of the first class in common schools. By JOHN GOLDSBURY, A. M., teacher of the High School, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 110. 12mo. Boston. James Munroe & Co. 1842.
The titles of these two books are a faithful description of their contents. They fully come up to that which they promise. Murray's Grammar is taken for the basis; but the author is, by no means, confined to any one master. He exhibits resources and talent of his own. No work on the subject has pleased us more. The first is wholly elementary. The second introduces the advanced scholar to an acquaintance with some of the most interesting facts, relating to his native tongue.
13. A Discourse, delivered July 6, 1812, at the funeral of JAMES MARSH, D. D., late professor in the University of Vermont. WHEELER, D. D., President of the University.
The first part of this discourse, founded on Luke 24: 16, states several reasons why we do not know and appreciate the great, during their life-time, agreeably to their merits; 1. Because we associate with them the imperfections of earth; 2. We are ourselves too much absorbed in worldly things; 3. Real greatness is seldom obtrusive in its pretensions. The larger part of the discourse is occupied with a biographical notice of Dr. Marsh, especially with reference to his philosophical opinions. Dr. M. has been extensively known as a devoted follower of Mr. Coleridge, and the editor of some of his works. The discourse is beautifully written, and bears testimony to the high mental discipline and finished scholarship of the author.
14. The Sovereignty of God, and the free agency of man. A sermon by Rev. WILLIAM BULLEIN JOHNSON, D. D. 1842. pp. 27. 8vo.
This sermon is a very clear and judicious exhibition of a difficult subject. It is founded on Acts 2: 22, 23. The method of the author is to prove, first, the absolute sovereignty of God; and, secondly, the freedom of man. He answers, in a satisfactory manner, under each head, the objections to these doctrines, and sets forth the duty of receiving them, as separate revelations of truth, because they both rest on the basis of divine authority. If to reconcile them presents a difficulty to human intellects, still their harmony may be perfectly within the comprehension of higher intelligences. The style is well adapted to the nature of the discussion; and the sermon every way worthy of its venerable and distinguished author.