Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

a printer, who by their united efforts effected in this while, that one native should be baptized, and others promising well!!

There is a society for instructing slaves in the West Indies, of whose proceedings I can learn nothing.

There is a society for the Conversion of Jews, which baptized the famous Mr. Frey. But it seems the renovated Israelite did not loose the auri saera fames, which is supposed to be inherent in the nature of his compatriots. His going about the country preaching and collecting money, then flying to America, left the dupes who had supported him in silly amazement.

I shall say nothing of Tract Societies, School Societies, Bethel Unions, &c. &c. &c. and lastly, that huge Leviathan, the greatest monster of all, the BIBLE SOCIETY. In the mean time, while the mania of conversion is raging on every side, (and if money were not the grand stimulus of all, we have great doubts whether the fever would run so high) let us look at home. Immorality, irreligion, and infidelity increase in a most alarming degree. What is the meaning of this? Is there a remedy for domestic evils? No society that can cure this distemper at home? Is all our zeal to be spent on strangers, and none left for our own countrymen? Or is there something inherent in the constitution of the Protestant church, which can fit it for the conversion of pagans, but not retain its own children within the pale of Christianity ? Or is it, in fine, that it sees its own internal losses to be so great, that it attempts to repair them abroad? Among all these grave difficulties, it does not belong to me to say, which has the greatest influence. But if I

may venture an opinion, it is this, that they will not either lessed the reign of infidelity abroad, nor prevent its progress at home. Error is like a torrent, which never turns back to the source from which it springs, but always runs on till it is lost in the ocean of infidelity. Some of my readers will be aware, that this opinion is not new, but borrowed from a poet, who, on this occasion seems not to have indulged in the fancies which the muses inspire, but to have uttered a most serious truth, when speaking of the tendencies which all religious errors naturally have towards infidelity, said,

“ To this one point, they all obliquely tend,
Here they begin, and here they all will end."

(To be continued.)

Somatopsychonoloogia ; shewing that the Proofs of Body,

Life and Mind, considered as distinct Essences, cannot be reduced from Physiology, being an Examination of the Controversy concerning Life, carried on by MM. Laurence, Abernethy, Rennell and others. By Philostratus. London, 1823. Price 4s.

This work is from the pen of a physician, generally esteemed a member of the established church of England. As we consider comment entirely useless, we proceed to lay before our readers the result of the researches of the learned author, in his own words, from the sixth section, on The Futile Enquiries concerning Matter, Life, and Mind, &c.

“All who dwell in countries unenlightened by the Catholic religion, and who are accustomed to hear and to credit the libellous and false aspersions of Protestant writers, on what they ignorantly term the dark ages, will probably be surprised at the assertion I am prepared to maintain ; that those middle ages of the church above alluded to, so far from meriting he appellation of dark, were distinguished by the most stupendous energies of the human mind; by enlightened men, whose genius and perseverance were exerted not only in illustrating and defending their religious profession, but in giving origin to and perfecting the most beautiful works of art and science ; and all this with a degree of courage and perseverance of which laistory has recorded no parallel examples. The Catholic church was then in the zenith of her power, and the advancement of her interests was before every other consideration; to this end the arts and sciences, and almost all the efforts of human genius were made subservient. It was in these ages that some of the ablest commentaries on Christianity were written; as the works of St. Cyprian, St. Augustin, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Bernard, and other saints and fathers incontestably prove. It was then the most austere religious institutions were founded, on which holy and spiritual men made what even heathen philosophers deemed the greatest of victories—the conquest of themselves; and devoted a life of fasting and meditation to the service of the church, illustrated in those ages by the most splendid miracles by which her sanctity was attested. It was then that kings and earthly potentates bowed the neck in silent submission to her decrees; no one questioned. her authority, and the philosopher had no higher aim than to approach her altar. The mystical character of the times gave a particular bias to the prevailing arts; while the temperate and unsensual life of the religious of those days, preserved to them such a clearness of intellect as was capable of being successfully exerted on all occasions; and which contributed not only to the internal advancement of religion, but also to the construction of the most noble edifices and pious monuments dedicated to the service of the church, that any age or country ever produced. Hence, for example, arose those sublime conceptions in ecclesiastical architecture, which we still see in old cathedrals and abbeys built by Catholics, and which the devotees of the present rage for Grecian temples, and Chinese pagodas have, from a false opinion of their origin, absurdly denominated Gothic.

66 The lute, the minstrel, the voice of the chorist, the chisel of the sculptor, the pencil of the painter, were alike devoted to the holy cause, and with an unprecedented degree of success during the middle ages. Where shall we find more beautiful pictures than those which Raphael, Michael Angelo, Rubens, and numerous other artists of the old Italian and Flemish schools, have painted in illustration of sacred history ? Or where do we behold more grand and inspiring buildings than those churches and religious houses which they were painted to adorn ? I am aware that this digression may seem irrelevant, but it leads to the question :-whence all this energy, this austerity of life, this sacrifice of sensual pleasures, this subserviency of every thing to the cause of a particular institution which prevailed at the period under present consideration ? The attainment of paradise is now, as well as it was then, the professed desire of Christians; and yet we do not now see si, milar energies displayed, nor the same systematic and ardent devotion, and constant self-denial practised—Why is this ?

“ The advantage of every hope may be said to be the absolute value of the thing hoped for, multiplied into the probability of its occurrence. The boon of everlasting happiness,

rence.

which is the ultimate object of the hopes of the Christians, must appear of the same absolute value in all ages; hence the relative indifference apparent in those days to its preponderating advantage over all other objects of solicitude can only be referrible to a diminished expectation of its probable occur

This I believe to be the true state of the case. From the period of the pretended reformation, the minds of men have become more and more darkened ; an increased love of natural knowledge, laudable in itself when restrained within its just limits, arose, and by degrees supplanted the love of religion ; luxury and refinement kept pace with it: the mutual accusations of heresy preferred against each other by sectaries, and the lax morality which sprung out of Calvin's blasphemous doctrmes, together with a rage for innovation, all combined to do the evil work, and at length the mind lost its spiritual character, forgot the real groundwork of faith and hope in the church, -the miraculous attestation of her sanctity; and the pride of philosophy at last made men try to reduce every proposition to a problem solvable by human reason. In this our frivolous and pseudophilosophic age, then, a few sensible and worthy persons, averse to annihilation, brought up in the habit of resolving every thing into a question of physics, and still clinging to the waning hope of everlasting life, try to support its probability on arguments drawn from their own particular calling, with which they are of course better acquainted than with any

other. Many persons, too, from being eminent in any particular branch of philosophy, or of the arts, by constantly dwelling with complacency on their own excellence therein, get at length such a high idea of its importance, that they suppose it capable of working wonders. And this is the only way I can account for the notion that some individuals seem to entertain that they can derive arguments for the spiritual nature of the soul from the study of physiology. I remember a story of an old merchant's clerk, who wrote a remarkably fine hand, and who thought so highly of it that, under the idea that caligraphy must sooner or later supersede the press, he wrote out an entire copy of the bible, for fear the sacred volume should ever get out of print.

" I shall refer in the next chapter to many much more powerful opponents that the church has met with from time to time than the materializing physiologists, as well as from her dange from many more untenable defences. All which she has tri. umphed over by a reference to her own proper evidence, and the four grand marks of her truth, Unity, Sanctity, Apostoli. city, and Catholicity, illustrated by the frequent performance of miracles."

The learned author has likewise published a supplement to his work, in which he gives his reasons for preferring the Catholic religion to any other; these we shall lay before our readers in our next.

Poetry.

SUMMER.

(Written for German Music.)
CJME wander with me in the summer sun's smile,

Come forth where the roses are blowing;
To view the rich scene, and to linger awhile

Where soft cooling streamlets are flowing:
To gaze on the heaven, where the bright king of day,
Uncloudedly moves on his pure azure way.

The earth is all gay, for the blossoms abound,

The sweet fruits of nature preceding,
And banks of sweet thyme shed their fragrance around,

Where flocks on the green hills are feeding.
The bee gathers sweets, and the butterfly gay,
Spends all in enjoyment his life's little day.

The fields of bright hope arise fair to our view,

With young ears the green stems adorning,
Where wild poppies open with cornflowers blue,

When darts the first radiance of morning.
Then rises the lark from his lowly built nest,
And swells with sweet warbling his gay speckled breast.

The summer of life is manhood's gay prime:

O seize it before 'tis declining;
For soon must thou how to the mandate of time,

Thy summer to autump resigning.
Then .cherish the seed thou hast sown in spring

In the autumu of life 'twill a recompense bring.
May 5, 1823.

F.C. H.

« НазадПродовжити »