Page images

tion which has followed Washington's memory, and hence I am led to notice the goodness of God in keeping and sustaining and forming him for the scenes he went through. Few nations perhaps have had their destinies placed in the hands of one man so completely as ours was in his. Perhaps no other man before the public could have filled his place. But he was preserved through numberless dangers until our liberties were secured and these dangers themselves gave him that combination of self-reliance, perseverance, forecast and reserve which the world has seen in no other man. Had he not been a man of integrity, all would have been lost, for his interests were not so closely connected with the contest but that by treach ery or sudden resignation he might have thrown all into confusion. If ambition had been his ruling passion, there was ample occasion to gratify it by supreme power after he had no competitor in Great Britain, and few men could have resisted their desire to usurp power at such a time, however the fate of former tyrants But he might have warned them. declined the power which the free vote of his country would have invested him with, that he might set an example to his successors of its moderate enjoyment. How seldom is political sagacity joined in one man with military talents, but he by his measures and principles has laid down maxims which the country has never followed without prospering, and has never gone wrong in her affairs but when she departed from them. How good then has the Governor of nations been in forming him for very unusual circumstances long before they existed, in calling him to his place when his qualifications were not fully known, in saving him from guilty enterprises, in endowing him with political wisdom, in making him a model of private, and a warm friend of public virtue, in showing by him to his country the rewards of disinterestedness. VOL.VI.-No. 11.


Happy would it be for our country if all her rulers had the same regard for public virtue, and were as safe examples to be followed, as WASHINGTON. The character of the nation would at once be raised, and the honor of being a ruler increased. But the Christian moralist is compelled to observe some of them acting as if they were above the laws of man and of God. Every person in authority cannot but be struck with the importance of the Sabbath in a political point of view, and must therefore perceive his duty to observe it. How much then it ought to surprise us, that a few weeks since one hundred men were employed throughout the Sabbath in decorating the room where a fete was to be given in honour of La Fayette. No can excuse this violation of reason the Sabbath, sanctioned as it was by the military and civil authorities and indeed committed by their direction. Mr. Editor, others may excuse thisalthough I think the better feelings of our countrymen will generally condemn it, but you must be of the opinion that the country ought to be ashamed of those who authorized this proceeding, and that they ought to blush for themselves.

[ocr errors]

To the Editor of the Christian Spectator.

I notice in the papers that the second Monday evening in each month is recommended to be set apart as a monthly concert of prayer, for Sabbath Schools. On looking into the August and September numbers of the American Sunday School Magazine, I find that the proposal originated in a meeting of Male Teachers in Philadelphia; or rather in a "hint on the subject from a Vice President of the American Sune day School Union." The reasoning with which the proposal is brought before the public is summarily this ; that the Sunday School system is "a great and extended interest,"

[ocr errors]

numbering ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TEACHERS," and demanding "the stated and united prayers of Christians in all parts of the world;" that prayer in general, and concert prayer in particular, is essential to the success of every Christian enter prise; that the existing monthly concert has an exclusive reference to missions, and should not be diverted from this specific object; and bence. finally, that it is proper to establish a monthly concert for Sabbath Schools.

Now, Mr. Editor, I wish to suggest whether this sort of reasoning may not be turned to some further account, and whether the "hint" which occasioned it, may not be made profitable to various other great concerns. I would ask the managers of Bible Societies whether theirs be not "a great and extended interest" embracing thousands of auxiliaries and tens of thousands of contributors, and whether a monthly concert be not as important to their cause as to that of Sunday Schools. Inasmuch therefore, as Bible Societies are not identified with


sions' and consequently do not come within the view of the existing monthly concert, is it not plainly the duty of those who direct them to recommend that some evening in each month be set apart as a concert of prayer for Bible Societies?

Again: the " cause of religion

among seamen" is "a great and extended interest." Are there not "hundred thousand" of these neglected men for whom "Christians in all parts of the world" have never prayed in concert? Ought there not therefore to be a monthly concert for Seamen? Further: Education Societies, Tract Societies, Jews' Societies, our Colleges, and many other things of which time would fail me to speak, are among those great and extended interests against which the monthly concert for missions has shut its doors. But whereunto will this matter grow? "On such an evening"-I seem to

hear our ministers proclaiming from the desk-"On such an evening of the present week is the monthly concert for missions, and on such an evening is the Sunday School Monthly Concert,-and on such an evening is the Seamen's or the Jews,' or the Bible, or the Education, or the Colonization Society's monthly concert!" Monthly concerts thicken upon us till they outnumber the feasts and fasts of the Catholic Church, and we need our rosaries to keep our reckoning.

In objects of public importance a man's sensible horizon is the line which circumscribes his own labors. By confining his views and his efforts to some one department in the great field of Christian benevolence, he is apt to overlook the importance of other departments and to conclude that his own enterprise is the great enterprise of the age. He surveys the magnitude of the operations which it contemplates and reckons up the thousands that are interested in it, and for it, till in his view it is nothing less than the stone cut ou! without hands, which became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. I love the zeal which carries with it the whole heart; but let it be tem pered by knowledge and by catholic views. To whatever division of the great army of the Prince of Peace we may have attached ourselves let us be faithful to our post; but let us look beyond our own operations and consider how our particular plans and movements are likely to tally with the general object of the campaign. My objection to the proposed monthly concert is the very obvious one, that it will do away the interest of that already established. The existing monthly concert is a most interesting and sacred institution. It is interesting in its nature and in the associations with which its history is connected. But, it is confined, we are told, to missions, and "ought not to be diverted from this specific purpose." How it may have been conducted in some places

I cannot tell, but wherever it has been my happiness to be present, it has embraced not simply missions, but all the interests of Christ's kingdom, and all the means of its advancement. Its simple prayer is, Thy kingdom come; and the communication of no species of intelligence relating to that kingdom, nor the mention of any one great subject of prayer or praise, however distinct from missions, has been considered inappropriate to the occasion. sions it is true hold a prominent place in the exercises of the monthly concert and this is as it should be; for they hold a prominent place in the great system of means for converting the world. But it is with some surprise I learn, that those who have not been accustomed to restrict it to missions, have mistaken its character and celebrated it amiss.


One monthly concert is important. It is well that there should be one such season returning monthly to remind Christians in all lands of their common relation to the great family of Christ, and of their common duty to the millions of them that dwell in darkness. But add another, and another to it, and the peculiar sacredness of the institution is gone.

I have not troubled you, Mr. Editor, with these remarks, because I have any apprehension that the observance of the new monthly concert will become universal, even among teachers themselves. Yet it may. The resolution of the "Association of Male Teachers" in Philadelphia, is seconded by the formal and imposing recommendation of the "Board of Managers of the American Sunday School Union ;" and "the first Sunday School Monthly Concert" has already been attended in several of our large cities.

Finally; if my views on this subject be erroneous, I shall be sorry to

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

I saw it in a midnight dream,

When slumber's charm was o'er me :A little basket in the beam

Of noon-day stood before me ;-
Its beauty was exceeding rare,
And yet 'twas no less frail than fair.

So fair, it seem'd some elfin band
From Fairy-land had brought it;
So fra 1,-it seem'd some fairy hand,

Of gossamer had wrought it:
Its lid was down, 'twas fill'd with flowers
Gather'd from Flora's choicest bowers.

Yet thro' its sides, in every part,

Their sweet perfume was stealing;
'Twas like a guileless maiden's heart
Its inmost thoughts revealing:
And soon, me thought a singing maid
Was sitting there, those flow'rs to braid.

As grew, like hope, the flow'ry wreath
Beneath her flying fingers,
She seem'd with half a sigh to breathe-

How long the moment lingers."
Thus asi saw, methought decay
Came o'er me,-and I pass'd away.

[blocks in formation]

dream'd that when a few brief years Were past, my parted spirit

Came back to trace the joys and fears That once it did inherit;

Just as the man comes back to trace

have burthened your pages with The scenes of childhood's dwelling-place,

them. But if they be right I shall not be alone in my regret, that a measure of so much importance as the one under consideration, should


I saw that little basket stand
In all its fairy lightness
Ev'n as before ;-but time's rude hand
Had dimm'd its snowy whiteness,

[blocks in formation]

Review of New Publications.

1. The Decision: or Religion must
be All, or is Nothing. Second
American Edition, enlarged.
12mo. pp. 108. Boston, 1823.
2. Profession is not Principle: or
the Name of Christian is not
Christianity. By the Author of
"The Decision." pp. 162. 12mo.
Boston, 1824.

Ir is not among the least of the wonders of modern times, that every species of intellectual effort should be enlisted in the service of religion. Nay, even a great deal of worldly business seems to be shaped and modified under its influence. Men seem to lay their plans with some sort of reference to religion. There is probably no surer index of the current of fashion, than the periodical advertisements of " New Publications." Those enterprising men, the Booksellers, are too sharp sighted not to follow where public opinion leads. They have no idea of publishing such kind of books as will not be interesting, and which, of course, will not sell. And that other very useful class of persons, the Book makers, as a body, are always sufficiently dependent, to fall very readily into the popular current. When therefore, we find all sorts of publications devoted to the subject of religion, Novels, Tales, and Children's Books; Geographies, Gazetteers, and School Books; Newspapers, Magazines, and Almanacks; and the number of these continually increasing, as if laboring to meet the pressing demand; we may be sure that religion of some sort, has be

come, as it ought to be, the paramount subject of interest in the community.

The effect has been, as we believe, that a taste for reading is much more generally diffused, and a consequent enlargement of mind has taken place, beyond any thing that was ever known before. If knowledge is power, then there is, at this present time, a much greater amount of moral force than there ever was before, which is ready to act, with an unexampled efficiency, either to subserve, or to injure, the best interests of man. Exactly proportioned, therefore, to the amount of intelligence diffused, becomes the importance of having the public mind decidedly biassed in favor of truth. A hand mill may become disordered in its movements, without any very disastrous consequences. It is only that the man at the crank bas wasted a little of his labor. But the irregular movements of the Steam Engine, spread destruction and terror far and wide.

It is on this principle, that we bold it to be the duty of all who love the truth, to encourage every effort that is calculated to give a right direction to public sentiment. Whether writers are engaged in the more difficult field of doctrinal discussion, or in the pleasanter employment, of giving a practical influence to the truth, they are co-workers in the same cause, and ought always to give each other an encouraging look, and as occasion requires, a helping hand. The labours of such men as Edwards, and Bellamy, and Dwight, in clearing religious truth from vain

speculations, which hindered its success, and laid it open to the objections of the captious, have prepared the way for such men as the author now before us, to enter in, and avail himself of their labors, by giving a practical exhibition of the proper tendency of the Gospel. There is no occasion of jealousy, nor any ground for one class to undervalue the efforts of the other. "If they were all one member, where were the body? Shall the ear say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body?" We respect the motive of every one who heartily engages in this cause. When such authors as this are engaged, we applaud their performance. We know not this writer's name, but we believe he has achieved a service of no inconsiderable value to the cause of Christ. And if his heart has been in his work, (and how otherwise could he do it so well?) he has won for himself a crown of reward.

In the two little works before us, the author has attempted, and we think in a happy manner, to illustrate the influence of divine truth, and the process of conversion, in two classes of very amiable persons, who appear, in the eyes of superficial observers, not to need any such change as is denoted by the new birth. One class is composed of the more tender hearted, such as the matron and the youth; and the other, of the sober, reflecting, and respectable men of the world. The characters are all taken from the refined part of society, and nothing is admitted which should wound the finest feelings, or disgust the most delicate taste. Nor is their literary merit merely negative. We think them decidedly calculated to raise the tone of thought, and to refine the minds of those readers, whose previous attainments are such, as prepares them duly to appreciate their worth. And we believe that in our country, such a degree of mental cultivation is very extensively dif fused; and consequently, that these

volumes are adapted for very extensive circulation and usefulness.

The general object of the writer seems to be to show the false notions of the nature of piety, which are entertained by many amiable persons; and to expose the weakness of the objections which sceptical minds adduce, against experimental religion. Although there is much that is didactic, and upon some very difficult points, yet the writer has had the address to keep up a good degree of interest. There is very little incident, and consequently the life of the pieces depends chiefly upon the air of sincerity and real earnestness which he contrives to give to his characters.

The books take something of a dramatic form. They are written with an easy mixture of narration and dialogue, which offers some advantages to the writers of similar works. This mode relieves an author, on the one hand from the necessity of making speeches, merely to keep up the thread of the story, where narration would do the thing better, and in fewer words; and on the other hand, prevents the awkwardness of the continually recurring expletives, says he," and


says she."


In regard to the writer's views of the doctrines of the gospel, and of their practical bearing, they correspond, in the main, with those which prevail in this country. He seems to have studied Edwards with some attention, and probably Bellamy, and some other of our writers. Yet we cannot but think so quick and acute a mind would find itself abundantly repaid, for a still more careful examination of such writers. There is, in some of his statements, a want of discrimination, and in some of his arguments a want of completeness, which will weaken their force. It is easy for a man who believes, to jump at a conclusion but he must not expect unbelievers and cavillers to take the leap. If he cannot make his connexion perfect, his argument

« PreviousContinue »