Page images

the lips! and the movements of the youth seem inspirited with some intention besides simple locomotion, or mechanical agency; as he walks, Gae would think that he was hastening onward by the side of an invisible competitor for a prize at the goal. Or hear him speak :-he is terse and precise : his tones too have a certain mystic monotony in place of the natural modulations of a voice so young: But listen to bis opinions ; how vehement are they ; how darkly colored his representations of simple facts ;-exaggeration swells every sentence : and bor far from youthful are his surmises ; and his verdicts how inexorable! -not a look, not a word, not an action of his belongs to the level of ordinary sympathies: all is profound as the abyss, or lofty as the clouds. Bat, strange to say, you may find this our instance, perhaps, to be one of a community that boasts itself as the especial enemy of intolerance. He has been bred in the heart of the very straitest sect of liberality, and would die gladly in the sacred cause of religious freedom! Ah! how like is man to man, strip him only of a garb! Take now our fervent youth, and immure him a year or two with twenty like himself, in sutne dim seclusion :—there work upon his passions with whatever is and in the system be already holds, and draw him on with a little art, -the art of sacred logic, from inference to inference, until he comes into a state of mind to which nothing, the most exorbitant, can seem strange. You must then find for him a sphere of excitement; and without beads or a cowl he will act the part of the worthiest son of the church that has lived.' pp. 115—118.

The idea that popery is more intolerant, from the fact that it is fastened on a race to which it is not congenial, is to us somewhat Dew, and if correct, must certainly be an encouraging circumstance in itself

, that this strong delusion, which still covers half of the nominal christian world, is destined ere long, amidst the increasing light of the times, to be broken up, and finally dispelled. May it not be considered as certain, that France is already forever lost to popery,—at least to its peculiar spirit, whatever she may be in ocber respects?

But the elements of the social system, and the principles of its construction have ever been, even from the remotest times, altogether of another sort in the west. Notwithstanding all oppressions and degradations, the love of liberty, through a long course of ages, yes, during the lapse of three thousand years, has clung to the European race. II some of these families, anciently as free as others, have, in modern tunes, quite sunk to the dust under the foot of despotism, it has only been by the presence and aid of the spiritual Power—by the Incubus of the Church, that the people have fallen. Popery apart-every nation west of the Euxine had long ago been free:--nay, had never been enslaved. The papal usurpation (thinking of it now only as a system of polity) has resided in Europe, not as a form of things in harmony with the spirit and temper of the region ; but nalgre the aboriginal character with which it has always had to contend.* Popery is not Europe what Mohammedism is to Asia, but rather a long invasion of soil which nature had said should bear notbing that was not generou When shall the European families drive the exotic tyranny for eve from their shores !

There is little difficulty then in finding a sufficient reason, though n the sole reason, for the incomparable cruelties of popery ; its restles jealousies, its exterminations, its inexorable revenge, have all bee proper to it as a precarious and alien despotism. The consciousness o an inherent hostility between itself and the temper of the nations it ba seduced and subdued, has made it a tyranny more merciless than an other mankind has tolerated. Even Popery, we may fairly believe might have been less sanguinary had it from the first seated itself i some congenial torrid climate--native to abjectness and slavery pp. 120, 121.

The ferocity of the Romish fanaticism as connected with its sa cerdotal institute, particularly in respect to the rule of celibacy, i exhibited in a manner fitted to make a strong impression. Non can conceive too deep an abhorrence of the cruelty to which suc an institution, through such an instrumentality, has given existence On this account, we are glad that the subject has fallen into th hands of a master, not merely in respect to matters of detail

, so these have often been well told before, but touching a philosophi and religious discussion of principles. He penetrates to the bot toin of this mystery of iniquity, if it be not rather literally “ bot tomless.” The indignation which he excites in view both of thi tendency and the results of such a system, cannot but be exten sively salutary. The whole subject is a lesson which should no be lost upon the citizens of these United States, especially since the fact is, as our author declares and every body knows, tha though the secular influence of the papal superstition is now im mensely diminished, the Roman clerical institute still exists on al sides of us, and that its elements are, in the nineteenth century precisely what they were in the twelfth. We refer in this man ner to remarks in the section entitled Fanaticism of the Brand because there is no room to give our readers an idea of it by means of extracts. It may be added, however, that where the author, in the conclusion of the section, endeavors to do justice to Rome, in two or three particulars, and to bring “a relief to the sad impression of human nature made by the history of popery, he does a degree of injustice to the dissident community, in making them almost universally worthy followers of the mother of abomimations, in also working the engine of spiritual oppression.” We believe much less literally than he does, in the universality of this Tritation; and we see in but few of the branches of the Protestant church, any thing more than the remains of an influence, which Hd not cease at once, because the change from selfishness to bebevolence could not be rapid in such an age—an age made more iban iron by Rome itself. A few isolated cases of oppression, such as occurred for instance among the fathers of New-England, #bich resulted rather from the force of general habits, than from their personal character or religious principles, afford but a sorry apology for the murderous temper which reigned wherever Romish dogmas, in name or in essence, had not yet been expunged. Our author intended not indeed a strong apology, but we could almost wish to have seen none, after such an elaborate exposition of immeasurable villainy.


* Every one knows that the several eras in which the papal despotism lidated and extended its power were those in which the civil polities of Europe were in the feeblest or most distracted condition. The termagant watched the moment always when the virile power of the nations was spent or fallen.

The following just and beautiful thought on the scriptural doctrine of the forgiveness of sins, may well enhance our conviction of the blessedness of the dispensation under which, as protestants, We are permitted to live.

• We should not omit to notice the contrast which presents itself between the Moslem and Christian systems on this capital point. All religious history may be challenged to produce an exception to the rule, that the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of sins is the only one which has generated an efficacious and tender-spirited philanthropy. It is this doctrine, and no other, that brings into combination the sensitiveness and the zeal necessary to the vigor of practical good-will toward our

Exclude this truth, as it is excluded by sceptical philosophy, and then philanthropy becomes a vapid matter of theory and meditation. Distort it with the Church of Rome, and the zeal of charity is exchanged for the rancor of proselytism. Quash it, as the Koran does, and there springs up in the bosoms of men a hot and active intolerance. The Christian (and he alone) is expansively and assiduously compassionate ; and this, not merely because he has been formally enjoined to perform the “ seven works of mercy ;” but because his own heart has been softened throughout its very substance--because tears have become a usage of bis moral life, and because he has obtained a vivid consciousness of that divine compassion, rich and free, which sheds beams of hope opon all mankind. pp. 169, 170.

We might extract much more from the book under review, which would serve equally well with the paragraphs already given, as specimens of the author's ability as a writer, and of the nature and turn of his discussions. Particularly from his illustrations of Fanaticism of the Symbol, and from his observations proving that the religion of the bible is not fanatical, passages might be selected to show that he possesses a degree of power in a department in which he has not heretofore been supposed to excel, viz., Vol. VI.


fellow men.

in building up a system. But our limits preclude a more extended transfer of his views to our pages, and we certainly wish him, in the latter particular, all the success that he can claim now or on any

future occasion. The present volume, as a whole, is quite equal, in our opinion, to any others that have been known to us as the productions of our author. It has the same general characteristics as to style and thought, which, as they have been once commented on in our pages, need not be described again. In most of its features it bears a greater resemblance to the Natural History of Enthusiasm than to Saturday Evening, from the similarity of the subject and the regular construction of the work. It is even more interesting than the former publication, as it enters more fully into details, and as the subject itself is a more advanced chapter in the history of human extravagance and folly. On the whole, we think the book eminently calculated to be useful at the present day, since it points out so faithfully the errors of past times, as well as the remaining evils that still impede the progress of christianity in the world.

We have a few things of a more general nature to suggest to our readers, in the conclusion of this article.

1. It is a source of lively gratification, to know that the great object had in view by our author, in this and his other productions, is to do his part towards the accomplishment of the world's conversion. We rejoice to see talents of so high an order, and a love of truth apparently so pure and fervent, enlisted in this sacred cause. The beauties of his style, the liveliness of his illustrations, the force and pungency of his reasoning, and withal his wonderful power of religious analysis, are well employed in promoting an object involving the glory of God and the most precious interests of human beings here and hereafter. It is a magnificent theme, and we love to see a great mind stretch itself upon it in all its length and breadth. The preparatory work which our author has undertaken, exposing the phases of false religion, and pointing out the hinderances to the progress of truth and piety in the church, is essential to any plan of promoting the conversion of the nations. Blessed are they to whom the task or pleasure is assigned, of contributing to a consummation so devoutly to be wished. No exertion of talent can be more honorable to its possessor, and no reward of labor in the cause of God can be more precious or consolatory. It is an omen for good, that so many minds of the highest order of capacity and piety, are now exerting their energies, in connection with the great body of christian believers, to prepare the way for the universal reign of Christ on earth. Let the causes which have hitherto kept the church in a state of comparative weakness and obscurity, be pointed out, as they are now in the way of being pointed out by our author, and others of a kindred spirit, and it will not be long, we hope, before the remedy appointed by divine wisdom, to heal the moral maladies of man, will be effectually and universally applied.

2. The importance of a critical analysis of our religious feelings, and a clear development of the springs of action within, is forced upon us as often as we meet with discussions similar to those contained in the present volume. It is a part of the philosophy, the rationale of christianity, than which nothing can be more pleasant to the reflecting mind, or salutary to any mind that can comprehend investigations of this nature. This habit of mental introversion, while it need not check the warm flow of feeling, will induce a habit of carefulness and circumspection in regard to our moral exercises, preventing alike a false judgment respecting them, and their impropriety or excess. Men who can unfold the germs of thought and feeling, and trace their rise and connection in the soul, and assign to each their place on the scale of morality or religion, will be read with no small interest, and with a prospect of signal advantage, by all who desire to become acquainted with themselves, or to form a true estimate of their character in the sight of God. It is a field where immortal fruits of intelligence and virtue may be reaped by every one who is disposed industriously to cultivate it. In this department of inquiry have appeared some of the greatest masters of reason and teachers of piety, that have adorned the annals of human nature. Our author has given sufficient proof of worthy companionship in such investigations, with Locke, Pascal, and Edwards. The more clearly we are made to see ourselves by means of this moral, dissecting power, the more efficient will be the action of truth, and the more influential will be the motives of virtne upon our minds. He therefore does a great service to the cause of sound learning, and especially to that of religion, whose labors explain to us the secret and complicated movements of our intellectual and moral Dature.

3. The discussions contained in the volume before us, suggest to us, by an easy transition, what we cannot but consider a mistake in the religious life of many professors of the gospel, and even of some eminent christians. We refer to their love of excited feeling on the subject of religion, and their endeavors to attain to such feeling in the highest possible degree. We can, however, but barely refer to it, inasmuch as a due consideration of the subject would extend our remarks beyond the demands of the occasion. From its intimate connection with an enthusiastic or fanatical state of mind, it deserves at least to be glanced at here. Fervent and prolonged religious emotions enter indeed very much into the essence of piety; but there is danger, through the suggestions of depravity, that they become nothing else than excitement or pas

« PreviousContinue »