Imágenes de páginas

teristic image, which he could produce at his pleasure.” Now this is true, to a great extent, of Mr. Abbott. Few works present so large a proportion of striking and picturesque illustrations of subjects, in which it is difficult to interest minds not under the government of true Religion. They pass before us, like the images raised by some optical illusion, or by the wand of an enchanter. I may confidently refer the reader, for confirmation of this statement, to the story of the Boys on the Ice, in Chapter I.; to that of the Infant School, in Chap. II.; The Absent Son, in Chap. III.; and so on, throughout the volume.

Another important feature of the work, which partly results from the first peculiarity to which I have referred, is the singular vividness with which every thought is presented to the mind. It appears to me, that there are few books which convey more forcibly and irresistibly to the reader the exact mind of the writer. It is next to impossible not to catch his idea; and almost as difficult (if any act of forgetfulness can be called difficult to a bad memory) to let it go. He not only writes, but paints; so that the facts or arguments are presented to more than one faculty at once, and are more likely to make a deep impression.

A third charm of the book is, the strong character of simplicity and nature which is impressed upon almost every page of it. Nothing can be more true to nature than the little histories or illustrations to which I have referred. Let any one watch a set of intelligent young persons who are listening to this volume, and they will observe in their countenances continual recognitions of the nature and truth of the representation. The author sketches, in an unusual degree, from the life. He gives us, not the fictions of a morbid fancy, but real creatures of flesh and blood; who are the more interesting, because they have so many things in common with ourselves. Nature is, surely, one of the greatest charms, not merely in character, but in composition; and the author has an unusual share of it in his style of writing.

These observations may have prepared the reader for the announcement of one other peculiarity in this author; viz. that of being, in the strictest sense, an original writer. I am aware, that all which is new to us appears to be

original or indigenous in the mind of a writer; whereas it is possible, that, if we had access to the same books and men with the author, we should find him to be as great a plagiarist as the rest of us. A man who writes on the other side of the Atlantic is naturally familiar with characters and places to which we are absolute strangers. In such a case, however, there is little necessity for settling the point, whether he is an inventor or borrower. He is original, or new at least, to ourselves; and that, considering the sort of stale and second-hand offerings which are presented to us at home, day after day, ought to satisfy us. It is cheering to escape from the Thames, or the GrandJunction Canal, to the Oronoko, or the Rapids: to see Nature and Art under new aspects: and thus to increase our acquaintance with the images and scenery and incidents of a New World. But, independent of this appearance of novelty, which may be either true or false, the author has his own way of treating almost every subject. Scarcely any thing more effectually destroys the zest with which we read an author, than a constrained anticipation of the manner in which he will treat the points before him: and yet such an anticipation is continually forced upon us. To no writer can this observation apply less justly than to our American friend. Without appearing particularly to aim at novelty, he is almost always new, being rarely seen in the beaten track or iron railway of the ordinary traveller. He gives us, not only new things, but old ones under new aspects. We are often delighted to see thoughts and inferences, which had indistinctly passed through our minds during childhood without leaving any deep or vivid impression, brought out and exhibited under some new form, which gives them new and permanent hold upon the memory. But our readers may be disposed to ask, whether there are no drawbacks upon this high commendation? I think there are: and shall proceed, with equal fairness, to state them.

In the first place, there is much carelessness as respects the style and composition. The present editor has conceived himself at liberty to correct not only some of those expressions which, though familiar to American readers, would necessarily offend an English ear; but also such others as the author himself would, on revision, have been

sure to correct. Where he has been able himself to bestow the labor lima-as for example, in the Chapter on the Evidences of Religion-there is little for the mere verbal critic to remove or supply.

Another fault is, the undue extension of some of the arguments, and the too great fulness and minuteness of the illustrations. When he has laid hold of an image or illustration, he is too apt not to let it go till he has squeezed it to death. He quotes, as he in justice may, the Parables of the New Testament, in justification of his mode of teaching by fable and figure; but he seems to forget how lightly and delicately the images are exhibited in Scripture. In almost every parable, that part of the story alone is narrated which is essential to the developement of the lesson. The reader of the New Testament never finds his attention withdrawn by the sign from the thing signified the metaphor is dropped the moment the lesson is taught, or the duty enforced. Our American author, on the contrary, is often seduced, by his love of painting, to lay so many lines and colours on his canvas, as to make us forget the countenance of which he is giving us the portrait. Few passages present a more striking proof, at once of the graphic power of the artist, and his inclination to abuse his art, even to the exhaustion of his readers, than the picture of the steam-boat, in Chapter XI. Few men could have executed the sketch as closely and vividly; but scarcely any careful writer would have spent as much time and paper on the attempt.

But the most serious defect in the volume is of a kind quite distinct from those to which we have now referred. It is, the too limited introduction, in many of the arguments, of the all-important doctrine of Spiritual and Divine Influence. I have said, the " introduction" of this doctrine; for the author of the following and other similar passages cannot be suspected of not holding the doctrine in its fullest and most Scriptural sense.


"The conclusion to which he comes in the next verse is the right one- -that God will deliver us, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' We must feel, then, humbly dependent on an influence from above. Let us come daily to our Father in Heaven, praying Him to draw us to the Saviour: :-we shall not come, unless He draws us. Let us

feel dependent every day for a fresh supply of Divine Grace, to keep these hearts in a proper frame. It is not enough to express this feeling in our morning prayer. We must carry it with us into all the circumstances of the day. When we are going into temptation, we must say, Lord, hold thou me up, and then I shall be safe :' and we must say it with a feeling of entire moral dependence on God.

“We are often in danger of suffering the sense of our moral dependence on God to be weakened by the fear of impairing our sense of guilt. I do not attempt to present any theory by which the two may be shewn to be compatible with each other. We cannot easily understand the theory, but we feel and know that both are true. We all know that we are guilty, for living in sin; and we feel and know that our hearts do not change, simply by our determining that they shall. Since, then, the two truths are clear, let us cordially admit them both. Let us, in the spirit of humility and cordial trust in God's word, believe our Maker, when he says, that He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. Let us believe this cordially, however difficult it may be to understand what can, in such a case, be the guilt of the hardened one: and applying the declaration to our own case, let us come before Him, praying that He will turn our hearts to holiness. And at the same time, let us see and feel our guilt, in neglecting duty, and disobeying God, as we do.

"This feeling of entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for moral progress is the safest and happiest feeling which the Christian can cherish. Such weakness as ours loves protection; and if we can cordially make up our minds, that there is a difficulty in this subject which no human powers can surmount, we can feel fully our own moral responsibility, and at the same time feel that our dearest moral interests are in God's care. This feeling is, committing our souls to our Saviour's keeping and care. Were our hearts entirely under our own direct controul, we, and we only, could be their keepers; but if we have given our hearts to Him, God has promised to keep us by His power. He is able to keep us. He has controul, after all, in our hearts; and if we are willing to put our

trust in Him, He will keep us from falling, and present us at last faultless before the Throne of His Glory, with exceeding joy."

Notwithstanding, however, occasional passages such as these, this fundamental doctrine of Scripture cannot be considered as possessing the prominence in this volume which it deserves. The author, on a variety of occasions, rather assumes than expresses it; and, by so doing, gives, as it appears to me, a complexion to his argument which is likely to offend or distress some conscientious minds. In a multitude of the cases touched upon by the author, his readers approach the subject, either unduly relying upon their own powers, and thus disparaging the influence of the Holy Spirit; or unduly depreciating their own powers, without a knowledge of that higher influence on which the believer is privileged to rely. In either of these cases, it is surely one of the primary duties of every writer, whether upon doctrinal or practical subjects in Theology, to assign to the doctrine of Divine Influence the lofty place which it occupies in the Volume of Truth. In the one case, he has to humble the proud; in the other, to exalt the desponding-in the one, to strike the self-confident from the poor crumbling pedestal he has raised for himself; in the other, to plant the foot of the trembling offender upon the rock raised by the hand of Omnipotence. Let it be remembered, to what an extent the writers of the New Testament, especially, incorporate that doctrine with every practical counsel they deliver to the children of men: how unhesitatingly they proclaim, that


if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His:" how they exhort us to think, speak, act, and suffer in the strength of the Spirit: how they teach us, from the lips of Christ Himself, that the presence of the Spirit is more than a compensation for the loss of the bodily presence of the Saviour. I cannot doubt that the neglect of this great doctrine constitutes one of the capital crimes of the professed followers of Christ in the present age. The child who is, from day to day, blindly pursuing its own schemes of indulgence, and knows nothing of the tender but Invisible Hand by which it is supplied with food and sheltered from danger, naturally regards itself as the exclusive author of its own enjoyments. And it is

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