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all the while precipitated into a wretched eternity, which is their end; for they go hence in a stato visibly disqualified for the enjoyment, either of themselves or God.”
This dark picture, which has driven many good men, besides John Foster, into Universalism or something worse, is greatly relieved by the prospect opened by the doctrine in question, “of a grand, over-populating righteousness, which is finally to change the aspect of the whole question.” In the words of our author :
“We are not to assume, with many, that the world is now just upon its close, but to look upon it as barely having opened its first chapter of history. Its real value, and what is really to come of it, probably does not even yet begin to appear. When its propagations cease to be mere propagations of evil, or of moral damage and disaster, and become propagations of sanctified life, and ages of life; when the numbers, talents, comforts, powers of the immense godly populations are increased to more than a hundred fold what they now are; and when, at some incomputable distance of time, whose rate of approach is only binted by the geologic ages of the planet, they look back upon us as cotemporaries almost of Adam, and forward through ages of blessing just begun, beholding so many worlds full of regenerated mind and character, pouring in from hence to over. people, as it were, eternity itself; they will certainly have a very different opinion of the scheme of existence from that which we most naturally take up now. Then it will be confessed that the nurture of the Lord has meaning and force enough to change the aspect of every thing in God's plan. Our scheme of propa. gated and derivative life is no longer a scheme of disadvantage, but a mode of induction that gives to every soul the noblest, safest beginning possible.” p. 216.
“One principal reason why we are so often deficient in character, or outward beauty, is, that piety begins too late in life, having thus to maintain a perpetual and unequal war with previous habit. If it was not true of Paul, it is yet too generally true that one born out of due time will be found out of due time, more often than he should be afterwards—unequal, inconsistent with himself, acting the old man instead of the new. Having the old habit to war with, it is often too strong for him. To make a graceful and complete Christian character, it needs itself to be the habit of existence; not a grape grafted on a bramble. And this, it will be seen, requires a Christian childhood in the subject. Having this, the gracious or supernatural character becomes itself more nearly natural and possesses the peculiar charm of naturalness, which is necessary to the highest moral beauty.” p. 219.
We have confined our review thus far to that portion of the book which treats of the doctrine of Christian nurture, not only because it is the first in order, but the first in importance. The second part, which treats of the mode in which this idea is to be realized, is more practical, and therefore more interesting to the generality of readers. It is the Epistle to the Corinthians, coming after that of Paul to the Romans. It deals in specific thoughts and directions as to the true method of Christian education and training, or of applying the principles already laid down. With wonderful discrimination and delicacy of handling, the author puts his finger on just those points which most vitally concern the character of the child, as it is affected by the character and treatment of the parent, and which are most apt to be overlooked even by those who are most careful and solicitious for the spiritual well-being of their children. It covers, in fact, though not formally, the whole ground of Christian education as a practical nurture and discipline, from the period before birth, or what the author calls, the "ante natal nurture,” through the forming periods of infancy and childhood, showing what parental qualifications are requisite for so holy and tender a charge ; how even physical nurture may be a means of grace;
what treatment discourages, and what encourages and assists piety in children. The subject of family government is treated with rare judgment, showing the wisdom not of a theorist, but of “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” The moral economy of Plays and Pastimes, Holidays and Sundays, is not overlooked; which, together with a chapter on the Christian teaching of children ; and another on that ordinance sacred to the memory of Home, and indispensable to every Christian household, Family Prayers, --completes the book.
We had marked many passages in this second part for quotation, but we have already transgressed the limits assigned to this Article, and must reluctantly close. We do so requesting our readers not to be content with the impressions we have endeavored to give, but to procure the book and read it through for themselves, and after a re-perusal, to hand it to their neighbors. We bespeak for it a place in every Christian
a household, beside or upon the family Bible, believing as we do that no better hand-book for parents, at once religious and domestic, can be found outside the Christian Scriptures.
ARTICLE XI.—RALPH WALDO EMERSON ON THE CON
DUCT OF LIFE.
The Conduct of Life. By R. W. EMERSON. Boston: Ticknor
& Fields. 1860. 12mo. pp. 288.
OF writers on The Conduct of Life, there have been very many from Solomon to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The majority of such writers, however practical their aims, have also held some avowed or underlying theory concerning the chief end of man, the conditions of human perfection and progress, the relations of man to himself, to nature, to his fellow-men and to God, from which they have derived their precepts and rules of living. To this universal practice, the author of this sprightly volume has conformed-only with this difference, that he does not bring his speculative system very prominently into notice. Certainly he does not define it in very precise statements, nor phrase it in the language of the schools. IIe seems rather to avoid his own theory, and to prefer to keep shy of it; either because he does not exactly know what it is, or because all utterances concerning a creed so sublime and recently discovered are befittingly made in Orphic intimations, or may-hap, if the creed were declared in simple phrase, it might offend his more uncultured and unsophisticated readers.
Whatever the reason may be, the fact is certain, that little prominence is formally given by the author to his theory of life, and the cursory reader might conclude that he has not revealed it all, but has offered us instead, a series of practical remarks concerning what he has seen in life,-notings sharp, shrewd, and searching,--such as his practical sense, his cool observation, and his imperturbable sang froid have qualified him to jot down from his pretty wide observation of men, books, and society. These remarks are enlivened by his wellknown wit, running not unfrequently into grotesque conceits, that are only saved from down-right extravagance by the
pithy sense and the genial humor that relaxes the screwing lips of the critic into an irresistible smile, or a shouting peal of laughter.
Recovering from his laughter, the critic will have it, that the sage
of Concord is too conscious of the effect which he would secure, and aims at this too directly either to satisfy or to indicate an earnest mind—that he finishes his sentences too often with a turn that plainly bespeaks Mr. Emerson's special delight at Mr. Emerson's bright achievements; that he writes with the air of a man who is accustomed to be looked up to with admiring and unquestioning deference—and is always aware that he is surrounded by those who attach great weight even to his absurd deliverances. With all his genius, he is not saved from the unmistakable manner which cleaves to the writer who composes for a private coterie, or for an initiated set, and from which he only is free who is accustomed to converse as well as to discourse, to take the thoughts of others as well as to give his own, to commend and adjust his thinking to the minds of men who can think as well as himself, as well as to inundate the souls of meek and admiring recipients with a deluge of discoursing.
We have said that Mr. Emerson has not made his speculative system prominent, but has rather contined himself to remarks on actual and concrete life. It might seem that for this reason we are excused from noticing this system altogether. But we find that notwithstanding the apparent absence of such principles, they are really present in every line, giving shape and meaning to what would otherwise be unmeaning. Though the philosophy of man's existence and of the end of man's living be not stated in formal propositions, it is diffused by a subtle influence through the entire structure of his remarks, and is fitted to exert an influence which is a thousand fold more dangerous because it steals upon the reader-he knows not why, nor how, nor whence-being conscious only of the spell in which the enchanter holds him, not knowing that it is the work of an enchanter.
Shaking from ourselves as best we may, the magic influences which are diffused from the genius of the author, and looking dispassionately at the principles which he directly asserts and indirectly insinuates, we encounter the ominous word Fate, which stands forth as the title of the first discourse. The word, however, is not so appalling as the author's treatment of it. Of all the descriptions which we have ever read of the merciless and remorseless absolutism of a universe of impersonal law, this strikes us as the most horrible save one, and that is the dream of J. P. Richter, of a universe bereft of its God; and this is the most horrible of the two in that it is not given as a dream, but as the strongest side of a potent reality. It would seem that the author had tasked to the utmost, his powers of conceiving and describing, to give expression to the hideous aspects of over-mastering necessity-breaking out on us from the earth, stifling us in the air, pressing down upon us from the sky, paralyzing our flesh, decomposing our very bones, tugging at our heart-strings—nay, bringing an incubus upon our intellect, sucking out the life from our affections, and infusing poison into the springs of character. It is true that recoiling with horror,
“ he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself bad made," he seeks to show that necessity and fate are not all-powerfulthat the thought which reflects and comprehends law, is stronger than necessity, because it analyses and decomposes it,that the moral sentiment which bravely looks fate in the face, has an eye that will not blench before this head of Medusa, and that the human will is able, with moral strength, to cope even with this monster of brutal force. He also dwells on the beneficent workings of this very necessity, showing that the very aspects which at first repel and appall us, are its most essential elements for good. These views are all in the right direction. We complain that they are only in a direction and bring us to no end—that they put us on a way which leads to no goal. In other words, he does not overcome Fate by substituting in its place a Providence that cares for the best ends of the whole by means of wide-reaching and sternly working laws, while yet it loves, and pities, and comforts the humblest individual that suffers by their action. There