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their highest and noblest forms display so much of the weakness and impotence of the mind, when endeavoring by its own penetration to enter “into that within the vail." He has seized with great clearness and force that which is the only vindication of the miracles of the Bible. They do in very deed herald a communication from God to man; they authenticate the very voice of our eternal Creator and Judge. They present a moral system infinitely superior to any conception of man's highest wisdom. They import into our poor humanity the very

life and power of God. The whole argument for the supernatural in the Gospels has its foundation here. If there is indeed in these writings of apostles and evangelists so much of God's own holiness and glory, so much more than man could have imagined of Divine compassion and love,-if their fundamental conception of the Gospel—God in the flesh, to suffer and sympathize with man, to restore him to blessedness by restoring him to holiness, to reconcile his pardon with the demands of a glorious and holy law,—is in sober truth at an infinite remove from man's loftiest conceptions of duty and blessedness without the Bible, and is known and felt to be so the more, with every accession to the world's intelligence and refinement,-if these things are real, then indeed there may well have been miracles. No sublime accompaniments which might authenticate such a communication could well be wanting. Our senses may indeed affirm the orderly progress of natural events on all the common occasions of life; but if heaven has indeed so stooped to earth as to impart something of its own dignity, and blessedness, and purity to man, then every argument against the credibility of miracles is at an end. Nay, miracles become the most credible of events in such a case; such as reason would expect to find, and such as philosophy must rejoice to accept. There can be no real contradiction of our knowledge, even though the senses should be confounded by a departure from all the commonly observed sequences of events. Nor need we be anxious when we are reminded of the fact that alleged miracles of similar kinds have attended the birth of all the world's systems of superstition. It is indeed so; but the analogy fails in its grandest

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point,-in a point so great as to be decisive of the whole con. troversy. Other systems have been attended with pretended miracles, but all that those systems taught was a pretense also. They were false, gross, impure, superstitious; and we know, with the most assured certainty, that no voice of God could have revealed those delusions, no interposing hand of the Almighty could have given attestation of their truth. But the miracles of Christianity authenticate to man a system of profoundest wisdom, of sublimest truth, of duties and destinies which no revelation that we can imagine God to make, could by any possibility surpass. Here we reach up to the Infinite, , and find even that awful glory brought into fellowship with ourselves. If we find that which these miracles attest, to be the very life of God in the soul of man, they shall not be incredible to the child which learns in them to see the hand, and hear the voice, of the Eternal Father.

There are, of course, some portions of Prof. Lewis's work by which we are less favorably impressed. Such, for example, is that in which he suggests that our Lord's walking upon the sea may have been a habitual thing,—the outward and harmonious expression of an inward state of spiritual exaltation. We love, on the contrary, to view the miracles of our Saviour as definite attestations to men of His Divine authority, and as never exerted save for purposes of the highest benevolence and wisdom. But these passages are unimportant, compared with the great body of his suggestions. The instructive character of this work will secure for the author the thanks of many, and will lead them to expect with high interest his subsequent discussions of the Bible.

ARTICLE VI.—THE MINISTER'S WOOING: FROM THE DR.

DRYASDUST POINT OF VIEW.

The Minister's Wooing. By HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.

York: Derby & Jackson.

New

We have no occasion to make any portion of the public acquainted with this book. Already hundreds of thousands are more familiar with it than they are with Paradise Lost or with Hamlet. Already the names of the leading personages in the story are household words in each of the two great nations that speak our mother tongue.

In the Minister's Wooing Mrs. Stowe has attempted a more difficult task than in either of those former works which have made her famous. Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Dred are stories of to-day, dealing exclusively with the facts and problems of the passing age, and portraying only the features of American society as it now is. The scene of those two stories is, indeed, chiefly in regions known to the author less by personal observation than by the report of others; but, to a mind like hers, the distance of a thousand miles in space within the limits of our common country, is nothing in comparison with the distance of two-thirds of a century in time. Historical fiction, dealing with historic persons, and portraying manners and a state of society that have passed away, is a very different thing from the fiction, sentimental or satirical, which only holds up the mirror to the author's own contemporaries, and seeks to “ catch the manners living as they rise.” Both alike must have their chief interest in their representation of that human nature which is common to all ages. Both alike must charm by touching the springs of human sympathy in the reader's consciousness. Both alike must be true to nature. But the historic fiction, while true to nature and to human sentiments and sympathies, must also be true to history. We do not propose to mark precisely the bounds of that

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VOL. XVIII.

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poetic license which is allowed to the writers of fiction. Yet
we may safely lay down two rules which every such writer
should respect, and which no author can violate, deliber-
ately or unintentionally, without incurring the imputation of
ignorance, or of carelessness, or else of indolence or want of
ingenuity in the construction of the story. Our rules are
these,

1. The facts of history must not be contradicted.
2. The personages of history must not be misrepresented.

In both these rules it is assumed that the illustration of his. tory is one aim of historic fiction, or at least one duty of the writer who incorporates into his fiction materials that belong to history. This is the difference between a properly historic novel or romance and one that deals with merely mythical stories and personages. What rules should restrain or guide the imagination of one who takes King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table for his theme, or who transfers himself and his readers to the reign of some fabulous British king before the days of Julius Cæsar, we will not undertake to say, for such works rest on no historic basis; they borrow nothing from history and owe to history nothing in return. But when Walter Scott writes Ivanhoe, he becomes in some sort a historian as well as a writer of fiction, and he puts himself under certain obvious responsibilities in respect to historic truth and fairness. He undertakes to represent not the England of the Commonwealth, nor the England of the Reformation, nor the England of the Heptarchy, but the England of the Crusades, that romantic and half barbarous England in which the lionhearted Richard reigned. When he writes Peveril of the Peak he undertakes to represent not England as it now is, nor the Englishmen that live in this nineteenth century, but England as it was in the years immediately following the restoration of the Stuarts, and Englishmen as they were when John Milton was an old blind traitor who owed his safety only to his obscurity.

The Minister's Wooing is a historical novel. It introduces three historical personages under their well known names, Samuel Hopkins, Ezra Stiles, and Aaron Burr. The scene, instead of being laid at some locality not found upon the map,

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is laid at Newport, Rhode Island. The time or date of the story, as announced by the advertisements of the publishers, is “ sixty years ago," or, as defined by internal indications, is when General Washington was at the head of the Federal Government, (from 1789 to 1797,) and more exactly when Aaron Burr was a Senator of the United States, (from 1791 to to 1797.) We are compelled to assume that the events at Newport, great and small, which make up the story of the Minister's Wooing, are dated somewhere in the last ten years of the eighteenth century. The allusion in one passage (pp. 198, 199) to John Adams's being a minister at the Court of St. James, as a contemporaneous fact, is only one of the anachronisms in which the author, using her poetic license, has ventured to indulge.

Our readers will allow us to refresh their memory a little by recapitulating the essential points of the story, as connected with the facts of history. Dr. Hopkins, the coryphæus among the New-divinity theologians of New England in his time, has been, for an indefinite number of years, the Pastor in one of the two Congregational churches of Newport. He is now a venerable bachelor, old enongh to have written his “System of Divinity,” which he is endeavoring to publish by subscription, and yet young enough to be not much more than forty. p. 182. His home has long been under the roof of a widow Scudder, whose daughter, Mary, has grown up under his eyes, and is the only additional inmate of the dwelling, except the " hired men" who cultivate the widow's farm. There is a tender attachment between Mary Scudder and a young man, James Marvyn, a model sailor, who has come to be the second officer of a vessel and goes upon a three years' voyage at the beginning of the story. Mrs. Scudder, observing the simple Doctor's balf parental interest in her daughter, indulges an ambitious motherly hope that his growing affection for Mary may ultimately lead him to think of a nearer and tenderer relation to one so worthy of him,—which accordingly comes to pass in progress

of events. At the date of these occurrences, as the story rnzs, Newport was thriving by the African slave trade. Not only were the merchants of that place employing

the

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