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they were dead." He replied: He replied: "O emanation of your father, you also had better have slept, than that you should thus calumniate the failings of mankind."
Self-love exaggerates our faults as well as our virtues.
The souls of the Sons of God are greater than their business; and they are thrown out, not to do a certain work, but to be a certain thing; to have some sacred lineaments, to show some divine tint, of the Parent Mind from which they come. Martineau.
That no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without becoming a little child, guileless and simple-minded, we all know; but behind and after this is a mystery which thou, O Reader, must take to heart. If thy soul is to go on into higher spiritual blessedness, it must become a Woman; yes, however manly thou be among men. It must learn to love being dependent; and must lean on God, not solely from distress or alarm, but because it does not like independence or loneliness. It must not have recourse to Him merely as a friend in need, under the strain of duty, the battering of affliction, and the failure of human sympathy; but it must press toward Him when there is no need.
In claiming a personal relation with God, nothing exclusive is intended; nay, he who thus learns that he is loved by God, learns simultaneously that all other men and creatures are also loved. That is an important lesson for the man's external action—indeed, is a foundation of universal love in the soul; but its inward movements towards God proceeds exactly as if there were no other creatures beside itself in the universe. Thus the discovery that it loves and is loved in turn, produces sensible Joy; in some natures very powerful, in all imparting cheerfulness, hope, vivacity. The personal relation sought is discerned and felt. The Soul understands and knows that God is her God; dwelling with her more closely than any creature can; yea, neither Stars, nor Sea, nor smiling Nature, hold God so intimately as the bosom of the Soul. It no longer seems profane to say, God is my bosom friend; God is for me, and I am for Him." So Joy bursts into Praise, and all things look brilliant; and hardship seems easy, and duty becomes delight, and contempt is not felt, and every morsel of bread is sweet. F. W. Newman.
Echoes of Harper's Ferry. By JAMES REDPATH. Boston: Thayer & Eldridge. 1860.
It is said that once a Minstrel came to King Arthur's Court, bearing a mantle which was an infallible test of the virtue of any one who might put it on. The King ordered that all in his Court should try on the mantle; and, alas, it shriveled and refused to cover many of the proudest of the nobility. Queen Guinevere herself was shamed in the presence of the Court.
The story is repeated wherever a deed of moral heroism is done. Heroism comes upon the conventional world so suddenly, its lightning is so intense, that the foul and evil things have not time to put on their cosmetics, their Sunday clothes, their unctuous smiles. How little did Slavery, Guinevere of the Court, wedded to Liberty, "flower of kings," suspect the terrible man with the mantle! Thus Wendell Phillips puts it: "Governor Wise says, 'The most resolute man I ever saw; the most daring, the coolest. I would trust his truth about any question. The sincerest! Sincerity, courage, resolute daring, beating in a heart that feared God, and dared all to help his brother to liberty- Virginia has nothing, nothing for these qualities but a scaffold!"
Then what a stern test of the South, so noisy of late years with its prowess and power, has this John Brown been! The South, invincible where an encounter must be had with a Yankee pedler in the Carolinas, untiring where a fugitive is to be cornered in a swamp, Thermopylean when a pinioned Senator is to be assassinated in the Senate Chamber, stands forth a Rosalind:
Taken unawares, Virginia's curtle-axe rattled against trembling knees, her spear fell from a fear-paralyzed hand. For nearly a week, John Brown, with only twenty-one men beside him, personified the Virginia arms, standing with the sword of George Washington in his hand, his foot upon the neck of cowering Slavery! Wherever afterward he was placed, whether bleeding in a Court-room, sleeping on straw in a prison, or on the scaffold, the solar eye of the world will forever hold him daguerreotyped there with Washington's sword in his hand, Slavery under his feet, Sic semper tyrannis over his head. John Brown having thus conquered Virginia's Coat of Arms to himself, Redpath has been cruel enough to give that State another in this book to wit: a cow trampling a negrodriver. We do not mean, however, in anything we have said, to intimate that the Sons of the South are personally without courage. We must make, in the cause of truth, another quotation from the representative orator of this age, Mr. Wendell Phillips: "The South are not cowards. They were brave enough, but they saw afar off. They saw the tremendous power that was entering into that charmed circle; they knew its inevitable victory. They did not tremble at an old gray-headed man at Harper's Ferry: they trembled at a John Brown in every man's own conscience. He had been there many years, and, like that terrific scene which Beckford has drawn for us in his Hall of Eblis, where the crowd runs around, each man with an incurable wound in his bosom, and agrees not to speak of it; so the South has been running up and down its political and social life, and
every man keeps his right hand pressed on the secret and incurable sore, with an understood agreement, in Church and State, that it shall never be mentioned, for fear the great ghastly fabric shall come to pieces at the talismanic word."
In this volume of little more than 500 pages, we have the most living thoughts and most eloquent words which have been uttered in this century. The heroism of John Brown was a signal for all thinkers, scholars, teachers, prophets, to rise to the summits of their Sinais, Horebs, Pisgahs, Thabors and Calvarys. Here are the lightnings of the Law of God; here are visions of promised lands; here are the transfigurations of Genius. Emerson, Phillips, Parker, Thoreau, Victor Hugo, Cheever, Beecher, Whittier, Clarke, Furness these, and a hundred others, gladly became pens and pencils that John Brown's Deed-Epic might be fitly reported to Humanity. Their thunders are here: here are their lava-streams which shall cool only to enrich, as lava does the vines, the clusters of God's Western vineyard.
Every nation must write its own Bible. America has written its Genesis: Concord and Bunker Hill are chapters in it. John Brown has opened the Book of Exodus. He has written every poem, address or discourse in this thrilling volume. When we think of this brave old man, over-riding all rational methods, with nothing right in his plan, except his perfect truth; of his life and death; the lines of Wordsworth seem to rise as his fit epitaph:
May we not with sorrow say,
A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
Than all the pride of intellect and thought.
Popular Astronomy: A concise Elementary Treatise on the Sun, Planets, Satellites and Comets. By O. M. MITCHELL, LL.D., Director of the Cincinnati and Dudley Observatories. New York: Phinney, Blakeman & Mason. Cincinnati Rickey, Mallory & Co. 1860.
A work of this kind was much needed, and we are not sure that Prof. Mitchell was not about as well calculated for it as any one else. It will be a godsend to many a bored sophomore to exchange the barren technicalities of the Astronomic Horn-books for this spirited and easy-going volume. One who contemplates a careful pursuit of this science, or to whom it is a specialty, can, of course, find many better works on this subject; but those who care for no more than the general facts will find themselves well satisfied with this.
We have, however, several faults to find with the author of this really valuable work: 1. That he did not style himself, on the title-page, "Nominal Director of the Cincinnati Observatory," instead of simply "Director;" 2. That he should not have got some one familiar with Lindley Murray to revise this book, so as not to have written (p. 41) that "the sharp outlines of the penumbra surrounding the dark spots, has often been seen to cut," etc., and other passages as bad; 3. That he did not put his rhetoric into an appendix; which might have saved his work from such infelicities as the following (p. 66): "The vigorous mind of Copernicus, transferring himself, [a vigorous mind, or Copernicus ?] in imagination, to the sun," etc., etc.; 4. That he should have the ugly disposition, unworthy of a man of Science, to depreciate the labors of his cotemporaries, as when he leaves on his reader's mind the impression that the discovery of Neptune was a "happy accident"; 5. That he has not subjected his style to a severe pruning, so as to write of Nature with a simplicity as free from affectation as herself.
Mademoiselle Mori: A Tale of Modern Rome. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. Cincinnati: G. S. Blanchard. 1860.
Certainly, in Literature at least, Rome is the eternal city. The natural refrain of the reader of books in these days is, "I've been roaming, I've been roaming." Hawthorne, Story, Norton and other agreeable writers have opened the year with books about Rome, and their success in discovering matters of profound and universal interest in the old ruins seems likely to inaugurate a Layardism in Letters which shall exhume the whole of the social epoch buried there under the lavas of the advanced and living world.
The present work would have had much more interest if it had preceded "The Marble Faun." Not that the stories are at all alike, or the descriptions at all identical; but there is a limit even to Rome. Yet there was room for a graphic tale founded on the revolutions which inaugurated the reign of Pio Nono - when the rockets mounting up from the popular joy, fell back upon Italy as a rain of fiery arrows. This tale gathers much of its interest from its theme, and from the high view taken of Italian character and destiny; but it has too many threads, too much spun out; it is too much trouble to hold them all. Take from it some ten graphic delineations, and one would be glad to dismiss the rest of it. It is rare that any satisfactory English view of Mazzini and Garibaldi is found; but here it is: they are interpreted, too, not in fine sentiments, but in living, walking characters.
The Pioneers, Preachers and People of the Mississippi Valley. By W. H. MILBURN. New York: Derby & Jackson. Cincinnati For sale by Rickey, Mallory & Co. 1860.
This is much the best work which Mr. Milburn has yet given the public. It is to a great extent without the conceit and affectation which were so insufferable in "The Rifle, Axe and Saddle Bags," and still more in "Ten Years of Preacher Life." The accounts given in this work of the noble Catholic pioneers of the West are, without adding anything new, remarkable for some fresh and bold outlines not to be met with elsewhere. We are not sure but that the tendency of Mr. Milburn's mind is toward the mythic in our Western Annals; one or two of his stories sound quite Booneish, if not Munchausenish; but men are delineated by their fabulous, no less than their real monuments; and we assure the reader that he will find in this work the most spirited and interesting sketches of De Soto, La Salle, and Marquette; and still more valuable ones of heroes less known.
ORIGIN OF SPECIES-DARWIN'S THEORY.
[We have already given our views of this work. The following sensible criticism has been sent us by a correspondent.-ED.]
No objection should be made to Mr. Darwin's theory that it contemplates, in the origin of species by means of what he calls natural selection, the manifestation of law as unvarying as in their subsequent perpetuation. I can not doubt, however circumscribed our present view, however profound our ignorance, that system and order lie at the foundation of all, as the action of the Creator's will.
Each step in the progress of Science approaches nearer to proving that it is only ignorance which names the phenomena of Nature chance or accident; or would isolate them from a preestablished system of order. We seem to discover, in the distance, that Science will yet prove that there has been no cataclysm in Nature.
Mr. Darwin's theory leaves a God in the material world; for here we see the prevalence of law,— and, as Butler says, "what is fixed as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so — i. e., to effect it continually, or at stated times—as what is supernatural, or miraculous, does to effect it for once." But the defect of Mr. Darwin's theory, which it has in common with all systems of materialism, is, that it supposes that everything which does not serve a material purpose, is subject only to chance or accident; or, perhaps, that there is nothing existing but that which is of material use. Mr. Darwin states, distinctly, that on the theory of natural selection the various forms of life which we now see are the aggregate of qualities which have been, at some period of the existence of the race, of use in preserving its life; qualities which have been added up through the long process of ages, till they have produced the forms of organic life which we now find in the world. He says: "Nature cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they may be useful to any being." But we find that Nature does care for appearances, preeminently; often at the expense of material use. The highest types of beauty most often combine with forms least able to withstand the fierce struggle for existence. Over all the world, the effort of creative skill seems as manifest in the production of qualities beautiful, as in those of simply material use. "Nature puts some kind of pleasure," says Thoreau, “before every fruit; not simply a calix behind it."
Let it be supposed, that all the wonderful mechanism of the human frame is the result of natural selection,— that even so complicated and marvelously adapted an organ as the eye was developed by the action of outward circumstances, from the mere optic nerve, coated with pigment, as in the Articulata; yet, how shall we account, by the same means, for the shaping of these organs, which natural selection could have made only for use in preserving the life of the race, into a form moulded to such perfection of beauty as that which the artist has copied in the statue of Apollo. I think natural selection would give us nothing but Calibans: such forms would be much better fitted to conquer in the great struggle for life. it is, however, nothing but long continued degradation and oppression suffice to even partially efface the image of God in the human form.
Here, seems to me, the strongest objection to Mr. Darwin's theory- that we find that the same organs which are beneficial to the race, and are of use in preserving its life, yet conform to another standard - governed by other laws that of beauty. This would be impossible by the theory of natural selection, which could produce only types of form within its own province.
M. B. B.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE.
QUINCY, ILLINOIS, May, 1860. CHRISTIAN FRIENDS:- The annual "Western Unitarian Conference" will be held in this city, commencing Wednesday evening, June 13, and continuing through the following Sabbath. We cordially invite the friends of liberal religious sentiments to join in this free interchange of thought and feeling, and to consult together as to the means of advancing a better conception of Religion and Life. Our homes and hearts will be open to welcome you. L. BILLINGS, F. BOYD, R. S. BENNESON, E. EVERETT, S Com. Unitarian Society. Guests, on arrival in the city, will go to the Tremont House, where the committee will receive them.
We trust that the friends of truth and freedom will bear in mind this invitation. Rev. Mr. Billings, in connection with whose society this conference meets, is a brave and true preacher of righteousness; and we feel assured that liberal minds everywhere will find it good to be there. We understand that, among others, James Freeman Clarke and Octavius B. Frothingham will be present.-ED.