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been bereaved; the grave has received them, and the grave will receive us—the grave that receives all—the grave that is never satisfied, and that never says, It is enough: thus,
Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground.
Another race the following age supplies;
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these when those have passed away.
In conclusion, as the text instructs us in the nature, certainty, and universality of death, it instructs us also in its cause.
Were we to enter into a country almost deserted of its inhabitants; were we to witness on every hand villages and towns laid in ruins— fields, that had been ripe even unto harvest, trampled down and soaked with blood—wells choked up, and rivers polluted with the bodies of the slain—the erections of human ingenuity dismantled and overthrown—we should naturally ask, How has all this come to pass; how has this beautiful country become the scene of such terrible calamities? When we witness the earth, in like manner, with its three kingdoms, the vegetable, the animal, and the rational, full of corruption, decay, and death, and contrast it as originally full of health, and beauty, and life; standing as we do in a world intended to be a region of life—amid the chambers of the dying, and the sepulchres of the dead; it is natural to inquire, How has this come to pass; how has pain entered into the region of pleasure; sorrow into the region of joy; decay, corruption, and death, into the regions of beauty and life? Why is it that we, who were created in the image of our Maker, do all "fade as a leaf?" Why is it that we are born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward? Why is our sure and sad inheritance suffering, and sorrow, and death? The answer to these questions, the solution of these difficulties, is contained in the text; "Our iniquities like the wind, have taken us away."
These are the consequences of which sin is the cause; these are the wrecks of a beautiful and blessed world, of which wrecks sin is the author. In what light, then, are we to regard sin? Has it corrupted all that was pure; has it defaced all that was beautiful in this lower world; has it filled all things with the seeds of decay and death; has it brought us under the entire forfeiture of God's favour; has it exposed us to his wrath and his curse, not only through all this life but through all the life that is to come; has it dug a dishonoured grave for our bodies; has it kindled an intolerable and an everlasting fire for our souls; has it wrought us all this wreck; has it proved to us the source of so many and so mighty woes; and shall we love it; shall we live in its love; shall we live willingly under its power; shall we not rather hate it, weep over it, forsake it? Has God provided a salvation for us; has he proclaimed and proffered it to us—a salvation from its guilt, its pollution, its power, its curse, its very being; How should we regard the offer of this salvation; an offer made to the most abandoned and the most depraved, the mos,t worthless and the most wicked of mankind—made to them irrespective of all merit, and all condition of any personal having, and of any personal doing—an offer of Christ's salvation for Christ's sake. How should we treat it? Should we not, the moment it is offered, that moment accept it, and that with all the gratitude and the joy a boon of such a kind, provided for and proffered to persons of our character, and in our condition, is so well fitted to produce? Is it to be conceived that it should be treated otherwise? Is it to be conceived, not that it should be rejected, but that it should not be received, with this gratitude and this joy? See yon criminal on the scaffold; the preparations of death proceed. A messenger, proclaiming his errand lest he should come too late, forces a way through the crowd. A pardon! a pardon! resounds from every voice. When that sound reaches the ear of the criminal, how does it affect his heart? When a sealed pardon from royalty is unfolded, is put into his hands, how does he regard it, how does he treat it—with apathy, with neglect? See how he clasps his hands; see the hues of life returning to his cheek; see the wild but joyful light that sparkles in his eyes; see how his heart heaves; see that look of wild and delighted wonderment, as if he feared that the sights meeting his eye, and the sounds meeting his ear, were the sights and sounds of a delusive dream! Thus eagerly, thus gratefully, is the pardon received which restores the criminal to a suffering, sorrowful, and short existence in this world. With how much greater eagerness and gratitude ought that pardon to be accepted, which restores us to life eternal! Yet, to how many has this pardon been offered in vain! By how many is the salvation of the gospel —a salvation provided by the love of God, purchased by the blood of Christ, and applied by the love of the Spirit—a salvation which redeems us from the pains, the pollutions, and the punishments of hell, which exalts us to the dignities and the glories of heaven; by how many is this salvation neglected and despised; hitherto has it been neglected; hitherto has it been refused by you? Yet it may be accepted; for yet it is offered. You are guilty, and you may be willing to remain guilty; you are depraved, and you are willing to remain depraved; you are lost, and lost you are willing to remain. Yet, however, God is not willing; yet he has not ratified your choice; yet the most guilty may be pardoned; the most depraved may be renewed; the most vile may be saved. This salvation are you willing now to accept—this salvation as a. whole, and for Christ's sake? You now must either accept it, or reject it; not to accept it, know this, is to reject it. The consequences of this rejection are you willing or prepared to abide? It is a common saying, that "it will be all one a hundred years hence." Yes, it will be' all one as to the honours and the distinctions of time; it will be all one as to its glimmer and glory; all one whether you have been rich, or whether you have been poor; all one whether you have been a wandering beggar, or a crowned king; but when a thousand years have come and gone, will it be all one whether that thousand years has been spent amid the sanctities and glories of heaven, or amid the pollutions and the pains of hell? Oh, no, that will not be all one. As it will not be all one then, neither is it all one now; for, according to your "sowing" here, will be, and must be, your " reaping" hereafter.
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
The Mental And Mohal Dignity Of Woman: By the Rev. Benjamin Parsons. 12mo. 385 pp. J. Snow.
This is not alight frothy production which -is intended to amuse or flatter the female sex; on the contrary, it is a work of great importance and sterling value; and is designed to prove that females are possessed of an equality of mental capacity with the other sex; consequently are equally capable of intellectual acquirements: and that the best interests of mankind demand, that greater attention than has heretofore been given, should be applied to the cultivation of female intellect.
To every intelligent and reflecting person it must be obvious, that female conversation, conduct, and instruction, exerts much more influence upon the human family, and does more in the formation of human character than all the actions and teaching which proceed from the other sex. The lessons taught, and the impressions made in the nursery, are much more lasting and influential than are those received at academies, or from ministers o'f religion. Those persons who have paid attention to the formation of human character, must have observed, that its quality, mentally and morally, very much depends upon impressions received in infantile years: the ignorance and folly of those with whom children have passed their first years have generally produced hurtful impressions upon their minds and characters, which all the instruction and experience obtained in future years could never efface. It is therefore of the greatest possible importance, that mothers, sisters, aunts, nurses, and female domestic servants, who are so much in the company of children, should be such persons as are likely to communicate only truthful lessons to their minds. It cannot be too strongly impressed upon the minds of parents, that they ought very carefully to guard against their children being in early years under the care of, or much in the company of those who are likely to communicate foolish, superstitious, and hurtful notions. Children ought only to be committed to the care of those who possess true religion, and who have such a measure of intelligence as will enable them rightly to teach "the young idea how to shoot." No mother, or preceptress can possibly discharge her relative duties aright, who is not possessed of true piety, and who has not, and does not cultivate her own mental powers.
Our author, justly, complains, that the mental education of females has very generally been grossly neglected. The acquisition of what are designated accomplishments, has usually been regarded of more importance than the study of mental philosophy: and acquirements, merely ornamental have been allowed to supersede, or exclude, those which are most useful and important. We need not therefore be surprised that so many mothers, not only in the poorer, but, also, among the more affluent classes of society, are not qualified to give proper direction to the mental and moral powers of their children; and know not how to exercise maternal authority so as to exert a beneficial influence upon their minds and hearts: the dreadful consequence is, they ignorantly inflict lasting injuries upon those whom they love better than their own lives.
Woman, is designed not merely to discharge the duties of mother, nurse, and preceptress, but also to be the associate, the companion, and "help meet," of man; and the happiness of man must to a very great extent depend upon the possession of such qualifications by his "help meet," as may tend to the improvement of his character. The possession of mental and moral excellencies, is much more to be desired, than the endowments of personal beauty, or volubility of speech, or any, or all of the mere accomplishments in which female education in the middle and higher classes has been thought principally to consist. The ignorance, stupidity, and vanity of men have tended to produce the most erroneous opinions as to what constitutes true female excellence. Women possessing endowments of superior order have been neglected and passed by, to give attention to those who are vain and ignorant, who have been flattered and courted with all possible attention. Thus true female excellence has too generally, oftentimes, been discouraged; men boasting of superiority, have oftentimes shunned cultivating acquaintance, friendship, and affection with females of real excellence, lest they should discover their ignorance, and imbecility: consequently some have married wives from whose company and conversation, after the lapse of a few years, or perhaps months, or weeks, they could derive no enjoyment or advantage; and who have been incompetent to manage their households, or instruct their children. However, we hope that the progress of knowledge is producing in the minds of men the conviction, that mental ahd moral qualities are much more to be desired in a wife than mere personal attractions or proficiency in mere fashionable accomplishments.
Mr. Parsons has given a critical examination of the Hebrew words, used in the account given by Moses of the creation of woman and rendered in our translation "Help meet;" the proper meaning of which he considers to be " a help or succour according to his rank or dignity." He also examines the derivation of the terms "woman" and " female," and maintains that both these terms signify "she-man;" and properly denounces the folly of those who have asserted the term woman, to signify woe-man, as though woman were a curse instead of a blessing to man.
In the fourth chapter, Mr. Parsons adduces proofs of the "Intellectual equality of females as compared with the other sex :—the proofs he gives are, the equal facility with which girls and boys receive instruction: the literary productions of women: the mental power they often display in domestic economy, in management of business, and in the discussions in which they occasionally take a part: their power of application and of perseverance, and some others which he brings forward. The proofs, however, of an equality of intellect are not confined to this chapter, but are extended throughout nearly the whole of the volume. In the fifth chapter, it is shown that kindness and affection are possessed in an eminent degree by females ; and that deep sensibility and enlarged benevolence are perfectly compatable with high intellectual attainments. In the sixth chapter we have some fine examples of female affection, with which we are so charmed that we must present them to our readers: they are extracted from "Mrs. Hall's Ireland," and are illustrative of the good effects of teetotalism;—
"We entered one day a cottage in the suburbs of Cork; a woman was knitting stockings at the door, it was as neat and comfortable as any in the most prosperous districts of England. We will tell her own brief story in her own words as nearly as we can recall them. 'My husband is a wheelwright, and always earned his guinea a week; he was a good workman, and neither a bad man nor a bad husband, but the love of drink was strong in him; and it wasn't often he brought me home more than five shillings out of his one pound one on a Saturday night; and it broke my heart to see the poor children too ragged to send to school, to say nothing of the starved look they had out of the little I could give them. Well, God be praised, he took the pledge; and the next Saturday he laid twenty-one shillings upon the chair you sit upon. Oh! didn't I give thanks on my bended knees that night! Still I was fearful it would not last, and I spent no more than the five shillings I was used to, saying to myself, may be the money will be more wanted than it is now. Well the next week he brought me the same, and the next, and the next, until eight weeks passed; and glory be to God, there was no change for the bad in my husband, and all the while he never asked me why there was nothing better for him out of his hard earnings; so I felt there was no fear of him; and the ninth week when he came home to me I had this table bought, and these six chairs; one for myself, four for the children, and one for himself. And I was dressed in a new gown, and the children all had new clothes, and shoes and stockings, and upon his chair I put a bran new suit; and upon his plate I put the bill and the resatc for them all, just the eight sixteen shillings they cost, that I'd saved out of his wages, not knowing what might happen, and that always before went for drink. And he cried, good lady and good gentleman, he cried like a baby, but 'twas with thanks to God; and now where's the healthier man than my husband in the county of Cork; or a happier wife than myself; or dacenter or better fed children than our own four ?'"
Mrs. Hall visited Father Matthew, and the following scene occurred while she was there :—" A lean, pale, haggard looking man,—so striking a contrast to the Kerry farmer (mentioned before) as to be absolutely startling,— advanced to the table, at which sate the patient and good tempered secretary to the society, and asked him if his reverence would be in shortly. A pretty delicate-looking young woman, very scantily clad, but perfectly clean, was looking over his shoulder as he asked the question, ' I think I have seen you before, my good man,' said the secretary, 'and it is not many weeks ago.'
"' It was more his brother than he, sir, it was indeed,' answered the haggard man's wife, curtseying and advancing a little before her husband. He interrupted her, 'Don't try to screen me, Nelly, good girl, don't; God, knows, Nelly, I don't deserve it from you. See the way I beat her last night, gentlemen, on both arms, like a brute as I was.'
"'It wasn't you, dear,' said the young woman, drawing her thin shawl more closely over her bruised limbs; 'it was the strength of the spirits did it, and not himself; he's as quiet a man as there's in the county of Cork when he's sober, and as fine a workman, and he would not hurt a hair of my head, barring he was in liquor.'
"The poor creature's affectionate appeal on behalf of her erring husband was interrupted by the secretary again demanding if he had not taken the. pledge before.