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the debility of his constitution and the affectionate intreaties of his wife, returned to the theatre of death, and was very successful in his medical exertions. This simple idea is expressed by our author in a manner equally classical and original. (continues he) like Achilles he came forth from his short retirement, rallied the hopes of a desponding city, vanquished the destroyer of his fellow creatures, and by his incomparable writings, has ever since dragged him in triumph at his chariot wheels." Our author in his lecture on the opinions and modes of practice of Hippocrates, has drawn an imaginary picture of the “Father of Medicine” which we transcribe not on account of its novelty, but because it makes this imaginary being express by an action, his approbation of his sentiments. In this it does partake of novelty. “I have endeavoured to fancy, while I was composing this lecture, that Hippocrates was to occupy a seat at my right hand, and to hear every thing that I should deliver to his disadvantage. I have fancied further, that under the influence of a belief in those modern opinions and modes of practice, that differed from his own, the venerable old man with a magnanimity that belongs only to great minds, would sit with his hand stretched out ready to shake mine as soon as I should descend from this chair, thereby to absolve me from every thing I should say against his system of medicine.” Our author while pouring forth a panegyric on the death of Dr. Shippen, concludes in a manner so solemn and admonitory that we cannot resist the temptation to transcribe. “To all the members of his profession, his death should teach a solemn and awful lesson, by reminding them that the knowledge by which they benefited others will sooner or later be useless to themselves. To me, whom age has placed nearest to him upon the list of professors, his death is a warning voice. The next summons from the grave will most probably be mine. Yes, gentlemen, these aids to declining vision and these gray hairs, remind me that I must soon follow my colleague and your preceptor to the mansions of the dead. When that time shall come, I shall relinquish many attractions to life, and among them a pleasure which has no equal in human pursuits; I mean that which I derive from studying, teaching, and practising medicine.” The man
who does not in his own bosom feel what we may call the echo of nature, to the following delightful sentiments, merits an appellation as harsh as that which Shakspeare bestows on those who are insensible to the pleasures of music. « It is from this cause that the sight of young children is always attended with pleasure. Their smiling and innocent looks relieve the eye from its familiarity with the solicitude, or the unhappy and guilty passions which so generally discover themselves in the faces of persons in adult life. It is for this reason that wise and good men often resort to the nursery to forget for a while the pressure of study, business, vexation and care. Luther sought relief from low spirits, and sir William Temple relaxation from
fatigue of study from this delightful source of pleasure. Dr. Priestley was so deeply impressed with the power of children to impart pleasure by their looks and gestures, that he said to a person who asserted in a large company that our Saviour never smiled, It cannot be true, he must have smiled when the little children were brought to receive his blessing.'
There has been a custom recently much in vogue, of applying passages of scripture to light and unbecoming subjects. Some literary fops are vain enough to imagine that it displays uncommon taste to mangle and distort passages of holy writ, and make inspiration speak a language different from its plain, obvious and natural import. As religion and true science are said to have an indissoluble connection, so it appears that infidelity is nearly allied to false taste. Let those who have thus offended and left it dubious whether impiety or their bad criticism is most to be condemned, learn from the following passage how scriptural allusion may be employed to illustrate a subject with a dignity becoming its nature. 6. The sublime and various objects of religion are calculated to expand the human faculties to their utmost limits, and to impart to them a facility of action. We read that the face of Moses shone when he descended from conversing with his Maker on mount Sinai. The contemplation of the divine character and perfections never fails to produce a similar splendour in the human mind.” We notice the following as a literary curiosity, to show how the same thought has been by illustrious men rung throughout all the variety of meta
phoric changes, to illustrate objects totally different. Burke, in a debate on the bill for the better government of Canada, exhausted all his invectives against the reformers of England.« The seeds (says he) that these gentlemen are now sowing, will spring up into a rank and poisonous quality, and become bitter bread to some hereafter.” Ames in his famous speech on the British treaty, says, “the vast crop of our neutrality is already seed wheat again to be sown and to swell beyond all calculation, the harvest of our national prosperity.” Dr. Rush, says, "the seeds of improvement and certainty in medicine which are now sown and seem to perish, shall revive at a future day and appear in a large increase in the lives and healths of our fellow creatures.” Dr. Rush in his lecture on the utility of a knowledge of the faculties of the human mind, relates the following anecdote as illustrative of the medical advantages, of dissolving unpleasant and creating agreeable associations of ideas. “ During the time that I passed at a country school in Cecil county, in Maryland, I often went on a holiday with my school mates to see an eagle's nest upon the summit of a dead tree in the neighbourhood of the school, during the time of the incubation of that bird. The daughter of the farmer in whose field this tree stood, and with whom I became acquainted, married and settled in this city about forty years ago. In our occasional interviews, we now and then spoke of the innocent, haunts and rural pleasures of our youth, and among other things, of the eagle's nest in her father's field. A few years ago I was called upon to visit this woman nsultation with a young physician in the lowest state of a typhus fever. Upon entering the room I caught her eye, and with a cheerful tone of voice, said only the eagle's nest. She seized my hand without being able to speak, and discovered strong emotions of pleasure in her countenance, probably from a sudden association of all her early domestic connections and enjoyments with the words I uttered.. From that time she began to recover. She is now living, and seldom fails when we meet, to salute me with the echo of the eagle's nest.” We have understood that the learned professor has sometimes been censured for being two minute in his history of a disease. We can hardly conceive it possible that a physician should know too much of the nature and extent
of the malady which he undertakes to remove. If generality of description is a crime in our reporters of common law, and material facts have been totally omitted, or inaccurately stated, by which means the decisions of the court have been misrepresented and false inferences drawn, how much more important is it in the history of a disease to have every symptom faithfully recorded. There is a wide difference between a narrative incumbered with mass of irrelevant matter and a minute detail of facts and circumstances appurtenant to the case. The two last lectures are a philosophical analysis of the pleasures of the senses and of the mind. The volume is not to be looked upon as exclusively professional. It has a more dignified cast of character, and without indulging that haughty spirit which has done nearly as much injury in the literary as in the political commonwealth, it embraces and espouses the interests of the whole community of letters. It shows that the author, notwithstanding he has visited the various regions of science, still retains an attachment for his own, an attachment not founded on superstitious bigotry, but on a liberal and enlightened view of the respective advantages of each. We take no sort of pleasure in that minute and pedling curiosity that hunts for a fault with the same anxiety it would search for a diamond; nor do we conceive it belongs to the genuine character of a critic to censure, at all events. If the author writes hereafter, in the strain of his last volume, we hope, without any knowledge of the man, that his life may be long spared for the interests of the community of letters.
It becomes Americans now, at a time when European critics deem it a point of honour to degrade our productions, to appreciate themselves, to feel that elevation of soul which our adversaries are incapable of, and not to be niggard and parsimonious to genius. If we join in European anathemas, we are guilty of the crime of suicide. Let the stain of literary murder rest on the hands of our critics on the other side of the Atlantic. We do believe that the present volume will be sufficient to reclaim the American character from such dastardly assaults, and we could wish our European critics before they undertake so to depreciate our characters as scholars, would regard their own characters
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE DURATION OF OUR
Of the many causes which make modern republics less factious than the ancient, it is evident that the influence of the christian religion on the morals of mankind is far the most efficacious. The ancients had but faint motives for the practice of virtue, except such as arose from the human glory which was gained by it, and the slight obligation which ethical speculations imposed on the considerate few. Their religion required but little moral goodness, and was almost entirely content with offerings, libations and the blood of bulls and goats. Their religious festivals were often scenes of disgusting debauchery or of murderous frenzy:-What else could be expected from that preposterous mythology which decked the genius of every vice with the adored insignia of a blissful immortality? Every drunkard was a devout worshiper of Bacchus, and every thief a votary of the crafty Mercury,
Callidum quidquid placuit, jocoso
Moreover the future punishment of crimes was but faintly discriminated from the reward of virtue. Those who strolled in the Elysian Field, were discontented with a wearisome immortality, which afforded them only the negative happiness of an exemption from the misfortunes of human life. They were still a prey to mortal passions,* and were anxiously desirous of revisiting the checkered light and shade which illumine and obscure the path of man toward eternity.
Thus the foundation of morality was feeble and the superstructure tottered. Rome, in her best days, was radically vicious,t and perhaps the nurse of more and greater crimes than dis
1.6 ver. 4. 91–8. 654, et passim. | Let those who doubt the truth of this assertion, read the history of the Catilinarian war, the orations of Cicero against Catiline, and the lives of the emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius, by the greatest of the Roman historians. During the prætorship of one man, three thousand persons were found guilty