« ForrigeFortsæt »
in some measure perpetuated, even if his sermons had perished with the voice that delivered them, and his pen had left nothing on record. It is well, however, that so many of the productions of his capacious mind and glowing affections have been preserved in a tangible form, that the impressions of the living man may thus be repeated upon the generations to come, and constitute their due portion of the history of the church and the country which are bereaved by his death.
In a brief notice of Dr. Griffin's Sermons, as here published, it will not be expected that we shall enter upon a critical examination of their characteristics and merits.* Nor is it at all necessary, while the distinguished talents and impressive eloquence of their author are fresh in the remembrance of so large a portion of our readers, that we commend them as deeply instructive, and as splendid productions of the kind, -worthy of a place in every library, as among the very best sermons in the English language. The number of sermons in these volumes is sirty, most of which are on subjects of a highly practical character, and constitute an invaluable legacy to posterity, while his biographer informs us that “ there are, still remaining in Manuscript, Sermons enough to make one or two additional volumes, all of which have been re-written in his later years, and have undergone his finishing touch.”
The writer of the Memoir, Dr. Sprague, has given us the character of Dr. Griffin, with great candor, and in a style worthy of himself and of his subject. This part of the first volume occupies 270 pages, and is composed of a rich selection of extracts from the private journal of Dr. G. and of letters written to friends and members of his family, describing some exceedingly touching scenes, and ex. hibiting in a most interesting light the characteristics of his piety as well as of his mind. His peaceful and happy death and the state of mind with which he approached the hour of his triumph, are tenderly and graphically described by his daughter, Mrs. Smith ; and the whole is concluded with a “general estimate of his character and influences” by the author of the Memoir, which strikes us as discriminating and just, leaving the venerated subject of the whole to live in our recollections as one of the brightest lights of his age, and honouring the Providence of God by which he was fitted for the wide sphere of influence and usefulness to which he was advanced.
8.-Sermons to a Country Congregation. By Augustus William
Hare, A. M. Late Fellow of New College and Rector of
Edition. New York: Appleton and Co. 1839. pp. 497. 8vo. The number of sermons contained in this volume is fifty-six. They are short and written in a familiar parochial style, and are addressed with great plainness and directness to a plain people. They are of a practical character, exhibiting the common topics of the gospel in a rich and attractive variety of aspects, and present to the reader much of the sincere milk of the word. They remind one of the Sermons of Walker and of Burder, and are perhaps equally well suited to be read with profit in religious meetings and conferences, their style being in a remarkable degree faultless and their instructions simple and easily understood. The author, how. ever, is a minister of the church of England, and occasionally alludes to the forms and usages of that church in a manner which will render his sermons less acceptable for common and social use in some other denominations in this country. We observe also that in one of the " Visitation Sermons," near the end of the volume, he commends a “ national religion," as the only “security for the quiet and civilization of a people, or for the strength and solidity of a commonwealth.”—In the American edition, it would have been well if these few peculiarities, which are adapted to English usages and views, had been omitted. But these exceptions are of minor im. portance and the general spirit of the book will commend itself to evangelical Christians of all classes.
* This we trust may be done in a more extended review, in some future No. of the Repository.
9.- Algic Researches, comprising Inquiries respecting the Mental
Characteristics of the North American Indians. First Series.
pp. 248, 244. Mr. Schoolcraft is favorably known to the reading public as the author of several Journals of iravels through remote portions of our Northern and Western frontiers, as well as by bis occasional contributions to our periodical literature. Having been for the last twenty years in the employment of the United States Government, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs on the N. W. boundaries, having been associated in many of his inquiries, with Gen. Cass, Mr. Trowbridge and others, to whom we are indebted for several scientific notices of Indian character and habits, and being also connected by marriage with a refined and educated descendant of an aboriginal tribe, Mr. S. may be relied on as possessing advantages for investigating and making known the mental and other characteristics of the North American Indians, superior to those of any other man now living. We have therefore waited with interest for the appearance of the two volumes above named; and after a cursory perusal of several of these “ Tales and Legends," we are happy to assure our readers that our expectations are not disappointed. They exbibit some curious and interesting traits of Indian character, which have been little known and appreciated even by those who have been most familiar with the
history of theirexternal habits and their exploits in war. Their legends introduce us into the interior of their consciousness, and excite our deep sympathies in their degradation and darkness, while we are charmed with the traces of intellect, and of the moral sense, which are exhibited in some of their curious speculations and wild and incoherent imaginings. There are in some of their conceptions a refinement and beauty, which ill accord wi!h our common impressions of the savage mind and heart. That they are cruel in war, unrelenting in their private resentments, and vindictive against those by whom they have been injured, is the result not of a nature more cruel and unfeeling than that of other races of men, but of the darkness in which they have been left to grope for so many ages. It is the natural consequence of their ignorance of the truth as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures, of their ever varying and erroneous conceptions of the attributes and requirements of the Great Spirit, the “ Unknown God," whom they worship, and of their superstitious, not to say religious, belief of a system of falsehood, which is incorporated with all their modes of thinking.
But we have neither time nor room to express much ihat we feel on this subject. The two volumes before us seem to have been compiled with much care and candor by the author, and we cannot but regard them as a highly valuable contribution to the literature of the age. They will be sought by the learned as affording a new and instructive lesson in the science of anthropology, by the philanthropic as presenting new evidences of Indian susceptibilities of moral impressions, and by the multitude for the amusement they afford, by their novelty and eccentricity. As a whole, these volumes strike us as more entertaining than the “Arabian Nights,” and some of the conceptions which they contain of the spiritual world are hardly surpassed in the Mythology of any of the ancient heathen nations, while their conjurations, enchantments and metamorphoses scarcely fall below those of Ovid, in the strangeness and wit of their conception ; and some of them convey moral lessons quite as much to the point.
As is indicated in the title of these volumes, they are presented to the public as the first of a series of volumes on the distinctive opin. ions and the intellectual character of the Indians, their mythology, their hieroglyphics, music, poetry, the grammatical structure of their languages, etc., for all which the author possesses ample materials, and which it is his purpose to publish, provided the public shall manifest a sufficient interest in the subject to encourage him to persevere in his undertaking. We trust his best anticipations in this respect will be fully realized.
10.— The Jubilee of the Constitution. A Discourse delivered at the
request of the New York Historical Society in the city of New-York, on Tuesday the 30th of April 1839, being the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Wask. ington as President of the United States, on Thursday the 30th of April 1799. By John Quincy Adams. New York:
Samuel Colman, 1839. pp. 136. The occasion, the subject and the author of this discourse are in happy keeping with each other, and such as to excite the highest expectations of the reader, when he opens its pages. In our own case these expectations have been more than answered. In discoursing upon the history of the Constitution of the United States, the venerable ex-president appears in his glory. He briefly presents the occasion and the spirit of the war, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and then traces, step by step, with consummate ability, the departure from those principles in the early endeavors to organize a confederation of the states, the disastrous consequences of that departure, and the admirable spirit and temper with which the present constitution of the general government was adopted in 1789.
This early and interesting history, together with the flood of light which it sheds upon the principles, progress and blessings of the gorernment to the present time lift this discourse far above the level of ordinary patriotic addresses, and will make it an enduring monument, to which the American patriot and Christian may recur in all future time to refresh their recollections of the principles which lie at the foundation of our union, and to inspire their gratitude to the Great Disposer of all events for the blessings he has conferred upon us as a free people.
11.— The Metropolitan Pulpit; or Sketches of the Most Popular
Preachers in London. By the author of " Random Recol. lections," “ The Great Metropolis," "Travels in Town,"
etc. etc. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1839. Pp. 416. For the moral effect of the publication of this book upon the “ popular preachers" whose talents and characters it attempts to describe, we would not choose to be responsible. They must already have attained to much of the grace of humility, or this publication can hardly be expected to be the means, to them, of more grace. To us, however, who live upon this side of the waters, and whose intercourse with our parent land is becoming daily more intimate, it cannot but be interesting, and perhaps profitable, to know as much as we may of the characteristic traits and comparative talents and standing of the individuals who compose the christian ministry of London. We have read several of these “ Sketches,” from which we judge the book to be written wiih considerable discrimination and abiliy. It contains professed descriptions of fifty-three of the minis. ters of London, and the author expresses his regret at being obliged to omit, for the present, many distinguished names. The curiosity of American readers, however, will be excited by the circle of foreign divines here presented 10 their acquaintance, and we doubt not the book will be read.
12.- The Life, Times and Characteristics of John Bunyan, author
of the Pilgrim's Progress. By Robert Philip, author of ihe Life and Times of Whitefield, the Experimental Guide,
etc. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1839. pp. 498. The church and the world have, long since, done justice to the character and genius of Bunyan. He has received all the heart-homage which can well be paid io a christian author, and stands in no need either of a vindicator or a eulogist. These considerations together with the prevalent impression, that, as Montgomery has well observ. ed, his CHRISTIAN, in the “ Pilgrim's Progress" is "a full length portrait of himself,” have caused a century and a half to pass away without producing a Life of Bunyan. 'We have had numerous sketches of his life, but no professedly full biography, until Dr. Phil. ip, having his attention directed to the experience of this remarkable man, in the course of his investigations for another object, has accomplished the work and made a valuable addition to our biographical literature in the volume before us. It is written in an attractive style, and brings 10 light much that was before unknown or unnoticed, as well as much to enlarge and illustrate what was best known in the history of Bunyan. It claims, indeed, to be as complete a Life of Bunyan, as his own documents or the traditions of his country can furnish at this late period. It will doubtless be a popular, as it cannot fail to be a useful book.
13.- A Critical Exposition of Mental Philosophy; or the First
Principles of Metaphysics ; embracing a Critical Analysis of Ideas, the elements of Reasoning, and the Philosophy of the Feelings and Will. Adapted to Academic and Popular use. By Leicester A. Sawyer, A. M. New Haven :
Durrie and Peck, 1839. pp. 316. It is easy to write a book on mental philosophy. The subject is one, which, to every mind accustomed to reflect upon its own acts, presents an endless variety of details, out of which to form theories and conduct disquisitions. There is therefore absolutely no limit to the range which ihis subject presents to any one who is inclined to persue its investigation, unless he has good judgment and decision enough