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REVIEW OF BOOKS.
Saturday Evening. By the Author of the any of its bearings, especially by
Natural History of Enthusiasm. Holdsworth and Ball. 8vo.
so prolific and acute a mind as that
of our author, without arresting atThe allegorical, we might almost tention. say the Caballistic application of Human nature, as it may at the phrase “ Saturday Evening," present be contemplated, appears to desiguate this volume, has, we to have deteriorated from a higher have no doubt, been one of the and purer state.
It does not seem impediments to its success. With to comport with that order, harthe infelicity of the title we have, mony, and beauty which charachowever, no inclination further to terize the other, and even the infequarrel. It is an infelicity, but rior, departments of the divine there we leave it. The subject, or
works. It has all the appearance rather the numerous subjects discus- of disorganization and ruin. There sed in the volume are of the highest are the traces of a beauty which interest. The author proceeds, from has disappeared, and the vestiges of the assumption that the present is a workmanship which is an important crisis in the divine broken and out of joint. Such indispensations with mankind, to il- deed as human nature now is, both lustrate and enforce with much as to external condition and inability, the sentiments which ternal consciousness, we cannot seemed to connect themselves with persuade ourselves it could have that particular opinion. The pre- been at first, nor reconcile ourselves sent is an era that will in a great to believe it will be to the end. measure involve the decay and re. Beauty, harmony, and perfection moval of most of the systems which are all from the divine hand, whatdegrade and enslave mankind. It ever is contrary to these comes is, in reference to the moral and from other causes. Deformity, disspiritual Sabbath which is dawn- order, and abortion are not even ing, a time of preparation, and it the accidental attendants upon om. will issue in the bright and balmy nipotence, as such, but wherever influences of a sabbatical rest. they appear, and in whatever deThis is the general idea of the gree, either connect themselves volume, but it is not very strictly directly with second causes, or, as adhered to, and sometimes it re- emanating from the first cause, quires an effort, wbich every have their reasons in another and a reader cannot make, to perceive higher system of moral causation, the pertinency of the several sec. and become punitive or correc tions to the unity of the one grand tive. topic. The restoration, however, We cannot rationally resist the of our suffering and fallen nature proposition that all the perfection to a high state of moral excellence of the universe, including whatever and happiness, is a theme pregnant portion pertains to man, is from a with deep and stirring thoughts, Being of infinite excellency. All and can hardly be touched upon in that is lovely to the eye, harmo
nious to the ear, and sweet to the about to break upon the long night soul, is originally and essentially of darkness and suffering which has derived or imparted from God; and passed over the world. is but an emanation from his in. After God had scattered abroad finite perfection and infinite through the universe innumerable efficiency. Even that beauty proofs of his wisdom, goodness, which consists in mere external and perfection, and had reflected form, and which is so frail and an outline of bis own excellence fleeting a thing that it melts away on animate and inanimate nature, like the colours of the rainbow, he embodied the attributes of the or is exhaled like the dew of the parts, the harmony of the whole morning, is nevertheless his gift, in his last work-in that creature whether it be displayed in the wing for wliose conservation and joy all of an insect, in the decking of a the rest were intended, and who weed, or in “ the human face di was to be not more properly the vine." It is as if the impress of the summing up of the whole, the same fingers should be left on all miniature of the rest, than the the works of the Most High, and epitome and image of him who so left as to bid effectual and per- made the universe, and a reflection petual defiance to rivalry and of that moral beauty which adorned to counterfeits. The highest kind its author. This perfection then of beauty was imparted to the consisted in the wisdom and knowsoul of man. It consisted in what ledge imparted to the mind of man, the Scripture denominates the partly through the exercise of those Image of God. It stands out in faculties which were given him in bold contrast, or in transcendant the most mature and vigorous state, superiority to every other kind of but chiefly and primarily by direct excellence. It rises immeasurably communication with God. Wisabove all that is fair in nature, all dom was not then an acquisition that is beautiful in forors and co of laborious and slow attainment, lours, all that is great in science, not a feeble taper lit with difficulty all that is fascinating in genius, at first, and with still more diffiand all that is flattered and how culty kept burning; but it was a noured by a worldly and vitiated bright and full fountain of light, taste. One feature, one linea. shining from within, and irradiating ment, one sparkle of this divine the objects it contemplated by its moral beauty, this image of own light, and not the result of the supreme perfection upon us, protracted research and an is more estimable and
siduous winnowing of truth blissful, than the concentrated from
It a bright perfection of the whole vi- and healthful atmosphere, in which sible and intellectual creation. the soul saw reflected from every What is now so fervently desired quarter upon itself the lustre of the was once possessed, was the primi- divine wisdom. It saw all things tive endowment of mankind. The in the same light, if not in the eager wishes of all philanthropists same relations, in which God sees and Christians point to an age them, and it saw God as he is, and when it will be restored. It may that not by anxious inquiry, not by not be out of place to glance at the shadowy reflections, not by fragoriginal possession as an index to ments of his greatness, but by direct those expectations which attach to communications with himself. the notion of a millennial state, as Further, this wisdom and know
ledge was connected with moral altar of the heart, while our nature purity, an accordance with the was still in its youth, and yet that nature of God. The human will youth mature and manly. Its was the echo of the divine will, vigour of affection to God was and its authority stood both undis- supreme and seraphic. The whole puted and efficient to command ardour of the higher nature flamed the obedience of inferior powers. up towards him under the direcThere was the hue of health over tion of elevated conceptions, and the whole mental and moral con- through the medium of exalted stitution. The soul's native ele. sentiments. Its objects ment was purity; and all its imagi- worthy of the energies put forth, nations, and desires, and aspira- and it was felt to be the chief good tions, were as exempt from defile to serve God. The idea of obliment as from weakness and irregu- gation was absorbed in that of Jarity. The understanding and the privilege. Man obeyed more from judgment were as free from rebel. the impulse of desire than of comlion as from imbecility and ob- inand, and found his own pleasure scurity. Sin had brought no for- and his Creator's authority identibidden object within the sphere of fied in all the exercises of thought, man's desires, and Satan had and feeling, and conscience. The breathed no defiling vapour, no
will of God was then done on earth fatal contagion around or over his as it is done in heaven. By the favoured abode. But the sinless will, and heart, and active enersoul dwelt in the perfect and health- gies of man, it was done as perful body as in its proper temple, fectly as by the scraphic ardour, reared and beautified for its special and flaming love, and vigorous vohabitation, while the soul itself litions of the angelic hosts. was the temple of the supreme di. Such a state of the active and vinity, and exhibited a still higher moral powers of the soul of man could and wobler beauty than the body. not fail to yield happiness. While
But in this high state the mind the eye of God rested complacently was not a mere machine of thought upon his work, man himself deand action. It possessed power rived felicity, perfect felicity, from in combination with the passions. the harmonious working of every It had the
of spiritual faculty, and from the connexion strength, the wing of spiritual de- of himself and of all things with sire. It was characterized by an God. Every object of nature ardour of mind and heart, which yielded a pare delight. Every especially flowed forth in the ema sensation and every thought of his nations of love and activities of heart was peace and bliss. Every obedience. The strength of the fountain was pure, and every founentire mental and moral man was tain was full
. Every feeling was not then impaired by sin — the joyous, and every drop of joy was sickly and debilitatinų contact of sincere. All things were so constiSatan had not then been felt-the tuted as to subserve human happimortal poison of intellectual pride ness. There was an adaptation on and self-will had not been instilled the one side to impart, and on the into the soul. But mental vigour other to receive felicity, while God was accompanied by moral health, himself filled the whole sum, and and the only fire that burned in the crowned each separate portion of soul was the fire of love to God; pleasure. This was the felicity of and that incessantly flamed on the man's primæval state, of which in
deed we can now very inadequate the will of the supreme Legislator, ly conceive-one of the fairest and in unbroken communion with flowers of Paradise-but a flower him. that first faded and is last revived How beauteous, how sublime and one which still awaits the fresh- then was this great work of the di. ness of that sabbatic dawn, which vine Artificer! How fair, how Saturday Evening foreshows, to amply endowed, when it left his restore it to its lustre and fragrance. hand, and how worthy a resemJoy of the highest kind and amplest blance did it thus present of him measure-joy that was unmingled who intended it to be purity unwith a single drop of grief-un- sullied by sin, joy unmixed with clouded by a single shadow, and in- grief, knowledge free from error, capable of increase but by pro- and life impassive to the stroke of gression, is what cannot now be death! But all the glory that now knowu even under the influence of remains to man fallen, is eclipsed grace, till we are translated to the and lost before the perfection of celestial paradise. Then, however, man sinless, as the faint splendour it was of this nature, and depended and pride of secular royalty would upon no fugitive sensations, no sin- fade or flee before the presence of ful objects. It lighted upon man's an angel of God. The glory of heart, fresh from the heaven of true wisdom, which we toil for heavens, and freely, as the efful- through many years of painful disgence of the sun is poured out over cipline, and acquire but in smallest the whole visible creation. It was grains, the glory of moral purity in the light of God's countenance which the Christian wrestles to obthat man stood, it was in his tain by agonizing prayer—the bliss presence that he lived, and in his which we sigh after, but mostly in presence then there was found fub- vain-the spiritual strength which ness of joy.
we derive, but by slow degrees and But add to all this the con small measures from above — the sideration of immortality. No seed immortality which we hope for as of sin was yet sown in the heart, prisoners, and receive as beggars, consequently no taint of death had were all the first man's native rights yet reached our nature. Man lived yet unforfeit—his primary endowin God, and partook of his immor- ments yet unsullied—the gifts of his tality. His soul was an immediate munificent Creator yet unabused emanation from the Deity. It is and inviolate. We look up from described as the breath of God, our debasement, from our poverty, and bespeaks a higher origination and cry out-o the height and the than the body. The natural en- glory of the blessedness which headowment of the soul, its very sub ven in the plentitude of its benigni. stance was life, essential, immortal ty bestowed upon its favourite man! life-continued, happy, intermina- That it is gone-is too obvious to ble existence. Man was, by crea need proof-that it will be restored tion, a member, and one of the is too certain to admit a doubt. most distinguished, of the happy Even now the note of preparation family of inmortals, set over a sounds. The earth shall hear the beautiful and ample region of bis word of the Lord, and a renovating own, replete with everything energy shall come down upon it. Ali adapted to make him for ever joy- the glory of sinless man must not inful, yet kept for his own sake in deed be expected. We cannot reach strict and entire dependance upon the perfection of human nature as
when it drew forth the complacent is similar to that of passing along a approbation of the Almighty Cre- gallery of fine portraits, or fine ator: that height is reserved for the landscapes: we bring no very disheavenly paradise; but the inci- tinct impression away.
We are pient restoration is to be effected not, however, to be understood as on the very theatre of our disasters. denying very high excellence to Even here, where human nalure the present volume, and very sure has fallen, it must rise again; here, we are, that no intelligent reader where it has sinned and suffered, it can rise from the perusal of it must repent and be reconciled to without receiving both pleasure God. The Christian religion not and profit. The following extract only inspires such a hope, but contains a part of the author's essupplies rational ground for ex timate of the present state of sacred pecting, we will not say a univer- science among us. It is in the sal, but at least a general restora main true, too true, we admit, but tion of mankind. We see it somewhat over-stated perhaps. actually restored in the human nature of Jesus Christ : the doctrine the Christian temper are preserved, what
“ While the modesty and meekness of of the Divine Spirit fully justifies is so becoming to the public advocate of the expectation of personal renova religion as the highest tone of confidence tion; prophecy expressly foretels and fervoar ?-If other men are entanand describes it; the plenary official gled in endless surmises, or deluded by
of Christ, as mediator, pro- bis faith rests. power
futile theories, he knows on what ground
He knows whom be vides amply for it, and the expe- serves :-his calculations are all formed rience of multitudes evinces the on a clear foresight of futurity. On the possibility of such a renovation present scene of things – its eager fri
volities--its childish impetuosities, and its upon a larger scale, the divine abi- turbulence and its virulence, he looks lity and purpose being pre-sup- with a feeling hard to designate; for it is posed.
not contempt; not petulance; not inThe present volume consists of a difference; not misanthropic scorn; but number of vigorous and eloquent
yet gathers something from each of these
emotions; and has the force of all, withessays, all connected, more or less, out the poison of any.--Of whom should with the renovation of mankind, the public and well-instructed advocate through the medium of Christianity, of the Gospel be afraid? He has the and the final consummation of feli- hastening on (with all around him, coadcity which awaits all the subjects jutors and opponents) to the hour which of the Mediator's dominion. It is shall well vindicate the part he has scarcely necessary for us to de- chosen, and well conclude the course he
has run! scribe the manner in which the au
6. It is the want of a fearless and ag. thor of the Natural History of gressive energy which, at the present Enthusiasm writes. He is always moment, emboldens infidelity, staggers vigorous and eloquent, but not al- the wavering, and leaves the ground
to the wantonness and the impuways severe and continuous in his dence of visionaries. How great a revothinking. He is both too copious lution in favour of Christianity might, and too discursive. It is not, how. under the conduct of the Divine Spirit, ever, to be denied that this volume, be now effected by the intrepidity of though in all respects inferior to the firm as that of the apostles, should be
even a single champion, whose courage, former, is the effort of a powerful sustained by piety and wisdom like and highly cultivated mind. For theirs ! want of unity, however, it is, in a
“ Partly in obedience to the law of
mediocrity, which rules the age, and great measure, powerless upon the
partly in uneasiness from the publicity mind of the reader. The effect that attaches to religious literature, thore