Imágenes de páginas

all places very fertile in suggestions to emigrate. Here it was predestinated, without any antecedent demerit on his part, that Emmons should be born. In due time he graduated, of course, at Yale, studied divinity under Dr. Smalley, and finally was settled in a small town in Massachusetts, mentioned in the Gazetteers under the name of Franklin. Here Emmons lived, died, and here stands his monument. His life, extending from 1745 to 1840,draw. ing a line from antiquity to our own period, lacked but half a decade of a century. Sixty-eight years in one place was his unbroken ministry. Sheridan tells us of a mythological personage who sat so long in a seat that he grew to it; and Hercules, in pulling him from his sedentary position, “left the sitting man behind.” Twice in the course of that long period did Emmons, under a temporary feeling that he had too little the heart of the people to be able further to benefit them, attempt the herculean task of withdrawing himself from his seat, and twice did the peremptory refusal of his people veto his “bold” procedure. His people, how little demonstrative soever their affections may have been, knew the tall dimensions of the colossus upon their pedestal.

Dr. Emmons is confessedly a “representative man," and as such reflects no discredit upon his class. Of a life so destitnte of exter. nal event as his, there could be no other history than a record of utterances, a tracing of mental development, and a portraiture of characteristics. By Dr. Park's skillful and affectionate band the work is done with a fine effect. The pastor of the little town of Franklin magnified his office by the mental and moral magnitude of its occupant.

The workings of a great mind are as truly distinguishable from those of an ordinary one as the operations of a structure of stupendous timbers from those of a hand-machine. So conspicuous was this in Emmons that his parsonage became the oracle whither countless inquirers in the walks of high theological thought resorted for responses. His mind, early roused to the investigation of the re lations of the great truths of philosophic and Scripture theology to each other, was ever in an active exploration into their profound recesses. The energy and clearness of his researches were equaled by his extraordinary power of expression. He had the talent, original and incommunicable, of compressing a large volume of truth in a concise expression; so concise, indeed, as to possess all the brilliancy of wit, but so solid with wisdom as rather to be degraded by the application of that term.

Emmons had a higher faith, both in the attainability and the practical power of a consistent, systematic theology, than our day seems inclined to entertain. His fundamental maxim seemed to be that it is in the power of Truth to save the world; and the process is to be effected by the ascertainment and exhibition of truth. This is a high and honorable maxim ; conceivable and retainable as a principle of life's whole action but by one of the noblest of the sons of men. In his calm yet unselfish enthusiasm the pastor of Franklin believed himself so to have tried systematic theology as by fire, that the pure golden ingot had emerged. There is to be a millennium ; and that millennium is to be ushered into existence by the sweetly compulsory power of this truth, and finally surmounted with its crown. The accident that Franklin should be the spot where pure truth leaped out of her drossy envelopments, and that her pastor's crucible was the instrument, excited no vain gratulations ; for in the presence of truth itself what other joy has a right to raise an emotion ?

Of the theology itself, as briefly presented and skillfully and lovingly defended by Professor Park, we are too discouraged to speak at any length. Emmons is claimed, and claimed himself, as being “positively” and eminently Calvinistic. Of four brother pastors he could say, “The first is Calvinisticalish, the second is Calvinistical, the third Calvinistic, the fourth a Calvinist. For my part, I wish to be either something or nothing in theology. I hate to be somethingish.” Now of this man's theology, so explicit and well-defined, such different views are taken and such opposite representations made by his own compeers, that we hardly dare attempt a statement. The moment we poor Arminians undertake to represent any Calvinism of any shade, we are forth with snapped up for misrepresenting it. Another source of discouragement is the fact that the entire class of theology or theologies to which it belongs seems to us to be in a hopeless state of disarrangement, not to say derangement, arising from one primal false assumption. The assumption of a necessitated will, planted by the relentless hand of Edwards as the initial point of what our Calvinistic friends somewhat assumingly style "New England Theology,” involves the necessity of errors, and erroneous solutions of errors, without number. It resembles the assumption of the earth as the center of the astronomic system, and involves theology in all the complexities of a Ptolemaic confusion.

But it requires no agreement with his theological positions to enable us to appreciate and revere the pure heart, the clear intellect, the firm purpose, the consistent life, the reverent piety, the grand soul of Nathaniel Emmons. His biography is a picture, commemorative of a peculiar and primitive period of New England Christian institutions and history. It is a pleasing picture, and we render our thanks to Professor Park for making it a liberal and full-sized portrait. Annals of the American Methodist Pulpit; or, Commemorative Notices of

distinguished Clergymen of the Methodist Denomination in the United States from its commencement to the close of the year 1855. With an Historical Introduction. By Wm. B. SPRAGUE, D. D. 8vo., pp. 846.

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. 1861. Dr. Sprague's volume of Methodist clerical biography opens with a well written but brief view of American Methodism, comprehending all its divisions, North and South, Episcopal, Protestant, and Wesleyan. It proceeds with biographies in chronological order, commencing with Asbury and closing with those whose demise took place in 1855. The main body of the memoirs appears to be from Dr. Sprague's own pen. To these, however, many biographical letters are added, addressed to him at his request by eminent living acquaintances of the deceased subjects. These, while they impart something of a documentary and crude look to the work, add to its interest by furnishing fresh recollections from valued contributors who seldom wield the pen, and whose biographies are yet to be written. Of these we may spe cially mention the venerable Laban Clark, Samuel Luckey, Alfred Griffith, and David Kilburn. An interesting memoir of George Dougherty is furnished by Dr. Lovick Pierce. Dr. Hibbard has given some valuable reminiscences of his father, Billy Hibbard. An elegantly written portraiture of Asa Shinn is furnished by Dr. Lipscombe.

The best critics in Methodist history pronounce the work remarkably accurate, approving the faithfulness of Dr. Sprague in the performance of his arduous work. We heartily recommend it to our preachers and people with but one reserve. The closing letter in regard to Maffit by Professor Mitchell, we trust, in compliance with what will be a very unanimous wish, Dr. Sprague will exclude from future editions. Dr. Sprague's own part of the biography of that gentleman is satisfactory. Scores of living men there are who could have further done requisite justice, lenient or severe, to the subject, without calling in the aid of so injudicious : pen. Some sympathy every writer should have with his subject. Gaping, soulless, eaves-dropping curiosity a thoughtful mind might thoughtlessly indulge; but we can hardly conceive any but a very thoughtless man as parading its exhibition before the public. Mr. M. gives a very unfavorable picture of Maffit, a still more unfavorable one of himself.

Life Among the Chinese, with characteristic Sketches and Incidents of Missionary Operations and Prospects in China. By Rev. R. S. MACLAY, M. A., thirteen years Missionary to China from the Methodist Episcopal

Church. 12mo., pp. 400. New York : Carlton & Porter. 1861. Every minister, itinerant or local, of the Methodist Episcopal Church will perform a pleasant and most profitable duty in procuring and studying this picture of living China. Such an extended acceptance and perúsal of the work would awaken an interest which, however exciting or intense, could hardly become commensurate with the importance of this stupendous yet hopeful field of missionary enterprise. Our faithful missionary has well performed his double work of unfolding the Gospel to opening China, and of unfolding tủe work of Chinese conversion to Christian America. The volume cannot be read by our Church without kindling a flame of sympathy for the great mission. Especially should our young men and our candidates for the Christian ministry lift up their eyes upon these fields ready for the harvest.

Mr. Maclay commences with a general view of the geographical and moral condition of China, her religious faiths, her history, government, laws, and institutions. He next gives us a picture of the Christian status in China, our churches, schools, and operations, with entertaining and characteristic sketches and pictures of missionary life. The anecdotes of missionary and native adventure and intercourse, the struggles between the old and new faiths, the forms which skepticism assumes among these semi-civilized thinkers, furnish food for thought to the Christian philosopher.

Mr. Maclay concludes his book with an exhibit of the grounds of confidence in the work of Chinese Christianization, and an earnest and well-sustained appeal to the Methodist Episcopal Church to gird on her armor for this great special enterprise. The manifest tokens from Providence in breaking away all opposition and opening the doors of this great empire, the attitude of earnest inquiry and expectation of great coming changes among the people, the much that has been done in preparing the linguistic and other apparatus, in establishing posts, and initiating the practical work, all furnish cheering omens to the laborer that a stupendous victory will crown his toil. Let the appeal of the pleader for China be everywhere heard.

The Christian Maiden. Memorials of Eliza Hessel. By JOSHUA PRIESTLEY.

Slightly abridged from the second London edition. With a portrait.

12mo., pp. 357. New York: Carlton & Porter. We are not partial to biographies and “memorials.” We opened this with the mental exclamation, “The usual assemblage of platitudes we suppose.” We were, however, agreeably mistaken, for we found freshness, piquancy, and worth, the record of an independent, noble, and youthful life, written by one who was willing to lose himself in his subject.

It is almost impossible to display the smoothness of romance in the portraiture of real life. Here, at first, we experienced the jolting sensation common in passing through works of this rather uneven kind; but gradually we forgot all the inequalities, so fully did we come into sympathy with our traveling companion, and so interested in her newly opening views. There is a refined elegance in all her utterances. Her letters are gems. Her notices of books would do no discredit to the editors of the Quarterlies.

Those young ladies who covet companionship with the truly good and truly refined of their own age and sex, may here find their aspirations gratified; and communion with this “ Christian Maiden ” will be of more real service to them than all the beautiful theories of “True Women,” “Young Ladies' Companions,” etc., so popular at the present day. To use an expression of her own in reference to another, “She had to die, to show thousands how to live." 3.

The History of England. From the Accession of James II. By LORD MACAULAY. Vol. v. Edited by his sister, Lady TREVELYAN. With a complete Index to the entire work. 12mo., pp. 293. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1861. There is a melancholy interest in this incomplete volume done up with reverent care by the hand of a surviving sister. The closing sentence of the great work, by its very abrupt finality, induces us to hold our hand as if listening still for more. Macaulay is gathered to the illustrious dead of Westminster, and his work takes its place among the master products of historic genius.

The present volume embraces three chapters. It wants the last touches of the original master hand. It closes with the death of William the Third.

Autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Carlyle, Minister of Inveresk, con

taining Memorials of the Man, and Events of his Time. 12mo., pp. 471.

Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861. “Well, the grandest demi-god I ever saw,” said Sir Walter Scott, “ was Dr. Carlyle, minister of Musselburgh, commonly called Jupiter Carlyle, from having sat more than once for the king to Gavin Hamilton, and a shrewd, clever old carle was he.” His memoir, commenced at the age of seventy-nine, and abruptly closed by death, is tinged with a Herodotean simplicity, sustaining its interest less by the events of the hero's life than by the charac

« AnteriorContinuar »