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Lucile. By OwEN MEREDITH, author of " The Wanderer," "Clyten mestra," etc,
Boston: Ticknor & Fields. Cincinnati : G. S. Blanchard. A beautiful love-story, told in verse, -- and very exquisite verse some of it is. It is such a book as one likes to have near to commune with, and derive constant pleasure from, as from a gentle, loving man who has seen much sorrow, but has learned much wisdom through sorrow. Owen Meredith seems to have studied both nature and man deeply, and with a clear, loving eye. His descriptions of scenery are vivid and picturesque, and his men and women have a reality about them rarely found in novels. There is no dreadful villain, and no godlike hero in the book, but the characters are strongly drawn, with great capabilities for both good and evil. The moral reflections are sound, healthy, and full of faith in purity and goodness. The leading idea of the book is the purifying influence of sorrow when received in the right spirit.
There are many beautiful passages which we would like to quote, but must confine ourselves to one:
“ The mission of genius on earth! To uplift,
Purify, and confirm by its own gracious gift,
The sick world that leans on her. This was Lucile." The interest in the story is admirably sustained throughout, and you close the book with the feeling that you have a new and valued friend, whom you would like often to meet.
Christ the Spirit: being an attempt to state the Primitive View of Christ
ianity. By the author of “Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists," and "Swedenborg a Hermetic Philosopher.” St. Louis, Mo.: L. Bushnell. 1860.
The beauty of Peace in a nation never shines out more than in a new and happy direction given to materials and forces which in war are committed to the work of chaos and deformity. In this country, since the outrage upon Mexico, a healthy recoil from war has prevailed to escape all the causes of contention which demagogues have sought to create for their own ends; and in this interval we hive seen, with pride, our navy employed on the seas for exploration, for scientific observations, and other high objects, - giving us, instead of charts of campaigns, charts of the winds and the Gulf-Stream. Our army officers have had time to superintend the building of light-houses, the coast survey; and many of them have given most valued contributions to general science. But not often have we the pleasure to gain from the world militant a great and clear survey of Spiritual Shores, or light-houses along the perilous coasts of Theology.
Col. Ethan Allen Hitchcock, late of the United States Army, is, we are told on good authority, the author of this fresh and significant voice from the West, which comes in the form of the work named above.
We have long been awaiting some work of this kind. The human mind has been long moving by the “inevitable logic of events toward the Western Methods of Thought: it is plain that the vague, dieamy, credulous Orient can not satisfy it, that its mirage-forms, however gorgeous, can not stand for that "city that hath foundations " which we seek. Yet the essential Christ is so definitely a universal formation — whether known as Messias, Chreeshna or Christ — that to yield Christianity would be like losing oxygen out of the atmosphere. The work of Emanuel Swedenborg was a brave, but almost a violent effort to harmonize this heartlogic and head-logic; if he had not thought it necessary to build his Kosmos on the Bible, his effort would have been successful: as it is, his work has already taken its place in the philosophic world as a transitionmovement, not meant to mark a regular reign, any more than fishes with reptilian appearances which precede the reign of reptiles.
But in the work before us we have a pretty fair outline, at least, of what the new creature is to be. With a profound but cautious respect for human scriptures and reverences, - a clear perception that where there is a highway there is (or was) a reason for there being a highway,
- our author kindly challenges all literalisms and form-worship. It is clear that he sees the Church, in its dating from the letter, to be much like that Chinaman who heard some of Esop's fables read in England, then returned from that country and announced to the astonished Celestials that the English believed that foxes, wolves and crows could converse with the ease of human beings!
The point where Common Sense comes to an obstinate pause is well presented by our author, as follows:
“ It is impossible for any rational inquirer to observe this negative testimony against the reality of the history of Jesus, and not be struck with it. This, in connection with the absence of all allusion to so extraordinary a person by the contemporary Greek and Roman historians, makes it almost certain that there could have been no such miraculously endowed person. We look in vain for any contemporary notice of the gospels, or of their authors, or even of the subject of the gospels, Christ himself — I mean outside of the New Testament itself. The most remarkable man the world every saw, lived, wrought miracles, and was publicly crucified at or in the vicinity of a great city;' and no profane historian makes the least mention of him, until his history has become a tradition."
Common Sense has a right to demand that it shall be met at this point.
What shall we reply who know no in-fidelity but unfaithfulness? We simply agree that there was no such Christ; but that there was a much greater one we find in the very absence of personal details. Who can tell whether Orpheus, who first gave laws to Greece, or Romulus, who founded Rome? Of how many butchers of men in ancient Greece can you give me details; and what of their greatest man, Homer? Of Jonson, of Beaumont, of Bacon, I have biographers; but where is any of the great Shakspere? The really great men have something better to do on earth than draw attention to themselves : they live only in their work; the incidents of their lives are revolutions; the smallest part of them is that which can he located or dated in any place or generation. It is a sublime circumstance that the greatest worker should be least known. It is in consistence with what he says of himself: “Of myself I can do nothing;” "I bear no witness of myself.”
And here is really the key-note of “Christ the Spirit.” It sees a Principle where the vulgar see a person; it knows nothing of Jesus, everything of Christ. Adam, Moses, Christ, are bosom experiences; and through many ages they slowly wrote their symbolic names on the heart of Man. “Except from some such view as this the Bible does not seem to speak to me; but from this principle I find in the sacred volume inex
haustible treasures. It is a study of life and for life. It is a sacred volume speaking of and to the nature of man. Its principles are within us, and, as we see them truly, we are assisted to the knowledge of ourselves, which has always been considered an attainment of the highest worth.”
The aim of this work is precisely that which the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had in view of the difficulties which beset the presentation of Christianity to the Jews. The vitality, the fervor which were really contained beneath the threadbare ceremonial vesture, they had known and were sure of: it was necessary to show them that all that was good in Judaism was preserved in Christianity as a blossom in its fruit. Jesus must be seen as the flower of Israel. So it is an analogous and a high apostolic work in this age to call men to see the eternal Spirit of Truth as it passes down from age to age, under all its forms — even those which seem contradictory. Shall we never get beyond this inability to see the faces of our Stephens “as of angels,” until we have devoted our best strength to stoning them to death: shall we wait eighteen hundred years before we recognize the Christ that walks with us our daily path? Until we can uplift the essential and cast aside the empirical, — until we can have our special rods blossom, — the priesthood of Nature is not for
But when we can pierce the Letter which killeth and attain unto the Spirit that giveth life, then shall we find a Bethlehem-star in every sky, a babe to adore in every cradle, a Christ to rebuke every storm, and to lead the soul to the rådiant summit of its Thabor.
Right at Last; and other Tales. By Mrs. GASKELL. New York: Harper & Brothers. Cincinnati : Rickey, Mallory & Co.
Mrs. Gaskell's stories are too well known to need much recommendation. The book before us contains four short tales, which have all appeared before in Dickens' periodical; they are all interesting and well written, but very sad too sad to be healthy. “ Lois the Witch" makes us shudder, and draw back with horror from our benighted Puritan forefathers who burned innocent women and children as witches.
The Mount Vernon Papers. By EDWARD EVERETT. New York: D. Apple
ton & Co. 1860. Cincinnati: Rickey, Mallory & Co.
Great as was the sensation when it was announced that Bonner Barnum of Editors—had enrolled the distinguished Bostonian along with such prizes as Cobb and Judson, as contributors to the Ledger, the deadness with which these papers have fallen from time to time before the public gives a funereal air to this work. Why this indifference to what Edward Everett writes? These papers are not beneath his standard ; many of them are more interesting than the mass of his writings; yet who reads or quotes the Mt. Vernon papers? Mr. Everett has lost the respect and interest which it is the instinct of the people to feel for the gifted and educated. Their reproach has been clear and vehement:
“ Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Thou Fortune's champion, that dost never fight
To teach thee safety!" In time even those to whom such a man compromises himself, lose their trust in him. The people, vacillating, weak, ignorant, still do not wish their strong men to descend to their level: they say, “We have cast our palm-leaves in your path, we have made our hills vocal with your name, have placed you in seats of honor and power, not that you should duplicate and aggrandize our weakness and poverty, but that you should overcome us and redeem us from ourselves." Never was there a human soul yet projected into a world which loved dapperness and fear, or did not
rely on pluck and freedom even in an antagonist. Daniel Webster and Edward Everett were not great enough to realize this; and one has gone down to his grave broken-hearted, because he could not get the nomination of a party, the other will soon depart, leaving behind him not one word for Humanity or Freedom-leaving men to say
" Blot out his name then record one lost soul more
Autobiographical Recollections. By the late CHARLES ROBERT LESLIE, R.A.
Edited, with a prefatory essay on Leslie as an Artist, and selections from his correspondence, by “Tom Taylor, Esq., editor of the Autobiography of Haydon.” Boston: Ticknor & Fields. Cincinnati: G. S. Blanchard.
A charming book, showing the simple, earnest life of a good, pure man, devoted to his art; and if not the first in it, of deficiencies which were not owing to want of industry, or to self-conceit. He was remarkably modest about his own merits, and quick to see beauties in the works of others. One naturally contrasts this autobiography with that of Haydon (edited by the same person); and the comparison is by no means favorable to the latter. Haydon was a poor artist with a high theory, perhaps with some genius; but so out of its right duct that instead of a healthy, ruddy life-stream, it became a perpetual inflammation. One needs only glance at his painting of Christ entering Jerusalem, hung up here in our Cincinnati Cathedral, to deduce that systematic suicitte which his life
On the other hand, Mr. Leslie, without genius, illustrates the truth that no one can be strong away from his forte, and that “the real genius is work,'' as Gothe declares.
Leslie had opportunities of seeing many of the great men of this century; and the little glimpses he gives us of Rogers, Scott, Irving, Turner, and many of his artist friends, are very bright and pleasing. His description of Lisbon life forty years ago is also very quaint and amusing. He was, although an American, thoroughly English in his tastes and feelings, and seemed to think little of anything out of his chosen land; he never went to Italy, and only twice for a short time to Paris. We have never read an autobiography written with so much modesty and self-forgetfulness.
As an artist, Leslie was more remarkable for his power of expressing any sentiment embodied in the scene he was illustrating, than for fine coloring or vigor of style; his pictures are, most of them, small, and illustrations from favorite authors. We know too little about his pictures to criticize them, but can most warmly recommend his k.
Natural Ilistory: for the use of Schools and Families. By WASHINGTON
HOOKER, M.D., Professor of Medicine in Yale College. Illustrated by nearly 300 engravings. New York: Harper & Brothers. Cincinnati: Rickey, Mallory & Co. 1860.
We take great pleasure in recommending this work; for a work on Science which can convey to a young person anything more than the impression of certain bard words done up into flesh and bones, is a rare thing. Mr. Hooker is the only man who has written a work of this description who knows the difference between a book for common study and a catalogue for reference, to be consulted by professors. It is of course to be expected, from its source, that this work will foster several serious errors; accordingly, we find it stated that “ All men descended from Adam, and therefore belong to one species; " and that their “differences arise from accidental causes, as climate, food, habits, etc." Fie!
[ By R. W. Emerson.) In proportion to the intelligence of the inquirer, the objects of inquiry are near and familiar. To a student of realities, the study of fossils, the history of meteors, the genesis of nebulæ, is less interesting than the system of life into which he was born, the society of beings whose lineaments resemble his own, and the objects which stick close about him. These usual things, which he can never get out of sight of, most pique the curiosity. Could anybody tell him what the meaning of them is ? Can any topic take precedence in a reasonable mind of the topic of Domestic Life ?
Man is born into a home. The perfection of the providence for childhood is easily acknowledged. The same care which covers the seed of the tree under tough husks and stony cases, provides for the human plant the mother's breast and the father's house. Who knows not the beautiful group of babe and mother, sacred in nature, now sacred also in the religious associations of half the globe. The size of the nestler is comic, and its tiny beseeching weakness is compensated perfectly by the happy patronizing look of the mother, who is a sort of high reposing Providence toward it. Welcome to the parents the puny struggler, strong in his weakness, his little arms more irresistible than the soldier's, his lips touched with persuasion which Chatham and Pericles in manhood had not. His unaffected lamentations when he lifts up his voice on high, or, more beautiful, the sobbing child — the face all liquid grief, as he tries to swallow his vexation,- soften all hearts to pity, and to mirthful and clamorous compassion. The small despot asks 50 little that all reason and all nature are on his side. His ignorance