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the same moment. They extend to more than three hundred pages octavo; a degree of manual as well as intellectual labor, not often paralleled ; and when coupled with the recollection of it being a voluntary unbought service, taken up without premeditation, in the very moment of return, carried on without aid, and completed in the midst of all the interruptions incident to such a period of congratulation, it may be said without exaggeration, that they remain a noble monument of promptitude, diligence, and knowledge, and afford a rich sample of what might have been effected by him had life heen spared.' From the extracts that are presented to us, we do not wonder at the admiration with which this effort of his was received. They show a tasteful mind, stored with knowledge, and trained to habits of reflection.
His style is not wholly free, perhaps, from those faults, which easily beset a young and ardent writer, who composes rapidly and with a dangerous facility ; but it always Aows on with a clear and generous current.
The severer taste of maturer life, if he had been spared to see it, would doubtless have chastened that tendency to exuberance, which is after all one of the failings of genius. We have room but for a single quotation, which will give our readers a favorable though a very fair specimen of his talent in description.
'It was on the morning of our leaving Turin, that I had a better view than on any preceding occasion, of the magnificent scenery with which it is surrounded. Starting at 6 o'clock, we soon arrived at the bridge of the Po, and I looked of course for the mountains. My hope of seeing them was but small, as day had only just begun to break. However, far in the horizon, opposed to the coming sun, I perceived a faint red, which served to mark their outline. While the rest of the world was still buried in night, they were privileged to catch the beams of day. By and by their color warmed into a rich roseate hue, which contrasted beautifully with the violet tint of the mist that lay in darkness at their feet. As morning advanced, a red hot glow succeeded, and the vast amphitheatre of Piedmont was, in its whole western section, lighted up with an ineffable and overwhelming radiance. Meanwhile the eastern horizon was not unworthy of attention. The golden hues of an Italian sky formed a magnificent back-ground, against which were relieved the towers of the Superga, and the picturesque outline of the neighbouring hills. Scarcely had I time to contemplate this part of the scene and turn towards the mountains, before their
aspect was again changed. The mist had fallen like a curtain at their feet, and the precarious tints of dawn had ripened into a twilight gray. The mountains themselves, in their whole vast extent, now seemed a wall of fire. I am using no figure of rhetoric, and wish to be understood literally. Iron in the furnace could not have glowed with an intenser red, than did those stupendous masses in the rays of morning. Never did I witness a scene of such transcendent and overwhelming magnificence. A wall of fire, seeming almost as extensive as half the circumference of earth, its battlements and pyramids and towers shooting upwards into heaven, as if preparing to inflame those elevated regions; and above and still beyond, new spires catching the same fiery radiance, the bases of the mountains clothed vapor, the valley pervaded with the gray mist of twilight, and the distant town relieved against this brilliant back ground, the majestic river, the rich eastern sky, composed a landscape which brought the tears into my eyes, and closing my lips in silence, precluded even the ordinary expressions of delight.' -- Vol. 1. p. 148.
We offer these volumes a welcome. There are some redundancies, especially in the frequent and minute descriptions of paintings which are not to be described. But we are sure that the influence which the book is suited to produce is a pure and good one.
The author writes in the spirit of a scholar though without the least pedantry, and of one who is deeply enamoured of all the forms of beauty and good. Such a spirit can never display itself in vain.
Art. I. — Essays on the Formation and the Publication of
Opinions, and on other Subjects. The Second Edition, revised and enlarged. London. 1826. 12mo. pp. 320.
This is an able work. We are not about to review it, preferring rather to recommend it to our readers,
than to undertake to give them an abstract of what is in it. The perusal of it, recommending, as it does, the utmost freedom of investigation, naturally raises an important inquiry, which we propose now to pursue.
The alleged tendency of free investigation to skepticism, one of the most common, and held to be one of the most serious objections against Unitarianism, was considered in our last Number. We propose now to inquire, what it is that constitutes the stability of the Christian's faith. What is the state of that mind, of which it may be affirmed, that it is reasonably established and settled in its religion ?
In this day, of free inquiry, of fluctuating opinions, and multiplying sects, this is a question of no common interest. It is quite evident, that the old idea of stability in the faith which prevailed in the Catholic Church,
will not suffice for these times, — will not suffice, in fact, for Protestantism at any time. We must find some other stability to support us, than that of implicit and unhesitating faith, or we must return to the bosom of the self-styled unerring Church. But this we cannot do. The fiction of human infallibility is gone from us for ever. Voluminous creeds, like unsubstantial shadows, are fast following that imposing phantom. We must now be
VOL. XI. -N. S. VOL. VI. NO, III.
established in something stronger, deeper, more real and true; in individual convictions, - the deep convictions of our own minds.
But still this does not answer the question. What are these convictions ? What views are we to take of our doubts, of the freedom of inquiry, of the speculative questions upon which Christians are divided, and of the vital principles of religion, that may sustain the mind, amidst the conflicting statements, directions, exhortations, and warnings, that are rising on every side of us?
In our own apprehension this is a subject of great practical importance. It is not a change only from the Catholic to the Protestant faith, from the assumed infallibility of the one to the theoretical, we are afraid, rather than practical freedom of the other, that commends this discussion to us ; but there is a still greater change in the religious bodies of our own country. There has been a time in our churches when, with regard to religious inquiry, the great question was, How shall men be aroused ? With many that time has passed away, and the great question for multitudes now is, How shall they be established, strengthened, settled? Of not a few it may be said, that this is a question which very nearly touches their happiness. They are suffering deep anxieties on the question, What is truth? They do not put this question as Pilate did, amidst the multitude only. They do not put it as he did, with hasty indifference, or a momentary and more serious suspicion, — for we scarcely know which state of mind to ascribe to him; but it is a question which they carry with them to their retirements, which mingles with their prayers, which travels with them in their journeys, which enters into their conversation and their very business. Or, having settled this question with tolerable satisfaction to their own minds, and having taken their stand as supporters of some particular explanation of Christianity, they are suffering from the treatment of those who differ from them; they are suffering from reproaches, from alienation, from the severed ties of friendship; they are suffering even from the virtues of others, from well-meant piety, and honest misrepresentation, and the strenuous opposition of misguided conscience.
The doubts, the fears, the anxieties indeed, naturally attendant on a state of free, Protestant inquiry, altogether constitute a state of mind, which has been perhaps too little considered by our religious guides of all parties. Men who sit in their closets, who have opportunities for much research, and who, from their situation, exert a powerful influence on society, are scarcely able, perhaps, to estimate the effect of what they say upon others. They may send abroad words from the pulpit or the press, with such ease and carelessness, or with such dexterous aim, as if it were in sport, and these words, to the timid, the sensitive, and anxious, may be as 'fire-brands, arrows, and death.' It is easy with rash assertions, with loose statements, and unguarded allusions, to disturb and unsettle the minds of others; or with solemn protestations, and awful warnings, and tones of horror, to distress and affright them; but surely sober and thoughtful men, charged with the momentous trust of religious influence, and themselves fallible, should beware how they take hold of that mighty instrument, — language, speech, — which carries suffering or joy, fear or hope, peace or trouble, to unnumbered hearts. A respect for the minds of others, such as we all claim for our own, a generous and considerate regard for their improvement, freedom, and virtue, an unspeakable sympathy for their wants, for their inquiries, for their anxieties, should characterize all the messages of religion which man addresses to his fellow-men.
We wish to be governed by these considerations, while we make the attempt to say some things, designed to stablish and settle those, who are troubled, and suffering perhaps, with doubts and anxieties, whether on more or fewer points of their religious faith. We do not apprehend them,
the mass of our congregations indeed, to be many. On the points that relate not only to religion in general, but to our own exposition of Christianity, as distinguished from that of others, we suppose that, as a body, we are well settled. But we confess, we should be sorry to believe, that we had no doubts, on any matters, great or small, of religious doctrine, that we had no inquiries to pursue, no obscurities or difficulties, in the loftiest theme of human contemplation, to be cleared up; that we had no solicitude left, more perfectly to understand the truth, And there may not be wanting some among us, who are seriously anxious on some points, not only of great general interest, but of great importance, as they conceive, to their religious and future welfare,