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book could not be of divine origin, which could obtain prevalence only in the exclusion of enlightenment, or, at least, that there must be something wrong in a system which requires for its maintenance, the degradation of the great bulk of the pation, at the very time when it was defended and upheld by all the splendours and emoluments of a hierarchy, the countenance and patronage of government, and learning the most varied and profound. The day of silly fears, is, we hope, hastening away. From the spread of knowledge, and the scrutiny of investigation, Christianity, it is our firm belief, has nothing to apprehend.
say, Save me from my friends, and I will protect myself from my enemies:” her worst enemies have been those of her own household. For her defence, she requires but an open field and fair play, adopting the words of Ajax, Ποιησον δ' αιθρην, δος δ' οφθαλμοιοιν ιδεσθαι. If in these circumstances she fails, she ought to fail; for a bad cause only could meet with discomfiture. But true religion, wherever it be found, can be in no danger from a knowledge of the Creator-of his works—of man-of his capacities, duties, and expectations; for to know these things, is to know the will of God, and the way to serve him, and with such knowledge, every revelation, if true, must be in harmony. A little knowledge, it is true, may be injurious to truth; but in those cases only where the tongue outruns the judgment, and the decisions of the mind are too rapid to wait for thorough enlightenment. The work whose title we have placed at the
head of these remarks, proceeds from a Society to whom the people are deeply indebted. “The Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge," has already done much to relieve the Christian religion from the burden under which its injudicious friends had placed it. Great, almost beyond measure, would be the praise due to them, had they only effected the reformation of almanacks, by the publication of "the British Almanack,” in which useful and valuable information takes the place of the absurdities which formed the chief part of all almanacks, and which still form the chief part of more than one-absurdities which tended to demoralize the people, and to rivet the bonds of superstition. But the Society has also published a series of essays on the various sciences, on history, and on biography. They. are, indeed, yet incomplete; and they are also of unequal merit. The pieces of a scientific character are not, we
think, suited to the class of readers for whom they were intended; they want simplicity of language, felicity of illustration, and are altogether too technical, not to say abstruse, to be generally useful to those who, without much preparation, are beginning to master the elements of science. But we are enabled to speak in terms of unqualified praise, of the historical and biographical essays, which, for excellence of matter and manner, and for cheapness in price, (in which, beyond all comparison, they excel every modern production in this kingdom, and a most important feature is this in works designed for the people,) we recommend to our readers, assured, that they will bless the day when they first began to cultivate an acquaintance with productions so beneficial in their tendency. In respect of matter and execution, as well as of cheapness, the library of entertaining knowledge bids fair to surpass its elder brother. Of the last particular mentioned, our readers may judge from the fact, that the first number, price 2s. contains above two hundred pages closely printed, on good paper, and with a good type, illustrated by more than 40 wood cuts, taken from living animals, and well executed. As to the matter, we have to remark, that no science, not even history itself, contained, as set forth in popular works, more apocryphal matter than Zoology. Unauthenticated tales have been allowed to remain in circulation; false notions of the qualities and dispositions of animals, have prevailed to a degree credible only to those who have attended somewhat carefully to the subject. In the work now before us, however, we have a complete reformation. Vulgar errors are corrected; nothing but what is known on good authority, is set forth. In the menagerie of the library of entertaining knowledge, you see animals as they are, not as imagination and fear have represented them.
We have also been particularly pleased, that the thoughts of the reader are frequently directed from the works of the Creator, to the Creator himself
, thus associating and blending in the youthful mind, the idea of God his wisdom and his goodness, with its earliest acquisitions. Some instances occur, in which the writer takes occasion to illustrate the Scriptures; and with few of these, the readers of the
Christian Pioneer may not be displeased. In the first place, we have ourselves an application to make of a fact stated in the work. The prophet Isaiah uses the following language: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; and
the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Many may have thought that the literal realization of what the prophet here predicts, was, in the nature of things, impossible; but the interesting extract we are about to make, will show to what an extent animals of the most hostile dispositions, may, by the force of education, be brought to live together in harmony. Hence, we may draw a hope, that the time will come, when Calvinists even and Unitarians, shall live together in peace, and Dr. Wardlaw himself regret to have penned the illmannered and bad-tempered paragraph, in which he took leave of the readers of the Christian Pioneer. In London may be daily seen, a cage about five feet square, containing quadrupeds and birds of the most opposite natures. “The keeper of this collection, John Austin, states, that he has employed 17 years in this business of training creatures of opposite natures, to live together in content and affection; and those years have not been unprofitably employed. It is not too much to believe, that many a person wbo has given his halfpenny to look upon this show, may have had his mind awakened to the extraordinary effects of habit and discipline, when he has thus seen the cat, the rat, the mouse, the hawk, the rabbit, the guinea pig, the owl, the pigeon, the starling, and the sparrow, each enjoying its respective modes of life in the company of the others: the weak without fear, the strong without the desire to injure.” At page 44, the writer, after remarking that during winter, the dogs of the Esquimaux are treated with great severity and almost starved, adds, “ The princes of the Trojan war, allowed their dogs to wait under their tables, to gather up the remains of their feasts. In the 23d book of the Iliad, it is mentioned, that Patroclus had no fewer than nine such humble retainers. The same princes, too, as we learn in the 10th book of the Odyssey, carried home to their dogs the fragments which fell from the tables of their entertainers. In allusion, probably, to this custom, the woman of Canaan says, “The dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” “The Esquimaux dogs do not bark, and this is a peculiarity of many varieties of the dog. Probably this is an effect of high as well as low temperature, for it rarely obtains in temperate countries." The prophet Isaiah alludes to this peculiarity, in his denunciation of idle instructors, They are dumb dog,
and cannot bark.'” « From the earliest times, the doge of the East, appear to have been without masters. The following passage in the 59th Psalm, evidently refers to this custom, · At evening let them return, and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city, Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied."" This passage is explained by Homer, by a reference to the fact just mentioned.
“ The fox has been a destroyer of vineyards, from the earliest times.” Thus, in Solomon's Song, “ Take in the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines;" and thus also is seen the propriety of the good old fable of the fox and the grapes.
We conclude our notice of this valuable little work, a work equally suited to the young of all classes, by the following quotation :-" The study of comparative anatomy, from which science we have collected this account of some of the peculiarities of the structure of the lion, constantly presents objects of interest. Galen, when studying human anatomy, was so struck with the perfection with which all the parts of the human arm and hand are adapted to one another, that he composed a hymn to the Deity, expressing his admiration of a piece of so much excellence. The more we extend our researches into the animal kingdom, the more shall we be struck with this extraordinary adaptation of the parts of living bodies to their respective uses- 3—the more shall we be convinced, by our own imperfect knowledge, of the perfection of that Wisdom and Power, whose works are as marvellous as they are unbounded.”
G. C. S.
The Character and Writings of Fenelon.
[HAVING just received from Dr. Channing, the following admirable remarks (reprinted from the Christian Examiner) suggested by “ Selections from the Writings of Fenelon, published in Boston, by “ A Lady,” we this month extend the number of our pages, in order to give a portion of this interesting article.- Edit]
An attractive and quickening work on practical religion, we regard as a valuable accession to our literature. Indeed, any thing written with power on Christian morals and theology, is most welcome. It is too true, and a sad truth, that religious books are pre-eminently dull. If we wished to impoverish a man's intellect,
we could devise few means more effectual, than to confine him to what is called a course of theological reading. The very subject to which, above all others, the writer should bring his whole strength of thought and feeling, which allies itself to our noblest faculties—to which reason, imagination, taste, and genius, should bring their richest tribute, and consecrate their noblest efforts, is, of all subjects, treated most weakly, tamely, and with least attractions. Of course, there are splendid exceptions, but we speak of the immense majority of theological books. It is wonderful how men can think and write upon religion to so little effect.
That a theme so vast, so sublime as Christianity, embracing God and man, earth and heaven, time and eternity, connected intimately with all human history, deriving lights from all human experience, admitting application to the whole of human life, and proposing, as its great end, the everlasting progress of the soul—that such a subject should be treated so monotonously, as to be proverbially dull—that its professed explorers should be able to plant their footsteps so exactly in the track of their predecessors-that the boundlessness of the field should so seldom tempt an adventurous spirit from the beaten way, is wonderful, and might seem a miracle to a man unacquainted with the vassalage which has broken down the mind in the department of religion. It is true, that those who write on this topic, are accustomed to call it sublime; but they make its sublimity cold and barren, like that of mountain tops, wrapped in everlasting snows. We write this, not in severity, but in sorrow of heart; for we despair of any great progress of the human character or of society, until the energies of the mind shall be bent, as they seldom have been, on those most important subjects and interests of the human mind, morals and religion.
As a striking proof of the poverty of religious literature, and of the general barrenness of the intellect when employed in this field, we may refer to the small amount of original and productive thought in the English Church, since the days of Barrow and Taylor. Could our voice be heard in England, we would ask impartial and gifted men, more familiar with their country's history than ourselves, to solve the problem, how a Protestant Establishment, so munificently endowed with the means of improvement, should have done so little, in so long a period, for Christianityshould have produced so few books to interest the higher order of minds? Let not these remarks be misunderstood, as if we were wanting in respect and gratitude to a Church, which, with all its defects, has been the bulwark of Protestantism-which has been Illustrated by the piety and virtues of such men as Bishops Wil. -son, Berkeley, and Heber and in which have sprung up so many institutions consecrated to humanity and to the diffusion of the Christian faith. We mean not to deny it the honour of having fostered talent in various forms and directions. Among the English clergy, we find profound and elegant scholars; we find the names of those giants in ancient learning, Bentley and Part, and a crowd of proficients in palite literature, of whom Hurd and Jortin are honourable representatives. We speak only of the deficiency of their contributions to moral and religious science.