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NEW YORK, March 9, 1857.
Louis Napoleon has introduced a new kind of state-paper, racy as a vaudeville; it is too witty.1 Addison calls my attention to the remarkable revolution, which, under the Palmerston rule, is going on in the English sees, in favour of Evangelicalism. Both archbishops and the three leading bishops are now on that side. I find "grand-daughter" in Webster and Worcester; the only authorities I have. Mr. B., of Leavenworth, Kansas, writes to me that the new houses building there, are "hundreds." He also says, if things go on so for two years, that the region 200 miles west of the east border will be the most thickly peopled portion of the Western States. Mr. M. bought $500 worth of Ïand on the site of Milwaukee, thirteen years ago. Its sworn value now is $400,000. The Ferguson who wrote "America by Rail and Steam," is a banker and a deacon of Dr. Hamilton's. He has been here on a second visit.
There is something very striking in the prayer, with which St. Augustine commonly closed his sermons : "Conversi ad Dominum, Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, puro corde, Ei, quantum potest parvitas nostra, maximas atque uberes gratias agamus: precantes toto animo singularem mansuetudinem ejus, ut preces nostras in beneplacito suo exaudire dignetur; inimicum quoque a nostris actibus et cogitationibus sua virtute expellat, nobis multiplicet fidem, mentem gubernet, spirituales cogitationes concedat, et ad beatitudinem suam perducat: per Jesum Christum Filium suum, Dominum nostrum, qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen." It is beautiful Latin, and much more full of matter than "a Prayer of St. Chrysostom." Its first words, with an " &c.," so often close the "Conciones," that I presume he always used it. Augustine is the only father of whom I read much; and the more I read, the more I perceive that if you leave out predestination and justification by faith, his scheme, and that of the Catholic Church of his day, was just that which Pusey would restore. Nothing can be more garbled and misleading, than the centos given by Milner.*
1 I suppose the allusion is to the Emperor's speech, at the opening of the Chambers in 1857. The "wit" must be in the sentence where, in reference to the inundations, it is said: "I make it a point of honor, that in France rivers, like revolutions, must return to their beds, or that they must not leave them."
I had insisted that such a purist as he should follow the old standard dictionaries, which give but one din this word.
3 In the "Book of Common Prayer."
* In the New York "Journal of Commerce," of March 10, there is a free translation, with comments, from Horace, Ode 24, Book 3, in application to the vices of the age, which I think I cannot be mistaken in attributing to Dr. Alexander.
NEW YORK, April 27, 1857.
Addison preached for me yesterday, though I think I could have preached once myself. My chief annoyance is a difficulty of breathing, oppression, or strangling sensation, which comes on at times, and especially at night. While Hugh Miller's new book contains lots of things which I do not believe, it has some -many-of the sublimest views respecting creation and redemption, that I ever met with. Some of his sweeps of high description are inimitable. Yet he always says ere for before, and mayhap for perhaps. The biographies by Macaulay, in several numbers of Harper, are worth reading; they are from the last (8th) edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. In a life of Sir H. Davy, by Rogers, it is said, (1812, &c. :) "A certain change (it must with regret be owned) came over his state of mind, tarnished his serenity, and gradually, though imperceptibly, weakened his scientific zeal. It was to be ascribed solely, we believe, to the severe ordeal of exuberant but heartless popularity, which he underwent in London. The flatteries of fashionable life. . . . . by degrees attached Davy to the fashionable world, and loosened his ties to the laboratory, which had been to him the sole and fit scene of his triumphs." We have a cold easterly drizzle-as yet more wind than rain. Addison visited his native house on his birthday, and ate an ice-cream in what was my father's study. I distinctly remember the day J. A. A. was born.3
When Peter Cunningham shall have digested all Walpole's Letters into one chronological series, with the promised notes, it will be the richest collection of gossip in the world. Some one of my congregation visits the Holy Land, every year, at least. Lord Napier is surveying our town.
I have seldom been more pained by a thing of the kind than by your account of S., [lost at sea.] Poor little S.! We remember him as coming into our sick chamber in 8th street [Philadelphia] to show his little fat leg. Poor mother! I earnestly hope she will have spiritual indemnity. Mrs. H. was buried yesterday. She was free from extreme suffering towards the last. Mr. J., a good friend of ours, has died of dreadful disease of the heart. How voluminous would be the list of the dead
1 On the 9th April he had written: "I am laboring under a very painful irritation of throat and fauces." He was able to preach but twice in April, and four times in May. His cough had then become so threatening, that a voyage seemed to be the only resort that promised permanent relief.
2 "The Testimony of the Rocks."
3 The house was in Lombard street, Philadelphia; the date was April 24, 1809.
whom we have known; and how strangely some of them pass out of mind!
Dr. B. used to read Voltaire as the best Christians read the Bible. Mrs. B. often said to me that the only comfort she had was in going to church, and that she looked forward to this all the week. I have often pondered on this and hoped it might prove to be the case with many whom we overlook in estimating the value of Divine service.
There is a certain point at which a man's mishaps operate against him, much as if they were moral delinquencies.
NEW YORK, May 26, 1857.
To-morrow, it may be presumed, will be too busy for writing. I take to-day therefore for farewells to you and all your house. My address is: W. A. and G. Maxwell & Co., Liverpool.1 Every thing preparative has been ordered very favourably. There is something serious in such separations, which I feel just now; in better moments we will remember one another.2
1 Dr. Alexander, accompanied by his wife and youngest child, embarked in the steamer Baltic, for Liverpool, May 27th.
2 The frequent allusions which have occurred in the letters of this and other chapters, to their writer's interest in the American Tract Society, will make acceptable the following notice communicated to me by the Rev. Dr. Hallock, one of its Secretaries:
"The memory of Dr. James W. Alexander is precious to the Executive Committee and officers of the American Tract Society. As his father, Dr. Archibald Alexander, was, from the formation of the Society in 1825 till his death in 1851, an unwavering friend, supporter, and counsellor, making valuable contributions to the list of its publications by his pen, and acting for three years as a member of its Publishing Committee, so the son, in similar relations and by almost all the same means, gave the Society his cordial and efficient co-operation.
When, in 1842, a public deliberative meeting of the Society's Board and friends was held for three days in the Broadway Tabernacle, Dr. James W. Alexander, who was then at Princeton, communicated an able document on a momentous topic, with the bearing of which his wide range of reading and observation made him familiar, 'THE EVILS OF AN UNSANCTIFIED LITERThe document was read to the meeting by the Rev. Dr. Potts, and was published in a volume comprising ten other documents presented at that meeting, and a record of its proceedings.
"In 1845, when Dr. Archibald Alexander retired from his labours as a member of the Society's Publishing Committee, Dr. James W. Alexander, who was then pastor in New York, was elected as his successor; and fulfilled the duties of the office for three years, when the pressure of his official duties in the ministry compelled him to retire, and the Rev. Dr. Magie succeeded him in that office.
"Dr. James W. Alexander, soon after the establishment of the American Messenger, in 1842, commenced writing for it valuable but anonymous articles, which were continued, from time to time, to the number of thirty or forty articles, all on great and momentous themes pertaining to the com
mon salvation. In this way alone, addressing each month not far from two hundred thousand families, he conveyed messages of Christian love to millions of men quite beyond the reach of his preaching or other written works.
"The Society published in their series his excellent tract on Revivals of Religion; showing that by true revivals of religion God is glorified, the plan of redemption accomplished, the Church raised to its highest prosperity, and that such an extension of the Church is demanded by the present state of our nation; embodying, with singular discernment, a brief, comprehensive sketch of the history of revivals from Apostolic days.
"The Society also publish his volume of seventeen revival tracts, originally issued under the modest title of "Wayside Books," in successive numbers during the progress of the revival of 1858, when, in his high position as pastor of the church in the Fifth Avenue, he wished not only to benefit his own people, but others, by bearing his testimony in favour of the good work, but to give individual souls in the various stages of awakening or quickening under Divine influence, the needed instruction, counsel, and guidance.
"The very titles of these seventeen tracts (one of them written by an intimate fellow-labourer in the ministry) show their high evangelical character and aim, and the wide range of usefulness to which they are adapted, and in which they will doubtless long continue to give what may be almost regarded as their author's dying testimony to the truth and excellency of the gospel of Christ. They are: The Revival; Seek to Save Souls; Pray for the Spirit; The Unawakened; Harden not your Heart; Varieties in Anxious Inquiry; Looking unto Jesus; God be merciful to me a Sinner; O for more Feeling; Have I come to Christ? My Teacher, my Master; My Brother; Sing Praises; The Harvest of New York; Compel them to Come in; Help the Seaman; To Firemen.
"As counsellors in all questions of doubt and perplexity, Dr. James W. Alexander and his father were uncommon men-single-hearted, far-seeing, calm, practical, judicious-and favoured was the friend, the benevolent institution, the congregation, the church, or the community, who could resort to them and receive their heaven-guided lessons of wisdom. Pleasant were they on earth, and it is a cheering anticipation that we may meet them with all the redeemed in the world above."
LETTERS DURING HIS SECOND VISIT TO EUROPE 1
LIVERPOOL, June 11, 1857.
THROUGH God's mercy we arrived here in safety on the 7th, after what seamen call a very favourable passage. We found valuable friends on board, and have also found numerous acquaintances of ourselves or our friends, in this town. I had really forgotten how cool the weather is here. We have been under the necessity of having fires every evening, and I shudder with cold most of the time. Though my cough is less, it has not left me. We have just returned from the Exhibition of the "Art Treasures" at Manchester-sixty miles going and returning since morning; so much for English railways. The structure itself is fine, and much resembling the Crystal Palace. The value of the paintings is reckoned by scores of millions of pounds. Every great public and private collection in England has given its gems. Without being a connoisseur I was ravished with the sight of the great works of the greatest masters. Twenty or thirty Raphaels! English aristocracy owns more of Italian art than Italy itself. Among the moderns, I was not prepared to be so delighted as I am with Sir Joshua Reynolds. All his great works are here. You learn to recognize them at once, and their gracefulness is indescribable. The gallery of water-colours opens quite a new field of art to me. Few of the sculptures awaken me much. Canova's all seem to be injured by mannerism. I more admire Chantrey, Marshall, and Gibson. Hogarth's paintings added very little to my pleasure in his engravings. Gainsborough's best pieces are enchanting.
1 In making up this chapter I have followed the same course as in the letters of the visit of 1851, and for the reasons given in the prefatory note of Chapter XI.