Imatges de pÓgina
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them up; and for this obvious : reason, that the ideas we form should have names. To communicate ideas by description should be the work only of children, and we conceive that it will be difficult to find a word synonymous to either of the words above recited, if scripturally understood. In this case, especially, where the words in question are the only proper names of the richest blessings in the gift of God, the arguments must be strong, indeed, which shall induce us to resign them.

The reasons urged for the disuse of all these theological barbarisms are too powerful to be overlooked. They are these; the more easy conduct of religious conversation in mixed companies; the more satisfactory vindication of evangelical religion from the charge of fanaticism; the exposure of mere hypocrisy, by stripping it of that religious cant which it puts on and wears, as the proper livery of a Christian, in the drapery of which the body and limbs of corruption can so effectually be hid; the necessity which many sincere Christians would immediately feel of more precision in their principles; and the prevention of that unhappy impression made on the minds of men of cultivated taste, by a recurrence of barbarisms, as unnecessary as they are grating.

On the last of these reasons we remark, that beside the apology mentioned in the ensuing letter, theological writers are often ready to urge two singular considerations in defence of the peculiarity of their dialect. The first is, that their writings are intended for the benefit of all; and, as the ignorant are the majority,

they are obliged to leave the level of men of taste, and conform their language and their thoughts to humbler views and more vulgar capacities. This answer is founded on a mistake. When we urge theologians to write good classical English, we do not, as they seem to think, ask for any peculiar elevation of language; we are not petitioning for what has strangely been called the sublime style, a style which derives its sublimity from its being seen, like an object from the top of a precipice, at a great depth below us, and which is most happily ridiculed in the following letter. We ask for no Roman conformities, no latinized barbarisms, no stateliness on stilts. These intruders, so uncongenial to Saxon frankness and Saxon vigour, not all the authority of Johnson was ever able to naturalize.

In answer to this consideration, we observe, that the kind of writing, which taste and criticism patronize, is the writing which is most intelligible to all classes of people. All men understand the Spectator and the Tatler. Dryden's Prose, perhaps the most beautiful of which our language can boast, is, if possible, the plainest; and the Pilgrim's Progress, or even the clumsiest work that can be selected, is not more intelligible to a little child, than that model of taste and elegance, the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain.

But we have another reply. The scriptures were, if any book ever was, written for all classes of people. Herdsmen and shepherds, fishermen and tent makers, were among the persons employed to compose

them; men who possessed no greater advantages than other herdsmen and other tent makers. If then this defence be just, we ought to look into their writings, at least, for examples of coarse and vulgar language, for low comparisons, for mixed and clumsy metaphors. For certainly it will not be said that he, who dictated them emphatically for the poor and the needy, did not know the best language for his purpose. Search the Bible throughout, however, and you find no example of any condescension in the style of its language to the intellect of ignorance. And yet it is called, by the highest authority, "a way in which way-faring men, though fools, need not err."

The second consideration, which these writers allege is, that the importance of their errand ought of itself to command attention, and that they were not sent, nor are bound, to gratify the fastidiousness and delicacy of men of taste. We readily acknowledge with Mr. F. the high importance of the subject which they handle; but neither these writers nor ourselves feel it more forcibly than an ancient, divine of some celebrity who declared, "I was inade all things unto all men, that I might by all means save some;" "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world stands;" nor than he who declared, "It is impossible but that offences will come, but wo unto him by whom they come !" He who preached the Sermon on the Mount; he who told the story of the Prodigal and of Laz

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arus ;-but we need not particularize; he who dictated the scriptures of truth, seems to have known full well, the valueof taste, and to have been willing to win those, who cultivate it by examples of beauty and tenderness, of rhetorical and moral sublimity, superior to all the world has ever witnessed. And he seems thus to have furnished a model for his friends to copy.

A third ground of defence for the peculiarity of their diction, taken by these writers, is, that it has grown out of the language of the Bible.

Mr. F's reply to

this allegation is full and satisfactory, but too long to be transcribed, and too complete to be abridged. He is of opinion that passages of the scriptures, cited as such, are attended with an authority and a venerableness wholly peculiar; but is not willing to allow the same importance to combinations of words made in an intentional resemblance of the characteristic language of that book,

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"Scriptural phrases," he remarks, pression, when modified and vulgarcan no longer make a solemn im ized into the texture of a language, which taken all together is the reverse of every thing that can attract deed remind one of prophets and or command. Such idioms may inapostles, but it is a recollection, which prompts to say, who are these men that, instead of seriously introof those revered dictators of truth, ducing at intervals the direct words seem to be mocking the sacred language by a barbarous imitative diction of their own? They may affect the forms of a divine solemnity, but there is no fire from heaven. They bush, but it is without an angel. Let may shew something like a burning the oracles of inspiration be cited con

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tinually, both as authority and illustration, in a manner that shall make the mind instantly refer each expression that is introduced, to the venerable book from which it is taken; but let our part of religious language be simply ours, and let those oracles retain their characteristic form of expression unimitated to the end of time."

We never more sincerely regretted the narrowness of our limits, than throughout the

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whole of this fourth letter. contains a general survey of the evangelical writers of England. We have no where met with a more finished specimen of sound criticism, and bold, masterly eloquence.

The remainder of the Essay is devoted to the following subject: The effect which a fondness for the polite literature of Greece, Rome, and modern Europe, has had on the diffusion of evangelical religion. The same vigour of thought, the same brilliancy of imagination, the same proofs of piety, pervade the whole of it. From some of the opinions, however, we should dare to differ; but we cannot go into an examination of the various particulars.

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With regard to the style in which these Essays are written, our readers will be able to judge from the passages we have transcribed. For ourselves we frankly confess, that we had little time or inclination to think of it during the perusal. Still in instances not very rare we were obliged to proceed with deliberation and caution, and not unfre

quently to retrace our steps. We think obscurity is the prominent defect.

It is an opinion often expressed, that those things are the best said, which we, when we read or hear them, think we should have said in the same manner. Were Mr. F. to be judged by this law, the verdict must go against him. Few men, we conceive, can read his Essays, without feeling their own incompetency to say such things, or to say them so well. The truth is, the rule, if it ever be true, can never hold good when applied to subjects about which we are not accustomed to think. When a man's thoughts possess the originality, so strongly discernible in our author, they cannot fail to give the same cast to his expressions. And perhaps we cannot pay a truer or a more deserved compliment to the language, than when we remark, that it is just such language, as the thoughts spontaneously select. The conceptions

are animated and forcible; the images are brilliant and glowing; the addresses are eloquent and often sublime; and they rarely if ever lose any part of their dignity or grace by the kind of dress in which they are presented.

On the whole, we congratulate our readers and the community on the appearance of a work highly evangelical, and strictly classical; and while we fear that we shall not quickly see its like again, we recommend it without hesitation to men of sense, men of taste, and men of piety.

Religious Intelligence.

UNITED STATES.

An Account of the origin and progress of the mission to the Cherokee Indians, in a series of Letters from the Rev. Gideon Blackburn to the Rev. Dr. Morse.

REV. SIR,

LETTER V.

Maryville, Jan. 15, 1808.

HAVING established a second school on my own credit, and being solely accountable for its support, I wrote to the Committee of Missions on the subject, and received their answer, declaring that the scantiness of their funds would not allow them to extend their benevolence to that school, or in any shape be accountable for it; or even for any more of the cost of the first school than 200 dollars, as first stipulated; however, afterwards the appropriation was extended to five hundred dollars.

use of the limb, but also, by the keenness of the pain, and the quantity of the discharge, wasted my body, depressed my spirits, and broke my constitution.

Under these distresses, my family, parochial, or Indian duties, were performed with the utmost difficulty, and in pain too excruciating to be described by mortals.

My schools were increasing, my funds exhausted, my credit sinking, and my health to all appearance gone forever. The prospect was indeed gloomy! Just at this period a providential incident occurred, which invigorated my ebbing hope, and again saved the whole design from miscarriage. I had been obliged a little while before to purchase some sup

About this time my circumstances were truly embarrassing: I had the care of a congregation amongst the white people where I still live, which though pretty numerous were general-plies ly poor people, and being settled in a new country for several years had been much harassed by depredations and wars by the Indians; and still later by a circumstance relative to our boundary line; the people had settled south to an experimental line supposed to be the proper one: but when run by commissioners appointed by government, was considerably altered. Those southwest of the line were removed off and placed amongst those on the other side, where they continued a whole season. This so affected the whole neighbourhood composing my charge, that neither then or since have they been able to pay any thing considerable for the support of the gospel. I had also a rising and helpless family for which provision must be made : and by fatigues, and being exposed to cold, hunger, and wet, together with all the wretchedness of savage accommodations in my visits to the nation, and the severity of toil and hard labour at home, I was attacked with a complaint, which, settling in one of my legs, not only deprived me of the

for the schools, which I procured in the nation from an Indian countryman on a short credit. But a little before the period, supposing I was always ready, he forwarded my due bill for payment by an Indian, with whom I knew the establishment of my credit was indispensable. Money I had none, nor was there ten dollars to be gathered in the village where I live, as it was just at the time of the merchants making their annual remittances, and every cent which could be collected was sent off, and I was unable to ride in search of any in the neighbourhood. I detained the messenger for breakfasting, &c. much longer than usual, in order to lay the case before God in solemn prayer, as I knew the existence of the whole was in jeopardy, if my credit failed with the nation. After returning by the help of my crutches from the silent grove, I felt a confidence that something would be done, though I knew not how it could be effected. I took my pen, and was about to write to a friend for the loan of 40 dollars, the sum required. At that instant

a gentleman called at my gate. As
I walked out my heart felt some unu-
sual emotions; he presented me a
letter, and immediately retired. I
knew by the hand writing it was from
a friend in Philadelphia. Hastily
opening it, I found enclosed a bank
note of 50 dollars, accompanied with
the following note: "After reading
your letter of
date to some

friends last evening, a gentleman call-
ed at my door early this morning
and handed the enclosed, to be used
at your pleasure, but wishes his name
concealed."

Thus the Lord enabled me to redeem my note, dismiss the Indian with pleasure and in full confidence

of my resources, and thus, by saving my credit, preserved the institution from ruin.

Through many such mysterious steps has divine Providence led in the management of this undertaking, especially until the spring of 1806, when in a tour to the south I collected upwards of 1500 dolls, and at the same time was relieved almost miraculously from my bodily afflictions. Mercies never to be forgotten, to the praise of sove. reign grace. May they be indelibly imprinted on my recollection, bringing me nearer to the throne of grace, until mortality is swallowed up of life. I am, &c.

GIDEON BLACKBURN.

Literary Intelligence.

UNITED STATES.

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE.

To the Patrons of Literature and Religion.

THE President and Fellows of Middlebury College, in the State of Vermont, respectfully represent the situation of the Institution under their immediate trust and guardianship, and solicit the opulent and liberal to aid them in promoting the interests of Literature and Religion. The Legislature of Vermont, having considered that the State was almost wholly destitute of the means of education, granted, A. D. 1800, to a number of individuals, the Charter of a College at Middlebury; but were unable to extend to it the hand of public bounty.

A commodious building for the accommodation of students was imme. diately prepared. A well selected Library of near seven hundred volumes, and a small Philosophical Apparatus, have been procured for the use of the students. Competent Instructors are obtained and permanently established. Forty-six alumni of the College have been admitted to the Degree of Bachelor of Arts. The number of under graduates is about sixty. The progress of the Institution has more than equalled the expectations of the most sanguine of its friends. It has depended for its suc

cess upon the liberality of private gentlemen, but has not yet received any adequate endowment. The State of Vermont is new. The inhabitants, generally, are indigent, and none are wealthy. The population, (which is rapidly increasing) amounts, at pres. ent, to two hundred thousand. The State is furnished with but few Academies, or good Schools for the education of youth. The number of Christian Preachers, of every denomination, is very small; and by far the greater part of the inhabitants of the State have not the gospel dispensed to them. Middlebury College is the chief resort of those youths who seek an education superior to what can be obtained at the common schools. A large proportion, as well of those who have received the bonors of the College, as of the present under graduates, are serious yourg men, who are endeavouring to qualify themselves to become teachers of religion.

To this Institution the hopes of the friends of religion within the State are directed, for the supply of the destitute churches and people with well qualified preachers of the gospel. The friends of the Institu tion are animated with the success

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