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The following embraces, in a brief space, valuable facts and conclusive argument, and is from the port-folio of an able writer and ripe scholar :
In a volume denominated 'Pensées de Leibnitz,' or "Thoughts of Leibnitz,' I find the following very just observations upon what thai Newton of Germany calls ancienneté du dogme de l’immortalité de l'âme, or the antiquity of the dogma of the soul's immortality.
Monsieur Toland a prétendu dans un de ses ouvrages, que le dogme de l'immortalité de l'âme étoit une invention des Egyptiens. Mais il est très évident que les Grecs des âges les plus reculés ont crue cette même immortalité. Elle étoit aussi reconnue par les Druides Gaulois, suivant le témoignage de Lucan. Les peuples de la Virginie, dans l'Amerique, croient que les âmes des morts habitent au delà d'une haute chaîne de montagnes. Et qui ne sait pas que l'opinion de la mètempsychose, que suppose evidemment l'immortalité de l'âme, est tres ancienne dans les Indes.'
Here we see that Leibnitz combats the opinion of Toland, that the doctrine of the soul's iminortality had its origin in Egypt, by alleging that it was prevalent in Greece from time immemorial, and that it prevailed also among the Druids of Gaul, and still subsists among the American Indians, as well as the inhabitants of Hindosian. To this argument, may be added, that it is a doctrine which has been held by the Chinese, who pretend to trace back their history to a much more remote era than that in which Égypt was formed into a regular community, and that no nation has ever been discovered so savage and ignorant as not to recognise it, together with the belief in a God - not even the Patagonians and Hottentots. This universal belief, then, is a moral phenomenon, which it is the province of the philosopher to explain. How shall he account for it? If the Egyptians, or any other early civilized nation, had invented it, this would not have conveyed it to all mankind. Unless its foundation had been deeply laid in the principles of human nature, it would soon have passed away, among those delusions which time and advancing science invariably destroy. Instead of this, Science, when she brought it into controversy in the schools of Greece and Rome, although, as was to be expected, she produced her skeptics about this as about every other truth, yet upon the whole, enlisted her best sages in its behalf. Do not these considerations confirm the doctrine of immortality, and prove that all that Egypt did in this respect was not, as asserted by Toland, to invent it, but to add to the simple suggestions of nature the decorations of fancy, and give to the airy conceptions of men about it, a fictitious habitation and significant symbols ?
'Scene In A Wood' is evidently from an unpractised hand; but the writer has a heart to feel the beauties of Nature, and possesses a treasure in the quiet satisfaction with which he enjoys a communion with her visible forms. We subjoin an extract :
The changing shadows thickly fall around,
The gladdening wind
Which on a sunny summer day is hoard,
On the ground,
We counsel the author of these lines to study the best English models of poetry, and to revise with patient labor.
THE annexed, from the pen of a gentleman favorably known to the literary public, is submitted without comment :
REASON AND REVELATION.
To the Editors of the Knickerbocker:
GENTLEMEN : In Locke's Essay, B. 4., c. 19., sec. 4., you will find the following: *Reason is natural Revelation, whereby the eternal Father of light and fountain of all knowledge communicates to maukind that portion of Truth which he has laid within the reach of their natural faculties. Revelation is natural reason, enlarged by a new set of discoveries, communicated by God immediately, which reason vouches the truth of by the testimony and proofs it gives that they come from God. so that he who takes away Reason to make way for Revelation, puts out the light of both, and does much the same, as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes, the better to receive the remote light of an invisiblo star by a telescope.'
In this celebrated passage, you will observe that Locke makes Reason the criterion of Revelation. Let us admit this to be true. Then, whenever Revelation does not coincide with Reason, Revelation must be rejected.' I humbly conceive that if this were true, there would be little room for Faith. Locke says, that Reason is natural Revelation; and that Revelation is natural Reason, (however modified.)
In the first place, natural Revelation is a contradiction in terms; and in the second place, natural Reason can mean nothing more than Reason, since there is no other reason but natural. Locke must be understood to say, that Revelation is Reason enlarged by the Almighty; now when he says that Reason is enlarged by the Almighty, he can only mean that the things about which our reason is engaged, are multiplied and extended — not that Reason itself is enlarged, but only its objects. Revelation is the bringing out of hidden facts, not the enlargement of our reasoning faculties. Revelation, therefore, is not the enlargement of (natural) Reason by new discoveries. Beside, Locke makes Revelation to be Reason enlarged by new discoveries communicated by the Almighty, and then would have Reason try its validity. The enlarged Reason must be the judge of that which has enlarged it — of that which constitutes its very essence - which is impossible.
If I am wrong, I wish that Dr. BEASLEY, or some other of your able correspondents, would set me right.
The tyranny of space may not be resisted ; and we are compelled to close our drawer for the present, leaving many literary claims unliquidated.
WORK FOR AMERICAN COLLEGES. – We learn that Dr. BEASLEY, a learned divine and able metaphysician, of New-Jersey, has in preparation a volume for the use of colleges, which will make classes familiarly acquainted with metaphysical science — with all that has been discovered in it by others, as well as all that the capable author can communicate from his own liberal stores. The president of one of our first colleges has expressed his decided approbation of the work, and his intention at once to introduce it into the institution over which he presides. Dr. BEASLEY, it will be remembered, is the author of a cognate book, entitled “Search of Truth,' so highly and justly commended in these pages by Mr. Flint. Messrs. SWORDS, STANFORD AND COMPANY, of this city, are, we believe, the publishers of the volume in question.
MECHANIC AssocIATIONS. – If the numerous mechanic associations for improvement in useful knowledge, throughout the United States, are often favored with productions of similar merit to the one before us — in the shape of an 'Address delivered before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, at the celebration of their Triennial Festival in October last,' by Mr. James L. HOMER - we can very readily conceive how extensively influential for good such institutions may become. The writer has condensed a vast amount of valuable information into a comparatively brief space, and conveyed the reasoning of a man of sterling good sense, and the results of evident research, in language forcible, simple, and appropriate.
LIBRARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. — We commend to every American this most valuable series — unexceptionable and praiseworthy alike in matter and in execution. The history of Cotton Mather, in the last volume, by the author of the sketch of that celebrated worthy, recently published in these pages, is one of the most charming pieces of biography which it has ever been our fortune to peruse. Faithful to history, and voluminous in fact, with a vein of dry humor and oblique satire running through it, it will command the suffrages alike of the man who consults it for substantial information, and the mere reader for present enjoyment.
Frascati's, or SCENES IN Paris, is a work of very unequal merit. Parts of it are insufferably bald and heavy, while other portions are imbued with spirit and interest. Of this latter description, are the dupery of the author, through flattery of a well turned leg, by an accomplished swindler- the deception practised upon him by the pseudo rich widow - the affecting scene at the Morgue, and some of the scenes at Frascati's. The work is something above the middle flight' of transatlantic romance-mongers. Philadelphia : Carey and Hart. New-York : Canvills', and WilEY AND Long.
ANDREW THE Savoyard.— These volumes are clever, but in our judgment, they have been greatly over-estimated by the critics across the water. De Kock, the author, has been, if we may judge from this specimen of his powers, unjustly compared with writers who are as much above him in force of description and truth to nature, as he is below the standard to which a portion of the English and French press would elevate him. Still, the volumes will well repay perusal, and afford much gratification to the reader whose expectations of entertainment have not been raised too high. Philadelphia : CAREY AND Hart. New-York : Wiley AND Long.
PAPERS OF THE PICKWICK CLUB. — Boz, the author of this amusing volume, to the same school as the author of 'Little Pedlington.' He has a keen eye for the burlesque, and a Cruikshank-like facility and skill in imparting a whole character in mere outline. Laughter-moving, to a degree, are the histories of the corresponding members of the 'P. C.' – and we commend them to every reader as a certain remedy against blue devils, ennui, or dyspepsia. Philadelphia : CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD. New York: WILEY AND LONG.
AUTUMN LEAVES. - Such is the title of a recent volume, from the press of Mr. John S. Taylor. It consists of various poetical selections, mostly obtained, as we gather from the preface, from private manuscript books of extracts, 'never intended for publication, but compiled for the gratification of individual taste, and the preservation of literary gems from the wreck of the ephemeral works of the day. The compiler, Mr. Robert H. Gould, has shown good judgment in selection, and the publisher has evinced a proper appreciation of his labors, by the neat and tasteful manner in which the work is 'got up.'
REMARKS ON THE Four Gospels. — The Rev. Mr. Furness, an eloquent clergyman of Philadelphia, has in this volume furnished some of the most delightful illustrations of, and comments upon, the Christian Scriptures, which we remember ever to have perused. Doctrinal peculiarities aside, there is in this book so much of fervent piety so many evidences of various research, and thoughtful consideration of the New Testa
- that it will commend itself to the Christian of every sect. Philadelphia : CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD. New-York: G. AND C. Carvill.
THE AMERICAN Nun. — Messrs. Otis, BROADERS AND COMPANY, Boston, have published a small volume, entitled “The American Nun, or the Effects of Romance. The author is Mrs. L. LARNED, whose 'Sanfords, or Home Scenes,' 'Proselyte,' 'True Fairy Tale,' etc., have made favorably known to the public. It is intended to give a picture of the melancholy effects of monastic life on young and susceptible minds, and to portray the ruinous nature of convent discipline in general. The Catholics will not admire the book.
Holmes' POEMs. — A true poet, in manner original and unaffected, and abounding in spirit, humor, and pathos, is Oliver WENDELL HOLMES ; and had the beautiful volume which he has recently put forth but reached us seasonably, we should have made good these encomiums, by laying before our readers the liberal extracts we have pencilled. As it is, we can do no more than heartily to recommend the work to every reader of true sensibility and taste. Boston: Otis, BROADERS AND COMPANY.
HARRY O’REARDON, OR ILLUSTRATIONS OF Irish Pride, is the title of a most graphic and admirable story, written by Mr. S. C. Hall for a London magazine, and eked out into a volume, 'by the hardest,' by Messrs. CAREY AND Hart, Philadelphia. If natural description, affluent language, and true pathos, are marketable commodities, the volume cannot fail to command a large sale.
The RAMBLER IN Mexico. — LATROBE's 'Rambler in America,' which for numerous excellencies has secured enduring applause, has paved the way for a welcome reception of the volume before us, which is characterized by kindred attractions, both of matter and style, and hy that air of authenticity and sincerity for which the writer is distinguished. Harpers'.
' East and West.' – This work, just published in two volumes, proceeds from the pen of the author of 'Clinton Bradshaw,' which acquired for the writer a fair share of fame, and has passed to a third edition. A lack both of time and space precludes other notice of the work than this brief announcement, until our next number.
THE DESULTORY MAN. -- We convey implied praise of these volumes, just published by the Brothers Harper, when we state that they are by James, author of 'Richelieu,' 'De L'Orme,' etc. Farther than this, not having found leisure to even glance at the work, we do not deem ourselves qualified to pronounce.
Harvardiana,' a monthly magazine, proceeding from Harvard College, does honor to the students of that venerable institution. Like its contemporary of old Yale, it has variety, talent, and discrimination in matters of taste, to recommend it to favorable regard.
***'Ollapodiana,' and one or two other valuable papers, prepared for the present number, are reluctantly omitted, by reason of its carly publication, which is rendered necessary by improvements effecting for the ensuing volume.
T The reader's attention is requested to the Advertisement of the New Volume, on the third page of the cover of the present number.