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We take one more extract from this volume, as an example of the felicity of style which enabled Dr. Greenwood to give a charm even to geographical delineation.
“Most peculiarly is the land of Canaan the land of the soul; the land which seems to be nearest heaven of any spot on earth, to those whose hopes are in heaven as the destination and rest of souls. How can it be otherwise, when it is recognized as the land in which the great dispensations of God were made known to men; on which the Son of God descended from heaven, and from which he ascended to his Father again? But look at it with a view to its geographical position alone, and see what a conspicuous place it occupies on the map of the world. Washed by the ultimate waves of the Mediterranean, the very name of which sea denotes its central locality, Palestine looks down over the long extent of its surface, glancing at the whole southern coast of Europe on the right, and the whole northern coast of Africa on the left. Near, on the right hand, are the shores and islands of classical Greece. Near, on the left hand, are the plains and pyramids of Egypt, wrapped in the clouds of ancient mystery, and never shadowed by the rain-clouds of heaven. Above, on the north, lies the great Syrian domain. Behind, toward the east, are the countries which are watered by the Euphrates and Tigris. Below, to the south, is the expanse of the Red Sea, cleaving its way through Egypt and Arabia, up within sight almost of the walls of Jerusalem, as if to offer a passage down its length to the whole Oriental world. Look on a map of the world as known to the ancients, and you perceive that the Holy Land occupies nearly the mathematical centre of that world. Look on a map of the round world as known to us, and you perceive that the Holy Land stands at the very threshold, by the avenues of the Mediteranean and Red Seas, between the European and American continents and the rich empires of the East." - pp. 376, 377.
We have multiplied our extracts, but we do not fear that we have satiated our readers. It is with a melancholy pleasure that we give them the opportunity of again perusing the words of one whose contributions in former years enriched, while his critical taste watched over, the pages of our journal.
E. S. G.
ART. VI. — CHEEVER'S WRITINGS.*
We have placed the first of these works of Dr. Cheever at the head of our article, rather to show that we are not unmindful of the production upon which many may think his reputation as an author will chiefly rest, than to give to it an extended review. It is the literary character of these books which we propose to examine, and our limits will not permit us to consider their theological bearings. The Lectures upon Bunyan and his famous allegory are a purely theological, and we may also with propriety say, sectarian work; and cannot be criticised, in justice either to the writer or the reviewer, except in connexion with the whole scheme of Orthodox theology. With proper time and space, this might not be a very severe task, for the work carries with it no overpowering logic; but, in its constant reference to dogmas, contents itself with assuming as matter of illustration according to the views of the author, what it does not undertake to prove to the minds of others. Dr. Cheever uses ideas and follows up associated images, to adorn and explain and amplify what is to himself true; but dra no consequential and connected inferences, that might enforce the assumptions upon less informed minds. There is but one sustained argument that we remember that on Justification, on page 427. For the rest, Dr. Cheever, though professing a zealous love for liberty of conscience and freedom of opinion, assumes in every line, with a most nonchalant and quiet air of infallibility, the incontrovertible nature of his own religious theories; as one might assume, in the concoction of a narrative of events supposed to take place while the sun was above the horizon, that objects would appear to all parties with the universal and unvarying hue of daylight. His very lan
* 1. Lectures on the Pilgrim's Progress, and on the Life and Times of John Bunyan. By Rev. GEORGE B. CHEEVER. Fifth Edition. New York: Edward Walker. 1846. 8vo. pp. 514.
2. Wanderings of a Pilgrim in the Shadow of Mont Blanc. By GEORGE B. CHEEVER, Ď. D. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1845. 12mo. pp. 166.
3. The Pilgrim in the Shadow of the Jungfrau Alp. By George B. CHEEVER, D, D. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1846 12mo
guage is in its whole tissue composed of the peculiar formulas, set phrases and conventional expressions, so long the vehicle of Orthodox doctrines. To those who sympathize with these peculiar views, all this will be well, and indeed to many such, the chief charm of the book ; but to others it tends to make it in just the same proportion unpleasant. It seems to us, however, that in the polemics of his profession the author's zeal is his prominent distinction. He appears to be actuated by a deep and unaffected enthusiasm, but he does not prepare himself for his task either with the "soft falling snows of persuasion” or the thunderbolts of logic. He is not on the great ocean of speculative warfare a frowning and tremendous threedecker, like Edwards, nor a gallant careering frigate, like Stuart, but a fast and bright painted yacht, tall-sparred and wide-winged, and streaming from tops and gaffs with telegraphic numbers, owner's signal, and ornamental flags. In view, indeed, of the perfect, unqualified devotion of every page and thought to exclusive tenets, we might not unjustly compare the book to one of the bemottoed, beflagged, belabelled craft that adorn processions, to promote the purposes of the authors of the pageant, by exciting patriotic feelings in general and their own partizan ideas in particular. Owing to this all-pervading peculiarity, the style of the book is as intimately connected with these doctrines, as the phraseology of a legal document with the purposes it is intended to effect. It is sui generis. As far as amenable to general criticism, it resembles exactly the other two volumes, and we shall therefore proceed to the consideration of them as more adapted to illustrate the literary powers and character of the author. We will first, however, extract a single passage from the “Lecture," as a favorable specimen of the work.
“Now in these dreams of Bunyan's own soul you may see clearly the materials, afterwards put more visibly into the symmetrical mould of Scripture imagery, of that grand and awful Dream of the Judgment, which the Man related to Christian in the House of the Interpreter. Almost all men have at times passed through something of the same experience; for conscience is often busy in the night-time, when the external business of the day prevented her work and claims from being attended to. We
go about the world in the day time, we see pleasant companions, we are absorbed in earthly schemes, the things of sense are around us, the world is as bright as a rain
bow, and it bears for us no marks or predictions of the judgment, or of our sins, and it holds no conversation with us on those subjects, and conscience is retired, as it were, within a far inner circle of the soul. But when it comes night, and the streets are empty, and the lights are out, and the business and dancing and gayety are over, and the pall of sleep is drawn over the senses, and reason and the will are no longer on the watch, then conscience comes out solemnly, and walks about in the silent chambers of the soul, and makes her survey and her comments, and sometimes sits down and sternly reads the record of a life that the waking man would never look into, and the catalogue of crimes that are gathering for the judgment. And as conscience reads, and reads aloud, and soliloquizes, you may hear the still deep echo of her voice reverberated through the soul's most secret unveiled recesses. Imagination walks tremblingly behind her, and now they two alone pass through the open gate of the Scriptures into the future and eternal world; for thither all things in man's being naturally and irresistibly tend; and there, as conscience is still dwelling upon sin, imagination draws the judgment, and the soul is presented at the bar of God, and the eye of the Judge is on it, and a hand of fire writes, as on the wall of the universe, Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting! Then, whatever sinful thoughts or passions, words or deeds, the conscience enumerates and dwells upon, the imagination with prophetic truth fills eternity with corresponding shapes of evil. Our dreams sometimes reveal our character, our sins, our destinies, far more clearly than our waking thoughts; for whereas by day the energies of our being are turned into artificial channels, by night our thoughts follow the bent that is most natural to them; and as man is both an immortal and a sinful being, the consequences both of his immortality and his sinfulness will sometimes be made to stand out in overpowering light, when the busy pursuits of day and of the world are not able to turn the soul from wandering towards eternity." - pp. 271, 272.
We have been disappointed in the other volumes before us; we do not think they satisfy the expectations that the author's profession and reputation would raise. They stop short in spirit and execution, as well as in their scope of classic atmosphere. The second volume asserts, in the outset, claims which are but imperfectly sustained, and makes good none that justify the pretension to extraordinary merit. As a work intended only to meet a narrow and given demand, or as a mere common-place book of its author's fancies, it might not be objectionable. But as a book of travels
Sermonizing in Books.
designed for the general eye, it is not what it pretends to be; as the work of a professed man of letters, it is not what it ought to be.
Much is said in the preface and introductory chapter of this volume, on the province and duty of the traveller. It is charged against the common herd, that, in travelling, they are 100 much given to seeing what is to be seen and hearing what is to be heard, and contenting themselves with making a faithful report thereof for the benefit of those who have not enjoyed the same opportunities. This common, but, as he thinks, very superficial course, our author repudiates, lest he should fail “ to connect with nature the eternal feeling and conscience of the soul.” He is determined, upon principle, " to sermonize" as much as he sees fit, let who will be pleased or displeased. Now fair notice being given in the outset, we may have less reason to complain in this particular case ; but it is clearly within the province of criticisın, to examine into the soundness of the principle and the results of the practice.
It is true, that all observations on external matters – “ free and careless pictures and incidents, lively stories, anecdotes, the talk of men, the wayward etchings of life and manners" – and even other more substantial fruits of a “pilgrimage,” would lose most of their value, if not finally made applicable to the purposes of the mind and heart. But it is generally more agreeable and useful for individuals to draw, in some measure, their own inferences and make their own application. It is rather a work of supererogation in the tourist, to hunt down to the last possible corollary such truths as passing scenes suggest. It is treating the reader with the onerous hospitality of the Esquimaux; who, laying the guest on his back, stuffs him with blubber, nor thinks his duty done, till he cuts off with his knise the last morsel projecting from the mouth of the gorged object of his kindness. One must have the stomach of an Esquimaux, and love his blubber and train oil too, to enjoy such superfluity of provision. A pertinent remark, a brief suggestion, even a thorough discussion of some interesting point, will add materially, in their place, to the value of any book. But a regular sermon upon every mountain-top, and a homily of whole chapters at once in every valley, are out of place in a book like this. And