Page images

Nye wyork

Literary Correspondence.

Prose Fictions-Purpose of their Authors-- The Religious fully ignored; and, since they must be confronted, it

Novel--Adara Bede-Beulah-Fool of Quality--From Dawn is best to be instructed as to their real character be. to Daylight-Impulse vs. Principle-The Samaritan-Pris

fore one comes to learn it from experience. Still, the on Sketches-Centenary of Methodism - New Books for

didactic purposes of the novel, and especially the Methodism-Our Sunday School Secretary-Irving and De

religious one, should be only incidental, though not, Quincy.

therefore, subordinate or secondary. All, or any one, One of the characteristics of the literaturo of the of Mrs. Stowe's novels, will illustrate this remark; present time is the prominent position occupied by for, while in each of them the story is comparatively prose fictions, and the extension of its designs beyond unimportant, their great excellence consists of certain mere amusement to practical and partisan purposes. successful illustrations of several phases of religious Both Dickens and Thackeray, the rival masters of character, and of the operation of deep religious the English novel, write with an ulterior purpose to emotions, and the indomitable energy of religious give direction to the public thought, and to quietly principles. The phenon

pomena of religious life present saturate the mind of the British nation with their a field for the exercise of the novelist's powers at own peculiar opinions and sentiments. To some ex once the richest and the least cultivated in all the tent the same was the case with Eugene Sue, though range of his subjects. probably he wrote rather from the fullness of his own In the comprehensive class of religious novels I dark and impassioned soul than with any definite would assign a distinguished place to Adam Bede; purpose as to the effects likely to be produced by his for, after all that has been said to the contrary, I utterances. The greatest of our native novelists, persist in not only classing it among religious novels, Mrs. Stowe, very evidently purposes something more but also in commending it as a book of healthful than to tell a good story when she arouses her genius moral tendencies. I might not, indeed, go so far as to frame those fictions that the whole world makes some who have placed it in Sunday school libraries, haste to read. That must be a very dull reader, in and recommended it for the reading of girls in their deed, who finds in “Uncle Tom” or “Dred” only a teens; but with those for whom such books are dewell-told negro story; or that does not find in the signed, its influence can not fail to be good. And “Minister's Wooing” a Beecherish dash against the while the religious elements of the book appear to traditional but much-abused theology of the Puri come up incidentally, and others than the more detans. Fiction has become a great power in the world, cidedly-religious characters to occupy the foreground and accordingly its aid is sought for the furtherance of the picture, yet the strongest light falls upon the of social purposes and the realization of the writer's characters and actions which go to illustrate the variant theories of society. It is also quite evident beauty and strength of religious principles. A book that nearly always this agency has been in the hands of the same class, though of a very different characof neither the truly wise nor good; yet even those ter, just now occupies the notable position of "the who have deprecated its ill-effects have been com last novel”-“BEULAH, by Augusta J. Evans.” The pelled to confess its vast capabilities, and so have writer is said to be a very young woman, of Mobilebeen led to inquire whether it may not be made to a Methodist, by the way—and I see the book is dedserve a better cause.

icated to a former valued friend of your correspondThe bad use to which fiction has been chiefly ap ent, Mrs. Seaborn Jones, of Columbus, whom the plied has occasioned a widely-prevalent dislike to fair authoress calls “my aunt." The book, as I reward that form of writing among those who have ceived it from the publishers-Derby & Jackson-is been especially careful of the public morality, and accompanied with a letter sheet of recommendations, all fictions have been denounced as of pernicious chiefly from southern pons, who praise it largely, tendency. But it is a bopeless attempt to endeavor though not without discrimination. Marian Harlan, in a reading age to shut out from our libraries, pub herself a popular novelist, compares it with Adam lic or domestic, all works of fiction, or if they are Bede, and styles the pair “the two best works of ficthere to prevent their being read. We accordingly tion recently written," noticing the further accidental find our Tract Society and Sunday School literature coincidence that each is the work of a Miss Evans. largely made up of stories professedly “founded on Rev. W. H. Milburn, who was once the writer's pasfacts," though as really fictions as any thing written tor, declares that “the reading of it can not fail since Robinson Crusoe. The religious novel which to do great good." Mr. “Sparrowgrass” Cozzens seems just now to be coming into favor is a decided makes it, on account of its southern origin, the occaimprovement upon these; for while the former design sion for a regular fire-eater's onslaught against ali edly give only partial, and, therefore, somewhat un who do not swear by the “peculiar institution;" and truthful, views of things, the latter surveys the whole Hon. W. H. Hilliard declares himself " charmed with field of vision, and considers whatever occurs in its the book," and also exults that “the south” could range. It begins to be understood, that though our produce so much excellence. All this sectionalism world is full of things that one bad better never be seems to me to be alike uncalled for and unworthy acquainted with, yet these things can not be success of its subject, for literary excellence has no peculiar

pse of

location, nor is it confined by sectional metes and farther Methodized by an “Introduction by the bounds.

Rev. Dr. Strickland, who seems to have become the Beulah is the early life-history of an orphan girl. recognized hierophant of exoteric Method tical litThe story is laid in the city of Mobile—its time the erature. Thus heralded and presented, “The Fool present decade. Its dramatis persone belong chiefly of Quality—Henry, Earl of Moreland,” comes before to the upper class of society as found in the southern the American public in a becoming dress-of types cities—mammon-worshiping men and frivolous, fash and paper—with a good prospect of a favorable reionable women; cultivated and thoughtful men, mov ception, and a wider range than was accorded to him ing easily in society with which they have no sym after his former advent. The

appearance of this pathy; and God-fearing women living among the work just now is only one of the many concurrent abominations of desolation, yet having their gar indications of the direction in which the popular ments undefiled; young men, gay, dissolute, and thought and taste are drifting. abandoned; and young women, vain, selfish, and In my "pile" I find a new volume entitled, “ From worthless. Ar these “Beulah” lives, labors, | Dawn to Daylight, by a Minister's Wife.” It is the and suffers—a strange compound of qualities-good, confessed but not proclaimed production of Mrs. and not wholly good-gifted, self-reliant—too proud, Henry Ward Beecher, a book of the Sunny sidetoo vain-with more of intellect than of heart—and Shadyside family, which had such a run some years yet enough of the latter to render its possessor most ago, and was supposed to have been long since miserable in the self-imposed desolation of sympathy" played out.” The story is located in your great to whom she doomed herself. From beginning to west, and like all its class, it is a tale of joys and almost the end it is a panorama of scenes of sorrow, sorrows—of empty purses and ill-supplied stores, unrelieved by a single green spot in the desert wastes compensated by opportunities to do good, and to be of pain. Its religious character is rather of the neg blessed by blessing. Though written as the record ative kind; the emptiness of fashionable religion is of “a friend” of the author, and published as the exhibited in grim caricatures, while the “e

work of “a minister's wife," it is evident that faith” is most horribly illustrated in the mind his the minister himself saw the manuscript before it went tory of the gifted orphan, yet in her teens, led away to the printer. If not, the “wife” has very happily by German and New England sophists. Still the succeeded in rivaling the “minister" himself. There book is one of great power, and valuable, especially is often a pleasure in looking back at departed hardas promising better things from the same gifted hand. ships, over which present sunshines cast a joyous

Most opportunely for the illustration of my posi- radiance, and one gratifies a venial personal pride tion as to the religious novel, and for my defense, if when in contrasting the past with the present the any of your more scrupulous readers should suspect improved condition of things appears as the results that your correspondent is in danger of going too far, of one's own cleverness. Besides the pleasure it will is the appearance just at this time-froin the press afford its readers, this book will also aid in pleading of Derby & Jackson-of an edition of Brooke's the cause of the poorly-fed and still more inade“Fool of Quality,” first printed in England nearly a quately-appreciated ministers. hundred years ago, and afterward issued in a some It is sometimes found that the contemplation of what abridged form by John Wesley, as a part of his human wretchedness and suffering, with the purpose “Christian Library," and commended by him “ to afford the needed relief, has a strange attractivethe most excellent work of the kind that he had ness for many minds. A disposition to succor the seen.” To prepare novels for the reading of his distressed is an instinct of human nature so strong people seems strangely inconsistent with the charac and active that when exercised it presently becomes ter of Wesley, as compared with the nature and a passion, which at length subordinates all others to tendency of that kind of literature, as generally es itself. Christianity gives it her most sacred sanction, timated by religious persons; and even during tho enjoining its exercise as a high duty, and promising life-time of that great evangelist many of his fol in return the most glorious recompense; while in it lowers were not well pleased that he had done so. the inborn chivalry of the soul finds its highest Dr. Adam Clarke tells us that when he read the work, pleasure and most complete development. In conit "sometimes made me laugh and sometimes cry, sidering the life and character of Iloward the philanand sometimes made me ready to go upon my knees;" thropist, I have often thought that passion as cerbut then with a forced philosophy he adds, “the tainly as religious principle impelled him in his career thought that it was a fiction, made me angry with of benevolence; and the same remark will apply with myself,” as though a fiction could not be quite as equal fitness to nearly all of his class. Nor does truthful in its representations and teachings as the this at all detract from their merits; for surely it can most literal records of-facts. For a long time the not increase the merits of doing good to perform it “Fool of Quality" has been out of print and almost painfully and against strongly-opposing impulses. entirely forgotten, and most likely its immunity from They who have most effectively administered to the complete oblivion and its late resuscitation is chiefly poor and suffering have not usually been distinguishowing to the fact that it found favor with the apostle ed for an unusual share of painful sympathy; and of Methodism. Recently the erratic Rev. Charles though all levity or even moderate hilarity would be Kingsley, of London, procured its republication, with incongruous in such a work, yet cheerfulness and a a long appreciative and commendatory preface from good condition of the nerves are valuable requisites, his own gifted hand; and from that edition the pres both as to himself and the objects of his beneficence, ent one is made-Americanized, perhaps, too, still for one who seeks to alleviate human wretchedness.


Formerly and in other countries works of this kind several years past the west has contributed a goodly were accounted the especial employment of religious number of books on this subject-wise and otherascetics, and even in Protestant England they were wise—and now the east is beginning to contribute for a long time considered as peculiarly an ecclesias her share. Carlton & Porter have just published a tical function. But from the time of Howard it has volume-“Sketches of New England Divines, by been otherwise; and though perhaps even in such Rev. D. Sherman"-which, though not exclusively cases Christianity has been the efficient though re Methodistical, is largely so, containing sketches of mote cause, yet very much has been done in relieving Jesse Lee, Hedding, Hibbard, Crowell, Pickering, human wretchedness by persons apparently very far Merritt, Fisk, Olin, and Bridge, and naturally emremoved from the influences of religion.

bodying a large amount of early Methodist history This subject, like every other of public interest, in New England. They also announce as “just has found a place in the literature of the day, and ready,” The Life of Rev. Dan Young, edited by Dr. we have just now a new contribution to this depart- Strickland, who is winning for himself the name of ment of current literature in the form of a volume the Belzoni of old Methodism. Of this old worthy, from the press of the Harpers—"The Diary of a now exhumed for embalming, we are told that he was Samaritan, by a Member of the Howard Association one of the working pioneers of Methodism in Massaof New Orleans." This “Diary” is a record of the chusetts, in both its spiritualities and its temporaliwriter's own experiences and observations, extending ties; and, as often was the case with men of his class, over a period of nearly twenty years among the fear he became a marked and a remarkable character. ful ravages of disease in that city of death—among Dr. Strickland is also preparing from original docuwhich he lived and labored and suffered with sublime ments the life of Rev. Jacob Gruber, for a long time patience and cheerfulness. The book is full of anec the patriarch of the old Baltimore conference, of dotes and incidents of deep and thrilling interest, whom more anecdotes have been related than almost which carry with them the evidence of their truth any other man. The book will probably be a comfulness, though stranger than the creations of fiction. panion to “Peter Cartwright,” equally rich in charMen are just waking up to a sense of the luxury of acteristics and incidents, but-it may be hopeda doing good, and that book will quicken the tendency trifle less extravagant. to its indulgence. The same publishers have also in A work of a somewhat different character, by the hand-somewhere in that uncertain stage of progress same publishers, is “ The Christian Lawyer, a porcalled “in press"-a kindred work, to be called traiture of the Life and Character of William George “Prison Sketches," written by the Rev.John Luckey, Baker,” of Baltimore. The saving and ennobling who has been for more than twelve years chaplain to power of religion is often best illustrated by being the State's Prison at Sing Sing, where he has seen the presented in a non-professional aspect. To be in the operation of various systems of prison discipline- world and yet not of the world, mingling in its afhas become acquainted with the personal history of a fairs and yet a stranger to its spirit, is a condition vast number of convicts, and collected together a of the Christian life that belongs especially to the great stock of information respecting the prison- | laity-and to no others more especially than to the world. A large share of the forthcoming volume members of the legal profession. It is sufficient which I have glanced at in manuscript is made up praise to this book to put it in the same class with of the personal narratives of prisoners--tragical, the “Successful Merchant.” comical, and grotesque, but of a character to awaken Our popular Sunday School Secretary and Editorinterest and to promote the cause to which the author | Dr. Wise-continues to lay new obligations upon all has devoted so large a portion of his life and labors. juveniledom by the occasional addition of a new vol

What year is the centenary of Methodism? This ume to the already pretty long list of his various question is assuming some little interest among our works. Early the present year he gave them the "antiquarians,” and active research is made for ac Pleasant Pathway,” which has already had a large counts of the earliest movements of Methodism in sale; and just now, under his well-known nom de this country. Some would fix that era as early as plume, Francis Forrester, Esq.," he has sent forth the present year, while others—and with these I “Guy Carlton”-a 16mo of 254 pages—the first of agree-would place it six years later. Probably there the “Glen Morris Stories," designed, he tells us, “to were Methodists in this country in 1760, or even ten sow the seed of pure, noble, and manly character in years earlier, but we should not date the planting of the minds of our great nation's children." Few the system from the time of their first coming. His writers are better qualified for that great work than torically Methodism in this country began at the time he; and the form of instruction used in this series is Embury commenced proaching, first in his own house, significant of success. So may it be. then in the "old rigging loft," and two years later in The necrology of the past few weeks contains the the “ preaching-house “ Golden Hill;" and were names of two great ones in the world of letters, Iryit ever so well ascertained that there were other spo- ing and De Quincy-characters widely unlike in many radic Methodistic movements of an earlier date else particulars, and yet having many characteristics in where it would not alter the case. American Meth

[ocr errors]


Both had attained to a ripe old age--the odism dates from the New York nucleus, and it one having wisely husbanded the resources of temwould be unwise to attempt to change the prescrip- poral enjoyment, which the other equally effectually tive opinions of our people on the subject.

threw away; and both have left large legacies to the Germain to this inquiry is the prevailing rage of world in their voluminous writings. Peace to their research into matters of Methodístic history. During souls, and honor to their memories!


Editor's Table.

" " The

Our Lord's PRAYER.-Connected with this prayer noblest and most widely-known laymen—not a relaare some of the purest and holiest associations of tion of the editor, as might be supposed from the our carly childhood. As we write the vision of "long name—in the state of Maine. For nearly thirty ago”—when a child we bowed, morning and evening, years he has been identified with all our Church enby a mother's knee, her gentle hand resting on our terprises in that region. head, and repeated this prayer of prayers-comes ARTICLES DECLINED.-We must respectfully decline back unto us. The beautiful aroma of that sacred

the following articles; namely, “The Darling," “ My hour is around us still. That mother now sleeps the Harriet's Eyes," “ Love Paints the Sunbeam,' unbroken sleep, but the blessing of her hand is still

Sabbath Morn,Storm on the Waters,” “My unlifted from our brow.

Brother," " Autumn Musings,” “On a Bride," "The The rich significance of that prayer—its deep spir Stone Seat,"

," “ The Dying Teacher,” “ The Paths of itual meaning—its adaptation to the wants of the

Life," “ The Sun shall Set but Rise again,” “ The soul, no artist's skill can fully represent to the eye. Refiner's Fire," "Kindly Words,” “ The Golden Yet the lesson of art is not inexpressive. The trumpet Word,” “ Turning Backward,” “The Oid Man's voice of an archangel might well be employed to Dream,

," “ Our Days a Shadow," “ Mission of the summon the sons of men to unite in offering up this

Gifted," and “The Dying Year." No one of the universal prayer. Old age and childhood may jointly above is without some merit and some promise for exclaim, “Our Father who art in heaven!” The eye the future. A few of them fail because their authors almost involuntarily follows the yearning heart, as it

did not do as well as they might have done. looks upward and prays for the revelation of the

TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS.— The types sometimes play kingdom of Christ. What can better symbolize the

strange freaks. A correspondent says: “By an anwill of God“ done on earth” than the concord of the different and too often antagonistic races of men.

noying typographical error, the word 'swing'in a “ Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wast

query on the root of 'scup,' on page 690 of our No

vember number, was made to read 'swine.'" He ing nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise."

adds: “As a proof-reader I have occasionally seen The waving grain reminds us that He “bringeth

some errors that would almost come up to it. I once

knew a compositor make the types say that a person forth food out of the earth." The artist did well to introduce the fowls of the air in this scene; for even

had sent an angel to Cincinnati, instead of an agent; “these all wait upon Thee, that thou mayest give

and another, who transposed a place from South

America' to 'Sixth Avenue;' but I never met with them their meat in due season.” Forgiveness of

a fellow-reader who could not tell swine from wrong-what Christian lesson so difficult to practice,

'swing.' It is a rare thing for a typographical and yet what brings with it richer blessings to the heart! “Temptation” is here symbolized by the

error to escape the keen eye of our proof-reader, but giddy dance. The artist could not have made a more

it will happen once in a while. appropriate selection; for, alas! this “ temptation A WORK BY J. D. BELL.—The enterprising publishto worldly amusement is stealing into the very homes ing firm of Philadelphia–J. Challen & Son-have in of the Church and robbing thousands of our young press a work by our well-known and popular conpeople of their spirituality, if not of their very re tributor-Rev. J. D. Bell. Its quaint title is, “A ligion. We are not certain that the reader will so Man; or, the Higher Pleasures of Intellect." Those readily catch the illustration of the last petition. A who are acquainted with the style of Mr. Bell will at child is represented on the edge of a proe pice, once recognize the fitness of the subject to the style, stretching out her hand to pluck the beautiful flowers and will anticipate a rich intellectual treat. We bebefore her. A guardian angel, unseen by her, is by lieve the work is to be kept on sale at the Western to prevent her fall. Reader, how often has the kind Book Concern, and shall notify our readers of its angel kept you from falling, as upon the brink of appearance. some frightful precipice of evil you have thought

HOW TO GET THE REPOSITORY.-A lady, who inlessly sought to cull the flowers of pleasure or of sin?

closes two dollars for her subscription, says: "My Do any of my readers yet linger upon that brink?

husband takes five cents weekly to buy tobacco; so I God grant that the tip of the angel's wing may pro

made it a point to take the same amount every week tect you from the fearful fall!

for a year. So you see, in place of chewing that We commend this expressive picture to our readers

amount up and spitting it out, I have got enough to seas a study. Mr. Jones, our artist, has succeeded, we

cure something that will benefit the head.” The think, admirably in the new art of combining ex

writer closes with a "please excuse this freedom and pressive tints with impressions from steel plates. We nonsense from a stranger.” We, the editor, say shall hope to see more of this hereafter.

there is not a bit of “nonsense” about it, but sound Our PORTRAITS.--Our series of portraits, we are philosophy and equal rights. We hope scores of glad to find, are receiving universal commendation. ' wives, who have tobacco-chewing husbands, will folIn this number we give the portrait of one of our low the good example.

« PreviousContinue »