« PreviousContinue »
presented themselves at the commencement of the institution? One of the resolutions of the original committee, in the year 1787, was, that the number of children should be limited to twenty! On the present and ultimate consequences I need not attempt to enlarge. The advantages of public instruction are now almost universally admitted, and any attempt to direct the benevolent zeal of its patrons, will by the public be duly appreciated. JAMES LUCKCOCK.
judgment and discretion of such persons as may be desirous of making similar attempts, and who must be guided by local and undefinable circumstances. Whoever, then, of your correspondents or readers may be anxious to avail themselves of the experience necessarily connected with such a large establishment, and of so long standing, and will apply through the medium of their booksellers or to your publishers, I shall be glad to supply the demand by sending each of them a copy of the work as far as fifty of them may extend, or more if they can be made useful, and shall feel honoured by their acceptance. IHE following is an extract from propose waiting two months to see what applications may be made, and then one arrangement will do for all. The books to be then forwarded with the Numbers of the Repository, and whatever trouble and expense may attach, I will cheerfully remunerate.
I cannot refrain from improving the present opportunity, by stating the great encouragement held out to others by the uniform and gratifying success of this establishment. There are two buildings exclusively erected for the purpose, each of them at not less than 1000 expense, in which there is an average of 1200 children regularly instructed in the duties they now or hereafter may owe to themselves, to society, and to their Maker. Their teachers are upwards of fifty in number, all giving their attention and instruction gratuitously, most of whom were themselves educated by the institution, and have now unitedly almost the whole management of the concern in their own hands. The discipline of the schools and of their own society is steady and effective; and the organization of the whole seems to adminit no doubt of its being well calculated to provide for its continuance and improvement. The fund connected with the provision for relief in cases of illness has realized nearly £600; the Committee having honourably, and in some cases generously, discharged every claim which the rules enjoined; and most of the teachers are themselves interested in the benefit they may hereafter derive from this valuable part of the plan.
Could the most sanguine enthusiasm have anticipated such a result from the apparently small resources which
December 3, 1822.
one of the first numbers of a periodical publication, lately established at Charleston, South Carolina, entitled the " Unitarian Defendant;" a work conducted with no little talent, and certainly in the same excellent spirit which shines so conspicuously in the writings of our Unitarian brethren in America. It may not be unknown to your readers that at Charleston there is a very large and respectable society who profess to worship the Father only, and who, in consequence, have been subjected, to use the language of the “Unitarian Defendant," to a species of persecution that has sprung up within a few years against that class of Christians, who, believing in the strict unity of God, have ventured to conform their worship to this great and impressive doctrine."
The article alluded to is headed by the Editor, "Signs of the Times."
"One of the most grateful and satisfactory indications of the progress of correct opinions on the subject of religion in our country, is the rapid increase of periodical publications of a decidedly liberal character. By this term we mean to designate, in general, all such publications as maintain, in its broadest sense, the right of private judgment in matters of faith. We hold it to be the privilege and the duty of all men to examine the records of our faith for themselves; to form their own opinion of the facts and doctrines which they contain, and of the duties thence resulting; and to hold and express these opinions without let or molestation-without incurring a liability, on account of their sentiments merely, while they are
guilty of no conduct that violates the law of Christian kindness, or disturbs the peace of society, to censure or reproach; to any injury to their feelings or reputation; or to exclusion from the charity and fellowship of their Christian brethren. This is what we mean by liberality in application to this subject; and we consider those as liberal Christians, by whatever name they may be known, who agree with us in this fundamental principle. "Six years since, there was but one periodical publication in the United States to which the above description could apply, and this one, though conducted with ability by its venerable Editor, had a very limited circulation. There are now twelve, at least, of this character, and most of them well supported. From some of these we do indeed differ, and differ widely, on certain points of doctrine; neither can we altogether approve of the manner in which some of them are conducted, on the ground either of taste or principle. But they are all, each in his way and manner, the strenuous advocates of religious freedom; the fearless assailants of bigotry and spiritual domination; and on this ground we hail them as fellow-labourers, and cordially bid them God-speed. The efforts of these publications are daily becoming more conspicuous and striking. There is, unquestionably, a growing attention to religious subjects in almost every part of our country; and especially among that portion of
the community whose influence and
on the side of truth, will be likely to produce the most salutary effects; we mean persons of strong sense and cultivated minds. Men of this character have been too often driven into the ranks of infidelity by the repulsive form which Christianity, in the hands of bigots and sectarians, has been made to assume. The absurdities of the vulgar system, which they were taught to consider as the system of the gospel, their minds instinctively, as it were, rejected. They were too busy, too much engrossed with other pursuits, to institute a laborious investigation for themselves, and the gospel in its native truth and beauty had never, perhaps, been presented to their minds. They were left, therefore, to a cold and comfortless scepticism, if
not to downright disbelief. Incalculable is the injury which society has in this way sustained. The influence of many of its brightest ornaments, in every other respect, has, with regard to this, its highest interest, been neutralized at least, if not rendered positively hurtful. The progress of liberal Christianity is, we rejoice to think, effecting a remedy of this evil. This interesting portion of the community are fast returning to their natural allegiance. We say natural, and we speak advisedly; for it is not, whatever our opponents say or think, it is not natural for well-informed men to reject the gospel, when fairly presented to their minds. It approves itself at once to the judgment and the conscience; and they are guilty of a libel on human nature, or the gospel, or both, who affirm otherwise. There is in the minds of all men an inherent love of truth. Error is never embraced for its own sake; it is only admitted under the disguise of truth.
"The cause of truth and righteousness has nothing to fear, if they can but fairly meet their adversaries in open day. They are meeting them in every quarter with triumphant success, and they will go on from conquering to conquer.' On this state of things we heartily congratulate the friends of the good cause throughout the world."
January 6, 1823. THO HOUGH I have noticed with satisfaction the increase of Unitarian opinions in various parts of the world, yet I am inclined to believe the accounts which have been received of late from Eastern India, hold up to us appearances of a more glorious victory in favour of genuine Christianity than even those which it has already obtained. The conversion from Idolatry of that wonderful man Rammohun Roy, and the singular conversion of Mr. Adam, the Baptist Missionary, cannot fail to make a strong sensation at Calcutta, and the Unitarian doctrines will gradually work their way without European aid. But the efforts of our humbler friends at Madras call upon us for assistance, and I hope they will not call in vain : approving, therefore, of your proposal of a contribution from those friends to
"Helon's Pilgrimage to Jerusalem," by M. Strauss.
HE success of the Travels of many persons to adopt a similar method of interweaving information respecting the history and antiquities of ancient nations with the adventures of some fictitious personage. Hardly one of them, however, has obtained any permanent place in literature, and Barthelemy, we believe, owes his success chiefly to the valuable matter contained in those parts of his book in which his Scythian traveller disappears; and the learned member of the academy presents us with the fruit of his own antiquarian researches. Indeed, in adopting such a form for the communication of this kind of knowledge, it is scarcely possible to avoid either sacrificing the grace of the fiction to the didactic object, or the didactic object to the fiction. Sismondi's Julia Severa, perhaps, combines these two points in the highest degree of all the antiquarian novels which have hitherto appeared; and yet we doubt whether even his readers have not often felt that the attempt to attain two dissimilar purposes had prevented the author from accomplishing either in perfection.
The Holy Land has not, as far as we know, been chosen as the scene of such a fiction by any author before M. Strauss, of whose work, as being connected with biblical criticism and history, we propose to lay some ac
count before the readers of the Month-
offered to the world as a substitute for
accomplishing by the increase of offi-
accordance with historical truth; the piety, sensibility and ardour of Helon are well adapted to the author's purpose of giving an attractive picture of the Jewish people; even the circumstance of his having been recently reclaimed from the love of spiritualizing and allegory, by heightening his interest in every thing which related to the history and usages of his people, (considered by the allegorists merely as the covering of some deeper meaning,) gives an air of nature to his eager curiosity respecting things which might otherwise have appeared trifling. The Christian reader naturally wishes such a work to be made as much subservient as possible to the illustration of the New Testament, and may, perhaps, regret, that the travels of Helon had not been placed somewhat nearer to the Advent of our Saviour. But this could not have been done without injury to the fiction, and without defeating one of the chief objects of the author. A completely different character must have been given to the work, had it represented the Jewish people as degraded and oppressed under the Roman yoke: they must have been drawn with the vices of slaves, instead of the high feeling of a nation, who, under the Maccabees, had recovered their independence, and, with Hyrcanus at their head, felt themselves once more free in the land of their fathers. At the same time, it must be observed, that, except in what relates to political condition and those moral differences which it produces, the picture of the Jews given in this work may be applied to the time of our Saviour. The Temple, as it is here described, is that of Herod; the sacred usages were prescribed by an unchangeable authority; and it is not in the nature of Oriental manners to vary from one half century to another, like our own.
The first volume opens with the description of Helon's departure from Alexandria, (where he leaves his mother,) accompanied by Elisama, Myron, who is going on commercial business to the maritime cities of Palestine, and Salla, a faithful slave of the family, who, when offered his emancipation by Helon, prefers continuing his bondsman, in order to visit the Holy Land in his company. They join themselves to a caravan which is
going to Gaza, and as they journey through the dreary regions which separate Palestine from Egypt, Elisaina, at each evening's halt of the caravan, relates to Myron and Helon a portion of the previous history of the Jewish people, and explains the effect which Providence designed to produce on the character of the nation, by their captivity in Egypt, their wandering in the desert, their possession of the promised land, and the subsequent vicissitudes of their fate. This occupies rather too large a part of the book, and the effect ascribed to particular series of events is not always accurately characterized and supported: there seems, for example, no good reason why the period from the reign of Rehoboam to the Captivity should be exclusively called the period of retribution. Undoubtedly, the calamities which befel the Jews, whenever they gave themselves up to idolatry, taught and at length convinced them of the folly of forsaking the living God; but many events in their earlier history, indeed the whole tenor of it, had the same tendency. We pass on, therefore, to the beginning of the second volume, which brings us to Gaza, where Myron takes his leave, engaging to meet them again at Jerusalem, when he has finished his affairs in Sidon and Damascus. Helon and Elisama begin their pilgrimage_together, to reach Jerusalem at the Passover.
"From Gaza, two roads conduct to Jerusalem. One passes by Eleutheropolis and the plain of Sephela; the other, through the hills by Hebron. Although the former was the easier and more customary, Elisama preferred the latter. He had a friend in Hebron whom he had not seen for many years, and in whose company he wished to perform the pilgrimage, and he was desirous of making Helon's first entrance into the Land of Promise as solemn and impressive as possible. By taking the easier road, they must have gone a long way through the country of the Philistines, and not have been joined by pilgrims till they reached Morescheth, and then only in small numbers. On the other road, they entered immediately on the Jewish territory, and their way conducted them through scenes adorned with many an historical remembrance.
They had not proceeded far inward from the sea, in the direction of the river Besor, when they reached the confines of Juda; they stood at the foot of its hills, and the land of the Heathen lay behind them. seemed to feel for the first time what Helon home and native country mean. In Egypt, where he had been born and bred, he had been conscious of no such feeling; for he had been taught to regard himself as only a sojourner there. Into this unknown, untrodden native country he was about to enter, and before he set his foot upon it, at the first sight of it, the breeze seemed to waft him from its hills a welcome to his home. 'Land of my fathers,' he exclaimed, land of promise, promised to me also from my earliest years!' and quickened his steps to reach it. He felt the truth of the saying, that Israel is Israel only in the Holy Land. 'Here,' said Elisama, 'is the boundary of Juda.' Helon, unable to speak, threw himself on the sacred earth, kissed it and watered it with his tears, and Salla, letting go the bridle of the camels, did the same. Elisama stood beside them, and as he stretched his arms over them, and in the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, blessed their going out and their coming in, his eyes too overflowed with tears, and his heart seemed to warm again as with the renewal of a youthful love. They proceeded slowly on their way; Helon gazed around him on every side, and thought he had never seen so lovely a Spring. The latter rains had ceased, and had given a quickening freshness to the breezes from the hills, such as he had never known in the Delta. The narcissus and the hyacinth, the blossoms of the apricot and the peach, shed their fragrance around. The groves of terebinth, the oliveyards and vineyards stood before them in their living green: the corn, swollen by the rain, was ripening fast for the harvest, and the fields of barley were already yellow. The wide meadows covered with grass for the cattle, the alternation of hill and valley, the rocks hewn out in terraces, and filled with earth and planted, offered a constant variety of delightful views. You might see that this was a land, the dew of which Jehovah had blessed, in which the prayer of Isaac over Jacob had
been fulfilled, when the patriarch said, God give thee of the dew of Heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of oil and wine.' He drank of the pure, clear mountain stream, him like a smile from a parent's eyes whose sparkling reflexion seemed to the sweet water of the Nile, so praised on a returning wanderer, and thought by the Egyptians, could bear no comparison with it. Elisama reminded
him of the words of the Psalm (lxv.) :
The river of God is full of water.
And makest it full of sheaves.
moistenest it with showers, thou blessest its springing,
Thou crownest the year with Thy bles-
And Thy footsteps drop fatness.
And the hills are encompassed with re-
ther Psalm (civ.) :
The springs arise among the valleys,
He maketh grass to grow for cattle
and are hospitably entertained by
all was in motion; their host was "At the first crowing of the cock, making the last arrangements for his departure; the neighbours entered to announce that the march was about