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Where seraphs, pure as flame, and wise as fair,
Shelley's long locks, far down beneath the storm,
LITERARY NOTICES. Woman : the Help-meet for Man. By Adolphe Monod, Professor of
Theology at Montauban. From the French. By Elizabeth Maria
Lloyd. London: Willian Allan. This concise and well-meant treatise on the Mission of Woman, and on her life in the following out that mission, was delivered originally in Paris, in the month of February 1848, under the form of two discourses to a Protestant congregation there. A sincere regard for the welfare and dignity of the sex, evidently prompted the preaching of the discourses, and their publication in the present form; and it is no small recommendation of the work, that it has been translated, by an English Lady, and dedicated by her, “ To the Duchess Dowager of Beaufort, in grateful testimony of her distinguished example to woman, in all the various relations of life.”
Paris is the last place from which one should be led to expect good instruction for the fair sex, and the last place to which one ought to send any under their control, to learn the morals and manners that must ever be united in a sound education. Least of all, at this period, could we expect wise words, on a subject like that of which M. Monod's volume treats, from the heart of Paris. Yet here we have very sedate and safe teaching indeed. We do not take precisely the same point of view with the Professor, but in most things that are of importance we agree with him. But before we give a brief notice of his book, we may state how the question stands, in the present day, as to the nature and destiny of woman.
There are two extreme tendencies in the opinions about woman's mission. Some speak of her inferiority to man-of her physical and mental weakness; and they think apologies needful for every individual of the sex who steps so far out of her proper sphere as to engage in literary or scientific pursuits, which man alone should monopolise. Home, and home alone must be her circle; and it matters not with how little mental furniture her home be fitted up: she is the servant of man, because decidedly inferior to him, and while whatever can make her useful and ornamental to him should, on no account be neglected, due care is to be taken, that in thought
* Shelley's name for Keats, whose poems he had thrust into his bosom, as afterwards appeared, without making the slightest struggle to save himself.
and word-in reason and feeling, she shall incessantly be taught her weak, uncertain, dependent position. Some of this class go so far as to assert, that woman is simply-undeveloped man! and, therefore, to be pitied!
The other extreme tendency in opinions as to woman's mission, lies in this direction ;-woman has been grievously degraded, and kept down by tyrant man. She has an indefeasible claim to rights that have been denied her. She is as well fitted as man is for the active duties of life ; and she wants only the breaking of her vile chains to make ber start up and fill any position or occupation in society, with credit to herself, and for hor own evident advantage too.
At the head of this class stands the Epicene, George Sand, with her hat, long-tailed coat, and riding whip-or, to give her her other name, Madame Dudevant. She is one of the strangest minded, and cleverest individualsnot to say women-in Paris. Now and then she seems to have an English caste of thought; but most un-English are the morals she propounds and enjoins; and despicable, in the last degree, is the meretricious gilding with which she overlays downright vice.
The only person in our own country whom we recollect, at present, as favouring this extreme party, is J. S. Mill, who, in his valuable work on Political economy, published last year, gives a hint of his views as to the nature and destiny of woman. The statements he makes, evidently point at a greater change on the present position of woman than he takes time to define; and from what we have heard, we are, on the whole, disposed to believe that he agrees with the French woman.
These extremes, however are not the only opinions on the subject ; though it is the habit of disputants, to shove one another into extremes, that they may have room for argument. There are many reasonable opinions on the subject that cannot be called extreme. M. Adolphe Monod does not hold precisely the views that we hold on this matter, but both his views and ours are very reasonable, (as we think ;) and we can, with
equanimity, ditler on minor points, while we agree in opposing the extreme views, or in making them eliminate each other.
M. Monod begins his first discourse with a very strong sentence :-“ The greatest influence which exists on earth, whether for good or evil, is possessed by woman.” He endeavours to prove this assertion by history, and, especially, by Scripture history and teaching, and succeeds, at least, in explaining fully his own views. "He goes on to give the definition of woman's office, and says, that hers is, “ A vocation of charity, in a position of humility in relation to man."
Professor Monod writes rigorously and gracefully regarding the Mission of Woman; and the fine vein of seriousness that pervades his book, is not sicklied o'er by unmeaning cant-so common on subjects like that which he has chosen. Considering too, the practical and admonitory nature of his second discourse on the Life of Woman, in which he addresses the sex, in all the relations they bear to mankind, we cannot but account the little volume well worthy of recommendation. There is evidence not only of a serious and graceful, but of an acute and well-balanced mind, in the work.
Israel Scorning the Manna. Edinburgh: Myles Macphail. This small Tract, on the words, “ Our soul loatheth this light bread," is easily and well written. We have, at times, but very rarely, offered advice to some of our Free Church friends; and, strange to say, it has been taken, on more occasions than one. Now, as regards this tract, we think it well worthy of being studied together with“ The First Constitutional Catechism." It is just of the same size, only it has fewer pages by six. It is not written by Mr. Sorley.
EDINBURGH ECCLESIASTICAL JOURNAL.
WORK FOR THE CHURCH.
Certain social questions of grave interest to the whole community are beginning to press themselves upon the attention of all who are concerned for the removal of present evils, or the future welfare of our country. The rapid increase of population, and the growing difficulty of finding them honourable maintenance are the sources of much embarassment, which is not likely to abate until an adequate remedy is found out for the evils which have caused it. Since the commencement of the present century, the population of the country has doubled, but its pauperism has multiplied in a much more rapid ratio; and, at first sight, we might think it not an unsound deduction from this single fact, that pauperism will increase more rapidly than population, and that the energy of each succeeding generation will be more and more oppressed under this terrible incubus. This would be, at all events, a fair enough conclusion, were pauperism an instituted element of society, and subject to any regular and fixed law of increase; but it is somewhat cheering to remember, that like all the other evils of this world, it holds its place not by the sanction of divine wisdom, but by the sins and shortcomings of man, and that moral causes have more to do with its present magnitude, than a dense population. Were our rulers to constrain themselves to trace the evil to its root, they would find that the destitute and unsatisfactory condition of the masses is not so much the result of the exhaustion of the national resources as of the omission or careless performance of national duty. But whether they trace it to its root or not, it is now sufficiently apparent that they will not be permitted to escape from the consideration of it ; for the evil neglected at first, and left to itself, has increased like a swelling food, and now menaces the time hưnoured foundations of the social edifice. The grants of public money, and the creation of work for the unemployed, are like hastily constructed embankments before a rising tide, or like sluices hastily cut to give its boiling waters a less dangerous outlet. Temporary expedients may succeed to disarm immediate danger, and to quiet the apprehensions of the country for a space ; but if no efficient corrective is sought for the sweltering virus of moral pollution that is spreading throughout the body politic, it will soon be found to have gathered too much strength to be displaced or restrained within bounds by any remedies which our State-physicians can contrive. When the expedient was resorted to, of bribing to forbearance the bar. barian hordes that began to swarm in upon the sunny plains of Rome, its first success was as great as the most zealous citizens could have wished; but while the multitude celebrated the miserable triumph with a joy proportioned to their former fears, and returned with fresh zest to their softnesses and luxurious living, the wiser heads could perceive that the pillars of the empire were tottering under the shock of an ig. nominious triumph, more than they would have done under the shock of the bloodiest defeat. There would have been good hope of the future had the citizens returned to the severe simplicity of their better days, as thereby the strength and morale of the Roman legions would have been kept up to render them still as before, the terror of the world. The enemies that threaten the State with severe reverses or final ruin, are not, for any length of time, to be wheedled and coaxed to silence ; they must be conquered and cast out by the reviving strength of the empire, if our prosperity is to rest upon a solid basis.
The author of the Cyropædia, inquiring into the secret of the extraordinary authority by which his hero governed men, and even secured the affectionate loyalty of the lowest class of his subjects, is persuaded that it lay in the equitable, beneficent, and generous nature of the laws, and the consistent justice with which he enforced their observance. Xenophon tells us, that the laws were framed, not with a view to punish criminal and bad acts, but with a view to make even the meanest citizen incapable of committing them; and in order to effect this, careful provision was made for educating, even from earliest youth, the higher sentiments of our nature, and extirpating, if possible, every mean and dishonourable quality. It was especially aimed at, so to connect reward and high place with honest industry, and correct feeling, as to nurse in the bosom of youth a spirit of integrity, manly simplicity, and self-reliance ; for it was held to be a principle of unquestionable soundness, that it was through the moral nature the magistrate must reach, and if possible remove, whatsoever is wrong in the character, condition, and circumstances of any class of his subjects. It is remarkable that the principles which a heathen moralist proposes to observe in dealing with social evils, are infinitely higher than those of many of our modern reformers, notwithstanding they have the benefit of the light of Scripture, and the experience of centuries. A multitude of tracts, pamphlets, treatises, speeches, and rules now before us, offer the strangest medley of cures for our social disorders which it is possible to conceive. The writers generally apprehend a crisis of tremendous danger, unless a remedy can be found for the disaffection, and