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birds and beasts, but of mechanical and chemical forces that promise men wealth, is a base idolatry, far too base to meet the yearnings of hearts raised above the clod. Who that thinks and aspires is not heart-sick of our present civilization, and its idols of gold and slavery and war? Who does not feel glad that our financial age, in its mighty effort to subject all things to its sway, has found itself so baffled by the old hierarchy, and that the line of Aaron, for lack of a nobler order, still keeps its power unbroken by the host of materialists who in literature, philosophy, trade, and legislation have threatened to be the Titanic fathers of a new and rebellious world ? ” — pp. 54, 55.
Mr. Osgood is not commonly a croaker. By temperament and constitution he belongs to the hopeful, and not the despondent party; but there are one or two passages in the volume in which he indulges, slightly indeed, in a croaking tone of remark, — despondent, accusatory, and faultfinding. We have quoted the above passage, merely to suggest the question of its wisdom and justice; we have not room for its full discussion. We cannot forbear the remark, however, that the generous and far-reaching efforts of the present day to reform the evils that prevail, have begotten too strong a disposition to overlook the good that actually exists. We have various societies engaged in all sorts of moral enterprises and reforms, – and we thank God for it, — but we have often wished, when reading their reports, detailing in every variety of form the statistics of vice and crime and sin, that we had one other society, whose object it should be to hold up, over against these appalling exhibitions of the world's annual wickedness, the statistics of the world's annual virtue and progress in goodness; that we might know how many hearts have resisted temptation, as well as how many have yielded to it, — how many families have been newly blessed and made happy by faith and prayer and a domestic altar set up in their midst, as well as how many have been ruined by intemperance and made miserable by sin; that we might know how many just, kind, generous, humane, noble, Christian deeds had been done, as well as how many dark, disgraceful, wicked ones had been executed, - how many more minds have been reached by the light and truth, the power and peace of the Gospel, as well as how many have fallen by the way, slaves to the baser propensities of our nature. Such statistics, could they be ascertained, would satisfy the most sceptical, we think, that this modern civilization of our time is not all wrong in principle and spirit; that its vast material agencies are exerting a powerful moral influence in behalf of goodness and truth; that its material enterprises and occupations are underlaid by a strong spiritual faith, and marked by a large and ready disposition to devote a goodly portion of the wealth accumulated by them to noble spiritual purposes. There is room for improvement and progress; no wise efforts in that direction should be staid. That these efforts may be successful, let them be made in a just, reverent, hope. ful, joyous spirit, not in a despondent, accusatory, faultfinding spirit.
In the lecture on “David and the Psalms," we have the following beautiful delineation of the character of the great Hebrew poet.
“ The man. As such, what shall we say of David ? A man of genius, sensibility, force, undoubtedly, and also of passion and sin, - a character strangely mingled of heaven and of earth. Is it argued, that, since before his call to the throne Samuel designated him as a “ man after God's own heart,' therefore he must have been perfection? We reply, that the Scripture itself records his guilt and its doom, and, moreover, the words of Samuel, so controverted by letter-bigots and letter-sceptics, amount simply to a statement on the part of the prophet, that David was the providential man best fitted to carry out the Di. vine plans in the government of the chosen people. Let these word-pugilists settle their difficulty between themselves. We follow the sacred historian in our estimate of the man. We find in him an intellect less profound than expansive, less prone to scientific analysis than to poetical comparison ; a fancy unsurpassed in exuberance, and an imagination rivalled only by the elder bards, like Moses and the author of Job, and the later prophets, like Isaiah and Joel. In practical matters, his mind was more distinguished for magnificence and grandeur in the general plan, than for careful prudence in the details. His emotions, his loves and hatreds, stood often in the way of his prudence. He was eminently a man of emotion, and, excepting always his unfailing allegiance to the theocracy, his character was far more one of impulse than of principle. He could love, and he could hate; he could be grateful for kindness years after it was received; he could remember a grudge, even when the gathering shades of the tomb should have brought more tender and sacred thoughts to the soul. In him we see, as never before, an example of religious sensibility, not always governed by religious principle. His heart, like his harp, was ready to vibrate to every breeze of emotion; but the depth and compass of its tones, like those of his harp, appeared only when its strings were touched in praise and thanksgiving, confession and prayer, and breathed the airs of Zion. In force of will, he was remarkable rather for heroic enthusiasm than for sustained fortitude. His great deeds seem, like his lyrics, to have been bursts of emotion. As a soldier, he had not the determined, persevering valor of Joshua and Saul; as a statesman, he sinks far below the majesty of Moses and the dignity of Samuel. He had, however, ele. ments of magnanimity, and these were nowhere more marked than in his taking to himself the blame for an unwarranted act, that drew retribution upon the nation. “Is it not I that com. manded the people to be numbered ? Even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed ; but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord, my God, be on me and on my father's house, but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.'” – pp. 86, 87.
We cannot better close our notice than by quoting the following passage, which closes the volume, and is an illustration of its whole spirit and purpose.
“A devotee in his cell, after hours of prayer, at last thought that his petitions were granted, and Christ in beatific vision stood before him; but in a moment the convent-bell sounded, and the poor man, almost distracted at leaving his divine visitant thus, rose from his knees at the call of duty, and went to provide for the guest who had just come to the gate for shelter. He did his duty, and then returned to his cell with a heart warm with charity yet heavy with grief. He went back, and lo! there stood that same divine presence, radiant with a still more benign smile, and a voice spoke : If thou hadst not left me, I had left thee; and because thou didst leave me at the call of duty, thou hast found me now that thy duty is done. To the well-doer heaven was nearer than before, and work was the fruit and the inspiration of faith and prayer.
“Even so let Christ and heaven come near, - near in faith and devotion, — Dear in love and good works. The life of God in the soul will then be the best comment upon the Word of God in Christ." — pp. 268, 269.
S. K. L.
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
Hypatia: or, New Foes with an Old Face. By CHARLES KINGS
LEY, Jun., Rector of Eversley, Author of “Alton Locke," 66 Yeast,” etc., etc. In two volumes. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 1854. 12mo. pp. 303 and 325.
The readers of Alton Locke, although many of them were compelled to express in very qualified terms their satisfaction with the book, must have been prepared to look for more and better from the reverend author. The writer who could create a character so striking in itself, and so admirable as a representative of that spirit, believing at once and unbelieving, which rules many minds in the midst of us, a character so fascinating altogether as that of the old book-dealer Mackay, the humble patron of Locke, must needs multiply his creations. We are prepared to say that Hypatia fulfils any such implied promise. It is not, properly speaking, a novel ; indeed, to an inveterate reader of novels, the plot must seem provokingly simple. But there is no need of looking at it in this light. The book is rather a sketch of life, not as it might have been, but as it was, and it is interesting as a delineation of character and an illustration of modes of thought, ancient at once and modern. The personages are, for the most part, historical. Hypatia, as our readers hardly need to be reminded, was a veritable Alexandrian lady, daughter of Theon, a philosopher and mathematician of that city. She was an eminent follower of Plotinus, the Neoplatonist, and presided with great distinction over the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria, during the later years of the fourth and the earlier years of the fifth century. Though she was wise, fair, chaste, and not far from the kingdom of God, she did not in that degenerate time escape the assaults of slander, and became especially obnoxious to the fanatical monks of the city, who believed that through her influence Orestes, the Roman prefect, was estranged from Cyril, the Christian bishop. She died a true martyr to Pa. ganism. The Christian mob, instigated, as there is too much reason for believing, by Cyril, a prelate of no enviable reputation, put her to death in one of the churches, and subjected her lifeless remains to the most brutal indignities. Besides the famous bishop of Hippo, Orestes, Arsenius, Peter the Reader, and Synesius, the Platonizing bishop of Pentapolis, are easily recog. nized, and Amalric, the Amal, son of Odin, is nearly, if not quite, an historic Goth.
Not so much for the sake of satisfying, as in the hope of exciting, the curiosity of our readers, we shall attempt a brief sketch of this very interesting book. The place is Alexandria, the time is the beginning of the fifth century, the dramatis persona are, in general, bishops, philosophers, sceptics, Jews, noble Romans, monks, conquering Goths, the last excessively barbarous, peril. ous neighbors and street companions, yet partially redeemed by a wonderful physique and a certain kind of honor, a motley company and not to be easily marshalled, especially now that they have been shades for more than fourteen centuries. The heroine of the story is of course Hypatia ; the hero is Philam. mon, originally a monk of Scetis, but impelled by a genius, which could not easily be satisfied with the seclusion of a mon. astery, to see a little of church life in Alexandria, a young man nobly endowed by nature, an “ Apollo of the desert.” On his way down the Nile, he escapes from a hippopotamus only to fall into the hands of some Goths, who, in company with Pelagia, " the Messalina of Alexandria," and her frail companions, are endeavoring to sail up to some mythic city in the desert. The Goths decide not to kill Philammon, and, as they have grown weary of their voyage, return with him to Alexandria. He finds his Christian brethren and entirely satisfies Cyril, but soon abandons his fanatical companions in disgust, and betakes himself to the school of Hypatia, who seems quite as likely to convert him to Neoplatonism as to be converted by him to Christianity, a purpose which he had nevertheless presumed to cherish. The female philosopher finds the young monk an apt scholar, gifted, honest, healthy-minded, and impressible, a striking contrast to the worldlings, profligates, and sceptics that compose her audience. Indeed, for only one of these, Raphael Aben-Ezra, does she entertain any hope, and he, although there is still a sound spot in his heart, and a little of his hereditary Jewish faith still cleaves to him, is almost utterly sceptical. The Jews are driven from Alexandria by Cyril, Raphael goes with them into voluntary poverty, weary of pleasure, weary of himself and his doubts. Heraclian revolts ; Orestes plots to establish himself as Emperor of the South, and amuses Hypatia with the promise that Paganism shall be restored upon condition that she will become his empress. His plot fails, and Hypatia, after having made the most painful sacrifices of religious and moral conviction, finds in her time of trial that no sign will be given to her from the heaven in which she tried to believe. Philammon is disappointed in her, though still he cannot choose but admire and love her great and good qualities. Raphael, meanwhile, having been first recalled to himself by a stroke of nature in his dog, who, poor brute though she was, obeyed a divine law, finds in life a Christianity