« VorigeDoorgaan »
of his own congregation, at whose request it has been undertaken, though it will probably be adopted by some neighboring churches.
We have received from the Publishers two little books, issued from the press of the General Protestant Sunday School Union, at New York, which immediately attracted our attention by the great neatness and beauty of their outward appearance, and the contents of which, unexpectedly, we confess, are found to be such as without qualification we are glad to bring within the knowledge of our readers. They are entitled "The Shadow of the Cross: An Allegory," and "The Distant Hills: An Allegory." By Rev. W. Adams, M. A. Both are reprinted from English editions.
Common Schools. A controversy if such it may be called - has arisen between the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and certain Masters of the Public Schools in Boston, on which, as we understand that replies to the last pamphlet which has been published are in preparation, we have thought it best to defer any extended remarks. The Masters saw fit to take offence at some expressions in Mr. Mann's last annual Report, as if pointed at them, and published under their names a series of papers prepared by some of their number, discussing the positions which they consider objectionable. Some parts of this pamphlet were written with candor and ability, and other parts in very bad temper. A brief vindication of Mr. Mann from the censures cast upon him, written in a tone of moderation and dignity, soon after appeared under the initials of "G. B. E."; and was followed by an elaborate reply to the Masters from Mr. Mann, who triumphantly relieves himself from any charge or imputation affecting his official character, but is betrayed into an indulgence of sarcastic severity which must impair the effect of his pamphlet. Although we regret that any estrangement should have sprung up between those who are engaged, in different ways but with a common interest, in sustaining the cause of education in the Commonwealth, we can see how good may come from the discussion of points brought forward in this controversy. Attention will be more largely drawn to the subject which all the writers have at heart, and the people will be led to think more of the means of improving the common schools. We hope that in future, on both sides, and on all sides, whatever might seem to flow from personal feeling will be avoided, and the object of those who write will be, to sustain or overthrow principles and methods, rather than the men who advocate them.
Lectures.- The desire for public lectures on literary and scientific subjects, which a year or two since had reached such a height in this city that we remember the question was discussed by some of our writers, whether the lyceum would not supplant the pulpit, - the world having found a wiser way to be saved than by "the foolishness of preaching,"-has, if we may judge from the indications of the present season, greatly abated. Although lecturers of unquestionable talent have given promise of much instruction and entertainment in the Courses to which they have invited the public, the audiences have, with one or two exceptions, been much smaller than were usually
collected last winter. The Boston Lyceum, which then enjoyed the largest share of favor, has this year, after making a commencement and receiving very little support, deemed it prudent to bring the Course which it had announced to an abrupt close. Mr. Gliddon's very interesting lectures on the Hieroglyphics and Pyramids of Egypt brought together an attentive, but not a large company. Mr. Giles has delivered his discourses on Catholicism, Protestantism, Toleration, and Human Nature, rich in thought and marked with his peculiar energy and fervor of style, to a comparatively small audience. The Lowell Lectures, particularly those delivered by Professor Rogers of Philadelphia, on Geology, have, however, attracted large audiences; and a course of lectures on Shakspeare, by Mr. Hudson from Vermont, have awakened considerable interest, though at first he collected but few hearers. On the whole, we presume we are safe in pronouncing the rage for lectures to be past, and this mode of communicating or getting information will in future be estimated at its proper value, -as a pleasant, but by no means the principal method of intellectual culture — beneficial when it takes the place of frivolous amusements, but injurious when it supersedes habits of private study.
Unitarian Works Abroad. -We infer from advertisements prefixed to the journals we obtain from England, that almost all the Unitarian publications issued in this country—our tracts, our magazines, and both our lighter and our more solid volumes-are received in England, and find readers. Some of them are there reprinted. "The Works of the Rev. Orville Dewey, D. D., in one volume, 8vo., of 880 pages, uniform with the People's Edition of Dr. Channing's Works," are announced as in press. -Joseph Barker, formerly a preacher among the Methodists, but now separated from them and devoted with all the energy of a reformer to the cause of unfettered opinion - a man of whom we hope to give some further account hereafter — is publishing an edition of Dr. Channing's Works, in six volumes, 12mo., at the wonderfully low price of six shillings, or one dollar and a half, for the set. This is the second edition of Dr. Channing's writings which has been printed in England at such a price as to bring them within the reach of persons of the most moderate means. - The "Northern Sunday School Association," of Ireland, have just issued from their press at Belfast an edition of Livermore's "Commentary on the Four Gospels, republished from the Boston edition," in one volume, royal 12mo., which they propose to furnish to congregations or societies taking twelve copies, for three shillings. We observe advertised in the Inquirer a new edition of Mr. Burnap's “Lectures to Young Men," which forms one of the volumes of a series of works, under the title of Standard American Literature, in which are included Mrs. Lee's "Life and Times of Luther," and of "Cranmer," Mrs. Follen's "Sketches of Married Life,” and Mr. Ware's "Julian." Another, called the Catholic series, includes works of Mrs. Lee, of Dr. Channing, and of Mr. Emerson. Mr. Emerson's writings appear to be read with avidity in England, and are immediately reprinted. A third series, to which has been given the name of Clarke's Home Library, includes Miss Sedgwick's "Home," and Mrs. Sedgwick's "Alida."
We may notice here the arrangements which are announced for the future publication of the "Christian Teacher," which for the last six years has been under the editorial care of Rev. J. H. Thom of Liverpool. He now informs the subscribers that Rev. James Martineau of Liverpool, Rev. J. J. Tayler of Manchester, and Rev. Charles Wicksteed of Leeds, will be associated with him in conducting the work. In such hands it cannot fail to secure the attention of the public. Few journals have ever united more talent in their management. "The scope" of the Teacher "is embraced within the two compartments of religion and literature:" the former including 1. "religion, spiritual and practical; 2. religious philosophy; 3. religion, historical and critical:" the latter "aiming chiefly to exhibit the moral influences of literature and its more permanent relations to society." The Teacher is published quarterly, and is regularly received by Messrs. Munroe & Co. and W. Crosby in this city.
The last number of the Christian Reformer announces a change also in the editorial department of that journal. After having been for a period of thirty years, or ever since its establishment, under the care of Rev. Mr. Aspland of Hackney, it is now transferred to the hands of his son, Rev. R. B. Aspland of Dukinfield, by whom a new Series will be commenced with the number for January, 1845. The work will be conducted on the same general plan as formerly. The Reformer appears every month, and is received here by the houses which we have just named. - The Reformer maintains those views of the meaning and authority of Scripture which have been generally held by the English Unitarians, while the Teacher represents the opinions of such as lean towards a rationalistic spiritualism.
Among the works that have just appeared in England we may mention "Note and Comments on Passages of Scripture. By Rev. John Kentish," an 8vo. volume of 450 pages. - Rev. Dr. Beard of Manchester is publishing a series of works under the general title of "The Voices of the Church in its Own Defence," "comprising pieces by Divines of Various Communions in reply to the 'Leben Jesu' of Dr. Strauss." The following parts of this series have already appeared:-"Strauss, Hegel, and their Opinions. By Rev. J. R. Beard, D. D.:" "A Reply to Strauss's Life of Jesus. From the French of Prof. Quinet, and the Rev. Pasteur A. Coquerel;" "The Credibility of the Evangelical History, illustrated. From the German of Dr. A. Tholuck;" "The Theory of Myths, in its application to the Gospel History, Examined and Confuted. By Dr. Julius Müller;" "Illustrations of the Moral Argument for the Credibility of the Gospels. By Rev. J. R. Beard, D. D."— Dr. Beard has also in press "The Life of John Mylton," in one 12mo. volume.
Replies to the Address of English Unitarians. As we gave in our number for last March the "Address of Unitarian Ministers of Great Britain and Ireland, to their Ministerial Brethren of the Unitarian Churches in the United States," on the subject of Slavery, it is proper that we should insert the Replies which have be sent, and which were delayed partly by doubt respecting the course that should be taken in reference to the Address, and partly by the length of time
necessary for ascertaining the wishes of the brethren and by other incidental causes. As they have now both reached England, we no longer defer their publication. Two Replies were sent, the former signed by one hundred and thirty ministers; the other with eleven names affixed to it. Many of the brethren, it will be seen, did not sign either.
We have purposely deferred, till we could give these papers, an account of the meetings which were held in consequence of receiving the "Address." The first of these meetings was called through a notice in our religious journals, and was held at the Berry Street Vestry, February 29, 1844. About fifty of the brethren were present. Rev. Dr. Francis of Cambridge was chosen Moderator, and Rev. Samuel May of Leicester, Secretary. After a discussion which was continued through two sessions, it was Voted, "that it is expedient that an answer be prepared to the letter, recently addressed to the Unitarian clergy of this country, by a portion of the Unitarian clergy of Great Britain, upon the subject of Slavery," and "that a Committee of five persons be appointed to prepare such Reply." Rev. Messrs. Peabody of Portsmouth, N. H., Lothrop of Boston, May of Lexington, Morison of New Bedford, and Ellis of Charlestown, were chosen as the Committee. At an adjourned meeting, April 11. Rev. Mr. Morison, in behalf of the Committee, reported a Reply," which, after a few amendments, was accepted, and it was Voted, that "the Report be adopted, to be sent to our brethren in Great Britain and Ireland as a reply to their Address, and that it be placed in the hands of a Committee for signatures." Messrs. Lothrop of Boston, Stetson of Medford, and Thompson of Salem, were appointed on this Committee. It was further
“ Voted, that the Committee be requested to have a sufficient number of the copies of the letter, reported to this meeting, printed; to forward a copy to every Unitarian clergyman in the United States, so far as known, with the request to each that he will return it to the Committee with his name subscribed, if he think proper, as soon as may be convenient; when a reasonable time shall have elapsed, to provide for the engrossing of the letter upon parchment, with the names of the several signers appended; and to forward it to such destination in Great Britain as the Committee may think proper; and to take any other steps which, in their judgment, are needful."
The first of the Replies which we give below, is that which was accepted by the meeting, and to which the preceding votes refer. While some of the brethren were disinclined to make any reply, others were disposed to send one of a somewhat different character from this. A second letter was therefore prepared and presented to a few of the ministers, who added their names. No attempt was made to give it a general circulation, as the object was not to enforce attention by the consideration of numbers, but to lay before the brethren abroad views which were honestly entertained in this country.
The letter reported and accepted at the meeting, April 11, is this. "To the Unitarian Ministers of Great Britain and Ireland, who signed an Address to their Ministerial Brethren of the Unitarian Churches in the United States of North America,' dated Dec. 1, 1843.
"Reverend and Dear Brethren : — We have received your letter relating to slavery, a subject of deep and fearful interest to us all.
In our political relations, it is threatening to upheave the very foundations of our government, while it draws its dark line through the land, and painfully divides the members of a great, and otherwise united people, on a point touching the dearest interests of man. In its moral and religious bearings, we cannot look upon it without feeling sick at heart. It is a curse pressing every year more heavily upon society; and as we believe in the righteous retributions of Heaven, so we verily believe that, unless we do all that we can to purge it away, it must bring upon us the sorest calamities that, in the providence of God, can fall upon a nation. So far, there is no difference of feeling or opinion among us. We all believe that there is something for us to do. But what shall we do? How shall we act? Slavery, though it belongs only to a portion of our country, is so woven into our political organization, and, in its more extended influences and relations, has such bearings, that the question is one not only of solemn interest, but of great difficulty, requiring of us the most earnest and devout thought. And as we must answer to a higher tribunal than that of man, so must we be faithful, each to his own convictions.
"As it respects any direct political action for the abolition of slavery, except in the District of Columbia, and in the territories not yet admitted as independent States, it may not be known to you that the citizens of the free States have no more right to interfere than the citizens of Great Britain. As a political body each separate State has the entire control of this matter within itself; and is exceedingly jealous of any interference from without.
"In addition, therefore, to what we can do for a correct public sentiment in the free States, our only appeal is to the consciences and hearts of our brethren whose misfortune it has been to inherit, whose guilt it will be, if, without strong and earnest struggles, they consent to uphold, an institution which, from the dreadful wrong it inflicts on master and slave, must be unblessed of God and a curse to man.
"We ask for ourselves and we ask for them the counsel and sympathy of all Christian men, and we trust that the wise and holy efforts of all will second our efforts and our prayers, that slavery may no longer stain our national character, and threaten the ruin of our republic. Our faith is strong; and while we see cause for penitence and sorrowful forebodings, we have also a bright assurance that if we are true, He who maketh the wrath of man to praise Him will, in his own good time, point out to us a way of deliverance.
"With sincere regard, your brethren in the faith and hopes of the gospel of Christ.
'May 15th, 1844."
The second letter is as follows.
"Reverend and Dear Brethren :· - We esteem it a privilege to receive the counsel of our brethren on matters of Christian duty; and your letter on the subject of slavery has given us gratification, because it shows that the ocean does not separate us from your fellowship and sympathy.' The want of accurate information on your part respecting our actual position in regard to slavery, does not in the least diminish our confidence in the fraternal interest that dictated your communication.
"You certainly do us no more than justice in supposing that we have 'no doubts as to the deep wrong of man holding man as a slave,'