Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

"MOTHER! I SEE IT!"

BY ADELIA MORTON.

[ocr errors]

Death's chilly waters-Hope rekindled up
Her guiding star, and, hasting to its home,
Her spirit, ravished with the brightening ray
Of Heaven's eternal Paradise, exclaimed,
“MOTHER! I SEE IT!" as her parting word,

The angels invite me away

To the land which is tearless and pure, Where the clouds never shadow the ray,

But where glory and peace shall endure; They call me to realms of delight

Where Jesus my Saviour is seen, Where spirits are stainless and bright

In bowers of bliss ever green.

I had a sister once, a blooming child
Of six years old. Her voice was sweeter far
Unto my ear than are melodious lutes,
Or e'en the harp's sweet tone from silver strings;
And in her eye there played a beauteous ray
That seemed the spirit-light that lit her soul
With pure and holy gleaming; it was touched
With love's celestial fire, and sweetly shed
Its winning glance in childhood's joyous hours;
Her glossy curbs in flowing ringlets fell
Upon her snowy neck, and in her heart
Were found the springs of innocence and love.
She was a pious child. Her infant voice
Tuned oft its gladsome song of grateful praise,
And warbled adoration forth to Heaven;
Or bowing down she sought by humble prayer
To drink at life's unfailing fount above-
To have her spirit sanctified, and drest
In angel's robes, spotless and pure as they.
She did not ask in vain : methinks she quaffed
Life's more than nectar draught-immortal bliss,
And turning back to earth, its waters fell
In radiant drops of holiness and love,
That sparkled in the ray of joy and peace.
She was not long for earth. If angels come
To bear above the spirit pure and bright
To give it to its author-and to claim
Its blest companionship in Heaven; to wing
The image of its God from earthly dross
To where no sin nor taint corrupts its form,
But fadeless as the ray from Heaven's own

springs
Keep it unsullied for its Master's use,
They did it then! Disease its havoc made,
And Death, stern sovereign of the mortal life,
Poised his unerring dart, and sent it home.
Her death was calm and holy. Not a sigh
Escaped her lips; no sorrowing tone was heard
At Death's approach; but waiting to be gone
She longed to hear her Maker call her home.
At last she heard the summons-Faith then held
Her angel hand to bear her safe across

"I see it-Immanuel's throne,

Where my Saviour is waiting for me, And I haste from this world to be gone

That I my redemption may see : I want to adore him supreme

From whom no allurement can geverIn the light of his life-giving beam

To love and enjoy him for ever.

"I see it-the crown he has won

To give ine when I shall be there, And robes which the light of the sun

Would fade in, were I to compare; I see it, and Jesus is mine,

I give Him my spirit again, And trusting His promise divine

I say to His bidding Amen!"

Long years have passed since then, but memory

still, True to her trust, brings back the tearful hour When that one link was broken! But I trust 'Tis not for ever! Oh, what speechless joy Should fill that spirit which can look on high, And with the eye of Faith, in humble hope Of God's eternal promise, can behold The spirit sanctified and pure in bliss, Renewing bonds which death has severed here, But there to be united ne'er to end.

MORALITY OF THE “BOZ” LITERATURE.

BY REV. F. C. WOODWORTH.

[ocr errors]

A KIND of fiction has sprung up during a few sons for this belief. And let it be premised, years, which may be denominated the Boz that what is true of the master is true of all literature.” At the head of the school is

the disciples. A more servile set of imitators Charles Dickens, who has produced as great a never existed than those of the Dickens school. sensation in the novel-reading world, as almost Er uno disce omnes. any man since the days of Sir Walter Scott.

1. The writings of Dickens have an immoral Few novel-writers have had such a host of imi. tendency, because they are unfriendly to spiritual tators. His plots, his characters, his style, his religion. In all of them there cannot be found peculiar cant phrases, have been copied by se- any such thing as an approval of genuine piety. cond-rate aspirants to literary fame, and he has Indeed, Mr. Dickens hardly speaks of a God, been very generally regarded as not only an much less of a Redeemer, at all. We shall amusing and harmless writer, but as a teacher perhaps be met with the objection, while the of wholesome morality in a pleasant way. We fact will not be denied, that this negative omis. Americans, who are somewhat over-fond of sion, however culpable and unhappy, affords no foreign talent, while we are inclined to under

positive influence against religion. But this is value the literary efforts of our own countrymen, a mistake. When an author makes his charachave been perfectly insane in our devotion to ters, after a very imperfect life, pass into eternity him. When he came to our shores, we were peacefully and happily, without any Saviour to not content to applaud his genius, as the bright- sustain them, and teaches that a mere worldly est star in that particular constellation of litera- philosophy will make any one die in triumph, ture, but we told him he was the greatest phi. he does exert an influence unfriendly to spiritual lanthropist of his times—a second Howard—a

religion, and consequently to sound morality; or man who had conferred untold benefits

upon

his if he does not, no thanks are due to him. No species. This was doubtless startling news to one who has read Dickens, needs to be told that Dickens. It never had occurred to him before this is the way his heroes and heroines die. that he had done so much good. While he had But this is not the only method he takes to been writing his novels and novelettes, under show his opposition to the religion of the heart. the influence of his cigar and his brandy and He takes pains sometimes to throw it into ridiwater, the thought never entered his mind that cule—the most effective method, frequently, of he was actuated by the purest and most exalted injuring the cause of God. This attack on rephilanthropy. He fanciel he hal been writing ligion may not be premeditated. There may be for fame and money.

We told him better. really no great malice about it; and it is no We sent him home with the conviction that he matter, so far as the influence is concerned, was a sort of demi-gol, and that about all the whether there be any. Doubtless he speaks genuine love of humanity in the world was held out the honest sentiments of his heart, without in trust for his species by Charles Dickens, any design. And just here lies the danger of Gent.

trusting any depraved and unprincipled man to How well that great moralist repaid our laud- write on moral subjects for the mind, and espeation, when he returned to his native land, it is cially the mind of the young; for “out of the quite unnecessary to say. It may be an un- abundance of the heart the month speaketh." warrantable digression to allude to it. More- 2. There is in the works of Dickens a strong over, it is a delicate subject. Nobody likes to current of opposition to the principles of temperhear about it, and we will let it pass. Since,

This does not secm to be in accordance however, so much has been said about the good with the most exalted philanthropy, to say the mural influence of the books of this same Mr. least. In this respect the Boz literature is nearDickens, the philanthropist, we have a mind to ly all faulty, and must do harm. Suppose analyze them a little, a very little, and show Dickens does not harangue against sobriety in how much they are really worth as lessons of so many words. We see plainly enough his morality. We believe their influence in this repugnance to the practical means employed to respect is pernicious, and we will give the rea- promote the principles of temperance, and there

ance.

.

MORALITY OF THE “BOZ” LITERATURE

133

66

are many ways of throwing odium on the cause, years since, the inspectors of prisons in England besides direct attack. If we desired to ruin a presented a report, in which was a collection young man by means of the intoxicating cup, of facts illustrating the demoralizing effects of we would not read lectures on the beauties of what may be called felon literature." It is intemperance and debauchery to him. We stated in this report that a vast number of malewould not attempt to convince him what a factors were found, on examination, to have blessed creature that must be which would been first misled by reading such works, and the “steal away his brains.” We would make particular cases are given in detail. The effect him familiar with the convivial club, and teach of familiarity with scenes of vice, especially on him that the best society belongs to it; that it the minds of the young, is 10 blunt the moral is genteel and reputable to indulge in drinking, sensibility, and by sympathy to excite the evil and that men and women who are conscientious- passions and deprave the heart. ly pledged to abstain are all a set of low, mean, The mind of Mr. Dickens seems to gloat on narrow-minded fanatics. That would be the these disgusting pictures of human life. He way most likely to secure an unsuspecting vic- compels us almost constantly to keep company tim, according to our notion ; and that is just with the vilest dregs of society, and we must the way that our so-called philanthropist listen to their low conversation, and witness chooses. With what a grace his heroes-his their revolting dissipation and debauchery. immaculate heroes-quaff their wine and strong We think, then, we are warranted in the drink! What an air of decorum and noble. conclusion that, whatever may be the literary ness of soul there seems to be about the bac- merits of Dickens' works, the moral tendency chanalian revel! Who would not learn to rel- of them is, on the whole, too pernicious to allow ish the social glass? And good Mr. Dickens of their safe introduction into a virtuous family himself, how he delights in that delicious —that though not so bad as many other novels, * brandy and water.” With what wonderful they are yet far too bad to be encouraged by sang-froid he holds up the tumbler, and eyes the Christian community. the nectar within! And then with what grace We should be among the last to refuse to and professional ease he brings it to his lips, Dickens the award he deserves as an author. drinks the health of gentleman-a very jo- There is much in his style to be admired. At vial, generous, high-souled gentleman--and fi- times, when the dignity of his subject requires nally tosses off its entire contents, 10 his infinite it, there is a richness, a chasteness, a touching, satisfaction! What a delightful specific brandy simple beauty about some of his paragraphs, and water must be, and how cheerless this which one rarely meets with among the best world would become, if one could not drink and writers of prose, in the English language Then smoke cigars ! Oh, there is nothing like drink. the moral influence of much that he has writing and smoking to drive away care and cure ten would be most happy, were it disconnected the heart-ache. Such is the impression which entirely with other and more exceptionable matthe writings of “ Boz” are calculated to make on ter. We are not blind to the excellences, the mind of the reader Now in all this is whether of style or sentiment, that are so much there no bad moral taught; and is there no ten- applauded in the works of Dickens. We trust dency, by throwing a charm around the cup, we should not be blind to them, were the obto lead the young away from the paths of so- jectionable features we have noticed much more briety? Nay, if Charles Dickens had desired marked and numerous, and though he should to make drunkards, and had set himself in ear- slander everything American a hundred fold nest about the task, could he have taken a worse than he has done. But may not the very more wise and appropriate course ?

excellence of some portions of his works tend 3. The morals of Dickens' writings are in our to make them more pernicious as a whole? Is view very generally exceptionable in another not poison-physical poison--more dangerous respect. We allude to his so frequent descrip- in combination with other substances that are tion, in detail, of some of the lowest and worst pleasant to the taste and nutritious, than when features of vicious society. What is the tendency unadulterated—more dangerous, because more of habituai familiarity with vice? We believe palatable, and consequently more likely to it is evil, and almost only evil; and for this be. be received into the system? And when relief we have a host of indisputable facts, and ceived, would its virulent action be prevented the testimony of many sensible and good men, by the delicious and healthful ingredients with as well as the evidence of analogy. Some two which it was compounded ?

134

THE CHRISTIAN PARLOR MAGAZINE.

Some people—men of good senx and discre. tion, too—seem to have a very singular way of deciding whether the moral influence of a book is good or bad. They take it to pieces, examine carefully all its parts, put all its wholesome moral lessons in one scale, and its moral impurities and obliquities in another, and determine whether the book is to be welcomed to the bosoms of their families, or banished from their society, by the scale that preponderates. But we must beg to dissent from any such standard of judging. If the mind of a youth receive the germ of a vicious sentiment, it is no offset to that sentiment to inculcate a lesson of virtue; and if by the recital of tales of depravity and vice, the finer sensibilities have become blunted, the heart rendered cold and callous to the claims of humanity, and the leprosy of moral pollution

have begun its work of death in the soul, of how much value are a score of pretty sayings about honesty, and benevolence, and generosity, and the whole sisterhood of virtues ?

That the works of Dickens are liable to the objections we have stated, no candid reader of them will deny. The only question is, of what weight these objections ought to be, and this question different individuals will answer differently. But will men and women of stern principle-will Christians, with a knowledge of these facts, consent to tolerate all the evil of these works, for the sake of the good they find in them? For the honor of religion, for the sake of humanity, and morality, and virtue, we hope that they, at least, will seek a purer literature than that of Charles Dickens and his satellites.

NOTICES OF NORTHERN RUSSIA.

BY C. W. BAIRD.

A work of much interest has recently appeared in Russia, a translation of which has been published in Paris.* The author was sent by the Russian government in 1820, in company with other gentlemen of distinction, on an expedition to Northern Siberia, among the tribes dwelling on the coast of the Arctic Sea. Of this important and interesting book we will give some notices.

While the northern coast of America had been explored by Ross, Parry, and Franklin, the geography of Northern Asia was but little known. The first voyage made to the coast extending between the Straits of Behring and the Sea of Karsk was performed in 1580, by two Englishmen, Peto and Jackman. Since that time several voyages have been made thither ; at one time by a Cossack chief, sent there for the purpose of subjecting some tribe to the fur tax; at another time by a member of some geographical and commercial society. These made some new discoveries, but the result of their researches was far from being sat

* Le Nord de la Siberie, voyage parmi les peuplades de la Russie Asiatique ei dans la Mer Glaciale, entrepris par ordre du gouvernement Russe, et executé par MM. de Wrangell, Matiouchkine et Kozmine. Paris, 1812.

isfactory. Little was known of those countries save the mere outline of the coast. The Emperor Alexander resolved, therefore, to send two officers of the navy for the purpose of making new researches in those regions. This expedition, at the head of which was M. de Wrangell, was to visit the countries near the mouth of the Kolima River. A residence of four years in the polar regions is so rare, that the twenty years which have elapsed since have not at all diminished its interest. Besides, as the manners and customs of the tribes which dwell there depend essentially on the phenomena of that severe climate, they are always the

same.

After having crossed Mount Oural, or, as the natives call it, the belt of store, the traveller enters Siberia, the capital of which is Irkoutsk. This city is the limit of civilisation. After making the necessary preparations, M. de Wrangell embarked on the majestic Lena, one of the largest rivers of Europe. In twenty-seven days he reached Yakoutsk, a city of four thousand inhabitants, where, in the middle of July, there was no sign of summer, except the absence of snow. Yakoutsk is the centre of a considerable part of the commerce of Northern

NOTICES OF NORTHERN RUSSIA.

135

The

[ocr errors]

Siberia. Farther on, it is seldom that the tray. eller meets with beaten roads, and generally he is obliged to travel on horseback. A long rope stretches from the head of each horse to the tail of the preceding one. Two guides, the one belore and the other behind the line, take care of the procession; and thus about twenty-five miles are daily travelled.

Passing along a forest of mulberry and pine trees, M. de Wrangell remarked several trees whose large trunks were covered with tufts of horsehair; many sticks, decorated in the same manner, were standing around them. guide who directed the troop stopped at this place, tore some hair from his horse's mane, and placed it on the trunk of one of these trees with great appearance of devoutness; he then said with joyful looks that this offering made sure the protection of the Spirit of the forests, and that thenceforth their expedition would be fortunate. The superstition of the guides did noi end here; for, that the goodwill of the Spirit might be more certain, they continually cele. brated, in their sad and monotonous songs, the imagined beauties of those regions which they supposed were subject to its rule.

The Yakoutes (such is the name of the inhabitants of this country) are of the race of Tartary; all their wealth consists in the horses and flocks of horned cattle which they own. Accustomed to the cold, they seem not to feel it, and use scarcely any means to protect themselves from it: In their travels, they spread the cloth which covers their horses on the snow, wrap themselves up in their overcoats, stretch themselves on this bed, and sleep profoundly in a season when the cold is of twenty or thirty degrees. Their summer dwellings are kinds of tents, of a conical shape, made of the bark of a tree, fastened to a frame; they live a wandering life, and, while their flocks are in their pastures, they make their provision of hay for the winter. During the latter season they live in huts covered with a thick coat of sods, straw, and clay, into which light enters only by two little holes, in which they place pieces of ice instead of glass. Though most of the Yakoutes have been baptized, and though several portions of the Gospe have been translated into their language, they perform many pagan ceremonies, and they place a blind confidence in the sorcery of their chamans. These people are of a dissimulating, quarrelsome, and vindictive character. After the traveller has passed the chain of the Verkho Yansk mountains, distances of many miles separate the various dwellings; this

dispersion is not occasioned by the want of sufficient pasture, but by the unsociable dispo. sition of the inhabitants. In their meetings, however, they make up for their long isolation by interminable tales ; the Siberians are great story-tellers, and they frequently alter the truth for the sake of rendering their narrations more interesting

The chain of the Verkho Yansk mountains divides the flow of the waters of the Lena and Yana; towards the south, the pine and larch grow, while towards the north the cedar, the poplar, and the willow are seen. To cross these mountains is the most difficult part of the journey from Yakoutsk to Nijne-Kolimsk. Beyond them, in the midst of an extensive plain, is the small city of Zachiversk, where, at that time, was still living a venerable priest, Father Michael. During more than sixty years, in which,” says M. de Wrangell, “ he has fulfilled his mission, he has been instrumental in converting to Christianity by the power of the Word, and by his virtuous example, more than fifteen thousand Yakoutes, Toungouses, and Youkaquires, whose manners and babits he has been enabled to change. At present, notwithstanding his advanced age, he makes his annual journey, and travels many hundred miles on horseback; that is, he visits all the villages of his vast parish, to communicate the Divine Word, to console the afflicted, to distribute alms to the poor, and to help the sick.” What a life of self-denial! We admire it the more because it is unknown, and finds its only recompense in the work of devotion which it accomplishes.

Beyond the great lake of Orinkine, all bears the signs of desolation; the traveller crosses immense marshes, whose surface is merely dried, not consolidated, during the summer; a thick layer of ice which never melts, is a few feet below it; and this alone preserves the traveller from the dangers which he would have to pass through during that season ; but it was in October, when the cold was of 24 degrees, that M. de Wrangell crossed this region. As the Kolima is approached the scenery becomes less severe ; however, soon the forests disappear entirely: and nothing but a few shrubs and bushes are met with. The latter part of the journey is accomplished with great rapidity in sledges drawn by dogs. After two hundred and twenty-four days of travelling, the expedition reached the miserable village of Nijne-Kolimsk, which was to be the centre of its operations for

three years.

The severity of the climate is very great in

« PredošláPokračovať »