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the charge-Though not in so great sitions professing to delineate man a' degree as many others - of either vi as he is," or as he ought “ making a mock at sin,” treating to be," cannot but be injurious lightly and playfully offences against in their tendency, if they thus the Decalogue, which ought to be systematically keep out of sight, mentioned only with unaffected or pervert where they introduce, sorrow and reprehension.
the fundamental principles which Another grievous charge against relate to his actual condition. We the general run of tales and novels do not look for moral touches in a is, that they present false views on work of science; the subject does the most important subjects con- not require or always admit of nected with religion and morals.- them ; but in a novel, the whole Let us only assume that the Bible composition relates to human acis true, and that its disclosures tions, and unless the priociples be are of moment; and what an ano. right they must be wrong: they maly will most novels appear to a cannot be neutral; they are scripman who seriously regards them tural or worldly; they are such under this impression! We must as, if admitted in real life, would take high ground on this question; lead either to eternal happiness or but ground on which our readers, elernal misery. A novel ought, we trust, are prepared as Christi. therefore, to be so constructed as aos to accompany us, even at the not to oppose the disclosures of risk of a smile of surprise, from Revelation; but for this purpose, it their novel-reading friends, at the must recognise them; not always excessive oddity of their opinions. directly, as in a sermon, but always We would ask then, Do the class virtually; embodying them in its of works in question usually de- general tone and structure, even scribe man in true colours? Do where they are not specifically they describe him as God describes adverted to or introduced. For him? Do they view liim as a fallen want of this, novels in general creature; or as needing an atone- afford no just principle of action, ment? Do they even always as- po true standard of decision; and sume him to be a moral and they are too frequently most danaccountable agent? So far from gerous and delusive, where they it, the Law and the Gospel are, in ought to be most correct,-namely, many cases, almost equally crossed when they venture to touch upon out in their code. Judging by their subjects of moral and spiritual standard, there is no necessity for importance. repentance, no profit in faith, no We may add, as another strong motive to holiness. Every thing charge against most novels, that relating to death, to judgment, to they fill the mind with images which eternity, is studiously excluded; religion ought to dispossess. The or is employed only on some rare length to which we have extended occasion for the purpose of pic. our remarks preveots our enlargturesque or sublime effect. The ing on this point as it deserves ; morals inculcated (we speak gene. but we leave it to our readers to rally) are defective in their charac- decide, without our filling up the ter; their highest virtues are but detail of proof, whether the whole splendid sins. Affliction is not made scenery and machinery of the bulk to lead the sufferer to God; prayer of povels, with their affairs of war, and praise are but puritanical ob- and glory, and display, and passion, servances; and, in short, the whole are not diametrically opposed to scene of human existence and des- the train of feeling and reflection, tiny is described precisely as it which Christians ought to encouwould be if Christianity were a rage; wbether an indulgence in the mere fable. Now, surely, compo- perusal of works of abis sort does not unfit the mind for sacred duneral impression of a novel, but ties; whether the growth of reli- making it her study throughout its gion in the soul is not impeded, whole texture to aim at a welland unholy affections strengthened defined and beneficial object. Io by such a course of reading; and this respect we must place many of whether, above all, the Holy Spirit her tales in a much higher moral is not grieved and quenched, and rank than those of the author of the soul laid open, and defenceless, Waverley, who seems generally to to the incursions of its spiritual write without any better object in enemy.
view than his own profit and the We have thus specified some of amusement of bis readers. With the injurious tendencies of novels his splendid talents, without quitting and novel-reading, with reference the line of writing which he has to that large class of compositions chosen, what benefit might he not in which no particular benefit or have conferred on bis country, had injury was intended by their au- he resolutely determined that every thors. We do not mean to contend one of his volumes should be the that all these mischiefs apply to vehicle for inculcating some useful every case ; but one point at least truth or impressing some neglected is clear, that as we daily pray, duty; and that he would never, on “ Lead us not into temptation;" any occasion, record a line or senwe are in duty bound as Christians timent which might wound religion to avoid those sources of tempta- or injure the mind of his reader. tion which fall in our way; of which His elevating delineation of Jeannie sources, habits of trifling and in. Deans, already alluded to, proves jurious reading are, in the present that, had he seen fit, he might have day, one of very considerable mag- ranked high among the moralists of Dilude.
his country; and this without any We had intended to discuss, at sacrifice, but such as would have some length, the third class of done equal honour to his heart and works of fiction ; namely, those his understanding. Let us bope,even which are written with a decidedly yet, that the unknown author will good intention ; but the extent of reconsider the responsibility which our remarks on the last topic will devolves upon the possession of render it necessary for us to con- talents such as bis, and will dedi. tent ourselves with a very few ob- cate his remaining works to purservations. We may possibly re- poses of higher aim than mere ensume the subject on some other iertainment, and make it his first and occasion.
greatest effort, if not soaring high With respect to living novelists like Milton“ to vindicate the for our limits do not allow of our ways of God to man," at least to casting a retrospective glance-we endeavour, with the conscientious should be inclined, upon the whole, author of the Rambler, “ to add to place Miss Edgeworth among ardour to virtue, and confidence to those writers of fiction, whose truth.” publications have usually the merit We have spoken with due respect of being written for an avowedly of the generally moral intention useful purpose. Her tales are for of Miss Edgeworth's tales ; but the most part sober and sensible, still her's is a world without relicopied from real life, and free from gion, and consequently her whole what is enervating and inflamma- fabric rests on an insecure and tory. She has generally pursued unchristian fouodation. of late some moral object; not merely years there has been a rapid mul. winding up ber narrative with a tiplication of works of fiction, infew tame reflections, which can tended to supply this defect. The seldom or never counteract the ge- justly celebrated Celebs of Mrs. · Hannah More, to say nothing of may be disclosed which will have her equally celebrated, and no less the effect of stimulating rather than useful, Cheap Repository Tracts, repressing an already corrupted seems to bave formed the model imagination, as well as of instructfor this species of composition, and ing the more artless reader on a scarcely a winter now passes with- variety of points, where “ignoout an addition of several volumes rance is bliss," and it is “folly to to this popular species of literature. be wise." The very correctness of Half a score, at least, of tales of the writer's own mind, and his unthis class are, at the present mo- feigned abhorrence of evil, may ment, candidates for adınission into lead him to employ language which, our review department, and as many to less chastised imaginations, is more may probably issue from the productive of effects the opposite press before we, after our tardy to those which he intended. Acfashion, can address ourselves, if customed himself almost instincerer we do so, to the task of de- tively to measare character by the ciding on their respective merits. strict Standard of Scripture, and
Of works written for the express pot at all inclined to love vice bepurpose of usefulness, we certainly cause it bappens to be connected do not feel disposed to speak other with agreeable qualities; or to diswise than with all possible respect; esteem virtue, because it is soineand it cannot be doubted, that times arrayed in a homely garb; much good has in many cases been he may so draw his personages, and effected by means of publications weave his incidents as to make his of this class. We think, however, less scrupulous readers take part that the taste for them is increasing with his bad characters against his far beyond what is desirable; and good ones. Besides all which, a we venture to submit, whether a professedly religious novel may habit of religious novel-reading chance to be written io a flippant, may not be more or less attended or satirical spirit; or it may betray by some of the inconveniences bad taste or bad temper; or it may which we have enumerated as ap- be so extremely unfair in its selecplicable to novel-reading in gene. tion of incidents and arguments, ral. Such works are often highly especially on such subjects as the serviceable in the family circle; love of the world, and worldly but still they are works of mere company, and worldly amusements, fiction, and unless duly selected, that the recoil may be more danand indulged in with moderation, gerous than the intended stroke; may generate a taste for idle and or it may betray such an ignorance desultory reading, with a love of of men and manners, that its estiexcitement, and anaversion to more mate will pass for nothing with solid studies ; and may serve as a those for whose benefit it was destepping-stone to novel-reading of signed ; or it may be founded on a less discriminale character. We occurrences, (for instance, a tale of might add also, that even a profess- seduction) which ought not so edly religious novel is not cf neces- much as to be named in a Christian sity judicious in all its parts, and family, except as they may happen may in some instances be open to for a moment to force themselves severe censure. We are unwilling into notice, and tben to be disto allade 10 particular examples, missed with a few brief and temespecially as our space will not perate remarks, rather than dwelt allow of our bringing forward the on, as they are in some professedly proofs that would be necessary to religious novels, till the mind is justify our animadversions ; but it saturated with unseemly contemis obvious that, with the best possi. plations. ble motives in the writer, scenes But our limits waru us to forbear,
CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 244. 2 K
otherwise we should have been in- gence in works of fiction as is preclined to have dropped a few sug- sented, to the more conscientious gestions respecting another very reader, by the literary attractions important class of semi-novels, and somewhat guarded character of professing to be written for good many of our modern tales and noand useful purposes; we mean, the vels. With regard to the third modern race of tales for children, class, there is still a strict necessity both of the moral and the religious for great caution in the selection, cast. To the utility and excel- and not less so for habits of selflence of some of these, we should control and a strong sense of duty have given our willing testimony; in determining the degree in which an while, perhaps, we should have felt indulgence in such a line of reading it right to inquire whether an over shall be admitted. But after all that indulgence even in works of this may be said or written on these quesdescription, in childhood and youth, tions abstractedly, their practical may not be productive of some of application must depend in a great the evil effects which we have men. degree upon the age, the habits, the tioned as applying to novel-reading temperament, the duties, the occuin general, particularly on the score pations, and the besetting sins of of their stimulating effect, and of each individual. their tendency to create a distate Were we to wind up our review, for more thoughtful reading. like a sermon, with a familiar ap
Our general estimate on the whole plication, we should say; Fill up subject is, that it is primarily a your time so fully with useful emquestion of kind, and then of de ployments as to leave little leisure gree.
Works of the first of our for pursuits of a doubtful character. three general classes are wholly in- Endeavour further to acquire such admissible; those of the second are, a strong sense of duty, such a taste wethink, generally inexpedient, and for contemplations of a higher order, often positively, however unde- and such well-arranged habits of signedly, injurious. There may be sacred study and devotion, as may and are partial exceptions ; for ex- supersede the temptation to devote ample, some of the bistorical and to idle, if not injurious, amusement graphical sketches in the Waverley moments which may be so much Tales, and many single characters more profitably given to the great and descriptions in these and other concern of "making your calling novels, well calculated to foster vir- and election sure." Keep in mind tuous, disinterested, and magnaui- the claims which your family, your mous feelings. But the composition friends, and society bave upon your of such works as a whole, and when hours of retirement; and the importjudged of by scriptural principles, ance of so employing those hours, is in almost every instance found to be they few or mavy, ibat both your be liable to just objection. Where, mind and your body may be rehowever, specific objections do not freshed for the returning duties of apply, it is a habit of trifling read- each successive day. And lastly, ing, rather than the perusal of an guard against habits of idle curiooccasional volume, that is chiefly to sity; and be not ashamed to own be dreaded and deprecated: the that there are many things with rein is a more necessary implement which neither your time nor your than the spur in the management of taste permits you to be acquainted, the imagination at all times, but and least of all with every new tale especially in this age of light and that happens to be the subject of desultory reading, and with so pow- popular conversation. erful an inducement to an indul
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE,
IRELAND PREPARING for publication :- The Life The late population returns in Ire. and Correspondence of Bishop Horsley; land present a large increase in the by his Son ;-Provence and the Rhone; number of the inhabitants. The followby J. Hughes ;-One Thousand Fac- ing are the totals :Similes of the Hand-writing of Eminent Leinster. 1,785,702 Englishmen;-Sermons and Miscella. Munster, 2,005,363 neons Pieces; by the Rev. R. W.
2,001,966 Mayow ;-In two vols. octavo, with Connaught
1,053,918 plates of the Egyptian Deities, Sections
6,846,949 and Plans of the Egyptian Temples, and When the deficiencies in this table Tombs,ichnographical Plans of Thebes, shall have been supplied, the total num. Jerusalem, &c., Travels along the ber may probably exceed seven millions. Mediterranean, and Parts adjacent, ex
POLAND. tending as far as the Second Cataract A decree has been published, aboof the Nile, Jerusalem, Damascus, lishing all the heads of the Jewish comBalbec, Constantinople, Athens, Ioan- munities (called Kahal) in the kingdom nina, the Ionjau Isles, &c. &c., in the of Poland. This measure is expected years 1816, 17, 18, in company with tu be of great importance towards prothe Earl of Belmore; by R. Richard, moting the civilization and welfare of
the Jews; as these national magistrates, In the press : Discourses on the It is said, not only opposed an invincible Scripture Character of God; by the barrier of gross prejudices to the imRev. H. F. Burder ;– The Wonders of provement of their countrymen, but the Vegetable Kingdom; by the Author were themselves frequently guilty of of Select Female Biography;—The Fos. oppressive partiality. sils of the South Downs; by J. Mantell;
RUSSIA. -A Journey to the Oasis of Siwah, to A ukase was lately issued by the ascertain the Site of the Temple of Am- Emperor, commissioning the Governormon; by A. Linant;-Public Men of general of Siberia to inspect the goall Nations, living in 1822;—Two Poeti. vernments under his care,-to collect cal Works; also, A Tour on the Conti- upon the spot detailed information renent; and Ecclesiastical Sketches; by specting their situation; to found upon Wm. Wordsworth ;-Essays on the Dis- this information the means for improving cipline of Children; by the Rev. W. their condition, and to lay them before Bamford.
the Emperor.- The plans proposed by
the Governor are approved; and, in The “Society for promoting Christian consequence, this extensive region, comKnowledge in the Diocese of St. Da. prehending various climates and tribes vid's," has awarded a Premium of 501. to of inhabitants, instead of being any Mr.H.V.Tebbs, Proctor,ofDoctors'Com- longer an inhospitable desert, will, it mons, for the best Essay on " the Scrip- is hoped, enjoy the advantages of a ture Doctrine of Adultery and Divorce, united, civilized, and, we trust, reli. and on the Criminal Character and Pu: gious country. nishment of Adultery by the ancient
UNITED STATES. Laws of England and other Countries.” The fourth census of the United States This Essay is in the press; as also, an gives the population, including the New Essay on “ The Influence of a Moral States, at 9,625,734. The slaves amount Life in our Judgment in Matters of to about 1,531,436; and foreigners, not Faith" (John vii. 17); by the Rev. S. naturalized, to 53,646. The persons enC. Wilks, A.M.: to which the Society gaged in agriculture were 2,065,499; awarded its premium for the best com- in commerce, 72,397; in manufactures, position on that subject.