« PreviousContinue »
that there are few Methodist families in which a copy will not be found. Two
passages, however, we cannot refrain from quoting; one in which the substance of the Oxford tract controversy is, in a few words, put in complete sunshine; the other, stating the spirit in which the approaching centenary celebration should be observed, in terms not unworthy even of that high office which the author so deservedly fills.
Speaking of the Oxford tract writers, he says :
“What is still worse, they describe the Christian salvation, not as consisting in justification and a new and holy nature, obtained by faith in the perfect sacrifice of Christ'; but an indefinite and mysterious something which is received through the sacraments, administered by men, whether holy or wicked, who have received their appointment in a direct line from the apostles.”—Page 310.
As to the centenary observances, he speaks thus :
“God forbid that in this celebration we should glory in man. If we do, we shall grieve the Holy Spirit, and bring a blight upon our work. God will spread dung upon our faces, and spurn both us and our unhallowed services. He is jealous of his honor; and the glory which belongs to him he will not share with any other being either in earth or heaven. The view of Methodistical agency and success which is presented in these pages is not intended to inspire pride and vain glory, but to show the nature and extent of the benefit for which our thanks ought to be presented to the God of all grace. The Wesleys and their noble companion in evangelical labor, Mr. Whitefield, were indeed extraordinary men; but they were not men casually brought into existence, and whose powers were casually called forth by the circumstances of the times, as a profane and godless philosophy would insinuate. They were raised up by God as the instruments of his mercy to the world. The peculiar talents with which they were endued were his gift. Their piety, their zeal for the divine glory, their yearning pity for ignorant and wicked men, their meek endurance of opposition, and their patience in toil and suffering, were all the effect of his holy inspiration. The whole of their success in turning men to Christ depended upon the exertion of the divine power; for no man can come to Christ unless he be drawn by the Father. The good that was in them was all of God; and whatever was in them of weakness, infirmity, error, and sin, was of themselves. While, therefore, we think upon our fathers in this work,-of the generations that have entered into rest through their labors,—of the tens of thousands, in different parts of the world, who are following in the same path,-of the various means which are now employed to extend and perpetuate the work,--and of the cheering tokens of spiritual prosperity which we still witness,-let us beware of confining our attention to second causes. The hand of God is in all this, and the entire glory must be given to his infinite goodness." —Page 296.
We are glad that circumstances have allowed us, without any reservation, to anticipate the reader's judgment on this centenary volume, and by anticipation to put it upon record in the pages of the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. Where could the estimate which will be formed of the service rendered to the Wesleyan connection, (not to speak of the cause of religion generally,) by the present publication, be more fitly expressed than in the columns of the work, to the efficiency and value of which its author has so long and so largely contributed ?
[A reprint of the work noticed above is in press, and will be shortly published by Mason & Lane.-Eds.)
Vol. X.-April, 1839. 30
Malcom's Travels in Burmah, Hindostan, Malaya, Siam, and China, in 1 vol. 8vo,
and 2 vols. 12mo.—with a superb original map of South-eastern Asia, five steel plate engravings, and about 100 wood-cuts. Gould, Kendall & Lincoln: Boston, 1839.
We have not had the pleasure to see this work, though for the notice of the subject, the reputation of the author, and from brief extracts published while it was in press, we have no doubt it will
have an extensive circulation, and be eagerly read by the friends of missions throughout the country.
The following brief statement of its prominent characteristics is contained in the prospectus of the publishers :
“ It is not a mere diary of events which befell the traveler, but contains thousands of facts, dates, numbers, prices, &c., &c,, which are either original or gleaned from sources not accessible in this country.
Incidents, anecdotes, and scenes have been freely introduced ; but only such as tend to make the reader better acquainted with the country.
The most perfect impartiality is shown to every sect of Christians, and such details given of the various missions as will make the work equally acceptable to every persuasion.
Such sketches are given of the history of the country, towns, and missions which are described, as serve to throw light upon their present condition.
The map is beautifully executed, and may be considered original. Many important corrections have been made by actual observation, and the remainder is chiefly drawn from original and unpublished surveys by British officers, and engineers, and surveyors, to which the author was politely granted access.
The pictures are wholly new, and form an important addition to our stock of oriental illustrations. No pains or expense has been spared in these, or the mechanical execution. Five of these are on steel, showing landscapes of Maulmein, Tavoy, Margui, and Sagaing, and a curious page exhibiting specimens of fifteen different oriental languages.
A great part of the work relates to countries almost entirely unknown, even to the best-informed persons in our country.
The author, from the important character of his mission, his intercourse with distinguished civilians and experienced missionaries, his deliberate stay at each place, his previous familiarity with foreign countries, and his long experience in the board of missions, enjoyed the highest advantages for gathering ample and correct details for the work.
Chapters on the mode of conducting modern missions, or on the measure of success which has attended the enterprise ; on the almost unknown tribes in and around Burmah; and other important subjects, are added at the close of the work, and must constitute no small part of its value.”
The remarks which follow appeared in the Boston Mercantile Journal before the work was issued from the press :
"Mr. Malcom is well known as an elegant writer, and he has shown in this production that he is a man of great powers of observation; and we doubt not that this description, full and accurate, of the condition of the inhabitants of Burmah, of their manners, laws, customs, literature, religion, social and domestic habits, &c., will be gladly welcomed by the reading public. We make some extracts from this interesting publication, which will give our readers an idea of its contents.
The following is a graphic description of a squall extracted from his journal of the passage to India, in the ship Louvre :
“The majesty of a few sharp squalls, however, repays one for the danger they may involve, and tempts the timid passenger to tempt the wind and a wetting, for the pleasure of the sight. Every sluggish sailor is converted instantly into a hero. Every order is obeyed on the run. The lofty display of canvass, which had been flapping against the masts, is rapidly reduced as the threatening cloud draws on. Regardless of the huge drops which now begin to descend, the captain stands at the weather bulwark, peering through half-closed lids into the gathering gloom. Fitful gusts herald the approaching gale. More canvass is taken in ; the waves are lashed to foam; the winds howl through the rigging; the bulk-keads creak and strain; the ship careens to the water's edge; and the huge spray springs over the weather bow: then comes the rain in torrents; the mainsail is furled, the spanker brailed up, and the man at the wheel is charged 10' mind his weather helm.' Soon the whole force of the blast is upon us.
• Hard up!' roars the captain, Hard up, sir!' responds the watchful helmsman. The noble thing turns ker back to the tremendous uproar, and away we scud, conscious of safety, and thrilling with emotions of sublimity.
“The rush is over! The dripping seamen expand again the venturous canvas—the decks are swabbed—the tropical sun comes out gloriously-we pair ourselves to promenade—and evening smiles from golden clouds, that speak of day-gladdened realms beyond. And now the rolling billows, disrobed of their foaming glitter, quiet themselves for the repose of night, while the blessed moon beams mildly from mid-heaven.
“Thou art, O God! the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see;
Are but reflections caught from thee!
And all things bright and fair are thine.' "The hospitality of the natives is well illustrated in the following incident:
“To avoid three or perhaps four days' delay in going round Tavoy Point, and up the river, I was set ashore, with a few articles of immediate necessity, at Moung-ma-goung, a small Burman village, eight or ten miles' walk from Tavoy. It stands nearly a mile from the shore, with wide paths and good houses, beautifully shaded by noble trees, especially the bonyatha or jack, a species of the bread-fruit. While the necessary preparations were being made, I was conducted to the cool zayat; and was scarcely seated on its floor of split canes, when a woman brought a nice mat for me to lie on, another presented me with cool water, and the head man went and plucked for me a half dozen of fine oranges. None sought or expected the least reward, but disappeared, and left me to my repose. A constant succession of children, however, came to gaze at the foreigner; and some women, with babes on their hips, squatted at a little distance to gratify their curiosity ; all, however, behaving with decorum and respect. In a Burman village, the zayat is the only tavern. It consists of a shed, with a floor raised three or four feet from the ground, and wide verandas to keep off the sun. The quality of the building varies with the wealth and generosity of the villagers. Some are truly splendid. As chairs and tables are out of the question, and as every traveler carries his own provision, here is an ample hotel. The neighbors readily furnish water, and fruits seem free. A little fire, kindled near, cooks the rice; an hour's slumber follows the unpretending meal, and all things are ready for a start.”
Mr. Malcom made several excursions into the country, and his descriptions of the interior are very interesting
“The whole region immediately above Maulmain is alluvial; the rocks chiefly blue limestone of excellent quality. The country is flat, fertile, and beautiful ; but, though once populous, is now thinly inhabited. The scenery is rendered romantic and peculiar by small mountains, rising abruptly from the level fields to the height of four, five, and six hundred feet; the base scarcely exceeding the size of the summit. In most parts, trees and shrubs cling to the sides; but here and there the castellated and perpendicular rocks project above the foliage like the turrets of some huge ruined tower. On the summits of many of them, apparently inaccessible to human feet, Boodhist zeal has erected pagodas, whose white forms, conspicuous far and near, remind the traveler every moment that he surveys a region covered with the shadows of spiritual death. Some of the smaller of these bills I ascended. My heart sickened 'as I stood beside the dumb gods of this deluded people, looking down and around on a fine country, half peopled by half-civilized tribes, enjoying but half the blessings of their delicious climate, borne by whole generations to the chambers of death. They eat, and drink, and die. No inventions, no discoveries, no attainments, no enjoyments, are theirs, but such as have descended to them age by age; and nothing is left to prove they have been, but their decayed pagodas, misshapen gods, and unblessed graves.”
The following is the form of the judicial oath among the Burmese, which is indeed a curiosity :
“I will speak the truth. If I speak not the truth, may it be through the influence of the laws of demerit, viz., passion, anger, folly, pride, false opinion, immodesty, hard-heartedness, and skepticism; so that when I and my relations are on land, land animals, as tigers, elephants, buffaloes, poisonous serpents, scorpions, &c., shall seize, crush, and bite us, so that we shall certainly die. Let the calamities occasioned by fire, water, rulers, thieves, and enemies, oppress and destroy us, till we perish and come to utter destruction. Let us be subject to all the calamities that are within the body, and all that are without the body. May we be seized with madness, dumbness, blindness, deafness, leprosy, and hydrophobia. May we be struck with thunderbolts and lightning, and come to sudden death. In the midst of not speaking truth, may I be taken with vomiting clotted black blood, and suddenly die before the assembled people. When I am going by water, may the aquatic genii assault me, the boat be upset, and the property lost; and may alligators, porpoises, sharks, or other sea monsters, seize and crush me to death; and when I change worlds, may I not arrive among men or nats, but suffer unmixed punishment and regret, in the utmost wretchedness, among the four states of punishment, hell, prita, beasts, and athurakai.
“If I speak truth, may I and my relations, through the influence of the ten laws of merit, and on account of the efficacy of truih, be freed from all calamities within and without the body; and may evils which have not yet come be warded far away. May the ten calamities, and the five enemies also be kept far away. May the thunderbolts and lightning, the genii of waters, and all sea animals, love me, that I may be safe from them. May my prosperity increase like the rising sun and the waxing moon; and may the seven possessions, the seven laws, the seven merits of the virtuous, be permanent in my person; and when I change worlds, may I not go to the four states of punishment, but attain the happiness of men and nats, and realize merit, reward, and annihilation."
Mr. Malcom gives a very full account of the Boodhist religion, which has been for centuries the most prevalent form of religion on earth, and is professed by half of the population of China, Lao, Cochin China, and Ceylon; all of Camboja, Siam, Burmah, Thibet, Tartary and Loo Choo, and a great part of Japan, and other islands of the South seas. He says very correctly that "a system which thus enchains the minds of half the human race, deserves thattention of both Christians and philosophers, however fabulous and absurd.” After describing their religion, the author goes on 10 say,
“No false religion, ancient or modern, is comparable to this. Its philosophy is, indeed, not exceeded in folly by any other; but its doctrines and practical piety bear a strong resemblance to those of Holy Scripture. There is scarcely a principle or precept in the Bedagat which is not found in the Bible. Did the people bat act up to its principles of peace and love, oppression and injury would be known no more within their borders. Its deeds of merit are in all cases either really beneficial to mankind or harmless. It has no mythology of obscene and ferocious deities ; no sanguinary or impure observances; no self-inflicted tortures; no tyrannizing priesthood; no confounding of right and wrong, by making certain iniquities laudable in worship. In its moral code, its descriptions of the purity and peace of the first ages, of the shortening of man's life because of his sins, &c., it seems to have followed genuine traditions. In almost every respect it seems to be the best religion which man has ever invented.
" At the same time, we must regard Boodhism with unmeasured reprobation, if we compare it, not with other false religions, but with truth. Its entire base is false. It is built, not on love to God, nor even love to man, but on personal merit. It is a system of religion without a god. It is literally atheism. Instead of a heavenly Father, forgiving sin, and filial service from a pure heart, as the effect of love, it presents nothing to love, for its deity is dead; nothing as the ultimate object of action but self; and nothing for man's highest and holiest ambition but annihilation."
The price of the work, it is said, will probably not exceed $2.50.
A Grammatical Analysis of Selections from the Hebrer Scriptures, with an
Exercise in Hebrew Composition. By Isaac NORDHEIMER, Doctor in Philosophy of the University of Munich, Prof. of Arabic, Syriac, and other Oriental Languages, and acting Prof. of Hebrew in the University of the City of New York. New-York: Wiley & Putnam, 1838. pp. 148.
Chrestomathies have, not unfrequently, belied their name. In. stead of being easy lessons, they have been among the most difficult compositions which could be selected. The compilers have sought for beautiful pieces, highly rhetorical extracts, rather than those excerpts which would be in the reach of the mere beginner. Some pieces in the Græca Minora would task the powers of an accomplished scholar. Most of the German reading-books which we have seen are open to the same objection. The Arabic chrestomathies seem to be intended to furnish specimens of the most elegant compositions in the language. They are any thing but chrestomathies. Doubtless De Sacy, Kosegarten and Rödiger would find no stumbling-block in reading them. But, alas for the poor tyro! When he opens their pages, he plunges into a black forest. He is at once involved in a labyrinth where there is no clew.
Dr. Nordheimer, we believe, has avoided this sad mistake. Some of his selections are taken from the Hebrew prophets, but these are found in the latter end of the volume, after ample grammatical analyses and explanatory remarks on a number of chapters in Genesis, several passages from the other books of the Pentateuch, and, a few of the easier Psalms. The most difficult points in these pro. phetical selections are moreover elucidated by well-timed observa.