« AnteriorContinuar »
The seventh number is entitled Julia Ormond, or the New Settlement. We do not know the author or authoress. It deserves a respectable rank among works of its class. The controversial part, however, is not felicitously managed ; and the work would better please us, if Abel had been converted without first falling in love with Julia, and if he had become a priest from a higher motive than that of his admiration of an excellent young lady, and his determination to prove himself worthy of having been her proselyte. We know not on whose corns we may be treading, nor how many smart gallants will spring up to challenge us, and we do not pause to inquire ; but this mixing of love and piety, and employing beautiful and fascinating young ladies for the conversion of sentimental young men, the common practice of lady-theological writers, is not altogether to our taste or to our judgment ; and we think the effect of the work would have been better, if Abel's objections had been silenced by the father's logic, instead of the daughter's beauty.
Art. VI. - LITERARY AND MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES.
1. - Reasons for acknowledging the Authority of the Holy See of Rome.
By Henry Major. Philadelphia : For the Author. 1846. 12mo.
Mr. Major is a recent convert from Episcopalianism. We know little of his personal history and character, except that he was an Episcopal minister highly esteemed by his own denomination, and at the time of his conversion the pastor of an Episcopal congregation in Philadelphia, and is now, we believe, Professor of Hebrew in the seminary of St. Charles Borromeo, the diocesan seminary of the Bishop of Philadelphia. The work before us is the accouni which he has judged it not improper to render to the public generally, and to his former friends specially, of the important step which, through the grace of God, he has been permitted and enabled to take, or the answer he has to give to those who may be disposed to ask, Why have you become a Catholic? The late hour at which we received the book has deprived us of the pleasure of studying it as thoroughly as such a work should be studied, in order to do full justice to the subject and to the author ; but from the hasty perusal of it which we have made, we cannot but regard it as a valuable contribution to our controversial literature. It is written in a clear, forcible, but simple and unpretending style ; the argument is conducted with skill, ability, and erudition ; its tone, though firm and uncompromising, is mild and winning; and the work appears to us, taken
as a whole, to be the best popular defence of the Papacy against Anglicanism which has recently been made. It proves that the author has studied his subject calmly, patiently, and impartially, and that he is a man of a high order of mind, and ripe scholarship, as well as of most attractive sincerity and modesty.
Mr. Major writes with great earnestness and singleness of purpose, and his work must carry conviction wherever it is seriously and candidly studied. No Episcopalian can read it with any degree of candor, without feeling in his heart, whatever he may profess with his mouth, that the author's reasons fully authorize the important step he has taken. These reasons seem to us to settle the question, and to leave nothing to be said for the clear and full understanding of the matter in controversy. They fully explode the pretensions of Anglicanism, expose its sophistry, and drive it from every ground on which it can even attempt to plant itself; and they fully and triumphantly establish the claims of the Holy See, - prove almost beyond the possibility of cavil even, that the Church in communion with the Holy See is the Church of God, and that no individual or body of individuals not in that communion is in communion with God's Church. The work, therefore, is a refutation, not only of Episcopalians and Anglicans, but of Protestants in general.
We like Mr. Major's book for its thorough-going character. It proves that the author is really and truly a convert, and able to write with Catholic simplicity, freedom, and directness. He is gentle, meek, humble, as should be every Catholic writer ; he studies to say the truth in a manner as little likely to offend as possible; but he shows no disposition to whittle Catholicity down to the narrow aperture of the prejudices of its enemies. He sees that there is an essential difference between the Church and the sects, and he is neither afraid nor ashamed to say so. We like this. The spirit of the Church is always to insist, with special earnestness and firmness, on the special point which her enemies attack with the most violence; and we may always regard as the point to be the most strenuously asserted and defended, at any particular time and place, the point which is at such time and place the most offensive to those without, and against which they direct their principal attacks. When the hostility is especially against keeping pictures, images, and relics, and paying them due honor, then the true Catholic is sure to fill his house with them ; when it is directed against the Real Presence, then the Church institutes the office of the Holy Sacrament, and carries the Adorable Host in triumphal procession; when controversies arise as to the change of the Elements, and men profess to be willing to admit the change, but do not like to call it Transubstantiation, she insists on the word itself. So, when the Papacy is regarded as the greatest difficulty in accepting the Church, it should be placed in bolder relief, and the authority of the Holy See be asserted in the fullest and strongest terms that the truth will warrant. We are glad, therefore, that Mr. Major, in the true Catholic spirit, that never compromises, and that loves a doctrine all the more for its being assailed by the enemies of the Church, has made his first appearance before the public as a Catholic in an unanswerable work in defence of the Holy See. To the clamors of our countrymen against the Pope, the dangers of Papal authority, and all that, he replies, that the Papacy is the Church, the Pope the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, and, if you war against the Pope, it is either because you would war against God, or because you believe God NEW SERIES. VOL. I. NO. I.
can lie. If you believe God has commissioned the Pope, and that God will keep his promise, you must believe his authority is that of God, and can be no more dangerous than would be the authority of our Lord, were he present to exercise it in person.
We are also pleased to find that Mr. Major is a simple-minded convert, who comes to the Church to be taught, not to teach, and is willing to take the Church as she is, and on the grounds on which she has hitherto been taken. He brings her no theory or ingenious hypothesis of his own, and, laying it at her feet, modestly assures her that it will give him great pleasure to find his thoughts on the same subject coincident with hers. We like this. Indeed, we like the book, so far as we have examined it, not a little. It has given us a inost favorable impression of the author, as a man of ability, as a scholar, and as a Catholic, and we bless God, for his sake and for ours, that he has been gathered into the fold of the true Shepherd.
2. — Père Jean, or the Jesuit Missionary. A Tale of the North American
Indians. By James McSherry, Esq. Baltimore : J. Murphy. 1847.
This is Number IX. of Murphy's Cabinet Library. Of the preceding numbers of the Library we cannot speak, as the publisher has not seen proper to send them to us. This little work appeared first in the pages of the Catholic Magazine, where we read most of the chapters, as they came out, with interest and pleasure. The tale is high-wrought, and contains scenes sketched with great vividness and power. The character of the North American Indian, in many of its traits, is happily seized, though perhaps in others à la Cooper rather than à la Nature. The character of the Missionary seems to us drawn to the life, unless it falls short of the truth. It is impossible to exaggerate the meekness, humility, self-immolation, disinterestedness, ardent love of souls, and patient endurance of every privation and torture, of the early Jesuit mis. sionaries among our North American savages. Imagination cannot come up to the reality, and fiction but weakens and renders credible the truth. If Mr. McSherry had just selected one of these early missionaries, or a Jesuit missionary even now in a savage country, and given a plain, unvarnished biographical sketch, he would have given us a work of more thrilling interest than even Père Jean. We shall hope to meet the author again in the field of literature, into which in this little volume he enters with so much promise.
3. — Pauline Seward. A Tale of Real Life. By John D. Bryant.
Baltimore : Murphy. 1847. 2 vols. 12mo. We have received only the first volume of this work, the second being, we presume, not yet issued. We must wait the reception of the second volume, before we commence reading the work, and therefore must reserve to a future occasion the expression of any opinion we may form concerning its merits or defects. It is a religious novel, not by a lady, which circumstance is not a presumption against it. We have heard it well spoken of, and we have no reason for thinking it is not a work of solid merit. We hope it has no love-story, and that it avoids seeking in the tender passion the wings on which to soar to heaven.
4.- A Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language; to
which are added Walker's Key to the Pronunciation of Classical and Scripture Proper Names, much enlarged and improved; and a Pronouncing Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names. By Joseph E. WorcesTER. Boston : Wilkins, Carter, & Co. 1846. 8vo. pp. Ixxvi. and 956.
Mr. Worcester's character as a lexicographer is well known, and has for some years been highly esteerned in this community.; and we have no hesitation in saying that he has here furnished us decidedly the best dictionary of our language for common use which has yet appeared. As a defining dictionary, it may not deserve the highest rank, though it deserves a very high rank; but in relation to the vocabulary of the language, to its orthography and pronunciation, it is all that can be asked. The marking of Ainericanisms, provincialisms, and words obsolete in some of their senses, or not in good usage, will be found a great convenience, even to those who have no mean critical knowledge of the language; and the addition of Walker's Key, and the Pronouncing Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names, greatly enhances its value. We cannot say any thing more in its praise than that we keep it lying on our desk when writing, and, however much we may be disposed to differ from the author as to the precise meaning of a particular word or mode of pronouncing it, we always feel bold and sure when we have him on our side. The work will, unquestionably, very soon become throughout the country, for ordinary use, the standard dictionary of the language, and settle it so far as a living language can be settled.
5.- A Comprehensive Lexicon of the Greek Language, adapted to the Use
of Colleges and Schools in the United States. Third Ed greatly enlarged and improved. By John PICKERING. Boston : Wilkins, Carter, & Co. 1846. 8vo. pp. 1456.
We have been disappointed in not receiving a critical notice of this improved edition of Pickering's Greek Lexicon with English definitions, and can in our present number only announce it. Mr. Pickering's name, however, is a guaranty that it is a work of learning and research, and well adapted to the purpose for which it is specially prepared. We have been assured by competent judges, that it is a work of solid merit, and for the use of schools and colleges is the best Greek lexicon within the reach of the English or American scholar. We like the plan of studying Greek rough the medium of our own language; for in studying a foreign language, whether dead or living, it is of great importance that we take care not to lose the idiom of our own.
6. The Daily Exercise: consisting of the Holy Mass and Vespers; with
Morning and Evening Prayers. To which is added a Šelection of Hymns and Prayers for Confession. Revised by the Rt. Rev. Dr. KENRICK. Boston : Donahoe. 1846. 32mo. pp. 192. This is an excellent little prayer-book, the contents of which are correctly set forth in the title-page. Among the Hymns, we missed, not ununwillingly, the Protestant hymns which we occasionally find in our collections. It has a singular effect to hear in a Catholic church a hymn sung, which we have been accustomed to give out when an heretical minister, and for the moment we seem to be carried back to the meetinghouse.
7.- Life of Stephen Decatur, a Commodore in the Navy of the United
States. By ALEXANDER SLIDELL MACKENZIE, U. S. N. Boston: Little & Brown. 1846. 16mo. pp. 443.
The author of this volume has gained an unenviable notoriety, and we confess to taking up his life of Commodore Decatur with a strong prejudice against him. We find no fault with the decision of the court which acquitted him of the charge of murder in the Somers tragedy; but we have never been able to find any justification of his conduct in that tragedy, but his unofficer-like panic. We do not suppose him to have been actuated by any felonious intent or improper motives ; but we have never been able
to persuade ourselves that the summary execution of young Spencer, Cromwell, and Small had the least plea in necessity, or the least excuse in any real danger of a mutiny. The mutiny was probably the mere talk of a wild and rattle-headed young man, and the joke which was played off upon a timid lieutenant. Nevertheless, in spite of our opinion of the Somers tragedy, and our strong prejudice against Captain Mackenzie, we must admit that he has here given us a well written and exceedingly interesting volume. We are not well enough informed on many of the topics he introduces to be able to say whether he is or is not always correct; but he appears to have aimed at truth, and, so far as we can judge, may be relied on. He has a tendency now and then to attempt fine writing, and to sentimentalize; but in general his narrative is simple and flowing, his reflections are pertinent, and his suggestions worth considering.
He writes with warm admiration for his subject, and with deep attachment to the navy. Of Commodore Decatur we have nothing to say. There is no American that is not proud of his name, and that does not regret his untimely death. He was almost the first to give character to our navy, and he is the most brilliant of its heroes. We are glad that this book has appeared at the present moment, and we are glad that it incidentally says so much in favor of the navy. We hope to see our navy increased, till it shall at least equal one half of that of Great Britain ; and we think it will be found good economy and a peace measure so to increase it. But we have no space to discuss the subject. Our readers will find many helps to its discussion in the work before us, as well as a noble tribute paid to one of the bravest, most brilliant, and accomplished of our naval officers, by one who, so far as this book goes, appears to be well qualified to ap