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whisks about the unconscious last-born, and tosses it up and down during the ceremony. I do not sneer at that at the act for which all these people are assembled it is at the rest of the day I marvel, at the rest of the day and at what it brings. At the very instant when the voice has ceased speaking, and the gilded book is shut, the world begins again; and for the next twenty-three hours and fifty-seven minutes, all that household is given up to it. The servile squad rises up and marches away to its basement; whence, should it happen to be a gala-day, those tall gentlemen, at present at tired in Oxford mixture, will issue forth with flour plastered on their heads, yellow coats, pink breeches, sky-blue waistcoats, silver lace, buckles in their shoes, black silk bags on their backs, and I know not what insane emblems of absurd folly, and absurd bedizenments of folly. Their very manner of speaking to what we call their masters and mistresses, will be a like monstrous masquerade. You know no more of that race which inhabits the basement floor,
than of the men and brethren of Timbuctoo, to whom some among us send missionaries. If you met some of your servants in the streets (I respectfully suppose for the moment that the reader is a person of high fashion and a great establishment), you would not know their faces. You might sleep under the same roof for half a century, and know nothing about them. If they were ill, you would not visit them, though you would send them an apothecary, and, of course, order that they lacked for nothing. You are not unkind, you are not worse than your neighbors. Nay, perhaps, if you did go into the kitchen, or take your tea in the servants' hall, you would do little good, and only bore the folks assembled there. But so it is! With these fellow-Christians, who have just been saying Amen to your prayers, you have scarcely the community of charity. They come, you don't know whence; they think and talk you don't know what; they die, and you don't care, or vice versa. They answer the bell for prayers, as they answer the bell for coals; for exactly three minutes in the day you all kneel together on one carpet, and the desires and the petitions
of the master and servants over, the rite called family worship is ended."
Now, is there not something here which may well be taken to heart, not only by Christians of the class specially referred to, but by those of all classes? Is there not here a sermon that needs to be preached from every pulpit in the land? Charity would lead us to hope that there are few families whose acts of devotion approach so nearly to the character of a farce as those of Sir Brian Newcome; but there are many who would do well to take heed to the emphatic rebuke to formalism and hypocrisy our author has administer
VOL. LXIII.-NO. 1
ed. It is the great reproach of numbers of Christian professors, that the feelings and words of their sacred seasons stand out in such melancholy contrast to the ordinary course of their lives. It would seem as if they regarded a certain part of their time as belonging to religion; and in this (not a very large proportion of their life, it must be confessed), they are anxious to be very correct and scrupulous; but beyond this, they do not recognize its right of control, or seek to conform themselves to its requirements. The want of harmony between the two portions of their existence, which is sufficiently manifest and offensive to others, does not appear to impress them at all. They do not perceive the inconsistency between the solis commenced, and the irritable tempers emn act of worship with which the day which they indulge, the bitter words they speak, and the worldly schemings in which they are absorbed through all the remaining hours. They pay due regard to the sanctity of the Sabbath, are regular in their attendance on the house of God, exhibit deep interest in its services, and may even be liberal in their maintenance of institutions for the extension of the gospel; but when Monday comes, they are prepared to meet the men of the world on their own ground, to enter on the keen competition of trade with intense eagerness, and to have recourse to the little artifices or half-frauds which pass current in too many commercial circles, undisturbed by a single thought of any relig ious obligation under which they are laid. Their notion is that there is a time for religion as for every thing else; and they will not suffer it to have any power over seasons or works that lie beyond its own proper sphere. Of a mighty principle, whose all-pervading influence shall affect the whole of a man's being, purge his heart from a debasing selfishness, lift him up above the petty meannesses of the world, make him more tender and considerate in all his dealings with his brethren, and stamp an impress of nobility and purity upon his whole character, they seem to have not the faintest conception.
This unnatural severance between things sacred and secular, as though there can be any thing belonging to a man's thoughts, words, or acts, which religion is not designed to sanctify, is one of the greatest practical errors of our day. Nothing more thoroughly misrepresents the true
character of Christianity, lays it more open | soever ye do in word or deed, do it all in to the cavilings and reproaches of the the name of the Lord Jesus?"" skeptic, or operates as a more serious hindrance to its progress. Eloquent preaching will be comparatively powerless, the most solemn services will lose much of their legitimate effect, and the diligent labors of our churches will fail to attain their natural result, so long as there are these glaring anomalies in the practical developments of our Christianity. It is an evil, indeed, if there be any want of attention to the special duties of the spiritual life, less reverence for the Sabbath, less regard either to private or public worship, less consecration of talent or time to the direct work of the church; but it would be a still greater evil if at tention to these should be accepted as the substitute for a course of humble and consistent godliness. There is great need that, amid the ever-pressing claims of worldly engagements, we should insist earnestly on the preservation of certain times for special religious exercises; but it is still more necessary that we should enforce the importance of elevating the whole tone of Christian thought and feeling, and of giving unity of purpose and character to every day and every hour of our existence. We may well be content to receive instruction on this point, from whatever quarter it comes; and, even if the words of remonstrance seem to us somewhat harsh, still accept them as the faithful wounds of a friend. As an eloquent preacher of the day has said, "We sit down to that communion, and we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus;' we commemorate him there; when we come to pray, speak to him and in his name; our high tides of devotion do not come so often as the tides of the sea; then for the rest there is the long stretch of foul, oozy, barren beach, when the waters are out, and all is desolation and deadness. This is not what a Christian man ought to be. There is no action of life which is too great to bow to the influence of "This do in remembrance of Me;' and there is no action of life which is too small to be magnified, glorified, turned into a solemn sacrament, by the operation of the same motive." And again: "Would it not be grand if we could so go through life, as that all should not be one dead level, but one high plateau, as it were, on the mountain-top where all rests upon the What
Mr. Thackeray's writings contain frequent references, some of them not in the most friendly tone, to Christian labors in the distribution of tracts, or the prosecution of missionary effort for the conversion of the heathen. Neither he nor Mr. Dickens, nor perhaps any one of our literary men, seems able to do justice to the amount of self-denying zeal, earnest faith, and generous liberality expended on these objects. For the most part they attribute them to individuals who neglect the more obvious and homely duties for those which, as having something of the romantic in their character, perhaps exciting more of public notice, and ministering to a love of notoriety and patronage, are attractive to a certain class of mind. We do not deny that there may be some who answer to their descriptions, who will give a tract where a loaf of bread would be a much more appropriate manifestation of Christian charity, whose activity on committees and in schools is obtained by a neglect of the primary duties of their own household, whose compassion for the natives of "Borrioboola Gha" is in striking contrast to their indifference to the condition of the heathen at home, and who forget that the home is the first place where Christian principle should manifest its power and put forth its energy. But had these writers possessed a more intimate acquaintance with those whom they thus satirize, they would have known that the pretenders are the exception, not the rule, and must have seen that the men who are most intent on the diffusion of the gospel, are those also who stand conspicuous in every enterprise of philanthropy. We can not but feel the injustice of many of their criticisms, or rather calumnies; but we are anxious to see if there be not something to be learned from attacks which often, we are satisfied, proceed from misapprehension. If in any quarters there be a disposition to care only for the improvement of the spiritual state, and to forget how many of its evils are aggravated, where not produced, by physical degradation; if there be a consciousness that our sympathy with suffering humanity has sometimes sought opportunity for ostentatious display, and has not shown itself in our general bearing and deportment toward the children of affliction; if, in
of reality in our Christian labors-we should seek to correct the error, even though somewhat disposed to chafe against the unfairness and severity of our monitors. We can not hope to make them feel with us as to the grandeur and wis dom of the one enterprise of the church; but we may, at least, by a quiet consistency, by a tender interest in the temporal and eternal welfare of all with whom we have to do, by a diligent attempt to fol low in the footsteps of Him who "went about doing good," silence their gainsay ing, and compel them to admit that the gospel of Christ is the mightiest instrument for the regeneration of society, the best remedy of the evils which they so strongly denounce and yet are so powerless to remove.
fine, there have been any apparent want | those who thus make the Christian ministry a mere profession, and who are determined to employ any or every means necessary to secure their personal advancement, it is impossible to calculate. Unhappily it is the highest class of mind that this time-serving is most likely to alienate; awakening the doubts of some, and in others ministering to that utter indifference which is more fatal than even decided skepticism. The responsibility of a Christian minister is indeed overwhelming. By petty inconsistencies that seem very slight in themselves, by thoughtless words, by the manifestation of a trifling spirit, by an apparent want of a realizing faith in the truths he teaches, he may undo much that he has accomplished by able expositions of the truth and earnest calls to duty. "Dead flies" will ever 66 cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor;" and he, therefore, who seeks to lead others, can not be too anxious to walk rightly himself. Where, however, there is thorough sincerity, simple loyalty to Christ, a manifest desire to do his will, it will, even though there be many imperfections, not fail to commend itself to impartial men.
The want of thorough faithfulness in Christian ministers is another point which seems to have impressed Mr. Thackeray very unfavorably. One of the most severe passages in his works, is that with which he closes his lecture on the second George, and in which he condemns, in terms not at all too strong for the occasion, the fulsome eulogy which a learned divine, afterwards a bishop, was not ashamed to pronounce on one who lived in the systematic violation of the divine law. After quoting the wretched verses in which this monarch, who had scarcely a kingly grace or a moral excellence, is described as one too good for earth, he writes:
"If he had been good, if he had been just, if he had been pure in life, and wise in counsel, could the poet have said much more? It was a parson who came and wept over this grave, with Walmoden sitting on it, and claimed heaven for the poor old man slumbering below. Here was one who had neither dignity, learning, morals, nor wit; who tainted a great society by bad example; who in youth, manhood, old age, was gross, low, and sensual; and Mr. Porteus, afterward my Lord Bishop Porteus, says the earth was not good enough for him, and that his only place was heaven! Bravo, Mr. Porteus! The divine who wept these tears over George the Second's memory, wore George the Third's lawn. I don't know whether people still admire his poetry or his sermons."
This is but another utterance of the same complaint, that religion is not a real thing; and here unhappily sustained by the contempt shown for its first principles and most solemn sanctions by one of its own teachers. The mischief done by
Mr. Thackeray is quite able to appreci ate character of this sort, and takes opportunities of expressing the reverence he feels for one who, in the spirit of selfsacrificing devotion, strives to glorify his Master. There is a beautiful little paper in the Sketches and Travels in London, entitled "The Curate's Walk," itself sufficient to show how ready he was to honor any one who felt that the mission of the Christian teacher was to act the part of a helper and consoler to those who were in trouble, and how well he knew that in the ranks of the clergy of all sects there are men, whose names are never heard, and whose labors are little known, who are earnestly grappling with the sin and misery they find around them, and on whose heads there rest the blessings of those who are ready to perish. We do not complain, certainly, that he estimates this kind of service too highly, but we do feel that he attaches too little importance to work of another description. To watch by the bedside of the sick and dying, to seek out the suffering, and minister to them both temporal and spiritual consolation, to visit the homes of poverty and guilt, and carry them the messages of divine love, is a work proper
to the Christian minister: but it is nec-
Mr. Thackeray has drawn one full-
the ideal of a Christian minister as it is
their own times. It is only another illustration of the old truth, "The fathers slew the prophets, and the children build their tombs." Had they lived in the days of these great and good men, they would have dealt with them in the same fashion in which they treat their successors of to-day.
While taking these exceptions to some parts of Mr. Thackeray's teachings, (there are some other points we might have noticed, especially the measure of countenance he gives to the "wild oats) theory of life,) we gladly bear our testimony to their pure and healthful influence, as a whole. They do not, as we have shown, appeal to the highest motives or exhibit the operation of the most ennobling principles; their conceptions of religion and religious men are often very erroneous, and always extremely defective, characterized by ignorance where they are not marred by anti-evengelical prejudice and bigotry; their views of human life not only lack that completeness and beauty which nothing but the recognition of the divine end to which it should be consecrated can impart, but occasionally treat with indulgence, if they do not regard with sympathy, practices which deserve stern reprobation. Still they are full of generous feeling, and inculcate many lessons of practical wisdom; they are fitted to rebuke follies and vices into which we are all too prone to fall, petty and arrogant self-assertion, too high an appreciation, approaching even to a worship, of material prosperity, an unconfessed, perhaps half- unconscious, want of truth, reality, and manliness, in our intercourse with others, a selfishness which dwarfs the intellect, narrows the heart, and debases the entire life. Their terrible sarcasms are leveled with equal effect at the insolence of the prosperous and the servility of the low; and their general result must be to lead the rich and great to more humble estimates of themselves and more thoughtful kindness to their brethren, to inspire the poor or struggling with more contentment and independence, to arouse in all more of that spirit of selfrespect which would preserve from a thousand meannesses and secure for them the truest elevation. All this Mr. Thackeray has done; and though there be other work which we think still higher that he has left undone, let us, at least, cheerfully give him the tribute he so well deserves
for the good service he has rendered in the cause of humanity and virtue. A more kindly satirist, a censor who was able to blend more beautifully the attributes of fidelity and gentleness, a more earnest preacher of the truths he held, or one more skilled in finding out "acceptable words" in which to utter them, we shall not easily find. By that marvelous gallery of portraits which he has created for our amusement and instruction, by his singular power in bringing out the treasures of our English tongue, by tales and sketches which will long live to interest and delight successive generations of readers, he has laid our literature under a weighty obligation. By his hearty scorn of all hypocrisy, by his protests against the crying faults of a mammon-worshiping age, by the homage he every where pays to virtue, he has proved himself a valuable helper even to the teacher of religion, who rejoices to see that nowhere does he exhibit a deeper and tenderer pathos, or speak words of a loftier eloquence than in passages which evidence the power that the word of God had on him as on all the great masters of our language.
There may possibly be some of our readers who may think that we have devoted too much space to the criticism of a writer of fiction. But works of fiction constitute a large part of our current literature, and are exercising a powerful influence for good or evil in forming the opinions, tastes, and character of society. Even into religious circles, from which they were once jealously excluded, they find their way and are widely read and freely discussed, especially among the younger members of our families. The rigid and wholesale prohibitions of a former generation, which classed novel-reading, theatregoing, and card-playing in one category, and deemed the one as unsuitable to a Christian professor as the other, have given place to an indulgence as unwise and far more dangerous. Perhaps our forefathers went to an extreme; but when we come to look carefully into the novels of a century ago, we can hardly be surprised at the attitude which they assumed. No doubt the novels of Fielding and Smollett are marked by extraordinary genius; but our fathers had not learned the modern doctrine that genius is to cover any multitude of sins, and they were more anxious that their children should be kept free from the contamination of licentious thoughts and