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lowing be read exactly as if it were and as miraculously dealt with on

prose. The Reviewer says. the part of Saint James. We shall

•« We like this seconci tale, be- make room for the author's jocose

cause it aims at nothing higher than description of this more than Ovi-

to amuse, at the expense of the vo- dian metamorphosis. The mother, on

taries of St. James of Compostella discovering her son Pierre alive and

of olden time, and the equally ere- well on the gallows, after hanging

dulous believers in Romish miracles there for eight weeks, waits on the

in our own day. It is a ' genuine alcayde to be^ that he ma^ be taken

legend,' found in the Jieta Saneto* down. The judge, who is just sitt

rum; and although its absurdity ting down to dinner^ receives her

renders it only fit for the nursery tale with incredulity heightened by

in this countrVf elsewhere it may hunger,
still be deemed worthy of the chair.

«< Think not," quoth he, <* to tales like these.

That I should give belief!
Santiajg;o never would bestow
His miracles, full well I know.

On a Frenchman and a thief.

^ And pointing to the Fowls, o'er which
He held bis read v knife,
* As easily might I believe
These birds jshould come to life !'

M The ffood Saint would not let him thus

The Ifother's true tale withstand ;

So up rose the Fowls in the dish.
And down dropt the knife from his hand.

" The Cock would have crowed if he could ;

To cackle the hen had a wisK;
And they both slipt about in the gravy.
Before they got out of the dish.
" And when each would have openM its eyes, •
For the purpose of looking about them.
They saw tney had no eyes to open.
And that there was no seeing without them.

** All this was to them a great wonder,
Thev stagger'd and reeled on the table;
And either to guess where they were.
Or what waa their plight, or how thev came there,
Alas! they were wholly unable:
** Because, you must know, that that morning,
(A thing which they tiiought very hard,)

The Cook had cut off their heads.
And thrown thett away in the yard.

Digitized by


504 The Sacred Cock and Hen. Nor*

** The Hen would have prank'd up her feathers.
But plucking had sadly deformed her;
And for want of them she would have shivered with cold.
If the roasting she had — ^had not warm'd her.

" And the Cock felt exceedingly queer;
He thought it a verj odd thing
That his head and his voice were — he did not know where.
And his gizzard tuck'd under his wing.

" The gtzzard got into its place.
But how, Santiago knows best;
And 8o,bj the help of the Saint,
Did the liver and all the rest.

*' The heads saw their way to the bodies.

In they came from the yard without check.

And each took its own proper station.

To the very great joy of the neck.

** And in flew the feathers, like snow in a shower.

For they all became white on the way;
And the Cock and the Hen in a trice were refledged.

And then who so happy as they !

Cluck ! cluck ! cried the Hen right merrily then.
The Cock his clarion blew.
Full glad was he to hear again.
His own cock-a-doo-deUdoo !"

*' These blessed fowls, at seven years' end.

In the odour of sanctity died :
They were carefully plucked, and then

They were buried side by ^ide.

** And lest the fact should be forgotten, ^

(Which would have been a pity,)
'Twas decreed, in honour of their wortn.
That a cock and hen should be borne, thenceforth
In the arms of that ancient city.

'* Two eggs Saint Hen had laid — no more;

The chickens were her delight:
A cock and a hen they proved; and both

Like their parents, were virtuous and white.

'< The last act of the holy Hen,
Was to rear this precious brood; and, when
Saint Cock and she were dead.
This couple, as the lawful heirs.
Succeeded in their stead.

•• They also lived seven years.
And they laid eegs but two ;
From which two milk-white chickens
To Cock and Henhood ^rew :
And always their posterity
The self-same course pursue.

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18£9. ' Dr. Jttexanda^s Letkr. - 905

*' Not one of these eggs ever addled,
(With wonder be it spoken I)
Not one of them ever was lost,
Not one of them ever was broken.

** Sacred they are ; neither magpie, nor rat.
Snake, weasel, nor martin approaching theii^

And woe to the irreverent wretch
Who should even dream of poaching them.

** Thus then is this ^reat miracle
Continued to this day;
And to their Church all Pilgrims go.
When they are on the way ;
And some of the feathers are given them :
For which they always pay.

<^ No price is set upon them.
And this leaves all persons at ease;
The poor give as much as they can.
The rich as much as they please.

"But that the more they give the better.

Is very well understood;
Seeing whatever is thus disposed of.

Is for their own souls' good;

V For Santiago will always
Befriend his true believers.
And the money is for him, the Priests
Being only his receivers.

" To make the miracle the more,
or these feathers there is always store.
And all are genuine too;
All of the original Cock and Hen,
Which the Priests will swear is true.

" Thousands, a thousand times told, have bought them.
And if myriads and tens of myriada sought them.
They would still find some to buy;
For'however great were the demand,
• So great would be the supply.

'* And if an^ of you, my small friends.
Should visit those parts, I dare say
You will bring away some of the feathers.
And think of old Robin Gray."

DR. Alexander's letter. the remarks which it contains, are

applicable to all professing Chrisr

The following letter is eminently tians.

entitled to the serious considera- — -

tion of all theological students, and To the Secretary of the American

of all who are concerned in select- -Education Society.

ing and patronizing candidates for Sir: You inquire," JVIiatfinyour

the Gospel ministry: and many of judgment, are the principal hin-

yoL.\lL—Ch.Mv. 3S

Digitized by



Dr. Mexander^s IMtr.


drances to the eiiUivatUm of am emi-
nent piety in young men preforing
for the ministry $ and how may they
be most ^ectuMy overegmef^^ I
feel this to be a subject of immense
importance, and one which deserves
the profoand attention of all candi-
dates for the holy roinistrj, and of
all who are already invested with
the office; but especially^ it impe-
riously demands tne solicitous and
unceasing attention of those, who
are engaged in the selection and
education of young men for the mi-

In the ^neraly I would reply to
your inquiry, that young men pre-
paring for the ministry, are subject
to the same hindrances in cultivat-
ing eminent piety, as other Chris-
tians. These are partly internal,
arising out of the remaining depra-
vity of their nature; and external,
proceeding from the temptations of
the world, and the devices of Satan.
These obstacles are greater in some
than others, and assume a peculiar
shape from the constitution, habits^
circumstances, and employments,
of each individual. No doubt, also,
there are hindrances which pecu-
liarly belong to whole classes of
men; and concerning these, I un-
derstand you to inquire, as it relates
to that class who'are occupied with
studies preparatory to the ministry.
The question seems to imply, that
the obstacles are such, as, in many
cases, to prevent the attainment of
a high degree of piety, in those who
have turned their attention to the
sacred office. Concerning the fact,
I think there is no ground for doubt
Many do become preachers of the
Gospel who are not eminent in
piety; and no doubt, a large part
of the evils which afflict the church
of Christ, may be attributed to this
cause. It is no uncommon thine for
a pastor to fall below that standard
of piety, which exists among the
best of his own flock. It often hap-
pens, that obscure Christians are so
much farther advanced in the ex-
perience of religion than their offi-

cial teacher, that be micht profita-
bly sit at their feet and learn. I
have often felt com]^sion for young
men of small religious experience*
who are oblieed to be the teachers
of fathers ana mothers, who were in
Christ before they were born. But
when the religions teacher is not
only youthful— which is no fault-
but knows ver^ little of the various
conflicts and trials of the hidden life
of the Christian, he must be i>laced,
indeed, in an awkward situation, in
relation to eminent saints, who may
happen to be in his flock. This,
however, is a difficulty which I have
seldom observed any* jroung man to
feel, when preparing for the minis-
try; and, therefore, very little pains
are taken to provide against it, by
an earnest examination of cases of
conscience, and the methods of
treating them, which may be found
in books ; and especially, by a close
and honest inquisition into the se*
cret recesses of Jiis own heart

But truth requires that I should
state a fact, far more deplorable and
fatal, than the one mentioned above.
It is, that many persons enter this
holy office, who are entirely desti-
tute of piety. What the hindrancea
in the way of such are, to the culti-
vation of eminent piety, it is need-
less to state. But perhaps some will
be ready to think it uncharitable to
suppose that this is a fact; and al-
together improper to mention it,
in this publick manner. I know,
indeed, that there is a sensitiveness
in many ministers on this subject;
and while they admit and teach,
that there are manv hypocrites in
the communion of tne church, the/
are not fond of hearing that the
same is the fact, in regard to the
ministry; and to throw out such
sugeestions, they fear, will only
le^Tthe people to be suspicious and
censorious. But if what has been
stated be really a fact, it ought to
be known, and very frequently
brought forward to the view of mi-
nisters; for it seems to me, that of
all men, they are, in some respects.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


Dr. Mexandtf^$ Letter.


in a worse condition for improve-
ment in personal piety, than an^
other persons. Thej are left, as it
were, to themselves, and no one has
it as his duty, to superintend their
spiritual progress. If they are de-
ceived, they commonly hug the de-
lusion, until death breaks the fatal
enchantment As they are but sel-
dom warned from the pulpit, theV
ought to be faithfully dealt with
from the press* I do not wish it to
be supposed, however, that I desire
to become the censor of my brethren.
I am truly very unfit for such an
office, and would greatly prefer be-
ins' a disciple, to being a teacher.

0Ut to return to the case of young
men preparing for the ministry, u
my observation has not deceived
me, there are several classes of per-
sons who seek the ministry, without
possessing genuine piety*

There are a few^-HUid I hope but
few— who prepare for this office,

! precisely, with the same views and
eelings with which they would pre-
Mre to be lawyers or physicians.
They think that the office is useful
and honourable, and afibrds a decent
competency, with more leisure for
literary pursuits, and more seclu-
sion from the noise and bustle of
the world, than most other profes-
sions; or, actuated by ambition to
appear as orators before the publick,
they imagine, that the pulpit is a
fine theatre, to make a display of
talent and eloauence. Such men
never think ot the conversion of
souls, or the care of souls. They
may, however, please themselves
wim the though^ that they will be
able greatly .to improve tne moral
character of the people, and com-
municate much religious instruc-
tion, which will be profitable to all

The next description of those who
are found entering the sacred office
without piety, are such as have re-
ceived what is called a religious
education : who have been instruct-
ed in the doctrines of tlie Bible, and
have been restrained from vice, and

accustomed to the performance of
alt external duties. Young men of
this class, are commonly strictly
cpnscientious, and often more rigid-
ly exact in attendance on outward
services than many of the pious
themselves. But thejr have never
experienced a renovation of heart
They seem to suppose, that regene-
ration takes place without any
remarkable, or very perceptible
change in the views and feelings of
those, who have been brought up
with care in the church. Such, at
any rate, are the practical opinions
of many, who are correct in the the-
oryof re^neration.

There is still another class, it is
to be feared, who seek the office of
the ministry, without any real piety.
They are persons who profess con-
version, and often speak of their
change as remarkable. They are
confident of their own good estate,
and usually are disposed to be se-
vere judges, in resard to the cha-
racter of other professors. It is not
uncommon for such persons to pre-
tend to possess great skill in revi-
vals, ana to think they know pre-
cisely how to treat such as are
awakened; and, also, in whatlan-

§uage careless sinners must be ad-
ressed; and they will set up their
own judgment above that of minis-
ters of learning and long experience,
and despise every thing which does
not exactly accord with their own
methods. I would not insinuate,
that all young men who fall into
mistakes about the proper method
of conducting revivals, are destitute
of true piety; but, that some per-
sons of fiery zeal and high preten-
sions, are deceived, as to their own
religion, is too evident to need proof.
It is too often demonstrated bftheir
apostacy to vice, or, their fall into
soul-destroyina; heresy. But when
such indubitable proofs of hypocrisy
are not exhibitea, they often make
it sufficiently evident to a discera-
in|; eye, that they are actuated by a
spirit foreign from that of the Gos-
pel. They are filled with spiritual

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Jin Estimate of the Writings of fFashingUm Trving. Nov.

pride, and are ready on all occaBiong
to boast of their attainments, and
success in doing good. They are
always wise in their own conceit,
and therefore unwilling to take ad-
vice. Indeed, unless you yield to
them, in every thing, they will set
you down, not only as an enemy to
• themselves, but to the cause of God.
In time past Satan opposed revivals,
by stirring up formalists and world-
ly professors to revile them; but.

now, he seems to have chaneed his
ground, and to aini at accompiishiiig
the same end, by sending into the
work, men, who by their pride and
imprudence, will be sure to bring a
blot upon the whole cause.

Perhaps, in the selection of young
men to be educated for the ministry,
too much regard is paid to forward
zeal, and too little to modesty and

{To be continued,)


The author of the following Es-
say, does not give it the title of a
Review; but as it is one in fact, we
place it in this department of our
work. We welcome it to our pag;e8,
although it relates to writings which
partake less of a relieious character
than any others which have hereto-
fore been reviewed in our Miscella-
ny. But, in truth, the popular lite-
rature of the day, has a very pow-
erful bearing both on morals and
religion; ana for this reason, the
friends of religion should watch it
narrowly, and do all that they law-
fully may to check its influence
when its tendency is injurious, and
to promote it, so rar as it is favoura-
ble to moral purity and revealed
truth. Againsl the viteness of some
of the poetick effusions of Byron
and Moore, and the mischievous
character of some of Sir Walter
Scott's novels, we have, as occasion
offered, borne our testimony. We
are glad that our countryman Ir-
ving is not justly liable to the cen-
sure which those Englishmen have
deserved; 'and deserved in far lar^r
measure than they have yet receiv-
ed. If ourcorrespondent's estimate
be just, the tendency of Irving's
writings is on the whole salutary.
We have to confess, that we have
not read enough of them to form a
general estimate for ourselves — In
this, and in all other respects, our
correspondent must stand on his
own merits. He discovers a large

and familiar acquaintance with ele-
gant literature, in its vanons de-
partments; and criticises many wri-
ters beside Irving, and characte-
rizes painters and sculptors, as well
as poets, historians, and novelists.
Indeed, in reading his paper, we
were reminded of what a reviewer
said of the poem, entitled "The
Pursuits of Literature" — that the
" lines were little more than pegs to
hang the notes upon." But the arti-
cle is a pleasant one, and we think
it will be particularly acceptable,
and we hope useful, to those of our
young readers^we have some such
—who love to cultivate taste in
connexion with C^iristian piety«




It is consistent with the object of
Religious Periodical Publications,
to notice from time to time, works
of literary merit, as they successive-
ly appear from the press. It is
eaually consistent with the design
ot such publications, occasionally to
present to their readers, moral es-
timates of works which have long
been known, and the reputation of
which may be considered as some-
what established. In the latter
class we place the writings of Ir-
ving. He is justly looked upon as
among the popular writers of the
day, and as one who would have
been no discredit to the company

^ Digitized by VjOOQ IC

1839. M Estimate of the Writings of Washington Irving. 509

of wits that adorned the reign of
Anne, or that other company, that
eraced the reign of George the
Third, Lord Byron is said to have
told a young American on his tra-
vels in Italy, that as a 'prose writer,
Irving was second only to Sir Wal-
ter Scott; but perhaps he meant
nothing more by this compliment,
than that he himself was the first
foet of the age.

Ko person, sufficiently familiar
with the literature of the last twen-
ty-five years to entitle him to be a
judge, can fail to believe that some
change for the better has taken
place, in the materials which com-
pose it If, within this period, some
writers have appeared, whose licen-
tiousness is glaring, we should still
feel indebted to the change alluded
to, for those deep and affecting
views which we entertain of their
depravity. This reformation has,
doubtless, been partly owing to the
multiplication or religious journals,
and the inflexibility with which
their conductors have pressed, even
upon men high in intellect, the
claims of religion. In this way,
much good has been done; and even
allowing, that no consequence had
followed but the one of banishing
that impurity, which has often dis-
figured works of taste, that conse-
quence alone would have justified
all the pains used for its attainment.
But may we not calculate on con*
sequences better still, when reli-

?jiotts journals become increasingly
aithftil to their solemn trust?

Some of the writings of Irving
are distinguished, not only by pre-
tensions to pleasantry, but by sheer
and genuine humour. He notes
down the foibles of men, and treats
of them in a facetious and good na-
tured way. It is often said, that
men love to laugh better than to
cry, and this propensity will ac-
count in part, for the steady popu-
larity of Irving's earlier works. We
feel not opposed to a display of
innocent mirth, even if indulged at
ourown expense; for if man is^ under

all circumstances, to wear a sombre
aspect, we know not why his Crea-
tor endowed him with risible or-
fans. The wit of Addison and
teele often plays, like a jasper
fountain, about the eccentricities
and obliquities which appear in the
personal conduct of their species;
but Johnson always takes men to
task upon the point of their great
moral delinquencies. Irving cer-
tainly bears no likeness to the great
English moralist; for he has uttered
no precepts or maxims which de-
serve the name of oracular. But we
should have advertised the reader,
that we design no analysis of the
playful productions of this gentle-
man, who is allowed by all, to be a
wit, and an elegant polite scholar.

It seems somewhat questionable,
whether a good or evil influence be
connected with crossing the water.
Some appear to think that the grand
voyage, is apt to spoil our authors;
and that even our preachers are
not totally exempt frdm its bad
effects. Be this as it may, we like
to look at Irving before he counted
one, in the coteries of transatlan-
tick Literati. He appears every
way, more simple and winning,
when stirring briskly about his na-
tive creeks, in sight of the black
pilgrim ship coming in from the
deep, or the ploughman as he turns
his bright share, on the brow of some
adjacent hill. He tells us in his
Memoir of Campbell, that Gertrude
of Wyoming has rendered our
country generally, and of course
Pennsylvania in particular, clas-
sick ground. This achievement of
the poet might have taught his bio-
grapher, that there is no deficiency
in our country, on the score of ma-
terials for talent to work upon; but
that the deficiency ties in the lazi-
ness of our talented men. The
complaint is frequently urged that
our country is young^-a wilderness
—its frontiers tracked by Indians-—
destitute of those grand historical
incidents, which the lapse of time
renders venerable^with a mass of

'igitizedloy VjOO;

510 M Estimate of the Writings of WasbingUm Irving. Not.

population rudelj formed, and still
forming, from all nations. But it is
not required that genius should con-
cern itself about anj thing that ia
not here, for then its delineations
would not be true to nature.

The Sketch Book purports to be
a collection of descriptive Essajs,
the materials of which are drawn,
principallj, from a champaign view
of English scenery and English
manners. The papers composing it,
are not written in a stjle pithy and
sententious, but in a style running
and irregular. Some of the num*
bers evidently want graphick power,
and others are surcharged with sen-
sibility# The writer sometimes em-
ploys a luxuriant pencil, when he
shobld have used a crayon. Ir-
ving does not excel in terseness and
condensation ; and yet condensation
is an important quality in the pre-
sent copiousness of literary works.
The principal praise which can be
awarded to the author of the Sketch
Book is, that he has caught the spi-
rit, and copied the manner, of the
best English writers. As an Essay-
ist, he IS not so weighty as Lord
Clarendon, but he is better suited
to the popular taste; nor has he the
careless simplicity of Addison, but
he surpasses him in strength. He
possesses not the broad humour of
Swift, but incomparably excels him,
in chasteness and furtiveneas of
wit. He has not the pungent men«
tal vigour of Young, but is cbi^rge-
able with much fewer violations of
taste. In fact, Irving is more pro-
perly compared with the writers
of the Augustan a^e of English
literature, than with those of a
more modern date; because there
is a union in his mind, of the ele«
gant with the antiquated. He
seems to be perfectly familiar with
the literature of England as fiir back
as the time of Chaucer; and to this
acquaintance with English writers
he IS probably indebted, for the mel-
low rural taste, with which his mind
ia imbued, lliis rural taste ap-
pears ia the antique atroetures rear-

ed by the skill of Chaucer and Spen-
ser. The muse of Shakspeare, too,
frequently cools his ardent geniaa ia
the shade of" the good green wood;'*
and even Milton often unclasps
from his waist the zone of his r<^;ai
poetical sovereignty* and culls the
yellow cowslips and primrose flow-
ers of " the queen of months." The
same taste appears in the minor
poets. It meets us, in the roman*
tick strains of Surrey, in the local
descriptions of Denham, in the in-
sinuatmg effusions of Prior, and in
the streaming a£9nence of Thomson.
It is not absent from the sunlight
creations of Collins, from the cum«
brous magnificence of Darwin, from
the unruffled numbers of Groldsmith,
or frAn the stately meditations of
Johnson. Gay, in his Shepherd's
Week, has attempted to disenchant
Rural Life and to exorcise this rural
spirit; but poets still love to be

After this account of the design
of the Sketch Book, the reader will
probably be surprised to learn, that
its author has oeen 'severely cen-
sured, in one of the English Re-
views, for not making it the vehicle
of his political opinions. But we
can conceive of nothing more inap-

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