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BY REV. ROBERT BAIRD.
The view of Geneva and the country surrounding it, obtained from the summit of one of the ne ghboring mountains, is of surpassing beauty. The fertile plain, cultivated in every part, and crossed by the winding Rhone, with that beautiful expanse of water, which poets have sung and philosophers praised, and the distant towns and villages with which those fields and the shores of that lake are studded,—are contrasted with the magnificence of the huge Alps, which appear like heavy clouds behind, with their peaks, their glaciers, and, highest of all, the snow-clad Mont Blanc.
The city of Geneva is situated in the midst of the valley which is bounded on one side by the regular range of the Juras, and on the other by the Alps. It stands at one end of Lake Leman, and is traversel by the Rhone. It is of very ancient history, being mentioned by Cæsar in his commentaries, as " the extreme city of the Allobroges, and the nearest to the Helvetian territory.” Throughout the middle ages, it was generally an Imperial city, forming part of the Germanic Empire; but, at the epoch of the Reformation, it was a free town. It was more than once besieged by the Duke of Savoy, but was rescued by the Bernese, who sent their forces to aid it. As the refuge of Protestants from France, and other countries, and the centre of the French Reformation, it has since become so famous as to receive the title of « Protestant Rome.” It preserved its independence, though its territory was restricted to the city itself, till the
year 1798, when it was annexed, together with a great part of Switzerland, to France. By the treaty of Vienna, in 1814, a small territory surrounding it, partly French and partly Savoyard, was given to it, and it was joined to the Confeleration of Switzerland, of which it till then hal formed no part, under the name of the Citr and Canton of Geneva. Its government, of republican form, is composed principally of two Councils, the greater and smaller. It has recently undergone some slight revolutions, and its constitution has been remodeled. of the city represent the half of an eagle, with a key, and this inscription : “ Post tenebras lux;" (alter darkness, light.)
By the augmentation its territory, a great number of Roman Catholics were added to its population ; and, of the 60,000 which the Can
ton and City now contain, about 36,000 are Protestants, and 24,000 Catholics.* The religion of the State is nominally Protestant; but it has degenerated from the doctrines bequeathed to it by Calvin, Tarel, and other Reformers, into Socinianism. There are, however, several faithful pastors connected with the state; but it is to the dissenting Church of Geneva that such men as Merle d'Aubigné, Gaussen, Malan, and other distinguished theologians belong.
Geneva is situated on both sides of the Rhone, just where it issues from the Lake Leman, as well as on an island in that river. On one side it is bordered by the Lake; and the others are surrounded by double ram parts and ditches, which have been converted into beautiful promenades and gardens. The most wealthy and populous part of the city is on the southern side. There, on the brow of a hill, stands the fine old Cathedral, in which Calvin preached ; and there part of his pulpit is still preserved. The dwelling of this great Reformer is still pointed out; but his grave is unknown and undistinguished, in the cemetery.
The city possesses, among other interesting buildings, an excellent public library, containing, with a great number of rare books, an invaluable collection of ancient manuscripts. There are many volumes of manuscripts and autographs of the great Reformers. The Gallery of Paintings is very interesting and precious; in it may be found many masterpieces of the Genevese artists, some of whom are quite distinguished. The Botanical Gardens are extensive, and were laid out under the supervision of celebrated botanists.
The environs of Geneva have become celebrated as the retreats of some of the greatest writers, philosophers and naturalists, that Europe has produced. The names of Voltaire, Roussean, Gibbon, Necker, De Stael, Byron, De Saussure, De Candolles, Sismondi, and others, have rendered famous the villas and villages which are seen on every side. One of the most celebrated of these, the Chateau of Voltaire, at Ferney, is worthy of some notice.
The village of Ferney is situated at about three miles from the gate of Geneva, on the side
* By far the greater part of the Catholics are in the Canton, not in the City proper, which contains tut cne Catholic church.
towards France. In the midst of a fine garden, Reformation in the Church of Geneva-a legiwith a magnificent prospect of the whole coun- timate fruit of its unhallowed alliance with the try surrounding it, stands the dwelling of Vol. State. From that epoch till the end of thai centaire. Two rooms are still preserved as he left tury, error gradually and steadily made progress, them: his parlor and bedroom. The despica- until, in the commencement of the present, the ble vanity of this great but corrupt man is dis- monstrous heresies of Arianism, Socinianism, played in a miserable painting, hung over the and Rationalism, or Neology, became fully dedoor of his bedroom, and which was executed veloped and established. So great and so uniby his orders It depicts him as presented by versal was the declension from the truth that Henry IV. to Apollo, who places a crown upon there was not, probably, one pastor in active his head; fame is sounding his praises abroad, service in the city or Canton, in the year 1817, and demons are tormenting his enemies. His who was sound in the faith. Great was the bedroom contains this inscription, written in effect upon the spiritual interests of the Church, Jarge letters on the wall : “ His heart is here, and upon the morals of the city, of this sad debut his spirit is everywhere!"
parture from the blessed doctrines of the Gospel. The authoress of “ Corinne,”—Madame de In 1817, it pleased God to bring Cæsar Malan, Stael, resided on the bank of the Lake; her and several other young men, to the knowledge grave is pointed out in the beautiful garden sur- of the truth. This was the commencement of rounding her chateau. The widow of one of the resuscitation of true religion which we now her sons, the late Baron de Stael, occupies it at behold in that ancient city. Through the efforts present. On the brow of a hill on the south of these men, two independent chapels were side of the Lake, and about a mile from the city, opened, one within the city (in the Bourg-deis seen the Villa Diodati, Lord Byron's home; Four), and one without (at the Pré-l'Eréque), the scenery surrounding which he has described in which the doctrines of pure and primitive with the peculiar beauty of his verse.
Christianity were proclaimed ; nor were they The society of Geneva is very delightfui; for proclaimed in vain. Since that time it has the Genevese usually display all the frankness pleased God to raise up a few faithful ministers of the Swiss, and the vivacity of the French in the National Church of Geneva, most of character; commonly mingled with a little whom, such as Diodati, Duby, Barde, remain national vanity, peculiar to themselves, and cer- in it. One, however, of the most distinguished tainly very pardonable. Education, among the was expelled from it about fifteen years ago: lower classes, is pretty general; that is, with this is the celebrated and excellent Dr. Gaussen. those who are of Genevese birth and extraction; To his deposition, the new Theological Schcol for, from the great immigration of ignorant owes its existence ; for upon its occurrence, Savoyards into the city and territory, a large some wealthy and pious laymen in that city, portion of the laboring classes of the population seeing no security for evangelical religion in the have not even had the most common instruc- Established Church, resolved to found an Evantion. The higher classes usually receive quite gelical Society, for promoting the truth, upon a thorough education. The Academy, or, as the voluntary principle, both in their midst and we should call it, the University of the city, is vicinity, and also in France. This Society was an excellent institution; and generally a young
formed in 1831. One of its first enterprises was man is there taught not only the classics the founding of a Theological Seminary. This and various sciences, but one or more modern was absolutely necessary, inasmuch as the men languages besides his native French.
who sit in Calvin's seat in the Genevan SynaBut by far the most interesting institution in gogue, have, each in his own way, departed Geneva, to one who takes a deep interest in the from the faith that saves. The first two Proprogress
of true religion, is the new Theologi- fessors who were appointed in this new Insti. cal School, at the head of which stands the tution were Dr. Merle d'Aubigné, a native of celebrated Dr. Merle d'Aubigné, the eloquent au- that city, but who had been residing five or six thor of " The Great Reformation of the Sixteenth years in Hamburg, and five or six at Brussels, Century.” A brief notice of the circumstances whence the Belgian Revolution had driven him, which led to the opening of this School may not and M. Gaussen, of whom we have just spoken. be unacceptable to our readers.
Almost at the same time, the late lamented About the middle of the last century, a spe. Steiger, the friend and pupil of Tholuck, was cies of cold semi-Pelagian Christianity began to appointed, in the department of Biblical literausurp the place of the glorious doctrines of the ture. A few years ago, the Theological Faculty
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of this Institution was strengthened by the addition of Messrs. La Harpe and Pilet. It is now composed of four able men, who fill, with distinguished zeal and talent, the departments of Theology, Ecclesiastical History, and Pastoral Care.
From small beginnings, this Theological School has attained very considerable importance. The present number of its students is about forty-five. It has already sent forth a number of excellent preachers, who are laboring mostly in France and Switzerland. The celebrated Haevernick, now a Professor in the University of Koenigsberg, Prussia, and who, it is supposed, will take the place of the late distinguished Gesenius, at Halle, was, for a while, a student in this Institution.
In conclusion, it may be said, that although the city, within the walls, owing to its streets
being very narrow, and its very high houses (all built of stone), cannot be said to be very pleasant, especially the older parts of it, nothing can exceed the amenity of the environs. Innumerable villas and gardens are to be found on either side of the Rhone and Lake Leman. On this account, it is a place of resort, during the summer, to great numbers of strangers, of which the English form by far the majority.
By means of the three or four steamboats that ply on the lake, as well as by the “ diligences” which run on the fine roads that border that beautiful sheet of water, delightful excursions may be daily made up to Coppet, Rolles, Lausanne, Vevay, and Villeneuve, at the head of the lake. Near the last-named place stands the celebrated Castle of Chillon, of which we may speak at another time.
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BY N. M. BACKUS.
CHRISTOPHER Martin WIELAND wrote himself into a reputation by a novel, which he called Agathon : and although he christened it with so good-omened a title, and said many good things in the course of his production, he administered stimulus rather than catharticon to the sensuality of his readers. He interspersed his feeble denunciations of vice with such glowing descriptive tints of its alluring scenes, that his audience turned their steps forth with to those theatres, whence lessons of virtue were supposed to be learned by gazing upon the unveiled deformities of sin. An anatomy of the character of the popular novels of our own day would be injurious in the same form, if the anatomy presented prominent beauties enough to counteract the more offensive portions of the skeleton. In this, however, the artist is as culpable as the subject of his pencil. Wieland wanted money for his pleasures, and money was ready for fascinating pictures of scenes, in which a voluptuary rejoiced to revel. Callow debauchees bought Agathon : that was to Wieland a substantial recompense. Reviewers praised its flippant wit, its brilliant fancy, and its endless variety: that was capital for future trade. With hard money in his purse-nettings, and a floodtide popularity to bear him up, he might laugh
to scorn the stereotyped dullness of moralists; and he lived without fear or favor of them all.
But Agathon has perished from the roll of readable novels : its place has been supplied with wit and fancy, and variety of a more piquant and seductive caste, in the presence of which even Agathon might blush for very shame. Novels have risen above the literary horizon, been put in circulation by moral men through a moral community, and introduced to our domestic circles—the very contact of which Wieland would have avoided as the plague. But such is the innate tendency of the novelit is earthy, downwards, grovelling. The creatures of God, as all naturalists discover, strive to level upwards; and so manifestiy is this design permeating the whole created system, that one monomaniac of natural science ventured to suggest that man was originally a shell-fish, and had passed through every stage of the animated creation, till he was finally developed into a
But the creatures of man have a reverse tendency: they level downwards by essential gravity, and seek the lowest grades of organism. Already the novel has degenerated from its primitive purity, and become the lowest and vilest of the dregs of the intellectual creation. Its primitive purity! Nay, we tripped there :
for, although the true novel is of modern date, in Jean Paul, voluptuous sentimentalism its first rude progenitor was an offspring of ini- and Spinosism in Göthe, and mesmerism in quity, and the impurities of the original blood Jung; infidelity in Voltaire, superstitious deism are constantly appearing in the tetters and in Rousseau, classical criticism and poetry in blotches upon the features of its legitimate Madame de Staël, bagatelle in Balzac, and the children.
Munchausenism of cut-throats in Sue; history The Greeks made the first attempt at a novel; in Scott, graceful villany in Bulwer, charitable but their productions were flat, shabby, vulgar sympathy in Dickens, with a periness, as recent affairs, and the imagination can hardly conceive events have shown, full as eflective for niggardof more insipidly loathsome sentiments, than ly as for humane objects, not to carry the disDaphnis and Chloe are made to entertain and section through our own land, all unite, or utter of the passions and motives of the human may unite in the composition of the novel ; heart. The Romans, thanks to their severe so- but in addition to these admissible ingredients briety, were never guilty of an effort to cast their it has certain qualities, which are found to be passions in a fictitious mould. Then came the its universal accompaniments. Upon the negaTroubadours, thrumming amorous ditties under tive side, then, which may pass in review first, balconies by moonlight, and dancing attendance a novel must proscribe religion ; and by religion upon lovesick, enervated dames for their daily we understand a garment of vital godliness, bread. In their hands they grasped all the ma- worth a man's wearing before his fellow createrials of the novel, but few among them had tures in honor of his Maker. the patience to write a volume, where a ballad The religion of the Waverly novels—and we of a dozen stanzas would secure the expected designedly take the best-is that of asceticisin, praise and douceur ; and none had the self-denial intriguing in the cabinet, or pandering in the byto read a volume, when a few moments' audi. ways; of hypocrisy disgracing the Christian ence to the notes of the guitar, and the flattery name with vices of every hue; or finally of of a starving minnesinger was sufficient to satisfy passive, simple, good-for-nothing good-nature, the cravings of passion, and keep alive the which doles out a sentimental charity, that formal glare and hollow hauteur of chivalry. would be ridiculous for a sane man or woman From the Troubadours to the French school of to practise. The religion of a manly, well edu. Ma lame Scuderi, and the English school of cated, well-directed, well-proportioned characRichardson, is but a single step: and though we ter-such an one as would honor its possessor are thus introduced to stiff and lifeless masses, -such an one as we may meet every day of we discover the same clay and the same corrupt- our life-active, intelligent, planning, directing, ing ingredients. The English character divided and constituting
very nerve and sinew of the stream which thus re-appeared from its sub- society, is not discoverable upon Scott's pages. terranean passages, into two channels, the one His devotional temperament has been proudly of which followed the course of history and the claimed upon the evidence of such casual lyrics past, and the other that of domestic scenes and The Day of Judgment;" but we have nethe present. Scott has his thousand imitators ver discovered upon his pages any tokens of even in the former, and Fielding his endless copyists charity for sincere religionists, and every one in the latter. The French character is uniform has certainly discovered symptoms of irreveronly in the matter of ceaseless change ; airy, ence in the caricatures, which uniformly set off frivolous, epigrammatic, and mock-heroic, the the peculiarities of the religious fervor of the French novel skims the very uppermost stratum Scotch. Did no better picty exist in the Highof society, just dipping the tips of its wings lands? Were there no nobler exemplifications upon the stagnant and miasmatic surface. But of Christianity, even in a barbarous age, either we are outrunning our subject.
north or south of the Tweed? Yes; but there A novel, purely and legitimately such, baf- was an insuperable objection to the admission fles description. It borrows so much from of such personages upon the same stage with poetry, history, and the actual of life, which is the fulsome, selfish, swaggering chivalry of the not its own, and borrows it only to corrupt, that mediæval era. They were clothed with a chaa strict definition will fail to include all that racter that would not amalgamate ; it lacked may and does enter into its composition : and it flexibility to yield to caricature, and it lacked is so diversified by national propensities and the propensities of the fool to be wheedled by customs, that a loose definition would comprise the flimsy artifices of chivalrous and legitimaevery department of belles-lettres. Philosophy tized villains : therefore, religion was proscrib
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ed without benefit of clergy, or at least forbidden to appear, except under a veil of diseased sentimentalism, to cover those brilliant colors which would cast a dimness over the tawdry nobility of semi-Quixotic character. We have selected the purest, and the best of modern novelists, and if such be the case with the chief, how is it with the retainers of the camp?
Again; the novel discards the useful and practical of life. It is a common mistake to atir bute the success of some modern writers of ficuon to felicitous limnings of domestic or vulgar scenes: it is the wit and oddity of exaggeraton, that imparts to them animation and zest, which the art of the writer contrives to keep in that state of pendulous equilibrium between desire and gratification, most favorable to the securing of his own purposes.
Rejecting, then, these essential elements of our being, the novel universally builds up its sovereignty by appeals to the more grovelling and assailable passions of the heart. It makes overtures to vanily, mawkish or infuriate love, malignity, and our propensity to the marvellous ; it decorates these passions with every variety of dress, but a natural one, colors them like anything but life, and presents them under every phase, but the one that is visible to common optics. Always in a tempest, and a fiutter, straining, tugring, and bracing up the intellec. tual powers to some novel conceit, or some unheard-of coincidence and catastrophe, which may without inconvenience lack all the interest and probability of real life. To do this successfully the author must frequently consult the landscape he would delineate ; associate with the characters, to whom he assigns the honors of heroes; eat the viands they eat, drink from the bowl they use in their libations, seek the haunts to which they are driven, taste the pleasures they exult in, and make himself one with the dramatis persona of his subject. This has been done and is even now in process of repetition; and like the proverb " set a thief to catch a thiei,” you must make a villain to describe one. It requires no effort on the part of minds of a certain calibre and frame to pay that tribute of degradation and servitude for their capital. The roué, the enthusiast, and the fool are characters formed with remarkable facility; and the vast ocean of letters is constantly flinging to its surface bubbles and refuse enough to perpetuate the race. A little learning, a well practised wit, without study and without design, are all the qualifications requisite; the rest have a
spontaneous growth, and strengthen into manhood with use and activity.
We need not at present diverge into a disquisition upon the proper uses of fiction; nor even point out the broad interval which separates the tales of Hannah More from the ordinary novel, and the fictions of Scott from the exaggerations of Sue. Their dissimilarity is too obvious to require such a modification of our statements, as will exempt the former from the ban, under which the latter justly fall. The entire object is dissimilar, the minor plots have another aim, and the birit of the language and sentiment is as different as the upper air from the exhalation of a marsh. The legitimate modern novel is a moral distortion: an arbitrary concatenation of busy, exciting scenes, adjusted } by the rules of plot and complot, to inebriate the baser passions, and keep up a delirium of empty excitement. It is like dainty viands, destined to gratify an animal appetite, and to
perish with the usage :' to be devoured with the voracity of a gourmand and to be remembered only for the qualms, which the revulsion of the surfeit causes, and exacts as the penalty of an abused economy. The scenes which promise fairest to whet and gratisy this artificial excitement, are those, in which common sense and common life have the least to do: the plots which perform the most service are those in which few men are witlings enough to be accomplices; the objects which interest most are those on which no man would throw away his hours either out of friendship or self-love. A genuine modern novel is a species of intellectual distillery, hot with fermentation and decomposition : it lives upon the disorder it creates : it fattens on the intellectual poverty of those, who draw nigh unto its intoxicating cup. The strongholds of fiction upon its devotees are the ulcers it engenders upon the literary stomach : and the potence of its sway is exemplified in the delirium tremens with which it hurries many of its votaries into an immature grave. This is no exaggeration. Göthe's Werther, and Ottilie, can count their converts and disciples in suicides; and suicides, too, among the noble, the learned, and the affluent in life. And if fiction can bring such strong delusion over man that the spirit can be nerved by its influence to the last reckless act of cowardice and high crime, we need not stay to question its power in alluring men to the minor peccadillos, which fill up the picture of human infamy.
The habitual use of the stimulus of fiction is