Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal,
August 27, 1851
Available via subscription to Proquest American Periodicals
THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.
By Elizabeth Wetherell. In two vols. New York: George P. Putnam. 1851.
The writer is not at all given to book reviewing, and yet he cannot refrain (with permission) from a few remarks on the above interesting production: happy will he be if this brief notice shall introduce it to any who otherwise would not have seen it. It is but little to say of it, that it is quite superior to ordinary literature; it is a work which every intelligent Christian parent might desire to be read in his family. A sweet elevated spirit or genuine piety breathes in its pages, and the purest religious truths are everywhere beautifully inculcated, while the matter and style are captivating in an eminent degree. The varied incidents of the narrative stir the finer and deeper feelings with unwonted power, and few who take it up will wish to lay it down unfinished. That person, however a stranger to spiritual realities, must possess a strange deadness of feelings and dimness of perception who can appreciate none its beauty and power, while it will not fail to entwine itself with the pious heart, and stir the warm fountain of its sympathy. I fear that few, very few Christians can peruse it without a feeling of shame and self-reproach, while comparing themselves with the attractive portraiture of Christianity there exhibited, and studying those difficult lessons of religious discipline taught to and practiced by an orphan child of tender years, tearfully approaching the Savior, and but faintly and tremblingly professing discipleship. True, it is fiction; but it is that fiction which, attended by the influence of the Holy Spirit, comes home to the heart with the force and authority of truth; while the conviction is ever present that nothing is overdrawn, however sadly our hearts may contrast with the picture. The work is replete with the finest passages of Holy Writ applied to the common incidents of life, with beautiful effect, as very few can do it. The promises of the Gospel are given, as by one who knew their value, and the teachings of the Savior seem to fall fresh from his lips, while occasions are constantly found to exhibit the most rare and amiable traits of Christian character developed in the trying strife of life’s stern probation. Gems of thought and felicitous expressions are richly interspersed, while the touching incidents of the narrative are constantly suffusing our eyes with tears. In it are found those lessons of Christ which we have most need to learn--lessons of meekness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, patience, self-denial, truthfulness, love--lessons which we so general postpone, and whose absence causes such serious defects in our Christian character. No extracts could do the work justice; let parents buy it for their daughters and young men for their sisters, not failing to read it for themselves.
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