Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

larly tenacious and clear indeed, but not quite infallible. It is said, for example, (p. 57,) that on a certain occasion the Attorney-General of Massachusetts “brought an indictment” for blasphemy against the author of certain critical papers in the Christian Examiner, — a statement which we believe to be not only incorrect, but impossible. Again, what account of an opponent's belief can be quite trusted, from one who speaks of the usual Christian faith in a special revelation of the Most High by his chosen messengers, as making “the whole of human nature wait upon an accident of human history, — and that accident the whim of some single man!We should be sorry to charge looseness as to fact, or habitual misrepresenting of belief, as a characteristic of this narrative; but we both blame and regret each class of statements of which we have cited the above as specimens.

But the main thing in this Letter, and that which gives it the greatest permanent value, is the very extraordinary testimony it bears to the industry, the energy, the copious scholarship, and the intense convictions of the author. The earlier portions in particular, which speak of the growth of character and opinions, the influence of parental training, the hopes and purposes with which the toils of manhood and the special path of service were approached, cannot be read by any one, we venture to say, without interest and sympathy. As to the later narrative, even those who have best known the diversified resources of Mr. Parker's intellect will be surprised at the immense range of his reading and the amount of his intellectual toil; while those who have worked most constantly by his side will hardly have estimated the activity and energy of his labors, — of pulpit, platform, lecturer's desk, or walks of mercy, — as the memory of them is brought back in this review. And, whatever the verdict finally pronounced upon the labors here recorded, the record itself will remain, as one of the most curious, instructive, and characteristic chapters in the history of New England Theology.

Dr. Bellows's Address at the recent Anniversary of the Cambridge Theological School elicited before its publication, while known to the public only by report, some foolish comments, and some ill-natured ones, from the newspaper press, of which the printed pamphlet is the best refutation. It was, perhaps, too much to expect from the journals which criticised this performance, nice discrimination, or candid judg. ment, or conscientious accuracy of statement. But it seems a not unreasonable demand, that the critic should read before judging, and not pronounce on a vague report as he would on an authorized publication. Dr. Bellows was represented as having gravely propounded a new form of Christianity, a new “ Church,"— to be established by individual effort directed to that end; something between Romanism and Protestantism, avoiding the errors and combining the merits of both those ministrations. The Address* is now before the public, and

* The Suspense of Faith. An Address to the Alumni of the Divinity School of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Given July 19, 1859. By HENRY W. BELLOWS. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1859.

all who are interested may satisfy themselves of the falsity of this charge, concerning which we remark by the way, that no writer of our acquaintance is less likely to have committed such an absurdity than the author of this discourse. The discourse strikes us as every way worthy its distinguished author, — admirable alike for its breadth of view and its fervor of spirit, its penetrating analysis and its comprehensive faith, its luminous suggestions and its weighty counsels. We heartily accept the author's criticism of the spiritual aspects of this our time, and we know of no statements on this subject more searching or more eloquent than those which we find under the third head of this discourse, — the psychological and universal reason for what the author calls the “suspense of faith.” We have no room to quote what seems to us so striking, and can only refer to the portion included between the 20th and 30th pages as containing some of the best and profoundest things that have been said in this direction in our day.

Dr. Bellows appreciates the limitations of Protestantism, in itself considered, without undervaluing the Protestant Church, or dreaming of any invidious comparison between it and the elder communion.

" Who does not see that the fatal misgiving at the bottom of the mind of Protestantism is this: Have the external institutions of religion any authority but expediency? Do they stand for and represent anything but one portion of the human race educating another portion of the human race, which in the last analysis is self-culture? And if they stand on self-culture, on what other basis than schools and colleges ? None whatever, the logical mind will answer, except that they are religious schools and colleges. Make your ordinary schools and colleges, your family education, religious, and you may dispense with the Church, which has no basis but expediency, and is founded wholly in man's wit. Accordingly, it is a very common and spreading feeling that our religious institutions are approaching their natural term of existence.”

The practical conclusion of the whole is a plea for the Church as the saving power of society, whose agency admits of no substitute.

“ The work of the Church is so to speak to the world in the orotund of great historic incidents, — so to preach by emphasizing the commemorative days, and illuminating the holy symbols, and pausing on the successive events, which made the doctrines of Christianity, - as gradually to thunder into the deaf ear of humanity the saving lesson of the Gospel.

“No lecture-room can do this, no preaching-man can do this, no thin, ghostly individualism or meagre Congregationalism can do this. It calls for the organic, instituted, ritualized, impersonal, steady, patient work of the Church, which taking infancy in its arms shall baptize it, etc. ... A new, catholic Church, a Church in which the needed but painful experience of Protestantism shall have taught us how to maintain a dignified symbolic and mystic church organization without the aid of the state or the authority of the Pope, — this is the demand of the weary, unchurched humanity of our era. How to renounce the various obstacles, how to inaugurate the various steps to it, is probably more than any man's wisdom is adequate to direct just now. But to articulate, or even try to articulate, the dumb wants of the religious times, is at least one step to it. It is a cry for help which God will hear, and will answer by some new word from the Holy Ghost, when humanity is able and willing to bear it.”

The stupidity which could pervert this confession of a want into the declaration of a purpose, is one of those annoyances which public speakers have to encounter from their natural enemy.

l , i The Douay Version of the Old Testament, made from the Latin Vulgate, which was the translation completed by St. Jerome, A. D. 405, which the Council of Trent pronounced to be “authentic,” is as good a translation of a translation as we should suppose it reasonable to expect from Roman Catholics at the time it was made; that is, in 1609, two years before King James's Version. Dr. Kenrick, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore, has published an edition of it,* for the use of such Catholics as can obtain permission of the pastors and spiritual guides whom God has appointed to govern his Church” to read it, in a partially revised form. The changes which he has made appear to be generally for the better, as far as they go. But it is difficult to perceive on what principle he proceeded in making them. It was not to make the Douay Version conform in every case more strictly to the Vulgate. For in several instances, in the few chapters we have examined, he departs from the Vulgate. Thus in Job iii. 7, he renders, “Let that night be solitary and void of praise," instead of " not worthy of praise" in the Douay. But the Vulgate reads "nec laude digna.” Again, in ch. v. 26, the Archbishop renders, “ Thou shalt enter into the grave in full age," instead of the Douay, “ Thou shalt enter into the grave in abundance." But the Vulgate has it, “ Ingredieris in abundantia sepulchrum.” This certainly is a departure from the “ authentic” Vulgate, to make it conform, with heretical King James's, to the original Hebrew. But why Dr. Kenrick should correct from the Ilebrew this verse, rather than hundreds of other passages of the Vulgate, which, in the opinion of all scholars, require correction, does not appear. In general, his corrections of the Douay Version are very few, and of little importance compared with those which must be made before the Catholic version can be regarded as representing the original Hebrew. It would seem, if the few chapters which we have found time to examine may be taken as a specimen of the whole, that the Archbishop's revision cannot be relied on as representing either the Latin Vulgate or the original Hebrew. Thus in Job iii. 18, the Douay has it, “ And they sometime bound together without disquiet have not heard the voice of the oppressor.” This represents the Vulgate, “Et quondam vincti pariter sine molestia, non audierunt vocem auctoris." The Archbishop has it, “And they sometime bound together are without disquiet, and hear not the voice of the taskmaster," a rendering which

* The Book of Job and the Prophets, translated from the Vulgate, and diligently compared with the Original Text, being a Revised Edition of the Douay Version,' by Francis PATRICK KENRICK, Archbishop of Baltimore. Baltimore : Kelley, Hedian, and Piet. 1859.

does not well represent either the Vulgate or the Hebrew. The latter is well translated in the common version. So in Isaiah liii. 9. The Douay has it, “ And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death.” This represents the Vulgate, “ Et dabit impios pro sepultura et divitem pro morte sua.” But the Archbishop has it, “ And he shall have the ungodly in his burial and the rich at his death,” which represents neither the Latin nor the Hebrew. It is certainly not “ authentic.” Protestants, therefore, unacquainted with Latin, who have the curiosity to know what the Vulgate is, or what the Douay version is, will do best to take the common editions of the latter. But Catholics will come a little nearer to the meaning of the Hebrew original, especially with the help of the Archbishop's notes, by using his revision of the Douay version.

The notes are useful as far as they go, and suggest many emendations of the Version which he does not adopt with the text. But to us Protestants, who are accustomed to fuller and more learned ones, they appear meagre, and behind the age. The Archbishop's views of interpretation may be estimated by a remark which he makes in his Introduction to Job: “The boldness with which he [i. e. Job] vindicates his innocence is best excused by regarding him as representing the Son of God, who was altogether free from sin.”

[ocr errors]

SiLLEY is buried without the walls of Rome, in unconsecrated earth ; his works are contraband within the walls, and many good people elsewhere in Christendom still suppose that he was the Devil. To add an authentic page to his history, is the purpose of the present work.* He has been unfortunate in having many ambitious, incompetent, and perverse biographers. It was inevitable that such an unworldly, delicate spirit should be misunderstood. He was in arms against the religion, and politics, and social institutions of his time and country. That he was persecuted and maligned, is evidence of his power, and their weakness. His heart was the finest meter of all injustice and wrong; and when it spoke, though it had no power but the pen, it carried alarm to the bad and the bigoted. They avenged themselves with scandal, and with the law, handiest weapon of the base. There is no such instance in modern times of the union of the poet and the earnest, practical reformer. What he thought, that he would instantly realize; and the impossibility of realizing it — his ideas being, as they were, tainted with no systems of compromise — made the great, the real grief of his life. Therefore, dearest blessing of the Muse, he took refuge in poetry. Not, however, without some debate and questioning of his own genius. The best part of every reformer's career is his first protest; time will work the problem ; he has enough to do to keep himself in advance of his protest.

* Shelley Memorials : from Authentic Sources. Edited by LADY SHELLEY. To which is added an Essay on Christianity, by P. B. SHELLEY : now first printed. Boston : Ticknor and Fields. 1859.

VOL. LXVII. - 5TH S. VOL. V. NO. II. 25

But Shelley was essentially a poet; and the sensitiveness which made him feel so keenly the evil in the world, renders his ideal realms and characters so much the more elevated and inspiring. At last he took refuge in poetry, and in Italy, “the Paradise of exiles.” There he was happy in his work; his powers were ripening; he had competent fortune; and in his household relations he adds one to the scanty roll of those men who seem to have found marriage a divine institution. His wife was his peer in many respects; they went hand in hand, nor did he divide himself from her in any part of his magnificently endowed nature.

“Where the heart lies, let the brain lie also.” And after eight years they still loved, and she could write at his death : “ For eight years I communicated, with unlimited freedom, with one whose genius, far transcending mine, awakened and guided my. thoughts. I conversed with him; rectified my errors of judgment; obtained new lights from him ; and my mind was satisfied. Now I am alone, - O how alone !” “ The glory of the dream is gone. I am a cloud from which the light of sunset has passed. Give me patience in the present struggle. Meum cordium cor! Good night!” .

This volume shows anew the beauty and sincerity of Shelley's life. Those nearest to him loved him best. His own father scarcely knew him. He made, or found, his own kindred. His blood, of the best in England, united only with generous hearts, and high intellects. He performed the practical and humblest offices of charity. He espoused every unpopular and friendless cause, or person; and there was no wrong but reached his sensitive and tender heart. In return, the doors of his own home were shut against him ; he was expelled from Oxford ; his name was a word of ill omen in all England ; the Lord Chancellor took his children from him, on the ground that he was an atheist; and fortune frowned upon him, almost to his untimely death. Yet he was a poet, and who can doubt the recompense of vision and of rapture in his own soul? The story of his death is familiar. His life in Italy was growing more and more prosperous and serene. He was approaching the time he himself had prophesied, when he should be able to do something in every respect accommodated to the utmost limits of his powers. He died. The tale cannot be told or read without tears. Nor is there anything more grånd or solemn in the Urn Burial of Sir Thomas Browne, than the narrative of the cremation of Shelley.

“ The spot was wild, lonely, and inexpressibly grand. In front lay the broad, bright waters of the Mediterranean, with the islands of Elba, Capraji, and Gorgona in view; the white, marble peaks of the Apennines closed the prospect behind, cooling the intense glare of the midday sun with the semblance of snow; and all between stretched the sands, yellow against the blue of the sea, and a wild, bare, uninhabited country, parched by the saline air, and exhibiting no other vegetation than a few stunted and bent tutts of underwood. A row of high, square watch-towers stood along the coast; and above, in the hot stillness, soared a solitary curlew, which occasionally circled close to the pile, uttering its shrill scream, and defying all attempts to drive it away."

« ElőzőTovább »