Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

pains to make enquiries and gain information, on most of the subjects that interest the intelligent traveller. But we must observe, that a hasty tour along a beaten track, is not the best mode of acquiring the information necessary to form a correct estimate of the state of society in any country ; nor does it afford the means of writing such a vade mecum for the future traveller, as he could with confidence rely on for accuracy or detail. To those, however, who propose an excursion similar to that of our author, of a few weeks to some of the most lovely scenes of the Rhine, or of Switzerland, these volumes will prove acceptable as a guide, and in many respects far more instructive and useful, than most of the professed guide-books to be met with. Short historical notices are no doubt desirable and useful in a work of this kind; but those which Professor Hoppus has given us, are far too lengthy for a book whose title, is “ The Continent in 1835," and too short to answer the purpose of a Compendium of Universal History, which ought always to have a corner in the traveller's portmanteau.

Having landed at Ostend, our author passed through Antwerp to Brussels, and in commenting on the causes that led to the Belgian Revolution of 1830, he very justly alludes to the jealousy and uneasiness of the Roman Catholic party, at the attempts that had been made to suppress bigotry, and advance education. We should be disposed to attribute even more influence to this cause, than the Professor seems to do. For we are inclined to believe, that the proceedings preparatory to the Revolution originated with, and were planned almost solely by the Jesuitical party, who were not a little disappointed at the turn which affairs took, in consequence of the revolutionary combustibles which they had prepared being fired at an unlucky moment, by the fames that burst in from France, and producing effects which they had not anticipated. For a time, however, the wishes of the popish party seemed likely to be realized, for

“ The progress of the Protestant faith received a temporary check, at the Revolution of 1830;—and the Catholics were in great hopes of getting rid, altogether, of Protestant sway :-through the influence of England, however, a government has been established, on enlightened principles, under Leopold; and by the charter, perfect toleration is secured to all relig.ous opinions. Several of the Protestant churches were reduced very low, in 1830, by the withdrawal of great numbers of Dutch families into Holland ; and the new government refused to support the pastors, as heretofore, on account of the insignificance of the congregations : yet there is reason to believe that Protestantism has, by this time, in a great measure, recovered from the shock which it appeared to sustain at the revolution; and that it will continue to make advances, in a soil of freedom, and under the influence of those spontaneous sacrifices of money,--talent,time,--and labour,--which constitute the surest basis, on which the gospel may be expected to command the unbought, and universal homage of mankind, and achieve the triumphs of the millennium."-Vol. i. p. 89.

From Brussels we are conducted across the Netherlands, through Aix la Chapelle to Cologne, on the road to which, after noticing the increasing evidences of catholic superstition, the Professor observes, “ it was some counterpoise to find on the table of the inn, at Bergheim, a prospectus printed at Nuremberg, containing an invi

tation to catholic Germany, to unite in subscribing for an edition of the New Testament, to be printed in the vernacular tongue, from the Vulgate, under the auspices of the Church.” A measure which, whatever be the motives that have led to it, affords hope that much good will accrue from conceding the grand principle of allowing the people to read the Scriptures for themselves.

German literature holds so high a rank in the estimation of all classes of scientific and literary men, in the present day, that any thing connected with the actual state and progress of morals and religion, in that land of laborious philosophic industry and vivid imagination, must be regarded with the utmost interest.

“ From the latter part of the last century, Christianity has undergone an ordeal in this country, to wbich there is no parallel, since the iron bondage in which the Romish apostasy enchained Europe for a thousand years has been relaxed. A philosophical infidelity, under the name of Christianity,-and loudly claiming to be founded on the basis of philosophy, and philological criticism, has widely run its baneful career among the divines and philosophers of Germany; and for many years appeared to reign almost triumphant. "Amidst the various and changeful sentiments and theories which they have entertained, the Rationalists, or Antisupernaturalists, appear to have all agreed in proceeding on the principle of explaining away, or discarding the authority of the Scriptures; rejecting whatever professes to be supernatural in the Jewish and Christian revelations; and making reason the sole umpire in all matters of faith. The consequences, as might be expected, were but too obviously seen in the decay of piety, the almost total neglect of religion among the higher, and the more educated classes, the popular indifference to the Sabbath, and the irreligion that extensively prevailed among all ranks.”—Vol. i. pp. 173, 174.

In order to understand the causes that have led to this departure from the standard of scriptural belief, it is necessary to be acquainted not only with the general history of Germany, since the reformation, but also with the history of German philosophy, for the philosophy of the day has in Germany always given a colouring to the theology. Those of our readers who are interested in the subject, will find in the present volumes, a concise view of the opinions of the more celebrated of those philosophers who have by turns influenced the theology of their country. We cannot, however, pass over this part of Professor Hoppus's work, without one or two remarks. From the manner in which Morus is spoken of, the theological student would be led to form a very unfair estimate of his writings. The two volumes of theological and philological dissertations, of which the last edition was published at Leipsic in 1798, where Morus was professor of theology, show more pure principle than most would expect. The first dissertation is a defence of the narratives of the New Testament, which acutely displays and vindicates the inspired narratives, against those who despise them for want of classic grace. If his treatise on universal notions in theology seems to neologise, he does in effect but give clear ideas of things which have been mystified by mistaken believers. He praises the Pietists, whom he seems to have in view, of whom he says, they separate themselves from others, though they but say at last, “ we study in life and in action to worship God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and from the Father and through the Son and the Spirit, we seek those blessings which he grants through the Son and Spirit, and trusting in the help of the divine Spirit, we study to discharge our sacred duties.” His dissertation on experience in religion concedes all that is essential, though conceived in terms that seem designed to conciliate the enemies of experimental godliness. In fact, a candid judge would say, that Morus errs rather by attempting to make scriptural truths palatable to a worldly scholar, than by a wish to explain them away. But these two processes, though totally dissimilar in spirit and design, and moral character, may be mistaken the one for the other; for many believers can hardly recognize their own creed, except it be given in their favourite phrases, and Morus, in spite of himself, may be claimed as a coadjutor by many a subtle neologist.

[graphic]

The name of Michaelis should not have been mentioned, without distinguishing the person intended. John Henry Michaelis, and Christian Benedict Michaelis, published at the Orphan House, at Halle, philological and exegetic annotations on the Hagiographa, which are full of the best spirit of the Pietists and rich in oriental science; but Professor Hoppus evidently referred to John David Michaelis, Professor of Theology, at Goettengen, who indulged in bold scepticism, in his work on the New Testament, which Bishop Marsh's translation has made current in England.

After visiting Heidelberg, Baden, &c. we are conducted into Switzerland by Basle. The following account of the Brünig, and of the mode of ascending a Swiss mountain, may be taken as a specimen of the author's descriptive powers.

“We left Lungern the next morning to ascend the Brünig Alp, over which there is a pass; this being one of the mountains that separate the cantons of Unterwalden and Bern. Our party consisted of eleven persons : two on horseback, with a guide to each horse; one on foot; and one in a chuise à porteurs, attended by four men. This is a common chair, with elbows and a footboard; and to its sides are fixed two long poles. Two men at a time act as bearers; holding in their bands the poles, over the ends of which are slipped strong leathern straps that pass across the shoulders of the men ; who relieve each other more frequently according as the way is steeper and rougher. A boy was also in attendance, to assist in carrying a few light articles that were not fastened to the saddles of the horses. Such was our cavalcade; and such is the mode of setting off to cross a Swiss mountain.

« The ascent began shortly after we had left the village; and those who were mounted soon found that riding on horseback was here to be quite a different thing from what it is on the smooth, tame roads of level England. Happily the steeds were none of the most mettlesome; indeed, where English horses would plunge, and prance, and endanger the lives of their riders, or make a determined stop, these Swiss cattle are as steady and persevering as can be desired. Nothing appears to disconcert them,-neither precipices, nor gaping gorges, nor the roar of cataracts, nor rocks up which they must often climb from stone to stone, springing and scrambling rather than walking. They are as quiet and gentle as can be imagined, so that with experienced guides, a moderate share of courage, safe girths, and a firm mode of sitting, there is little danger.

" In the course of this ascent, we were continually passing along shelves of rocks, bound together with gnarled roots, and formed more or less by labour; but still sufficiently rugged ;-and very troublesome, excepting for foot-passengers; who alone can go with comfort over these chaotic and extraordinary roads. Sometimes, while huge masses of rock, with tremendous crags supporting lofty trees, overhung us on one side,-on the other was a deep, yawning

rasine, the sides of which were more or less covered with firs; and deep below, the concealed mountain torrent was often heard to rush hastily over its rocky bed.

" It was easy to account for the ruggedness of our path, when we saw crags above us which we were convinced must fall some time or other. These mourrtain ruins and desolations add not a little sublimity to these scenes; though they interfere so much with the comfort of equestrian travellers; and render it awkward to meet a party coming in the opposite direction, which was once our case. It was curious to observe how the goats, each with a tinkling bell about his neck, leaped with the utmost freedom from rock to rock, looking down upon us with much bearded solemnity, but without any appearance of alarm.

“ Occasionally, as we advanced, the ledges on which we had to pass were so narrow, and the depth below so great, that the necessity of carefully looking to our footing scarcely left us at leisure to admire sufficiently the singular grandeur of the scene. Many trees lay prostrate in various directions, sometimes below and sometimes above the path, having been torn up by the violence of the storm, or split by lightning, or hurled down with the falling crags, or washed away by the impetuosity of the mountain-stream, bastening to find the valley. Several unseen cascades, or roaring torrents, mingled the sound of their waters with the echos of our cheerful Swiss; who were perpetually singing either the Ranz des Vaches, or some mountain-song that was altogether new to our ears, and of the wildest music. They seemed thoroughly happy, and were very civil and obliging, without the least servility. Indeed they were disposed to enjoy the day, as much as ourselves; nor had they forgotten their pipes.

" In ascending the mountain, we found that it was inhabited by immense multitudes of grasshoppers; and frequently beautiful butterflies flitted by us. Once our approach roused from its hiding-place a very large bird, which we at first supposed was an eagle; but the guides said that no eagles were found here, and pronounced it to be the Lammergeier, or lamb-vulture ;- the Vultur barbatus of Linnæus ;—or the Gypuëtos barbatus of Storr, a name implying its position in natural history, as between the vulture and the eagle. This bird often preys on the lamb, the kid, and the chamois; and is said sometimes to have attacked young children."-Vol. i. pp. 303–306. ** Amid the many beauties of Switzerland it is difficult for the traveller to say what scenes produce the most powerful effect; but, for our part, we can remember nothing which impressed us more than the majestic beauty of Mount Blanc, viewed at sun-set. And although most of our readers are, no doubt, familiar to the appearances presented by this giant of the Alps, we think they will be gratified in the following description of the Monarch Mountain in his evening glory :

“All along the road from Chamonix to St. Martin's, is still visible the omnipresence of that spiritual despotism, which ever marks as its own, the wildest or the most beauteous of landscapes; and stands always ready to add another and another link to the chain of mental slavery ; by forming ever-new associations, in the mind, between the symbols of superstition and the changing scenes of nature Innumerable crosses, and little chapels lined the way; and over them, in French,—which from the valley of the Rhone had taken place of German,- were placards respecting indulgences,- for saying credos, ave-marias, and pater-nosters. Some of these stations were erected expressly for the benefit of souls in purgatory; and were inscribed with appeals to the sympathy of the passing traveller, on behalf of the miserable beings supposed to be tormented in those fires.

“ Not finding, at St. Martin's, the desired accommodations, it was necessary to cross the Arve to Sallenche, the chicf town of Upper Faucigny, a province of Savoy. It was here that we obtained the most superb and impressive view of

N. S. VOL I.

Mont Blanc; whose heads, clear of nearer obstructions, now boldly towered above all else that was lofty and tremendous.

“The sun had sunk below the horizon ; but his glowing rays still played on the upper parts of this vast aggregate of Alps; which at the distance of fifteen miles, lifted itself in continuous masses, so as to overlay an immense proportion of the horizon, and to fill the eye every moment;- seeming to prop the heavens, like the huge cyclopean rampart of some other sphere. The widely-extended fields of snow, were marked, at intervals, by dark relieving shadows; which accumulated at the bases, and gave prominence and distinctness to the outlines. It proved that we had before failed to form adequate conceptions of the height and magnitude of the mountain ;-but now, it stood confessed, in all its preeminence: the sight was stupendous! It was gratifying to perceive that others felt the same impression from the view as ourselves, for a group of people were gazing on the magnificent scene, as they sat at the foot of the handsome stone bridge, which is here built across the rapid waters of the Arve.

« The balcony of the Belle-vue Inn, 'at Sallenche, looks towards the mountain ; and as the evening drew in, and planted clouds in the horizon, the vast outstretched snows of Mont Blanc, still reflected from the sun his last glow, which gradually melted away, and left the natural whiteness of the snow long distinct from the deep leaden shades, in which all things besides were, successively, involved. At length night, and her train of clouds, brought the whole scene under the dominion of darkness; yet we all gazed towards the spot; and repeatedly rose to look for what had now become invisible.”-pp. 87-89.

Protestants naturally look with much interest to the state and progress of religion in Geneva, the cradle of the reformed churches, and they must regard with great delight the efforts there making at the present time, to dispel the clouds of darkness and infidelity that have now so long hung over the Genevan church. But how much remains yet to be done, may be judged of from the following description of the manner in which the last centenary of the reformation was celebrated :

The general tone of religion, in this celebrated little Republic, may be easily inferred from the manner in which the Reformation, which took place here, in 1535, was recently commemorated.

“On the same occasion, in 1735, it had been expressly forbidden, by the Council of State, to discharge any kind of fire-arms, on the Sabbath-day which occurred during the celebration; and a programme was previously read from the pulpit, exhorting the people, to avoid, on that holy day,' every indecent and profane demonstration of joy :--but Sabbath evening, the 23d of August, 1835, was ushered in by a general illumination ; with the usual accompaniment of fireworks, transparencies, triumphal arches, the sound of drums, and the roar of artillery ; and the whole population was poured into the streets. In this illumination, the Catholics, who have here one church, chose to unite; probably to save their windows; though, from the bitterness of the priests, there had been some previous apprehension that disturbances might occur : but the authorities had prepared for this contingency, and all passed off in quietness.

“The Cathedral of St. Peter was also splendidly illuminated, and a vocal and instrumental concert was given within its walls. The manner in which the Sabbath is observed in any place, may be regarded as an exact thermometer of religious feeling; for the example of Christ and the apostles, sanctioning the use of the first day of the week for the purposes of public devotion, is sufficient to induce every Christian who is in a right state of mind, to avoid every thing that might unnecessarily interfere with the full benefit of this great privilege. Such a mode of employing the Sabbath as was adopted on the 23d of August, 1835, and which was connived at, to say the least, by the clergy, could obviously have no other than an evil tendency on the religious feelings of the people. It

« ElőzőTovább »