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in the next great city of our Union, in the adjoining Diocese of Pennsylvania. The reports from Philadelphia county, omitting eight parishes, (some of them quite large,) give an aggregate of 8957; so that there are probably 10,000 communicants in the whole county; a number almost twice that reported from all the rest of that Diocese. It would be an interesting inquiry did our space permit, what, in the whole history of the Church has been the relation between the city and the country as affecting its growth and resources, and for ourselves what ought to be done to secure the hold of the Church of our affections upon the rural population of the land? The last U.S. Census estimated the city, town, and village population of the Union to be only about one fourth of the whole number. What magnitude, then, have the just claims of the Diocesan Missionary work, now so feebly prosecuted in most of our Dioceses !
Among our investigations into the relations of these statistics to each other, we have been struck with the change of the relative position of the several Dioceses in view of the number and the growth of population, and of the extent of territory embraced. The smallest of our organized Dioceses is Rhode Island, with 1300 square miles. The least population is in Delaware, with 95,000 souls. The largest Diocese is Texas, with 237,000 square miles ; enough to make 180 Rhode Islands. The greatest population is in Pa., estimated at 2,700,000— almost as many as are found in all the New-England States. In Connecticut, our communicants bear a ratio to the whole population of one to thirty-four ; in Tennessee and Indiana they are as one to one thousand. In comparing the reported communicants of 1838 with those of 1858, we find that Illinois has advanced 1337 per cent, and Louisiana 852 per cent, while Vermont has gained but 43 per cent. Yet if we take into account the relative increase of population, we shall find Vermont ranking among the first in proportionate growth. In this view Alabama has grown most rapidly, the communicants having advanced 640 per cent, while the population has increased 41 per cent—the Church thus growing 15-61 times faster than the population. Maine comes next, then Georgia, then Ver
mont, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, New Hampshire, Connecticut, North-Carolina, Mississippi, and New Jersey, in all of which Dioceses the growth of the number of communicants has exceeded more than five-fold that of the population. It is pleasant to perceive that there is a like advance in kind, if not in degree, in every Diocese. Every where the Church is gaining at least in numbers; God grant that her members may be faithful to the high trust committed to them, so that their growth may be healthful as it is steady!
The Lord our God add unto His people, how many soever they be, a hundred fold !
ART. III.-GLADSTONE'S HOMER AND THE
Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age. By the Right Hon.
W. E. GLADSTONE, D.C.L., M.P. for the University of Oxford, 3 vols. Oxford. At the University Press. 1858.
At a time when the importance of classical culture is so little appreciated, it is refreshing to meet with such a noble contribution, as these volumes afford, towards the settlement of those great questions which relate to the Poems and the Age of Homer. We can not but feel a special pleasure, also, in the fact that these volumes are the production of one who labors under a constant pressure of the most important public duties; for it assures us, that there are some, who in the midst of the cares and perplexities of office, love to renew the generous studies of their youth, and to gather broad and comprehensive views and a calm and elevated wisdom, from a fresh perusal of those works which stirred the imagination and roused the enthusiam of their early years. The world owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Gladstone for the new light which he has thrown upon the marvellous wealth and beauty of the poems of Homer.
His abundant illustrations of every department of his subject, and his fine taste and discrimination in critical analysis, have added vastly to the interest and delight with which even the Iliad and the Odyssey are read. But we conceive that Mr. Gladstone is most of all entitled to our gratitude for the ability with which he has resisted some of the most dangerous historical errors of the age, and vindicated some of the most important principles of a Christian Philosophy of History.
One would hardly have expected to find, in a work upon the Poems and Age of Homer, a discussion of questions which affect the view which we take, of the whole history of the world; and by which the ground-plan, so to speak, of that History must be determined.
But these poems, it must be remembered, furnish us with peculiar advantages for such universal investigations. They stand at the fountain-head of secular literature. They furnish us with the earliest information, which we possess, of that wonderful civilization, which they themselves did so much to mould, and which has come down from that age to us. They present to us the only picture which we have of that heroic race and age, in which the human side of our complex civilization had its rise. Now we are greatly mistaken, if these facts do not furnish us with some most valuable results. We are fully aware of the great difficulty, which attends these investi. gations; and that in many respects, probability must be our only guide, but we are satisfied that a calm and dispassionate consideration of these facts will convince us, that we stand on solid ground, and that our inquiries only confirm the great principles of a Christian Philosophy of History.
We are met at the beginning of these investigations with a difficulty, which must first be considered. Mr. Grote, whose extraordinary ability in the department of Grecian History must be admitted, and whose opinions are entitled to profound respect, rejects all incidents previous to the Olympiad of Corebus, or 776 B.C., as not reducible to history or chronology.* If this is so, the poems of Homer are without value, as the basis of historical investigation. But we think Mr. Gladstone has shown conclusively, that we are not compelled to this limitation of the historical field, and that he has materially strengthened the position of Bishop Thirlwall and Mr. Clinton, as to the possibility of extracting historical data from what Mr. Grote calls legendary Greece. Without attempting a discussion of this question, it seems to us a most unreasonable assumption, that the legendary lore of any nation is utterly destitute of historical foundation. Nothing could be more natural, than for a people to surround the actual facts of their early history with a mass of exaggeration, which in the course of time would take the form of mythical narratives. It is more reasonable to suppose, that there is a basis of fact ir all mythologies, and that it is the historical truth in the first place which obtains credence, while the false additions are of gradual growth, than that a system of mythology wholly and entirely false, without any historical foundation, comes to be universally believed. And if there is this historical basis in the legends of Greece, why should it be regarded as impossible to separate the true from the false? It is an easy method to reject the whole, on acconnt of the mythical character of a part; but this principle would lead to the rejection of a vast deal of history, of more modern date. It is in fact a needless skepticism, and is inconsistent with that bold and patient spirit of iniquiry, which expects to obtain some true results where there is any basis of fact. To say that we have no evidence that there is any thing, even approximately correct in Grecian chronology before 776 B.C.—that it is impossible to tell whether there are any real personages in the Iliad and Odyssey—that all inquiries are fruitless as to the race which inhabited Greece before the Hellenic period, is a voluntary abandonment, which which we find it difficult to understand, of a field most fertile in historical results.
* Grote's History of Greece, ii. p. 34.
When we examine the claims of the poems of Homer to be considered as valuable historical documents, we find that the Greeks so regarded them, and regarded no others in the same light. And this harmonizes most perfectly with what appears to be the intention of the poems themselves. The minute accuracy which is every where evident—the digressions from the story which are readily explained if we suppose them to be of historical interest, but are inexplicable on any other supposition, and the artistic blending and yet easy separation of the natural and supernatural, all lead us to a probable basis of fact. And when we bring to bear upon this question, the light which Comparative Philology, Ethnology, and other cognate studies afford, we arrive at many results upon which we can confidently rely, and in regard to which all that the historical skeptic can say, is that they do not absolutely exclude the possibility of doubt.
It makes little difference in regard to the historical value of the Iliad and Odyssey, whether we regard them as the production of one or of many authors. If any one finds the difficulties of the case diminished by the supposition of a multiplicity in one age of such extraordinary poets as Homer, he is wel. come to the relief thus afforded. It is enough to say that there has been in recent German critics a great reaction on this point, from the skepticism of Wolf, and that the best English scholars maintain that the Iliad and Odyssey are the production of a single mind. The only point which is vital in this inquiry, is, whether the author (supposing that there was but one) of these poems was in a position to give a correct representation of the manners, customs, morals, and religion of the heroic age, and whether such a representation is actually contained in these poems as they have come down to us.
The evidence arising from the difficulty of forging ancient documents, is very strong as to the genuineness of the poems of Homer. The fact that in the earliest times in Greece of which we have any record, they were rehearsed in public at festivals by rhapsodists, is presumptive evidence that they were handed down without material alteration : for the errors of one rhapsodist would be sure to be corrected by the others. And since the time we know them to have been committed to writing, there has been but little danger of any serious corruption of the text. If, therefore, these poems may be considered as genuine, it only remains for us to inquire whether Homer lived in such proximity to the age which he describes, that his re