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all of them—M. Bardoux, Mme. Adam, Sarah Bernhardt ; then come the foreign royalties—the Prince of Orange, the Queen of Naples, the Prince of Wales; the Court of Alexander II., and that of the Tuileries, have furnished the whole material of a recent novel. There are natures which make use of this device of the “roman à clef,” as these novels are called, as a means of gratifying their private spite by caricaturing their enemies. Thus, a man who has failed at the Ecole Normale revenges himself by portraying the school and the university in colours which only show the dye of his own mind; or an actress jealous of Sarah Bernhardt tears her to pieces in a book made up of a mixture of deplorable truths and odious calumnies. Amongst all this unsavoury rubbish it is refreshing to come upon a novel like Mme. Bentzon's “Tony,” in which she gives us a very original sketch of a girl, surrounded by careful and interesting studies of country gentlemen and crafty peasants; and still more refreshing to find a rustic story of real literary value, such as the “Innocent” of M. Pouvillon. We had already perceived in “Césette” the fine qualities of this author, his keen observation, his perception of character, and the cleverness of his word-pictures of the scenery of South-west France. “L'Innocent’’ is sadder in tone than “Césette”; it has few attractive characters; but the rough natures of the riverside peasantry of the Garonne, in their conflict at once with earth and water, are drawn with a firm touch and with a breadth which was wanting in “Césette.” There are some very powerful dramatic situations, and the landscape is life-like. M. Pouvillon is one of the healthiest and most original of our modern novelists. We hardly know whether to speak of M. Max O’Rell's “Filles de John Bull” as a study from the life or a work of imagination. But either way, the study is superficial and the imagination feeble. The author had made a great success with “John Bull et son Ile;” and though the book had not much in it, it contained a set of clever sketches, not wanting, some of them, in point or in veracity. He has tried to push his success, and this time he has not succeeded. He has given us nothing new or characteristic; he has sunk into triviality, and even impropriety. M. O’Rell may know Englishmen a little; he does not know Englishwomen at all. M. Ph. Daryl's “Political Life in England” is of quite another order—a serious work, in which you may find something to learn, even after you have read Esquiros and Laveleye. “Ph. Daryl” is the pseudonym of M. Pascal Grousset, to whom the Commune assigned the grotesque rôle of managing its foreign affairs. Convinced at last of the stupidity or rascality of his colleagues in the Commune, he withdrew to England after the catastrophe of May 1871, and set himself resolutely to work; and, without possessing literary talent properly so-called, he has succeeded in producing some interesting books. His novel, “Signe Meltroë, moeurs Berlinoises,” though manifestly exaggerated, contains some very just observations. He has also published a French translation of Gordon's letters to his sister. Among books of history, the literary event of the winter—the fourth volume of M. Taine's “Origines de la France Contemporaine”—is just through the press. We shall be able to speak of it more at leisure in a future article; but we cannot refrain from announcing it now. M. Taine here gives us the philosophy of the Revolution, portrays its leaders, analyses the institutions it created. This volume will give rise to Passionate controversies; but, like its predecessors, and notwith: standing—perhaps even because of the element of narrowness and exclusiveness in the author's mind, it will make a profound impression. It is in vain to resist; there is such logical force in M. Taine's method, such an accumulation of facts in support of his conclusions, that you are fain to submit more or less to his ascendancy, and even, while opposing him, confess that he is partly right. No one can read the book without gaining a clearer view of the dangers which threaten French democracy, and of the errors committed by the men of the Revolution, nor without losing more than one conventional idol or unreflecting enthusiasm. M. Taine will have done for the Revolution what M. Renan has done for early Christianity; humanizing its legend, dissipating its haloes, and giving historic reality to the events and persons we have hitherto blessed or cursed according to our private opinion, not according to the “dry light” of facts. In both these works criticism can lay her hand on many a weak point, many a hiatus, many a prejudice, many an injustice; but nothing can escape their influence. They have made a decisive step in the study of two of the greatest dramas of human history. M. Chérest also has brought his stone to the pile at which M. Taine is working. His “Chute de l’Ancien Régime,” the two first volumes of which have just come out, is a study of the period between the calling together of the Assembly of Notables in 1787 and the suppressions of orders and privileges in November 1789. These preliminaries, these immediate causes, of the Revolution, are analyzed by M. Chérest with remarkable moderation and impartiality, and with great soundness of erudition. M. Chérest belongs by conviction to the Conservative party; and he began his work in a spirit hostile to the Revolution, and with the idea that it would have been possible to arrive at the same result by partial and peaceable reforms. But a course of conscientious study has convinced him that the privileged orders were incorrigibly attached to the abuses which had to be removed; and that it was they themselves, by their narrow and reactionary spirit, and the king and queen by their levity and weakness and incapacity, who made the Revolution inevitable. Alongside of these works of the first importance we may notice the third volume of the Correspondence of M. Charles de Rémusat with his mother—most valuable for the light it throws on the history of public opinion during the Restoration; the third volume of the memoirs of M. de Vitrolles, even more interesting than the two former, and containing an admirable portrait of Talleyrand sketched by a master's hand; and the sixth and last volume of the Letters of George Sand. This volume contains the letters written by her during the war and the first years of the third Republic, and forms a noble completion of that correspondence which, defective as it is, presents no unfaithful image of a woman who, amidst deplorable errors and with some almost repulsive traits of character, compels our admiration by the rare elevation of her thought and the generosity of her heart. A large heart—that is the main thing in her; that is the final impression she makes upon you. These six volumes of letters bring us into contact not only with one of the greatest writers of our modern France, but with one whole side of the literary and social history of the nineteenth century. The last few months have been saddened by deaths which have left a grievous blank. M. Faustin Hélie, the eminent criminalist, VicePresident of the Council of State, and M. Adolphe Régnier, an orientalist of distinction, and editor of the admirable “Collection des Grand Ecrivains de la France,” were men who had reached the natural term of a long and brilliant career. Not so M. Stanislas Guyard and M. Albert Dumont. Stanislas Guyard was well known in England by all Assyriological students. In the short time he had given to these subjects he had already made himself a name; and, earlier still, his works on the Ishmaelites and on the Arabian metric system had raised him to the first rank among Arabian scholars. He was familiar with all the Oriental languages, and possessed in the highest degree the peculiar gifts of the professor. He died at thirtyeight, just as he was beginning to reap the fruits of a long and laborious training. Albert Dumont was one of the most brilliant pupils of the Ecole Normale and the Ecole d'Athènes. He had made a reputation as an author and a scholar by his published travels and his archaeological works. He had been the first head of the French school of archaeology in Rome, which he had himself created; he had afterwards reorganized the French school at Athens and given it a new life. Finally, in 1879, he had been placed at the head of the Higher Education Department at the Ministry of Public Instruction. In this difficult and delicate post he did the greatest service. He largely increased the number of professors, and by the creation of numerous scholarships attracted a crowd of pupils to the deserted Faculties of Science and Letters. He was projecting the establishment in France of great self-governing universities like those of Germany. Unhappily, the excessive toil to which he put himself wore him out before his time, and he died at forty-three, leaving his work unfinished. It is being faithfully carried on by his successor, M. Liard; but none the less his death has been an irreparable loss to the university and to the country. These losses have cast a gloom over the close of the year, and one scarcely has the heart to turn from these subjects of long regret and talk of theatrical novelties. And indeed there is nothing worthy of mention. Here again we have to record a loss in the death of M. Vaucorbeil, the manager of the Opera, which owes to him a period of comparative splendour. Nevertheless, he did not succeed in getting it out of the traditional rut as fully as had been hoped. He had not the courage to attempt Wagner, nor to give us the “Etienne Marcel ” of M. Saint-Saens. This remarkable opera has just been given in Paris on a second-rate stage, at the Théâtre du Château d'Eau, and has met a signal success. We may mention, in conclusion, that the concerts of the Cirque d’Hiver, originated by M. Pasdeloup, who was the first to introduce the Sunday afternoon symphonic concert, are just recommencing, under the management of a talented young composer, M. B. Godard. We can but hope that the new management may show itself, like its predecessor, the faithful adherent of classic art. The other concert-halls are at the same time opening their doors,
NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS.
HE publication of the third volume of Weiss’s “Life of Christ,”* as the last addition to Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, will now enable English readers to estimate the value of that work in its complete form. The two previous volumes have already been noticed in these pages, and it is doubtful whether the whole work will be very cordially welcomed among us. It is undoubtedly an honest book, by a scholar of great learning, who maintains an independent attitude of mind, and has thought out all the details for himself. But it will be too orthodox for the critical, and too critical for the orthodox, and it possesses the fatal fault of dulness. It is wholly lacking in the force and interest, the glow and fire—even in the varied suggestiveness and pathos—of Lange or Keim. Glaring as are the defects of Renan’s “Vie de Jésus,” and painful as are the shocks which he often gives to Christian readers, there is in many of his chapters not only an exquisite finish of style, but also an enthusiasm and a vividness which win for him a thousand readers, where Dr. Weiss will meet but few. In the theological standpoint of the writer we constantly see the coldness and the hesitations of the critic who leaves us the impression— which is doubtless quite unwarrantable—of one who “Fingers idly some old Gordian knot, §. to sunder and too weak to cleave, And with much toil attains to half-believe.” A Life of Christ which shall touch the hearts of ordinary mankind may be written by one who frankly and fully accepts the creed of the Universal Church, and finds no stumbling-block in the supernatural; and even perhaps by one who, having been driven by incessant doubts into absolute denial of the miraculous, still feels the divine beauty and unique ascendancy of the portraiture presented to us in the Gospels of the Son of Man. But we do not think that the topic can be satisfactorily handled by those whose whole tone is that of armed apology: who are constantly compelled to rationalize, to minimize, and to manipulate the narratives of miraculous power, and who feel themselves at liberty to accept, or to reject, or to modify each and all of the Gospels in accordance with hundreds of subjective considerations. Both these features are observable in Dr. Weiss's “Life of Christ.” He by no means denies the supernatural, yet again and again it seems as if he were trying to explain it away, or at any rate to make the least of it. He deals well with the distinction between “miracles” * “The Life of Christ." By Dr. Bernard Weiss. Translated by M. G. Hope. Wol. iii. London: Clark's Foreign Theological Library.
and "signs," and his remarks on the refusal of Jesus to grant "a sign” to the people or to the Pharisees are only a specimen of the many passages which give value to the book. But whenever a miracle is in question we meet with expressions which show a desire to introduce as much as possible of the natural or simply providential element. Thus, in speaking of the blind man at Bethsaida, the writer says : “Jesus wet the eyes of the blind man with spittle, and laid His healing hands upon him. At that very moment, by God's miraculous power, the light began to dawn upon him.” In a note Dr. Weiss adds: “It is indubitably evident that the power of vision, which was restored by a divinely miraculous operation, was gradually strengthened through the influence of natural means as well as of the bodily gift of healing which was connected with Jesus' unique personality” (p. 23). Here the miracle is fully admitted, but with a sort of uneasiness which often recurs, and stamps the phraseology with an uncertain character. Of the Syrophenician woman Dr. Weiss says: "Divine assistance could not be refused : Jesus gave her the desired promise without delay, and when the mother got home she found the daughter well.” But in the note we read: “If criticism, as is reasonable, will disclaim the idea of any medical remedies having been sent to the house, or of Jesus's words having merely held out the consoling prospect of possible improvement, nothing else is left but to regard this as a mythical or poetical description of the proclamation of the Gospel among the Gentiles.” Dr. Weiss does indeed reject the solution, but he seems to do so only because there are two such miracles of what the Germans call “ miracles wrought from a distance,” and both are derived from “the oldest apostolic source” (p. 39). Again, in the healing of the man born blind, we are told that this could only be due to “ an absolutely divine miracle;” but "that does not preclude the possibility that in a case where, according to God's good counsel, this was to happen, the physiological conditions for it were not awanting.” (p. 190). The Transfiguration, again, is, with elaborate arguments, reduced to a subjective vision (ch. ix.). In the account of the raising of Lazarus we are told that “if in the counsel of God Lazarus was to be called back to life, it is self-evident here, as in all cases, that the separation of soul from body had not yet taken place, and therefore the latter could not yet fall a victim to decay," though there was “ a sleep of death which could not be dispelled by any natural remedy.” The Bath Qol, or voice . from heaven, heard by Jesus in Jerusalem is thus described :-“ It was just at this moment that the roll of thunder was heard from the heavy clouds which had gathered above Jerusalem. There is no reason for supposing that this was any miraculous phenomenon, for the narrative distinctly says that the crowd heard nothing but a thunderpeal” (p. 248). Again: “ The prevalent opinion that Jesus foreknew the terrible details of what was before Him, certainly assumes the possession of a divire omniscience which, according to the testimony of the Gospels, was not His ” (p. 320). The “darkness over all the land” at the Crucifixion becomes little more than a cloudy afternoon (p. 368). These are but a few of the passages which show an uneasiness about miracles which we can hardly understand in one who fully accepts the Resurrection, and says of the Ascension that there
accepts thet miracles