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His fundamental principle of securing government, by a balance of power between two houses and an executive, does not strike me as very just or important. It is a mere puerility to suppose that three branches, and no more nor less, are essential to political salvation. In this country, where there are nominally three branches, the real sovereignty resides in the House of Commons. Two branches are no doubt expedient, as far as they induce deliberation and mature judgement on the measures proposed."
'The writer mentioned Mr. Adams's opinion, (as expressed in a letter to Dr. Price,) that the French Revolution failed because the legislative body consisted of one branch, and not two. Sir James:—" That circumstance may have precipitated matters a little, but the degraded situation of the Tiers Elat was the principal cause of the failure. The entire separation in society between the noblesse and the professions, destroyed the respectability of the latter, and deprived them in a great degree of popular confidence. In England, eminent and successful professional men rise to an equality in importance and rank with the first nobles, take by much the larger share in the government, and bring with them to it the confidence of the people. This will for ever prevent any popular revolution in the country—The Federalist is a well written work.—
'" The remarkable private morality of the New England States, is worth attention, especially when taken in connexion with the very moral character of the poorer people in Scotland, Holland, and Switzerland. It is rather singular, that all these countries, which are more moral than any others, are precisely those in which Calvinism is predominant," The writer mentioned, that Boston and Cambridge had in a great measure abandoned Calvinism. Sir James:—" I am rather surprised at that; but the same thing has happened in other places similarly situated. Boston, Geneva, and Edinburgh might once have been considered as the three high places of Calvinism, and the enemy is now, it seems, in full possession of them all. The fact appears to be a consequence of the principle of reaction, which operates as universally in the moral as in the physical world.—Jonathan Edwards was a man of great merit. His Treatise on the Will is a most profound and acute disquisition. The English Calvinists have produced nothing to be put in competition with it. He was one of the greatest men who have owned the authority of Calvin, and there have been a great many. Calvin himself had a very strong and acute mind.—Sir Henry Vane was one of the most profound minds that ever existed; not inferior, perhaps, to Bacon. JVIilton has a fine sonnet addressed to him,—
"Vane, young in years, in sage experience old."
His works, which are theological, are extremely rare, and display astonishing powers. They are remarkable as containing the first direct assertion of the liberty of conscience. He was put to death in a most perfidious manner. I am proud, as a friend of liberty, and as an Englishman, of the men that resisted the tyranny of Charles I. Even when they went to excess, and put to death the king, they did it in a much more decorous manner than their imitators in France. Thomson says of them, with great justice, in his florid way,—
"First at thy call, her age of men effulged," &c.
'" Eloquence is the power of gaining your pnrpose by words. All the laboured definitions of it to be found in the different rhetorical works, amount in substance to this. It does not, therefore, require or admit the strained and false ornaments that are taken for it by some. I hate these artificial flowers without fragrance or fitness. Nobody ever succeeded in this way but Burke. Fox used to say: 'I cannot bear this thing in any body but Burke, and he cannot help it. It is his natural manner.'—Sir Francis Burdett is one of the best of our speakers, take him altogether, voice, figure and manner. His voice is the best that can be imagined. As to his matter, he certainly speaks above his mind. He is not a man of very superior talents, though respectable.—Plunkett, if he had come earlier into parliament, so as to have learned the trade, would probably have excelled all our orators. lie and counsellor Phillips (or O'Garnish, as he is nicknamed here,) are at the opposite points of the scale. O'Garnish's style is pitiful to the last degree. He ought by common consent to be driven from the bar.—Mr. Wilberforce's voice is beautiful; his manner mild and perfectly natural. He has no artificial ornament ; but an easy, natural image occasionally springs up in his mind, that pleases very much.—Cicero's orations are a good deal in the flowery, artificial manner, though the best specimens in their way. We tire in reading them. Cicero, though a much greater man than Demosthenes, take him altogether, was inferior to him as an orator. To be the second orator the world has produced, is, however, praise enough.— Pascal was a prodigy. His Pensees are wonderfully profound and acute. Though predicated on his peculiar way of thinking, they are not on that account to be condemned. I dislike the illiberality of some of my liberal friends, who will not allow any merit to any thing that does not agree with their own point of view. Making allowance for Pascal's way of looking at things, and expressing himself, his ideas are prodigiously deep and correct.—Most of the apparent absurdities in theology and metaphysics are important truths, exaggerated and disfigured by an incorrect manner of understanding or expressing them; as, for instance, the doctrines of transubstantiation and of total depravity.—Jacob Bryant was a miserable writer, though, for particular purposes, it was thought expedient at one time to sustain his reputation. He was guilty of a gross absurdity in attempting such a work as his principal one without any oriental learning, which he did not even profess. Yet Sir William Jones called him the principal writer of his time. This opinion quite takes away the value of Sir William's critical judgement."'
The American booksellers have announced for publication, a selection from the works of this highly gifted man; and a hope is expressed, in which every reader will cordially participate, that measures will be immediately taken in this country, 'for collecting 'the whole of his works, acknowledged or anonymous, with such 'of his manuscripts as are in a state for publication, and as large 'an amount of his correspondence as can be produced.' We want, to use Sir James's own expression, no ' huge narrative of a 'life' in which there were few events,—a sort of literary funeral which he justly stigmatised as ' a tasteless parade',—but a well edited collection of his writings and remains, with a prefatory memoir and such notes as may be requisite. We know not whether a work of this description is in preparation: it is due alike to the public and to the memory of the Author; and the pen of Mr. Jeffrey or Mr. Macauley could surely be commanded for this tribute of private friendship and public veneration. 'Non
* quia intercedendum putem imaginibus, qute marmore, aut
* cere Jinguntur: sed ut vultus hominum, ita simulacra vultus
* imbecilla ac mortalia sunt, forma mentis ceterna.'
Art. II. — The Biblical Cabinet; or Hermeneutical, Exegetical, and Philological Library. Vol. II. containing a Collection of Philological Tracts on the New Testament. Edited by John Brown, D.D. 12mo. pp. xiv. and 309. Edinburgh, 1830.
pages have often shewn that we participate not in the faith or the fears (rather, might we say, the wishes) of those would-be prophets whose opinions have of late outraged theology, and disgraced the profession of religion, and whose forebodings are those of judgement, desolation, and ruin to the nations of the earth, and especially to the Christian Church. Amidst the darkness and the mysteries of providence, our firm faith is, that God is carrying on the great plan of his gospel, a universal melioration of mankind. In the sciences and the beneficent arts, in the external relations and the internal government of states, in moral principles and in religious activity, we see, on every side, awakenings, strivings, exertions, and success, at the very idea of which, or even but a small part of them, Bacon and Milton, Usher and Wilkins, Baxter and Howe, would have leaped for joy. The publication before us, in its external form as remarkably neat as its contents are richly useful, is a striking confirmation of our cheering position. True theology can rest only upon the impartial interpretation and the genuine sense of the Scriptures. This is an assertion which, in theory at least, every Protestant is ready to maintain: but honest practice according to this principle has not been so well established in any community of Christians, as the reason of the case and the consistency of profession would lead us to expect. At the Reformation, a glorious beginning was made, and bright examples were given. The true principles of interpretation, and their application to the Holy Writings, were grasped and boldly professed by Luther's master mind; and more completely still by our countryman, the martyr Tyndal, by Zuinglius, by Bucer, and, preeminently, by Calvin. The religious public are by no means sufficiently acquainted with the merit of that great man as a Bible Interpreter. In taking up and using the proper instruments of grammatical explication, in the finest perception of results, in spurning arbitrary and fanciful imputations of meaning, in shewing himself free alike from the bondage of undue reverence for human authority, and from the allurement of plausible novelty, Calvin was above his contemporaries, and still further above his successors. Indeed, upon the latter, for several generations, his example seems to have been lost. For more than two centuries, just views and undeviating practice in the art of eliciting the true sense of the Divine word, seem to have gone lamentably backward. We may quote a single paragraph, which will at once furnisli a specimen of Calvin's exegetical principles, and a proof of the defective attention which has been paid to them by many wise and good men in following time. It is from the conclusionof his Commentary on the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
'Neither is there any sufficient evidence for another allegorical 'application, which has however been found so generally agree'able, that it has been almost universally received, even with a 'reverence due only to a revelation from heaven. Certain persons 'have entertained the fancy, that, by this Samaritan, Christ is re'presented, because he is our Deliverer. They have represented 'the application of oil and wine, as signifying the healing work 'of Christ, by repentance and the promises of grace. They have
• also invented a third secret, namely, that Christ does not restore 'converted souls to spiritual health all at once; but that he 'commits them to the care of the Church, as the benevolent 'Samaritan to the host of the inn, that they may be properly 'attended to, and in due time restored to health. All this, I 'confess, is very pretty: but it is our duty to maintain a greater 'reverence for the Scriptures, than that we should take leave
• thus to disguise their true and natural sense.'
Because the endeavour to ascertain, by plain grammatical means, the simple and only sense of Scripture, has been often professed by men unfriendly to the essential truths of Revelation, or whose writings indicate no sense of vital and practical religion, a prejudice and a dread have been produced against those principles of interpretation, in many excellent minds. This feeling has been strengthened by the fact, that some of the German Bible-critics, whose works furnish important aid to the study which we are anxious to recommend, have been, or are, anti-supernaturalists, that is, scarcely disguised infidels. But this is a melancholy and distressing fact, chiefly on account of those unbelievers themselves. The principles and rules which they lay down, as critics and philologists, are sound; and those writers have indeed rendered good service to the cause of Christian truth, by their frequently establishing, as a matter of historical fact, that the doctrines asserted or implied in the New Testament, are the very sentiments which form the leading principles of the Evangelical or Orthodox system; while those unhappy persons do not defer to the authority of the New IL'estuinent as a positive revelation from God. Thus, in many important instances, truth is elicited or confirmed by not merely the concessions, but the elaborated and decided declarations of its adversaries. The whole case, also, goes to confirm, instead of weakening, the momentous fact, that learning, talent, and exegetical skill, will not qualify a man to discern the beauty and feel the power of heavenly doctrine, unless his mind is imbued with the spirit of humble piety and practical holiness.
15 u t let it not be thought, that the baptized infidels of the German
universities are the only men of high attainments, unsparing
diligence, and admirable skill, in sacred philology. Far, very
far, is this from being the fact. In the darkest period of the
apostatizing mania of Germany and other parts of the Continent,
there were always some men of intellectual and literary power
equal to that of the Neologistic party, who were the firm friends
of pure faith and unfeigned piety. Within fifteen years, and
-nil more within the last five, there has been a gratifying increase
in the number and in the public activity of such accomplished
scholars, endowed with fine talents of understanding and reasoning,
and who are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, knowing it to
be the power of God unto salvation. We may mention, premising
that this is by no means a complete enumeration, Bengel (the son
of the excellent man of that name in the last century), Harms,
the Tittmanns (father and son, both dead), Orelli, Planck, Liicke,
Schott, Strauss, Scheibel, Geibel of Liibeck, Flatt, Neander,
Twesten, Theremin, Tholuck, Guerieke, Hahn, Hossbach,
Olshausen, Grundtvigt, Felt, and Steiger; this last a young man of
wondrous promise, known to great advantage by his Refutation of
Wegscheider's Institutitmes and his Commentary on the First
Epistle of Peter, and who has last year removed from Berlin, to
be one of the Professors of Exegetical Theology in the new
Theological Academy at Geneva.
It has afforded us great pleasure to learn, that some of the ministers in Edinburgh or its neighbourhood, both of the Established and the Dissenting denominations, including also the Episcopalian, have formed a kind of association for the translating and publishing, in an elegant and uniform manner, the most valuable of the smaller works of the German sacred critics, chiefly those of recent production. The First Volume, which has not yet fallen into our hands, contains a part, we presume about one half, of Ernesti's Institutiones, or " Principles of Interpretation of the New Testament; with copious Annotations, by the Rev. C. H. Terrot, A.M. late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.'' This is the work of which a translation was published in 1824 by the American Professor Stuart; with many elucidations and notes, partly selected from the Acroases of