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universal history of Rollin, in a translation, finds a regular sale. Publishers, however, who reckon upon higher and quicker returns from books of amusement, will not lay out their capital upon the works we want. The association here suggested would obviate this difficulty: the funds required for the first starting would be furnished by the subscribers; and these might be sure of a compensation in the reduced price at which the works would be sold to them. Let, then, the truly liberal reformers take up this hint with spirit. This is the fairest way of opposing the worst of the existing abuses. All that we wish for is the diffusion of knowledge of knowledge suited to that object. At present, when the would-be-scientific* and religious foundation of privileges, obtained in the name of religious truth, is called into question, the theological oracles proclaim their dogmatic decisions in the full confidence with which their own one-sided knowledge, and the general ignorance of the public upon such subjects, inspire them. In England, the bustle of external life allows neither leisure nor inclination for the re-examination of the foundations on which the Gothic mental edifice of the middle ages arose. The religious part of that edifice still “ cumbers the earth” most ponderously. We will not attempt to bring it down, or even reduce it, either by artifice or violence. Conviction and moral feeling erected it, and to the same gentle but irresistible forces we would relinquish the work of abolishing, reducing, or improving it. And since a great mass of that light which can alone assist honest and truth-loving men in rectifying their own views is already collected in Germany and France, we ardently wish to make it accessible to them for that purpose. Any one who opposes such a wish must be swayed by the love of something very different from the truth.
We would propose Schlosser's General View of the Ancient World and its Civilization to be foremost in the consideration of the Translation Society, if that body should come into existence; but we must reserve the notice of that work in detail for another opportunity. As to Guericke's - Manual of Ecclesiastical History,' we shall leave it to the protection of some Church or Evangelical Translation Society, which we feel assured would start up in opposition to the one proposed. To such opposition we have not the slightest objection. The German writers, in the full mental freedom which they have enjoyed for a considerable time, have brought to light the ablest and most learned defences
* The reader is requested to observe, that throughout this article the word scientific is applied to every knowledge which proceeds from principles and deductions, every properly-methodized knowledge.
ces of in Millennarin, but the
of which every point attacked by the philosophical reformers was capable. Men of great talent and extensive knowledgeand such is Guericke-have been and are still devoting their life to the support of the old, and now fast-fading, forms of faith and devotion. Guericke was a favourite pupil of the excellent Neander; but the piety of his tutor could not fully satisfy the mystic cravings of the pupil. We will content ourselves with one specimen of Guericke's pious philosophy, when we shall have previously stated that his “Manual' is truly valuable for its arrangement, for the condensation of its abundant matter, and for its copious references to historical sources of information. Guericke (we may now fairly inform our readers) is a Millennarian. “ The Millennium (he tells us) is not at present the faith, but the hope of the church.” Guericke is besides a Sabbatarian, almost to the full measure of Sir Andrew Agnew's heart. The German theologian adduces a most curious proof of the divine and perpetual institution of the Sabbath, now profanely called Sunday. It is this: when the French republicans attempted to change the day of rest, and establish decads instead of weeks, they totally failed; Providence thus clearly showing that it was not man but the Lord who had sanctified the seventh day.* We hope that, in course of time, this pious reasoner will bring out a similar demonstration in favour of the divine origin of the names of the months, and several other things of that kind which the French republicans attempted equally to alter, and failed.
An accidental delay in the publication of what immediately precedes, enables us to mention the arrival, in this country, of the fourth division or volume of Neander's history. The most remarkable circumstance in that book is a very perceptible increase of the learned writer's attachment to the church heroes, whose lives swell the ponderous volumes of the Acta Sanctorum. Neander gives such accounts of the missionaries employed by Charlemagne and his successors, to act as pioneers in the conquest of the northern nations, as leave the reader in doubt whether the amiable and worthy writer does not now and then believe in miracles, which, if true, would have assisted some of the most violent and odious methods of extending among barbarians the external profession of Christianity. This growing leaning to the superstitious side is mentioned, not out of disrespect for a highly-valuable man, but as symptom of a reaction which has lately taken place in the German theological world. In proportion as the old scholastico-dogmatic systems exhibit their total rottenness, there appears a determination among the most celebrated professors of divinity to have recourse to sentiment; which, though it cannot restore the ancient system as a belief, may yet fill up the chasm which the too sudden relinquishment of the old creeds would leave in a great portion of the public mind. It is a well-known fact, that even Schleiermacher, whose liberal and acute criticisms have contributed, in a great degree, to the present hopeless state of dogmatic religion in Germany, employed the last years of his life in supporting that kind of mysticism, which many excellent men—with whom, on that point, we cannot agree—think the best protection for the piety of the heart, when the fallacious intellectual forms which formerly enveloped it have irrecoverably vanished like dreams. : By far the greatest portion of Dr. Neander's fourth volume is replete with information derived immediately from the fountainheads of historical knowledge, respecting the very interesting period between the death of Charlemagne and the elevation of Gregory VII (Hildebrand) to the Roman See. The peculiar importance of that period arises from its exhibiting the first perceptible activity of an independent philosophy, which, however mixed with, and kept in check by, the all-absorbing theology of the western clergy—then about to appear as the most terrific phantom that ever unnerved the human mind—was nevertheless appointed to unfold itself secretly and painfully, yet uninterruptedly, till it should upset the deepest foundations of orthodox tyranny. Well may these islands be proud of the representative of that philosophy in the nineteenth century, Johannes Scotus Erigena, of whom an ample account is found in Neander's fourth volume. The true spirit of Erigena is more evident in Guizot's picture of the intellectual state of France from the death of Charlemagne to the usurpation of Hugh Capet,* than in the pages of the German historian ; but at the time when the former published his lectures, he had not been able to procure a
* Schlosser says very truly of Neander, that, though that excellent man's ignorance of the world makes him see the heroes of ecclesiastical history in too favourable a light, his unconquerable love of the truth never allows him to suppress any. thing, however unfavourable to his favourite views. Upon this truly pitiable controversy concerning the Sabbath, Neander gives every possible information. We believe (but we cannot find the passage at this moment) that he mentions even that startling fact, that Sunday was called the LORD's Day long before the Christians had given to those words a more appropriate sense. Guericke alludes to no such things. The Sun (as it is well known) was Baal, i. e. the Lord.
* Hist. de la Civilisation en France :—Deux hommes se rencontrent qui peuvent être considérés comme les représentants distincts de ces deux élémens. L'un Hincmar, l'archevêque de Rheims, c'est le centre du mouvement théologique: l'autre, Jean Scot ou Erigène, c'est le philosophe du temps. ..... Dans l'histoire de ces deux hommes, apparaissent les deux forces dont la lutte a fait long-temps toute l'histoire intellectuelle de l'Europe moderne, l'église doctrinale, et la pensée libre.'--Vol. iii. Leçon xxviii, p. 99.
to the Roagne and the interest
copy of Erigena's great work, De Divisione Nature-a volume of great rarity, which Neander has fully perused. This circumstance gives great value to the account of Erigena's mental character, in the work to which the present notice refers : though we must observe, by the way, that Neander, allured by the desire of finding a great man more orthodox than the general tendency of his principles would justify us in believing him, has brought forward passages of Erigena's works, which appear to us to be no part of his intellectual system, but either the expressions of the alarm which a mind early subdued by church authority frequently feels at its own boldness, or occasional blinds held out to baffle the watchfulness of the Church. We expect much pleasure and instruction from the next volume of Neander's history, which will bring him to the more important portion of the Middle Age.*
The same delay which has enabled us to notice the most recent publication of Dr. Neander, gives us the opportunity of saying something of Dr. Strauss's Leben Jesu, from a personal knowledge of that book; although, for many reasons, we must dismiss that subject briefly. The nature and scope of that work is, we perceive, generally misunderstood in this country. Most people, hearing that Strauss contends that the narrative of the Gospels is, for the most part, mythical, imagine that the German author views the history of Jesus in the light of an astronomical mythos, as it was represented by Dupuis. This is a great mistake. By
* We confess with pain that in this expectation we have been disappointed. Our readers should be aware that the present article was written a long time ago. During the interval between the composition of the article and the present corrections by the original writer, he has been able to read some of the most recent and most leading works from the German press, upon these interesting topics. He has studied the whole Leben Jesu of Strauss, and three large pamphlets, in which he defends himself against the numerous host of his assailants. He has also read the fifth volume of Neander's Ecclesiastical History; and last of all he has examined, but he could not read through, the Life of Jesus which Neander has published as an antidote to that of Strauss. Both the last volume of the history and this biography have been productive of real pain to the person who here addresses the public. The history is a pure legend, the biography, the mere effusion of a pious, timid, and deeply alarmed mind. Neander has lost his balance. Impelled by affection and sentiment, acting powerfully through the many mystical pupils which his school has produced, he is at once (though he is not aware of it) become a champion of the Pietists, and joined in their absurd wish that all which Theology had in the course of a century surrendered to Philosophy, be reclaimed by dogmatism. We, nevertheless, entertain strong hopes that as soon as Neander's Ecclesiastical History shall arive at the remarkable period of Gregory VII, the author's mind will find itself quite free from the pietistical influence which now oppresses and disturbs it. As few can equal Neander in the power of transferring himself to, and, as it were, living in the past ages whose historical documents he studies, we expect from his pen a most instructive picture of the establishment of the church's supremacy, as well as of that surprising act of resistance to the power of Rome of which Luther was the leader.
mythical, inters that suchequally under and en
a mythical history, Dr. Strauss means a history collected from the current reports of the early Christian society. The origin of this legendary history he conceives to be, in most cases, the deep impressions of love and admiration left by Jesus on his followers, expressed in the form of a biographical narrative, and in the style of poetry whose principal colouring is action. The author's method is simply this: he states the difficulties which for ages have disturbed the faith of those who take certain passages as accurate history. He gives the answers to these difficulties as they appear in the most accredited works of both the supernaturalists and the rationalists; and endeavours to show that the explanation is equally unsatisfactory on both sides. Hence he infers that such narratives should be considered as mythical, i. e., founded on second or third-hand reports, in which present feelings become past transactions, whose shapes were suggested by the opinions of the times, and especially by analogous narratives of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The effect of Dr. Strauss's work in Germany appears to have been most powerful. The last number of the periodical Theologische Studien und Kritiken contains two criticisms of the Leben Jesu ; one by Dr. Ullmann, and another by Dr. J. Müller. Both of these orthodox (though not quite up to the Oxford measure) and learned divines acquiesce, however reluctantly, in the negative result of Strauss's work. They saw clearly what Conyers Middleton saw many years ago, and had the courage to publish, that the main ground of our existing gospels is tradition ; that lapse of memory has produced deviating statements; and that they even contain, upon single points, contradictory accounts. This is enough to upset the whole of dogmatic theology, whose mighty structure arises from the supposition, that the whole text of the Bible was dictated by an infallible authority, and that whatever may be logically deduced from its terms may be forced upon mankind's acceptance in Heaven's name. In regard to the composition of the Leben Jesu, it is acknowledged by its most staunch opponents, without a dissentient voice, that it is the result of immense and accurate learning, distinguished natural talents, and a calm and resolute love of truth. For our part, we must declare that we cannot wish for a more perfect digest of both the orthodox and rationalist views upon the subject. The most eminent divines of Germany have already assailed this most formidable anti-theological Goliath, or are collecting their strength for the combat. What will the Oxford Corpus Christi Committee do in the present case? How must their hearts yearn for the good old times when, having proclaimed a fast, they might “set on high among the people” such Naboths as Strauss,