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heresies. The agitation caused by the “Essays and Reviews,” so far from being transient and ineffective, as was predicted, has been steadily strengthening and extending. That volume has compelled proceedings and measures which must be followed up till they lead to radical changes, in the direction either of rigidness or relaxation. While the trials in the ecclesiastical courts are still waiting decision, a prelate of the Church gives forth a volume, the effect of which is to aggravate tenfold not only the annoyance and scandal caused by heresy in the Establishment, but the perplexity of dealing with it in a legal and practical way.
The Missionary Bishop of Natal goes to London to publish a book which he has written, and the Bishop of Cape Town, knowing the contents of the book, follows up his track to prosecute him for it. What is the book ? We have given its title. As for its subject-matter, that has long been familiar to our more intelligent Sunday-school teachers. Dr. Colenso is a man we should judge eminently adapted to, and devotedly engaged in, his Christian work in a semi-savage diocese. If it is his duty, and that of clergymen like him, to resign their offices and emoluments in the Church, it is as clearly the duty of those who remain in the Church, and visit their rebukes upon the heretics, to vindicate their own consistency. The question which sagacious and candid men are now considering is, not whether a few professional scholars who have avowed their dissent from the standards of the Church ought at once to leave it, but how and why it is that, with such an exposure as these heretics make of the utterly untenable and fabulous matter wrought into those standards, any class of scholarly, honest, and professedly religious men should have the front still to maintain them. It is no fair answer to this demand, to allege that the majority of the clergy of the English Church still affirm their belief in its formulas and standards. Its honors and emoluments may have sufficient attraction to win to it thousands of ministers willing to subscribe its creeds. But we do not see how, as honest men, they are discharged from the responsibility of vindicating, before the age in which they live, their right to profess a belief in discredited theories and dogmas. The Church to which they belong is of itself just now a greater scandal to the interests of true religion and morality, than is any one of the incidental relations to it of some heretical members. It has come to be understood that, while the Essayists are awaiting judgment, and Dr. Colenso may be soon challenged, the English Church is itself on trial.
In stormy times of revolution, it is the more needful that the still, small voice in which the soul utters its secret aspiration and faith should not be all unheard. “ The Imitation of Christ " was born amidst the throes of the same troubled era that gave birth to the Renaissance and the Reformation ; the words of Tauler and the German mystics were especially dear to the heart of the great Reformer; the writings of the Quietists, English and French, are a soft and plaintive strain heard among the rough voices of the period in which Europe was passing from the wars of the Reformation to the great
secular struggles of the eighteenth century. Mr. Whittier does not suffer us to forget these things, or their obvious suggestion now, in the tender and graceful introduction with which he heralds to us a new and choice gem of Christian piety.* It is difficult, in general, to draw clear lines of characterization among writings of this class. The family likeness is always the plainest to trace, where the ground-tone is purely that of reverent and trustful meditation. And what we desire in such a book is, not the clear limning of its thought so much as the aroma of its presence and tbe contact of its spirit. The fond and incessant spiritualizing of Bible words and phrases, the pious, half-unconscious allegorizing that makes so striking a feature in this and similar works, submits to us canons of scholarly exegesis, and we try it by quite another test. We should be glad to illustrate it by many passages we have marked, of refined and delicate religious imagery; but we have space only for a single paragraph.
" What they urge against Christianity is true. The believer knows, already knows, all that the infidel can tell him ; the eye of love can see as clearly as that of hate, and it has already mourned over all that the other exults in ; has seen springs sink down suddenly among the sands of the desert; has looked upon bare and stony channels, now ghastly with the wreck and drift of ages, yet showing where once a full, fair river bore down life and gladness to the ocean. The Christian would fain explain, account for, these long delays, this partial efficacy, this intermittent working. He feels that he is in possession of the key which is to open all these intricacies, but at present he finds that, like that of the Pilgrims, it grinds hard in the lock. He sees Jesus, but he sees not yet all things put under him. The world around him is the same world which crucified his beloved Lord, and he must listen from age to age to its insulting cry, · If thou be the Christ, come down from the Cross, and we will believe.?” – pp. 135, 136.
The continuation of the passage we have quoted is a very profound and suggestive exhibition of the moral grounds of " sincere fanaticism ”; and, as mere intellectual composition, is of a much higher order than we may have seemed to imply in speaking of the general character of the book. We do confess to a sense of something wanting, often, in the way of clear outline and distinct procession of thought. And it is for this reason, doubtless, that we prefer the expression of it under the strict constraints of verse. Mr. Whittier has done us the service of copying in his Introduction several very exquisite passages of poetry by the author of “ The Patience of Hope.” The lines entitled “ Gone," on p. xvii., seem to us not simply “ weird and striking," as he calls them, but religiously affecting and profound. The quaint and daring fancy that is often shown in these extracts is subdued utterly to the strain of pious thought, and affects one like strange and exquisite harmonies in the musical setting of a familiar hymn. We cannot forbear the pleasure of copying the two sonnets entitled “ Ascending," and “ Life Tapestry” (Introd., pp. xv., xvi.).
* The Patience of Hope. With an Introduction by J. G. WHITTIER. (From the Edinburgh Edition.) Boston : Ticknor and Fields.
The wide, illimitable heavens, have said,
That, still receding as they climbed, outspread,
Shoots down a feebler splendor overhead.
So, Saviour, as our mounting spirits, led
Still pressing, on that rarer atmosphere,
We see Thee drawn within a widening sphere
Pored o'er this tangled work of mine, and mused
Above each stitch awry and thread confused;
And gaze and gaze till on my spirit grows
Transferred upon my canvas, faintly glows;
HISTORY AND POLITICS.
We have already noticed M. Renan's Discourse on the Shemitic Nations, a translation of which is appended to his Essay on “ The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture," lately published in English.* This Essay is an argument, seemingly complete and unanswerable, to theories which have been put forth as to the amazing antiquity of the Babylonish work of which they treat. It is a work which for some five centuries has been well known to antiquaries and Orientalists. In form, it is a sort of tedious and discursive encyclopædia of all the arts, as known to the dwellers by the Euphrates in the period when it was written. Without any direct mention of dynasties and historic events which would identify it with any particular era, it contains abundant reference to well-known opinions and processes found among the later Greeks, whose source it conceals with genuine Oriental vanity; and the circumstantial evidence seems, in M. Renan's statement of it, amply sufficient to decide its date, somewhere in the early centuries of our era. But the evidence is only circumstantial. So a learned Russian Orientalist, M. Chwolson, startles the erudite of Europe with a theory that it was written before the age of Homer or the Trojan
* An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathæan Agriculture. To which is added an Inaugural Lecture on the Position of the Shemitic Nations in the History of Civilization. By M. ERNEST RENAN. London: Trübner & Co. war, – long before the time when we have any hint of a written literature, except in the assumed date of the Mosaic writings; and that it contains the genuine débris of arts and philosophies as old as the monuments of Egypt, in the written form given to them perhaps a thousand years before the great Cyrus. The question, so stated, has a keen interest for all who care to trace the records of human society back to its origins ; but its interest fades when these endless genealogies are mercilessly constrained within the limits of “the vulgar era.” The Essay of M. Renan extinguishes not only an ambitious theory, but with it, we fear, the value of the work itself, which had prospect of becoming a curiosity of the first magnitude.
IF, as Lessing asserts, the title of historian is to be conceded to him only who has written the history of his own time, Gervinus has fully established his claim to it, however he may have failed to vindicate the truth of Lessing's remark.* The pupil and follower of Schlosser,an earnest thinker and a vigorous writer, - in entire sympathy with those liberal principles in politics as in religion in which alone rest now the hopes of Europe and the possibilities of the future all over the earth, — no one was better fitted, perhaps, to continue Schlosser's task, — to expose the causes and to set forth the results of that period of reaction which followed the fall of Napoleon and the treaties of Vienna, — " that period of fraud and of lies, of audacious rulers and feeble officials, of congresses and protocols, of political persecutions and conspiracies, of hopes and disappointments," upon approaching which the aged Schlosser laid down his pen in despair. Beginning his work by the publication in a separate volume, in 1853, of a stirring yet philosophical introduction, which produced a profound impression by its masterly illustration of the character and tendency of the democratic progress of Europe in the late centuries, which was greeted with applause by the people and with persecution by the government, — Gervinus has now carried it, in six volumes, – the first published in 1855, and the last two in 1861 and 1862, — from the year 1815 to about the year 1830. The first two volumes discuss mainly the European reactions of 1815 – 20; the third treats of the revolutions of the Latin races in Southern Europe and America; and the fourth, of their suppression. The last two volumes contain a new history, and an important one, of the Greek Revolution.
It is of these only that we propose to say a word. They claim to relate fully and at length, on the basis of voluminous documentary evidence now first made available in the original manuscripts, the diplomatic history of the regeneration of Greece, hitherto known only in an obscure or fragmentary manner. They are written with all that accuracy in detail, that large reading, that vigorous style, and that thorough comprehension of his subject, in all its bearings, which distinguish his great work on the history of German poetry. And it was
* Geschichte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts seit den Wiener Verträgen. Von G. G. GERVINUS. Leipzig : Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann. (Vol. V. 1861. Vol. VI. 1862.]
by the latter work, we may add, - without exception the greatest of its kind ever written, the profoundest and most exhaustive, itself an epoch in the very history it illustrates, - that Gervinus early and at once established his reputation as one of the foremost writers and most earnest thinkers of his age.
The story of the revolt of the Greeks, however enlivened at times by brilliant achievements or redeemed by heroic examples, is for the most part as dreary and painful as the recital of the diplomatic shuffing which preceded and followed it is monotonous and repulsive. Throughout, it was a war as well for plunder as for freedom, for private revenge as for the public deliverance. And not till the end of that long struggle of ten years did the term of Klepht cease to be a title of honor, or that of Asmatole begin to yield to the purer name of Hellene. Yet the peculiar character of the Greek people that which early set it apart among the nations of the earth, and which has somehow kept it apart in all the weary march of the ages appears in its strongest light in every phase of that last desperate effort for selfpreservation. It was the tenacious individuality of the Greek set against the devouring fanaticism of the Mohammedan. It was the inextinguishable vitality of faith wrestling with a barbarous and hopeless fatalism. It was the victory of intellectual over material power; and, more than all, it was the vindication of that Hellenic descent, the practical demonstration of that unity of the Greeks in which lie the mission and as it were the mystery of their race. The immediate disappointment, however, of those unreasonable hopes as to the success of the Greek Revolution in which the scholars of Western Europe were too ready to indulge, mingled with a secret fear that the empire of Europe was possibly to pass from the Latin and German races to that great Slavic people whose centre was at Moscow, in natural alliance with the Greeks, whose centre was to be at Constantinople, brought on a certain reaction, unfounded in its origin and unjust in its tendency, in the liberal sentiments of Europe towards the kingdom of Greece ; a reaction strengthened by the theory of Fallmerayer, which thus in its turn found ready welcome and diffusion, and has not yet ceased to be pernicious, that the present Greeks were not the descendants of the ancient Hellenes, but of modern Slavonians. As Gervinus, however, well remarks, in allusion to the controversy excited by that able and ingenious, but often one-sided and always passionate scholar, it was not by physical strength or purity of race, but wholly by intellectual power, that the Greeks either in ancient or modern times obtained or preserved their ascendency in the East. Throughout Turkey, now as of old in Persian Asia, they are the driving power of society; as ages ago also they won over the vast hordes of Russia to the faith and culture of the Greek Church. So that if indeed physically the Greeks were ever Slavonized, intellectually certainly the Slaves were Grecized. But in fact the Greeks have never been Othmanized by the Turks, nor Latinized by the Venetians, nor Romanized by the French or Catalonians. They have preserved their nationality and their language, and have remained what they were from the beginning, not Orientals, but Europeans.