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The memoir appears to have been written with an affectionate and truthful pen. It is a brief skeich of a well regulaied life, diversified by no striking incidents, but by no means devoid of interest to the Christian reader, since it shows the steady and uniform progress of a virtuous soul — the gradual ripening of a religious character whose seeds were sown in early life under the influence of a Christian mother. His history is soon told. He was born in Boston in 1803; prepared for College at the Academics of Bridgewater and Excter; remained at Ilarvard University for two years, when the death of his mother, upon whom he relied in part for his support, and his own ill health made it necessary for him to give up a student's sedentary life; entered into business and failed; devoted himself to the more congenial labor of preparation for the ministry; graduated from the Theological School at Cambridge in 1831; was settled first at Eastport, and subsequently at Augusta and Kennebunk in Maine, and died, while on a visit in his native city, on the 30th of May 1815. His constitution was fecble, and during the whole period of his ministry he was compelled to struggle with imperfect health and a weak voice. But he struggled manfully; patiently endured many trials; and successfully performed many labors ; made himself an acceptable preacher, and left behind him at each removal many warm friends and a clear impression of his virtuous influence.
The volume contains fourteen sermons on a variety of topics, written with care and earnestness the earnestness of deep religious feeling. No one can read them without being convinced that their author was a man of thoughtfulness, independence and unaffected piety, who prepared himself for the pulpit under a strong sense of responsibility to God and with a sincere desire to promote the moral and spiritual improvement of his hearers. They are creditable alike to the mind and the heart of the preacher, and will be read with interest and profit, we hope, by many beyond the circle of his former friends and parishioners, who will dwell upon the pages of this volume with peculiar satisfaction, and preserve these relics of their affectionate and faithful teacher with a sacred care.
The Worship of Genius, and The Distinctive Character, or
Essence of Christianity. By Professor C. Ullmann. Translated from the German, by Lucy Sandford. London: Chapman, Brothers.
1846. 12mo. pp. 116. DR. Strauss, in an article on “The Transient and the Permanent in Christianity,” took occasion to say, that “the only worship left to the cultivated of this age from the religious disorganization of the last, is the worship of genius.” This
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remark stimulated Ullmann, Theological Professor at lleidelberg, to write the above-mentioned book. The following is a brief analysis. He first defines what he considers to be the true worship of genius, viz., the universal affectionate homage paid to every phase of art; and his statement is quite liberal. He then distinguishes, with considerable acuteness, the so-called worship of genius from the sentiment of religion, whose object is the Infinite Father, and is not restricted “to the cultivated of this age.” Then follows the position : “Jesus is not merely a man of the highest genius.” We believe this certainly, but we must say that it is not in consequence of the Professor's logic. There is a vague hint about an Atonement as being a distinctive quality of Jesus. In addition to which, he only insists upon the personal claim of Jesus, – that he was the Son of God; still leaving the question open for an opponent to show, that Christ meant what he believes, and also that the union of Christ with God was such as could only take place by the immediate exercise of the Divine will, which leaves a whole philosophy of inspiration unestablished. The Essay is chiefly valuable for its clear expression of the Christian doctrine of the Divine immanence, as opposed to the old view of a God afar off, and the Pantheistic view of an impersonal substratum of nature and spirit. This bears upon the question concerning Christ, because Pantheism leaves unexplained the fact of sin. So far very good: but Professor Ullmann adds that the fact of sin renders necessary a Redeemer, and not believing in the popular theory of atonement, he unfortunately fails to show what in Christ's influence is so peculiar as to distinguish him in kind from a person of the highest genius; which should have been proved.
The “ Distinctive Character, or, Essence of Christianity," forms the second Essay. Its point is briefly this: - Christ redeems by the power of his life, and this life has its central point of vitality, viz. : “the perfect union in his person of the Divine and human, which is the potential destiny of the race.”
Shakspeare's Dramatic Art : and his relation to Calderon and Goethe. Translated from the German of Dr. HERMANN ULLondon : Chapman, Brothers. 1846.
1846. 8vo. pp. 554. With the exception of a faint evangelical savor, a fault not common to German aesthetics, this book is very fine. Its chief merit and design are this: it establishes the essential Christianity of Shakspeare. The author gives a clear and admirable definition of Christian dramatic art, as shown, for instance, in Shakspeare's historical dramas: on one side God with His love and justice, and on the other human activity in its contra
riety of objective and subjective freedom, (the one coinciding with moral necessity — the other with human caprice).” We are, therefore, not surprised to read of the tragic, and of the comic, "aspect of the Christian view of Providence.” The former is based upon “the Divine justice and moral necessity as the leading principles of history and the arbiters of men's fortunes :" the latter, upon " the Divine love, with the motley play of human caprice, as the leading principles of man's life and destiny.” This antithesis is admirably elaborated and explained by Dr. Ulrici, who seems to unite the piety and speculative aptness of the German to the nervous common-sense of the Anglo-Saxon. Nor do we mean to insinuate that this union is uncommon in the fatherland of thought.
We acknowledge great delight at the manner in which the author applies his theory to Shakspeare, or rather illustrates it from the sources whence the theory was drawn. The book requires a much more extended notice than we are able here to give to it, and the impression we impart must necessarily be very vague. It must suffice to say, that he successfully meets the objections drawn from Shakspeare's forced and unnatural play of words, from his occasional coarseness, and from the introduction of the comic, and even of abuse, sarcasm, and banter, into his tragedies. These very objections assist Ulrici to render yet more luminous his theory of the two aspects of the Christian view of Providence.
His orthodoxy startles us in the following sentence : “When I speak of the special purity and completeness with which Shakspeare has preserved the Christian view of things, I do not leave out of the account the doctrine of man's universal sinfulness, and the divine grace of redemption. They are not indeed, to be found in Shakspeare's view of things under the form of religious edification, moral instruction, or philosophical disquisition, but still they are there, and in a mode which in every respect is truly poetical.” We hasten to avow ourselves as orthodox as Shakspeare, who, to our liking, has sweetened the pill till it ceases to be medicine.
Judging from infallible internal marks, not having seen the original German, we should say that the translation is of the first order. To Dr. Ulrici must be awarded the high praise of having explained to us, from the Christian point of view, that which we mean when we call Shakspeare "the great poet of Nature."
Griselda. A Dramatic Poem. Translated from the German of
FRIEDRICH Halm, by Q. E. D. London. 1844. 18mo. pp. 139.
The plot of this drama, which a friend has sent us from England, is simple, but needlessly painful. Percival of Wales, a brave
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but somewhat uncourtly knight, the lordly subject of King Arthur, charmed with the beauty, and still more with the modest virtues of Griselda, the daughter of a poor, blind collier, elevates her to his rank and makes her his wife. Amidst the splendor of a royal festival, Percival is twitted and ridiculed by Ginevra, queen of Arthur, for having wedded a woman of so humble birth. The knight of the Round Table vindicates her claim to his and their admiration, and the controversy waxes warm, till it is proposed to settle the matter by subjecting Griselda, who was absent, to a most cruel trial of her love. Percival, stung with indignation, and eager to prove his wife's fidelity, accepts the challenge, and amidst circumstances of pain and horror which we need not describe, secures his triumph over the queen and the ladies of her court. But at the moment of the injured woman's restoration to her home she loses her trust in a husband who could so trifle with all that is most sacred and holy in her love, and refusing to accept again his protection, returns heart-broken to die with her father in solitude.
Now what we say of this drama is, that it is a most distressing production, - made so by the peculiar nature of the incidents, and need not have been written. We cannot see what valuable truth it teaches, with any justness or moderation. Undoubtedly it is a wicked and detestable thing for a husband to sport with his wife's feelings, and the less he allows himself to hear her disparaged, or to argue her goodness against thoughtless and malicious aspersions, the better. But on the other hand, the knights of King Arthur's days were not, we suppose, quite so cool headed or so Christian individuals as some of the respectable citizens of Victoria's. And accordingly Percival ought not to suffer so terrific a punishment. There appears to us an inconsistency in the conception of the principal incidents and characters of this poem. Until the moment of this unfortunate meeting between the Queen and Percival, Griselda had been all that a wise should be, and Percival, if he had not been all that the lord of so noble spirited and tender a woman should be, had at least kept her love, and his own love for her. We submit that the reader cannot find in the reason assigned a sufficient cause for the rupture of an affection that had borne and forborne, forgiven and survived, so long.
of the literary execution of “Griselda” we can speak in high praise. The simplicity of the plot leaves little room for great skill in the management and progress of the piece or the development of the catastrophe; but the absence of intricacy hardly detracts from the interest. There are passages in the play written with great power, and showing a superior mastery of language, vigor and clearness of thought, and brilliancy of imagination, both in the author and the translator, who, we underVOL. XLI. 4th. S. VOL. VI. NO II.
stand, is an English lady. Indeed, we do not see why this drama may not take honorable rank with those of Mr. Talfourd and Mr. Sheridan Knowles. Perhaps exceptions might be taken to such poetical (?) liberties as festal (used three times as a substantive for festival), "wrath” (used twice as an adjective for wroth), "submiss,” (for submissive), and a phrase so sadly elliptical as “when pleases me invite them.” Generally the style is pure and strong, notwithstanding the deprecatory note at the beginning.
Thoughts on the Poets. By Henry T. TUCKERMAN. New
York : C. S. Francis & Co. 1846. 18mo. pp. 318.
These “ Thoughts on the Poets" are criticisms upon various writers, who by their genius have become illustrious either in the past or the present. They are the thoughts of one who has the soul to appreciate what is beautiful and good, and who has shown in this volume not only that he can be moved by the thoughts of others, but that he can clearly and justly analyze their peculiar characteristics, that he can give us a reason for his having been interested ; and by his discrimination he may lead some to turn with new pleasure to a favorite author, or to do more justice to one for whom they have felt an unreasonable aversion. Mr. Tuckerman's whole soul is, evidently, alive to the excellencies of those of whose writings he speaks. He dwells upon his subject with sincere delight, and this gives freshness to his remarks, and leads the mind to pause with readier sympathy over the many passages of peculiar beauty which are scattered through his pages. There is also a wide scope in regard to the authors considered. In proof of which we need only quote the names of Petrarch and Alfieri, Goldsmith and Gray, Cowper and Pope, Crabbe, Shelley, Byron, Hunt, Rogers, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Barry Cornwall, Hemans, Tennyson, Drake and Bryant. These he judges by a high standard and reads with a generous sympathy. We do not fully agree with all the views expressed, but the spirit throughout is pure and elevating, the style clear and forcible, and most of the criticisms just, and often such as display great sagacity and insight. The general merit of the book is its simplicity and quiet thoughtfulness. It is the work of a meditative mind, and yet a mind which can be stirred, and stirred deeply too, by high and holy thought.
Memoir of Johann Gottlieb Fichte. By William Smith. Bos
ton: J. Munroe & Co. 1846. 12mo. pp. 157.
To those who read only for idle amusement this volume, republished from the English edition, will not prove particularly