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and comprehensive. It has taken scope enough to allow a minute representation of many matters of interest, usually overlooked in historical compositions, and is particularly full in its delineations of the progress of society, the arts and manufactures, and of the moral, religious, and economical condition of the people, at each stage of history, and of the bearing of political measures, and public events upon them-a feature quite too rare in the popular works of the kind. It is written in a lucid and pleasing style, though with hardly the grace of Hume, or eloquence of Gibbon; and exhibits research and painstaking accuracy. As a whole, we are confident that it will convey a much more correct impression of the deeds and the men of England, and leave a far more wholesome impression, than any other work extant.
5. A Treatise on Algebra, containing the latest improvements. By CHARLES W. Hack
LEY, D.D. Harper & Brothers.
We particularly admire the plan which Prof. Hackley proposed to himself-that of popularizing the results of recent research and discovery in the higher departments of this science. The treatises mostly in use, constructed years ago, are far behind the times; and, however excellent for beginners, are unfit for the more advanced stages of study. But whether the plan has not been carried too far, and some processes and expositions introduced which are too abstruse and complicated to be successfully treated in an elementary work, however comprehensive, some will be disposed to question. It may safely be pronounced in advance of any American compilation in respect to comprehensiveness and extent; and though claiming but little originality, it preserves a good degree of unity, and is very accurately and neatly printed.
6. Harpers' New Miscellany of Sterling Literature.
To this valuable series of reprints, there has been lately added Schiller's splendid work, the History of the Thirty Years' War, which is a model of its kind. Concise, accurate, and spirited, it takes the reader through the tragic story with unfaltering interest, and leaves a definite and vivid impression of the men and the events of that memorable period. The fine enthusiasm felt for the truly great men that figured in the war, which is the genial offspring of the author's poetic feeling and generous character, also lends its charm.
The Use of the Body in relation to the Mind, is another valuable little volume, by George Moore, M.D., demonstrating the mutual influences of body and spirit. The relation of the two is treated rather as a matter of science than in its moral aspects, but suggests materials for deep and profitable reflection. It was preceded in England by another similar work, on the power of the mind over the body, which we should suppose, ought to accompany it.
7. The Useful Arts, considered in connection with the applications of Science. By JACOB
BIGELOW, M.D. Harper & Brothers. 2 vols. 12 mo.
The substance of this work has before appeared, under the more distinctive title of Elements of Technology, which very accurately describes its character. It is a very comprehensive description of the theory and scientific principles of the whole range of the useful arts, with definitions of the terms, technics, tools, and the like, used in connection with them. It is the work of a scholar of extensive practical knowledge, and may be relied on. For utility of reference and general information in these matters of universal interest, there is probably no manual that is at once so concise and satisfactory as this.
THIRD SERIES, NO. X,—WHOLE NUMBER, LXVI.
THE LAW OF PROGRESS IN ITS APPLICATION TO CHRISTIANITY.
By Rev. William Adams, D. D., New York.
Among the many theories which have been advocated concerning the condition and prospects of society, that which affirms its gradual and certain advancement has now, at length, obtained a very general, if not universal prevalence. During the last two hundred and fifty years, the human intellect has developed an unprecedented activity. Discoveries have been pushed into the secrets of the sea, the air, and the earth; inventions have been multiplied to subserve the convenience of civilized man; the boundaries of knowledge have been greatly enlarged; and the general condition of the world has assumed a new and brighter promise. That the “golden age” is past already, is a dream of pagan mythology. Ours is the day of hope and expectation; and as the face of the whole earth revives under the breath of Spring, so do all departments of science, physical and intellectual, partake of that progressive impulse which is abroad in the earth.
In these circumstances, it was not to be expected that the province of religion would long remain uninvaded by the universal spirit of motion and innovation. At length, we have heard it affirmed, and this no longer by an avowed infidelity, but by professed religious teachers, that ihe Christian religion is capable of many essential improvements; and that it must, and will, indeed, undergo many important modifications, or prove itself altogether unequal to an age of brightening light and progress.
Let us not, therefore, be judged as one that beateth the air, when we announce for our theme, the Law of progress in its ap
THIRD SERIES, VOL. HI. NO. 2.
plication to Revealed Christianity. Is there a place in the Christian system for the operation of this law? If so, what is its province, and what its limits?
The extremes of opinion which are entertained in many circles upon this subject, must deliver any attempt at its discussion from the imputation of being untimely and impertinent.
It is asserted, on the one hand, that a religious system, introduced centuries ago for the advantage of comparatively rude and ignorant tribes, cannot, in the nature of things, be suited to an erudite and philosophic people in their highest civilization. Moses, it is said, had his day and his mission; well did he fulfil them. His religious system accomplished its end, and then passed away as visionary and obsolete. In like manner, it is added, Jesus of Nazareth, in progress of time, established a new and more simple religious faith. He accomplished his mission. But it would be altogether contrary to every analogy, to suppose that Christianity, in its original form, would prove itself equal to the later necessities of the world; and so an exception to that general law by which all that is old is ready to vanish away. There will be other Christs, and other and advancing Christianities. The human mind is no more stationary or retrograde; and, therefore, revelations which were made for its benefit in the twilight of time, partaking as they do of a fixed squality, must be superseded by other and higher disclosures, which, in their turn, becoming effete, must be surpassed and forgotten in the still farther progress of philosophy and religion.
Such are the sentiments incorporated with a certain description of philosophy, which, in spite of its insufferable mannerism, has attained to no inconsiderable notoriety in Germany, and in some parts of the United States.
In the opposite extreme are those, who, failing to distinguish between Christianity itself, and Christian theology, which is but its outward form and expression, look with distrust, and suspicion, and jealousy upon the bare mention of improvement and progress in the latter, as though it were nothing else than an insult to the former. No equivocal displacency do they manifest towards any form of expression which is new-believing that the "old is better.” They have no faith in progress at all. Their category of wisdom is briefly summed—“Be still.” Verily, they cannot comprehend the suggestion, that it may be possible, without derogating from the perfection of Christianity, for them to acquire some new ideas, concerning Christian doctrine; and believing that their theological system, like the subject to which it relates, is incapable of change and improvement, they regard those who would attempt any modification, as presumptuous and profane.
Between these remote extremes is there an intermediate space capable of exact definition, which it is wisdom for us to compre
i Theodore Parker and Ralph W. Emerson.
hend, and neccessary for us to defend ? Believing that there is, our present article will humbly undertake to set forth the limits within which this principle of progress has and may develope itself in connexion with a revealed Christianity. Many delude themselves by false analogies, on this whole subject. We have no faith in any pretended or expected amendment of Christianity. There has been, as we shall show, a progress in the development of Christianity itself, in former ages, such as we are not to expect for time to come.
T'he Progress of Science, is an expression sufficiently familiar to our ear. In strictness of speech, what does it denote? Simply the rectification of human opinions concerning those objects to which science relates; and never such changes in these objects themselves, as imply on their part defect and falsity.
The planetary system, for example, as a system, was a perfect thing, in all its laws and attractions, and motions, when, at the close of the fourth demiurgical day, its Maker said of it, “ It is good.” The same sun, in the same relative position, with the same attractions, shone on the first pair in Eden, as shines to-day on us. The same stars which look so thoughtfully on us, shone on the tents of the Idumean Emirs, when Job, and Eliphaz, and Zophar discoursed concerning Orion and the sweet influences of Pleiades. But what a slow, yet certain, advancement there has been in the history of astronomy as a science! What a vast interval between the fancies of the Chaldean shepherd, the notions of the Phænician mariner, and the demonstrations of celestial mechanics by Newton and Laplace! Centuries elapsed, during which men gazed on the evening sky, recorded observations, calculated eclipses, measured time, steered ships, before the motion of the earth was at all suspected. The system of astronomy, elaborated by Ptolemy, with all its error, was an advance, containing much which is of value to the present day. Twelve hundred years more elapsed, when Copernicus appeared, saying, in the words of Joshua, which words are now sculptured on his monument in the Church of Cracow_"Sta Sol, ne moveare !” Nor was the system yet completed. . The laws of Kepler afterwards explained seeming irregularities which confounded Copernicus and Galileo; and the splendid hypothesis of Sir Isaac Newton, verified by subsequent experiments, revealed the unity, the harmony, the perfection of the vast planetarium of the heavens, which had been hid for ages and for generations. Yet Newton died in ignorance of the Georgium Sidus; and there yet remain unexplained phenomena in the evening sky, to provoke and reward the thoughtful observation of those who shall follow us.
Progress in the history of this interesting science, is perfectly intelligible; distinguishing as we must between the changeless, faultless laws of nature, and the gradual advancement and rectification of human speculations concerning them.
What else do we mean by progress in all those sciences, discoveries, and inventions, by which the general improvement of the human race has been so essentially promoted ? Progress here, has not been an improvement of nature, mending her defects, altering her course, and gradually becoming more perfect and propitious; but it has been the result of a closer observation, and a more copious induction, and a more accurate analysis, and a more patient experiment, and a bolder enterprise on the part of those who have believed in nature's truth and faithfulness.
The structure of the human body was after the same model at the first as now, but great has been the progress in physiology and pharmacy. The heart, the brain, the nerves, the viscera, the irritable fibre, each and all performed the same functions in the days of Hippocrates and Galen, as of Harvey and Stahl and Haller. The continent of America was not created in the 15th century, and all at once made to emerge from the waves like the fabled Delos, at the stroke of the trident, to answer a great purpose. Had the Grecian argosies passed the pillars of Hercules, and ploughed the main three thousand miles towards the setting sun, they would as certainly have reached the Western Hemisphere as did the more adventurous galleys of Ferdinand and Isabella, centuries later. The little pilot which now maintains its post on the deck of every ship that floats, unblinded by darkness, undaunted by danger, unexhausted by fatigue, has, from the beginning of the world, pointed as faithfully to the pole, as when recently discovered by the eye of thoughtful observation. The expansive power of steam was just as capable of application to safe and rapid locomotion on land and sea, to all ponderous and delicate enginery, in the days of Thales and Archimedes as of Watt and Fultov. Carbon, nitre, and sulphur, mixed in certain proportions, would just as certainly have resulted in the formation of that explosive grain which has changed the whole aspect of modern warfare, in the days of Hannibal or Julius Cæsar, as in the laboratory of Roger Bacon. It was just as certain that a few bars of wood, and pounds of metal, and ounces of ink were capable of imprinting the signs of thought on parchment and papyrus, in the days of the Phænician Cadmus, as centuries later, in the hands of the German Gutenburgh. The lightning which gleamed from the cloud, when the old Grecian and Roman augurs appealed to its glare in aid of superstition, was identically the same form of natural agency which greeted with a responsive spark the knuckle of Franklin, applied to the kite string of his son, and which by a simple process, is now conducted innocuously to the earth.
Most obvious, therefore, is the distinction between the facts and forces of nature which have a fixed and changeless quality, and the opinions which men may entertain concerning them. Of these facts men may remain entirely ignorant, or partially informed, may in