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spirit, are acknowledged on all hands, and will be found fully manifest in this production. We would, therefore, only make a few remarks with the intention to prevent, if possible, his work before us from misconstruction. Neander's Leben Jesu takes substantially what we have called the orthodor view on the life of the Saviour, acknowledging him to be the God-man, and the only ground of salvation, and receiving the New Testament as divinely inspired truth. But it is probable that some who are not intimately acquainted with German theology will doubt the soundness of some of his positions. We confess that we ourselves, with all our veneration for this truly great and good man, cannot approve of all he says, and wish many portions and expressions of his work were rather more strongly marked, particularly on account of his English and American readers. But two considerations must always be kept in view, tending greatly to modify the unsatisfactory impression which some readers might at first receive. In the first place, Neander's style is characteristically loose and indefinite; and this is, to a great extent, connected with some of his virtues, his liberality and conscientiousness, but also with a certain carelessness as it regards form. Thus we must account for many expressions on the divine nature of Christ, which, at first sight, and severed from their connection, might seem to approach even Arian or semi-Arian views. It would be the greatest injustice, however, to charge him with any such heresy. His Church History (vol. ii, part 2) sufficiently shows the contrary. In the second place, it must not be forgotten that the German theology had to pass through gigantic struggles, of which we in this country can hardly form any clear idea. Rationalism, in the wide sense of the term, may indeed be considered the most powerful antagonist of the church which ever has made its appearance in history. It is the more so, as it wears in Germany the respectable dress of great learning, moral earnestness, and sometimes even of a certain piety, as, for instance, in the case of de Wette. Should we wonder to find that those men, who, by divine Providence, have been called upon to overcome this fearful enemy, have brought away some wounds from the battle-field? Even thus Clemens and Origen, in opposing Gnosticism, were tinctured with some of its features; and even Augustine could not deny altogether the school of Platonism, through which he had passed into the church. But we must go further, and say, that Rationalism is not absolutely false; it has some right to exist. There are some things in the old orthodoxy —or perhaps we should say in the received mode of philosophizing upon Christian doctrine—which must undergo severe criticism. It is, after all, a human system which requires constant reformation. The mouth of reason cannot be stopped entirely. It ought humbly to submit, to be sure, to the divine reason, as revealed in the Bible and in the faith of the church. But it is the object of Christianity to enter not only into man's heart, but also into his mind and thought. Theology and Christian philosophy is a constant process, by which revelation and reason are to be brought nearer and nearer together, until ultimately, to speak in the language of St. Paul, we may see as we are seen, and know even as we are known. Neander would not embrace an orthodoxy of mere comfort and convenience, but he would carefully weigh the arguments on both sides, and rather leave a matter undecided than to pronounce a hasty judgment merely to suit the taste of blind traditionists.
Germany has the great mission to settle scientifically, for the benefit of the whole church, the great question involved in the very nature of Protestantism, between Rationalism and Supranaturalism, private judgment and authority, reason and revelation; and thus to restore the old faith, but in a new form, which shall mark a real progress toward the ultimate reconciliation, and free, intelligent agreement, of the human mind with divine truth. This mission, it must be confessed, is not fulfilled yet. German theology, and, we may say, all Protestantism, is at the present time in a transition state. But if we really believe in that God who rules the hearts, and also the thoughts of men, and by his adorable wisdom turns the whole stream of history to his glory, we cannot possibly despair; we must rather, full of hope, look for a new reformation, which shall complete the glorious work of the sixteenth century.
P. S. Mercersburg, Pa., Jan. 22, 1848.
ART. V.-History of the Conquest of Peru, with a Preliminary View of the Civilization of the Incas. By WILLIAM H. PREscott. Svo., 2 vols. New-York: Harper & Brothers.
IN our last number we attempted an analysis of Mr. Prescott's powers and processes as an historian, and hazarded some general remarks on Ferdinand and Isabella, and the Conquest of Mexico. We were compelled to postpone the consideration of his last work until the present time, and we now resume the subject with a particular reference to the History of the Conquest of Peru. This work has probably been the most extensively popular of Mr. Prescott's histories, though the subject would not seem to admit so many elements of interest as the others. In Ferdinand and Isabella he had a period of time crowded with important events and striking characters, a period which witnessed the organization of a powerful nation out of seemingly discordant elements, and which opened to the historian the whole field of European politics during one of the most important epochs of modern civilization. In the Conquest of Mexico he had an epic story, capable of the strictest artistic treatment, with that strangeness in incidents and scenery which fastens most readily on the attention. If he has made the present work more interesting than the others, it must be owing to greater felicity in its treatment. This felicity does not arise from a departure from his historical method, or from the adoption of a new form of composition, but is the result of a more complete development of his method and his style. In the Conquest of Peru, his characteristic merits are displayed in their best aspect, exhibiting the effects of time and experience in giving more intensity to his conceptions, and more certainty to his language. Accordingly, we have not here to chronicle a decay of power, but its freer and more vigorous expression. Mr. Prescott's leading excellence is that healthy objectiveness of mind which enables him to represent persons and events in their just relations. Of all his histories we think that the present, while it illustrates this characteristic merit, approaches nearest to the truth of things, and presents them with the most clearness and vividness. The scenery, characters, and incidents, with which his history deals, are all conceived with singular intensity, and appear on his page instinct with their peculiar life. The book, on this very account, has been charged in some quarters with exaggeration, with giving more importance to the subject than its relative position in history will warrant. This objection we consider as implying its greatest praise. We admit that the Conquest of Peru does not take that place in the history of the world, as commonly written, which it assumes in Mr. Prescott's narrative; but we think that history, as commonly written, conveys but a feeble notion of persons and events. Undoubtedly the wars between Charles W. and Francis I. were more important than the skirmishes of the Spaniards with the Peruvians: but we by no means acknowledge that this is indicated in Robertson; and we think it a strange blunder of criticism to demand that the historian shall place his work in relation to other histories, instead of making it a mirror of his subject, and, because the usual description of the battle of Pavia conveys no idea of an engagement, require that the account of the capture of Atahualpa shall convey no idea of a massacre. The truth is, Mr. Prescott has done, in this matter, all that criticism can sensibly desire, in observing the natural relations of the characters and events with which he deals, and in varying the intensity of his representation with the varying importance of the different parts of his History. If he had capriciously given prominence to some things which would naturally fall in the background, or exaggerated others out of their proper connections, his work would have been inconsistent with the truth, and justly amenable to criticism ; but, instead of this, he has reproduced, with vivid accuracy, the whole course of the conquest, solicitous only to convey clear impressions of actual things, and to print them on the mind in their true character and vital relations. If in doing this he has shown more force of conception and felicity of narration than the class of dignified historians; if he has avoided all verbal forms and barren generalities in the surrender of his mind to the objects which impressed it; if, in short, he has been more desirous to exhibit his subject than to make a show of himself, we protest against his being judged by rules which he does not pretend to follow, and having his excellence tested by principles drawn from the defects of other historians. Indeed, the great merit of the work consists in its representing a portion of universal history as a living, appreciable reality. The comparative narrowness of the subject, and fewness of the characters, enabled him to perform this with the greater completeness. There was less room for generalization, and more for individualization; more space for pictures, and less for propositions. Accordingly, everything is realized ; everything stands out in its distinct shape and dimensions, and moves on with the general movement of the narration. We become acquainted not only with the leaders, but with their individual followers; discerning their motives, the complex action of their passions, the strange jumble of ferocity, valor, superstition, and diabolism, which went to make up their characters. It must be confessed, we are placed in the company of a herd of graceless rascals, who, with all their valorous vice and heroic baseness, richly deserve the gallows; but we are still not among demons or monstrosities, but among bad men. It is human nature, we perceive, though human nature in a form so perverted as to make us almost ashamed of it. An insight so vivid into the character of the soldiers of Pizarro and Almagro, and of the conventional morality of the age, gives us a knowledge of the period which we can easily apply to persons of more historical importance and events of greater magnitude. In Peru we have, as it were, a microcosm, wherein we can see Catholic Europe as it was at the commencement of the sixteenth century; the little world is a fair diminutive of the great world, and more comprehensible from its compression. Its study enables us to understand somewhat the nature of that moral confusion which springs from a violation of eternal laws; from the skirmishes of Pizarro we can infer the character of those awful wars which we read of in history with so even a pulse; and from the cruelty and rapacity of the Spaniards we see how thin is the partition which separates the regular soldier from the proficient in rapine, massacre, and lust. We believe if history were written throughout with this truth to things, that in increasing our knowledge it would improve our moral judgments. The reason that the gigantic vices of the powerful do not commonly draw down upon their heads a corresponding load of infamy, is owing to the feebleness with which those vices are commonly conceived. We are sensible of the energies such men display, and glow in the recital of their exploits; but we overlook the guilt and baseness of the means they often employ. In order that an historian should rightly affect us in this matter, it is not necessary that he should set certain commonplaces at stated distances in his narrative, declaring how naughty it is for men to cut each other's throats and blow out each other's brains; but it is important that, in representing a battle, he should make us vitally feel the sufferings it occasions, and the demoniacal passions it unleashes. This cannot be done by expressing the dead and wounded in a row of figures. We have read accounts of Austerlitz and Leipsic, which inspired us with less sympathy than the account given by Mr. Prescott of some contest where hardly a hundred were killed. In the Conquest of Peru we gain some notion of the fathomless baseness of brazen selfishness and rapacity, and no great energies developed by the conquerors can possibly lift it into respect. If the contemplation urges us to fix a darker and more indelible brand of reprobation on the impudent enormities of all public criminals, of all robbers and murderers on a great scale, there will be some check given to that absurd apotheosis of colossal depravity, that idolatry of great men who have warred against the interests of the race, which now fills the temple of fame with Titans from the shambles, and inspires emulation instead of horror among the energetic spirits of every age,