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structionist on this subject. His Essay on Infant Baptism” defends the neaning of regeneration as denoting the visible relation of the subject to the kingdom of Christ, and that this is the scriptural use of the term. Thus he would avoid the objection urged against the liturgy of his church. We were a little surprised at the positiveness with which he repels the imputation against its teachings, that “whoever is baptized is a Christian and will therefore be saved.” He says: “Now I feel certain, from long experience and attentive obBervation, that there is no ground whatever for the imputation here conveyed. I mean that it is not true, as is evidently designed to be implied, that there exists any party, school or class of men among
clergy-even the worst of them—who teach such a doctrine.” Our impression was quite different-perhaps from the fact that not a few of the membership, we are very sure, do entertain that ground of hope for themselves, which further appears to us most natural. If we err in this opinion, we should be most happy to know it.
In a note on p. 338, we discover a remark which, to our mind, speaks much for the Christian conscientiousness of this distinguished prelate. We commend it to the notice of our Episcopal brethren. It informs us, that he adopted, in his diocese, the rule of admitting done to “ confirmation,” who were not prepared immediately “to attend the Lord's Table”; so as to guard against the “
error which I well knew to be prevalent of bringing forward for confirmation, persons unfit or unwilling to partake of the eucharist, and who, too often, never do partake of it at all.”
Dissenting as we do from many conclusions arrived at in these pages, we are glad that a new edition, with the author's last revisions, is issued, and that it is to be followed by another volume on Some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion. Dr. Whately's works are all of permanent value. Their study can not but sharpen and strengthen the mind, and however they may miss, at some points, what we regard as the sense of Holy Scripture, the reverence manifested for the authority of that word of the Lord is deserving of all praise and imitation.
The publisher will allow us to direct his notice to one or two errors uvhich are important enough to be corrected on his stereotype plates. On p. 30, third line from the foot, a not is evidently wanting before
to relax.” On p. 230, eighth line from the top, “ Ænon” should read on. We have lost our reference to a few other less serious inaccuracies.
Again we are compelled to ask, why can not our publishers go to the small additional expense and trouble of indexing alphabetically a work of important reference like this? At Andover, we should
think it would be easy to find enough to do such labor. The table of contents and the side summaries are good : but they are quite insufficient for a prompt turning to any special topic or text in the volume. We contend that students of such books, as well as their cursory readers, have rights which ought to be respected.
3. — Dante, as Philosopher, Patriot and Poet. With an Analysis of
the Divina Commedia, its Plot and Episodes. By VINCENZO BOTTA. Cr. 8vo. New York: Charles Scribner & Co. 1865.
With all deference to a spicy contemporary, we doubt if almost any person of average information could have produced this volume in three weeks. If that might have sufficed to put it on paper, there is an amount of study garnered here which would require a much longer summer than this for its growth and ripening. Nor do we precisely take in the point of the criticism about the “ second-hand” quality of these materials. We suppose it hardly to be expected that any absolutely new facts or ideas concerning the subject of this monogram will turn up, though sometimes a “ German” pick axe will strike a deposit of hitherto buried ore, in the most unlikely spot. Freshness in treating old themes is to be exacted of new writers upon them: the claim of originality, in these beaten walks of literature, at once starts a suspicion of mental eccentricity and possibly aberration.
This book is a tide-mark of the world's progress. Six hundred years ago, Italy was at the sunrise of a “ revival of letters” from the dreary night which, nearly as many years before, had shut down upon the dissolution of the Roman Empire. It had been a darkness which might be felt; but it was scattering before the returning light. Europe was all astir with the new inspiration. It was the age of intellectual reconstruction. All the life which was in the old world was pouring again into the tide of men's ideas, through the recovered and popularized classic literature. Politics were undergoing a not less decided change in the direction of liberal views.
Men were beginning to look out from the ancient homestead, with a suspicion that this earth was perhaps as large again as they had thus far regarded it. They were stretching their limbs, so long bent up in painful postures, with ominous indications that, before long, the race would require more room to lie down and rise up in than had hitherto sufficed. Even the old ecclesiastical system had begun to feel the jostling of the uneasy times, and St. Peter's crown did not sit so quietly on anointed heads as a hundred or two years gone by. Just then, Dante came upon the exciting stage, born in 1265 ; and this book is one of the birthday memorials which the six hundredth an
niversary of that event has called forth with the prodigality of both an individual and a national enthusiasm.
It is remarkable that this ovation of the Italian people to their 'great poet, should have taken place in the midst of another reviving of their country as profound as was the awakening of it from former slumbers, which welcomed his birth. The Dante jubilee is one of the proofs of this new arousing. Young Italy came forth to say to the age, through this celebration, that again she is alive and on her feet, as when her illustrious son wrote his name for immortality, not as a poet only, but as a patriot statesman, on her then heroic annals. It was an act of love, almost of religious devotion. There was a more than poetic justice in the assignment of these ceremonies to his own beloved Florence, where he had lived and sung, and administered the government of the state with equal wisdom and purity; and from which, at thirty-six years of age, he had been sent forth by a hostile faction, to an exile of twenty years of noblest fortitude amidst keepest sorrows, from which death only released him.
Dante was one of the few men who not only represent all that is best in their own age, but also herald the coming fortunes of their race, as if by a kind of prophetic ordination. Without falling into a vein of blind hero-worship, one may concede his uncommon learning in literature, philosophy, science, statesmanship; his great sagacity, and remarkable powers of persuasion ; his magnificent poetic genius ; his devoutly religious spirit and life. All this he dedicated to his country's service with the heartiest zeal. Just at the era of his nation's newly begun existence, he threw himself into her history with a moulding and impelling force which has had very few parallels. No one man has ever more directly and energetically influenced his own countrymen than he. He did more to form the language of Italy to its present beauty and purity than Pascal did for the French-nearly if not quite as much as Homer did for the language of the Greeks. He opposed, with all his influence, the political designs of the Papacy, as reorganized by Gregory VII. and Innocent III. ; and though he died in the Roman communion, he was really one of the reformers inside that church before the Reformation. He had the loftiest sense of honor, an utter freedom from unworthy self-regard. What can be nobler than his response to the magnates of Florence, when they wished him to return, under the safe conduct of a general amnesty, as if a pardoned enemy of the State. “Can I not everywhere behold the mirror of the sun and the stars? speculate on sweetest truths under any sky, without giving myself up ingloriously, nay, ignominiously, to the populace and city of Florence? Nor shall I want for bread.”
All this personal greatness and goodness of his illustrious country. man is worthily commemorated by the author of the present work. In addition to this, he gives us a lucid analysis of Dante's writings, particularly of the Divina Commedia, with copious illustrative quotations. The volume is an excellent introduction to the study of that master-piece of imaginative composition. We close it with a view impression of the truth which Mendelssohn so well expresses in one of his letters from Rome : “ It is a thought fraught with exultation, that a man is capable of producing creations, which after the lapse of a thousand years, still renovate and animate others.” That is the true immortality.
4.- Sesame and Lilies. From Lectures, delivered at Manchester,
1864. By John Ruskin, M. A. 1. Of Kings' Treasuries. 2. Of Queens' Gardens. New York: John Wiley & Son.
The day has come when whatever John Ruskin may write on any subject is sure of being read. The angry dissent may be spoken; he may be sneered at; the critic may pick flaws, but the honesty, the sinplicity, the fine thoughtfulness, the right intention of his writings is patent to every one; and such is the longing in these days of surface writing for books which are made because these authors had something to say, that a book from him, now and for so long the acknowledged master of the art of making an English sentence, is a notable event in the literary world. No educated man can ignore the fact. And though the author shows in this brochure something of that all-talking egotism which is so often the attendant of riper years, he has won so high a position that it is not unpleasant, but rather the means by which we gain the every day opinion of a thoughtful man on literature and art and life; he talks familiarly with his readers ; his words have the sweet flavor of personality; and, indeed, it is one excellence of all Mr. Ruskin's books that he confides his loves and hates to his reader.
Sesame and Lilies is one of the series of works in which he has been trying to teach the English nation, from his absolute point of view, how to think and act. It is made up of two lectures delivered in Manchester in 1864, one of which is entitled, “Of Kings' Treasuries,” the other, “Of Queens' Gardens." These are the fantastic titles by which he introduces first a Discourse upon the Kingly Power of a noble Education, and secondly a Discourse upon "What special portion or kind of this Royal Authority, arising out of noble Education, may rightly be possessed by Women; and how far they also are called to a true Queenly Power.” One answers the question, Why to read; the other, What is woman's place, and how shall she be educated : and you see at once that he has chosen a practical and attractive theme; and when we add that he writes with the deep intensity of personal conviction and the careful compactness of a conscientious scholar, you need no further incentive to read and study the book. But this outline is only the frame upon which he hangs his brilliant tapestry of thoughtful word-painting. The value of good books, the difficulty of reading them so as to carry away the true, meaning of the author, the majesty of the great authors whom we look at daily upon our book-shelves, the kingly power that they confer upon us when we allow them to teach us the difference between a sensitive nobility of feeling and mere vulgarity, and England's terrible deficiency as a nation in a true sensitiveness to power in literature, or excellence in art and science, or beauty in nature, and her sordid pursuit of gain-those are the topics which Mr. Ruskin treats upon with all his well known tact and mastery. And in the second lecture, pursuing the subject in its application to woman, he defines her place and power, her suitable education, and “her queenly office with respect to the State” with a justness and correctness and delicacy which make it perhaps the finest prose tribute ever paid to woman. It honors the author's heart; it shows his nobility and greatness of heart. Much as has been said since Tennyson wrote the Princess, about the sphere and work of woman, nothing has been published since his famous lines which so pointedly and truly and naturally speak the intuitions of cultivated common sense upon this subject. The coarse platitudes of literary blue-stockings or the insane doings of masculine women are as mere heavy thunderings compared with Mr. Ruskin's keen flashing conceptions of womanly grace and beauty and power. This lecture has the delicate aroma of poetry. pictures, its felicities of phrase, its melodious sentences, its exquisitely choice and gentle culture cause you to linger upon every page. And its truths are so evidently the final thought of one whose instincts have been unusually pure, and opportunities of experience large, that no teacher of youth can rightfully neglect its study. It gives the ideal result of a true womanly culture, just lifted above the common-place of our ordinary lives. There is just enough of imagination to lend the "precious seeing to the eye." We wish it might be scattered broadcast throughout the land.