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the higher subjects of life, and it was by their own incredible zeal that they attained a considerable, though not a perfect, harmony of corresponding style. In some respects they adopted the bold naturalism of their times, but moderated and refined by an acquaintance with the great models of antiquity, and with those of the Raphael period.”
Such, in few words, was the school of the Caracci, from which, besides the founder and his two nephews and fellow-workers, Agostino and Anibale, there arose Domenichino, Albani, Guido Reni, Guerchino, Lanfranco, and others, who, whatever may be their rank as compared with the heroes of the Raphael time, have certainly never been surpassed by later painters. As the prejudices of the present day against all art which is not supposed to be the result of immediate inspiration, have led many to adopt a depreciatory view of the Bolognese school, it may not be out of place, for the benefit of those whose opinions are swayed by authority, to recall the sentiments of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the already often quoted father of English artistic criticism. In speaking of "style,” which he characterizes as “ a power over materials, whether words or colours, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed,” he says, “ In this Ludovico Caracci (I mean in his best works) appears to me to approach the nearest to perfection. His unaffected breadth of light and shadow, the simplicity of his colouring, which, holding its proper rank, does not draw aside the least part of the attention from the subject; and the solemn effect of that twilight which seems diffused over his pictures, appear to me to correspond with grave and dignified subjects, better than the more artificial brilliancy of sunshine which enlightens the pictures of Titian.” “It is our misfortune," he adds, that those works of Caracci which I would recommend to the student are not often found out of Bologna;" he enumerates them; and concludes, “I think those who travel would do well to allot a much greater portion of their time to that city than it has hitherto been their custom to bestow.” In connexion with this subject, it is not unimportant that we should remark, that the only artistic revival of our day, that of architecture, has arisen precisely from the causes we have indicated as most likely to produce it in the other arts. In connexion with certain ecclesiastical tendencies in England, a greater degree of attention began to be bestowed on the subject by the public, a few good “ Hand-books” appeared, and criticism revived to such an extent, that, as a friend once observed to us, every school-girl in England now knows more of Gothic architecture than the best architects did fifty years ago. A new class of architects consequently was called for ; nor did the supply lag behind the demand. Pugin and his followers appeared, and we have now a school of Gothic architecture at all events, which, if it wants the freshness and naïveté of a first enthusiasm, has almost atoned for the absence of these qualities by the skill and freedom with which it combines and adapts already existing ideas.
The unquestionable merits of modern landscape painting we are disposed to regard rather in the light of an original appearance than a revival of art, and we attribute them partly to the more accurate observation of nature, and more correct views of her working, both organic and inorganic, which modern science has introduced, and partly to the entirely novel manner in which the poetry of nature has been seized by Wordsworth, Coleridge, and their followers. Coleridge in his “ Hymn to the Earth,” expresses the sentiments with which the painter, as well as the poet of nature, must approach his task, when he says, “ Thrilled with thy beauty and love in the wooded slope of the
of my harp, or sustain it with musical murmurs. Into my being thou murmurest joy, and tenderest sadness Shedd'st thou, like dew, on my heart, till the joy and the bea
venly sadness Pour themselves forth from my heart in tears, and the hymn of
thanksgiving.” But whilst a seriousness of purpose, a loving and almost religious earnestness, before unknown, has been brought to bear both on the study and representation of nature in her lower manifestations, it is remarkable that whatever has reference to man as a spiritual being, and not as a mere breathing organism, is treated with a degree of frivolity which no semi-civilized race ever exhibited. Our philosophy of nature stops short whenever it arrives at the workings of spirit, and investigations into the physical principle of life, have taken the place of inquiries into the laws of mental action; our art shuns the representation of the highest form of organized existence, that in and through which alone sensuous expression can be given to spiritual qualities; and we confess that it is rather on a growing consciousness of the degrading nature of these tendencies which we imagine we perceive in many quarters, than on the circumstance that the great Exhibition of Industry is open in London, and half the world staring at our calicos and patent chubbs, that we found the hope that our national effort 'may yet, in our own day, be directed to higher aims than those which it has at present assigned itself.
The Old Testament: Newman and Greg.
Art. IV.-1. A History of the Hebrew Monarchy, from the
Administration of Samuel to the Babylonish Captivity. By FRANCIS WILLIAM NEWMAN, formerly Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and Author of " The Soul; Her Sorrows
and Her Aspirations.” London, 1847. 2. The Creed of Christendom: its Foundation and Superstructure.
By William RATHBONE Greg. London, 1851.
If some impression has been made on the minds of a few thoughtful and serious persons by the perusal of Mr. Newman's Hebrew Monarchy, it must be ascribed rather to the author's reputation for ability and learning, than to any evidence of either which the volume itself affords. The fact that he is Latin Professor in University College, London, and that he bears a high character for classical scholarship, may have predisposed some to entertain favourably his pretensions as a critic and a theologian, and to listen with deference to the cavils against sacred truth to which he has lent the prestige of his name and position, but most of which would be dismissed from the thoughts at once as utterly futile, if they occurred in the pages of an anonymous or unknown author. It is because we are well aware how liable the humility of general readers is to be thus practised upon by strong assertions, resting solely on the authority of the asserter, that we are induced to offer a few considerations by means of which even “he who occupies the room of the unlearned” may satisfy himself of the invalidity, or at least the insufficiency, of the arguments by which Mr. Newman endeavours to destroy our belief in the Old Testament, as a revelation from God. Those who are well acquainted with the subject, will perceive that these considerations are not distinguished by novelty or originality; but, then, neither are the objections to which they are opposed. If Mr. Newman will condescend to reproduce the identical arguments, or rather assertions, advanced by Paine against the divine authority of Scripture, the Professor of Latin, and late Fellow of Balliol, must be content to receive the same answers which proved sufficient to refute and silence his vulgar and ignorant predecessor.
There are some persons, we know, who look on the task of refuting objections as an idle one, and are willing to waive the whole question for and against the genuineness of Scripture bistory; affirming, with Mr. Newman in his preface, that our faith should not rest on historic records, but on the evidence afforded by the testimony of our own hearts. They forget that a religion which is sought only in the heart of each man, will be a religion of his own framing, varying with the character of each individual. It is vain to say, as many do, that the strength of Christianity rests wholly on its internal evidences, and that external ones may be thrown aside as valueless. Internal evidence is that which springs from a consideration of the intrinsic character of Christianity. How are we to know what that character is, unless we seek it in the external and historical records in which it has been handed down to us, and which profess to contain God's revealed will ? Neither can we safely take our stand upon the New Testament, and abandon the Old; for the New Testament writers have set their seal upon the Old, and the two are so closely linked together, that if one fall the other must fall with it. The task of examining the Old Testament accounts is therefore one of no common importance, and demands both candour and learning in its execution.
It is generally allowed, also, that in disputing the truth of matters of fact which have always been believed by the great mass of readers, something more than mere assertion is necessary. Be they true or false, the burden of proof lies on the side of the objector.
Both these principles are violated by this author.
Mr. Newman's judgment of the Old Testament history seems to us unfair, whether viewed as a history of human events only, or as one of events occurring under a peculiar Divine government.
Considering it, first, in a purely historical point of view, we observe that those events in the course of the narrative which strike him as at all improbable, or even about which he can discern a shade of romance, he dismisses at once as legends. It is curious that his historical knowledge should not have taught him that the history of mankind is å series of improbabilities and unexpected incidents.* If it were otherwise, indeed, and all events answered to our ideas of what is probable, might not ordinary men become prophets? A moderate share of good sense and reflection would, in that case, enable us to anticipate all the events of history, as clearly as an experienced novel-reader foresees the conclusion of a tale. And yet, how few have ever prophesied public events correctly! What human foresight could, for example, have described the events of the last three years, including, as they do, the rapid and extraordinary changes in all the chief countries of Europe ? According to Mr. Newman,
these events should be set down by posterity as legends. We may add, further, that it is too often overlooked, that in a history written by an ignorant and illiterate person, the connecting circumstances which would often explain seeming inconsistencies, are omitted or lightly passed over. Such a writer seizes
* See a very ingenious pamphlet illustrative of this, entitled, “ Historic Certainties," by “ Aristarchus Newlight."
only the most striking features of the case before him, and either forgets or does not comprehend the links which connect the principal events of human life.
Then again, considering the Jewish history, not as an account of ordinary events merely, but as mingled with numerous miraculous exertions of Divine power, this author's judgment is no less unfair : for without declaring, generally, that all miracles are à priori impossible, he proceeds practically on the supposition that any thing is more conceivable than a miraculous interposition.
This dislike to allow the possibility of a miracle is, we believe, more prevalent at the present day than is generally known, because it is oftener implied than expressed. Certain foreign writers who openly hold it, allege in defence of it, the improbability that the Creator should leave his works so imperfect as to require interferences of extraordinary power from time to time. This (they say) is inconsistent both with the wisdom and the power of the Supreme Being. But they forget how impossible it is to ascertain what is an interference with the laws of nature. May it not be doubted—to suggest one among several hypotheses—whether what we call an extraordinary interference of God's power, be not simply the result of other laws, with which we are not acquainted, and which seem to us out of the course of nature, because their sources are hidden from us, and we are only acquainted with a very small portion of that course and those laws? Many natural phenomena,-comets for example,—have been discovered, in the progress of scientific knowledge, to be no capricious interruption to the system of the universe, but a part of that system, subject to definite laws. If such discoveries are made in nature, should it not make us distrust our judgment of that other great book of Providence—the book of revealed religion, of which we can know nothing but what is directly taught us ?
We may go still further. If a brute could reason, most of the works and actions of man, even the simplest, would appear to him interruptions of the laws of nature. And the works of civilized men do appear so to savages. When America was first discovered by the Spaniards, their horsemanship and use of fire-arms were attributed by the natives to magic; and the recent accounts of Terra del Fuego, shew that its savage inhabitants imagine their European visitors to be Beings of a different order from themselves, and in a certain degree superhuman. This shews how inadequate a judge Man is of what constitutes a miracle : or rather, we may say, it proves that the term miraculous is itself relative. What is miraculous to us, may perhaps be natural to a superior race of Beings.