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home and foreign, on biblical literature, the evidences of Christianity, interpretation and dogmatic theology. They so lack an experimental and hearty sympathy with their work, that it must be taken with a cautious allowance. Many of the German biblical scholars treat the Scriptures learnedly, but professionally as authors, as they would Homer or Philo. This is not reasonable or safe. Devoutly doing the will of God, gives great insight into his Word. Who but a devoted Christian can properly expound the Gospel and Epistles of the beloved disciple? Religious writing and preaching and teaching, as a profession, with only a professional interest in it, is no way safe ; and if we mistake not, many errors in theology and religion have come into the church through unsanctified scholarship. Not that pious platitudes, and the names of the Deity, and sacred references, as common-places, make a work religious. A tone of deep, warm piety, practical godliness, and the outlines and bearings of a sound theology, may imbue and pervade a volume, that has little or nothing formally and technically religious in it. But plainly the pen that treats of holy things, to be safe and reliable, must be moved by a holy heart.
Sour GRAPES-TEETH ON EDGE. That old proverb in Israel, while wrongly applied by the Jews, for which they were rightly reproved, is as true now of transmitted character as it was of the fathers and children of Ezekiel's times. Intellectual traits have been observed to propagate themselves along the line of families and races, as certainly as the magnetized wire carries the telegram. This is very noticeable in the comparison of nations, as of the French or the Germans with the Anglo-Saxons. Certain habits or tendencies of mind become fastened, by repetition from age to age, upon the inhabitants of different countries, by which they become known in the community of the civilized world as familiarly as by their geographical location. So is it with the formation and descent of moral qualities. "False as a Carthaginian” was a proverb in
Haughty as a Turk” is another of our own times. Within a narrower limit, we often are witnesses of the same thing, The taint of avarice, of dishonesty, of licentiousness, is seen to pass on from parent to child, until spreading out into a numerous kindred, it stamps a general reputation upon the whole. This is partly the effect of example the young imitating the older, and, for aught we know to the contrary, the result also of an occult, yet real and powerful impress, of one vicious life upon others which spring from it in the order of nature. Who knows but there is a sort of spiritual photography even antedating birth, by which images are printed off in
VOL. VI.XO, XXXI.
faint lines which the after exposure to the light will turn into striking likenesses of moral deformity?
No soul is to be regarded as an independent unit, as to its antecedents or consequents. It takes and it gives hues and outlines which determine the quality of new existences. The inclination for strong drink lies, in myriads, as a predisposition of the appetite easily aroused, and throwing over its subject a lifelong dread of its power. Whether such influences are carried down through a physical or spiritual channel, or both, may be a difficult problem to solve. But no doubt is admissible as to the transmission. Parents often wonder at the quite contrary tempers of their offspring. Could they remember, with strict accuracy, the state of their own mental and moral and bodily rightness or wrongness through the past, generally and specifically, and did they fully understand the relation of this personal condition to the organisms emanating from themselves, they might conclude that it is not altogether accident, nor arbitrary fore-ordination which puts a Cain and an Abel, a Jacob and an Esau, a Joseph aud a Reuben, in the same household and brotherhoods. They would discover that it makes a vast difference whether they have eaten the sour grape or the sweet.
Contentious spirits are apt to come out of families which have vexed each other with neighborhood feuds and lawsuits, which have quarrelled for years about trifles not worthy of a second thought. Slanderous dispositions are seen to reproduce themselves in the same way: and so on indefinitely. These things are like the subtle poison which sends scrofula through a family connection, through generations; a vitiating influence in the system hard to expel but easy 10 detect.
What sort of parents John Randolph had, we have forgotten. One might think they were somewhat singular. But that this strong man was not an atheist, as well as an Ishmael, he tells us was due to his mother's teaching him, in earliest childhood, to say ;
"Our Father which art in heaven."
Most observing persons have noticed, that, in the same communily, certain families adhere to a religious or an irreligious career from age to age, bringing forward recruits, with a marked uniformity, to fill the succession of these distinctive characters. There are lineages, which, traced backward, are scarcely broken by an example of decided piety. Fathers and sons have come and gone, travelling all in the same broad road of unbelief; nothing to link their memories with the kingdom of God. They have had the same means of instruction, worship, grace as their neighbors, but unavailingly to break up this hereditary transmission of a worldly life. Peculiar
forms of error thus reproduce themselves. A strong minded ancestor has made a creed, in fact ifnot in writing, for a numerous progeny. And grand-children and their offspring will wear the impress of that deception so deeply in their souls, that it would almost seem as it a decree of heaven had drawn an impassable line between such clusters of people and a religions profession. They are like sand-plains in the midst of fertile lands. They are not the children of Seth who call on the name of the Lord, save as, here and there, some heart has been driven, by conscious want and pain, to escape from all this freezing spiritual indifference to a living Intercessor, an Almighty Friend. The opposite of this picture is equally apparent, and is one of the most beautiful in society. Causes and effects lie along this tract of thought which, in this day of reducing cverything to fixed law, are worthy of more attention than they are receiving
LANGUAGE. Does language mean any thing per se; or only what those who use it intend to signify by its phrases? If a writer be entitled to the benefit of his own definitions, however unusual, is he also entitled to the sense which he may put upon his words? Are these designed to conceal or explain thought? Readers of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables will recollect his curious chapter on the dialect of the gamins of Paris. This to them is as positive a language as it is nonsense to every body else. Raverty's Poetry of the Afghans gives us some specimens of a like metempsychosis, in another direction. It is the Sufis' mystic tongue, in which wine is devotion ; sleep, divine meditation ; perfume, hope of divine favor ; zephyrs (not the ladies', we presume) outbursts of grace; infidels, idolaters, libertines, men of purest faith ; the idol they worship, God himself ; the tavern, prayer or seclusion; beauty, divine perfection ; curls and tresses, divine and infinite glory; wantonness, drunkenness, religious fervor and exaltation. This is ingenious; and we would commend to those far away masters of it some students of this occult art among ourselves, who are busily at work in turning our theological terminology, like an old coat, inside out; or rather, perhaps, turning the whole of it out of doors, so far as any legitimate meaning is concerned. We add a brief list of words which these writers are thus prestidigitating: inspiration ; revelation : vicarious ; atonement; sin ; hell; justice ; moral law; regeneration ; holiness; religion ; God.
What they mean by these words has about as much relevancy to the facts themselves, as the jargon of Gavroche or the Sufis, to an ordinary dictionary. They are the lucus a non lucendo dialect of what the
Princeton Review calls, “the dreamy, unauthoritative pseudo-inspiration of modern mystico-transcendentalism."
THEOLOGICAL JUGGLING. A sentence in the last Christian Examiner catches our eye, which is worth a notice as illustrating the facility of drawing a very much too general inference from an admitted fact. Writing of “ Orthodox Congregationalism,” the author says that
“ However tightly tied up it is in the theory of the old theology-as appeared in its late National Council at Boston-many of its ministers possess an adroitness which those famous jugglers, the Brothers Davenport, might envy, in loosening themselves the moment attention is withdrawn, and walking at large before their audience in a freedom wholly unaccountable to those who saw them lately tied hand and foot, with their own full consent." p. 9.
We do not deny that there is something of this among us, and wherever it exists, it deserves severe reproof. But we flatly deny that it can be charged truthfully upon “many” of our ministers compared with their whole number.
Of course, there should be none of it found among honorable and Christian men. It would be well for any who may be loose in their morality at this point, to reflect how little credit they thereby are gaining with outsiders whose good opinions possibly they think to win by this jugglery. Our liberal friends should really draw a quite different conclusion from these premises — that such a Council as this of June last is one of the surest pledges how resolved the body there represented is to confine this “ adroitness" within the narrowest possible limits.
But has the Examiner forgotten the proverb about throwing stones out of a glass house? Are its people, who so stoutly claim to be the Christians of the day, par excellence, the ones to be very severe upon others in a matter like this, with the confusion worse confounded ” of its late “ Ecumenical” so freshly in memory,
and its utter failure to tie up to any sort of a creed in theology which would not suit the baldest Deism? We fancy the Liberal Christianity of the day would feel itself to be much more respectable than at present, if it had come as near to uniting, ex animo, on a Confession of Faith, as those did whom it seems disposed to regard as not much better than a troupe of acrobats.
“What,” asks Hawthorne in the Diary which the Atlantic Monthly is printing, were the contents of the burden of Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress? He must have been taken for a peddler travelling with his pack.” Doubtless ; if he had been seen walking into the sanctum of that oracle of Natural Religion.
History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rational
ism in Europe. By W. E. H. LECKY, M. A. Two Vols.
New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1866.
special reference to the Theories of Renan, Strauss and the
WHOSE is this world? By whom, and how, is it managed ? These questions underlie the scepticism and the faith of all ages. They take up the essential points of belief and unbelief. They are vital to the settlement of a sound religious foundation. They have accordingly been agitated, debated, and variously determined in successive schools and systems of philoso phy, time out of mind. Every generation has given them a fresh hearing; has canvassed them under its peculiar lights and stimulants, now to one conclusion, and anon to another. They are up for the same purpose in our day. Our scholars are handling them, in the spirit of reverent devoutness, of timid or politic compromise, of bold, defiant dogmatism. Some of the most recent and eagerly read issues of the press are controverting these matters. They are prominent in our secular
VOL. VI.-NO. XXXII.