Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

REVUE CHRETIENNE, November 15, 1864.-1. RossEEUW ST. HILAIRE, The

Battle of Lepanto. 3. GERMOND, Sainte-Beuve's “ Nouveaux Lundis,"

(New Mondays.) 3. DELMAS, Character in France. December 15, 1864.–1. PRESSENSE, To the Readers of the Revue Chre

tienne. 2. WADDINGTON, Mignet's Eloges Historiques, (Historical Eulogies.) 3. RUPPET, Pietro Paolo Vergerio. 4. ARBONSSE BASTIDE, The National Synods of the Reformed Church of France, according to

the new work of M. de Felice. January 5, 1865.—1. Kuhn, The New Critical School. 2. J. DE SEGNES,

Ootemporaneous Materialism. 3. COVARDA, Letter on Italy. The letter on Italy in the January number of the Revue Chretienne gives a very clear and comprehensive view of the religious parties now existing among the Italian people. The author distinguishes four such parties : 1. The Clerical or Papal Party, the most numerous and strongest, which still rules over the ignorant mass, and which owes its political power to its alliance with despotism, to the mere force of habit, to the great ability with which it has known how to stifle opposition and to identify itself in the eyes of the masses with Christianity. 2. The National Party, comprising the great majority of the educated men which demands, without working for it, the reformation of the Church, but a reformation purely disciplinary, and by no means essential, for which the doctrines of the Church of Rome are always sacred, eternal, unassailable, which still entertains the great fallacy of a reconciliation between Catholicism and liberty, and which from all these reasons, as well as on acconnt of its superficiality, is justly termed, by 'a gifted writer on Italian affairs, the “undefipable party.” 3. The Philo sophical Party, composed of the ardent champions of democracy, of those bold and ardent intellects which, passing from one extreme to the other, reject all positive religion. 4. The Protestant Party, little numerous, little acquainted with the language, the customs, the wants, the needs, the prejudices of the Italians, too dependent upon foreigners, too much subject to divisions, but strong by its zeal and by its open advocacy of the principle of a separation between Church and State. Such writers as Passaglia and Liverani are included by the writer in the Clerical party, because, though rejecting the demands of the ultramontanists, they continue to adhere to the fatal doctrine of a close alliance between the state and the papacy. Altogether the author distinguishes three schools within the clerical party: the ultramontane school, which wishes the absolute fusion of the two powers, and which is represented in Italy by the Civilta Cattolica of Rome, the Armonia of Turin, and other papers; the moderate or orthodox school, comprising the majority of the Italian clergy, which distinguishes the two powers in their attributes, but unites them on the same head; and the liberal school, separating the two governments, but on condition that they be indissolubly united by concordats. Under the head of the National party the author treats of the views and the writings of Rosmini, Gioberti, and Mamiani, whom he regards as the representative men of three different schools in this party. The chief aim of all is the unity of the Italian nation, but they differ in their views about the relation of the Church to the State. One school would subject the Church to the State; another would make the civil power the secular arm of the Church; and the third, regarding both powers as being equally of divine origin, recommends the moral union of both.

While both the clerical and the national party are in favor of a greater or lesser union between the two powers, the philosophical (ultra-liberal, democratic) and the Protestant party are in favor of separation. The Italian democrats preach an open war against the Church of Rome. One of their prominent champions, Philip de Boni, the translator of Rénan, has published a work, entitled Italy and the Roman Church, in which he attempts to show that the existence of the Italian nation is not possible without the destruction of Popery, and in which he, therefore, demands that one of the chief aims of the Democratic party be a combat against the ruling Church. As the Roman Church alone among the relig. ious denominations persists in denouncing civil and religious liberty, he would refuse to it the liberty which he concedes to every other form of religion. In this opinion de Boni is, however, not supported by all the leading men of his party. Thus one of the ablest democratic statesmen of Italy, Montanelli, in his work on the Empire, the Papacy, and Democracy in Italy," says: “Whatever may be the conduct of the pope and the court of Rome, Italian democracy ought never to abandon its old principle, the separation of the two powers. Woe to us if we should not know how to respect the principle of the liberty of conscience. A pope imprisoned or exiled, a persecuted clergy, the believers frightened, all this charm of persecution would produce a terrible reaction against the most salutary reforms."

The Protestant party is as yet the smallest and weakest; but by organizing everywhere evangelical congregations independent of the state, does more than any other party toward the actual introduction of the separation of Church and State.

ART. IX.-QUARTERLY BOOK-TABLE.

Religion, Theology, and Biblical Literature.

The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ: A Complete Critical Examination of

the Origin, Contents, and Connection of the Gospels. Translated from the German of J. P. LANGE, D.D., Professor of Divinity in the University of Bonn. Edited, with additional notes, by the Rev. Marcus Dons, A.M. In six volumes. 12mo. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. London:

Hamilton & Co. Dublin : John Robertson & Co. 1864, Dr. Lange, as a theological and biblical scholar, looms up into special eminence at the present time among German divines. He is a Prussian, born in 1802, finished his university course at Bonn in 1825, was appointed professor in the place of the noted Strauss in 1841, and to his present chair at Bonn in 1854. Of the great Bibelverk now being published under his hand in Germany, and republished here by Dr. Schaff, we speak upon another page. The six volumes under our present notice form one of the most important works of the day. It goes over elaborately and with unlimited completeness the entire Gospel history, and so resolves all the objections of Straussian and other criticism, both destructively refuting their every utterance, and constructively demonstrating the sacred narratives to possess obligatory claims upon our most rational faith. What Neander's life of Christ proposed to do briefly, what the monographs of Tholuck and countless others proposed to aid partially, all that Dr. Lange here proposes to do exhaustively, completely, monumentally. The attacks made in a former day against Christianity upon historical grounds were met exhaustively in their day by the massy work of Lardner, of which the immortal manual of Paley was a most masterly compression. Against the philosophico-critical attacks made by the infidelity of the present day Dr. Lange opposes the great work under our notice. How complete and how conclusive it is, its readers must judge for themselves; how successful its final results, the future must show.

The following criticism from the Scottish “ British and Foreign Evangelical Review, we adduce to show how others estimate the work and similar productions from German sources :

Two extremes have been adopted in this country with regard to the theological literature of Germany. Some have denounced it as altogether bad, and have congratulated themselves on being innocent of the least acquaintance with it. Others, again, have rushed into an excess of admiration, and have shown themselves ready to swallow everything, however crude or monstrous, that came to them bearing the impress of German scholarship. But, as usual, the truth lies between these two extremes. Only ignorance or prejudice of the most hopeless character will deny that much which is permanently valuable has issued from the ever-laboring theological press of Germany. On the other hand, it is equally certain that å vast amount of learned rubbish has proceeded from the same source.

In fact, the proportion of the vile to the precious is here exceedingly great. There is a large number of German theological writers whose works yield but the smallest percentage of what is solid, valuable, and true, and whose laborious tomes might, with no great disadvantage to the world, at once be consigned to the depths of the sea. And there is hardly one even of the best of them but mixes up some proportion of what is useless or mischievous with what is good and instructive. Mystical, speculative, capricious, prolix, and such like epithets, are largely applicable to many of their best writers; while such terms as daring, unscriptural

, absurd, and even impious, may too justly be adopted as descriptive of others.

We think it of some importance that an accurate estimate of German theological literature should now begin to be diffused among us. Of the learning and research wbich it in general displays there can be but one opinion. But too often these qualities are unaccompanied either by soundness of judgment or soundness in the faith. We venture to say that from no department of literature could a larger amount of puerility and absurdity be gathered than from the writings of erudito German theologians. Yet there has prevailed among us for many years an almost superstitious reverence for all that came to us from this quarter. The silliest books have met with translators, and the most baseless and spurious have obtained currency and reputation, simply because they issued from the mint of some extrav. agant German divine. There has been such a flow of translations from the continent, that native original scholarship has been all but swamped. And our German friends themselves appear to have suffered from the idolatry which has thus been shown them. They seem very rarely to look beyond their own ranks, or to deem any theological literature which our country has produced worthy of the least consideration. "Mehr Geld als Wissenschaftare the somewhat contemptuous terms in which the youth of Germany are accustomed to refer to England; and by the "voluntary humility" which we ourselves display, much is done to foster this spirit of contempt for the learning and labors of English theologians, which has in a degree altogether unmerited taken root in the minds of our continental cousins.

The work of Dr. Lange on the Life of Christ is undoubtedly a very favorable specimen of German criticism and research. Sound in all essential points of doctrine, its breadth of scholarship is also very imposing, and its discussions of most of the difficulties connected with the Gospels satisfactory and complete. But in the six volumes, and nearly three thousand pages, of which, in its English dress, the work consists, there is a sad waste of words. The result is small compared with the process ; and the reader has often reason to complain of the long chase which the author leads him in pursuit of what at last proves of little value. There is much in these volumes which is totally beside the mark, and which no one but a German divine would have thought it worth while to write. Great must have beeu the trial to both translators and editor, in faithfully reproducing the frequently long-winded and all but resultless dissertations of the original. We think they have been needlessly punctilious in this respect, and that a well-executed condensation of the work would have been of more practical utility than the thousands of pages which they have given us.-P. 208.

There is some truth in the charge of prolixity. We object to no length necessary to the exhaustive treatment of the subject. Somewhere that fullness ought to exist. But it is unquestionably true that Dr. Lange might be profitably compressed. His whole might be said in two thirds his space, if not half. But have patience with his diffuseness, beår gently an occasional crotchet, accept a variety of novel terms, learn to glide your eye rapidly over his diffuse mysticisms, and you will on the whole find a grand comprehensive view of the Gospel history. You will feel that from its many-sided battlements the holy Record can fling defiance to its beleaguring assailants. "A strong fortress is our God."

FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XVII.—20

A Critical and Grammatical Commentary of the Paulino Epistles. With a

Revised Translation. By Right Rev. CHARLES J. ELLICOTT, D.D., Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. 8vo., pp. 265. Andover: Warren F. Draper. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. New York: Hurd & Houghton. Philadelphia : Smith, English, & Co. Cincinnati: G. 8. Blanchard.

1865. To Bishop Ellicott must be assigned the first rank, if not the first place in the first rank of English biblical scholarship. The series of commentaries on the Pauline Epistles are in the highest style of critical exegesis; so high, indeed, that rightly or wrongly he has felt constrained by friendly criticisms to compromise with the humble capacity of his audience, and make a more sparing use of those expressive old technicals, which enabled him to place his results in the most compact shape. Mr. Ellicott's genius is endowed with the most opposite qualities. His imagination and feeling are intense, yet his patience of analysis is unbounded. His exegesis is at once dry and glowing. It is microscopic; not because the critic is cold and mechanical, but because to his ardent soul the ultimate particle of sacred thought revealable by only the most perfect lens is infinitely more precious than gold. To appreciate and enjoy Cicero was with Quinctilian a test of true intellectnal taste; to study, enjoy, and fully appropriate Ellicott in these commentaries is the prerogative of a true biblical scholar. And yet to the popular preacher, who wishes to preach, as far as posrible, from the text exactly as the apostle wrote, and from the inspired mind exactly as the apostle thought, these exegeses are a rare aid and insurance.

To the translations which serve as the English result of Ellicott's labors and the appendix to his volume, a special attention is due. To these a large body of notes is subjoined, consisting mainly of parallel passages of translation taken from the various old English versions. These, while valuable and suggestive in themselves, evince what resources the writer possesses, with what diligence he lays them under contribution, and of what careful collation his translation is the result.

It is highly appropriate that this product of rich Christian scholarship should be issued by the Andover press. Mr. Draper has given the work with a becoming neatness of externals, a beautiful type, and, we trust, with most sacred accuracy of text. A wide circulation of these commentaries will be creditable to the sacred scholarship of our country. We may add that Mr. Draper's catalogue of publications would receive a more enlarged patronage if it were better known within the limits of our denomination. We have already noticed Ellicott's previous notes on the Epistles, his

« ForrigeFortsæt »