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the Greek copies which were not to be found in them, and omitting such as were. In some instances his Latin version did not correspond with the Greek; in others the true meaning had been misquoted or misrepresented. The rest of Lee's objections related rather to matters of doctrine and opinion : Erasmus had spoken contemptuously of previous commentators; he had condemned the Church for admitting the Epistle to the Hebrews into the canon; he had asserted that the Gospel of St. Mark was nothing more than a compendium of St. Matthew's. But it was his gravest and most substantial charge that, in the Apocalypse, Erasmus, to supply the defects of his Greek Mss., had ventured on the extraordinary license of turning certain verses into Greek which he had found only in the Latin copies. Objectionable as such an act undoubtedly was, and subversive of all sound criticism and literary honesty, Erasmus had not intended to impose upon his readers. He had acknowledged the fact in his notes. It was indeed much to be wished that Erasmus had candidly admitted these accusations, instead of attempting to recriminate. They were true in the main; they could not be denied. Had he fallen back upon that line of defence which he had taken up at first; had he admitted that in so laborious a work, too rapidly completed and surrounded by numerous obstacles, it was scarcely possible to avoid omissions and errors, he would have diminished nothing of his fair fame. He chose to stand upon the defensive; to hurl back invectives at the head of Lee; and thus he gave an importance to these charges they did not intrinsically deserve. His best friends looked sad; to his enemies he had exposed an advantage of which they were not slow to avail themselves; whilst to the Gallios of this world, who regarded with supreme indifference the real question at issue, it afforded a fund of delight, to see the great Biblical scholar tormented by petty and malicious assailants. Stunica and Caranza, the successors to Lee and Standish in this inglorious warfare, were as amusing as Pasquin to infidel bishops and classic cardinals at Rome, if not for their wit, yet for their unceasing virulence.
But we must draw these observations to a close. Of the editions of the New Testament which appeared in the lifetime of Eras:pus, the fourth, published in 1527, is the most complete, as he had the advantage of the critical aids afforded by the Complutensian. In the third edition, which appeared in 1522, he reinserted, from an English Ms., the verse of the Three Witnesses. But, except for the interest which must always attach to first experiments, the Greek Testament of Erasmus has little value for the Biblical scholar of the present day. Much beyond his contemporaries in his conception of the duties of an
editor, and of the philological requirements for establishing and explaining the text of an ancient author, he fell far below the modern standard. He understood quite as well as later scholars do, that the text of the New Testament must be determined by the ancient Greek copies, supported by the earliest Latin versions and the Greek fathers. He was in some respects even less fettered than modern critics are by prejudices in favour of an authorised text or established translation. He had no leaning to the Vulgate. He was not inclined to attribute to it the praise it unquestionably deserves. The necessity of a careful description of the age and condition of the Mss. and authorities employed by him in forming his text, an indispensable part of an editor's duty,--he almost entirely overlooked. Consequently, beyond his own critical judgment and sagacity, his text rests on no satisfactory or determinable authority. He would have done more had he done less,-had he been content with a careful edition, resting on one or two good Mss. Therefore, unlike the early editions of the Greek classics, the New Testament of Erasmus is absolutely worthless for all critical purposes. Yet, strange to say, until within a very late period, it remained substantially the only form in which the original was known to the world. It was not in the execution, but in the conception of his work that he deserves our praise. He had not health, patience, or inclination for the tedious and laborious process of collating Mss. He was much more at his ease in compiling notes and bringing his vast and multifarious reading to bear on the elucidation of the history and antiquities of the New Testament. So far as vast learning can be of service, in this respect, no commentator can be compared to Erasmus. With the whole region of Latin literature he was familiar, and scarcely less at home with the most eminent of the Greek and Latin fathers
. At a time when the Greek scholars in England , might be counted on the fingers, his notes to the Greek Testament abound in quotations from Homer, the Greek tragedians, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Athenæus, Lucian, and others.
Whatever judgment we may now be inclined to pass on his work, it must be allowed the praise of being the first attempt to introduce a more diligent study of the New Testament. Luther used his labours, and proclaimed his contempt for them, in his noble commentary on the Galatians. Erasmus, he complained, stuck too much to the letter: "humana prævalent in eo plus quam divina.”* Yet, in spite of this dictum, are we not entitled to say, after three centuries' experience, that the surest sign of a barren and unreal theology is not over-attention to the critical * Luth. Epist. 29.
meaning of the original, but carelessness of the life that is in words ? The slow induction, the careful sifting comparison, the spiritual sympathy, so to speak, which alone enable a scholar to understand Plato, or a philosopher to read the material world, must surely be applied to the Greek of the New Testament if we would know its true compass and significance by a profounder insight than we have. The severe beauty of the Vulgate and our own homely and noble English version have partially set aside and obscured their original by the chain of words that come native to our thought and the long link of household associations. Such work as Erasmus's was is dreaded by many as a wanton iconoclasm, a defacing, if not a destruction, of the holiest forms of faith. Perhaps the very fear is the best argument that the task needs to be done again. Of all phases of bibliolatry, that which prefers the copy to the original is surely the strangest. For ourselves, we can only express our firm confidence that the Gospels will never lose by being studied in the very words of the Evangelists.
Chronicles of Carlingford: Salem Chapel. W. Blackwood and
Sons. WITHOUT presuming to lift the veil which covers all anonymous authorship, we shall venture to assume that no one but a woman could have written Salem Chapel. Its merits and its faults are not easily explicable on any other ground. The delicate observation and subtle analysis of character, no less than the incapacity for broad effects, are alike feminine. A man could hardly have painted men so ill, or women so well. Nevertheless we start from this assumption chiefly to vindicate our right of calling the novelist “she” by hypothesis, and without much caring though the woman should turn out to have “a great peard under her muffler.” What we have to say concerns rather the substance of the book than the individuality of its author.
Salem Chapel consists of two different and incongruous parts,- the plot of a sensation novel, and a series of descriptions of the inner life of a dissenting congregation. The plot may be dismissed summarily as not only bad but unnecessary.
It assumes a young girl of puritan education and high character going off on a most improbable story with her lover, who, unknown to her, is a married man; it rescues her by the intervention of the lover's wife, who shoots her husband in his room at an inn, a few hours only after she has traced him there, and with so much ingenuity as to defy discovery; and it represents the authorities as desisting from all inquiry on the simple statement of the wounded man, that he exonerates one person who has been wrongfully apprehended, and that he will give no further particulars. The worst of it all is, that these improbabilities, and many pages of horrors piled upon horrors, terror, despair, and suspense to the innocent victims of Colonel Mildmay's crime, only divert the reader from the main purpose of the book. For its purpose, which the plot rather impairs than strengthens, is to show the weakness of enthusiasm, refinement, and mere well-meaning, in contact with the vulgar realities of every-day life. The hero, Mr. Vincent, has come down fresh from Homerton to preside over the destinies of Salem chapel, and, as he believes, to sustain the cause of Nonconformity against the dead-weight of a corrupt Church establishment. He is disgusted by his vulgar deacons, who tell him to his face that he is their servant; he is indifferent to the senior deacon's daughter; his heart is captive to the great lady of the town, the Anglican Lady Western; and he sways backwards and forwards between his habits of old thought and his taste; a smile from Lady Western, or a rough speech from the butterman, pretty much determining his allegiance. Then comes the great trial of his sister's unexplained elopement, followed by her apparent complicity in a murder. The routine of chapel work becomes doubly odious under great mental anxiety; and while he grows in breadth and spiritual insight, he is less fitted than ever to cope with the demands of his flock for visits and tea-meetings. Gradually it flashes upon him that “a cure of souls cannot be delegated to a preacher by the souls themselves who are to be his care.” He resigns his charge, and turns literary man. The moral is not offensively obtruded; but it reads suspiciously, at least, like a special pleading for an established church.
This under-current of theological purpose has a little impaired the unity of the book, while it has probably heightened its interest. It is a palpable fault that Vincent is made too much a gentleman for his position, in order that the sharp contrasts of refinement and vulgarity may be better brought out. Men equally sensitive to interference are no doubt born in every section of society; but such men would be gratified and conciliated by much of the vulgar kindness that stifles Vincent,
It is surely a little overstrained, when the minister thrills “with offence and indignation” because pretty Miss Phæbe Tozer brings him round, soon after his arrival, a shape of jelly " that was over supper last night.” A more genial man would probably take the whole affair in the spirit of simple goodnature that prompted the gift; and it is scarcely fair to mix up the deficiencies of an over-sensitive temperament with the faults of the Voluntary system. After all
, there are many parts of England where the clergy of the Establishment live on the same homely and cordial footing with their parishioners. But, in fact, Vincent's nature is throughout over-wrought, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish whether the author means him to be laughed at or admired. His innocent entanglement in the draught-net of Lady Western's admirers; the curious interweaving of his convictions and his little social annoyances; his hysterical fits of passion, and helplessness when the time for action comes, are all true to the life of a weak, and in some respects a ridiculous, man only. He is always giving a subdued groan, or straying into the clerical counterfeit of an oath, or grasping hands“ in an overflow of gratitude and compunction. There is something positively revolting and most unmanly in the scenes where he threatens Mrs. Hilyard with denouncing her to the police, not from any stern sense of duty or any urgent need of clearing his sister's fame, but rather from an impulse to satisfy himself by doing something, and latterly even from a certain hardness of mood that would like a victim. Yet we hold, on the whole, that the author intended
Vincent's as the type of a high character. As a woman, she perhaps overrates the interest that his power of loving genuinely lends him in the eyes of half the world; but, as an artist
, she was right in giving consistency to his character by at least one strong sentiment. Not that his religious feelings are in. sincere, but they are loose colours, and will not stand the test of rough weather. The man is unable to pray or preach out of himself; and his troubles are not disturbing, but controlling, elements in his speculation. All this makes him the more genuine and effective, but the less real. It is impossible to overrate the advantage for an orator of being able to transfuse his personal resentments or his last experiences into his pleadings for a great cause ; but the power cannot in its very nature be longer-lived than the man's hatreds or sufferings, We only know Vincent in a short novel that concerns itself with some two months of his career. The accident of an uneventful or a changeful life must, we may be sure, have determined his after-history; and if he did not run the
gamut of Protestant variations, we may infer that his home was quiet and