Изображения страниц

this article to the Roman Catholics was meant, no doubt, to be respectful; but the term "Romish" has been so long used as a term of reproach, that it always has something of the force of a sneer or a hiss. It is the simple dictate of Christian courtesy to apply to the members of any religious body the name by which they wish to be known.

THE doctors have been experimenting with music upon the maniacs of Blackwell's Island. Mr. J. N. Pattison, the pianist, furnished the music; and the effect of it was to excite some of the patients, and to soothe others. The Tribune tells of one woman who had been in a raving condition for months, and who was brought into the room in great excitement:

"For several minutes she sat rigid and motionless, gazing at the instrument. Gradually the wild look melted out of her eyes, and an expression of intelligence stole over her features. The Irish jig, which affected her companion unfavorably, moved her to smiles, and a few negro melodies caused the moisture to gather in her eyes. Dr. Strew spoke to her, and much to his surprise she answered him sweetly. She asked for Home, Sweet Home,' which was played for her. She answered several questions with apparent sanity, although for months before she had not given an intelligent answer to any question. The music, which had so powerful an effect in rousing her mental faculties, seemed, however, to weaken her body. She was seized with nervous tremors and went out weak and trembling

from excitement."

WHEN ten thousand Socialists in Berlin follow one of their leaders to his grave; when news comes that in several of the cities of our land

The pro

"We are


"We We are go

the Communists, by thousands, are organizing and drilling in the manual of arms; when we learn that the head-quarters of the International is in New York, and that a deliberate attempt is making to overthrow our political system, it may well be asked whither we are tending. gramme of the Socialists is not a very definite one, but it is sufficiently extensive. going to organize a social and political tion," says their leader in San Francisco. have the power in our hands. ing to break up all corporations. We will insist on equal taxation, and if we get our governor we will arm all the citizens. We will assess the State of California a couple million dollars." About five thousand persons, all enthusiastic in their approval, listened to this speech. In Chicago and in St Louis the Communistic element is equally strong. It is about time that the people of the United States had begun to look into this business of Communism.

THE Fall River defalcations have shocked a community that had grown stolid under the repetition of such horrors. The failure of three large corporations, the closing of five mills, the enforced idleness of two thousand operatives, and the financial ruin of many business men connected

with the wrecked corporations are the immediate results of these crimes. For five years Chace had been freely using the money of his company in his own private speculations; and Hathaway had been practicing, with very indifferent success, the methods of the Credit Mobilier. More than a million dollars has been embezzled by these two men. Yet these men were only the Treasurers of their companies. Over them were Boards of Directors whose business it was to know all the financial affairs of the corporations. If they had done their duty this crime could not have been committed. Of course the directors being stockholders are punished for their neglect, but there are stockholders who were not directors, and these have a right to feel that the directors are, to an important degree, participes criminis. The undertaking of the Communists "to break up all corporations " is likely to be superfluous. The corporations will destroy themselves and that speedily, unless there is more vigilance and fidelity in their boards of trust.

THE attempt of some good people in Pennsylvania to make cremation an indictable offence is not judicious. Without doubt it is inspired by a religious sentiment. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body, as it is understood by many, is set at naught by the process of cremation. They cannot understand how a body that has been burned can be raised" again. But it should be remembered that Providence has permitted the burning of many good Christians in one kind of conflagration or another, and if there is a resurrection for these, there surely may be for those whose bodies are burned after death. A very little knowledge of chemical laws would also make it plain that the physical difficulties in the way of the resurrection are no greater in the case of the bodies that are burned than in the case

of those that are buried. There is, however, a sentimental objection to burning the dead that For most people will not easily be overcome. there is a sad pleasure in connecting the memory of their dead with some definite locality. In keeping the grave they keep the remembrance green. Their affection finds expression in beautifying the places where they have placed the bodies of those whom they have lost. Love as well as reverence seeks a shrine. And because of this rooted feeling of the human heart cremation will not at present make much headway, unless, indeed, some unwise people like these Pennsylvania Christians, should undertake to suppress it by force. That kind of treatment might cause it to spread with considerable rapidity.

THE Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women is making an attempt to secure the endowment of a professorship in the Boston University whose chair shall be always filled by a woman. Women have equal privileges

with men as students in this university; they are represented on the Board of Trustees, and in the faculties of three of the Schools. But the School of Liberal Arts does not enjoy the services of any woman as instructor, and the Trustees are ready to engage that if the requisite fund for a professorship in this department shall be raised, they will apply the income of it from year to year to the support of a suitable woman, who shall have the same official rights and privileges as other members of the faculty. What this professor is to teach we do not learn-womanhood, possibly; as that is a branch of education somewhat neglected. But there are plenty of women who are abundantly competent to teach the highest branches that are taught in the Boston University; and while the proposition of Mrs. Claflin, Miss Phelps, and their associates on the committee is creditable to their philanthropy, the acceptance of it on the part of the Trustees indicates at once their liberality and their shrewd

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

and independent use of its power." But all this, of course, he must say. The significant thing is that he only gives three or four lines to a topic on which Pius would have expended a solid column. It is evident that he means to keep out of politics, and devote himself to the spiritual concerns of his Church.

DISRAELI seems bound to fight. He cannot hold his office if he does not, and he is too ambitious to retire humiliated from the Government. So he has managed to stir up an intense war feeling in England; the preparations for fighting are going on with great vigor, and it is doubtful, now, whether a conflict can be averted. But it will be a wicked and needless war, and ought to bring everlasting disgrace upon those who, for selfish reasons, have pushed England into it.

THE authorship of "Philochristus," mentioned in another place, was a secret that would not keep. Another book of the same author, "Through

Nature to Christ,"-is so much like this in its point of view that the critics were quickly put on the right scent. The author is the Rev. Edwin A. Abbott, head master of the City of London School,‚—a clergyman of the English Church and a late Hulsean lecturer. The other book to which we have referred was written to prove that Christ is a proper object of worship.


THERE is yet no sign of an end to the making of books about Jesus of Nazareth. After all that has been written on this theme, a new biography, or even a fresh critical essay, if fairly done, has about as clear a guaranty of sale as a new novel. With much less of heralding than has been vouchsafed it, "Philochristus "I would, therefore, have had a fair promise of a wide reading: the popularity that is pretty sure to overtake it will be due, however, not wholly to its theme nor to the way in which it has been brought before the public, but to its own merits. Of all the lives of Christ that have been written it is really one of the most notable.

The book is dedicated "To the Author of 'Ecce Homo,' not more in admiration of his writings than in gratitude for the suggestive influence of a long and intimate friendship." This dedication serves to indicate at once the intellectual and the theological status of the writer. We are pretty sure at the start that one who stands in such a

1 Philochristus: Memoirs of a Disciple of the Lord. Boston: Roberts Brothers. Springfield: Whitney & Adams.

relation to Professor Seeley is likely to be a thinker and a scholar; and that his treatment of Christianity and of its Founder will exhibit an open mind and a devout feeling.

Philochristus is the name assumed by one of the seventy disciples of Christ; and the book purports to be a memorial of the life of this disciple, committed to writing by himself about fifty years after the death of Christ. In the prefatory epistle Philochristus tells "the saints of the Church in Londinium," for whom his memoirs were prepared, that he had long been minded to make some record of the life of Christ; but that when he undertook to write-"behold it was an hard matter to set forth such an image of the Lord Jesus as should be according to the truth, and yet not altogether too bright for mortal eye to look upon and love. Therefore at the last," he continues, "when I perceived that it was not given unto me to portray any character of the Lord as he was in himself, I determined to set forth an history of my own life; wherein, as in a a mirror, may perchance be discovered some lineaments of the countenance of Christ, seen as by reflection in the life of one that loved him."

Such is the simple machinery of this book; and its adaptation to the writer's purpose soon be comes manifest. The story of the life of Philochristus first sets before us in a series of vivid pictures something of the social and religious condition of the Jewish people at the time of Christ's coming. Just as Mrs. Charles has shown us in the "Schonberg-Cotta Family" what the people of Germany were thinking of and hoping for before the Reformation, so the author of "Philochristus" has set before us the inner life of devout Jews at the time of the advent. The false Christs that were constantly arising to the hope of the enslaved people; the strenuous faith with which, in spite of one failure after another, they still clung to the expectation of a Redeemer; the burdensomeness of the Law with the refinements and traditions of the Scribes, and the growing feeling that a righteousness better than this tedious observance must be revealed,-all this in the simple narrative of this little book is made distinct and real. The manner in which the law was made of none effect by the traditions of the elders is clearly shown. The law limiting a Sabbath day's journey to two thousand paces was evaded by the Scribes after this manner: "On the evening before the Sabbath they would place small pieces of meat distant two thousand paces from each other, on the road whereon they desired to journey. Where a man's meat is, said they, there is his home. So when they were come in their journeying to the first piece of meat they would say, 'Now I am at my home, and may walk yet another two thousand paces.' And so walking from this home to other homes if need were, they walked as far as they listed. This mixing of distances they called erubh or 'mixture,' and the device remaineth unto this day." Not only the insincerity but the inhumanity of the Scribes had begun to be felt as a grievous burden by many of the people. Philochristus was sitting one Sabbath day upon a house-roof at Capernaum when a Greek merchant begged to be allowed to cross the water to Bethsaida where his boy was dying. But the devout inhabitants threatened to stone the sailors if they launched a boat before the sun went down, and the poor man, distracted by his grief, was not allowed to go to the death-bed of his Such a subordination of humanity to a cumbersome ritual, when coupled with the hypocrisy which ritualism always engenders, had caused many of the more ingenuous and upright Jews to question the authority of the Scribes and the obligation of the commandments laid down by them. Such questionings were denounced, of course, by the more bigoted of the teachers as little short of blasphemy, and were discouraged by the holiest among them with that argument of conservatism which is so familiar in these days. To some urgent inquiries of Philochristus, Jonathan, the son of Ezra answered in a gentle voice:


"My son, thou knowest the sayings of the Elders, the first of the sayings of the Wise: Be deliberate in judgment, and raise up many disciples, and make a fence to the Law. But thou, O my son, wouldst fain pull down fences. But if we begin to destroy a part of the Law who shall stay the hand of the destroyer? And in the end we shall be as the Gentiles which have no law. Is it not better to be too careful rather than to be too careless? Is it not better to have too many fences rather than to have too few?" This is not an imaginary argument, for all the sayings of the Scribes quoted in this book are taken from their own writings. And there is a melancholy interest in finding that a plea so familiar was urged so long ago in behalf of such a cause, and in knowing that in all the ages of the world ideas and institutions that have become a burden and a curse have been protected behind just this line of defense by sincere and devout men.

The coming of John the Baptist, and the connection of his work both with the patriotic and with the religious expectations of his countrymen are set before us in a strong light by the narrative of Philochristus, who soon becomes one of John's disciples. The teaching of John makes the way of life plainer to him, but while he is pondering the words of the Forerunner he is summoned to Alexandria, where he hears a great debate between the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophers that greatly unsettles his faith, and where, for the resolving of his doubts, he seeks the instruction of Philo. All this part of the narrative is only dramatized history; for the discourses of the Epicureans and the Stoics as well as the conversations of Philo are carefully gathered from the ancient writings. But it serves to show us what preparation was made in the minds of many devout and scholarly Jews for the doctrine of Christ-to indicate the way in which the soil was made ready for the planting of the good seed of the kingdom.

In the perplexity and despair that have sprung from baffled hopes and contradictory teachings and unsatisfied yearnings, Philochristus at length betakes himself to Jesus of Nazareth whose fame as a teacher and prophet is rapidly growing, and whose power in the healing of a demoniac he has already witnessed. His first meeting with the Savior, the instant surrender of his thought and life to Him who in this narrative everywhere appears as "the Wonderful, the Counselor," are described with great delicacy and power. Jesus goes home with his new disciple and heals his mother of a grievous illness that very night. From this hour the bond of fellowship is never broken.

The narrative of the Savior's life is of course largely a paraphrase of the synoptic Gospels; though light is thrown from many sources upon the New Testament story. The supernatural ele

[ocr errors]

ment in the Gospels is by no means eliminated; in the healing of demoniacs, especially, is the obvious meaning of the sacred record most clearly endorsed. There are, however, portions of this record in which a natural or a spiritual turn is given to a miraculous story. For example; the feeding of the five thousand is described as the ministering of the "Bread of Life" to the multitude. The people were separated into fifties and bundreds and taught rather than fed by the disciples. So, also, the drowning of the swine after the healing of the Gadarene demoniac is represented as part of the hallucination of the demoniac himself. He thought himself possessed of the devil in the form of a legion of swine; and when the Savior spoke to him he said that "he saw the three thousand swine go forth and run, first upward, and then violently down from the cliff, even to the abyss." Such a treatment of the Gospel narratives indicates no lack of faith in the supernatural, but presupposes a view of inspiration quite unlike that usually entertained by Orthodox Christians.

The fond and eager expectations of his disciples that Jesus would redeem the Jewish people from the Roman bondage, and their impatience at his long delay, as well as the enmity of the Jewish hierarchs and its causes are vividly brought before us. The scenes at the entrance of Jesus into

Jerusalem, and the events of his trial, his death, and his resurrection, all gain new distinctness of meaning from the setting here given to them. The picture of Jesus is one of great dignity and beauty; those "lineaments of his countenance that Philochristus shows us can only bring him

nearer to our love.

The question will be asked by all "Evangeli

cal" readers whether the Jesus of this book is divine, in their understanding of that word. Their first impression will be that He is not. For we find him coming gradually, as it would appear, to a consciousness of his own character and mission; "learning obedience," as the motto on the title page has it, "from the things which he suffered." Omniscience does not always seem to be ascribed to him in this story; though supernatural power clearly does belong to him. The theory of the Kenosis, held by many orthodox scholars, by which Christ is represented as having laid aside His omniscience when he came to earth, would, however, agree with the representation of Him here given. And in the last chapter which describes "How Jesus now ruleth the world, sitting on the right hand of the Father in Heaven," language is applied to Christ which one who did not believe in His deity could scarcely

have used.

Only the Synoptic Gospels are used in this narrative. The events mentioned only in the fourth Gospel do not appear in it. John the son of Zebedee is frequently referred to, but it is Nathaniel

rather than John, who in the conversation of the disciples, shows the deepest spiritual insight. Quartus, the Alexandrian, presumably the one to whom Paul makes reference in his letter to the Romans, is also a prominent character; and it is in his mouth that most of the rationalizing arguments are put.

The book will be regarded by many conservative theological teachers as a dangerous one, and this not so much because it withholds from Jesus Christ the honor which they think belongs to him, as because it implies a theory of inspiration that does not consist with theirs. The person of our Lord it invests with the highest sacredness, but the materials of the New Testament Scriptures it treats with great freedom. It is, however, plain that it is the work of a reverent and scholarly writer, whose thorough familiarity with Jewish literature and with the history of the time when our Lord was on the earth, have enabled him to throw much light upon the story of the Savior's life and death. There is no trace of affectation in the archaism of the narrative, and no note of pedantry in the scholarship that illuminates its pages; but the artless story will be read with delight even by those who do not assent to all its implications.

DR. WHITON takes the opportunity afforded him by the publication of a second edition of his treatise on Eternal Punishment! to add a preface in which some of the objections to his argument are replied to. Chief among these is the statement that if the endless duration of punishment is not definitely announced in the Bible, then the endless duration of blessedness is not assured, since the same word describes both heaven and hell. To this criticism he makes the following


"It is quite one thing to admit (as this Essay most distinctly admits in Chapter III.), the tendency toward permanence that character, whether sinful or righteous, always exhibits; and another thing to assert, dogmatically, that a perfect parallel exists between the processes of spiritual life and those of spiritual death; or that the unnatural development of sin must be endless, because the development of righteousness will be endless. If it be antecedently as probable that God will evermore uphold in being a soul irrecoverably involved in the processes of 'æonian destruction' (2 Thess. i. 9.) as it is that He will perpetuate, according to specific promise (John xiv. 19), the immortality of a soul healthfully developing the 'æonian life' through Christ; then and not otherwise the inference of an endless misery

from an endless happiness may have some ra

1 Is "Eternal" Punishment Endless? Answered by a Re-statement of the Original Scriptural Doctrine. By an Orthodox Minister of the Gospel. Second Edition. Boston: Lockwood, Brooks & Co. Springfield: Whitney and Adams.

tional foundation." In other words: Let it be granted that the endlessness of heaven is not affirmed in the Bible. That is a truth that does not need affirmation. In the nature of things virtue is immortal. "The glory of going on" is part of her dower. Sin, on the other hand, is naturally self-destructive. The tendency of the soul that sins is toward extinction. Knowing what we do about virtue and its natural tendencies and about God's relation to it, we could not believe that a perfectly virtuous society would ever cease to exist. On the other hand, knowing what we do about sin and its natural results, and about the relation of God to sin, we could not believe, unless it was expressly revealed to us, that a society of which sin was the organizing principle would not come to an end. In the absence of any definite statement in the Bible, therefore, there would be an overwhelming probability of the endlessness of heaven, and no probability whatever of the endlessness of hell. If the Bible does reveal the fact that hell is endless that of course, settles the matter with those who accept the Bible as authority; but the inference to which Dr. Whiton replies is not valid, as he clearly shows. The question which Dr. Whiton considers in this little book is, "What does the Bible teach concerning the duration of punishment?" The ethical argument is fundamental, as Dr. Porter has shown; but the Scriptural argument is also important; and while many of our readers will not agree with Dr. Whiton in his interpretation of the Bible, none of them can fail to admire the candor and moderation with which his argument is conducted.

"A FANTASY revealed to the writer while listen ing to the performance of an extraordinary musical composition "-such, according to the author's own account, is "Seola." We are ready to believe that the performance which could have inspired such a production was extraordinary. The prelude to the "Creation," one of Strauss's waltzes, a scrap of a symphony of Saint Saens, and Wagner's Centennial March, all played simultaneously in a small room, might have given birth to this "fantasy." The book is not destitute of imagination, and the notes exhibit some curious learning; but the imagination runs wild, and the materials are thrown together in grotesque disorder. The theory on which the book is based is derived from a familiar exegesis of Gen. vi., in which the marriage of the "sons of God" with the "daughters of men" is narrated. These "sons of God," according to the theory of this book, were "Devas 99 or wicked angels; and the progeny of this alliance, called "Davands," were a race of creatures with magnificent bodies but corrupt spirits. Seola, the heroine of the story,

1 Seola. Boston: Lee & Shepard. Springfield: Whitney & Adams.

was one of the daughters of men. Her father was Aleemon, the brother of Noah. Seola was woed by Hesperus, who stood next in rank to Lucifer, the prince of the Devas. Lucifer had slain her father, and won her mother; but Seola withstood the blandishments of Hesperus, and kept her allegiance to the Almighty. There are great and marvelous doings in Sippara, the capital of Lucifer, while he is preparing for the coronation of his new queen. Just outside the city, Noah is building his ark, and Seola, who has accompanied her mother to Sippara, makes the acquaintance of her cousin Japhet, yet unwedded. The cup of the iniquity of Lucifer and his realm now being full, steeds of fire and various other terrible and eccentric forces are brought in and the Devas are exterminated. After them comes the deluge to swallow up their progeny; not, however, before Seola has been rescued and carried off to the ark by her cousin Japhet, where she becomes his bride and makes one of the memorable company that outride the flood.

The author mentions in his notes the names of many modern interpreters who accept his exegesis of the passage in Genesis about the sons of God and the daughters of men; among them, Tholuck, Twesten, Nitzsch, Delitsch, Chancellor Crosby of New York and Professor Mead of Andover. Though the conceptions of the writer are somewhat crude, and his colors are laid on as with a whitewash brush, yet the enthusiasm with which the work is done will make an impression upon many minds.

THE series of choice autobiographies which Mr. Howells is editing is among the most valuable of the current publications. The record made by a man of note of his own life and times is apt to be instructive reading; and the republication of a judicious selection from the autobiographies that have become classic was a happy thought. It would be hard to find any one whose judgment in such a selection it would be safer to trust than that of Mr. Howells. Each of these neat volumes contains also a critical and biographical essay by the editor, in which the sequel of the writer's history is given, together with much additional material illustrating his life, and many pertinent and suggestive comments. None of the personages who tell their own stories could have desired to fall into the hands of a more just or a more genial commentator.

The first of these biographies,' filling two volumes, is that of the unhappy sister of Frederick the Great, who suffered so many things at the hands of her savage father, and her frivolous mother, and her weak husband; and who though somewhat soured and sharpened in temper by her

1 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilhelmina, Princess Royal of Prussia, Margravine of Baireuth. In two volumes. Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »