« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
sublime possibility, round which meditation and inquiry will collect all the probabilities they can.” We are glad to find one infidel of intelligence and ability, who admits that the denial of his. torical Christianity is fatal to an assured belief in human immor. tality. We cling to the “positive knowledge.” We repose upon the “revealed fact.” Nor is it among the least of the grounds on which we believe in the Christ that died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, that he “ alone has the words of eternal life.”
A Greek Grammar for the Use of High Schools and Universities.
By Philip BUTTMANN. Revised and enlarged by his Son, ALEXANDER BUTTMANN. Translated from the Eighteenth German Edition, by EDWARD Robinson. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1851. 8vo. pp. xii. and 517.
In contradistinction to this, Buttmann published the first two volumes of an “ Ausführliche Sprachlehre,” or “ Copious Grammar" of the Greek language, but did not live to complete the syntax. The story of that larger work has almost a mythological sound to American ears ; we rejoice that there is among us enough of thorough scholarship, or ihe desire for it, to authorize the publication of the book before us. It embodies in a condensed form the life's toil of the elder Buttmann, enriched by the filial piety of the younger, and not only perfectly translated by Professor Robinson, but, in all its details of form, arrangement, and indices, admirably adapted to all purposes of use and reference. We can conceive of nothing that a Greek grammar ought to contain, which is not found in this. It will be also of essential aid to the classical and Biblical critic, through the numerous exegetical hints which occur on almost every page. Most of our American editions of the classics and preparatives for their study are adapted to lower the Transatlantic standard of liberal culture to the demands of a hurried and over-crowded novitiate ; – this book is fitted to elevate our standard towards that of the author's own fatherland.
Dictionary of Sacred Quotations ; or, Scripture Themes and
Thoughts, as paraphrased by the Poets. Selected and arranged by Rev. H. Hastings Weld, Rector of St. James's Church, Downington, Penn. Philadelphia : Lindsay & Bla. kiston. 1851. 12mo. pp. 456.
This book displays an extraordinary degree of literary diligence and skill; nor could it have been compiled except by one who was himself a Christian scholar and poet. The subjects are well chosen and happily arranged. There are extracts from more than three hundred poets, many of them hardly known by name to common readers. On first turning over the leaves of the volume, we were disappointed at missing some poetical gems that are known and quoted by everybody; but on second thought we concluded that the space which they would have filled was much better occupied by the rare specimens of verse which Mr. Weld has drawn from poets of too ancient or too recent date to be generally accessible. We predict for the work a permanent place on the tables of all such as love to vary the pedestrian march of their own prose by mounting now and then on a borrowed Pegasus.
English Songs, and other small Poems. By BARRY CORNWALL.
A new and enlarged Edition. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 1851. 16mo. pp. xxviii. and 387.
This is the most complete edition of Mr. Procter's has yet been published, either in England or in this country. It comprises, indeed, nearly twice as many pieces as the first American edition, and contains about forty of his earlier songs which are not embraced in the last English edition.
Mr. Procter is doubtless one of the most popular lyric poets of the day ; and the sensuous beauty of many of his pieces is hardly surpassed in the productions of any of his contemporaries. With great warmth and liveliness of fancy and an ardent and enthusiastic temperament, he unites considerable strength of imagination and rhythmical power. Most of his songs, however, bear marks of haste in composition, which injures their artistic effect, while it probably renders them a more exact transcript of the poet's feelings than they would have been if more carefully elaborated. This defect is easily traced in the irregular versifi. cation and obscurity of expression of some of them, which would otherwise have been among the most beautiful in the collection. Yet for tenderness and pathos they are unsurpassed. In truth, no poet of our times seems more truly to have appreciated, or more skilfully to have expressed, the language of the kindly affections in their various phases. Here is one of his chief excellences, and the quality which has probably contributed most to his popularity. Our poet seems always to write from his heart, and under whatever mood he writes, he is always true to himself. But his excellence is not confined to his love songs, though a large part of his reputation certainly rests on them. Many of his short descriptive poems are marked by exquisite grace and beauty. The Dramatic Fragments, however, are his finest productions. They are alike admirable in conception and in their epigrammatic conciseness. When we read them we cannot help feeling a deep regret, that one possessing such high powers as we readily discern in them should not leave some more elaborate work to keep his name in remembrance.
The Serpent Symbol and the Worship of the Reciprocal Princi
ples of Nature in America. By E. G. SQUIER, A. M., Foreign Member of the British Archæological Association, etc., etc. New York : G. P. Putnam. 1851. 8vo. pp. 254.
The scope and design of this work are not fully conveyed in its title. It might justly have been styled, An Exposition of the Philosophy of Symbolism as applied to Ideas of Religion. The researches of Mr. Squier make it apparent that various nations and races of men, on both hemispheres, have exhibited a remarkable concurrence in their choice of symbols to express their conceptions of a creative power. The sun, the phallic emblem, the egg, and the serpent have been invested with a sacred significancy in every quarter of the globe. With regard to the first three of these symbols, this concurrence need not greatly surprise us. The sun, animating all nature with his vivifying beams, might well typify the beneficent energy of a life-giving God. The phallus would bear a kindred meaning, yet more direct and obvious; while the egg, containing within itself the principles of undeveloped life, would aptly represent the world in its chaotic or primordial state. The significancy of the serpent symbol is by no means so apparent; and that numerous and widely separated nations should concur in regarding it as sacred, and in making it, conjointly with the sun, an object of adoration, is a fact which opens a vast field to speculation and research.
The facts collected in this work point to the conclusion, that the polytheism of the heathen world is often in close affinity with simple monotheism. Beyond many polytheistic systems, we may discern the vague conception of one Supreme Being, whose various attributes, impersonated and represented as deities, form the multiplied gods of the Pantheon. Thus some of the religious systems of the East present from one point of view the aspect of monotheism, while from another they resolve themselves into all the mystic entanglements of a complicated polytheism.
In entering upon his task, the author has endeavored to lay aside every preconsidered opinion, and to prosecute his researches in a free spirit of philosophical inquiry. The conclusions to which his investigations tend will prove to minds of a certain cast startling, bewildering, and painful, while thinkers of a different stamp will discover in them fresh proof of the fundamental truths of religion. To test the accuracy of Mr. Squier's deductions would demand a degree of zeal, acuteness, and dili, gence not inferior to that which he himself has devoted to his work. The subject involves interests too momentous to be lightly dealt with.
The volume before us is the first of a forthcoming series on American Archæology from the pen of Mr. Squier, and embodying materials which he has been engaged several years in collecting. His previous works on this subject afford an ample earnest of the value of what is to follow.
Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation. A Book for the Times,
by an American Citizen. With an Introductory Essay, by Calvin E. Stowe, D. D. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1851. 12mo.
This book is an attempt to explain and justify the method and course in which the Christian religion was revealed. It aims to combat the objections and meet the demands of sceptics, by showing the remarkable adaptedness of the preparatory Jewish dispensation to the spiritual necessities of the time and the case, and the complete adaptedness of Christianity to the condition and nature of man. It contains many thoughts which are ingenious, clearly stated, valuable, and suggestive. It may be read with interest and profit, although it is not entirely free from the objectionable artifices and perversities of Calvinism. Judging it by a high philosophical and literary standard, the merits of this production are not great ; judging it by the average character of the works of its kind, they are. The Introductory Essay by Dr. Stowe is a little paper presenting a most important and unquestionable moral truth, – that the spirit of a person's character
rgely controls the proper influence of evidence, - with striking vividness and beauty.
William Penn, an Historical Biography. With an Extra
Chapter on · The Macaulay Charges.” By William HepWORTH Dixon. With a Portrait. London: Chapman & Hall. 1851. 12mo.
So far as regards a biography of William Penn, this work of Mr. Dixon's is all that could be desired. He has had at bis service several new sources of information, authentic and highly
valuable. The founder of Pennsylvania is brought before us as a most excellent man, whose purposes were always pure, who contributed largely to the good of others, and who is worthily identified with the struggling fortunes of an honored Christian sect, and with the day of small things in a now prosperous commonwealth. But Mr. Dixon evidently thinks that his “ Extra Chapter" is the strong part of his book ; and in this we think that he has made a great mistake. In our opinion, he would have done a far wiser thing if he had wholly omitted it. With one exception, an important one indeed, which we shall presently mention, we consider its contents worthless. Mr. Dixon's treatment of Macaulay is insolent and abusive. Should the great historian make a rejoinder, he could easily annihilate his rude critic. It is well known to every impartial person, who has made a study of Penn's life and character, that, with all his singleness of heart, his benevolence, disinterestedness, and high religious principle, he still had in him the ingredient of vanity, and loved to exercise his power in patronizing. Circumstances had given him influence with the Duke of York, afterwards James the Second. Penn's father, who left his son a large pecuniary claim on the government, had been the companion of the Duke in naval service. William had undoubtedly a sort of power with James, and while he would be constantly called upon to exercise it for and in behalf of others, and while his weakness would dispose him to a readiness to do so, he could not use it without making enemies and drawing suspicion on himself. Perhaps Mr. Macaulay may have exaggerated all the facts which bear on this point. We think that he has treated Penn with too much rhetorical severity, and has done him a degree of wrong, in one particular especially. But Mr. Dixon has certainly not accomplished what he intended, and if he had done so, it would not justify the violent coarseness with which he has assailed Mr. Macaulay. We can give but the briefest sketch of the point at issue.
Mr. Dixon makes five specifications of the “Macaulay Charges."
1. “ That Penn's conection with the court, in 1684, while he lived at Kensington, caused his own sect to look coldly on him, and even treat him with obloquy."
Quoting Macaulay to this effect, Mr. Dixon adds :
“ His only authority for this statement is Gerard Croese, a Dutchman, who never was in England in his life, and whose work the Society of Friends has never recognized." This statement, which attempts correction, is itself full of er
The Quakers have recognized the value of Croese's History, and Mr. Dixon himself frequently quotes him. Among the references which Mr. Dixon makes to Croese (p. 290), is the