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As we have seen, however, this would not be adequate alone. The responsive authority of common men would have to be added. Suppose then, as these men spoke to us from the heights of religion, that their words touched the deepest chords in our hearts, which straightway answered back. Suppose at times they carried us up where they stood, and made us see, too.
This would be the consummate authority which we desire. We could be content not always to see, if, when at our best, we had kuown what sight was, and if other men kept on seeing, when we had to descend to the lower level again.
We have seen the tendency of real authority to point in certain general directions, and lay down a few leading principles. On matters of detail, unimportant and unessential, authorities differ; so, too, in religion. There are only a few things in which authority is essential. Given these things, there must be various details on which we do not care if authorities differ. No one need to be unhappy, for example, if there proved to be no authority for the trinity or the date of the last judgment or eternal punishment. These things do not touch life here and now. want to know, on the contrary, is, where duty leads, that a God orders the march, that beneficence fills the world, that our work and our pain, therefore, count toward the far-off result, that a true man's face has a right to light up with a smile in the presence of death; in short, that duty, faith, hope, love, life,—these things, though unseen, are eternal. Now, it is on precisely these things that we have the kind of authority which we have called desirable. As a matter of fact, we are approaching this consensus of authority of those who stand on the moral and spiritual heights. Channing, Parker, Dewey, Bellows, Emerson, Martineau, — these names only kindle remembrance of others by the score, thinkers, poets, seers, prophets, the authorities in religion. These names are of men, the scouts and pickets, in only a single little detachment of the universal Church. They are names of men least trammelled by tradition or prejudice, fearless where truth might lead. Who ventures to say that
we have no modern authority, when such men teach the essential truths of religion? It moves us to read Emerson or to hear Martineau as it moves us to read Isaiah, somewhat as it moves us to hear Jesus. The difference between the masters is only of degree. For they all speak as though with authority the common language of faith, hope, and love.
While we insist upon the present and living authority which each generation must furnish, we recognize now the value of the written and traditional authority of the past, which the scribes compile and read. This is what makes the world's most precious Bibles, its maps and charts. For there come days of cloud and storm, when you cannot see. Your experience is too small and short. Then you consult the charts laid out by the great voyagers long ago. Here sailed men in worse storms, and were safe. Here rode at anchor in quiet havens ages ago greater ships than yours, and never slipped their moorings. Here trade-winds always blow. Here are the sailing directions, which no man who obeyed ever was wrecked. Thus, the charts carry you through the dull and stormy weather, till the sun and the eternal stars shine out, and the shores appear, which were before the charts, and shall be when, in the fuller light, no man shall need charts,
It follows from what we have said that, so far from having, as some suspect, less religious authority than others, we have all that there is. Because we have all the light that there is. There is no copyright on truth, which makes it a monopoly of any party. There is no high hill where any sect or religion can climb and see what others cannot see. The secret of Jesus by which he saw was an open secret. Neither does assumption of certainty make any more certainty than there is.
We bave stated the fact of the growing consensus of modern religious authority. It is very significant that this holds true in spite of a religious transition, the mightiest which the world ever knew, which sometimes people have even ventured to call an eclipse of faith. It is precisely
while earthquake shocks are rocking and tempests are abroad” that the voice of clearest, most serene and triumphant faith is heard. When men were looking back for the authority of the past, the old, glad words are shouted from the advance, " Thalassa! thalassa!” - The sea! the sea!” And still the marshalled generations come on, and still always the men of the advance ring out the ever new and ever ancient cry.
Men of the liberal churches, it is a splendid and an arduous duty that you put on your poets, your thinkers, the teachers of your theological schools, and your ministers. You seem to say to them: Provide the fullest equipment, and go up to the heights in advance. There watch ; face the winds of every quarter. Be fearless of nothing, except of deceiving us.
Tell us then frankly and plainly what you see of the eternal things of religion. Tell us not processes, but the fruits of your results. We are glad to bring you our answer. We see more and more. Every new observation makes us more certain. Every question most frankly faced brings us closer to God. You, however, the people of our churches, make this confident sight possible. It is as though you lifted certain men, and held them up. Your sight, your instinctive response to all that they see, is essential. You moreover furnish authority. Among you in every congregation are those whom God gives open vision. For the minister has to be sometimes only the scribe to report what some of you tell him. Thus, toward the grand consensus of modern authority, everything counts, the inheritance of past times, the ancient prayers and examples, the stirring words of faith, and all the gathered experiences of the present. Not a hero's life, not a widow's mite, à sufferer's patience, a merchant's integrity, a workman's faithfulness, the cheerfulness of brave women overcoming grief, — nothing is wasted. All these humblest things by the myriad are a part of the ceaseless revelation of God, which constitutes the world's authority and establishes its undying faith.
CHARLES F. DOLE.
TRANSLATIONS OF VIRGIL.*
Of making many Virgils there is no end. The strong hold that the Roman poet has had, and still has, upon man. kind is sufficiently attested by the fact that almost numberless of his devotees have attempted to render the whole or parts of his poems into their vernacular. The latest aspirant to Virgilian fame - unless, indeed, a translation or two has been issued within the last six weeks or so — is Mr. John Augustine Wilstach (counsellor-at-law). The work he presents to the public is one of considerable pretensions. It is not merely a translation and nothing more, for we find first an essay of over seventy pages upon “ The Virgilians,” by which term is meant “all those scholars ... who by their labors, their learning, or their genius, have contributed to perpetuate or illustrate the works of our author.” Then follows a series of six tables, entitled respectively “The Table of Speeches,” “ The Table of Similes,” “ The Table of Fate Lines,” “ The Table of Imperfect Lines,” “The Table of Ignorings,” and “ The Table of New Readings.” By “ignorings,” he means omissions of words, phrases, or lines, made by some of the prominent translators. By "new readings,” he means new interpretations of his own. A short account of the minor poems precedes the translation in full of the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Æneid. Copious foot-notes accompany the translation, giving comments of all sorts upon the text, with frequent variorum and comparative readings. The method of numbering the lines is, we believe, unique in works of this kind, the numbers of the Latin text being given without regard to the actual number of lines in the translation. Such a method, or some equivalent of it, affords great help to one who wishes to compare line by line the translation with the original.
In the essay on “ The Virgilians,” after a rapid account of the earliest known manuscripts, followed by a brief mention
* The Works of Virgil. Translated into English verge, with variorum and other notes and comparative readings. By John Augustine Wilstach (counsellor-at-law). In two vol. umes. Boston: Houghton, Miffin & Co. 1884.
of the great commentators and critics of the continent, Mr. Wilstach passes to the English translators, mentioning the most important names (though his list is by no means complete), with more or less of critical comment. To the translators of his “variorum notes," he gives more attention than to the others. Morris appears to be his favorite among them, though he quotes them all quite freely and impartially. Of Conington he speaks disparagingly, though he admits that his poetical translation of the Æneid “has occasional charms." He has seen the text that Conington edited, and finds fault because the translation does not always follow the text. We can find no evidence that he has any knowledge of Conington's labors as an annotator and critic. In a note following the Eclogues, he mentions the names of several translators that he omitted from the essay, and here he deigns to notice Conington's prose translation, of which he says, “ To recommend his task to the public, he prefaces this work with an introductory article, the main points in which are an exposition of the grotesqueness and absurdity of certain metrical versions, like those of Stanihurst and Douglas, and the hasty inference thence that prose translations will do the public more good than they are likely to derive from any metrical versions.” This is an entirely erroneous estimate of Conington's extremely able and interesting essay on the translation of Virgil, far more exhaustive, as well as more scholarly, than Wilstach’s. It seems to us that Conington's views are sound. He holds that it takes a great poet to translate adequately a great poem, that “only a great master can handle blank verse so as to give real pleasure to his readers,” and that, on the whole, “ translators who despair of imitating Virgil's diction, and are ambitious only of giving his meaning in a pleasing form, may reasonably be content with prose.” These are modest words from a man whose poetical translation of the Æneid is one of the most attractive and pleasing of all. It is no part of our intention to undertake any defence of Conington, but only to show that Wilstach either does not appreciate or has no knowledge of the great services that the former has rendered to Virgilian scholarship.