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Old Socrates, with his ugly face, | scribes a kind of Noctes Ambrosianæ, swarmhis snub nose, his strong head for standing ing here with bacchanalian babblement and liquor, his restless habits, his subtle irony, the there with sentences and sayings which might inimitable dialogue on which he made his have been washed down with nectar. They enemies to slide down as on a mountain-side are intensely typical of the ancient Grecian of ice, from the heights of self-consequent mind, of its heights and its depths, its unnatusecurity to the depths of defeat and exposure; ral vices and its lofty ideals of art. In their his sublime common-sense, his subtle, yet conception of beauty the Greeks approximated homely dialectics, opening up mines of gold the ideal, but their views of God and of man by the wayside, and getting the gods to sit on were exceedingly imperfect. Hence their disthe roof of the house; his keen raillery, his gusting vices; hence their sacrifice of everypower of sophisticating sophists, and his pro- thing to the purposes of art; hence the sensufound knowledge of his own nescience, is ad-ality of their genius when compared to that of mirably daguerreotyped. With equal power, the Gothic nations; hence the resistance offered the touches lent to him by the genius of his by their philosophers to Christianity, which disciple are discriminated from the native appeared to them "foolishness;" hence Platraits. Plato, to say the least of it, has color- tonism, the highest effort of their philosophy, ed the photograph of Socrates with the tints seems less indigenous to Greece than Aris of his own fine and fiery imagination; or he totelianism, and resembles an exotic transhas acted as a painter, when he puts a favor-planted from Egypt or Palestine. Except in ite picture in the softest and richest light; or Plato and Eschylus, there is little approach as a poot when he visits a beautiful scene by in the productions of the Greek genius to moral moonlight: or as a lover when he gently lifts sublimity or to a true religious feeling. Among up the image of his mistress across the line the prose writers of Greece, Aristotle and Dewhich separated it from perfection. We often mosthenes more truly reflected the character hear of people throwing themselves into such of the national mind than Plato. They were and such a subject; there is another and a exceedingly ingenious and artistic, the one in rarer process that of adding oneself to such his criticism and the other in his oratory, but and such a character. You see a person, who, neither was capable of the lowest flights of added to yourself, would make, you think, a Plato's magnificent prose-poetry. Aristotle glorious being, and you proceed to idealize was, as Macaulay calls him, the "acutest of accordingly; you stand on his head, and out- human beings;" but it was a cold, needle-eyed tower the tallest; you club your brains with acuteness. As a critic his great merit lay in his, and are wiser than the wisest; you add deducing the principles of the epic from the the heat of your heart to his, and produce a perfect example set by Homer, like a theolo very furnace of love. Thus Solomon might gian forming a perfect system of morality from have written David's romantic history, and the life of Christ; but this, though a useful given the latter in addition to his courage, process, and one requiring much talent, is not sincerity, and lyric genius, his own voluptuous of the highest order even of intellectual achievefancy and profound acquirements. All bio-ments, and has nothing at all of the creative in graphers, indeed, possessed of any strong in- it. It is but the work of an index-maker on dividuality themselves, act very much in this a somewhat larger scale. Demosthenes, Mr. way when narrating the lives of kindred Rogers, with Lord Brougham and most other spirits. And, certainly, it was thus that Plato critics, vastly overrates. His speeches as dedealt with Socrates. The Platonic Socrates livered by himself must have been overwhelmis a splendid composite, including the saga- ing in their immediate effect, but really concity, strength, theological acumen, and grand stitute, when read, morsels as dry and sapless modesty, as of the statue of a kneeling god, as we ever tried to swallow. They are destiwhich distinguished the master; and the phi- tute of that "action, action, action,' on which losophic subtlety, the high imagination, the he laid so much stress, and having lost it, they flowing diction, and the exquisite refinement have lost all. They have a good deal of clear of the disciple. Yet, even Socrates in the pithy statement and some striking questions picture of Plato is not for a moment to be and apostrophes, but have no imagery, no compared to the Carpenter of Nazareth as depth of thought, no grasp, no grandeur, no represented by his biographer, John, the Fish- genius. Lord Brougham's speeches have been erman of Galilee. We shall quote, by and called "law-papers on fire: the speeches of bye, the fine passage in which Mr. Rogers Demosthenes are law-papers with much less draws the comparison between the two. fire. To get at their merit we must apply the well-known rule of Charles James Fox. He used to ask if such and such a speech read well; "if it did, it was a bad speech, if it did not, it was probably good." On this principle the orations of Demosthenes must be the best
To Plato as a thinker and writer ample justice is done. Perhaps too little is said against that slipslop which in his writings so often mingles with the sublimity. They are often, verily, strange symposia which he de
Far otherwise with the golden sentences of Plato. Dry argument, half hot with passion, is all Demosthenes can furnish. Plato
in the world, since they are about the dullest | those foibles which history attributes to the real reading in it. Socrates, and from that too Protean facility of manners which, though designed by Plato as a compliment to the philosophic flexibility of his character of Socrates, really so far assimilated him with mere vulgar humanity; of one, too, whose sublime and original character is not only exhibited with the most wonderful dramatic skill, but in a style as unique as the character it embodies-a style of simple majesty, which, unlike that of Plato, is capable of being readily transla ted into every language under heaven; of one whose life was the embodiment of that virtue which Plato affirmed would entrance all hearts if seen, and whose death throws the prison-scenes of the "Phædo" utterly into the shade; of one, lastly, whose picture has arrested the admiring gaze of many who have believed it to be only a picture. Now, if we feel that the portraiture of Socrates in the pages of Plato involved the very highest exercise of the highest dramatic genius,
and that the cause was no more than commen
"Plato's style," Mr. Rogers proceeds, "is unri-surate with the effect, it is a question which valled he wielded at will all the resources of the
Has gifts in their most splendid variety and most harmonious combinations; rich alike in powers of invention and acquisition; equally massive and light; vigorous and muscular, yet pliable and versatile; master at once of thought and expression, in which originality and subtlety of intellect are surrounded by all the ministering aids of imagination, wit, humor, and eloquence, and the structure of his mind resembles some master-piece of classic architecture, in which the marble columns rise from their deep foundation exquisitely fashioned and proportioned, surmounted with elaborate and ornamented capitals, and supporting an entablature inscribed with all
forms of the beautiful.
may well occupy the attention of a philosopher how it came to pass that in one of the obscurest periods of the history of an obscure people, in the dregs of their literature and the lowest depths of superstitious dotage, so sublime a con
most copious, flexible, and varied instrument of thought through which the mind of man has ever yet breathed the music of eloquence. Not less severely simple and refined when he pleases than Pascal, between whom and Plato many resem-ception should have been so sublimely exhibited; blances existed, as in beauty of intellect, in the how it was that the noblest truths found an oradelicacy of their wit, in aptitude for abstract sci-cle in the lips of the grossest ignorance, and the ence, and in moral wisdom; the Grecian philoso- maxims of universal charity advocates in the pher is capable of assuming every mood of hearts of the most selfish of narrow-minded thought, and of adopting the tone, imagery, and bigots; in a word, who could be the more than diction appropriate to each. Like Pascal, he can Plato (or rather the many each more than Plato), be by turns profound, sublime, pathetic, sarcastic, who drew that radiant portrait, of which it may playful; but with a far more absolute command be truly said "that a far greater than Sacrotes is over all the varieties of manner and style. He here ?"-pp. 366, 377. could pass, by the most easy and rapid transitions, from the majestic eloquence which made the Greeks say that if Jupiter had spoken the language of mortals he would have spoken in that of Plato, to that homely style of illustration and those highly idiomatic modes of expression which mark the colloquial manner of his Socrates, and which, as Alcibiades in his eulogium observes, might induce a stranger to say that the talk of the sage was all about shoemakers and tailors, carpenters and braziers."-p. 334.
Passing over a very ingenious paper on the "Structure of the English Language," we come to one on the "British Pulpit," some of the statements in which are weighty and powerful, but some of which we are compelled to controvert. Mr. Rogers begins by deploring the want of eloquence and of effect in the mo dern pulpit. There is undoubtedly too much reason for this complaint, although we think that in the present day it is not so much elopara-quence that men desiderate in preaching as real instruction, living energy, and wide variety of thought and illustration. Mr. Rogers says very little about the substance of sermons, and in what he does say seems to incline to that principle of strait-lacing which we thought had been nearly exploded. No doubt every preacher should preach the main doctrines of the Gospel, but if he confine himself exclusively to these, he will limit his own sphere of power and influence. Why should he not Why should he not tell, upon occasion, great preach the great general moralities as well? political, metaphysical, and literary truths to his people, turning them, as they are so susceptible of being turned, to religious account?
We certainly hold the entire dramatic projection and representation of Socrates in the pages of Plato to be one of the most wonderful efforts of the human mind. In studying him it is impossible that his character as a teacher of ethics and his life-like mode of representation should not suggest to us another character yet more wonderfully depicted, and by the same most difficult of all methods-that of dramatic evolution by discourse and action; of one who taught a still purer, sublimer, and more consistent ethics, pervaded by a more intense spirit of humanity, of one whose love for our race was infinitely deeper It will not do to tell us that preachers must and more tender, who stands perfectly free from follow the Apostles in every respect. Christ
We promised to quote also his closing graph. Here it is, worthy in every respect of the author of the "Eclipse of Faith," and equal to its best passages:—
deem themselves fatherless children in a forsaken world? We think him decidedly too severe also in his condemnation of the use of scientific and literary language in the pulpit. Pedantry, indeed, and darkening counsel by technical language, we abhor, but elegant and scholarly diction may be combined with simplicity and clearness, and has a tendency to elevate the minds and refine the tastes of those who listen to it. It is of very little use coming down, as it is called, to men's level; now
alone was a perfect model, and how easy and diversified his discourses! He had seldom any text. He spake of subjects as diverse from each other as are the deserts of Galilee from the streets of Jerusalem; the summit of Tabor from the tower of Siloam; the cedar of Lebanon from the hyssop springing out of the wall. He touched the political affairs of Judea, the passing incidents of the day, the transient controversies and heart-burnings of the Jewish sects, with a finger as firm and as luminous as he did the principles of morality and of reli-a-days, if you do so, you will get nothing but gion. Hence, in part, the superiority and the contempt for your pains-you cannot, indeed, success of his teaching. It was a wide and yet be too intelligible, but you may be so while not an indefinite and baseless thing. It swept using the loftiest imagery and language. Chalthe circumference of Nature and of man, and mers never" Came down to men's level," and then radiated on the cross as on a centre. It yet his discourses were understood and felt by gathered an immense procession of things, the humblest of his audience, when by the enthoughts, and feelings, and led them through ergy of his genius and the power of his sympaJerusalem and along the foot of Calvary. It thies he lifted them up to his. bent all beings and subjects into its grand purpose, transfiguring them as they stooped before it. It was this catholic eclectic feature in Christ's teaching which, while it made many cry out, "Never man spake like this man," has created also some certain misconceptions of its character. Many think that he was at bottom nothing more than a Pantheistic poet, because he shed on all objects, on the lilies of the valley, the salt of the sea, the thorns of the wilderness, the trees of the field, the rocks of the mountain, and the sands of the sea shore, that strange and glorious light which he brought with him to earth and poured around him as from the wide wings of an angel, as from the all-beautifying beams of dawn.
Mr. Rogers thinks that all preachers aspiring to power and usefulness will" abhor the ornate and the florid," and yet it is remarkable that the most powerful and the most useful, too, of preachers have been the most ornate and florid. Who more ornate than Isaiah? Who spoke more in figures and parables than Jesus? Chrysostom, of the "golden mouth," belonged to the same school. South sneers at Jeremy Taylor, and Rogers very unworthily re-echoes the sneer; but what comparison between South the sneerer and Taylor the sneered at, in genius or in genuine power and popularity? To how many a cultivated mind has Jeremy Taylor made religion attractive and dear, which had hated and despised it before? Who more florid than Isaac Taylor, and what writer of this century has done more to recommend Christianity to certain classes of the community? He, to be sure, is no preacher, but who have been or are the most popular and most powerful preachers of the age? Chalmers, Irving, Melville, Hall; and amid their many diversities in point of intellect, opinion, and style, they agree in this, that they all abound in figurative language and poetical imagery. And if John Foster failed
We think that if Christ's teaching be taken as the test and pattern, Mr. Rogers limits the range of preaching too much when he says its principal characteristics should be "practical reasoning and strong emotion." Preaching is not a mere hortatory matter. Sermons are the better of applications, but they should not be all application. Ministers should remember to address mankind and their audiences as a whole, and should seek here to instruct their judgments and there to charm their imagination; here to allure, and there to alarm; here in preaching, it was certainly not from want to calm and there to arouse; here to reason of imagination, which formed, indeed, the staaway their doubts and prejudices and there to ple of all his best discourses. Mr. Rogers, to awaken their emotions. Mr. Rogers disap-be sure, permits a "moderate use of the imagiproves of discussing first principles in the pul-nation;" but, strange to say, it is the men pit, and says, that "the Atheist and Deist are who have made a large and lavish use of it in rarely found in Christian congregations." We preaching who have most triumphantly sucwish we could believe this. If there are no ceeded. Of course they have all made their avowed Atheists or Deists in our churches, imagination subservient to a high purpose; but there are, we fear, many whose minds are we demur to his statement that no preacher grievously unsettled and at sea on such sub- will ever employ his imagination merely to dejects, and shall they be altogether neglected light us. He will not indeed become constantin the daily ministrations? Of what use to ly the minister of delight; but he will and speak to them of justification by faith who must occasionally, in gratifying himself with think there is nothing to be believed, or cf the his own fine fancies, give an innocent and in New Birth who do not believe in the Old, but tense gratification to others, and having thus
delighted his audience, mere gratitude on their only to recur to his own words, quoted above part will prepare them for listening with more This faculty, fancy namely, is incomparaattention and interest to his solemn appeals bly the most important for the vivid and atat the close. He says that the splendid des- tractive exhibition of truth to the minds of cription in the "Antiquary” of a sun-set men." It follows that since the great object would be altogether out of place in the narra- of preaching is to exhibit truth to the minds tive by a naval historian of two fleets separa- of men, that fancy is the faculty most needful ted on the eve of an engagement by a storm, to the preacher, and that the want of it is the or in any serious narrative or speech, forget- most fatal of deficiencies. In fact, although a ting that the "Antiquary" professes to be a few preachers have through the agonistic meserious narrative, and that Burke, in his speech- thods, by pure energy and passion, produced es and essays, has often interposed in critical great effects, these have been confined chiefly points of narration descriptions quite as long to their spoken speech, have not been transand as magnificent, which, nevertheless, so far ferred to their published writings, and have from exciting laughter, produce the profound- speedily died away. It is the same in other est impression, blending, as they do, the ener- kinds of oratory. Fox's eloquence, which gies and effects of fiction and poetry with those studied only immediate effect, perished with of prose and fact. him, and Pitt's likewise. Burke's, being at once highly imaginative, and profoundly wise, lives and will live forever.
That severely simple and agonistic style, which Mr. Rogers recommends so strongly, has been seldom practised in Britain, except We have not room to enlarge on some in the case of Baxter, with transcendent effect. other points in the paper. We think Mr. At all events, the writings of those who have Rogers lays far too much stress on the time a followed it, have not had a tithe of the influ- preacher should take in composing his serence which more genial and fanciful authors mons. Those preachers who spend all the have exerted. For one who reads South, ten week in finical polishing of periods and intense thousand revel in Jeremy Taylor. Howe, a elaboration of paragraphs are not the most ef very imaginative and rather diffuse writer, has ficient or esteemed. A well-furnished mind, supplanted Baxter in general estimation. In animated by enthusiasm, will throw forth in a Scotland, while the dry sermons of Ebenezer few hours a sermon incomparably superior in Erskine are neglected, the lively and fanciful force, freshness, and energy, to those discourwritings of his brother Ralph have still a con- ses which are slowly and toilsomely built up. siderable share of popularity. The works of It may be different sometimes with sermons Chalmers and Cunningham, destined as both which are meant for publication. Yet some are in due time to oblivion, are preserved in of the finest published sermons in literature their present life, by what in the first is real have been written at a heat. and in the second a semblance of imagination. From the entire second volume of these adOf the admirable writings of Dr. Harris and mirable essays, we must abstain. "Reason of the two Hamiltons we need not speak. and Faith" would itself justify a long sepaLatimer, South, and Baxter, whom Rogers rate article. Nor can we do any more than alranks so highly, are not classics. Even Jona-lude at present to that noble " Meditation than Edwards and Butler, with all their colos- among the Tombs of Literature," which closes sal talent, are now little read, on account of the first volume, and which he entitles the their want of imagination. The same vital" Vanity and Glory of Literature." It is full deficiency has doomed the sermons of Tillot- of sad truth, and its style and thinking are son, Atterbury, Sherlock, and Clarke. In- every way worthy of its author's genius. deed, in order to refute Mr. Rogers, we have
From Tait's Magazine. Orange-grove, kept by a Mr. Reynolds (long since gathered to his fathers), where it was my wont to bury myself chin-deep, devouring Smollett or Fielding, Goldsmith or Defoe, with the appetite of an ogre. As the few stray shillings or sixpences which fate consigned to my custody invariably passed into the hands of the proprietor of the book-stall, he generously winked at my surreptitious studies, and not only allowed me to stand for hours in converse with my favorites, but would some
WHO WAS HE?
WHEN I was a "Devil"-in a printingoffice in Bath, thirty-five years ago, my infant mind was profoundly impressed with the dignity of authorship. Books, the objects of reverential regard and delight from my earliest years, were already becoming something more-a solace and a treasure. There was a book-stall at the south-east corner of the
times permit me to carry a cherished volume It was a fine morning in the beginning of to the shadow of one of the old trees, and June, 1818, that, having carefully cleansed wile away the hours of a casual holiday in the my inky skin, and donned my Sunday jacket, delightful dreams of romance. These delights I set off for the residence of the doctor. I were, however, for the most part antecedent had travelled the same route a hundred times to my devilhood, the duties of which did not before with the utmost indifference. Now, allow of any very lengthened applications to however, my heart beat with anticipations of my beloved authors. If, when bound appren- delight and awe. I was no longer a mere tice, I grieved over the loss of time for read-messenger sent to deliver a parcel of proofs at ing, I was compensated by increase of funds. the door, and then depart - I was to see and Wages came at the heels of work, and with converse with the mighty magician himself, wages I bought more books—with some half- and actually to bear a part in the portentous dozen of which my pockets were always.well business of the hour. At the end of a long crammed. These, at meal-times, or on town-and narrow lane which opens into the road errands, at early morn and at farthing-candle which skirts Sydney Gardens on the north eve, I read, and read and read, and was a side, there stood a nondescript-looking house, happy "devil." known by the appellation of " Bathwick VilBut, as I said before, I had a prodigious la:" whether it still remains, or whether the idea of an author- a maker of books. Such march of improvement have swept it from the a being was the magician, the man of mys- face of the land, it is impossible for me to say. tery, the hero that my imagination delighted It was a lone house then, and for the dozen to worship. What would I not give, thought years that I knew it, standing like a gray I, for a sight of a real live author? stone goblin in the centre of a tract of low I was not doomed to languish long in vain; alluvial land, cultivated as market gardens, my desire was destined to be satisfied, and and sprinkled over with the cottages of the more than satisfied in the fullest sense of the poor cultivators. Arrived at the house, and word. In the office where I wrought the having pulled boldly at the bell, and delivered works of the most voluminous author of his my letter of introduction to the care of the time were then in course of completion. For doctor's single servant, a Patagonian specihalf a century had this formidable writer fed men of the Abigail genus, I was in due course the teeming press. Works on all subjects ushered up the ample circular staircase, and had trickled from his pen, like water from a having passed through a little lobby of dark perennial spring. Treatises on Art and and quiet green baize, was introduced into Science, on Commerce and Manufactures, the sanctum sanctorum of the great man, the Geography and History, Poetry and Romance, veritable penetralia of genius. The tall, Polemics and Divinity, Cookery, Carving, and gaunt, and bony she who had led me thus far, Conjuration, Medicine and Morals, and fifty now pointed to a chair, and then noiselessly subjects besides, had already shed their illu- disappeared behind a screen in the further minating influence upon two successive gene- corner of the apartment. Seating myself in rations; and the octogenarian scribe was now perfect stillness, I had now an opportunity of enlightening a third with respect to an art, looking round and making my observations. which he, at least, had good right to teach, I found myself resting in an old-fashioned that, namely, of securing long life. It hap- carved chair in a large octagon-shaped room. pened just as this work was finished, and The windows, fronting the east, commanded a when all his then majesty's lieges who had pleasant view of the course of the canal and seven and sixpence to spare might learn to the valley of the Avon; and the lower squares live to ninety at least, were they but wise of each sash were fitted up with transparent enough to buy the doctor's book it happen-water-color copies from the works of Hogarth. ed just then, I say, that a very gentlemanly These were all richly colored, and appeared gout crept up into the author's fingers, and to my juvenile judgment the perfection of art. put an effectual stop to his quill-driving. This The wainscotted walls of the rooms were was unfortunate, especially as the old gentle-hung with pictures in every available place: man, by way probably of proving the juvenil- these, too, were mostly water-colors by the ity of his fancy, was contemplating a volume best artists of a deceased generation; they of poems in illustration of a number of wood- were all uniformly framed in neat gilt frames, engravings which had already come to hand. and their number was legion. I afterwards But it is an ill wind that blows nobody good: learned that they were the original designs the gout that disabled the doctor introduced for the prints illustrating one of the doctor's me to his notice, I being chosen by my em- literary productions in seventy volumes of ployer the printer to act as amanuensis to the goodly octavo. Although it was a warm and author, a promotion which I owed to a facul- sunny day in early summer, a cheerful fire ty which I then possessed, of writing, as the sparkled in the grate, near which the doctor's compositors were pleased to term it," rather easy chair, a machine of tremendous capacity, plainer than print."