« VorigeDoorgaan »
that much more than ten thousand editions of books or pamphlets were printed from 1470 to 1500. More than half of the number appeared in Italy. The price of books was diminished by four fifths after the invention of printing.
The fourth chapter treats of the literature of Europe from 1500 to 1520. Leo X. became pope in 1513. He began by placing men of letters in the most honorable stations of his court. There were two, Bembo and Sadolet, who had by common consent reached a consummate elegance of style. The personal taste of Leo was almost entirely directed towards poetry and the beauties of style. We owe to him the publication of the first five books of the Annals of Tacitus. In 1514, above 100 professors received salaries in the Roman university or gymnasium. Erasmus diffuses a lustre over his age, which no other name among the learned supplies. His Greek Testament was published in 1516. More's Utopia was the only work of genius furnished by England in this age.
In treating of the Reformation, Mr. Hallam, as it seems to us, does great injustice to Luther: "The doctrines of Luther," he remarks, "taken altogether, are not more rational, that is, more conformable to what men, à priori, would expect to find in religion, than those of the church of Rome; nor did he ever pretend that they were so. As to the privilege of free inquiry, it was of course exercised by those who deserted their ancient altars, but certainly not upon any latitudinarian theory of a right to judge amiss. Nor again, is there any foundation for imagining that Luther was concerned for the interests of literature. None had he himself, save theological; nor are there, as I apprehend, many allusions to profane studies, or any proof of his regard to them, in all his works. On the contrary, it is probable that both the principles of this great founder of the Reformation, and the natural tendency of so intense an application to theological controversy, checked for a time the progress of philological and philosophical literature on this side the Alps." Again: "In the history of the Reformation, Luther is incomparably the greatest name. We see him, in the skilful composition of Robertson, the chief figure of a groupe of gownsmen, standing in contrast on the canvass with the crowned rivals of France and Austria, and their attendant warriors, but blended in the unity of that historic picture. This amazing influence on the revolutions of his own age, and on the opinions of mankind, seems to have produ ced, as is not unnatural, an exaggerated notion of his intellectual greatness. It is admitted on all sides, that he wrote his own language with force and purity; and he is reckoned one of its best models. The hymns in use with the Lutheran church, many of which are his own, possess a simple dignity and devoutness, never, probably, excelled in that class of poetry. But from the Latin works of Luther few readers, I believe, will rise without disappoint
ment. Their intemperance, their coarseness, their inelegance, their scurrility, their wild paradoxes, that menace the foundations of religious morality, are not compensated, so far at least as my slight acquaintance with them extends, by much strength or acuteness, and still less by any impressive eloquence." "The total want of selfrestraint [in Luther], with the intoxicating effects of presumptuousness, is sufficient to account for aberrations, which men of regular minds construe into actual madness."
These extraordinary statements of Hallam are in keeping with remarks in his previous works. In his anxiety to avoid the partizanship, as he describes it, of such men as Isaac Milner, he falls, as it seems to us, into the opposite extreme. Luther comes out from his hands shorn of nearly all his honors, an ignorant, furious, exacerbated monk, who, if he could have had his way, would have involved the world in a Protestant midnight. But Hallam's statements seem to be a little inconsistent with themselves. Luther wrote and spoke German with great perfection. He composed numerous excellent hymns, which is certainly a rare gift. He made a most excellent translation, as all acknowledge, of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into German-a translation which is to German literature what our authorized translation is to English-a standard of the tongue. Surely Luther must have had some philology, some common sense, some judgment, to have made a translation, with the slight helps which he had, which created a language, and whose merit is fully acknowledged by such writers as the Roman Catholic, Frederic Schlegel. That Luther was an opponent of the study of the Greek and Latin profane writers is news to us. Hallam appears to receive all the splenetic remarks of Erasmus as indubitable proof. Erasmus with all his learning and wit, had more sympathy, we fear, with Horace than with Paul, and, in his latter days, is one of the last sources to which we should apply for correct information in regard to Luther. In another passage, Hallam speaks of Luther as one whose "soul was penetrated with a fervent piety, and whose integrity as well as purity of life are unquestioned." Again, he writes of the total absence in him of self-restraint, which it would be difficult to reconcile with fervent piety. We have been accustomed to regard self-government as one of the most important parts of eminent piety. Hallam gives a wholesale opinion of Luther's Latin works, while he confesses that he has but a slight acquaintance with them. Hundreds of passages in those works have impressive eloquence, if they have nothing else. "The best authorities," says Hallam," for the early history of the Reformation are Seckendorf Hist., Lutheranismi, and Sleidan Hist. de la Réformation, in Courayer's French translation." Hallam makes no allusion to the great work of J. G. Planck, incomparably the best work on the Protestant side, and very candid and impartial also. "From Luther's German
translation, and from the Latin Vulgate, the English one of Tyndale and Coverdale, published in 1535 or 1536, is avowedly taken." On the contrary there is satisfactory proof that Tyndale translated from the original Greek and Hebrew. How far Coverdale was acquainted with Hebrew does not appear.
The fifth chapter of the work before us treats of the history of ancient literature in Europe from 1520 to 1550. The labors of Sadolet, Bembo, Erasmus, Budaeus, Camerarius, Gesner and others, are passed briefly in review. The sixth chapter is occupied with the theological literature which we have partly anticipated in our notice of Luther. Of the Colloquies of Erasmus, which had an important bearing on the Reformation, 24,000 copies were sold in a single year. Reference is here had to the Institutes of Calvin, to the Loci Communes of Melancthon, the sermons of Latimer, etc. "It may not" says the author, " be invidious to surmise, that Luther and Melancthon serve little other purpose, at least in England, than to give an occasional air of erudition to a theological paragraph, or to supply its margin with a reference that few readers will verify." We know not but that such is the case in England. We should infer it from the ignorance of our author himself on the subject, but the remark does not hold good on the continent nor in the United States. The whole works of Luther are frequently imported into this country. Large editions of his Commentary on the Galatians have been published. A new and complete edition of Melancthon is now coming out in Germany under the charge of Bretschneider. Three editions of Calvin's Commentaries on the New Testament have been sold in Germany and this country within six or eight years. Even in England, within two years past, an edition of Calvin on Romans, and of Luther on Galatians has been printed.
The seventh chapter contains the history of speculative, moral and political philosophy, and of jurisprudence, in Europe, from 1520 to 1550. In speculative philosophy, we have Paracelsus, Agrippa, and Jerome Cardan; in political and moral philosophy, Calvin, Melancthon, Erasmus, Thomas Elyot, Cortegiano and especially Nico las Machiavel. Hallam's estimate of Machiavel is very able and dis criminating. Machiavel's Discourses may now be read with great ad vantage, especially as the course of civil society tends further towards democracy. His works must, however, be read with large deduc tions. His History of Florence is enough to immortalize his name.
The eighth chapter contains the history of the literature of taste; and the ninth, of scientific and miscellaneous literature in Europe from 1520 to 1550. Though these chapters contain, like other parts of the volume, many interesting facts, and not a few profound ob servations, yet our limits preclude any further quotation or reference.
We will only remark, that the edition of the Middle Ages by the Harpers, is brought out in excellent taste, and makes one very con
venient and portable volume. It contains what is not common in these days, a very full index.
3.—The Christian Professor, addressed in a series of Counsels and Cautions to the Members of Christian Churches. By John Angell James. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1838. pp.
The Rev. John Angell James of Birmingham has been too long before the American public as the author of the Sunday School Teachers' Guide, the Church Members' Guide, the Family Monitor, etc., and is too extensively known as the friend and correspondent of several eminent clergymen and others in this country, to need commendation to the favorable regards of our readers. The lively interest which he has ever manifested in the advancement of religion in the United States, as well as the influence of his writings in promoting it, has taught us to regard him as one of ourselves. While he is admired as a pious, judicious and instructive writer, he is also hailed as a brother, throughout our churches, and each new production from his pen is received by many with the confidence and ardor of a confirmed and intense christian affection. The publication of the "Christian Professor," is happily adapted to widen the sphere of this affectionate regard for the author and his works.
The substance of this "series of Counsels and Cautions," as the author states in his preface, was delivered in a course of sermons addressed to the church of which he is pastor. This book is designed as a sequel to the "Church Members' Guide," and treats of the practical rather than the private, experimental and doctrinal parts of religion; though these are distinctly exhibited and insisted on, as essential, not only to true piety, but to the acceptable profession of it. Yet the design of the author is to "contemplate the believer rather as a professor, than a Christian, or at least rather as a Christian in relation to the church and to the world, than in his individual capacity, or in his retirements."
The work is divided into nineteen chapters, embracing the following topics:
What the christian profession imports.-The obligation and design of the christian profession.-The dangers of self-deception.-The young professor.-An attempt to compare the present generation of professors with others that have preceded them.-The necessity and importance of professors not being satisfied with low degrees of piety, and of their seeking to attain to eminence.-The duty of professors to avoid the appearance of evil.-On conformity to the world.-On the conduct of professors in reference to politics.-On brotherly love. -The influence of professors.-Conduct of professors towards unconverted relatives.-The unmarried professor. The professor in
prosperity. The professor in adversity.-The conduct of professors away from home.-The backsliding professor.-On the necessity of the Holy Spirit's influence to sustain the christian professor.-The dying professor.
We have read most of these chapters with great satisfaction, and cordially recommend the book to American readers. Though the author had in his eye the professors of Christianity in another nation, and wrote for their benefit especially, his Counsels and Cautions and even his descriptions of the present generation of professors, are equally applicable to those of our own country. He does honor to several of our own authors by quoting them in confirmation or illustration of the sentiments he inculcates. Among these are an admirable "address to persons on their joining the church contained in a manual used in one of the Presbyterian churches in America," the excellent "advice" given by Edwards" to a young lady who had just commenced the life of faith," and portions of a sermon by the Rev. Albert Barnes of Philadelphia on "the rule of Christianity in regard to conformity to the world," which has been republished in England. Some pas
The sentiments of this little volume are evangelical. sages of it are eloquent, and highly attractive.
4.-Outlines of a history of the Court of Rome and of the Temporal Power of the Popes. Translated from the French. Philadelphia: Joseph Whetham, 1837. pp. 328.
This book is executed in a manner which is creditable to the publisher. In its bearings upon the Catholic controversy in this country both ecclesiastical and political, it is a timely and important publica tion. It is divided into thirteen chapters, the running titles of which are, "The origin of the temporal power of the popes." "Enter prises of the popes of the ninth century."-"The tenth century.""Enterprises of the popes of the eleventh century."—" Quarrels between the popes and the sovereigns of the twelfth century.""The power of the popes of the thirteenth century."-" The fourteenth century."-"The fifteenth century."-" Policy of the popes of the sixteenth century."-"The attempts of the popes of the seventeenth century."-"The eighteenth century."-"Recapitula tion."—"The conduct of the court of Rome since the year 1800."
The first French edition of the work was published in 1810. The last chapter, (on the conduct of the court of Rome since 1800,) was not added until the fourth edition, which was published in 1818. To this also was appended a "Chronological Table of the popes" from St. Peter in the first century, which is continued, in the Ameri can edition, to the election of Gregory XVI., in 1831. This table throws some light upon several of the details of the work, and is a valuable appendage.