worldly things in the balance of experience, and inscribed "Tekel" upon them. They are wanting in the energy necessary to true elevation. The soul of man starves with them, like Tantalus, in the midst of tempting fruit and living waters. The community will not rise without something nobler. In order to meet this want, he feigns a quality, which he seeks to fix, by giving it a name, and describing its nature. It is inspiration, enthusiasm, a heavenly sense, the feeling of immortality, the exalted tendency of the soul towards the eternal good. And yet, we scarcely know what it is. It is a shadowy somewhat; an indistinct notion of the gospel, and its healing, saving, elevating influences. The religion of Christ is that immortal spring of life, for which he seems to seek, without finding it. He says

"Many are concerned for the education of their children and of the whole people, but only in respect to knowledge and intellectual light.. Mere understanding cannot comprehend the highest truth; and he who lives only in the understanding, creeps upon the ground. This exalted tendency was wanting in the originators and leaders of the French revolution (although the best of them glowed with ardent love for freedom), since they strove to place the new edifice of the state upon the foundation merely of law; and for education, spiritual culture, and church-life, did little or nothing, but even much in opposition; and thus they kindled a love of freedom, which, sensual and eager for external rights and privileges, was perverted into violence and rapine, and which never had the true spirit of liberty. Had they been exalted by genuine enthusiasm, they would have established, together with the institutions of state and law, the institutions of the church and schools, and, not only by the cold understanding, but by the light and life-giving gospel. Had a true feeling animated Napoleon, he would have undertaken this, and, instead of taking prisoner the pope, by a thorough church reform, he would have extirpated the roots of papacy. Had he believed the gospel, and publicly professed it; had he confided in the truth, and favored not merely the material sciences, but also the spiritual, and thus kindled a religious and scientific life in his people, he could then have placed his throne on a stable foundation, which no power on earth could have shaken. This exalted tendency of soul was wanting in the whole French nation, who, in science and art, were studious only of the tangible, or the things of weight, and measure, and touch, but not of what is elevating and inspiring; and, in political life, destitute of the foundation of moral sense, they allowed themselves to be driven from one extreme to another, and were torn into factions."

Thus strongly does he bring out the necessity and value of true Christianity. Destitute of any experimental acquaintance with its living and life-giving energy, he still forms a conception of some grand, warming, elevating, sanctifying principle, which floats before him in shadowy beauty. He has con

structed a perfect ideal of that tendency which he conceives. Its source is Christianity. We have followed him through the mazes of his darkness, up to this point, where the illumination of the Bible seems ready to break upon him. How delightful is it here, as we emerge from the uncertainty and gloom into which he has led us, to pause in reverent and adoring contemplation! How sweet to look up to heaven, in the exercise of a faith which no philosophy can set aside; to clasp to our bosoms the word of God, as the great moral renovator and sanctifier, the strength of nations, the light of the ignorant, the basis of hope and joy.

"Hail, glorious gospel, heavenly light, whereby

We live with comfort, and with comfort die!"

Notwithstanding we have taken so much liberty with these volumes, exposing some of their glaring errors, and setting a mark upon them, as, we fear, of dangerous tendency, we are not blind to their excellences. We will present our readers, before closing this article, some extracts of uncommon value. The first is on the education of children.

"It is a common fault, in the education of children, to point out to scholars barely the outside of morality, and merely to direct their actions, instead of bringing out their powers. This fault is incurred by accustoming children to what is deemed good, by means of restraint, instead of determining and warming their hearts towards it by the power of love; or, again, by so teaching virtue as to draw attention only to the consequences of actions, and to the opinions of the world.. The sense of honor and of shame may, indeed, be appealed to in children, and the opinion of others may sometimes be a substitute for conscience in the rude mind; but their hearts should be constantly wrought upon, and true love be awakened within.

"Another fault, incurred not only by parents and teachers, but also by moralists and preachers, in the instruction of the people, consists in their seeking to work only upon the understanding, by giving fixed precepts or rules, referring to individual cases. We know that a good disposition is universally, and in every respect the same; and its difference in its modes of showing itself, belongs only to prudence, which considers and adjusts the particular circumstances that attend individual cases of action. By this mode of teaching, or, as the phrase is, moralizing, mere prudence is formed, and prudent, not truly virtuous men, are educated. This culture of prudence is, indeed, very incomplete; true prudence consists in the energy of the free soul, which knows how to embrace and treat every relation, every instance in life, with a living, original individuality. But, even if certain rules of prudence are universally applicable, and can be apprehended, and such moral teaching, in one respect, promises utility, yet on the other hand, it is pernicious, since it leaves the heart cold, and turns attention merely to externals. A moral training is thus effected, but not a moral culture.

As the child, before the rod of the master, is led by threats and rules, so the one-sided understanding becomes master over the free will of man. It stamps its rules, like foreign, dead forms, upon the heart and will; and actions cold, without life, spirit, and individuality, are the consequence. And while that prudence rules, which looks to results solely for the profit or loss of actions, the motives appealed to will be more or less selfish. Yet selfishness is the poison of morality. The best fruit of such a course of conduct is like the apple of Sodom,—if fair without, dust and ashes within.

"The whole man, understanding, heart, and will, must be appealed to a living, moral power must be poured into his soul, in order to a true moral culture. Man can be formed and moulded. This faith is at the foundation of every effort of education and human culture, and shows itself in that repentance that prompts to reformation. Even plants and beasts can be ennobled, although but slowly, and by longcontinued care; into man, on the contrary, a creative spark may be thrown, which at once enkindles a better life, or, by a deeper insight into his instincts, the nurture can be applied, by which the good is strengthened, and its growth powerfully furthered. Knowledge of the inward man, a deep penetration into his inclinations and impulses, his virtues and failings, are indispensably necessary to the instructer, who would act upon the soul. He must take every man as he is, in order to act upon him; but he must also know what man should and can be; the model of pure humanity, of complete morality and virtue, must stand before his soul, that he may form the material at hand after this pattern; this image of perfection must he place, in lineaments of flame, before him whom he would educate, that by it his soul may be enlightened and kindled."-Vol. I, pp. 98, 99.


"Often fathers commit the fault of coldness and severity, so that they crush the peculiarities of their children; and, by confounding individual tastes with self-will, force them to what is contrary to their nature. Parents cannot be too emphatically warned of such mistakes. They should, with warm, tender hand, nurture and manage the germ of moral life in their children, so as not to chill and stupify it, but to give it full and happy development in all its individuality."-p. 168.

These canons on education bring to view matters of vast importance, which, we have reason to fear, are too much overlooked. There is great danger, that, in checking the waywardness of children, and in subduing self-will, we may break down their individuality of character. The great thing is not to bring all to one standard; to melt down all human spirits, and cast them in one mould; but to bring them to "act out the dignity of their nature," to fulfil the ends of life, and to glorify God, while the peculiarities of individual character remain, a charm to social intercourse, a source of ever new beauty in the moral and intellectual world.

The following passage, on the symmetry of virtue, is well worthy of our consideration:



"True virtue is a whole, cast from a single piece, solid and pure; not a mixed mass, molten from different ores, nor carefully soldered together from various pieces. It is a living body, with a living soul; not a puppet, which is hung with drapery, to make it counterfeit the human form; and its actions are living motions, springing from inward impulse and life, not produced by force and artificial calculation. This truth should be recognized, in order to avoid all delusion from the deceptions of hypocrisy, and from the anxious efforts of those who are studious merely of a refined outward good breeding; and, in order, even in sincere endeavors after virtue, to escape the error of acting as if it depended upon this or that particular, or this or that excellence,-an error which frustrates all sincere endeavor, since the energies are thereby turned towards scattered particulars, and thus dismembered. They who covet virtue, should know that they ought to strive after complete virtue with the whole soul, and that they have to gain the whole or none; they ought, therefore, before they apply themselves to this or that dutiful deed, and appropriate this or that good moral, to be roused to perform, before all things, the elementary and original act of turning the mind towards virtue, and make a beginning of all morality, by determining to be moral from the inmost heart, with all the energy of the soul, with all love and all zeal.”—Vol. I, p. 103.




1. A Grammar of the German Language. By GEORGE HENRY NOEHDEN, LL. D. From the eighth London edition, by Rev. C. H. F. BIALLOBLOTZKY, Ph. D. With alterations and large additions, chiefly from the Grammars of Dr. Becker. By Rev. BARNAS SEARS, D. D President of the Newton Theological Institution. Andover. Allen, Morrill & Wardwell. 1842. pp. 452.

In not a few of the grammars of the modern languages, prepared for the use of English students, there are serious deficiencies. Some of these defects are owing to the want of adequate knowledge, on the part of the authors, of the wants of beginners. Familiar themselves, alike with the principles and the details of the language, they have not sympathized with the practical necessities of the young student, or they have digressed, unseasonably, in order to confirm a favorite theory of their own. On the one hand, the general principle may have been stated perspicuously, but it has been left destitute of apposite examples. On the other hand, there has been a wilderness of "exercises," but no connecting link, no comprehensive and binding principle. Wanostrocht's French Grammar is not without excellences, but there is a sad want of arrangement. The young student is bewildered, as if he were in an impassable thicket. There seemed to be no logic or taste in the

author's mind. The truth is, it is not an easy task to make a good grammar. It requires a rare combination of gifts. We have grammars of the English language, almost without end; but how many, or which of them, could we recommend to such Germans as J. Grimm, or Bopp, or Becker, as doing any thing like justice to our noble tongue? In which of them is there exhibited a mastery of the principles of the language, a discriminating perception of what is accidental, and what is essential, and an orderly and philosophical arrangement? Our most eminent philologists have, in general, turned their attention to other languages. Scarcely any one, in the highest rank of scholarship, except Dr. Lowth, has devoted his earnest attention to his sterling mother speech.

The German Grammar of Dr. Noehden, as modified and greatly improved, and, in its syntax, almost wholly changed by Prof. Sears, must be regarded as an exception to the preceding remarks. It is a work, which, we unhesitatingly predict, will take the place of all others in use among us. In the first place, as originally published, it had decided merits. Dr. Noehden was educated in the university of Göttingen, and spent, we believe, nearly all his subsequent life in Great Britain. Dugald Stewart, whose lectures he attended in the early part of the present century, speaks of him with much commendation, as the author of "a highly esteemed" grammar.* He was possessed of two indispensable qualifications. He had studied successfully the principles of the German language, and of general grammar, and had lived long enough in England, as a teacher of German, to be able to appreciate the wants of English students. The casual illustrations in his work, drawn from comparative philology, do much to enliven his pages. Even when he may be wrong, he is not dull. Another excellence of the book is the copiousness of details, which, at the same time, are so arranged as not to perplex the path of the student, or burden his memory. To the great merits of the grammar, the students of German in this country have subscribed.

The work, however, has, for a number of years, greatly needed revision and alteration. It is not far from half a century since it was first published. In that period, very great advance has been made by the Germans in acquaintance with their language. The whole subject has been, for the first time, radically investigated. Much important light has been thrown upon it by researches in the cognate dialects. Some of the ablest men in Germany have devoted their lives to the study. It could not but be, therefore, that the Grammar of Dr. Noehden needed a thorough revision. The later editions have been, obviously, little more than reprints. The editors have not thought it worth while to incorporate any thing new, even in points where it might have been readily done.

The new matter introduced by the American editor is mainly from the Larger and Smaller Grammars of Dr. K. F. Becker. This writer, before preparing his grammatical works, had spent a considerable part of his life in the study of natural science, in connection with his profession as a physician. He had thus reached a position, from which he looked upon languages, not as an artificial contrivance, but as a living structure, as the product of the intelligent nature of man. In his works,

*Stewart's Works, vol. III, p. 43.

Becker was born in 1775, and was educated at Göttingen. He now teaches a private school at Offenbach, a village on the Main. His "Sprachlehre" has been edited in Eng land, as a text-book for the university of London.

« VorigeDoorgaan »