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clearly than is to be found elsewhere. Often speaking of schisms, he says:
"One thing, in my opinion, might reconcile many persons to the Romish church, and that is, not to decide so dogmatically upon so many speculative points, and to make them articles of faith, but only to require an assent to those doctrines which are manifestly laid down in the holy Scriptures, and which are necessary to salvation. These are few; and it is easier to persuade men of a few articles than of a vast number. Now, out of one article we make a hundred; of which, some are such, that a man might either doubt of them, or have no notion about them, without his endangering his soul and his religion. But such is the nature of men, that what they have once dogmatically decided, they will obstinately maintain.
"Now, Christian philosophy or theology may be fairly reduced to this, that we ought to put our whole trust in Almighty God, who graciously gives us all things by his Son Jesus Christ; that we are redeemed by the death of this Son of God, to whose body we are united by baptism, that being dead to worldly lust, we may live conformably to his precepts and example, not only doing no harm to any, but doing good to all; that when adversity befalls us, we patiently submit to it in hopes of a future recompense at the coming of the Lord; that we make a daily progress in virtue, ascribing nothing to ourselves, but all to God. These things are to be pressed and inculcated till good habits are formed in the heart. If there be persons of a speculative genius, who want to search into abstruse points concerning the divine nature or person of Jesus Christ, or the Sacraments, with a view to improve their understanding, and to raise their minds and affections above earthly things, be it permitted to them; provided always, that their Christian brethren be not compelled to believe every thing that this or that teacher thinks to be true. As bonds, deeds, covenants, obligations, indentures, expressed in a multitude of words, afford matter for law suits: so in religion, a profusion of determinations, decrees and decisions begets endless controversies."-"Let no man be ashamed to reply to certain points, God knoweth how it can be-as for me, I am content to believe it is so. I know that the body and blood of our Saviour are things pure, to be received by the pure, and in a pure manner. He hath appointed this for a sacred sign and pledge of his love for us, and of the concord which ought to subsist among Christians. I will, therefore, examine myself and see if there be any thing in me contrary to the mind of Jesus Christ, and if I have any uncharitable dispositions towards my neighbour. But to know how the ten categories are in this sacrament, how the bread is transubstantiate by the mystical words of consecration, and how a human body can be in so small a compass, and at different places at the same time; all this, in my opinion, serves little to the advancement in piety."
"I know also that I shall rise again-Jesus Christ hath promised it, and to confirm his promise, he rose again himself. But to know what body I shall have, and how it will be the same after having gone through 16
VOL. III.-NO, 5,
so many changes, these are not things on which much pains should be bestowed, with a view to make a progress in true religion. Although I disapprove not inquiries of this kind, pursued at proper times, and with due discretion and moderation. By these and a thousand such-like speculations, for which men set an extravagant value upon themselves, their thoughts are only diverted from the one thing needful."
Had these principles been followed, the Christian church would still have been one !
Particular expressions may be gleaned from an extensive correspondence of any one, written under irritation, without reflection or care, which seem inconsistent with the general current of his opinions. This has been done with regard to Erasmus ; but to take the whole mass of his opinions, expressed in books, letters and conversations through a long life, we find a wonderful accordance between his principles and actions. Whatever doubts may be entertained as to particular parts of his conduct, every one should feel grateful to him, who, amidst poverty and sickness, without hope of reward, spent a long life, toiling effectually for the cause of religion and literature. Every one should accord his admiration, to that extended benevolence, which, surrounded by infuriate sects, could say with a learned and virtuous Romanist;*
"Christian is my name, and Catholic my sirname.
But we must say a word or two of Mr. Butler. The life of Erasmus, like many of his works, looks like arrant book-making. Names, dates and circumstances are so changed or mistated that no one can risk citing him for a single fact. Wisely skipping over Antediluvian literature, he commences with Homer, whom he considers as a prodigy-he gives a history of Grecian philosophy, poetry and fine arts, in four pages. In two more pages, he dispatches Roman literature, particularly noticing the state of medicine and jurisprudence. After dodging about through the middle ages, he fairly brings us up to Erasmus, whom he finishes in one-hundred and eighty pages of large type, well leaded. But even then, poor Erasmus is defrauded of his due, by various notes that appear to be foisted in to make the book of a good, saleable size. One details the magnificence of the
* Dr. Geddes.
British government, in furnishing the starving French who escaped from the Revolution-with Bibles. A second, gives a history of the Medici family, a genealogical table of the aforesaid family, for all the world like the table of descents in Blackstone, and then presents us with the old song of "Arno's Vale" at full length, "which has been set to music by the late Mr. Holcombe, with a plaintive sweetness that does honour to his taste and justice to the subject." (p. 81.) In a third, on Bishop Tonstall, he diverges to Arithmetic, and decides positively in favour of Bonnycastle in preference to the veterans, Dilworth and Cocker, &c.
We found so many mistakes in names and dates, that we involuntarily looked at the publisher's name, who we found was not less than Murray. "Herman" is put for "Henry," "Montaign" for "Montague," and "Boulogn" for "Bologna." He says the Epistle dedicatory to Charles V. of Beatus Rhenanus' edition of Erasmus, is dated 1516. Charles was not then emperor, and the true date is 1540.
We owe the works of Michael Agnuolo to the liberality of Leo X. according to Mr. Butler, when it is notorious that "the genius of that great painter was suffered to lie waste in some Florentine stone quarries," during the pontificate of Leo. It would be a loss of time to cite the numberless errors of Mr. Butler; he neither gives a good idea of the disposition and genius of Erasmus, nor a full account of his works. It is apparent that he has always drawn from second-hand sources, without giving the works of Erasmus a glance, and, like most of the modern English books of the kind, he seldom refers to his authorities. In one respect, the style of Mr. Butler is good-it is simple, unaffected English. But every thing appears to be huddled together pell-mell, until often there is neither harmony in the language nor distinctness in the ideas-short, unconnected sentences are strung together in places that resemble hurried notes more than finished writing. In point of fairness, he deserves unqualified praise, and, in looking from him to Milner, we could not help contrasting the mildness and candour of the Catholic with the bigotry and unfairness of the Protestant.
Erasmus wrote a short sketch of his own life, and several letters which have detailed his early history, but they are written with his usual haste, and are not devoid of faults. His correspondence also furnishes abundant knowledge as to his private history; unfortunately, their utility is much impaired by the incorrectness of the dates. Many of the periods of his life could be settled by reference to facts alluded to by him in his writings, or by bibliographical works. Epistle 3d, for instance,
is dated 1490, but, probably, should be 1498 or 1499, as he speaks of visiting Rome during the Jubilee, which was in 1500. It is not probable that he would be preparing for a journey ten years beforehand. The letter to Gaguin in the appendix, without date, should be dated 1495, for it was prefixed to Gaguin's History of France, printed that year. Jortin speaks of a letter to the Bishop of Cambray, which he says must have been written before 1503: it alludes to the printing of the poems of William Herman, just published, which settles the date at 1499. We could ascertain many other dates with equal
Beatus Rhenanus, who had known Erasmus, has given two short sketches of his life, which contain some interesting circumstances. Le Clerc drew up a life of Erasmus from his letters, which was of course imperfect, as it took nothing from other authorities.
The most learned, sensible and interesting biography, is by Jortin, who has corrected some errors of Le Clerc, but follows him generally, with the addition of a great deal of other mat ter. The erudition of the work is truly amazing; but it is like "orient pearls at random strung," and somewhat wanting in order.
Mr. Burigni wrote about the same time, a life of Erasmus, on an attentive study of his works, which is candid and instructive, but heavily written.
In his article on Erasmus, Bayle exhibits his usual wit and originality, united to immense and exact research. The character of Erasmus is well appreciated generally, and parts of his history are so well illustrated, that it has been the ground work of all succeeding biographers. But the most full, impartial and able criticism on the merits of Erasmus we have seen, is in the "Excitatio Critica de Religione Erasmi," of John Albert Fabricius, in which, he has consulted an immense number of works uncommon out of Germany.||
* Tom. p. 1817.
† Pancer, Annal. Typograph.
Tom. iii. p. 1782.
§ Panzer, Annal. Typograph.
ART. IV.-1. Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind. By THOMAS BROWN, M. D. 3 vols. 8vo. Philadelphia. 1824.
2. Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect. By THOMAS BROWN, M. D. &c. 8vo. Andover. 1822.
Our readers may, perhaps, think it strange that we should at this late period invite their attention to the metaphysical writings of Dr. Brown. Our reasons are, that nothing more than their analysis has yet been given by the periodical press of our coun→ try; and that their value is as much too highly estimated by some, as underrated by others. It was to be expected, indeed, that works, treating of subjects which generally require close thinking, should be neglected by many who are unable or unwilling to yield them that application of mind which is necessary to their being understood; and there was equal reason for anticipating that the poetic language and ingenious argumentation of Dr. Brown, would beget an unbounded admiration in many of his readers, and cause them to receive without examination, whatever had the support of his name. That we shall be able to set the opinion of the public right on this subject, we have not the presumption to suppose; but we are willing to use our endeavours in attempting to moderate the applause of some; which, when so excessive, is seldom just and to remove the prejudices of others, which prevent their approach to sources of real and extensive improvement.
We will make no apology, therefore, for introducing our readers at once into some of the most abstruse of Dr. Brown's speculations and to those who hesitate to enter upon an article of metaphysics, we would address ourselves in the words of one of the fathers of the science:* "Since it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion which he has over them, it is certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to inquire into."
Locke. If more ancient authority (and what would once have commanded more respect) be required, it may be given: "Tuv xaλŵv xai tiμíwv Tùv éidnow ὑπολαμβάνοντες, μᾶλλον δ ̓ ἑτέραν ἑτέρας, ἢ κατὰ ἀκρίβειαν, ἤ των βελτιόνων τε καὶ θαυμασιωτέρων ειναι, δι' ἀμφότερα ταῦτα τήν της κυχψης ἱστορίαν εὐλόγως αν εν πρώτοις τιθέιημεν. Δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν ἄπασαν ἡ γνωσις αὐτῆς μεγάλα ovμßáλλsodai.”—Aristotelis de Anima, lib. i. Opera, tom. i. 166. Bas. 1531.