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to attempt anything more in this department of our journal, since it would require a long paper to discuss the points at issue, in almost any of the Essays and Reviews.
The titles of the different papers give an idea of their importance, and show that they are such as even ordinary minds could invest with more or less interest. The first in the volume is entitled “The Education of the World." This is a noble subject, and it is nobly treated, by one eminently qualified by experience, learning and talent; namely, the Rev. Dr. Temple, Chaplain to the Queen, and head master of Rugby School, one of the best institutions of learning of which even enlightened and liberal England may justly boast. In every page of this volume, we find elevated and striking thoughts—such, in our opinion, as none but the bigoted and intolerant would cavil with, as heretical or anti-christian.
“ The human heart," says Dr. Temple, “refuses to believe in a universe without a purpose. To the spirit, all things that exist must have a purpose ; and nothing can pass away till that purpose be fulfilled. The lapse of time is no exception to the demand. Each moment of time, as it passes, is taken up in the shape of perma. nent results into the time that follows, and only perishes by being converted into something more substantial than itself. A series of recurring cycles, however conceivable to the logical understanding, is inconceivable to the spirit; for every later cycle must be made different from every earlier, by the mere fact of coming after it, and embodying its results. The material world may possibly be subject to such a rule, and may, in successive epochs, be the cradle of successive races of spiritual beings; but the world of spirits cannot be a mere machine."-p. 2.
Sometimes we may not be able to agree with the authors' views; but even then we cannot but admire the ability with which they are enforced. For example, we do not believe in the theory of the progressive developinent of the human race from age to age, because, if it were true, great intellects and great nations would spring up in proportion as the world grew old-Homer should not have been born until the nineteenth century; nay, not perhaps until the fiftieth ; Athens would not so soon have shed her lustre on the world, and then died, so far as she was mortal; nor would Rome have become the mistress of the world, then declined and fallen. Neither left any successor capable of inheriting her greatness; but the remarks of Dr. Temple on a kindred subject are not the less interesting on this account.
“This power, whereby the present ever gathers into itself the results of the past, transforms the human race into a colossal man, whose life reaches from the creation to the day of judgment. The successive generations of men are days in this man's life. The discoveries and inventions which characterize the different epochs of the world's history are his works. The creeds and doctrines, the opinions and principles of the successive ages, are his thoughts. The state of society at different times are his manners. He grows in knowledge, in self-control, in visible size, just as we do; and his education is, in the same way, and for the same reason, precisely similar to ours.”—pp. 3-4.
Dr. Temple is not afraid to admit that, excellent and sacred as the Bible is, there are other sources of knowledge, to which it is sometinies necessary for us to have recourse while here below. He is equally candid in admitting the great indebtedness of our present civilization to Greece
and Rome, pointing out the peculiar benefits we have derived from each. We must, however, close our extracts from his paper with a brief passage from his description of what he conceives to have been the peculiar mission of Greece.
“ To Greece was intrusted the cultivation of the reason and the taste. Her gift to mankind has been science and art. There was little, in her temper, of the spirit of reverence. Her morality and her religion did not spring from the conscience. Her gods were the creatures of imagination, not of spiritual need. Her highest idea was, not holiness, as with the Hebrews; nor law, as with the Romans; but beauty. Even Aristotle, who assuredly gave way to mere sentiment as little as any Greek that ever lived, placed the Beautiful (tó valóv) at the head of his moral system, not the Right nor the Holy. Greece, in fact, was not looking at another world, nor even striving to organize the present, but rather aiming at the development of free nature. The highest possible cultivation of the individual, the most finished perfection of the natural faculties, was her dream."-p. 19.
The paper of the Rev. Dr. Rowland Williams, on “Bunsen's Biblical Researches," consists of an able and candid review of that learned author's principal writings on the Bible. This is written in so liberal a spirit that it gave great offence to several functionaries of the Established Church, especially to the Lord Bishop of St. David's, who thought it necessary to denounce it, in more than one Charge to the clergy of his diocese, as replete with heresies. It was in reply to one of these attacks that Dr. Williams wrote his now somewhat famous “Earnestly Respectful Letter to the Lord Bishop of St. David's, on the difficulty of bringing Theological Questions to an issne.” This combined so much wit and humor with learning that it placed his Lordship in an awkward position; and, in order to extricate himself, he wrote his “Letter to the Rev. Rowland Williams," &c., in answer to his “Earnestly Respectful Letter," &c., which, far from having the desired effect, compromised his dignity more than ever. This did not satisfy the Rev. Dr. Williams, however, for he lost no time in publishing his “ Critical Appendix on the Lord Bishop of St. David's Reply," and, so far as we are aware, the Bishop has written nothing more on the subject since. The whole controversy is very interesting; more interesting, perhaps, than edifying, on account of the fierce attacks the Reverend and Right Reverend combatants make upon each other. It is very evident that both prefer the old Mosaic law, οφθαλμον αντί οφθαλμού (an eye for an eye, &c.), to the milder doctrine of Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount, άλλ' οστις σε ραπισει επί την δεξιάν σιαγονα σου, στρέψουν avtual tîv allov (but whosoever shall smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other, also). But, so far as we can see, there is not an objectionable word in the paper on “ Bunsen's Researches," although the general reader may object to the familiarity with the Greek and Hebrew, as well as the Latin, evinced by the learned author.
Another excellent paper is that on the National Church, by the Rev. Henry Bristow Wilson, having for its text, Séances Historiques de Genève. This, too, is characterized by great boldness and freshness of thought. Those who read it will not be surprised that the cry of heresy has been raised against the author. We can only make room for one extract.
“The skeptical movements in this generation are the result of observation and thought, not of passion. Things come to the knowledge of almost all persons, which were unknown a generation ago, even to the well-informed. Thus, the popular knowledge, at that time, of the surface of the earth, and of the populations which cover it, was extremely incomplete. In our own boyhood, the world, as known to the ancients, was nearly all which was known to ourselves. We have recently be. come acquainted-intimate--with the teeming regions of the Far East; and with empires, Pagan, or even Atheistic, of which the origin runs far back, beyond the historic records of Judea or of the West, and which were more populous than all Christendom now is, for many ages before the Christian era. Not any book-learning, not any proud exaltation of reason, not any dreamy German metaphysics, not any minute and captious Biblical criticisms, suggest questions to those, who on Sundays hear the reading and exposition of the Scriptures, as they were expounded to our forefathers, and on Monday peruse the news of a world, of which our forefathers Jittle dreamed_descriptions of great nations, in some senses barbarous, compared with ourselves, but composed of men, of flesh and blood like our own, otlike passions ; marrying and domestic; congregating in great cities; buying and selling, and getting gain; agriculturists, merchants, manufacturers ; making wars, establishing dynasties; falling down before objects of worship, constituting priesthoods, binding themselves by oaths, honoring the dead. In what relation does the Gospel stand to these millions ? Is there any trace on the face of its records, that it even contemplated their existence ? We are told, that to know and believe in Jesus Christ is, in some sense, necessary to salvation. It has not been given to these. Are they, wiū they be hereafter, the worse of for their ignorance ?"
p. 171. It will be admitted that it requires no ordinary courage on the part of a clergyman of the Established Church, the Vicar of Great Stoughton, Hunts, to ask questions like those we have marked in italics.
We had also marked several passages in the paper “On the Interpretation of Scripture,” by Benjamin Jowett, A. M., Greek Professor at Oxford; but we are reluctantly compelled to omit all, save one, and this must be brief, merely sufficient to give an idea of the liberal, independent spirit in which the whole Essay is written:
“ The tendency to exaggerate or amplify the meaning of simple words, for the sake of edification, may, indeed, have a practical use in sermons, the object of which is to awaken, not so much the intellect, as the heart and conscience. Spiritual food, like natural, may require to be of a certain bulk to nourish the human mind. But this tendency to edification' has had an unfortunate influence on the interpretation of Scripture: for the preacher almost necessarily oversteps the limits of actual knowledge ; his feelings overflow with the subject. Even if he have the power, he has seldom the time for accurate thought or inquiry; and in the course of years spent in writing, perhaps, without study, he is apt to persuade himself, if not others, of the truth of his own repetitions.”—P. 365.
The papers “On the Mosaic Cosmogony," " " Tendencies of Religious Thought in England," and "The Present Relations of Science to Religion,” from different pens, though inferior in originality and vigor to those we have notioed, are worthy of careful perusal. The American editor has performed his duty in a manner which cannot fail to be acceptable to all. With ample opportunity in his Introduction to give his own views on the subjects discussed in the Essays and Reviews, he modestly confines himself to less than a half-dozen pages, and these are historical and explanatory rather than controversial. : Euvres de Spinoza, traduites par EMILE SAISSET; Professeur d'Histoire de
la Philosophie à la Faculté des Lettres à Paris, avec une Introduction
that the works of Spinosa should never have been translated out of the bad Latin in which they were written. Doubtless this is the impression of three fourths of those who have heard of their character, for very few have read them in any language. That they should not be read by persons incapable of reasoning, or, what amounts to the same, by persons ready to believe whatever is invested with a philosophic air, is very true. But it is by no means necessary that one should be a great logician or a great thinker, in order to be able to perceive the fallacies which form the basis of Spinosa's system.
The anthor contradicts himself so often, and so often becomes bewildered in his ideas, that it is hardly necessary to confute him. His theory may be stated briefly, thus: be maintains that there is but one substance; that this substance is not only universal, but eternal ; that it includes God and all animated beings, as well as all matter. . With him, God is little more than an abstraction there is no difference between God and nature ; he is the soul of the world, and whatever exists, animate or inanimate, is a part of the same; life being no more, in its relation to the Almighty, than water in a bottle is to the water of the ocean ; if the bottle is broken, its contents unite with the great source from which it was taken; in a similar manner, the life of an animal, whether of a hen or a man, unites itself with the universal substance from which it had been taken. According to him, there is no design in the works of nature—all are the results of accident. The eye is not made to see, the ear to hear, or the foot to walk; all are produced by necessity. What can be more absurd than all this? What danger can there be, save to the most thoughtless and credulous, in reading a book that sets common sense at defiance ?
The whole fabric of Spinosa's system is founded on the hypothesis of Descartes, that “Nature is a plenum," but which has long been discarded as untenable. Newton, Gregory, Halley, Keill and others, have demonstrated, since Spinosa's time, that a void is essential to motion; and need we add, that it has also been demonstrated that a comet, a fixed star, a fly, an elephant, a man, and an oyster are not all made of the same substance? But, absurd as the system of Spinosa is, he indignantly denies being an atheist. “With regard," he says, “ to the love of God, so far, as I conceive, is this idea from tending to weaken it (the idea of comprehending all), that no other is more calculated to increase it; since, through it, I know that God is intinnate with my being; that he gives me existence and my every property,” &c. Elsewhere, in the same work, * he reinarks, “I must conclude that the absolute Being is neither thought nor extent, exclusively of each other; but that extent and thought are necessary attributes of the absolute Being." Strictly speaking, this is not atheism
* Traité Theologico-Politique, p. 21.
but a sort of pantheism, which, as M. Saisset admits, tends to atheism. In this, Spinosa does not differ with the ancient philosophers, also called atheists, as much as is commonly supposed. Lucan tells us, in his Pharralia, that Jupiter is whatever may be seen, whatever may be moved, &c.*
Jupiter est quodque vides, quodcunque moveris. Seneca, who approaches nearer to the Christian faith than any Heathen writer, entertained nearly the same opinion that is, he believed God to be all and in all; but there is this important difference between Spinosa and Seneca, that the latter regarded the Supreme Being as the artificer of the universe. “All names,” he says, are equally applicable to him. Do you wish to call him fate? if so, you do not err. It is he from whom all things proceed-he is the cause of causes. Do you wish to call him Providence ? you are correct in doing so. Do you wish to call him nature? you will not transgress in doing so, for it is by him all things are engendered—we live by his spirit,” &c., &c.t Yet Seneca, too, is called an atheist. Indeed, it may be doubted whether of all the thinkers that have ever lived, there have been half a dozen real atheists. The works of Lucretius and the Baron d'Holbach, De Rerum Natura and La Système de la Nature, are undoubtedly atheistical. Both expressly deny that there is a God, and pretend to prove that there is not; but how many advocate theories which they know to be untenable, if only in order to differ from the rest of mankind? Whatever may have been the private opinions of Spinosa, certain it is that he took no pains to popularize his system. He could have written his book either in French or Dutch, but he chose a language read in his time only by the learned. Those who have written most against him admit that he could have made money by bis writings; but he lived and died in poverty. When his accounts were examined, after his death, it was found that he often subsisted for weeks in succession on four sous a day—what was barely sufficient to sustain life, or to save him from starvation. In short, in our opinion, his works are much more curious than dangerous. In politics, he was as eccentric as he was in religion; but his political writings have never caused a revolution in the pettiest Statę; and is it likely that a people will abandon the faith of their fathers more readily than exchange one form of government for another?
* Pharsal., Lib. IX., v. 578.
+ Eundem quem nos Joven intelligunt, custodem Rectoremque universi, animum ac spiritum mundani hujus operis dominum et artificem, cui nomen omne convenit. Vis illum fatum vo. Care? non errabis. Hic est, ex quo suspensa sunt omnia, causa causarum. Vis illum provident tiam dicere? recte dices. Est enim, cujus consilio huic mundo providetur, est inconcussus eat et actus suos explicet. Vis illam naturam vocare ? non pecabis. Est enim, ex quo nata sun omnia, cujus spiritu vivimus. Vis illum vocare mundum ? nou falleris. Ipse enim est, totum quod vides, totus suis partibus inditus, et se sustinent vi sua.-Quæst. Natur., Lib. II., cap. XLV.