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ny, some arguments are offered in vindication of the superiority of the former. The author urges, "That as the Jury is selected from among the people, at stated times, and after short intervals, the method and character of judicial procedure are not changed rashly and violently, but gradually to suit the times and the nation in which such change takes place—that, consequently, the administration of justice is always suited to the age, and harmony is preserved between the decrees of the tribunals, and the genius and opinions of the people. In the “Inquisitorial Process," on the contrary, the administration of justice is committed entirely to the hands of Judges, skilled in the law, (juris periti,) who, generally, are either in advance of the age in which they live, or behind it; and consequently, are desirous of introducing notions, to the reception of which, the people are not as yet prepared, or of proceeding according to rules and forms, which are already become obsolete.' Hence the prevalence in those countries, in which the “Inquisitorial Process" is used, of “Judge-made-law,” i. e., decisions, formed entirely upon precedents.
But further. It is remarked by an eminent law-writer, and cited by the author, that “Though Judges are likely to be more able than Jurymen, yet Jurymen are likely to be more honest than Judges.” Now, integrity is an important item-nay-it is an absolutely indispensible quality to the administration of justice. If, therefore, to the information of the Judge, be added the impartiality and honesty of the Jury, the ends of justice will be more likely to be attained. It is to this wise combination, that our system of judicature owes its high degree of excellence; and to this may we trace the origin of the remark: “Haud mirandum est civitatis Massachusetts procuratorem generalem asserere potuisse, nullam causam per longum tempus, quo tribunalibus interfuit, fuisse in qua jurati non juste recte que deciderunt.”
These considerations lead the author justly to commend in the highest terms the trial of the Jury; and in the full and honest conviction of its great importance in serving the ends of justice, and in enabling a people to preserve in purity their rights and liberties against the strong arm of tyranny, and against corruption in their judiciary, he closes his essay in the following eloquent remarks:
"Quam honorificum juratorum virtutis testimonium! (alluding to the opinion of the Attorney-General of Massachusetts.) Quam luculentum præstantiæ hujus instituti argumentum! ut Aristoteles de democratia observarit, sic quoque juratorum judicium cives maxima honestate præditos requirit. 'Quam diu virtutem retineamus,' dixit Jefferson, 'populus liber manebimus;' juratorum igitur judicium, publicæ virtutis quasi obrussam æque ac præsidium, tamquam sacrum nostrorum institutorum, quæ, (Deo gratiæ agantur,) radices suas in temporibus antiquissimis originemque legitimam et historicum habent, non, (uti aliorum quorundum populorum instituta,) bello civili ac seditione parta, sanguineque civium ferruminat sunt, palladium merito colimus; illud vero tempus, quo nostri jurati indig. nos fide se ostenderint, reipublicæ libertatique ruinam minitari servitutisque commeritæ quasi præcursorem fore arbitramur.”
3.— The Life and Character of John Calvin, the Reformer, Reviewed and
Defended. By the Rev. THOMAS SMYTH, D. D.; Author of Lectures on the Apostolic Succession, etc., etc. Philadelphia : 1844.
Dr. Smyth is making daily additions to our theological libraries. Already is the world indebted to him for productions which challenge for themselves the highest place. The Church cannot do otherwise than look up to him as one of its most richly endowed servants, inde. fatigable, laborious, untiring, shining brightest in each difficult undertaking. We say the church, the reformed church; and if from his voluminous contributions to its literature, he has sometimes been called "the book maker,” we are free to confess our need of many such book makers. The age, and the tendencies of the age seem to demand such a consummation.
With reference to the work before us, we have many things to say in commendation, but as an impartial critic, there are faults too, which ought not to go unmarked. One sided criticism never attains its purpose; beauties and defects are to be viewed together and through the same medium. The biographer of John Calvin may expect difficulties, his task is an arduous one, and he must come to its execution with armour buckled on; prejudices are to be combatted and mis-statements cleared away, that a correct picture of the great Reformer be exhibited. Nor is the danger slight, of being over zealous in clearing away, and in the ardour of contest glossing over defects, and even deformities of character, so that it be questionable, upon the whole, whether they be virtues or vices. The end of righteous biography is to exhibit the individual as he lived and moved, “nothing extenuate or set down aught in malice.” Any other course obscures truth, if it does not entirely pervert it.
Calvin and Luther had, as a matter of course, all the thunders of papal Rome levelled at their heads; St. Peter has never beer silent; champions have entered the list in their cause—they have met the war manfully, and whilst on the one hand we have recognized the reformers as monsters of depravity, on the other, they have fallen little short of the perfection of saints. Now, in our judgment, the truth lies in some middle course, for in this as in other cases in medio tutissimus ibis. Calvin was unquestionably a great man-his opponents have fully conceded, Dr. Smyth clearly evinced it-great in his eminent courage to meet and repel danger, great in his intrepidity, his firmness, in his transcendant genius, felt throughout all christendom. Scaliger pays a tribute to his greatness, when he terms him, at twenty-four, "the most learned man in Europe." The twelve folio volumes of his works confirm the testimony; and his Institutes, his Catechism, his Commentary “De Clementia,” are still standard works in the Protestant world. England acknowledges him in her “Articles,” her Liturgy, her Psalm
ody; nobody doubts the supremacy of John Calvin. Dr. Smyth's error in this work, it seems to us, is this, that the reformer must be exhibited not only as a great, but a perfect man; history refutes such a supposition, it was not an age favorable for a development of character like this, nor were the men with whom he was associated likely to cast him far in the shade. Calvin was just the man the age would naturally produce, and in many respects, not a whit beyond it.
One of the first sections of the work we are examining, is headed, “Calvin vindicated from the charge of illiberality, intolerance and persecution." Now can this be done? Has the Rev. Mr. Smyth succeeded in the attempt? Let the candid reader determine. Can the matter of Ser. vetus and Castalleo be so easily forgotten and forgiven ? Is Calvin's memory freed from all censure here? We are not obdurate, we can make allowances, we can yield to Dr. Smyth that he "was not devoid of natural affection and friendship,” but doubt the propriety of defending that blind and furious zeal which led him into inhumanities so gross. However monstrous a heretic might have been Servetus, no Christian can justify Calvin's invocation of the civil arm to punish him with death ; this Calvin did; being held in the eye of the Romish Church a “monstrous heretic” himself, one would have expected moderation, at least. Dr. Smyth says, “that to affirm, as many do, that he sought the burning of Servetus, that he influenced the Senate in procuring his death, that he aided or abetted in his execution, or that he did not use his best efforts to procure a mitigation of the sentence, is an atrocious calumny against the truth of history, and an act of black persecution against the memory of a great and good man.”—p. 43. Is not this declamation ? Is it not the language of a partisan rather than that of a judicious critic? Can it be substantiated by any satisfactory proofs which are to be met with in the work?
But why so tenacious of Calvin or any other reformer? Were they not men with all the infirmities of men ? Are reformers expected to be more or less than men? The peculiar positions of trial, difficulty, and temptation, which they occupy, ought to speak much in their defence. The safer course, unquestionably, in considering the characters of most of those who figured in the reformation of the sixteenth century, is to adopt the language of an eminent modern historian—"they were not inspired apostles, they never assumed to be such, but the scheme of reformation which they proposed and partially brought about (we might add under divine influence,) was unquestionably a good one, whoever had been its founders.” However, we are anxious that full justice be done to Calvin-if his character can be vindicated, we hail the attempt; and although his biographer may have failed in this one particular, we conceive that he has been more successful in others. If we turn to the pages of J. H. Merle D'Aubigné, we shall be struck with the beautiful introduction which he gives us to the Reformer. 33
VOL. VI,NO. 11.
“Among the inhabitants of the city and university of Paris, who listened to the great bell was a young scholar of sixteen, a native of Noyon in Picardy.” A little further on, he adds, “Educated in all the superstitions of Popery, the student of Noyon was blindly submissive to the Church and fully persuaded that beretics well deserved the flames to which they were delivered. * And this boy from Picardy, low in stature and timid in demeanor, who came day by day to take his seat on the benches of the College of La Marché, was even then, by the seriousness of his conversation and sobriety of his life, uncon. sciously discharging the duties of a minister and a reformer.”—Vol. 3, 486-7. Again, "While Luther, who was to act upon the mass of the people, was brought up at first as a peasant's son, Calvin ordained to act chiefly as a theologian and a reasoner, and to become a legislator of the renovated Church, received, even in his childhood, a more liberal education.”—p. 490.
But to return to Dr. Smyth. His book will supply a desideratum, and if it has some faults, be more than redeemed by its excellencies. As a fine specimen of argumentation we refer to the last section, “A Supplementary Vindication of the Ordination of Calrin,” and particularly to the last member of that section, where the whole is finely summed up:
"Such then, is the accumulated evidence in proof of the certain and necessary ordination of Calvin, that it can only be denied by those who are willing for sectarian purposes to shut their eyes against the clearest light. It is asserted by Calvin himself, by Beza, and by Junius, it is implied as necessary in the whole reformed church, of which Calvin approved, and which the Presbytery of Geneva must have carried out. It was allowed by Prelatists and Romanists of his own age, and is implied in the estimation in which he was held by the whole reformed church. But even were the ordination of Calvin doubtful, we have shown that he was so far ordained by the Romish church, as to be authorized to preach; that his authority as a preacher depends not upon the ceremony of ordination; and that inasmuch as our present orders are in no degree dependent upon his, their validity is in no way connected with the fact or certainty of Calvin's ordination."
The following passage, from page 58, struck us as being in a high degree eloquent:
“Presbytery and Missions are therefore coeval, co-extensive and inseparable—they went hand in hand during the first six centuries, they again clasped hands in indissoluble union, at the era of the Reformation, they have lived together in peace, harmony and zeal, and whom God hath so joined together, let no apathy, or unbelief, or opinions, ever put asunder.”
We were not much pleased with the section “The obligations which we owe to Calvin as American citizens and Christians." Calvin might have been a republican, and achieved great things for Geneva and for Europe, but Dr. Smyth has given him too high a pre-eminence; every reformer was entitled to a share of this merit, every reformer had the
same high aims. Liberty and republicanism are the natural states of society, under a system of religion like the Christian. It is to Christianity alone that we are to look for modern liberty. If Calvin was instrumental in unfettering Christianity from church corruptions, he was an instrument in bringing about those great blessings. But there were many other instruments, and the republicanism of North America has infinitely less relation to Calvinism, than to Protestantism, separation of church and state, the revival of letters, and a new and wide country, blessed by heaven with every rich gift, and in its rocks, its valleys, and its mountains, calling upon men every where to be free.
On the whole, however, we are not sorry to have the book, and do not doubt that it will be welcomed to every library, as a modest but useful addition to theological literature.
4.- Poems by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Philadelphia : Carey & Hart.
The author before us, belongs to that school of modern philosophers professing the spirituelle, to which the vulgar have attached the epithet of transcendental. But there is little that is transcendental about them. They seem to us a harmless generation, dealing in sayings which they call orphic, and vague, unsubstantial analogies, in which they find life, death, and the true substance. We have, every two or three years, from certain portions of our country,—chiefly the East, from whence the wise men proverbially come,-a new revelation in matters and things, by which the world is to be wrought over, and through which all things are to become new. The latter-day mystery seems a sort of bastard Germanism,—nothing of the German soul, we take it,—but a certain twinkling of German ideas, caught up in hasty progress, by people of pretension, who are never satisfied but when they are making all blaze along the neighboring rivers. The fire burns out
ter a season, and the stream is suffered to pursue its progress as before. These rages pass away, and the revelation, such as it is, expires, like that of Prophet Miller, in a given period, and without beat of drum. German is a good thing,—the language, the literature, and, to some extent, the philosophy ;—but it has sadly addled some weak heads in and about the precincts of Boston. What with Goethe and Carlyle, and Immanuel Kant, Richter, and poor plagiarizing S. T. Coleridge, certain of our brethren speak in tongues quite as mystical as those of Rev. Edward Irving. The hallucination will give place to another, perhaps of a yet more harmless complexion. Mr. Emerson will discard his Carlyleisms, and be himself, greatly to his own honor and the credit of our literature; and, as for Mr. A. Brownson Alcott-he will always be-a very good school-master, we suppose, after the latest and strangest fashion.