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hagen a Danish paraphrase of Beowulf. A valuable commentary on the Anglo-Saxon Laws was published by Phillips at Göttingen in 1826. The Laws of Canute appeared at Copenhagen the same year, in Latin, with various readings and the Anglo-Saxon text; and in 1830, came out Dr. Mone's Materials and Researches for a History of the German Literature and Language, in which will be found several Anglo-Saxon interlinear glosses. Dr. J. A. Schmeller of Munich published in the same year, “ The Heliand, or History of our Saviour's Life.” In 1836, a series of works on Anglo-Saxon literature by MM. de Larenaudière and Michel was commenced in Paris. The second volume of the collection came out in 1837 entitled : “ Bibliothèque Anglo-Saxonne, par Francisque Michel.” Though not without value, it would seem to be a work of more pretension than its merits justify. Prefixed to the work is a letter by Mr. J. M. Kemble, in English, which extends to upwards of 60 pages, giving a brief sketch of Anglo-Saxon literature in England and on the Continent.
We have now completed the brief sketch which we designed. The subject is one of great interest to all who speak the English language. A writer, in a late number of the Edinburgh Review, has endeavored to analyze the nature of those words for which the modern language is indebted to the more ancient. The words in the English language he estimates at 38,000, and of those derived from the Saxon, as five-eighths, or about 23,000; but those derived from the latter are of that character that their recurrence, from their very nature, oftener takes place than others, and hence the language partakes, in a still greater degree, of the older forms. English grammar is almost exclusively occupied with what is of Anglo-Saxon origin; the names of the greater part of objects of sense; those words which are expressive of our earliest and dearest connections, and the strongest principles of our nature, are mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin.* It is asserted, also, that some of our best modern writers have been returning to a similar model, and, by necessity, the disuse of many words from the Greek and Latin, has introduced those of Saxon origin. Nearly all our national proverbs, those homely lessons of wisdom, in which so much thrift and carefulness shine out, are derived from the same tongue. To the Anglo-Saxon Wills, we must look for information
* See Petheram, p. 175, and Edinburgh Review, Oct. 1839.
respecting the law of real property, the descent and liabilities of lands, the nature of tenure and service, the power of the popular councils, a reasonable account of household arrangements, and disposition of real and personal estate.
In the actual and prospective spread of the English tongue, we find a new motive to study it fundamentally. The language of the venerable Bede is spoken at the sources of the Mississippi and the Indus. The institutions of Alfred are the defence and glory of states and empires, compared with which the kingdoms of Essex, Kent and East-Anglia were but insignificant villages. Anglo-American energy is peopling a continent with those who revere and love the great names that live in British story. English armies and navies are carrying the Ante-Norman dialect into the vale of Cashmire, over the wall of China, into the cannibal islands of the southern ocean. The descendants of a few wild but stout-hearted Angles, who left the woods of Germany 1400 years ago, are now thundering in the track of the crusaders, dictating the terms of their future intercourse with an empire of 400,000,000, casting into the shade the victories of Alexander, even on the identical ground which he traversed; in the same year tracing the long sought passage between North America and Asia, and discovering at the opposite pole a new continent. What is better still, the children of those whose light shone so brightly in the writings of Bede, Alfred and Alfric are now carrying the light of life back to the regions where it was first enkindled, and to other realms which Scandinavian enterprise had not then reached. Happy are we who enjoy the language, the liberties and the religion for which so many generations have toiled and bled ; happier still, if we prove worthy descendants of such sires, good stewards of God's manifold gifts.
REVIEW OF COLEMAN'S ANTIQUITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
By Ralph Emerson, D. D., Prof. of Eccl. Hist., Theol. Sem., Andover, Mass.
The Antiquities of the Christian Church. Translated and Com
piled from the Works of Augusti, with numerous Additions from Rheinwald, Siegel and others. By Rev. Lyman Coleman. Andover & New-York: Gould, Newman & Saxton. Boston: Tappan & Dennett; Gould, Kendall & Lincoln. Philadelphia : Henry Perkins. 1841. pp. 557.
Among the bright features in the present aspect of the Protestant world, we may safely reckon the increasing attention that is paid to the early history of the Christian Church. For were it only the indulgence of curiosity, it would be one of the most rational and harmless indulgences of that knowledgeseeking faculty, which can be imagined ;– far safer than the direction into which the serpent beguiled the same noble but perilous endowment of our first parents ;-and far safer, we may add, than any of those directions into which he now beguiles unstable souls. To ponder veritable history of any kind is much better than to listen to the most enchanting fictions. And to the child of God, what can be more congenial than to study the record of the early struggles, perils and triumphs of that cause to which his heart is now devoted for eternity, and on which the heart of his Saviour was fixed from eternity ;-to muse, too, on the infant efforts of the Church towards the systematic development of Christian doctrine, and then, on its childlike application of the doctrine itself, whether wisely or not, in the early formation of Christian life and Christian institutions? No employment, we say, of human curiosity is more harmless or more rational; and none, we may further say, is of better omen or brighter promise. It argues well for the single mind that spontaneously takes such a direction, and very well for that community which is brought, in any way, to receive such a direction.
It is not, however, nor can it be, the mere indulgence of curiosity. Good will come of it, and much every way. For, next to the study of the Bible itself, what can promise more for the correct understanding of the truth it contains, than an accurate knowledge of the ways in which those truths have been understood, in diverse ages and by diverse kinds of men ? And what can conduce more to a correct application of those truths to practice, than a knowledge of the different ways in which they have actually been applied ? The experience of ages is surely one of the chief correctives for all kinds of mistakes; and next to inspiration itself, the grand voucher for whatever is true in theory or wise in practice.
In proof of the fact that an increasing attention has lately been paid to the early history of the Church, we need only allude to the rapidly increasing number of works on this subject, which are annually issued from the press in this and other Protestant countries. The supply is a good index of the demand, while it also serves to increase that demand.
If inquired of for the reason of this increase, our answer is at hand, and is manifold. Literature of almost every kind is rapidly advancing. During the last age, science, in distinction from literature, engrossed far the greater share of studious toil, in this country and in Europe, with the exception perhaps of Germany; and the mournful cry was not raised in vain, that learning was perishing from the earth. And, as is common in such cases, the cry has been continued, with but little abatement, to the present hour, though the occasion of alarm has ceased, and the prospect now is, that literature will soon stand in her full strength by the side of her sister science.
Peace, blessed peace, the daughter and handmaid of true religion, now so long enjoyed between the most enlightened nations, may be regarded as the chief cause of this relative change. War, while it is an unnatural stimulant to many of the arts and sciences, and indirectly encourages nearly all the rest, is wont to thrust its maniac sword into the very vitals of literature Amid the roar of cannon, the march of armies, and the sight of blood, the mind of whole nations becomes ferocious, and ceases to care, and then ceases to know about the pursuits of peaceful learning. It can think, and write and read of battles, and of the means of gaining battles, but of nothing else.
France, once so distinguished for both sacred and profane learning, is a living proof of what the spirit of war can do in this part of its devastating sphere. “France has no literature," is the sigh of a recent French writer. And peculiarly is this
true in regard to religious literature; yet France is pre-eminent in science. The martial soul of Napoleon seemed to extend itself into every French bosom ; or rather, every Frenchman's soul seemed but a Gnostic emanation from the ruthless Æon of the Revolution. From this effect of the war spirit, France has scarcely begun to recover. England, too, has deeply felt the like effects in her literary pursuits. And Germany was saved from them,—so far as she was saved at all, partly by her division into small kingdoms, which could hope for no martial glory; but chiefly by what is otherwise her deepest calamity, the despotic sway of her sovereigns, allowing no scope for the common mind to become absorbed in political concerns. Hence it is, in no small degree, that Germany kept on in her literary career; and, when emerging from the wars of the last age, was found so far in advance of the rest of the world. And now, in these peaceful days, time and ample opportunities are afforded for disseminating through other nations the accumulated and accumulating fruits of German acquisition.
Two causes, however, in addition to a difference of languages, have conspired to retard in a measure the dissemination of these fruits. The diverse and seemingly artificial mould in which the German mind casts its productions, together with some lack of common sense in discriminating between important and unimportant matters, may be regarded as one of these causes; and it is one which calls for the sound discretion and independent thought of the compiler from their works, if he would present the results of their labors in the most intelligible and attractive form. The other cause, to which we allude, is the deep, and, for a tiine, indiscriminate suspicion of heresy that rested on the theological productions of Germany. So many of them were found infected with error, that such a suspicion naturally became too strong for any thing but time and the means of more accurate discrimination to allay. But now the language is more extensively cultivated among us, and the vast difference between different German authors is better known. God, too, has of late years raised up many pious and able men among them, whose character for general soundness in the faith is universally acknowledged, and who have corrected the errors of their skeptical countrymen, and turned their treasures of knowledge to the best account. The consequence is, that while the Christian community, both here and in England, have become better fortified against German error, the indiscriminate suspi