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polish. Reading, to be profitable, must be something more than a mere“ beggarly day-dreaming.” “Read,” says Bacon,“ not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” It might be added, many are not to be read at all; for it can scarcely be doubted that an indiscriminate gormandizing of popular literature only enfeebles the intellect, and begets a sickly sentimentalism. In regard to the alleged immoral tendency of the study of classic mythology, I can only say I have never felt it nor discovered it in others. It is, however, gravely maintained that ancient authors foster a bloodthirsty spirit, and taint the soul by their licentiousness. It is also maintained, by some reformers, that jails and penitentiaries are mere incentives to crime; yet I cannot learn that those who live in the vicinity of such institutions are uncommonly vicious, nor have I ever known a man to be prompted to steal or rob, by visiting or passing by a prison. Neither have I known a student to become a heathen, or even heathenish by studying the classics. I would ask every schemer in education to visit our colleges, and inquire who are the greatest heathens there. I am confident they are not the best classical scholars. I would say to such reformers as Agricola did to his troops : “ question your own eyes.” Who are the idle, the disorderly and vicious in our literary institutions? Is it they who are most devoted to classical pursuits ? No: for they have no time to be dissipated. It is a rare thing to find one, who seeks to excel as a classical scholar, dissipated or immoral. The disturbers of college, the corrupters of the young are generally those who neglect such studies, who have not sufficient elevation of soul to appreciate them, and who find a more congenial employment in reading the corrupting novels and poetry of the age. An extended discussion of this point does not properly belong to my subject, and I leave it. I conclude in the language of Dr. Dana : “ If there is a spirit abroad in our land which is corrupting our literature, which would exchange its solid strength for a feeble and meretricious splendor, which regards its surface more than its depth, let us resist it. In an age of too much glitter and ostentation, let us aim at nothing better or higher than solid knowledge, genuine wisdom, unostentatious goodness and substantial usefulness. In an age of ceaseless revolution, let us remember that to innovate is not always to reform; and that old truth is somewhat preferable to new error.”
RELIGIOUS LITERATURE IN FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND:—GAUSSEN
ON DIVINE INSPIRATION.
By an American in Paris.
Théopneustie, ou Pleine Inspiration des Saintes Ecritures : par
L. Gaussen. Theopneustia, or the Plenary Inspiration of the Sacred Scrip
tures : by L. Gaussen : pp. 477, 8vo. (Published by Delay, No. 62 Řue Basse-du-Rempart, Paris.)
The three great races, which possess the greatest degree of civilization, and the greatest amount of moral and political inAuence in the world, are the English, or rather the Anglo-Saxon, the Germanic, and the French or Gallic. The first of these, including the branch which inhabits the United States and the colonies of Great Britain, probably exceeds forty-four millions of people; the second, forty-two millions; and the third, including portions of Switzerland and Belgium and the colonies of France, thirty-eight millions.
These races, though enjoying a civilization which may be said to be nearly equal, possess characteristics which strikingly distinguish them one from another. The first two, however, approximate much more nearly to each otherhaving in fact a common origin—than does either of them and the third. An inquiry into the origin of these differences in character—so perceptible, and yet not easy to portray—would be in the highest degree interesting; but it is wholly foreign to the object which we have in view in writing this article.
The Anglo-Saxon mind may be described as being eminently practical, clear in its conceptions, patient in its investigations and pursuits; the Germanic, more patient, more speculative, and more ardent. While the Gallic is more ardent still than that of the dwellers beyond the Rhine, more perspicacious, but greatly wanting in coolness, in patience, in application. We speak only of the most general characteristics of these races
In literature the French are inferior to the English or AngloSaxon race in soundness of view, in clearness of argumentation, and in what may be called the love of the True. They are very inferior to the Germans in profound erudition; and utterly abhor their love of speculation. They love that which is witty, brilliant, striking. But they have not the patience which is necessary to arrive at that which is profound. .
What we have just said is characteristic of the national mind and its operations. No people have more genius, and yet no great nation has produced fewer of the grandest discoveries in science, or achieved fewer of the greatest processes of art. And as to literature, while they have displayed great genius, and a most vivid imagination, the overwhelming mass of their writers are frivolous, superficial and immature. This is unquestionably the character of their writers in general.
And yet, although the national character of the French may be designated as light, unstable, and fonder of show than of solidity, nothing is more certain than that when moulded by influences sufficiently powerful to control it, it undergoes the most remarkable transformations. In the pursuit of military glory, what toilsome campaigns have the French not made, what sanguinary battles have they not fought! In pursuit of science, too, they have furnished some of the finest examples of indomitable perseverance.
But under no influence does the French mind seem to undergo so great a change as it does under that of religion. When made to feel the powers of the world to come,” and the motives which Christianity brings to bear upon the human heart, it seems to lose in a great measure those traits which we have described as being national. Calmness, sobriety, seriousness take the place of excessive excitability, frivolity and levity. Under this transforming influence, the French mind becomes remarkably adapted to the clear perception of the truth as revealed in the Bible, and the happy expression of it in spoken or written discourse. It is on this account that France has furnished many of the very ablest expounders of the Christian faith that the world has ever known, as well as many of its noblest advocates and most intrepid martyrs.
Rome, for ages, found in the Gallican church, her most distinguished defenders, and her brightest ornaments. Bossuet, Massillon, Bourdaloue, Fléchier and Fénélon are names than which none greater appear in her calendar of great men. Their fame is coextensive with the literary and religious world. From the bosom of the Gallican church, too, even down to the present times, have gone forth the best missionaries whom Rome has ever employed to propagate her doctrines and extend her dominion.
And even the Protestants, persecuted as they have been, and trodden under the feet of their enemies, almost to annihilation, have furnished many able champions of the truth as it is in Jesus, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries. Notwithstanding that access to the colleges of France was denied to their young men, and they were compelled to depend upon what instruction the schools of their own despised sect afforded, or seek for better in the academies and universities of Switzerland, Germany and Holland, not a few of them rose to distinction, and compelled the admiration, in some cases, of even their enemies.
Let us for a moment speak of a few of them. And first of all, though not exactly first in the order of time, was Calvinclarum et venerabile nomen,—who, whether he treated of the doctrines of Christianity, or expounded its sacred oracles, has not been surpassed in clearness of conception, in strength of argument, or in felicity of diction. He was one of those few great men whose names seem to be destined to descend to the remotest ages of futurity. His numerous and able productions are too well known to need a notice from us. His distinguished coadjutors in the glorious Reformation at Geneva, as well as in the adjoining Pays de Vaud, were Farel—the bold, ardent, powerful preacher, Viret—the amiable, the polished, the ingenious writer, as well as eloquent speaker, and Peter Olivetan, who first translated the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek originals. Theodore Beza, the friend of Calvin, his junior far in years and his inferior in natural gifts, was his successor in the chair of Theology at Geneva. He was the first President or Principal of the Academy; and his numerous writings attest the maturity of his mind, and the great extent of his erudition.
Whilst the above named great men labored, with others, who were either Frenchmen, or of French origin, and several of them had been banished from France, to introduce and establish the Reformation in French Switzerland, there were a few men, eminent in zeal and talent, who still continued, amidst the greatest obstacles, to promote it in France itself. Among these may be mentioned Lafevre, who deserves to be called the Fa
ther of the Reformation in that country, and who was the author of valuable commentaries on the Scriptures; Morlorat, author of Commentaries on Isaiah and the New Testament; and others less distinguished.
In the 17th century, and the beginning of the 18th, there were not a few distinguished Protestant writers in France, among whom we may indicate as the most celebrated, Philip de Mornay, Count de Plessis, or, as he is commonly called, Du Plessis-Mornay, a layman of rank, and the very able author of treatises on the Church, on the Truth of the Christian Religion, on the Eucharist, History of the Papacy, &c.; Peter Dumoulin, author of a treatise on the Keys of the Church, History of the Monks, and other excellent works; David Blondel, whose works were numerous, treating of the Eucharist, the Primacy of the Church, the offices of Bishops and Presbyters, the Sibyls, a Defence of the Reformed Religion, in opposition to Richelieu, etc., etc.; Du Bosc, whose writings are excellent; Claude, whose sermons, essays and controversial writings are well known; Samuel Bochart, who wrote much on Sacred Geography, the Natural History of the Bible, and other subjects, besides many sermons (an interesting Memoir of this distinguished scholar has lately been written by the Rev. Mr. Paumier of Rouen); Charles Drelincourt, author of Consolations against the Fear of Death, besides works on many other subjects, together with three volumes of Sermons (two of his sons were also ministers of the Gospel and authors); Stephen Gaussen, ancestor of the author of the work which stands at the head of this article, and the author of a work on the Art of Preaching; Le Sueur, author of a work on Ecclesiastical History. To these names we may add those of Amyrault, Girard des Bergeries, De Croi, Daillé, La Faye, Gaulart, Mestrezat, Demarets, etc., and in later times those of the Rabants (Paul St. Etienne). During the same period, there lived in Geneva, either the whole or a portion of their lives, the Turrettins, Benedict, Francis and John Alphonsus, all of them distinguished authors, and one of them, Francis, well known among us for his System of Theology and other writings; the Spanheims, Ezekiel and Frederick the Younger, well known for their numerous writings, as was their distinguished father Frederick Spanheim the Elder, who was some time a Professor of Theology at Geneva ; John Diodati, who, though born in Lucca, was long a professor at Geneva, and is well known for his