« PreviousContinue »
these cold and barren times : - he wished that he had been born in the middle ages. The other was of a different character : - that he wished he might see a spirit, and that he should feel no horror at such a sight. O, the pure, spiritually-sympathizing soul! To such a soul was this possible, - poetical as it was, and much as such souls are wont to shudder before the deep, still shadows, that rise and dwell on the other side of the dead! For this soul itself was a spirit-apparition upon the earth, and never forgot its native clime.
“He comes before me now, — not in the increase of glory with which men are consecrated by death, - but from his distant eminence, with the same splendor which always surrounded him on earth. I think of him on high, beyond the stars, as in his true place, delivered from the pains of mortality, but else unchanged. Go, then, above, thou pure, thou spirit-friend! celebrate thy harvestfeast. Let the crown of autumn sheaves adorn thy head, instead of the flowers of spring.
We will now love together thy great Soul; and if its remembrance sometimes brings a pang of grief, we will again peruse the sacred lines, in which it has announced the Immortal, the God-like, and Itself.”
NOTE. In the commencement of this article, we have alluded to “Taylor's Historic Survey of German Poetry” in terms of decided censure. The merits of that veteran writer in promoting the study of German literature in Great Britain, are not unknown to us, nor the encomium passed upon him by the admirable Translator of “The Characteristics of Goethe.” That accomplished lady remarks of him, “that, though she dissents from his view of the general tendency of German literature, she unites admiration for his talents and learning, to an almost hereditary respect for his person and character.” * We feel that it would be presumptuous to express an unfavorable opinion of an individual, whom so eminent a judge in these matters as Mrs. Austin deems worthy of her praise, without supporting it by competent proof. A few examples of his mistakes, taken from his account of Herder, may suffice for our justification.
Vol. III. p. 9. Mr. Taylor says, “that Herder was admitted into the family of Trescho, in a nominally menial capacity, but was suffered to play with the children of his master, and to partake the lessons of Latin and Greek, which they daily received from their father.”
Trescho had no children. He lived unmarried, and Herder was admitted to his house only as a lodger and amanuensis. His board he received at his father's, and his instruction at the Mohrungen public school, taught by Grimm. This error was probably copied from “ Jördan's Lexicon," or some of the Journals which appeared soon after Herder's death. Mr. Taylor could not have made use of very authentic materials in the preparation of his work, for this error is alluded to and
* Characteristics of Goethe. Vol. II. p. 240.
expressly contradicted in “Herder's Leben,” by Carl Ludwig Ring, which was published nearly ten years before the “ Historic Survey."
See Herder's Leben, von King. Carlsruhe. 1822.
Erinnerungen aus dem Leben von Herder, Erster Theil, pp. 25, 51. Stuttgart, 1830. First edition, 1819.
Ibid. Mr. Taylor says, “that a Russian physician, who came to visit the Trescho family, heard, with interest, the praise of young Herder's industry and attainments, and obtained leave for taking him to Petersburg, where he thought it would be easy to get him a situation as preceptor.” Trescho, as we have seen, had no family. The Russian physician was a surgeon in the army, who, returning with his regiment from a campaign, took up winter-quarters in Mohrungen, where he became acquainted with Trescho. His proposal to Herder was to accompany him to Königsberg and study medicine.
See Erinnerungen, &c. p. 35. Herder's Leben, pp. 20, 21.
Page 10, Mr. Taylor intimates “ that Herder engaged in the study of Theology for the sake of obtaining a stipend from the University, and that his friend the surgeon approved of the plan.”.
Herder abandoned the study of medicine against the wishes of his patron; and it was not until after he had determined to study theology, that he applied for admission into the University,
See Erinnerungen, &c. pp. 54, 55. Herder's Leben, pp. 24, 25.
Ibid. Mr. Taylor, in speaking of Kant, says, “that Herder, for a time, at least, became an attached disciple of this original thinker, who concealed the boldness of his double doctrine, under the veil of a pedantic, but precise phraseology." Kant had no double doctrine ; nor was Herder ever, for a moment, his disciple. He admired his character, but could not abide his philosophy.
On the same page, Mr. Taylor has a long note on Kant, in which it is hard to say, whether the affectation of the style, or the misrepresentation of facts, is the most remarkable. It is enough to observe, that he speaks of the “notorious Gallicanism of Kant's opinions which must endear him to the patriotism of the philosophers of the Lyceum.” Gallicanism of Kant's opinions, indeed! A greater contradiction could hardly be put together. What would Coleridge have said to this, who idolized Kant, and thanked God that he had never learned the French language !
P. 14. Speaking of the disease in the eye, from which Herder suffered from his childhood, Mr. Taylor says, “that it attacked him latterly, and somewhat diminished the noble impression of his countenance, and much impaired his satisfaction in study.”
The truth is, this disorder had been a source of great annoyance to Herder, when young, but seems hardly to have been thought of amid the infirmities of his later years.
With regard to Mr. Taylor's estimate of Herder's character, we will only say, that he appears to have misconceived it throughout, and is quite as much at war with truth in his general reflections upon it, as in his exhibition of particular facts. If the other portions of his work contain as many errors of judgment and perversions of fact, as his account of Herder, it will be regarded by future scholars only as a record of the ignorance and presumption of the author. VOL. XVIII.
N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. II.
ART. IV.- The Happiness of the Blessed, considered as to
the Particulars of their State ; their Recognition of each other in that State; and its Difference of Degrees. To which are added, Musings on the Church and her Services. By RICHARD MANT, D. D., M. R. F. A., Lord Bishop of
Down and Connor. Philadelphia. 1833. 12mo. pp. 188. The writings of Bishop Mant are not much known in this country, and their character and style are not such as to ensure them popularity. Their calm good sense, and steady, sober piety, will nevertheless recommend them to readers who esteem those qualities; while the lovers of religious poetry will be pleased with many of the hymns and sonnets with which the bishop is fond of interspersing his prose. An entertaining, a striking, an eloquent writer, Bishop Mant cannot pretend to be; but they who look not for excitement, will find him to be useful to the calmer wants of their souls, and will learn to respect him as a grave and judicious friend.
A considerable portion of the small volume before us, is occupied in discussing the evidence, and especially the Scriptural evidence, of the doctrine of a recognition of friends in the future
It is on this account that we introduce the present mention of the work, in connexion with some remarks which we purpose to make ourselves on that deeply interesting subject.
When we ask for Scriptural evidence of the reunion of friends in a future state, are we not answered by every passage from Scripture which speaks of that state as a social one ? — and the fact is, that it is spoken of there in no other way. Whether the mention is incidental, or direct, it constantly presents heaven to our thoughts as a place or state in which the righteous shall meet together, not exist separately. If we listen to Jesus, we hear him declare, that where he is his disciples shall be also. If we turn to the Epistles, Paul tells us, that when Christ, our life, shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory; and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews points with rapture to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven.” If we pass over to that grand vision which concludes the books of the New Testament, we hear in heaven “as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, and the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” The blessed in
heaven are always represented as being in society, as being with their brethren, with angels, with their Saviour, and with their God.
Now hardly any thing can seem to be plainer, than that, as heaven is a social and not a solitary state, they who live together there must know each other, and that they who knew each other here must know each other there. And it is one of the most reasonable of all propositions, that if we carry any affections with us into the future state, they will fly first of all to salute those, who in this state were their cherished objects. When a mother joins the heavenly company of the redeemed, will she not, if she retains any thing of her former self and nature, if she has not lost her identity and the consciousness of it, will she not ask for “the babe she lost in infancy"? If she is herself, she will ask for it. If God is good, she will find it, know it, embrace it. How she will find it, by what marks know it, and with what exercises renew her love, must be left for immortality to reveal ;' but the rest, the simple fact of recognition is plain, - so plain that we are disposed to think that the reason why so little is said in the Scriptures of future recognition, is, that it was considered as naturally implied and involved in the fact of a future social state. On such a subject, intimation is equivalent to distinct declaration, and is sometimes even more forcible. Let us see if there are not such intimations of future recognition to be found in the Scriptures, as amount to a declaration of the fact, because they cannot be fully explained except on a supposition of the fact.
Recognition is intimated by exhortations to comfort on the loss of friends. The burthen of our sorrow in the loss of those whom we love, is, that we have lost their society, which was the very dearest thing on earth to us; the most applicable consolation which can be offered to alleviate this burthen, is, that their society is not lost to us for ever, that we shall enjoy it once more, that we shall meet again. Now, what says St. Paul, in his epistle to the Thessalonians. “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Beautiful words of assurance and comfort! How soothingly they fall on the wounds of the heart! Well counsels the Apostle soon after, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
And what makes them so peculiarly comforting? Not simply the assurance of restoration to life, a waking up of those who have fallen asleep, but the idea of collection, association, reunion, which the language supposes, and which is so pertinent to the case of separation to which they are addressed. As Jesus rose from the dead, even so God will awaken and bring with him, those who slept in him ; “and so," says the Apostle, “shall we ever be with the Lord.” We, who have been parted, shall again be united, and Christ shall be our head, and we shall part no more. That is consolation; consolation which exactly meets the case of distress.
To illustrate this by a comparison, let us suppose it to be necessary that a whole family, united by the tenderest mutual affection, should remove from the land where they had been brought up together, to another land, which is distant indeed, but far better; and to be equally necessary that they should remove, not all together, but one by one, and that there should be an interval of a considerable space of time between each removal. When one mernber of this family departed for the place of his destination, what would be the most appropriate consolation which could be offered to those who remained behind? Would they be fully comforted by being told, that he who had just gone away, had gone to a country, which enjoyed a more delightful climate than that which he had left; where he would live in health and at ease, and that they themselves would in due season be called to the same country, though to be sure they would live in different parts of it, and not be allowed to see each other any more? Would they be satisfied with this account of their dispersion, though it were to take place in “a land which is the joy of all lands”? It would be imperfect consolation compared with the assurance that in that far, happy land they were to be reunited, after the term of their temporary separation, and renew the intercourse, which in a bleak clime and a barren country had constituted their joy and their wealth. That would be consolation, and such a reunion would be implied, and would naturally be considered as implied, if they were told by a sympathizing friend not to sorrow for their loss as the hopeless sorrow, but to look forward to the land where their relative had gone, and to which they were to be taken themselves.
Other passages, besides the one above adduced, might be quoted, containing intimations to the same purpose. They are