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May, 1848. By a thorough interpretation of this much-contested passage, De Wette derives from it the doctrine of original sin, in its Old-Lutheran form of inherited sin, or “the original likeness of all men, by virtue of which the sin of Adam becomes common to all, and sin propagated or inherited is still the free act of every man."
The following passage, we translate from the Preface to the last part of his New Testament Manual, being a condensed exposition of the Apocalypse, and dated June 20th, 1848. It is very remarkable as coming from one who has long been exiled as a dangerous radical, and a secret foe of religion. It would indicate a strong reaction, as be grows older and wiser, toward sound and salutary principles. As to his remark that the predictions in the Apocalypse do not reach down to the present day, we would only suggest, that though that wonderful book may not reflect a special distinct picture of the present state of German Protestantism, yet even this is certainly comprehended among the last transformations of the Church ; and “the prophetic vision of John ” discerns, beyond the disorders of our times, the final victory of the Church. Here is the passage:
“I began this work amid the arming for the civil war in Switzerland, and pursued it uninterruptedly when the throne of France fell, and while the thrones of Germany were tottering; and I finished it while anarchy was extending itself, and black thunder-clouds arose over the people. I thank God for the peace of mind he granted me; but thoughts of the destiny that awaited us, and probably the Church also, accompanied almost every line I penned. I could not refrain from descrying, in this our time, the antichrist depicted by John, although in altered shape, and in yet darker features. The selfdeification of the Romish antichrist appears to me like child's play, as compared with the God-denying, unbelieving, supercilious, allunbridled, egoism of our day. And what is a corporeal persecution of the Christian faith with fire and sword, compared with the dissolute Young-Hegel dialectics, or in comparison with the flatteries and foolings of the so-called love of freedom, which springs from the vilest internal slavery, and leads the poor people into inward and outward servitude ? According to the counsel of those who claim to take the lead of public sentiment, the State should cast off the Christian principle, and establish itself on the ground of Indifferentism, if not of absolute Atheism. What a stride toward a new and unexampled barbarism! For in the American Union, where the State takes a similar stand, the statesmen at least are Christians, and for the most part zealous Christians.
“ In my labors upon the Apocalypse, I have not learned how to prophesy; and the prophetic vision of John reached not down to our times. Hence I know not what the destiny of our beloved Protestant Churches will be. Only this I know, that in no other name is there salvation, but in the name of Jesus Christ, the Crucified ;. and that there is nothing higher for human kind, than the Godmanhood realized in him, and the kingdom of heaven planted by him ; — an idea and a problem, which have never yet been rightly recognized and brought to life, not even by those who may be properly regarded as the warmest and most zealous Christians. If Christ were in deed
and truth our Life, how could such a desertion of him be possible? Those in whom he lives, would, throughout their whole life, in word, writ, and act, testify for him so powerfully, that unbelief must be struck dumb."
THE HISTORIES OF Tacitus. This second volume of the surviving works of the sagacious Roman, is edited, like the former, by Professor Tyler, of Amherst College. In giving the highest commendations to this work, we speak not at random. That famous reviewer, Rev. Sydney Smith, facetiously remarks, that it is very desirable that the critic should never read the books be notices, because this might destroy his impartiality! We have lost this means of forming an unbiassed judgment, not having “read the book by the fingers," as the phrase is; but having deliberately eyed every word, except the index and the large advertising pamphlet which the booksellers have, very unsuitably, bound up with the volume. Even this last appendix we might have glanced at, if the publishers had not so often favored us with the sight of it in the same exceptionable way. It has ceased to have the charm of novelty. — As to Caius Cornelius Tacitus, he has long been regarded as the father of philosophical history. He is no mechanical annalist, whose tasteless toil consists in binding up his fagots of dry facts, and piling them up in heaps just fit for the baker's oven. His truly historic spirit penetrates to the motives of men, and the hidden causes of events ; and his style, so condensed and pregnant, renders him at once one of the most difficult and the most instructive of the Latin classics. No writer more needs a keen commentator, or better deserves one. And the “manes ” of the old Roman ought to be very much obliged to the Amherst professor, for furnishing him with such invaluable means for a higher appreciation of him by posterity. We cannot but sigh over the lost books of The Histories of Tacitus, of which what now remains to us breaks off at that most interesting period of ancient history, the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. How precious would be the account of that unparalleled tragedy, given in the concise descriptions of “that historian, who,” as Montesquieu says, “abridged every thing, because he saw every thing." Let us not despair of yet recovering this treasure. The Roman emperor Tacitus, supposed to be a descendant of the historian, and who flourished nearly two centuries after him, had copies of his writings placed in all the libraries of the empire, and required the scribes to make ten copies every year. Time, in devouring these copies, has done himself great injustice. The most complete manuscript known to be in existence, was found in a Westphalian monastery, long ago. Perhaps other convents may, ere long, be broken up; and, among their concealed spoils, these, and other missing treasures of antiquity, may be brought to light. — We cannot conceive of a more thorough and strengthening discipline of the mind, in training it to bard thinking and concise speaking, than the careful perusal of Tacitus. This is the grand benefit of classical study, which, for such a purpose, is far superior to mathematical research.
EMBARKATION OF Messrs. JUDSON AND NEWELL, A. D., 1812.
- This was one of the most important events in the history of modern American missions. Dr. Judson, who was sent forth as a Congregationalist, still survives, in high esteem with the Baptist churches, to which he has long been attached. During his recent visit to this country, he made, as we learn by the highest authority among the Baptists, certain statements very derogatory to the Christian zeal and atfections of Rev. Dr. Worcester, of Salem, the first Secretary of the A. B. C. F. M., and the other early friends of the missionary cause in that region. These statements having been widely circulated, at last appeared in a more definite shape in the Christian Review, a Baptist Quarterly, published in this city. The editor of that work, in a very commendable spirit of fairness and justice, has inserted in the March number an overwhelming reply by the son of Dr. Worcester, and his successor in the ministry at Salem. We rejoice in this thorough and timely vindication of a body of men as holy, courageous, and self-denying as have ever been enrolled under the missionary standard. The promise still holds good to Zion : “ Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.” The statements imputed to Dr. Judson by his admirers are utterly false as to matters of fact which he must have fully known. We can only hope, in all charity, that he was wholly misunderstood or misrepresented by those who have undertaken to report his assertions; or else that his memory of those distant transactions is sadly confused and inaccurate. If he could knowingly and wilfully, as well as thanklessly and falsely, cast such odium upon the sainted dead, (which, as yet, we are altogether unwilling to believe,) he is certainly the last man who could be trusted to give to the heathen a faithful translation of the Book of Truth.
Roger Williams. — The article in our last number, on this famous man, has drawn forth another grievous comment from our esteemed brethren of the Christian Watchman. That comment, like all attempts of able men to maintain a bad cause, is made up of furtive evasions of the points at issue, and cutting remarks adapted to discourage us from pursuing the subject any further. This sort of proceeding reminds us of the Chinese burglars, who braid pieces of broken glass into their long cues, so that when chased by the policeman, they may not be seized by that very inviting, but dangerous appendage. Nevertheless, we shall be after our fugitive friends, and try to hold them by some other handle to the stubborn facts of the case. We had said, that, among other groundless claims which his admirers had set up in favor of Williams, was that of being the first who wrote in behalf of liberty of conscience. To prove that this claim is not set up, the Watchman quotes a stray sermon printed at Providence ten years ago.. Yet that very sermon expressly and handsomely confutes certain eulogists of Williams, for making this very claim in his behalf! By this singular self-contradiction, the Watchman is condemned out of its own mouth. - The editors of that paper wisely take no notice of the passage we cited from John Quincy Adams, in which that champion of liberality and freedom vindicates
our fathers for banishing Williams as a “nuisance." But by way of off-set to this, we have two flourishes of rhetoric, of the stereotype stamp, which escaped from the flowing pens of Judge Story and Mr. Bancroft.
Our keen friends of the Watchman seem to think that we, their brethren of the Observatory, are far behind the Providence patriarch in our ideas of toleration. 'l'his is really cruel upon us, for we honestly think that we have made considerable advance upon his position. In his strange book with the punning title, “George Fox digg'd out of his Burrowes,” Williams severely censures the Quakers for their want of “civil respect.” He is particularly shocked at their familiar use of “ thee ” and “thou,” in addressing their superiors. He says: “ I have therefore publickly declared my self, that a due and moderate restraint and punishing of these incivilities (though pretending Conscience,) is as far from persecution, (properly so called,) as that it is a Duty and Command of God unto all mankinde, first in Families, and thence unto all mankinde Societies.” Page 200. Oh Roger, Roger ! Is this thine absolute " soul-liberty," “ due and moderate restraint and punishing” of thy poor Quaker friends, who conscientiously used thee and thou, in an age when thee and thou were vastly more common than now? What wouldest thou have done to them for their greater peccadilloes, had the power been given thee? — The Watchman discreetly passes by the fact we alleged, that Williams's colony refused its franchise to Roman Catholics, while the papist colony at Maryland were admitting Baptists and Quakers to that privilege. No marvel that, in the big quarto which George Fox and some of his subalterns wrote against Williams, entitled "A New England Fire-Brand
“ Quenched,” Williams is railed at many scores of times for being as “ vile a persecutor" as any of the Puritan magistrates of Massachusetts. They accuse him of a “ bloodthirsty spirit,” and of “an impious spirit that seeks to murther the innocent.” “Oh, murtherous man,” say they, “ that hath not any remorse for thy long-lived wickedness ! 's The Quakers fairly buried their supposed benefactor under piles of abuse, after they had poisoned his old age by ceaseless wrongs and insults.
Our opinion of him is, that he was a sincerely good man, so far as a “ Come-outer” could be, whom it is the modern fashion to praise extravagantly for what he did, and still more for what he never thought of doing. We have no objection, however, to our Baptist brethren's admiring him to their heart's content, if they would not claim for him a superiority to the Puritans, which, on the whole, is historically false ; and if they would not make sectarian capital out of his factitious celebrity. Their best men know that he forsook the Baptists in three months after his immersion, and never communed with them, and rarely, if ever, worshipped with them ; and for the last forty years of his life, denied that they had any true churches, ministers, or sacraments. Their convert does them little honor. If he were now living, they would surely banish him from their sect, if not from their commonwealth. He did not think half so well of them as we do.
The Independent. — This new paper of the Congregationalists at New York is sustained with much ability, and, we trust, with increasing success. We notice some remarks in a late number on dignity and courteousness of language in speaking of others ; — with a slight hint to the former Editor of the Observatory. We infer that such forms of speech as the Liberator, and, formerly, the Emancipator, for example, have sanctioned, will never be allowed in that print. Indeed, its corps of Editors contains one, who, from his peculiar experience, affords the hope that the paper will never fall to the level of ordinary newspapers in this respect.
Death of Miss Mary Lyon. Few events of this nature could awaken so much emotion through a large community as the departure of this servant of God. Her whole life was religiously tuned, but made the sweetest music at the close. With no adventitious aids from birth and connections, with no graces of person, speech, or pen; but with a strong and energetic mind entirely given up to one grand object, she has been a most useful instrument of the gracious purposes of God. She was one of the peculiar products of Christianity. No other religion has produced a character in the slightest degree resembling hers; and even Christianity has produced but few to compare with her.
She was devoted to the religious education of her sex, thousands of whom rise up to call her blessed.
Licences in Boston. – The aldermen of this city deserve a reputation entirely distinct from that which has heretofore sportively characterized men of their office. However it may be as to mockturtle, the wine, which is a mocker, seems to be in some disfavor with them. An application was made for a tavern-licence, including the privilege of selling intoxicating drinks. This application was backed by all the influence of his Honor the Mayor, who is sincerely, but inexcusably, deluded on this point. But the entire Board voted to refuse the petition. Of such Aldermen there cannot be too much! May their weight never be lighter, and their shadows never be less ! Boston is still the most puritanical city of its size on earth.
Letter of Hon. Henry Clay. — The open accession, as some will deem it, of this distinguished and influential statesman to the cause of emancipation, is a sign of the times. Slave-holding, that huge and inert mass of oppression, is at last decidedly tottering to its fall. In due time, its downfall will become rapid and resistless; and the whole enormous mass roll off from the bosom of our fair land, into the abyss which engulfs all effete and exploded delusions. Some will say, that Mr. Clay's scheme of emancipation is inpracticable, and that it only illustrates the rigorous spirit of slave-holding. Though this may be true, we say again, that it is an important sign of the times, that such a man as Mr. Clay feels impelled to consider the termination of slavery as an event to be desired, and in some way to be effected.