Abbildungen der Seite

May, the father came in with a beautiful kite, which he gave to his little boy without saying a word.

But it was eight or nine years before he called the other boy to him, and said, 'I suppose you have forgotten, when you were a boy in pinafores, asking me for a gold watch, haven't you?'

‘Yes, that I have,' answered the now tall youth.

'But I have not,' said the father ; "here's the watch, my dear boy ; you can value it and take care of it now.'

Ah, Christian, need I add a word ? else I might say that prayers do not spoil by keeping, but are only put out at interest.

[ocr errors]

ENOUGH NOT ENOUGH. A certain prince had ordered his house and grounds, in his absence, to be thrown open to all his friends, and directed his major-domo to liberally entertain all visitors. The house-master, accordingly, provided ample stores of everything; nothing that hospitality could devise was wanting, and as the manifold visitors swarmed through chambers and galleries, or lounged in pleasure-grounds and arbours, the good man bustled about to discharge the rites of hospitality.

But how was it that the ladies, so pretty and elegant, turned away from his tray in disgust ? And why did the roystering burschen [university student], throw sugar-plumbs at him; and the grand bearded officers, whose sabres clanked on the marble floor, swear they would make hound's-meat of him? Alas! the well-meaning, but scarcely discriminating house-master, had offered to the ladies great jacks of German beer, and pipes of tobacco, which the students, indeed, would have joyously discussed; but to them he had presented comfits and bonbons, and such like small deer; while, to the grand swearing officers, in whose moustaches birds might have built their nests, he smilingly offered the basons of gruel, sago, and arrowroot, which certain toothless old invalids were in want of.

So, for want of discrimination, although he had taken no end of weary pains in preparing, everybody called him fool! and when his lord came to know of it, neither did he thank him. Poor steward!

JUDGMENTS DIFFER. A coarse boor was belabouring a horse that he had harnessed to a heavy dung-cart, and was driving over a wet piece of stiff clay land. The spirit of the horse was great, but the load was heavy, and the ground almost impossible to drag through. “What are you doing, stupid, to use such a beautiful horse as that so?' cried a passer-by. ‘Stupid yourself,' answered the boor, surlily ; 'don't you see he won't do his work ?' • Fool!' rejoined the traveller, “the animal is too good for such work as yours. Too good !' and the boor laughed a rude, contemptuous laugh; too good ! why compare him with my other beasts. They've got something like legs, they have, as thick as this here un's whole body—the nasty brute! Too good! eh ?' and with that he cursed the horse, and kicked and lashed him, till the traveller again

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


bade him cease, and began to expatiate on the fineness of the fetlock, the handsome head, and whole form of the animal. "Bah !' said the boor, he is not worth his keep; isn't worth sixty dollars.' Come, then, I'll give you a hundred.' You shall have him, and glad ; and now what 'll you do with him ?' 'Do?' said the traveller, the prince will be proud of him, and think himself lucky to give a thousand for him—two thousand—any sum, though I grant you he's not good at plough and dung-cart, and with a brute for a master.

D. Von Magdstein.

A Stroll into a Foreign Book-shop.




Fresh from reading Mr. Gladstone's charming paper on Homer, in the “Oxford Essays, we take up, with a feeling of curiosity, Augustus Jacob's elaborate volume, ' Ueber die Eutstehung der Ilias and der Odyssee (On the Origin of the Iliad and the Odyssey'), to see what likelihood there is of an agreement ever being come to between English and Continental scholars (the Tories and Radicals on such questions), as to whether but one bard or many were employed on these divine songs. Of course this is only one of several moot points of cardinal moment, on which issue is joined by the redoubtable paladins of Homeric literature. But it lies at the root of all the rest, such as whether a blind poet of the name of Homer had anything to do with the composition of these epics, or whether such a man ever even existed; whether the siege of Troy be a history or a myth, and whether Achilles and Hector, Ulysses and the Ajaxes, have any more substantive reality about them than Zeus, Athene, and Calypso. For all these matters have been and still are hotly disputed by able critics on both sides. Our readers need not be alarmed, as though we were going to drag them through the prickly mazes of the controversy. We like it too little ourselves to dream of anything so barbarous. We candidly confess that we have not read these five or six hundred pages of learned argument to show that both poems are patch-work. We have done nothing more than dip into the volume; but we have seen quite enough to find out, in spite of all our strong prejudices in favour of the common English belief, that it is far from plain sailing with the upholders of the unity. The seams are too palpable, under the microscopic lens to which our author subjects them. He himself fully expected that his minute investigations would have had a different result; but the truth was too strong for his prepossessions, and he bows to it accordingly. We also feel bound to surrender, in deference to his formidable array of proofs, the cherished faith of our younger days. The followers of Wolf will carry the day, although not without


the abandonment of much that was ultra-revolutionary in his theory. On the other hand, sensible Conservatives, like Mr. Gladstone, will have to meet them half-way. We do not think the Oxford essayist would very strenuously object to the views of the more moderate of the opposite party, as represented, for instance, by Faesi, in the Introduction to his recent edition of the Odyssey. Faesi gives a solution of the knotty problem which satisfies us better, upon the whole, than any other we have yet seen. As every person, pretending to any amount of culture, is expected to have an opinion of some sort upon the subject, we reproduce the most salient points.

It is thus, then, that he explains the origin of the Homeric epics. A period of repose having supervened upon the upheavings caused by the Trojan war--the historical character of which, in general, he very wisely takes for granted—and the Greek emigrants from Europe being safely settled in Asia Minor, a vigorous poetical life sprung up amongst these bold and imaginative Æolians and their excitable Ionian brethren. The Theban war, the deeds of Heracles, and, above all, the siege of Troy, were sung by many a minstrel at the religious and other festivals. By degrees these songs, handed down from bard to bard by oral tradition, acquired consistency and unity. Particular troubadours, like those of the middle ages, made certain subjects their own, on which they sang at the tables of the chiefs, or in the religious assemblies of the people. Such were Phemius and Demodocus in the Odyssey, the former of whom sung •The Sad Return Home of the Greeks,' and “The Deeds of Gods and Men,' and the latter, "The Quarrel of Achilles and Ulysses,' and 'The Capture of Troy. Occasionally the powers of the early minnie-singers of Greece were tasked to the utmost by trials of skill amongst themselves, such as are alluded to in the story of Thamyris and his contest with the Muses in the Iliad.

Out of the floating gossamer threads of such national ballads, a bard of transcendent genius and skill wove in the magic loom of his inspired brain that wondrous poem, the “Iliad,' in the first half of the

ninth century before the Christian era, or more than two hundred years • after the heroic age of which he sings. His name has been forgotten ;

his world-famous deed having been rightly deemed of more importance to later generations. For Homer (from opoñ and dow) is an appellative, and literally means the Compactor. He moulded the previously existing materials into a marvellously artistic whole, and informed the disjccta membra with his own Promethean fire. A century or less afterwards a scarcely inferior Homer or Compactor created the ODYSSEY' in like manner. Neither poem was committed to writing till hundreds of years afterwards. They survived, as the separate ballads had done, in the memories of the Rhapsodists, who chanted them to the simple music of the four-stringed cithara. The Rhapsodists of the Iliad were clad in scarlet, those of the Odyssey in violetcoloured garments.

What modern criticism has done for Homer, the Bible of the Greeks, Dr. Donaldson bas pretended to do for the Bible of the Jews, to pull it to pieces and put it together again. In a learned but very


[ocr errors]

silly performance, entitled Jashar' which he published a short time since, he endeavoured to enucleate from the Old Testament, and principally from the Pentateuch, so much-amounting to some half dozen pages—as might really be as ancient as the time of Solomon! His foolish book was received, as it richly deserved to be, with universal derision both at home and abroad. Nothing dismayed, however, he now returns to the charge in a publication which he facetiously calls Christian Orthodoxy reconciled with the Conclusions of Modern Biblical Learning. As the production of an arrant Sadducee, who chooses still to style himself a Christian divine of the Church of England, the thing is a theological curiosity, and may, perhaps, be useful as serving to render more comprehensible the rise of that ancient sect of unbelievers amongst the Jews. The most astounding part of the matter is, that he actually makes our Lord a sympathizer with the Sadducees! This is what he says upon the subject :

“The attentive reader of the New Testament can hardly fail to observe that while the Pharisees are made the objects of continual reproach and censure, the Sadducees are in general less frequently mentioned, and their distinctive tenets are not rebuked or confuted, with, of course, the great exception of the vital doctrine of the resurrection. Their disbelief in angels and devils is passed over in guarded silence, as far as any censure is concerned. In many respects, our Lord seems to have approved and recommended their views. Like them, he and his apostles upheld the payment of tribute, and were for giving to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's. Like them, Jesus agreed with the Karaites, in relying on the letter of the Old Testament, as distinguished from the Rabbinical traditions. " It is written,” is his form of citation ; and though he spiritualized the law and the prophets, and rejected the ceremonial after-growths of Leviticism, he found the spirit in the text which he quoted. Above all, he seems to have acquiesced in their distinctive name as applied to himself. He is known by his friends and by his candid enemies as “the just man,”ö dixanos ha-tzaddiq, in fact, as “the Sadducee,according to the meaning of this term. “ Have thou nothing to do with that righteous or just man,” says Pilate's wife. “Certainly this was a just man,” was the exclamation of the centurion who attended his execution. “ Ye denied the Holy One and the Just," said Peter, “ and desired a murderer to be granted to you. And in the same way James writes : " Ye have condemned and killed the Just." We might even go a step further, and assume that this was the special designation of Jesus at Jerusalem ; for, in the language of prophecy, he is described as "the Lord our righteousness ; and we find that the same name was given to his relative James, who was the head of the Church in the city of David. account of his exceeding righteousness,” says Eusebius, “ he was called tzaddig, that is, the just man." As this epithet was also borne by Simon, "the Just," the successor of Ezra and the true founder of the Sadducean sect, it is difficult to resist the impression that Jesus and his brother James, being known by the characteristic title of this sect, openly allowed many of the fundamental docirines of the Sadducees; and there may be as much truth in the statement of Hegesippus, that James was put to death by the Scribes and Pharisees, as in the counterstatement of Josephus, that his martyrdom was effected by the Sadducean high priest, Ananus. If James the Just was the author of the epistle attributed to him, these considerations impart an additional interest to the declaration that sin and death spring from the lust inlierent in our nature, and not from the temptations presented by a superior being.'

Dr. Donaldson is evidently very sore at the reception his 'Jashar' met with, and pours out the vials of his wrath upon his critics all and sundry. Most of them are hardly deserving of the anathemas he

[ocr errors]

" On

[ocr errors]

lavishes upon them for simply refusing to pet his queer bantling, but the following graphic description of the 'Record' newspaper is caustic, because, alas ! too true. Its attacks, as with justice he complains, are so constantly distinguished by unwarranted assumptions of authorship, misrepresentations of facts, distortions and garblings of written statements, abusive language, and reference to details derived from private conversations, or picked up by domestic spies and retailers of provincial gossip, that the paper, professing to be a warm advocate of pure religion, has become a by-word in the public mouth, and enjoys a reputation not very different from that of the “ Age” and the “Satirist” a few years since. Those who do not feel that such a paper, adequately supported by subscribers, and encouraged by anonymous correspondents, is a most lamentable indication of the state of religion in this country, and that it ought to be denounced by all true Christians in terms of grave and sorrowful censure, are still so shocked by its monstrous abuses of the liberty of the press that they cannot refrain from jibes and cutting sarcasms at its expense. A morning journal calls it “the bi-weekly organ of religious mendacity;" a Sunday paper says that it professes to be anti-tractarian, but, from its constant slanders, ought to be called de-tractarian, and, from its cowardly apologies, whenever its statements are challenged, re-tractarian ; and the able author of the article on “ Church Parties” in the “Edinburgh Review” makes himself merry with the self-seeking advertisements, which appear

from time to time in the columns of the “ Record.” But the existence of such a paper, as the avowed and adequately supported organ of a religious party, ought not to be treated with levity. It should be regarded either with the sorrow which the true Christian must feel for his weak and erring brethren, or with that indignation which every lover of truth must express when he sees malignity and falsehood assuming the outward garb of exclusive religiousness. The pitiable weakness and narrow-mindedness, which are among the characteristics of this journal, were well described by Dr. Arnold, in a letter to his sister, in 1830, where he speaks of having seen a copy of the “Record” newspaper, a true specimen of the party, with their infinitely little minds, disputing about “anise and cummin” when heaven and earth are coming together around them ; with much of Christian harmlessness, but with nothing of Christian wisdom; the particular number of the paper being accidentally free from gall. The amount of childishness, the enormous want of reflection, which the “Record” presumes in its readers, may be inferred from the fact, that the editor once adduced as a conclusive testiinony to his favourite dogma of verbal inspiration the text in which the Psalmist says: “ There is not a word in my tongue but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether!” Really one would have thought that there was not an educated person in England who would fail to see that this passage refers to the ominiscience of God, and might be applied to every foolish and wicked word printed in the “ Record” no less than to the utterances of a holy and humble prophet. But the “ Record” is not merely weak and foolish. To make a man a genuine

« ZurückWeiter »