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works, among which are the Commentaries of Calvin on the New Testament, as we before stated. From what we have been able to learn of his character as a scholar, he is not only a man of native genius and versatility of mind, but of great literary enterprise. The eyes of his mind are every where, and he is constantly gathering up treasures of learning, which few others would have either the keenness of observation to discover, or the diligence to accumulate.
But what is inost interesting to us in the character of this distinguished man, is his sincere and ardent love of truth. He is a man of deep and glowing piety. His influence is consecrated to the promotion of evangelical religion. The reader of his writings need not be at all afraid of being injured by a concealed, insidious rationalism.
The grand and distinctive merit of this work of Professor Tholuck, is its deep and living philosophic spirit. The author shows that he does not belong to that school of divines who are obliged to dissever their philosophy from their religion, to prevent the latter from being destroyed by the chill embraces of the former, like Laocoon in the folds of the serpents. Tholuck's philosophy is religion, and his religion is philosophy, as must always be the case where the two things are rightly named and rightly apprehended. The very touch of a false philosophy is, we know, polluting to religion; but this does not make it appear that true philosophy and true religion were not intended to be mutual helpers, nay, to be one flesh. In the mind that has right apprehensions of spiritual truth, its connexion with and regency over the whole intellectual and moral worlds, they neither are nor can be separated. The Author of all truth has made them one, and the theologian who makes theni twain does it because of the hardness of his heart.
We are aware that it is the fashion of the day, to advocate a perpetual divorce of philosophy and religion, and to sound an alarm, for the safety of the people, before the author that shall have attempted a union of the two. The usual cry of the alarmist is, mysticism, or incipient heresy, either of which words is sufficient to make the honest Christian put his fingers in his ears and flee from the seductive song of the approaching charmer. This state of things does not excite our wonder, when we consider the character of the metaphysical philosophy which, for the last century, has been lord of the ascendant in some of our schools of theology. As friends of spiritual religion, we are ourselves afraid of such philosophy, and should no more think of advocating its union with the religion of the bible, than the union of cold with heat, or death with life. There is no natural or possible consentaneousness between the two things. As one predominates, the other must dis
appear. But it is not so with the philosophy of the work before us.
The philosophy of Tholuck is a vital principle, which guides, and chastens, and strengthens the understanding, thus calling forth the soul from its captivity to sin, and casting up a high-way for its return to its native land of holiness and peace. It is neither mysticism nor empyricism, but truth, living, spirit-pervading, harmonious truth.
The introduction to this work, which is divided into seven sections, is peculiarly interesting and valuable. We have never seen so much pleasant and relevant matter, in so small a compass, at the opening of such a work. The subjects of the different sections are the following: 1st, the life of John ; 2d, his character ; 3d, the language, time, and place, together with the object of his gospel ; Āth, the peculiar character and style of the gospel ; 5th, the sources of the gospel ; 6th, its authenticity; and 7th, the most important commentaries upon it.
The author supposes that the father of the evangelist was in easy circumstances, and afforded his son the means of early instruction, by which his mind might be prepared for its future growth. The mother of John appears to have been a pious woman, and probably formed his mind for a ready reception of the doctrines of the new dispensation. Tradition states, that after the ascension of Christ, John did not leave Jerusalem till the death of the mother of Jesus, which, according to Eusebius, occurred A. D. 48. He afterwards went into the regions of Asia Minor, whence he was banished to the isle of Patmos by one of the Roman emperors, where he saw the visions of the Apocalypse. He probably wrote his gospel at Ephesus, at a period somewhat earlier than the year 100.
The language in which this gospel was written, our author believes to have been the Greek. This he does in opposition to Salmasius, Grotius, and Bolton, who assume an original text in the Syro-Chaldaic.
Tholuck does not admit that the apostle, when writing this gospel, had a fixed polemico-doctrinal object in view, though he does not deny that he incidentally refers here and there to the perverted doctrinal tendencies by which he saw himself surrounded. In the prologue, he admits, there is a manifest reference to the idle inquiries of the hellenistic Jewish theosophy. Our author does not admit that John designed to give a more spiritual representation of the doctrines and life of the Redeemer, than the other evangelists had done before him, and still less, that he intended any opposition to what they had written. Clemens, of Alexandria, says that John, seeing the carnal had been set forth in the other gospels, and being urged by his friends and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a spiritual gospel. This statement Tholuck would answer, as Herder has
done—that if John's gospel be a gospel of the spirit, the others are not gospels of the flesh. That John, however, has given us a more full spiritual portraiture of the Redeemer than any other evangelist, our author does not question. He attributes this fact to the peculiar temperament, intellectual and moral, of the apostle. He was one of those favoured spirits that readily conform themselves to the pattern which they determine to follow. By long and delightful intercourse with the Saviour, he had imbibed much of his spirit, and become greatly transformed into his image, so that his thoughts and mode of expression would naturally partake much of the depth and spirituality of those of his divine example. Tholuck adopts the general opinion, that John may have intended to supply, in his gospel, some of the omissions which he observed in the other evangelists.
The general style of this gospel is characterized, according to our author, by an equality of tone, a tranquillity and self-collectedness, and a sublime simplicity, which originate in a holy seriousness and mildness, and deep intensity of love. The following beautiful passage from Claudius, is happily introduced. “I like best to read in the gospel of John. There is something so very wonderful in it-twilight and night, and through them the quick flash of the lightning! A soft evening cloud, and behind the cloud, lo, there is the large full moon! There is in it something so melancholy, so sublime and foreboding, that you cannot get tired of it. When reading John I always feel as if I saw him before me, lying on the bosom of his master, at the last supper; as if his angel were holding my light, and at certain passages wishing to embrace nie, and to say something into my ear. I am far from understanding all that I read; still it often seems as if that which John meant were floating before me in the far distance; and even when I cast my eyes upon a place that is quite dark, I have nevertheless a presentiment of a great and beautiful meaning, which I shall understand at some future time, and therefore do I take up so joyfully every new interpretation of the gospel of John. True it is, that most of them are playing with the evening cloud, and leave the moon behind it entirely out of sight !"
VOL. XX.-NO. 39.
ART. III.— Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems. By WILLIAM
WORDSWORTH. London, 1835. It is but a few years since the name of Wordsworth was really repulsive, and though utterly ignorant of his writings, like most or all of our generation, we heard of him with disregard or dislike. A part of this feeling was undoubtedly owing to the homage we then paid to the authority and influence of the individual who was lord of the ascendant, in the realms of poetry; the rest was gathered in the usual loose way with which men receive opinions; from report, idle rernark, or bad feeling and taste. The result was repugnance to his very name as a poet, and contempt for his character as a man. We listened to the calumny and depreciation of his talents with all the indifference of one who feels no interest, or rather, perhaps, with a sense of gratification, as tending to increase the regard with which we looked upon our idol; certainly without the least suspicion that we were doing injustice and wronging ourselves, as well as another, and were merely joining in the echo of an universal lie. Our awakening to the truth was with something of the amazement with which the mind receives the sudden and unexpected opening of a fine view on a dull road, or the still more rapturous sensation with which we look on a new and beautiful country after a tempestuous voyage, and finding, instead of the monotonous deep, a land glowing with the splendour of the morning light; or with that extreme joy when entire repose follows long continued excitement, and we have been borne, unreflectingly, on the turbid current of our passions and our pleasures. The minds of men were accustomed to the violent life and fierce feelings that were produced by the character and incidents of the time, and it was not to be wondered at that one who lived in seclusion, and appeared but little, or not at all, on the troubled ocean of events, should subside into insignificance and obscurity. It was the natural and necessary result of a strongly operative cause. There was no room in men's hearts-no home among their thoughts or affections for the calm voice of a solitary and tranquil spirit. There was with him no ministering to the heat of bad passions. He did not obtrude his advice or his opinions on the unwilling ear of society, nor enforce them with a ferocious audacity and impudence. Like the oracle, he stood aloof from human interests, and thence possessed a clearer judgment of things as they occurred. He hoarded wisdom, and drew experience from the wide views and vivid representations of his own intelligence; for the depths of a great soul that seem so dark, and strike with so much awe those who strive to fathom them, reflect with all
the lustre and power of prophecy those two mighty fragments of time, the past and future, and throw, as with a lens, their whole intensity on the present. The dominion of a great mind is more extensive than most can perceive, or would allow, for it may be considered as the condensation of many preceding intellects, bringing with it their knowledge and their sympathies, the gathered experience of ages, and surrendering its acquisitions to the moment before it, with all the force of truth and energy of conviction. It is not an individual creation, born and to die without connection, and only destined to struggle with ignorance till it awakens to eternal knowledge; but like the block struck from the mass, however it may be fashioned, there still remain the veins and traces of another existence. In every mind there is something which whispers of the past, something that foretells the future, something that declares, without effort, how far these great elements of time bear upon and fill up the present, and that the intellect of which man boasts is but a fragment; that its powers, whatever they may convey to it, or however high they may raise its aspirations, only lend the energies they receive, and lengthen the line whose beginning or end is not known. Is this derived from instinct, or reflection ? is it a natural knowledge, acquired by an unbeeded and natural impulse, for whose suggestions we cannot account, yet through whose influence we think and act? or does this acquaintance with hidden and distant things come by reflection ? Much of the operations of human intelligence, whether in its high or low degrees, for in this the two extremes meet, is instinctive. The noblest ideas come, it is not certainly known how; they bear no relation with any thing gone by, and are associated with no incident of the moment. They are therefore mysterious. But if admitted to be produced by reflection, how is the mystery reduced ? for what is reflection but the mind restoring the past to itself, making palpable all its experiences, bringing forward all the records of memory, illustrating, unfolding, adding to them all that has been gained in the ceaseless agitation of intellectual life? Thought is not a faculty by itself, but the combined energy of many; it has none of the spirit of prophecy, nor does it incite and elevate men into action like the sudden, resistless intensity of inspiration; it neither rouses nor creates enthusiasm, nor does it, unless supported and borne on by a strong imagination, give birth to the excitement of hope ; and yet it is this which is the secret, silent, and subdued element in men's motives. With the student, there is the hope of knowledge ; with the ambitious, that of fame; with the good, that of being useful; with the true poet, the hope of an earthly immortality; and, like the lightning that opens its path of fire through the deep obscurity of the heavens, it is hope springing from the