« PreviousContinue »
college, with all its wealth, has only twelve undergraduates, while Trinity has five hundred and twenty-five. The twelve scholars are supplied by a regular succession from Eton. The vacancies at King's for the last twenty years are under four in the year. The college has fifty-eight fellowships, and has the privilege of electing its undergraduates as fellows.
We may subjoin that further improvements in the course of instruction are urged and will, doubtless, sooner or later, be effected. Opportunity for certain changes may be furnished as soon as the great classical schools shall adequately teach the elements of the mathematics, so that all who enter the universities shall be well grounded in algebra and the principles of geometry. The vacations, too, at the universities seem to be unnecessarily long. Between twenty and thirty weeks only are annually devoted to study. It should seem that some means might be devised by which poor students might be enabled to continue a course of study for thirty-five or forty weeks. If these changes in the classical schools and in the length of the university course cannot be made, it would be a serious question whether the university course should be much enlarged by additional studies. Nearly all who enter holy orders in the established church are educated at Oxford or Cambridge, yet with the late improvements at Cambridge, the system is very inadequate. The study of Hebrew is voluntary and finds but few votaries. It is urged that much more system should be introduced into theological instruction, that the theological professors should act more in concert in the construction of their lectures, and that the students should be required to attend the lectures more methodically, or for a longer period.
We have thus given some account of the changes which have been recently effected at these venerable seats of learning and of the reforms which are urged. In regard to the propriety of some of these reforms, or of the reasons which may be adduced against them, we express no opinion. We have gone into the subject with a little detail, first, that we might communicate some information which may be new, at least, to our American readers; secondly, that it might be shown that improvements and reforms, even at Oxford, are suggested and accomplished from within, though possibly under some external pressure; and thirdly, in order to prepare the way for some observations, which we propose to offer hereafter, on the course of studies at
1 Letter of Rev. J. J. Blunt, Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, to Dr. Ollivant, Regius Professor, 1848.
these universities, and on the effects of this discipline on the English scholarship and character.
We observe, in the meantime, that Lord John Russell has intimated that a Royal Commission will soon be appointed to inquire into the state of the universities. It will be of a voluntary character, not compelling the attendance of witnesses, or the production of records, neither will it consider the question of the admission of dissenters to the universities. As it will, doubtless, be composed, in a great measure, of the alumni and friends of the universities, we can see little ground for the fears expressed by Sir R. H. Inglis, Mr. Gladstone, and other gentlemen, that the reforms commenced by the universities themselves may be interrupted, that radical and unwise measures may be recommended, and that chartered rights and privileges may be infringed or endangered. We can conceive that a thorough and impartial Report from a well constituted committee, would allay groundless apprehensions, and in many ways promote the usefulness and reputatiouof the universities.
NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
1. SEARS'S LIFE OF LUTHER.1
In reading this volume, we receive a new impression of the wondrous providence of God in adapting means to ends, in fitting instruments for his needs. Calvin, Zuingli and Melanchthon together could not have done Luther's work. That work called for the hearty, whole-souled, energetic, facetious, we had almost said half-civilized, Luther. When we look out for some individual to take charge of a great enterprise, we are apt to be anxious to obtain a perfect man, wise, prudent, temperate in all things, having his passions and his powers under perfect subjection. We do not remember that there are exigencies, great occasions, which, in a sense, demand imperfect agents. The excess of a good quality may be needed, to carry an actor through some trying emergency. Without overflowing
The Life of Luther; with special Reference to its Earlier Periods, and the Opening Scenes of the Reformation. By Barnas Sears, D. D. Am. Sud, School Union. 1850. pp. 528.
animal spirits, he might faint and leave his work half done. Without a vein of pleasantry and humor, he might become melancholic or dull. Without an indomitable energy, not always tempered by discretion, he could not have borne his heavy burden. Without a boldness bordering on rashness, he would not have struck the decisive blow at the right time. A perfectly balanced character, especially at a great juncture, is a rare phenomenon. Luther enstamped himself on the heart of his country and of Protestant Christendom to the latest generations. Calvin engraved his intellect on a large section of the Christian world as with an iron pen in the rock forever. Melanchthon's gentleness and learning are prover. bial. Yet Luther's great intellect and greater heart, and, we may add, great imperfections, were indispensable "in the opening scenes of the Reformation." Calvin was feared, Melanchthon was loved, Luther was loved and feared. There is perhaps no name in history so fresh, after three centuries, as is his, especially in Protestant Germany. The colors are unfading. It is a household word, imbedded in the hearts of millions, and which parents, unconsciously as it were, hand down to their children and their children's children. A spring or a tree becomes sacred, if he in a single instance quenched his thirst at the one or sat under the shade of the other. Every incident in his life is investigated. Any one who came in contact with him, whether friend or foe, shares a portion of his immortality. "There is one name, one man in German history, who, recognized indeed, only by half of Germany, still in this half, with the exception of a few who delight in singularity, or who are unfeeling skeptics, is named and celebrated with reverence and admiration as a benefactor and saviour
by all others, without distinction of rank or culture." "Luther is a phenomenon in history, at the side of which nothing can be placed. There is no antitype to him in antiquity. Spiritual conflicts, such as were fought out by him, were reserved to modern times. But no other nation of modern times has one like him, and Germany itself has no second. True, there were besides, before and after him, many learned, pious men, courageous even unto death, pervaded by the insight of that which was necessary to be done; but no one was all this at once in the same degree as Luther."1 Even Catholic Germany gives indications of beginning to share in this all-pervading sympathy. Catholic Bavaria has been compelled by stress of public opinion, to open her Valhalla to a statue of this "arch heretic."
Dr. Sears's Life of the reformer is the fruit of long and patient research. He speaks of having examined several hundred works pertaining to Luther. Every page bears testimony to the faithfulness with which he
Preface of Gustav Pfizer's Life of Luther, 1836.
VOL. VII. No. 27.
has used his rich materials. Clearness is the most striking characteristic. The tangled web of German history, geography, and topography, so far as Luther is concerned, is unravelled, and the reader enjoys the satisfaction of following a faithful and intelligent guide at every step. Theological terms, phraseology, manners, customs, etc., peculiar to the sixteenth century, are explained. The relations of Luther to the other reformers, to the princes, to the universities, to the pope, to the ruling powers in the church, etc., are accurately delineated. In short, the English reader now is furnished, for the first time, so far as we know, with the exact information which he needs for the comprehension of this great subject.
2. REID'S ESSAYS ON THE INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL POWERS.
A text-book on psychology has long been a desideratum in our university course. This want is now supplied by the republication of Reid's Essays in a volume separate from his other Works. These Essays have many claims to be the classical standard of our Intellectual Philosophy. They are written by an original thinker, and from that fact derive an exciting influence over the minds of students. A far greater stimulus is received from an author who thinks for himself than from a compiler, even when the compiler is more uniformly correct than are the men from whom he gathers his materials. Dr. Brown is less accurate than Dr. Payne, who gave an amended and condensed version of Brown, but we receive far more strength and real knowledge from the diffuse pages of the original lecturer, than from the cautious but mechanical statements of his copyist. The former is sprightly and eloquent, but over the mind of the latter the genius of gravitation seems often to have presided. The style of Reid is pellucid, and with one exception is admirably fitted for metaphysical discussion. It is perspicuous as glass. It also affords many specimens of a quiet and to certain minds an imperceptible humor. It is often, however, too diffuse. In the present Edition of Dr. Walker, this fault is remedied in some degree, for the Essays are here necessarily abridged. The general features of Dr. Reid's Philosophy are such as commend themselves to the sound sense of practical men, and receive the approval not only of the British and American schools, but also of many illustrious French and German philosophers. Dr. Walker has enriched the present volume with many valuable notes; some original, others selected from eminent psychologists, particularly from Sir William Hamilton. Having been for a
1 Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man: by Thomas Reid, D. D., FR.S.E., abridged. With Notes and Illustrations from Sir William Hamilton and others, Edited by James Walker, D. D., Prof. of Intellect. and Mor. Philos. in Harvard College.
Day's Elements.-Theremin's Rhetoric.
long time a faithful student and a steadfast admirer of Reid's works, Sir William is admirably qualified to correct them where they are erroneous, and to supply their defect of learned illustration. His multifarious erudition surpasses his metaphysical acuteness even.
3. DAY'S ELEMENTS OF THE ART OF RHETORIC.1
This work evinces both the learning and the acumen of its author. The preparation of it must have required an extensive acquaintance with the German treatises on rhetoric, and also an analytic, philosophical habit of thought. It exalts our estimate of the Rhetorical Science. This is a science which many regard as unworthy of them. But the truth is, they are unworthy of it. There is no better collection of the principles of mental philosophy and the maxims of common sense, than are found in a good Rhetorical System. In our country especially, which is a country of" words and more words," we need a scientific acquaintance with the great laws of speech. We dislike to hear the disparaging remarks which it is so fashionable to utter against the study of these laws. We believe that all science is sacred, and if one branch of it be condemned, another and indeed every other may be. Let the clerical Profession, in an especial manner, guard against the habit of undervaluing either the sciences or the arts, for by these we have no small part of our intellectual and moral wealth.
4. THEREMIN'S RHETORIC.2
Dr. Theremin, the eloquent court-preacher at Berlin, died in 1846. He was the author of various treatises on Rhetoric, in which he proceeds on the ground of the high ethical character of all true eloquence, that its basis is virtue, that every true orator must have a great and laudable end in view, that he must compass this end by just means, that he must utterly renounce all sophistical arts, all attempts to confuse an opponent, and all exaggerated exhibitions of the truth. Not only the highest, but all genuine exhibitions of oratory, must be the development of truth, must be coincident with the decisions of the moral law. The fact that the orator must be a good man has been recognized from the days of Cicero down; but Dr. Theremin is the first, we believe, who has fully unfolded the idea, who has
1 Elements of the Art of Rhetoric, adapted for use in Colleges and Academies, and also for private study. By Henry N. Day, Professor of Rhetoric in Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio.
2 Eloquence a Virtue; or Outlines of a Systematic Rhetoric. Translated from the German of Dr. Francis Theremin. By William G. T. Shedd, Prof. of English Literature in the University of Vermont. New York: John Wiley, 1850. pp. 162.