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learned have run into one extreme, and another class into another extremue, the result of both has been, like that of two equal and opposite motions, to neutralize each other. Those who more than a hundred years ago were writing up rationalism in England, as the rule of Scripture interpretation, and those who more recently, and much more elaborately, have essayed the same process in Germany, have done their uttermost in one direction to make the faith of God of none effect;' and those who are now endeavoring in another direction, to sustain the cause of a falling Establishment by re-introducing tradition and the authority of the priesthood, in place of the authority of Scripture, are doing their utmost to overbear the testimony of inspiration, and devolve the work of the Spirit into the hands of the bishop and his presbyters. But as, in the one case, the truth of God vindicated itself from the daring presumption of reason and philosophy, and came forth in the efforts of the early and despised Methodists to bless and enlighten the land, so, we can have no doubt, this new extravagance, this re-swaddling of the Church in the bands of its feeble and sickly infancy, will be accompanied or succeeded, either by some glorious development of manly strength within the Church itself, which shall issue in the disgrace and abjection of those ecclesiastical nurses; or in such a rousing and invigoration of the evangelical sects, as shall bear the masses with them, and accomplish the regeneration of the land; while the scarlet lady and her restored daughter shall be left to perish in the abyss prepared for them, and for which they are evidently preparing. We pretend not to foresee the issues which wait upon the counsels of the Eternal One, nor to divine the nature of those coming events, which are said to cast their shadows before them; but no mind that looks abroad over the present aspect of the church of Christ in its several sections, can fail to perceive, that the age of repose and inactivity is past—the time of action, of energy, and of conflict is come. The issues may not be what we expect; the general dissolution of effete forms, and reproduction of efficient agencies for the conquest of the world to Christ, may not be so near as we may hope; but surely the note of preparation and of warning has sounded; incipient measures have been taken ; the faithful of all parties are in an attitude of expectation; hope beats in every bosom ; even the threatening attitude of foes themselves tells us, that a momentous crisis is approaching, and that great events are laboring in the womb of providence, which ere long shall crown our hopes and conspicuously show us that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.'
The question of interpreting Scripture has seduced us into these observations, which we would readily continue, but that we design to take up the subject shortly in connexion with another recent publication, which will afford us an opportunity of entering more appropriately and fully upon the vexata questio of the Oxford Churchmen.
The received doctrine of all Protestant churches has long been, that Scripture is its own interpreter, supposing that it is perfectly intelligibleupon all matters of faith and practice essential to salvation, and that no other interpreter is required but an humble and teachable mind, aided by that divine influence which each is directed to seek, and assured he shall receive, if he seek aright through Christ Jesus. Beyond this, however, it may be justly said, there are many things, not indeed necessary to the efficiency of faith, or the integrity of practice, which are hard to be understood, but which we may lawfully endeavor to elucidate by the aid of such knowledge or criticism as we can bring to bear upon the letter of Scripture; observing at the same time, that, as the word of God was intended for the use of all men, so it is written according to the common usages of language, and is to be interpreted according to them; and not according to the fanciful notions of mystical recluses, the systems of speculators and theorizers, or the decisions of selfish and interested ecclesiastics. There is one misrepresentation of the great Protestant doctrine of the right of private interpretation, which we observe is now commonly employed by the advocates of ecclesiastical authority both as a scare-crow to frighten the timid from the use of their understandings, and as a falcon to lure the quarry to their net. They endeavor to fasten upon the Protestant doctrine the hideous notion, that every man has a right to put his own sense upon Scripture language, or the sense that he finds most agreeable and convenient; and then they expatiate upon the impiety of sanctioning such a principle, and the dreadful consequences of allowing every man this liberty. Endless errors and schisms, destructive to the church's unity, and equally so of every man's soul, are attributed to this monstrous doctrine. But it is a man of straw. This is not the pure Protestant doctrine--so far from it, we affirm this
representation to be the very reverse of the Protestant principle; which is, that no man, no combination of men, has any right, natural or otherwise, to put any sense upon Scripture but that which Scripture itself conveys. Every man is bound by his fear of God, and his responsibility at the judgment seat of Christ, to hear the word of the Lord. If every man would hear it, as it addresses him, every man would form the same conceptions of all its principal truths—he would hear enough, and plainly enough, to secure his salvation; and if upon other matters he mistook the word, through any imperfection of his own, wilful or casual, culpable or excusable, he would yet enjoy acceptance of his divine Master. If he will not suffer the word to teach him, but proceeds to force his own sense upon it, then indeed he incurs the same condemnation with those who make the * word of God of none effect by their tradition.' This
be the case with some who are guided by reason, and not by faith. Yet even this consequence-a consequence which the Scripture itself foretells, is infinitely preferable to the disastrous results of that doctrine, which teaches all the faithful to remove their faith from God's own word, which it assures them they cannot understand, and cannot even attempt to understand without peril to their soul, and to place it implicitly in the decisions of the church, which hereby erects itself above the Scriptures, claiming attributes of truth, certainty, and infallibility, which they insinuate or imply are not to be found by the private student in the Scriptures themselves, however devoutly and humbly he complies with his Saviour's injunction—' Search the Scriptures.'
The principle which distinguishes true Protestantism has long been acted upon, and has proved eminently useful in the elucidation of the sacred text. Even Catholic scholars themselves have contributed of their private stores, and submitted their criticisms and explanations to private judgments. We will not say with what propriety they can engage in such a work. But assuredly if they patronize criticism upon parts of the sacred text, they cannot consistently deny to others the right to examine other parts, or even to extend their best judgment to the whole matter of divine revelation. Let him that readeth
understand' for himself, what the will of the Lord is, and then his faith will stand, not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.'
The little work before us contains a judicious selection of notes upon numerous passages of the Pentateuch, from critics and commentators of the highest celebrity. Many of great value are taken from Rosenmüller and Dathe. The student who cannot avail himself of the treasures contained in those voluminous works, will here find a useful selection of their most important and valuable annotations. They are mostly of a critical and explanatory character, and serve to clear up many dark and otherwise inexplicable passages. The work is wholly unsuitable for extract, and we must, therefore, content ourselves with a general recommendation, which we most cordially give to it. We are confident that it will prove a valuable boon to many a poor minister and student who have heard of Rosenmüller and Dathe, but never enjoyed an opportunity of consulting them.
Art. V. Recherches Administratives, Statistiques, e Morales sur les
Enfans Trouvés,les Enfans Naturels, et les Orphelins en France et dans plusieurs autres pays de l'Europe. Par l'abbé A. H. GAILLARD. Paris
et Poitiers. 1839. 2. Histoire Statistique et Morale des Enfans Trouvés, suivi de cent Ta
bleux. Par J. F. TERME et J. B. MONFALCON. Paris et Lyon. 1836. 3. Des Hospices d' Enfans Trouvés en Europe et principalement en
France. Par B. B. REMACLE. Paris et Strasburgh. 1839. THERE can be no doubt that the more prominent points of
national peculiarity, so characteristic in former ages of the distinct origin of the nations of Europe, have, in a great measure, been polished off in the progress of civilization ; yet we cannot agree with those philanthropists who discover in this fact the immediate symptoms of universal peace and general fraternity, nor can we even concur in the opinion of those more sobered philosophers who anticipate from this source a speedy equalization and complete uniformity among the social and political institutions of Europe generally.
It is not our intention in the present article to inquire whether such an uniformity would prove beneficial either to the world at large or to the several nations individually. We are not quite sure that the complete intermixture and blending of the heterogeneous parts would really tend to expand the acquired or inherent faculties of a people, or whether, on the other hand, the exact correspondence of all which must result, would not rather contract the moral and intellectual powers, by narrowing too much the sphere of their operation, and by destroying the opportunities of comparison between one set of national institutions and another. Such questions, though interesting to the speculative philosopher, are destitute of all practical importance; there being, in our opinion, not the slightest chance or possibility of such expectations being realized. As yet the approach of this anticipated resemblance neither strikes the casual observer, nor is detected by the investigations of the close inquirer. On the contrary, the more we contemplate the national institutions of Europe in their various forms and systems, the more do we discover in them views and principles totally different from, if not indeed altogether opposed to each other. We can only hint at the vast difference that exists in France, England, and Germany with regard to the education of the two sexes, their social and political position, the relations of the nobility, &c. differences which no one will deny not only originate in the discrepancy of national character, and in the mode of thinking peculiar to the several nations, but which prove likewise the
very means of preserving and developing still further the features of the national spirit. Assuredly none are more mistaken than those who suppose that the various European institutions, resting as they do upon national usages and prejudices, and arising out of original national peculiarities, may ultimately he brought to assume an uniform character by means of the extended intercourse amongst the inhabitants of the civilized globe, whilst even political science-a science based on pure experience in practical life—is still tinctured in every country by original views and prejudices. As well might uniformity of language be expected whilst the influences that were coeval with the origin of nations, the bias communicated by the religion of the people, and the prejudices derived from the usages of antiquity are still in active operation.
Such discrepancies are more striking when we meet with them in objects purely philanthropic, as these are a class of objects which apparently admit of but one view and principle. Such phenomena are worth investigating, since they no doubt contain the clue to the original life and character of nations which may
have been concealed from our view by the course of time and the march of improvement. Let us thus cast a searching look on the provisions of the legislature in various countries for the support of helpless and friendless children.
That help is here necessary, and indeed that of all charitable institutions those for helpless children are to be placed in the foremost rank, as based upon the primary and direct laws of God, and arising out of the best feelings of our nature, no one denies; and yet the mode and system adopted in each country for effecting the proposed object are found to rest on two different if not opposite views which may be said to divide all the states of Europe into two distinct and characteristic branches. In some countries institutions are established by the state for the reception of foundlings indiscriminately, whilst in others the provision is made for orphans only, or for those children whose parents are dead, either physically, morally, or politically. As all the nations of Roman extraction have adopted the former system, and those of Germanie origin the latter, they have received the specific appellations of Catholic and Protestant systems,-St. Vincent de Paulo being the hero of Christian charity with the Romanist, whilst Herman Franke is the grand exemplar of the Protestant communities.
The question, then, before us is, of the two systems which is entitled to preference? Are the Germans right in endeavoring, , first of all, to enforce from the parents the performance of those duties which natural feeling and which divine precept alike prescribe, and only transferring them to individuals or to institutions appointed by the state authorities in cases of absolute