« AnteriorContinuar »
feathers one by one, until they have stripped the fowl regularly backwards, working over the head, along the neck, and so on to the body. Not having sufficient strength to pull the feathers out by main force, they grub them out by the roots, then pull the bird to pieces and devour it. So completely, we are told, is the dread of the driver ant in every living creature, that on their approach whole villages are deserted.
'Their sallies arc made in cloudy days and in the night, chiefly in the latter. This is owing to the uncongenial influence of the sun, an exposure to tho direct rays of which, especially when the power is increased by reflection, is almost instantaneously fatal. If they should he detained abroad till late in the morning of a sunny day by the quantity of their prey, they will construct arches over their 'path, of dirt agglutinated by a fluid secreted from their month. If their way should run under thick grass, sticks, &c., affording sufficient shelter, the arch is dispensed with; if not, so much dirt is added as is necessary to eko out tho arch in connection with them. In the rainy season, or in a succession of cloudy days, the arch is seldom visible.'
When the rain descends in such torrents as to flood whole tracts of country, and the habitations of the driver ants are deluged, the insects adopt the following means of escaping destruction:—
'As soon as 'the water encroaches upon their premises they ran together and agglomerate themselves into balls, the weakest (or "tho women and children," as the natives call tin in j being in the middle, and tho large and powerful insects on the outside. Those balls are much lighter than water, and consequently float on the surface until the floods retire, and the insects can resume their place on dry land. The size of tho ant balls is various, but they are, on an average, as largo as n full-sized cricket-balL One of these curious balls was cleverly caught in a handkerchief, put in a vessel, and sent to Mr. F. Smith, of tho British Museum.'
Their manner of crossing streams is equally curious, though shared by other species of ants.
'Crawling to tho end of a bough which overhangs tho water, they form themselves into a living chain, and add to its length until the lowermost reaches the water. Tho long wide-spread limbs of tho insect can sustain it upon the water, especially when aided by its hold on the suspended comrade above. Ant after ant pushes forward, and the flouting portion of the chain is thus lengthened until the free end is swept by tho stream against the opposite bank. The ant which forms the extremity of the chain theu clings to a stick, stone, or root, and grasps it so firmly that the chain is held tightly, and the ants can pass over their companions as over a suspension bridge.'
We must end this sketch of a very attractive subject, and
refer those who take an interest in natural history to the works at the head of this article. Mr. Rennie's book has long; and deservedly been considered a standard book on the architecture of insects, and we have much pleasure in cordially recommending Mr. Wood's recent work on the architecture of animals generally. The author is a careful observer of nature, and writes in a pleasant and attractive manner. The illustrations for the tnost part are executed with great spirit, and we have no doubt that 'Homes without Hands' will increase in popularity as it becomes more widely known.
Art. IV.—1. Das Leben Jesu fiir das Deutsche Volk, frc., By D. F. Strauss. Leipzig, 1864.
2. Das Leben Jesu. By D. F. Strauss.
3. Das Charakterbild Jesu. By Daniel Schenkel. Wiesbaden, 1864.
4. Das Bild Christi. By J. F. von Oosterzee. Hamburg, 1864.
6. Der Geschichtliche Christus. By Theodor Keim. Zurich, 1865.
6. Jesus Christ, son Temps, $a Vie, son (Euvre. By E. de Pressense. Paris, 1866.
7. Untersuchungen uber die Evangelische Geschichte, u. s. w. By C. Weizsticker. Gotha, 1864.
8. Waiw, warden unsere Evangelien verfasst? By Constantin Tischendorf. Leipzig, 1865.
9. Der Urspnmg unseren Evanyelien, u. s. ic. By Dr. Gustav Volkmar. Zurich, 1866.
THIRTY years ago the 'Life of Jesus' of Strauss startled the world like a clap of thunder out of a calm sky. Theology has never since ceased to feel that shock. No German writer, of whatever school, has been able to banish the recollection of it from his pages. It was a book that marked an epoch; not, indeed, in the same sense as the 'Summa' of Aquinas, or the 'Organon' of Bacon, for these constructed, whilst that strove only to destroy. These were positive, and succeeding thinkers were obliged to take them up and carry on the thoughts they presented. The work of Strauss was negative : no wish to retain anything weakened the arm that wielded the destroying hammer; no mistrust as to what the world might be without Christianity, prevented him from doing his very utmost towards its destruction. In the name of criticism he declared that the Gospels were almost valueless as historical materials; in the name of science he pronounced nounccd that miracles were impossible; in the name of the highest philosophy he professed to show the process by which the idea of such a character as that of Jesus Christ might be evolved out of the minds of a people, if but a few historical elements were given them.
The 'Life of Jesus,' considered as a mine sprung under the ancient theology for the purpose of destroying it utterly, is a most remarkable production. But it claims a different rank from this. It is a work of science and philosophy. Christianity and the character of its author are facts ; and this earnest disciple (ardent we must not apply to one whose thoughts are hard, clear, chilling, and crushing as the iceberg) of the new school of Hegel, having demolished the grounds on which these facts used to rest, will show us in the name of science the new grounds on which they are henceforth to repose.
What reasoning, what fierce denunciation, what wild wailing this book drew forth from astonished Christendom need not now be recalled.
The man who, after playing bowls with spectres in the Catskill mountains, fell asleep, and awoke in the next generation, found, according to Irving's charming story, a state of matters in his native village not very flattering to his pride, or comforting to his affections. Dr. Strauss has just performed a similar feat, after thirty years of slumber; and in his case, too, the results are not adequate to his wishes. His scientific principles, whatever they arc, ought by this time to have produced settled results. This is the property, and therefore the test, of all true science, that whatever difficulties it may contend with at first, it conquers them by its power of grouping facts already known, of explaining new ones that occur, and of ordering and arranging ideas. Aristotle was right when he said that all science must be capable of being taught. After thirty years then, there should be, if the principles are true, something like a concord of testimony from all the facts since examined, something like an agreement among theologians upon some settled principles, if not those of Strauss, then those to which subsequent verification has brought his principles down. This, however, is by no means what the irrefragable Doctor finds; and the new 'Life of Jesus' surveys the state of things with no great approbation. On this head we will allow the author to speak for himself, compressing his critical survey a good deal, and paraphrasing it, but allowing him to distribute his praise and blame.
'The work we published thirty years ngo, comparable in its way to "Kant's Critique of Pure Roason," was intended to demolish all old prejudices of theology, and to substitute pnre science for the same.
And now after thirty years, in a manner permitted to few, wo revisit the field of discovery, to take account of the new scientific method in its results. Candour compels us to own that they are not entirely to our satisfaction. Our predecessors, Paulus, Hase, and Schleiermacher, had all persisted in treating the Gospels as historical authorities; all of which we, by good rights, made an end of. Every single narrative of the Evangelists we put into the crucible of our criticism; and how little of them we reported to bo pure gold after our assay is known to mankind. Tet (will mankind believe it ?) a Neandcr springs up after us, with his throe mottoes from Athanasius, and Pascal, and Plato, with these invocations to all the good geniuses of philosophy and theology to help him in his strait, and with a certain tincture of philosophic education of a sort, with some training even in historical criticism, and concocts a quite "pitiable" book, in which he adheres to the miraculous in some degree, and considers all the Gospels inspired. Even Gfrorer, who ought to have known better, admits some of the miracles, in order, as we charitably suppose, to astonish the critics a little, and to create a sensation when ho was "perorating" after dinner. As for Meyer, who believes in all the miracles, it is laudable no doubt thus to throw himself into the position of the author he is expounding, at the expense of his own critical faculty. Of Ebrard, who wrote against us, we must say that his "restoration of orthodoxy really amounts to impudence;" the man actually treats the Evangelists as trustworthy historians. Weisse was a man of another sort, the first, indeed, who accorded to our book a sensible examination. Weisse went with our arguments against St. John; even mended them. But then he had a hankering after St. Mark, and neglected our great principle of explaining the miracles as reminiscences of the Old Testament; cannot wholly divest himself of miracles; in short, about Weisse " there is nothing thoroughgoing; sound critical principles are crossed by the idiosyncrasies of a dilettante," and his work has now no more interest for us than that of curiosity. Of Ewald, we will say that there is a great deal of rhetoric and of unction, and that his mode of treatment shows tho extremities to which theology is reduced, endeavouring by a cloud of words to disguise and conceal the inevitable. Lately two books of another stamp have appeared, the little tract of Eeim, and the work of Renan. Eeim lays down the principle that the life of Jesus should ho interpreted by the laws of history and of psychology; but the sanguine man imagines that all theology will adopt his principle, which ho does not thoroughly follow out even for himself; and we lose patience with him when he talks to us of tho apostolic origin and the unity of the Gospel of St. Matthew; nor can he disentangle himself from miracles. Upon the whole, while he believes he has satisfied tho demands of science, he is plunged in the illusions of theology. Kenan, again, is misguided enough to retain the narrative portions of St. John, being, in fact, ignorant of tho German works on this subject that have not been translated into French. Schenkel had wellnigh escaped us, having published his "Charaktcrbild Jcsu" after this survey of ours; but wo descend upon him in a separate book, and wo tell him, rather tartly perhaps, thut in endeavouring to reconcile science and theology, he will please neither of them; thut his science is an attempt to serve theology, for which theology will not thank him on account of the breadth of his admissions.' *
Strauss thus cynically 'perorating' (we thank him for the word), after thirty years' use of his great scientific discovery, teaches us more things than he dreams of in his philosophy. In his anxiety to denounce trespassers, he forgets that he must produce disciples. Science, to be true, must be capable of being learned; where then arc those that have learned it? Which of the great principles of the master have come to be admitted as theological axioms? It is a lame and impotent result to introduce us to Neander the 'pitiable' and to Gfrorej-talking miracles for effect, and to Ebrard impudently orthodox, and to poor half-and-half Weisse, and to rhetorical Ewald, and to Keim with his adherence to St. Matthew, and to Renan with his scraps of St. John, and to Schenkel, who, thinking to reconcile orthodoxy and science, has been denounced by one hundred and seventeen orthodox teachers. Not one of all these adopts the author's three great principles,—that the Gospels are not historical, that a miracle is impossible, and that the life of our Lord as recorded in the Gospels is an accretion of myths. The inference to our minds is that none of this boasted science is established, because there was none to establish. The world's astonishment, thirty years since, was not as that of men that wonder at the rosy dawn of a bright day, but as of men among whom some crashing bolt falls, and scathing the eyes with its blinding sheen, leaves them to recover their eyes as best they may.
We are not concerned with the somewhat strange selection of names; but if the list had been extended the argument would have been the same. Tholuck, Ullmann, Lange, Riggenbach, De Pressense, and a host of others who have treated the life of the Lord, might have been cited, but none of them as true disciples. Among those who have discussed the Gospels, Olshausen, Bleek, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Holtzmann, and a hundred beside, might have been cited, whose results, differing widely amongst themselves, differ widely each from those of Strauss.
It could hardly we presume be agreeable in any case to wake from a preternatural sleep of thirty years, and to descend from the Catskill mountains, and to present our somewhat antiquated figure to a generation that has gone far towards forgetting our existence.
* See the new 'Lcben Jesu,' pp. 31-39; also 'Christug des Glaubens,' &c., Berlin, l8C.r..