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[The Editors are not responsible for every statement or opinion of their correspondents; at the same time, their object is to open the pages of their Magazine to those only, who seek the real good of that Protestant Church with which it is in connexion.]
To the Editor of the Christian Guardian. SIR,-I perceive in the columns of the religious periodicals of the day, an advertisement of a work called, "Hints for an Improved Translation of the New Testament, by James Scholefield, M.A., Regius Professor of Greek, Cambridge; and Canon of Ely." Now I freely grant that there be some reason for this modest suggestion for an improvement of our present authorized version; there may be some words, or perhaps larger portions, more or less inaccurately translated, but the blemishes are, after all, so few and so doctrinally unimportant, that I for one cannot but deprecate any meddling with, or alteration of, a version to which the tribute of universal admiration is justly due.
But while I am one of those who are more than content with my English Testament, I cannot but desire to turn the attention of Mr. Scholefield to a work of far more pressing urgency, and that is one which your magazine, most properly advocates, —the Scriptural Revision of our National Liturgy. If some few improper renderings may offend the classical scholar, and possibly in some slight measure obscure the meaning of some passages, so as to call for an alteration, which, after all, may be a debateable improvement, what cannot be said in support of that growing demand for such a revision of our uninspired Prayer-book, as may at all events allow the real and attached members of the national Protestant Church to worship with free consciences, and enlarged comfort and devotion, in her services.
You are so ably and constantly bringing this question before your readers, that I will not further trespass upon your space; but allow me to say, that if an Evangelical Regius Professor of Greek may, without_rebuke, put forth "Hints for an Improved Translation of the Testament," surely we, his Evangelical brethren,
"A young girl, of about twenty years of age, whose family is employed in the domestic side of the palace, had contracted a bad fever, owing to the loss of her father a little time before, as well as to the influence of the season, which has multiplied at Rome diseases of this kind, and by which a great number of victims have fallen within the last few months.
"Notwithstanding the enlightened efforts of the doctor of the pontifical 'family,' and of her parents, the young invalid was soon at the last extremity. The Vice Curé of the palace, (which, as is known, is a order (Monseigneur the Sacristan of the foundation,) a member of the Augustin
same order is the Titular Curé) had administered to her the Sacrament of Ex
The Catholic Standard, Oct. 4, 1851.
treme Unction, and had recited the prayer recommending her soul. Her last sigh was hourly expected.
"For the sake of enabling our readers to understand the prodigy about to be related, it is necessary to state that, during the course of the malady the Vice Curé had several times engaged the pious patient to invoke the aid of a venerable servant of God, of the Augustin Order, whose beatification is about to be declared, and he had even mixed in the potions given to such girl some little fragments of the clothes of the venerable man. On the other hand, according to the usage of religious families, they had carried into the chamber of the dying person the Santo Bambino de l'Ara Cœli, demanding of these last resources of the Faith a cure no longer in the reach of human science to bestow.
"Let us return to the bed of the dying girl, whom we find in a profound sleep, from which she shall soon awaken to relate, with smiles on her lips, how she had seen the infant Jesus, having at his side a venerable servant of God, clad in the habit of the order of St. Augustin. She adds, that she feels herself cured, but very weak, and she asks for a cup of broth to give her strength. The broth is given to her, although the request is regarded as coming from one in the last agitation of dying; but the sick girl, who had felt the action of grace, and who knew well that she was cured, rises, throws off all the blisters, of which not a trace was left on her body, and on the following day repaired to the Church of l'Ara Coeli, at more than half a league distant, to thank the Santo Bambino and the servant of God who had restored her to life and health.
"You may easily comprehend the sensation that a fact of this kind must have produced upon a population so full of faith, especially on the eve of the ceremony of the 21st, which will put solemnly upon
the altar, in placing him amongst the blest, the venerable Father Clavier, of the Society of Jesus, and at the close of the expiatory triduo which has been celebrated at Saint Andre del la Valle, in reparation of the sacrilegious outrage committed against the Madonna du Vicolo dell' Abate Luigi.
"Our readers will be obliged to us for saying some words about this ceremony, and the cause which led to it :
"Last year, Colonel Nardoni, assailed by two assassins, providentially escaped death. It so happened that the theatre of this event was precisely under the Madonna placed at the corner Du Vicolo dell' Abate Luigi. The colonel attributed his escape to the protection of the Holy Virgin, and, out of gratitude, caused the image which had so protected him to be carefully restored; for, owing to the isolation of the place, it had been much neglected.
"Demagoguism, as it appears, owed a grudge to the Queen of Heaven, for having saved a man whose death would have been so precious to the republican cause, and a sacrilegious and democratic hand, some time ago, smashed with stones the crystal which secures the sacred image, and mutilated its blessed features. brutal outrage having filled the town with horror, his Eminence the Cardinal Vicar, yielding to intreaties, ordered a solemn triduo, which took place the 14th,'15th, and 16th of the month. The image so outraged by demagogues was placed on the grand altar of the church, in the midst of an infinitude of tapers, which crowned it as with a diadem of fire. and for three days she received the homage, the invocations, and the tears of a faithful people. On the evening of the third day, in the midst of singing and illuminations, the holy image was borne in procession and replaced in the corner it had occupied, the people crying 'Viva Maria !'"
Reviews, and Short Notices of Books.
THE LIFE OF JOHN STERLING. By THOMAS CARLYLE. 8vo. pp. 344. London: Chapman & Hall. 1851. ABOUT seven years ago Mr. Archdeacon Hare, under express agreement with Mr. Carlyle, undertook the authorship of a Biography of John Sterling, from the papers and documents committed to the care of these two individuals by Sterling himself, a short time before his death. Mr. Carlyle has suffered this interval to elapse, and now resuscitates an almost forgotten and melancholy story by writing a letter to himself, in which he complains of the Archdeacon's work, on what appear to us to be very slight grounds. However this may be, Mr. Carlyle seizes the opportunity for waging war against all that has been held sacred, under the name of religion, for more than eighteen hundred years, by the great and wise, as well as by the humble and simple. The obligation is assumed by the biographer, and the work is done,-the chief objects thereof being, so far as we can discover, to snarl at all the world besides himself, and to claim, unblushingly, his part in the ultimate unsettling of the character and aims of a mind struggling after truth, without the use of the only true helps, the word of God and prayer.
The friends of John Sterling will, we imagine, see great reason to regret this new biography. On our part, while we cannot but deplore the sad spectacle thus again laid bare to public gaze, we would not let the occasion pass without calling attention to the warning, speaking trumpet-tongued, of the danger and insane folly of trusting to human intellect alone, in spiritual matters. Biography, besides teaching philosophy by example, does here, in the narrative of Sterling's life, preach a solemn alarm to the heedless, the self-wise, and the backslider.
We shall on this occasion endeavour to present from the work before us the principal points in Sterling's history which may seem more especially to have had influence upon his
religious principles. We shall not stop to expose every phantasm which the biographer presents episodically, in the belief that he is destroying the very foundations of evangelical Christianity; neither shall we pass all in
The first, and a most important, fact we notice, is, the entire absence of any information that the object of this biographical sketch was taught in his early days to seek his Creator,— a potent fact in after years for every child of man. The prevailing feature of his school-life, Mr. Carlyle informs his readers, was "excessive fluctuation,"-incessant change of parental residence, and consequently of teach
"His gentle, pious-hearted mother," Mr. Carlyle tells us, ever watching over him in all outward changes, and assiduously keeping human (?) pieties and good affections alive in him, was probably the best counteracting element in his lot." Evangelical piety and divine affections do not appear to have been considered as of any importance to the child-these perhaps the biographer would repudiate as shams and cant. After desultory schooling, we find Sterling at Trinity College, Cambridge, his tutor, Julius Hare, "now the distinguished Archdeacon of Lewes."
"But here," says Mr. Carlyle, as in his former schools, his studies and enquiries, diligently prosecuted, I believe, were of the most discursive, wide-flowing character; not steadily advancing along beaten roads towards college honours, but pulsing out with impetuous irregularity, now on this tract, now on that, towards whatever spiritual Delphi might promise to unfold the mystery of this world, and announce to him what was, in our new day, the authentic message of the gods."- Are we in the nineteenth century of the Christian era?
Mr. Carlyle describes his hero as having at this time "frankly adopted the anti-superstitious side of things," and represents him to have epitomised the ministers of the Established Church "black dragoons in every parish,
The Italics are our own,
on good pay and rations, horse-meat and man's-meat."
This estimate, we shall see, subsequently underwent a change; unfortunately, too, for him, changes.
The next step in Sterling's life was the choice of a profession. "But,” says our growling and sneering biographer, ever ready to find fault, ever slow to find remedies, "professions, built so largely on speciosity, instead of performance, clogged in this bad epoch, and defaced under such suspicions of fatal imposture, were hateful, not lovable, to the young radical soul, scornful of gross profit, and intent on ideals and human noblenesses. The three professions, Thomas Carlyle avers, "require you at the threshold to constitute yourself an impostor." All the world, we may observe, knows that the assertion is false. If it were true, trade alone can admit of honesty, and we, of course, suppose, of all trades, that of making books must be the most honest, as Mr. Carlyle has chosen it; for surely our author himself must be "scornful of gross profits," and, while protesting the hypocrisy of all under himself, his publishers would doubtless well be pleased that he should be "intent upon ideals." Obviously Thomas Carlyle knows nothing about the "three professions." However, one fact is unanswerably clearer than all Carlylean rhodomantade against the three professions: honest men have gone out into the world, with the love of God in their hearts, and have laboured more successfully for the benefit of man in the pursuit of the "three professions," than has any would-be Diogenes, seated quietly in his well warmed tub, smoking his complacent pipe, and spinning out of its vapoury wreaths tirades of scornful abuse of all that is held sacred by his fellow-men.
Sterling had not in him that steady industry which is essential to success in any calling, professional or literary," black dragoon," or even book-maker. He was, as his biographer justly remarks, a man of "swift far darting brilliancies, and nomadic desultory ways." The most unfortunate of all constitutions to en
"Piety of heart, a certain reality of religious faith, was alway's Sterling's,—the gift of nature to him, which he would not and could not throw away; but I find at this time his religion is as good as altogether Ethnic, Greekish, what Goethe calls the heathen form of religion. The Church, with her Articles, is without relation to him."
At this juncture Sterling became admitted to intimacy with Coleridge, who was regarded then, and since, by "young inquiring men," as a sort of prophet or magus. The religious feelings then dwelling in Coleridge's heart, and poured forth in his swelling flood of words, too often obscured in cloudy German transcendentalisms, were the influential means of directing the earnest but wavering mind of Sterling to the "peace which passeth understanding," and which for a season it is probable he in some degree realised. He was then taught and received the very reverse of his biographer's Will-o'-th'- wisp doctrines, which he at a later period adopted: "What the light of your mind, which is the direct inspiration of the Almighty, pronounces incredible,—that, in God's name, leave uncredited; at your peril do not try believing other than that." It had been better for Sterling had he not afterwards been brought within the range of such influences as are conveyed in these heathenish flatteries of the human intellect. Thanks be to God, that there are not wanting noble armies of martyrs, and great clouds of witnesses, to the pure truth, that the sole veracity is to be discovered by the light of Divine revelation alone; not in the paganism which failed philosophers of old.
Passing over the lamentable episode of Sterling's Spanish radicalism
REVIEWS CARLYLE'S LIFE OF STERLING.
his marriage, his residence in the West Indies, we come to his determination to enter the ministry of the Church, influenced by what Mr. Carlyle is pleased to denominate "Coleridgean Moonshine;" and of which he has the exalted lack of wisdom to speak thus: "The bereaved young lady has taken the veil, then! Even "To such length can transcendental moonshine, cast by some morbidly radiating Coleridge into the chaos of a fermenting life, act magically there, and produce divulsions and convulsions, and diseased developments." All beyond 'the light of your own mind," which, we hold to be darkness visible, is of course cant and hypocrisy to Mr. Carlyle; happily quite the reverse to Coleridge, and most other persons. To Mr. Carlyle Coleridge becomes maudlin when he becomes religious, which to him is only another word for hypocritical.
The influence of Coleridge on the rising generation has been far from beneficial. Much of the error and mysticism of the present day must, we fear, be traced to the unrestrained liberty given by that great man to his vast imagination, which he suffered to revel unchecked by reason or judgment in the cloud-land of transcendental metaphysical speculation. But certainly here is one redeeming fact, that Mr. Carlyle does so constantly insist upon referring the only manifestations of true religion in Sterling's mind to "Coleridgean Moonshine." May such sunshine, we should say, ere long illumine the recesses of the hearts of all who have at present but the farthing-rush-light glimmer of "the light of your own mind," which is anything but the direct inspiration of the Almighty,-oftener the suggestions of Satan.
Carlyle accounts this ministerial character of "Poor Sterling" "among the evil lessons of his time," as "the worst," "properly indeed the apotheosis, the solemn apology and consecration, of all the evil lessons that were in him." All christian men will, we think, regard it as the one bright spot in his life, in which indeed culminated all that was good in him.
Archdeacon Hare, and his parishioners of Hurstmonceaux, have borne grateful testimony to the earnestness, sincerity, and affectionateness, of the performance of his pastoral duties as curate. He had set himself St. Paul for a model; for a time he acted up to his pattern with the best of his energies. But ill health, and probably from the seed not having been sown in truly good ground, the promising plant began to droop.
Other influences now began to operate upon Sterling's mind. The acquaintance with Mr. Carlyle began soon after the abandonment of his clerical functions. Sterling yet believing in the existence of a "personal GOD," the very idea of which Carlyle scouts,-holds frequent discussions upon this topic, and upon faith, with his new friend; but of these discussions the biographer gives little note, and regards them as pitiable on the part of Sterling. From this time we have much recorded by Mr. Carlyle of his private life, interesting indeed; of his various travels and change of residence in search of health; his desultory literary pursuits; his unsuccessful attempts at poetry, &c., and many other matters. not material to our present purpose.
Two painfully mournful circumstances, however, were becoming daily more manifest;-one, that his bodily frame was doomed ere long to return to the dust; the other, that his soul's health seemed to droop, pari passu, with his march towards eternity.
A few short extracts may perhaps serve better than any statements of ours to indicate, in the biographer's own expressions, whither this poor shattered bark was tending.
"The conscious life, ecclesiastical still, hung visibly about his inner, unconscious. and real life, for years to come: and not from him the wrappages of it, could he till by slow degrees he had unwinded become clear about himself, and so much. as try heartily what his now sole course was. p. 161.
"In fact, it became clear to me more and more that here was nobleness of heart striving towards all nobleness; here was. ardent recognition of the worth of Christianity, for one thing; but no belief in it