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Brief Literary Notices.
the work as it has advanced, will be gratified to know that the design in its projection was to furnish the Protestant Church with a work which should occupy, towards the literature of the Bible and of Christianity, the same position which the Conversations-Lexicons and Encyclopædias of modern times represent in relation to the science, history, and literature of the world at large. The work has been conducted under the able and discriminating editorship of Dr. Herzog, one of the Theological Professors at the University of Erlangen. He has had the assistance of a distinguished body of contributors, comprising the foremost men in the Protestant Church of Germany, whose names alone would render all commendation superfluous, and, from the first, gave sufficient guarantee of that excellence which the volumes already issued have so fully realized.
The scope of the work is large, and its design a noble one. We have had our Biblical Cyclopædias before, and are thankful for the service they have rendered to the cause of sacred studies. But the undertaking to which we are now referring as much surpasses those former productions in the extent of its field and the magnitude of its proportions, as it is their superior in the talent which the number and character of its contributors enable it to command. The subjects embraced comprehend dogmatic theology, scriptural ethics, the history of Scripture interpretation, ecclesiastical law, Church polity, ecclesiastical history and biography, as well as, in particular, all that can illustrate the history, the geography, the lives, and the teachings which are contained in the sacred volume. It may fitly be termed, the collective wisdom of Germany's best and ablest men on all that relates to the Bible, Theology, and the Christian Church. It will be satisfactory, also, to our English readers to know, that the work is uniformly on the side of orthodoxy, and that its contributors are sternly opposed to all that savours of the Rationalism once so common amongst their countrymen.
We would gladly draw attention to some of the articles worthy of special commendation; but in the midst of so much that is good, selection is difficult. The departments of ecclesiastical biography and. history have received very full attention. There are several able articles in the half-volume before us on the Church-Fathers, by Professor Hagenbach, Albrecht Vogel, and other writers; notices of scriptural characters, by Kurtz; and papers connected with the biography and history of our own country, by Dr. Schöll of London. But we have specially remarked with admiration the excellent articles bearing on Ecclesiastical Law furnished by Jacobson, those relating to the history and constitution of the Romish Church contributed by Mejer, and the occasional articles of Schenkel on topics pertaining principally to Christian dogmatics. An able paper appears on Dante, written by Göschel, having reference to the Italian poet in his relations to the principles of Protestantism. The sterling orthodoxy which pervades the work has an opportunity of specially manifesting itself in the article on Demoniacs, which is most ably treated by Professor Ebrard. The candour and judgment with which this difficult subject is discussed, are worthy of its excellent and talented author; and whilst a fair hearing is conceded to the suggestions of the followers of Paulus and Strauss, a very distinct and unequivocal utterance is given in opposition to all
the theories of the anti-supernaturalist schools. That the most modern questions connected with the great theme of Christianity are embraced in the work, will be seen by the article on German Catholicism; by that on Communism and Socialism, in which Professor Hundeshagen has full play for his pen on a topic which the direction of his studies well qualifies him to treat; and in the paper on Deaconesses' Houses, in which Dr. Wichern, the founder of the Inner Mission, brings into a collected form the origin and progressive history of one of the many noble movements which in recent days have been engaged in by Christian philanthropy.
We need not say we wish well to this enterprising effort of modern German Protestantism. It is not a book for Germany alone; it is a book for the whole Christian world, and we are very pleased to learn that it has already found its way to the hands of many amongst the German readers of our own country, being fully persuaded that its extended circulation must greatly contribute to the cause of sacred study, and to an enhanced interest in the important topics which are comprehended within the sphere of its research.
Der Weg zu Christo. Vorträge im Dienst der Innern Mission vor Gliedern der evangelischen Christenheit aus den gebildeten Ständen gehalten und herausgegeben von Dr. Karl Bernhard Hundeshagen. 8vo. Frankfurt am Mayn:
WE call attention to this the second edition of Dr. Hundeshagen's Discourses, entitled "The Way to Christ," in order that we may say something not merely of a very excellent book, but also of a very praiseworthy effort which has been called forth by the revived Christian energies of the German Protestant Church.
It is a pleasing thing to know that in a country which-itself the home of the Reformation-has always occupied an important position relatively to the history of Protestantism, the wide digressions from the path of orthodoxy which once characterized the teachings of its schools have given way before the power of a living Christianity. It is pleasing, too, to recognise in its literature Theology making way for Religion, and to see even the learned of the land exchanging the dogmatics of the school for the practical teaching of daily life. And as an expression of this new tendency of German Christianity, it is in the highest degree gratifying to watch the efforts of their "Inner Mission," and to see how the power of vital godliness is being witnessed to in a thousand directions by the varied endeavours after the resuscitation of a new life within the pale of the Church itself. It is in these efforts that the addresses to which we call attention in the volume before us, had their origination. A word will explain their history.
Amongst the varied aims of the "Inner Mission," it was felt to be one of the highest importance, to reach, if possible, the vast mass of mind comprehended amongst the intelligent or cultivated classes of the country. Whilst multitudinous effort was put forth for the poor, the ignorant, and the degraded, it was felt that the noble, the rich, and the intellectual no less claimed their sympathy. And especially in a land where the thinking faculties have been so cultivated, where reason has
Brief Literary Notices.
sat enshrined claiming universal homage, where speculation has been permitted to run rampant in the luxuriance of an unrestricted growth, and which has been the very hot-bed of philosophy falsely so called, we can conceive of no greater service that the promoters of the "Inner Mission" could take upon themselves, than, with God's help, to carry the Gospel amongst the proud worshippers of science and philosophy, and show them the simplicity of the words of Jesus.
This they have attempted to do. And in nothing have they shown. more wisdom than in their selection, for the discharge of this difficult duty, of one like Professor Hundeshagen, who in so remarkable a degree unites the intellect of the Schools with the simplicity of the follower of Christ, and knows so well how to attemper all with a way so winning, whilst he directs his words with a force and point which compel the attention of even the most prejudiced hearer. The Lectures were delivered before assemblies of the intelligent classes, at Heidelberg, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Frankfort, and Carlsruhe; in every one of which cities the Professor was well received. He was followed in these efforts by his colleague in the theological professorship at Heidelberg, Dr. Schenkel, whose services have been so great in Germany in relation to the Romish controversy. And, whether as spoken addresses, or in their present printed form, we have no doubt that the urgent appeals thus presented to the intellect, the heart, and the conscience of thinking men, will have already earned rich fruit in the cause of Christ's truth.
Professor Hundeshagen is diffuse, rather than otherwise, in his style; but he is always well fitted to attract and to convince. One of the great aims in his addresses is to exhibit in its true light the modern German culture, and to show that its followers are not so intellectually superior, or because intellectually are not so really superior, to their fellows, as they are accustomed to believe. He shows, with the royal preacher of old, what is "the beginning of wisdom; tells the proud spirits of the age that they must become as little children, if they would be inheritors of heaven; humbles, with the Gospel, humanity to the dust; and then teaches, in all simplicity and power, the doctrine of reconciliation to God through faith in Jesus Christ. The writing throughout is admirable in its adaptation to the end proposed. German culture is combated by German culture; until, its own weapons turned upon itself, it falls beneath the false refinements and philosophic subtleties, with which it would fain satisfy the cravings of man's immortal spirit. The Professor is at home with his subject. And, although especially adapted for the intellectual tendencies of our Teutonic neighbours, the lesson is not wholly unneeded in our own land; and we can say with confidence that, whether the reader be German or English, the volume will not be read without interest and profit.
The Harmonic Law of Nature applied to Architectural Design. By D. R. Hay, F.R.S.E. Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons. THIS is about the twentieth volume published by Mr. Hay, with a view to the establishment of scientific principles in art. Neither in form nor in colour have artists any fixed laws of the beautiful,
all is determined by the eye. And, indeed, so it will ever be. Genius will never consciously follow a scientific method, but will be guided exclusively by its own lofty instincts. At the same time, if we could accurately determine the laws on which beauty depends, we might avail ourselves of these to correct false taste, and to criticize the possible vagaries of noble art. And this, indeed, is the function which science can alone fulfil. It can analyse, but it cannot compose. Scientific criticism has a remedial virtue; but it possesses no creative fiat. Admitting this frankly, and at the same time recoiling from the views of those who have asserted that beauty is a matter of taste, and as variable as opinion, Mr. Hay has set himself to discover the laws of the beautiful in form and colour. To this inquiry he has devoted his life, and his researches have ended in the most remarkable results, results which, we venture to say, eclipse all our previous ideas, as the electric telegraph has eclipsed the semaphore, and which evince as much genius as the discovery of Neptune by Adams and Le Verrier. If these appear to be strong expressions, they are fully justified by the fact, that Mr. Hay has demonstrated, beyond the possibility of a doubt, what for centuries many artists— and among them may be mentioned Albert Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, and our own Hogarth-in vain attempted to make good. What was nothing but a conjecture in the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, is subscribed on the pages of Mr. Hay with a Q. E. D.
It is chiefly in demonstrating the laws of beauty in form that Mr. Hay has won his laurels. To obviate misconception, it must be remembered that "beauty" is a word of very wide application, and in the present connexion we do not apply it to the beauty of expression, nor to the beauty of the picturesque, but to that of symmetry. A Greek vase strikes every beholder as perfect in symmetry; so does a Greek statue; so does a Greek temple. The slightest deviation of a curve, the slightest elongation of a line, would destroy the symmetry. And can such beauty be accidental? Whether it can be discovered or not, we are well assured that all this beauty conforms to a law as immutable as the laws of right and wrong in morality; and what this law is, what is the system of proportions on which this symmetrical beauty depends, Mr. Hay has demonstrated with mathematical rigour. He has, in fact, identified the laws of symmetry with the harmonic law of nature, of which we find the most remarkable exemplification in music. If a musical string is made to vibrate, it will be found that in a very little while it divides itself spontaneously by nodes into two, three, and five parts, and multiples of these; and upon this spontaneous division the musical scale is founded. The notes thus spontaneously divided, and bearing to the key-note the relations of one-half, one-third, one-fifth, one-seventh, as primes; and one-fourth, one-sixth, one-eighth, one-ninth, one-tenth, onetwelfth, and so on, as multiples,-are called "harmonics;" and Mr. Hay has demonstrated that all the relations or proportions of symmetrical beauty depend, in sight as well as in sound, upon the application of this harmonic law. This will best be understood by an example; and to give some idea of the importance of Mr. Hay's discovery, we shall select the example in which previous inquirers have been most successful, so as to contrast his results with theirs.
Brief Literary Notices.
535 About fifteen years ago it was announced that in the whole of the Parthenon there is not to be found a single straight line: the seemingly straight lines are invisible curves. Mr. Penrose, while at Athens in 1846, obtained from the Society of Dilettanti the means of carefully examining the whole building, his measurements of every detail being so accurate as to descend to the thousandth part of a foot. Some four or five years ago he published the result of his very elaborate researches; and in the whole building which he had measured so accurately, the following are the only simple proportions which he discovered:
1. That the entire height is to its breadth in the ratio of 7 to 12. 2. That the height of each column is to the entire height of the front-that is, to the top of the cymatium-in the same ratio.
3. That the height of the pediment is to the length of the horizontal cornice very nearly in the ratio of 6 to 25.
4. That the length of the architrave is to that of the upper step very nearly in the ratio of 89 to 90.
5. And that the narrowest part of the columns is to their height in the ratio of 1 to 50.
Surely a very meagre result. Mr. Penrose has discovered but four ratios capable of being expressed in round numbers, and these round numbers are wanting in simplicity. There is not one of them that belongs to the harmonics. He finds no such proportions as one to two, one to three, or one to four. On the contrary, Mr. Hay accepts the measurements of Penrose, and undertakes to show a hundred simple proportions in the building, and every one of the ratios a harmonic. The greater accuracy, indeed, of Penrose's measurements has proved more clearly than before the truth of Mr. Hay's theory. And this extraordinary result is attained by the introduction of a new method. Mr. Penrose measured and compared the lines of the building: Mr. Hay measures and compares the angles which those lines subtend. Mr. Penrose, for example, measured the height and the breadth of the eastern front of the Parthenon, and found that the measurements bore to each other the relation of 7 to 12. Mr. Hay, on the other hand, shows that the height is determined in his system of angles by a much simpler ratio,-the ratio of 1 to 3. Let AB represent the base line of the eastern portico. From one end of it raise a perpendicular; from the other draw a line making the third of a right angle with the base; it will intersect the perpendicular in a point which is exactly the height of the pediment. The height of that front, therefore, is determined by a proportion which is harmonic, and with which for simplicity the ratio of 7 to 12 discovered by Penrose can bear no comparison. And so of every other important point in the building: it is determined by the utmost simplicity of ratio.
Now all this looks very easy, very obvious, when once it is explained, as so many great discoveries do. The difficulty was to discover it, not to understand the discovery. And the full value of Mr. Hay's researches will not be appreciated, unless it is known that he has applied the same law with the same signal success, not only to Greek architecture, but also to the Gothic; and not only to architecture, but also to the proportions of the human body. He has verified, as we have partly intimated, the conjecture of Sir Isaac