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ion, the best in the sermons, and which, being insulated ones, will explain themselves.
“Nothing more justly keeps man in a perpetual awe, than the inscrutability of his own soul, in its nature, capacities, and manner of acting. A tame and feeble bird, that accidentally has hatched an eagle's egg, and is afterwards affrighted at the strength and impetuous tendency of what has been fostered under its own wings, cannot find itself in a more critical case, than a man, when holding dialogue, like Adrian, with his own soul.”
“Could we conceive any principle so low and unelevated, that the person is able quite to come up with it, and owes it no blushing reverence of this sort; it would, at the same time, cease to be what we call a principle. A man of principle, therefore, be it of what nature it will, is a bashful man, dissatisfied with himself, and a true devotee."
“ He that reverences nothing, has at the same time no worth."
6. In becoming Christians, though we love some persons more than we did, let us love none less."
The letter addressed to E. V., Esq., though apparently written with much pains-taking, contains some affecting sentiments pleasingly expressed. Its whole strain is pensive, and contains the gems of several of those thoughts which are so beautifully developed in the “ Mystery of Life.”
The dependence of the aspect of outward things on the state of the percipient soul; or, to use the modern phrase, the connexion between the “ objective” and “subjective,” is thus manifested in a description of youth.
“ The paradisiacal bloom that did then, to the fresh and inno. cent imagination, dwell on the whole face of things; the soft and solemn delight that even a balmy air, a sunny landscape, the beauties of the vegetable world, hills and vales, a brook or a pebble did then excite. And surely there is something mysteriously great and noble in the first years of our life ; which being my notion, you will not be offended that I speak to you, a young man, more as young, than as man, for the former implies something very happy, and the latter something very miserable.”
In this, and in the following letter to a “Studious young Lady,” he takes a strange pleasure in depreciating human knowledge. The following remark, however, will, to use his own expression, “ keep.”
“ There is no such lumber in the world as our last year's notions, which yet, in their day, were wonderfully fine and delight
ful. The fruit of the tree of knowledge will not keep : it is pleasant enough when you first pluck it; but, if you pretend to lay it up, it will rot.'
We close our remarks and extracts here; happy if our readers shall find any thing approaching to the same pleasure in reading, that we have bad in making them; and in the hope that we may have done something to introduce a highly amiable, pious, and gifted man of genius, to the acquaintance of any to whom he has heretofore been unknown.
Art. II. – On the Origin of Allegorical Interpretation.
[The subject of Allegorical Interpretation is of essential importance to be atiended to in the study of the history of opinions, especially of opinions concerning religion. Some remarks have been made upon it in a former volume of the Christian Examiner (Vol V., for 1828 ; p. 37 et seqq.) The following article is translated from the First Part of Dopke's Hermencutick der neutestamentlichen Schriftsteller, a work treating, as a translator might entitle it in English, “ Of the Manner in which the Writers of the New Testament have quoted the Old Testament." The extract here given is, perhaps, the best written and most important portion of the book. In the discussion of its subject the writer is much indebted to the paper of Eichhorn to which he refers.)
As regards the origin of allegorical interpretation, it is a fact of the greatest importance that we can trace it in various directions, and discover in all of them the same causes operating to produce it, though we can ascertain nothing respecting the time of its introduction but that this belongs to the remotest antiquity. We find it among the Greeks, Jews, Persians, Turks, and Christians; and in order correctly to determine its origin, we must discover some uniform motive for it, at least among those nations by whom it was not borrowed, ready formed. It will facilitate our inquiries to begin with the Greeks.
As soon as man, awakened to consciousness, endeavours to rise above the rude state of nature, and to individualize himself as distinct from nature, he is compelled by an inward impulse to reflect on that nature which he has learned to be distinct from himself, and to observe the phenomena which it presents. He then discovers a web of causes and effects, and sees how one thing depends on another. But so many new phenomena continually occur of which he knows not the causes, and many are so imposing, that he cannot contemplate them without amazement, In his inmost soul he feels constrained to recognise something higher, he refers the being of nature to a higher being ; but, as this conviction is produced by observing a variety of phenomena, he imagines various higher causes which, under the feeling of dependence, he honors as powers exalted above bim. When the powers of nature have been thus personified, they are next brought into connexion and become the subjects of mythological fables. To the Egyptian, the revolutions of the Sun and the changes in the Nile became the history of Osiris. The Sun on the 21st of December grows faint, dies as it were, and is born anew. Even so Osiris is overcome by Typhon, put to death, and revives in the freshness of youth after overcoming the Evil One. Such legends originate when the mind is taking its first steps, and the images of the gods are stamped with the rudeness of the time. This is the period to which belong the creations of Homer. The only models for his delineations of the gods were men in a state of rude nature; and, if he represents his gods as infinitely exalted above men, they possess only those qualities in an elevated degree, which he deemed the chief excellences of `men. Rude strength swayed by violent passions, courage often united with brutality, which tramples on rights and humanity; arrogance, ambition, lust, intemperance, stain alike his gods and men. But the boundless charm of his unsurpassed poetry gave him an immense influence over the characters of bis countrymen; his verses were in every mouth, every writer took him for his model. From the dawn of Grecian civilization to its noon, his poems were the great text-book used in the education of youth, and he was regarded as the source of all knowledge and wisdom. Meanwhile, civilization had advanced so far, morals had become so refined, philosophical speculation had reached such a height, that the difference between his ideas and those of the time was very obvious. Notwithstanding the progress of the intellect, however, the Greeks could not contemplate Homer with reference to the rude age in which he lived; their notions of his wisdom had been raised too high, and they sought to find in him the enlightened ideas of their own times. Another circumstance is to be considered. The writings of Homer were used not only as a means of training the intellects, but of forming the morals, of youth. And in this point of view he
harmonized ill with the conceptions of a cultivated age. He often seems to be without a proper reverence for the gods, to contradict all sound ideas of their nature and sanctity, to countenance violent passions and vices, and to look with contempt on the duties of a man and a citizen. The reading of Homer, therefore, came to be considered hazardous for the young; it was apprehended, that bis rude manners would endanger the refinement of the time, that the vices and passions wbich he treated with approbation would be injurious to the good order of society, and that the scandalous stories which he tells of the gods, might detract from the reverence due to them.*
Plato, who in the second and third books of his Republic treats of the education of youth by means of gymnastics and music, severely criticizes the mythological stories as immoral in their tendency, and wishes to have them purified so as to correspond to his ideas of right. All the mythoi which make death appear dreadful, which awaken terror or laughter, which express disobedience to those in authority, or tend to rouse violent passions, were to be banished from his republic. The absolutely good was to be the only poetry allowed there. Homer was therefore excluded, though with all possible respect.
There is a passage, however, in his Republic, (Lib. II., pp. 377, 378,) in which Plato mentions a mode of making Homer's poems harmless to youth. He is speaking of those who in " discoursing of gods and heroes represent them as ill, as a painter whose pictures have no resemblance to the objects imitated.” Such things, says his fellow dialogist, deserve blame. But in what respects are they to be blamed, and what are the descriptions censured ? “ In the first place," Plato replies, “ he did not fabricate well who told what Hesiod relates the greatest falsehoods concerning the greatest beings; what Ouranos did, and how Kronos punished him; and the doings of Kronos, and what he suffered from his son. These stories, even if they were true, I think ought not thus lightly to be told to the simple and young, but, as far as possible, to be kept concealed. Should it become necessary to relate them, it ought to be done under the seal of secrecy, and to as few as may be.” The expression di dnogóýtov (translated above " under the seal of secrecy”) probably signifies that the stories spoken of should be treated as religious mysteries, to be explained to those only who are capable of comprehending them. Soon after, he expresses himself more clearly.
* Eichhorn's allgemeine Bibliothek der Theol. Litteratur, Band V.,
“ The tale of the settering of Juno by her son, that of the hurling of Vulcan from heaven, upon his coming to the assistance of his mother when beaten, and the battles of the gods described by Homer, are not to be allowed in the republic, whether understood literally or as allegories ; for young people cannot distinguish what is allegorical from what is not.” . Hence it appears to have been a practice to give an allegorical sense to religious mythoi of an offensive character, and that this was done previous to the age of Plato, who is usually considered the inventor of the method. Plato bimself (lon, p. 530,) mentions three others who interpreted the mythoi in this manner, Nesimbrotus, Glaucon, and Metrodorus. The first was a citizen of Lampsacus and a contemporary of Themistocles. From the work of Glaucon, which interprets the mythoi as being allegories relating to physical subjects, a passage is extracted in the Venetian Scholia, on the sixty-first verse of the 20th book of the Iliad, with the observation, that “this kind of allegory is very old, and originated with Theagenes of Rhegium, the first writer on Homer, who lived in the time of Cambyses in the 63rd Olympiad.” Of Metrodorus, Tatian says, in his “Discourse to the Greeks ” (page 160 B), that he explains the characters of Hector, Achilles, Helen, and Agamemnon, as personifications of physical elements. In addition to these professed interpreters of Homer, it is known that the earliest Grecian philosophers, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus, explained the mythoi in a similar manner. According to Syncellus (Chronolog. page 149 D, ed. Paris), and Cedrenus, (Hist. Compend. I. page 82,) the allegorical interpreters have the general name of Anaxagoræans, because Anaxagoras was said to have introduced this mode of explaining Homer. (Diog. Laert. II. 11.)* The invention of allegorical interpretation is therefore ascribed both to Theagenes and Anaxagoras, which shows only that they were among the earliest interpreters of this sort. Afterwards too the Stoics, for instance, Zeno, Chrysippus, and Cleanthes, particularly endeavoured to attach a physical meaning to the mythoi of Orpheus, Musæus, Homer, and Hesiod, which was strenuously
* These notices of the ancient Greek allegorists are borrowed from Ohlshausen's “tieferer Schriftsinn," p. 42.
+ See the “ Apology” of Minutius Felix, cap. 19. VOL. XXI. - 3D S. VOL. III. NO. 11.