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Incompetency of the New Translators.
marriage between patricians and plebeians” as being “ a remarkable change”—and state, moreover, that this prohibition was “ sanctioned by usage;" and yet immediately below, “mixed marriages from both orders [?] must surely have been common at all times." Poor Niebuhr!
From apparent innocence of anything beyond a mere acquaintance with the elements of Roman literature, these translators make singularly absurd errors, that are ludicrous in those who volunteer to be the interpreters of such a gigantic scholar as Niebuhr.
Thus Niebuhr refers on one occasion (p. 34, Vorträge) to the scholiast zum Ibis (on the Ibis.) The translators are evidently unaware of Ovid's Satire of that name, (Ibis or in Ibin,) and suppose lbis to be the name of an Author; hence they say, (p. 35,) 6 The scholiast on Ibis !"
“ Vopiscus mentions that they (the Annales Pontificum] had been kept ab excessu Romuli, beginning therefore with Numa ; but this is only the opinion of an illiterate man.”—P. 6.
Why, Vopiscus is one of the authors of the Historia Augusta, and the passage referred to by Niebuhr (which has post excessum, and not ab excessu*) will be found at the commencement of his life of the Emperor Tacitus. Niebuhr (p. 6) says that he was ungelehrt-but this does not import illiterate; all the force of it is a deficient in erudition."
But more than enough of this: We should probably have allowed this curious production to die a natural death, had we not been provoked by a disingenuous mis-statement and insinuation in the prospectus, which we are grieved to see issuing from the house of a respectable publisher. It is this :
“ Our translation is a faithful version of the authorized German edition, having, like the original, for its sole object, to give a correct text, which, as emanating from Niebuhr himself, will ever remain a standard work ; while any additions, not originating with him, would be likely soon to lose their value.”
We had another motive : We feared that our ingenuous youth might be deterred by the uncouth horrors of the interpreters from benefiting by discourses possessed of a rare and rich union of qualities-being profound, simple, quaint, original, unaffected, suggestive, and stimulative.
* This is no fault of the 'Translators, as the German original bears them out,saving so far as they were bound to trace their authorities, and unostentatiously correct, wherever correction was needed. This passage is one of the few that do not occur in Dr. Schmitz's edition. And this reminds us, that one good fruit may be produced by this translation. We venture to suggest a new edition of the Lectures from Dr. Schmitz, embodying, in a consecutive and complete form, both the notes in the names of the German editor and those in his own.
ART. IV.—Essay on the Union of Church and State. By BAP
TIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, M.A. Pp. 631. London, 1848.
No person of reflecting mind will deny that the astonishing revolutions of the past year must have materially affected all the old relations between Church and State. The whole fabric of society has been shaken to its centre, and whatever may be the final result, it is very obvious that the former connexion between the spiritual and secular kingdoms, if not destined to be dissolved, must, in order to meet the altered exigencies and advancing demands of the age, undergo some important modifications. Great difference of opinion, no doubt, still exists among good men of various parties, on the general question of religious establishments; but while some are swayed by the love, and others deterred by the dread of change, — while one party may be cleaving with pertinacious attachment to ancient institutions, and another may be driven into the attitude of open warfare against them,—there is, we firmly believe, another and a growing party, who, averse to join either with the bigot or the leveller, feel persuaded that the time has come when the union of Church and State, as it now exists, whether at home or abroad, cannot and ought not to stand much longer.
In our own country, we are satisfied, that so far as true Christians of all parties are concerned, the question is gradually narrowing itself within very small compass. From the extremes into which partisans were betrayed in the heat of controversy, they have been approximating each other more nearly than they themselves may imagine. On the one hand, many of the zealous, but candid and conscientious advocates of Voluntaryism, while they may still condemn the union of Church and State, and may be even more than ever opposed to compulsory endowments, are ready to acknowledge that in looking too much at Government as “ the creature of man,” they may have overlooked it as “the ordinance of God,” and may have been tempted to forget, though they never meant to abandon, the principle of national responsibility; and that now, waiving the question of endowments, they agree with us in holding that Christian men, in their civil and social as well as personal capacities, are bound to regulate themselves by the Divine will, and act in subserviency to the glory of Christ, the King of Zion. On the other hand, the most ardent and able defenders of endowments have not only been obliged practically to renounce them, but have been insensibly led, from their new position, to take a calmer survey of the advantages and disadvantages of that system for which they once
Peculiar Perils attending the Union.
contended as pro aris et focis. Without dropping a single principle for which they did battle within the pale of the National Church, they are not disposed to take such high ground in maintaining the duty, the desirableness, or the necessity of having at all times an establishment. They are, in short, more anxious to secure national religion than" to set up national Churches ; more solicitous that our rulers should act in accordance with the laws of Scripture than to become themselves stipendiaries of the State. Nor are these mere vague ambiguous sayings, leaving the parties really as distant from each other as before; they are, we solemnly believe, the utterances of Christian minds, touched with “the same spirit of faith,” and “walking by the same rule,” because they “mind the same thing."
We may safely advance a step farther, and assert that, in Scotland at least, their late struggle for independence, and their experience of State patronage, have opened the eyes of many of the friends of Establishments to the peculiar perils attending that connexion, and to the inefficiency of the most stringent legal securities for the conservation of the spiritual liberties of the Church, when these securities have been rather concessions wrung from the reluctant hands of despotism than cordial recognitions of spiritual independence. And indeed, without at all condemning the policy of our fathers in soliciting the sanction of the State to their standards of belief and forms of discipline-policy which was dictated by their peculiar situation, placed as they were between the machinations of priestcraft and the usurpations of monarchy, —we may be allowed to question its general wisdom, and the propriety of its application to every period of the Church. In the event of any future negotiation with the State, were such a thing at all likely, the ancient guarantees would no longer be accepted as sufficient. Besides, it would not be difficult to show that the formal sanction by the State of the profession made by the Church, is inconsistent with the proper idea of an alliance between Church and State. In entering into an alliance with any foreign power, Great Britain would surely hold it foul scorn to ask her ally to sanction her laws. It is enough that the allied States acknowledge each other's independence. Our fathers, no doubt, meant nothing more than this; but they calculated too much on the good faith of men in power; and, with all their logical acumen in defining the respective spheres of authority, they seem to have never anticipated that the magistrate, being in his own province supreme, if called upon to give his official impress to the deeds of the Church, would naturally step from the position of the ally into that of the sovereign, and, in the act of sanctioning her laws, would regard himself as imposing his laws upon her. When the monarch came forward, in stately
dignity, to touch with the royal sceptre the Acts of the Church of Scotland, it is not surprising that he should have felt himself for the time to be acting the superior. The danger lay, not where our Voluntary friends have laboured to find it, in the alliance formed between Presbytery and the Government, but in the Church submitting her laws to be sanctioned by, and incorporated with the laws of the State ; instead of demanding, as from an ally, a simple and distinct recognition of herself as an independent kingdom. To prevail over her enemy, she allowed herself to be saddled and bridled by a treacherous umpire, who was sure to turn the transaction to his own advantage.
By these remarks, we do not condemn the securities obtained at the Reformation for the Protestant religion. Religion we hold to be a fair subject for legislation—but not the Church. And here we are surely entitled to look for a general agreement among the friends of truth. It cannot really be held by any right-minded Christian that Government has nothing to do with religion. That sentiment has been distinctly, and, we believe, heartily repudiated by many who are anxious to be accounted Voluntaries. Let it then be granted, on the one side, that the Christian ruler is bound, in his official character, to regulate himself by Christian principles, to do all in his power for the advancement of the truth; and that it is the duty of nations to own the authority of the highest Lord. Let us no more hear such Pilate-like questions started as-What is truth? or Who is to be the judge of it? Then is the way open for the admission, on the other side, that though religion, as being common to both Church and State, ought to be recognised by the latter as the best friend of man, and the firmest pillar of society, yet the Church, as being a spiritual and independent kingdom, cannot be legislated for by another kingdom, further than to have her independence acknowledged and settled by law. In this simple distinction between religion and the Church-between the divine life and the organized body—may not a via media be found on which the friends of Christ may yet join hands and keep step in the march of Christian freedom?' And may not even the vexed question of endowments be settled among them, theoretically, on the same amicable terms ? What repels and alarms the one party here, is not merely the elevation by the other of the mere mode of supporting the pastors into a Christian ordinance, which it must be sinful to violate, but such assertions as that the endowment of truth and of error equally sinful, and that in no case may Government grant supplies of money for religious purposes. But few will deny that, in certain states of society, the endowment of any one corporation of Christians may become highly inexpedient; and the
The Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel.
question of support might be made to rest on the duty of maintaining the independence of the Church.
Entertaining such views, it was, we confess, with no ordinary interest that we looked forward to the publication now before us. The position, the character, the principles, so far as hitherto developed, of the estimable author, led us to anticipate that, “now, after so long a time," the Christian world might be conducted to common ground, on which, under the standard of “ Union in the Truth," all the genuine friends of Zion might gather their forces, and dropping their respective banners of dissidence, might form one universal Free Church of the three kingdoms. Our expectation in this respect has been disappointed; but the work itself is of too much importance, and bears too much on the probable destinies of the Church, to pass without our special consideration.
This volume issues from the press under circumstances of more than ordinary interest and notoriety. On no mind, we are persuaded, have the mere adjuncts of his recent separation from the Church of England produced less impression than on that of the excellent author himself. To these he has hardly made a passing allusion in the massive work now before us ; and those who may look into it with the expectation of finding a philippic on his personal treatment by the Bishop of London, will go away as much disappointed as the crowds who, from a similar motive, flocked to hear the farewell discourses at his chapel. The Christian public, however, will not easily forget, that no sooner had Mr. Noel, with the frankness so congenial to his character, announced his intention of leaving the communion of the English Church, expressing at the same time a desire to remain till his flock was provided with a suitable successor, than he was peremptorily silenced by his diocesan. If anything had been wanting to bring out, with lurid distinctness, the antievangelistic spirit of that Church, it would have been supplied by this specimen of the infatuated policy of its rulers, who, while they will forbear, up to the last moment of their nominal adhesion to the Church, with Anglo-Catholics, even after they have avowed their Popish predilections to their superiors, will seize the first opportunity to pounce on an evangelical clergyman, when, from excess of candour or of conscientiousness, he gives them the slightest pretext for the exercise of discipline.
Another circumstance which will intensify the effect produced by his work, much more than the modesty of the author will allow himself to believe, is the high status which he occupies in the Christian world. In the eyes of all good men he shines as a star of the first magnitude. The name of Baptist Noel, familiar as a household word, is associated with “ whatso