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peculiar truths of the Gospel. In respect to agency and responsibility, law and moral government,-in this antechamber of the temple-precise and literal expressions of truth are more easy. But when we enter the Holy Place itself, when we take up the person and work of Christ, and the doctrines which the Saviour called "heavenly things," we have to rest in expressions of truth which are in a degree inadequate,-adding to them a plus or minus sign to denote our partial ignorance and the points of mystery that remain. "For now we see through a glass darkly;" "now we know in part."
One who should look simply at the writings of Mr. GIBBS, where we meet only with naked, laboriously classified, skeleton-like statements of scientific truth, might judge him to be devoid of zeal even in his favorite pursuits. But there was a
deep fountain of feeling that did not appear in these curiously elaborated essays. Yet in them, a scholar's warm enthusiasm would now and then break through his habit of reserve. In the course of one of his longest papers, entitled "A Historical and Critical view of Cases in the Indo-European Languages," he suddenly pauses, and declaring the importance to the teacher of "the analysis of sentences in the concentrated light of Grammar and Logic," he speaks as follows: "It brings one into the sanctuary of human thought. All else is but standing in the outer court. He who is without may indeed offer incense, but he who penetrates within worships and adores. It is here that the man of science, trained to close thought and clear vision, surveys the various objects of study, with a more expanded view and a more discriminating mind. It is here that the interpreter, acccustomed to the force and freshness of natural language, is prepared to explain God's revealed word with more power and accuracy. It is here that the orator learns to wield with a heavier arm the
weapons of his warfare. It is here that every one who loves to think, beholds the deep things of the human spirit, and learns to regard with holy reverence, the sacred symbols of human thought."*
* Quarterly Christian Spectator, Vol. IX.
To speak of the thoroughness of Mr. GIBBS in his researches, would be to repeat what has been said before, and to dwell on a trait with which all who knew him are familiar. He was, in truth, a genuine scholar, who put forth no pretensions that were not, in the judgment of others, far below his merits; standing in noble contrast with many writers who have delved in the German mine, but have not scrupled to shine in borrowed plumage, and to bedizen their works with a false show of learning.
I come now to a striking peculiarity of Mr. GIBBS, namely, his hesitancy in forming and avowing opinions. This sprung from no fear of consequences to himself. He was not wanting in moral courage. It was partly due to the uncommon candor which led him, contrary to the usual practice, to open his ear to both sides of every question. His dread of doing injustice to the advocates of an unwelcome view, may have sometimes caused him to attribute more weight to their arguments than they deserved. In respect to the habit of mind to which I am alluding, the contrast between Mr. GIBBS and Professor Stuart, whose coadjutor he was in the work of cultivating Biblical science, is remarkable. They might be taken as examples of two dissimilar types of character. Into the act of believing, over and beyond the inquiries that lead to it, there enters the element of will. The mind arrives at a conclusion. The will comes in to close and clinch the mental process; and afterwards, in the case of many men, the process is forgotten. They have no occasion to go over it again, for their minds are made up. Some, while in the process of investigating a question, are in a continual process of deciding upon it, going, perhaps, from one side to another, as successive considerations present themselves, but arriving in the end at a fixed persuasion. This was true of the eminent teacher, whose name I have associated with that of our deceased friend. Adventurous, confident, he bounded to his conclusions, and, bold in proclaiming them, he was not seldom obliged to make confession of errors, and to recall hastily announced opinions. Mr. GIBBS stood at the opposite pole. While prosecuting an inquiry, he held his judgment in abeyance. He balanced rival arguments
against each other, giving to each its due weight. But when the verdict was to be made up, he hesitated. The evidence might point to a particular decision, but it was difficult to drop out of mind the considerations on the other side. Even when a conviction of his own was confidently avowed by another, as if the question did not admit of debate, he would draw back, and suggest the difficulties attending the view declared. He appeared to feel that men have no right to hold correct opinions with the will, in disregard of what may be alleged against them; and he disliked arbitrary judgments in respect to matters on which he had gained light only through candid and laborious study. Yet, notwithstanding this indecision, and singular reserve, it was not difficult for a penetrating student to discern the bias of his mind. And his observations were often of such a character that I have been reminded, while meditating this discourse, of the remark which Richard Baxter makes of Sir Matthew Hale, with whom Baxter was intimate near the close of his life. "The conference," he says, "which I had frequently with him, (mostly about the immortality of the soul, and other foundation-points and philosophical), was so edifying that his very questions and objections did help me to more light than other men's solutions." In regard, at least, tò many doubtful points, where the evidence is insufficient to warrant a sure conclusion, but where the sciolist is apt to be confident, we may say for our friend in comparison with him,
"There lives more faith in honest doubt,
When there is so much willfulness in men's opinions, and so much dogmatism in the world, it may be useful, now and then, to have the opposite tendency strongly represented.
Mr. GIBBS loved system, and was never satisfied until he had cast his materials into the proper form. His essays on special topics are marked by the nicest logical arrangement. It was in the treatment, however, of special topics, that his power was spent. Had he possessed, in a degree proportioned to his other intellectual faculties, the wider grasp,-the power
of more extended combination,-the architectonic quality, through which multiform fragments of truth are organized and fused into a consistent whole, he would have done a still greater service to the cause of learning. The separate stones were chiseled with a master's hand, but the temple remained unbuilt. To speak of the attainments of Professor GIBBS,-in the Hebrew language, and the Old Testament Scriptures, he was entirely at home. It was foreign to his nature to refer to his own acquisitions, especially with any feeling of complacency; but he felt satisfied with his knowledge of the Hebrew. With the cognate Semitic dialects he was also acquainted; in particular with their grammatical peculiarities. In the Greek and Latin, and the Greek of the New Testament, he was thoroughly versed. Besides the two principal languages of modern Europe, he had explored various other languages, with particular reference to their syntax, and their relations to each other. Of the science of comparative Grammar, as I am informed by those most competent to judge, he is to be considered in relation to the scholars of this country, as the leader. In the Oriental Society, from its formation, he has been an active and interested laborer. The work of his life was the study of words.
Professor GIBBS carried into his lecture-room, and into all his intercourse with his pupils, the mental characteristics which have been described. They were the jury, and he took the place not of the advocate, but of the judge. Upon every litigated point that came up, he spread before them the facts and authorities on either side, but on them was imposed the necessity of concluding upon the verdict. A student who pushed him with questions, for the purpose of shifting the responsibility of a decision upon the instructor, received only Delphic answers. This, at least, is true, that under Mr. GIBBS there was no way of thinking vicariously, by adopting, without reflection, the opinions of the teacher. Though not possessing that magnetic power which inspires dullness itself, and which belonged, in an extraordinary degree, to Professor Stuart, he still rendered very important services to the classes under his care. But the amount of benefit they received, de
pended largely upon themselves. He required the stimulus of an active and inquisitive class, to call him out. When such a company of young men was gathered round him, who knew how to ply him with inquiries, and to bring forward topics of interest, he gave them, from his treasures of knowledge, enough amply to reward their zeal. This activity and skill on the side of the pupil, were the more requisite, since his own taste and habits of study led him, when left to himself, to dwell with an equal pleasure upon great things and little things,—upon vital questions in the interpretation of Scripture, and the minor matters of criticism. But all respected, and the more they knew him, the more deeply respected, his exact learning, his sound scholarship, and his critical impartiality. As a teacher in a Seminary, where the current set strongly towards doctrinal theology, his peculiar influence has been salutary.
The grateful duty remains to speak of Professor GIBBS as a man and a Christian.
His manners were gentle. Though he was often, even when with others, absent in thought, and taciturn, frequently sinking into a revery and abruptly awakening from it, it is my impression that he was rather fond of social intercourse with those whom he knew well, and who could appreciate the subjects in which his mind was chiefly interested. Disburdened of his trains of thought, in a circle of friends, his conversation was free and pleasant. On one subject he was always ready to speak. His heart was deeply affected by the wrongs inflicted in this country upon the African race. There was nothing fanatical in his feeling; for the fanatic's impulse is hate, while his impulse was compassion and the sense of right. But the enslavement of the African and his treatment in general by the whites, seemed to him an attack of the strong upon the weak. He looked upon the political arrangements which have been made in our history from time to time, for the pacification of the South and the satisfaction of the North, as made in the exclusive interest of the whites-as a combination and conspiracy of the ruling race-while the dumb millions whose rights and whose lot were so vitally concerned, were scarcely