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Worth of the Old Testament.
before us, and even Mr. Jowett speaks with no dubious voice to the same effect. Indeed the remarks of the latter on the connexion of the New Testament with the Old are so just and so well expressed, that we feel constrained to quote them, happy that we can find something in his volumes of which we may approve.
"The New Testament,' says he, 'is ever Old, and the Old is ever entwined with the New. Not only are the types of the Old Testament shadows of good things to come; not only are the narratives of events and lives of persons in Jewish history written for our instruction;' not only is there a deep-rooted identity of The Old and New Testament in the revelation of one God of perfect justice and truth; not only is the law fulfilled in Christ to all them that believe; not only are the spiritual Israel the true people of God; a still nearer, though more superficial connexion is formed by the volume of the Old Testament itself, which, like some closely-fitting vesture, enfolds the New as well as the Old dispensation in its language and imagery, the words themselves, as well as the thoughts contained in them, becoming instinct with a new life, and seeming to interpenetrate with the gospel.'*
These are just sentiments forcibly expressed, and we cordially adopt Mr. Jowett's words, as indicating the absolute necessity of a careful study of the Old Testament by all who would understand either the peculiar phraseology or forms of thought of the New. There can be no doubt that from the moment theologians begin to discard the Jewish Scriptures, and build up a system of theology solely from the New Testament, they enter upon a course which can result only in a sadly defective digest of the truth taught by Christ and his apostles, if not a positive misconception and misrepresentation of it.
And for those who are not theologians, how precious is the Old Testament as a book of devotion and experimental piety! Where shall we find such noble examples of a faith which no difficulties could overcome, of a hope which no disaster could quench, no delays enfeeble, of a delight in God and God's service, which cast all other joys into the shade, and of a serene, abiding religiousness, which looked at all things on their Godward side, and kept the mind that was stayed on God in perfect peace amid all the tumults and griefs and shadows of time? Not even in the New Testament itself are such depths of religious experience laid open, such illustrations of the laws and phenomena of the spiritual life afforded, as in those records of the struggles and the deliverances, the vicissitudes and the victories
Epistles of St. Paul, &c., vol. i. p. 353.
of the saints of the former age. It makes one's heart strong to study them. It breaks up the Sybarite effeminacy, the small virtuosity, which in seasons of tranquillity are apt to invest our religious being, and it stirs us up to quit us like men in the neverceasing spiritual warfare, to read how these men of the old time, amid the twilight of their dispensation, strengthened each other and themselves in the Lord, and fought their way through to 'the city which hath foundations,' where they now rest and reign. Most certain is it that in all times of peculiar danger or darkness, it is to these ancient Scriptures that the Church instinctively turns for consolation and for vigour. Most certain is it that all men of strong and deep minds find a peculiar pleasure in the perusal of these writings, and acknowledge in them something to which their own souls cling with a vivid sympathy. Most certain is it that of those who have borne or achieved great things for the cause of God, the greater part were wont to feed their spiritual energies at the banquet which these provide. Paul and Augustine, Luther and Knox, Cromwell and Milton, the Puritans and the Covenanters, all of them were men whose deepest inspirations were drawn from those old Hebrew oracles. It is not safe to neglect such experiences. If we do, we may soon find ourselves delivered over to the pestering tyranny of little men-men narrow in their views, loose in their logic, captious in their criticism, shallow in their experience, and heterodox in their theology, whilst nothing shall be left to us but to mourn over the days that are gone, and say, 'Our silver is become dross, our wine is mixed with
ART. VI.-The Works of Sir Thomas Browne. Edited by SIMON WILKIN, F.Z.S. 3 vols. London: Bohn. 1852.
THERE are men in every age who may be described as being of a molluscous temperament—that is, who, whatever storm may be raging around and over them, remain quiet and unperturbed, attached to their own rock, absorbing their peculiar nutriment out of the waves and currents, and letting all else go by. Of these molluscous men there are many varieties. Some are your naturalists, who go on collecting minerals, plants, shells, insects, and the like, as happily and indefatigably while the commonwealth is in convulsions, as when nothing is the matter. Others are your mathematicians and devotees of physical science, who will pore over their problems, and pertinaciously pursue their theorems, while mobs are rushing about the streets, and Anarchy is separated from Order but by a day's chance of the cannon. Others, again, are your musicians and other dilettanti in art, who, be the state of society at large what it may, still are not to be distracted one hour of their solitude from the custom of their favourite pleasure. Finally, not to multiply classes, others are your antiquarians and your meditative philosophers, the objects interesting to whom are not properly those of the contemporary world at all, but such as belong to the past or the universalwhether it be old battle-axes and swords, old coins, or old manuscripts; or whether it be those themes and contemplations of life, death, sin, and mystery, for which it is not the present any more than the past that furnishes the data, which the thoughts of men in all ages have revolved only to bequeath them on and on to succeeding generations, and which are essentially the same. to sages now as they were when Isaac walked out in the fields at eventide to meditate, or when the primeval Chaldean shepherd gazed up at the stars of an oriental night, his flocks sleeping around him, and his camel's neck his pillow. Just, however, as there are varieties in the kind and direction of this temperament, so there are varieties in the degree of it. It is very rare to see a perfect specimen of the molluscous mind, a man absolutely without interest in contemporary social affairs, and absolutely imperturbable by them. Even in comparatively quiet times men who are known as laborious naturalists, devotees of hard science, passionate lovers of art, plodding antiquarians, and calm meditativé philosophers, do, it is also known, more or less concern themselves with current political events, and, if they do not take an active part in them, at least speculatively and sympa
thetically discuss them. As, naturally, most of them prefer quiet, most of them, when they do take rank, take rank as conservatives; and to some of them-as to the antiquarian—it is natural in such a case to be vigorously conservative. But the rule does not always hold. There have been mathematicians who were eager leaders of faction, and musicians who were frantic revolutionists. And if in ordinary times men constitutionally inclined to repose have thus accorded part of their thought and activity to what was going on around them, much more should we expect to find it so in times of unusual turmoil, and strife, and danger. When a city is besieged by a foreign foe, and shell and shot are falling among the houses, then surely the most molluscous men in it will be torn from their hiding-holes; naturalists will quit their cabinets, mathematicians their problems, musicians their pianos, painters their easels, antiquarians their hoards of curiosities, and sages their mystic contemplations; and all will be seen either stationed where they may be of service, or running about hot and participant in the general pell-mell. Archimedes was, by all accounts, the most molluscous man in Syracuse, and the chief bother of the siege to him was that it disturbed him in his theorems; but we know that he submitted to the bother, and became an engineer for the nonce. And so also when a country at large is the scene of war, whether a war of invasion or a war of civil revolution. The confusion or excitement is then generally such that all partake in it, and the flabbiest quietists, the most tenacious pococuranti are whirled for the time out of their corners. There was little piano-playing, surely, little handling of logarithmic tables, in Brussels, while the battle of Waterloo was being fought. A sad time, too, for the molluscs. was the time of the French Revolution. All over France they were torn in thousands from their beds by the madness of the whirlpool; and when the calm came, the shore was covered for miles with their dead bodies. When the contemporary comes in the pungent form of musket-shot and the guillotine, it is not possible for any to remain quite indifferent to it. And yet there have been men who, in a state of society almost verging on this extremity, have gone on placidly and perseveringly in the path of their long-used pursuits; who, during the very crisis of a revolution affecting the country in which they lived, have preserved a philosophic equanimity approaching to neutrality, and who, while all around them were divided right and left into two conflicting factions, filling the kingdom with their noise, have either belonged to neither, or, if forced to belong to one, have been but nominal members of it. There they lie, deep down under the turbid waters, clinging to their chosen rock, sending out their busy
filaments into the local currents, sucking in and giving out according to their nature, and living lives of calm growth and secretion!
Of men of this class the history of English literature furnishes no more distinguished example than Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich. The time at which he lived and wrote was precisely that during which a contemplative life was most difficult, and a life of political partisanship most natural, to all who had been born Englishmen. Every one knows that the period in the history of our literature extending from the commencement of the Civil wars in 1640, or thereby, to the Restoration in 1660, is a period singularly barren in works of pure literary or speculative interest, as contrasted with works of a polemical or controversial character. The excitement of the great national movement which then transacted itself was such that the body-politic was stirred to its depths, and all that breathed in it were scared out of their familiar pools and crannies, and commingled visibly into one vast shoal, filling in confused commotion the whole extent of the sur face. It was not, assuredly, that there was less thought, less intellectual power, in England than heretofore, but only that the thought and intellectual power which had till then been at liberty to scatter itself in a thousand directions, here coming forth in dramas, there in exquisite poems of fancy and sentiment, and there in elaborate treatises of universal philosophy, was now summoned by the strength and terror of the passing occasion into one species of service, as when fields and cities are swept by a military conscription. Some who might have written books, turned soldiers or active politicians; and such as still continued to labour with the pen, laboured with that only as auxiliaries of the one party or the other. Systematic theology and abstract philosophy burst their huge bulks into a fiery explosion of tracts for the times; and what of poetry remained, took the form chiefly of squibs and ballads against Noll and the Roundheads. Milton, himself, in one short year was changed from a poet into a polemical pamphleteer. He had gone on a tour to the continent at the age of thirty-one, leaving behind him, as evidence of his tastes and tendencies up to that time, those minor poems which we still read as among the sweetest and most beautiful pieces of pure phantasy in the English tongue; he returned at the age of thirty-two to forswear the muses, at the call of a sterner duty, and to wield for twenty long years that mighty prose-hammer, the sound of which, after two centuries, we still hear as amid the crash of tumbling temples and the fall of sculptured columns: Not till these twenty years of strife were over did the defeated Titan pass his hand across his brow, and,