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left man to the dominion of the lower, or simply natural principles. “ As light ceases in the room when the candle is withdrawn, so man is left in a state of darkness, woful corruption and ruin, nothing but flesh without spirit, when the Holy Ghost, that heavenly inhabitant, forsakes the house.” “It were easy to show," he adds, “how every depraved disposition would naturally arise from this privative original."
It is human nature thus left alone by the withdrawment of divine and spiritual influence, that is denoted by the figurative use of caps, flesh, in the New Testament, a term which constantly stands opposed to avevua, spirit, which in this ethical or figurative sense as constantly either signifies the IIoly Spirit, or the intellectual nature of man as under the renewing, sanctifying, and controlling influence of the Holy Spirit.
Such, then, is man's natural state. Such is the Arminian doctrine upon the subject. Herein we agree with Augustine and Calvin, however we may differ in certain corollaries arising from this doctrine, or on the principle by which the atonement is applied as a remedy according to the divine plan of grace, not to go back of this to speak of foreordination and particular election.
ART. VI.—THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
The English Language in its Elements and Forms. With a His
tory of its Origin and Development. Designed for use in Col. leges and Schools. Revised and enlarged by William C. Fow
LER, late Professor of Rhetoric in Amherst College. The English Language in its Elements and Forms. Abridged
from the octavo edition. By William C. FOWLER. Elementary Grammar, Etymology and Syntax. Designed for
General Use in Common Schools. By William C. FOWLER. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859.
A LANGUAGE has a history and a life, which, if we can but trace, we shall find to be of wonderful interest.
66 There are cases," says Coleridge, "in which more knowledge of more value may be conveyed by the history of a word than by the history of a campaign.”
It is of especial importance and interest to trace the history of our own tongue, for the English language is marked in its character as composite, its two chief elements being the AngloSaxon and the Latin, though it has taken many words in its vocabulary from other sources.
In the earliest historic times Britain was inhabited by a Celtic race. Of them but little is known, though we infer they had made some advancement in the arts, for they had acquired skill in working metals. It is also evident that they had some political organization, and carried on considerable commerce with the Continent. Comparatively little of our language comes from the early Britons, yet the Celtic element has at different times furnished words for our vocabulary.
After Britain was conquered by Rome, though her literature and arts were cultivated,* but little trace of her language was left. Only a few words relating to military affairs are ascribed to this period.
The Saxons invaded Britain A. D. 449, and in less than a century they acquired possession of all the island they ever conquered.
But little is known of the literature of the Saxons before the introduction of Christianity among them. On their first invasion they destroyed the monasteries and religious houses of the Britons, and the conquered race relapsed into heathenism. It is said that the nation was again brought back to Christianity through the efforts set on foot by Gregory the Great before he became pope. Passing through the slavemarket at Rome, as the story is told, he was struck with the beauty of some youth exposed for sale. He asked of what nation they were, and was told they were Angli. Playing upon the word he replied they ought rather to be angeli. Gregory sent the monk Augustine to Britain in the year 597, and so great success attended his efforts that in a few years the nation became nominally Christian. From the introduction of Christianity may be dated the rise of their literature. About seventy years after the arrival of Augustine ainong a people whom he dreaded to visit, because he looked upon them as a race of bar
Tacitus says: “Jam vero principum filios liberalibus artibus erudire et in. genia Britannorum studiis Gallorum anteferre ut qui modo linguam Romanam abnuebant eloquentiam concupiscerent.” Agricola c. 21.
barous heathen, we find in a remote part of the island a native Saxon, Bede, devoting his life to literary pursuits. At the same time Caedmon, the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon poets, appeared, who deserves notice from the marked influence he exerted on Saxon literature till the time of the Norman Conquest. So wonderful did it seem that an unlearned peasant could sing of the mysteries of creation, the wondrous miracles of the Old and New Testament, that many deemed him inspired. Through his songs the history of the people of God, and the whole Christian scheme, were brought in their native tongue to the Anglo-Saxons. “Caedmon's poetry,” says Milman, “ was their Bible, no doubt far more effective in awakening and changing the popular mind than a literal translation of the Scriptures could have been."*
As early as the eighth century the Anglo-Saxons not only founded several public libraries at home, but sent books to the Continent.
In the monasteries they worked zealously, copying and ornamenting large and costly works. Boniface, while traveling on the Continent, sent over frequent requests for books. On one occasion he asks the Abbess Eadburga to cause a copy of the Gospels to be written in letters of gold and sent to him in Germany.
In the time of Theodore and Adrian, the principal seats of learning were in Kent. But the school founded by Wilfried and Egbert at York was the most celebrated. Here Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were taught; and the library collected by Egbert and his predecessor furnished great facilities to scholars. Alcuin, who was one of Egbert's scholars, often speaks in his letters of his old master and his early studies.
Few modern nations have so abundant an early literature as the English. To Alfred much credit is due for his love of letters, and his fostering care of literature. During his reign his kingdom was often invaded by the Danes, who burned the churches and monasteries where the most valuablc books were kept. Yet through his efforts provision was made not only for the education of the clergy, but also for the common people. Alfred declared it to be his wish “that all the free-born youth of his people might persevere in learning, so long as they have
* Milman's Latin Christianity, vol. ii.
no other affairs to prosecute, until they can perfectly read the English Scriptures." Alfred translated or caused to be translated many of the Latin authors. William of Malmesbury, speaking of his literary labors says: “A very great part of Roman literature he gave to English ears, conveying a rich booty of foreign wares for the use of his countrymen.” Another distinguished name in Anglo-Saxon literature is “ Aelfric,” Archbishop of Canterbury, who died 1006. He wrote in the purest style, avoiding the use of obscure words, that he might be understood, as he tells us, by unlettered people.
The Danish invasions of England did not to any great extent affect the purity of the language, as they used a cognate dialect. They left, however, some traces of their language, especially in the northern counties.
A little before the Norman Conquest, which was 1066, cominenced those changes which would have greatly modified the language even if England had never fallen under the dominion of the Norman French. It is now generally conceded that too much importance has been ascribed to the influence of the Conquest on our language. It is true that after the Conquest, for two or three centuries, Norman French was spoken by the higher classes. The Normans held the throne, and the highest offices in the courts of law and in the Church. Norman nobles in their halls, surrounded by armed retainers, looked with contempt on their Saxon vassals, and despised what they deemed an ignoble tongue. The enmity between the two races was like that between the master and his bondman. A form of indignant reply on the part of the Norman gentleman was, “Do you take me for an Englishman?" One of the ministers of Henry III. tauntingly asked, “ Am I an Englishman, that I should know these Saxon charters and these laws ?”
William the Conqueror seems to have tried to learn the Anglo-Saxon, but having exhausted his patience in the attempt, lie was determined to suppress the language if possible. On his return from Normandy, after several months' absence from England, he adopted stringent measures for rooting out the language, and destroying the nationality of his conquered subjects. He required that French should be used in the courts and the schools.
It is impossible to mark any precise time when the AngloSaxon became English, the change was brought about so gradually. Hallam says, when we compare the earliest English of the thirteenth century with the Anglo-Saxon of the twelfth, it seems hard to pronounce why it should pass for a separate language rather than for a modification of the other.
For the sake of definiteness we may date the decline of the Anglo-Saxon at 1150, and the commencement of the English at 1250. For centuries the Norman and the Saxon were living side by side, the one spoken in the court and in the baron's hall, the other in the home of the poor, in the every-day talk of the common people. Yet slowly the tongue of the conquered race worked its way up through all ranks of society, and became, with some slight changes, our noble English speech. The changes took place in the grammar rather than in the vocabulary of the language. Many of the inflections, both of nouns and verbs, were dispensed with, though some of the forms were reluctantly abandoned. “The persons plural,” says Ben Jonson, in his grammar, “keep the termination of the first person singular. In former times they were wont to be formed by en, thus : loven, sayen."
Much credit belongs to the Church for keeping the AngloSaxon in its purity so long, and for making it the chief element of our language. The English clergy, partly from the characteristics of the Saxon race, and partly from their insular position, were always more independent than the clergy of the continent. They used the Anglo-Saxon in the services of the Church, and they had more versions of the Scriptures than any other nation of that time. Even after the Conquest the clergy sympathized with the conquered race and still used the despised tongue. Though Norman French was the language of the schools, teachers of Anglo-Saxon remained in some of the monasteries which had been endowed by Saxon princes. During the period when the Normans ruled with a despotic hand, many young Saxons entered the Church to escape serfdom, for whoever took holy orders became free. These became the best educated of the land, and their piety, as well as their learning, gave them influence with the common people.
It was not until the close of the 14th century that the English can be said to have become the language of literature. The transition period of a language seems unfavorable for either