« PrécédentContinuer »
lowest and neediest of the people. But England loves not coalitions—least of all such a coalition as this. We do not pretend to predict what may be the immediate results of the Reform Bill, but we do not share in the alarms of Mr. Lowe and Earl Shaftesbury; we have too much confidence in the common sense and honest instincts of the majority, even of our poorest neighbours. Nevertheless, we do hear in this great political change a loud call to all cultivated, patriotic, and especially to all religious men, to enlist anew in the work of educating their fellow.countrymen. And by educating them we do not mean what Mr. Lowe means when he jeeringly says that we must teach the people their letters. In these days of penny postage and penny newspapers —when reading and writing are become a necessity even to the humblest—the large majority of our countrymen are certain soon to acquire the common elements of knowledge for themselves. What we mean is that there is now a need, such as never before existed, that the people should have a sound political instruction; and, above all, that the efforts to imbue the masses with religious truth and principle should be redoubled.
BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Memorials of James Henderson, M.D., Fellow of the Royal College
of Surgeons, Edinburgh; Vice-president of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society; Medical Missionary to China. London: James Nisbet and Co. 1867.
Thuis unpretending volume worthily tells the story of a noble and beautiful life. In respect of its earlier stages, Dr. Henderson is his own biographer; and we have rarely been more touched hy any record of youthful aspiration and struggle than by the simple narrative of the steps by which the orphan Scottish lad wrought his upward way from penury to success. The tale adds another chapter, deserving to stand beside any that have preceded it, to the record of “self-made men :" only Dr. Henderson was self-made, because he was first self-consecrated. “It is not easy," he says, in one place, “ to live on half-a-crown a week in Edinburgh.” But he did it: for, from the time that the grace of God took full possession of his beart, he had determined to live to be useful, and prepared
for his work “like a man leading a forlorn hope.” “My motto was, • If I perish, I perish.” So, before he was twenty-five years old, he “could write Latin more correctly than" he “could write English when he was eighteen.” His first aim was to be a minister; but the clergy whom he consulted unanimously discouraged his design. “Eight years of study for a man with scarcely any means of support was, doubtless, in their eyes a very formidable difficulty." The virtue of a “two years' literary, scientific, and theological course" had not then been discovered! But the young student, undaunted, only changed his plans. He wisely reflected that the healing art presents to the Christian a field of usefulness, scarcely if at all inferior to the ministry of the Gospel. The medical profession, at least, seemed attainable: and so at the age of twenty-five or six we find him a hard working, successful student in the university. He has set bis heart upon the work of a medical missionary; and in 1859, at the age of thirty, is accepted by the Directors of the London Missionary Society. The Rev. S. S. England, of Walthamstow, with whom Dr. Henderson studied theology for a short time before his departure for China, writes—“I confess that I often looked at him with astonishment. He told me very frankly all his previous history, and when I saw before me that educated and gentlemanly man of nine-and-twenty, thoroughly abreast of the intelligence of the age, so free from the common faults of self-taught men, I could hardly believe that he had never seen the inside of a school, even of the humblest character, and that, twenty years before, he had been a barefooted lad, herding sheep on the muir of Rhynie ; that, some thirteen years ago, he could not have written his own name, and, nevertheless, he had forced his way to the University of Edinburgh, had taken prizes in classes of two hundred medical students, received the diploma of the College of Surgeons, and won for himself the respect and friendship of men of the highest Christian cbaracter and professional distinction.”
Before the narrative has reached this point the autobiography has ceased. The pen is taken up by loving hands, and the story is conducted with exquisite appropriateness, as with deep pathos, to its speedy close. Yet the affectionate remembrance is not permitted to mar the firmness of the delineation. We see, throughout, the earnest, single-minded Christian man, intent upon his work; with an interior life, calm, fervent, yet, from its very intensity, only half-disclosed. The Chinese hospital at Shanghai was his special field; where his mental energy, his habits of philosophic observation, and, above all, his philanthropic Christian earnestness had full play. His activity was incessant. He prescribed, he operated, he studied, he wrote. His “Reports of the Shanghai Hospital” are crammed with facts of the most suggestive kind, his papers before the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, especially that on “The Medicine and Medical Practice of the Chinese," are full of interest. He was always at work, and no one who knew what manner of man he was could misunderstand his motives when he resigned the salary paid him by the London Missionary Society, and resolved to support him. self by private practice. He writes to Dr. Tidman, “Be assured that I shall never allow my English practice to interfere in any way with my hospital work, as my chief delight is to labour among this poor, afflicted, but most interesting people, and so long as I remain in China I should never give up this good work among them, or cease doing all I can to alleviate their sufferings, and to bring them together, under the most favourable circumstances, to hear of the love of Christ, and to have the Gospel preached to them.”
But all this was soon to close. The spring of 1865 seemed to bring only exhaustion to the indefatigable worker. Presentiments of an early departure gathered strength. He was advised to take a sea voyage to Japan, with the hope of restoring his failing vigour; but the springs of life had failed ; in July, 1865, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, and the sixth of his work in China, he passed away; and in far-off Nagasaki he “sleeps well."
That we recommend this book most cordially we need not say. To young men, especially, it cannot fail to be at once instructive and inspiring. Nor will the charm of the volume be diminished by the fact that it bears the evident reflection of a singularly happy domestic life. True, its hues are chastened by sorrow even before the final parting. One infant spirit went oefore the parent to the home on high, another followed him ; the earthly family was broken up, only one widowed heart remained, yet the record closes in peace." It was sweet to be able to realize his blessedness with his beloved ones, to think of hopes fulfilled and joys made perfect; of his gladness in the House of many mansions ; of the fulfilment of his words written four years before_“I SHALL YET OCCUPY A THRONE AND WEAR A CROWS IN MY LORD'S KINGDOM. NOTHING IS MOPE SURE."
MONOTHEISM—THE PRIMITIVE FAITH OF
It beartance of the ques
tal question of the paper.
It is needless to affirm the importance of the question mooted in the title of this paper. It bears directly upon the fundamental question of the origin of man. Is he an immediate creation of God, or a development from lower creatures ? It lies at the root of the social problem of humanity. Are the religious truths which inspire and rule modern civilization the product of advancing reason, or have they been received from Divine revelation-at first when man was created by God, and again when he degenerated into heathenism-by the preaching of the Gospel? If the latter be the correct representation of human history, then there is no security in human reason itself, apart from the positive instruction of the Gospel, and the spiritual help of the Church, that it will not relapse into idolatry again; but, on the contrary, there is the certainty, drawn from universal experience, that unless it be thus guarded it will inevitably thus fall. This question too bears on the modern discussions upon the origin of Christianity. Renan and others conceive Monotheism to be the peculiar doctrine of the Semitic races, originating in their narrow but profound and fervent religious natures. This Monotheistic faith, thus derived, they conceive to be the supreme doctrine, the essential principle of Christianity, which gives it vital impulse and unquestioned ascendancy. But this theory, proved by many other facts to be groundless, is further destroyed, if Monotheism is shown to be not the appanage of one race of man, engendered by their own mental habitudes, but to have been the heritage of other races, though preserved by a Divine guardianship, and for Divine purposes, in one race
especti tual thorom the nat gerosso
whose mental habitudes became indeed, by a Divine discipline, conformed to this truth, and inflexibly attached to it.
The question has so many and important bearings, that we venture to translate one of the most recent and authoritative opinions pronounced upon it. This opinion indeed relates only to one section of the human family, the Aryan or Indo-European. But this section is by much the most numerous and influential, and it has succumbed in all its branches to the seductions of Polytheism and Pantheism. If then it be proved that, even among the Aryans, the primitive faith was Monotheistic, the question will approach a final solution. Further, M. Pictet adduces striking evidences from other races, whose primitive religious beliefs he compares with those of the Aryans.
In other respects the translation will have interest, as it lays before us the spiritual thoughts of our earliest ancestry, so far as they can be deciphered from the fossil fragments entombed in dead languages, or the root-words that germinated first in Aryan speech, but have flung many creeping, blossoming lines down into our modern tongues. Our translation is taken from the close of the last volume containing the most erudite and scrupulous researches of Adolphe Pictet, in his celebrated work just published, which is entitled “Les Origines Indo-Européennes, ou les Aryas Primitifs.” No one will suspect M. Pictet of an orthodox bias, distorting his scientific method. His work is too bulky and too exclusively philological to be translated for the use of the English public. We are unwilling, however, that the portion which does interest our public should be withheld from them.
Of all the questions, M. Pictet says, which we have hitherto treated, the question of religion is, without doubt, the most important, when we are considering the primitive history of the genius peculiar to the Aryan race. What was the religion of the ancient Aryans at the time of their dispersion, or the ages prior to it? The problem should be raised in this double form ; for even if it be certain that this religion, after a certain evolution, consisted of a poetical Polytheism, or a worship of divinised nature, it is by no means certain that it had the same character from the beginning. Before their separation, the Aryans had certainly traversed many phases of a gradual development during a period of time which it is difficult to calculate. They must too, we have seen, have passed from the pastoral and patriarchal life, to a state of society which was more stable, and more firmly constructed. They must have multiplied sufficiently to have occasioned an excess of population before they broke away into their distant wanderings in different directions. Now, as an intelligent and moral being, man is necessarily religious. Even