Imatges de pÓgina

colleges "the English, French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages," with "history, geography, chronology, rhetoric, logic, ethics, geometry, algebra, natural philosophy, and metaphysics." The classics retained by him were to be carefully expurgated; there had been a time when he was for interdicting them altogether, as improper to be used in the education of Christian youth; but this error, according to one of his biographers, he long outlived. Nor were these classical studies only in name. Mr. Wesley put his own shoulder to the wheel. "Through God's help," said he, "I went on-wrote an English, a Latin, a Greek, a Hebrew, and a French grammar, and printed Prælectiones Pueriles, with many other books for the use of the school." Let the depreciation of learning which has sometimes been heard never be countenanced by Wesleyans. The question is not, as such reasoners make it, one of comparison with higher and more spiritual studies, but simply of utility as an instrument in the hands of piety, and whether it do not tend to place the Christian teacher on vantage ground, whether as regards his duties as a pastor, or his influence as a defender of the faith. This is the true question, and here there can be, we think, but one answer. We do not say classical learning is indispensable to the preacher, but we do say it is greatly advantageous, and has, besides, no tendency to quench the spirit of piety; and in proof of this we would appeal to the experience of every age and of every pure branch of the Christian church. At the period of the Reformation, as already alluded to, its leaders were all ripe scholars giants, many of them, in classical learning, such as few have since been. In the Church of England, for instance, its most distinguished martyrs were also its scholars, and learning went hand in hand with piety. How is it, too, with the fame of Wesley, Fletcher, Coke, Clarke, Benson, and Watson, in the British connection, or of Fisk and Emory of the Methodist Episcopal Church in this country? Was it found in their case that classical learning impeded ministerial usefulness or diminished aught of personal piety? Or, rather, was it not, on the contrary, one of their chief and peculiar weapons of power, that they were enabled to meet the scoffer on his own ground of profane learning, and, Paul like, convict infidels out of their own poets and philosophers? We deem that it was, and we counsel those who would tread in their footsteps of Christian character, to follow them also in their studies of Christian influence. The following was Mr. Wesley's scheme of study, adopted by him in his twenty-fourth year, after completing his university course, and "resolving not to vary from it for some years at least :"-" Mondays and Tuesdays

allotted to the classics; Wednesdays, to logic and ethics; Thursdays, to Hebrew and Arabic; Fridays, to metaphysics and natural philosophy; Saturdays, to oratory and poetry, but chiefly to composition in those arts; and the sabbath to divinity." However rightly unlearned men may meditate, it is another thing to put their thoughts in words, to arrange them logically, to clothe them with beauty, and to express them with force and propriety; these are generally the fruits of a liberal education, and therefore among those arrows of the strong man with which he is to be rightly armed for battle. Learning makes what Bacon terms "the full man." He who depends altogether on his own stores of thought cannot but be soon exhausted. We are, therefore, to make use of those whom God hath set as lights in the several generations of the world, that, as Taylor says, "a hand may help a hand, and a father may teach a brother, and we all be taught of God."

The exigences of the present day call peculiarly for a studious and learned ministry. We live in an inquiring, or, rather, a captious age, though, in a worldly sense, an enlightened one, and the ministry must keep ahead of the laity in knowledge, if they would not have their spiritual gifts despised. A learned laity will not follow an unlearned clergy, for they will not respect them. The foundations of reverence are laid by the laws of nature, and man cannot resettle them. We bow to superior wisdom, and to that alone; and, united to piety and virtue, it constitutes the true sceptre of the Christian ministry. There is, therefore, no sound knowledge useless, and none which goes to lay open the secrets of human thought, or unfold the mysteries of human character, or to trace the history of man, heathen or Christian, but has its bearing and influence on the ministerial character. This source of power, even but as a matter of opinion, may not conscientiously be despised, by one who follows in St. Paul's footsteps, for he made himself "all things to all men, that thereby he might win some." But it is a truth that the preacher who is familiar with Plato, and Aristotle, and Demosthenes, is likely to be, in fact, as well as in reputation, a deeper thinker, a more conclusive reasoner, and a more right forward, energetic speaker, than he otherwise would have been. What benefit Mr. Wesley derived from familiarity with them, we know from his own acknowledgment. Speaking of his duties in the university as Greek lecturer and moderator of the classes, he says, "I could not avoid acquiring thereby some degree of expertness in arguing, and especially in discerning and pointing out well-covered and plausible fallacies. I have since

found abundant reason to praise God for giving me this honest art. By this, when men have hedged me in by what they called demonstrations, I have been many times able to dash them in pieces; in spite of all its covers, to touch the very point where the fallacy lay, and it flew open in a moment." To be truly "masters in Israel," mighty in thought, word, and knowledge, has been the lot of but comparatively few who have not had this training; and if we open up our treasures of Christian knowledge in pious and devotional writers, we fear not to assert that the most cherished among them will be found to be those as eminent in their day for sound learning as for personal piety. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us," will be found a more abiding sentiment, we think, with learned than with ignorant zeal; and "the knowledge that puffeth up" will often turn out, on examination, to be vain conceit. True learning is always humble, for its first lesson is to teach man the extent of his ignorance, a view of himself which but widens as he ascends. In the valley he may measure himself with what he sees around him, but not with the wide circuit of a mountain view. So is it with the scholar, and such is the security that true learning ever gives for true humility. Let then, we say, the Christian minister abjure ignorance. It is no part of his vocation. It is no argument of his fitness for it. Natural weakness is no warrant for supernatural grace, nor an unfurnished head for a purified heart. If God would not, under the law, have the physically lame and blind to serve at his altar, under what gospel plea shall those mentally such now intrude themselves upon a higher service? If God saw fit, even by miracle, to remove from the first preachers of the gospel the impediment of ignorance, what argument is clearer than that their successors are now bound to seek it by his blessing on their studies? Surely, then, a minister may as well sin by his ignorance as by his negligence, and this he does if he know not that which he might have known, and through want of which he is unable to answer the doubts of the inquiring, or correct the errors of the wandering, or put to silence the cavilings of the adversary. The watchman of Israel who then blows an uncertain or a feeble blast carries the trumpet but in vain, and at his hand will be required the blood of those whom he armed not rightly for the battle. Mr. Wesley strongly impressed upon his preachers this moral responsibility. In reproving one who had neglected study, he thus points out the consequences of his fault: "Hence," says he, "your talent in preaching does not increase; it is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep. There is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply VOL. II.-3

this, with daily meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly."

But we must have done. It is a high argument, and one that deserves a fuller consideration, on the score both of duty and expediency, than is consistent with its incidental introduction here. Nor is it yet an argument out of place, for, of all the benefits that may flow from the wide diffusion of Anthon's Classical Dictionary, we know of none greater or more desirable than that it should awaken a taste for such studies among those devoted to the Christian ministry, encourage the cultivation of them among its candidates, and supply (so far as can be supplied) the want of them in those who are already in the field. Under this sense of the blessing that may flow from its wide diffusion as a work of reference, we cordially commend it to the Christian public. New-York, August, 1841.

ART. III.-The Writings of George Washington: being his Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and other Papers, official and private, selected and published from the Original Manuscripts; with a Life of the Author, Notes, and Illustrations. By JARED SPARKS. 12 vols., 8vo. Boston.

THESE Volumes have been for some time before the public, but they constitute so valuable an addition to the materials of our history that a notice, even at this late day, will hardly be regarded as out of place. The character and services of our great countryman have long been the theme of admiration for the civilized world, and of pride and exultation to America. The publication of his works will make him still better understood, and rear a monument to his fame and glory which will transmit his image to posterity with far more correctness than chiseled marble; and continue to endure when columns of stone and statues of brass shall have crumbled back to their dusty elements.

It is well known that Washington was a man of the most exact system, and that he preserved with scrupulous care a copy of every letter and document, public or private, which he had occasion to pen. That portion which relates to the revolution he always kept with him in camp for reference, and when his labors as commander-in-chief were about to cease he caused it to be copied out in a fair hand in large folios, the number of which, even in this compact form, swelled to no less than forty-four

volumes and all his manuscripts, including his correspondence, addresses, reports, messages, &c., during the campaigns of the French war, the revolution, the different periods of his retirement, his administration of the government, &c., constitute eighty large folio volumes.

These writings, whether regarded as materials for illustrating the life, character, and services of the great man from whom they have emanated, or for a faithful delineation of those important events with which he was so long connected, and which comprise the most interesting period of our history, are of immense importance and value. The position of General Washington as commander-in-chief of the army made him the centre of our revolution. He was the heart through which its life's blood pulsated. His letters, consequently, present an entire view of the movements of the army, the difficulties of the times, the condition and resources of the country, the spirit of the people, the affairs of the different colonies and states, the proceedings of the continental congress, the positions assumed toward us by foreign governments, and, indeed, of almost every important circumstance connected with that period of our history.

The work before us is a selection from this vast mass of materials: and it is evident, at a glance, that it must have cost many years of application and research. So extended a correspondence must necessarily contain much that is of no interest to the great public; letters addressed to different individuals on the same subject are also liable to frequent repetitions which require skillful excision; allusions are made to events and circumstances which, in order to be understood, must be explained in notes; and, not unfrequently, the elucidation of the text calls for the publication of documents and letters which can be obtained only by a journey to the capitol, or, perhaps, to Holland, France, or Great Britain. The task of the editor could not, therefore, be well performed without the most diligent research and an intimate acquaintance with the whole field of American history.

Fortunately the duty of preparing this great work for the press devolved on one who was every way qualified for the high and important trust, and who spared neither time nor labor in making it complete. Mr. Sparks did not content himself with the very ample materials placed in his hands by the family of the deceased: he traveled over the United States and Europe, and examined the historical collections, both public and private, of all those countries which had particular connections with America during the eventful period of Washington's career, and brought together from these

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