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Caspe says: “I submit that this book undoubtedly belongs to the second kind of

parables which the teacher of blessed memory (Maimonides), mentions in the

beginning of his book, in which all the words used in the comparison must not “ be applied to the thing compared, just as in the case there quoted, which treats

on the subject of a beloved and loved one, like the book before us, with the only “ difference that the instance there adduced refers to the union of matter and

mind, and this book represents the union between the active intellect and the

receptive, material intellect, which latter is divided into four parts, the highest “of which is the imparted intellect. With all the particulars of this book, Solo

. mon merely designed to hint at the subject in general. It is most certain that “ he calls here the highest order of the human intellect the fairest of women,' " and the active intellect 'the gaaceful lover;' frequently the whole intellectual “mind is ineant by the latter phrase, for this is the meaning demanded in several places of this Book.”

This view has been most powerfully defended by Immanuel ben Solomon. In his commentary upon the first verse he says: “ Acknowledging the goodness of the “Lord, I agree with the opinion of our Rabbins, that this book is the most sub“ lime of all the Books given by inspiration. Expositors, however, differ in its “ interpretation, and their opinions are divided, according to the diversity of their

knowledge. There are some—but these are such as go no further than the “ material world, and that which their eye sees, looking forward to the good of this “ world and its glory, to the great reward of their labours and a recompense from “God, desiring to be restored to their greatness, and to the land flowing with “ milk and honey, and to have their stomachs filled with the flesh of the Leviathan, “and the best of wines preserved in its grapes-such men interpret this sublime song as having reference to the history of the Patriarchs, their going down to Egypt, their Exodus from thence with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, the

giving of the Law, the entry into the land of Canaan, the settlement of Israel " in it, their captivity, restoration, the building of the second Temple, the present

dispersion, and their final ingathering which is to take place. Such interpreters

regard this book, which is holy of holies, as some common book, or historical " record of any of the kings, which is of very little use, and the reading of which is only a loss of time. But there are other sages and divines, who have attained “ to know the value of true wisdom; they are separated from the material world,

despise the mere temporal things, heartily desire to know the courts of the Lord, " and have a footing in the Jerusalem which is above, and with heart and flesh

sing to the living God; these have put off the garments of folly, and clothed “ themselves in the robes of wisdom, and while searching after the mysteries of “ this precious book through the openings of the figures of silver, glanced at

golden apples of the allegory concealed in it. They, in the vessel of their under

standing, traversed its sea, and brought to light from the depth, the reality of “ the book. Thus they have declared that the book was composed to explain the

possibility of a reunion with the incorporeal mind, which forms the perceptive faculty, and influences it with abundant goodness.

“The shepherds, accordingly, represent the corporeal intellect which longs after “ the influence of the active intellect, and desires to be like it, as much as possible,

to cleave to it, and to come up to its standing, which is the ultimate end of its purpose."




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(To be continued.)


Printed by W. Ostel', Hart-street, Bloomsbury.

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“RELIGION” AND THE ESSAYS AND REVIEWS. In many of our leading journals, either in their original articles or in the reported speeches and addresses, it has been very distinctly charged against the Essayists and Reviewers that they are " endeavouring to destroy all

religion," and the inference plainly that they should be treated as dishonourable and dishonest men. There is a measure of scandalous unfairness about this charge, which, as usual in such cases, is Jesuitically supported. For all its force, it depends upon a series of foregone conclusions, which have no foundation in reason or fact. What, for instance, is it that these denouncers mean when they speak of “ destroying religion”? There is no word in the English language which has been more frequently used, and which is less generally understood. Strictly speaking, it is a generic term, which needs some definition, in order to render plain the value for which it is used by the speaker. It is the same as “ wine; a man asks another to take a glass, but unless something further be said it will be impossible to know if he mean port, sherry, or any other, out of a hundred kinds. And precisely so with "religion,” for the kinds are as numerous as wines. When the Christian Missionary has landed in India, and began to teach the Hindu, the first charge he is called upon to answer is that of “aiming at the de“struction of religion.” The Hindu race treat him as man who is moved by no other than that devilish intent, and, much to his astonishment, the Missionary finds that the stone he hurled at the head of the Essayists strikes as powerfully against his own--although two distinct series of ideas and doctrines are intended. The same occurs when the Mussulman endeavours to instruct the Buddhist, or when the Parsee labours to convert the followers of Sakya. So, that, before any conclusions can be deduced, when charges of this character are preferred, it is of the utmost consequence to understand precisely what sort of religion it is that the incriminated persons are trying to subvert.

We are aware that thousands of persons would answer that, as the term is used in England, only one kind can be meant. They say it must mean “the Christian religion, one and indivisible," but this is merely a denial or evasion of the difficulty, because there is no such unity either in theology or in the interpretation of the Christian documents. There are times when all VOL. V, NEW SERIRS, VOL. I.


the Churches unite in brotherly love “to curse the infidel ; ” when all who profess and call themselves Christians, are to be seen upon the same platform ; when Catholic, Churchman, Calvinist, Socinian, and Armenian, are with one accord bent upon condemning the sins of Greg, Newman, Parker, and others equally noble. But anon, we see these divided ; the Catholic is not there, and all the others are cursing him ; then, again, the Catholic is there, and the Socinian is absent--they are now cursing him. Such brotherly unity do they exhibit that in turn they all curse each other. Many men have gone about to find the Christian Church, but have been directed in such contradictory ways, that in despair they abandoned the pursuit. It is not possible to say of any particular Church that it is the embodiment of the Christian idea and life. There are as wide differences, upon fundamental points, between the various European Churches, as exist between the Christian and Buddhist congregations. No man can harmonise Calvinism, Arminianism, Irvingism, Moravianism, Quakerism, Socinianism, Swedenborgianism, and all the other ’isms, which, however, are equally maintained as being the only true Christianism. Both in spirit and letter they are adverse to each other, and if words are to be accepted according to their ordinary value and meaning, then it is utterly impossible to say that the men who call themselves by these names are equally Christians. They are making every effort to extirpate each other, and yet, with a measure of unblushing effrontery that is truly astounding, they unite their forces to denounce these Essayists as men who are endeavouring to destroy the Christian religion ; if they could be persuaded first to come to some reasonable and understandable agreement, as regards what constitutes the Christian religion, they would be justified in saying so, if evidence were forthcoming, but under existing circumstances it is impossible they should be able justly to say it, because not agreeing about what it is, for aught they know to the contrary, the said Essayists may be the only pure, consistent, and faithful Christian teachers. It is certain that they lay claim to the right of retaining and bearing the Christian name, and are prepared to maintain in argument the justice of their demand ; so that unless sufficient cause can be shown, there is no reason why they should not be respected and ranked with others who assert an equal liberty, and who have expounded the Bible by the light of their own theories.

Here, however, it may be acknowledged, that there are senses in which the charge is true—the Essayists are labouring to destroy religion if it be such a poor affair as some men understand it to be who only know religion as a matter, not for the intellect, but of formal obedience to settled cnstoms of worship, which operate upon the body, but not upon the mind. To them it means accepting by public profession, in a verbal manner, the Bible as a Divine revelation, but beyond this they do uot venture to move an inch ; for without guilt no man can charge them with ever endeavouring to make its precepts the law of their lives—unless it be such as those which


that “unto him who hath, inuch shall be given, and from him who hath but little, “shall be taken away, even that which he hath.” They are ready enough to accept and act upon this, and similar propositions, yet are not willing to be accounted as those from whom the little is to be taken away. Their religion means respectability, and what is called getting on in the world. They go to Church with remarkable regularity, and hold it to be a burning sin and shame for wicked weavers, who have been all the week in a mill, to go out into the fields ; and equally to be a positive duty for the clergyman not to


detain them after one o'clock, and if he do, all the heads are turned toward the clock. They cannot permit that the mechanism should work too slowly, or at all beyond the usual hour. If a preacher infringe, they seem to reproach him with unkindness. They pay rates, and perform all their duties, such as cursing the infidels, and subscribing to new Churches, attending at the Dorcas Meetings, which serve the purpose of pious scandal clubs. They subscribe to Missionary Societies; they repeat their printed prayers, and pay a tithe to the Tract Society ; they wear spotless neckcloths, and carefully observe the dresses of all true worshippers ; they prove their belief in equality before their Maker, by having soft cushions for the rich, and hard benches for the poor ; and, finally, they consider themselves to be the adopted children of God - all who dissent from them being natural children of the Devil.

If this be religion,-if mere formalism, assent to a man-constructed, written creed, and mere mechanical worship constitute religion, then there can be no reason for doubting that what is charged against the Essayists is true enough, for they are the deadly enemies of everything mean, formal, unmeaning, and unreasonable. They are at war with Pharisaism in every shape and form; and evidently they will not join with the crowd in accepting it as furnishing a proof of religion, that a man has never missed Church for three Sundays during thirty years. My Lady Tibbets, who has always walked so piously to Church, showing forth her spirit of self-renunciation and deep humility by having a tall footman to carry her gold-clasped Bible and Prayer Book, need not expect that any of these writers will play the part of adulators, or, having no better proof, will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant ; " for, sickened by all this cant and disgusting hypocrisy, they have repudiated it, not only as forming no evidence of religious sentiment, but as being utterly at variance with every sound religious theory.

They are opposed to the Godless, truthless, meaningless religion which now prevails ; but the world never could boast of men who were more desirous of upholding a religion whose width is as wide as human interests, and whose depth is as fathomless as the love of God. By religion they mean something grander and nobler than is conceived by the mere churchgoers; into its categories they would receive every truth, every moral duty, every noble aspiration, and, in fact, all of the good and pure which can beneficially operate for the welfare of mankind ; and in place of speaking of religion as associated solely with our future interests, they would speak of it as being inextricably interwoven with all our relations-political, social, and moral. But, above all, in their theory of religion, respect for the truth would hold the highest place. They cannot admit that man is called upon to play with words, or to credit theories written in a book, both of which are opposed to the facts revealed by science and history. Unto them it is clear that the human conscience, instructed by reason and experience, must have fair play as the only reliable guide, and that they who would destroy its authority are as much the enemies of true religion, as of that measure of human


which its freedom and enlightenment are sure to secure. Thus, it is only by a bold perversion of truth, that it is possible to speak of these writers as trying to destroy religion. They are at war with what men have mistakenly and injuriously associated with it, but are friends to the thing itself, in all its nobleness, purity, and truth.

But they who cry aloud about the * assault upon religion," who speak of the “ danger to religion," and hint at the "probability of wicked men suc



“ceeding in overturning religion,” are blind to the fact that their own statements, their evident alarm, form far more telling argument against the reception of their own theories than are to be found in any of the Reviews and Essays. Nobody fears that a series of Essays, written against the theory of gravitation, can have any effect to work its overthrow. No reasonable man would raise the cry of alarm, if some reviews were written intended to subvert the theory of the circulation, or the conviction that ten per cent., with equal security, is a better return for our money than five per cent. The scientific world would only smile if a volume appeared which aimed at overturning our belief in a series of demonstrated physical truths, why, then, should the theological world be so mightily moved? Obviously they are not so well assured of the truth of their theories. And if it be a fact, that our religion can be endangered by seven Essays, the sooner it be gotten rid of the better. It must be a poor, miserable religion if it can be so easily shaken. And when we remember how many millions it costs us to support it, how many thousands are employed to advocate its claims, and maintain its Divine origin, we are disgusted by the cry that the Essays and Reviews can damage its prospects. Only the poorest old tower can be battered down by seven shots, even though they be fired from some Armstrong gun. The Hindu does not fear any seven Essays, written by Christians, against his religion. The Hebrew who treads our streets, carrying his bag of old clothes, smiles when he hears of the danger in which the Christian religion is placed, and says, caustically enough, that it is only a house of cards which can be so easily brushed away. Let Englishmen look to it, and they will find that the priestly alarm indicates the necessity which exists for carefully investigating the nature of that which has been palmed upon them as a religion ; let them inquire, and many scales will fall from their eyes; freedom will enlarge her borders; brotherhood will become a fact ; and, instead of believing that religion is a form, a creed, they will learn that it means love of truth, and the living a manly life. P. W. P.




THE FRATICELLI AND THEIR NEW EVANGEL. We have already noticed that the doctrine of St. Francis was an essentially democratic

but it was a democracy of a mild character, and one which hesitated not to acknowledge the supremacy of the spiritual dignitaries of the Church, and looked upon the Pope and the Hierarchy with profound respect. It was, however, the germ out of which a wider movement could easily spring. Already, within a few years after the death of Francis, Anthony of Padua had denounced the worldly and vicious clergy of the time, and had boldly developed the doctrines of Franciscanism into a condemnation of the wealth, luxury, and despotism of the priesthood. Crowds had gathered to hear him, even as in an earlier time to listen to Arnold of Brescia, and in a later to Savonarola, when they struck the same note. The democratic tendencies of the Franciscan doctrine would naturally come out strongly in the feud which had now sprung up, and the example of Anthony would easily point out the way by which the Spirituals should travel in their opposition to the Pope. The Pope had attempted to settle the dispute between them and their brethren by virtually overturning the rule on which their order was founded; Anthony of Padua had already shown that true Franciscanism was opposed to spiritual despotism; and why not to that of the Pope as well as of the Bishops?


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