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of extraordinary capacity, and of the most exalted foresight and benevolence. Such a character, and such a plan emanating from it, constitute the most striking phenomenon that has appeared in our world.
Indeed the farther a comparison is carried between all other religious systems and that of Christ, the more decisive is the argument. Containing in it nothing exclusive, nothing local, embracing all the duties of men, and referring them to their proper source, the gospel is of universal application. It breaks down the barriers interposed in different ways and for various purposes between nations, throws the holy bond of charity around the whole human family, and, after infusing into them the principles of love and harmony, connects them with the family of heavenly intelligences. From all the writings of antiquity put together, could not be collected a system comparable to this. If something good respecting religion or ethies can be found in the writings of the ancients, much that is far better may be found in the evangelists; and in them, too, there are many principles and maxims of the greatest weight and importance, which one would search for in vain in all the writings of antiquity. Lord Bacon has truly said, "There never was found in any age of the world, either philosophy or sect, or religion, or law, or discipline, which did so highly exalt the public good, as the christian faith."
To return again to the treatise before us. Reinhard, in the third part, attempts to show, that the plan we have been contemplating, fixes upon Jesus the character of an extraordinary man, and a special teacher sent from God. This is inferred from the peculiarity of his plan, which is shown to be neither chimerical, extravagant, nor impracticable; but wisely adapted to the condition and necessities of all mankind, and to the course of human affairs. The circumstances, which constitute in any religion a universality of application, are, that it must be moral, designed for the universal improvement of man's moral powers;—intelligible, adapted to the weakest understandings, coinciding with the princi ples of reason, resting very much on matters of fact, and illustrated by a series of actions;-spiritual, referring principally to the exercises of the intellect and of the heart. By this last mentioned quality is meant also, that it must either be free from external rites and ceremonies, or enjoin only those, which, though not essential to the religion, may subserve some good purpose, and be easily observed by all nations. For, in proportion to the multiplicity and variety of external observances required by a religion, is it circumscribed in its influence, and unfitted for general and indiscriminate adoption. To establish a universal religion, therefore, requires the general and free circulation and active operation among man
kind of that knowledge of the character of God, and of their relations and duties to him, which partakes of the above-mentioned qualities. This may be done, and yet admit of a diversity of external religious constitutions, and modes and forms in worship.
An eminent peculiarity in the religion of Jesus is, that it exhibits all these qualities in the highest and purest degree,—which can be said of no other religion that ever existed. For the plan of Christ. was to improve and exalt human nature, and form a new moral creation. As the means to accomplish this, he introduced a religion, which in all its parts, has a moral tendency;-its principles being all pure, benevolent, exalted, and every where applicable to the condition and moral wants of mankind. In respect to its most important parts, this religion is also intelligible, addressing itself to the reason and conscience of all, and level to the comprehension even of children. Not only depth and extent of thought, but a beautiful and touching simplicity, characterized the instructions of Jesus; so that men of the greatest and most cultivated minds, and those of an opposite character may both be interested and edified.
Speaking of the efforts of reason, in endeavoring to deduce the truths of religion, from principles peculiar to itself, Reinhard says,-
It was necessary that its matter should be farther perfected and brought into a scientific form, and also that the human mind should be permitted to make it the object of close investigation, and, even in this respect, gratify its inclinations by reducing it back to ultimate principles. If, while mankind were engaged in this business, they had adhered with invincible fidelity to the great commandment of christianity which enjoins love, it would never have done any hurt. For of what consequence is it, if men do erect various buildings upon the noble and simple foundation which originated with Jesus, and christians divide themselves into numerous families, each of which dwells in its own house?
By such sentiments as these Reinhard evidently did not intend to countenance dangerous errors, nor include within the pale of christian sects, those who reject the fundamental doctrines of christianity; for he was himself a strenuous advocate for "the faith once delivered to the saints." But as he intended his remarks to be received, they are the legitimate offspring of that charity, which hopeth all things, and thinketh no evil. If they were adopted by all christians, Christ would not so often be wounded in the house of his friends, nor his religion marred and defaced by dogmatical assertions, and wrangling disputes. How often do men, tenacious of their contracted views, and vain of their imaginary attainments, turn their backs upon the Sun of righteousnes, and think to illuminate the world by their glimmering tapers! A diversity in modes of thinking and in forms of worship, is in many respects desirable, and presents little or no obstacle to the diffusion of the
blessings of christianity over the world, and can never materially affect the happiness of those who sincerely embrace it.
Respecting the spirituality of Christ's religion, Reinhard makes some remarks, which, for their truth, appropriateness, and beauty, are not surpassed by any thing in the volume. Speaking of the facility with which this religiou, by means of the two qualities already mentioned, can extend its blessings over the world, he says,
And this it can do so much the more, as it is also spiritual, and hence can be admitted into all countries, whatever be the modifications of the civil constitution. There is nothing said of sacred places or stated feasts, of pious journeys and pilgrimages, of troublesome and expensive ceremonies, or a cautious selection of food. The whole earth is God's temple; in every place, man can lift up holy hands; every creature of God is clean and good, and nothing any longer to be rejected. The external form of the exercises of this religion in one country, may, therefore, be entirely different from that of those in another. The religion itself always remains the same, whatever be the drapery with which it is invested. And what can hinder this religion from harmonizing with every state constitution? It has nothing immediately to do with political affairs. It fashions every individual, and produces in him that knowledge and those dispositions and feelings, which enable him to live contented and happy in any place, and become a useful citizen under every kind of civil constitution, and a faithful subject of every government. It does not, according to the principles of its author, erect one state within another, does not in any case disturb the public tranquility, nor can the interest of the church ever come in collision with that of the gov ernment. On the other hand, that state whose citizens should be in reality formed agreeably to the principles of christianity, would unquestionably be the happiest and most flourishing. Its rulers would have the most faithful, obedient and active subjects, and the state itself be distinguished for an order which would need no power or constraint for its preservation. In it, the arts and sciences would flourish, without being abused and made the means of poisoning the morals of the people. In it, life would be enjoyed in the most agreeable and tranquil manner, and all property and rights be perfectly secured. No state would be more firmly connected together, and hence, more terrible and invincible to its enemies. pp. 212-214.
This religion, then, possessing these qualities in such harmony, and designed to benefit alike, and in the highest degree, the whole human family, pre-supposes in its author peculiar and exalted powers, such as no being on earth ever possessed. The inquiry is here naturally suggested,-what are the constituents of human greatness? By what qualities may a man be raised to the highest point of moral elevation and dignity? The result of this inquiry may be summed up in three particulars; the varied exercise and highest cultivation of the intellectual faculties, great firmness and strength of soul, and a correspondent meekness and benevolence of disposition. The possession of either of these gives the character of greatness to any man, but when they are all combined in the same individual, they raise him to the highest distinction, that it is possible to attain among human beings. But in Jesus, and in him alone, they all existed in harmony, and were by him exhibited in the most unequivocal and striking manner. The formation and execution of his plan, pre-supposed and developed their existence
in a degree of perfection, unparalleled upon earth. As a man, therefore, he was superior to all others.
But these qualities were developed, not according to the ordinary operations of nature, but in a manner incomprehensible to us; for the circumstances under which he lived, were in no way calculated to beget and call forth such qualities, but the reverse; and there is no rational and intelligible explanation of this wonderful phenomenon, except by supposing the operation of a peculiar divine influence to produce it. The inference is hence drawn, that Jesus was an extraordinary and divine teacher, sent from God, on a special mission to our world.
Such is a brief outline of the work before us; an outline filled up with many interesting sketches and impressive illustrations, which, while they evince much patient examination on the part of the author, are likely to contribute something to the stores of historical and internal evidence for the divine origin and authority of the scriptures, with which our libraries are filled. The argument, as stated, pursued, and illustrated by Reinhard, is not designed as an independent one; but rather as subsidiary to, and corroborative of, others more weighty and conclusive; and while it presents a historical view of some of the religious controversies in Germany, it collects a variety of information, scattered through many volumes, into one connected series, and enables the reader, undiverted, to follow out principles to their results, and pursue a single train of reasoning to its close.
That this book will be extensively read, we have but little expectation; for, men who are skeptical on the subject of religion, seldom read any book on the evidences of revelation; and others not having time or disposition for extensive and minute research, prefer, from the multiplicity of treatises extant on this general subject, to select the best.
The translation of this work bears the marks of an inexperienced hand. Its want of ease and condensation,-though faults perhaps of the original-derogate somewhat from the interest which the volume in a different dress might awaken. Words endlessly compounded, and strung together in sentences of a page in length,— as are often seen in the German language,-present, we confess, but little encouragement to a translator, to attempt to express the exact meaning of the original, and yet gratify an English ear.
Considering all the difficulties of the case, and the probable fact, that this is the first attempt of the kind, we are disposed to allow to the translator the merit of making a very respectable beginning.
ART. II.-JOURNAL OF A RESIDENCE IN ICELAND.
Iceland; or the Journal of a Residence in that Island during the years 1814 and 1815, containing observations on the natural phenomena, history, literature, and antiquities of the Island, and the religion, character, manners and customs of its inhabitants. With an Introduction and Appendix. By EBENEZER Hendersos, Doctor in Philosophy, &c. &c. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 787. Edinburgh, 1818. Ite and, &e.; an abridgment of the above. 1 vol. 12mo. pp. 252. "Perkins & Marvin; 1:31.
The original work of Dr. Henderson, whose title we have placed at the head of this article, is interesting and valuable, in no ordinary degree. The abridgment is judiciously executed, and to most readers, will be quite as acceptable as the larger work. It is well calculated indeed, to supply information which many have sought. We must confess, however, that if our hearts had not been deeply interested in the benevolent object, which called Dr. H. to Iceland, and refreshed by the feelings of affectionate gratitude which pour forth in such a uniform, unbroken stream from every Icelandic heart, we should sometimes have been wearied with the minuteness and uniformity of the conversations respecting the distribution of the bible, and the efforts of bible societies. But this, to a reflecting and benevolent mind, is one of the charms of the "Journal," intimately connected as this subject is with all our anticipations of happiness and improvement for this interesting people. No one can think of the few books which they possess, their inability to purchase more, and their disposition to employ in reading, their long winter evenings, without seeing at once, what a vast accession of moral and intellectual enjoyment will be gained by the whole nation, from the visit of Dr. Henderson. It will give a new impulse to the entire mass of the population, and unlock unexplored sources of happiness for this life, as well as the life to come.
The British and Foreign Bible Society, could hardly have found a man better adapted to their purposes than Dr. H. He is an indefatigable Scotchman, who has long been known to the religious public, as one of the most active agents of that Society, in the north of Europe; and more recently as the Principal of the Missionary College at Hoxton in London, and now as the Professor of biblical literature, in the Highbury college; the most distinguished of the dissenting theological institutions at the present time. He has already republished, with notes, Prof. Stuart's translation of Ernesti's Principles of Interpretation; and also his commentary upon the Epistle to the Hebrews, with high expressions of commendation.
This Journal furnishes us with a kind of reading in which we have been very deficient of late; accurate descriptions of unknown