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1847.) Reasons in favor of such a Library.
595 Rise and Progress of Doddridge and many others in all departments of sacred literature ? Some of these will last as long as the language itself. Robinson Crusoe, another imperishable work, was written by a Dissenter. So also, many of the writings of the New England Puritans, if not equally renowned, will not soon perish. The journals of the first governor Winthrop, full of touching interest, are a model of their kind. The metaphysical writings of Edwards are commended by the highest authorities in Europe. Some of the works of Dr. Franklin, a native of Boston, have an European currency. The State papers of the elder Adams and some of his New England contemporaries, elicited the praises of Burke. The theological writings of Dr. Dwight have enjoyed a large sale in this country and a still greater one in England. The theological opinions of Andrew Fuller, one of the greatest of modern English divines, were formed by a close study of New England theology.
III. An establishment of the nature described would be one means of perpetuating the religious principles and usages of the Puritans. It would not, of itself, indeed, be an effectual barrier against the encroachments of innovation and error. Like written standards, paper constitutions and other devices of man, its voice might be silent or unheeded. It might stand as an affecting memorial of the latitudinarianism or moral degeneracy of the descendants of those whose worth it commemorates. Such, how. ever, would be a perversion of its legitimate influence. Its natural teachings would be in accordance with truth. It would be a great historical landmark, embodying in tangible form the spirit and the labors of what might be called the heroic or martyr-age in our history. Amid the necessary changes of society, in the introduction of new elements into our social and religious life, it would point to our past history, and enforce the lessons of veneration and love which it is so fitted to teach. And in the event of our apostatizing from the religious views of our fathers, such a monument might be one of the means of restoration, might utter one of those voices which would recall us into the path of safety and truth. In Germany there has been a sad and almost universal abandonment of the doctrines of the Reformation. Luther's name is on every tongue, while his doctrine is trampled under foot. Still, the veneration, the alınost passionate admiration and love which are everywhere felt towards him, are among the brightest signs of the times and afford one of the strongest grounds of hope, that Germany will yet be rescued from its un
natural alliance with error. His name will have a potent spell to scatter the darkness. The glaring contradiction exhibited by those who almost adore his memory, while they reject that belief which was to him dearer than life, will yet awaken earnest attention and lead to a more consistent practice. This veneration for Luther is, in part, owing to the touching and numerous memorials of him to be found in almost every part of Protestant Germany. The Wartburg, Erfurt, Eisenach, Tübingen, Wittenberg, Augsburgh, keep alive the precious remembrances of Martin and his dear Philip, and aid that influence which Luther's hymns and catechisms, and the German language,-the undying memorial of the Reformation,-so powerfully exerts. Such, to some extent, would be the effect of the venerable memorials of our fathers, could they be drawn out from their hiding places, and be duly arranged and combined. A book would become a teacher; a manuscript would utter its admonitory voice; a pen, handled two hundred years ago by the holy Shepard, would not be a dull monitor. The picture of the apostolic Eliot would seem to follow us with its reproving eye, till we had copied his sublime example. The old pine pulpit of a Bellamy or a Hopkins would enable them yet to speak the words of truth and soberness. The very autograph might become a sermon. The stone taken froni the threshhold of one of their sanctuaries would cry out, and the beam from the timber would answer it.
IV. Such an historical Library and Museum would be of ines. timable service to our future civil and ecclesiastical historians. It may be safely said, that however valuable the history of the Puritans would be prepared by our contemporaries, the writers of a future age will enjoy in some respects far greater facilities for the task. They will bring to the subject more impartiality, a wider survey of the field and an ampler experience. Certain vital questions, now in the process of unfolding, will, in one or two centuries, admit of a satisfactory explanation. We live, e. g., too
eg near the great revival of religion in Whitefield's time to be able to describe it adequately. All the results of the American revolution are not known. How inestimable at a distance of two hundred years frorn this time, would be a great collection of books and manuscripts, carefully arranged and supplied with all necessary literary apparatus. How grateful would be the historians of those coming times for a repository that a little care and expense might now establish. Should it be found impracticable to rescue from decay and oblivion, any considerable portion of the records
1847.) Effects of the proposed Library and Museum.
597 of the past, yet enough could be secured to form a nucleus for the time to come.
Should it be difficult to dig up the mouldering remains of the seventeenth century, many treasures illustrating the eighteenth century are still procurable. To these might be added the more important books and Mss. which are from time to time becoming accessible by the deaths of their owners. Gradu. ally a collection might be formed which would be exceedingly valuable to all who should at any future time engage in historical studies and a monument to the zeal and comprehensive views of its founders.
V. Such a Library, open and common to all, would tend to promote brotherly feelings among the descendants of the Puritans. It would be a bond of unity, a rallying-place for the affections, or at least a neutral spot where envious feelings would be hushed, and acrimonious controversies be suspended. In the presence of the venerable founders of New England, it would be almost like desecrating the grave of a parent to indulge in any other than fraternal feelings.
VI. The establishment of a repository, like the one described, would exert a favorable influence on the character of the sermons and other works which may hereafter be published by our clergymen. The expectation that one copy at least of a discourse would be sure of preservation and would be a representative of the character and talents of its author ages after he had deceased, could not be without some effect on the quality of the thoughts which he should commit to the press. He would wish to have them worthy of his ancestry and of the honorable company which they would enjoy. Had the painters, who took the portraits of the non-conformist fathers that now adorn the hall in Dr. Williams's Library, anticipated the destination to which those portraits have attained, they would have been more exact likenesses and been finished with the utmost possible care.
VII. We may add, in conclusion, that the accomplishment of the plan proposed would insure the preservation of valuable documents and curiosities which will otherwise be lost. Many inestimable treasures have already disappeared irrecoverably. Every year the loss is becoming greater. Death, fire, the wear of time when not guarded against, and various accidents are fast diminishing the honored memorials of original Puritanism. At the present moment it is possible to procure in England some of the pam. phlets and newspapers which were published in England in the
times of Elizabeth, James I., Charles I. and the Commonwealth. Early editions of the printed books published by Milton, Goodwin, Cartwright, Baxter, Howe, and other actors and preachers in that period, are still to be found. Yet these, as well as the pamphlets and Mss., are becoming, like the Sibylline books, the more precious as they diminish in number. The controllers of the great libraries in many parts of Christendom are more and more solicitous to obtain possession of these treasures. Several affluent private individuals in the United States are securing at great expense all the productions relating to Puritanism of any value which come into the English market. To our own country the same remarks are in a measure applicable. Much which was accessible in 1700 is lost forever. Much which might now be gath. ered up will wholly disappear in the lapse of half a century. Those treasures that might now be bought, or procured as a free gift, will soon pass into some public library out of New England or out of the country, or become the property of unknown individuals.
MISCELLANY - CORRESPONDENCE.
The following is an extract of a letter which we have received from Prof. Rödiger of Halle, dated April 25, 1847 : “I am laboring daily on the last Heft of the Thesaurus which I hope to be able to bring out towards autumn. It will contain not a little new matter which, I hope, will prove to be correct. Lepsius of Berlin is very busily occupied with Egyptian Chronology. I correspond with hiin on the points which relate to the Bible. He will soon print in the third Heft of the Journal of the Oriental Society a paper on the Decree of Philae, similar to that of the Rosetta Inscription. In the second Heft there is a very good essay by Tuch on the 14th ch. of Genesis, which will be well received in the United States. Thenius of Dresden is laboring industriously on his Commentary upon the Books of Kings. The new edition of Winer's Biblical Dictionary is advancing. Tischendorf is editing the Septuagint,
* We have in our possession a few numbers of several of the newspapers published during the progress of the civil war, which impart a reality and a truthfulness to those stirring times which no formal history can secure.
Letters from Germany.
but this work will exceed his ability, or rather he will busy himself on the small things, e. g. a, e, n and v, and other orthograpbic minutiae, while the pressing and difficult problem in relation to the Septuagint will remain for a time unsolved. Hitzig's Commentary on Ezekiel will be ready this summer, and though for my taste it will deal somewhat too much in conjectures, yet in acuteness and exact gramınatical knowledge it will not be deficient. Petermann will edit a new edition of the Syriac Letters of Ignatius, with the aid of an old Armenian version. When I bave completed the Thesaurus, I am thinking, along with other labors, of publishing a small Arabic Grammar for my lectures, since that by Caspari contains things which do not accord with my system and hence would only interfere with my instructions. I have this summer my third course in Arabic Syntax, with the reading of historical texts. A work important for Germany bas appeared, on · Protestantism' by Hundeshagen, which is valued by all parties. The library of our Oriental Society is established in Halle. Religious movements among us are now in the back-ground; the toleration-edict of March 30th has made a pause, and all the public interest is now turned towards politics and to the doings of the Chambers assembled at Berlin."
Another friend writes as follows in relation to the work by Hundeshagen: “A novelty in the literary world, which tells upon the German public,--published in the beginning of this or the end of last year (I forget)-is: der Deutsche Protestantismus, seine Vergangenheit, und seine heutigen Lebenspragen, im Zusammenhange der gesammten Nationalentwickelung, etc., von einem deutschen Theologen. Frankfort on the Maine. (2 R.) (German Protestantism, what it was, and the present vital questions with regard to it, considered and discussed in all its bearings on the whole national development (on all the conditions of the nation as it is developed at present)]. I have not had time to peruse it. So I cannot give an opinion of it.-Another book will appear this year's Leipsic Easter-Fair, which I think is very likely to be much read. Prof. Julius Müller, who you know was a member of the much spoken of Berlin Synod, has gallantly taken up the gauntlet, which, from one quarter by Uhlich, and from another by the Kirchen-Zeitung,' had been thrown down. The former adversary is disarıned before many courses; but the latter needs to be encountered with greater address and skill. His invectives, sneers, misrepresentations, and criminations of the resolutions and principles of that Synod, you will find in a leading article of the Evangl. Kirchen-Zeitung, January 1st, and the following numbers. Prof. Müller in refuting his adversary was obliged to enter more fully into the principle and views, under the influence of which the Synod had been working at its arduous task.”