Page images
PDF
EPUB

observer like myself, it seems vain to conjecture, with any hope of correctness, at its former shape, extent, or uses. On the top, a multitude of mounds and canals can be seen, on all sides, as far as the eye can reach. Hillah is almost lost among the mounds, and is chiefly discernible from its date-tree groves.” “Whatever beauty or splendor there may have been in the original fabric of El Kasr, it is now buried in ignoble heaps of broken bricks and pottery; an utterly shapeless mass of rubbish alone remaining, cut into numberless ravines, and dug into great holes, in both of which the hands of the Arabs have assisted the effects of the weather. There are indeed, remaining erect, some fragments of walls, composed of most exquisite brick-work, so firmly cemented together, that it is almost impossible to separate the bricks one from another." “On nearer approach you discover that this supposed earthen mound," the Birs, “is in reality a mass of sun-dried bricks, mingled with fragments of kiln-burned bricks, of various colors, yellow and red, out of which protrudes a lofty mass of the most exquisite brick-masonry possible.” “The top and sides are covered with the débris, that ages have caused to moulder down, leaving only the corners of the brick-work, here and there, peeping out. There is hardly a particle of vegetation on these ruins. The whole amount of bushes and herbage consists of no more than a few salsuginous plants, or a bit of tamarisk on the side of a canal."

In 1840, Mr. Wellsted, author of Travels in Arabia, published in two volumes. in London, “ Travels to the city of the caliphs, along the shores of the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean.” The first part of the work is made up of a recital of the adventures of Lieut. Ormsby of the Indian navy. Some were verbally detailed to Mr. W, others were given in fragments of manuscripts. In the visit of Lieut. O. to Hillah and the ruins of Babylon, there is nothing particularly important. He gives the width of the Euphrates, as it flows through Hillah, at 385 ft. Its depth, in mid-channel (he does not state the month), at 4 fathoms, and the velocity of its current at 3f miles an hour.

“ The greater part of El Kasr appears of brick, containing large portions of chopped straw; but it has evidently been cased of those furnace-dried, which are of better quality. In other respects, the mass does not differ in its general appearance, from the Birs." The only living thing is a poor, solitary tamarisk, on the top of the mound. “From the Birs Nimroud 10 El Hamra is a distance of thirteen miles, forming the diameter of a circle, within which mounds and heaps of ruins are everywhere strown, and of limits not inferior to those assigned by Strabo and other writers." Major Rawlinson inclines to the opinion that Niffer, south of Hillah, may represent the true site of the ancient Baby

1849.]

Torrey's Neander.

785

lon, while the mounds around Hillah are the remains of a more recent city of the same name.1

Mr. Layard suggests that during the Assyrian supremacy, the ancient capital of the Chaldeans may have partly fallen into ruins; and that Nebuchadnezzar, on founding a new empire, which was to rival the Assyrian, may have desired to build a capital worthy of it, and to represent it, just as Baghdad now represents the ancient Babylon. None of the ruins in Babylonia have yet been properly examined; and there is little doubt that excavations in them would lead to very interesting results.

ARTICLE IX.

NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

1. NEANDER'S CHURCH HISTORY. The third volume of Professor Torrey's Translation of the great work of Neander is now published by Crocker & Brewster of Boston. It is included in a well-printed octavo volume of about 650 pages. It embraces the history of the church from A. D. 590 to A. D. 1073, completing the eighth part of the entire work. We have read the sheets of this volume with constantly increasing interest. The translation is made with great fidelity to the original, and is a fine specimen of correct and idiomatic English. We cannot but commend the scrupulous justice to the venerated author, which has led the translator to give us everything which was in the original and nothing more. The prefaces and dedications are a delightful indication of the historian's spirit. The index and table of contents are very full and minute. The period, though a part of it is the darkest part of the dark ages, is one of exceeding interest. With a guide so judicious and so thoroughly informed as Dr. Neander, the passage through these dark ages, is far from being total midnight. The reader of this volume will see that the common representations on this subject are pushed to an extreme. Good men, reformers, heavenly minded and zealous missionaries, were not wanting through all these long centuries. Love to the Saviour, and what was perhaps more difficult, a spirit of moderation and of Christian kindness, actuated not a few of the professed disciples of our Lord. Enlightened sentiments in regard to the nature of Christianity,

Layard's Nineveh, II. p. 39, Am. ed.

[ocr errors]

and the comparative worthlessness of forms, frequently refresh the reader. The disparaging statements of Milner and of the common church historians on this subject, are to be taken with some allowance. Dr. Neander's well-known characteristics a profound and heart-affecting view of the substance of Christianity, love to all that bear the name of Christ, eminent candor and fairness in the judgment of character, mastery of the subject in all its details, careful sifting of testimony, the ability to present a topic in its just limits and due proportions -- are nowhere more conspicuous than in this volume; in their combination, these qualities place him far above any other church historian. We cannot but rejoice that the history is brought before the English and American Public in a form every way so worthy of it.

The ninth part of the work, or the first division of the fifth volume, was published in 1841, in a volume of 383 pages; and the second division of the same was published in 1845, in a volume of 1294 pages. The two continue the history from A. D. 1073 to A. D. 1294 ; or, from Gregory VII. to Boniface VIII. In this volume the lives and character of Anselm, Peter Abelard, Hugo of St. Victor, William of Paris, Thomas Aquinas, Raymond Lully, Alexander de Hales, etc., are delineated in connection with the famous theological and philosophical controversies which were then rife. The remainder of'the period till the reformation, will be brought into one volume. In common with great numbers, we hope that the life of the historian will be spared to complete this great work.

2. HALLAM's SUPPLEMENTARY VOLUME.

Mr. Hallam's works must be regarded as among the most successful of their kind which the present age has produced. There have been published, in England, nine editions of his History of the Middle Ages, five editions of bis Constitutional History of England, and several of the Introduction to the History of Literature in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth Centuries ; to say nothing of the editions published in Paris and the · United States. His fame rests on an enduring basis. He furnishes one of the most conspicuous instances of the union of great erudition and of strong powers of thinking and judging. Multifarious reading has only quickened and directed the movements of his mind. He may be called the judicial historian, baving the power to sum up political and literary evidence with the greatest impartiality. Very few historical writers are so free from the sinister influences of sect and party. A juster idea of the history of England can be obtained from his volumes than from any of the numerous works on the subject. At the same time, there are one or two serious deficiencies. His theological learning is very far from be1849.]

Hallam's Notes. - Eliot's Rome.

787

ing extensive or profound. Any work on the Middle Ages must be imperfect which is not the fruit of a thorough acquaintance with the theologicophilosophical questions of those times. Literature was an entirely subordinate matter. In this respect, Mr. Hallam's work cannot be compared with that of Dr. Neander. Mr. Hallam appears, also, to have had but slight acquaintance with German writers, except with the few whose works have been translated into English or French. His references to German writers who have written in German are exceedingly meagre. In the Supplementary volume to the Middle Ages, London, 1848, we do not see a single allusion to the labors of Neander, or Gieseler, or to those innumerable monographies in which the Germans have exhausted many special topics. In one place he quotes Luden, and in another mentions that Michelet refers to “Grimm, who is excellent authority!” In the preface he speaks of several French writers, Sismondi, Guizot, etc., who have distinguished themselves in works on the Middle Ages, but omits all reference to the great German authors. This want of familiarity with the writers of the most learned nation of Europe, is doubtless one reason which led the author to entertain so disparaging and apparently unaccountable opinion of Martin Luther. At the same time, Mr. Hallam has avoided the evils which a familiarity with Teutonic literature exerts on some writers. His writings are full of sound, vigorous, English thought, without one tinge of mysticism, or one effort at riding hobbies. We learn habitually to respect his good sense, while we differ from some of his opinions.

The Supplementary volume consists of 408 pages and 417 notes, mostly brief, modifying or withdrawing, confirming or further illustrating statements and opinions in the History of the Middle Ages. In the interval of thirty years, much new matter would accumulate to a reader and thinker like Mr. Hallam. The chapters which have received most improvement are those on the History of France, the Feudal System, and the English Constitution.

8. ELIOT's LIBERTY OF ROME.

Mr. Putnam of N. York has published, in 2 vols., “The Liberty of Rome: a History. With an historical account of the Liberty of Ancient Nations. By Samuel Eliot." pp. 525, 523, 8vo. One cannot but be prepossessed with the work, from its noble typography. It does the highest honor to all concerned in bringing it out, as a beautiful specimen of American workmanship. There are a number of illustrations by Mr. Charles C. Perkins, which are finely conceived and are a real elucidation of the accompanying text. The author has certainly the merit of a bold and original design. “With God's blessing," he hopes to complete a series of works on the Liberty of the Early Christian Ages, on that of the Middle Ages, on that of Europe since the Reformation, on the Liberty of England, closing with a treatise on the Liberty of America; an undertaking which might task all the learning of the most erudite and profound thinkers. About one half of the first volume is taken up with observations on liberty in India, Persia, Egypt, Phoenicia, Greece, and Judea. We have read but a few chapters of the work, and must reserve our opinion of its merits till another opportunity. The current of thought is pervaded by a serious spirit, eminently in keeping with the sad feelings which such a survey could not fail to produce. There is a frequent and grateful recognition not only of a Divine Providence, but of the Christian redemption. The author appears to have studied his subject from the best sources, His production is only one of the many evidences of the moulding influence which Niebuhr's researches have had on all subsequent writers.

[ocr errors]

Italy, and Rome in particular, are remarkable for containing great and distinct classes of striking objects. The city has imperial magnificence in this respect. Other cities may be exhausted ; this seems to be inexhaustible. When the diversified objects on the surface of the ground are examined, then the earth gives up her dead, and no more covers her slain. When we have gazed at the mouldering ruins of republican and kingly times, a greater antiquity awaits us, earlier States are buried in the past. Greece is Greece and nothing besides. But Rome borrowed her arts from an earlier and now extinct civilization. She built her colossal power on the sepulchres of those whom she dispossessed. Mr. Dennis has piously collected these ante-Roman vestiges, dwells with fond delight on the miracles of genius which have been buried for four thousand years, and demonstrates how mighty Rome was in imitations and plagiarism as well as in arms. His volumes are among the most entertaining and instructive which have, for a long time, appeared from the British press, prolific as our parent State is in accomplished travellers and conscientious and graphic describers. Mr. D. belongs to the same class with Layard and Rich, intelligent, well-read, patient, fertile in expedients, full of a quiet yet inexhaustible enthusiasın, sound in judgment, and, in short, possessing all those qualities which insensibly win on the love and esteem of the reader. The title of his volumes is : “ The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, by George Dennis ; in two volumes, 8vo. pp. 530 and 555, London, John Murray, 1848.” The work is the fruit of several tours made between the years 1842 and 1847. Its primary object is to serve as a guide for those

« PreviousContinue »