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was passionately fond of children, and had none of his own. Under the truly paternal care of this excellent man Fichte passed some of the happiest years of his life, and to its latest day looked back to them with tenderness and gratitude. The affectionate care of this amiable couple, who shared with him every little domestic pleasure, and treated him in every respect as if he had been indeed their son, was always remembered by him with the liveliest sensibility, and certainly exercised a most favourable influence on his character.'
Take, for one more quotation, the following picturesque passages in the sketch of the life of Spinoza. In the first, he is excommunicated :
Dreading his ability, and the force of his example, the Synagogue made him an offer of an annual pension of a thousand florins, if he would only consent to be silent, and assist from time to time at their ceremonies. Spinoza, indignant at such an attempt to palter with his conscience, refused it with scorn. One evening, as he was coming out of the theatre, where he had been relaxing his over-tasked mind, he was startled by the fierce expression of a dark face, thrust eagerly before his. The glare of blood-thirsty fanaticism arrested him ; a knife gleamed in the air, and he had barely time to parry the blow. It fell upon his chest, but, fortunately deadened in its force, only tore his coat. The assassin escaped. Spinoza walked home thoughtful.
• The day of excommunication at length arrived ; and a vast concourse of Jews assembled to witness the awful ceremony. It began by the solemn and silent lighting of a quantity of black wax candles, and by opening the tabernacle, wherein were deposited the Books of the Law of Moses. Thus were the dim imaginations of the faithful prepared for all the horror of the scene. Morteira, the ancient friend and master, now the fiercest enemy of the condemned, was to order the execution of the sentence. He stood there, pained, but implacable ; the people fixed their eager eyes upon him. High above, the chanter rose and chanted forth, in loud lugubrious tones, the words of execration ; while from the opposite side another mingled with these curses the thrilling sounds of the trumpet ; and now the black candles were reversed, and were made to melt drop by drop into a huge tub filled with blood. This spectacle—a symbol of the most terrible faithmade the whole assembly shudder; and when the final Anathema Maranatha ! were uttered, and the lights all suddenly immersed in the blood, a cry of religious horror and execration burst from all ; and in that solemn darkness, and to those solemn curses, they shouted Amen, Amen!'
In the next, he is in love with his master's daughter, who jilts him :
“Van den Ende had a daughter; her personal charms were equivocal, but she was thoroughly versed in Latin, and was an accomplished musician. The task of teaching young Benedict generally fell to her; and as a consequence the pupil soon became in love with the tutor. We often picture this courtship as a sort of odd reverse of Abelard and Heloise. Spinoza, we fancy, not inattentive to the instruction, but the more in love with it coming from so soft a mouth ; not inattentive, yet not wholly absorbed. He watches her hand as it moves along the page, and longs to squeeze it. While “ looking out" in the dictionary, their hands touch-and he is thrilled ; but the word is found, nevertheless. The lesson ended, he ventures on a timid compliment, which she receives with a kind smile; but the smile is lost, for the bashful philosopher has his eyes on the ground; when he raises them, it is to see her trip away to household duties, or to another pupil ; and he looks after her sighing. But, alas for maidenly discernment ! our female Abelard was more captivated by the showy attractions of a certain Kerkering, a young Hamburg merchant, who had also taken lessons in Latin and love from the fair teacher; and who, having backed his pretensions by the more potent seductions of pearl necklaces, rings, etc., quite cast poor Benedict into the shade, who then turned from love to philosophy.'
We, personally, accept at least one of Mr. Lewes' reasons for omitting the Orient from his History of Philosophy-namely, that the East never had a philosophy apart from its theology-and we recognise the justness of the filiation of thought' as a principle of selection in the names chosen. He so carefully defines his purpose, and so steadily keeps to it, that we can honestly say his book fulfils its promise. It is a Biographical History of Philosophy for the general student (rather than general reader), in which its author comes to the conclusion that in the present day speculations on metaphysics are not intrinsically more rational than speculations on the development of animated beings peopling Sirius. It is not the fault of Mr. Lewes that there is no history of philosophy so readable and so accessible, which is written from another point of view. There is an octavo volume mainly translated from the French, edited by Mr. C. S. Henry, of New York, published by Longman a few years ago, which includes the Eastern and Mediæval philosophies, and is written “metaphysically.' But it is not nearly so readable, its biographies are only dates, and in many respects it is meagre and unjust, though well worth having
We had nearly forgotten to say that Mr. Lewes has not been so liberal of amusing matter in the memoir of Kant as in other parts of his book. He refers his readers to a paper in De Quincey's Miscellanies, which we happen to have read. Kant had many whimsicalities. When he went abroad he never talked, lest he should admit cold air into his lungs vid the mouth; he maintained that he was less liable to thoracic disturbance, if he compelled the atmosphere to make a circuit by way of the nose, so that it might get warm on the road. He was very particular, too, in the matter of braces to his trousers; and invented and wore a complicated apparatus of suspenders, which required special study on the part of the valet, and reminded observers of the Ptolemaic system of the heavens, with its
Cycle on epicycle, orb on orb.' Up to old age he was a singularly punctual man. Late in life, however, he lost all count of time, and rated minutes as hours. He would order the carriage out for a long drive, and in five minutes bid the postilion turn back. After dinner he took coffee ; and, to meet his impatience of delay, several servants were always ready at the appointed time to get this coffee ready-one to grind, one to make the decoction, and so on. But this was not enough. Kant would ring the bell, and, the instant after, fancying an hour had elapsed, would open the door, and, as if (says De Quincey) appealing to the last remains of humanity in his fellow-creature,' plaintively and supplicatingly call out. Coffee! coffee !'-adding, as he tottered back to his chair,"Well, well, in the next world there will be no waiting for coffee!' Kant is always quoted in the phrenological books as an instance of disease of the organ of time.
It is scarcely necessary, we presume, to inform our friends that though there may be minds that would find means to bridge over
the gulf between the conclusion in which Mr. Lewes lands his reader and faith in Christianity; and though a philosophic work is controversially amenable only to philosophic judgment—yet the animus of this book is as much opposed to Christianity as that of Hume's Essays. As a propagandist book, however, we do not consider it dangerous, because it belongs to a class of works which comparatively few will read, and those few will know the ground which they are about to tread without warning of ours. A Biographical History of Philosophy, written from the Christian stand-point, is so obvious a task that we wonder it has never been undertaken. As we said before, it is not the fault of Mr. Lewes that that has not been done.
Letters of Calvin.*
The name of Calvin is inseparably connected with the history of the Reformation, not that he can be called one of the Reformers in the strictest sense of the word. He did not originate a reformatory movement even in France, much less in Switzerland, where the greater part of his life was spent. Other men laboured, and he entered into their labours. Yet he was so soon to be found among the Reformed, and when once he had embraced the doctrines of the Reformation, he did this with such thorough heartiness, that he quickly took his place in the van of the new movement, and associated with some of those who had laid the foundation of the Reformed churches in Switzerland. Moreover, his energy of character, his fixed, resolute purpose, his single, unselfish aims, and his practical, as well as methodical mind, all combined, not only to place him at the head of the Swiss Reformation, but to give him such pre-eminence, that whilst the one name associated with the Reformation in Germany is that of the first Reformer himself, in Switzerland that of Calvin has thrown all others into the shade. It would be wrong, however, to suppose that the prominence assigned to Calvin can all be explained from his influence on his own age. His connexion with the church of the future, and the fact that, with so few exceptions, Calvinism is in most of the Christian churches in this country a household word, a synonyme for all that is true in theology, has led to an exaggeration of the importance of the position occupied and the influence exerted by Calvin himself.
The publication of Calvin's letters, a portion of which has been translated into English, we regard as a great boon, both because they help us to understand more thoroughly the position in which he stood among his compeers, and also because the perusal has shown us more of his inner life than we had ever seen before, and has removed many
* 'Letters of John Calvin, compiled from the original MSS., and edited, with historical notes, by Dr. Jules Bonnet, vols. i. and ii., translated from the original Latin and French.' Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co. 1855-7.
an error into which we had fallen, from associating too closely Calvinism the system and Calvin the man. His letters show us many a dark spot in his history, as we shall presently show, but they also prove that he was not hard, dry, and unfeeling, with his sympathies all eaten out by logic, as many of his nominal followers would lead us to imagine, but that he had a warm, loving, and even tender heart, though when occasion demanded he was inflexible and severe, and was sometimes urged on by conscientious convictions to unpardonable extremities.
John Calvin was born at Noyon, in Picardy, in 1509. At a very early age he was sent to Paris to study for the church. He was only twelve years old when he obtained a benefice in the cathedral at Noyon. But, although he had received this presentation, he never took priest's orders, and was therefore still at liberty to choose another calling. From pecuniary considerations his father determined to take him away from the church and bring him up to the law. The change was not distasteful to Calvin, for he had seen enough of the evils of Romanism to remove all inclination to become more deeply involved. He went to Orleans, and after that to Bruges, where he learnt Greek, an important event in those days, when the mere knowledge of Greek was so soon to be regarded as a distinguishing mark of a Protestant heretic. During his stay at Bruges he became confirmed in the doctrines of the Reformation, and even began to preach in the villages. After visiting Noyon on the occasion of his father's death he went again to Paris. In 1532 he resigned his benefices and devoted himself to theology. The next year, being called upon to read a public discourse, he availed himself of the opportunity of declaring his convictions respecting the new doctrines. He was soon obliged to leave Paris, and retired to Angoulême, where he was engaged in teaching Greek, and appears to have written the greater part of the * Institutes. In 1534 he returned to Paris, under the auspices of the queen of Navarre, a letter to whom is contained in this correspondence, but he quitted the city that same year. From Paris he went to Basle, where the Institutes' was finished and published. He made a flying tour after this through Italy for the purpose of visiting the Reformers there, but he was soon obliged to recross the frontier, in consequence of the Inquisition. He returned to France, but in 1536 he was induced to visit Geneva, where the Reformed religion had just been established.
In Geneva Calvin was persuaded by Farel to take up his abode, and eventually he accepted the office of Professor of Theology in that town. The first care of the two associates was to complete the organization of the Reformed Church, and for this purpose they drew up a plan of ecclesiastical discipline. This attempt, which was thought so natural, so essential to the prosperity of the church of Christ, and so thoroughly in accordance with the principles of the gospel, was destined to be the great stumbling-block in the way of all the efforts of Calvin and his colleagues, and sowed the seeds of troubles and disasters, which lasted till Calvin's work was done. From
this time forth, nearly every letter which Calvin wrote about the state of religion in Geneva breathes of nothing but mourning and discontent. Everything is rotten in the state of Geneva, and not a thought ever enters the Reformer's mind that possibly his own plans had been at fault. Yet the opposition which he met with was just what we should expect, and we can only wonder that he did not expect it too. The authorities of Geneva had adopted the Reformed religion as the religion of the Genevan state; and immediately the Reformed ministers looked upon all the inhabitants of that city as members of one church, for which they, in concert with the civil authorities, were to draw up ecclesiastical rules. These rules were based, according to the judgments of those who framed them, upon New Testament principles, and every inhabitant was expected to conform. If any disobeyed, church censure and excommunication were the inevitable result. Now had the church consisted of members voluntarily associating together, they might of course adopt any rules, however stringent, if they thought such a course of procedure wise. But when two ministers of the gospel met together, and drew up a stringent code of church laws, for which they merely claimed the sanction of the Council before they proceeded to enforce them upon a whole community, we can only wonder that they did not foresee the inevitable result. We are aware that they but did as others had done before them and continued to do after them. We are aware, moreover, that their plan of action was quite in accordance with the State-church theory, which nearly all the Reformers regarded as incontestable. But this does not diminish our surprise that Calvin was not clear-sighted enough to detect the fallacy of the theory and the impracticable character of the line of action which was based upon it, or at least that for so many years he persisted in the same course, and never questioned for a single moment its wisdom and propriety, or its strict accordance with the spirit of Christianity. On this subject he writes
•Were I to begin to describe to you at length the full narrative of our most wretched condition, a long history must be unfolded by me. This, however, I will venture to throw out in passing, that it does appear to me that we shall have no lasting church, unless that ancient apostolic discipline be completely restored, which in many respects is much needed among us. We have not yet been able to obtain that the faithful and holy exercise of ecclesiastical excommunication be rescued from the oblivion into which it has fallen; and that the city, which in proportion to its extent is very populous, may be distributed into parishes, as is rendered necessary by the complicated administration of the church. The generality of men are more ready to acknowledge us as preachers than as pastors.' --Letters, vol. i. p. 42.
The people of Geneva were not prepared for such discipline as the Reformers attempted to introduce; and both Farel and Calvin were expelled from the city for refusing to administer the communion. Calvin went first to Basle, and thence to Strasburg, where he became Professor of Theology and minister of the French church. During his stay at Strasburg, which only lasted about three years, he wrote several letters to the church at Geneva. In these letters he appears to great advantage. Other ministers had been appointed in the