Abbildungen der Seite

have been more amply sustained. Some of Mr. Dana's choicest essays first appeared here, and not a few delicate and beautiful criticisms by the editor himself. We doubt still whether any better plan could be devised of a Review neither merely learned and professional, nor limited by denominational sympathies, and yet imbued more entirely with a religious element, than would be expected in a strictly literary or scientific work. Two Reviews, with much of a common spirit, though with different purpose, could not be sustained by the class of patrons on which both would mainly rely; and, in 1835, the Quarterly Observer became united with the Biblical Repository, of which work Mr. Edwards remained editor, until its place of publication was removed to the city of New York. While speaking of his editorial labors, we may as well state, that when the Bibliotheca Sacra was established at Andover, in 1814, he assumed the charge of it in connection with Professor Park; a charge which he did not relinquish until he left Andover for the last time. The labor which he performed in connection with all these periodicals was large, incessant, anxious, and distracting. Hardly a single number of these Reviews was issued, without bearing ample marks of his diligence, fidelity, and sound judgment, in elaborate essays, or in minor criticism, and in the full account of the current literature and science of the world, often amassed with a labor and care quite unsuspected by those who glanced hastily at the result. Had he concentrated more energy upon fewer articles, had he diffused his strength with less liberality, he would doubtless have left productions more finished and of yet greater fulness and vigor. Perhaps he himself began at last to feel, that he had been too benevolent and careless. He had for several years, indeed, been concentrating his energies upon studies most precious to him, and, had he lived longer, would have shown with what richness and beauty he could bring the rich materials of knowledge and wisdom to bear in illustra. tion of his chosen pursuit. His connection with the press, although so constant, was always subservient to the claims of some other duty which served as the main employment of his life. When it was too late, we think he felt that he had spared himself too little. We cannot forget the mingled

satisfaction and sadness with which he remarked, a few days before starting on his last journey southward, that “ he had done with the Bibliotheca Sacra, except as an occasional contributor.” He seemed to feel at last, what others had long felt, that he had overworked himself, and to be glad of a prospect of rest. We need not speak more fully of the learning, the comprehensiveness, the variety of discussion, the delicate taste, and sound judgment, exhibited in the Review which he edited for so many years. His object was to concentrate all the talent he could command, and, at any rate, to admit nothing which his own labor could supply, to fulfil the expectations of others, or satisfy his own still more severe taste.

In the autumn of 1837, Mr. Edwards was appointed Professor of the Hebrew Language in the Theological Seminary at Andover, and on the resignation of Professor Stuart, in 1848, was transferred to the chair of Biblical Literature. This was a situation peculiarly fitted to his tastes. It led him to studies of which he was fond, and to that intercourse with young men, through which he hoped to make his influence most widely and beneficially felt. So strongly was he attached to his position here, that he declined a solicitation to the Presidency of Amherst College, mainly, as we suppose, because he thought it would be attended with a sacrifice of his favorite pursuit, at a time when he hoped to be able to bring them to a result honorable to the Biblical learning of his country He felt that the broadest and most liberal course of study was necessary to fit him to expound the Scriptures. Classical literature and modern science, history, and poetry, philosophy and art, antiquarian researches and modern travels, came in as a part of a regularly ordered system of investigation, the results of which he intended to lay, as a filial contribution, at the feet of David or Paul. The Bible he did not indeed regard as intended to teach scientific truth, least of all did he consider its chief interest to lie in its poetry or mere morality. Sooner than have been suspected of that, he would have almost abjured his cherished learning, - but neither did he fear that the Scriptures and true science would be found contradictory. On the contrary, he felt that all learning and all art would but illustrate them the more fully,

and in proportion as philosophy carried its investigations wider and deeper, with a truer method and a purer spirit, would the harmony be more marked. Hence he had a plan and purpose in all his pursuits; his recreations were studies. There were with him no idle moments. He was greedy of time and opportunities, and made his enjoyments and labors to coincide. A love of poetry of the highest order was one of his strongest characteristics; and his ideas of the honor due to it, and of its necessity for the full and harmonious cultivation of the mind, were worthy of Sir Philip Sidney, or Milton, or Wordsworth. He thus writes of the influence of the study of the Hebrew Scriptures on the imagination and taste :

“The poetry of the Hebrews is sometimes represented as Oriental, an Eastern fashion, local, factitious, artificial, adapted to men living a migratory life, under an ardent sky, and not adapted to a severe European taste. But the Hebrew poetry is no such thing. It is European; it is Occidental, for all ages and generations; it is universal in its character ; it is everlasting as the affections of man. It furnishes food for that imagination, whose birth was not for time, but for all eternity. Peasants can feel its force ; philosophers kindle at its inspiration. Strip the Old Testament of its poetry, and it is not the Old Testament; it contains truth, but not the truth that God revealed. Take out of it the element of imagination, that which makes it poetry, and the residue is neither poetry nor prose. It may be truth, but it is not the truth which we need. No error can be greater than to call the Hebrew poetry mere costume. There are some truths which are poetry in their very nature. Men, the world over, have imagination, and love poetic truths, and these truths were necessary for them, and therefore part of the Bible is poetry.” Vol. ii. pp. 223, 224.

“ Amid all the drudgery and perplexities of his editorial life," says his biographer, “his rule was never to let a day pass by, without refreshing his taste with the perusal of some lines from a favorite poet, such as Virgil or Spenser.” These he often read aloud of an evening to his family, with a relish and discrimination that was the delight of all who heard him. The taste thus cultivated, he brought to bear in the lectureroom, where the fulness of his mind was ever overflowing, watering and refreshing all the banks of the channel through which his instruction appropriately flowed.

“ The best illustration of unity in discourse," writes one of his former pupils, * " which I had then heard, was casually thrown out by him in his nice analysis of the train of thought in a Psalm. In a similar connection, a passing hint would gather up the legitimate characteristics of lyric poetry. His co

His comparison of the Hebrew, the Homeric, and the Virgilian descriptions of a storm, gave us exemplifications of the highest order of criticism. These hints of his, and the like, were unobtrusively dropped, and easily overlooked ; but there were not a few who remembered them with interest, and who felt greatly indebted to him for the broad and elevated scholarship to wbich he pointed the way. In this manner he did much to form their literary taste, enlarge their circle of thought, and liberalize their mode of thinking; and all this was accomplished, not by digression, but in the pursuit of his appropriate work.” Vol. i. pp. 169, 170.

He was, indeed, a model of a Christian scholar, with the noblest spirit, with purposes broad, comprehensive, and elevated, with sympathies wide and various, of thorough learning, a diligence that never was weary, a modesty that allowed too little to himself, and a charity and candor which often gave to others even more than their due. It would not be

to find a mind in closer affinity with whatever is noblest in life. The higher objects seemed invariably to control the lower. There was no room in his soul for the lodgment of an unworthy thought, even for a moment. This was one source of the power of his influence. Every student felt that he uttered no sentiment, stated no opinion, and would defend no doctrine, which he did not entertain with the utmost sincerity of conviction. In his teaching, there was a rare union of exactness and delicacy of mind, an entire absence of a harsh and polemical spirit, and a thorough devotion to truth. His learning commanded the respect of his pupils, his sincerity and rectitude and carefulness obtained their fullest confidence, his gentleness won their love. Yet his gentleness and delicacy never lapsed into weakness and indecision, and on points of speculative belief or practical conduct, where many, apparently bolder than himself, might waver, he walked with the most unhesitating and invigorating manliness and freedom. He never turned away an inquirer with a coarse joke, or con


* Professor Bartlett, lately of the Western Reserve College.

cealed a difficulty under an attempted witticism, or solved a doubt by denying all ability or credit to the skeptic. He never adopted an unscholarlike method, one that would not stand the test of a fair and honest mind. Hence the authority of his opinions went far with those who were making up their own. The editor of the recent American edition of Coleridge's works says of him, speaking of the confidence which his confidence in an opinion inspired in the mind of a pupil, —

“In reference, for instance, to some of the more able objections of a sceptical criticism to the inspiration of the Scriptures, my own mind, I distinctly remember, relieved itself by falling back upon the character and authority of my instructor. I could not have done this in reference to an ordinary mind, or to a common instructor. But I knew that the mind of my teacher, in this case, was one of singular candor and fairness, and would give opposing views all the weight they were entitled to ; that it was a learned mind, fully conversant with the subtlest and ablest objections of Rationalism; and still a mind most vitally convinced of the truth of the doctrine of plenary inspiration. This fact had great weight with me, and although ultimately every mind must be rationally convinced of the truth for itself, and by the truth itself, still I cannot but think that this authority of a wise, learned, and honest teacher over the mind of a pupil, in some stages of his progress, is of the highest worth in preserving it from final scepticism. It braces and steadies the mind in a moment of weakness and irresolution, and enables it to take breath for a stronger and more successful effort of its own. Vol. i, pp. 168, 169.

Nearly allied to this trait, is what another correspondent calls "his conscientious exactness as a teacher.”


" I say conscientious, for it was a moral, as well as an intellectual trait. The habit of his mind led him to be exact, and he thought it wrong not to be. He labored to verify all his statements and all parts of them. Hence, we not only relied on their substance, but loved to preserve them in the precise form in which he gave them, being sure that every word had its place, for a good and indispensable reason. I would not for the world have changed the language nor the order of his translations, so faithful, so express an image of the original, so sure, and true, and necessary, did they seem, as you traced them word by word."

Prof. Shedd, of Auburn, N. Y.

† Prof. Putnam, of Dartmouth College.

« ZurückWeiter »