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REVIEW OF WISEMAN'S LECTURES.
Twelve Lectures on the Connection between Science and Revealed
Religion. Delivered in Rome by Nicholas Wiseman, D. D. M. R. S.L. Principal of the English College, and professor of Oriental languages in the University of Rome. Andover and New York: Gould & Newman, 1837, 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 404.
Perhaps one way in which the prejudices of members of the Romish church against the protestant faith may be removed, and the conversion of that church from her errors effected, is for Protestants to exhibit a spirit of candor in respect to the literary productions of Roman catholics. Protestants sometimes show a narrow-mindedness and bigotry in this matter, which must be any thing but favorable to the cause which they have at heart. Can any good thing come out of Italy or Austria, is the almost instinctive inquiry? Can catholic Germany furnish any literary production which is worthy of protestant patronage, or which is not tinged with some lurking poison? We heartily deprecate such a spirit. We welcome any contributions to literature or science, come from what country, or religion, or college they may. There is but one literary republic. In the field of intellect and taste, all are fellow-laborers. It is surely time for Protestants utterly to abjure that self-complacent spirit which looks with a jealous eye, or which makes war, on every thing out of its own pale. There are Roman catholic writers of the present century, living and dead, to whom the whole literary and christian world are under obligations. The biblical labors of Jahn at Vienna and of Hug at Freyberg are known throughout Christendom. Scholz of Bonn has completed a very learned and valuable critical edition of the New Testament. Schlösser is one of the ablest historians of the age. Alber, Ackermann and Molitor are not unknown in sacred literature. Stolberg has genius and erudition. Frederick Schlegel's labors will not soon perish. In Italy, Rosellini is carrying away the palm from all the investigators of Egyptian antiquities.
To these we may now add the name of Dr. Wiseman.
Though not, perhaps, likely to be particularly distinguished for original study and research, yet his labors in condensing, systematizing, and illustrating the thoughts and discoveries of others are of great value. He was born in Spain of English parents, about forty years ago. He has charge of twenty or thirty young Englishmen at Rome, who are preparing for the service of the British catholic church. He has within a few years published a learned work, entitled: "Horæ Syriacæ, seu commentationes et anecdota res vel literas Syriacas spectantia.” In 1836, he published, in London, a number of Lectures on the Doctrines and Practices of the Roman Catholic Church.*
The Lectures in the volume before us were drawn up for private instruction, and read by Dr. Wiseman as an introductory course to the study of theology. In 1835, they were repeated to a large and select auditory. His object is to show the correspondence between the progress of science, and the development of the christian Evidences. He treats of revealed religion alone, without entering the field of natural theology. A principal part of his task is to show, that the very sciences, whence objections have been drawn against religion, have themselves, in their progress, entirely removed them. The early stage of many of the sciences furnishes objections to religion, to the joy of the infidel and the dismay of the believer; consequently many discourage these studies as dangerous ; in their advance, however, these sciences first remove the difficulties drawn from their imperfect state, and then even replace them by solid arguments in favor of religion. Hence, it is essentially the interest of religion to encourage the pursuit of science and literature, in their various departments.
The subject of the first two lectures is Ethnography, or the classification of nations from the comparative study of languages. It is also known by the name of Linguistique, and Comparative Philology. Dr. W. first gives a compendious history of philological ethnography, including the labors of men now dead, and the researches of living authors. The result seems
* The following are the Contents: 1. Introduction—mode proposed; 2. The Protestant rule of faith ; 3. The Catholic rule of frith ; 4, and 5. Church Authority ; 6. Success of Protestant Missions ; 7. Success of Catholic Missions ; 8. Headship of Peter, and supremacy of the see of Rome; 9. Church Authority ; 10. Penance-confession ; 11. Penance, satisfaction--purgatory ; 12. Worship of angels, saints, relics ; 13, 14, and 15. Transubstantiation.
to be that there is sufficient evidence, that the comparative study of languages has brought into certain relationship many languages which had seemed before divided asunder, forming thereof groupes or families, so that nations and tribes covering vast tracts of territory are in this study accounted as only one people. Its subsequent researches tend in every instance to lessen the number of independent languages, to widen the pale of these larger provinces, and to bring the number of original stocks much nearer to what might be supposed to have suddenly arisen among the few inhabitants of the earlier world. The next important step is to ascertain, whether any relationship can be discovered between languages of different families, so as to infer that they have once been in closer connection than at present ; in other words, that they descend from a common stock. The researches of various scholars seem to have proved that there are extraordinary affinities between families of languages,-affinities existing in the very character and essence of each language, so that none of them could have ever existed, without those elements in which the resemblances consist. Now, as this excludes all idea of one having borrowed them from the other, as they could not have arisen in each by independent processes, and as the radical difference among the languages forbids their being considered dialects or off-shoots from one another, we are driven to the conclusion, that, on the one hand, these languages must have been originally united in one, whence they drew these common elements essential to them all; and, on the other, that the separation between them, which destroyed other no less important elements of resemblance, would not have been caused by any gradual departure, or individual development, but by some violent, and unusual force, sufficient alone to reconcile these conflicting appearances, and to account at once for the resemblances and the differences. Alexander von Humboldt remarks respecting the American languages: “ However insulated certain languages may at first appear, however singular their caprices and their idioms, all have an analogy among them, and their numerous relations will be more perceived as the philosophical history of nations, and the study of languages, shall be brought to perfection.” Klaproth, in his Asia Polyglotta “flatters himself, that the universal affinity of languages is placed in so strong a light, that it must be considered by all as completely demonstrated." The ancient Egyptian, now fully identified with the Coptic, presents very extraordinary points of contrast Vol. IX. No. 26.
with the Indo-European and Semitic families of languages; not indeed sufficiently distinct to make it enter into either class, but yet sufficiently definite and rooted in the essential constitution of the language, to prevent their being considered accidental, or a later engrafting thereupon. The conclusion of the whole is, that so far as languages, in their comparative bearings may be heard in evidence on the subject, the entire human race formed originally one family.
In the third and fourth lectures, Dr. Wiseman considers the physical differences which distinguish the human form, in various regions of the globe, in order to remove a difficulty which strikes directly at the unity of the human race, and its origin from one stock. “ The Word of God always considers mankind as descended from one parent, and the great mystery of redemption rests on the belief that all men sinned in their common father. Suppose different and unconnected creations of men, and the deep mystery of original sin and the glorious mystery of redemption are blotted out of religion's book.” It becomes, then, important to answer the reasoning of those, who maintain that it is impossible to reduce the many varieties of human families into one species, or to trace them to one common progenitor. Mankind were for a long time classified according to the prevalent complexion in different parts of the world; the very white occupying the colder regions, the black the torrid, and the fair the temperate region. Governor Pownall, in 1663, suggested the propriety of attending to the form of the skull in the various families of mankind. Camper has the merit of having first devised a rule by which the heads of different nations might be mutually compared, so as to give definite and characteristic results. His rule consists in what is called the facial angle. But to Blumenbach we owe the system of classification now almost universally adopted. He places the skull in its natural position on a table, and then looks upon it from above and behind, and the relative forms and proportions of the parts thus visible, give him what he calls the vertical rule. Following this, he divides the entire human race into three principal families, with two intermediate ones. The three leading divisions he calls the Caucasian or central, the Ethiopian, and the Mongol. Between the Caucasian and the negro is the Malay ; between the Caucasian and the Mongol is the American variety. In the Caucasian, the general form of the skull is more symmetrical; the cheek and jawbones are concealed entirely
by the greater prominence of the forehead. From this type, the other two depart in opposite directions, the negro by its greater length and narrowness, the Mongol by its excessive breadth. The general surface of the negro skull is remarkably elongated and compressed. The Mongol forehead is much depressed, and the upper jaw is protuberant. The three families, and the two intermediate races have different complexions. The grand problem to be solved is, how could such varieties ' have taken their rise in the human species? Was it by a sudden change, which altered some portion of one great family into another; or are we to suppose a gradual degradation, whereby some nations or families passed gradually through successive shades, from one extreme to the other? And, in either case, which is to be considered the original stock? The present state of science does not warrant us in expressly deciding in favor of either hypothesis. But, independently of this, it has arrived so far as to leave no reasonable doubt of the common origin of all the races. The following points, embracing all the elements of the problem, seem to have been satisfactorily solved. First, that accidental, or as they are called, sporadic varieties, may arise in one race, tending to produce in it the characteristics of another; secondly, that these varieties may be perpetuated; thirdly, that climate, food, civilization, etc. may strongly influence the production of such varieties or, at least, render them fixed, characteristic, and perpetuate them. Dr. W. then goes on to prove both from parallel phenomena in the lower departments of organized creation, and from the deviations occasionally observed in the human species, that a strong probability exists in favor of the varieties found in our own race
sprung up from the same stock. He then proves that a transition must some time or other, have taken place in entire nations, from one family to another. Nations speaking languages with a strong affinity between them must have been originally united. Yet nations possessing identity in the elements of speech differ from one another in physical characteristics to such an extent, as to be now classified in different races; these characteristics must thereby be proved liable to change, for one of the nations must have lost its original type. No one can doubt but that the Hungarians, Finns, etc. are of the same family with tribes inhabiting the eastern part of Siberia. Yet their physical characteristics are singularly distinct. The Abyssinians are perfectly black, but yet belong by origin to a