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him in these few words: Melancthon was firm but not violent, modest but not servile, conscientious but not punctilious.” The same character is given bim by Mosheim, in equally expressive and merited terms: “In this great and good man, a soft and yielding temper was joined with the most in violable fidelity, and the most invincible attachment to the truth."
Of the learning, indefatigable perseverance, and great influence of Melancthon, there probably are not two opinions. It must be clear to all, that few, if any minds, shed more light on the principles contended for in that eventful struggle, that no hand performed more labor, and no life rendered more consistent and essential service to the work of regenerating the Christian world. He brought a judgment chastened and enriched by classical study, and a memory stored with various knowledge, to all investigations of truth; and gave evidence that the revival of learning was inseparable, in his view, from that of religion. His almost diminutive figure is said to have continued always meagre, from his abstemiousness and industry. But the vigorous and clear mind beamed from the open countenance, and threw its light into other minds, and distant places, and all subjects on which it glanced, with a power and gentleness blending in higher and more harmonious proportions than has often been witnessed. Germany spoke of him as her Teacher, and bistorians have called him the great doctor of the Lutheran church; while others, with yet greater felicity, have entitled him the pen of the Reformation.
We leave him with a passage from Luther, as honorable to the writer, as to the friend whom he thus commends. They have often been contrasted, but by no one better, perhaps, than by Luther himself, in this passage from his preface to one of Melancthon's Commentaries ; — "I am bora to be for ever fighting with opponents and with the Devil himself, which gives a controversial and warlike cast to all my works. I clear the ground of stumps and trees, root up thorns and briars, fill up ditches, raise causeys, and smooth the roads through the wood. But to Philip Melancthon it belongs, by the grace of God, to perform a milder and more grateful labor, - to build, to plant, to sow, to water, to please by elegance and taste. O bappy circumstance, and shame to their ingratitude who are not sensible of it!" E. B. H.
Art. II. - The True Plan of a Living Temple; or Man
considered in his proper Relation to the Ordinary Occupations and Pursuits of Life. By the Author of “The Morning and Evening Sacrifice," “ The Last Supper,” and “Farewell to Time.” In Three Volumes. 12mo. Edinburgh and London : 1830.
For a general notice of this work, and the other publications by the same author, we must refer the reader to the last Number of the Examiner. * We return to the subject, according to our promise, that we may go on with and finish our analysis of “ The True Plan of a Living Temple,” having brought it down already to the end of the Second Part.
The author, having ascertained, as we have seen, the condition and relations of man, viewed as a subject of God's Universal Kingdom; and having shown that it is his main object, in this relation, to fulfill well the duties of that condition in life, in which he finds himself placed; proceeds in the Third part of the work before us, to inquire “ into the best mode of accomplishing this object." It is not however bis design to give particular directions for the conduct of life in this part, - these being reserved for the fourth or concluding por. tion of the treatise, - but to point out the General Method, by which the real objects of the present existence may be best secured. In addressing himself to this purpose, he first considers Life, or the situation of men in this world, as divided into “ three great fields." The first embraces that high or “Ideal” field, in which the great and pure conceptions of the soul find their fitting objects. The second comprises that visible and tangible " diurnal sphere,” in which are contained the common interests, the hourly vexations, the rough contentions, the daily occupations, and never-ceasing labors of man ; — in a word, the “Actual” and palpable interests of this present life. And the third includes those more minute and more evanescent duties, “which it requires a finer eye to perceive, and much good conscience to improve; but which have a powerful, though often imperceptible influence on the successful issue of the inore obvious and rougher duties which are more constantly in view.” On these “ three
* Christian Examiner, Number LXXIV., for May, 1836, p. 169.
fields” of duty our limits now scarcely permit us to enter. We can do no more than point out a few positions taken by our author, wbich seem to us to be either peculiar to him, or inportant in the practical philosophy of life.
In regard to the “ Ideal, - or the Doctrine relating to a high standard of Excellence,” the prominent position is this;
“ That in order to accomplish the object proposed to man, as a subject of the kingdom of God, he must be careful to preserve a high or pure feeling of the degree of excellence which he is capable of attaining, - in other words, his notion of ideal excellence must be maintained in full power.” In illustrating this very important maxim, he very properly takes a distinction between making this bigh excellence or beau idéal of conduct, or, in other words, perfection, the definite object which a man should propose to bimself, — and employing this imaginary persection as a beautiful and inspiring means of aiding him in the performance of actual duties, which are the proper object of man, considered as a subject of the kingdom of God. There is, certainly, a wide difference, as has already been said, between considering this perfection a fixed and absolute object of desire, beyond which, from its very definition, there is nothing to be done or gained, and regarding it as an Ideal Model, which varies with the attainments of every individual, and with the attainments of the same individual at different times. There is a plain difference between aiming at an impossible and inconceivable perfection of these essentially iinperfect natures of ours, considered as a definite and ultimate result, and placing before us a degree of excellence not yet attained, which, like Virgil's Galatea, only so far reveals itself to our mental vision, as to stimulate pursuit, and ever fees as we 'sue ;
“ Et fugit ad salices, et se cupit ante videri.” And as in all the Arts of Design, which minister to our intellectual tastes, no high excellence can ever be achieved, but by placing before the mind a model of beauty which has never been realized in the most admirable productions of genius ; so, in that most lovely and excellent as well as difficult of all arts, — the Art of Right Ordering one's own Life, we must have always present before the mind a beauty of thought, sentiment, and conduct, which will never permit us to remain satisfied with ourselves as we are, but urges us
to be pressing continually onward, to a high and still higher mark in our high calling. This is the only true and available meaning of those much mystified precepts, which may be all summed up in the injunction, — "Strive after perfection.” He who hopes to gain a sinless and impeccable state of character, will certainly be baffled in bis aim ; and be who, in the literal sense of the terms, aspires to be “perfect, as God is perfect," aspires to become God. This, according to our author, if we rightly understand bim, is the use that should be made of the “Ideal” in fulfilling the proper object of life.
Passing several affiliated topics, we come next to the “ Actual” field of human duty. This second compartment is regarded as comprising those “ rougher and more substantial labors which belong to every man as the occupant of a definite station amidst actually existing interests.” It is the great field of real life, and the author, properly, as we think, assumes the position, that the successful discharge of the duties herein individually imposed upon us, ought to be the great object of our endeavours, and every thing else should bave a direct reference to these duties. Some remarks follow on the 66 dangers incident to ininds too exclusively occupied with notions of ideal excellence," and a reply is given to the question,“ how life and its incidents ought to be viewed,” which contain some very judicious and practical remarks. We may not stop to quote them, but recommend them to the earnest attention of that not altogether uninteresting, but rather useless class of persons, who, standing aloof from all hearty and affectionate intercourse with ordinary life, and burying themselves in comparative retirement, are mainly occupied with reveries concerning an ideal excellence of human nature. They should remember that this excellence, after all, is only a relative thing, and, as far as it is attainable, is not to be gained by discoursing “about it and about it,” however eloquently, but by an earnest grappling with Duty in whatsoever form it comes ; and by a faithful, kind, cheerful obedience to the claim of the passing hour, however humble it may be. .“ To work ! ” says one, whose affectations of style, and constant straining after point and originality of phrase do not prevent him from being, occasionally, an effective writer, —“What incalculable sources of cultivation lie in that process, in that attempt ; how it lays hold of the whole man, not of a small, theoretical calculating fraction of him, but of the whole practical, doing and daring
and enduring man; thereby to waken dormant faculties, root out old errors, at every step.
He tbat has done nothing, has known nothing. Vain is it to sit scheming and plausibly discoursing ; up and be doing! If thy knowledge be real, put it forth from thee. ..... Do one thing, for the first time in thy life do a thing; a new light will rise to thee on the doing of all things whatsoever. Truly, a boundless significance lies in work." The third and last “field"
now opens on our view. It is that of “Small Duties" ;- a field much neglected in the labors of moralists, but one, on every account, most worthy of assiduous cultivation. It comprises that class of minor acts, so called, wbich makes up by far the greater part of the moral probation of most persons.
The occasions for great and difficult virtue are rare, and the triumphs of a Christian man are not, ordinarily, to be won in any single memorable campaign, but in a constant succession of little conflicts, that require more circumspection and watchfulness, than courage or hardihood. It is in the affairs of the passing day and feeting hour, - in the ordinary intercourse of business, - in our quiet relations with neighbours and friends, - in the noiseless paths of common life, in its little vexations, disappointments, temptations, pains, and pleasures, in the bosom of our families, and around the domestic fireside, — that we are, for the most part, to forin and mature our characters.
So it is with the deterioration of our moral powers, and with the growth of sin. We must have been little observant of life, and very beedless of the teachings of our own personal experience, not to have learned, that a willing indulgence in any known fault, however slight we may venture to consider it, infallibly deadens the delicacy of our moral sense; impairs that "integrity” of aims, intention, and feeling, and that entireness of religious purpose, which alone “can preserve us," and thus leads the way to every subsequent step of moral degradation. It is not apocryphal as a maxim of life, however it may want canonical authority, that “ he who contemneth small things, shall fall by little and little.” “Oppose the first beginning of evil,” is a rule of duty so fraught with practical wisdom, that it has gained a proverbial immortality on earth. The descent to moral ruin is not, commonly, by a sudden plunge, but by a gradual declension; and the most