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Greek version of the Septuagint by Origen. It became an object of importance to fix the character of this translation, not only on account of the various readings it might furnish, but as a means of ascertaining whether the Greek text of the edition of Origen now current, was exactly the same as that which existed when the Syriac version was made.
Such an examination could be made only by a man thoroughly versed in oriental studies; M. de Sacy, then in his twentythird year, (1780) undertook the task. Ile committed to writing some notes on the subject, which he forwarded to Eichhorn, and these furnished the latter with materials for a notice of the manuscript.*
In 1783, M. de Sacy turned his attention to the Hebrew text of two letters, which had been addressed by the Samaritans, near the end of the sixteenth century, to Joseph Scaliger. The Samaritans are the remnants of the twelve tribes of Israel, who, after the death of Solomon, separated from the tribe of Judah, and formed a distinct state. They then formed several communities at Naplouse and elsewhere, and retaining the creed and precepts of Moses, as exhibited in the Pentateuch, but rejecting all the books posterior to the time of Moses. Their rites and observances differ in seyeral points from those of the Jews. Scaliger, at a period when the controversy between Catholics and Protestants was at its height, and when both parties sought among the different communities, Jewish as well as Christian, a confirmation of their respective creeds, conceived the idea of writing to the Samaritans of Naplouse, and those of Egypt, for a correct account of their religious rites, and for a copy of their sacred books. The Samaritans wrote in reply; but the answer did not arrive till after the death of Scaliger. M. de Sacy made a copy of the Hebrew text, which he accompanied with a Latin version and notes; and the whole was published by Eichhorn.f
Independently of his biblical studies, which he continued through the whole of his life, M. de Sacy had begun to consider the East in all its aspects, profane as well as sacred, in its geography, history, and various creeds. His acquaintance with Arabic was of material service to him in these re
• Vol. vii. of the Repertorium, p. 225, seq.
searches. He soon added to his knowledge of Arabic, that of Turkish and Persian; two languages, which being foreign to the genius of the Semitic tongues, required new investigations on his part. M. de Sacy never carried the study of Turkish to any great extent; but to Arabic and Persian he did not intermit his application during the remainder of his life, and his knowledge of these two languages became in time unexampled in Europe. At the period when he commenced the study, the facilities which are now to be found -facilities which are, in a great measure, his own makingdid not exist. Reiske who had studied the Arabic language most deeply, had died several years previously without having been able to publish the work which did him the greatest honor. The Schultenses, father and son, who, for half a century, had shed such lustre on the University of Leyden, were also dead, and their successors were not in a condition to complete what they had begun. With regard to Persian, students were unprovided with correct texts to any considerable extent. Sir William Jones in England, and Baron Rewicsky in Germany, although they cultivated Persian literature, had not undertaken to supply this desideratum. M. de Sacy had recourse to persons who had resided long in the Levant.
But M. de Sacy was not entirely absorbed in literary pursuits. Even at this period as well as subsequently, he combined a capacity for public business with the cultivation of letters. In 1781, he was appointed to the office of counsellor to the mint.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ART. V.-CHANNING ON SELF-CULTURE.
SELF-CULTURE. An address introductory to the Franklin Lectures
delivered at Boston, September, 1838. By William E. Channing, Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, Printers. pp. 81.
DR CHANNING has attained an enviable distinction in the literary world.
As a writer of moral and philosophical essays, we may safely say he has no living equal. As a proclaimer of eloquent and quickening thoughts, we know not the writer in this department in the whole range of English
literature, who can be justly deemed his superior. We speak of Dr Channing as an essayist, not to depreciate his powers in other respects, but because his finest efforts have been made in this style, and posterity will forget him as a theologian, while he shall continue to be admired as an elegant and eloquent writer.
All his writings are characterised by eminent purity and choiceness of language, and by a nervous simplicity of diction, which yet is easy, flowing, and free from affectation. Sometimes they have a certain air of nice elaboration—the art not wholly concealed—but oftener while we read, we forget the style, or rather are persuaded by it to remember only that we are in communion with a mind of powers, freely disclosing to us the truth it has attained, and uttering to us without hindrance or suppression, its noble thoughts and aspirations. The individuality charms us. It is not the mind only that we see, but the whole man. We could forgive gross neglect of rhetoric, of which Dr Channing is never guilty, to the writer who can so control us.
The philosophical character of Dr Channing's writings has been both censured, and commended, we think with little discrimination. We have not now room to examine this topic. We can only say, that, if to be the originator of a system, is the mark of a philosopher, that is not his merit, as we believe it is not his claim. If to have made discov. eries, strictly so called, of facts, or principles, or relations, is necessary to complete the title, we shall hardly be disposed to give him that rank. But if to find realities in what are to most men mere words -- to have penetrated to the heart of things, while the most grasp only at the shadow and are content with the form,-if in morals to discern between the precious and the vile, by meditation and inward experience to apprehend the nature and to appreciate the worth of the great familiar principles of duty, and of moral action, which like the air and light we well know, but think not of,—if to have found life in virtue and being in truthif to look through the material elements which enshroud our daily life, and to find its spiritual uses and relations, and to have seized upon the great purposes of our being, vainly it may be and imperfectly, yet with manly earnestness,-if any or all of these make the philosopher, Dr Channing merits no low rank in that illustrious society.
We more highly respect the humble individual whose life has been devoted to increasing the happiness and strengthening the virtues of his narrow circle of acquaintances, than him who brings report of newly discovered islands. And in like manner, we judge that he who has wrought out a new problem, or ascertained a new species, has rendered a less excellent service to humanity, than he has done who has tasked himself to persuade men, and who has taught with the eloquence of deep conviction, the supremacy of duty over pleasure, of conscience over worldly interest and fear, of virtue and the moral life over wealth and fame and learning
We shall again and again recur to the subject of self-culture, and endeavor to set forth its end, and principles and method, and may hereafter more fully review the positions taken by Dr Channing in this lecture. At present we can only say that we are glad to find him bringing his contributions to this noble science, and though we may not assent to all his statements, and may find occasion to suggest material deficiences and omissions, we shall delight to labor in the same field, with the same love of truth and kindliness of spirit.
After some preliminary remarks, which in some quarters will be thought to savor of radicalism, but which fairly interpreted contain no more than the principles universally recognised among us, the lecturer proceeds, I, to unfold the idea of self-culture, which is considered in its several relations, as moral, religious, social, intellectual, and practical ; and more fully considers it in two branches, the perception of beauty, and the power of utterance. II. He discusses the means of self-culture; to choose it as an end, to control the animal appetites, to seek intercourse with superior minds, to free ourselves from the power of human opinion and example, and the occasions furnished by every man's occupation and by our peculiar institutions. The recommendations of general measures for the support of education, as by appropriating the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, and some answers to objections to the practicableness of universal culture conclude the lecture. We should be glad to quote many of the beautiful and exhilarating passages with which the lecture abounds. In our present number we have room for only two.
“ One thing above all is needful, and that is, the Disinterestedness which is the very soul of virtue. To gain truth, which is the great object of the understanding, I inust seek it disivterestedly. Here is the first and grand condition of intellectual progress. I must choose to receive the truth, no matter how it bears on myself. I must follow it, no matter where it leads, what interests it opposes, to what persecution or loss it lays me open, from what party it severs me, or to what party it allies. Without this fairness of mind, which is only another pbrase for disinterested love of truth, great native powers of understanding are perverted and lead astray; genius runs wild; the light within us becomes darkness.” The subtlest reasoners, for want of this, cheat themselves as well as others, and become entangled in the web of their own sopbistry. It is a fact well known in the history of science and philosophy, that men gifted by nature with singular intelligence, have broached the grossest errors, and even sought to undermine the grand primitive truths on which human virtue, dignity and hope depend. And on the other hand, I have known instances of men of naturally moderate powers of unind, who by a disinterested love of truth and their fellow creatures, have gradually risen to no small force and enJargement of thought. Some of the most useful teachers in the pulpit and in schools, have owed their power of enlightening others, not so much to any natural superiority, as to the simplicity, impartiality and disinterestedness of their minds, to their readiness to live and die for the truth. A man, who rises above himself, looks from an eminence on nature and providence, on society and life. Thought expands as by a natural elasticity, when the pressure of selfishness is removed. The moral and religious principles of the soul, generously cultivated, fertilize the intellect. Duty, faithfully performed, opens the mind to Truth, both being of one family, alike immutable, universal and everlasting." p. 19-20.
“It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior miods, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levellers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence of the best and greatest of our race. No matter how poor I am. No matter though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the Sacred Writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof, if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakspeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the working of the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his practical wisdom, I shall not pine for want of intellectual companionship, and I may become a cultivated man though excluded from what is called the best society in the place where I live.” p. 40.