Page images

during the last quarter of the second century, the Gospels in question were attributed to the writers whose names they now bear. Nay, he takes his stand upon certain grounds conceded by his opponents, and shows that these books could have been written by none else than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He makes it quite manifest, besides, that the witnesses to this fact carry far more credibility in their testimony than any who might have spoken in a similar style concerning Horace or Tacitus, because the fathers were official personages, who, as the organs of their fellow Christians, spoke in the name of the whole. They must have been set right by many had they been wrong. But this they have not been; on the other hand, their attestations,which are numerous, and given in very diversified circumstances, all tend to the same irresistible conclusion.

Mr. Norton, in his chapter on the testimony of Papias, as that testimony has been handed down by Eusebius, shows that the genuineness of Matthew and Mark's Gospels is thereby established, and that of Luke's has the attestation of himself in the proem to his" Acts of the Apostles." Indeed, other books of the New Testament, which have been universally received as genuine by Christians, frequently refer to the Gospels as genuine also; and had they not been known by the writers of these Epistles," &c. as having emanated from the highest authority-the authority of those who had constant opportunities of associating with the Saviour, and being of the number of his disciples, it is impossible that they could have been thus relied upon.

It will be objected, perhaps, that there are such discrepancies between the several Gospels, as to lead to the belief, that they cannot all have emanated from faithful witnesses who spoke from their own experience and personal observation. It would be much wiser to assert, however, that these very peculiar discrepancies furnish some of the strongest circumstantial evidence in favour of the Christian code, and only prove that there could be no unfair or secret concert concocted on the part of the four Evangelists in anticipation of objections; for they are just such discrepancies as persons best acquainted with the features of unimpeachable human testimony, hold to be the strongest possible hinges and ligatures of truth. Persons deeply read in biblical criticism, know well that scholars and commentators have found out the most perfect and striking agreement and mutual support between many of those contradictions, which at first sight may appear the greatest in the four Gospels.

Connected with this view of the subject, Mr. Norton clearly shews that the discrepancies alluded to were observed by the fathers, and were to them, especially to Origen, the cause of great perplexity. But he renders it equally clear that these early believers never endeavoured to get out of such difficulties by impugning the authority,

or doubting the genuineness of the records-thus furnishing one of the most satisfactory proofs, that the origin and the authors of the Gospels were too well known to be questioned. At the same time the four Gospels were all equally esteemed, whereas had three of them, as Eichhorn's school would have it, been compiled and thrown among the Christians at once, their mutual discrepancies would have brought them into irretrievable discredit and oblivion. But as the authorship of these books was fully and incontestibly ascertained, the sacred authority of their authors had far more weight than to be even weakened by certain seemingly inconsistent portions of their narratives.

Such is a hasty and very imperfect glance at some of Mr. Norton's arguments in support of the two important points discussed by him. The numerous notes which enrich the work display learning, research, and such specimens of dignified, cogent, and perspicuous criticism as have rarely been excelled. Taking the volume as a whole, while it strictly keeps to circumstantial testimony-and this in very many cases consists of the evidence arising out of the circumstances of human testimony, sometimes negative, at other times affirmative-sometimes expressed, and at other times tacit-the proofs in support of the genuineness of the four Gospels, and which go to the identifying and ascertainment of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as the only authors of the books which pass under their respective names, are triumphant, and ought to silence the Eichhorn school for ever. In spite of all the learning, ingenuity and bright, as well as bold imaginings which that theorist and some of his followers have exhibited, our author has convicted them of so many misstatements and of so many crudities and inaccuracies, that they evidently deserve to be trusted only when what they assert can independently be verified.

Before closing our notice of this volume, it is proper to quote a passage from the Preface with regard to the portions of the work which are to follow.

"It is my purpose next to show the strong confirmation of the more direct historical evidence, afforded by the manuer in which the Gospels were regarded by the early Gnostic heretics; a field which, though not untrodden, has been unexplored; and then, after endeavouring to remove some misapprehensions respecting the historical, to proceed to the collateral evidence for the genuineness of the Gospels. The larger portion of the manuscript of the remainder of the work has been written; but it is yet to be subjected to revision, and, after my past experience, it would be unwise for me to hazard a calculation respecting the time that may be required to prepare for the public the two volumes which will finish my design. Should life and health be granted me, I shall proceed as I have proposed; but it should be observed, that this volume is, in its nature, an independent work, and might have been so published, had no others been intended to follow."


ART. VI.-London As It Is; being a Series of Observations on the Health, Habits, and Amusements of the People. By JOHN HOGG, M.D., EDIN., late House Surgeon to the University Dispensary; Hospital Assistant to the North London Hospital. London: Macrone.


"LONDON As It Is" and "The Great Metropolis" are two very different sorts of works. The latter, as our readers know, deals in spirited sketches of men, manners, and things-sometimes general, and sometimes individual, but always such as would yield a picture addressed to the imagination, rather than in cold or dry calculations, or any thing in the shape of suggestions for the consideration of the economist. The present treatise, on the other hand, is in a great measure a statistical performance; or, when it leaves off treating of statistical facts, it for the most part becomes speculative about matters, however, which properly fall within the sphere of statistical writers; for whether stating facts or offering suggestions, the author uniformly has his eye directed to points which immediately concern the physical or moral health of the citizens of the Metropolis. London is indeed a subject that is sufficient to occupy half-a-dozen distinct works, without being exhausted, or without any one of the writers of these works being obliged to trespass upon the domain of another; so that it would become to each of these reapers of such an abundant harvest, a matter of primary importance that they should have a properly defined department in view before putting forward the hand to gather in the crop, and next that they scrupulously confined themselves to this department. These necessary objects have, whatever may be the other merits of the present treatise, been closely observed by our medical author. He has also done what ought to recommend his work, compressed an immense store of materials into a neat, small, and cheap volume, besides putting forward whatever he has to say, when the thing is doubtful in point of fact, or when the statement is novel or speculative, in a tone remarkable for its modesty as well as for its plainness. He admits that the sources of his information, besides being greatly scattered and often difficult of attainment, were not unfrequently grievously deficient when obtained, and that, moreover, he is himself a novice in the art of authorship. In these circumstances his work ought to be treated with indulgence, even although its defects or errors should be far greater than we think they are. As to the author being a novice in writing, let not that alarm him. According to our opinion, he is a man habituated to reflection—to close and healthy modes of thinking. He is given, manifestly, to habitual observation and to earnest inquiry; and he has but to make his pen

indite the results of these processes, as he has here done, without endeavouring to shine, and he is sure always to write well.

The author's professed object is not to take a panoramic view of the British metropolis, with the intention of producing either a picturesque or a satirical sketch, but to apply, as he himself expresses it, the "microscope to the examination of the beings who inhabit it." His object is to institute an "inquiry into the circumstances which are either prejudicial or conducive to the health and happiness of the people, including a review of their habits, customs, amusements, and morals." In following out this scheme Dr. Hogg compares London as it is, with its condition in former times-with the country-and, lastly, with foreign cities and countries; and in so doing he has gathered and suggested enough to furnish us with materials that are both curious and valuable. Before proceeding to condense a number of these materials, or to extract those which seem more particularly to deserve in our pages to be taken in the shape which the author has given them, it is only necessary to copy from his Preface, that ten years ago he took up his abode in London, that he was soon after appointed resident Medical Officer of the Dispensary of the original London University, which at length merged into the North London Hospital-that the earlier part of his life having been spent in the country, most of the impressions of the metropolis were novel to him, and that being situated as he now was, he could not but observe the difference between not only the classes of maladies prevalent in London and the country, but also between the physical conditions and dispositions of the people. "Observation, casual at first, led to investigation; this extended itself from effects to causes, and the result is in the reader's hands," in the Queen's too, it would appear, for it is dedicated to her by "Permission."

The author sets out with the statement that moral and physical health is not only a fine study, but that the one kind is inseparable from the other. The importance of bodily health, which every one has so much within his command, and which in large towns so much depends upon the arrangements of the governing authorities of the place and of the nation, is hence manifest. This sort of health, says our author is supported on a tripod-the Brain, the Heart, and the Lungs. "Cut off the influence of either of these for a single minute, and death immediately ensues," so essential is each, and so much does each lean on the other. Health for its nutriment longs for simplicity, frugality, and rural retirement. It is, however, wonderfully tractable, adapting itself to climate, habits, and customs, of every shade and description. Yet though these things are in a great measure incompatible with a city residence, it is manifest that health is of greater value in London, for instance, than in the country; for, as in the case of a ship, where the preservation of its

captain is of more importance than that of one of a number of his seamen, so in the metropolis of a kingdom, is the health and vigour of every one who is immediately attached to the helm of affairs. The same will hold true in the case of every person in office, or whose calling affects the interests of a greater number of persons, than were he merely a private individual.

In his third Chapter Dr. Hogg institutes an interesting comparison between the physical condition of certain classes and of certain ages. He says, middle-aged persons enjoy their health best in London, and next to them old people. These facts are shown, he adds, by the population returns. But although it is not to be questioned that there is more difficulty in rearing and preserving the health of children and the young in towns than in rural parts, the fact ought also to have been taken into the account, that a vast number of the inhabitants of the metropolis are middle-aged, or have over-stepped the boundary of youth, before they have ever commenced a city residence. That the middling classes of the people are the longest livers, requires not to be argued ; nor can it admit of much doubt, when we hear the author asserting that from all he has read, and observed, the poor and destitute are the shortest. The picture he draws of the aristocracy-of those, for example, who spend one half the year in London and the other in the country, is anything but complimentary to their looks at the close of the former season. It does appear indeed, that they are not so healthy as the average of the regular inhabitants of the city.

Of the physical condition of the generality of these inhabitants, we have the following picture.

"The appearance of the people in the streets of London is one of the first things that attracts the notice of strangers. The native inhabitants, or those who have been born in the metropolis, and whose forefathers have also resided in it for two or three generations, are somewhat under the middle size, but their limbs and features are generally well formed. They are of spare habit, but rather muscular; they are characterized by firmness of carriage, and an erect, independent air; they move with a steady, measured step, and generally at a very brisk pace. The features are generally very strongly marked, and pointed; the eye in particular presents an openness and fulness that is remarkable. The toutensemble of the countenance bears an air of keenness, animation, and intelligence, that distinguish the Londoner from his country neighbour.

"He is either absorbed in business, or distracted by the thousand engagements that dissipate time, thought, and feeling, in this large metropolis. He has therefore too commonly a look of hurry and abstraction. Wherever he happens to be, he is on the point of going somewhere else; at the moment he is talking on one subject, his mind is wandering to another; and, while paying a friendly visit, he is calculating how he shall economize time so as to pay the other visits allotted to the morning.'"*

"Irving's Sketch Book."

« PreviousContinue »