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presentation copy. There is something of mystery in the fame that attaches to the name of Sir Philip Sidney. That a person born so long ago as “the 29th of November 1554,” should, in the short life of about thirty-two years, have made himself conspicuous in history for his accomplishments—so much so, that at even this remote day he seems to stand before us in his representative character as “ the gentleman,"argues the possession of very extraordinary personal qualities. Such a person was Sir Philip Sidney. He wrote profoundly on state polity; he was more than respectable as a poet,-in the words of Cowper, “ a warbler of poetic prose;"-he produced literary disquisitions of a high order, and many of his epistolary productions are gems of their kind. Yet, in none of these departments was his genius preëminent; he was not the peer of Shakespeare, of Newton, or of Milton. He was distinctively the accomplished gentleman, the pet of his contemporaries, the “ observed of all obseryers; ” and his literary works have an especial charm as bearing in almost every line the impress of his peculiar culture and taste. The unique volume before us contains all the works of Sidney except the “ Arcadia," (the least entertaining to a modern reader of all his productions,) and the “ Psalms,”—the lat. ter not being exclusively his own production. A peculiar feature is the publication of hitherto unpublished letters preserved in the British Museum, and in the (to us) barbarous orthography of the author, and of his time. The reader who does not have an affection for this quaint book will justly excite the suspicion that he lacks poetic taste.
12. Self-Education. Translated from the French of M. Le Baron Degerando. By Elizabeth P. Peabody. Third edition, with Additions. Boston: T. 0. H. P. Burnhamn. 1860. pp. 468.
Let not the reader take alarm, as if there were before him only a dry reiteration of commonplace maxims and exhortations, when he finds that this work purposes to exhibit “ the means and art of moral progress.” Such a suspicion will in the end prove to be wholly baseless. Morals, it is time the world should know, consist in something more than not stealing and not telling lies. Moral progress is the advancement of the whole man in all that pertains to his intellectual and spiritual health ; . and it is the peculiar excellence of this book that it shows how such progress depends upon self-endeavor. The author exhibits theory and the practical application thereof in their natural alliance ; and he brings to bear upon his theme the subtlety of metaphysical disquisition ; the orderly array of facts proper to the statistician ; clear analysis ; and that earnestness of appeal that
springs from a hearty love of his fellows, and an inflexible purpose to do them good. Our author's method, let us say, is the very opposite of that too common attempt of moral treatises, to advance men by means of maxims and rules,-treatises which make reading nothing but a severe penance. He aims to enlighten, and to stir the inner powers of the soul to self-endeavor; to excite native activity, and to give that tone to the motives that shall render rules superfluous. We have found the book full of life,-piquant and fascinating in the purest sense of the word. The translator finds the parallel of Degerando in the lamented friend of education in America, the late Horace Mann. The comparison implies a high praise of the French philanthropist; and will, we trust,-now that this beautifully printed volume makes the result practicable,lead American readers to seek the wisdom which is embodied in the treatise on “ SelfEducation.”
13. The New American Cyclopædia : a Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge. Edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana. Volume VIII. Fagger-Hanau. New York': D. Appleton and Company. Boston: Elliot and White. 1860.
This volume contains, among others, extended articles on " Fulton," " Galileo,” “ Gas," (in view of its scientific accompaniments, peculiarly valuable,)“ Geology," (in itself a manual on the subject,) “Germany," “ German Theology," (in this age a subject full of interest,) “Gold,” “Greece, language and literature,” (an article more than most others, perhaps, showing the difference between the new and the old cyclopædias,) “Hamilton," (Alexander,) and “ Handel.” We could, perhaps, make out several lists equally promising as specimens of the contents of the volume. There are in all near two thousand different articles. Three or four of the larger ones which we have had occasion to consult confirm all that we have heretofore said in praise of the impartiality and—its popular uses taken into the account-comprehensiveness of the work. Let no student fail to avail himself of the volumes as they appear. They will give him an excuse to economize on less important matters; and so put himself in possession of a valuable treasure with but slight consciousness of the pecuniary outlay.
Note.-Several “Literary Notices” already in type, are, much to our regret, unavoidably deferred to the July number.
The Religion of Zoroaster.
Of all the great monarchies of antiquity, the empire of Persia most secures our respect in its prosperity and our sympathy in its fall. Under the reign of such princes as Cyrus and Darius, the usual despotism of the East displayed its magnificence without its ferocity; and the reign of Sapor, prolonged to the utmost limit which Moses assigns to the life of man, lights up the darkness of eastern history with a stream of glory. The Greeks, who were not likely to be too partial, portray the Persian people and the Achemenian kings in brighter colors than they concede to any other foreigners. Xenophon makes Cyrus the Great the subject of an historical novel, illustrating his ideas of a perfect sovereign, and leaves an elaborate eulogy to preserve the memory of Cyrus the younger. Still more favorable is the testimony of the Hebrew historians and prophets, who represent the Persian kings as devout acknowledgers of the true God, the munificent patrons of their nation and religion, and Cyrus in particular as the chosen and anointed of the Lord. 1
The favor and generosity with which the Hebrews were treated, suggest an affinity between the Persian and Jewish religions. It is the religion of either people that chiefly interests us as Christians. There is abundant evidence that, in the time of the Achemenian kings, the religious ideas of the Medes and Persians were far more pure and elevated than those which prevailed in the greater part of the heathen world. They acknowledged, with peculiar distinctness, one Supreme God, opposed to whom was the great Prince of Darkness, almost identical with the Devil of the Jews and Christians. They abjured idols, built no temples, and burned no sacrifices;2 but beneath the open sky, and on the mountain tops, they offered their adorations in the presence of the rising sun. The idolatrous superstitions of their
Oct for the worle of Vulcan; Hystaspes ested fro
neighbors excited their scorn and indignation. Xerxes removed the statue of Belus from the great temple at Babylon.3 Cambyses killed the Egyptian god Apis with his own hand, scoffingly saying that a deity vulnerable by steel was a fit object for the worship of such a people. He ridiculed the image in the temple of Vulcan, and burnt with derision the images of the Cabiri. Darius Hystaspes even threatened the Carthagenians with war unless they desisted from those abominations which peculiarly marked the Punic superstitions. Faith in a future life is the common property of mankind, but the special doctrine of a resurrection is generally considered as of Hebrew origin. Nevertheless Theopompus represents it as a part of the Magian creed so early as the time of Alexander ;7 and it is thought by some that the Jews borrowed it from the Persians. Even a Jewish authority—the talmudic tract Rosh Hashana—admits that the Israelites learned the names of the months and of the angels from their eastern neighbors. It has been conjectured, too, with much plausibility, that the schism of Pharasees and Sadducees originated in the time of the captivity from the influence of Magian doctrines; that the Sadducees, who believed in “neither resurrection, angels, nor spirits," held unmixed the older and simpler religion of the Hebrew Monarchy, while the more popular party had adopted the leading articles of the creed of Zoroaster.
The classic authors of Greece and Rome do not appear to have been conversant with any writings of Zoroaster; yet the frequent notices scattered through their works procured him a high reputation for wisdom. In the third century of our era many spurious books ascribed to him were in circulation, especially among the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics.10 Of these, his “ Oracles ” alone are in part extant, . and have been republished in this country along with other
3 Herodotus i. 183. 4 Id. iii. 29. 5Id. iii. 37. 6 Justin xix. 1. Legati a Dario Persarum rege, Carthaginem venerunt, afferentes edictum, quo Pæni hunanas hostias immolare et canina vesci probibebantur.
7 Diogenes Laert. Proem 9.
8 Dixit Rabbi Simeon bar Lakish: nomina angelorum et mensium ascenderunt in domum Israelis ex Babylone. See Gfrörer's Geschichte des Urchristenthums i. 129.
9 Idem i. 131.
apocryphal fragments. They, however, bear the character of the later Platonism, and have no resemblance to the genuine remains of Zend literature.
In the modern revival of learning, the subject of Zoroaster and his doctrines could scarcely fail to elicit inquiry. The first attempt of any importance to explore this field was made in England by the Rev. Dr. Hyde, who published at Oxford in the year 1700 his Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum eorumque Magorum. The work embodied the results of vast labor, and was all that was possible at that early date, yet is very far short of the present standard of oriental learning. Dr. Hyde was unacquainted with all those original sources which modern Philology has brought to light. His authorities, Greek, Roman and Mahommedan, were alien to the country, race and religion of which they treated, or knew only at second hand the particulars they detailed. The work, however, stimulated the spirit of inquiry which it could not satisfy, and the increasing acquaintance with the East, growing out of the European settlements in India, opened fresh sources of information. It was found that the chief remnant of the ancient Zoroastrians was no longer to be found in Persia, but in India, and that they possessed copies of their canonical books in the ancient and sacred tongues. In the course of the eighteenth century, a number of manuscripts of these books were brought to Europe, which European scholarship was still incompetent to read. Frazer brought several manuscripts from Bombay, and deposited them in the Radcliffe library at Oxford, where they still remain. In 1723, Richard Cobbe, an English merchant, presented to the Bodleian library at Oxford a manuscript of the Vendidad-sade, the liturgical text-book of the Parsees. These various acquisitions, however, were made without any definite plan or idea of their value. But in 1754, Anquetil du Perron, a young and enthusiastic French scholar, having happened to see a few pages copied with tracing paper from some of the Oxford manuscripts, forthwith formed the determination of being the first to bring copies of these important writings to his native country, and to make their contents known to the learned world. Barthelemy, des Guignes, and others in high position, interested themselves in his purpose of going to Bombay, and there translating the sacred books of the Parsees, under the