THE TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES OF THE REVEREND JOSEPH
WOLFF.* WE believe Dr. Wolff to be an earnest, benevolent man, with some shrewdness, and not without clear intellectual vision, as far as it goes, only it does not go very far. His is a straightforward mind, but not, we should say, a logical mind. Its very direct- ness, however, sometimes lends it a kind of logical character. Strong feeling, ardent impulse, sympathetic prepossession, and not ratiocinative faculty, or philosophical comprehensiveness, cha- racterize this good missionary. We have looked over the first volume of these Travels and Adventures, written as we under- stand to his dictation, with some interest and great amusement. Its artless, outspoken, gossipping style of narrative is its chief
i recommendation. It s a very Odd 'and very pious book. We have heard Mr. George Borrow called the larking missionary ; Dr. Wolff should be called the eccentric missionary.
Wolff was born, we believe at a little village called Weilera- bach, in the district of Bamberg in 1795. His father was a Rabbi and his family belonged to the tribe of Levi. When a boy, Wolff used to believe in the great fish leviathan, and the large'ox, which are tq feast the Hebrew gentlemen and ladies, in the still expected messianic banquet. Early in life, however, he became impressed with a conviction of the divinity of Christ. In 1811 he went to Saxe-Weimar, where he studied under Lenz. He had previously read the writings of Paulus, and the Wolfenbuttel Fragments. Disgusted with Protestantism, he de- termined. to be baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Sub- sequently he became acquainted with a late entertaining Member for Surrey; and after attending a Quaker's meeting, cold a Bap- tist service, and visiting a Methodist minister, nnderiMr. Drum- mond's auspices he was taken finally by that genAleman to an episcopal chapel, and so enchanted was he with thti devotion and beauty of the English ritual, that he henceforth considered him- self a member of the Church of England. At Weimar, Wolff was befriended by Johannes Falk, the satiri- cal poet. Falk advised him to remain a Jew. One day when they were walking together they met Goethe, who pleased at hearing that young Wolff had read Egmont, patted the boy on the head, and told him to follow the bent of his own mind, and not listen to what Falk said.
"Wolff was not pleased with the religion of Weimar, for al- though the men he met there were far from being infidels, still the religion of Herder, Goethe, Schiller, and Wieland was a nix- tare of poetical, philosophical, half Christian, half Hindoo =ae- rials, and not at all to his taste. They swore by Prometheus, and sympathized with Ariadne upon Naxos : Kant and Fichte had been their saints and subjects of daily meditation."
Wolff got on much better in England "with the uncompro- mising and highly principled George Anthony Denison and. his most excellent wife;" with Drummond, Lewis Way, and "that man of God," Simeon. He tells us that Simeon was a good, sound churchman ; and if he were now alive, he and Archdeacon Denison i would love each other as brothers n Christ.Moreover, "Dr. Wolff subscribes ex toto animo to Simeon's views on baptismal re- generation; and Dr. Hook, the Dean of Chichester, agrees also with Simeon on this point ; " which is pleasant to hear.
Dr. Wolff's high churehmanship seems to ns of a very commend- able kind ; his view, to a great degree, being that members of the living church of 6hrist are to be found among the baptized members of all denominations ; " whilst, on the other hand, he maintains that the only divinely constituted Church is that which has preserved the Apostolieal succession." Wolff, however, has strong antipathies. He especially repro- bates "the filthy Calvinism of certain preaching lieutenants of the
• Trareis and Adventures of the Beverend Joseph Wolf, LL.D., Vicar of Ile Brewers, near Taunton, and Missionary to the Jews and Mohammedans in Persia, Bokhara, Cashmeer, &c. Published by Saunders, Otley and Co. Navy ; " and Bokhti, the Swedish Consul-General, he charac- terizes as "a nasty atheist and infidel !" Some of Wolffs ex- pressed opinions, too, are highly original. Men are not ordered in the New Testament, he thinks, to preach against super- stition. "Twice superstition is mentioned, and twice not only not censured, but mentioned in a favourabk manner." Belief comes natural to Dr. Wolff. He has more confidence in the traditions of the Arabs than in all the criticism of Robinson and Stanley; he believes "the tomb of our blessed Lord pointed out as such is the very tomb where he was laid, and the stone which is pointed out as the stone rolled away by the angel is the identical stone ! " This patronage of superstition and credulity recalls a famous al- literative toast, given, we have heard, by a humourous Cantab, of .rather conservative views, in or about the days of "the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill" :—Tithes, tories, taxes, bishops, bigots, boroughmongers I Dr. Wolff seems to approve of the practice if not of the spirit of the age, when he tells us how Samson at last paid off "haughty Delilah" and 3000 of her coun- trymen as well. "Poor Samson," he continues, "ought to have had a little more of the resolution and the spirit of General Haynau, and have given her a good sound horsewhipping, which all gossip- ing women deserve." What would the chivalrous Ariosto have said to this—he who wrote :— "Fermi non sol gran mal, ma che I' corn faccia Contra nature, e sia di dio ribello., Che s'induce a percuotere la faccut Di belle donna, o romperle un capello Ma chi le a veneno, o chi le eaccia L'alma del corpo con laccio o coltello, Ch'uomo sic quel non erederto in elm-no
., Ma in vista umana on Spirto dell' inferno."
-7 Orlando Furioso, Canto v., iii. Women, however, are very aggravating, though to turn the tables on Mrs. Stowe's Candace, them's a good deal better than r.uffin.
Sometimes we find a remark in this volume of Travels and Ad- ventures, which, like the English Homilies, contains very whole- some doctrine for the times. At Albury Park, in Surrey, where Mr. Drummond assembled a select party of pundits to discuss unfulfilled prophecies, each person spoke out his peculiar views, while Wolff was chosen to interpret the original Hebrew. Dr. Mooneil, Lords Mandeville and Riley, Dodsworth, Marsh, Frere, and Irving, were present on this occasion. "The result of these raeetings was that all became of opinion that the system of in- terpreting fulfilled prophecy in a grammatical, historical, or as it is commonly, but not quite correctly. called, literal sense ; and unfulfilled prophecy in a phantommtng, or what is commonly called, spiritual manner, is a miserably rotten system, and one leading to infidelity." If, reasons Dr. Wolff, the 'Virgin literally did bring forth a son, then literally, and not figuratively-, "the Lard God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall rule over -the house of Jacob for ever." So convinced is Dr. Wolff of the fallacy of the ungrammatical or spiritual system of prophecy, that he does not hesitate to protest against it, as "an almost blasphemous trifling with the word of God." As an expositor of prophecy our eccentric evangelist is nobly ingenuous. He had predicted the Messianic Advent in 1847. He now ac- knowledges that in hazarding this prediction he made a great mistake ; which, comlidering- all things, we think not at all ._.„geffeutrz C. But yet more. "Wolff has long ago given \ ......- up attem ting to fix a date for the accomplishment of unful- filled prop cies." He has also entirely given up regarding "the 1260 d s as so many years, but believes them to be literal days." Whe will Dr. Cumming go and do likewise ? To that eminent soothsayer and inspector of the viscera of the Future we recommend an imitation of this high-minded self-iconoclasm. :Then we shall cease to hear that the author of The Great Tribu- ,lation has been "taunted with having., notwithstanding his belief Lat the world was to come to an end in 1867, recently renewed e lease of a cottage for ten years." Then, too, our prophet will perhaps be prepared with a more consistent answer to this taunt "that a belief in prophecy should not override common sense." Dr. Cumming evidently thinks at present that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Millennial prospects are not without their charm; bathe prefers " the sweet simplicity of the Three per Cents" to the accumulating interest of the Bank of Faith. Heaven, as Mr. Pycroft's sailor was of opinion, is all very well, but old England's the place for him. We cannot follow Dr. Wolff from Albury to Alexandria, (a from Cornhill to Cairo. We cannot describe how be visited Rome, Jerusalem, Bagdad, Sheeraz, Ispahan' Armenia, Circassia -(where the -cream comes from f), or the desert of Cayen, where an 'old man "praise be to God, the mighty and the glorious," found, -not a -fOrtune in pepper, but " half a rupee." Dr. Wolff, like Ulysses, has seen the cities and manners of men. To keep to the latter category, he saw those of Prince Hohenlohe, Madame de Xrndener, Lustaneau, "'le prtiphate" of Lady Hester Stanhope, and Sir Charles James 'Napier. We shall conclude our notice of Dr. Wolff and his book by quoting a passage which pleasingly illus- trates the manners of his distinguished military friend, showing, among other things, that
"ingenues didicisse fideliter artes Emollit mores nee sinit ease fares."
"Sir Charles Napier went on to say, 'Now, Wolff, yOu are not allowed to land ; but I and my friend Kennedy and Dr. Muir, will often come to see you. I shall send you victuals from shore and you can do just what you like. You must remain here twenty-six days, for we don't wish to catch -the plague; though its all a humbug. I shall come tomorrow with the Jews and Greeks to whom you may preach. You may tell them that there is
no difference between Jew and Greek,—for they are both rogues alike.' Sir Charles was nevertheless a great lover and friend of the Greeks.
"seat day he actually came with a great crowd of both Jews and Greeks, and said, 'Now ! here I am come to stand by you. If you cannot convert them, they shall get a d—d good licking!' Wolff reproved Napier for swearing, to which he answered, deserve the reproof for I swear like a trooper.'
"After Wolff had been for some days in that horrible Lazzaretto, he wrote to Sir Charles Napier a long letter, assigning six reasons which ought to induce Sir Charles to let him out sooner than the twenty-sixth day. "Sir Charles answered this letter as follows :— "'You gave me six reasons for letting you out ; I will give you seven reasons for keeping you in. One of the reasons is,—That if I let you out sooner, the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands would out off my head.'
"However in spite of that, he gave Wolff six days grace, and took him into his house ; and Wolff maintains, that he never in his life saw a more affectionate father and tender husband, or a man who set a better example by having daily family Forayers in his home ; and on Sunday Wolff held divine service and preached there. For Sir Charles assembled in his house all the Jews ; and to those who knew how to read he gave the Bible. One of the Jews wanted a Bible. Sir Charles Napier immediately asked, Do you know how to read ? ' The Jew said, Yes.' Sir Charles Napier then said, Read,' and put a Bible into his hand. But the man did not know how to read, on which Sir Charles Napier exclaimed, I have a good mind to give you a d—d licking ! the soundest licking you ever got.'"