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yet spoiled by the corrupt philosophy of the Gentiles. The more learned converts from Paganism, however, retaining a strong tincture of the doctrines of Plato, in the belief of which they had been educated, at length succeeded in rendering it unpopular. Still we are disposed to believe, that it has constituted the real faith of multitudes in all ages of the church, and that it is held by vast numbers at the present day, even of such as pass with the world,and with themselves, for trinitarians; that could their genuine sentiments be fully exposedlaid open to their own view-they would be surprised to find in them so strong a resemblance to what, under the name of Unitarianism, they have been taught to abhor.
ANNOTATIONS ON THE NEW TESTAMENT. Compiled from the best Critical Authorities, and Designed for Popular Use. By J. P. Dabney.
THE publication of this work in numbers was completed some months since, and we proceed to express, in few words, our opinion of its merit, as the only atonement in our power for omitting to notice it at an earlier date. Many of our readers are, no doubt, already acquainted with its contents; and those, who have carefully examined it, we are confident, will admit that though a work of humble pretensions, it is calculated to be in
an eminent degree useful. The object of the book is
thus stated in the preface. The Prospectus of the following work announced it as intended "for popular use;" a description, to which, it is presumed, in a good degree, it has well conformed. This form of speech was deemed equivalent to "mere English readers." The design was to serve hereby, the ends of those who were unable to seek for scripture truth at its fountain head, or to derive directly the light, which foreign critics have shed upon its pages. But to insure this result, somewhat of cooperation is necessary in the reader. By the word popular, was not meant, a work level to the lowest measure of understanding or attainments; a book, which might, like any English volume, be read right onward, without interruption or delay; read, not studied; and in which, every thing was found prepared to the hands of the most indolent reader. This would certainly have been an egregious mistake. Those who cannot so far task their patience and industry, as to seek out and compare the scripture references with which this work abounds, will find it, not an unprofitable purchase, perhaps, wholly; but certainly, abridged of half its value.'
The work might certainly have been executed in a style and manner better adapted to the great mass of readers. It might have been more copious and diffuse. But its price must in that case have been proportionably increased, a circumstance, which would have greatly impeded its circulation. One of its merits is its conciseness and its consequent cheapness. It contains in
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the compass of 560 duodecimo pages the substance of the labors of the best informed and most judicious critics and interpreters. We know of no work in English, or in any other language, which affords in the same space so many helps to a correct understanding of the New Testament. To be sure it does not supersede the necessity of industry on the part of the reader. He must reflect and compare, but with the assistance of the remarks, hints, and references this little work furnishes, he will not find it difficult, in most cases, to arrive at a satisfactory result.
We mean not to say that Mr Dabney's views of every passage coincide in all respects with our own. In a work of this kind some sentiments and expressions must necessarily occur, which do not meet the approbation of all. Of two or more constructions of which particular passages admit, it is often difficult to decide which is entitled to the preference. In the main however, we think that Mr Dabney has correctly expressed the sense of those portions on which he comments. His style is not always as simple and perspicuous as would be desirable in a work designed for popular use. But still we feel grateful for what he has done, and cheerfully recommend his book to all who are desirous of possessing a concise and cheap commentary on the New Testament. Those who have not access to the works of learned foreign commentators will find it a valuable treasure.
We will conclude this brief notice of the Annotations by quoting from the preface a cautionary remark,
which deserves to be attentively considered by those who would arrive at a correct knowledge of the real import of the sacred writings. In such a body of commentary, it is not to be expected that every part will be equally satisfactory; and it will be nothing strange, if opinions adduced, are, to the eye of many, new, singular, and even offensive. Candor and forbearance. are, in respect to such, asked from the reader. He will do well, not angrily or hastily to reject what, for the moment, revolts him; and the aspect of which is so often found to be sensibly changed by longer acquaintance. That simple rule for the study of the scriptures, hinted at in the Prospectus, may stand in lieu, to the English reader, of a learned system of interpretation, viz. that the scripture use of terms and phrases is EVERYTHING; in the balance with which, modern associations and senses are of no account. What this use is, he can only learn by a long, faithful, and attentive study of the sacred writings.'
BOWLES' NEW SERIES OF ORIGINAL BOOKS FOR CHILDREN. 1830.
It gives us pleasure to notice any improvement in books for children. There is no writer to whom we feel more grateful than to the author of a first rate work for juvenile readers. At the same time we ex
ceedingly regret that so many undertake a task which they arenot qualified to perform well. It seems to be thought that every one who is able to produce an interesting story should be encouraged to labor in this department of literature. What is the consequence? At least two or three fourths of children's books, issued from the press in this country, are almost useless; and a large portion of them deserves a much harsher epithet. Indeed, the standard of excellence, which we wish to see attained, has seldom been reached amongst us. Is it too high? We think not. Have we no writers who could accomplish all we desire? Undoubtedly there are many such, if they had leisure and inclination for the work. Are we asked, to what compositions we would refer as models? We answer, to Miss Edgeworth's, certainly, if she had availed herself more of the motives and sentiments of the gospel; and to Mrs Sherwood's, perhaps, had she not spoiled her books, in many respects excellent, by interpretations of scripture extremely incorrect, and by a spirit of sectarian orthodoxy most revolting to liberal Christians.
But it was not our purpose to write an essay. We only wished to intimate to our readers, that the first three of Mr Bowles' New Series of Original Books for children, now before us, merit a place in our juvenile libraries. Their titles are, The Seymour Family, or Domestic Scenes; Infant Lessons; and Footsteps to Natural History. They are not entirely free from faults; but still we think them considerably superior to the majority of publications belonging to this class, now for sale at the book-stores.