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15.—Job and his Times ; or a Picture of the Patriarchal Age,
during the period between Noah and Abraham, as regards the state of Religion and Morality, Arts and Scia ences, Manners and Customs, etc., and a New Version of that most ancient Poem, accompanied with Notes and Dissertations. By Thomas Wemyss, author of 'Biblical Gleanings,' Symbolical Dictionary,' and other works.
London: Jackson & Walford. 1839. 8vo. pp. 382. Whether as a version or a commentary, the title of this work is somewhat unique ; yet as illustrating the history and biography of a Scripture personage it is strictly appropriate. The design of the author is not only to throw out all the most distinguished lights and shadows of Job's character and experience, but to introduce the reader to patriarchal scenes; to familiarize him with the manners, customs, arts, and sciences of that early period of society. The object is certainly a good one, for a correct knowledge of the meaning of any ancient author can usually be obtained only by a knowledge of his times. The interest and fascination thrown around these primal ages is almost universally felt, yet our actual acquaintance with them is but limited, being gleaned from detached materials scattered here and there through the Scriptures. These, however, Mr. Wemyss has detected with singular acuteness, and seized with the avidity of one who has found great spoil. To give some idea of the result of his researches in this department, we insert a part of his table of contents ;the mechanical art; the military art; modes of travelling i of hunting; of writing; mining operations; precious stones; coins; process of refining ; musical instruments; cosmology ; astronomy; meteorology; aurora borealis; volcanoes ; vegetable productions ; zoology, behemoth and leviathan ; judicial proceedings.
Under these several heads the author has brought together a great deal of curious and interesting matter. As a sample of it we may refer to that entitled Aurora Borealis,’ in respect to which the reader is naturally prompted to inquire what allusion is contained in the book of Job to a phenomenon which has been supposed to be of comparatively recent occurrence ? Such an allusion the author shows to be recognised by the great mass of interpreters in ch. 37: 22, “Fair weather cometh out of the north,' where the original word for "fair weather signifies, in its primary sense, gold ; and in a secondary sense any thing resembling gold in color and lustre. Mr. W. supposes accordingly that the term refers to those radiant streams or flashes of golden light which constitute this splendid spectacle.
The author discovers great diligence in his researches, and much ingenuity in advocating his views of particular texts, though the critical apparatus which he has actually used seems to have been confined in great measure to English commentators. His list of writers on Job contains indeed the mention of some of the principal modern German critics, but we doubt whether he is very familiar with this source of illustration.
The famous passage ch. 19: 25–27, “ I know that my Redeemer liveth," etc., he regards on the whole as not referring to the Messiah, but to God as his future Deliverer and Vindicator on earth. He supposes that the expression “whom I shall see for myself," etc. was fulfilled afterwards when he exclaimed, ch. 42: 5, 'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee,' etc. We cannot profess ourselves convinced of the correctness of his views of this passage, yet we freely admit that much of his reasoning upon it, is very difficult to dispose of. The subject merits an investigation, which we hope ere long to present to our readers in the pages of the Repository:
Taken as a whole, the 'Life and Times of Job' forms a valuable accession to the growing stock of our sound biblical literature, and we trust that a volume so well entitled to a place in every theological library will not be long in finding a publisher in our own country. 16.—The Parent's Friend ; a Manual of Domestic Instruction
and Discipline. By John Morison, D. D., author of • Counsels to a newly-wedded Pair,' etc. etc. etc. ; with a Prefatory Address to Parents in America ; by Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D. New-York: Gould, Newman and
Saxton. 1839. 18mo. pp. 172. This is an age of "Friends, both to young and old, to parents and children, to teachers and pupils, to young men and maidens, and happy should we be to affirm that they were all as well entitled to the name as the little volume that here .comes with its gentle and unobtrusive proffers of counsels to fathers and mothers. We must feel grateful to the intermeditate agency, which at this season of gift-making to the young, has provided so fitting a present for the parental hands which have just emptied themselves of their annual mementos of love and duty to their children.
With but humble pretensions, this little treatise can still
scarcely fail to win its way to the acceptance and confidence and growing estimation of those for whose use it has been so considerately prepared. It comes forward as an exceedingly well-timed assistant to the discharge of the hallowed functions of those whom God hath set in families. Within the most convenient compass it embodies a really large mass of sound and sanctified good sense on the various topics of which it treats. It is seasonable, suitable, practical, adapted, as it is intended, to befriend parents who are to educate their children for heaven. As a vade mecum, replete with hints, principles, suggestions, cautions, rules, encouragements, we cannot conceive of any Christian father or mother who would not be enriched by its possession. The position of the author in the midst of a splendid city population gives him peculiar advantages for estimating and portraying the evil influences which beset parental exertion from that source, and enable him to speak as an instructed monitor on the gayeties, modishness, and follies that under a specious guise war against the soul.
The Prefatory Address of the American Editor is in the happiest vein, and we cannot perhaps speak in more laudatory terms of the volume itself than to say that it is worthy of such an exordium. No one on reading the whole will find that there is any want of keeping between the rich preludium and the brief but pithy sequel.
17.—The School Library, published under the sanction of the
Massachusetts Board of Education. This enterprise is one of momentous consequences. A judicious selection of books, which are to constitute a large part of the reading of the children, and we may add of the parents too of a State,-a selection made with a discriminating literary taste, an accurate apprehension of the wants of the community, and a regard to sound principles of religion and morality, may be not only one of the strongest influences in elevating the poor and informing the ignorant; but by raising the general standard of thought and of attainment, may raise the whole body of the people insensibly but surely to higher degrees of refinement and cultivation. The greatness of the scheme seems to have been fully appreciated by the framers of it; and they have carefully guarded against any abuse of the vast powers which have been committed to their hands.
A large portion of the works which are to constitute this library are to be original productions by men of well known literary and scientific character, made expressly for this collection; or standard works revised by responsible and suitable persons, and adapted, by whatever changes may be necessary, to the purposes of it. Those of the first kind will probably be the largest number. Every book, before it can occupy a place in the Library, must be approved by each member of the Board of Education, gentlemen who are elected to that place, with regard to their taste, their knowledge of the people, their acquaintance with the business of education, and their sound discretion. The names of those gentlemen are a sufficient guaranty that no unworthy volume will be offered to the public. The names of the gentlemen whose pens have been engaged to prepare different works for this collection are another and sufficient guaranty. We notice among them that Dr. Robley Dunglison is to prepare two volumes on Human Physiology; Prof. Silliman, one or more on Chemistry; Prof. Olmsted, a popular treatise on Astronomy ; Dr. Jacob Bigelow, two on the Useful Arts; Judge Story, one on the Constitution of the United States ; etc. etc etc.
The Library when complete is to consist of two series, of fifty volumes each, one in 18mo. of 250t 0 280 pages a volume ; the other in 12mo. of 350 to 400 pages. One of them is to be a juvenile series. Ten volumes (more perhaps, but we are not aware of it,) have been published. These are the Life of Columbus, by Washington Irving, revised by him and enlarged for this edition ; Paley's Natural Theology in two volumes, with wood cuts, and Selected Notes from Brougham and others, arranged by Dr. Elisha Bartlett; three volumes of Lives of Eminent Individuals, celebrated in American History, with portraits; these are selected from Sparks' American Biography; The Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, by Rev. Henry Duncan, of Scotland, edited, in four volumes, by Rev. F. W. P. Greenwood of Boston. These works are clearly of great value. Placed in the hands of intelligent youth, they will impart knowledge and kindle thought, and stimulate inquiry, They will make labor and thrift intelligent. They will aid every effort that is made in any way and any where, to elevate the moral and social character of our people.
In looking over these volumes we were struck with the singularly infelicitous account given in his Life of Vane, by Rev. Mr. Upham, of the doctrinal faith of Mrs. Hutchinson. No one who understands the spirit, and especially the theological spirit of New England in her day, and who has studied the documentary evidence in the case, could easily, we think, imagine that her doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost was just madern Unitarianism, an indwelling of the moral virtues. Such blemishes may here and there perhaps be detected, but they do not materially impair the value of the whole.
There is one defect, which some may consider an excellency, in the plan of the Board. All works more directly religious than those which treat of morals and of natural theology, are excluded. We fear that the state of public sentiment in Massachusetts is such as to require it. Yet we cannot but, believe and hope that the dread of sectarianism will ere long be found to have been officious in this thing, and that men will bear to have their children read works of theology which may not in every respect harmonize with their own judgments. We regret to have it so gravely implied that party differences in religion are so fierce among us.
The publication of this library is the serious enterprise of a state, guarded, ordered, and controlled by the best wisdom of the state. We know of no similar collection, that can be compared with it, for pureness and for valuable information. It is published under the superintendence of the Board, by Marsh, Capen, Lyon and Webb, 109 Washington-struet, Boston.
18.-The School District Library, published by Harper and
Brothers, 82 Clif-street, New-York :-embracing History,
Education, etc. The preceding notice of the “ School Library,” published under the sanction of the Massachusetts Board of Education, has been furnished us by a literary friend in that state, in whose good sense and accurate discrimination, on such a subject, we have the highest confidence. We have therefore inserted it with pleasure, and would commend it to the careful attention of our readers. The enterprise is highly creditable to the state, and to the individuals who have commenced it.
Such a notice, however, of the laudable endeavors of Massachusetts to enlarge and elevate the sphere of commonschool instruction, reminds us that it may be our duty to advert, in connection with it, to the progress of a similar enterprise in another state. " The School District Library,” by Messrs. Harper and Brothers, of New-York, has been for some time before the public. Their first preparation of a School Library was commenced as early as 1835, and embraced