« PreviousContinue »
they the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of election, the doctrine of eternal punishment? Our author says: "Even in the New Testament, doctrines are by many supposed to be taught, such, for instance, as that of election, and the eternal sensitive torment of unbelievers, which are inconsistent with declarations found elsewhere regarding God's love to his creatures and his pitifulness to their infirmities, while other doctrines, like that of the Trinity, appear to contradict the Divine unity" (p. 144; see also pp. 163–166).
In the third chapter the author of this treatise explains the "principle by the help of which we may, without weakening faith in scripture as a whole, separate its parts, and distinguish between that which is divine and that which is human" (p. 76). We make this separation by means of "the verifying faculty, and [we] regard it as being neither more nor less than reason enlightened and sanctified by the Holy Spirit." Every man must, of course, judge for himself whether his own reason is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; and thus the Bible is submitted to every individual's own judgment with regard to the inspiration of particular parts of it. It is very evident that this theory diminishes the authority of the sacred volume as a spiritual guide, and proportionately diminishes its claim to be termed the Liber Librorum.
BIBLICAL DICTIONARIES AND CYCLOPAEDIAS.
Ministers of a former generation, who were not acquainted with the German language, made use of the various dictionaries of the Bible prepared by Wilson, Jones, Brown, Calmet, Buck's Theological Dictionary, the Pictorial Dictionary of the Bible, the Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, etc. At the present day we have Dr. Eadie's Biblical Cyclopaedia, Fairbairn's Imperial Dictionary, Hook's and Eden's Dictionaries, and various biblical and theological dictionaries prepared by our Sabbathschool and Tract Societies. There are three works of this description to which we desire now to call our reader's attention :
Kitto's Biblical Cyclopaedia, edited by Dr. J. L. Alexander.1
We incidentally noticed and highly commended this work in Vol. xxiii. p. 171. The biography of Dr. Kitto has all the interest of a novel. We regard his Cyclopaedia as his most important contribution to Biblical Literature. Dr. Alexander has largely enriched it. Its varied articles are written in a lucid style, and are well fitted for their purpose. Among the contributors to the original and present work, are the late Dr. John Brown, of Edinburgh, Dr. Cairns of Berwick, Dr. Candlish, Dr. Davidson, Dr.
1 A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, originally edited by John Kitto, D.D., F.S.A. Third edition, greatly enlarged and improved. Edited by William Lindsay Alexander, D.D., F.R.A.S., etc. In 3 vols. 8vo. pp. 872, 876, 872. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. 1862-1866.
Donaldson, Dr. Eadie, Dr. Ewald, Prof. Hävernick, Dr. Hengstenberg, Dr. Robert Lee of Edinburgh, Dr. Mansel, and Dr. Tholuck of Halle. Large and valuable contributions are of course made by Dr. Kitto and Dr. Alexander. The volumes are beautifully printed, and are enriched with elegant plates. That Dr. Alexander, with all his multifarious duties, should find the time for this elaborate production, is a marvel. May his example of energy and industry be a stimulus to American as well as British pastors.
American Edition of Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.1
Of Dr. Smith's Dictionary we have on various occasions expressed our high appreciation. The American edition of it is to be published in monthly numbers, two of which have already appeared. It will contain numerous corrections of the English edition, and also numerous and important additions to it. The writers for the American work have many advantages which were not possessed by the writers for the English work. Their labors will be superintended by Professor Hackett, than whom the American publishers could not find a more accomplished editor. The accuracy of his collaborator, Mr. Abbot, is proverbial. We have been delighted with the American work as far as we have examined it, and have no hesitation in pronouncing it indispensable to every pastor who will keep himself familiar with the literature of the Bible. It is eminently a reliable dictionary.
Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
We have examined this volume with some care and much pleasure. There are critics who affirm that it contains errors. They might have made this affirmation without opening the volume. It is impossible to prepare any work of this kind without an intermixture of error. All our encyclopaedias and dictionaries are unavoidably disfigured with mistakes. But the present volume, when compared with the majority of our books of reference, may be highly commended for its accuracy. It evinces learning and faithfulness. It is of course more favorable to the Arminian school than if it had been prepared by Calvinists. It is more copious and complete in those articles which will more particularly interest the Methodists, than in those which will more particularly interest other denominations. When we consider the design of the work, we cannot pronounce this a fault. We regard the work as one of great value to all denominations
1 American edition of Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. Revised and edited by Professor H. B. Hackett, D.D., with the co-operation of Mr. Ezra Abbot, A.M., Assistant Librarian of Harvard University. New York: Hurd and Houghton. 1867.
2 Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Prepared by the Rev. John McClintock, D.D., and James Strong, P.T.D. Vol. i. A.B. 8vo. pp. 947. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1867.
VOL. XXIV. No. 95.
of Christians. We trust that it will have, as it deserves, an extensive circulation, not only in the large and important sect for whose use it was primarily intended, but also in the other sects to which it affords much information otherwise inaccessible.
LANGE'S COMMENTARY. Theological and Homiletical Commentary on the New Testament; specially designed and adapted for the use of Ministers and Students. Edited by Rev. Dr. P. Schaff, assisted by leading divines of the various evangelical denominations. New York: Charles Scribner and Co.
The fourth volume of this Commentary on the New Testament contains: The Epistle General of James, by J. P. Lange, D.D., Professor of Theology in the University of Bonn, and J. J. Van Oosterzee, D.D., Professor of Theology in the University of Utrecht, pp. 148; The Epistles General of Peter, by G. F. C. Fronmüller, Ph.D., Pastor at Kemnath, Würtemberg, pp. 96, 53; The Epistles General of John, by Karl Braune D.D., General Superintendent, etc., at Altenberg, pp. 201; The Epistle General of Jude, by G. F. C. Fronmüller, Ph.D., Pastor at Kemnath, Würtemberg, pp. 34. All these commentaries are translated by Rev. J. Isodor Mombert, D.D., Rector of St. James's Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Dr. Mombert is an excellent scholar and faithful translator. He has chosen to admit into his translation some words which will trouble a plain English reader, as for example, "hamartology," "ascetico-rigoristic," and the like. But we must remember that it is eminently difficult to translate the German of Lange into our simple, vernacular English. The present volume is entitled to the commendations, and is subject to the criticisms, which have been pronounced on the preceding volumes of this extensive work. It is a thesaurus of suggestions, many of which will guide the mind into the truth, and all of which may be examined with profit.
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SCRIPTURES. A recast, with enlarged Views of a former Work on the Subject; together with a copious Analysis of the Religious System promulgated during the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian Dispensations, and of the Human Developments under them. By J. H. McCulloch, M.D., author of Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian, on American Analytical Investigations of the Credibility of the Scriptures. 2 vols. pp. 402, 414. Baltimore: James S. Waters and Son. 1867.
The author of this treatise has certainly exhibited a rare degree of patience, diligence, and perseverance in his work. His views are not orthodox, his learning is not extensive, his logic is not exact; but he is an independent thinker, and amid all his errors seems to be searching for the truth. He is too ready to hazard his mere conjectures where the mind craves evidence. He is too little disposed to respect the opinions of men who
have examined the same topics which he canvasses, and examined them with more intellectual power, and with the aid of a larger erudition.
THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION: An Outline of its History in the Church, and of its Exposition from Scripture, with special Attention to recent Attacks on the Theology of the Reformation. The second series of the 'Cunningham Lectures.' By James Buchanan, D.D., LL.D., Divinity Professor, New College, Edinburgh. 8vo. pp. 514. Edinburgh: S. and T. Clark; London: Hamilton and Co.; Dublin: John Robertson and Co. 1867.
Dr. Buchanan has a high reputation as a preacher, and the present treatise will not lower him in the public esteem. He defends with much earnestness the old methods of explaining the doctrine of justification. Some of his historical statements are inaccurate, and some of his explanations are vague. He defines justification as "man's acceptance with God, or his being regarded and treated as righteous in his sight, as the object of his favor, and not of his wrath; of his blessing, and not of his curse" (p. 17). But on p. 255 he says: "That justification, in the scriptural sense of the term, denotes the acceptance of a sinner as righteous in the sight of God, and that this acceptance must necessarily include or imply the pardon of his sins, is the most general and comprehensive statement of the doctrine of the scripture on this point." He concludes his treatise with the "clear and comprehensive words of the Westminster divines, 'Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone'" (p. 411). The latter definition is the main one which Dr. Buchanan defends, and it may mean the same, or may not, with the definition which he gave on p. 17. The words "blessing" and "curse," "favor" and "wrath," in the first definition are too ambiguous. Similar criticisms may be made upon other definitions in the volume. The question "whether regeneration or justification has the precedency in the order of nature?" Dr. Buchanan considers as " of but little practical importance," and is satisfied with the assertion that neither is “prior or posterior to the other in point of time," that " they are simultaneous gifts of the same free grace," that no unrenewed sinner is justified, and that every believer as soon as he believes, is pardoned and accepted of God" (pp. 403, 404). We think that a scientific theologian will not rest content with this answer. Still we regard the work of Dr. Buchanan as rich and edifying.
HOMILETICS AND PASTORAL THEOLOGY. By William G. T. Shedd, D.D., Baldwin Professor in Union Theological Seminary, New York. 8vo. pp. 429. New York: Charles Scribner and Co. 1867.
This volume contains twelve chapters on Homiletics. One of the best of these is the ninth, entitled "The Reciprocal Relations of the Preacher
and Hearer." We think that this chapter would be improved by a definition of the term "divine anger." Does Professor Shedd mean to teach that the divine anger as a moral attribute is different from the divine benevolence as a moral attribute? "Complacency and displeasure," he says, are the two specific characteristics, in which reside all the vitality of the doctrine that God is personal" (p. 263). Does the term "displeas"here mean displacency of conscience? Or does it mean the voluntary rejection of sin? Or does it mean a sentiment which is not an act of conscience, but is an involuntary indignation toward sin? But is an involuntary sentiment which is not an act of conscience a personal characteristic? And is a displeasure which is a mere act of conscience a moral attribute?
The volume contains six chapters on Homiletics. In his third chapter the system of John Locke is mentioned "as the most self-consistent, and at the same time moderate, of all the systems of materialism" (pp. 359, 360). We think that such expressions as these are unjust. The volume, however, contains many valuable discussions, and is well fitted to quicken and strengthen the mind of the reader. It will stimulate the clergyman to high Christian scholarship.
THE BIBLE WORD-BOOK: A Glossary of Old English Bible Words, by J. Eastwood, M.A., St John's College, and W. Aldis Wright, M.A., Librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge. 16mo. pp. 564. London and Cambridge: Macmillan and Co. 1866.
appears from the preface that this work is in large measure the result of original and independent investigation. It is full of instruction. Its worth may be illustrated by reference to the word "atone," which is analogous to "atwixt," "atween," "atwo," and means to reconcile, make one. Some of the old English sentences quoted are the following: "Since we cannot atone you"; "There is mirth in heaven when earthly things made even atone together"; "I am glad I did atone my countrymen": "That set such discord 'twixt agreeing parts which never can be set at onement more"; "Attonement, a loving againe after a breache or falling out"; "For hereof is it [Sunday] called in the commune tongue of the Germanes Soendach, not of the sonne as certayne men done interprete, but of reconcilynge, that if in the other weke dayes any spotte or fylthe of synne be gathered by the reason of worldly busynesse and occupations, he shold eyther on the Saterdaye in the eventide, or els on Sundaye in the mornynge reconcile hymselfe, and make an onement with God" (pp. 43, 44).
THE SOLITUDES of Nature and of Man; or, the Loneliness of Human Life. By William Rounseville Alger. 16mo. pp. 410. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1867.
This work is divided into four parts: the Solitudes of Nature; the Solitudes of Man; the Morals of Solitude; Sketches of Lonely Characters.