Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Life before us, that she aimed at the highest propriety in all her domestic arrangements, from principle, and for its effect upon her own character. She also cultivated a love for the works of God. In the midst of a shipwreck, the evening star, just sinking below the horizon, caught her eye, and gave her a sensation of hope. On the wild and precip- . itous places near Mount Lebanon the passion flower,' and the dragon's mouth,' attracted her observation.

"Thus pleasures are spread through the earth,

In stray gifts, to be claimed by whoever shall find ;''

and she kept her eye and heart open, and cherished the influence of a love of nature in refining and elevating the moral feelings. By this and other means, she is now exerting, through her published Life, an influence upon the cultivated part of the community, and them of reputation, who are attracted by her good taste and refinement joined with ardent feelings. The memoir, we are happy to see, is extending its circulation amongst this part of the community. We cannot resist the reflection, in view of this: How important are the private habits, and the private hours of one who is placed in a situation of extensive usefulness! Their influence, as in the present case, may have no limits. It is a great thing to act in private and hidden life, upon high moral principle, and when no eye sees us, as well as at other times, to walk with God.

We are aware that we have spoken of the subject of this memoir with unqualified praise. To some it no doubt appears inexpedient ever to do so. We hope we shall do it, however, whenever we have as good an opportunity as the present. We think it cynical and evil-eyed to seek for detractions and qualifications in speaking of the good. Defects and sins, of course, they all have in their measure. We are for reversing the sentiment of the sly Mark Anto ny ;- for it is also true that

The good that men do, lives after them,'
The' evil'is often interred with their bones.'

We love to think of a certain example of praise, in the Bible, spoken of a man of like passions with us : " Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him

in the earth ; a perfect and 'upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" Just praise' is.comely' to, as well as for, the upright.'

Mrs. Smith's private journal was lost in her shipwreck. We could better spare some lost manuscripts of much repute; for we believe that her journal contained invaluable records of her private religious life. We think that some have been whimsical in denouncing diaries, as written with an eye to publication. Suppose that they were ? We should as soon think of urging this as an objection against keeping a log-book at sea. Others, who almost exclude the passive from Christian experience, and think little of meditative frames of mind, and affect a sort of smartness in their religious feelings, have no patience with these writings. We mourn over this degeneracy. Eminently good and useful Christians have had great conflicts in their private religious experience, Such things seem inseparable from eminent religious usefulness. 'Bread-corn is bruised:' (las. 28: 28,) it is pleasant and profitable to see the process.

The portrait in this volume, we are told, is by no means a correct likeness. Another engraving is to be made from the excellent original portrait in her father's possession, and it is the wish of many of her friends that the purchaser of this volume may be supplied, gratuitously, with the new likeness, and substitute it, in the volume, for the present engraving.

In conclusion, we are constrained to say, as at the beginning, that we recollect no volume of biography which has affected us with so many delightful emotions. The early Christian experience, the supreme devotion to Christ, the disinterested and self-denying labors, the enthusiastic ardor in the missionary work, the calm and quiet energy, the extreme sensibility to all that is naturally beautiful and sublime, the composed and tranquil mind in perils by sea, the sadness and sorrow in the prospect of premature death, the sublime faith, the final joy, the involuntary music in death, of ihis Christian female, have excited in us no common feelings. We borrow a part of an old epitaph, with a slight alteration :

“ Death! ere thou takest" many a "wife,
Virtuous, fair and good as she,
Christ shall launch a dart at thee."

ARTICLE IX.

CRITICAL NOTICES.

1.-Notes, Critical and Practical, on the Book of Genesis ;

designed as a general help to Biblical Reading and Instruction. By George Bush, Prof. of Heb. and Orient. Lit., N. y. City University. In two volumes. Third Edition. Andover and New-York: Gould, Newman and Saxton, 1839. pp. 364, 444.

We congratulate our readers on the completion of Prof. Bush's Commentary on Genesis, the first volume of which we have before noticed. We do not mean to say that this commentary is better adapted to popular use than any other, but we think that its author has formed a happy conception of what a commentary ought to be. We think that his work on Genesis exhibits the following excellences. (To say that it has some faults is only to say, it is a human production.)

First. A clear exposition of the original text. The first duty of a commentator is to express clearly the sense of his author. He must therefore have a correct and familiar knowledge of the language in which his author wrote; not a mere lexicographical knowledge, but an acquaintance with idioms, and a nice discernment of the variations in the usus loquendi. He must be able to trace analogies between words, to adduce parallelisms, and place the reader in the precise situation of those whom the author originally addressed. Prof. Bush has adopted the happy method of often giving at the outset the original Hebrew word or phrase with a literal version, and he confirms his rendering, when the case demands, by a copious citation of parallels. This process often precludes the necessity of an extended exposition, and puts the reader at once in the footsteps of an oriental. It thus in a measure supplies the place of an acquaintance with the original Hebrew.

Secondly. A commendable fearlessness in meeting, and general success in solving, the difficulties of the sacred text. Commentators often eschew the real difficulties, and wax mightily erudite and eloquent where there is nothing to trouble them. Not so Prof. Bush. He shuns nothing, shrinks from nothing, but marches up boldly to the loci vexati. Hence the reader when harassed with the obscureness of the text is not vexed with evasions in his commentator, but finds a readiness to give solutions which seldom leave the mind so unsatisfied as they found it. The Professor is happy in his use of the ancient versions, and the Targums, and by means of them often puts his reader upon the right track of interpreting for him. self.

Thirdly. True judiciousness and candor. He seems to know when to be diffuse and when to be brief; makes no display of learning for mere effect; does not mean to bring a "prejudicate sense" to the sacred volume, nor to sustain any preconceived system, but chooses to follow where inspiration leads, and to substantiate his assertions, as far as truth requires, by philological induction. Hence the reader is freed from suspicions that the commentary is to be made an instrument for party purposes, and to defend a favorite sect per fas vel nefas. Prof. Bush is not a sectarian expositor.

Fourthly. Fulness and pertinency of illustration. Our author has a good idea of the requisite furniture for a commentary, and hence avails himself of oriental sources of illustration, and makes travellers largely tributary to the explanation of costumes, manners, topography, etc. etc. His ideas are thus expressed with vividness and spirit.

Fifthly. The work is consequently well fitted to arrest and confine attention. Prof. Bush is very far from presenting the truths of Scripture in a dry light. He is evidently in love with his work, and writes con amore; he therefore diffuses an interest through his pages and allures the reader to further investigation. His quotations from the old English fathers are especially rich and attractive, and his work is so written as to be interesting in the perusal as well as useful for refer

Sixthly. Practical character. The Notes are written with the recollection that “all truth is in order to goodness," and that the Bible is not a dead letter, but is quick with spiritual vitality. There is a union of the exegetical with the ethical, and an ease and felicity in the introduction of practical remarks, which we are always glad to see. The German mode of severing the homiletic from the hermeneutic interpretation may be desirable for certain classes and at certain times, but is not the best adapted for popular benefit among churches like our own.

We think, on the whole, that Prof. Bush has adopted a happy medium for instructing and quickening the mass of mind in our religious community. We anticipate an exten.

ence.

sive and beneficial influence from his biblical labors, and cordially recommend his Notes on Genesis to ministers, theological students, teachers in Bible classes and Sabbath schools. We shall look with interest for the appearance of his commentary on the other books of the Old Testament, and we expect that his originality of conception, and his industrious research, will be the means of awakening a fresher and more general desire to investigate the meaning of the inspired text. 2.-The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible. Edited

by the Rev. William Jenks, Ž. D. of Boston. Published at Brattleborough, Vt., by the Brattleborough Typographic

Company. This great work has been completed for several months, and we take this opportunity to give some account of its various and very useful contents. This plan of re-editing Henry's Exposition, in an abridged form, originated with John C. Hol. brook, Esq., of Brattleborough, Vt., and was by him communicated to Drs. Jenks and Wisner of Boston. The latter hav. ing engaged in his duties as one of the secretaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, did not engage actually in the enterprise. Dr. Jenks has had the sole general charge and responsibility. He has, however, received able assistance from several gentlemen, particularly from his son, Joseph W. Jenks, M. A., and the Rev. L. Ives Hoadley of Charlestown. Both are to be considered as joint editors with Dr. Jenks in the undertaking. It was agreed to combine with Henry's, Dr Scott's admirable Commentary, as far as it was practicable. Much use has also been made of the labors of Vitringa, Lowth, Doddridge, Campbell, McKnight, Bloomfield, Kuinoel, Rosenmueller father and son, Whitby, Patrick, Adam Clarke, Stuart, and many others. The text, according to the common version, is first printed; then succeed the exposition of Henry abridged ; Scott's observations condensed, and, finally, original and selected notes and illustrations from a great variety of sources, and of a critical, philological, topographical, geographical and practical character.

The work is completed, (not including the supplement,) in five large octavo volumes, of between five and six thousand pages in all. The reading matter is nearly equal to that in seventy common octavos of 450 pages each, which would have cost, at the common price, more than 150 dollars. The whole cost of bringing out the work, exclusive of paper, printSECOND SERIES, VOL. III. NO. I.

20

soon

« PreviousContinue »