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The ground-elements of the moral character of Jesus, as Laengin discovers them in his ingenious investigation, are, 1. A grand breadth and freedom of thought, shown not only in his direct teaching, but in his refutation of errors, and in his use of the Jewish Scriptures ; 2. A grand humanity and toleration, reaching to Gentiles and Jews alike, bigots and sinners, which showed itself even in his seemingly harsh speech, bearing even with the foolish superstitions of the time, and almost seeming to favor them; 3. A royal consciousness of his own personal dignity and freedom, shown in his' self-assertion, and his accommodation to himself of ancient Messianic words ; 4. The incomparable purity and moral perfectness of his spirit, which allowed no passion to get mastery, and which gave him confidence to meet every hardness, and go bravely to his death.
The picture which Dr. Laengin gives of Jesus in his essay is as life-like and real as that by Renan in his fascinating romance; and it is a picture drawn and painted without departing from the authentic and historical sources. It is the picture of a rounded and perfect moral nature, pure in the beginning, and made larger and more divine by action in the world, acquaintance with its relations, and suffering from its trials. Will not the enterprising publisher, who has given to the American public “Ecce Deus” and “ Ecce Homo "in So many editions, add to these essays a good translation of the shorter German treatise, which is as bright as the one, as original as the other, and truer than either, more free from fantasies, more accurate in learning, at once a scientific and a religious book ?
C. H. B.
A COMPANION, or rather a counterpart, to the work of Dr. Laengin, is the series of Lectures, by Mr. Bernard, on the “ Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament.”* The argument is close, compact, clear, ingenious, and, to a Calvinist, will seem undoubtedly convincing and unanswerable. It assumes that the New Testament is a single book, composed and arranged according to a Divine plan ; that it is a “ revelation” in all its parts, and that all the revelation is in it. All that subsequent teaching and knowledge have done, only explain what was here finished. The revelation begins with the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel, and ends with the last chapter of the Apocalypse, and is in all that comes between. No part can be spared. Matthew, revealing the Lawgiver, is continued in Mark, revealing Jesus the Power of God; Mark is continued in Luke, revealing the Friend ; and this one again in John, revealing the Word. The Gospels show us only the rudiments. They give the material out of which the Acts first, and then the Epistles, construct the order of saving faith; and it all culminates in the grand vision of the social salvation, — the New Jerusalem, the city of God. The logic is well enough ; but it will not meet the objection of those who deny the premises.
* The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament, considered in Eight Lectures delivered before the University of Oxford on the Bampton Foundation. By Thomas DEHANY BERNARD, of Exeter College, and Rector of Walcot. From the second London edition, with improvements. Boston: Gould & Lincoln, 1867. 12mo, pp. 258.
Mr. Bernard recognizes a difference in the method and the view of the Synoptics and of John, of Paul and of the other apostles; but he sees in this no contradiction, or lack of harmony. The Holy Spirit had work for all to do, and assigned to each one his portion. The most troublesome difficulty is in the ethical and practical theory of salvation which James gives in his Epistle. Mr. Bernard slurs this over in a hasty paragraph ; suggesting only, in a note, that James had other ends in view, and did not think it necessary to defend the idea of the sacrificial atonement, so well established. The admissions of his book are useful. It is satisfactory to learn from so orthodox a believer, that the doctrine of the atonement requires subsequent development to make it clear as a doctrine of Christ; that the Great Teacher left this fundamental thing in an unformed and unintelligible state ; that only the simplest parts of the Gospel scheme are shown to us in the Word of the Saviour and iu the record of his life. In one of his notes, too, he intimates that the inspiration of the writers is not an influence from without, so much as a subjective process, coming in “study, reflection, comparison, deduction, a gradual increase in the fulness and proportion of knowledge, and a progress of doctrine in their own minds.” Indeed, there is in the book no assertion of any inspiration other than the Holy Spirit acting on honest souls; and the grand and steady progress, the evolution, which we follow in this calm discussion, may be, after all, only a way of saying, that the followers of Jesus interpreted and systematized his doctrine, adding to it what the Spirit told them it lacked, and eliminating from it what was not needed for permanent doctrine. Bernard and Coquerel, from different standpoints, say the same thing, - that Christianity, as a dogmatic scheme, was not perfect to men in the day, or from the tongue, of its first Prophet, but had to take new forms and statements. Only Coquerel does not think it necessary to find all these forms parts of a pre-ordained plan, or to prefer the development to the simple primitive Gospel. Mr. Bernard, indeed, vehemently insists that it is all there in the Gospels; that Paul and the rest did not really add any thing, only adjusted the loose frame, and gave the formulas.
The spirit of Mr. Bernard's book is very good. There is no misrepresentation of opponents, no harshness of tone ; and the author is evidently a sincere and earnest man, fully persuaded that he has discovered a great truth, and is explaining difficulties. But we are afraid that his devout reasoning, honest as it is, will not convince those whose questions concerning the gospel are more radical, and who will complain that he evades the important points. Possibly, too, the humility and the apology of the preface may sound to some ears like a warning of superficial treatment. It were better to read the book first, and the preface afterward.
c. H. B.
The preface to the American edition of the “Liber Librorum ” * represents it as more orthodox than it really is. Both in doctrine and spirit, this treatise upon the Scripture and its inspiration is quite as liberal as the works approved and used in the Unitarian assemblies. It leaves to the reason of the individual reader to say how much or how little of the Bible is the “ word of God,” and in what sense it is the word of God. The writer finds no theological or ecclesiastical Trinity in the Bible ; no such doctrine of God as that of the Nicene Creed. “ The dogma of the eternal sensitive suffering of those who are unconverted here, which has descended to us from the apostasy, has, as we firmly believe, no place in the word of God; it is, at the best, but a human, and very inaccurate, theological inference.” Equally does he rule out the orthodox doctrine of election; and there is no evidence, that he holds any theory of substituted suffering or theological“ atonement.”
The theory of Inspiration which this book presents is, that the Biblical writers are inspired, where they teach or urge doctrines specially Teligious; but that, in all other matters, their testimony is only that of any other writers, to be judged in the same way, and to be received
* Liber Librorum : its Structure, Limitations, and Purpose. A friendly Communication to a reluctant Sceptic. New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1867. 16mo, pp. 232.
VOL. LXXXIII. NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. 1.
for what it is worth. They were fallible like other writers : inspiration did not make them infallible. The difficulties in the Bible are real difficulties, and are made more serious on the theory, that the book, as a whole, is inspired. The sacred writers make no claim to more than a general guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit. Some will complain of the book, that it professes to hold to a special inspiration which it really gives up ; that, with the pretence of answering the objections of the sceptic, it virtually admits the justice of his position, and meets him more than half-way. But it is a pleasant “ sign of the time,” when a professedly orthodox writer is willing to concede so much and go so far in the direction of what the American editor calls “the scepticism so fearfully prevalent ;” when such a writer can see so much reason in the position that sceptics take; and allow that the old notions concerning the Bible, as a miraculous and infallible book, are not only untenable, but pernicious. There is no evidence in the book of very thorough scholarship, and the American editor is right in saying, that, “ in respect to some points, the work betrays marks of haste, both in thought and composition.” But we shall quite agree with him in saying, that “its spirit is earnest, honest, and Christian.” The author is a lover of truth. He does not believe in a false “ comprehension," or in covering up differences of opinion or honest doubts by a religious show, or by a mere outward conformity. He has no Pharisaism to bring in judgment against scepticism. It is good to hear such brave and true words so well expressed.
C. 4. B.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS.
Deus Homo: God-man. By Theophilus Parsons. Chicago: E. B. Myers & Chandler. pp. 455.
Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Prepared by the Rev. John McClintock, D.D., and James Strong, LL.D. Vol. I., A, B. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo, pp. 947. (To be reviewed.)
Bible Pictures; or, Life-Sketches of Life-'Truths. By George B. Ide. Boston : Gould & Lincoln. pp. 437.
Sermons By Edward B. Hall, D.D., Pastor of First Congregational Church, Providence, R.I., from 1832 to 1866. With a brief Memoir. Boston: William V. Spencer. pp. 162.
Nature and Life: Sermons. By Robert Collyer, Pastor of Unity Church, Chicago. Boston: Horace B. Fuller. Chicago: John R. Walsh. pp. 313. (To be reviewed.)
France and England in North America: a Series of Historical Narratives. By Francis Parkman. Part II. : The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 8vo, pp. 463. (Remarkable for probably the most full, vivid, and authentic account that has been given of Indian life, with its quasi-political institutions and conflicts; for a story of martyrdom as stirring and tragic as any in the range of history; and for an intelligible sketch of the principles at issue, and the results involved, in the English and French struggle for the mastery of this continent. We hope to give the volume further notice hereafter.)
The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke. Revised edition. Vol. XII. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. pp. 432. (The closing volume of this handsome and most excellent edition, with full Index.)
History of the Panama Railroad, and of the Pacific Mail-Steamship Company. Together with a Traveller's Guide and Business Man's Handbook for the Panama Railroad, and the Lines of Steamships connecting it with Europe, the United States, the North and South Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, China, Australia, and Japan. By F. N. Otis, M.D. With Illustrations by the Author. 12mo, pp. 317.
The Bankrupt Law of the United States, 1867. With Notes, and a Collection of American and English Decisions upon the Principles and Practice of the Law of Bankruptcy. Adapted to the Use of the Lawyer and Merchant. By Edwin James, of the New-York Bar, and one of the Framers of the recent English Bankruptcy Amendment Act. 8vo, pp. 325. New York : Harpers & Brothers.
Reply to Hon. Charles G. Loring, upon “ Reconstruction.” By John S Wright, of Illinois. Boston: A. Williams & Co. Chicago: J. R. Walsh 8vo, pp. 189.
NOVELS AND TALES.
Nora and Archibald Lee. A Novel. pp. 156. — The Land of Thor. By J. Ross Browne. Illustrated. pp. 542. — The History of Pendennis; his Fortunes and Misfortunes, his Friends and his Greatest Enemy. By William Makepeace Thackeray. With Illustrations by the Author. 2 vols., complete in one. 12mo, pp. 764. — Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty. By J. W. De Forest. 12mo, pp. 521. — Sowing the Wind. A Novel. By E. Lynn Linton. 8vo, pp. 145. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Stephen Dane. By Amanda M. Douglas, Author of "In Trust,” &c. 12mo, pp. 253. - On the Border. By Edmund Kirke, Author of " Among the Pines,” “Life of Jesus," “ Patriot Boys and Prison Pictures,” &c. 12mo, pp. 333. Boston: Lee & Shepard.
Early and Late Papers, hitherto uncollected. By William Makepeace Thackeray. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. pp. 407.
The Black Phantom, or Woman's Endurance: a Narrative connected with the Early History of Canada and the American Revolution. By Charles Shrimpton. 12mo, pp. 358. New York: James Miller.
Fathers and Sons. A Novel. By Ivan Sergheïevitch Turgenef. Translated from the Russian, by Eugene Schuyler, Ph.D. 16mo, pp. 248. — The Man with the Broken Ear. Translated from the French of Edmond About, by Henry Holt. 16mo, pp. 251. New York: Leypoldt & Holt.