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ART. IX.-NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction to the Canonical Scriptures of
the Old Testament. By Karl Friedrich Keil. Translated from the
& Co. An Introduction to the Old Testament of the proper character has been greatly needed both for private use and as a manual for theological instruction. And it is surprising that the lack has been so long left unsupplied. Horne, which for a generation maintained its place as the standard, and in fact the only book in'English of any value upon this subject, does not represeut the present advanced state of biblical learning. The reader will turn in vain to its pages for a solution of critical inquiries with which the theological world has been ringing, or for a statement and refutation of those arguments by which the veracity and authenticity of certain parts of Scripture have been so ingeniously and pertinaciously assailed, or for an exhibition of those impregnable defences which learning and piety have constructed from the materials furnished by the most recent researches. The writings of Davidson, with his importations of foreign neology, enlarged in each successive publication, are still less satisfactory. In this dearth of native works of the right sort, Messrs. T. & T. Clark have laid the theological public under great obligations by the translation and publication of Keil's Introduction to the Old Testament, which of all those that have appeared in Germany is best suited to the wants of English readers.
With no affectation of novelty and little pretension to originality, it presents, for the most part clearly and in brief compass, the principal facts and opinions which bear upon the criticism and literary history of the Old Testameut as a wbole, or any of its parts. Keil is a sturdy defender of old and well-established views, though candid in stating and honest in refuting opposing arguments. This treatise moreover has the advantage of being done into English by an orthodox Scotch professor, who takes occasion to correct any unguarded expressions which might be to the prejudice of sound opinions (as on p. 435), or to enter his caveat in any case of departure from received views, as where Keil, following the lead of Hengstenberg, gives up the Solomonic a ithorship of Ecclesiastes, and assigas it to the period following the exile. The second volume, which completes the work, is promised shortly, and is perhaps already through the press. An Introduction to the New Testament. By Friedrich Bleek. Edited by
Johannes Friedrich Bleek, Pastor. Translated from the German of
The eminent learning and distinguished abilities of Prof. Bleek make this a work of rare value. And the more so as this was his favorite branch, to which he devoted “many years of faithful toil.” According to the statement of his son, by whom this posthumous publication was edited from his father's notes, "he first lectured upon this subject from four to six hours weekly during the winter of 1822 ; and he revised and repeated his course of lectures four and twenty times down to the winter of 1858," in which he died. Unfortunately his views of inspiration are not of the strictest sort, so that he can speak of it as "unhistorical and irrational” to “identify God's word and Holy Scripture," though regarding it as his “main task to discern the word of God in Holy Scripture," and approaching this task with devout reverence. Accordingly he does not hesitate to admit that one Evangelist may contradict another in minor and unessential points. But he has no sympathy with the destructive criticism of Strauss or Baur, whom he earnestly opposes. He would not even go as far in his damaging concessions as Neander. He is too serious a seeker after truth to be guilty of flippant trifling with the sacred record, or to pervert it for the sake of aggravating difficulties or multiplying seeming discrepancies. But he has the German vice of preferring the subjective to the objective, and overlooking the distinction between a plausible theory and well-attested facts.
He regards the gospel of John as undoubtedly the production of the beloved Apostle, and accordingly as presenting “a true and historical account of the Lord's life, an account exactly corresponding with the course of events. When therefore, we would draw up a consecutive and chronological exposition of our Lord's history during his public ministry, we cannot hesitate to make St. John's gospel the basis of our plan, even in those points wherein there is a seeming discrepancy between it and the Synoptics, and though the Synoptics all three coin. cide in their narration.” Mark and Luke are also admitted to have been the authors of the second and third gospels; but he decides against Matthew as the author of the first, though the testimony in his favor is equally ancient and unvarying. He says, p. 308, "It takes its stand, so to speak, a stage lower than St. John, but it still ranks side by side with St. Luke; and it still remains a trustworthy and most valuable spring from which Christian faith may draw, and by which it may be strengthened and confirmed. And though we have not the immediate testimony of an Apostle for those facts and aspects of gospel history which are taught us in the Synoptics only, we have for the most of them the concurrent yet individual testimony of three evangelists who all belonged to the apostolic age: and we must thankfully regard this as a special providence of God, while for that portion and aspect of gospel history which are presented to us in St. John, we do not need any further witness than the direct testimony of this Apostle."
But though some of Bleek's conclusions cannot be accepted, and some of the speculations in which he indulges are more than doubtful, the whole discussion is exceedingly instructive, and throws a most welcome light upon the structure, relations, and characteristics of the several gospels. The laborious research of the author, his vast stores of learning and complete mastery of his subject, coupled with good sense, penetration, and discriminating judgment, make it both profitable and delightful to prosecute these studies with such assistance. But the reader must be careful to preserve his own independence of thought, and to scrutinize results before accepting them, mindful of the apostolic maxim: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
Practical Expositions of the whole books of Ruth and Esther : with three
sermons on the duties of parents to their children. By George Lawson, D.D., Minister of the Associate Congregation, Selkirk, and Professor of Theology of the Associate Synod of Scotland. With a Memoir of his Life and Writings. 1870. 8vo, pp. 400. Phila
delphia: William S. Rentoul. Dr. Lawson was one of the Scotch divines of the last century, who was especially mighty in the Scriptures. It ierelated of him, as of John Brown, of Haddington, whom he succeeded in the chair of theology, that he could repeat the entire Bible from memory, with the exception of certain passages containing merely proper names. It is said to have been his daily habit to commit a portion of the Scriptures in the original. He also lectured through the Bible from beginning to end, in the course of his ministry. The lectures contained in this volume are plain, practical, and judicious, with no parade of learning or attempt at profundity. They are good specimens of that expository style of preaching once so familiar to the Scottish pulpit, which more than any other trains the people to an accurate acquaintance with the word of God. A German Course, adapted to use in Colleges, High Schools, and Acade
mies. By George F. Comfort, A. M., Professor of Modern Languages and Æsthetics in Alleghany College, Meadville, Pa. 1870. 12mo,
pp. 498. New York: Harper & Brothers. This course consists of four parts. The first contains practical lessons for learning to read, write, and speak the German language. The second contains familiar conversations in German and English, models of letters, and forms of business, and selections from German literature. The third consists of a compend of German Grammar, preceded by brief discussion of the history, characteristics, and dialects of the language. The fourth contaius vocabularies and several valuable tables. The whole has been prepared with great care and evident skill by an accomplished scholar who has enjoyed abundant opportunities both for gaining a thorough knowledge of the language and for becoming acquainted with the best methods of teaching. We learn that it has already been adopted in several institutions, and have no doubt that it will commend itself to general favor. Classical Study: its Value illustrated by extracts from the writings of
eminent scholars. Edited, with an Introduction, by Samuel H. Taylor, LL. D. Pp. xxxv., 381, 12mo. Andover: Warren F. Draper.
1870. If there is any people on the face of the earth likely to be prejudiced against Classical Study, it is the busy, impatient American people. Nowhere else is there such a field for the busy, "practical" activities of men; nowhere else the temptation so great to strive for the quick, even if precarious, attainment of the prizes for which men struggle ; nowhere else is the popular sympathy so quickly enlisted in behalf of native vigor, boldness, with a dash of unscrupulousness, and without a dash of delicacy or refinement; nowhere else have "self-made" men grasped the highest honors of social and public life. And it is our prerogative to be an original people, forsaking beaten paths, repudiating ancient or common methods, creating new types of culture, and reading and illustrating them in our own way.
If even in England and on the Continent of Europe the friends of the old "humanities” have been put on the defensive, much more must friends of the Classics here expect to encounter all manner, both of legitimate and illegitimate attack. Few men in the land are better prepared by experience and wide observation as educators, to estimate the relative value of different studies than the honored Principal at Audover. In this volume he sets before us a very valuable array of testimonies in behalf of classical culture. His own personal contribution to the volume, while occupying but little space, will be estimated by no means through a mere mechanical counting of pages. The judicious selection and effective grouping of the selections which make up the mass of the volume, is an important part of the obligation under which he lays us. These extracts from Principal Jones, Thiersch, Whewell, Mill, Joseph Payne ; Professors Conington, Pillans, Sellar, Masson, Thompson, Goldwin Smith, Campbell, Edwards, Porter, and Sanborn ; Presidents McCosh, Felton, and Brown; Hons. H. S. Legaré, G. B. Loring, and P. H. Sears, and W. N. Gardiner, present, with great fulness and variety and richness of illustration, the argument which justify to the friends of the old paths the " practical" wisdom of their choice. And we are glad to see signs about us that we shall still have a goodly following among the most thoughtful and discriminating of our young men. We heartily thank the editor for bringing within our reach and that of the public, so timely and valuable a discussion. Families of Speech. By Rev. F. W. Farrar, M. A., F. R. S. London:
Longman, Green & Co. 1870. This little volume, consisting of four lectures delivered before the Royal Insti. tution of Great Britain, gives a very compact and useful exhibition, first, of the Growth of Comparative Philology, and then of the speech of the Aryan, Semitic, and Allophyllian races. It is an attractive and useful little volume. History of American Socialisms. By John Humphrey Noyes. Phila
delphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1870. We have looked over this History of American Socialisms with unusual but melancholy interest, partly arising from the nature of the subject, partly personal, because we knew the author when the airst germs of the principles, whose ultimate development we find here, were forming in his mind. As fellow-students in the same theological seminary, we were in frequent contact, and had much animated discussion over the first beginning and original genesis of the ultraisms which at last flowered out into that system of sanctimonious licentious. ness unblushingly avowed and defended in this volume, in the following terms:
“We affirm that there is no intrinsic difference between property in persons and property in things; and that the same spirit which abolished exclusiveness in regard to money, would abolish, if circumstances allowed full scope to it, exclusiveness with regard to women and children. Paul expressly places property in women and property in goods in the same category, and speaks of them together as ready to be abolished by the advent of the kingdom of Heaven.”—P. 625. “The abolishment of social restrictions is involved in the anti-legality of the gospel. It is incompatible with the state of perfected freedom toward which Paul's gospel of 'grace without law ' leads, that man should be allowed and required to love in all directions, and yet to express that love in but one direction. In fact Paul says, with direct reference to sexual intercourse—All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.'" This is using gospel liberty as a cloak of licentiousness, and turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.
We recollect when what the author calls “the Revival afflatus soon landed him in a new experience and new views of the way of salvation, which took the name of Perfectionism. This was in February, 1834.” He was equally addicted to most of the isms of that period so fermenting, and so prolific of this sort of progeny. He had more than average intellectual activity and acuteness, but wanted breadth and solidity. He had a great proclivity for working and heating his mind on single points, until it was inflamed into those fanatic ultraisms which find their legitimate issue in unsettling all moral standards, and inaugurating the sway of Antinomian licentiousness. He sets up to be a teacher and guide of men. He can be such only as he is a beacon to warn them.
Nevertheless, his book has value. It is a complete account of all the social abnormities of this country which have tried to substitute some form of communism for family life, and for the constitution established by God in nature and revelation. All the “socialisms” set on foot in the land by the disciples of Owen, Fourier, the Spiritualists, Shakers, and others, are faithfully portrayed. To the student of sociology who would learn the morbid anatomy and pathology of the subject, we commend this large and beautifully printed volume.
The Pope and the Council. By Janus. Authorized translation from the
German. Second edition. London : Rivingtons. New York: Scribner, Welford & Co. 1869.
A very cursory survey of this volume confirms the high estimate which has been put upon it throughout Protestant, and the more liberal part of the Romish church. It is a protest from within the bosom of this church against the animus which has convoked, and the purposes of the Pope, cardinals, and prelates who essay to control, the great ecumenical council, which seems rapidly to fade into insignificance before the march of the civilization it has assembled to arrest, and with about as much effect as a dam of pasteboard to keep back a tide, or a bull infuriated to attack a locomotive.
This book is learned, logical, and powerful in its exposure of the ultramontanism which is reasserting its pretensions with such pomp and audacity. It exposes the programme of the Jesuits and the syllabus of dogmas for which they invoke the authoritative support of the present council. It especially exposes to shame the dogma of Papal infallibility, blazoning the undeniable errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions in Papal decrees, bulls, and anathemas. The dogma of Papal infallibility is sharply contrasted with the very different doctrine of such infallibility in the church, as a whole, as ever does and ever must preserve it from fatal error. It exposes the advancing mariolatry of the ultramontanes, and is altogether one of the high books of our day.
Principles of a System of Philosophy, in accordance with which it is sought
to reconcile the most difficult questions of Metaphysics and Religion with themselves, and with the Sciences, and Common Sense. By Austin Bierbower, A. M. New York : Carlton & Lanahan. San Francisco: E. Thomas. Cincinnati: Jlitchcock & Walden. 1870.