a ticket: say 4 to be elected, and the parties as 65 to 45. Then as the 45 have 180 votes, they can give 90 to each of two candidates; while the majority could give only 867 to each of three. But the margin of danger here is small; for let there be 42 to 68, and the minority can elect only one; as clearly they ought to have power to do. Such possible dangers are not much to be regarded.

This method of election, whenever it is practicable, is clearly right; and the common method, where there is not some special reason for it, is as clearly wrong-socially, if not morally, wrong. In the case of the recent election of judges in New York, there is not the slightest reason to doubt that the minority hold a great share of the wealth, and have much of the intelligence of the mass of voters. What a wrong, where a bench of judges is to be elected, whose decisions will be of no less importance to the minority than to the majority, that the larger number merely should have all the power in their own hands--the people and interests wholly unrepresented, being more than of several of our smaller States put together.

On the true plan every one votes for those who can represent him. The smaller number may elect only one in five, or one in ten, or one in twenty-they are nevertheless represented, and can always be heard when decisions, or enactments involving their interests are proposed. This is a most beautiful result; and the world in all its parts, where voting is allowed, must at length see and feel it. The inventors of this method may be set down for as much immortality as this world can give.

The righteousness of this rule, for religious bodies, was very strongly urged in this New Jersey Convention, by Judge Savage of Rahway. He referred to the election in New York, where notwithstanding the corruption so commonly charged upon political parties a sense of rectitude prevailed. His appeal was: “If even the political world is so far moving in the direction of right, is it possible that you, as inembers of the Church of Christ, will refuse such a concession to your very brethren in that church?” Such, for substance, was his appeal, and it was felt, we venture to say, by every opponent of the proposed canon.

But we hear of another objection. In this same Convention it has been for some time the practice of the majority to allow the minority one member on the clerical part of the Standing Committee. Now it is said that the minority having the right, by combining thoroughly, to elect one, party spirit will thereby be exacerbated, the majority will lose its opportunity of showing generosity, and the minority have no longer an occasion for gratitude for the favor received. All which may be thus parabolically set forth. There is a strong man who having a weak one in his power, is accustomed to deprive him of various rights; but also, as a mere matter of grace, to allow him certain others; for which the weak man is partially grateful. But ever and anon, the parties fall into disputes, and never fully realize the conceivable blessing of generous giving and grateful receiving. The too often oppressed man is very apt to think of his rights, and wish that he could maintain them without the gracious permission of another. Would not these men be upon better terms, probably at least, if the right, instead of possible favor from the stronger, were the basis of their intercourse with each other.

We do not assert that in the case of this Convention, the rights of the minority have not been respected: our concern is with the general principles of the case.

A few words more respecting the advantages of this scheme. We have already referred to the desirableness of having respectable minorities heard through their own representatives. In a Standing Committee, a Court, or a Legislature, how important that any respectable minority of those represented, should have their interests presented and defended by men of their own choice! The voting, in such delegated bodies may be against the smaller number, but not till their cause is fully argued; and then the final action may be modified to favor their rights, in a measure at least. Again, we may observe the ease of filling up lists of those to be elected, when the first ballot fails. The minority having elected their candidates, it will be an easy task to determine the additional members of the majority part of the ticket. Two or three votes differently cast may do it. How this can be effected we need not specify.


A Critical and Eregetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. By

Paton J. Gloag, D.D., Minister of Blantyre. 2 vols., 8vo, pp. 439 and 456. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. New York: Scribner, Welford & Co.

It may perhaps be said that no book of the New Testament makes such large and varied demands upon a commentator as the “ Acts of the Apostles.” It presents indeed few difficult or obscure constructions, but while the work of translation is easy, ample scope is afforded for the skill and learning of the interpreter. Its theme is the founding, early training, and the expansion of the Chris. tian Church, which it traces from Jerusalem the capital of Judea, to Rome the metropolis of the world. It covers the whole period of transition from the old dispensation to the new, and details those providential measures by which the infant company of believers attained its independent organization, was gradually released from the shackles of the past, was brought to a consciousness of its true character and mission, and was fairly embarked upon its new career, equipped for its work and secure of its destiny. The proper interpretation of this book necessarily involves an intelligent appreciation of the vast movement here described, and a correct apprehension of the bearing of each successive act or inci. dent upon the ultimate result.

And then the peculiar position of this book as a link uniting the past with the future, renders its adjustment with the preceding and following portions of divine revelation, a task of unusual delicacy and importance. There are special difficulties,-chronological, historical, and exegetical, --which grow out of the frequent allusions to or citations from the Old Testament. It is in form a sequel to the gospel written by the same author, who thus intimates the close connection between what is here narrated and the personal ministry of Christ. And it stands in almost perpetual relation with the epistles, upon whose occasion and design it sheds much welcome light, while receiving from them incidental corroboration of many of its statements, and important aid for the more exact understanding of others.

Again, one of the most striking features of the Acts, in which it contrasts remarkably with the other New Testament writings, is its numerous points of contact with general history and what we know from uninspired sources. While the gospels are limited to the narrow territory of Palestine, the Acts traverse not only Syria but Asia Minor and Greece, finally conducting us to Italy and Rome. The mention of cities and provinces, of their governors, and of facts and usages, affords opportunity for abundant illustration from multiplied sources, from Greek and Roman writers, from ancient monuments and coins and works of art, and from the investigations of modern travellers. Recent research has col.

lected a vast mass of materials which can be usefully employed in the elucida. tion or vindication of the sacred narrative.

And finally this book has been subjected to the minute and searching criticism of modern times. Men of great learning and acuteness have been employed in its investigation with the view of ascertaining all that can be known or legitimately inferred of the circumstances of its origin, the design with which it was written, its plan and the relations of its several parts. They have worked each from his own stand-point as believers or as unbelievers, with a just or a perverted view of the work which they were thus carefully examining. And this laborious scrutiny, even when undertaken with mistaken conceptions or prosecuted with pernicious designs, has resulted either in directly developing what is of real value or in inciting others to investigations of lasting importance. So that whether it has been from envy and strife or with good will, we may nevertheless rejoice that the issue has been to promote the cause of truth.

Of Dr. Gloag's commentary we cannot speak otherwise than in terms of high commendation. His previous labors as translator of the Commentary on the Acts in the Edinburgh (not the American) edition of Lange's Bibelwerk, formed an excellent preparation for the independent task which he has now undertaken, and which he has executed with distinguished ability. There is little perhaps that is positively new or original in these volumes. But what is of vastly greater consequence than any novelties of interpretation, the author has brought together in a brief and manageable compass, lucidly arranged and clearly stated, whatever has been developed in the various lines of investigation above recited, that is of consequence for the understanding of this book. He has furnished, however, not a congeries of other men's opinions, but the matured results of extended study, a well-balanced judgment and a devout spirit full of reverence and love for the holy oracles. There is throughout these volumes a delightful combination of candor, good sense, and evangelical sentiment. We might not acquiesce in every opinion expressed. Statements are occasionally made that require modification or qualitication. We may instance the remark, Vol. I., p. 140, respecting the Sadducees: “They rejected the traditions of the Fathers: the written word, according to them, was the only rule of faith and doctrine; and all the supposed traditions derived from Moses were spurious.” This allegation, though so frequently made and apparently sanctioned by the words of Josephus, is yet shown by the latest researches into native Jewish authorities, to be not entirely correct. Geiger (Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, p. 133) and Derenbourg (L'Histoire de la Palestine d'après les Thalmuds, ch. viii.) have shown that while the Sadducees rejected the traditions current among the Pharisees, they had others of their own to which they adhered with equal rev.

While retaining, however, the liberty of occasional dissent, we see no cause to retract or modify the favorable judgment already given respecting these instructive and excellent volumes.


The Elements of the Hebrew Language. By Rev. A. D. Jones, A. M. 8vo,

pp. 163. Andover. 1870.

This grammar professes to be one for beginners, to whom in spite of some defects it may prove useful. It contains a brief statement of grammatical principles, and is accompanied by exercises for translation, and a vocabulary. Its exercises

for pronunciation are borrowed without acknowledgment from Willard's gram. mar of 1817, from which the classification of irregular verbs and the antiquated declension of nouns and pronouns by the Latin cases are likewise taken, this last being as appropriate as the same thing would be in English grammar, only aggravated by the fact that what is given as the genitive is not so used in the Biblical Hebrew at all. An innovation is made in the verbal paradigms, which can scarcely be other than confusing to beginners, the persons of the preterite being arranged in a different order from those of the future, and those of the preterite of the substantive verb, p. 74, differently from the preterites of other verbs. Terms are also employed in strange and novel senses, and this without definitions or even self-consistency. Thus on p. 14: “All the letters can be quiescent; but only the four ring can be imperceptible; hence they are called mutes.” Here "mutes" has a meaning which is certainly different from that to which learners are accustomed; "quiescent” a meaning which is neither explained in this connection, nor could it be divined from pp. 22, 78, where the same word recurs, but in totally different senses; and "imperceptible" is incorrectly applied. Crowned and Disorowned ; or, the Rebel King and the Prophet of Ramah.

By Rev. S. W. Culver, A. M. 16mo., pp. 149. Boston: Gould &

Lincoln. For sale by Smith, English & Co. A series of brief paragraphs on striking passages from the life of Saul, tersely written and with much vivacity and force, and showing no little vigor and fresh. dess of thought. Where the writer stands on the platform of our common Christianity, he says much that is just and impressive. When he retreats to the narrow corner of sectarian exclusiveness, and rails against infant baptism, and charges those who profess to baptize, yet do not immerse, with “uttering an untruth,” with "renouncing the authority of God, impeaching the wisdom of the Saviour, mocking God, deceiving their fellow-men, and perverting the ordinances of the church and the truth of the gospel,” we can scarcely be expected to accord to him our approbation. A Manual of Church History. Mediæral Church History. A. D. 590–

A. D. 1073. By Henry E. F. Guericke, Doctor and Professor of
Theology in Halle; translated from the German by William G. T.
Shedd, Baldwin Professor in Union Theological Seminary. Ando-

ver: Warren F. Draper. Church history owes much to the Lutherans, perhaps more than to any other body of Christians. Rationalists and orthodox alike have labored, for the most part with a singleness of purpose, which is eminently German, to ascertain and present correctly the facts of the church's progress. In English, things take a controversial turn, and when a man writes history, it is with a view to defend some party interest in religion or politics; a German, usually, goes into his work with little concern what conclusion may come out of it, provided only he gets what seems to himself coherent and truthful. At the same time it is not possible that he should not be biased, more or less, by his own habitual way of thinking. Guericke is an orthodox Lutheran of the most uncompromising type, and can see nothing at variance with the faith and practice of his own denomination. A worthy representative of the piety of Halle, he is an opponent of all rational


« ElőzőTovább »