« PreviousContinue »
labour for the attainment of universal peace, by propagating the truth throughout the nations. At the end there is given a lengthened, and on the whole, a faithful and appropriate portrait of the life, labours, and mental characteristics of the late Dr. Candlish, Principal of the Free Church College, Edinburgh. This is followed in this and the following discourse, with memorial sketches of several excellent men, who were elders in the Free Church. These Memorial Discourses, while giving evidence of a public spirit, warm sympathies, and appreciation of genuine worth, on the part of the author, may prove useful, in presenting examples worthy, in various respects, of imitation, to persons in public stations in the Church and in civil society.
The Prophet Jonah : his character and mission to Nineveh. By Hugh Martin, D.D.
Second edition. Edinburgh : Lyon and Gemmell. 1877. In his famous “ Bible” article, Professor Robertson Smith reiterates the theory, adopted by some German schools of criticism, that in the books of the Old Testament there are many examples of poetical invention of incidents attached for didactic purposes to a name apparently derived from old tradition.” In this way he relegates the events of Job, and, with more hesitation, those also of Esther, to the limbo of the unreal and mythical. These are not, however, the only cases in which the inspired writers have given “a local habitation and a name" to persons and events possessed of no real objective existence, or formerly flitting only as mere shades in dream-land. “There is no valid a priori reasoning," Professor Smith continues, "for denying that the Old Testament may contain other examples of the same art. The book of Jonah is generally viewed as a case in point.”
When such views are being dragged into common notice through the notoriety which the article of the “ Encyclopædia Britannica” has lately gained, it is satisfactory to be presented with an antidote to them, in as far at least as one of these Old Testament books is concerned, in this second edition of Dr. Martin's volume on Jonah. The book does not indeed pretend to be scientific or critical. It is, rather, a popular and practical exposition of the truths contained in the wonderful prophecy. All through it, however, there is abundant evidence that its author does not stumble at any of the events he is expounding, because in their marvellous nature they exceed the belief of mere reason. He has no sympathy to bestow on that Rationalism which would deny the historic truth of Scripture narrative, and would explain all that is mysterious and miraculous by the miserable deus ex machina of myth and allegory and “poetical invention of incidents for didactic purposes."
Dr. Martin's book is already well-known as one of the best expositions of the character and mission of the prophet Jonah. Those who do not require a critical exegesis of the prophecy, but wish rather a spiritual application of it, will find here all that they can desire. Dr. Martin expounds the meaning of the events narrated in the book, and the motives which actuated the prophet, in a way which is at once interesting in its style, and edifying in its subject matter. While everything in the volume is good, we may refer especially to the chapter on “ Natural Religion : its strength and weakness.” Taking as his text the call of the heathen pilot to the sleeping prophet, Dr. Martin in this chapter shews, first of all, how much reason, unenlightened by the word and Spirit of God, can do towards furnishing man with a religion ; and then in what respects without the guidance of revelation and faith it is insufficent and inadequate. The author imparts a completeness to his book by devoting a chapter to each of the New Testament references to Jonah. He examines in detail the repeated comments which Christ makes on the history of the prophet, and he finds that the life-story of Jonah when brought into juxtaposition with that of our Lord upon earth supplies a fertile and profitable topic of consideration. Altogether this volume of Dr. Martin's is eminently a good one, and both by its devotional spirit and the ability and interest which characterise it throughout, is calculated in a very high degree to benefit its readers.
The Atonement : in its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession
of our Lord. By Hugh Martin, D.D. Edinburgh : Lyon and Gemmell. Dr. Martin's object in writing this volume was not, he tells us in his preface, that he might give to the world a systematic treatise on the great doctrine of the Atonement of Christ, but rather, that he might. " indicate certain conditions under which the doctrine ought to be discussed.” Ere now, however, his book has taken an honourable place among the many able works on this central theme of theology. Written as it is with a vigour and earnestness that often rise to eloquence, and characterised throughout by a logical acumen, and consistency, that rest content with no dubious speculations or questionable theology, we do not wonder that it should have reachad a second edition within a comparatively short period after its first publication.
It is unnecessary to criticise at length a book which is already well known, and much esteemed. A mere resumé of its contents must suffice. Dr. Martin is a firm believer in the old theology, and in the pages of his volume he combats in succession the false and defective views of the atonement, which have been only too largely adopted. He shews most satisfactorily that its efficacy is not owing to the fact, that it was merely an example, or simply a display of self-sacrificing love, or an exhibition of the principles of divine government, or a work fitted and meant to exert a moral influence on sinners. Keeping to his design of pointing out the conditions under which the doctrine should be discussed, he expounds in the opening chapters of his. book the intimate connection which exists between the dogma of the atonement and that of the Covenant of grace. Prosecuting his theme still farther, he shows that the atonement is linked inseparably with Christ's priestly office, and must not be discussed outside the category of His priesthood. In another chapter, our author establishes. the great truth, that Christ's death was not one merely of passive suffering, but one in which He was Himself an agent, an offerer, a priest-affording indeed in His cross the highest exemplification of patience and submission, but at the same time voluntarily delivering Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God. In the succeeding divisions of his treatise, Dr. Martin considers, first of all, the connection which exists between the atonement and the intercession of Christ; then the immediate object and design of the atonement, the securing, namely, of the remission of sin ; and then the counter-impartations of sin and righteousness—of sin to Christ, of righteousness to His covenant people, by means of which the efficaciousness of the atonement is safe-guarded and secured. Before concluding his work, the writer deals at length with the dangerous teaching of Mr. Robertson of Brighton on the subject.
Throughout, as we have said, the volume is replete with argument and inference, and the reasoning seems unanswerable and irrefragable. But in addition to the powerful logic with which the book abounds, and, as it were, vivifying and animating it, there is from beginning to end, a tone of deep and fervent spirituality. We might quote the words which Dr. Martin uses in another connection, and say of his treatise that in it " theology ransacks all her brightest treasures to turn them into arguments for charming and compelling men to come in, and frames her finest, richest theorems-refined and rich as aught that any science has to show-into powerful motives for the prisoner to come forth, and for them that sit in darkness to show themselves." The book is one which we can heartily recommend.
M.Comb's Presbyterian Almanac and Christian Remembrancer for 1877. Thirty.
eighth Annual Impression. Belfast : James Cleland, 1877. The present issue of this popular Almanac, in contents and execution, fully equals any of its predecessors. It contains a great fulness and variety of valuable ecclesiastic statistics, especially of the Presbyterian Church, in its different sections throughout the world. Its miscellaneous information is select and diversified, and its account of missionary and benevolent institutions cannot but pre ve deeply interesting to those who seek the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ, and who desire to alleviate and remove the woes of humanity. As a repository of valuable knowledge, and a book of daily reference, this almanac will always occupy, as it well deserves to occupy, a first place of publications of the same kind. The present impression has as its frontispiece a well executed protrait of the Rev. John Meneely, the present Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
PAMPHLETS. Judicial Procedure in Presbyterial Courts. By Hugh Barclay, LL.D. Sheriff
Substitute at Perth. William Blackwood and Son, Edinburgh. The object of this short pamphlet is to show that there is much need of some reform in the mode of procedure in ecclesiastical courts in cases of libel. According to the present system the same parties are at once prosecutors and judges, and in some instances witnesses as well, while they must pay the expenses of the prosecution out of their own pockets. Such a system must naturally tend to interfere with the due exercise of discipline, and it is here characterised by the learned Sheriff as "most scandalous," and as utterly “ at variance with the ordinary principles of justice." The difficulty, however, is to get it changed without infringing upon our Presbyterianism. Various attempts at reform have been made in the Assembly of the Established Church, but hitherto without success : and it is with the view of again directing attention to the matter, and of urging that something he forthwith done to remove existing anomalies, that this pamphlet. has been published by Dr. Barclay, than whom there is no one better qualified to discuss the subject.
Oberrations on Professor W. R. Smith's article “Bible,” in the Encyclopædia
Britannica. By James Kennedy, B.D. Edinburgh ; James Gemmell. After referring to the confidence of assertion displayed in Professor Smith's article, and its scant recognition of the supernatural, Mr. Kennedy takes up, at some length, the views propounded on the composition and authorship of the Pentateuch, and on the subject of prophecy, for the purpose of showing their general unsatisfactory and dangerous character, and the weakness and untenableness of many of the positions assumed.
As we bave not yet had an opportunity of examining this now notorious article, we are hardly in a position to say whether Mr. Kennedy has done justice to Professor Smith, or with what success he has accomplished his task as critic. If we may judge, however, from what we have read elsewhere on the subject, the pamphlet appears to be a sober and candid examination of the questions involved, and we may add that it is marked by considerable ability. Whatever exception may be taken to the mode of treatment adopted, the object of the pamphlet is one with which all who love the Bible, and are jealous of its honour, must thoroughly sympathise--that object being to defnd the word of God from the insidious attacks of a rationalistic criticism which tends to cast doubt upon its divine inspiration and authority, and to reduce it to the level of a merely human production.
“The Fruit of our Lips ;” or Instrumental Music an unscriptural addition to
the Service of Praise. By the Rev. James Kerr, Greenock. Greenock : James W. Black.
In this the latest addition to our literature on “the organ question,” Mr. Kerr, in a very fresh and forcible manner, presents the usual arguments against the use of instrumental music in New Testament worship, and illustrates and applies the great Scriptural principle which ought to regulate the worship of the sanctuary," that nothing is to be admitted into the worship of God that is not prescribed in His Word.” We trust the circulation of this pamphlet will be a means of helping to stem the flood of innovations that is coming so rapidly and strongly in upon our Presbyterian Churches, though of this being effected to any extent, there is apparently very little prospect.
It is somewhat significant that since the publication of a pamphlet in favour of instrumental music by Professor Wallace, of Belfast, some few years ago, and which at the time drew forth several conclusive replies, nothing more, so far as we remember, has appeared in such a form on that side of the question, while on the other side it has been far otherwise. The advocates of this and kindred innovations evidently do not care about meeting their opponents on the field of written argument, but prefer confining themselves to off-hand presbytery or platform speches, in which principle is set at nought, appeals to the “law and to the testimony” disregarded, and sound argument met by mere sentimental talk about beautifying divine worship, and pleasing men's tastes.
OUR FOREIGN MISSION.
We are sure that the young people connected with our Church will read with great pleasure the subjoined letter, which has just been received from Mrs. Anderson. When transmitting it Mr. Anderson states that the new School building was almost finished, and would soon be occupied. It may be mentioned that photographs of the Missionary, Catechists, and Orphans are about to be copied, and will be disposed of at a mere nominal price. They will be forwarded to the parties in the respective congregations who have charge of the Mission-Boxes and Cards, for disposal among the Collectors and Boxholders. Any others desirous of procuring them should correspond with the convener, or make application direct to Mr. David Scott, photographer, 246 Union Street, Aberdeen.
TO THE CHILDREN OF THE ORIGINAL SECESSION CHURCH. My dear young Friends, I have often thought that though I have not the pleasure of being personally acquainted with many of you, yet perhaps it might be well for me to write to you sometimes, if by so doing I might deepen the kind interest which you have already shown in us and our work. Moreover, I wish very much that I could help you to an acquaintance with the children in the mission compound, particularly with the orphans, about whom I shall now tell you a little. You may remember that the first boy that we got was so very unmanageable that, after trying hard to subdue him by every means that we could think of, we had to let him go away, as he often threatened to do when reproved for his misbehaviour.
The next was a quiet little fellow called “ Tulsi," who came to Seoni with his father, who was on pilgrimage, and who died in the hospital here. The child was sick when we got him, and he became gradually worse till he died.
This was a rather discouraging beginning to our Orphanage, but, believing that God would prosper it in His own good time and way, we continued to persevere in our attempts to get orphans.
Our third orphan was sent to us in March 1875. Her name was Sonia, which has been changed to Maggie Hobart. She is now about eleven years old, somewhat small of her age, and, though the darkest girl that we have, has a pleasant little