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origin of the Scriptures and their fundamental doctrines, and shows clearly how they are to be met and refuted.
The subject of the Sacred Canon is briefly but suitably handled ; while we think it desirable that there had been more fulness in treating of the Inspiration of the Bible, and that especially the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration had been more pointedly and decisively inculcated. In the Address on the Psalms (the eleventh), while the inspiration of these sacred songs and their suitableness for the Church's praise are taught, we regret that their claim to be the Church's exclusive perpetual canon of praise is, in a great measure, overlooked. Nor can we consider the view which is given by the author of what are termed the Imprecatory Psalms, (p. 81), as satisfactory. What he there says does not go quite the length of Dr. Watts -in affirming that these psalms breathe a revengeful spirit, and are altogether unsuitable for Christian psalmody—but it betrays some want of reverential regard to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and ignorance of the import and design of this portion of inspired Scripture. The author should have known that the use of these psalms in New Testament worship has been triumphantly shown to be authorised by Christ and his apostles, and to be fully consistent with the spirit of the Gospel, and of lasting benefit to the Church. The views given of God, of the persons of the Trinity, especially of the Saviour and the Atonement, and of the office and work of the Spirit are at once scriptural, elevating, and eminently practical, giving evidence that the author's own mind and heart were deeply impressed, and that he was earnestly desirous that the youth whom he instructed should be well acquainted with what has not unsuitably been styled “the chief of all sciences,” the knowledge of God in Christ. This work, by an aged and deservedly esteemed Christian worker, is calculated to animate and encourage the youth of the Church to all holy living and practical beneficence, and should therefore have an extensive circulation.
Memorial Discourses: By Rev. George Macaulay. Crown 8vo., pp. 152.
Lyon & Gemmell, Edinburgh. 1876. THESE Discourses, preached at different times, with reference to the death of eminent individuals, contain affectionate tributes to their memory and brief sketches of their character. Some of them contain short descriptions of natural scenery in the Bible, and just delineations of scriptural characters, while they are evangelical in sentiment, clear and at times forcible in diction, and distinguished by suitable practical application.
The first Discourse, entitled • The Pillar in Shechem,” was preached on the occasion of inaugurating two memorial structures in Edinburgh-the one to the memory of the Prince Consort and the other to Dr. Livingstone, the celebrated African traveller and missionary. While we think there is ground for calling in question the propriety of applying the two passages (Judges ix. 6 and Joshua xxiv. 26) to the occasion which led to preaching the discourse, the sketch given
of the eminent men commemorated seems to be just and impartial, and fraught with important lessons. There is, however, observable, both in the discussion and application, a diffuseness of statement, which is better adapted to an article for the public press than to a discourse connected with public worship on the Sabbath. The second Discourse on Ezekiel xix. 12, preached on the occasion of the death of Prince Albert, holds out just views of the scriptural character and qualifications of civil rulers, of the true ground of the prosperity of Church and State, and presents solemn lessons respecting the evanescent condition of worldly greatness, and in relation to death and the world to come. Allusion is made in the discourse to the death of Principal Cunningham, of Edinburgh, which occurred nearly at the same time, and a just tribute is offered to his memory, as a prince among theologians and a man of high influence in the Church. few cases the minute references to incidents might be withheld to advantage ; and several outbursts of loyalty—as the exclamation “God save the Queen ”—and representing the Queen and her children as “ marked among those who are the peculiar objects of Divine guardianship and care,” are, to say the least, somewhat out of place.
The Discourse on the death of Samuel furnishes a vivid sketch of the mental and moral features of the late Rev. Dr. Robert Buchanan, of the Free Church College, Glasgow, and his labours in various departments and public services are vividly exhibited in felicitous language-the sketch appears just as it is affectionate. When however, the attempt is made, towards the close, to vindicate Dr. Buchanan's consistency with his former strong profession in the matter of the Union negotiations, we cannot but regard the attempt as failure. Dr. Buchanan's principles are represented as “remaining unchanged,” but as “ taking a subordinate place to a higher end”. and this course is spoken of as “ having the approval of his Lord and Master.” The plain meaning of this is that Dr. Buchanan, as one of the leading Unionists, had the Divine approval in making of minor importance principles on the Headship of Christ, the establishment of the Church, and national subjection to the Mediator for the sake of effecting union with a body that are strongly opposed to many of the scriptural attainments of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and that in this be bad the Divine approval ! Surely the preceding eulogistic sketch might have sufficed without this. Those who have attentively read the “ TEN YEARS' CONFLICT ” will, we are persuaded, come to the conclusion that the less that is said about the author's “i consistency” in the matter of the Union negotiations will serve the more to embalm his memory to posterity.
The discourse on Zechariah viii. 19, we regard as being in many respects the best in the volume, because of the important fundamental principles which are clearly enunciated in it; the close connection shewn in it between blessings promised and duties required, and the illustrations given of truth centering in Christ, and peace flowing from Him; and the deep interest which the Church has to seek internal peace in the way of firmly maintaining the truth, and to
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.Coml's Presbyterian Almanac anıl 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 prı 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. Sberiff
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