« PreviousContinue »
form an excellent accompaniment to the work of Neander upon the same subject, making up for some deficiencies in it, and at the same time finding its own completion in the “ Planting and Training” of this author. The translation is by Morrison, one of the best of the English translators from German, and the publication is in the well-known excellent style of the Edinburgh printers.
V. ARCHBISHOP WHATELY ON A FUTURE STATE, AND ON GOOD
AND EVIL ANGELS." EVERYTHING from the pen of Archbishhop Whately is marked by good sense, profound learning, and a very remarkable degree of frankness. He never allows his imagination to lead him astray; his learning is too thorough ever to degenerate into pedantry; and he has too much of independence ever to suppress or disguise an opinion which he really entertains. His style admirably corresponds to his character. It is direct, simple, and transparently clear ; he says just what he means, no more, and no less; and it must be a very perverse reader who can ever find himself in the least doubt as to the meaning. With the exception of Archdeacon Paley, we know not the dignitary of the English church who equals him in these very desirable but exceedingly rare qualities, in combination with a real elevation of style. If we may believe the declaration of the archbishop himself, his simplest sentences have cost him the greatest amount of severe labor. Amid all the flimsy verboseness of the religious press, it is really refreshing to find such volumes as these ; and after being overwearied with the voluminous emptiness of Dr. Cumming, we are again reconciled to pious reading by the condensed paragraphs of Dr. Whately.
Not the least excellence of these lectures is found in the exceedingly neat and appropriate rendering of several texts of the New Testament, which are but imperfectly, or at least clumsily, translated in our authorized version. For example : “ thou sowest not that body that shall be, but a mere seed ; it
may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.” How much neater, and truer to the original, than the bare grain of our English Testament ! Again : “we now see by means of a mirror, darkly ; but then, face to face.” How much more exact and appropriate, than the through a glass darkly of our common translation! Glass that could be seen through, was, in the apostles' time, wholly unknown, and the mirrors were made of polished metal.
Dr. Whately has been suspected of holding the doctrine of universal
1 A View of the Scripture Revelations concerning a Future State, by Richard Whately, D. D., Archbishop of Dublin. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blackiston. 1855. 12mo. pp. 300.
A View of the Scripture Revelations concerning Good and Evil Angels, by Richard Whately, D. D., Archbishop of Dublin. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blackiston. 1856. 12mo. pp. 174.
restoration, somewhat after the manner of Professor Maurice. In his lecture on Rewards and Punishments, he distinctly disavows every such idea, and most explicitly affirms that the Scriptures cannot, by any fair criticism, be made to countenance such a doctrine. Still he shows himself not disinclined to believe in the final annihilation of the wicked; but he very frankly admits that the Scriptures do not directly teach the doctrine, and goes on to give very good reasons why they should not, even if it were true. He treats, in precisely the same way, the idea of the sleep of the soul between death and the resurrection. His notions of the millennium are strongly rationalistic, just like himself. All that he affirms positively is very true, but a great deal more than that is true; and all his exegetical skill, and mastery of logic, and extensive erudition, cannot force the twentieth and twenty-first chapters of Revelation, and other parallel prophecies, into the exceedingly narrow enclosures which he has provided for them. Still he has argued that side of the question with more ability than any other recent writer; and in most that he says against the common theories of the pre-millennial judgment, and an earthly kingdom of Jerusalem, we entirely sympathize.
His arguments in proof of the existence and agency of fallen spirits, and of the rcality of the demoniacal possessions of the New Testament, are both logically and philologically unanswerable ; and there is no way of eluding their force but by affirming (as all consistent disbelievers do) that the Bible, on these subjects, teaches what is not true.
In our view, Archbishop Whately is too rationalistic, and, on many points, does not believe enough; and where he guesses, we think he sometimes guesses wrong ; but what he does positively believe, and distinctly affirm, is, for the most part, the very finest gold of scriptural truth.
One of the most striking examples of the tendency of Dr. Whately's mind to disbelief, is the pertinacity with which he maintains, after the example of Warburton, that the doctrine of a future life is nowhere revealed in the Old Testament.
These volumes are handsomely printed, and appear in a very neat and readable style, for which the publishers are entitled to all commendation.
VI. Prof. SCHAFF ON THE UNITED States." The deliberate judgments of so shrewd an observer, and of a man so truly learned and pious, as Dr. Schaff, who has lived with us long enough to become well acquainted with our character and institutions, and likes us well enough to conclude to spend his life among us, are well worthy of our seri
1 America. A Sketch of the Political, Social, and Religious Character of the United States of North America, in two Lectures delivered at Berlin, with a Report read before the German Church Diet at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, Sept. 1854, by Dr. Philip Schoff. Translated from the German. New York: C. Scribner. 1855. 12mo. pp. 291. Vol. XIII. No. 49.
ous attention. He is independent and fearless, and speaks his mind without reserve, as he ought. He has told us many truths, some agreeable, and some not so, and the last none the less truths, because they are unpalatable. We are much obliged to him for both kinds of truth. We cannot subscribe to all his judgments as entirely correct, but we can and do commend his book to an attentive and candid perusal.
VII. GIESELER'S CHURCH HISTORY, LAST VOLUME.' This volume, published since the author's death, carries on his Church History, from the year 1814 to 1850. Though it has the disadvantages of a posthumous publication, it is altogether the liveliest, and so far as this goes, the most interesting, volume of the series. Its predecessors were mostly notes with very little text, but this is all text and no notes. The ecclesiastical affairs of the thirty-five years over which the volume extends, so far as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, are concerned, are set forth in a manner exceedingly entertaining and instructive. We know of no other volume from which, on these matters, so much may be learned. The statements in regard to other countries are not so satisfactory; the notices of our own nation, are mere caricatures, superficial, unreliable, and of very little value.
VIII. WORCESTER'S DICTIONARY.' Dr. WORCESTER is well known as a faithful and persevering student of the English language. He has attended, with great care, to the orthography and pronunciation of English words. It is a rare merit of his dictionaries that, while they encourage a healthy conservatism in the methods of writing and pronouncing the language, they also foster a spirit of progress. Their aim is to favor innovation, as far and as fast as it introduces acknowledged improvement. It is another excellence of Dr. Worcester's dictionaries, that they present to us, in a very succinct form, the opinions of various orthoepists with regard to the pronunciation of doubtful words. The . student is aided in ascertaining the best and the true usage, by learning the opinions of our best lexicographers. Each of these lexicographers has ex
1 Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte von Dr. J. C. L. Gieseler, fünfter Band, aus seinem Nachlasse herausgegeben von Dr. H. R. Redepenning. Bonn, bei Adolph Marcus, 1855. 8vo. pp. 408 and lvi.
2 A Pronouncing, Explanatory, and Synonymous Dictionary of the English Language, with: I. Pronunciation of Greek and Latin Proper Names. II. Pronunciation of Scripture Proper Names. III. Common Christian Names, with their significations. IV. Pronunciation of Modern Geographical Names. V. Abbreviations used in Writing and Printing. VI. Phrases and Quotations in Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. VII. The Principal Deities and Heroes in Greck ard Roman Fabulous History. By Joseph E. Worcester, LL. D. Boston Hickling, Swan, and Brown, 1855.
amined the pronunciation adopted by particular circles at particular times, and thus each contributes to us some data, from which we may form our own judgment. We are, also, much pleased with the method which Worcester has adopted, of noting the degree of authority which doubtful words possess. By the signs which he uses, for denoting what words have not yet been «
Anglicised,” what are obsolete,” what “ rarely used,” what have been added by Dr. Worcester himself, etc., the student is aided in the formation of a pure style.
The present Dictionary is substantially an enlargement of the Comprehensive Dictionary, which was first published in 1830, revised and enlarged in 1847, still further improved in 1849. It is a valuable work for ready and easy reference. In an octavo form, of only five hundred and sixty-five pages, it will be taken up by students who leave a ponderous quarto unused. Of course it cannot supersede our larger Dictionaries, but it is a very convenient introduction to them.
We have been pleased to notice, in the present Dictionary, a statement of the distinctions between words ordinarily regarded as synonymous. Some of these distinctions are finely drawn. The mere notice of them has a good influence. This feature of the Dictionary will introduce, we trust, a marked improvement in the lexicography of our language. When we compare the lexicons now in use, with the best which were accessible fifty years ago, we are surprised as well as gratified in noticing the progress which has been made in English philology; and we cheerfully acknowledge our obligation to Drs. Webster and Worcester, of our own land, to Mr. Smart and others of the mother country.
IX. WORKS ON DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY AND PREDESTINATION.
The first of these works whose titles are given in the foot-note, is a theoretico-practical treatise on the Sovereignty of God. It fails just where such a treatise ought not to fail, in its definitions of terms. In fact, very few definitions are given, and these few are indefinite and obscure. It abounds with Biblical quotations, but the texts cited are not clearly ex. plained. An excellent religious spirit pervades the volume ; but where the thoughts are in a chaotic state, and are but feebly illuminated, the influence of a devotional temper is sadly impaired. We think that the author of the volume should have chosen a different subject for his meditations, or
1 The Sovereignty of God, as Revealed and Recorded in the Scriptures of God the Holy Ghost. By Rev. F. Silver. London: Clarke, Beeton and Co., 148 Fleet Street. 1853.
The Doctrine of Scriptural Predestination, briefly stated and considered, in its tendency to promote Unity, and in contrast with the Theories which have been substituted for it. With some remarks on the Baptismal question. By Robert Knight, Perpetual Curate of Warton. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons; Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. Oxford: J. H. Palmer.
else should have labored more earnestly in defining the theme on which he has ventured to expatiate.
The second of these treatises is altogether more learned than the first, and exhibits a commendable religious spirit. It has faults, however. It contains a Paraphrase of the Epistle to the Ephesians; and from this Epistle deduces what it denominates the Doctrine of Scriptural Predestination. This doctrine the author supposes to be intermediate between what he terms the Augustinian, Edwardean, fato-predestinarian, supra-lapsarian scheme, on the one hand, and the Pelagian, Arminian precisional scheme, on the others “ It denies the existence of any decree terminated directly in individuals, either from eternity, or at any period of their existence in the present life. It maintains that the only direct decree is one terminated in Christ, the Son of God, and to the means of salvation as hidden in him” (p. 18). The work proceeds on a radical misunderstanding of the Edwardean theory, and on a hazy view of the theory which the author himself would advocate.
Both these works are here noticed as useful exemplifications of the fact, that the great principles involved in the doctrines of Divine Sovereignty and Predestination will always arouse the curiosity of men. They are themes of popular interest. Mr. Knight asserts, that “the Predestinarian controversy has itself been, for some time, almost abandoned ; but it is not exaggerating its importance to assert that it underlies, as a foundation, the most important controversies within the church” (p. vi, Preface). This remark contains much truth. The author immediately adds, that“ the philosophcal necessity with which it [Predestination) has been linked, by Edwards, lies at the bottom of much of the atheism and infidelity which prevail without” (the church). This remark suggests another reason why these works are here noticed. They both furnish evidence that their authors have never analytically studied the doctrines of which they treat, and there is always danger of producing a false impression by discussing such themes without the sharpest examination of them. The themes will be considered ; they are liable to be misunderstood ; the misunderstanding of them is fraught with mischief ; therefore they should be examined, by the men who write or preach upon them, with a rigidly logical, as well as an humble and devout spirit. The prejudice which many attempt to excite against a metaphysical theology, is a hurtful prejudice. It leads men to adopt loose habits of thought, and thus to misinterpret the statements of the Bible and of philosophers on the intricate themes of religion. If Mr. Knight had carefully analyzed the Edwardean system, he would have found it a safeguard against, rather than an incentive to, atheism and infidelity. Infidels have doubtless been comforted in their error by the speculations of good men, who misinterpret Edwards ; but they would have been saved from much of their perverse speculation, if they had diligently investigated the works of Edwards himself.