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Christian Consolations: Sermons designed to furnish Comfort and Strength to the Afflicted. By A. P. PEABODY, Pastor of the South Church in Portsmouth, N. H. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. 1847. 16mo. pp. 312.
Ir is seldom that a volume of sermons comes within our critical province. Those which are published in this country are, for the most part, of an occasional or controversial character, and are forgotten with the occurrences that produced them. The standard of pulpit eloquence is very low, and there is little chance of improvement in this respect, while the clergy are so much overworked as they are in America. In addition to their parochial duties, which in large parishes consume much time, they are required to produce a greater amount of written matter in the course of a week than most editors of a daily newspaper; and we ought not to complain, therefore, if their sermons are as feeble as the political discussions and "Washington correspondence" of a penny press. They belong to the department of cheap literature," the quantity given being out of all proportion to the insignificant price that is paid for it. So far as remuneration is concerned, most country clergymen have reason to envy the lot of the" penny-a-liners."
We welcome, therefore, with almost as much surprise as satisfaction, the appearance of a volume of discourses so excellent as these of Mr. Peabody. Though selected from "the author's common parish sermons, written with no view to future publication, at wide intervals of time," they have not a trace of the languid diffuseness, and meaningless repetition of stereotyped phrases, which usually characterize such productions. They are rich in thought, and of a high order of literary merit. Yet the writer nowhere appears over-careful in point of expression, or studious of finish and ornament of style; the rhetorician never assumes the place of the Christian divine. His discourses are sermons, in the strictest sense of that word; they are not mere moral essays, philosophical disquisitions, or imaginative reveries. They do not inculcate stoicism or insensibility, nor do they harshly chide the mourner for the indulgence of grief, which too often exceeds the limits of reason, and violates the teachings of religious faith. With a kind heart and quick sympathies, the preacher touches the broken and crushed affections, and labors to restore the mind to its wonted firmness of tone by the seasonable and impressive suggestion of those great Christian doctrines which deprive the grave of its victory. The sermons bear the marks of deep feeling quite as plainly as they do the impress of
an acute and highly cultivated intellect. We have found nothing in them which indicates the peculiar tenets of the writer; they may be read without protest by the members of any Christian denomination. It is consoling, indeed, amid the turmoil and excitement of sectarian controversies, to remember that the great practical doctrines of our religion, the precepts addressed to the heart and the life, constitute the neutral ground upon which all polemics may meet in the brotherhood of faith. What is to be believed admits of a multitude of interpretations; what is to be done is uttered with one voice by all who admit Jesus of Nazareth as their teacher, and as the Saviour of men.
4.-1. The Agamemnon of Eschylus, with Notes. By C. C. FELTON, A. M., Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in the University at Cambridge. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 199.
2. The Iliad of Homer, from the Text of Wolf, with English Notes. By C. C. FELTON. New and Revised Edition. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 581.
A MERE announcement of the publication of these Greek classics, edited by Professor Felton, is enough to acquit the critic of his duty. The editor's reputation for various and accurate scholarship, refined taste, and thorough acquaintance with the wants of teachers and pupils, has been so firmly established by his previous labors in the same department, that the public are willing to accept upon trust the fruits of his future industry. The great improvement which has taken place within the last fifteen years, in the school and college editions of the classics that are in use in this country, may be ascribed in a considerable degree to his example and exertions. He was one of the earlier laborers in this field, and what he has accomplished under his own name, besides the aid that he has afforded to others by his criticisms and counsels, and no one has been more bountiful in this respect, or less avaricious of fame, has given a new and brighter aspect to the course of classical studies in America. The old pedantic fashion of editing the Greek and Latin authors, which was prevalent in England and Germany, and which amounted to little more than a useless display of various readings, and an announcement of the editor's immense erudition, has given way to considerations of practical utility; and those editions are now alone in use in the lecture and recitation room, which have been
skilfully contrived to facilitate the progress and guide the taste of the learner. Some of the old brown-paper copies of the Delphin Classics, which were exclusively studied twenty years ago, ought to be preserved as curiosities, and to show the present generation how ample are their means and appliances for study when compared with the meagre apparatus on which their fathers were obliged to rely.
The Agamemnon of Eschylus, "the great masterpiece of the Grecian Shakspeare," is here presented in a portable and very neat edition, with copious notes, in which the numberless difficulties of the text are fully considered and resolved, so that a mere tyro in Greek, by the aid of them, can understand and appreciate the genius of the old dramatist. The commentary is enriched with numerous citations of parallel passages from the works of the English poets, which not only throw light on the crabbed expressions in the text, but pleasantly diversify the learner's path, and keep alive in his mind a sense of the poetic beauty of the original. All that it is important to know of the life of Æschylus is agreeably and succinctly told in the Preface.
The Homer is a reprint of the edition which Professor Felton first published about fifteen years ago, and which is here given with a carefully revised text, and more than double the former amount of annotations. Under the modest title of " Preliminary Remarks," the editor has added an interesting and beautifully written essay on the origin of Greek poetry and the characteristics of Homer, with a discussion of the much-vexed" Homeric question." This essay shows learning without pedantry, and a cultivated taste without unmeaning refinement; and it may be recommended as pleasant and instructive reading even to those who are not able to taste in the original the beauties which it is intended to illustrate.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
Memoir of Robert Swain. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1847. 16mo. pp. 259.
Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. By Alexander H. Everett. Second Series. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1846. 12mo. pp. 475.
A System of Intellectual Philosophy. By Rev. Asa Mahan, President, and Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, in the Oberlin Collegiate Institute. Second Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1847. 12mo. pp. 330.
First Lessons in Geometry, upon the Model of Colburn's First Lessons in Arithmetic. By Alpheus Crosby. With an Introduction, by Stephen Chase, Professor of Mathematics in Dartmouth College. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1847. 16mo. pp. 164.
A Report on the Trees and Shrubs growing naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts. Published agreeably to an Order of the Legislature, by the Commissioners on the Zoological and Botanical Survey of the State. Boston. 1846. 8vo. pp. 547.
Eulogy on John Pickering, LL. D., President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; delivered before the Academy, October 28, 1846. By Daniel Appleton White, Fellow of the Academy. Cambridge: Metcalf & Co. 1847. 8vo. pp. 106.
Sparks's American Biography. Vol. XXII. Life of Commodore Edward Preble, by Lorenzo Sabine; Life of William Penn, by George E. Ellis. Boston: Little & Brown. 1847. 12mo. pp. 408. The Practical French Teacher; or a New Method of Learning to read, write, and speak the French Language. By Norman Pinney, A. M. Hartford: Robins & Smith. 1847. 12mo. pp. 377.
Exercises and Illustrations on the Blackboard, furnishing an Easy and Expeditious Method of giving Instruction, designed for the Use of Common Schools. By John Goldsbury. Keene, N. H.: George Tilden. 1847. 12mo. pp. 144.
The North American Spelling-Book, conformed to Worcester's Dictionary, with a Progressive Series of Easy Reading Lessons. By L. W. Leonard. Keene, N. H.: George Tilden. 1847. 16mo. pp. 178.
An Inquiry into the Views, Principles, Services, and Influences of the Leading Men in the Origination of our Union. By Thaddeus Allen. Boston: Printed by S. N. Dickinson & Co. Nos. 3 and 4. 1846. 8vo.
A Statistical View of the Population of Massachusetts, from 1765 to 1840. By Jesse Chickering. Boston: Little & Brown. 1846. 8vo. pp. 160.
Chambers's Cyclopædia of English Literature: a Selection of the Choicest Productions of English Authors, from the Earliest to the
Present Time, connected by a Critical and Biographical History. Nos. 2-6. Boston: Gould, Kendall, & Lincoln. 1847. 8vo.
A Discourse delivered before the Maine Historical Society at its Annual Meeting, September 6th, 1846. By George Folsom. Portland: Published for the Society. 1847. 8vo. pp. 80.
On Three Several Hurricanes of the Atlantic, and their Relations to the Northers of Mexico and Central America, with Notices of other Storms. By W. C. Redfield. New Haven: B. L. Hamlen. 8vo. pp. 118.
Report of the Case in the Matter of George Kirk, a Fugitive Slave, heard before the Hon. J. W. Edmonds, Circuit Judge; also, the Argument of John Jay, Counsel for the Slave. New York: Legal Observer Office. 1847. 8vo. pp. 20.
A Discourse on the Evangelical Alliance. By William P. Tilden, Minister of the Second Congregational Church in Concord, N. H. Concord. 1846. 8vo. pp. 16.
A Discourse delivered before the Rhode Island Historical Society, January 13th, 1847. By Hon. Job Durfee, Chief Justice of the State. And a Poem recited on the same Occasion, by Sarah Helen Whitman. Providence: Charles Burnett, Jr. 1847. 8vo. pp. 42 and 6.
The One Progressive Principle, delivered before the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont, August, 1846. By J. T. Headley. New York: John S. Taylor. 8vo. pp. 32.
Congregationalism: a Discourse delivered before the Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers, Boston, May 28th, 1846. By Alvan Lamson, D. D. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. 1846. 8vo. pp. 30. A Sermon preached in the Church of the First Parish in Dedham, January 10, 1847, the Sunday after the Death of Ebenezer Fisher, Jr. By Alvan Lamson, D. D. Boston. 8vo. pp. 19.
Statute Laws of his Majesty Kamehameha III., King of the Hawaiian Islands; passed by the Houses of Nobles and Representatives in the 21st Year of his Reign, and the 3d and 4th Years of his Public Recognition, A. D. 1845 and 1846. Honololu, Oahu: C. E. Hitchcock, Printer. 1846. 8vo. pp. 382.
Transactions of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. By George Jaques. Boston. 1847. 8vo. pp. 84.
Progress: an Address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Dartmouth College, July 29th, 1846. By Joel Parker, Chief Justice of New Hampshire. Hanover. 1846. 8vo. pp. 26.
An Exposition of a Book published by D. Appleton & Co., called Hazlitt's Translation of Guizot's History of Civilization. By R. W. Haskins, A. M. Buffalo. 1846. 8vo. pp. 55.
Contributions to the Natural History of the Alligator, (Crocodilus Mississippiensis,) with a Microscopic Addendum. By Bennet Dowler, M. D. New Orleans: B. M. Norman. 1846. 8vo. pp. 30.
Experimental Researches on the Post Mortem Contractility of the Muscles, with Observations on the Reflex Theory. By Bennet Dowler, M. D. New York. 1846. 8vo. pp. 39.