« ZurückWeiter »
tians; and the seventh, on the early history and chronology of the Assyrians, introduce our learned author to a more debateable territory. He is acquainted with the statements of Greek and Latin writers, as well as with those of the moderns. He analyses and selects, criticises and repudiates, argues and concludes, with the air of an authority. His remorseless criticism sweeps away many of the lying legends which the ancients have bequeathed to us, and ancient and modern speculations are pitilessly sifted. The claims to an absurd antiquity for Egypt and Babylon are put out of court, and many of the ridiculous pretentions made in their favour, on other accounts, are ousted. What he believes they were and did, the author gives them credit for without grudging or envy. We almost stand aghast at the boldness with which he throws discredit upon the recent labours of Egyptologers. We fear he has carried this too far, and while we believe there is much uncertainty in a great deal that has been written to explain Egyptian hieroglyphics, we equally believe that much of it is certain. and Champollion were far behind Birch, and Sharpe, and others in our own time no doubt, and these latter will be often corrected by their
But it would be wrong to class these with those speculators who are prepared with explanations for anything at an hour's notice. The Rev. C. Forster, Dr. Simonides, and plenty besides, can satisfy the credulous and the unscientific. Let them be judged. But scientific men like Birch and Sharpe do not belong to the same category. They are modest, painstaking searchers after truth, whose aim is to read the monuments of Egypt. That they have read many of these we cannot doubt, and casual errors of detail are not sufficient to throw discredit upon their principles or their methods, or the general results they have arrived at. The wonder is, that they have established so much. What they have done gives us the hope of more. There are men of different schools who stand very high, but we do not feel justified in trusting them. Nor ought we to trust these, when they begin to speculate. But we should consider ourselves in danger of Pyrrhonism if we thought the grammars, vocabularies, and versions, which have come out of these enquiries, and even the very alphabets, fundamentally fictitious. Sir G. C. Lewis is an admirable scholar, profoundly versed in ancient and modern literature, and yet in this matter of Egyptian interpretation we honestly believe him mistaken. Perhaps good will come out of his assault; it may put them on their mettle, may persuade them to verify and confirm what they have gained, and lead them to labour more earnestly to supply what is wanting, to correct that which is wrong. There was a danger of their becoming too confident and satisfied, a danger that the public would believe them too implicitly. If all this is not over, Sir G. C. Lewis is not to blame. We hope and trust no patient explorer will be discouraged by his unbelief, and that right minded readers will here at least consider the War Secretary as an outsider, not initiated, who can only speak generally.
The last chapter of the volume is on the navigation of the Phæni
cians. Here also, as elsewhere, the learned author exhibits a considerable want of faith in much that is commonly believed. But much that he says is most valuable, and calculated to inform us respecting ancient commerce generally. As a whole, the work should be read by every student of antiquity, and yet we do not recommend that it be read with unquestioning credence. Much of it is new, much of it is true, and it is altogether admirable; but there are places in which the author's criticism does not agree with that of men who in their own departinents deserve our esteem and regard.
Die Lehre von der Heiligen Liebe, oder Gründzüge der Evangelisch
Kirchlich Moral Theologie. (“The Doctrine of Holy Love; or, The outlines of the Moral Theology of the Evangelical Church..") By
Ernst SARTORIUS. New edition, in one volume 8vo. 1861. Dr. SARTORIUS was born in 1797, and died in 1859. He studied at Göttingen, where he was brought under the powerful influence of Planck. His first work appeared in 1820, upon certain questions of exegetical and systematical theology. In 1821 he became extraordinary theological professor at Marburg. While there he wrote against rationalism. In 1824 he removed to Dorpat, whence he removed again eleven years later into Prussia, where he became general superintendent, consistorial director, and first court preacher at Konigsberg. There he began his Moral Theology in 1840, but it did not receive its final form till 1856. Dr. Sartorius was active as a writer, and somewhat given to polemics. His theological principles will be gathered from this work. “God is love," he says, after the apostle John, and from that as his starting point he evolves the system here laid down. “ Since now," says he, “a belief in the love wherewith God as Creator and Redeemer first loved us, necessarily produces love in us, by which we love Him again and keep His commandments, so there lies in that theology at the same time, the anthropological principle of evangelical ethics, which are as inseparably connected with that theology, as the love we exercise with the love we believe in. Hence, in love and the reciprocation of it is concentrated (1 John iv. 19) the sum of systematic theology, of law and Gospel, of the doctrine of faith and of life, which although distinct, are yet in principle united to holy love."
It will be readily admitted that there is a theology which appeals to the heart as much as to the understanding, which traces all personal religion worth the name, to God as its author, and not to the will or reason of man. But it is curious to see how often parties are practically at variance with themselves in this matter. The most rigid defender and advocate of the divine may exhibit very little but what is human; and the most zealous advocate of the dignity and power of man may display the most divine features in his religious character. We know how to estimate these characters, and bitterly as we lament to see a true life without a true creed, we more bitterly lament to see
a true creed without a true life. Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?"
The work of Dr. Sartorius is divided into two main parts, and these again into sections and chapters. The first great division is concerning the love of God in its various manifestations and relations ; as in creation, in relation to sin and law, and in the atonement. The second part deals with holy love in man, as the principle of regeneration, obedience, and ultimate perfection. The two closing chapters, on the patience and hope of love in sufferings and death, and on eternal life, the last judgment and the final triumph of holy love, call forth the warmest utterances of our author's heart. Believers in orthodox doctrine, whose hearts are in unison with their creed, will enjoy the perusal of this work, and will be instructed and edified by it, even though they may not endorse every statement it contains,
Christian Faith ; its Nature, Objects, Causes, and Effects. By John
H. GODWIN. London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder. 1862. MR. GODWIN does not expect the discovery of new truths in respect to the most important subjects presented in the sacred Scriptures, but he thinks that some of these truths may be stated in an improved form. His aim is not novelty ; but to direct attention to the simple form of Christian truth which is seen in the pages of the New Testament. The work is one of the series of Congregational Lectures. These lectures are eight in number, and on the topics named in the title. The author maintains that Christian faith is trust, and not mere belief. The object of this faith is Jesus Christ, and not any particular fact or proposition. The causes of faith are both natural and divine; but the faith which is the consequence of Christian life, cannot be the faith which is required for its commencement.” The effects of faith are forgiveness of sin, righteousness, Christian goodness, Christian usefulness, and Christian happiness. The book proceeds throughout on the basis of the New Testament; it contains much solid thought, exhibits frequent peculiarities of expression, and is generally fitted to make men think, as well as to aid them in thinking. It displays considerable ability and originality, and is worthy of a place by the side of the best treatises on the subject. It is independent in its tone, and at the same time calm and intelligible, free from everything like fancy and mere speculation.
Christ the Life of the World: Biblical Studies on Chapters xi.—xxi.
of St. John's Gospel. By RUDOLPH BESSER, D.D. Translated
holds his views heartily, and propounds them uncompromisingly in strong and sharp outline.' This is a clause which nomine mutato might be affixed to many criticisms of German books. But it detracts very little from their value, for wise readers will know how to deal with the Lutheranism, or any other “isw they may encounter in good books. Dr. Besser's work is valuable and interesting. It contains many passages of real beauty and power, and is equally practical and devotional in its character. Although pervaded by real earnest feeling, the volume avoids enthusiasm and effervescence. The writer believes, admires, loves, and worships, but he never sacrifices his understanding. Those who are acquainted with the former volume will know how much we mean, when we say that is worthy of all the encomiums bestowed upon its predecessor. It is a hearty Christian book.
A Translation of the Syriac Peshito Version of the Psalms of David.
With notes, critical and explanatory. By the Rev. ANDREW OLIVER, M.A. Boston: E. P. Dutton and Co. London: Trübner
and Co. Tuis is the commendable production of an American parish clergyman, who has devoted his spare hours to the study of the Syriac version. The New Testament had been already translated into English by Dr. Murdock and Dr. Etheridge ; but hitherto no one, so far as we are aware, had tried his hand upon any book of the Old Testament. We have long asserted the importance of this version, and we rejoice in the attempts made to place it within the reach of a larger number. Mr. Oliver's translation of the Psalms is a good beginning; the work is executed on sound principles, and with all honesty of intention. Still we regard many of the renderings as capable of improvement, and not a few of them as open to question. It would be strange if it were otherwise. So little has been done in this department of study that the best rendering of numerous words and idiomatic phrases has not been fixed. Mr. Oliver is not above the use of italics, and endeavours to convey the meaning of the original, but does not aim at elegance. While then we cannot approve of every rendering, we have much pleasure in directing the attention of our readers to this volume.
St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Illustrated from Divines of the
Church of England. By James FORD, M.A. London: Masters.
1862. It is refreshing to discover that there are among us men who enjoy all the advantages of modern enlightenment, and who yet are content to abide in the “old paths.” Here is a solid octavo of 700 pages, in which the Epistle to the Romans is illustrated and expounded by divines of the Church of England, and mainly by divines of the seventeenth century. We can fancy some men smiling, and ready to dismiss the work at once as “unscientific,” “ uncritical," and so forth,
when they hear what sources it is derived from. But they would be wrong, for we have here not only the good, and wise, and holy thoughts of good, wise, and holy men; we have also explanations which will stand the ordeal of searching criticism, and illustrations which must commend themselves to all who are able to appreciate them. The seventeenth century was the age of great scholars and mighty theologians; and some of their leaders are represented in Mr. Ford's laborious and well ordered compilation. Who is there that can hear without reverence the names of Andrewes, Barrow, Beveridge, Bramhall, and Bull, of Donne, Faringdon, Felltham, Gurnall, Hacket, and Hall, of Hammond, Hicks, Hooker, Jackson, and Jewell, of Leighton, Lightfoot, Mede, Pearson, and Reynolds, or of Sanderson, Stillingfleet, Taylor, Tillotson, and Ussher? Are not these, and many more of the same order cited by Mr. Ford, worth listening to and learning from?
The seventeenth century was more than an age of Puritanism. The stern necessities of theological discussion called forth the noblest powers of men of all parties, and among the ornaments of the age in England, the High Church can claim some of the brightest. The following century has supplied its quota, but the galaxy of talent and piety is far less luminous. Some of the lights of our own times also make their appearance, and they form honourable additions to an honourable fraternity. Those who relish the old-fashioned divinity and the utterances of men whose faith is not perplexed and hampered by recent speculations, will do well to study this volume. Clergymen engaged in actual service, and having many demands upon their time and thoughts to meet, or such as have but a limited library at their command, will find Mr. Ford's work a real mine full of precious ore, we had almost said a treasury of current coin, of which they may freely avail themselves. In preaching from this important epistle, it will be well to consult the volume before us, so richly does it abound in right thoughts and practical suggestions. For personal edification or family reading, it is equally appropriate. We believe it is characterized throughout by (sound doctrine.” We have been much gratified with its perusal, and confidently recommend it as in all respects worthy of a place beside its predecessors by the same skilful hand.
Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church: with an Introduction
on the Study of Ecclesiastical History. By ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, D.D., Second edition. London: Murray. Oxford :
Parker. If there is romance anywhere in his subject Canon Stanley will find it. Not only will he find it, he will set it forth in its most bewitching guise; and in this way succeeds in investing what have been thought the driest themes, with grace and interest. What more appalling to a young student than a prospect of a course of Church history? What do common readers know less of than of Church history? As ordi