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Scylla and the Calvinian Charybdis; a style of which the elegant dif. fuseness does not secure clearness sufficient to atone for the sacrifice of brevity—these are their characteristics. Knowing, as the discriminating reader does, that the excellence of modern printed sermons is in inverse proportion to their multitude, he will not allow these to escape him without a recognition of their superior merit.
HISTORY OF Moses and His Times. By the Rev. THORNLEY SMITH.
Edinburgh: Wm. Oliphant and Co.
Our readers will find a favorable notice of the former work of this author, “Zaphnath-Paaneah; or, the History of Joseph,” in onr fifth volume, p. 141. The present is the second work of the series, which we are glad to find is to include one on Joshua. This author is rendering real service to the cause of popular Biblical Literature. He is making it intelligible to “the masses," and giving them, in an economical and portable form, the results of the investigations and discoveries of such men as Wilkinson, Robinson, and Kitto. It would be difficult to say which is the greater, the fascination of Egyptian Antiquities, or their utility to the student of the Old Testament. We believe that timid scholars continue to doubt the trustworthiness of the method of reading off the hieroglyphics, supposed by some to be ascertained from the Rosetta stone; Egyptian chronology still, like a thorn-hedge, bristles with discouragements; and Mr. Thornley Smith wisely passes lightly over such matters, and employs his strength chiefly where it is really available for the class which he aims to benefit. The series—Joseph, Moses, and Joshua—will, when complete, prove invaluable for Sunday School Teachers, and the less erudite of the ministry.
CENTRAL Truths. By the Rev. Charles STANFORD, author of
“ Power in Weakness; Memorials of the Rev. W. Rhodes." London: Jackson and Walford.
We well remember the pleasure with which, some months ago, we read this author's “Power in Weakness,” and commended it to our readers as an excellent biography of a man not to be forgotten. The present work, though of a very different character, consisting of “the substance of discourses on the elementary doctrines of the Gospel, most of which,” Mr. Stanford informs Dr. Steane, his dedicatee and co-pastor, “were preached to our congregation during the past year." “ The Dial,” with whose judgment we agree, pronounces it to be "at once sober and somewhat original.” The originality referred to is, we imagine, perceptible partly in the titles, and partly in the style. Was it not Boileau who said, “The style is the man ? ” Certainly a natural, unaffected style indicates, that, if there be no great novelty. in the thoughts, the writer has at any rate made them his own.
EMMANUEL. By JOSEPI PARKER, Minister of Cavendish Street
Chapel, Manchester. London. Judd and Glass. THE PROPHET OF NAZARETH; OR, THE ONE STORY OF THE FOUR
GOSPELS. With Preface, by the Rev. C. MILLER, D.D. A SERIES of very short, but most powerful and suggestive discourses on the prominent facts of the evangelic narrative. The author calls them, “Passages from Lectures on the Life of Jesus Christ.” The humanity of Christ is reverently explored, as the choicest revelation of, and the best means of knowing His Godhead. To sermonize at length, following in the wake of others, and carefully repeating what has been said many times before, is far easier than to combine brevity with compactness, freshness with truth, to be short without being fragmentary, lively yet sober. The bent of this writer's genius is to new methods, leaving ruts worn by the wheels of ages to more timid and less original men. Had his logical and rhetorical discipline been complete, his product would have reached an almost singular nearness to perfection. It is a book quick and quickening, which deserves not to be passed lightly over with the unmeaning and power. less insincerity of conventional commendation, but to have its quality heartily appreciated and indicated with earnest praise.
Although we greatly differ from Dr. Miller, as to the need and the possibility of an exact and complete harmony of the Gospels, we yet welcome this result of his honest labor—which in old times would have been called a Diatessaron, and is not what is usually called a Harmony, weaving as it does the four texts into one continuous narrative--as most useful for the young. Its usefulness, however, would perhaps have been increased had the references been placed in the margin, instead of being postponed to the end of the volume.
PEACEMAKING ; A SERMON FOR THE TIMES. By the Rev. Joseph
Parker, Manchester. Judd and Glass : London. Now, when the “Rifle Corps ” has grown so popular amongst the unthinking boys of this generation, and that portion of the Press that lives by pandering to the popular cravings of the hour, is loud with a blatant courage in its praise, it is refreshing to meet with a Minister of one of the largest congregations in one of the most influential cities of the three kingdoms, lifting up his voice against such martial mimicry and charlatanic patriotism.
A HOMIL Y
Peter ;-a Soul-Redeeming Thought.
“And when he thought thereon, he wept.”—Mark xiv. 27.
HE men who grieved the heart, engaged in
the persecution, and brought on the death, of the Son of God, appear to stand forth on the page of History as sinners above all the rest.” AJbeit, they were but types
of certain classes of characters that have lived in every age. JUDAS, the dark betrayer, represents that large class of men, who love property more than principle, and who, for filthy lucre, would sell the best of causes and the best men. Moral Judases abound in every age. The OFFICERS who took Jesus, bound Him, and struck Him, find their moral brethren amongst those crouching multitudes who will do the most unrighteous and dastardly acts at the bidding of their superiors-mere instruments wielded by their masters for wicked and despotic ends. Those SOLDIERS that made themselves merry with the miseries of a stranger, dressed Him in the costume of a monarch, mocked Him, crowned Him with thorns, and called Him a king, find their class amongst those trifling jesters, who will ridicule sacred things, “mock at sin,” and make fools and demons of themselves, in order to excite the laughter of the thoughtless crowd,—the vacant lookers-on. PILATE, who condemned Him, was a type of that class of men teeming, alas! in all places and periods, who “love the praise of men more than the praise of God," who will do violence to their own con
science, and perpetrate the grossest injustice, rather than forfeit popular applause ;-men who will allow their own moral being to be swamped by the wild and lawless tide of public opinion. PETER, who denied Him, has also his class. He represents the men who, in the main, have a strong attachment to Christ, but who, in the presence of His enemies are too cowardly to confess Him-who, in their conduct, if not in their words, sometimes deny Him.
Seeing then, that the men who engaged in perpetrating these enormities on the Holy Christ, are types of large classes of men everywhere, and at all times existing, let us not be denouncing characters in history, and cordially mingling with them in social life. Let us see to it that we have no part nor lot with them ; and let us raise and continue a manly and consistent protest against their spirit, wherever discovered ; whether in Judea or in England; in the first dawn of Mediation, or in the nineteenth century of its bright and everbrightening history.
An hour or two before “Peter wept,” we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane- —a retired spot hard by the Mount of Olives, a short distance from Jerusalem, and commanding a view of the Holy City. It was night, yet not dark. It was the time of the Passover; and the full moon rolled in its brightness, silvering with its cold rays the murmuring Kedron, and those dark trees that overhung the sacred spot.
Never did the moon look down on scenes more sad than those transpiring under its serene eye that night. Hither Jesus had resorted, and taken with Him Peter, James, and John. Here He bowed, and bled, and prayed in agonizing devotion. At length, the dark betrayer and his band broke the silence of that solemn hour, and desecrated the sanctity of that Holy place.
The treacherous kiss was given; the Roman band secures their victim; the disciples seek to defend their Master, but in vain. He is taken away into the Holy City,—to the palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, He is conducted:--there the Scribes and the Elders, the ruling council, had assembled by a preconcerted plan. Peter followed afar of,
and entered the palace of the High Priest, where Christ was undergoing a trial which outraged every principle of law and right. The part of the hall, where Jesus and the council stood, was probably raised above the rest. Peter, however, only just got within the door with the servants and other spectators to witness the scene. He is eagerly anxious about the trial, yet he affects an unconcern, and wishes to be regarded as a mere stander-by. Presently, as he stands warming himself at the fire,- for the first breath of the opening morning is chilling-one of the female servants recognizes him, and charges him with a knowledge of Jesus, Here is the trial of his faith; instead of avowing it, and glorying in it, his courage failed; he denied it, and with an impious profanity, thrice repeated the crime.
There are three things to which I will call your attention in relation to the thought which brought Peter's mind back to its obligation to Christ.
I. THE Thought implies a subject. You can no more think without a theme, than you can hear without a sound, or see without an object. Peter “thought thereon." On what did he think? Obviously his sin,- his denial of Christ. This was the subject on which the whole of his intellectual nature was for the time concentrated. A subject this of fearful enormity.
In order to estimate in some measure its moral turpitude, it may be expedient to do two things :
First : Analyze its nature. His denial of Christ involves several elements of depravity. Here is wilful falsehood, “I know not the man,” said he. Why! he knew Him well enough. He had been with Christ three years, and introduced into the inner circle of His life. Falsehood is one of the oldest sins and one of the blackest attributes of character. Here is moral cowardice.
It was fear that prompted him to this sin; he was afraid to confess Jesus in the presence of His enemies.