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phatically PILGRIM PSALMs.” And as such M'Michael treats them in these sixteen expository discourses,—discourses which have the grasp of a powerful mind, the spirit of a catholic christian, and the directness of a practical man.
ALPHA AND OMEGA, OR, A SERIES OF CHRISTIAN STUDIES. By
GEORGE GILFILLAN, Minister of the Gospel, Dundee. In two Vols.
London : Arthur Hall, Virtue and Co. The main subject discussed, in these two beautiful volumes are :the solitary God inheriting Eternity, the angelic revolt, the creation, the fall of man, the wickedness of the antediluvian world, the flood, Abraham and Sodom's evil day, Jacob and his family, Israel and Judah, the prophetic protest, the first advent, the apostolic age, the scripture account of the future of christianity and the consummation. The author tells us that he has by no means aimed at anything like a full, exhaustive, or systematic, treatment of the many topics occuring in this vast field. His object has been to draw an outline of the progress of God's work and of the development of divine truth.
Mr. Gilfillan's style of thought and expression is so thoroughly individual and well-known, tbat it would be superfluous for us to attempt to represent it to our readers. The great fault in our talented author consists in the opulence of that imaginative faculty which so few preachers or religious writers possess, and the lack of which makes their productions so unattractive and monotonous. He could spare fifty per cent. of this rare article to the common-place preachers and writers of the age, without any injury to himself and with im. mense advantage to them. His path of thought runs through a forest of glowing imagery, and is sometimes lost amidst the dark shadows of its foliage. We sincerely believe, however, that some of the sublimest utterances in the English language are to be found in Mr. Gilfillan's works, and that were they collected together in a volume, they would gain by a comparison with Henry Beecher's "Life Thoughts.”
AFTER MANY DAYS : A Tale of Social Reform. By SENECA SMITH.
London : W. Tweedie, 336, Strand, London. We shall let the author himself indicate the plan and purpose of this book :-"I have”_says he-"undertaken a narrative of human weakness in temptation, of fearful falls from virtue, of ultimate redemption. To many it will occur, that themes 80 sublime should be handled with funeral sadness, and to such, my indulgence in the
comic vein may appear a violation of good taste-if nothing more. But I prefer to invest my characters and incidents with the motley which is the common wear of human life—that strange yet universal garb in which the mournful and the gay, the tragic and the grotesque, so constantly intermingle.” As a book to interest, -to work on every passion of the soul, touching in turn all the strings that lie between the two poles of the heart,-merriment and sadness, it has but few equals. And as a book for true usefulness in the great cause of social reform, it can scarcely have a superior. It will do more, when it is read, to destroy the demon of intemperance than thousands of such harangues of those teetotal orators that we have been sometimes unfortunate enough to hear.
THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD. A Story founded on Facts. By the Author of Blenham, &c. London : Arthur Hall, Virtue, & Co. This is a good story. The characters are for the most part exquisitely drawn, the spirit is that of broad philanthropy, and enlightened godliness, and the lessons all are generally of an ennobling character. SERMONS by John ANGELL JAMES. Edited by his son. Vol. III. London : Hamilton, Adams, & Co. We are glad to receive this volume, and to find that this work is so well executed and progressing so rapidly. The volume contains some of the best sermons of one of the most eminent preachers of our age. THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS : Contemplations on Luke ix. 51–62. By FREDERICK ARNAT, Minister of the Parochial Church, Berlin. Translated from the German. London : Thickbroom, Brothers. This is an ingenious little book. The author endeavors to show that the four great temperaments of the human race, the choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic
; are represented in the passage which he expounds. John who would “command fire from Heaven,” represents the choleric. The man who said "I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,” represents the sanguine. He who said “Let me first go and bury my father,” represents the phlegmatic. And he who said “Suffer me to go and bid them farewell which are at home in my house," represents the melancholic. The little book will amply repay perusal.
ERRATA.—Page 325, (foot-note), for ingenuous read ingenious.
“My judgment is just ; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”—John v. 30.
HE querulous and meddling spirit of the mere verbal and turgid religionists of our day, true to their history, is arrogantly projecting on public notice the heterodoxy of independent students
of the Holy Book. As this miserable spirit is now hooting in our ears, it will not be untimely, and we trust not unprofitable, to devote a little quiet thinking to the subject of the essential condition of True Theology.
We shall make our way to the subject by a few consecutive remarks on the points naturally arising out of our text :
First : The words suggest a moral difference in the judgments of men concerning divine truth. There are “just” and “unjust judgments.” There is no sphere of study into which man enters, where opinions are so various and even contentious as that of theology. In astronomy, geology, and the physical sciences, in general, students are comparatively agreed. But in theology there is an incessant, and frequently a violent, collision of sentiment.
The fierce battles that have been fought on the arena of the Bible, make up no small portion of the history of Christendom. Chapters too, of terrible depravity, are found in this voluminous history ;-would, for the honor of our nature they could be blotted out! This diversity of theological sentiment is remarkable. Antecedently, it might have been
expected, that in whatever other branch of study men differed in judgment, in the science of the God of Love, and the common Father of us all, our souls would meet in holy affection, and blend in sweet harmony of thought. Nor is this diversity merely remarkable; it is moral. It implies evil somewhere. Man is a moral being, and all his judg. ments must be either "just" or “unjust.” Thoughts have a moral character. The Omniscient penetrates the deepest secrets of the mind, marks its thoughts as they rise from their invisible source, and registers them either as good or bad. Thoughts being either virtuous or otherwise, their influence must be either advantageous or pernicious. They are not mere visions that flit before the mind for a moment, and then pass away for ever, making no more impression upon the heart, than the feathery clouds of a summer's sky upon the granite hills. They are for the most part germs. The most light and unsubstantial of them are like those tiny seeds that float in their downy bed on the softest zephyr ; they drop into a soil where they may germinate and grow. Or, to change the figure, the thoughts that rise in the soul, are like the exhalations from the earth, they form clouds in the over-arching heavens ;-clouds that discharge themselves either in fructifying showers, or devastating storms.
Another remark arising out of the text is :
Secondly: That the diversity of our judgment on divine truth is dependent upon our moral conduct. Jesus here intimates that had He been a self-seeker, His judgment would not have been “just.” It is a fact patent to every reflective observer of human nature, that our religious creed is rather the outcome of our general life, than the result of intellectual investigation; springs rather from the proclivities of the heart, than from the deductions of the head. In moral questions, life rules logic; feeling sways judgment; conduct grows the creed. The ancient philosophers recog. nized this fact. Aristotle considered a
man unfit to meddle with the grave precepts of morality, till the heat of youthful passions and the violence of youthful impulses had
passed away. Intellectually we look at moral truth through our lives; self is our medium of moral vision ; the glass through which we look at God and His holy laws. If our moral lives, the medium through which we view divine doctrine, be colored, or dimned by sin, all within the sweep of our vision will appear unnatural, unbeautiful, and without truth. You may as well expect to see a green landscape and an azure sky, through a crimson glass, as to see truth in its native beauty through a depraved life. The fact is you must have moral truth in you, as a feeling, before you can see it outside. Could any philosopher impart to you the conception of the taste of a fruit, the like of which had never touched your palate, or the fragrance of a flower, the like of which
you had never smelt, or the form or color of an object, the like of which you had never seen before ? Impossible. Equally impossible for you to understand the doctrines of love, if you not benevolent; the principles of justice, if you are not just. Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned. It is not enough to have the competent intellect; in order to form a "just judgment” upon the truth, you must have a pure life. Holy habits are indispensable to the formation of right theological opinions. “ The truth as it is in Jesus,” is to be reached and realized only by the spirit that was in Jesus.
In the moral doings of man then, you have, as the Heavenly Teacher intimates, the philosophy of the diverse judgments on Divine doctrine which prevail amongst men.
Another remark arising out of the text is :
Thirdly : That man's moral condition is resolvable into one of two grand principles of action,--self-seeking, or Godseeking. “My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father.” Regarding Christ as speaking merely as a man, three thoughts are here suggested :-(1) That man has a will concerning himself. He is endowed with the power of free action. He is by nature constituted the sovereign of his own activities. In other words he has a will. This will he uses ;-he rejects