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(We hold it to be the duty of an Editor either to give an early notice of the books sent to him for remark, or to return them at once to the Publisher. It is unjust to praise worthless books; it is robbery to retain unnoticed ones.)
THE REVIEWER'S CANON.
In every work regard the author's end,
An EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN; by GEORGE HUTCHESON.
Ward and Co. THE EPISTLES OF PAUL ; by JAMES FERGUSON.' Ward and Co. More than two long centuries, with all their wondrous revolutions, have rolled over our planet since these two volumes first made their appearance. Though mental science, Biblical criticism, and various other branches of enquiry that throw light upon the Inspired Record, have made considerable advancement since these venerable expositors lived and studied here, there is much in their commentaries that will repay the study of modern students, and not a little equal to the best of modern expositors.
The mental powers, scholastic attainments, theological views, and methods of study, of our authors, are so identical that you can scarcely make a remark to characterize the one that will not apply with equal force to the other. We like their method : it seems to us the most true and profitable manner of dealing with God's great Book. Their plan is, to offer exegetical remarks upon the separate verse or paragraph, and then to deduce the “ doctrines or general truths therein expressed or implied. Modern expositors, especially of the German school, seem almost systematically to neglect this latter operation,as if unworthy of modern scholarship and science. This we deem & great mistake.
The "doctrines,” or general truths, contained in the passage, are its very heart, spirit, worth; and the man who cannot bring them out clearly to the common sense of the common reader, lacks the fundamental qualification of a Biblical expositor, however deeply read he may be in philological lore, or skilful in 'hermeneutical tactics. We love old Matthew Henry, because of the general truths that he brings out from the passage. His “ Note here," which meets you in every turn, like finger posts pointing you into glorious districts of general common sense sentiment and divine truth gives his commentary immense charm, and is, we think, the philosophy of its popularity, and the guarantee of its continuance through the coming ages. We should like to see commentaries constructed after the following fashion :-A simple condensed statement of the universal truths, contained in the various verses, paragraphs, chapters, and books of the Bible. Whilst to do it well, the author should be a most competent scholar, and a philosophic thinker, we would not have a word in his commentary of verbal criticism or speculation. All the processes through which he reached his conclusions should be hidden. His work should be to strip The Book of all its orientalisms, localisms, ceremonialisms, &c., and bring out the general truths. Such a commentary, instead of being like other commentaries, larger than the Bible, would not be a quarter of its size, but it would be the spirit of the Book, essentially the Bible itself, commended irre. sistibly to the common reason and the common conscience of humanity.
As the excellencies of these works are nearly the same, so are their defects; there is in both too much Calvinistic rigor, narrow saintliness, sermonic mannerism, and clumsy verbosity, to allow us the gratification of writing an unqualified commendation.
THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Translated and
compiled from the works of Augusti with numerous additions, from
Rheinnnald Siegel and others, by the Rev. LYMAN COLEMAN. THE object of this work is to furnish the student of Divinity with a book of reference, and the scholar and antiquary with a guide, in his more extended and original investigations. The merits and need of this work are variously estimated by different individuals, according to their religious creeds and intellectual habits and tastes. He who regards—as does the apist—THE CHURCH as the source of religious knowledge, and its rites and doctrines as revelations of the Divine mind, will, of course, study the history of these doctrines, and rites, with as much earnestness and zeal as he would study the scriptures themselves. Protestants have too long neglected the study of this important branch of enquiry, mainly, we presume, for the reason that “the voice of the Church” with them has of course no authority co-ordinate with that of the Bible. Their interest, when they have it, in ecclesiastical antiquities, arises from other considera
tions. For them the sentiments and practices of the early Church have a theological importance, only so far as they serve to illustrate the sentiments and practices of the inspired writers. The study, however, of Church antiquities may be enforced on various grounds, apart altogether from religion. It reveals human nature in some of its most subtle relations and divine aspects ; it tends to liberalize the mind; to crush all sentiments of bigotry in the soul ; and superinduce the spirit of generous forbearance towards those who differ from us in our religious conclusions, by showing to us how potent is the influence of man's times, circumstances, and education, in the formation of his religious opinions. For men of letters, the study of Church antiquities has a special claim. It stands in inti. mate association with European history and with the fine arts. Its influence has mightily moulded the character of the Middle Ages, and the Middle Ages were the nursery of modern civilization the world over. For such reasons as these, which Professor Sears so well states in his admirable introduction, we heartily commend to our brother students the study of Ecclesiastical Antiquities. And because we know of no work on the subject, which for its lucidity, comprehensiveness, pith and condensation, approaches the volume before us in its merits, we cannot do other than earnestly commend it.
FARQUHAR FRANKHEART ; or Incidents in the Introduction of
Methodism into Yorkshire. Ward and Co. ALTHOUGH the demand for novels, which in these days is a mania, has called forth many works of an entirely worthless and injurious character, yet the principle of fiction is divine. The Heavenly Teacher himself adopted it, and it possesses a charmi and a power that other methods must lack. Therefore we rejoice to meet with a book like this, which tends to redeem “light literature,” from the opprobrium it too often merits. It is moreover a very superior tale, on account of the novelty of incident, truthfulness of character, freshness of plot, forcibleness of style, and high moral aim, which distinguish it. Those who would understand something of the persecutions Wesleyan Methodism has so triumphantly weathered, and the good its introduction has so generally produced, or who would be reminded of the jealous hatred with which too often the bad assail the good, and the defeat to which evil is ever destined, should read Farquhar Frankheart.
WESTMINSTER CAAPEL PULPIT REPORTS OF SERMONS. By the Rev. SAMUEL MARTIN, Being manuscripts of short-hand notes taken at the time of delivery. London : Elliott Stock. The Hearers of MR. MARTIN, who formed themselves into a Committee, to report and
publish the discourses of their minister as they came from his lips, acted wisely and well. Happy the people who are privileged to listen to such a preacher, and happy the preacher who has such discriminating and appreciative hearers. All the Sermons have on them the bloom of life ; and some of them have rays of originality and strokes of powerful eloquence. Thanks to the committee that have preserved thoughts which will live when the tongue that uttered them will be silent in the grave !--The SPEAKER AT HOME. Chapters on Public Speaking and Reading Aloud, by Rev. J. J. HALCOMBE, M.A. ; and on the Physiology of Speech, by W. H. STONE, M.A., M.B. Bell and Daldy. This little book conveys in a most unpretending manner very many useful suggestions to those who are, or those who hope to be, public speakers. Facts, and the reason of them, are presented to the reader, in a clear and interesting manner. The work too has the advantage of brevity, the authors evidently believing “verb: sap : sat.” THE OLIVE BRANCH. Poems on Peace, Liberty, Friendship, &c. By William STOKES. Judd and Glass. Here we have poesy of no mean order, dedicated to some of the noblest themes that can thrill the soul of man. May these poems find their way to many a home, and their spirit soon reign in every heart!—THE TWO TWILIGHTS ; or the saint and the sinner, in life and death, by EVAN LEWIS. B.A., F.R.G.S, &c. Ward and Co. The conception of this little poem is good, its execution poetic, and the moral sublime.-SECTS IN SYRIA, with observations on the recent outbreak. By B. H. CowPER. H. J. Tresidder. This tractate will possess peculiar interest in consequence of the awful butcheries that are now associated with the mention of Syria.--SPECIMENS, WITH MEMOIRS, OF THE LESS KNOWN ENGLISH POETS. Vol. I. Edinboro': P. Nichol. This volume of the magnificent series of British Poets, contains in addition to the choice pieces of Sydney, Raleigh, Beaumont, Ben Johnson, and others, several by unknown authors. The brilliant editor, besides giving the usual memoirs, writes a valuable introductory essay on the origin and progress of English poetry, up to the days of Chaucer and Gower.ROUTLEDGE'S CHURCH AND HOME METRICAL PSALTER AND HYMNAL: Containing one hundred and one psalm and hymn tunes, adapted to six hundred and forty psalms and hymns. Edited by CHARLES H. PURDAY. The title so fully describes this book that we need say but little. The tunes are all of the most popular and valuable sort, and are exquisitely adapted to the words to which they are attached. The hymns and psalms are for the most good : there are a few which we do not consider at all adapted for worship. The book, however, is on the whole a very good one of its class ; and its merits, “getting-up," and wonderful cheapness, must secure for it an immense circulation.-A PATRIARCHAL HANDMAID ; OR, Godly PATIENCE AND
ZEAL SECURING A RIGHTEOUS RECOMPENSE OF REWARD. A Sermon occasioned by the death of Mrs. Hill; preached in Woburn Independent Chapel, April 1st, 1860. By the Rev. J. ANDREWS. Published by request. London: Jackson and Walford. When we say that this sermon was decidedly worth preaching, and will repay a perusal, the thoughtful will regard it as no mean commendation.EVENTIDE. A devotional diary. Nisbet and Co. SHORT Essays ON SHORT TEXTS. Wertheim and Co.-BIBLE DIFFICULTIES ExPLAINED. Rev. Dr. HEWLETT. H. J. Tressidder. The first of these consists of eminently practical meditations, arranged for every evening of the year. There are a quietness and simplicity, and withal a thoughtfulness, about the book that will charm a superior class of readers. The second by a layman of the Church of England, contains interesting reflections on well chosen texts. Its author writes often with an experience that gives pathos, and always with an intelligence that gives interest to the essays. Dr. Hewlett's aim is to satisfy that spirit of enquiry, which, he says, is the characteristic of the present age. There are in the scriptures many common apparent contradictions, with the most general of these, this little work carefully and candidly deals. RUNNING A THOUSAND MILES FOR FREEDOM; OR, THE ESCAPE OF WILLIAM AND ELLEN CRAFT FROM SLAVERY. London: William Tweedie. This book reveals the abominations of slavery. The facts it records, of which the following is a specimen, heat the blood to a boiling point of righteous indignation against the iniquitous and infamous system of slavery. “My poor sister was sold first : she was knocked down to a planter who resided at some distance in the country. Then I was called upon the stand While the auctioneer was crying the bids, I saw the man that had purchased my sister getting her into a cart, to take her to his home. I at once asked a slave friend who was standing near the platform, to run and ask the gentleman if he would please wait till I was sold, in order that I might have an opportunity of bidding her goodbye. He sent me word back that he had some distance to go, and could not wait. I then turned to the auctioneer, fell upon my knees, and humbly prayed him to let me just step down and bid my last sister farewell. But, instead of granting me this request, he grasped me by the neck, and in a commanding tone of voice, and with a violent oath, exclaimed, “Get up ! You can do the wench no good; therefore there is no use in your seeing her.'” The heroic adventures recorded in this little book shake the whole soul with intense emotion. Eternal Justice speedily interpose, free the poor slave from the tyranny of devils in human flesh,-devils, who sad to say, often garb themselves in the costume of religion !