« AnteriorContinuar »
brought to light, and the religious.grandeur of the prophetic office glowingly interpreted. One great merit of the book is, that it unfolds with Christian insight the relations of divine law and everlasting rectitude to the welfare of society as of individuals; and so makes the direct heavenly dealings with Israel and Judah the flaming symbols of a government which works by the same principles, and with as certain an efficacy, in punishing and rewarding every kingdom of the world. In fact, the discourses furnish an admirable spiritual commentary on the prophetic element in the Old Testament history. Not the least of its attractions is the pure, calm style of the composition. Messrs. Crosby & Nichols have printed it in admirable style, and we heartily commend it to our brethren.
We will call attention here, also, to a little volume, recently published by the American Unitarian Association, entitled “ Regeneration." It is from the pen of the Rey. Edmund H. Sears, of Wayland, author of that exquisite Christmas hymn-" Calm on the listening ear of night.” Mr. Sears has treated the hard and sour doctrines of the sacrificial church— the fall, depravity, conversion, redemption, sanctification, &c., in the light of history and experience, to show, in fresh language, from what facts of society and personal feeling they have sprung, and what amount of truth is in them. The method is almost entirely positive, and while there are positions in the book which a Universalist cannot endorse, it is a volume which every Universalist may very profitably read. Any theology that is to live must, we think, be in sympathy with such views of truth and the needs of human nature as the greater part of this treatise unfolds.
K. 15. Ticknor, Reed & Fields have increased the debt of the community to their press, by the issue of the eleventh and twelfth volumes of the De Quincey papers. A richer collection of Essays, criticisms and speculations, cannot be found, we believe, in the range of modern English literature.
They have also published “Notes on Life, by Henry Taylor, author of Philip Van Artevelde.” The compass of this book is small, but it is crammed with wisdom. It should be put on the same shelf in the study with Bacon's Essays. In these days of heated, rapid, flashy composition, it is refreshing to get hold of a book whose sentences are the ripe and careful statements of truth born of patient reflection and experience. We have seen no book, of late, which affords more nutriment to a preacher who desires to fit his instruction to the condition, needs and dangers of modern life, than this.
We must not forget, either, that Messrs. Ticknor & Co. offer to our public an excellent reprint of the “ Poems of Alexander Smith.” The Reviews and newspapers abroad and in this country, have been studded, recently, with gems of imagery from this new poet. The eulogy has been extravagant, and the welcome extended to him contrasts strangely with the cold and contemptuous treatment, by the critics in thě last generation, of Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, on their first appearance in literature. Alexander Smith is not yet twenty one, it is said, and has been educated as a weaver in Glasgow. His imaginative imagery is certainly remarkable, but his genius shows to better advantage when his gems are unstrung in a review, than when examined in their natural setting. His thought is feeble, and his feeling extravagant. Almost always the thought is for the sake of the image, not the symbol for the thought. A basis of wisdom, true passion and intellectual strength, proportioned to his fluency of fancy, would place him very high among the masters of poetry. It remains to be seen whether he will be faithful to his gifts, and organize them by discipline for great service and lasting fame.
Lastly, we will call attention to “ Thalatta," a book of poems about the sea, published by Ticknor & Co., and edited by the Revs. Samuel Longfellow and T. W. Higginson. It is a noble collection of the best lyrics, meditations, ballads and songs, that have been inspired by the ocean. Every one that visits the sea-shore in the summer should read it by the rocks, or within sound of the murmur on the beach.
K. 16. Discourses on the Beatitudes. By E. H. Chapin. Boston: Published by Abel Tompkins. 1853. 16mo. pp. 158.
Mr. Chapin is distinguished above almost every other writer or public speaker, perhaps, in our country, by a power of broad generalization, by a rapid and strong flight of thought that still does not lose its continuity, and by an imagination that seems to flash out over heaven and earth,--all united with remarkable earnestness, with a temper the most kind and genial, and with a quick religious sensibility. These characteristics we find, as usual, in the Discourses before us. In addition to these well-known peculiarities, we also find here a happy insight into the circumstances and spirit of the people among whom our Saviour taught, and a profound appreciation of the moral significance of his doctrine. Nor is the preacher wanting in the power to apply that significance to the heart, as well as to practical life, under the circumstances of the present day.
17. Twelve Sermons, delivered during the Session of the United States Convention of Universalists, in the city of New York, September 15th and 16th, 1852. Together with a Portrait of the author of each sermon. Boston: James M. Usher. 1853. 12mo. pp. 285.
One of our "ready writers," who is skilful in reviewing books. was to furnish a notice of this volume ; and we now set down its title, chiefly to remind him of our dependence on his contribution. We suppose it may be said, without encroaching on his province, .
that a volume composed, as this is, of all the discourses preached at the annual gathering of our fraternity, ought to present a favorable specimen of Universalist sermonizing. It will be likely to contain, not the best examples, nor the very poorest, but such as, taking them altogether, are quite as good as the average of such productions among us, just at this time. For this reason, it will probably be consulted as a thermometer of the theological and religious temperature of our ministry. And if similar collections shall be made in future years, they will serve to note the increase or diminution of our vital warmth. We thank the publisher for the pains he has taken to preserve and circulate the present series.
18. English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century. A Series of Lectures. By W. M. Thackeray, author of " Esmond,” “Pendennis," “ Vanity Fair," &c. New York: Harper & Brothers, &c. 1853. 12mo. pp. 297.
A very pleasant book, by one of the most agreeable writers of our day,-easy, but accurate, in his style, well acquainted with the facts belonging to his subject, full of quiet humor himself, apparently unprejudiced in his judgement, disposed to make ample allowance for mere weakness, yet decided on all questions that seriously involve moral principle. The Humorists whom he presents are Swift, Congreve and Addison, Steeele, Prior, Gay, and Pope, Hogarth, Smollett and Fielding, Sterne and Goldsmith. The volume closes with a Lecture on Charity and Humor.
19. Pastoral Theology; or, the Theory of the Evangelical Ministry. By A. Vinet. Translated and Edited by Thomas H. Skinner, D. D., Professor of Pastoral Theology in the Union Theological Seminary of New York. With Notes, and an additional chapter, by the Translator, &c. New York: Harper & Brothers, &c. 1853. 12mo. pp. 387.
Though this work is written throughout in the spirit, and according to the doctrines, of Orthodoxy, we commend it to the notice of our brethren in the ministry, for the numerous suggestions it furnishes, of which they may advantageously avail themselves. It seems to have been composed from notes or sketches, that served as the basis of lectures which the author gåve upon the subject, in the Academy of Lausanne. Systematically arranged, comprehensive, and we may say complete, in its plan, it enters into all' a pastor's life, relations, and duties, public social and private, which it expounds with a great degree of religious earnestness, and with much ability
Of course, there are many objectionable things in this book, growing out of the erroneous theology on which it is based. There are some courses of professional practice recommended in it, which we think altogether antiscriptural and antichristian. Take, for instance, the directions which M. Vinet gives the pastor for ascertaining the spiritual state of the sick, and for dealing with them. A large part of this chapter is directly opposed to our Saviour's treatment of them,
and contravenes the spirit of the gospel. It was framed according to the demands of Orthodoxy, and not according to the example of Christ or of his apostles, on similar occasions. And their example, their practice in scenes of this kind, shows demonstratively that they did not hold the eternal destinies of a man to be dependent on the state of mind in which he dies.
20. The Preacher and the King; or, Bourdaloue in the Court of Louis XIV. Being an Account of the Pulpit Eloquence of that distinguished Era. Translated from the French of L. Bungener. Paris, 12th Edition. With an Introduction, by the Rev. George Potts, D.D., Pastor of the University Place Presbyterian Church, New York. Boston: Gould and Lincoln, &c. 1853. 12mo. pp. 338.
The narrative, or story, which M. Bungener has here given us, is told with a great deal of effect, and becomes very exciting as we approach the end. The story, however, is fiction, only “founded on fact.” It is not in this, that we find the chief value of the work. There are occasional insights opened into the state of things in the Court of the Grand Monarque; and several of the most celebrated characters of the time are introduced to our acquaintance, such as Bossuet, Arnauld the Jansenist, Fenelon, Bourdaloue, and the Protestant preacher Claude.
There are few scenes in fiction, wrought up to a more intense degree of interest, then that in which Bourdaloue stands preaching before the king and august assembly, undecided as yet whether he shall close with his own peroration, in the accustomed style of flattery, or with the faithful and solemn admonition which Claude has composed for him, and which, if uttered, will be as a thunder-bolt, striking the whole Court aghast.
21. Yusef; or, the Journey of the Frangi. A Crusade in the East. By Ross Browne, author of " Etchings of a Whaling-Cruise,” “Report of the Debates in the Convention of California,” and “CrusoeLife: a Narrative of Adventures in Juan Fernandez."' With Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers, &c. 1853. 12mo. pp. 421.
An amusing book ; and, when taking in its right view, doubtless an instructive one. The author has represented to us a scenery by no means unfamiliar to our thought; but with a keen perception of the eccentric and ludicrous in travel, he has endued his pictures with the peculiar tone of his own mind. With an earnest abhorrence of over-acted sentimentalism, he often verges to the opposite extreme, taking especial pains to discover his antipathy to "the ever-flowing tears of Lamartine.
The author has a taste for genial caricature; and certain personages whom he introduces to us are sketched with a skilful, and (with proper allowance for manner,) we may venture to say a truthful hand.
G. H. B.
Egypt, Assyria, and the Bible.
Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, with Travels in Armenia, Kurdistan and the Desert : being the result of a Second Expedition undertaken for the British Museum. By Austen H. Layard, M. P., author of “ Nineveh and its Remains," &c. 8vo. Illustrated with 400 Engravings. New York: G. P. Putnam and Co., 10 Park Place. 1853.
Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs. By John Kenrick, M. A. 2 vols. 12mo. Cloth. Plates. Redfield, Clinton Hall, New York. 1852.
MR. LAYARD knows how to present his subject in a readable and attractive style. “Babylon and Nineveh" has the interest of a novel, with the instruction of the most graphic work of travel. Considered either in respect of author or publisher, pleasure or profit, this is certainly a most valuable contribution to our literature. We remember to have read no book that has given us more satisfaction or solid information.
In the book of Jonah it is stated, that “the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey." I But where was Nineveh situated ? Where are the remains of " that great city of three days' journey,” to which Jonah was sent, and of which such prominent mention is made in so many portions of the Old Testament? Previous to the year 1840, no person could answer this question with any confidence. History concurred in the statements that Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and either founded by Ashur, son of Shem, or Nimrod, son of Cush; that it was one of the most ancient, famous and extensive cities of the world ; that it was built about the time of the Tower of Babel, somewhere on the banks of the Tigris ; 1 Chap. iii. 1-3.
2 Mr. Rich visited Mosul in 1820; he brought to London a few fragments of inscriptions, bricks, engraved stones, and a coffin of wood.
VOL. X. 29