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NOTICES OF BOOKS.
An ESSAY ON THE PROPER RENDERING OF THE WORDS ELOHIM AND
THEOS INTO THE CHINESE LANGUAGE. By WILLIAM J. Boone, D. D., Missionary Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States to China. Canton: 8vo. pp. 70. 1848.
One great advantage of missionary labor has already been experienced in the many valuable contributions made by the Missionaries to the various departments of science Thus the Missionary aids the scholar in his study, while the scholar in his study, may do much 10 aid the Missionary in many subordinate and incidental points of duty. This is especially true in regard to literary labors, upon which much so often depends. The question di-cussed in the pamphlei mentioned above, furnishes a good example of this importance; for, upon its decision, depends in no small degree, the nature of that gospel which is to be addressed to the Chinese, whether they are to be taught to worship and adore one God of many above all the rest, or one God Supreme over other Gods,-or one only living and true God. The difficulties attending this subject, have been felt from the first introduction of Christianity into China. The Romish Missionaries employed various terms to express the idea of one God, until A. D. 1715, when Pope Clement XI, decided that Tien Chu, signifying “ Celestial Lord,” or “ Lord of Heaven,' should be used in future. Hence, they render the first command of the Decalogue; Reverently worship or honor,) one Hearenly Lord abore all things. But this is in no way inconsistent with the worship of inferior deities, saints, or angels; only provided, “ the one Heavenly Lord” be placed above them. The Jesuits employed Tien,“ Heaven,” and Shang Ti, Supreme Ruler," to denote God. "Rev. Drs. Morrison, Milne, and Marsham, unitormly render Elohim and Theos, by Shin; and Dr. Medhurst, and Mr. Gutzlaff do the same when they refer to the true God, but Shang Ti, when reference is made to false Gods. This has been the general usage of all Protestant translalors until within a few months, and the question of usage now lies between Shin and Ti; the latter being a word recently proposed, but warmly advocated.
It is correctly assumed by the translators, that no specific name of any heathen deity should be employed to denote the true God; but, that it should be the generic term for God, by which is meant the highest genus or class of beings to which the Chinese offer religious worship. Bishop Boone and his associates claim that Shin, and Shin alone, properly does this, and he produces copious proof from the most ancient and approved writings of the Chinese, and from their Dictionaries, That their position is correct. The same kind of proof is offered in abundance, to show that Ti is not so used in Chinese. judging from the evidence furnished by the work before us, (for we have not access to the originals,) the Bishop has made out a strong if not a conclusive argument. It is also due to the Bishop to say that the discu-sion is carried on with an amiable spirit, and in a scholar-like manner; and that his pamphlet will be alike interesting to the Christian and the scholar.
There is one point of evidence overlooked by the Bishop, from which he might have drawn a strong presumptive argument in favor of his conclusion: we mean that arising from the etymology (so to speak) of the characters employed to represent the several ideas pertaining to the character of
the Deity. Shang signifies, as a verb, to go up, to be aloft; as a noun, higt. ness, a king, a noble, having corresponding senses as an adjective. Shang, in its priinary sense, seems more applicable to an earthly lord, and then Ind in any place SHin seems rather to denote something descending from the regions of the light, or from heaven,- Ti, something ascending to the same place. But we can not pursue the point. The suggestion is made for the consideration of those engaged in discussing the question. THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE; Delineated in a Series of Sketches of promi
inent Females mentioned in Holy Scripture. By Clergymen of the United Sia'es. Illustrated by eighteen characteristic Steel Engravings. Edited by the Rev. J. M. Wainwright, D. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Philadelphia : Geo. S. Appleton. MDCCCXLIX. Crown Quarto, pp. 214. (Sold in New Haven by Mr. Pease.)
As a work of art, we point to this magnificent volume with feelings of national pride. We believe it to be the most elegant specimen of bookmaking which has ever been issued from the American press. Its plan is unique and striking. The theme is Woman. The subject is woman, as portrayed on the sacred canvass in her divinest, and most repulsive aspect. The Sketches are drawn by several of our most elegant and tasteful writers, selected from American Clergymen of different denominations. The illustrative steel engravings are copied from drawings by Staahl, and are executed by the best masters of etching of the modern school. The whole plan has been completed under the watchful eye of a gentleman, whose taste in the fine arts and whose high standing as a belleslettres scholar are undisputed. The mechanical execution, as to paper, type, press-work, and binding, we think surpasses any thing heretofure issued in our country.
This superb book has a still higher value in the character, which yet so naturally grows out of the subject, that it seems neither forced nor awkward. The title of the book suggests it. It is the elegance of art, and the refinement of taste, not prostitnted to the enshrining of a bauble, as has too often been done ; but consecrated to the noblest of all themes, Christian Virtue.
In venturing to turn the pages of this book with the severity of a critic's ere, we shall not disguise our feelings of hesitancy. The engravings are by Egleton, Edwards, Shote, Holl, Eyles, Brown, and Robinson, none of whom, we regret to say, can we claim as Americans. We are contident that these artists have here given us the best exhibitions of their skill; and there is not one of their pictures that will not bear the test of close examination. The grief of Hagar—the simplicity of Rebekah-the beauty and tenderness of Rachel —the depraved boldness of Poliphar's wife- the pity of Pharaoh's danghter-the masculine energy and prowess of Deburah—the meek serenity and moral heroism of Jephthah's daughter-the soft voluptuousness of Delilah-the contented fidelity of Ruth—the importunity of Hannah-the uncomplaining endurance and constancy of the fair Abigail-the royal beauty of the Queen of Sheba—the fiendish ferocity of Jezebel—the high moral bearing and captiva'ing charms of Esther—the almost desperation of Sara, wife of Tobias—the enduring faith of Judith-the firmness unto death of the Mother in Maccabees-all these are etched with striking naturalness. Those delicate stipplings of the needle, which bring out the clare-ob-scure with due intensity-and in which more modern art excels Raimondi and the earlier masters of the Italian school—are employed in several of these pictures with exquisite effect. Forin, attitude, proportion, expression, costume, are all in excellent taste. Whether the artist has always embodied the truest conception of his subject may perhaps be questioned. But without wishing to particularize, we think “Pharaoh's daughter," the “Queen of Sheba,” “Rebekah," " Jezebel," and the Mother in the Maccabees,” are admirable.
The letter press is in keeping with the design of the book. The authors seem, with scarce an exception, to have carefully studied their subjccts; and have given us, in a few bold sketches, the leading characteristics of their hero nes. The several writers are the Rt. Rev. Messrs. Burgess, Doane and McIlvaine; the Rev. Drs. Atkinson, T. W. Coit, Higbee, Kipp, Muhlenberg, Vinton, and Wainwright; and Rev. Messrs. Gurdon S. Coit and Samuel Cooke, Bishops and Presbyters of the Church; and the Rev. Drs. Cheever, Dewiit, Potts, Sprague, and Vermilye.
We bespeak for this volume a liberal patronage. It richly deserves it. It should take the place in the parlor of every Christian family, of those costly Annuals, which have the elegance of beauty without its fragrance. We really know of no uninspired volume so appropriate as a “gift-book” for the season, and for all seasons. The Publishers, in sending out such a book from their house, have paid a high compliment to the taste of an enlightened Christian community; and it remains now with that community to show that the compliment is deserved. The Sacred Poets OF ENGLAND AND AMERICA, for Three Centuries. Ed.
ited by Rufus W. Griswold. Illustrated with Steel Engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co. MDCCCxlix. 8vo. pp. 552. New Haven: Sidney Babcock.
The conception of the plan of this book was a happy thought, though not original with the American Editor, as he tells us. “Gems of the British Sacred Poets,” recently issued from Oxford, formed its nucleus; to which there are added selections from about thirty different authors. Christian England and America, the mother and daughter, descended from the same stock, speaking the same language, are here represented in the choicest productions of the divinest gist. Brilliants of different lustre, yet all sparkling, form the coronal. Although thickly studded, a few gems we think might have been added, without detracting from its effect. Nor are the selections, in all cases, such as we would have chosen. Sull, it is a beautiful volume, elegantly and even splendidly issued, by a house which confessedly leads in such matters. Tho-e of our readers who wish for a Christian " Gift Book” need look no further; and those who would possess some of the choicest specimens of the old English Poets will here find them.
Among the poets of our own Church here cited, we find the names of Sigourney, Doane, Croswell, Eastburn, Coxe, Hillhouse, Bryant, and Dana.
The following, taken from Crashaw's lines on the Prayer Book, are as beautiful as just. Coleridge pronounced this poem one of the greatest in the language.
"Lo! here a little volume, but great book,
(Fear it not, sweet,
It is no hypocriter)
Against the ghostly foe to take your part,
You'll find it yields
More swords and shields
Than sin hath snares or hell hath darts." The materials for the biographical notes are mostly derived from Willmott's “ Lives of the English Sacred Poets." We notice some Editorial errors, such as that Rev. W'm. Croswell, D. D., is Rector of a Church in New Haven; and bestowing the term “ Catholic" upon a sect of Christians who own allegiance to an Italian Bishop. History Of THE JEsuits from the foundation of their Society to its sup
pression by Pope Clement XIV; their Missons throughout the world; iheir Educational System and Literature ; with their revival and present state. By ANDREW STEINMETZ, Author of " Novitiate," and " the Jesuit in the Family.” In two volumes. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1848. 12mo. pp. 468, 480.
We know nothing of this author except from the volumes before us. We learn from them, that he received his early education in Romish Institutions, partly at St. Bartholomew's, one of the Carribee Islands. That the effect of this instruction was to make him a thorough skeptic, appears probable. At least, the following passages will speak for themselves.
“May we not see in this trait, that religion is something implanted-spontaneous—evoked-promoted by the Creator; that charity disdains not the pagan beart.” (Vol. I, p. 272.)
* We are told forsooth, that man naturally requires human guidance in these matters of religion-we are told so in spite of the forementioned divine charter of all real religion. It is an axiom invented by sacerdotal craft to sanction its prerogatives.
The time will come when each man will think for himself, and be none the worse in practice, because he will be freed from the source of numerous abuses which vitiate the heart, deceived by a specious nomenclature craftily invenied. Then it will not he asked, "What shall we believe, or do, to be saved ?' but each shall find his God, in proportion to his own asking, seeking, and knocking Systems are vanities. System mongers have always been the bane of humanity.
Good action—the perfection of man's nature in his duty to himself
, his fellow-creatures, and, therefore to God—these constitute the splendid sum of Christ's doctrinal example. Ye who think, who meditate good thoughts for man's advancement, beware of the usual vanity of system-mongers. Root out the foul stuff unworthy of your exalted calling. (Man] is by nature perfect in his sphere of action, through his feelings and intelleci, called to be perfect, even as his Father in Heaven.” (Vol. ii, pp. 43, 44.) The italics
As a writer, Steinmetz's style is ambitious; his descriptions highly wrought; and the execution of different portions of the volumes unequal; which occasionally are very attractive, and sometimes excessively tedious. Still, the volumes are valuable. The writer shows familiar acquaintance with his subject, and with cotemporaneous events, as his mass of authorities clearly shows. While we can not place entire reliance upon the work, still it deserves to be thoroughly read, and hence may be commended to all who would thread the mazes of Jesuit history.
The Sketch Book OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, Gent. The Author's revised
edition, complete in one volume. New York : George P. Putnan, 1848. New Haven: T. H. Pease. 12mo. pp. 466.
Mr. Irving, in his new and revised edition of the Sketch Book, has given us an amusing little item of personal history, connected with its early publication. He was then in London, and thought of bringing out an English edition of this work; and for that purpose offered it to Murray, then at the head of publishing houses. Mr. Murray’s note, declining the work, (which appears in the preface,) in its studied and formal civility, and imperturbable coolness, is a perfect gem of its kind, and is worthy of the best efforts of a Broadway publisher. (We beg their pardon for the suggestion.) Mr. Irving then corresponded respecting a publisher with Sir Walter Scott, whose appreciation of true genius, and nobility of soul, were at once called forth.
This fact in Mr. Irving's history has a moral to it. It is a striking illustration of the rebuffs with which early authorship is often forced to contend, and of the ultimale succes of real merit. The system of free trade in literature now existing, while it is one of the greatest obstacles to success with American writers—who are thus forced to contend even-handed with the maturity of trans-Atlantic genius,-at the same time puts an indelible stamp of ability upon those works which command attention.
The Sketch Book is the most universally popular of all Mr. Irving's works. Whether his theme be “ Westminster Abbey,” or “ Rip Van Winkle," " John Bull,” or “ Stratford on Avon," the “ Pride of the Village,” or a “ Christmas Dinner,” he always gains access to the truest feelings of the heart, and we close his charming volume, only regretting that the story is so soon at an end.
There is one respect, in which Mr. Irving's works deserve attention; we mean their healthful moral tone. Though the author is no preacher, much less prater, of morals, yet the reader can not but rise from these pages with kindlier feelings toward his species; for the author always addresses the nobler and better part of our moral nature, and helps us to see the true, the beautilul, and the good in the world around us. We hail the appearance of such works, because it is an indication of, and a means of promoting, a pure moral sentiment; it shows—an opinion which the diffusion of a taste for the fine arts helps to confrm-that the public mind is not yielding altogether to the sordid tendencies of a malerialism, which is surprising the age and engrossing attention with its modern developments. THE LIFE AND VOYAGES OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, to which are added
those of his companions. By WASHINGTON IRVING. Author's revised edition. Vol. I. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1848. 12mo. pp. 438. New Haven: T. H. Pease.
The first volume of this work only, has yet been republished. The second, containing maps, &c., will appear about the first of January. At present we shall not speak of Mr. Irving as a historian: but shall only observe with satisfaction, that the best history of Columbus and his voyages, ever written, has been written by a native of the land of his discovery. Mr. Irving during his residence in Spain, possessed every facility for performing such a work; such as Manuscripts, the Archives of the Duke of Veraguas, a descendant of Columbus; also various other authentic documents; in short, such advantages as can hardly fall within the reach of any man again; and as a work on American History, his production may fairly be set down as a standard book. This series of Mr. Irving's Works does much credit to the publisher. We hope at no distant day to furnish a thorough Review of these attractive volumes.