Sidor som bilder

our own. Our standard works are a commixture of what Germans term philosophical ethics and Christian ethics, which they carefully and properly distinguish. Hagenbach, in his Encyclopedia of Theological Sciences, defines the two as follows: "Christian ethics expound the theory of the inward [disposition] and outward [actions] moral relations of man as growing out of living faith in Christ. Like dogmatic theology, its foundation is positive Christianity, from which it derives its principles. On the other hand, however, it is closely connected with general or philosophical ethics, from which it differs indeed in method, points of departure, and motives, but with whose essential features it can never clash." Schleiermacher (quoted by Hagenbach) gives the following definition: "What Christian ethics enjoin is binding alone on Christians; philosophical ethics claim to be binding on every one who is able to attain insight into the philosophical principles from which they are deduced "; but if we understand it aright, it is incorrect. It is the idea of Christian obligation which, in practical form, vaguely possesses many persons who shrink from becoming professed members of Christian churches, because they suppose that they then undertake new duties. The following words seem to be much nearer the truth a truth which preachers should digest and urge on their congregations: "The more fully we understand the ethics of Christianity and the spirit they breathe, the more fully convinced shall we be that they are nothing but the most faithful reflex of the legislation interwoven with the very essence of the human mind itself"; or, more correctly expressed, a true Christian is nothing more than a true man. Dr. Wardlaw, Congregationalist minister in Glasgow, was, we believe, the first English writer to call attention to the distinction between Christian ethics and general or philosophical ethics. The work of Harless treats of Christian ethics alone.

It is divided into three parts, somewhat strangely designated Redemption as a Good; Redemption as a Possession; Redemption in its Manifestations; which are further subdivided as follows. Under the first head: I. Human life and its standards prior to, and apart from, the appearance of Christ in the flesh: 1. The natural form of human life; 2. Life under the law. II. The entrance of the gospel into the history of humanity. Under the second head, I. The entrance of redemption into the spiritual life of the individual; II. Our spiritual struggles for the possession of redemption; III. Personal fitness for maintaining the possession of redemption. Under the third head, I. Christian piety as the mother of all virtues; II. Modes displaying Christian piety; III. The fundamental, divinely-ordained forms of social life on earth in their relation to Christian piety. If space allowed, we should like to give our readers a glimpse of the fulness of beautiful and ripe thought which is gathered around the above skeleton; but this being impracticable, we must limit ourselves to commending Dr. von Harless's work as at once scientific, historical, practical, edifying, and as therefore pre-eminently adapted to the wants of ministers in active service.


The author of this refutation of materialism gives the key-note of his work in the words of Goethe: "Strictly speaking, the one profound theme of universal history that theme to which all others are subordinate-is the conflict between unbelief and faith"; not, be it observed, between reason and faith, science and faith, knowledge and faith; but between unbelief and faith. As this saying may perhaps seem enigmatical, we will explain it a little; we shall thus also set before our readers the central feature of Dr. Fabri's earnest book.

Hamann, the magician of the North, as he is styled in Germany, says: "Our own existence and the existence of all things outside of us must be believed, and cannot be established in any other way. Faith is as necessary to reason as reason is to faith." And here we have the key to the entire dispute. All knowledge, all science, is conditioned by faith, in one form or another. Modern writers on natural science profess to accept nothing on authority, nothing which they cannot prove, and yet they assume as certain their own existence, the existence of their own thought, and above all the truth of the substance of their thought. What is the ba sis of this certainty? We hear the reply: The basis of this certainty is the necessity of thought. But how do you demonstrate this necessity? By thought? Nevermore: that is reasoning in a circle, a fault with which believers may allow themselves to be charged, but which is unbearable in men who aim at demonstrating everything. We are obliged, therefore, to assume the immediate certainty of the fact of our existence and thought: and what is this assumption but an act of faith? Starting at this point, the author goes on to show that every important line of argument of the assailants of faith is reducible back to a beginning of faith, and that in reality the dispute is not one between faith and knowledge, but between more and less faith. In the course of the letters, the main principles, methods, and results of modern science, as expounded by such coryphaei as Carl Vogt, Moleschott, Feuerback, Nirchow, Humboldt, and others are subjected to a searching examination. We cannot, in conclusion, advance a stronger motive for the study of this subject in general, and of Dr. Fabri's book in particular, than what is contained in the words of Hamann : "A reason which confesses itself to be the daughter of the senses and of matter behold that is 'our religion; a philosophy which reveals to men their calling to go on all fours-that feeds our magnanimity; and a triumph of heathenish blasphemy is the acme of our genius."

1 Briefe gegen den Materialismus. Zweite, mit zwei Abhandlungen über schengeschlechts vermehrte Auflage. Asher and Co. 1864.

Von Dr. F. Fabri, Missions-Inspector. den Ursprung und das Alter des MenStuttgart: S. G. Liesching; London:




Each volume of Dr. Sprague's Annals exhibits a peculiar class of excellences. One volume surpasses the others in one particular, and is surpassed by the others in a different particular. The volume now before us excels each of the seven preceding volumes of the Annals in rhetorical grace and finish. It contains the record of clergymen, many of whom were noted for their pure English style, and their character is here delineated by writers many of whom are masters of a truly classical diction.

One of the deepest impressions made by the entire series of Dr. Sprague's "Annals" is this: Some authors are greater than their books, and some books are greater than their authors. There are men whose character entitles them to a smaller degree of influence than their published writings possess, and there are other men whose published writings give no adequate idea of their kingly character. These volumes illustrate the truth, that some men can be accurately known and fitly honored by none except their contemporaries, their perceptible influence dies with them, they live longer than their names, posterity does not know to whom it is indebted for the good which it has received from them. Some characters cannot be described, they can only be felt. "His action was so individual that every case involves a long story and many details, in order to be appreciated"; "I find I cannot tell you the details of his kindness to myself even; for in order to do justice to its genuineness and delicacy I should have to give you my own memoirs for the time "; - such sentences as these, which are written in regard to one man, may be written in regard to many; they are the most faithful portraiture which can be given of a beauty too etherial to be analyzed, or of a majesty too high to be brought down to the inspection of strangers. The " Annals" of Dr. Sprague contain, perhaps, all that it is worth while to say with regard to some of the really greatest men who have adorned the American pulpit; their writings fail to do them justice; they have left no permanent memorial of their worth; their good influence distilled itself through hidden avenues; they

1 Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of the various Denominations, from the early Settlement of the Country to the close of the Year 1855. With Historical Introductions. By William B. Sprague, D.D. Volume VIII. 8vo. pp. 578. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers. 1865.

made an impression which abides yet, and perhaps will be felt for ages, but will not be fully measured until the day when the concealed goodness, as well as the secret sins, of men will be exposed to the universe.


Mr. Warren F. Draper has published three volumes of Dr. Ellicott's Commentaries, which have not yet been noticed in this Journal. One is the "Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians." 8vo. pp. 171. Another is the "Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles." 8vo. pp. 265. Still another is the "Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon." 8vo. pp. 278. We have previously noticed Mr. Draper's Edition of Ellicott's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, also of his Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. Each of these volumes is accompanied with a revised translation of the text which it explains. In the Prefaces to the Commentaries are found many judicious thoughts, gracefully expressed; as, for example, the remarks in the Preface to the Pastoral Epistles on the project of a revised translation of the Bible.

The great value of Dr. Ellicott's Commentaries consists in the fact that he strives to explain the Greek Testament rather than to make a newer Testament. This is the highest praise which can be bestowed on an exegete. It cannot be awarded to some of the English and American Commentators. The scholarly tastes and the Christian feeling of the student are alike gratified by the pure and concise style, the rare candor, the large erudition, and the evangelical tone of Dr. Ellicott's works, devoted as they are to the culture of a scriptural and elevated piety.

We would call the particular attention of our readers to the Commentary on Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon," as the last which has been republished in Dr. Ellicott's series, and therefore not yet noticed by the press.

PHRASIS: A Treatise on the History and Structure of the different Languages of the World, with a Comparative View of the Forms of their Words and the Style of their Expressions. By J. Wilson, A.M., Author of Errors of Grainmar and Nature of Language. 8vo. pp. 384. Albany: J. Munsell. 1864. This is an elaborate volume. The author of it has made extensive and varied researches into the nature of language, and deserves high commendation for his diligence and perseverance. Every chapter of his work bears witness to his enthusiasm in his favorite studies. We regret that we have no space for an extended review of a book which has cost so many years of toil. To particularize its faults without stating its excellences would be unfair. To enumerate its merits without indicating its defects would be equally unjust. We will now only say, that it well deserves the study of English scholars who desire to obtain a

"comparative view of the history and idioms of the principal languages of the world; " and that the author merits the high respect of the literary public for his zeal, enterprise, and patience in the study of words, -a study which in our land has attracted too little attention.


"Let every

HYMNS AND SACRED PIECES, with Miscellaneous Poems. thing that hath breath praise the Lord." By Ray Palmer. 12mo. pp. 195. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph. 1865. - Many of the hymns contained in this volume are already familiar to our readers. Some of those which are less familiar, such as: "Lord my weak thought in vain would climb," etc., will have a lengthened life in the churches. It must gratify the author to be assured that some of his expressive stanzas will be read and sung long after he shall have been gathered to his fathers. The volume contains various "Sacred Pieces " and "Miscellaneous Poems" which we have never seen before, and which have rare poetic worth.

THE MISSIONARY JUBILEE: an account of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the American Baptist Missionary Union, at Philadelphia, May 24, 25, and 26, 1864. With commemorative Papers and Discourses. "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year" (Lev. xxv. 10). 8vo. pp. 500. New York: Sheldon and Company; Boston: Gould and Lincoln. 1865. This volume contains an account of the Jubilee Services at Philadelphia; an excellent Discourse of Rev. Dr. Caldwell, preached before the Missionary Union; historical and biographical memoranda of the Baptist Missions and Missionaries; important Papers on Missions, in their relation to Denominational Growth, to Denominational Belief and Polity, to Educational Institutions, etc.; an interesting Essay on the Literature of American Baptists from 1814 to 1864, by Rev. William Crowell, D.D., Freeport, Illinois; and other useful Papers. A surprising amount of historical information is compressed into this volume, and it will retain for a long time its value as a thesaurus of facts in regard to the Baptist denomination.

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF BROWN UNIVERSITY, 1864. 8vo. pp. 178. Providence: Sidney S. Rider and Brother. 1865. - The Historical Discourse of President Sears stands first in this volume, and is followed by an Appendix, which is full of valuable memoranda. To this is added an account of the Proceedings at the Anniversary, containing the Speeches of Dr. Wayland, Prof. Goldwin Smith, and others. The volume has not a merely ephemeral interest, but is a rich contribution to the history of the last century. We regret that we are compelled to omit some extracts which we had intended to insert from Dr. Sears's learned Discourse.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »