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death. Ben-Shammah became the slave of an Ishmaelite until the year of Jubilee brought back his mother and him to the old house at Jerusalem, whither he soon brought his bride, a fair Ishmaelite. At Jerusalem he associated himself with the school of the Wise, led by Nathan, who strove in spite of a frivolous and idolatrous court, to bring back a purer worship, who had high thoughts of God, believing him the God of all nations, who pondered over the problems of creation, sin, evil, life and death, and were collecting the Scriptures. But the prejudice against Ben-Shammah still lived, and when his son in a time of popular wrath against the king's idolatry fired the temple of Astarte, the anger of the court broke forth. He and his son were forced to fly, his house was burned, his wife and mother killed. Even as he fled, he was overtaken, and his son was killed. Without friends, without hopes for himself or his people he was left to brood in solitude. Finally he decided to go to Egypt, where Jeroboam who had been associated with him in the reform party, was in exile. The ship in which he went was wrecked on the coast north of Sinai, and he found refuge in the tent of Jether, descendant of Jethro, host of Moses, who had like Jethro knowledge of and faith in God, and on whose serene, unmoved trust he leaned in his despair. While absent from Jether on a visit to Sinai his faith reeled for a time, but when he returned it was restored stronger than before. Then he went to Egypt, where he learned from an aged priest, his father's friend, who had an almost Hebrew faith in God, the mysteries of the Egyptian religion, and new thoughts of God and his providence. With Jeroboam, whose adviser he became, BenShammah soon returned to Israel, where he attempted in vain to restrain Jeroboam, after he became king, from his Egyptian wife's idolatry, but failed, fell into disfavor, and was shut up in a mountain cave.
Thence escaping he fled to Bashan, the home of his wife's father. Then there came back to him with new meaning a story he had learned from his father, the story of the good Iyob, a man of Bashan, who, while happy and prosperous, was sorely afflicted by repeated calamities, yet preserved his faith in God and his confidence in his own integrity until he was restored to happiness. He learned from tradition all he could about him, and thenceforth the instincts for humanity inherited from his father, the boyhood lessons from his mother and Ruth, the grievous experience of his life, his beholding of evil men in prosperity, and good men cast down, his God-given teachings in Sinai and Egypt, became elements affecting his conception of Iyob's character, and all his questionings about the problems of life, answered and calmed by unfaltering faith in God, found utterance in the book of Job, containing what he conceived Iyob's thoughts would have been. Having finished his work, he committed it to the Wise at Jerusalem, and returned to die in honor in Bashan.
Such is the story of an ambitious and in large measure a successful book. Like all historical novels it relies for its interest not only on its plot and characters, but also on the descriptions it gives of the life of the times and country of which it treats. There is about the pictures of that old life so remote from us in time, in place, in thought, an air of verisimilitude which makes them seem very real and lifelike. The conversations, it is true, sometimes seem rather stilted and unnatural, but it is hard to represent the talk of the men of that time in a way to suit everybody's idea of what
their talk was. Mr. Jackson has occasionally yielded to the temptation constantly besetting the historical novelist to turn aside from his straight road and paint gorgeous “word pictures ” of the most picturesque events of the time, even if they are not intimately connected with the story. His vivid descriptions of the sacrifice to Moloch, the Temple of Astarte, the Festival of Atonement, the Court of Solomon, have, to be sure, not much to do with the story, yet one would be sorry to miss them, for they add much color and life to the book.
But the book does not rely for its interest on its reproduction of ancient life alone. It has one of the first requisites for a novel, and one that is not always possessed by historical novels, for it is by virtue of its plot intensely interesting. It is stirring and exciting, yet without exaggeration or improbability. And it has, aside from its plot, interest of a very real and modern kind, for the motives and actions of the characters, though they belong to a people so different from him in every way, can be easily understood and sympathized with by the modern reader. Some of the characters, Shammah, Jether, the Egyptian priest, Her-Har, Benaiah, are, apart from their life. likeness, very striking personalities, and Ruth, in her short happy love and sad death, is a most pathetic and moving figure. As to the main character of the book, his career and his character are certainly impressive, and perhaps he is as near to the idea one has of the author of Job as any man could be. But the reader of Job can not escape the conviction that this book, in which “perplexity goes in the breadth and power of the tempest, the pathos is as if the heart of humanity had melted in tears, the contradictions appear in giant dimensions and the suffering is the collected suffering of the world,” is not the work of any man, however wonderful his gifts, his expe. rience, and his faith, but is an inspiration from God.
Found Wanting* is a story largely of Parisian life, not the life of the Parisian aristocracy, nor the life of the bourgeois, but the life of the foreigners, in this case mostly English, who seek pleasure or profit there, permanently or temporarily. There are newspaper correspondents, diplomats, litterateurs, artists, English folk who can not endure living anywhere but in Paris, and English folk who stay there for fun temporarily, a returned Australian, and a dazzling Russian countess. At a small dinner we are introduced at one fell swoop to “a couple of well known artists, the correspondent of a leading English paper, an African explorer," and "a favourite American poetess.” The kind of life these people lead, which in spite of the fact that we are told some of them are poor, and have to work hard for a living, appears to be largely a dazzling round of the most recherché entertainments, where the most intellectual conversation is held, is described with great gusto, but grows rather tiresome, for it seems so very artificial and unnatural. Another unnatural thing in the book is the conversation, which is very stilted. The characters are altogether too careful about their grammar and diction in moments of excitement, and talk generally as if they had swallowed a dictionary and a book on manners and social usages"
* Found Wanting. By Mrs. Alexander,
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott before they began to talk. Nor is the conversation well adapted to the action. It requires only the time to say two or three sentences to do things which would under ordinary circumstances take much longer. And another unnatural thing is the plot. Ogilvie, an English diplomat, falls in at Paris with May Riddell, an English girl living there with her father, and is much attracted by her, particularly by what he calls in the peculiar language of the book “the balm of her truthfulness.” At her father's death he is appointed her guardian. He then takes her to England, to the house of an ancient and unamiable kinswoman of his, paying for her maintenance there, while giving her to understand that she is engaged by the old lady as a companion, and the salary which she is paid, and which he really pays comes from the old lady. Ogilvie, who is in England much of the time, has many opportunities to see her, and wins her confidence and love. He cannot, however, marry her, for she is poor, and he needs money to realize his diplomatic ambitions. He therefore marries a most absurd little prig, an intimate friend of May, a woman whom he does not love at all, but who is rich, and then makes to May the astonishing proposition that she shall become a member of their household, and satisfy his craving for sympathy which his wife cannot satisfy. This offer is very naturally refused, much to Ogilvie's wonder and disgust. He, it is to be presumed, is the one who is “ found wanting." May is not left alone, however, for Carr, the returned Australian, who is quite a figure in the book, steps in and marries her. The plot, besides being thus rather unnatural, is insufficient for the length of the book. Many incidents, and pages on pages of stupid conversation are worked in which are quite unnecessary, and might have been omitted with great advantage. The book would be better if it were half as long.
There are, however, some interesting characters to redeem the book. May Riddell is attractive, though not of a very positive nature, Madame Falk, who is a character of some importance, is pleasant, and Carr is a whole hearted, sensible fellow whom the reader is glad to see in good luck at the end.
Mr. Joseph Henry Crooker, in The New Bible and its New Uses, * attempts to set forth, in a popular shape, the conclusions reached by what is commonly called the higher criticism as to the authorship and authority of the Bible. In his introduction, entitled “The New Bible," he details the general opinions of scholars concerning the authorship of the Hexateuch, the Prophets, the Psalms, and the Gospels, and the formation of the canon. The next part, “Errors in the Bible," discusses the uncertainty resulting from the different texts, the apparent contradictions between the Bible and Science, particularly geology, and between the Bible and history, the so. called “legends” in the Bible, and the lack of unity in it. Another part does what its title, “ What the Bible Claims for Itself," indicates, by defend. ing the propositions that neither Old nor New Testament claim to be inspired verbally and infallibly as the word of God, and that no definite Biblical theory of inspiration can be constructed. A related topic, the opinion of Jesus about * The New Bible and its New Uses. By Joseph Henry Crooker. Boston:
George H. Ellis.
the authorship of the Old Testament, and consequent inferences as to his nature are also discussed. In the last part, “ The Bible as Authority," Mr. Crooker gives a brief resumé of the discoveries about the Bible, and then sets forth his opinion that the Bible must in consequence of these be treated as "a religious classic," rather than the direct word of God, and as a means of instruction and source of inspiration rather than an authoritative "rule of faith and practice.” He claims for reason a place superior to the Scriptures, and denies that they are the only infallible guide for belief and life. An appendix states some contradictions in the gospel account of the genealogy of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, claims that there is no evidence of his reappearance, and that therefore the gospels are not accurately true.
It will be seen that Mr. Crooker's views are very sweeping. He goes as far as the most radical, cutting and slashing sometimes with truly “ghoulish glee," always with a gay and careless disregard for opinions long held and still held by men of learning and piety about the Bible, and always with an air of patronizing superiority to the holders of such opinions. We have said that he presents the conclusions of modern scholarship about the Bible. We say conclusions advisedly, for he gives little proof for many of his statements. It may be said that a book aiming to give only conclusions needs no proof. But certainly such far-reaching and very new statements as are given, for example, “Hebrew prophecy contains no reference to his (Christ's) betrayal, trial, crucifixion or resurrection,” “ When we read the birth stories that cluster about the name of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, ... we say that these are legends,” “There is no more evidence of a superintending special providence enforcing uniformity in the Bible than in Hindu or Chinese literature,” “We must place it (the Bible) in connection with the other sacred scriptures of the race, and though superior, its superiority is due to purely historical causes,” require some proof and explanation, at least for those not fully acquainted with the methods and results of the higher criticism. Mr. Crooker is very scornful of those rigid conservatives who positively and groundlessly assert the infallibility of the Bible, and claim that it is an authority on faith and practice. But no one could be more positive and more careless of proof in assertion than he, nor could anyone be more subservient to authority, for when he gives a reason for one of his assertions, it is usually a quotation from “that conservative scholar, Dr. Briggs,” or some similar authority, in whom he apparently places implicit trust, or an appeal to the vague thing called “the general conclusion of scholars."
But we will not find more fault with Mr. Crooker's method of reaching his conclusions, for they themselves are very striking and demand attention. There appear to be two principal conclusions. One of them is reached at the end of the second part, but it also pops up continuously in every part of the book, so as to leave the impression that it was reached long before the book was begun. At the end of the second part, on what the Bible claims for itself, Mr. Crooker discusses Christ's use of the Bible, his attributing, erroneously, as he thinks, the Pentateuch to Moses, many of the Psalms to David, and his mistaken, according to Mr. Crooker, use of texts, and from them he argues that Christ had human limitations of knowledge, and that these were not signs of humiliation from Deity, but rather “the inevitable limitations of a great historic character—the imperfections of a real man ascending heavenward rather than the ignorance of a God becoming human." In short, Mr. Crooker supports the ordinary Unitarian doctrine of the Personality of Christ.
And the other conclusion is that, reason being superior to the Bible, the use of the Bible as an authority should cease, and that it should be used as "a religious classic, a religious literature for instruction and inspiration in righteousness." One is inclined to ask if Mr. Crooker can tell of a time when it has not been so used. As it is so used, not as "a storehouse of texts,” but “
for religious nurture," “ the impression is deepened that religion is not belief in theological opinions, but growth of inner life, outflowing in beneficent action." Sectarianism will cease, because the Bible is not used for creed-making." "That will be a great day for human progress, for then our churches, instead of being dogmatic fortresses, will be temples of the spirit, open to every seeker for truth and laborer for humanity, our fellowship will be as wide as human needs, and the religious waste from secta. rianism will cease, while the religious destitution of towns and villages will come to an end, because there will arise an administration religion so rational and so humane that all good men will gather round these new altars consecrated to a universal and ethical piety." Lastly, “When the bondage to a literal, a textual and a dogmatic use of Scripture ceases, then we shall rejoice in the use of the Bible that allows reason and sentiment full scope. .. The work of the pulpit will be richer and more attractive, when the minister shall come to use the Bible for increase of life rather than for proof of theological opinions; when, feeling free to range through universal history, he shall go to other scriptures for lessons of hope and heroism.” Again we ask, when has not the Bible been used for “increase of life?" And has more “increase of life” been caused by the scholars of the higher criticism than by the old-fashioned preachers? Mr. Crooker's dream of the changes in religion resulting from the new uses of the new Bible is indeed a be tific vision, to him. It may, however, be doubted whether the changes will not destroy religion, whether there would be anything left except a vague, lifeless, useless, ethical piety. Broad theology is very good, but it must have depth as well as breadth to make it useful.
In justice to Mr. Crooker, it must be said that he has presented his views in a clear, concise, intelligible way, and with a spirit, if not of reverence for the Bible, certainly of genuine piety, and desire for the best good of
Whether the general holding of his views would be for that best good is a different question.
A noticeable feature of the Step Ladder* is the absence of notes, which so
* The Step Ladder. A collection of prose and poetry designed for use in
children's classes in elocution. By Margaret A. Klein. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co.