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1.—Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrines of
Atonement and Sacrifice : and on the Principal Argu. ments advanced, and the Mode of Reasoning employed, by the opponents of those Doctrines, as held by the Established Church :—with an Appendix, containing some Strictures on Mr. Belsham's Account of the Unitarian Scheme, in his Review of Mr. Wilberforce's Treatise : together with Remarks on the Version of the New Testament lately published by the Unitarians. By the late Most Rererend William Magee, D. D., Arch Bishop of Dublin. From the Fifth London Edition, with Numerous and Important Corrections. In two Volumes. New-York: D. Apple
ton & Co., 1839. pp. 479, 472. This new Edition of “ Magee on Atonement” is beautifully executed, and is a valuable contribution to our stock of standard works in Theological and Biblical literature. We hail it in this improved form, not as a stranger, needing a formal introduction to the favorable regards of our readers; but as a friend, long known and appreciated in our Theological Seminaries, and by Biblical scholars and divines. To such it needs no commendation; and to those who are unacquainted with the work, a title-page so extended as the above is not only an indication, but almost a sufficient explanation of its scope and design. But little more need to be added, in this notice, than to assure the reader that the design thus announced has been carried out with singular ability. The filling up of the author's outlines of his argument embraces the results of much learned research and a discriminating exegesis of the most important passages of Scripture appertaining to the subject in debate.
This work is especially to be valued as being among the first to expose, by manly criticism and fearless argumentation, the fallacies of modern Unitarianism. It did more, perhaps, than any
other work of its time, to dissolve the charm of those pretensions to philosophic distinction, and those claims to critical pre-eminence, which had obtained for the Unitarians of Great Britain a partial and temporary ascendancy. The foundation of the work was laid in “ Two discourses on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice, delirered in
the Chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, in the years 1798, and 1799.” These occupy 41 pages of the first Volume of the Edition now before us. The remainder of the volume and more than 100 pages of the second volume are filled with “Illustrations and Explanatory Dissertations,” on the leading topics advanced in the Discourses. The rest of the second volume--more than 300 pages-is an Appendix, containing the author's “account of the Unitarian Scheme, as described by Mr. Belsham," etc.
The first edition of this work, without the Appendix, was published in 1801, and the last, which was revised by the author, in 1816. During that period his attention was directed, under peculiar advantages, to the topics of the Unitarian controversy, as it existed in England, and, to some extent, in this country: His work remains a monument of his learning and zeal in defence of the truth. Later investigations, both in our own country and in Europe, have more fully elucidated the teachings of the Scriptures on some of the points of this controversy. They have given new power and point to the arguments in support of evangelical Christianity, against the haughtiness of that lettered skepticism, which presumes to reject the proffered terms of salvation, “because it cannot trace, with the finger of human science,” the connexion between the cross of Christ and the redemption of man. But the work of Magee loses none of its value in consequence of the advances which have been made by others. It remains a highly satisfactory treatise on the doctrines it was designed to illustrate and defend. At the same time it furnishes an instructive history of the controversy thus far, and a clear exhibition of the status quæstionis at the date of its publication.
Appended to the whole are a list of texts explained, and of authors referred to, in the body of the work, which are valuable as aids to renewed investigations of the same or of kindred subjects.
2.-Handbuch der neuesten theologischen Literatur, oder Aulei
tung zur Kenntniss der in den neuesten Zeiten (in den letzten siebenzehn Jahren) erschienenen vorzüglichen und brauchbaren theologischen Schriften. (Manual of recent Theological Literature, or Introduction to a Knowledge of the most important and useful Theological Writings of the last Seventeen Years. By W. D. Fuhrmann, Evangelical
Preacher in Hamm.) Vol. I. Iserlohn & Barmen, 1836. The intention of the deceased author in composing this work was partly to complete his Manual of Theological Literature,* and partly to compensate for the non-appearance of the promised continuations to the similar and earlier undertakings of Zimmermann † and Winer. Although this latter reason is now in a good measure rendered nugatory by the third edition of Winer's work, that of Fuluman, though not free from defects
, possesses some advantages over it as well as over the l'niversal Dictionary of Theological Literature by Danz. Winer's Manual contains no special enumeration of the essays that have appeared in the journals from time to time, although they comprise a far greater amount of valuable matter than inaugural addresses and programmes; this department has been well attended to by our author. Again, he appends to the titles of most of the books a list of their contents, and to all of them critical remarks, consisting chiefly of resumés of the opinions expressed in reviews; this of course in the works of Winer and Danz, the plan of which embraces the whole literature of theology, was entirely out of the question. From this source too arises the principal fault of M. Fuhrmann's work; for, being confined by his ministerial duties to a continued residence in a small town, he was necessarily acquainted by personal inspection with but a small part of the books he had occasion to notice. Hence he was compelled to rely 100 much on the notices in reviews for both his statements and his critiques; and consequently, as might have been anticipated, a number of inaccuracies crept into the former, while the latter not unfrequently appear to waver between conflicting opinions. Having premised thus much, we will now give the contents of the volume, which are as follows.
Section First. Introductory Writings, comprising those on study and science in general, and theological studies in particular, lexicons and encyclopedias, histories of theology and theological literature, and notices of books and periodical literature relative to theology.
Section Second. Biblical Literature, or critico-exegetical theology, containing, 1, works on the original languages of Scripture and their cognate dialects; 2, on the worth and usefulness of the Bible ; 3, translations of the whole Bible ; 4, portions of Scripture for the use of schools; 5, apparatus for the illustration of the Old and New Testaments, such as introductions, concordances, dictionaries of the Bible, works on Biblical archeology, geography, history,chronology,and natural history; characters of Biblical personages; the poetry and Mida of the Bible ; illustrations of the Bible from profane authors; hermeneutics, or theory of Biblical exegesis; 6, further illustrations of the Old and New Testaments; containing Bibles with annotations, and collections of works on single portions of Scripture ; 7, exegetical writings on the Old Testament; 8, exegetical writings on the New Testament.
* Handbuch der theologischen Literatur, 2 Bde, Leipzig, 1818-21. + Jahrbücher der theolog. Literatur. * Handbuch der theolog. Literatur.
The remaining portion of the work contains the literature of systematic theology, of dogmatic theology and its history of Biblical theology, symbolics, and polemics.
3.—The Union Bible Dictionary. Prepared for the American
Sunday School Union, and revised by the Committee of
Publication. Philadelphia, 1839. pp. 522. Some years since the Sunday School Union reprinted from the British Press an abridgement of Brown's Dictionary of the Bible. This abridgement was materially improved by the labors of the Rev. Dr. Alexander of Princeton, and had an extensive sale. But one opinion was expressed of its essential adaptedness to the wants of the community. It supplied, at a small expense, a desideratum which had been long felt in the Sunday School, the Bible Class, and the Family Library. To the diligent reader of the Bible, who could not avail himself of larger and more expensive works, this work was indispensable. It was extensively sought for.
It was at first, however, published in the duodecimo size, and in small type. In these respects, it was ill adapted to some classes of readers. The advances also which have been recently made in Biblical knowledge called for important improvements in many articles of the work. It has accordingly been diligently revised, as we are assured, by competent Bibli. cal scholars, who have availed themselves of the information furnished by modern travellers in the East, and especially by American Missionaries, to whose journals frequent references are made.
The result is a somewhat enlarged, and a much improved edition of the Bible Dictionary, which is now presented to the public in a substantial octavo volume, stereotyped in an economical manner, with no waste of margin, and in a fair type. It also contains a great variety of wood cut engravings, illustrating many of the materials and customs named and referred to in the Scriptures, and two maps, the one presenting the countries named in the Bible, the other a map of Palestine.
We most cordially commend this volume to our readers as a work of inestimable value, especially to such as have not the means of access to larger works.
4.--Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the United
States. By Francis L. Hawks, D. D. Vol. II. New
The above is the general title of a proposed series of vol. umes, of which this is the second. The specific title of the present volume is, “ A Narrative of Events connected with the Rise and Progress of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland."
Those who have read the former volume of this series, (devoted to the history of the rise and progress of the Episcopal Church in Virginia,) need not be told that the author possesses some admirable qualities as a writer of history. His habits are manifestly those of a practical observer of passing events. His conceptions, therefore, of the relations and bearings of the events of other times are clear and vivid ; and his style, like the flow of his thoughts, is free and easy. He moulds the materials of his composition into an entertaining form, and leads his readers into the spirit of the scenes which he describes. His “ Contributions” are not dull and uninteresting narratives, but books, which one who begins to read, will wish to read through.
The materials of the volume now under consideration are of a highly interesting character. Dr. Hawks, it appears, was requested by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to prepare the history of the several diocesses in the United States. He accordingly visited England and pursued the necessary researches among the original documents relating to the origin and early history of Episcopacy in this country. In these researches, he says, he possessed "every desirable facility.” He has thus collected a mass of facts before unknown to American readers. And what are facts relating to the early settlement and religious history of the few and feeble colonies which constituted the germ of our nation, but topics of the most intense curiosity, and of thrilling interest to American citizens?
Our author begins with the first endeavors of George Calvert, first Baron of Baltimore in Ireland, to obtain a patent of land in this country for the establishment of a colony, in 1624 ; relates the actual granting of the patent to his son Cecil, who