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SACRED GEOGRAPHY; or, a Dictionary, Historical and Descriptive, of every place mentioned in the Bible. By WILLIAM SIME, author of the Histories of the Reformation, Christian Church, Waldenses, &c. WILLIAM OLIPHANT & SON, Edinburgh. P. p. 588. 1835.
ONE of the best features of these times, as regards the study of the 'Scriptures, is the increased attention given to the Geography of the Bible. In many ways does this contribute to a better knowledge of the word of God, but chiefly in the distinctness and vividness with which the mind is enabled to apprehend its doctrines. These are so interwoven with the peculiar situation and circumstances of the people spoken of, that, unless we are acquainted with the latter, our views of the former must be comparatively obscure and pointless. How differently, for example, will he read the history of Paul, who is acquainted with the peculiarities of the places and persons visited by him, from the reader who is unacquainted with the circumstances or history of either. We may know the truth without an accurate knowledge of the Geography of the Bible, but we cannot know it so intelligently, or distinctly, or practically. The author of this volume, therefore, has done a good work. He has compressed a large quantity of most important matter into a small compass. His book is quite a manual of Scripture Geography. It is peculiarly suited to Sabbath-school teachers, who will find in it precisely that kind of instruction which they should not fail to impart to their scholars, respecting the persons and places mentioned in such passages of the Bible as are read in their classes. It would be a good exercise for such to keep the volume by them when preparing for their class, and refer to the various persons and places mentioned in the passage that is read. There is prefixed to it a neat map of the land of Palestine.
AFRICAN LIGHT, thrown on a Selection of Scripture Texts. By the Rev. JOHN CAMPBELL, Kingsland, author of Travels in Africa, &c. WAUGH & INNES, Edinburgh. P. p. 208.
As the title of this little book imports, it is intended to explain some passages of Scripture, by a detail of customs observed by the author in his Travels through Africa. Every one at all versant in this kind of literature, knows what a flood of light is poured upon his mind when he sees the doctrine of a text of Scripture in the light of some custom peculiar to the people to whom it was first addressed. The more such knowledge prevails, the better the Bible is understood. And the present volume contributes not a little to it by its variety, simplicity, and interest. Short as it is, it refers more or less to about 150 customs peculiar to the first ages of the Bible, and throws light on as many texts of Scripture. The illustrations are usually in the form of narrative, and are thus very captivating; while they are so simply told, as to be intelligible to a child. We think the title is not a happy one, and would suggest to the worthy publishers, who are daily laying society under the deepest obligations, to change it, in the next edition, for LIGHT FROM AFRICA. African Light is darkness, whereas Light from Africa suggests the idea that knowledge has been derived from customs still prevalent there, but hidden in darkness, until brought to light by the diligence and toil of those who have observed them.
The SCRIPTURAL UNITY of the PROTESTANT CHURCHES, exhibited in their published Confessions." J. ROBERTSON & Co., Dublin. P. p. 123. 1835.
THE design of this volume is excellent. It is to lay before the public the happy agreement of the Protestant Churches on the fundamental doctrines of christianity. Long has the Church of Rome boasted of her unity, while all who know her present state and past history are aware that she is filled with dissension and controversy; and as long has the Protestant Church been branded with discord, while in reality her various sections are most. harmonious in maintaining the great peculiarities of their common christianity. The author of this volume has, therefore, done well to exhibit this unity, as it is manifested, in the best possible way, in the published Confessions of the Protestant Churches. He adduces, in illustration, the Articles of the Irish Church, as drawn up by the illustrious Usher; the Articles of the United Church of England and Ireland; the Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, which is also adopted by the Seceders there, the Synod of Ulster and the Seceders in Ireland, the Covenanters in all places, and the Presbyterian Churches in America; with the Declaration of Faith by the Congregationalists, or Independents. These, it will be seen, embrace almost all the Protestant Churches of the present day; and it may be affirmed, that their agreement is substantially greater than what subsists between the various contending parties in the Church of Rome. The author might have carried his work much farther, and shown that all the Confessions of all the Protestant Churches, in all ages, have been substantially the same. May the time soon come when, in every particular, all the churches and people of Christ shall see eye to eye.
The ELEMENTS of ENGLISH GRAMMAR, according to the Lesson System. By JOHN CAMPBELL. J. GALL, Edinburgh. P. p. 84. 1835.
THIS is a very happy application of the principles of the Lesson System, so well known to the public in connexion with the name of its author, James Gall, to the art of teaching Grammar. It simplifies that difficult task exceedingly. It is so constructed as even to mix up entertainment with severe study. And while we know not any literary attainment more desirable for youth than the correct knowledge of English Grammar, we are not acquainted with any more happy method of conveying it than that which is laid down in this little volume.
THE UNERRING MARK OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN.
Conquest of temptation, deliverance from the power of evil habits, and a ready compliance with the will of God, in answer to prayer, is a much better proof of his favourable presence than joyous feelings. The latter may be mistaken; but the former are as sure a mark of the divine operation and blessing, as that a plentiful crop of corn has had the benefit of rain and sunshine.-Adam.
[The following valuable letter has been forwarded to us by the friend to whom it was written. It will sufficiently explain itself.]
TO THE REV. W. B. KIRKPATRICK, DUBLIN.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
AGREEABLY to your proposal, I shall now give you in writing my views of the subject of conversation between us and other ministers in Dublin, when I was last in that city. The proposed plan of the evangelical Presbyterian congregations of Dublin uniting to adopt as their own missionary to preach the Gospel to the heathen, one of those sent out already into the field by the Scottish Missionary Society-that is, to support him in his work, and correspond directly with him, still leaving him under the authority and direction of the Committee of the Society, I think, in every respect, most excellent, and likely to produce the very best results. The following are some of the advantages which must follow the proposed new ar rangement.
The Missionary Society will be directly and materially benefitted. A greater amount of aid will be thereby af forded than it has yet received from your quarter, and there will be a better prospect of its being steadily continued. The Directors of the Society will be relieved of all anxiety relative to the future maintainance of the missionary so adopted, and of the trouble and expense of raising the funds for his support, and they will have left to them only the more suitable and important duties of appropriating the funds and directing the operations of the missionary entrusted to their management. The Scottish Missionary Society has peculiarly strong claims on the Presbyterians of Ireland, for all the aid they can afford it. 1. It is more
than any other a Presbyterian Missionary Society; and as the other missions, the Wesleyan, Episcopalian, Independent, and Baptist, are mainly supported by the respective communions with which they are more particularly connected, so should it be also. It naturally looks to the congregations in Scotland, and to those of the same faith and order in England and Ireland, primarily, for aid to carry on its operations, and consistency requires them to render it their special countenance. It depends on them; for the assistance it receives from other denominations is in a very minor degree; and if those which we may consider its more peculiar friends do not stand by it, and ren. der it their best help, it must fall to the ground. While we are to love all mankind, and, as far as in us lies, do good to all, we must particularly love and benefit those of our own family; and in like manner, while we should rejoice in and aid the labours, of all who are faithfully doing God's work on earth, we must, in a special degree, assist those who are most closely connected with us, and dependent on us. It is for want of due regard to this principle that the Scottish Missionary Society has hitherto been in such a weak and low state as to be a reproach to our communion. 2. The Presbyterians of Ireland received the gospel originally from Scotland, and were long indebted to it for a supply of the means of grace. Thence their ancestors came; they consider it their father land, and regard it with feelings of peculiar veneration and affection. The debt which they thus owe Scotland they cannot repay by returning the benefit, because it needs not their aid on its own account, and I trust never will; yet the obligation reomains, and they should gratefully acknowledge it, by join. ing heart and hand with the Scottish Missionary Society, to send the same blessing to other lands and people who have not yet received it, and who, for want of it, are pe rishing. 3. Two of the Society's missionaries being from the Presbyterian churches of Ireland, constitutes a new bond between them and it, and is an additional reason for their supporting it with their best ability. Since they were not awake in time to the duty of sending their own Gospel-messengers into the field, they should come forward the more zealously now to co-operate with the Society which has sent us.
The proposed plan would be equally beneficial to the congregations which enter into it. By engaging for a de
finite part of the great Christian work as peculiarly their own, they must feel more strongly bound to perform it, and, therefore, will contribute more largely and cheerfully to carry it on. They will see the distinct application of their own funds, and be led to seek a blessing on them more earnestly, and they will know when the work of the Lord prospers in their hands. The closer our connexion is with any thing, and the clearer we perceive the connexion, we naturally feel the greater interest in it, and labour the more earnestly to promote its success. Therefore when your congregations come to have their own labourer in the field, and contemplate their own part of it which they have undertaken to cultivate, they must have a much stronger and more vivid impression made on their minds, and will consequently feel much more deeply interested in the object to be accomplished, than when they take a mere general, vague, and superficial view of the matter; and we may confidently anticipatedbey will address themselves to the duty with such an energy and perform it in such a manner, as will make them think nothing of what they have done in time past on its behalf. The correspondence of the missionary engaged in the work would be more interesting, and, it is to be hoped, would be cheering, and might be instructive. The congregation's prayer-meetings for the spread of the Gospel would probably become more attractive, and be better attended. The prayers of the church for the conversion of the heathen would be more frequent, earnest, and efficacious; and we might expect a greater blessing from on high to accompany the preaching of the gospel, both among themselves and the others whose salvation they sought.
The missionary himself would be as much benefited as the other parties in the arrangements. The knowledge that there was a part of the church who felt peculiarly interested in his labours, and concerned for his welfare, and who were frequent and earnest in their prayers for his success, would comfort and support his mind. The Chris tian missionary often fears and feels, that in the greatness of the work, and from the number of labourers in the field, he, as an individual, is overlooked-and if unnoticed, uncared for; yet he cannot lose the sense of his own individual concern in it. He feels as if (except in so far as regards his personal support) he is left to himself to perform an important business, in which he needs, in various