« ForrigeFortsæt »
compound, but that it is an individual force, having a consciousness of itself. Upon this psychology he founds a stoic morality, admitting with Kant and Jouffroy an absolute and universal moral law, which forces itself upon every conscience with an irresistible authority. He believes in moral responsibility, in justice distinct from interest, in right and duty established upon absolute relations. So far he goes hand in hand with the spiritualistic philosophy. But in the definition of God he separates from his old friends, supplanting the theodicy of Hegel by that of Leibnitz, and German idealism for French spiritualism. The spiritualistic philosophy of the present day and the Cartesian school of old have never called in doubt the doctrine that in God infinity and perfection are one and the same thing. Vacherot separates the bond which unites these two ideas. According to his view they are entirely distinct and belong to different orders. The former is the product of pure reason, as we cannot think the finite without the infinite, the contingent without the necessary, the relative without the absolute. But we may perceive the imperfect without necessarily affirming the perfect being. The latter is a type, an ideal, which our thoughts need as a rule, but the reality of which we cannot affirm. The denial of the perfect being is, of course, the denial of a personal God. Vacherot, it is true, strongly protests against being classed with the pantheists or atheists; but Janet justly remarks of this illusion: "Your divine ideal is a dream; it is a phantom which has no body; an abstraction, the reality of which is not guaranteed by anything."
Each of the four systems above enumerated is ably analyzed and answered by Prof. Janet. In conclusion, a few remarks are made on the future of the spiritualistic school. Prof. Janet advises its members to think less of criticising other systems, than of developing their own and strengthening it by new arguments.
ART. X.-QUARTERLY BOOK-TABLE.
The Bible and Modern Thought. By Rev. T. R. BIRKS, M. A., Rector of Kelshall, Herts. 12mo., pp. 436. Cincinnati: Poe & Hitchcock. 1864.
The great share of the learned infidelity of the present day is infi delity by anticipation. It is infidelity insured, by,the assumption of its first principles anterior to specific examination. The absolute non-existence of the supernatural, the consequent absolute
impossibility of miracles, are the assumptions; how then to account for historical Christianity and the primitive Christian documents is the problem that Strauss and Rénan try to solve. Hence the Christian documents are tried by a standard before which all ancient literature would fail. There is no product of ancient mind so well authenticated as the Gospel of Luke; yet the primary assumption that miracles are impossible demonstrates à priori its want of authenticity. Hence to the Christian thinker, satisfied that there is a supernatural, and that miracle is reasonable and even demanded by human wants, such books often have little significance or power. So far forth as they present with rare skill and learning those arguments that would tend to invalidate any ancient document they are effective; but as these against the positive evidence are obviously inefficient without the skeptical assumption, the solution is obvious why many persons in reading Strauss and Rénan are rather confirmed than weakened in Christian faith. With many minds, too, the question is best settled by a clear refutation of the skeptical assumptions. For such minds the à priori argument is needed. They require Campbell's Reply to Hume, Bushnell on the Supernatural, and Guizot's Meditations. And thus we see that men's tempers, dispositions, and previous mental positions often settle their conclusions before the argument proper is commenced.
Nevertheless there is a class of books needed that descend from the high à priori ground and discuss the minute details of the question. When the presuppositions are right this is a comparatively easy task. Difficulties may not all be removed; but it is easily seen why the removal of all difficulties cannot be demanded. It is this place which Mr. Birks's book is so admirably calculated to fill. His work is with the Bible itself; its nature and claims; its historical truth and inspiration; its alleged discrepancies with itself, with science, and with natural conscience, and its historical and doctrinal unity. These are treated independently, but with some reference to the skeptical Essays and Reviews. It is thence eminently a book for the times.
Missions Apostolic and Modern. An Exposition of the Narrative of St. Paul's First Missionary Journey, in Relation to the Protestant Missions of the Present Century. By FREDERICK W. BRIGGS. 16mo., pp. 333. London: Hamilton Adams & Co. 1864.
The author of this erudite little volume, regarding the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles as a most impressive exhibition of missionary principles in the order of their
rapid manifestation, has undertaken their exposition with the hope that he would thereby set forth the true ground of all missionary action. As an exposition it is a valuable addition to a branch of biblical literature that is growing in importance every day. The book has evidently been written for the study and for scholars. Its style is what may be called hard; it is involuted and parenthetical; some passages there are, especially in the earlier pages, which require to be re-read in order to discern with clearness the author's meaning. There is certainly nothing in the rhetoric of the book to commend it to the popular taste; and if it was designed for general circulation, which we can hardly think, we fear it will fail to meet the expectations of the publishers. To the biblical student, however, and to those who are in search of solid arguments wherewith to urge the Churches to renewed missionary efforts, the book will be a prize. Our readers who have facilities for ordering foreign books should add this to their lists. It is a thoughtful, painstaking treatise, and enriches our Church literature in a department at present exceedingly barren and illsupplied.
The Immortality of the Soul, considered in the Light of the Holy Scriptures, the Testimony of Reason and Nature, and the Various Phenomena of Life and Death. By HIRAM MATTISON, A. M. 12mo., pp. 398. Philadelphia: Perkinpine & Higgins. 1864.
Mr. Mattison has in the present volume ably exhibited the argument for immortality, both from Scripture and reason. Under the Scripture argument he includes ten chapters, in which he develops the Scripture doctrine of man's antithetical constitution as body and soul, of death as a separation of the two, of the intermediate state as a period of separation, of a resurrection as the reunion. These he contemplates not only as positive, but as negatively excluding the materialistic identification of soul with matter and of death with annihilation. The negative argument he extends to a refutation of any immortality conditioned on faith in Christ or any annihilation at the judgment day.
In twenty-five chapters under rational argument, he reasons from natural phenomena around us, from man's nature and relative position in creation, from the dominion, development, and energy of mind, from reverie, dream, and catalepsy, from the relations of mind and matter, from universal consent and universal aspirations, and from natural emblems. The work is interspersed with poetical quotations, and animated throughout with a high glow of Christian sentiment. Altogether it is well calculated, not so much for the thorough-bred metaphysician as for popular use.
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.-9
The Power of Prayer, Illustrated in the Wonderful Displays of Divine Grace at the Fulton-Street Meetings in New York and Elsewhere in 1857 and 1858. By SAMUEL IRENEUS PRIME. 12mo., pp. 418. New York: Charles Scribner. 1864.
The pages of this book abound in details of great interest, and we would hope of perfect truth, though we feel the most security from anything mythical in the cases that are best authenticated. There is one great instance of the power of prayer which we should be gratified to see introduced and properly treated in the work. The great prayer of the American Negro; what power has it exerted to move the hand of God to deal retribution upon our land and compel emancipation? Is it not the deep awful cry of the oppressed ascending to God which is working our present great revolution, converting not only pro-slavery religious editors, but the great body of the American people from their national sin, overthrowing the oppressor in his own blood, and granting right and justice to the oppressed? We have heard good people reason thus: "The South is praying against us, and we are praying against the South; on which side does the Almighty stand ?" In our opinion there is an alliance between God and the negro; and whoever prays with the negro prays right.
The Dawn of Heaven; or, The Principles of Heavenly Life Applied to the Earthly. By the late JOSEPH A. COLLIER, of Kingston, N. Y. With a Brief Biographical Sketch of the Author. 12mo., pp. 305. New York: Carter & Brothers. 1864.
The memorial and the remains of one who did his blessed work early and went to his early reward. Mr. Collier was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1828; was prepared for college under Prof. J. J. Owen, of New York; graduated at Rutgers in 1849. He passed through a theological seminary and became a minister of the Reformed Dutch Church, and was pastor in Kingston, where, after a brief term of service, characterized by rare talent and attracting the love of a widening circle of friends, he closed his earthly life. His last intelligible words were: "In one short moment! In one bright moment !" His chapters on the Heavenly Life are the product of no ordinary intellect and of no ordinary Christian attainment. It is a special book for the young minister.
Lyra Anglicana, or a Hymnal of Sacred Poetry, selected from the best English writers, and arranged after the order of the Apostles' Creed. By the Rev. George T. RIDER, M.A. 12mo., pp. 288. New York: Appleton & Co. 1864.
This is a fresh selection, in beautiful external, from the opulence of English hymnology; an opulence which both enables and justifies
the compiler in avoiding specimens which have appeared in previous collections. He presents the rarer gems of the last two centuries. Among his authors are Quarles, Herbert, Barnabas Barnes, Keble, Trench, and Mrs. Browning. In his beautifully written preface, the compiler has perhaps set sacred theology and devout hymnology in too strong opposition. They are but the opposite poles of the same thing. He has unconsciously illustrated this fact by ranging his songs in the order of his creed. Doctrines are the tangible forms of truth, for which the thinker writes and the martyr suffers; and these embrace the substance both which the preacher enforces and the hymnist sings.
The Book of Job in Poetry; or, A Song in the Night. By the Rev. HENRY W. ADAMS, M.A., of the Diocese of Massachusetts, Honorary Member of the New York Historical Society, Member of the House of Convocation of Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. 8vo., pp. 380. Printed for the author. New York: Robert Craighead. 1864.
This is an elegant volume, done in blue and gold, with choice type, upon a snowy ground, and ornamented with well-engraved and instructive illustrations. It contains a translation of one of the most venerable of Hebrew productions, done in heroic measure, much in the style and spirit of Pope's translation of Homer. There are nearly sixty pages of introductory matter, evincing great general research and a profound study of his sublime original. The purpose of the translator may have been either to give an elucidation of the structure and argument of the book clearer than is furnished by the authorized version, or it may have been to furnish an equivalent to the spirit and power of the original. If the former, we think it a success; to say that he had attained the latter, would be to pronounce him about the greatest of poets.
Life Lessons in the School of Christian Duty. By the author of the Life and Times of JOHN Huss, etc. 12mo., pp. 407. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph. 1864.
It was a very ignoble style of criticism in which the North American Review denied to Mr. Gillett the possession of a mastery of clear, correct, and ringing English style. In the department of Christian essay the specimen before us is pregnant with a great power to carry the reader along its deep rapid current of living thought. Well, if it carries him to the right terminus; for it is the writer's purpose to bring him to the full possession of a rich, wise, and happy Christian life. We regret to note some tinge of one-sidedness. The author in his quotation of rare Christian character seldom or never gets out of the stereotype catalogue of Calvin