« ForrigeFortsæt »
VεKOV. Thus the operation of God was required to raise Jesus from the dead, that the sinner might have something to believe. The raising of Jesus from the dead may be viewed as the great doctrine of the Gospel inasmuch as it involves his death, the perfection and efficacy of the Atonement, the full magnifying of the law and the satisfaction of the Father as the representative of the Godhead, with the whole of the work of Jesus. This raising of Jesus required this active and efficient working of God, and this working was employed in effecting this great and glorious achievement. This power or working is required therefore in order to the sinner's faith, because without it there could have been no object for his faith, there could have been nothing for him to believe. The same έvɛpyɛía roũ Oɛoũ that raised up Jesus from the dead has revealed the glorious and soul-saving truths of the Gospel, and is employed in a variety of ways in drawing the attention of sinners to these truths. God has placed the facts of the Gospel before the minds of a world of sinners, and continues to work with them, showing them the truth and importance of what he has revealed, and beseeching them to believe them and be saved, and when they believe, actually saves them. God must work in the preaching of the Gospel and in his providence; and in many ways the Spirit is employed to lead men to repentance and faith, and consequent salvation. If the Spirit were to let men alone, they would never have this saving faith; and this active and efficient working of God was needed not only to produce the facts to be believed, but is needed to draw attention to them, and persuade them of their truth, and save them through believing these facts.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Memoir of the Rev. Henry Duncan, D.D., Minister of Ruthwell, Founder of Savings' Banks, Author of Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons,' &c. &c. By his Son, the Rev. GEORGE JOHN C. DUNCAN, North Shields. Edinburgh: W. Oliphant and Sons 1848. Pp. xi. 379.
DR. Duncan was a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, having been minister of the parish of Ruthwell, near Dumfries, from 1799 till the Disruption in 1843. It is justly remarked of him, in the volume on our table, that he will be gratefully remembered as a philanthropist -his people are not likely soon to forget him as a pastor-science will not disown his merit as a discoverer, nor the antiquary fail to record the services he has rendered to his favourite subject-literature will recognise his hand in the works of which he was the author; and
patriotism will acknowledge his far-seeing benevolence and public spirit.' (Pp. 350, 351.)
He early entered the field of authorship, having published anonymously a remarkable tract on the Socinian controversy when he was under twenty years of age. The tract was eagerly purchased, the reasonings being new and striking; but it was afterwards found that they were derived chiefly from his father's letters to him.
In 1797 he became a member of the Speculative Society of the University of Edinburgh, and he there formed an acquaintance with several young men who have since risen to eminence. Among these was Henry Brougham, with whom he occasionally corresponded till within a few years of his death.
At so early a period of his ministry as 1806 he made an effort to initiate the minds of his people in science. For this purpose he instituted Sabbath meetings for conversational lectures on the works of God. In his efforts of this nature he was encouraged by one of his earliest friends, Sir David Brewster, who about that time was an occasional visitor at Ruthwell. His labours, however, in this department were unsuccessful, and he soon abandoned them. Many foolishly deemed his views opposed to Scripture and common sense. His establishment of a parish library immediately thereafter was attended with better results.
In 1808 he commenced a series of tracts under the title of the 'Scotch Cheap Repository.' In this he was assisted by several of his clerical friends, and one of the series was written by Miss Hamilton, author of the Cottagers of Glenburnie.' His letter, requesting her co-operation in this scheme, led to a correspondence which was continued during the remainder of that excellent lady's life. The most valuable tract of the series was The Cottage Fireside,' written by himself. It was afterwards published separately as a small volume, and has gone through several editions.
In the end of 1809, with the pecuniary aid of his brothers in Liverpool, he started the Dumfries and Galloway Courier'-a weekly newspaper, which was edited by himself during the first seven years of its existence. There was only one newspaper previously in Dumfries, and it was very inefficient. Among the contributors to the 'Courier' was Thomas Carlyle, who has since become so distinguished in the world of letters.
About this time Dr. Brewster commenced The Edinburgh Encyclopædia,' and the Rev. Andrew Thomson 'The Christian Instructor;' and both these distinguished men requested and obtained contributions from him. The articles' Blair' and 'Blacklock' in the former are
from his pen.
The education of his family (along with the sons of his brothers in Liverpool, and a few others) was conducted, at Ruthwell Manse, by an able tutor, stimulated and encouraged by himself.
'Among the guests at the manse,' to quote from the memoir, 'some eminent names in religion, literature, and science may be mentioned. Sir David Brewster, and James Grahame the Sabbath bard, one of his most valued friends, had very early
early been his guests. Dr. Chalmers was a somewhat later, and not unfrequent visitor. Dr. Andrew Thomson once and again brought his joyous greeting to the manse door; and Dr. Welsh, in early life, used now and them to come among us. The eccentric Robert Owen, before his infidelity was flagrant, and when known only as an amiable enthusiast in the walks of philanthropy; Dr. Spurzheim, then attracting general notice as the ardent advocate of the new science of phrenology; Mr. Carlyle, since so remarkable among authors; Robert M'Cheyne, both in his interesting boyhood and fervent maturity; Dr. Buckland and Mr. Sedgwick, of geological fame; with many others whose converse fanned the flames of intellect, or feeling, or Christian benevolence, found their way to the romote parish and manse of Ruthwell.'-(pp. 93, 94.)
The chapters of the 'Memoir' which detail his arduous and prolonged labours in originating savings' banks, and carrying forward and perfecting his scheme, possess a high degree of interest. His claim to be regarded as the projector of these useful institutions has been disputed, but is here most triumphantly vindicated.
In November, 1823, he received his degree of D.D. from the University of St. Andrews. A short time before this he published his 'Young Weaver,' a small political work; and in 1826 he published anonymously a tale of greater pretension, in three volumes, entitled 'William Douglas, or the Scottish Exiles.' In 1826, H. Brougham, M.P., requested him to write one or more of the treatises about to be published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. He at once agreed to furnish papers, as requested, on Savings' Banks, adding a willing offer to write also a treatise on Friendly Societies.
Dr. Duncan devoted the occasional labours of thirty years to restor~ ing to their original form the fragments of a remarkable Runic cross, and in deciphering the inscriptions on it. It now stands in the Manse garden of Ruthwell. The whole length of the pillar is 17 feet 6 inches, being four-sided, and covered from top to bottom with sculptured figures and allegorical designs, accompanied by inscriptions, partly in Roman and partly in Runic characters. Whatever may have been its origin or early history, there can be no doubt that it is one of the very few unequivocal vestiges of Anglo-Saxon sculpture in Britain -that it was an object of worship in Popish times; and that accordingly, in 1642, an order was given by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for its demolition.' He prepared a model of the monument, and presented it, accompanied by a masterly paper, to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, as a corresponding member, in 1832, for which he received the special thanks of the Society.
In the summer of 1827 he visited a quarry at Corncocklemuir, about fifteen miles from Ruthwell, where it was reported that strange footmarks were to be seen on the new red-sandstone. He returned home convinced that, whatever surprise the announcement might occasion, the fact could not be questioned, that at the remote period when the new red-sandstone was in the act of forming, four-footed animals of several species had imprinted indelible footmarks on the surface of its strata' (p. 179). Anticipating the strong opposition which geologists would in all probability make to his hypothesis, he armed himself, by careful examination on the spot, with a series of particulars; and opened a private correspondence with Dr. Buckland, of Oxford, on the
subject. The learned professor at once gave his opinion against even the remote probability of the marks being the impressions of feet.' When specimens were sent, however, the professor, with philosophic candour, admitted their entirely conclusive character, and became the earnest advocate of an hypothesis which is now universally received by geologists. Writing to Dr. Duncan, some years after this, Dr. Buckland says, 'I look upon your discovery as one of the most curious and most important that has been ever made in geology;' and he adds, 'it is a discovery that will for ever connect your name with the progress of this science.'
In 1830 Dr. Duncan published a series of admirable Letters on the West India Question,' in the Dumfries Courier. By request they were republished, and attracted the notice of members of Parliament when the Slave Emancipation Bill was in progress.
In October, 1836, he published the first volume of a work on which principally his literary fame must rest, The Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons. It consists of four volumes, one on each of the four seasons of the year, beginning with Winter. It is a delightful work, and well deserves the popularity which has carried it so soon through five large impressions. It is intended to illustrate the perfections of God in the phenomena of the year, and is full of the lessons of science and religion. It is a great storehouse, whence every clergyman who possesses it may draw abundant illustrations to enrich his pulpit discourses. It has already found a place in many congregational and town libraries, and should be wanting in none.
Dr. Duncan left the Scottish Establishment at the disruption, in May, 1843; but a Free Church was formed in the parish, and he continued to labour among the people who adhered to his ministry, till November, 1845, when, on account of increased infirmities, he removed to Edinburgh, leaving the entire work to Mr. Brown, who had, a short time previously, been ordained as his colleague. He died suddenly. On Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1846, he was preaching in the parish of Ruthwell, being on a visit to the people of his charge; and he had spoken scarcely ten minutes on Zech. iii. 9, when his voice faltered, his whole frame trembled, and all the symptoms of paralysis became apparent. He would have fallen, but was supported to a chair. He was conveyed to the house of his brother-in-law, and died on the evening of the Thursday following.
The circumstances connected with the origin and progress of the Free Church are very fully detailed-rather fully, we think, for a book designed and well fitted for circulation among the religious public of all denominations. We have confined our brief notice to his more public labours in the department of science and literature.
From the outline we have given of some of the leading topics discussed in this Memoir, our readers will perceive that it is one of unusual interest. It is written with great discrimination and good sense. The attention of the reader is admirably sustained, and he feels an attraction of increasing power as he is led on from page to page till it reaches its culminating point in the record of the labours and privations of this
amiable and venerable clergyman in the formation of a Free Church in his parish.
Annotations on the Apostolical Epistles. Designed chiefly for the use of Students of the Greek Text. By T. W. PEILE, D.D. Rivington, 1849.
This is the second volume, extending from Galatians to Colossians. We do not recollect to have met with the first volume; but the plan of the author is sufficiently clear from the one before us. It appears from this, that the object is not merely, as the title might seem to indicate, to elucidate the Greek text philologically, but to develop the meaning of the sacred writer. This is done partly in original notes, and partly in extracted notes, given in the original language of the authors. These are mostly Latin; and the name of Calvin is that which most frequently occurs, affording additional evidence of the fact, to which we lately had occasion to advert (vol. iii. p. 223), of the greatly increased attention which is now given to the exegetical works of the great reformer. The task the author has proposed to himself has been executed with considerable judgment, and with undoubted learning; and the work cannot fail to be of great service to the class of students for whom it is designed. Some of Dr. Peile's renderings of the Greek text are, however, considerably influenced by one of the grammatical views he has adopted, and which he has developed at some length in an Appendix.
'Every schoolboy knows that from the 3rd pers. sing. of the Perf. Pass. of Greek verbs is formed the Aor. I. Pass., and from this the Fut. I. Pass. е. g. катакрíуш— κέκριται — ̓εκρίθη — κριθήσεται: σώζω-σέσωσται - ἐσώθη — σωθήσεται: δικαιόω δεδικαίωται—εδικαιώθη-δικαιωθήσεται—but it is not, perhaps, every practised scholar that has made use of the key which he has here, to unlock a secret drawer, as it were, in that ancient cabinet--the Greek Testament of Scripture, to which, as the ark of His New Covenant, it has pleased God to commit the custody of the yet untold riches of His CHRIST..
"The Grecian mind, which saw the end in the means, as èríorauai, I set myself to a thing, I know it; and which loved to contemplate things present and in esse as тà vпάρxоνтα, i.e., as so many new points of departure, so many undeveloped seeds of existence or of action in posse-had ever present to it that new series of tenses derived from the Perf. Pass. of the Greek verb, which to our duller apprehension convey but a general and ill-defined notion of Past or of Future time. Let this then be laid down as a principle of interpretation—that in the strict sense of the Fut. I. Pass. we are to see continued existence in some position or state, into which the subject of the verb has been brought by the completed action expressed by the 3rd pers. sing. Perf. Pass., and in which the 3rd sing. Aor. I. Pass. simply proclaims the subject at any time to be-and what shall we have gained as students of the Greek Testament!'-pp. 237, 238.
How this rule acts the reader may see by two examples; in which, as usual with him, the author brings out the sense by a paraphrase. 'That apparently "hard saying" of the ministry of reconciliation, which (as it now stands in our English Bibles) who can read without shuddering-[He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,] ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθεὶς σωθήσεται· δ δὲ απιστήσας κατακριθήσεται, Mark xvi. 16-will be found when interpreted on this principle to assert no more than this" He who, on having the terms of the Gospel-covenant proposed to his acceptance, shall have faith in God (that he is able and willing to save all that truly
VOL. IV.NO. VIII.