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is the same comprehensive and catholic spirit ever spurning the names and limits of a single sect, the same extensive research, the same historic spirit, reasoning safely to the present from the lessons of the past, the same labored but always weighty and often felicitous style, and always the same honest Christian spirit, which have rendered his works the choice companions and the valued instructors to many thoughtful minds. Mr. Gowans seems to have taken Mr. Taylor into his keeping as an author for whom he has an especial regard, and this regard does honor to his own qualities of head and heart. We thankfully acknowledge our obligations to him for giving the American public this new volume. We trust he will not fail also to print Taylor's latest volume, “ Ultimate Civilization and other Essays,” a copy of the London edition of which has fallen into our hands and proves to be of rare interest.
The present volume consists of seven essays. Logic in Theology; The state of Unitarianism in England; Nilus :—The Christian courtier in the Desert ; Paula :-High Quality and Asceticism in the Fourth Century; Theodosius :-Pagan Usages and the Christian Magistrate; Julian :-Prohibitive Education; “Without Controversy." The first of these essays is nearly the same which was originally published as an Introduction to Edwards on the Will, and with which all the admirers of Taylor are familiar. The second of them first appeared in the Eclectic Review, and was afterward published in a separate tract. It contains an exhibition of the actual power and results of the Unitarian system, and is valuable both as history and argument. The four succeeding essays are four of those striking cabinet portraitures from the early history of the church, such as the author alone can furnish, each one of which has its moral for the present. The last two are of especial value for these times and especially for the English people as they bring up and discuss the proper position to be taken by the magistrate and the educator in that vast Indian empire over which England bears sway, and into which she is introducing the systems of government and education which involve inconceivable consequences of good and evil for uncounted millions. The author contends that the laws for India must be framed and administered as Christian laws, yet within the limits which Christianity ever prescribes to itself. On this subject the author expresses himself in the following language:
“Now as to such usages—such institutions, and such legalized crimes—abominable as they may be—this is to be noticed concerning them—and never should it be forgotten—that Christianity abstains from naming, or denouncing, or prohibiting them :-—it is silent because it takes quite another course in ridding the world of them: it does at length rid the world of them: but this happy issue it brings about in its own manner. It becomes us to understand what this method is—for, if we mistake it, we shall be likely to fall into the impious practice of pleading the silence of the Gospel in behalf of the worst abominations.
“When a crime of any sort has passed into its fixed form as an INSTITUTIONwhen a sin has come to stand upon the fair side of a people's statute-bookswhen the Devil has been called in to prepare the rough draft of a liberal enactment, then—we shall look in vain for texts in which such crimes of a state are denounced, or are even named. The Gospel, as it addresses no offer of salvation to nations, so does it preserve an ominous silence concerning their sins.
But this boding silence—is it approval ? None will think so but those whose reason is fast going—where their conscience has long ago gone—to ruin. What then are these Pagan usages ? What are these NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS which Christianity does not name, and does not denounce, but of which, at length, it rids every country where it gains the ascendancy: They are these nine following:I. Polygamy. II. Infanticide. III. Legalized Prostitution. IV. Capricious Di.
V. Sanguinary and grossly immoral Games. VI. Infliction of Death or Punishment by Torture. VII. Wars of Rapacity. VIII. Caste. And, IX. Slavery.
" Each of these immoralities was practised, and was more or less distinctly existing as a social Institution—a usage-of the neighboring nations in the time of Christ's ministry. In fact, each of them had then a place even in Palestine, so far as that it must often have come before Him;—and was an immorality perpetrated under His eye. Yet one only of the nine on this list did He name, and denounce—that is the fourth: and the reason of the preference given to it we might easily find. But were the eight approved? It is madness to think soit were blasphemy to say it! With each of these non-mentioned immoral usages Christianity, in its progress among the nations, came into conflict at an early time; and then, in its own manner, by enlightening the individual conscience, it either abrogated them entirely, or greatly mitigated the evil of each of them. Some of these usages disappeared silently, very soon after the moment of the imperial conversion: others fell from their place as applauded customs, and quietly subsided into a position of tolerated evils—condemned, yet winked at. Each of them, among modern nations, vanishes wherever Christianity prevails, and is free to speak its mind. To this averment there is not—there never has been—an exceptive instance. Certainly the worst of the nine-SLAVERY—is not an exception: how could it be so, for it includes, and it gives its eager support to, at least, seven of these enormities out of the nine:—it does so as thus—Slavery has had its commencement in the most atrocious of all the forms of aggressive and lawless war: slavery perpetuates the most odious of the distinctions of caste :-slavery enforces its initial wrong by giving a brutal licence to punishment by torture. And as to that circle of crimes which are attendants of slavery, in vitiating the relation of the sexes—slavery is the soul of each of those abominations with which the brutal lust and the demon-like cruelty of man have ever blighted what God has blessed. Slavery does indeed exist in countries where Christianity is blasphemously professed:—but in no country does slavery maintain itself in which the Gospel takes effect upon the consciences of men.” pp. 291–293.
The last of the essays, “Without Controversy,” is by far the most interesting. Starting with the distinct recognition of the fact that almost every position in respect to Religious Truth is the subject of vexatious controversy, he enquires like a man soliloquizing with himself, “ How can he avoid a disturbing scepticism in respect to all these points, and indeed in respect to the truth, the obligations, and the comforts of Religion itself ?” “How shall a man find truth and peace by fixing for himself those truths which are without controversy?" These questions he answers as it were to his own mind and for his personal satisfaction, by beginning with those fundamental facts in his own moral nature on which all Religious Faith is founded; and proceeding step by step, he builds up for himself the structure on which he rests. This is indeed a tract for the times and worthy of its honored Christian author.
REASON AND THE BIBLE.*_The design of this work is to vindicate the system of truth taught in the Bible, and the Bible itself, on grounds of Reason. In order to do this the author discusses what are the methods and principles of Rational or Philosophical knowledge, and shows that these all conduct to the conclusion, that the Morality, the Religion and the Theology of the Bible are rationally true and morally obligatory. The work is divided into fourteen chapters, as follows: 1. Nature and value of the subject and the sources of light upon it. 2. The Harmony of Truth. 3. God in Reason. 4. God in his works. 5. God in Revelation. 6. The Bible coincident with Reason. 7. The analogy of all Religion. 8. The Bible necessarily true. The Bible authentic. 10. The Biblical system, pure and exclusive. 11. The Biblical system, the Antidote for sin and woe. 12. The Bible adapted to the Perfection of mind. 13. Advantages of the Philosophic method in Truth. 14. The Relations of moral evil.
These topics are discussed by the author with much reach and
* Reason and the Bible; or, the Truth of Religion. By Miles P. SQUIER, D. D., Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Beloit College. New York: Charles Scribner. 16mo. pp. 340.
profoundness of thought, and his opinions and conclusions are generally those which we would accept. It has manifestly been his design to avoid abstruse phraseology and the display of learned references, and to manage his argument in such a way as to interest any person who is disposed to think for himself, even though he is not familiar with the language of the schools. Perhaps we ought to say that he has sought to excite to thinking, by the very method of his discussion and the peculiarity of his style. Still we cannot but express the fear that he has in this way lost as much as he has gained. For example he has uniformly expressed himself in short sentences, with few logical connections or particles expressing the relations or transitions of thought. The disadvantage of this is, that to a great extent it disintegrates his style, and makes his pages read like the Book of Proverbs, or a string of Orphic sayings. Then, in order to be intelligible, the author designedly shuns what is precise and technical, and in all cases the generally received terminology; and instead adopts words and phrases of his own, the peculiarity of which rather diverts attention from the thought to be announced. So it not unfrequently happens that his meaning is vague and general, and difficult to be divined, from the very effort which he makes that it should not be mistaken. We add that the author is obviously an admirer of Cousin, and, like him, makes frequent use of the phrases, “The Reason " and "The Infinite," assuming that they need no word of explanation. This, in our view, is
serious oversight—these terms being subject to great abuse, as they open the door to all sorts of philosophical subreptions and tricks of logical legerdemain. But, notwithstanding, the work is able and attractive; often it is comprehensive and eloquent. We wish it the success and influence to which its manifest excellence entitles it.
HINTS ON THE FORMATION OF RELIGIOUS OPINIONS.*_This unpretending but well written volume consists of sermons delivered to the author's congregation, on the following subjects: 1. Evils of a state of Permanent Skepticism; 2. Laws of Reasoning on Moral and Religious Subjects; 3. Responsibility of men for their Opinions; 4. Practical Value of Opinions; 5. The belief in the Being of God a result of the Constitution and Relations of the Soul; 6. The Argument from Design for the Divine Existence; 7. A Presumption in favor of the Christian Revelation at the Outset; 8. Christianity Authenticated in the Experience of its Power; 9. Christianity a Religion of Facts; 10. Mystery no Obstacle to Faith ; 11. The Highest Evidence may not produce Belief; 12. The Dark things of Life in the Light of Revelation ; 13. The Christian Revelation the sole Hope of the World ; 14. Divine Guidance a Great Necessity; 15. The Value of a Life as Related to Our Time. They were not addressed to positive unbelievers, but were designed to guide and defend those trained under Christian influences, from being misled by the numerous and various temptations to skeptical doubts and misgivings to which they are exposed. Viewed in this light, the volume occupies a peculiar position, and its publication is timely. We need not say that it is written in a pleasing style, and that the topics are treated with ability. We subjoin the following extract :
* Hints on the Formation of Religious Opinions. Addressed especially to young men and women of Christian education. By Rev. Ray PALMER, D.D., Pastor of the First Congregational Church, Albany. New York: Sheldon & Co. 1860. 12mo. pp. 324.
"Let us also understand, that the study of this subject is not unprofitable speculation. Far from it. Skepticism, so often repulsed in its grosser attacks on divine religion, has, in this our time, assumed a more refined and subtle form. The philosophical pantheism of the schools of Germany, and of the most recent skeptical writers of England and America, is a practical if not a real atheism. If God be not a living, personal, self-conscious being, existing apart from the creation, but only an unconscious necessary cause or force evolving itself in the universe of things and always immanent in it, the name may be retained, but the thing is gone forever. Such a necessary cause, or force, or ground of being,– call it what you will,—is no more God in any proper sense, than was the eternal fate of the Greek mythology. The advocates of the modern pantheistic views do as completely empty the universe of God, according to any true notion of his being, as it is possible to do; and leave an awful vacancy as horrible to the conception of a healthful, sober mind, as it was represented in the passage quoted from Jean Paul a little while ago.
“ Yet these are the views which in so many captivating forms, in books and lectures, in poetry and prose, are now addressed to the better class of minds among the young people of our land. Their vagueness takes the imagination. Their pretension excites the hope of augmented light. But, believe it, they do but mock with empty names, and with bewildering shadows; and bring instead of increased illumination, the murky gloom of unalleviated darkness: "• Black as deep midnight, terrible as hell!'”
pp. 110, 111.