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ARTICLE XII.-NOTICES OF BOOKS.
HAGENBACH'S HISTORY OF DOCTRINES.*_In a previous number of this journal, we noticed the Edinburgh Translation of this work, and pointed out the characteristic excellencies and faults of the author, as a theological historian. (See New ENGLANDER, Volume eighteen, page 760). We had not compared Mr. Buch's version with the original; but it occasions us no surprise to learn that it needs mending; for we long ago learned to look with suspicion upon the Scottish series of translations, of which it forms a part. In several of them, blunders abound, to say nothing of a general infelicity and clumsiness of style. Adopting in the main, the Edinburgh translation, Professor Smith has revised it throughout, submitting in some instances, to the labor of re-writing “whole sentences and even paragraphs.” He has added the improvements in the third and fourth editions of Hagenbach, which had not found their way into the Scottish re-publication. He has also made additions of his own, consisting, in most cases, of brief citations from authorities and references, not contained in the German work. The supplementary matter furnished by the American edition is of no inconsiderable value. We wish that the book could have been enriched with more copious references to the old and standard English theology. Here is a rich and unexplored field,—to gather up in summaries and commentaries, the English dogmatic theology of the former periods. As it is, Professor Smith's edition will henceforward be the standard edition of the work. We reiterate our commendation of the candor and learning discovered in this treatise, and our high estimate of its usefulness; at the same time observing that we miss that sharpness of statement, and theological acumen, which are essen
* A Text Book of the History of Doctrines. By Dr. K. R. Hagenbach, Professor of Theology in the University of Basle. The Edinburgh Translation of C. W. Buch. Revised, with large additions from the fourth German Edition, and other sources. By HENRY B. Smith, D. D., &c., &c. New York: Sheldon & Co. 1861. VOL. XIX.
tial to the highest success, in exhibiting the history of religious tenets and controversies. Of the importance of this branch of study, it will soon be unnecessary to speak, to those who are not disposed to decry learning altogether. As an aid to Biblical interpretation; as suggesting the great cardinal principles of the Christian faith, in contradistinction from non-essentials; as inspiring a genial and catholic temper, expanding alike the intellectual view and the charities of the heart, the thorough study of the history of doctrines is exceedingly effective. The requisite condition on the part of the student, is that he shall not give up his independence, and confidence in his own thinking. If he retain these, the more he attends to the thinking of other men, and other ages, the better. Those who handle works of this class, scarcely need be reminded of the necessity of examining for themselves the data on which the statements in the text are professedly founded. We are never sure of our footing, until we stand on the orig. inal authorities, and deduce our views from an inspection of the sources of knowledge. This lesson an active student of history is likely to learn, before proceeding far in historical investigations.
EVENINGS WITH THE DOCTRINES.* _This book offers, for the public use, a series of Discourses, delivered by the author “on successive Tuesday evenings, in the winter of 1858-9," upon the leading doctrines of the Gospel. They are clearly written, and characterized by those pleasant turns of illustration and thought, for which Dr. Adams is so favorably known among the readers of his practical writings. The management of the practical portions of his argument is usually very felicitous. He rarely fails of success, when he would show how the great truths of the Christian system meet the wants of the human soul, and are commended to its confidence, by the fact of this adaptation. In his speculative theories, he adopts the opinions which are currently received by the literal adherents of the views of the late Dr. Woods, in their middle phase. There is a want of sharpness in the statements, of consistency in the logic, and of strength and force in the impression made upon the conscience, which detract greatly from the value of the book. It is a very good book for those who are
Evenings with the Doctrines. By NEHEMIAN ADAMS, D. D. Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1861. 12mo. pp. 415.
already convinced, or are easily satisfied, but acute thinkers require more subtle and logical reasoning, and strong thinkers demand more vigorous thoughts.
It has one advantage above most books of the kind. It is written in a style unencumbered by technical theological phraseology, and the illustrations and reasonings are derived from the workings of the author's own intellect. It takes, therefore, a much higher rank than works of this kind usually can claim, in respect to its fitness to instruct and interest the public.
Tue CHRISTIAN ELEMENT IN PLATO, AND THE PLATONIC PuiLOSOPHY.*_We refer to this volume, at the present time, not for the purpose of criticism, but simply to attest its value as a contribution to philosophy and also to theology. It is clear and rigid in its analysis, yet penetrated with a thorough Christian feeling. We heartily commend it to all students of Plato, and to such as are interested in the relation of Plato to modern philosophy. We propose, at an early day, to return to this subject, and to this volume, which has shed so much light upon it, and to devote to it a more extended consideration.
Turner's Thoughts on SCRIPTURAL PROPHECY.f—These Lectures were originally published in 1851, and are now re-issued by Mr. Randolph. They well deserve this compliment, for they are characterized by the good sense, varied learning, and earnest Christian feeling, which are the well known qualities of the much-respected author. The topics treated of are as follows:
Prophecy,-its divine origin,-its increasing development, and certainty. Prophecy communicated in various ways. Prophetic vision,-Prophetic simile and figure. Qulifications of the interpreter. The Blessing of Japhet. To these discussions are appended a body of valuable notes. The earnest student of prophecy is well aware of the difficult and perplexing questions which are presented in the subjects of double sense, the Messianic passages, the literal re-building of Jerusalem, and return of the Jews. All these are treated by Dr. Turner with a full knowledge of what has been written on these subjects, a disposition to do complete justice to the facts of the case, and an earnest Christian feeling. There is so little pretension in the claims and style of the author, however, that the weight of his opinions, and the comprehensiveness of his thoughts, might very easily be overlooked.
* The Christian Element in Plato, and the Platonic Philosophy. Unfolded and set forth by Dr. C. ACKERMAN, Archdeacon at Jena. Translated from the Ger. man, by SAMUEL Ralpu Asbury, B. A. With an introductory note, by WILLIAM G. T. SHEDD, D. D., Brown Professor in Andover Theological Seminary, Edinburgh. T. & T. Clark. 1861.
+ Thoughts on the Origin, Character, and Interpretation of Scriptural Prophecy. In seven discourses, delivered in the Chapel of the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church. With Notes. By SAMUEL HI. TURNER, D. D., Professor of Biblical Learning, &c., &c. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph, 685 Broadway. 1860. 12mo. pp. 247.
It is common for students in theology, and clergymen, to inquire for some manual on the subject of prophecy, which they may safely trust as a guide. We believe that no single volume of its size, in the language, is worthy to be preferred to this.
TURNER ON THE GOSPELS, AND ON OUR LORD's Discours CAPERNAUM.*_The first mentioned of these volumes is an arrangement of the four Gospels in a Harmony-presenting the parallel passages in parallel columns, so as to lie open before the eye at once-according to the Tables of Eusebius, which were founded partially on the work of Ammonius, an Alexandrian scholar of an earlier date. The tables are ten in number; the first containing what is common to all the four Gospels; the second, third and fourth, what is found in three, as Matthew, Mark and Luke, &c.; the fifth to the ninth, what belongs to only two, as Matthew and Luke, &c.; and the tenth, what is found in each one, as peculiar to itself. The book is well arranged, well printed, and provided with an index at the end, by which every verse can be readily referred to. It is withal a book calculated to excite attention as presenting the Harmony in our own translation, and, yet, according to so ancient an authority. The other volume is a new edition of a controversial tract, published several years ago, on the subject of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, in which the author successfully opposes the arguments of Cardinal Wiseman, in respect to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence. After exposing the weakness of his opponent's reasoning, Dr. Turner exhibits, in a scholarly manner, his own idea of the chapter, and maintains the Protestant view with much ability.
* The Gospels according to the Ammonian Sections, and the Tables of Eusebius. Arranged from the Authorized English Translation. By SAMUEL H. TURNER, D. D., Professor in the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph. 1860. 12mo.
* Essay on our Lord's Discourse at Capernaum, recorded in the Sixth Chapter of St. John By SAMUEL H. TURNER, D. D. New York: Anson F. Randolph. 1860. 12mo. pp. 158.
THE TWO RECENTLY PUBLISHED WORKS OF DR. ADDISON ALEXANDER.* _Both of these volumes are fragmentary in their character. The Commentary on Matthew, indeed, was in the course of preparation at the time of the author's death, and is only completed as far as the sixteenth chapter. We are very glad, however, that it has been given to the public even in its unfinished state, for the number of scholarly commentaries on the earlier gospels, which can be put into the hands of our students and others, is not large, while everything of this character from the pen of Dr. Alexander will be sure to be studied with advantage. We feel more in doubt respecting the general usefulness of the Notes on New Testament Literature and Ecclesiastical History. Of this volume the editor says, that the two fragments here presented " include all that Dr. Alexander left in a condition fit for the press, of his remarkable Biblical and Historical Lectures. It had long been his purpose to write out these Lectures, but two causes operated to prevent this; first, the pressure of his professional labors, including the preparation of his commentaries; and secondly, the rapid strides he was constantly making in the knowledge of his subjects, never brought him to the point where he could satisfy his own mind that he was ready to print. It was this fact that gave such vivacity and originality to his instructions; his lectures to each succeeding class being the outpouring of his own acquisitions. These fragments alone remain to us. The brief skeletons of his biblical research, although covering hundreds of pages, could hardly be arranged, and never filled out, by any living man.” As may be inferred from these few words, which are take from the preface, this book contains what seems to be one or two of the introductory lectures in each course. As such,
* The Gospel according to Matthew. Explained by Joseph Addison AlexANDER. New York: Charles Scribner. 1861. 12mo. pp. 456.
Notes on New Testament Literature and Ecclesiastical History. By JOSEPH ADDISON ALEXANDER, D.D. New York: Charles Scribner, 1861. 12mo. pp. 319.