Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

these notes will be interesting to the author's many pupils, since they will remind them of what they heard with so much pleasure at the Theological Seminary. They, of course, present what is valuable in its place, and not only this, but they make both a readable book and one which may be somewhat useful as opening the subjects under consideration and surveying the field. But almost from the very nature of the case,-especially as they are only fragments, they contain what is rather better adapted for the lecture room than for a printed volume, and it may be questioned whether the general student, who has not the ground of interest mentioned above, will not find elsewhere what will be more satisfactory and what will more fully repay him. We have examined the volume throughout, and while we hesitate somewhat as to reoommending it to persons who have no more ready money than our theological friends commonly have, we do not doubt that all who do purchase it may find it a convenient book for reference, and one which offers many good suggestions.

EBRARD'S COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLES OF John.*_Dr. Ebrard, as our readers will remember, is one of the persons who have carried forward the unfinished New Testament Commentary of Olshausen toward its completion. All who have read Olshausen's work are consequently familiar with his style and peculiarities, as they are exhibited in the volume on the Epistle to the Hebrews, and we are sure they will be glad to purchase the present volume, which belongs to the same series. We have consulted Ebrard's writings somewhat extensively, and they are certainly full of interest and of the evidences of care and learning. No one can use his works without benefit. He is, no doubt, fanciful at times. He is apt to run off into the extremes of nicety in his tracing out of the thoughts and plans of an author. He is not, perhaps, the man of all others whom we should choose to be our advocate against the modern opponents of the gospel in the department of criticism. He may have many other failings. But, whatever may be his faults as a commentator, we are free to confess, that we feel under obligation to him for much that he has given us, and we shall always be ready to examine what he has to say, assured that we shall, at least, find enough to reward us for our labor. It is certainly refreshing to read a page or two from him, after having read some long and profound discussion of Olshausen, though this latter writer, as everybody says, had a peculiar “depth of spiritual insight," and we suppose what every one says of him is true. We have been sometimes reminded, however, in trying to find out how he happened to see what he did, either, that the natural man does not possess the spiritual vision, or that something else is true, we will not pretend to say what.

* Biblical Commentary on the Epistles of St. John; in continuation of the work of Olshausen. With an Appendix on the Catholic Epistles, and an Introductory Essay on the Life and writings of St. John. By Dr. John H. A. EBRARD, Translated by Rev. W. B. POPE. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co. 1860. 8vo. pp. 423.

The commentary of Ebrard, which we have just received, is very full and is carefully written, with a thorough examination of the views of others. As to the faithfulness of the translation we are unable to speak decisively, as we have not seen the original work. It is by the same person who has translated Stier's Words of the Lord Jesus.

BENGEL's Gnomon.*_We congratulate Professor Lewis, of Troy University, and his associate, Professor Vincent, on the successful manner in which they have accomplished their work. From the comparison between the present volume and the original Latin which we have been able to make, we judge the translation to be an exceedingly concise, accurate and careful one. one who is familiar with Bengel's Gnomon the mere fact that it is well translated will be enough to commend the book, and there is no one at all acquainted with the leading German commentaries of this century, who has not learned from them, if not by personal study, to admire the clearness and conciseness, as well as the richness of thought and high scholarship of this celebrated man. The editors have added much to the value of the volume by the judiciously selected annotations and remarks from the best modern writers on the Scriptures, such as Meyer, De Wette, Lücke, Stier, &c., many of which are now presented in an English form for the first time. We think great skill has been shown in adapting the

To every

* John Albert Bengels Gnomon of the New Testament.--Pointing out from the Natural Force of the words, the Simplicity, Depth, Harmony and Saving Power of its Divine ghts. A new translation. By Charlton T. Lewis, M. A., and Marvis R. Viscent, M. A., Professors in Troy University. Vol. I. Philadelphia: Perkinpine & Higgins. 1860. 8vo. pp. 925.

work to the use and wants of those who do not read the original language of the New Testament, while, at the same time, it loses nothing of its fitness for the critical student. The first volume only is published as yet, extending as far as the end of the Acts of the Apostles, but the remaining portion is expected before many months have passed. We could only wish that the publishers who have printed the work admirably and on very good paper, had divided what we now have into two parts. The whole book should certainly be in four volumes, instead of two.

a

Dr. J. W. ALEXANDER'S THOUGHTS ON PREACHING.* _Dr. J. W. Alexander has already been the subject of a separate Article in the New Englander, in the month of November, 1860. This volume, recently issued, is made up of “Homiletical Paragraphs," taken from his private journals, ten Letters to Young Ministers, re-printed from the Presbyterian, five Articles contributed by him to the Princeton Review, and“ Miscellaneous Paragraphs,” which, like the “Homiletical,” are from the author's journals, and many of which should have been included under that head, but, as a note informs us, were procured too late for insertion there." About a third part of the book is, therefore, a posthumous publication, being such thoughts as “he was in the habit of jotting down,” by way of materials for “a volume on Homiletics,” which, the Preface tells us, “it had long been his cherished wish to prepare for the use of young ministers and students.” It moves regret, that in this particular, “ death defeated his plans.” The book, as a whole, is more valuable and interesting than the title led us to expect, or than we inferred from some printed notices which, like too many judgments of the same sort, were probably penned without a sufficient examination of its contents. It confirms the impression of those who knew the author, that he was the man to prepare such a work as he contemplated. The materials here collected, fragmentary and miscellaneous as they must be, are fitted to stimulate and guide “young ministers and students.” The Letters and Essays reprinted, are in the clear, direct, and lively style, which made him one of our best writers and preachers, for all classes of the people, and show the learning and

* Thoughts on Preaching : being Contributions to Homiletics. By JAMES W. ALEXANDER, D. D. New York: Charles Scribner. 1861. pp. 614. 12mo.

judgment that qualified him to be a successful teacher of Homiletics. Particularly we commend to the notice of young ministers the Letters on "Extempore Preaching,” and the Articles on “Expository Preaching,” and on “The Pulpit in Ancient and Modern Timės,” and “The Eloquence of the French Pulpit.” The use here made of these Essays and Letters is another instance added to many afforded in late years, of the permanent value that may belong to the best efforts of the best minds, in the periodical literature of the day, even in the weekly and daily journalism, that used to seem too ephemeral to justify such expenditure. A good part of our modern English classics is compiled from such sources. As often happens, however, with the more informal utterances of gifted men, that portion of this volume which is made up of “jottings” from the author's journals, is as interesting as any other. It shows how much thought he bestowed on sermonizing, how earnest and fastidious, and yet liberal, he was on this subject, and how thoroughly he appreciated the proper business of preaching, as distinguished from any mere scholastic or literary work. We have long felt that formalism is a great obstacle to pulpit eloquence, as really as to vital piety; and in these “Paragraphs,” Dr. Alexander continually shows himself conscious of the fact, and struggles manfully against it. His culture and discipline made him familiar with the “rules” of “sermonizing,” the critical prescriptions for “analysis,” “divisions,” “applications,” and the like, and he felt himself rather hindered and hampered, than aided by such apparatus, in the preacher's real business, which is to address the gospel effectively to his hearers. In his experience and conclusions, many able ministers will concur. We have his sanction, almost in our own words, to the doctrine we have long held, (New Englander, vol. 5, p. 96), that there is no reason why sermons should not be as free and diversified in their structure, as the ancient orations, or as any other kinds of grave, popular address. If there is an “art of sermonizing” to be taught in our theological seminaries, let it be, if possible, in lessons that the pupils will not have to unlearn, in order to preach with freedom and effect. On this subject we must cite Dr. Alexander's words. “I wish I could make sermons as if I had never heard or read how they are made by other people. The formalism of regular divisions and applications is deadly." p. 1. He cites from Dr. Channing's biography :-“Gradual change of tone in Dr. Channing's address,-it was constantly becoming less ministerial, and more manly," and adds, “I think I know what this means coming out

“— of the homiletic tortoise shell, not leaving humanity at the foot of the pulpit-stairs,-talking like other men,--as any profoundly thinking, thoroughly agitated man would talk on a great subject, to a casual group of waiting persons, also deeply interested.” p. 42. Again :-Be yourself. In the making of sermons, I have never so well succeeded as when I have forgotten all models, and consented to be myself. Every man has his own way, in which he is better than in all others. Those sermons have turned out the best, in which I have turned the matter over in my mind several times, and then written without predetermined skeleton.” p. 43. Here, too, is a more general practical lesson :-“The best subject is commonly that which comes of itself. I never could understand what is meant by making a sermon, on a prescribed text. The right text is the one which comes of itself, during reading and meditation; which accompanies you in walks, goes to bed with you, and rises with you. On such a text, thoughts swarm and cluster, like bees upon a branch. The sermon ferments for hours and days, and at length, after patient waiting, and almost spontaneous working, the subject clarifies itself, and the true method of treatment presents itself in a shape which cannot be rejected.” p. 38. After all that can be taught on this subject, whether by precept or example, no doubt there are ministers who have nothing to write or say, or nothing that anybody cares to hear; and the question being, How shall they go to work in order to preach a good sermon ? we answer it by another question, Why should they preach at all? Or, (scripturally), “How shall they preach, except they be sent ?

PALEARIO'S BENEFIT OF Christ's Death.*—A very handsome edition of this interesting work has been published in Philadelphia by the Presbyterian Publication Committee. We noticed the Boston edition in the last number of this Quarterly; and now take this occasion to correct an error into which we then inad

* The Benefits of Christ's Death; or, the glorious Riches of God's Free Grace, which every true believer receives by Jesus Christ and him crucified. Originally written in Italian, by Aonio PALEARIO, and now reprinted from an ancient English translation. Philadelphia : Presbyterian Publication Committee. 1861. 24mo. pp. 131.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »