Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

a few of them are more fully and carefully prepared than in the encyclopedia to which reference has just been made. This is true in the case of many of the theological and in some of the biographical and historical Articles. For instance, under“ Atonement,” in the American encyclopedia, we find a very meager Article of scarcely a page in length; but in Chambers's encyclopedia there are five

pages in which there is given a tolerably full statement of the doctrine as held by leading men from Origen to Professor Jowett, Rev. F. D. Maurice, and Dr. Trench. As another single illustration from the department of ecclesiastical history we cite the Article, “ Ammonias Saccas." In Chambers's encyclopedia it is three or four times as full as in the American encyclopedia, which is here rather incomplete.

However, the encyclopedia published by the Messrs. Appleton, as is well known, is specially prepared to meet the wants of the American people; and in all that pertains to this country, its history, and the biography of our distinguished men, it is unquestionably superior to the work before us. We have made the few comparisons above not with any design of undervaluing it, but simply for the purpose of informing those who are in the habit of frequently consulting books of reference, that they may often find in either of these works important information which is not contained in the other.

There are two additional features peculiar to Chambers's encyclopedia, which remain to be spoken of, and which fit it admirably for wide circulation among the masses of the people. It is very fully illustrated throughout with handsome wood cuts, and it is well provided with good and beautifully executed maps. In the first volume alone there are maps of Africa, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Austria.

We had it in mind to speak at greater length of this work, but shall be obliged, for want of room, to defer it to the next number.

THE HISTORICAL MAGAZINE AND NOTES AND QUERIES. * _We have on several occasions called attention to this exceedingly

* The Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries concerning the Antiquities, History and Biography of America. New York: Charles B. Richardson & Co., 14 Bible House, Astor Place. Small Quarto. In monthly numbers of about thirty-two pages each. Price, $2.00 per annum.

valuable and entertaining magazine, which is published monthly in New York. We are pleased to see that from year to year it increases in interest and favor with the public. Every one who is interested in the history of our country—and who is not ?-should make himself acquainted with this publication, which is doing so important a work in awakening an interest in the study of our past history, and preserving whatever can yet be gleaned from the mass of important facts that are fast fading from the memory of the living:

THE AMERICAN ALMANAC AND REPOSITORY OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE FOR THE YEAR 1861.*—The present is the thirty-second volume of this invaluable work. It bears the marks, throughout, of the unremitting labor of its accomplished editor, who, with each new volume, is making the series more and more indispensable to every one who would have in compact and accessible form the best manual of statistics respecting all matters of interest pertaining to the United States, as well as to the individual states of the Union.

THE NEW EDITIONS OF STANDARD WORKS.-Our crowded pages make it necessary to defer to the next Number the notices which we have prepared of the new editions of standard works which are reflecting such honor upon the enterprise of our American publishers. We can only announce here that two additional volumes of the new edition of LORD Bacon's WORKS have been published by Messrs. Brown & Taggard, of Boston; two volumes of MiLMAN'S LATIN CHRISTIANITY have been published by Messrs. Sheldon & Co. of New York; and two volumes, also, of the "national edition" of WASHINGTON IRVING'S WORKS, by Mr. George Putnam, of New York. We take pleasure, also, in calling attention to the enterprise of Messrs. W. A. Townsend & Co. of New York, who are bringing out the most attractive edition of DICKENS'S WORKs which has ever been published. The illustrations, which are from designs by F. 0. C. DARLEY and JOHN GILBERT, are a very marked feature of interest. The PICKWICK PAPERS have already been published in four volumes, and OLIVER Twist in two volumes. An advertisement of these last books will be found on page 12 of the Advertiser.

* The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 861. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co. 12mo. pp. 419. Price $1.

THE

N EW ENGLAND E R.

No. LXXV.

JULY, 1861.

ARTICLE 1.—THE FIRST DOCUMENT OF GENESIS.

The Mosaic Cosmogony. By C. W. Goodwin, M. A. ; being

one of the “Essays and Reviews." Reprinted in Recent Inquiries in Theology. Boston: Walker, Wise & Company.

On taking up Mr. Goodwin's Essay on the Mosaic Cosmogony, we expected to find, if no new thought, at least an able summing up of the results of biblical and scientific inquiry concerning that interesting subject. Such a work is needed. The discussion of the Mosaic Cosmogony has been prosecuted so long, so enthusiastically, and so thoroughly, that, in the minds of advanced students, its main points may be considered as settled ; and a faithful summing up would be a powerful argument for the truth of Revelation and for the inspiration of the sacred writings. Great was our surprise and disappointment, therefore, when, after passing over our author's recapitulation of geological discoveries and of the account in Genesis, his answer to the long exploded theory of

35

VOL. XIX.

Dr. Buckland and his strictures on that of IIugh Miller, we read a few short paragraphs in vindication of considering the Mosaic Cosmogony as “the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton," and found ourselves suddenly at the end!

Such essays as this of Mr. Goodwin have long since lost their interest to scholars on this side of the Atlantic. We are too familiar with the outlines of geology and with the general discussion of the points at issue between science and the Bible to care to go over the “ oft-trodden ground” with each new writer who awakes to an interest in these subjects. The elements of geology we leave to school-books. The questions of biblical criticism are answered, so far as the nature of the case will admit. The antagonists in the long controversy, which has taken place, are at present occupied in settling their personal grievances. The world will soon think no more of the discrepancies between Genesis and geology than of those between the Psalms of David and the system of Copernicus. A sound philology has explained away these difficulties and has shown that there is no discrepancy between a just interpretation of the word of God and the revelations of genuine science. Such an essay as this of Mr. Goodwin is, therefore, behind the times, and reveals an unpardonable ignorance of the present attitude of the subject. It might have been considered very creditable in some respects, when Dr. Chalmers was a boy; but it is singularly incongruous with the ripe scholarship of a recent graduate of Cambridge University.

We do not mean to be understood as saying that knowledge of geological science and of biblical criticism has permeated all classes of the community, and that there are none who doubt or deny the harmonies between the two. On the contrary, it will, probably, be long ere the conclusions, to which the leaders of scholarship have arrived, will find their way in popular form into the less intelligent classes of society. Meanwhile, such essays as this of Mr. Goodwin will still be written. New men will continually come forward, for whom the subject of the Cosmogony will be invested with all the charms of novelty. They will recite the rudiments of astronomy and geology with praiseworthy correctness.

They will

astonish their readers by their glib use of scientific terms. They will quote Bridgewater Treatises and Hugh Miller. They will go to work complacently to refute old, exploded reconciliation-theories, and finally will recommend some feeble, obsolete hypothesis as the only possible solution of the vexed question of the Days. The Christian Examiner will continue to urge the discoveries of geology against the authority of the Sabbath. The Westminster Review will still maintain that the Bible is a tissue of error and falsehood. Men of Mr. Goodwin's stamp will say with him that “ Theology, the science whose object is the dealing of God with man as a moral being, maintains but a shivering existence, shouldered and jostled by the sturdy growths of modern thought, and bemoaning itself for the hostility which it encounters.”* All this we naturally . expect. The progress of one-sided, warped and obtuse intellects is generally jolting, straggling, reluctant, and recalcitrating. Such was the style of infidel writing, when astronomy urged her new discoveries against the then-received interpretation of certain passages of scripture. Such will be the style of infidel, skeptical, and uninformed objectors, until a knowledge of the true principles of interpretation shall be so diffused that they can read for themselves the sublime harmonies between the revelation of God's truth in nature and that unfolded in his written word.

To determine and to apply the true principles of interpretation is the great aim of sound biblical scholarship. It is only by such efforts that we may hope to arrive at a correct understanding of the Bible and to repudiate the apparent discrepancies, which science may urge against it. But this work, so far, at least, as the question of the Cosmogony is concerned, has been already done; and students of nature and of the word of God unite in praising that marvelous consistency, which proves both accounts alike to be divine. If these results are nowhere presented in unique arrangement, they are no Tess patent to every one who has been familiar with the long and vigorous discussion of the question. What remains to be done

Recent Inquiries in Theology, p. 238.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »