« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ments, in the spirit of the doctrine which the author seeks to enforce.
Part third, or the Supplement, discusses at some length, and with the author's characteristic ability, the subjects of inspiration, and the canon.
Those who are familiar with the writings and the reputation of Dr. Withington, will be desirous to see what he has to say on subjects so interesting and so much discussed. Those who are strangers to his power and genius, will do well to read this by no means ordinary book.
WEED'S SERMONS.*-No one who knew Mr. Weed will be likely to forget or to have any vague or doubtful impression of his personality. His college acquaintances will always be able to recall distinct pictures of the rugged faced student who lived in a world of his own, never speaking when he was not spoken to, but who, whenever his mouth was opened, was always able to pour forth a perfect torrent of knowledge, declamation, or argument; who, when he had finished, was as reticent and mysterious as an oracle. His person, his manners, his looks, his personal habits, his tastes, his amusements, his studies, his aims in life, his gait, his conversation, his preaching, were all unique, and all of one consistent individuality.
He was preeminently distinguished in the pulpit for his power to produce a vivid and deep impression. His memory was prodig ious, his imagination glowing, his illustrations were proper, his diction copious, and at times gorgeous, and his intense energy was overpowering. He was a strong but by no means accurate thinker. He felt earnestly, and at times was misled by his feelings into prejudiced views of men and of systems of opinion, but he had a large, honest, and manly Christian heart. We do not wonder that the intelligent congregation who sat under his powerful ministration, desired to have many of his sermons again by the printed page. His friend and classmate has done all that was needed in preparing them for the press, and has prefixed to the
Sermons. By the late Rev. WILLIAM BOUTON WEED, Pastor of the First Congregational Church and Society of Norwalk, Connecticut. Published by order of said Society, for the benefit of his family. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. 1861. 12mo. pp. 423. Price $1. For sale in New Haven by T. H. Pease.
sermons a brief sketch of the life of the author prepared by himself, and also a tribute to his memory from Rev. Robert B. Booth, who knew him first as his Pastor, and afterwards as his associate in the ministry. The volume is published for the special benefit of the family of Mr. Weed, and is not generally sold in the bookstores, but may be had through the Messrs. Carter of New York. We copy the following from the first sermon:
"Behold the distinguishing features of God's benefactions. Who compelled him to become overseer and provider to this great poor-house of a world? For such is the actual relation between them. What forbids him from burning it down over the heads of its inmates, and dismissing them all to annihilation? What compels him to give to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens which cry and to man, the largest pensioner on his bounty of all, and the least deserving? What law but that of his own mighty-hearted benevolence, constrains him to be the infinite antetype of Joseph in Egypt on the scale of worlds, and from his unexhausted storehouse minister sustenance, all that constitutes the happiness of life, and life itself, to all their myriad creatures? Then, too, the steadiness, the permanent uniformity with which he discharges this vocation— not less to us in the sixtieth generation from Adam, than to Adam himself; not less to the now existing animal races, than to those that winnowed the air and roamed the groves and swam the four rivers of primeval Eden; each successive generation of man and beast, as it wakes to being, is sure to find a kind protector and provider in him, as each successive child of a faithful parent is sure to find the corresponding attributes in him. To what can we refer this but to that unfailing love, that element of perpetual motion in God as in men, which never wears out, because it has the life and vigor of an eternal principle; and never wearies, because its strength consists in exercise; and never stops for want of requital, because it is its own reward. If the Lord is good to all, if his lovingkindness is over all his works, as a matter of uncompelled, spontaneous impulse, if this is universally true at present, and always has been as universally true ever since he made them, the only assignable explanation is—because he loves to be." p. 5.
TWELVE SERMONS BY HORACE MANN.*-These sermons were prepared and delivered by the author while President of Antioch College. The topics are-I. God's Being, the foundation of Human Duty. II. God's Character, the law of Human Duty. III. God's Law, the principle of spiritual liberty. IV. Sin the transgression of the law. V. Testimony against evil a duty. VI and VII. The Prodigal Son. VIII. Temptation. IX. Retribution. X. The Kingdom of Heaven. XI. Immortality. XII. Miracles.
By HORACE MANN. Boston:
*Twelve Sermons: Delivered at Antioch College. Ticknor & Fields. 1861. 12mo. pp. 314. Price $1.
Mr. Mann was distinguished for intense vividness of conception, for untamed energy of expression, boundless affluence of illustration, and an amazing if not an extravagant copiousness of diction. These discourses are marked by all these characteristic features. The Philosophy and Theology taught in them can be sketched in a few words. The corner-stone of his creed was Human Physiology. This was his Metaphysics, this his Philosophy, this was the perennial fountain from which most of his illustrations were derived. Whatever it was necessary to believe in order to believe in Physiology he accepted as true; to whatever could be fairly derived from Physiology he implicitly assented. So far did he carry his favorite science, that the soul itself was largely inter. preted by him from the analogies of the stomach, and the conscience by the processes of digestion. But Mr. Mann was not a materialist. He believed in spiritual phenomena and moral distinctions. He insisted on Moral Law and Retribution with terrific, almost with Quixotic ardor. But it was moral law according to Combe's Constitution of Man rather than moral law as requiring a personal law giver. His moral order of the universe might nearly as well be sustained by the impersonal machinery of a pantheistic system as through the personal will of the living God.
As to the views of Christianity and Redemption which he taught, our means of judging are scanty. From the sermon on Miracles, it would almost seem, that the power over the elements displayed by Christ, was, in his opinion, matched or overmatched by Sir Humphrey Davy in the invention of the safety lamp; that the miracle of Christ in enabling the dumb to speak has been reënacted in the successful teaching of the deaf and dumb to articulate; and that Christ himself has found not unworthy antitypes, in this generation, in Dr. S. G. Howe, Dr. S. B. Woodward, and Miss Dorothea L. Dix.
We do not intend that Mr. Mann would have precisely authorized this representation-but that he is much more earnest to illustrate and enforce the points of similarity between these personages and our Lord, than he is to note and insist on the points in which the miracles of the one differ from those of the other. A similar characteristic of vagueness from over statement and extravagant representation, detracts greatly from the value of what is really very good in this volume, and greatly enhances that which is evil.
THESSALONICA.*-The author of this book is a believer in the premillennial advent of our Lord, and sundry other questionable opinions, and has made this volume the medium of enforcing these views, as well as of conveying his ideas of practical Christianity. We submit, however, the question, whether if Paul were to revise the volume, he would not say that Mr. Hastings thinks very much too well of the old Christians of Thessalonica, and very much too badly of the modern Christians and ministers whom he belabors so stoutly and so ill-naturedly.
SPRAGUE'S ANNALS OF THE METHODIST PULPIT.t-Dr. Sprague has added, in no inconsiderable degree, to the value of the great national work upon which he has been so long engaged, by this new volume, which is devoted to "notices" of the ministers of the Methodist Church. It is pleasant to see that it is received— as well it may be-with approbation and warm praise by the denomination which is naturally most interested in the impressions it conveys. It certainly does great honor to the excellent good sense of Dr. Sprague, and to the impartiality and catholicity which he has manifested in all his editorial labors, that he has thus far been able to satisfy so completely Christians of so many different names. We need not, therefore, enlarge here, as we have already repeatedly done, upon the value of these noble contributions to the ecclesiastical history of our country. The new volume is fully equal, in interest, to those which have preceded it. The examination, which we have made of it, has strengthened the opinion which we have long entertained, that there is no body of Christians from whom all denominations may learn so much, as from the Methodists. We honor and love them for their works' sake. In some things, which we deem important, we think they are defective, but no one can read, without
*Thessalonica; or, The Model Church. A Sketch of Primitive Christianity. By H. L. HASTINGS, author of "The Great Controversy between God and Man, its origin, progress, and end," &c. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 1861. 12mo. pp. 168.
Annals of the American Pulpit; or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of various Denominations, from the early settlement of the country to the close of the year 1855. With Historical Introductions. By WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, D.D. Volume VII. METHODIST. New
York: R. Carter & Brothers. 1859. 8vo. pp. 848. Price, $3.
profound respect and admiration, these unpretending records of the virtues and the labors of so many earnest men, most of whom are utterly unknown to fame, and whose very names, Dr. Sprague tells us, he has arrested on their way to obscurity. We do not wonder at the success which has everywhere attended them; or that this denomination, though the youngest in the field on this continent, now numbers over two millions!
As anecdotes are very wisely not excluded, by Dr. Sprague's plan, from these volumes, we looked, but in vain, for a wellknown story which some of the editor's Connecticut correspondents, if they had chosen, might have communicated, without any serious detriment to the interests of the denomination. The story is current in New Haven, that when the corner-stone of the first Methodist church was laid, on the "green," a prayer was offered that if any unworthy motives had influenced the church in erecting an edifice, the four winds of heaven might be sent to prostrate it to the ground. Be this as it may, as soon as the walls were fairly up, and were well roofed in, and a tablet had been erected over the main entrance, with the inscription, "Hitherto hath Jehovah helped us," a fearful storm did actually come, one night, and the whole structure was laid in ruins. So remarkable a coincidence could not fail to attract attention, and the fact that when the church was rebuilt, the tablet with its inscription was not replaced till some years had elapsed, kept it fresh in the public mind.
PRESBYTERIAN DIGEST.*-In the year 1818, "The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America," appointed a Committee "to extract from the records of the General Assembly, and of the late Synod of New York and Philadelphia, all such matters as may appear to be of permanent authority and interest, (including a short account of the manner in which missions have been conducted and their success), that the same may be published." The result was a volume of 400 pages, 12mo., which was published in 1820, and is known in libraries as "The Assembly's Digest." Some such book is con
* A New Digest of the Acts and Deliverances of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Compiled by the order and authority of the General Assembly. By Rev. WILLIAM E. MOORE. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Publication Committee. 8vo. pp. 633.