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14. The History of Christ, according to Inspiration; Chronologically arranged in one consecutive narrative. With the References. Boston: Heath and Graves. &c. 1854. 12mo. pp. 251.
With the annunciation, birth, and life of our Saviour, we here have all his sayings, introduced in their chronological order, as they are recorded in the New Testament. His conversations and addresses are inserted in the words of the inspired Record; and the narrative, throughout, is either in the very words of our Common Version of the Scriptures, or else follows it so closely as never to depart from its style and spirit. The whole is founded on a Harmony of the Gospels, for the most part on that of Dr. Robinson. The compiler seems to have arranged the work primarily for classes in Sunday. Schools. The plan strikes us as a very excellent one; and the execution, so far as we have examined it, is all that can be wished. We commend the work to the use of Christian families, and especially to the attention of teachers and superintendents of Sunday-Schools.
15. Memoirs of Celebrated Characters. By Alphonse de Lamartine, Author of "History of the Girondists," etc., etc. In Two Volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers. &c. 1854. 12mo. pp. 437,
Lamartine is so well known, as an author, that there is no occasion for us to describe his manner. It is admired by many, who are, perhaps, of better taste and of better judgment in such matters than ourselves. In a work like the present one, however, there is not so much scope for some of the faults that have been alleged of him, as in a history of events and parties with which he was personally connected. We will only mention the several persons of whom he here gives memoirs: Socrates; Jacquard, the Silk-weaver of Lyons, in the beginning of this century; Joan of Arc; Cromwell; Homer; Gutenberg, the Inventor of Printing; Fenelon; Nelson Heloise; Christopher Columbus; Bernard de Palissy, the Potter ; Roostam, the hero of Persia; and Marcus Tullius Cicero.
16. Analytical Class-Book of Botany, designed for Academies and Private Students. In Two Parts. Part. i. Elements of Vegetable Structure and Physiology. By Frances H. Green. Part. ii. Systematic Botany: Illustrated by a compendious Flora of the Northern States. By Joseph W. Congdon. &c. New York: D. Appleton and Company. &c. 1855. 4to. pp. 228.
Mrs. Green's portion of this interesting volume is written with a lively admiration of the beauty and marvellous wisdom that are displayed in the vegetable kingdom, and evidently with a very familiar knowledge of its laws, processes, and thousandfold developments and formations. The organs and other distinguishing parts of plants are shown by means of handsome drawings, that bring them before our eye, and abundantly illustrate the text. The second part of the
volume, by Mr. Congdon, is occupied by a classification of the orders, genera, and species, accompanied with scientific descriptions. This classification is very full. Here also many of the different orders are illustrated by well executed wood-cuts. The whole work, embracing both parts, is evidently designed to excel the current classbooks on botany. Without assuming to pronounce on the strictly scientific merits of such a treatise, we do not hesitate to say that it is very interesting, and that it seems well adapted to the use of students.
17. Gradual Lessons in Grammar; or, Guide to the Construction of the English Language, by the Analysis and Composition of Sentences. By David B. Tower, A. M., author of "Intellectual Algebra, or Oral Lessons in Algebra for Common Schools," &c. New York: Published by Danie Burgess & Co., &c. 1854.
The following sets of Class-books have been received from the publications of the new firm of Sanborn, Carter, and Bazin, Boston:
18. Latin Lessons and Reader, with Exercises for the Writing of Latin; Introductory to Andrews and Stoddard's and Bullion's Latin Grammars, and also to Nepos or Cæsar, and Krebs' Guide. By Allen H. Weld, A. M., Principal of North Yarmouth Academy. Tenth Edition, enlarged. 1855.
19. Weld's English Grammar, illustrated by Exercises in Composition, Analyzing, and Parsing. By Allen H. Weld, A. M., Author of Analyzing and Parsing Book, Latin Lessons and Reader. Improved Edition. 1854.
20. An Elementary Treatise on Algebra, for the use of Students in High Schools and Colleges. By Thomas Sherwin, A. M., Principal of the English High School, Boston. Seventh Edition. 1855.
21. The Fifth or Elocutionary Reader, in which the Principles of Elocution are illustrated by Reading Exercises in connection with the Rules: designed for the use of Schools and Academies. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1855.
22. The Fourth Reader, or Exercises in Reading and Speaking. Designed for the Higher Classes in our Public and Private Schools. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1854.
23. The Third Reader, consisting of interesting and progressive Lessons. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1854.
24. The Second Reader, consisting of easy and progressive Lessons. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1855.
25. The Child's First Reader. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1854.
26. The Grammar School Reader: containing the essential Principles of Elocution, and a series of Exercises in Reading: designed for Classes in Grammar Schools. By Salem Town, LL. D. 1854.
Reasoning from Scripture by Inference.
ONE of the most fruitful sources of error in the interpretation of Scripture, is the current method of reasoning by inference from the mere letter. Every word is supposed to have an unvarying force, a fixed and uniform value. The sacred page is alleged to be inspired, not only as regards its doctrines and precepts, its sublime truths and imperative calls to duty; but equally in the verbal clothing of those truths and injunctions; in the mere fashion and ornaments of their dress. This theory of plenary inspiration is pressed so far that it practically excludes from the divine records all the usual elasticity of language, the natural exaggerations of strong feeling, and the vivid flashes of imagination and poetic genius; and reduces the current of divine communications to a scientific, unvarying, and unimpassioned flow. Adopting such a theory, the commentator feels at liberty to deal with the Scriptures as the student of science deals with his formula, or as the lawyer deals with the statute-book. He places the language in all possible lights, strains every thread of its texture to its utmost tension, and deduces from it all the meaning that the mere words can be made to express or imply.
I will not here enter upon an examination of the arguments which, on the one hand, are supposed to support this theory, nor of those, on the other hand, which are supposed to overthrow it. It is enough for us, preparatory to the chief design of this paper, to show several reasons why the doctrine of plenary inspiration, as it is called, is practically unimportant, even if it is true.
In the first place, the masses of men of the present time who read the Scriptures, do not read them in the original languages in which they were written, but in the current languages of the day. However faithful these translations may be, it is still true that the divine thought is now clothed in a simply human dress. And if the terms originally embodying that thought, were chosen by inspired
men, and did rest on the authority of the Holy Spirit as to their fitness, the terms now embodying it have been chosen by uninspired men, and rest on the authority of the human understanding as to their fitness. The most we can now say is, we have inspired truths in uninspired formulas. If, therefore, the doctrine of plenary inspiration were disproved, it would but place the original Scriptures in the same attitude, for all practical purposes, as these translations now hold.
A second consideration, showing still more clearly the non-importance of the claim of the Scriptures to verbal inspiration, is found in the different records, given us by the four Evangelists, of Christ's own words. It is obvious to the most casual reader of our translations, and still more manifest to the careful student of the original Gospels, that Christ's very words have not been uniformly recorded by the several historians. At best they have given us in many instances but a free rendering of the Master's thought. If it be admitted, therefore, that Christ himself spake only the words directly suggested by the Holy Ghost, since the historians frequently exchange those words for others which they deem equivalents, we have no alternative but to seek the inspired thought in the uninspired formula. This fact may be conceded, and yet our faith in the authority and accuracy of the record, as respects its spirit and purpose, remain unshaken. A business man may despatch two messengers, the one to the east and the other to the west, on similar errands; they may receive their messages at the same moment and in the same terms; they may go each his own way and execute the command in terms differing both from each other and from the terms of their original message; and yet they may execute their mission faithfully and accurately.
I may mention, in the third place, the individual peculiarities, idiosyncrasies, styles of thought, and modes of feeling, manifest in the different compositions of the New Testament, as bearing upon the same question. Even the unskilled can readily detect differences between the writings of the bold and eloquent Paul, the zealous and ardent Peter, and the gentle and loving John; while to those skilled in this style of criticism, these differences
become weighty evidences of authorship. The claim of the Epistle to the Hebrews to a place in the sacred canon as a production of Paul, rests much of its strength on the supposed discovery therein of Paul's method of handling subjects and of his manner of reasoning. Nor is this a peculiarly uncertain mode of reasoning. Such characteristics are as easily appreciated as are the peculiarities in one's handwriting, upon the identification of which the most important cases in our Courts of Justice are not unfrequently made to turn. Now these peculiarities being admitted to exist, they show that inspiration adapts itself to the idiosyncrasies of its instruments; that if the Epistles were verbally suggested by the Holy Spirit, the language perfectly conforms to the mode of thought and tone of feeling of their authors, and must be treated in all practical respects as though it had been the product of their own minds. This principle is more broadly illustrated in the general style of the Scripture writings. They abound with the same peculiarities of language as everywhere meet us in mere human productions. The poetical portions are marked by all that freedom and verbal license which pervade uninspired poetical works. The prophetical parts startle us with the boldness and vividness of their figures, and delight us with their well-sustained allegories. And throughout the Bible we find those current allusions to the laws, customs, opinions, and incidents of the times, together with that free use of proverbs, hyperboles, and rhetorical embellishments and quotations, which are met with in uninspired writings. While, therefore, we reverently bow to the thought that glows on the sacred page, we are compelled to seek that thought in the use of all the ordinary rules of interpretation. And though it be granted that the divine truth is not only substantially but verbally inspired, it must also be granted that the Holy Spirit, in the suggestion of the language, conforms entirely to the current usages of men. In all practical regards, therefore, the language must be considered as the language of men-as involving the same elasticity, demanding the same abatement from, or addition to, the natural force of the words, and calling for the same caution against pressing them into any unintended service. In short, the sacred writers "speak after the