Изображения страниц

study of the sources and an objective estimate of events. But, unfortunately, in his case, the independent and objective treatment merely consisted in want of sympathy on the part of the historian with the subject of his investigations. His writings were, in consequence, cold, unattractive, and almost mechanical. But the fundamental principle to which he called attention was safe, and, if rightly applied, calculated to accomplish the object in view. He was followed by Gieseler of Göttingen, (ob. 1854), who elevated and improved this principle; and, in his History of the Church, has left a perfect storehouse of the most varied and comprehensive research. The text itself is terse; but the notes by which it is accompanied contain an exquisite selection from the sources from which he had drawn. The Manual of Engelhardt of Erlangen is an unpretending but valuable arrangement of the subject, as derived from the sources; that of K. Hase of Jena is distinguished by its vivid sketches, its fresh and tasteful style, and its frequent though often enigmatical allusions to the sources whence his material had been drawn. In the prelections of Schleiermacher we find, indeed, no more than the information ordinarily conveyed, but the leading outlines in the development of the Church are well traced. The work of Niedner claims special merit from the industry of the author, who furnishes much more than the common staple of text-books. The book affords evidence of most laborious study of the sources, and of discriminating tact; but its style is heavy, and somewhat scholastic. The Manual of Fricke, (unhappily left incomplete), learned but stiff, is a production of the same school. In Gfrörer's work on Ecclesiastical History, Christianity is treated as the natural product of the time in which it originated. Clerical selfishness, political calculations and intrigues, appear the sole principles of ecclesiastical movements which this author can appreciate or discover. Still, the work is of importance; and those volumes especially which detail the history of the Middle Ages give evidence of original study, and contain much fresh information. Occasionally the writer is carried away by his ingenuity, which suggests combinations where, in reality, none had existed. In 1853, Gfrörer joined the Roman Catholic Church.

[ocr errors]

Almost at the same time with Gieseler, A. Neander commenced his great work on Church History, which formed a new phase in that branch of study. Sharing in the religious awakening which took place in Germany at the time of the French Wars, and deeply imbued with Schleiermacher's theology of feeling, he assigned to personal piety an important place in his treatment of Church History. In his view, ecclesiastical history furnished a grand commentary on the parable of the leaven which was destined to leaven the whole lump. The developments of the inner life are his favorite theme: he delights in tracing the Christian element even in persons and parties which had formerly been overlooked or disowned; while, on the other hand, the Church and churchliness appear to him generally as a mere ossification of Christian life, and a crystallization of Christian dogma. Similarly, he overlooks the influence exerted by political causes, nor does he pay attention to the aesthetic and artistic bearings of history. If his treatment of the subject is too minute and monotonous, the reader is compensated by fervor and the continuous evidence of familiarity with the sources. Among the pupils whom this great man has left, Jacobi of Halle, and Hagenbach of Basle, have generally adopted his course, but avoided his

errors. The Manual of Jacobi (which is not yet completed) breathes the same spirit as that of his teacher. Its tone is elevated; nor is the author content merely to imitate Neander. The prelections of Hagenbach, originally delivered to an educated audience, are somewhat diffuse, but clear and attractive. They breathe throughout a warm Christian spirit, nor is the judgment of the lecturer warped by narrow sectarian prejudices. W. Zimmermann, realizing the necessity, in writing Church History, of going back to the idea of life, wrote a 'History of the Life of the Church,' for educated persons, which, notwithstanding its new title, pursued the old track. What in the work of Neander had been wanting, from the subjectiveness of his 'pectoral' piety, Guericke of Halle has attempted to supply, at least so far as the Lutheran Church, to which he is attached, is concerned. But in more respects than one the work is somewhat onesided. Along with this production we rank the excellent Manual of Bruno Lindner of Leipsic. The author belongs to the same ecclesiastical party as Guericke; he traces more particularly the development of dogmas; and also takes notice of the operation of political influences, as from time to time they were brought to bear on the history of the Church." pp. 37, 38, 39.

TRENCH'S WESTMINSTER SERMONS.*-These sermons were originally preached in Westminster Abbey, and well sustain the reputation of Dean Trench. They are quite short. Few of them can have occupied more than fifteen or twenty minutes in the delivery. But they are models for short sermons. They come immediately and directly to the point. They are instructive, and rich in thought and the expression of true religious feeling. They are also dignified and singularly, chaste in style, and there is an earnestness and sincerity manifested which will make them very acceptable to American Christians of every name.

We will make a short extract from a sermon on the text-"To what purpose is this waste?"-Matt. xxvi, 8:

"Once more, the world grudges and resents any signal outbursts of feeling and passion, any manifest warmth or heat of the affections, in any of the services offered to God. For if God is a jealous God, and will not give his glory to another, it is quite as true that the world is a jealous world, and can ill endure to see any eagerly and passionately served but itself. . . . . It cannot understand that fine madness which from time to time possesses those whom the spirit of God has laid hold of with power. To be drunk with wine, it can understand and pardon; but not to be filled with the Spirit.' David dancing before the Ark is as one of the shameless fellows in the eyes of a cold and mocking Michal. The hight, the strength, the exorbitancy of the love with which some have loved

* Sermons preached in Westminster Abbey. By RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH, D. D., Dean of Westminster. New York: W. J. Widdleton, (successor to J. S. Redfield). 1860. 12mo. pp. 368.

Christ their Lord, this is a rank offense in the eyes of them, the Simons, who, loving Him little, in fact love Him not all. Cold, formal homage and lip-service they can bare with; but that any should praise Him out of the great deepshould testify of Him that He giveth songs in the night-should glorify Him in the midst of the fires-this they cannot endure. What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?' Why render to Him, as invisible Lord, the author of a remote invisible good-if indeed He be the author of any-that love, those affections, which might find their fitter object in some nearer and more satisfying good? To what purpose is this waste?'" pp. 102, 103.

The thirty-second sermon, as preached in Westminster Abbey, of all places in the world, must have produced the most thrilling effect. The subject is, "What we can and what we cannot carry away when we die." It commences—

"Alexander the Great, being upon his deathbed, commanded that, when he was carried forth to the grave, his hands should not be wrapped, as was usual, in the serecloths, but should be left outside the bier, so that all men might see them, and might see that they were empty." p. 347.

THE BENEFIT OF CHRIST'S DEATH.*-The history of this little book well illustrates the way in which the Romish authorities in the sixteenth century stifled the Reformation in Italy. The author, Aonio Paleario, was a teacher of Greek and Latin, who by diligent study of the Scriptures and the works of the German divines, became a convert to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. He wrote this book to teach his countrymen that "those who turn with their souls to Christ crucified, commit themselves to him by faith, acquiesce in the promises and cleave with assured faith to him who cannot deceive, are delivered from all evil, and enjoy a full pardon of all their sins." The book was soon sought for and eagerly read in all parts of Italy. Forty thousand copies are said to have been sold in six years. Of course it attracted the attention of the Inquisition, and was speedily prohibited; and now it is supposed that there is not a single copy in the Italian language in existence. Mr. Macaulay speaks of this book in one of his essays, and says it was so effectually suppressed that "it is now as utterly lost as the second decade of Livy." Recently an

The Benefit 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. With an Introduction by Rev. JonN AYER, M. A. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1860, 18mo. pp. 160.

English translation, made from a French translation about 1577, has been discovered in England by Rev. Mr. Ayer. The present edition is a faithful reprint of it.

Our interest was first awakened in the book as a literary curiosity; but on reading it we have been struck with the beauty and value of many passages; particularly with the discussion of the subject of "the full assurance of faith." There is frequently a quaintness of expression which may repel some readers, and several of the doctrinal statements do not meet our views exactly; but, on the whole, we can say with Vergerio, an old Italian writer quoted by the editor in the Introduction, that "there is scarcely a book of this age, so sweet, so pious, so simple, and so well fitted to instruct the ignorant and weak, especially in the doctrine of justification." It is proposed that it shall be re-translated into Italian, that it may be instrumental again in disseminating the doctrine of Christ crucified in the land in which it at first appeared.

THE BEAUTIFUL CITY.*-This book is a new attempt to throw light on, or extract light from, the prophetical portions of Scripture. It is, in the main, an argument, scriptural, indeed, but uncritical, and therefore inconclusive, for that view of the kingdom of Christ, and of Eschatology, or the later dispensation, according to which we are to expect at the close of the present dispensation, the conversion and restoration of the Jews; the literal rebuilding of Jerusalem; the personal coming of Christ to reign, and the resurrection at the same time of the saints with their literal bodies; the personal reign of Christ in Jerusalem and over the world during a literal Millenium; and then the resurrection of the wicked, the final judgment, and the refitting of the earth as the perpetual theater of Heaven. As a popular presentation of these views, it has the merit of clearness, fairness, earnestness, reverence for the Bible, and a Christian spirit. But not the least of its merits, in our view, are the numerous gems of poetry—some of them exquisitely beautiful as vehicles of religious thought and feeling-which the author has gathered from various sources, and interspersed through his volume, to relieve the dryness of the argument, and as appropriate to the several topics under discussion.

*The Beautiful City and the delphia: Lindsay & Blakiston.

King of Glory. By WOODBURY DAVIS. Phila1860. pp. 255.

PARKERISM. These three discourses were delivered by three Methodist Clergymen of Boston, Roxbury, and Cambridge. They have been published separately before, but are now printed together in a handsome form for permanent usefulness. They are bold, candid, and powerful discourses, and are very well worthy of general circulation. There are many communities in the country as well as the city, where they are much needed and would be very timely and useful.

METHODISM SUCCESSFUL.-If any one branch of the Christian church has reason to "glory" in what has been accomplished through its instrumentality during the past hundred years, it certainly is that one which had its origin in England in the Wesleyan Reformation. All true Christians have reason to be thankful, and are sincerely thankful, for the wonderful success which has attended the labors of Methodists in England and America. This book of Dr. Tefft, which now lies before us, notwithstanding the laughable exaggeration of its style, gives most abundant proof of the great good which has been accomplished by the denomination. The facts which are presented are well worthy of attentive consideration. We are assured, for instance, that Wesleyan Methodism, on a moderate calculation, notwithstanding the opposition and embarrassments with which it has had to contend in its brief career, now numbers, in Europe and America, over thirtyseven thousand ministers, over two thousand missionaries, and has an ascertained aggregate of at least two millions and eight hundred thousand members; while the "hearers" do not fall below twelve millions. With such a history, and with the proofs of such unparalleled success before him, a Methodist author, even one with all the fervor which Dr. Tefft so abundantly has, might be pardoned in such a work as this for almost any amount of honest exultation. And although his enthusiasm is of the most

Parkerism. Three discourses delivered on the occasion of the death of Theodore Parker. By WILLIAM F. WARREN, FALES H. NEWMAN, GILBERT HAVEN. New York: Carlton & Porter. 1860. 16mo. pp. 115.

+ Methodism Successful, and the Internal Causes of its Success. By Rev. B. F. TEFFT, D. D., LL. D., late President of Genesee College, author of "Hungary and Kossuth," Webster and his Masterpieces," etc., etc. With a Letter of Introduction by Bishop JANES. New York: Derby & Jackson. 1860. 12mo.

PP. 588.


[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »