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many biblical inquirers. It condenses and embodies the writings particularly of Henry, Scott, and Doddridge. “The deep yet cheerful and consistent piety of Henry,” remarks Dr. Jenks,“ his reverence for the word of God, and intimate and familiar acquaintance with it; his happy art of allusion to its representations, and application of them to passing scenes and thoughts, in a manner most lively and impressive, have always made him a favorite with evangelical Christians. At the same time, the judicious, solid, practical character of Scott's expositions and observations; and his living in our time, conversant with the great movements of christian philanthropy which invigorate and adorn them, were equally attractive. Then the urbanity, learning and unction of Doddridge held him forth, with others who have deserved commendation in the church of Christ, as worthy that his labors should be incorporated in the daily supply of spiritual, christian food. The result of such thoughts was the plan of this work.”
The bulk of these volumes is made up of the writings of Henry, Scott and Doddridge. In respect to the value of these writings, the great majority of the religious English world, have given a most favorable verdict. Objections, we know, are made to all of them, but frequently on narrow and partizan grounds. Henry is held in high esteem, not merely by the common unlearned reader, but by men of eminence in theological attainment. They are ready to pardon some mistakes in interpretation, some inapposite remarks, some overloading of texts, while they can be favored with his quaint good sense, his very striking and sententious observations, and the numerous proofs of his ardent and unaffected piety. Besides, in the condensation, which his commentary has undergone, some of his objectional explanations have been left out, or materially abridged. In other cases, the learned editor has quietly neutralized them by a suggestion or a different interpretation at the bottom of the page. We think that the editor and his fellow-laborers are deserving of special credit for the sound judgment which they have exhibited in the introduction of passages from the three commentators above mentioned. The marrow and substance is retained; the unimportant matters and the prolix repetitions are omitted. We presume that few persons who own this Commentary will wish to purchase Henry.
Considerable use has been made of the labors of Bush, Rosenmüller, Robinson, Calmet, Clarke, Gill, Lowth and others on the Old Testament, and of the elder Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, Campbell, Stuart, Macknight, and especially Bloomfield, (whose Recensio Sy. noptica is a store-house of well arranged and excellent criticisms), on the New Testament. The labor of selecting here within the narrow limits of the present work, must have been severe and perplexing, yet it is in general judiciously done.
To us, the most interesting and valuable part of the work remains to be mentioned. We refer to the results of the investigations of the editor himself, crowded in at the bottom of the page. They display extensive acquaintance with the numerous sources of biblical illustration opened by the French expedition into Egypt, by Champollion and the other French savans, by German and English travellers in the East, and by the missionary journals. New and bear. tiful expositions of many passages are thus furnished. This part of the work is original, and will amply repay a careful perusal on the part of the practised biblical reader and philologian.' We ought to mention in connection, that the four volumes already published conlain between twenty and thirty maps, portraits, etc. on steel, and about four hundred wood cuts and other illustrations. These wood cuts illustrate the manners and customs, husbandry, music, military knowledge, religious institutions, etc. of the orientals in a very graphic style. In showing the true meaning of a passage, a little cut of two inches square is frequently worth a page of description
. This is comparatively a new field for the popular commentator, and Dr. Jenks has earned rich fruits in it. It is adapted alike to the scholar and the plain reader. All can see and be enlightened. In this respect, the work gains greatly as it proceeds, as any one may see by comparing the volume on the Gospels—the one which was first published, with that on the prophets.
On the whole, we think that the christian public are under great obligations to the publishers and editors for this commentary. are glad to hear that it has a wide and increasing circulation. Thou. sands and tens of thousands may be led to peruse the oracles of God as expounded in these volumes, and thus become wise unto eternal salvation, who had otherwise wandered on in darkness.
8. Tour of Messrs. Smith and Dwight in Armenia. These two missionary travellers, as it is well known, passed, in 1830--1, through Asiatic Turkey into Georgia, Armenia, and the north-western part of Persia, on a journey of missionary investigation. Each kept an independent journal, embodying a large mass of materials. Mr. Smith, on his arrival in Boston, made out from these papers two duodecimo volumes. A large edition has been entirely sold in this country, and an English edition in one volume octavo has been issued, under the charge of Josiah Conder, editor of the Modern Traveller. We have been intending to give the work an extended review in connection with some notices of the remnants of the Christian sects found in the countries visited by the travellers. The volumes are among the best works of travels which have ever appeared in any country. They have not received, by any means, that notice from the American press which they deserve.
We gladly insert in this place a letter which we have just received
from the Rev. J. Perkins, missionary in Persia. His testimony in relation to the work, is of course of the highest value.
Ooroomiah, Feb. 8th, 1837. MY DEAR SIR,
“In the number of your work for Jan. 1835, speaking of the Researches of Messrs. Smith and Dwight, you remark, “ We intend to embrace an early opportunity to present our views of the condition of the oriental churches, visited by Messrs. Smith and Dwight, the causes of their sad decline, and the means by which they may again be restored to more than their original purity,” etc.
I hope such an article has already been published. The subject proposed is certainly full of interest to the scholars and the churches of America and of all Protestant Christendom. But I have anticipated the appearance of such an article with particular interest, also, for the additional reason, that it would naturally bring into extensive notice the above-mentionod work, viz. the Researches of Messrs. Smith and Dwight. American readers ought to be familiar with the worth and claims of a production of such intrinsic merit, especially as it is from the pen of one of their own countrymen. I speak with confidence, respecting this work, because I have had a fair opportunity to judge of its merits.
“No portion of the old world,” you justly remark, “is more interesting than Asia Minor.” Asia Minor was the scene of these Researches ; and that the work is abły and faithfully executed, will not, I believe, be questioned. If it does not aspire to amuse the idle with narrations of the marvellous, or to gratify the fastidious with silken periods and tinsel flowers, so much as many modern works, it is by no means wanting, as you are aware, in the attributes of a chaste and elegant style ; while its paramount object is the higher nobler and more durable one - utility. For clear and just discrimination, on intricate and difficult points, and for full statistical accuracy, in matters of fact, it is rarely equalled in modern publications. I have travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles, in different directions, on routes described by the author, with his book as my pocket companion; and have found its descriptions of scenery, its statements of distances, its estimates of population, etc. etc., the exact transcripts of nature and of fact, almost without exception.
The accuracy of its statements, respecting the creeds and ceremonies of the oriental churches is truly surprising, - especially when we recollect, that these statements were elicited from treacherous lips, and could be rendered accurate only by almost endless toil and patience, in cross-examination, in canvassing counter testimony, and by reference to the faded pages of ancient records. When I was travelling in Georgia, I stopped a day in Eriván. An intelligent Armenian priest, who had learned the English language at Calcutta, called at my tent to make my acquaintance. Among
other books, lying before me, were these Researches. The priest took up this work, and, turning over its pages, his attention was arrested by “ Armenians,” etc. at the head of a chapter. He read ; and, after a little time, inquired who was the author of that book. I told him. He again read, but soon remarked, “ this book can have been written by none other than a native Armenian ecclesiastic. It is strictly accurate on the most intricate points, pertaining to our creed and ordinances.” I assured the priest, that it was written by the American whose name it bore, and so great was his admiration of the accuracy and discrimination displayed in those points pertaining to his church and nation, that I could not deny his request, that I should present him the work.
Equally accurate and discriminating are the moral delineations contained in the Researches. In this respect, the work preëminently excels. Many of its pictures are, indeed, dark and appalling as the shades of death ; but they are true. The great amount of information embodied in the volumes in question, as well as their accuracy, is remarked by all English travellers, who visit these regions. They make the 'Researches' a pocket companion and without a dissenting voice award to them the meed of rare and distinguished merit.”
We may in this connection insert another letter of a very interesting character addressed by Mr. Perkins to Prof. Stuart. It is introduced by a note from the Professor.
Theol. Sem. Andover, Sept. 12th, 1837. To the Editor of the American Biblical Repository: MY DEAR SIR,
The letter enclosed in this Note, I received during the past summer. It is from the Rev. Justin Perkins, the excellent missionary, who, not long ago, left us to take up his abode at Ooroomiah in the Western past of Persia. The communications which he has made to the A. B. C. F. Missions, and which have been published in their Journal so generally read, must have already made Mr. Perkins ex. tensively known to the American churches, and will serve to confer an interest on any thing which comes from his pen.
I have had some scruples as to the publication of the following let. ter, on the score of delicacy, considering the manner in which the writer has expressed himself, in one or two sentences, in relation to my efforts to promote the study of the Hebrew. I have, however, found but one opinion among the many friends who have read the letter privately, as to the expediency of publishing it. I trust the public will believe me, when I assure them, that I should not publish the letter on my own account, and that nothing but an object of public benefit to the churches, viz. the promotion of the study of Hebrew, is in my view.
Indeed I cannot look upon the state of things which Mr. Perkins describes, without emotions of the deepest interest. Who can tell what important advantages may yet come from the study of the Hebrew Scriptures, by those who speak and write a language not so different from it as Chaucer's English is from the present English and American dialects ? It must be obvious at once, that a great proportion of the peculiar idioms of the Hebrew, which create so much difficulty for the occidental student of it, will be plain and familiar to one who speaks the Syriac, even a corrupted dialect of it.
The aid this study will give to such translators as assist Mr. Perkins, is so obvious and so important, that it scarcely needs to be mentioned.
Could a spirit of sacred criticism ever be kindled up, among those orientals who speak languages cognate with the Hebrew, one scarcely knows where the advantages to biblical study would end. A thousand sources of light would be open then which are now closed.
Most sincerely do I hope and pray, that the dear youth of our country, who are consecrating themselves to studies which will qualify them for the sacred work of the ministry, either at home or abroad, would attentively read and consider the communication of Mr. Perkins, which will now be subjoined. We have, as yet, made but small advances in our country towards a thorough and profitable study of the Hebrew. The recent arrangements made in this Seminary, I would hope, will prove to be preparatory to a better state of things among us, in respect to this very important subject.
With kind regard,
Rev. Professor Stuart,
Ooroomiah, (Persia,) Dec. 30th, 1836. Rev. AND DEAR SIR,
I have had so many of my Andover recollections awakened, recently, that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of writing you a few lines, by way of stating the cause.
In the prosecution of my work, I have occasion to employ several Nestorian priests, some as teachers, and others as translators, all of whom live in my family. One of these priests, who is engaged in translating, observing me often to refer to the Hebrew text, sometime since, conceived the idea of learning that language himself, and importuned me to instruct him in it. Being much occupied, at the time, and hardly supposing the priest serious in the proposal, I gave him no encouragement. He, however, continued to urge his request, with increased earnestness, until I consented to spend half an hour, each evening, in instructing him. The first evening, he learned the letters; and the second evening, commenced reading the first chap
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