« AnteriorContinuar »
the Epistle, which he assigns to the winter or spring of A. D. 57–8, and to Achaia or Macedonia; its character and contents carefully analyzed; and its genuineness, which being unquestioned even by the Tübingen school, needs little defense. In the detached notes the considers St. Paul's sojourn in Arabia, which he supposes to have been in the Sinaitic peninsula; his first visit to Jerusalem, showing the harmony of Luke and Paul; the name and office of an Apostle, not altogether encouraging to a strictly apostolic succession; the later visit of Paul to Jerusalem; the patristic accounts of the contention at Antioch; the interpretation of Deut. xxi, 23; the words denoting faith (he understands niotis to denote first and chiefly the subjective trust, sometimes, at least, the object of faith, i. e., the Gospel, and even the embodiment of faith, the church); the faith of Abraham (embracing a comparison of Paul and James); the infirmity in the flesh-some bodily ailment connected with pain, humiliating, recognizable, attended with permanent effects, recurring-which is compared with the disease of King Alfred, while any reference to the sight is very positively and wisely rejected; the variuos readings, and the meaning of Hagar, iv, 25; Philo's allegory of Hagar and Sarah. A list of patristic commentaries is followed by several dissertations: “Were the Galatians Celts or Teutons?” Answer, Teutons. "The brethren of the Lord,” whom the writer regards as sons of Joseph by a former wife—in our opinion against the clear aspect of the Scriptures, and without valid evidence. “St. Paul and the three; a long and able discussion in refutation of the theories of the Tübingen school.
These topics indicate the breadth of discussion to be found in this monogram. They are handled in general with learning and robust reasoning.
The commentary proper has some excellent qualities. 1. It is compact and direct. A good specimen is seen in his method with that famous passage, ch. iii, 20. Instead of discussing any of the immense number of unsatisfactory interpretations, he simply proceeds thus : "Noro, a mediator is not of one.' The very idea of mediation supposes two persons, at least, between whom the mediation is carried on. The law, then, is of the nature of a compact between two parties, God on the one hand and the Jewish people on the other. It is only valid so long as both parties fulfil the terms of the compact. It is therefore contingent, and not absolute. 'But God (the giver of the promise) is one.' Unlike the law, the promise is absolute and unconditional. It depends on the sole decree of God. There are not two contracting parties. There is nothing like the nature of a stipulation. The giver is everything, the recipient nothing. Thus the primary sense of 'one' here is numerical. The further idea of unchangeableness may perhaps be suggested, but if so, it is rather accidental than inherent.” A sound interpretation well put. It is one of the best specimens. (2) The commentary is learned without display. It bears marks throughout of wide and scholarly research held in strict subordination to the purpose of exposition. All theories except those which deserve a consideration are left out of the account. Perhaps the collateral dissertations might have been similarly compressed. 3. It is independent. Few commentaries bear more clearly the tokens of freedom from constraint. The author apparently does not swerve from his course either to agree with or differ from any other writer. He decides for himself upon the text, after a revision by Westcott for his use.
We fully sympathize with his remark concerning Tischendorf: “Of the services of Tischendorf, in collecting and publishing materials, it is impossible to speak too highly; but his actual text is the least important and least satisfactory part of his work." This, we think, is as true of his eighth as of his seventh edition, concerning which it was uttered. In exposition the author often differs from Ellicott and Alford, his recent English predecessors, and frequently to improve upon them. 4. And this leads us to say that it is largely marked by a manly insight. He reaches his results less by that process of exclusion which so characterizes Ellicott, and more by a direct apprehension; and he often holds them, perhaps, with more of an instinctive certainty than Alford. Thus he clearly recognizes, what the New Testament commentators are apt to overlook, that the Old Testament assigns 430 years to the abode in Egypt. In ch. ii, 11, he dispatches Katey wouévos thus: “Not ‘reprehensible, but 'condemned.' His conduct carried its own condemnation with it, as St. Paul shows, v. 15 seq. Compare Rom. xiv, 23, John iii, 18. The condemnation spoken of is not the verdict of the bystanders, but the verdict of the act itself.” On aydizois ypagesao(vi, 11), he says: “The boldness of the handwriting answers to the force of the Apostle's convictions.” 5. It is spiritual and evangelical. The author treats the arguments concerning "seed” and “ seeds" with appreciative reverence, and fully recognizes the symbolical relations of the New Testament to the Old; and other things in like manner.
This commentary is a very valuable aid to the proper understanding of this important Epistle. But lest our readers should, from our remarks, expect too much, we will add that the student will miss some things. 1. The history of the interpretations. The writer probably assumes the possession of other works containing this knowledge. As matter of fact, a condensed history of interpretations, like a history of doctrines, is often the most direct guide to the truth. De Wette's admirable summary, "nicht...nicht ... aber," was one of the most valuable services ever rendered to interpretation. 2. In many cases, sufficient indication of processes. In some instances the practical worth of the result would be increased by a fuller view of the grounds on which it rests. 3. A further evolution of the truths and principles involved in the text. While we have no right to expect a scholarly exposition to enter upon the practical observations which have made Barnes' Notes so popular, nor to load itself down with the mass of fragmentary ethics and devout reflections which lies undigested in the Lange series; yet it would be wholly within its province, 'e. g., to avail itself of that fundamental passage, ch. v, 19, to point out distinctly what Paul means by “the flesh." Nor would it be aside from the function of an interpreter to indicate in a' phrase or a sentence in what sense Paul means that “all law is fulfilled in one word,” or maxim (v. 14). The student whose helps are few will miss this kind of assistance, even to the extent that it is rendered in Alford.
THE STUDENT'S HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE GRAMMAR. By Rev.
Thomas Clark, A.M. London: 1862. Pp. 335.
From a rather careful examination this seems just the book needed in our preparatory schools and colleges, and may be read with profit by any person who wishes to have, at least, a general idea of all the great subjects of thought at the present day. There is no lack of Comparative Grammars more extensive and learned, by Bopp, Schleicher and others, but they are mostly in German and quite costly. Besides, they go so much into detail, as to bewilder and dishearten the young student. As it seems to us, our author has hit the golden mean between too much and too little. He begins-as he ought-with a general survey of the Indo European languages. Then the alphabets are presented; the sounds classified and described. Next follows the discussion of roots and stems, succeeded by the formation of the cases of the nouns, the comparison of adjectives, numerals, pronouns, the verb in all its parts, derivation and composition, and, finally, indeclinable words. We have not space for a minute criticism, but we will say that the author has made use of the best and latest investigations in Comparative Grammar, and has, on the whole, succeeded well in his task. We venture to affirm that many a “learned” professor in our colleges will find in this little book much that will stimulate him to obserFation and thought, and will assist him to revive the “dead" languages and make the study for his pupils no longer dry and unfruitful, but a source of ever-increasing pleasure and profit.
There is lurking in the minds of our best educators and scholars a feeling that classical study, as at present conducted, does not yield the fruit thatought fairly to be expected. Not to go over the whole ground, let us see how the matter stands. When a boy is to be fitted for college, he is set at once to learning paradigms in the Latin or Greek grammar. With slow and painful effort he commits to memory a long list of terminations to him so many meaningless letters. For aught he can guess, and for aught his teacher can tell him, any one of them might, with equal fitness, be used for each and all the rest. If he is a little more curious than the average, and imagines why, e.g., m is used to indicate the first person of verbs rather than 8 or t, he is told that “it was a way the ancients had”—and that is all. In college his fate is hardly better. He goes through the usual list of Greek and Latiu authors—in equo, perhaps-finds something to admire in their style and sentiments, laughs at the strange and meaningless fables of the gods, and graduates a “liberally educated” young man, having received, forsooth, all the intellectual stimulus which classical study is capable of imparting. Alas! not so. He has learned nothing of the curious contrivance by which distinct words were pressed into the service of nouns and verbs to express number and person and case. He has heard of languages akin to, but more ancient in form than the Greek, but can not tell when or where they were spoken. His greatest feats in etymology are to derive Latin words from Greek, and Greek words from—Hebrew! Comparative mythology has not disclosed to him the meaning of ancient fables, showing,
often in a most touching manner, though under a strange guise, the intense yearning of the primitive children of men for aid and comfort from the Divine Father. This is not a fancy sketch. Many a man who talks so glibly about the “New Education,” could sit for the picture. Where is the difficulty? We answer in a word, the ancient languages are not generally taught scientifically. The trouble is in incompetent instructors and unsuitable text books. No one should teach Latin or Greek, who knows nothing but Latin or Greek. He should be able to give the pupil the results of the latest researches in the Science of Language-in due order and degree, of course--and, finally, the student should be directed to good books on Comparative Grammar and Mythology.
Songs FOR THE NEW LIFE ; Designed for Public, Social and Private
Christian Uses. Edited by Rev. Darius E. Jones. Chicago : Root & Cady.
The Songs for the New Life, by the Rev. Darius E. Jones, is the result of an earnest attempt to make a hymn and tune book worthy of a high and permanent place in our religious economy. Its title happily expresses its design. Mr. Jones brought to the task a warm Christian heart, a mature judgment, and no little experience in this line of effort. His “ “Temple Melodies,” published many years ago, was not only one of the earliest hymn and tune books, but was generally regarded as one of the best. We judge, however, that the work before us has been much more carefully and elaborately prepared. In the difficult matter of selecting the hymns to be included in it, the expedient of obtaining the separate opinions of a large number of eminent Christian pastors was a happy thought. With this aid, and his own discriminating taste, he has certainly given us a book which, for one so moderate in size, contains an extraordinary proportion of the very choicest hymns.
The number of hymns in the volume is seven hundred and seventy-eight. This is a number sufficient to allow a good variety, and to furnish an appropriate hymn for all the ordinary occasions of public and social worship. The two extremes of making a volume so small as to be meagre, or so large as to be both cumbrous and expensive, have been avoided in this collection ; and any congregation using it will, for a moderate price, have nearly all the hymns they would be likely on any occasion to require. It will be found, too, that the book is rich in those hymns that will be most likely to be chosen in the seasons when faith and love are most enkindled and the Christian heart desires to express itself in glowing words, or when the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord. There are not a few hymns which, in conception and lyrical structure, are excellently fitted for use when audiences are largely composed of awakened and inquiring, or newly-converted persons. It is a book to be enjoyed, in other words, in a warm Christian atmosphere.
Not having had opportunities of hearing, to any great extent, as here arranged, the music to which the hymns included in this volume are adapted, we can not speak so confidently in relation to this. We have, however, been struck in looking over the book with the large number and variety of tunes which have become universally popular, and which bear the names of the best composers,
Mr. Jones' acknowledged correctness of musical taste, and the reputation which many of his own compositions have acquired, may, we suppose, be safely taken as a guaranty of the general excellence of this part of the work. In the matter of marrying hymns to tunes, we incline to think that he has peculiar taste and skill. He enters himself so fully into the spirit and meaning of hymns that he can hardly fail to judge correctly as to the style of musical utterance they require.
On the whole, we regard this book as one of the best offered to the churches. There is, of course, no such thing attained, as yet, as a perfect hymn and tune book. But such a manual as this must satisfy a reasonable expectation, and must help to elevate the popular taste wherever it may be used. We hope that the author may have the satisfaction of knowing that the worship of very many churches and religious assemblies has been made richer and more satisfactory as the result of his careful labors, and that many have found, in the private usc of his book, the new life quickened and invigorated by its songs.
SHORT STUDIES ON GREAT SUBJECTS. By James Anthony Froude, M.A.
New York: Scribner & Co. Pp. 534.
How this shrewd book has been overlooked so long among others on our “Table” passes comprehension. The last of the British historians here shows how simply, tersely, plainly, and incisively a highly cultivated man can write. The articles that touch on religious subjects are the least satisfactory, disclosing a mind unsatisfied itself on some of the deepest vital questions. A certain bitterness against evangelical religion, orthodoxy, Calvinism, betrays itself here and there. The ethical portions are pure and admirable, and whenever Mr. Froude touches on utilitarianism his views are high and noble. His hammer falls heavily and often on that subtle and pestilent moral heresy. He has a sharp and searching perception that Christianity appeals to something better in man than desire of happiness ; and yet he is manifestly unable to see the peculiar and consistent use it makes of “rewards and punishments,” against which he cherishes a blind dislike. Very similar is his lack of appreciation of theologians — his onesided and sweeping censures of that whole class of scholars discloses a singular lack of culture. There is an occasional slip in the logical connection of thought which betrays the odium theologicum as plainly as does his nicknaming ancient errors “ Calvinism.” For example, the statements of general human sinfulness in the book of Job are somewhat intemperately pronounced a “degrading confession ” and “ a lie,” because the individual Job was not guilty of the kind or degree of iniquity his three friends suspected. In disputing Mr. Buckle's view of law in human action, he says: "It is in this marvelous power of men to do wrong — Wong or right, as it lies somehow with ourselves to choose -- that the impossibility stands of