« ZurückWeiter »
which is not more edifying to the private Christian, than it is instructive to the scholar and the critic. Piety and learning were in an eminent degree combined in the person of John Albert Bengel, whose admirable critical edition of the New Testament is found in every large library, as his excellent Gnomon Novi Testamenti is in the libraries of most private biblical scholars. Numerous as were his original publications, (which his biographer estimates at about thirty, besides new editions of various ancient authors,) Bengel never wrote or published any treatise, which was not required by the duties of the various and important official situations which he held at different times. He was of opinion that “every book ought to contain something original, and whosoever has nothing to impart, ought not to write;" and that “ we ought to be very careful about composing new books,” for that “every book ought to add something to the reader's information, or at least to the improvement of the reader's heart. But how many do neither!" (Pp. 213, 214.) Most devoutly do we agree in these sentiments, and wish that some inodern authors would ponder them well. The editors of literary journals would not, in that case, be compelled to peruse so many indifferent publications.
printed. The Greek portion of the Lexicon has been most carefully revised by Mr. Negris, a native of Greece, and one of the most learved Hellenists of the present day, who has distinguished himself by his very accurate editions of the works of Herodotus and Pindar, and of portions of the writings of Demosthenes, Eschines, and Xenophon. And the revision of the Hebrew part of Dr. Robinson's Lexicon has been undertaken by the Rev. John Duncan, who has made many additions, which (as in the previous London edition) are printed between brackets. British students are deeply indebted to both English and Scottish editors, for their indefatigable exertions to present Dr. R.'s valuable work to them in a form which unites reasonableness of price with correctness and beauty of typographical execution.
The Justice and Equity of Assessing
the Net Profits of the Land for the Relief of the Poor, maintained, in a Letter to the Poor-Law Commissioners : with some Remarks on the Celebrated Case of Rex v. Jodrell. By a Norfolk Clergyman. London: Roake and Varty. 1838. 8vo.
A Greek and English Lexicon to the
New Testament. By EDWARD
Co. 1838. Pp. x. 874. HAVING already borne testimony to the value of Dr. Robinson's biblical labours, in our notice of Dr. Bloomfield's London Edition of bis Lexicon to the New Testament,* we have now only to announce the Edinburgh reprint of it ; which, in justice to the editors and publisher, we must state, is as beautilully as it is correctly
When we announce this very important pamphlet, as the production of the Norfolk Clergyman, to whose very useful tracts in behalf of the temporal and spiritual welfare of the poor, our pages have borne willing testimony during the last three or four years, we are sure that we have said quite enough to recommend this “ Letter to the PoorLaw Commissioners” to the special notice of our clerical readers. Every incumbent, who is concerned in the commutation of tithes, ought to procure a copy without delay. Notwithstanding the Court of King's Bench had laid down the law most clearly and specifically-and, we must add, most equitably--that the whole profits of land ought to be rated to the relief of the poor, the poor-law commissioners have thought proper to
• See CHISTIAN REMEMBANCER, 1837 p. 676.
upon this point. Nor is there any difference from the difference of denomination : the practical ill consequences are alike, whether the parties call themselves Methodists or Baptists. But we refer the reader to the volume itself, which will amply repay a perusal. We must at the saine time remark that, as a general rule, it is well for an authoress to avoid the controversial; and this rule is for the most part well observed in the volume before us.
assert, that “the law remains in the same obscure state!” In order to expose the fallacy of this assertion, the author of the present most seasonable publication has satisfactorily considered some objections, which have been alleged against the decision of the Court of King's Bench. He bas further given much valuable information upon the subject of tithe commutation : and as the Clergy are now, pretty generally, commuting tithes in their respective parishes, it is important that they should be aware of the very serious diminution of income, which they must sustain it the unauthorized assertion of the poor-law commissioners should be deemed law, in opposition to the equitable principle determined by the Court of King's Bench, in the case of “Rex v. Jodrell.” The author has corroborated his statements by various calculations, wbich are evidently the result of much careful thought and labour. We do sincerely bope that this cheap and valuable pamphlet will meet with the circulation which its importance de. mands and deserves.
A History of British Reptiles. By
Thomas Bell, F.R.S. Illustrated by a wood-cut of euch species, with some of the varieties, and numerous vignettes. London: Van Voorst. Part I. 1838.
With much pleasure we announce the appearance of the first number of a volume upon the History of British Reptiles, by that able scholar Mr. Thomas Bell. Like the works above alluded to, it is full of pithy information, and gives within a small compass facts which would occupy days to procure from other works on the same subject. The volumes bave our warmest recoinmendations.
Scenes in the Hop Gardens. London:
Suith, Elder, and Co., 1838.
Pp. 232. This little volume is pleasingly and sensibly written. It purports to be a narration of facts illustrative of rural life. We hope that it will not be the last series of sketches which the authoress will provide at once for the gratification of the public, and for the exercise of her own best feelings. It is interesting throughout, and abounds with important lessons. It is also valuable as the testimony of a mind impressed with true practical religion, upon the real influence of dissent in our villages. We have witnessed for ourselves very many scenes of a similar complexion with soine that bear
A History of British Birds. By W.
YARRELL, F.L.S. Illustrated by a wood-cut of each species, and numerous vignetles. London: Van Voorst. Part V. 1838.
We take shame to ourselves, in not having noticed the previous numbers of this most instructive and pleasing history. Like its predecessors, and almost necessary companions, on Fishes and on Quadrupeds, this work is beautifully executed, and deserves to be in every drawing-room in the kingdom.
ON THE OBSERVANCE OF THE FESTIVALS AND FASTS, PARTICULARLY
Rom. xiv. 5.
One man esteemeth one day above another : another esteemeth every day
alike ; let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. If this and some other connected passages of Scripture had been duly considered and properly understood, it is scarcely possible that the christian world could have witnessed the frequent bickerings and unhappy mistakes which have occurred amongst men who, professing one common faith, one Lord and one God and Father of all, ought naturally to have been bound and cemented together, in one common confession, by the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. It is a singular testimony, if any were indeed wanted, to the natural weakness of the human mind, and the natural perverseness of the human heart, that upon those subjects which might have been supposed to have united men more firmly than any other topics of reflection or discussion. the history of the world, whether sacred or profane, secular or religious, exhibits the most striking examples of the greatest possible differences, and the most extreme varieties of virulence and animosity.
Men, who agree on all points connected with merely human institutions,—who band together, in spite of all the opposition of private feeling or public principle, for the furtherance of some absorbing question of political or national importance,—are yet found doing violence to their own consistency, and arraying themselves in hostile bearing and illiberal argument against each other, when the things of God are the theme of discussion, and the interests of the soul the object of pursuit.
Reason could, perhaps, discover a solution of this enigma in some one of the various motives and influences which appear to direct the conduct and opinions of the mass of mankind; and might, also, not injudiciously or untruly point to the want of sincerity towards God, or rather to the want of christian charity, as the best and truest solution of an apparently incomprehensible problem.
Why is it, that they whose faith is indubitable, who believe and receive Christ as the author and finisher of their salvation--whose hope is firm and unshaken, and who are anchored and grounded upon the Rock of Ages-do yet so marvellously injure their way of proving this faith, and vindicating this hope, by the illiberal and unchristian sentiments which so often disgrace the members of our christian communities, upon subjects in themselves not of essential dignity? The Apostle has hinted at the cause in that expressive sentence" And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three : but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor. xiii. 13.) And it is for this reason, that we have the admonition of the text ; " Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
We are not to suppose that this failing is of any particular age or locality; for it obtained in the first ages of the christian church-nay, even in the times anterior to Christ; and it has been especially developed in these latter periods of the church's establishment. It is in the hope not only of vindicating some, but of convincing other classes of Christians, in respect of particular observances, that I have deemed it my duty, in reference to the approaching memorial of our Saviour's crucifixion, to consider, first, the general bearing of the text; and, secondly, the application of the principle upon which the Apostle's reasoning, in that portion of the epistle whence the text is taken, is founded ; illustrating the argument by historical references, and endeavouring to urge upon my hearers the observance of a day, hallowed and honoured by the services of devotion, and set apart, not less by private piety than by public authority, for the contemplation of the great mystery of redemption,-Emmanuel suffering in the person of man, to atone for man to the offended justice and majesty of God.
Numerous have been the objections advanced against the Church of England by those who dissent from her Liturgy and worship, in consequence of her adherence to the custom that has prevailed for many ages, of setting apart particular days as festivals, in honour of the saints and martyrs of the Church at large, and especially of the events connected with the birth, death, and ministry of the Saviour.
It is certain, that these objections have been frequently offered, not only in ignorance of the origin of the derided festivals, but also in total forgetfulness of the royal law of charity, and in utter misconception or disregard of the liberal statements of St. Paul in the chapter before us.
The Church of England is often taunted by her opponents with charges of superstition and absurdity, and accused of Popery, because the festivals she celebrates are also celebrated by the Church of Rome. No one can, however, say, that the Church of England is the friend of the Church of Rome. And if the simple fact, that each church observes certain similar ceremonies, be sufficient to justify assertions, that the Church of England has fallen away from her high profession of separation from that of Rome, with equal propriety might we taunt dissenters with heathenism, because neither heathens nor dissenters acknowledge the authority of Bishops. Such arguments as these are merely deserving of notice on account of their uncharitableness, and prove only that the Apostle's advice is necessary, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
This allusion to the state of the case at present, will fitly introduce us to a notice of the general bearing of the Apostle's advice.
The whole scope and tenor of the reasoning in the 14th chapter to the Romans, when applied to ourselves, is to inculcate christian views and christian sentiments respecting those things in which Christians differ ; to point out that Christ has delegated to no man, and to no class of men whatever, a power over the consciences of their neighbours; and that, -as there is one Master, in whose sight all men are in life, and at whose bar of judgment all will be judged after death (ver. 10), “to whom we all stand or fall” (ver. 4), and who regardeth motive and not formality,--that rash condemnation of our brother, yol, XX. NO, IV
because he does or does not abstain from particular actions connected with religion, and does or does not observe certain ceremonies, savours not of that charity which the Gospel inculcates, but of that, tyranny, which, however asserted, or by whomsoever assumed, is totally opposed to “ the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free."
A careful perusal of this chapter will show that such was the intention of the Apostle ; for, though the discussion into which he enters, arose in reference to the practice of the Jewish converts in observing, and that of the Gentile Christians in neglecting, the Jewish custom of keeping holy-days, and the difference between clean and unclean food, the principle of his reasoning is applicable to the christian church at all ages of the world; since christian charity is commensurate with eternity, and as long as the world lasts, there will ever be in the multitude of minds a diversity of sentiments.
The converts from Judaism, knowing that God had established cer. tain festivals in the law, and had put a distinction between certain animals, imagined that they were still bound by the obligation of the law in these respects; and, therefore, they condemned the converts from the Gentiles, who, considering every day alike, and to be kept holy to God, and that all creatures were to be eaten alike, in their turn condemned the converts from Judaism, as guilty of superstition and falling from the faith. The Apostle, therefore, pointed out to them, that all this was in direct contradiction to the spirit of that new religion which both had embraced; the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile having been broken down, and the distinction of common and unclean having been done away; and that such mutual condemnation and recrimination were a usurpation of the province and authority of Christ himself, before whom both Jew and Gentile would eventually be judged. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother ? for we shall all stand before the judgmentseat of Christ. . . . . Let us not, therefore, judge one another any more.” (Ver. 10.)
Now the question between the Church of England and dissenters, respecting her holy-days and fasts, is precisely of this nature in its tendency, though not, perhaps, its altogether parallel.
The general bearing of the text is this, that “one man esteemeth one day above another, and another esteemeth every day alike," under the influence and impression of pious and devout feelings of obedience to the supposed will of God; and that, therefore, every man is to “be fully persuaded in his own mind,” as to his conduct, i.e. is to act upon his convictions, as to his persuasions of what the will of God is in these respects.
The next verse leads us to this conclusion: “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord : and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks : and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not and giveth God thanks” (ver. 6): and in thus acting, each doeth well, because his motive is a right one, and conceived according to his persuasion of the will of the Redeemer. Wherefore the Apostle justly remarked above; “ One believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak (in faith), eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth,