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There has been a great improvement in “Lippincott's” in respect of the quality of its engravings. They are not numerous enough now to be a very strong feature in this Magazine. The quality is, however, excellent. The readers of the Review will be detained by not more than two articles. Mr. Kirke writes in an interesting fashion of a trip up the French Broad, one of the most picturesque of Southern rivers; and the author of “Study and Stimulants " presents John Bright as a temperance reformer. Theologians as well as scientific men will do well to read what Dr. Francis J. Shepherd has to say in the October “Popular Science Monthly” concerning “ The Significance of Human Anomalies.” It is a development of the idea, on which the evolutionists lay great stress, that anomalous muscles, bones, and organs frequently found in the human subject, betray descent from some anthropoid, but not human, type. The inaugural address of Lord Rayleigh, at Montreal, is given in full. It traces the recent progress of physical science in a clear and pleasing fashion. This address is conceived in a very different spirit from that which gave John Tyndall notoriety rather than fame. Another noteworthy paper is that on “The Morality of Happiness,” in which an attempt is made, not without ingemuity, to find a natural basis for morality. Perhaps Prof. J. P. Cooke's discussion of the “Greek Question” ought to be included in the list of
The October and November numbers of the “Canadian Methodist Magazine” increase our respect for this excellent religious family magazine. Its papers on travel, education, mission work, and religion are excellently well adapted to increase intelligence, inspire devotion and quicken religious activity. It is a singular fact that no religious periodical of this class seems to succeed this side of the Dominion line.
The preacher need not in these days go without homiletic aids. Besides the larger works on homiletics there are two monthlies which very thoroughly represent current pulpit teaching. The "Homiletic Monthly” Funk and Wagnalls) has been longest in the field, and has gained a high place in the esteem of many. While this and the “Pulpit Treasury" (E. B. Treat) are both surpassingly good aids to an honest student, they need to be used with care, lest, on the one hand, the excellence of the matter produce discouragement, and the quantity of the matter, on the other hand, create a disposition to rely on the preparation of others. Rightly used, there can be no more valuable helps to the minister than these excellent chronicles of current pulpit work.
RELIGION, THEOLOGY, AND BIBLICAL LITERATURE. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. By ALFRED EDERSHEIM, M.A. Oxon., D.D., Ph.D., late Warburtonian Lecturer at Lincoln's Inn. Two vols., pp. 698 and 826. Second Edition. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co.
London: Longman, Green, & Co. It had seemed that the department of Biblical and Christian learning properly included under the designation of the “Life of Christ” had been so fully occupied that there was no longer room for any new-comer. But the elaborate work of Dr. Weiss was accepted on its appearance as covering points still vacant, and presenting views that had not before appeared; and now we have yet another work on the same general theme, but very unlike the former, so learned and elaborate as to command respectful attention, and make its study a necessity to all who would be acquainted with the literature of the subject, or view its wonderful story in some of its most important aspects. The author of this work, though not much known in this country, where none of his writings have till now been published (except his annotated translation of Kurtz's “ History of the Old Covenant,” Philadelphia, 1859), has, however, been recognized by scholars, both in England and this country, as a writer of painstaking fidelity and of extensive learning in his chosen specialty, as is amply shown in his “History of the Jewish Nation after the Destruction of Jerusalem under Titus” (12mo, Edinburgh, 1867), and his “ The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as they were in the Time of Christ” (8vo, London, 1874), both of which have an intimate relation to his chief work, named above. This reprint is from the second English edition (the first was issued only little more than a year earlier, September, 1883, and was probably a very limited one, as to the number of copies, and not stereotyped), and the enlarged demand that has called out this second and more permanent issue is indicative of the favor with which the work has been received. It was reviewed in the “Edinburgh" for Janu
The author is known to us only by his writings. His style of writing and methods of thought are those of an English biblical scholar, which designation includes those of his class in this country; but he differs widely from the German and other continental writers, and to our thinking, very much for the better. But both his German patronym and the specific lines of thought in which all his studies and writings run suggest a probably Israelitish ancestry, and out of these come to us some of the most valuable properties of the work, in both the body of the narrative with its discussions and illustrations, and more especially in the learned Introduction of a hundred pages, and the nineteen Ap. pendixes.
The second subject named in the title, the “Times" of the Christ, is elaborated with special fullness. The Introduction attempts to reproduce the details of Jewish life and thought, the political, social, and religious conditions of the people, at and immediately before the beginning of our era—their Messianic expectations, and their mental and spiritual enslavement to Rabbinism. If Christ's own history is the drama produced in these pages, the environments of his life constitute the scenery among which it was enacted, and their presentation seems needful to the proper understanding of the evangelical story; and these are here given with a fullness and a wealth of learning that is seldom seen in works of this character. So rich is the setting of the jewel that one may hesitate to decide which of the two is, as to its form, the more admirable. At every point of the sacred narrative not only the facts as stated by the evangelists are brought out clearly, and their places and relations determined, but their attendant conditions and circumstances are reproduced, not, however, in the form of imaginary ideals, but as realities taught and illustrated by competent authorities. The only available objection that can be made against the work is its wonderful fullness and wealth of matter.
It is not a work for hasty and superficial reading; but to the real student, whose purpose is to fully comprehend the New Testament narrative in its objective presentation, and by that means the better to appreciate its deep spiritual significance, this great work may be recommended with all confidence. In no other that we have seen-and we have endeavored to be acquainted with its literature—is the subject so fully discussed in its historical relations and bearings; and at the same time the great spiritual truths which permeate and suffuse the records of Christ's ministry are every-where brought to the front and made the governing idea of the writing. literary production these volumes are evidently the rich harvest of a life-time of diligent husbandry, pursued with industry and singleness of purpose, and the result abundantly justifies the outlay.
History of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament. By EDWARD (WILHELM
EUGENE) Reuss, Professor in the University of Strasburg (Germany). Translated from the Fifth Revised and Enlarged German Edition, with Numerous Bibliographical Additions. By EDWARD L. HOUGHTON, A.M. In two volunes.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. New York: 11 East 17th Street. This work, now first given to the English reading public, has been long and favorably known to biblical scholars since its first appearance, more than thirty years ago. Its advent was at a time when the destructive criticism of the Tübingen school had passed its zenith, and was giving place to better methods of inquiry. The author's position or method, in the performance of his self-imposed task, is the “historico-critical,” submitting his subject to just such treatment, in endeavoring to determine its character and authority, as must be given to any and every document, ancient or modern, religious or secular. This method of treatment is now very generally accepted; but as a writer's own cast of mind and habits of thinking very largely affect the force of the evidence with which he deals, and often determine the results of his investigations, so, while following the same objective methods, different critics will arrive at wholly diverse conclusions, according to their dissimilar subjective inclinations. So this writer, because he hesitates to accept any superrational conception of Christianity which includes the specifically divine element in the Scriptures, so applies the accepted method of criticism as to reach results that would not be reached were that element received as a factor in the problem. But though his stand-point is that of a rationalist, his style of argumentation, very unlike many of his predecessors of the same school, is logically fair and reverent in spirit; and while excluding the supernatural from the premises with the concession of which the argument must begin, its reality is allowed to be possible, but not available, because it is transcendental.
The Christian student, who in studying this great work shall make the requisite corrections to rectify the writer's mental aberrations, will find in it an uncounted store of the most valuable, because available, learning touching the subjects considered. After a brief introductory glance at the oral teachings of Christ and the apostles-giving special prominence to the ministry of St. Paul-he passes to the period of the production of the apostolic literature-the latter half of the first century-during which all the canonical books of the New Testament were written.
After that he comes to the formation of the canon, by including certain books and excluding others; a work which he thinks was
generally well done, though by no official authority, and not always absolutely correctly on either side. Next is given some account of the preservation of the New Testament writings, including the history of the text, with their diffusion throughout Christendom, their theological use, and finally the history of exegesis. As a thoroughly learned, fair (as seen from the author's point of view), and eminently able handling of these subjects, we know of nothing better; and, notwithstanding a qualified dissent from some of the conclusions reached, it may be cordially recommended to any who may be seeking to master its subjects. The translation here given deserves most emphatic approval. In many Anglicised German works, the so-called translation remains essentially German in its style and forms of utterance, though given in English words; but not so in this case. The purpose declared by the translator, “to render the thought as accurately as possible, and at the same time in fairly idiomatic and readable English," has been accomplished with exceptional completeness. The reading very seldom suggests any of the characteristics of the original German, so proving the incorrectness of the assumption sometimes made, that our language is not competent to embody the ideas that are familiar to German writers.
This work, as now given to English readers, makes a valuable contribution to our apparatus for biblical study, for which not only the author, but also the translator and the publishers, are entitled to our thanks.
The Possibilities of Grace. By Rev. ASBURY LOWREY, D.D. 12mo, pp. 472. New
York: Phillips & Hunt. Cincinnati: Cranston & Stowe. A well-chosen title makes a favorable output for any new book, and such is that chosen by Dr. Lowrey for this his latest production. The outward appearance of the book will also make favor for it, for in type, paper, and binding it is such a book as one likes to take in hand. As to its contents, it is a treatise on the religious life, or Christian experience, viewed and presented with especial reference to its “possibilities” in its advanced and matured stages. As will be inferred, it belongs to the somewhat numerous class of books—some very good, and some not so good-that make up our modern “holiness” literature, and in that goodly company it deserves an honorable place. In its substance and scope it is almost identical with Bishop Merrill's “Aspects of Christian Experience;" but the two are distinguished from each other by characteristic peculiarities, the latter being the broader