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14.—Themes for the Pulpit; being a collection of nearly three
thousand Topics with Texts, suitable for Public Discourses in the Pulpit and Lecture Room ; mostly compiled from the published Works of ancient and modern Divines. By Abraham C. Baldwin. New-York: M. W. Dodd. 1841. pp. 324.
The object and the utility of this book are obvious from the title. The compiler observes with truth that “there are few clergymen who have not at times found it more difficult to select an interesting and useful subject, than to prepare a sermon after a suitable subject has been found.” To aid his brethren in such circumstances has been his design in preparing this volume. It has no affinity with books of “ Skeletons,” and “Outlines of Sermons.” It is a naked collection of subjects, accompanied with texts of Scripture, and the names of the authors from whom they have been taken. For those who are young in the ministry in particular, Mr. Baldwin has performed a valuable service.
15.— The Philosophy of History; in a Course of Lectures, by
Frederick von Schlegel. With a Memoir of the Author, by James B. Robertson, Esq. In two volumes. New-York : D. Appleton & Co. 1841. pp. 319, 302.
Every student of history will do well to read these volumes; not that every sentiment which they contain is correct, but while many of the opinions here advanced are sound and just, even those which are questionable will reward a careful examination. With all the misdeeds of his political and literary career, it must be admitted that Schlegel had some rare quali. fications for writing the philosophy of history. In addition to those extensive attainments which are common to the first scholars of Germany, he possessed an acquaintance with Asia. tic learning, equally varied and profound. History, moreover, was his favourite study. To whatever subject his attention was directed, its bearing on the intellectual and social devel. opment of our race was diligently scrutinized. The Philosophy of History, it should be remembered, was undertaken in the full maturity of his vigorous and cultivated mind. Indeed these Lectures were the last production which he lived to finish. Having completed their delivery in 1828, he repaired to Dresden near the close of the year, and commenced a course on the Philosophy of Language. While writing the tenth Lecture, his labors were arrested, and he died Jan. 12th, 1829
The first two Lectures of the work before us embrace the relation of man to the earth, the division of mankind into nations, and the twofold condition of humanity in the primitive world. In the seven succeeding Lectures are considered the antiquity and institutions of China, the mental culture and philosophy of the Hindoos, the science and corruption of Egypt, the privileges and destinies of the Hebrews, the Persians with their nature-worship, manners and conquests, the Greeks with their learning and power, the Romans with their universal dominion. The next five Lectures treat of Christianity,Mits consolidation and diffusion, the emigration of the Germanic tribes, the Saracens in the brilliant age of the Caliphs, the establishment of a Christian empire in Germany, the great schism of the West, the struggles of the middle age, the Crusades, the discovery of the new world. The three following Lectures are devoted to religious wars, Illuminism, the French Revolution ; and the last Lecture considers the prevailing spirit of the age and the universal regeneration of society.
The translator of these volumes is a warm admirer of Schlegel, particularly, it would seem, because of the latter's conversion to Catholicism. But his qualifications for the work he has undertaken are certainly not of the highest order.
15.-Psychology; or a View of the Human Soul, including An
thropology, adapted for the use of Colleges. By Rev. Frederick A. Rauch, D. P., Late President of Marshall College, Penn. Second Edition, Revised and Improved.' New York: M. W. Dodd. Boston : Crocker & Brewster. Philadelphia : Thomas, Coperthwait & Co. 1841. pp. 401.
By turning to our notice of the first edition of this work, Repository, July, 1840,—our readers will perceive that the present edition has been enlarged by about thirty pages. The additions and changes which have been made, as far as we have been able to examine them, we regard as improvements in the style and finish of the work. They were principally made by the author's own hand ; though he had not quite completed his revision, when it pleased God to arrest his useful and important labors by the hand of death. His decease in the midst of his career is an event which we record with no ordinary feelings of sorrow. In it we have ourselves been called to mourn the loss of a personal friend and helper in our work, while the country has been deprived of one of its most thoroughly educated and accomplished scholars. The Institution over which he presided, the church, and the cause of education and learning are deeply affected by the removal of one so highly gifted, from so wide a sphere of present and prospective usefulness. But his works will remain to perpetuate, in some degree, the influence which his living labors were beginning to exert. The present volume has been issued under the critical eye of Professor Nevin, of the same Institution, from whose preliminary notice we learn that a systematic work on Moral Philosophy, which was nearly prepared by Dr. Rauch, and intended to follow his Psychology, will probably be given to the public.
16.—Remarks on the “ Oxford Theology,” in connection with
its bearing upon the Law of Nature and the Doctrine of Justification by Faith. By Vanbrugh Livingston. New-York: John S. Taylor. 1841. pp. 227.
The author of this little volume is a highly respectable and educated layman, and, as we understand, a member of the Episcopal church. But we have not heretofore known him as a writer on Theology. He now appears, however, as a defender of the Oxford Divines, especially against the imputations cast upon them by Bishop Mcllvaine, in his work which we noticed with commendation in our No. for January last, and also against some strictures on the Oxford Divinity in a late No. of the Princeton Review. His work is a continuous discussion, without any break or division into chapters; and we have found it difficult to divide it into parts for the purpose of an analysis. Its aim is single and its argument repetitious. The writer professes not to have read the whole of the “ Tracts for the Times,” and disavows an entire agreeinent in all the views of the Oxford writers. But in respect to the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, on which Bishop McIlvaine charges them with holding the prominent error of the church of Rome, in opposition to the doctrine of the Anglican church, our author maintains that the charge is unfounded, and that, on the contrary, the views of Oxfordism on this subject are sustained by the Thirty-nine Articles. Here he takes his ground boldly with the Oxford writers. His views, however, according to our conceptions, are far from being discriminating and just. Regeneration, justification and sanctification are so confounded together, that the real difference between his positions and those which he opposes is often unintelligible ; and his reasoning, though respectable, is on the whole unsatisfactory.
18.-The Moral Influences, Dangers and Duties connected with Great Cities. By John Todd. Northampton: J. H. Butler. Philadelphia : Smith & Peck. Boston: Crocker & Brewster; A. D. Phelps. 1841. pp. 267.
This little volume has been written, the author informs us, to benefit three classes of persons,-“those who reside in great cities, those who are about to come into the great city, and those who have sent, or who are about to send children and friends to reside in the great city.” The topic is one of the first importance, and we rejoice that it has fallen into hands so competent to do it justice. The acknowledged ability of Mr. Todd as a writer, in connection with his practical knowledge of the matters of which he treats, is a sufficient voucher for the character of his volume. It contains six Lectures, the subjects of which are as follows:-Importance of having Religion in great cities, Temptations and Duties peculiar to Christians in great cities, Dangers peculiar to worldly Men engaged in business, and to Young Men in great cities. We hope it will be extensively and carefully read.
19.-Old Humphrey's Observations. New-York: Robert Car
ter. London: The Religious Tract Society. 1841. pp. 258. 20.-Old Humphrey's Addresses, by the author of old Hum
phrey's Observations. Published as above. pp. 252.
These volumes are “got up” in good style by the publisher. The “Observations," as the author says in his introduction, are the “remarks of a friendly old man, who has some affection in his heart for every human being under the canopy of the skies.” They combine the utmost familiarity and simpli. city with occasional elegance of style. They are all brief, amusing and instructive, and are always, in the end, turned to some profitable account for the inculcation or enforcement of lessons of prudence, morality or religion. They are on sev. enty distinct subjects, the remarks on each of which are extended to two, three or four pages. The following are speci. mens of the topics,-the prices of things, excellent ideas, hedges and ditches, duelling, a scoffer, an aged saint's departure for glory, etc. etc.
The “ Addresses” are equally miscellaneous in their character and the range of their topics; and like the “Observations," are intended, at once to amuse and to communicate important practical, moral and religious instruction. The subjects are sixty-one in number, among which are the following,-Sanc
tified sorrow, a comfortable home, close questioning, riches, selfishness, gin-drinking, etc. etc. On the whole we do not hesitate to recommend these as very good and useful books. They are adapted to readers of every capacity, possessing a simplicity which renders them intelligible to the least informed, and sterling sense which will command the respect of the educated and refined, in the hours of leisure and relaxation. As books for amusement, how infinitely superior to the vile and useless trash which is often resorted to for that purpose.
21.—The Theory of Horticulture ; or an Attempt to explain the
Principal operations of Gardening, upon Physiological Principles, by John Lindley, Ph., D. F. R. S. Vice-Secretary of the Horticultural Society of London, and Professor of Botany in University College. First American Edition, with Notes, etc., by A. J. Downing and A. Gray. New-York: Wiley & Putnam. Boston: C. C. Little & Co. 1841. pp. 370.
The announcement of this title-page reminds us of a certain lawyer of eminence, of whom Mr. Webster remarked, that his statement was an argument. This title, with the names of the author and editors, is sufficient to indicate the character of the work. We need only add that it enters with learning and discrimination into the principles of Horticulture, and answers in detail most of the questions which are likely to sug. gest themselves to the practical inquirer. It is a valuable book for the farmer as well as the gardener.
22.—The Practical Spelling-Book, with Reading Lessons. By
T. H. Gallaudet, and Horace Hooker. Hartford : Belknap & Hamn.ersley. pp. 166.
It augurs well for the cause of education, that some of the finest intellects among us are engaged in the preparation of works for the young. To the hasty observer the making of a good spelling-book may seem a very humble employment; but contemplated in its ultimate results, it is a most laudable because a most useful vocation. We regret that we have not room to speak of the labors of the above named gentlemen as they deserve. They have proceeded in a truly philosophical spirit, and, after much pains-taking, have constructed a spelling-book that will greatly simplify the business of primary education. We hope that all who are interested in elementary instruction will examine the work and judge for themselves.