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in this work carrying the torch of revelation down into the deep caverns and clefts which the lamp of science had disclosed, and illuminating, with a brighter light, the foundations of the everlasting mountains.'
The consequence is, that while he yields an unhesitating assent to the most stupendous conclusions of the modern geology, and in fact states their evidence in a new and intensely interesting light, he finds no conflict between them and the Mosaic records fairly and rationally interpreted ; and by rationally we mean simply in accordance with that sound and enlightened reason which God has given us, the only medium of correctly understanding his word. After two lectures on the origin, design, and importance of geological science ; the requisites and methods of study ; the harmony of all science with revelation; the description of facts relative to the crust of the earth ; its internal condition, stratified formations, and organic remains; he enters upon the recital of opinions which are by many assumed to be asserted or implied in the Scriptures, but which are contrary to geological doctrines. Of these he specifies, (1.) The recent creation of the earth. (2.) A previous universal chaos over the earth. (3.) The creation of the heavenly bodies after that of the earth. (4.) The derivation of all vegetables and animals from one centre of creation. (5.) That the inferior animals were not subject to death till after the fall. (6.) The ascription of the grander geological phenomena to the deluge. All these positions he alleges to be erroneous, and proceeds to set them aside by a course of reasoning which no one can fail to admit to be of most masterly character, whatever effect it may have upon his convictions. He then enters upon an examination of the various methods which have been proposed for the removal of the difficulties and alleged contradictions between geology and Scripture. Of these he mentions, (1.) The denial of any difficulty, by shutting the eyes to the evidence of geological facts, and representing the inquiry as impious. (2.) Sacrificing the Mosaic records as unintelligible, or as being the language of mythic poetry. (3.) Regarding the six days as designed to represent indefinite periods. (4.) Attributing stratification and other geological phenomena to the interval between the Adamic creation and the deluge, and the action of the diluvial waters.
He then proceeds to consider the forms of language used in Scripture to convey to man a knowledge both of the Deity and his works, and thence to deduce a general law of interpreta tion to be applied to the narrative of the creation, which leads him into an extended critical exposition of the first chapter of Genesis. The grand principle, which he defends as conclusive and as absolutely indispensable for maintaining the honor of the word of God, is, that the revelations contained in the Scriptures in respect to God and his works were conveyed in representations to the senses, chiefly that of sight, and in words descriptive of those representations. Consequently it is the usage of the sacred writers to speak of the Deity, his nature, his perfections, his purposes, his operations, in language borrowed from the bodily and mental constitution of man, and from those opinions concerning the works of God in the natural world, which were generally received by the people to whom the revelation was granted. From this principle as an axiom the author argues, that as the Scripture references to natural objects would be in such style as comported with the knowledge of the age in which they were delivered, so at the present time we are fully warranted to translate the language of the Old Testament upon physical subjects into such modern expressions as shall be agreeable to the reality of the things spoken of.
But we must here close our notice of this very valuable volume. After all we have said of its contents, the reader will have but an imperfect idea of the amount of interest and information which it embodies. But by way of amends for the meagreness of our sketch, we are happy to announce that an immediate reprint in this country is under codsideration, and that the work will probably soon be presented to the American public.
14.—Lectures on Biblical Criticism, exhibiting a Systematic
View of that Science. By Samuel Davidson, LL. D., Professor of Biblical Literature, in the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast. Edinburgh: Thomas Clark,
1839. 8vo. pp. 411. The high gratification we feel in noticing the appearance of this able work is mingled with regret that we can at present do no more than simply to notice it. The more ample and elaborate review which it merits it can scarcely fail eventually to receive. Mr. Davidson's name has been hitherto unknown among us in the walks of biblical literature, but from the sample which he has here given of his ability to fill with distinguished repute the department which he occupies in the Belfast Institution, we cannot but draw the happiest omens of his future achievements in the same sphere. The sternest republican can scarcely be offended with the epithet royal when he finds it attached to an institute which gives scope to labors and researches like those embodied in the present volume. The field which Mr. Davidson here enters with so firm a tread and so manly a bearing is one that has been hitherto for the most part occupied by the German literati, and though we would not detract aught from the just award of their labors which they have so zealously put forth in this department of sacred letters, yet we rejoice to perceive that they are not to be left as its sole occupants and cultivators. Every one acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of German genius is aware that it shows a continual tendency to spend its energies in settling the letter of revelation rather than disclosing its spirit ; or in other words, a tendency to exalt criticism above hermeneutics. Our author brings altogether another temper to his work. Although he undertakes not to erect his edifice without a scaffold, yet he does not busy himself so much about the scaffold as to forget that he has an edifice to erect; which the German is very apt to do.
The various topics embraced in Mr. D.’s volume are treated in such a way as to shew that instead of servilely copying from copyists, he has gone to the sources of authority, and examined and judged for himself. The reader will accordingly find in these pages a real advance in the science of biblical criticism. The whole field of Manuscripts, Versions, Editions, Readings, Quotations, etc. etc., in fine, whatever constitutes the res critica of revelation, is explored with a diligence and discrimination entitled to the highest applause. His reasonings and results are conveyed in a lively and spirited style, at the farthest possible remove from the dry, abstract, barren prosings which usually distinguish treatises of this nature. In the midst of so much that is satisfactory and excellent it were not easy to specify the more attractive parts, but we cannot refrain from pointing to the chapter on the Nature of the Hebrew Language,' as remarkable for the original and luminous views it exhibits of the structure and genius of that ancient tongue. In his chapter on the Greek Article,' he enters into an elaborate vindication of Middleton's doctrine on that subject in which he comes in collision with the views of Prof. Stuart, expressed in former numbers of the Repository. Although somewhat free in his strictures on the Professor's positions, yet he is throughout abundant in indications of his great respect for the value of his labors in the province of sacred literature.
15.—Job and his Times ; or a Picture of the Patriarchal Age,
during the period between Noah and Abraham, as regards the state of Religion and Morality, Arts and Sciences, Manners and Customs, etc., and a New Version of that most ancient Poem, accompanied with Notes and Dissertations. By Thomas Wemyss, author of 'Biblical Gleanings,' Symbolical Dictionary,' and other works. London: Jackson & Walford. 1839. 8vo. pp. 382.
Whether as a version or a commentary, the title of this work is somewhat unique; yet as illustrating the history and biography of a Scripture personage it is strictly appropriate. The design of the author is not only to throw out all the most distinguished lights and shadows of Job's character and experience, but to introduce the reader to patriarchal scenes; to familiarize him with the manners, customs, arts, and sciences of that early period of society. The object is certainly a good one, for a correct knowledge of the meaning of any ancient author can usually be obtained only by a knowledge of his times. The interest and fascination thrown around these primal ages is almost universally felt, yet our actual acquaintance with them is but limited, being gleaned from detached materials scattered here and there through the Scriptures. These, however, Mr. Wemyss has detected with singular acuteness, and seized with the avidity of one who has found great spoil. To give some idea of the result of his researches in this department, we insert a part of his table of contents;the mechanical art ; the military art; modes of travelling ; of hunting; of writing; mining operations; precious stones; coins; process of refining ; musical instruments; cosmology; astronomy; meteorology; aurora borealis; volcanoes; vegetable productions; zoology, behemoth and leviathan ; judicial proceedings.
Under these several heads the author has brought together a great deal of curious and interesting matter. As a sample of it we may refer to that entitled 'Aurora Borealis,’in respect to which the reader is naturally prompted to enquire what allusion is contained in the book of Job to a phenomenon which has been supposed to be of comparatively recent occurrence. Such an allusion the author shows to be recognized by the great mass of interpreters in ch. 37. 22, 'Fair weather cometh out of the north,' where the original word for "fair weather' signifies, in its primary sense, gold ; and in a secondary sense any thing resembling gold in color and lustre. Mr. W. supposes accordingly that the term refers to those radient streams
or flashes of golden light which constitute this splendid spectacle.
The author discovers great diligence in his researches, and much ingenuity in advocating his views of particular texts, though the critical apparatus which he has actually used seems to have been confined in great measure to English commentators. His list of writers on Job contains indeed the mention of some of the principal modern German critics, but we doubt whether he is very familiar with this source of illustration.
The famous passage ch. 19. 25-27, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” etc., he regards on the whole as not referring to the Messiah, but to God as his future Deliverer and Vindicator on earth. He supposes that the expression “whom I shall see for myself,” etc, was fulfilled afterwards when he exclaimed, ch. 42. 5, 'I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee,' etc. We cannot profess ourselves convinced of the correctness of his views of this passage, yet we freely admit that much of his reasoning upon it, is very difficult to dispose of. The subject merits an investigation, which we hope ere long to present to our readers in the pages of the Repository.
Taken as a whole, the Life and Times of Job' forms a valuable accession to the growing stock of our sound biblical literature, and we trust that a volume so well entitled to a place in every theological library will not be long in finding a publisher in our own country.
16.–The Parent's Friend ; a Manual of Domestic Instruction
and Discipline. By John Morison, D. D., author of ‘Counsels to a newly-wedded Pair,' etc. etc. etc. ; with a Prefatory Address to Parents in America ; by Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D. New-York : Gould, Newman and
Saxton. 1839. 18mo. pp. 172. This is an age of 'Friends' both to young and old, to parents and children, to teachers and pupils, to young men and maidens, and happy should we be to affirm that they were all as well entitled to the name as the little volume that here comes with its gentle and unobtrusive proffers of counsels to fathers and mothers. We must feel grateful to the intermediate agency, which at this season of gift-making to the young, has provided so fitting a present for the parental hands which have just emptied themselves of their annual mementos of love and duty to their children.
With but humble pretensions, this little treatise can still