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restore man to more than the bliss of Eden ; as infringing on no laws of mind in its holiest and highest operations; and as in accordance throughout with the anthropology and the
psychology' of man. Such a view would be eminently useful in our colleges and schools. Such a view we more need than any thing pertaining to education in its higher departments in this country. And such a view, we doubt not, Dr. Rauch has a heart as ready to furnish, as he has an intellect and a high order of mental acquirement that will qualify him for it.
2.-An Historical Presentation of Augustinism and Pelagian.
ism, from the Original Sources, by G. F. Wiggers, D. D.,
Newman & Saxton, 1840. pp. 383.
The questions involved in the controversy which is here associated with the names of Augustine and Pelagius, have been among the most important causes of differences and di. visions in the Church in every age. The views which have been entertained on these questions have characterized the doctrines of theologians both before and since the Reforma
tion. And at the present time these questions are assuming new degrees of interest and importance both in England and America. “Ancient Christianity,” says our Translator, "for better or for worse, must soon become more perfectly known to the Protestant world. And good it is that it should be so, painful and surprising in themselves as may be some of the disclosures. Such advocates of patristic authority as have recently appeared in England, will spare no pains in accomplishing one part of this labor. Nor less prompt nor less able will be their antagonists, in performing the other part of the Herculean task, if we may judge from recent specimens of their zeal and power. Consequences of the most serious nature, in England as well as in this country, are now seen to be most intimately connected with the historical disclosures that shall be made.” But the early history of the doctrines of Christianity cannot be regarded as second in importance to the history of rites, institutions and modes of church gov. ernment. While, therefore, England is now awake to the latter branch of history, it is well that Germany is found assiduously laboring in the other. The work before us is one of the results of these labors. It is regarded by theologians in Germany, and by those who have examined it in this country, as affording the best means of settling the questions on which it treats, short of a laborious investigation of the original sources.
Such a work is worthy of more than a passing notice. It was our design, therefore, to say, here, only so much as might seem necessary to commend it to the attention of our readers. We hope to procure, from a hand more competent than our own, a review of this important publication in season for the October No. of the Repository. We accordingly abstain from any attempt at a critical analysis of the work at present, in the expectation of being able, hereafter, to do better justice to its merits and the important topics of which it treats.
3.- Ancient Christianity, and the Doctrines of the Oxford
Tracts. By Isaac Taylor, author of “Spiritual Despotism,” etc. Philadelphia: Herman Hooker, 1840. pp.
554. The author of this volume is deservedly popular both in Great Britain and this country. We have learned to receive with interest whatever comes to us from the pen of Isaac Taylor. Though his style, like that of some other popular writers, whom we could name, is more wordy and expansive
than we might wish, yet his views are generally philosophical as well as evangelical. His positions are bold and uncompromising, and, in general, well sustained by appropriate argument, whether drawn from reason, history, or revelation. These qualities, together with his ample possession of the original sources of information on all the topics which are urged by the Oxford writers, in their “Tracts for the Times," fit him peculiarly for the task he has undertaken, in meeting the attractive and insinuating arguments of those learned divines, in favor of the revival of the forins and
of Ancient Christianity" in the Church of England.
Few, perhaps, of our readers are aware of the importance of the crisis to which the English church, and even the Episcopal church in our own country, have come. The general scheme of principles and sentiments that has been embodied in the Oxford Tracts is working a great revolution in those churches; and though, as our author remarks, it advances upon them “in noiseless slippers,” it nevertheless proceeds with“a still depth, a latent power, a momentum and a consistency in its development, which are the very characteristics of those movements that are to go on, and are to bring with them great changes, whether for the better or the worse.” The influences, therefore, to be met, by the masterly hand and the burnished weapons of our author, are not such as may be despised. Proceeding from the most venerable of the English Universities, and sustained, as they are, by the most learned of the British Reviews, they not only endanger the purity of the Episcopal church, but threaten to bring discredit upon the cause of Protestantism universally. A thorough discussion of these principles, therefore, and a maniy resistance of their tendency to sanction some of the worst features of Popery, have become indispensable. Such a discussion has been well begun by Mr. Taylor.
Ăn able writer in the present No. of the Repository, (page 165, seq.) has given us a brief synopsis of the principal points embraced in the Oxford Tracts, with some account of the authors by whom they have been advanced. The same writer, it is hoped, will exhibit more fully, in a future No., the progress of this controversy. On these accounts we omit any further statement here of the topics in question, and will close this notice by briefly presenting the main point of the argument, urged home upon the Oxford divines in the work before
Our author regards it as a singular oversight in the learned
authors of the Tracts, that, while, in tones of solemn remonstrance, they are “calling upon the church to retrace its heedless steps, and to realize, so far as possible, an imitation of the religious notions and practices of the second and third centuries, and while they would fain render the apostolic English church a very copy (its sufferings excepted) of the church as we find it under Dionysius and Cyprian, yet exclude from their copy the most characteristic and prominent feature of their venerable pattern.” This feature, this “luminous point," in the teaching, and in the concomitant practice, of the ancient church, was the celestial or angelic excellence of virginity and celibacy. Our author, therefore, instead of carrying forward a multifarious inquiry concerning the numerous topics of early opinion and practice, seizes upon this one point, as having intimate alliances with the entire ecclesiastical and religious system of antiquity; and the very point and hinge of his argument is to prove that the corruption of the church, after the time of the Apostles, was not so gradual and progressive, from age to age, as has generally been supposed; but that there was in the church"a very early expansion of false and pernicious notions, in their mature proportions,” and that they were even then attended with some of their worst fruits. Of these notions the most influential and controlling was the opinion universally entertained concerning the merits and the spiritual efficacy of celibacy, and especially of uncontaminated virginity; taken in connection with the practices thence immediately resulting, and the sanctioned institutions to which, in an early age,
it The reader, who has never investigated this field, will be astonished, as well as grieved, with the amount of evidence adduced that the notions above referred to were nearly or quite as flagrant in the second, as in the twelfth century; that even in the second century they were no novelties; that they early affected the universal church; that they were at once the causes and the effects of errors in theology, of perverted moral sentiments, of superstitious usages, and of hierarchical usurpations. Enough, at least, is proved on these subjects to afford us good reason for regarding with extreme caution any attempt to induce the modern church to imitate the ancient, at any time, after the Apostolic age. We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto we do well that we take heed. “ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
4. HARPERS' Family LIBRARY, No. XCIX.- The Sidereal
Heavens, and other subjects connected with Astronomy, as illustrative of the Character of the Deity, and of an Infi. nity of Worlds. By Thomas Dick, L. L. D. Author of “ Čelestial Scenery,” “The Christian Philosopher," etc.
etc. New-York, Harper & Brothers, 1840. pp. 432. By the mass of readers whose education is confined to the English language, the word Sidereal is not as readily understood as the old Saxon Starry. The substitution of the latter word for the former, therefore, we think would have improved the title of this book, designed, as it is, less for classical than for popular use. The book, however, ought not to be undervalued on account of its name. It is a popular treatise on the starry heavens, and does honor to the series of the “ Family Library," to which it is now added. It is not a labored sci. entific production, presenting the proofs in detail, of the numerous and grand results which it declares. The author designs to present the visible heavens as parts of the works of God. The most interesting astronomical facts are related and illustrated in such a manner as to be easily comprehended by those who have little knowledge of mathematical science. They are also to presented as to impress the reader with those religious considerations which are most naturally sug. gested to the devout mind by those great and marvellous works of Jehovah. We have here representations of the whole, and of detached portions of the firmament ;—of the arrangement of the stars into constellations, with sketches of their mythological history ;--the distances and magnitudes of the stars ;-variable and double stars, and binary systems ;treble, quadruple and multiple stars ;—the milky way ;groups and clusters of stars ;-the different orders of the nebulæ ;—the destination of the stars, or the designs they are intended to subserve in the system of the universe ;-unknown celestial bodies, meteoric phenomena, etc. We have also arguments illustrative of the doctrine of a plurality of worlds, and of the physical and moral state of the beings that may inhabit other worlds, with a summary and comprehensive view of the universe ; in all of which the author avails himself of the results of the most recent discoveries and the most accurate calculations in the science of astronomy; and presents them in a popular and attractive form.
This volume is adorned and illustrated with engravings to the number of more than eighty. It is a highly interesting and instructive work. We cordially welcome it to the family circles of our country.