Page images
PDF
EPUB

work of the universe ; and makes us acquainted with those distant bodies-majestic and awful for their vastness—which are known to us only as nebule. Those who have paid the least attention to the science of Astronomy will have no difficulty in following Prof. Nichol; and they may hereafter look at the heavens with something of the feelings of the accomplished Astronomer.

We rejoice that the execution of this plan has fallen into such hands. The eminent talents of the author, and his erperience as a practical Astronomer would lead us to expect a work like the present. Few could have prepared one so interesting, and at the same time so trustworthy.

It is due to the publishers to add, that the maps and plates are beautifully executed; the notes and glossary, by Mr. Chapin, have been diligently prepared. 13.-An Exposition of the Law of Baptism, as it regards the

Mode and the Subjects. By Edwin Hall, A.M., Pastor of the First Congregational Church, Norwalk, Connecticut. Norwalk : John A. Weed. New-York: Gould, Newman

& Saxton, 1840. pp. 216–18 mo. This little volume is composed of four discourses, written, as the author states, for the defence of the truth in his own congregation. They are characterized by great energy and directness. On the mode of baptism the author begins with stating the principles of interpretation, which he thinks adapted to settle the controversy. The first of these he illustrates, by citing the following example from “Blackstone's Commentaries.” “A law of Edward III. forbids all ecclesiastical persons to purchase provisions at Rome.” “ This law," says Blackstone, "might seem to prohibit the buying of grain and other victuals : but when we consider that the statute was made to repress the usurpations of the Papal See, and that nominations to benefices by the Pope were called provisions, we shall see that the restraint is intended to be laid on such provisions only."

This, Mr. Hall assumes as the leading principle of his reply to the reasoning of our Baptist brethren, who maintain that the meaning of Buntišo in classical Greek, must govern its meaning in the New Testament, and as applied to the Christian ordinance of baptism. As Blackstone would have us search out the meaning of “provisions," as used in the canon law of those days, so our author takes us to Christ and his apostles for the meaning of baptize. “The decision of Blackstone,” he says, “ carries all common sense with it. Away go the hundred dictionaries and the ten thousand quotations from the Classics. No matter how many times it may have been 'conceded' that the word provisions commonly means something to eat, Blackstone himself makes the same concession, and still maintains his interpretation of the law.”

The author's general views accord with those of President Beecher, in the Repository, as to the import of the word Buntiću, but he has evidently studied the subject for himself, and has succeeded in presenting his arguments in a condensed and highly popular form. On this subject, as well as that of Infant Baptism, he meets objections with adroitness, and with a candor and openness which command the respect of the reader. The book is worthy of an extensive circulation. 14.- Arguments, derived from Sacred Scripture and sound

Reason, exhibiting the Necessity and Advantages of Infant Baptism ; and proving Sprinkling or Affusion to be the most Scriptural and appropriate mode of administering it ; together with a number of Essays on important subjects connected with Baptism. By Benjamin Kurtz, D. D. Baltimore Publication Rooms, 1840;

pp. 370. Dr. Kurtz is a clergyman of the Lutheran church, and has prepared the volume above named in compliance with a “Resolution" of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland. We do not hesitate to say, he has honored the choice of his brethren. It was his aim “to concentrate the largest possible amount of conclusive evidence and useful information, within the narrowest limits.” This he has accomplished with admirable success. The work is divided into three parts, entitled, 1. Baptism in General. 2. Benefits of Infant Bapttsm. 3. The Mode of Baptism. The discussions under these general heads are divided into forty chapters on a succession of topics, which are so arranged as to present the whole subject of Baptism, explained and illustrated, to the mind of the reader. The Scriptural constitution of the church,—the design and use of baptism as a sacrament and a token of church membership,--the command of Christ respecting it,—the numerous passages of Scripture which cannot be consistently explained without admitting the right of infant baptism,—the ancient practice of family baptism, continued in the Apostolic age, the practice of the Christian church from the earliest period, etc. etc., are presented in a manner which does great credit to the candor and faithfulness of the author and to the competency of his biblical and historical learning. To the defence of sprinkling or affusion as a proper mode of baptism about one half of the volume is devoted. The philological arguments from the import of Pantiga, as used in the New Testament and by the Christian fathers, is ably conducted. Every important objection to the author's positions throughout the book is considered. On the whole we regard this as one of the best discussions of the whole subject which we have seen. The subjects of the additional essays, embraced in an appendix, are “Names given in Baptism, Sponsors, Confirmation, Baptismal Regeneration, and the action of the Westminster Assembly in respect to Baptism.

15.-A History of the Rise, Progress, Genius, and Character of

American Presbyterianism : together with a Review of The Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A.; by Chas. Hodge, D. D., Prof. in Theol. Sem. Princeton, N. J." By William Hill, D. D. of

Winchester, Va. Washington City, 1839; pp. 224. The above is the title of a work now, as we understand, in the process of preparation. The first No. only is published. In this respect the author has adopted the order pursued by Prof. Hodge, who is also preparing, in Nos., a history of the Presbyterian Church. But in numerous facts and authorities Dr. Hill is at variance with the statements of the latter writer. Some ten years since, it appears, and before the late divisive measures were thought of, Dr. Hill commenced his researches, with great zeal, preparatory to his contemplated history. To excite interest in the subject, and to elicit fur. ther information from such as might possess it, he occasionally communicated facts and statements to the southern papers, in respect to the origin and early usages of Presbyterianism in this country, which were quite inconsistent with the claims on which were based the “ Exscinding Acts” of 1837–8. In the mean time the history by Dr. Hodge was commenced, and our author, finding his main positions assailed in the latter work, has been driven to a new and more thorough search for documents, and a re-examination of facts and statements, in respect to which he had supposed all would agree. The result is the commencement, in the No. before us, of a history which promises to be more rich in materials, and better guarded again at hasty and unsupported positions, than might otherwise have been expected. The portion already published is chiefly documentary, and contains much that is curious and interesting, not to Presbyterians oply, but to all who find pleasure in looking back, from the heights to which our churches have been raised in number and privilege, to the « small things” of their beginning. We hope the venerable author will be encouraged to proceed in his useful undertaking. By age and experience, he is perhaps better qualified for the task he has assumed than any man to be found in the church of which he is an honored and able minister; and no one possesses more of that candor and fairness which fit a man to write the history of his own times.

16.-An Historical and Descriptive Account of British America ;

comprehending Canada, Upper and Lower, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, the Bermudas and the Fur Countries ; their history from the earliest settlement ; their statistics, topography, commerce, fisheries, etc. ; and their social and political condition, as also an account of the manners and present state of the aboriginal tribes. By Hugh Murray, F. R. S. E. In two volumes. New-York: Harper and Bro

thers; 1840, pp. 312, 290. These volumes are worthy of a place in the Family Library. The promise, of the title-page is kept; and we know of no work which presents so just a picture of British America. The first volume is devoted exclusively to Canada. The topics discussed are as follows: General view of Canada ; the native Indians; its history under the French ; its history under the British ; and its social and political state. The chapter on “ the history of Canada under the British” is, in many respects, the most interesting, and yet it is the least satisfactory. The account which it gives of the war of 1812, and the struggles to which it led on our northern frontier, is evidently colored. The notice of the origin and progress of the late difficulties in the administration of Lower Canada, hardly does justice to the subject.

The topics of the second volume are as follows: a general view of the maritime provinces ; general description, history, social and political state of Nova Scotia ; New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland ; Bermudas ; early discovery, settlement, recent discoveries and present state of Hudson's Bay Territory; general Summary. The reader will here find much that is instructive and new, on subjects which are too little understood. The style of the work is chaste, easy and dignified. The descriptive part is particularly well executed.

SECOND SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. 11.

21

17.- A Letter to the Editor of the American Biblical Repository,

containing Remarks upon a Paper in that work, by Professor Stuart, on Original Sin. By George Payne,

LL. D. Exeter, (Eng.) London, 1839, pp. 20. This Letter, as appears from the author's Preface, was intended for the pages of our work, “that the individuals who had read Mr. Stuart's statements might have an opportunity of perusing the present writer's remarks upon them.” Had it been furnished us previous to its publication, we would gladly have inserted it.

The Paper referred to, on Original Sin, was published in the Repository for April and July, 1839; and we were not aware that it had been replied to in England, until the above Letter, with which Dr. Payne has been pleased to honor us, was received, near the first of June, 1810, six months after the date of its publication, and quite too late to find a place in our last No. This statement is made as due to those of our English readers, who, having read Dr. P.'s. Remarks, may have expected to see them republished by us. The respected author, however, has kindly assured us that, after so long a delay of their transmission, he could not expect them to appear on our pages, excepting in the form of a notice. But we should regret to dispose of so respectable a production, addressed to ourselves, by a bare announcement of its reception; and as we do not care to engage personally in this discussion, we have submitted the Letter to Professor Stuart, the state of whose health, during the last three months, has not allowed him to give it his attention. Should he favor us with further remarks on the subject, we shall probably accompany them with the publication of the substance of Dr. Payne's pamphlet. For this reason we give no account of his argument in the present notice, and only add the expression of our pleasure in the candor and courtesy with which he has conducted it.

NORDHEIMER'S GRAMMAR.

We take pleasure in being able to announce that the long expected second volume of Dr. Nordheimer's Hebrew Grammar, which treats of the Syntax, is now rapidly advancing towards completion. On account of the fulness with which every topic is discussed, it will form, probably, a volume larger than the first. It will be published in November.

« PreviousContinue »