Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon a new application of the prize principle. The proprietor, or

director,' as he designates himself, assuming that nearly every existing periodical had formed its corps of regular contributors, among whom it might be difficult for young aspirants to find a place, conceived the idea of starting a magazine which might be so conducted as to afford every one a chance. With a view, therefore, to elicit hidden talent, he originated the Monthly Prize Essays,' in each number of which there is a chance of obtaining a prize of £20, £15, or £10, for a prose article of from twelve to twenty-four pages, besides three inferior chances of £5 each. It is wisely provided that the candidates are left to choose their own themes, and the mode of handling them; the director reserving to bimself the right to determine whether the contributions deserve to be chosen in respect to all points of matter and execution. It might be supposed from the nature of this plan that the contributors would be chiefly juvenile. The contents of the numbers before us effectually dissipate this delusion. They contain several papers, which, to say nothing of mere writing ability, display a degree of erudition incompatible with the supposition of youth in the authors. ·Historic Doubts,' and Innocent the Third and his Era,' can be the results only of ripe scholarship and matured ideas. Perhaps it might with greater plausibility have been imagined that the contents of a periodical, collected in such a manner, would be heterogeneously miscellaneous and incoherent. On reflection, however, there will be found no reason that this should be the case to a greater extent than in any magazine conducted in the ordinary way. Who perceives such a system in Blackwood, Frazer, or Tait? It is obvious that a great deal depends upon the skill and judgment of the director, from the tone of whose able and interesting monthly · Reports' on all the essays he receives, we augur that he will gradually reduce his apparently fortuitous materials into as congruous and coherent masses as the very best of us. He evidently bas a plan, and that plan we easily gather from the tenour of his strictures on various papers which he has rejected, some from want of fitness rather than of ability, he will by degrees work out. Neither must it be concluded, that, in the Monthly Prize Essays,' we are put off with the best of the bad. We have not lighted upon one paper which does not possess considerable merit, while several evince a high degree of talent. We observe, moreover, in the third number, a growing adaptation of the essays to the prevailing current of public thought and inquiry. And then, we fancy,—there is no precise authority for the notion ; but, we fancy, that the director would rather intermit a month than fill a number with unworthy contributions. Of this, however, we should hope there is no danger. He has displayed a commendable degree of public spirit, and we hope bis liberality will be estimated, as it deserves to be by literary men, and by the reading public.

Glendearg Cottage. A Tale, concerning Church Principles. By Miss

Christmas. With a Preface, by the Rev. Henry Christmas,

M.A., F.R.S., F.S.A. This is a tale of conversions from dissent to the Church of England, Conversions in tales are of course effected in the most approved manner, and on the best principles. Miss Christmas writes in an easy and agreeable style. Her story has but little incident. Its main feature is dialogue, which is a capital vehicle for party purposes, but as generally conducted, and, we are sorry to add, as conducted by herself, a poor medium of truth. Among other things, Miss Christmas would commend the principle of 'never denying justice to an opponent,' by showing how a departure from it in the case of dissenters led to a favourable consideration of church arguments. We highly approve the principle in all sects, and regret that we cannot altogether acquit Miss Christmas of forgetting it.

The Elevation of the People, Moral, Instructional, and Social. By the

Rev. Thomas Milner, M.A. pp. 456. London: John Snow.

1846. This is one of a large class of works whose appearance must afford sincere and heartfelt pleasure to the true philanthropist. The interest which is now taken in the physical and moral improvement of the people is a pleasing and encouraging feature of our times. None who understand the subject will fear lest that interest should become excessive, but will rather rejoice in every effort to deepen and extend it. •The half has not been told.' Dreading, as we do, government interference (and herein we sometimes differ from Mr. Milner), on many subjects affecting the welfare of the working classes, we therefore perceive a stronger claim upon the principles of social charity and justice.

Mr. Milner has made a contribution of no mean worth to the public good. His handsome volume contains a large mass of statistical information and important principles. Let it not, however, be supposed that the work is dry and uninteresting, except to the man who already takes an interest in its facts and doctrines. It is written in a vivacious and lively style, and touches upon a great variety of topics not of necessity suggested by its title. A reference to its chapters will prepare our readers to expect this :- A Glance at by-gone Times '-- Modern Aims at National Elevation '-'The Last Census '— Home Aspects '— The Certain and the Possible'• Instruction for the Masses '—'Industrial Discipline'- Methods of Instruction'- Provision of Instruction'-'A National Experiment'— The Strife for Life'—Morality of Dens and Wigwams'* The Public Health '— Social Improvements.

We trust the work will have a wide circulation. It cannot fail to promote the best results in proportion as its deeply affecting facts and valuable suggestions are read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested.'

The Lord's Sapper. By the Rev. David King, LL.D. Glasgow.

pp. 300. Edinburgh : John Johnston, 1846. This is a very valuable work for general readers. It is clear, comprehensive, and catholic. Avoiding intentionally a scientific distribution of topics,' there are few questions connected with the Lord's supper which are not more or less noticed, and few bearings of it which are not pointed out. The chapters are :-1. The Passover. II. The Supper instituted by Christ while observing the Passover. III. Probable Reasons for instituting the Supper at that particular Time. IV. The Lord's Supper illustrative of the Scheme of Salvation. v. The Lord's Supper a Commemorative Institution. VI. The Lord's Supper a Medium of Fellowship. VII. The Lord's Supper a Seal of the Covenant. VIII. The Lord's Supper in relation to Futurity. While this wise and gracious appointment is the subject of such various and severe controversy, Dr. King has done well in developing its real nature and enforcing its practical relations. It is needless to add, that the matter is sound and judicious, the language elegant and forcible, and the temper earnest and devout. 1. History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century. By J H. Merle D'Aubigné, D.D. Printed by arrangement with Messrs.

Oliver and Boyd. Vol. IV. 2. Discourses and Essays. By J. H. Merle D'Aubigné, D D., with

an Introduction, by Robert Baird, D.D. 3. The Christian Philosopher; or, the Connection of Science and Philo

sophy with Religion. Illustrated with Engravings. By Thomas

Dick, LL.D. Vol. I. Glasgow : W. Collins. Of the first of these works we need merely say, that it is printed from the author's own edition, and is designed to complete Mr. Col. lins's three volumes previously issued. It is published at the almost incredibly low price of one shilling and sixpence, and fairly brings the story of the reformation within the means of the whole reading population of the empire. We appreciate the promptitude with which Mr. Collins has purchased the right to avail bimself of Messrs. Oliver and Boyd's copyright, and strongly recommend his edition to all Sunday-school teachers and other young persons.

The Discourses and Essays contained in the second volume possess, to use the strong but appropriate language of Dr. Baird,

one grand characteristic, that of a glorious baptism, if I may so express myself, into the spirit of the Reformation. They are worthy of their author, and will not injure his fame. A few of them have previously been translated; but the greater number are now, for the first time, given to the public.

This volume, together with the Christian Philosopher,' belongs to the same cheap series as the former, and does great credit to the enterprize and skill of the publisher. It has been considerably enlarged, and has undergone a thorough revision, so as to embrace the latest improvements and discoveries in the several branches of the subjects treated. When such works are purchaseable by all, wbat may we not look for in the way of popular information ?

The History of Civilization, from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the

French Revolution. By F. Guizot. Vols. II. and III. London:

D. Bogue. MR. Bogue has promptly fulfilled his engagement with the public, by completing his edition of M. Guizot's work. The present volumes bring down the bistory to the most eventful occurrences of modern times, and its whole course is illumined by a genius always attractive, if not universally sound in its philosophy. Few French writers possess a wider fame than M Guizot, and it is therefore somewhat marvellous that the present work has not previously been translated. Such, however, is the fact, and it goes far to make out a case for such a series as The European Library. Let the publisher continue in the course hitherto pursued, and it will be the lasting disgrace of our age, if the Library do not obtain so large a circulation as shall render it as remunerative to himself, as it will prove advantageous to the public. Who, till very recently, would have ventured to expect to purchase such a work as The History of Civil. ization for balf a guinea ?

The Treatise of John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, on the

Priesthood. Translated by Edward Garrard Marsh, M. A.,

Canon of Southwell. pp. 234. Seeley, CHRYSOSTOM on the Priesthood is a work well known to scholars, and held in great esteem for its practical worth. We agree with Mr. Marsh that the value of the work consists in its mode of presenting 'the spirit, in which the holy office of the ministry ought to be undertaken, and the manner in which it ought to be discharged'for doubtless it contains some sorrowful indications of that fatal heresy, which, when it was written, had begun 'already to work,' and some unwise and extravagant modes of illustrating important truths which are always to be rebuked, and especially in the present day. Excepting these things, in which, after all, Chrysostom was not the greatest offender of bis day, the work deserves the commendation of Burnet. “Every reading will afford a fresh pleasure, and matter of instruction and meditation.'

Mr. Marsh has added to the value of his translation, which appears to be well executed, by giving notes, in which he has .endeavoured to bring the leading sentiments of this memorable treatise to the tribunal of holy Scripture.' One remark will serve as a key to the spirit and character of these comments, as it is on a point which as much as any affects the controversy between the real papist and the real protestant in all churches : -'Chrysostom has adopted the levitical title, priesthood, lepwoúvn, in preference to the evangelical word, presbytership, from which the English word, priest, is a contraction. The words in the original are perfectly distinct, and cannot be mistaken or confounded. This preference accordingly is an indi. cation of a prevailing disposition in that age unduly to magnify the ministerial office by borrowing the terms, and investing it with all the peculiarities of the Levitical priesthood.'

On the Speculative Difficulties of Professing Christians. Pp. 87.

William Blackwood and Sons, 1846. The design of these •Letters' is to meet the case of those persons who, while possessing a general belief in revelation, are disturbed and injured by specific sceptical objections. It is admirably suited to this class, which, we are afraid, is a large one. Without committing ourselves to every sentiment, we have great pleasure in expressing a very high opinion of its worth. It is obviously written by an intelligent and well-informed person. It has the calm spirit of reason. Facts, arguments, and discriminating observations abound in it. We utter no mean praise wben we say, that it is worthy to be the companion to Whateley's • Introductory Lessons on Christian Evidences.'

The Godly Sayings of the Ancient Fathers upon the Holy Sacrament of

the Body and Blood of Christ. Edited by the Rev. C. I. Daniell, M.A., late Curate of South Hackney. Pp. 153. London:

Rivingtons, 1846. This treatise was written by M. Veron, 'a learned Frenchman, one of the eminentist preachers of his time, who died in 1563. It is printed with his own antique spelling, and quaint expressions.' It is beautifully got up.

The Merits of Calvin as an Interpreter of the Holy Scriptures. Trans

lated from the German of Professor Tholuck, of Halle, by Professor Woods of Andover. To which are added, Opinions and Testimonies of Foreign and British Divines and Scholars as to the Value and Importance of the Writings of John Calvin. With a Preface by the Rev. William Pringle. London: Smith, Elder, and Co.

1845. A WELL-EXECUTED tribute to Calvin's high claims as an interpreter of the Scriptures.

A Century of Scottish Church History: an Historical Sketch of the

Church of Scotland, from the Secession to the Disruption. With an
Account of the Free Church. By the Rev. James Dobbs. Pp.

98. Edinburgh : John Johnstone. One of the objects of this little work is to present a plea for the Free Church of Scotland, not in a controversial, but in a simply historical form. The chapters are entitled :- 1. Progress and Policy of Moderation. II. Ascendancy of Evangelism— The Disruption. III. The Free Church. It is clearly written, with a little pardonable boasting, and well suited to convey a considerable amount of information on the facts and principles which it presents to view.

« PreviousContinue »