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Spencer's Sketches - Life of Hannah More.
IX. SPENCER'S PASTOR'S SKETCHES.1
The fourth edition in three months! This looks as if we had not misjudged the character and value of this volume in the highly commendatory review which we gave of it a little in advance of its publication (see Bib, Rep. for Oct. 1850). It is indeed a book of remarkable interest and power of instruction. Its graphic sketches of character, incidents and religious experiences; the thorough knowledge it evinces of the human heart in its most subtle phases of self-deception and unbelief; the skill with which it meets many of the strange difficulties which trouble thousands of "inquirers respecting the way of salvation;" the wisdom and soundness of its teaching upon many of the most delicate and difficult subjects which are wont to embarrass those whose duty it is to guide souls; the glorious views of the Gospel which it unfolds and exhibits to console and encourage the penitent; and the spirit of whole-souled pity and sympathy and earnestness which it breathes in every page, make it a book second in interest to none that we can name, and as instructive as it is interesting. It is just the book which every Christian pastor needs to stir him up and to guide him in his great work. It is just the book for every Christian to study who would be wise to win souls to Christ; and to be put into the hands of every friend, and every sinner whom we would have escape the perils of unbelief and embrace the great salvation. J. M. S.
X. MEMOIR OF HANNAH MORE.2
As a condensed and popular Biography of the gifted Hannah More, we hesitate not to commend this beautifully executed volume, as possessing peculiar and superior excellencies. It is, according to our taste, a model biography; not over-minute in its details; not cumbered with over-much correspondence; but a truthful, graphic, eloquent portraiture of the main features in the life and character of this transcendent woman. Mrs. Knight's style is racy and delightful; her arrangement is admirable; her appreciation of the subject of her Memoir is discriminating and just; and instead of tiring as we are wont to do over the heavy and almost endless pages of modern biographies, we follow her with eagerness to the conclusion, and regret that she had not given us more. Charmingly has the author achieved her task. Would that all the mothers and daughters of our land would read, to appreciate and to imitate the virtues of this noble and gifted one, this attractive memoir. The volume contains a striking likeness of Hannah More, and an elegant engraving of "Barley Wood," her favorite rural residence.
J. M. S.
1 A Pastor's Sketches: or Conversations with Anxious Inquirers respecting the Way of Salvation. By Ichabod S. Spencer, D. D., Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, N. Y. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1850.
2 A new Memoir of Hannah More; or Life in Hall and Cottage. By Mrs. Helen C. Knight. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1851.
XI. THE FOOTPRINTS OF THE CREATOR.1
The works of this author are full of interest for the general reader, and the theologian. The former will be attracted by the freshness, the homely strength, and the picturesqueness of the style, by the frequent beauty of the thoughts, by the iron grasp which the author takes of his subject, by his selfreliance and originality, and by the conscious mastery of the theme, whatever it is, which comes before him. The attentive theologian will find not simply a discussion of the common relations which geology holds to revelation, or abundant and striking illustrations of the doctrines of natural theology, or the expressions of a benevolent heart for the well-being of man; but a bold avowal of evangelical sentiments, and the interweaving, to a considerable extent, of the articles of a creed which has been quite distasteful to many scientific as well as literary men. The last chapter of the volume before us is on the bearing of final causes on geological history. Some of the thoughts which are developed at length are such as the following: - We learn from human history that nations are as certainly mortal as men. Geology teaches that species are as mortal as individuals and nations, and that even genera and families become extinct. There is geological evidence, that in the course of creation the higher orders succeeded the lower. The brain-that of the fish - which bears an average proportion of not more than two to one to the spinal cord, came first; last of all appeared the brain of man, which averages as twenty-three to one. The period when he was introduced upon the scene appears to have corresponded with the state of his habitation. The large reasoning brain would have been wholly out of place in the earlier ages. The period, too, of the mammiferous quadrupeds seems to have been determined, like the succeeding human period, by the earth's fitness at the time as a place of habitation for creatures so formed. By piecing the two records together, that of Scripture, and that revealed in the rocks, we learn that in slow and solemn majesty has period succeeded period, that fish, reptiles, mammiferous quadrupeds, have reigned in turn, that responsible man ultimately entered into a world ripened for his reception; but further, that this passing scene is not the final one in the long series, but merely the last of the preliminary scenes. There should seem to be a lack of proportion in the series of being, were the period of perfect and glorified humanity abruptly connected, without the introduction of an intermediate creation of responsible imperfection, with that of the dying, irresponsible brute. That scene of things in which God became Man, and suffered, seems, as it no doubt is, a necessary link in the chain.
Mr. Miller has been for several years editor of the "Witness," the principal newspaper of the Free Church of Scotland. Fifteen years of his previous life had been passed as a stone-mason, and five years as accountant in
1 The Footprints of the Creator; or, The Asterolepis of Stromness. By Hugh Miller, author of the Old Red Sandstone, etc. From the third London edition. With a memoir of the author. By Louis Agassiz. Boston: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, 1850. pp. 380.
Select Theological and Literary Intelligence.
the bank at Cromarty, his native town. His principal publications, besides the "Footprints," are "The Old Red Sandstone," four editions of which have been published in England, and which is soon to be reprinted in Boston; and "First Impressions of England and its People," describing a few months' tour, in which Mr. Miller often turns aside into the by-ways, and gives us intructive chapters on the condition and modes of thinking of the middle and lower classes, interspersed with geological speculations.
SELECT THEOLOGICAL AND LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
UNDER the above head, we shall condense the most important intelligence which we can procure, especially in biblical, theological and classical literature. Many of our subscribers are clergymen who reside in distant parts of the country, remote from libraries and booksellers' shops. Such, we have reason to believe, regard the information communicated on the last pages of each number of this journal as particularly valuable. For their benefit, we shall go into some detail in regard to the literary value, cost and accessibility of some of the more important books. A correspondent in China suggests that foreign missionaries and others who are engaged in translating the Bible, would be pleased with notices of books fitted to aid them in their difficult undertaking. English gentlemen have also requested us to furnish a list of the more valuable theological publications which appear from the American press, the notices in newspapers being generally too brief or too indiscriminate to furnish the requisite information.
A new number of the Journal of the American Oriental Society will soon be published. Valuable materials for a volume are on hand, and will be printed as soon as the pecuniary means of the Society will justify. Among these materials are essays on the structure, analogies, etc., of some of the languages of Southern and Western Africa; on the Dakota or Sioux language; on the Oscan and South Italian dialects; on the History of the Conquest of Persia by the Arabs, from the Turkish version of the annals of Et-Tabary; on Arabic Versification; a narrative of the Tour of Dr. J. Perkins from Oroomiah to Mosul, in 1849; on the Unity of the Human Race, as affected by Language, etc. The first number of the first volume has been reprinted. Valuable additions have been made to the library. In this connection, it may be stated that H. J. Anderson, M. D., who accompanied
Lieut. Lynch in his exploring expedition to the river Jordan, will soon publish an extended Report on the geology of Palestine.
Some important theological works are in the process of circulation by the Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, in Boston. Among these are the works of the Younger President Edwards, in 2 vols. 8vo. ; and of Rev. Joseph Bellamy, D. D., of Bethlem, Ct., also in 2 vols. Both were edited by Rev. T. Edwards, D. D., of New London, Ct. To the works of each, a short life of the author is prefixed. Some of the productions of Dr. Bellamy have had a deservedly high celebrity in England, as well as in this country. All will now rejoice that they are accessible in so convenient a form, and at a reasonable price. We may here mention that an additional volume in 550 pp. of Dr. Emmons's Sermons has been published under the care of Dr. Ide, of Medway. It is printed and bound so as to match with the preceding six volumes. It contains forty two sermons, mostly of a practical character. We may advert to these volumes on another occasion.
Dr. Webster's Dictionary of the English Language, published by Messrs. Merriam, of Springfield, is selling at a rate unprecedented, we believe, for so large a work. About 3000 copies have been distributed among the School Districts in Massachusetts, during the past year, in conformity with an act of the legislature of the State. The demand from other sources has also increased to the amount of several thousand copies beyond the preceding year. Many copies are now sent to distant parts of the world, where the people speak or are learning the English language, for missionary, commercial, and other purposes. The dictionary would be an inestimable treasure, not only in every school district, but in the family. Young children may be taught to resort to Webster as the arbiter of disputes, as a safe and satisfactory guide, and as a storehouse of invaluable information. In this respect, as well as in others, Dr. Webster, and his editor, Prof. Goodrich, are benefactors to the country. At the same time, we may say, that the public are under great obligations to Mr. Worcester, for his excellent Dictionary. It is a production every way worthy of his indefatigable industry, sound judg ment, and large experience as a lexicographer. There are many who find it very convenient, in some cases necessary, to use two or more dictionaries, as the student of Latin or Greek does not wish to confine himself to Liddell and Scott, or Leverett, or Freund. Worcester's dictionary has marked excellences, to which we need not now advert. In this connection we would say, that we heartily join in the closing remark of the writer of the article on the English Language in the Edinburgh Review for Oct. 1850. "It becomes us to guard it (our noble language) with jealous care, as a sacred deposit, not our least important trust in the heritage of humanity. Our brethren in America must assist in the task." We will cheerfully do so, and we will begin by referring to one abomination in this very article, p. 297. "The period during which it was being effected." The London Quarterly Review, Sept. 1850, p. 458, speaks of an individual as progressing.
We are glad to hear that the Dictionary of the Latin Language, on the basis of Freund's great work, which Prof. Andrews and his assistants have been for several years preparing, is at length published.
ACCORDING to the terms by which the Bibliotheca Sacra and Biblical Reposi tory are united, some articles and notices of publications, which were prepared for the Biblical Repository, will be inserted in the Bibliotheca Sacra during the present year. Two of these articles, and some notices, will be found in the present Number. The arrangements for uniting the publications were completed at so late a day, that there is not that variety in the topics discussed in the January No., which it will be the aim of the conductors to secure hereafter. This has unavoidably led to the insertion of a disproportionate amount of matter on the general subject of Philosophy.
It may here be stated, that the conductors are not to be held responsible for the correctness of all the sentiments advanced by their correspondents. In every Number there may be particular statements or opinions from which the editors would dissent. The general tenor and spirit of a discussion may be good, while some particular views may be without foundation. For these, the writers of the articles are responsible. For the highest usefulness of the periodical, the question of the insertion of articles in a particular number must be left to the judgment of the conductors.
We have been obliged to defer, for want of space, most of the Intelligence prepared for this Number.
In a part of the copies of this Number, the following clause should be inserted after the word "conscious," in p. 31, line 15 from bottom, "of different affections."