Page images
PDF
EPUB

uchadnezzar within and around Babylon, in the description of which Herodotus gives ample display of his credulity,—representing the walls built around the city as reaching a height of 400 feet, or about twice the height of the Bunker-Hill monument, and as enclosing an area of 130 square miles, nearly the area of a Massachusetts county ! — and with the strange, sad, pitiable fate of the great monarch, after the long reign of forty-three years ; with the rapid decline of the empire after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, ending in the great conquest by Cyrus who turns the course of the Euphrates, enters by the bed of the river, surprises Belshazzar and his “ thousand nobles” while at the impious banquet, so graphically described in the fifth chapter of Daniel, and by a complete conquest of the great capital, in B. C. 538, forever extinguishes the Babylonian empire. We may, indeed, thank the Rawlinsons for their clear and compact re-statement of the old story; for the light which they throw upon some points hitherto obscure; and for the criticisms, both expressed and implied, by which their readers will be enabled to form a rational conception of the most dazzling epoch in the world's history. Still

, our great indebtedness to them is for the new inforination which they have given us respecting the earlier and generally mistaken chronology and history of the old empires of Chaldæa and Assyria.

We cannot close without taking occasion, by a brief word, to make our acknowledgements to Mr. Rawlinson and his assistants, for the great service they have rendered the Biblical student. The story of Abraham, migrating " from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan”; the Scripture accounts of the eventful history of Judah and Israel, given minutely in the books of the Kings and the Chronicles, -all of which more or less mix up, or interpenetrate, the doings of the mighty empire of the Mespotamian plain ; the frequent allusion to Assyria and Babylon by the prophets ; the hardships which Samaria and Judea suffered at the hands of Assyrian kings ; and the constant fear which the mention of these rulers always created among the nations within and near the land of the Bible ; — all these interesting matters will be read with fresh interest, with clearer perceptions, and with increased confidence, by those who avail themselves of the light which Rawlinson's labors have thrown upon the Bible page.

G. H. E.

ART. VII.

God's Presence. Ps. lxxxix.

How, O God, from thee

Can my footsteps go
Where thine eye shall fail to see,

Or thy thought to know?

Heaven's sublimest height,

Deepest grave,-each lies Plainly open to thy sight,

All their mysteries.

If on morning's wings

To earth's farthest shore I should fee, thy visitings

There have been before.

If to night I say,

“ Hide me from my God;" Thy o'erpowering presence-ray

Scatters night abroad.

Night is not with thee,

Day is all thine own, Shedding its intensity

From thy burning throne.

Father! search and try

All my thoughts and ways ; Be it mine to live or die

In thy work and praise.

J. G. A.

ART. VIII.

Literary Notices.

1. Biblical Review: Intended as a new improved Commentary on the Bible: wherein the Author attempts to give more Rational Interpretations of Subjects and Passages, than are common in other books have ing the same general purpose: on a Plan that renders the book as well fitted for Reading as for Reference. By Rev. W. E. Manley. Vol. II. Boston: Abel Tompkins. 1860. pp. 394.

Universalists have done much to correct what they deem false in the so-called evangelical interpretations of the New Testament. Paige's Commentary does this work consecutively and exhaustively to the end of the Epistle to the Romans. Whittemore has been equally thorough in his treatise on the book of Revelation. And nearly all the leading passages of other portions of the New Testament have been treated, with more or less of thoroughness, by various writers in our denomination. But the Old Testament, as a whole, has been neglected; that is, the old interpretations of this department of the Scriptures, have been suffered to pass unchallenged. True, there has been less sectarian inducement to give the same attention to popular interpretations of the Old as of the New Testament ; for the doctrinal points which separate the different sects, are predicated of New Testament passages to a far greater extent than of Old Testament passages.

Still, we must think that our exegetical writers have not given the old Testament a proportionate share of merited attention. Mr. Manley's work, therefore, supplies what has hitherto been a desideratum. It fills a place, up to this, unoccupied by Universalist literature.

His work, however, has a special merit on other grounds. Mr. Manley concedes, in fact, assumes as an authoritative principle, that any interpretation of the Bible to be accepted must be rational-rational in the sense of commending itself to the human heart and judgment. The Bible must ask no special favors. Human nature must not be called upon to concede any of its instincts, any of its primitive beliefs. It is something new for an Old Testament commentator to acknowledge the binding force of such a principle of interpretation. Mr. Manley has, in this, given his “ Biblical Review” a distinctive character-a character that will command for it both attention and respect.

A leading feature of his plan is to consider the Bible, not in the tedious order of chapter and verse, but the economical and,

ume

we think, more satisfactory order of subjects. The present vol

“ embraces all the historical parts of Exodus and Numbers, and the corresponding portions of Deuteronomy.” The comprehensive subject is “ Egypt and the Wilderness.” We have dissertations on the Pentateuch ; on all the special topics embraced under archæology; and on the doctrines of the portion of the Bible reviewed,—such as concern the unity of God, his sovereignty, and man's agency, rewards and punishments, and human nature. Much space is devoted to the special miracles brought under review. The bulk of the work treats of the Israelites—at first in Egypt, afterwards in the Wilderness. The work is executed with learning, with good sense, with a skilful destribution and classification of matter, and with an industry that will seem mysterious to men of only average patience. We sincerely trust that the author will get some pecuniary recompense for his service, not only to the denomination, but to the great cause of Bib lical interpretation.

2. Living Words, by E. H. Chapin, D.D. With an Introductory Letter, by Rev. T. S. King. Boston: A. Tompkins. 1860. pp 360.

Some years since, we were struck with the force of a statement in a leading New York periodical, by a reviewer of one of Dr. Chapin's books, that the author has a remarkable faculty in producing what are technically called aphorisms. Every one who has heard and appreciated him, must have noted the completeness of his sentences. The whole thought, everything essential to the apprehension of his thought, is enunciated. Frequently he compresses into a short metaphor what will easily dilate into the proportions of a discourse. It is not alone the unction of his manner, but, in part, the sententious force of his phrase, that gives that impetus to his thought which his hearers always feel. We do deliberately believe, that the writ. ings of no other American preacher produce so large a proportion of aphoristic sentences. We cannot, therefore, give the compiler of the handsome volume named above, credit for any extraordinary skill, simply for making selection of the gems which are set in its pages. This required only industry and an appreciation of the author. But we do concede that he has shown both skill and taste in the very complete, and significantlyworded Index of Subjects, covering fourteen pages, and placed, where it seems to us an index is most convenient, at the beginning of the book. We suspect that the principal labor of the compiler was in this; for, in our experience, a difficult work is to word a compact, yet comprehensive statement of a subject. The compiler has succeeded admirably in this difficult task. The

Introductory Letter by Rev. T. S. King, is a gem in its way, breathing a genuine affection for his once pastor; making frank and hearty confession of indebtedness to him for much that has been developed in his own intellectual growth; and forcibly suggesting the marked qualities in the character of Dr. Chapin, the thinker, the writer, and the orator. The book is handsomely gotten up; and is, what the title purports, a living book. We must not forget to add, that the friends of Dr. Chapin will find prefixed to this volume, the best portrait of their favorite yet published. The artist has caught the expression in his best mood; and has been eminently successful. We trust the book will have what its intrinsic value merits, and what compiler and publisher deserve, a prompt, extensive and remunerative sale.

3. The Pro and Con of Universalism, both as to its Doctrines and Moral Bearings. Sixth Edition. New York: Henry Lyon. 1860.

Like the greeting of an old friend after a separation of years, is the reception of this book. Years ago we made it a special study; and it was soon classed with our favorites. We knew the author--that quaint, plain-spoken, honest, toiling, self-sacrifising, profoundly original, both in thought and expression, and always eccentric genius. We know him intimately-have roomed with him, travelled with him, communed with him; and we know whereof we affirm, when we say, that to him was given a much larger proportion both of heart and of intellect, than to the average of his fellow creatures. The “ Pro and Con” was his great argumentative, controversial work. It presents both sides of the argument—always states the popular objection to Universalism with full force, and then meets it with candid yet conclusive rejoinders. It has made many converts to the truth. We are glad to have the evidence furnished by a sixth edition, that the demand for it still continues. It has, we trust, much more work in store before it is destined to class with the obsolete and forgotten.

4. The Friendly Disputants ; or, Future Punishment Re-conidered. By Aura, Author of "Ashburn." London: Arthur Hall, Virtue, & Co. 1860. pp. 490.

Strung on the thread of a fictitious dialogue, we have here a series of arguments in defence of a definite, unambiguous Universalism—somewhat after the model of the Winchester dialogues. An English production, it takes, on some minor points

particularly as regards Scripture interpretation-positions not commonly urged the American side of the water. For an example, we

VOL. XVIII. 9

« PreviousContinue »