Abbildungen der Seite

Brief Literary Notices.


Psychology and Theology: or, Psychology applied to the Investigation of Questions relating to Religion, Natural Theology, and Revelation. By Richard Alliott, LL.D., Professor of Theology and Mental Philosophy, Western College, Plymouth. London: Jackson and Walford. 1855. THIS volume constitutes the "Congregational Lecture" for 1854. The questions discussed with reference to Religion are,-" Whether Religion is the offspring of a distinct mental faculty ?-and whether the will (which must have to do with its production) be a selfdetermining power?" To both these questions in answer to the arguments of Schleiermacher and Morell on the former, and to the arguments usually employed to prove the latter-he answers in the negative.

On the subject of Natural Theology, the author inquires, "What is our idea of God, how this idea is gained, and what proof we have of the objective reality of His existence ?" The first of these questions he answers by saying that, according to our idea of God, He is, "distinctively, First Cause, Necessary, Eternal, Independent, and Infinite." To the second he replies, that the idea of God is not innate; not (as Mr. Morell argues) a supersensual intuition; not (as M. Cousin maintains) ascribable to an Impersonal Reason; but "that it is obtainable by the simple exercise of our reasoning faculty in reference to phenomena within the sphere of phenomenal intuition." The third question is answered by arguments based on the assumed certainty of the facts attested by consciousness.

In reference to Christianity he asks, "Whether supernatural communications from God are possible; whether such communications are necessarily restricted as to their subject-matter or mode; what evidence will suffice to prove that a supernatural communication is from God, and therefore authoritative; and whether we have such evidence of the divine origin of Christianity ?" The first of these

questions he answers in the affirmative. To the second he replies, that there is a restriction, as to subject-matter, by the limit of human power for the reception of truth; but that their mode may be immediate as well as mediate. The third and fourth questions are answered in the usual way.

All these subjects are handled with considerable ability. But, in our view, the author's arguments in relation to certain points— such as the will, for instance-are far from being convincing.

Bible Teaching: or, Remarks on the Books of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus. With a Recommendatory Preface by the Rev. W. B. Mackenzie, M.A., Incumbent of St. James's, Holloway. New Edition, revised. London: J. F. Shaw. 1855.

THE title of this volume is very simple and unpretending, but its contents possess sterling merit. It is not, indeed, learned in style or language, or "in research and scientific illustration." But it seizes the meaning of the sacred text, and then, in easy and familiar, yet

tasteful, language, converses with the reader about the use and abuse of it in daily life, in a style and spirit eminently adapted to do good.

It derives a peculiar interest from the circumstances connected with its authorship. The first edition of it was published anonymously. But Mr. Mackenzie informs us that it " was written by three Misses Bird of Taplow, sisters of the late R. M. Bird, Esq., whose eminent administrative powers gained high distinction in the East India Civil Service; and that it originated in the want which was felt by these eminently Christian women of some practical help for the homely villagers in Berkshire, among whom they were accustomed to visit." It is rendered still further interesting from the circumstance that the eldest of the three sisters, by whom the greater part of it was written, was for several years an honoured labourer in the field of Indian Missions, where her memory is blessed, as well as in the sphere of usefulness which she occupied at home.

We cordially recommend these "Remarks," as being admirably adapted to the use of families and schools; and, at the same time, a valuable addition to the books which are "to the use of edifying" Christians generally.

Life's Holidays illuminated: Birthdays, Meetings, Partings. The Poems addressed to Annette. By W. J. Champion, B.A.

THESE Poems have a strong relish of the family, and of a family the lights of which are deep affection and true piety. With both conception and metre we should often find fault, but never with the intention. The feeling is pure throughout, often high, sometimes holy; and, in not a few passages, beautiful and touching verse worthily expresses the author's emotion.

[ocr errors]

A Refutation, recently discovered, of Spinoza by Leibnitz. With Prefatory Remarks and Introduction by the Count A. Foucher de Careil. Translated, at his Request, by the Rev. Octavius Freire Owen, M.A., F.S.A. Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. 1855,

THE translator of this "Refutation" justly questions "the practical utility of the investigations" to which it refers. He yet adds, with equal propriety, that, being a Refutation, upon philosophical principles, of the materialism enunciated by Spinoza, it is extremely valuable, as showing how the modern sceptics may be beaten on their own ground. It possesses, also, the incidental value of being proof that the suspicion which has in some quarters been attached to Leibnitz, of his having been a follower of Spinoza, in some of his worst opinions, has not been well founded. The reader will find some curious information on this subject, as well as on the system of Spinoza and the Kabbalistic doctrine, in the Preface by Count A. Foucher, and, also, in his remarks upon the "Refutation," which make up two-thirds of the volume. The "Refutation" itself, in its original form, is included in a MS. lately discovered in the Archives

Brief Literary Notices.


of the Royal Library at Hanover, and entitled "Critical Remarks on a Book by J. G. Wachter, upon the 'Secret Philosophy of the Hebrews.'" The publication of this volume, we are given to understand, is to be followed by that of another, also recently discovered, by M. de Careil, and which, as containing a further exposition of the real sentiments of Leibnitz, cannot be regarded otherwise than with great interest.

The Imperial Dictionary, English, Technological, and Scientific; adapted to the present State of Literature, Science, and Art; on the Basis of Webster's English Dictionary; comprising all words purely English, and the principal and most generally used Technical and Scientific Terms. Edited by John Ogilvie, LL.D. Two Vols., and a Supplement. Blackie and Son. 1849-55.

THE history of dictionaries would be not only a history of language, but also of national progress; for, words being the signs of things, they indicate the changes which occur in a nation's knowledge, sentiments, and habits. We do not aim, at present, at any comprehensive view of the progress of language and of literature in this country, as indicated by the large demand for superior dictionaries. Some four, at least, might be enumerated, which are now in such request as clearly shows an earnest desire well to understand the force and purity of the English language. We give a decided preference to that which stands at the head of this article. The "Imperial Dictionary" is a great work, well executed. The Introduction compresses into small space the substance of large treatises on the origin, progress, affinity, and changes of language, together with some very acute and valuable grammatical notices, in all of which, however, we cannot agree with our author. The Introduction is valuable, and we only wish that so accomplished a scholar had extended it.

The Dictionary is on the basis of Webster's, and that embraced Johnson, as improved by Mason and Todd. Todd's Johnson contains fifty-eight thousand words,-Webster's, seventy thousand. Webster greatly improved Johnson's definitions, in which consists the chief value of a dictionary, and introduced terms of science and art. Dr. Ogilvie has added to Webster's Dictionary not less than fifteen thousand words and terms, in the body of his work, and-it would hardly be thought possible-about fifteen thousand in the Supplement. Webster was engaged thirty years upon his Dictionary, and upwards of twelve years of unremitting critical labour have been spent upon the present work. What an amount of research expended upon the study of words,-fossil thoughts! What a debt of gratitude does every thoughtful Englishman owe to such men!

Some of the peculiarities of this great, and we might almost say national, work, ought to be noticed. It is a Pronouncing Dictionary, upon a new principle of notation; but it is fair to say that this must be considered its least pretension. In our opinion, the instances of a full written pronunciation might have been well increased; and the key to the notation printed at the top or bottom of each page. The derivations are most accurately traced, the origin of the word being

placed first in order in the language from whence it is received, and the cognate words according to their families. The editor has been sparing in illustrative quotations, and with much judgment has generally confined himself to the English Bible, the great standard of "English undefiled." In explicating terms of science and art, he has been assisted by some of the ablest men in philosophical and scientific literature; and we have never been disappointed on referring to such technical words and phrases. Their definitions and illustrations are admirably clear, correct, and comprehensive. Almost every word admitting of pictorial illustration or diagram is accompanied by a well-executed wood-cut; and these amount to the prodigious number of upwards of two thousand three hundred. And to render this Dictionary as complete as possible, there are added pronouncing vocabularies of Greek, Latin, and Scripture proper names, and of modern geographical names. This portion is by Professor Porter, of Yale College, United States, and is accompanied by brief rules for the pronunciation of the principal European languages.

We can only regret that there are difficulties in the way of the enterprising publishers blending the Supplement with the work. Notwithstanding the enormous expense and labour they have bestowed on the Dictionary and the addenda, we hope that the support they shall receive will enable them, at no distant day, to combine them alphabetically. The amplest success is but the due reward of the service which they and the accomplished Editor have rendered every Englishman who reveres and loves his mother tongue.

A Pastor's Sketches: or, Conversations with anxious Inquirers respecting the Way of Salvation. By J. S. Spencer, D.D., Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York. With an Introduction and Editorial Notes by J. A. James. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. 1855. MR. JAMES is intent on doing good; and his productions have a value beyond computation, because they are "the seeds of great things," by being the seeds of eternal results. We thank him for introducing to us a very impressive book, both for Ministers and Churches. The Introduction is most forceful, and ought to be read by every Minister who understands, or wishes to understand, the real ends of his high vocation,-to win sinners to Christ, and to build up the Church. Two points are wisely and earnestly enforced, a kind of preaching intended and adapted to produce conversion; and the careful and judicious treatment, by private conversation, of individual cases of persons under religious concern. Dr. Spencer's book is admirably calculated to illustrate the second point. Some of the Sketches are full of a profound practical philosophy, the skill of one who well understands spiritual therapeutics. There is a directness and a boldness in Dr. Spencer's mode of dealing with pastoral cases which we greatly admire. His success in the instance of "The Miserable Heart" could only have been secured by such practice. It might be expected that we should differ from our valued author on some points connected with personal salvation; for, whatever may be said by the use of illustrations, we hold to the doctrine of an imparted

Brief Literary Notices.

spiritual life to those who were dead in trespasses and sin.

we "born again."


Then are

The volume before us is full of suggestions to Christian Ministers especially; and to them we strongly commend it.

Wine: its Use and Taxation. An Inquiry into the Operation of the Wine Duties on Consumption and Revenue. By Sir James Emerson Tennent, K.C.S., LL.D., &c., &c. London: James Madden. 1855.

THIS is a most exhaustive inquiry into the policy of the wine duties. The whole subject is thoroughly investigated, under the lights of history and statistics; and the conclusions come to are not only supported by ample reasonings, but bear the stronger impress of truth, since they are opposed to the previous opinions of the writer.

After giving the arguments adduced by the advocates of a shilling duty, in place of the present duty of 5s. 9d., the author inquires if the necessary quantity of suitable wines could be procured from the different wine-growing countries of Europe. Of the aggregate produce of these countries, he shows that the greater portion can never be available, partly from the inferior quality of the vintage, and partly from the injury done to certain kinds by transport and keeping. In France mainly would have to be sought the surplus quantity required; but the author is of opinion that, with a growing demand from North America, California, and Australia, France could not possibly supply us with suitable light wines, to any thing like the amount required to replace the revenue. The change contemplated by some persons would throw upon France the onus of providing 20,000,000 gallons, where she has hitherto supplied only about 400,000 gallons. But Sir James inquires how far the reduction of duty would recall the taste of our countrymen for light French wines, and he thinks that evidence is not favourable to the idea of such return to former habits; at least, without such a protracted temporary loss to the revenue, as no Chancellor of the Exchequer would contemplate with equanimity. He shows also, that the wine-growers of the South of France are more anxious to reduce internal taxation on wine in France, and that it is an error to suppose that France imposes prohibiting duty on British manufactures merely as a reprisal for our duties on her wines. The whole subject is carefully investigated, and we must refer such of our readers as take an interest in this department of commercial polity to the work itself.

The British Workman, and Friend of the Sons of Toil. Nos. I.-V. London: Partridge and Oakey.

THIS handsome sheet, filled with sound and entertaining literature, and sprinkled with fine engravings, is issued monthly at the charge of one penny. What the "Band of Hope Review" supplies for children, the "British Workman" offers to the adult and labouring population. It is not, indeed, all that an intellectual workman will require; but the most educated artisan may welcome it to his

« ZurückWeiter »