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The Coming of the Lord, to judge the earth. By the Rev. E. GILLSON,
B.A. London: J. Nisbet and Co. 1846. " Polski Very scriptural and excellent: full of solemn views of divine truth. It contains a great deal that is much needed in our day. Judgments Teaching Righteousness and Preparing for the Lorđ's Coming.
n!.. By the Rev. E. BICKERST ETH. Seeley, 1847. This work is the substance of two sermons preached on the national fast (24th March last). They are most suitable, scriptural and solemn. Along with Mr Bickersteth we rejoice and give thanks to God for the appointment of that fast by royal authority. May its fruits be seen in a'! nation's reformation ! The Eton Greek Grammar, translated into English, with the addition of many Notes, &c.' . By the Rev. S. N. Wright. London: W. Joy, 184701 B ul**is ilini ! A new and very beautiful edition of an old and well-known grammar.
Words of Truth for the Saints of God. Vol. 3. London: 1847. We have formerly noticed the two first volumes of this little book." This third one contains like them much precious truth, of which the" following extract is a specimen,
“ The moment, beloved friends, that we have believed in the Lord Jesus, every thing that would comfort, that would tend to give us joy: and confidence, finds its only source to be in him; and, also, every thing that would try us, every thing that would condemn and search the conscience, all these things end in simple and entire blessing because of him. So that even that truth from which we naturally shrink, as showing what should be the moral perfectness of the saint, when we see it according to the place in which we are in Christ, is sure to lead to blessing and to: joy: Siyah
« Now it is thus that we have to read such a psalm as this. .!
« There are few parts of the holy Scriptures that show us more entirely what our own failure and weakness is, and how we have stumbled at every step, than the Psalms; because they describe the perfectness of One who was unblemished before God, who never stumbled. Therefore all those things which show his perfectness, both outwardly and inwardly, must be full of discomfort and discouragement to us, if looked at apart' from their real object. : If we seek to establish our security before God, * by getting the experience which the Psalms give, we must say, Depart. from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.? No soul could get solid peace. Yet many are endeavouring to do so; many are seeking the same lineaments in themselves--the same features of experience, which are depicts, ed in the Psalms; and then judging of themselves by this, as a standard. For instance, that in the next Psalm:- Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eye behold the things that are equal. Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress,'i v, 2, 3.. Now, inasmuch as imperfection is sure to be found in our ways and inward feelings (even when they come from the
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Spirit of God being in us), these feelings can never form the stable ground of peace, in the presence of God. Therefore it is not until we see that every claim of God's holiness has been met, and perfectly an. swered by Jesus; that when God tried (as he did) his reins and his heart, he found nothing that did not perfectly suit his holiness in Jesus: it is not, I say, until we see this, and know that Jesus has entered into the pleasures that are at God's right hand for ever more, in consequence of this, that our joy is full. Then there is joy, because it is said · for us,' Heb. ix. 24. And this is true of the one who has but touched the hem of the garment of Jesus. There never was an ailing or sorrowing heart that looked at Jesus, that did not find God's salvation in him-in him who is now made higher than the heavens.
“ All these Psalms thus become the portion of the soul that has faith in Jesus. It is not by going on, treading step after step in experience the path that Jesus trod, that we enter life and blessing. No, we reach it at once, through him who has trodden all these steps, and who is now with the Father. We are placed immediately in the glory which Christ has attained. We should read the Psalms as those who have reached acceptance, and blessing, and glory too (in one sense) in him; and then we shall find ourselves placed in circumstances here in which we have to say, as he said, “ Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust.”
BOOKS RECEIVED FOR REVIEW. 1. Does the Established Church acknowledge Christ as its Head? This question answered by the official statements of the Judges and Statesmen of the Land, and
the recent acts of the Established Church. By the Rev. James M'Cosh, A.M., East Free Church, Brechin. 8vo. pp. 16. Edinburgh: Johnstone. 1846.
2. Education for the People. A Letter addressed to the Lord Bishop of Ripon. By the Rev. Scott F. Surtees, Rector of Richmond, Yorkshire. 8vo. pp. 58. London: Bell. 1846.
3. Sectarianism; the Bane of Religion and the Church, and the necessity of an immediate movement towards unity. 12mo. pp. 76. London: Nisbet. 1846.
4. The German Reformation of the Nineteenth Century; or, a Sketch of the Rise, Progress, and Present Position of those who have recently separated themselves from the Church of Rome; with a short notice of the state of Protestantism in Prussia, Austrial, Bavaria, and the Prussian Baltic Provinces. By the German Correspondent of the Continental Echo. 12mo. pp. 469. London: Snow. 1846.
5. The Literary History of the New Testament. 8vo. Pp. 608. London: Seeley. 1845.
6. Pastoral Addresses. By J. A. James. Third Series. 12mo. London: Tract Society.
7. Nelson's British Library. 8. Hogg's Weekly Instructor. Various Parts. 9. Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation. 18mo. 184. London: Tract Society. 10. M'Comb's Presbyterian Almanack, 1847.
11. The Three Wives; or, Woman Morally and Religiously Superior to Man. By John Reid Miles, Author of a Dictionary of Scripture Geography, the Lives of Watts and Drew, a Continuation of the History of England, &c. Fcap. 8vo. pp. 212. Liverpool: Howell, 1847.
12. The Christian Philosopher; or, the Connection of Science and Philosophy with Religion. Illustrated with Engravings. By Thomas Dick, LL.D., Author of Philolosophy of Religion, &c. Vol. I. A new edition, revised, corrected, and greatly enlarged. 12mo. pp. 314. Glasgow: Collins.
No. LXXVII.-JULY 1847.
ART. I.-1. Bedæ Venerabilis Opera quae supersunt omnia. 12
vols. 8vo. 1844. 2. Bedæ Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, cum Opusculis
quibusdam. Oxford, 1846. 3. Glimpses of the Dark Ages from the fifth to the twelfth century.
Tract Society. London, 1846.
A late writer remarks that out of every thousand of the human race, there will be always one born for thought. admit with this qualification, that in estimating this proportion you must not take each generation singly, but several ages at once, for you will find times when even this apparently moderate calculation is too high and others again when it is much too low. One generation is crowded with thinkers, the next perhaps is nearly destitute. Men of such powers can hardly fail to distinguish themselves in some department of life, even in spite of discouragement and opposition. The rest of the thousand, composing the inferior and average minds of the age, will only be led forward in thought and study by advantageous and encouraging circumstances; and hence, in a barbarous age, when there are no inducements to literary effort, these men pass through life undistinguished, and posterity forgets their names. Yet in a more advanced age they might have been its ornament if not its boast; and thus we may easily see how, though, in an age like the present, there may appear to be a galaxy of genius, there may really be few entitled to the name.
We would hardly venture to affirm that he whose life and character we are to consider, can be reckoned as the one among a thousand of his age, in respect of high genius. He stands forth no doubt as the prodigy of his time, but it was more in respect of his immense learning and marvellous industry than for natural
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gifts. True, one that lived as he lived, that studied as he stu-' died, that laboured as he laboured, was not of common powers, but a review of his writings will convince us that neither has he a claim to be ranked among those whose amazing genius awes and humbles us. We estimate genius from the general history of mankind, i.e. without regard to local and contemporaneous circumstances, and therefore we say that he has had many superiors; but we estimate the learning of a man from the state of knowledge in the age when he lived, and here we may justly say that Bede has had no superiors. He accumulated the whole mass of learning that the world in his day possessed. In science, in philosophy, in literature, in theology, his researches were equally extensive and laborious. An old author (William of Malmsbury) tells us that it is much easier to admire him in thought than do him justice in expression. And after lauding his piety and learning, he laments the loss of his industry and talents for following ages, observing that upon his death “all true knowledge of history went to the grave with him, and men becoming more indolent every day, all spirit of study and of industry was quite extinct from the island."
It may be interesting to introduce here two extracts regarding that condition of darkness into which not only Britain, but all Europe was beginning to fall in the days of Bede. Whether the writer may not ascribe too much credit to the church we do not stay to inquire. Our readers may make what deduction they please; still they may gather something from the following sketch.
“ Next to the moral condition of mankind, their intellectual state is the most interesting subject of inquiry. The dark ages form a kind of parenthesis in the history of the human mind in Europe. A long and brilliant period of intellectual cultivation and energy preceded them: and an era, in many respects, of still higher attainment and of richer promise has followed. The night which comes between two such days seems very gloomy, yet is there much truth in the observation, that there was always a faint twilight, like that auspicious gleam, which, in a summer's night, fills up the interval between the setting and the rising sun.' Nor should it be forgotten, that before the commencement of the mediæval period, there had been a great decline in sound learning; and that the nations of Europe, whose ignorance we deplore, were, for the most part, the descendants not of the classic nations of antiquity, but of the rude barbarians of the north.
“ Whatever measure of intellectual cultivation may have relieved the prevailing darkness, it emanated from the church. To men of the ecclesiastical profession we are indebted for the preservation of ancient literature; and they were almost the only authors who wrote during the period. The church afforded an asylum for the studious; and, in those times, quiet and reflective minds would naturally seek refuge in its bosom. It is difficult, even after much inquiry, to form a definite and accurate idea of the literary aspect of Europe in the dark ages; and next to impossible to convey, in the short space which we can here allot to it, a correct impression of the result of such inquiries. The seventh century may be fixed on as the nadir of the human mind. Faint traces of the spirit of literature cheer the subsequent space of five hundred years, after which a very considerable revival of learning took place. General remarks as to the state of literature in Europe, during the whole of this period, are likely to mislead, because the state of one country and of one century materially differed from another. The spirit of literature may be said to have migrated from land to land; now visiting the shores of Ireland and England, then passing over to France and Germany, and touching upon Italy, till there in its classic form, it found a congenial home. Ireland and England were probably much in advance of their contemporaries, in the seventh and eighth centuries, but afterwards declined. France revived in the ninth, and went on progressing during the following ages; and towards the latter part of the tenth century, Germany possessed many learned churchmen. In Italy, signs of improvement are perceptible in the eleventh century, but classical literature did not flourish there till the fifteenth.
“ A considerable number of books were written during the very darkest periods of the middle ages. They treat of various subjects connected with theology and the church. Several of the authors were evidently studious men, and were, for the time in which they lived, extensively acquainted with books. It should also be stated, that they were certainly not so ignorant of Scripture, so far as the letter of it was concerned, as is generally supposed. In looking over the writers of the middle ages, down to the monkish chroniclers and legendary tale-tellers, the reader finds frequent use made of Scripture language; the application of it, however, shows, in a great number of instances, a deplorable ignorance of its proper sense, and but little sympathy with its true spirit. It is the most striking circumstance in the literary annals of the dark ages, that they seem to us still more deficient in native, than in acquired ability. The mere ignorance of letters has sometimes been a little exaggerated, and admits of certain qualifications; but a tameness and mediocrity, a servile habit of merely compiling from others, runs through the writers of these centuries. It is not only that much was lost, but that there was nothing to compensate for it, nothing of original genius in the province of imagination; and but two extraordinary men, Scotus Erigena and Gerbert, may be said to stand out from the crowd in literature and philosophy.
“What might be the average state of the clergy, in reference to the possession of knowledge, during the middle ages, is an interesting question, but one, like many others, difficult to answer. There can be no doubt that many ecclesiastics could not write, but it appears that ability to read at least the service books, was a common attainment. Notices of extreme ignorance, in some countries, at certain times, may be found; for instance, king Alfred complains, in his day, that there were very few on the south side of the Humber, and none on the south side of the Thames, who could translate the Latin service into English; and Rathe