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The volume would traduce us to a foreigner or stranger. A description of Boston that should speak only of the lower grades and places in it, and leave out State, Washington and Beacon streets, the churches, public schools and libraries, the wharves and the common, would be quite as just to the city as this book is to the New England woman and the New England man. ·
But a more objectionable feature stares at us on the face of the book. The permanency of the marriage relation is discarded. We quote for fear of being distrusted. “I do not believe in women's leaving their husbands to live with other men ; it is infamy and it is folly ; but I do believe most profoundly in women's leaving their husbands. It may be their right and their duty.” “Love is the sole morality of marriage, and a marriage to which love has never come, or from which it has departed, is immorality, and a woman can not continue in it without continually incurring stain. . . . If the law does not justify such action, she is right in taking the matter into her own hands. ... The position which a woman occupies in such a connection, (where love is wanting] is fairer in the eyes of the law, but morally it is no less objectionable than if the marriage ceremony had never taken place.” pp. 266, 7.
“But what of the Bible?" inquires our author, quoting from all the community. Yes, perhaps that question should be raised, and so it is, and answered thus : “ The chief stress of scriptural prohibition is laid on men. The rules and restraints are for men. Very little injunction is given to women. The inspirer of the Bible knew the souls which he had made, and for the hardness of men's hearts hedged them about with restrictions, and for the softness of women's hearts left them chiefly to their own sweet will. . . . But what then becomes of the marriage vows ? Shall all their solemnity vanish as a thread of tow when it toucheth the fire ? No; but I would have the marriage vows themselves vanish. They are heathenish. They are a relic of barbarism.” pp. 271, 2.
This unblushing, outspoken rejection of scriptural authority and the Christian usage of all ages and countries in the matter of marriage vows, tempts one to the use of severe language. It is a steep grading toward the low “ free-love” level. It is not even good Parisian morality. And just here crops out that rising thought in the earlier part of this volume, showing its full proportions, that Moses wrote all he knew of the apostasy, and as a man involved Eve unduly, and that, could she tell her side, the record would be both more ample and more just. New Testament authority is slurred in the same way. What then becomes of Inspiration and Moses and Paul? Rather is the question: What becomes of Gail Hamilton ? Moses said some sharp things about his sister for questioning his authority, as fully inspired, and Paul had occasion to rebuke some women of easy speech. Were they alive now, we think they would be moved of the Holy Ghost to speak again. Nay, being dead, they yet speak, and we most earnesty commend our author to a revision of her “ love” question at the feet of those ancient masters of her theme.
But we have quoted enough, too much. The volume slurs and depreciates marriage, and a tone and spirit run through its pages as if the writer had a grudge against it. The sentences march along in a kind of bloomer gait as to a women's rights convention. And this attack by a woman on matrimonial vows appears all the stranger when we consider what they have done in their scriptural force and intent for woman. Make “ love the sole morality of marriage,” and the only condition of permanency in the marriage tie, and woman will be set back and out among the Gentiles, where Judaism and Christianity found her. We have admitted that there are some blemishes on the matrimonial picture ; what we object to is the burning of the canvas to remove them.
One small party will give its sympathies to the writer in these pages, those who have been married unfortunately, and a few of those who unfortunately have not been married ; but the vast majority, who can testify from what they know, in the deep blessedness of married life, will mouru and sorrow that a New England woman could write such a book.
10.-A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal,
Homiletical : with special reference to Ministers and Students. By John PETER LANGE, D. D., Professor of Theology at the University of Bonn. Vol. I. The Gospel of Matthew, together with a General Theological and Homiletical Introduction to the New Testament. Translated from the Third German Edition, with additions, original and selected. By Philip SCHAFF, D. D. In connection with American Divines of various Evangelical Denominations. Royal 8vo. pp. xxii. 568. New York : Charles Scribner. 1865.
We recently noticed the inauguration of a new Commentary upon the New Testament, under the patronage of the American Metho. dist Episcopal church. Here we have the first instalment of a much greater work upon the entire Bible. Both of these are under the management of German students domesticated among us, bringing the wealth of European scholarship to enrich our literature. This last enterprise, we are told, involves a capital to carry it through of $25,000. Now, as our book publishers are proverbially
among the shrewdest of our business men, this would not indicate much prospect of a falling off in the devout study of the Word of God, notwithstanding the zealous efforts in that direction of Colenso, Renan, the Westminster Review, Christian Examiner, Dr. Furness, and the table-rappers. As the Bible has had more commentaries written upon it than any dozen books in existence, so it is likely still to have more reverential readers to the end of time.
This new book is fortunate especially in its editorial management. Dr. Schaff stands prominent in qualifications both of learning and of heart, for such an undertaking, among all living scholars. This is saying much, but we think it simply true. He enjoys the highest reputation abroad for critical Christian erudition in its wide range, and among us he is honored, beyond most, for a peculiarly modest and earnest devotion to the interests of spiritual religion. We know not in whose hands the Holy Scriptures could find a more thorough and appreciative and profitable exposition. .
Prof. Schaff introduces us to the author of the original work, Dr. Lange, in a very pleasant way, as one of the ablest and purest divines that Germany ever produced, a man of rare genius, varied culture, deep piety, genial, affectionate, simple, unassuming, excelling as a theologian, philosopher, poet, preacher, of a fresh, stimulating, fascinating mind and spirit; more positive and decided in theology, than Neander and Tholuck, yet more conciliatory than Hengstenberg, an utterly uncompromising foe, however, of German rationalism and scepticism, and anti-biblical criticism. His theological position is represented to be “evangelical catholic, churchly, yet unsectarian, conservative, yet progressive; it is the true living theology of the age,” which aims to unite the vital elements of the Litheran and Reformed Confessions, and on this basis
“ To promote catholic unity and harmony among the conflicting branches of Christ's church." .... " It is this theology which is now undergoing a process of naturalization and amalgamation in the United States, which will here be united with the religious fervor, the sound, strong common sense, and free, practical energy of the Anglo-American race, and which in this modified form has a wider field of usefulness before it in this new world than even in its European fatherland.” p. xiii.
We freely accept this statement, in our interpretation of its meaning, of our distinguished friend from abroad, (for so we have the pleasure of naming him personally,) while we are constrained to watch most carefully the process of this very "amalgamation," lest the “miry clay" shall displace "the silver and gold.” Meanwhile, to return to this Commentary, it very fully satisfies our idea of a biblical help in its criticism of the sacred text, in its doctrinal suin
maries, in its practical teachings, in its devotional spirit, and in its homiletical hints. This last feature is specially valuable. Ministers, Sabbath School teachers, and conductors of social religious meetings will gain many suggestions to assist their labors. They will get into the central and side meanings of the sacred word, with great facility and delight, through these brief hints. The work has special adaptations to lay readings and study, and should have a liberal patronage from intelligent persons who are not professional students, as well as from this more educated class.
The Introduction is new, pithy, and full of interest. A large amount of hermeneutical, bibliographical, homiletical, ecclesiastical, and general bibļical information is crowded into its moderate dimension. In the body of the work, the chief writers upon special topics are named under the title of “Literature," at the end of the chapter. We suggest the liability of omitting the names of prominent writers in our English tongue, as being less familiar to the editor than those of his own nation. For instance, we miss, under the Literature of the Lord's Prayer, the excellent and elaborate work of Ezekiel Hopkins, D. D., Bishop of Derry, London, 1692. We shall look for the continuance of this publication with lively interest and very expanded expectations.
11.–MISCELLANEOUS. Christian Home Life: a Book of Examples and Principles. American Tract Society, New York, and 40 Cornhill, Boston. Noticed in our last number. Pastor's Jottings : or Striking Scenes during a Ministry of Thirty-five Years. By the same. Not extracts from old sermons, but stirring facts growing out of the pastoral office and work, those facts that, wheu well told as here, always move us, because so vital, thrilling and practical. Sketches of Eloquent Preachers. By Rev. J. B. Waterbury, D. D. By the same. There are twenty-three of these brief memoirs, and the most of them of modern preachers. The work is happily executed, being a condensed, lively, faithful outline of the subjects. Walter Martin : or the Factory, the School and the Camp. By the same. The title tells our younger readers just what to expect in a book as interesting as any novel, and all the better for being perfectly true. There was a real Walter. The Bloom of Youth : or Worthy Examples. By the same. More facts about real children, and well selected and written out. Five Years in the Alleghanies. By the same. We greatly misjudge if this little book does not have a wide reading. He who goes into these mountains will go through them. The Color Bearer: Francis A. Clary. Little Lucy of the West, and seven other little ones. Chloe, the poor Slave. All three by the same Society, and of the best children's reading.
*** We have received, just as we go to press, from Charles Scribner, New York, Woolsey's International Law; Maine's Ancient Law; Cooke's Religion and Chemistry: from Harper & Bros., Hall's Arctic Researches ; Under the Ban: from Hurd & Houghton, Gardner's Autumn Leaves ; Williams' Year in China ; Idyls of Battle: from W. y. Spencer, Boston, Mill's Dissertations and Discussions : to which we shall give our early attention.
THE ROUND TABLE.
OURSELVES. We enter on our fifth year with more comfort and confidence than we have on any other. We are happy to find our first judgment of four years ago correct, that there is a place for us without displacing any one. Our growing list of contributors, now more than sixty, and our growing list of subscribers, now much better than ever before, far better than these stern times would warrant us in expecting, give us assurance that there was a need for the Boston Review, and that we are in some good degree meeting it. Our aim has been to instruct and interest the Christian family as well as the scholar, in theology, practical life and general literature. Our range of topics is therefore wide and varied, and their selection and treatment most liberal, as one would see must be the case, were a list of our contributors examined. The professor's chair, the pulpit, the bench, the bar, the cloister of the scholar, the counting-room, and other retreats of lettered men, have furnished the thought and strength and grace for which the press has so courteously and uniformly commended our pages.
At the earnest wish of our readers, and with much reluctance, we lift the visor that we have gladly worn for four years, and with this number we publish the editors' names. We propose also, as a general rule, to print the names of the writers with their articles. While we feel conscientiously restrained from publishing leading views and sentiments that we would not be willing to adopt and defend, we shall feel less editorial responsibility under our new policy of giving the names of the writers.
The disturbed condition of public finance in these war times, and