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The very thorough consideration which was given to the Gospel of St. Matthew, enables the editors to dispose of the next two Evangelists in a single volume of some fifty pages less than the preceding. Dr. Shedd has brought out St. Mark's Gospel with characteristic neatness and good judgment. Whether following the original author or his own excellent taste, we observe less discursiveness of remark, and less amplification of reference to other commentators, than in the other Gospels. The third Evangelist was committed by Dr. Lange to the distinguished scholar and preacher of Holland, Dr. Van Oosterzee. In this edition, his labors are reproduced through the joint editorship of Drs. Schaff and Starbuck, the latter accomplishing the much larger part of the work. The same general plan is followed by each of these gentle
We have thus unity with much variety of treatment, the scholarship and piety of many eminent minds conspiring to illustrate, with their best resources, the sacred books of our faith. This conception, faithfully carried out, can not fail to result in a commentary, upon the whole Bible, of hitherto unrivalled attractiveness and value in our language.
It rather increases the interest and value of this undertaking, that the American editors freely dissent from the views of the original authors, wherever they find occasion so to do. In the exposition of St. Luke, we notice several of these instances, the most important of them relating to the premillennial theory of interpretation which Van Oosterzee appears to accept, but which his editor rejects. It is very instructive thus to note the different views maintained by scholars of this grade; and to have a thesaurus like this of high biblical criticism within reach is invaluable, not for dispensing with, but for stimulating independent study. The work has advanced far enough now to justify us in saying that every church should forthwith order a set of this commentary for its pastor's library. The entire series will be a heavier tax than most clergymen can afford to assume. But to a congregation it would be an imperceptible burden. It will be a biblical library in itself, as unique as it is solidly and permanently useful.
2.-Ecce Homo: A Survey of the Life and Work of Jesus Ch:ist.
Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1866.
A Book of great apparent candor, insinuating itself into the mind, so that if it were possible it would deceive the very elect. We have concluded that it is the bold and ingenious attack of one of the disciples of the Paine school of sceptics, upon the fundamental truths of religion. In denies Christ's divinity, rejects inspiration, takes great liberty with the Gospels, and seeks to reconstruct the narratives of Christ's “Life and Work."
“Ecce Homo," said Pilate, as he presented the thorn-crowned, scourged Nazarene to the view of the Jews. This author's view of Christ seems to us as inadequate as Pilate's was. He “found no fault in him,” and yet delivered him up to be crucified, and so with this author. Either Christ was divine, or he was a self-deceived enthusiast. He ought, therefore, either to be worshipped or rejected. But this man professes to do neither, though we believe the influence of the book will be to lead to Christ's rejection.
Any amount of patronizing epithets may be found in this volume, but no reverence, no faith, no true recognition of the relations of man to God. The author even ridicules the idea of being a believer, in the evangelical sense of the word; calls such persons "he pauper class of the New Jerusalem.” A man, woman or child that can read the author's version of the case of the woman taken in adultery, without indignation at the low-lived views of the writer, must be a remarkable person. We have no expectation that the forth-coming (?) volume will be any more satisfactory than the present. 3.- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Historically and Logically Reviewed. By RICHARD W. DICKINSON, D.D. 12mo. Philadelphia. Presbyterian Board of Publication. 1866.
On the basis of the credibility of the New Testament, this is a complete defence of the resurrection of our Lord. The whole narrative is carefully sifted, the seeming discrepancies are harmonized, the objections to the fact are fairly disposed of, the whole subject is set in a clear and convincing light. There is no way to meet this argument but to deny the truthfulness of the record. With such cavillers, and they are growing numerous, the author does not deal. And, in truth, if we are to be continually going over that ground, as preliminary to the setting forth of a Scripture fact or doctrine, we shall soon be in as awkward a case earlier. historians, who felt called upon to begin whatever particular narrative they undertook, with an account of the creation of the world. The "pure theists” have not yet pushed us quite to that extremity.
Dr. Dickinson, it will be seen, stands at a far remove from the Renan school with whom the resurrection of Jesus is only the amiable fiction of an imaginative love. He believes the fact, and in a vigorous style he maintains it, and shows its Christian relations and applications. The ten chapters of the treatise are all comprised within 142 pages, thus combining brevity with adequate
fulness. The volume is well suited for popular circulation, to which we commend it.
4.-Life of Benjamin Silliman, M.D., LL.D., chiefly from his Manuscript Reminiscences, Diaries and Correspondence.
By Geo. P. FISHER, Professor in Yale College. 2 Volumes. pp. 407, 408. New York: Scribner & Co. 1866.
The life of Benjamin Silliman is the history of chemistry in America. Previous to 1804, chemistry was taught in this country only at Cambridge and Philadelphia, and at those places was taught as a branch of some other department rather than as a science by itself. In Europe, Lavoisier and Black had securely laid the foundations of modern chemistry, and Chaptal and Sir Humphrey Davy were rearing a superstructure worthy of the admiration of their masters and departed fellow laborers. Dr. Dwight, with characteristic foresight, early saw the necessity of a department in chemistry in Yale College, and, as early as 1798, obtained a vote from the trustees “that a Professorship of Chemistry and Natural History be instituted in this college as soon as the funds shall be sufficiently productive to support it."
But who could teach it? There was one in America who could give to chemistry the character due to a department, and the disadvantages that would result from the appointment of a foreigner, were obvious. Dr. Dwight "saw no way but to select a young man worthy of confidence, and allow him time, opportunity, and pecuniany aid, to enable him to acquire the requisite means and skill, and wait for him until he should be prepared to begin.” He selected Benjamin Silliman, a graduate of Yale, and in 1802, Mr. Silliman was appointed Professor of Chemistry in Yale College. Mr. Silliman, having occupied the position of tutor since 1798, was at this time a law student in New Haven, and was soon after admitted to the Connecticut Bar. He soon went to Philadelphia, and commenced his first studies in chemistry. Of course his means of information were much limited, chemistry being taught there as a branch of the instruction in Medicine, and not as a science of itself. There was no better place, however, short of Europe, and the prospective remuneration at Yale would hardly sanction such an undertaking.
In 1804, Mr. Silliman commenced his labors as Professor of Chemistry, with the senior class, his first being a lecture on the history and progress of chemistry. Among the senior class were Hon. John C. Calhoun, Rev. Dr. Marsh, and Rev. John Pierpont.
A quotation from Mr. Silliman's diary reveals the feelings with which students approached the nucleus of a laboratory, previous to 1804. “There was an air of mystery about the room, and we entered it with awe increasing to admiration after we had seen something of the apparatus and the experiments.” These illustrations being given mainly upon topics of Philosophy, "there was an air pump, an electrical machine, a wheeling table, a telescope of medium size, a quadrant, a set of models for illustrating the mechanical powers, a condensing fountain with jets d'eau, a theodolite, and a magic lantern, the wonder of Freshmen." Truly, the mysterious air and poverty of apparatus were wonderfully multiplied, elsewhere, after leaving Yale College in 1894 !
In 1818, Dr. Silliman commenced the publication of “Silliman's Journal of Science,”a work too well known to need mention here. A similar work had been begun sometime before by Dr. Archibald Bruce of New York, but after reaching four numbers, was abandoned on account of the ill health of its able author. "The Journal was often obliged to maintain a dubious struggle for existence,” but an effort having been made by a rival publication to destroy it, the friends of science came forward and secured for it a patronage, by which it has since been enabled to do so much and so well.
In the third year of its existence, Mr. Everett, in the North American Review, spoke of it as a “work which does honor to American science.” Mr. Silliman held the position of Professor of Chemistry until 1853, although he continued for two years longer, to give chemical lectures in the College.
Benjamin Silliman was not a genius, but he was what was much better, an honest, capable, industrious, and Christian man.
He began with nothing, and made chemistry in this country what it is. How faithfully he labored, the present condition of chemistry, as as well as the reputation of many of his pupils for scientific knowledge, clearly shows.
Prof. Fisher has done a good work in compiling this life of his friend and instructor, and will receive the thanks of all lovers of sound learning and good sense.
That "the reader will see Professor Silliman as he was,” is evident even from a cursory perusal, while a more careful reading only confirms the statement.
5.—Commentary on the Gospels : Intended for popular use. By D. D. WHEDON, D. D. Luke-John. 12mo. pp. 422. New York : Carlton & Porter. 1866.
We hail all such evangelical effort to simplify, explain and diffuse the Scriptures among the masses.
Such unpretending, yet really very valuable volumes, are our best defense against the scepticism and irreligion of the age, and that scholarly, iusinuating and undermiving influence that we iinport from many of the German critics. This work follows one on Matthew and Mark, and gives promise of successors through the New Testament, and probably the Old. The issues are in the interest of the Methodist Episcopal church, and of course partake of their doctrinal peculiarities.
The remarks on Peter's apostasy will indicate the doctrinal tone of ihe volume. When thou art converted : “From the apostasy. That re-conversion he doubtless needed to save him from damnation. The salvation of an old conversion will not survive a complete apostasy. A new repentance, faith, and conversion are necessary." We could hope, though probably vainly, that the author here uses conversion in sharp distinction from regeneration. We suppose that one regeneration, being the act of God, will serve a man forever. Conversion, being the act of man, may need much repeating and repairing, like other human works.
This volume reminds us strikingly in form, method and style of Barnes' Notes, and will be eminently serviceable to the large communion that rejoices in the name of its distinguished author.
6.- Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries; and of the discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa. and Illustrations. 1858-1864. By David aud CHARLES Liv. INGSTON. 8vo. pp. 638. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers. 1866.
Mr. Livingston laid the reading public under great obligations by his former volume on Africa, and by this one they are very much increased. He has a passion for this kind of adventure, controlled by a deep Christian and philanthropic purpose. He has some knowledge of natural science, and combined it also in his company, so far as to make serviceable observations on the natural history of these new regions. He possesses a quick and comprehending eye, as a traveller, and an easy pen for record. His style has not the finish of Dr. Kane's, but is good for his purpose, and we forget his sentences in our interest in his sayings. It has been his rare fortune to traverse regions previously unexplored, and so add a rich life to his volumes. We are indebted to no one, probably, more than to Mr. Livingston,for a series of surprises on the river systems, productions, resources and capabilities of Central Africa. His first volume, issued about eight years before this one, deranged wonderfully our theories and supposed facts about this interesting region. The present works settles us in the happy conclusion that a new and