Slike strani
PDF
ePub

VIII.

NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.

A SYSTEM OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS. Based on Martensen and Harless. By Revere Franklin Weidner, Doctor and Professor of Theology, etc. Philadelphia: G. W. Frederick. 1891. Price $2.50.

This is a theological rather than a philosophical work. The author has aimed, as he says in the preface, to unite the philosophical character of Martensen's work on Ethics with the Biblical character of the work of Harless on the same subject, but he retains the theological standpoint throughout. His data he gets from the Scripture in the same way as in the case of a work on Dogmatic Theology. This is all right and proper in its way, but the result is a work in one of the departments of theology.

A philosophical ethics, on the other hand, starts from the data of reason, and may admit the light and guidance of revelation, just as a work on psychology may freely use the Scriptures where they bear upon the subject; but this is something different from what is called a Biblical psychology; such as the work of Delitzsch. A philosophical ethics is not necessarily un-Christian, or anti-Christian because the subject is treated from the standpoint of reason. On the other hand it may be eminently Christian, in so far forth as the author recognizes the harmony of reason and revelation, and the superior light of revelation so far as it bears on his subject. This, indeed, is the best way to harmonize reason and revelation. Just as a writer on dogmatics takes its data from revelation, yet seeks to present his subject according to reason, rationalizes revelation, so in the treatment of ethics he may start from the standpoint of reason and harmonize his work with revelation.

The author of this work points out the difference between religion and morality. They are inseparably united, yet they are not identical. Morality will always take its character from the character of the religion which intones it, and as Christianity is the highest and best religion, the absolute religion, so that morality is the highest and best which is moulded by Christianity. A science is not made Christian by merely introducing Scripture passages freely in its treatment, but rather by showing throughout its principles in harmony with those of Christianity.

It is in this way that Christian, or rather theological, ethics and philosophical ethics are drawing nearer together. Kant's Ethics is

not non-Christian because he starts from the intuition of the moral law enthroned in man, but rather because he rises no higher than the plane of legalism instead of love.

The work before us is not marked by originality, but it is an able reproduction, as the author says, of Martensen and Harless. The outline is a good one for bringing the different departments of ethics before the mind of the student. After the introduction it takes in the Highest Good, summum bonum, virtue, the Law, and then passes to individual ethics. This last receives a full treatment. Then comes social ethics, the family, the state, art and science, closing with a chapter on the church.

The author has spent many years in teaching the subject, and his long experience has been of great account, in enabling him to present his material in a lucid manner to the mind of the student. He has given us a work which is eminently adapted to theological seminaries. A similar work of a philosophical character, starting from the standpoint of reason, yet permeated by the light of revelation is yet a desideratum in this country.

R

The Church for THE TIMES. A Series of Sermons, by William Frederic Faber. The Church's One Foundation, Is Jesus Christ Her Lord." Westfield, New York: The Lakeside Press, 1891. Contents: 1, The Church's Faith. 2, The Church's Worship. 3, The Divine Church. 4, The Church's Mission 5, The Church's Method. 6, The Church's Confidence. Price in paper, 25 cents. These sermons read like tracts for the times. They revive the old conception of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church which has so largely dropped out of the faith of this generation. True, there has been awakened a tendency during the last quarter or half century to restore it in the minds and hearts of the people, but the evil wrought by the spirit of sect and schism in our common Protestantism has by no means yet been overcome. The subjectivism that came to the ascendant in the Reformation ran out in subsequent times to an almost losing sight of a real objective church. Individual liberty and individual piety are highly important, and they require to be emphasized, but no such liberty can thrive without recognizing the authority of the church, nor can personal piety be sound if it leaves out of view the mystery of the church. These sermons bring out clearly and forcibly the objective character of the church, and its divine character. It is refreshing to follow the preacher as he rises above all sectarianism in his description of the

one church of Christ.

be

The sermon on worship is admirable, as are indeed all the others, but this comes home to us in the Reformed church on account of the long controversy and contest through which we had to pass fore we reached a liturgy. Mr. Faber refers to the liturgy prepared for the Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and which is used in a large number of their churches, and adds that it is similar to the

form of worship used in his church. We brought a copy of this Scotch Liturgy with us from Edinburgh, where it was presented to us by Prof. Dr. Mitchell, of St. Andrews. It is about the size of, and very like, our Order of Worship.

The author of these sermons spent a year in our Seminary. Afterwards he read and studied the theological literature of our church in the Mercersburg Review, the writings of Dr.Nevin, etc., and, although pastor of a Presbyterian church, yet he is in hearty sympathy with our theology. But most of all he is an independent thinker and gives evidence of a maturity of mind and breadth of view which give good promise of his future. His article in the Andover Review on the Life of Dr. Nevin was a truly able production. We shall hear from Mr. Faber again, for such talent cannot be hid under

a bushel.

MANUAL OF CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES. By George Park Fisher, D.D., LL.D., Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History in Yale University. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1890. Price, 75 cents.

In this little volume of 120 pages we have truly multum in parvo. Designed "to prove that the narratives of the life of Jesus, which are contained in the New Testament, are true, and that Christianity has a supernatural, divine origin and sanction," it, in a brief but clear and connected form, presents all the more important evidence bearing on these points. Among the subjects discussed in the volume are the nature of the evidence, the possibility and proof of miracles, the supernatural origin of Christianity as involved in the portraiture of Jesus in the evangelists, the resurrection of Jesus, the genuineness of the gospels, and the proof of Christianity derived from prophecy, the conversion and career of the apostle Paul, the intrinsic excellence of the Christian system, the contrast of Christianity with other religions and with philosophic systems, and from its utility and its rapid spread in the first centuries. That these subjects are all treated in a scholarly and masterly manner the name of the author is itself a guarantee. The work ought to be widely circulated and deserves careful study. We know of no better popular manual of Christian evidence.

THE EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. By Lewis French Stearns, Professor of Theology in Bangor Theological Seminary. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1891. Price, $2.00.

We have read this volume with much interest and can heartily recommend it to our readers as well worthy their attention. The subject with which it has to do is a highly important one, and is treated in an unusually judicious manner. The author is not only a thorough scholar, but also a man of truly philosophic mind. Every page of his work gives evidence of acute and vigorous thought, and is written in a clear and forcible style. The special topics con

sidered are the evidence of to-day, the author's philosophical presuppositions both theistic and anthropological, the genesis, growth and verification of the evidence of Christian experience, the philosophical and theological objections thereto, and its relation to other evidences. All these topics are very fully and thoroughly discussed. The book accordingly supplies a real want of our time and is a truly valuable contribution to our apologetical literature.

ROMANS DISSECTED. A Critical Analysis of the Epistle to the Romans. By E. D. McRealsham. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1891. Price, 60 cents.

This booklet, which has been published in German as well as in English, has already attracted considerable attention. Its author, whoever he may be, proves himself to be possessed of superior scholarship and talent. His object is to throw light upon some of the principles of the higher criticism. With this purpose in view he applies these principles to the Epistle to the Romans and shows that they practically make its Pauline origin inadmissible. A critical analysis of it he proves discloses the work of four different authors. Though he informs his readers in a postscript that he believes fully in the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Romans, he still thinks that he has made out a stronger case for the spuriousness and composite character of the Epistle than the real doubters themselves have done. The moral he leaves each one to draw for himself. We commend the book especially to the consideration of those who are disposed to accept unhesitatingly all the results of the higher criticism as regards the books of the Bible.

ENGLISH COMPOSITION. Eight Lectures given at the Lowell Institute. By Barrett Wendell, Assistant Professor of English at Harvard College. New York Charles Scribner's Sons. 1891. Price, $1.50.

This is a masterly treatise. Of the various works on English composition with which we are acquainted, we know of none superior in value to this for ordinary readers. In a very admirable and interesting manner Professor Wendell sets forth the great principles which should govern those who would write for the instruction of the public in their choice of words and in the construction of sentences, paragraphs and whole compositions. He also lucidly points out the requisites of clearness, force and elegance of expression. His teaching of the principles of English composition for the past ten years to the undergraduates of Harvard, has taught him just what instruction is ordinarily required, and this is what he imparts in the lectures before us. His book will consequently be found very serviceable by all who desire to write a clear, forcible and elegant style. Even practiced writers will find it profitable and interesting reading.

JAPANESE GIRLS AND WOMEN. By Alice Mabel Bacon.

Boston and New

York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1891. Price, $1.25.

To understand properly the character of a people we must acquaint ourselves not only with their political history but also with their social life. As woman is always an important factor in the latter, we need, therefore, to know something about her condition and training if we would form a correct idea of what any nation really is. The volume before us treats accordingly not only of an interesting, but, also, of an important portion of the inhabitants of Japan. In it we are informed concerning the condition of woman in this Island Empire. Her childhood and education; her marriage and divorce; her treatment as a wife and mother, and in old age; her life in court, in castle, in peasant's home, and in domestic service; her condition in the country and in the cities, are all minutely and charmingly portrayed. The book is consequently both delightful and instructive reading, and cannot fail, we think, to awaken increased interest in the Land of the Rising Sun, and in its conversion to Christ.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »