Page images
PDF
EPUB

1846.]

Notices of Recent Publications.

293

NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.

Miscellanies consisting of 1. Letters to Dr. Channing on the

Trinity. 11. Two Sermons on the Atonement. III. Sacramental Sermon on the Lamb of God. IV. Dedication Sermon - Real Christianity. V. Letter to Dr. Channing on Religious Liberty. VI. Supplementary Notes and Posteripts of New Additional Matter. By M. STUART, Prof. Sac. Lit. in the Theol. Institution at Andorer. Andover. 1846. 12mo. pp. 369.

The title above given will serve for a table of contents to the volume, which the Professor wishes "to bequeath” as his " legacy,” - the legacy of his opinions, - to posterity, containing his latest testimony” on the subjects treated. It embraces, as will be seen, matter both old and new. On the old we shall offer no comment. It belongs to the past, and can possess, we should suppose, no interest for any one, at the present day, except the historian of opinions. A considerable amount of new matter is added in the form of postcripts, which contain rambling remarks on almost all sorts of subjects connected with theology and theological parties. These postcripts will add nothing to the author's posthumous reputation. While portions of them bear marks of his once vigorous intellect, others show a senile garrulousness, occasionally something worse.

A more undignified piece of criticism, less worthy of a scholar and a gentleman, than the remarks on Mrs. Dana's Letters, it has seldom been our lot to meet. The Professor's attack on this lady we hesitate not to pronounce anmanly, coarse, and unchristian. It is in the worst style of partisan newspaper abuse, and had the piece been offered for insertion in the journals of the day, it would have been rejected, we think, by almost any editor of reputable standing. It is absolutely insulting. The Professor attempts, in a strain of awkward ridicule and clumsy witticism, to chastise the lady for presuming to meddle in matters of theology. The idea of such a thing he seems to think quite ridiculous. As if a lady had no business to form an opinion respecting the Object of Christian worship, and state the grounds of that opinion to the public, should she choose! Really, the Professor appears to rate woman's understanding and privileges very low. He is a very Mahometan in his estimate of ihe sex.

The “head and front" of Mrs. Dana's offending is, that having froin reading the Scriptures and from her own reflections alone, and without an acquaintance with any Unitarian writings,

-p. 197.

gone over from the Orthodox faith to Unitarianism, she was led
to pursue her inquiries and read Unitarian books, and being
fully confirmed in her change of views, she, in the course of the
last year, published a volume of Letters addressed to her rela-
tives and friends, defending her new views of Christianity,
which had been to her a source of great joy and consolation.
(See Christian Eraminer for Nov. 1845, pp. 349 et seqq.)
The volume proved popular and has had an extensive circula-
tion, and finally fell into the hands of Professor Stuart, where-
upon he greatly marvels, and is "filled with a variety of con-
flicting emotions." "An extraordinary woman," * * "thus
to venture, clad in masculine armor, upon tilt and tournament,
on a field where none but those trained to the use of arms are
wont to appear. It was the first time, within the compass of my
reading, that I had ever met with such an occurrence.”-
Solomon, the Professor goes on to say, had he lived in these
days, would have found occasion to review his adage, there
is nothing new under the sun." We are sorry that the Profes-
sor's reading is so limited, especially in the department of female
authors. Perhaps his contempt for woman's understanding has
prevented him from looking into such writers as Harriet Marti-
neau and Joanna Baillie, both of whom, to say nothing of others,
have written in defence of Unitarianism. The Professor pro-
ceeds, in quite a frisky style, to talk about what gallantry to the
ladies requires, and does not require; what one is to do or
expect, when he enters the list with a "lady-combatant,” or

lady-knight," for so he facetiously calls the author of the Letters. He turns her "sufferings," to which she alludes in connexion with her change of faith and the struggles of different kinds she was compelled to pass through, into ridicule; jests upon her sensibility; throws out innuendos about “the exquisite and the sentimental ;” and even ventures, if we understand him, to suggest a doubt of her veracity. Really, this exceeds the ordinary license of partisan criticism. Has every particle of humanity died out of the tenerable Professor ?' Is this the fruit of a long life of theological study?

After four or five pages filled with cold-blooded sneers and such poor attempts at wit as we have described, the veteran theologian goes on to point out what he conceives to be some critical errors into which the “lady-combatant” has fallen. Whether in this he is successful or not, is of

very
little

consequence so far as the general merits of her book are concerned. Others fall into errors sometimes. Perhaps Mr. Swart, by a little effort of recollection, can recal a critique once offered by a New Haven Professor on a certain performance of his own, which was not thought to have left him wholly unscathed. At all events others have not forgotten it.

[ocr errors]

1846.]

Notices of Recent Publications.

295

among the

Mr. Norton and others come in for the usual quantity of abuse from Professor Stuart. The College question is again brought under review. The Professor must have a last word upon that, and leave on record his "latest testimony" to the "exclusiveness" of Unitarians in regard to the management of the University. Some of his remarks on this subject convey an erroneous impression, and are, to say the least, on the very brink of falsehood. He complains bitterly of Unitarian influence at the University. But what is the remedy? Are all sects in the Commonwealth to “have their representatives in the University,” or a "place in one of the Boards,” or Faculty"? No, no, says the Professor, God save us from that. This would bring in “Universalists, Abner Kneeland's men, Fanny Wright's suitors, the Come-outers, the Hegelian Transcendentalists, the Parkerites, the Swedenborgians, et id genus omne," and "would indeed be the utter ruin of the respectability of the University." What then is to be done? The Professor acknowledges his embarrassment. On the whole, however, he proposes to "give up the University to the Unitarians,” they, on their part, giving up "to the Orthodox, all the funds," which the latter "have ever contributed, and all the books and apparatus which they formerly collected, or at least the value of them, and also the value of the buildings which they erected, and their proportion of the donations which the State has made to the University.”—p. 358. In this proposal the Professor appears to be entirely in earnest, it being of no use, he says, to "carry on the contest about Cambridge any longer, after the manner of times that are past.” If something of the kind which he proposes is not done, he intimates that the Orthodox, who, he says, " have a large majority in the State,” may by and by rise, and "having control of the Legislature," proceed to remodel the University, introducing a "test, that would man the Institution through and through with Orthodoxy."

Having despatched the matter of the University, the Professor next proceeds to open his battery upon the Judiciary of the Commonwealth, the decisions of which he is confident have been warped by these same dreadful Unitarian influences, and so the churches have been despoiled of their rights, and have been disfranchised.” On this subject he has some pages of indignant remark. And what remedy does he propose here? Why, the whole, “is a just matter for legislative interference."

-p. 368. (The italics are the Professor's.) But, what then becomes of the independence of our "high courts of Justice," which a few pages back the writer pronounces the “ guard in the temples of liberty? And what validity have their decisions ? None at all, as every one must see, and charters, contracts, rights long considered as settled, are to be submitted

very life

to the ballot box at popular elections. This is being little more of a nullifier, or radical, than we had heretofore supposed the Professor to be.

Since the Professor has left the sentiments contained in this volume as a "legacy" to posterity, the public may be curious to know in what form of Orthodoxy he finally reposes, it having been sometimes found difficult to class him. We will pass over other points, and say one word as to his “latest” views of the Trinity. First, then, he would banish the “word personfrom all “ Church-creeds."-p. 75. This is something. How then does he illustrate and define the Trinity ? He makes it analogous to understanding, will and reason in man, the first of which * perceives and comprehends," the second “decides," and the third "ponders, compares,” etc.; yet all make up one soul, which is also sometimes said to do what is at other times attributed to its, separate faculties.—p. 214. This is an old illustration, which has not generally been accounted Orthodox, we believe, in modern times. The Trinity so explained is termed a “modal Trinity," which in reality is no Trinity at all. We greatly err if the Professor's exposition satisfies all his friends. After his long life of "investigation, study, and experience,” and all the vituperation he has poured out, and is still pouring out, against the Unitarians, we see not but he ends in downright Sabellianism, which is only a sort of misty Unitarianism. — We conclude with expressing the hope that the Professor will find more mercy at the bar of heaven, than he has been disposed to show to his fellow Christians on earth.

L.

An Eramination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by

the Rules of Evidence administered in Courts of Justice. With an account of the Trial of Jesus. By Samuel GREENLEAF, L.L. D., Royall Professor of Law in Harvard University. Boston : Little & Brown. 1846. 8vo. pp. 543.

If this had been called " A Harmony of the Gospels, with Preliminary Remarks," we should have received it as a valuable contribution from an eminent jurist to our theological literature; — valuable as an expression of his sincere and intelligent faith in the Christian records, and valuable for the judicious remarks which he has prefixed to bis arrangement of the Gospels. That it will be of service, in arresting the attention of a class of men who are perhaps too ready to be influenced by the objections of skeptics, and turn away from the New Testament without bestowing proper examination on its narratives, is probable; and we thank Professor Greenleaf for giving the weight of his name to the sufficiency of the Christian Evidences. But the title of the

1846.]

Notices of Recent Publications.

297

volume, we are constrained to say, is not only too ambitious, but in a certain sense deceptive. Ai least, if others take it up with the expectations which the title created in our mind, they will be greatly disappointed. The "examination of the testimony of the four Evangelists” is confined to forty-eight pages of introductory matter, a very few brief notes in connexion with the text of the Gospels, and an appendix of thirty-one pages, eleven of which are filled with an abridgment of an article by Professor Robinson, published in the “ Bibliotheca Sacra," on the best method of harmonizing the accounts of the Resurrection. The remaining four hundred and seventy-five pages consist of the text of the four Gospels, arranged as a harmony, (with the notes of which we have spoken, making in all perhaps twenty pages) a Synopsis, and a Table of passages. Now we submit, that the title which the author has chosen is a singular misnomer for such a volume. Why the title-page should make special mention of“ an account of the trial of Jesus” which occupies only nine pages, we cannot explain, unless it betoken his judgment respecting the amount of original matter which he had contributed to the work. Professor Greenleaf adopts the supposition of four passovers included within our Lord's ministry, which seems to us to have much less probability than the shorter period of fifteen months. His notes do not discover a wide acquaintance with theological or critical writings, but they are free from pretension and generally are founded on correct criticism. We cannot speak of them, however, as adding any. thing to the stores of biblical learning. If Professor Greenleaf had published his “Preliminary Observations” as a pamphlet, we should have been grateful for a clear and able vindication of the Evangelists' right to be accepted as faithful witnesses; but in the volume which he has given to the public, though he speaks once and again of the “plan of the work,” we are unable to see either original conception or extraordinary execution. G.

pp. 280.

Discourses of Rev. Edward H. Edes, with a Sketch of his Life.

Boston: B. H. Greene. 1846. 12mo.

Another is added to the small but choice catalogue of volumes commemorative of deceased ministers of our denomination. The subject of that now under notice was not so widely known, nor so conspicuously useful, as some of those amongst whose memorials on the shelves of our libraries we make room for his; but so far as a pure, righteous and faithful life, spent in the service of God and man, entitles one to respect while Jiving and to remembrance after death, the name of Mr. Edes deservedly ranks with those of the beloved and honored clergymen to whose society his spirit has ascended.

« PreviousContinue »