« PreviousContinue »
nal and practical corruptions of the Church of Rome is here presented than in any volume of the same size that we have sately seen. We think the American publisher judged well in giving an edition of the work on this side of the Atlantic; and we would heartily recommend it to the attention and patronage of the religious public. III.-A Key to the Gospels: being a compendious exposi
tion of the principal things contained in them; intended for Sunday school teachers, Bible classes, and Families. By Ichabod L. Skinner. Washington, D. C. Greer. 12mo. pp. 276. 1831.
The author of this work is a respectable minister of the Gospel, who resides in the city of Washington, and who has thought proper to employ a portion of his time in writing for the benefit of Sunday school teachers and Bible classes. He could scarcely bestow his attention on a more important object; and of all modes which can be adopted for promoting the benefit of the rising generation, that of bringing them in contact with the Bible—and rendering its contents more plain, familiar, and interesting to their minds, is most likely to be permanently beneficial.
The volume before us is intended by the author to be a short, practical, lucid commentary on the four Gospels, in the form of question and answer. We are pleased with the plan of the work, and we think it is well executed. It is full of condensed, important instruction. It is in a style brought down to the plainest capacities, and yet sufficiently elevated to be acceptable to all. And the explanation and exhibition of Gospel truths which it contains, will, we think, be acceptable to serious evangelical Christians of all denominations.
But the views of the Rev. author will more fully appear from his own statement. He says, in the Preface:
“This work is neitlier an abridgment, nor a collection; but an original undertaking, upon a plan entirely new; and is designed to occupy ground supposed to be open, notwithstanding the variety of books in use. For although, in the Sunday schools especially, there are books enough, perhaps, well adapted to the scholars, there are none as well suited to the instruction of the teachers themselves; yet it is obvious, that many of the teachers are as unable to give proper answers to the questions they make use of, as the scholars who are taught by them.”- -“ The work now presented to the public, is not offered as a substitute for any of the books in use; some of which are so well suited to their design as hardly to admit of a substitute. It seeks only its own appro. priate place; as peculiarly adapted to the instruction of Sunday school teachers, Bible classes, and families; for all which it is thought something of the kind is needed. Whether the author has been successful, the public will decide.”
“Perhaps it might be thought assuming, to suppose that this compendium could be of any great advantage to the teachers of Bible classes, as they are, usually, theologians. But it is hoped it may be useful to the scholars, both as an exposition of the sense and harmony of many passages contained in the Gospels, and also as furnishing a clue to the answers which may be sought, even where the questions are not answered by this compendium."
“There is yet another field, where it is thought this work may be highly useful. When we consider how few families, even in the best furnished portions of religious society, have possessed themselves of Bible or New Testament expositors, in any form, is it not manifestly desirable that a cheap and compendious manual of this sort should be thrown into circulation? And would not such a work, if it were happily executed, be extensively useful?"
We agree to the justness of these remarks; and we think that Mr. Skinner has furnished a book which may well answer the
purposes for which he intends it. He has manifested much judgment in its execution; and we cannot but hope that he will be rewarded for his labour by seeing it extensively patronized and useful.
When a second edition of this work shall be put to the press, we take the liberty of suggesting, as a small improvement on the score of convenience, in using the book, that the names of the Evangelist, and the chapters under consideration, in the successive pages, be placed at the head of every page. The use of this, for convenient reference, is too obvious to need explanation.
IV.-Prize Letters to Students, in two parts. By Rev.
Baxter Dickinson. Newark, N. J. New York, Sleight. Boston, Pierce and Parker. 18mo. pp. 85. 1831.
A benevolent individual having offered a prize for a series of “Letters to Students," it was adjudged to the work which stands at the head of this article. Mr. Dickinson had before done himself honour in the field of authorship, particularly in behalf of the cause of temperance. His reputation will by no means suffer by the work now under consideration.
The first part of this series is intended to show the “ Importance of a fixed belief in divine revelation, and a cordial reception of its truths.” This is done in nine letters, on the following topics: “ The Bible a volume of unspeakable interest”-_-The Bible, and the evidences of its divine origin, have been long before the world”_" An unsettled state of mind in regard to the Bible exceedingly dangerous”—“An unsettled state of mind a state of misery”-“ An unsettled state of mind as to the Bible highly displeasing to God"“A spirit of scepticism fatal to the spiritual and eternal interests of the soul”—“Characteristics of saving faith”—“The duty of immediate entrance on a life of faith” -- Obstacles to a life of faith obviated. Encouragements and means suggested.”
The second part treats of the “ Importance of an elevated religious character.” This is shown in five letters, which treat of the following subjects: “Eminent piety suppresses destructive appetites and passions, and quickens and concentrates all the useful faculties"_“Eminent piety gives pleasure to all virtuous beholders, secures the confidence of mankind and the blessing of God”—“Eminent piety united with learning gives power, and is peculiarly demanded at the present period”-i Eminent piety on earth prepares for peculiarly eminent service and glory in heaven"_“Eminent piety the best means of glorifying God.”
The execution of this plan is marked by much judgment and taste. Among the many topics on which a wise man might be supposed to be desirous of addressing “students," Mr. Dickinson has selected those which are most important in the eyes of the Christian. These are treated with great brevitysome will think with too much brevity; but with much perspicuity, point, and practical wisdom. We hope this little volume will be extensively read, and prove essentially beneficial to many a young man in the course of his education,
V.- The Character of the Christian Ministry adap
ted to this Country and Age: A Lecture delivered Nov. 1st, 1830, at the opening of the Winter Session in the Western Theological Seminary of the Presbyte. rian Church. By LUTHER Halsey, Professor of Theology. Pittsburg. D. & M. Maclean. 8vo. pp. 32. 1830.
The erection of the Western Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church,” at Alleghany Town, in the neighbourhood of Pittsburg, has been, no doubt, regarded with deep interest by the friends of the Church to which it belongs, and by the friends of truth and piety generally. Professor (now Dr.) Halsey having been appointed to succeed the Rev. Dr. Janeway, entered on the duties of his office more than two years ago; and the Seminary has been continually growing under his administration.
The subject of this lecture was happily and seasonably chosen. T'he character of the Christian Ministry demanded hy our country at the present time, is an inquiry in the highest degree interesting and important. For although, according to the language of the wise man, properly understood, there “is no new thing under the sun;" that is, human nature is ever the same, and like causes, in given circumstances, will produce like effects; yet every particular country, and every successive age, have their peculiar features, which it is necessary to take into serious consideration, in order to adopt the means which we employ to the highest advantage. This great truth has been well considered, and judiciously illustrated by Professor Halsey, in reference to our own country and age.
To the question, "What are the peculiar features of this age and country?” he answers: 1. It is an age of peculiar and increasing ILLUMINATION. 2. An age peculiarly unSETTLED and SCEPTICAL. 3. It is an age of PROFLIGACY. 4. It is a country and an age of PECULIAR ENTERPRIZE. 5. It is an age of GROWING LIBERALITY AND UNION AMONG CHRIS
6. It is, in a peculiar sense, an age of THE DISPENSATION OF THE SPIRIT. 7. Lastly, it is an age
of TREMENDOUS EXPERIMENT. Under each of these heads, the Professor dwells on the characteristics in our rising ministry, which he thinks the age and the country demand, and which he, of course, supposes that candidates for the sacred office ought especially to cultivate. Of this undertaking he has acquitted himself in a manner honourable to his intelligence, his good sense, his enlarged and liberal views, his evangelical spirit, and his pious concern for the welfare of mankind, and the qualifications becoming those who are to be the leaders and guides of the Church. Our prayer is, that he may have the happiness of seeing go forth from the Seminary under his care, a succession of well furnished and devoted men, qualified “ rightly to divide the word of truth," and in every respect adapted to adorn the Church, and to bless mankind!
VOL. IV. No. 1.-S
VI.-SECRETA MONITA SOCIETATIS JESU: Secret Instruc
tions of the Jesuits. Printed verbatim from the London copy of 1725; to which is prefixed an Historical Essay, with an appendix of notes, by the Editor of the Protestant. Princeton, N.J. Simpsons, 18mo. pp. 232.1831.
Attempts have been made to cry down this work, as a forgery; or, at any rate, as an indecent and unjust attack on an Order, which, though liable to censure, is altogether undeserving of the horrible representation here given of its principles and maxims. And even some Protestants, if we are correctly informed, have expressed serious doubts whether the volume be worthy of credit. We cannot imagine that these doubts can be seriously entertained by those who peruse the Historical Essay which is prefixed to it. Facts and autho. rities are there adduced which we cannot help thinking ought to satisfy every mind not only of the authenticity of the work, but also of the entire justice of the representation which it gives of the Society whose official instructions it professes to exhibit. We recommend it to the serious attention of all our readers.
It is generally known, that the order of Jesuits rendered themselves so odious, both by their principles and practice, even to Romanists themselves, that they were wholly suppressed by a Papal Bull in 1773. The order, however, did not become extinct; and was formally revived by the Pope, (Pius VII.) in 1814. This latter fact, taken in connexion with many others of similar import, is sufficient to satisfy every impartial mind, that there is really nothing in the principles and maxims of the Jesuits which does not in fact belong to the vital, governing spirit of the Papacy, as such; and that, of course, in reading the pages of this manual, we are contemplating the essential characteristics of that system of corruption which distinguishes the “ mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."
VII.-1. Fourth Report of the American Temperance So
ciety. Presented at the meeting in Boston, May, 1831.
Boston. Perkins & Marvin, 8vo. pp. 110. 1831. 2. Second Annual Report of the New York State Society
for the promotion of Temperance. Presented by the E.recutive Committee, January 18th, 1831. Albany. Packard & Van Benthuysen, 8vo.
These reports are in a very high degree interesting and instructive. They show, that the friends of the Temperance
pp. 96, 1831.