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valued. In experimental Theology and spiritual and practical religion, few men have written better than Upham; nor on the Evidences, than the author of the Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation: his four volumes are a treasure. Dwight, especially his two volumes of sermons, are of a high order. Of sermons and spiritual treatises, I greatly prefer our old to our modern writers. The Puritans were rich in nuggets of the precious metal; many of the moderns have only the gold-leaf, and that is very often so attenuated, that you would have to read for a lifetime to be much the wealthier. Among modern sermons, Bradley is one of the best of churchmen, and Jay pre-eminently among Nonconformists. J. A. James, H. F. and J. Burden, Dr. Winter, and Hamilton, are invaluable. In my early days, Dr. Collyer's Lectures were very popular, but seem now to have been entirely superseded. It has ever been perplexing to me that "Robert Hall's Works" should for many years have been so little regarded by book buyers. Is it that his highly-finished style only makes him specially acceptable to classical and scholarly minds? Of the Scotch preachers, Drs. Chalmers, Gordon, and Thomson-yet their sermons are not keeping their hold of religious readers, while Dr. John Brown, "Arnot" and others, in their excellent expositions, are rising in popular favour. "Dr. James Morrison," is one of the most wonderful men that Scotland has raised up during this century, and his critical exhaustive volume on the ninth of Romans, is unrivalled in nearly every department of solid excellency. In noticing some of our superior living authors, there is one highly gifted, "McLaren," whose sermons bid fair to be as popular as those of the lamented "Robertson," and much more evangelical. Richard Watson, in a Theological sense, was the glory of Wesleyanism. His "Institutes," and Sermons and Sketches form almost a library of themselves. Benson's "Plans of Sermons" are rich in experimental truth, but seem to lack that wonderful fervour which distinguished him as a preacher. I heard him only once, when I was a lad ten years old, and shall never forget the sensation his discourse produced among the hundreds of ministers who listened to it.
Biography has an irresistible charm for me-biography of every kind, but especially that which is more properly religious. Plutarch's Lives I relish vastly yet, and I never weary of following Grote," in his Historical Critiques on Socrates and Plato. The lives of the old Christian Fathers, from Ignatius downwards to Augustine and Savanarola," "St. Bernard," and others, have supplied a feast of delights. I need not say a word about Luther, Erasmus, Melancthon, Calvin, Zwingle, and others. And then, our Holy British Reformers and MartyrsWickliffe, old Latimer, and Ridley, and Hooper, and Cranmer, and Taylor. No one work of this kind ever did me so much good as the "Life of Philip Henry," and next that of the sainted Commentator, his son. I literally revelled over the pages of the Biographies of John and Charles Wesley, and the early Methodist Preachers-Bradburn, and later of Benson, Dr. A. Clarke, R. Watson, David Stoner, and later still of the popular Robert Newton, Jabez Bunting, and Joseph Beaumont. There are some half-dozen goodly octavos I should like to see reduced into volumes adapted for the household, vestry, and Sabbath schools,-The life of "J. H. Evans," of Simeon," ," of "Jay," of 'John A. James," of "Dr. Leifchild," James Sherman. The life of that wonderful Philanthropist and social Reformer, Father Matthew, is full of the most instructive and amusing incidents; and Sherman's life of "William Allen," is a model book of Biography; and every young man should read the life of "Joseph John Gurney," one of the holiest men of our age and nation. We must not pass over the lives of John Fletcher, of Madeley, and of his devoted wife, Mrs. Fletcher: it would be difficult to find more really spiritual reading than these volumes supply. How charming, too, is the account of Mrs. Sherman's holy, active, and exemplary life. Of all tedious, spun out, and wearying books, badly-written lives are the greatest bore.
Charming are the Memoirs of "Edward Irving,' "Professor Wilson," "Robertson," of Brighton, and Lady Holland's life of her father, "Sydney Smith," with his correspondence and remains. I was very much delighted with the life of "Dr. Pye Smith,” and "Dr. Wardlaw;" the latter, however,
is somewhat heavy, which it ought not to have been. "Williams' Literary Women of England," is full of instructive information. The extraordinary life of the Martyr Williams is now published at a very low price, and is within the reach of all. The Memoir
of the Abbê Lacordaire," by Count de Montalembert, is full of most remarkable incident and interest, and those who would see an instance of striking versatility and wondrous memory, with great efficiency in all he undertook, should read the life and times of Dr. Lawson, of Selkirk. Notwithstanding there are four closely-printed octavo volumes, I have read and re-read the life of that greatest of all modern Scotchmen, Dr. Chalmers, with unspeakable profit. The life of Dr. John Brown, may well be read in connection with it, as covering the same period. As to series of works of our modern writers, I have kept by me those of J. A. James, Dr. Thomas Dick, whom I personally knew, and who several times occupied my pulpit. Of the "Clarke Series" all are valuable, and I should gladly possess the whole. I prefer Stier on the Words of Jesus, and Langes' Commentaries, &c. The French discourses of Saurin and Superville are of a very high order; it has always appeared to me that James Parsons, of York, has taken the first of these celebrated authors as his model. “The Pulpit,” and the “Penny Pulpit," have published verbatim reports of sermons, by clergymen and ministers of all denominations for very many years past, and thus we have before us the average amount of preaching talent our country possesses. The American" National Preacher" has done the same for the United States, with this difference, that there the sermons were published from the manuscripts of the authors, and had their revision. Mr. Jay, and Dr. Bunting, and R. Watson used to be exceedingly annoyed by the presence of short-hand writers, and the Bath preacher boldly attacked from the pulpit, what he considered their piratical conduct. But surely there is another side to the question, and why should than ministers be exempted more members of Parliament, barristers, or public lecturers. To give the sermon that has been preached to two thousand, to twenty thousand readers,
ought to be a gain to the interests of truth, though it may not benefit the pocket of the preacher. Of late years our popular men have had their own Chapel "Pulpits," and have claimed the copyright of the sermons. had the Grove Pulpit, with the late Mr. Irons' Sermons. Then there is the Surrey Tabernacle Pulpit, with Mr. Wells' discourses, and the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, with Mr. C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons. Mr. Spurgeon's discourses are reproduced in America, and translated, and circulated extensively on the Continent. How marvellous have been the labours and career of this extraordinary man. Any one of his departments of work would have been enough for any usually even active minded man. Say his preaching at home and abroad-his telling lectures his pastorate of a church of several thousands-his presidency of the College-his editing the "Sword and Trowel"-his various works, all well written-his admirable Commentary on the Psalms-and all these, and much more, with interrupted health, and domestic solicitudes. Well, surely in him we have a grand exhibition of what an earnest man of God may do, who is wholly given to his Master's work, Henry Ward Beecher is the only man living who comes in any degree near him for abundant labours; and we greatly prefer Mr. Spurgeon to the Brooklyn orator, though the latter has been more useful and efficient than any half-dozen of his Transatlantic brethren. Surely there is no end to authors and books. If Solomon thought so when all works had to be transcribed with the pen, what would he say now if he saw Hoe's American press teeming its printed sheets at the rate of many thousands per hour.
I would not willingly be offensive to our own connexion, but do we supply an average number of readers, even of the works written by our own brethren? Mr. Pike's publications have had a world-wide circulation, and his small books for the young should, I think, be published in that way, and not in a collected or massive form, and he may be an exception to the rule. But unquestionably such works as Wood's History of the Connexion," "Jarrom's Ninth of Romans," and now, recently, Mr. J. J. Goadby's admirable volume of sermons, ought to be in all our
families. Mr. Cox writes more especially for theological critical readers of all orders, but his very sweet expositions of the more private letters of the apostles might well have a place in all our home and school libraries. Dan Taylor did glorious service in his day, and was an effective controversialist, and our beloved brother Ingham has fathomed and analyzed the baptismal waters, and considered all the bearings of that question in a most satisfactory manner; and his large volume will be a text book when scores of even good pamphlets will have been swept away.
Mrs. C. L. Balfour has written several works of great interest for the family circle, among which "Moral Heroism," and " Women of Scripture," have been widely circulated.
"Give attention to reading," is an apostolic command, and even our village preachers must do this if they are in our day to maintain a respectable position. But churches must not forget, that while we have many excellent cheap books, yet to keep up a minister's library to an efficient point, is somewhat of a costly affair, so that salaries should take in not only the supply of the minister's house generally, but give a good margin for books, and the best periodical literature of the day.
My books have cost me more than clothes and all other luxuries put together, and I had rather live in a garret with a good library, than in a gorgeous palace without books.
Well, even protracted gossiping on this subject must come to an end.
BIBLE Hand-Books were never more needed and never better prepared than now. At a time when public attention is directed with so much earnestness to the Holy Scriptures, it is of great importance that we should become as fully acquainted as possible, not only with the meaning of the text itself, but also with the circumstances under which the different parts were written or spoken, with the character of the authors, with the fortunes of the several books before and since they gained a place in the Biblical Canon; and indeed, with all those facts and features that will afford us a clearer and fuller knowledge of the mind and will of our Heavenly Father. Looking at Scripture through the light and colouring of the atmosphere in which it was written, we see its teaching more definitely, express it more precisely, and treat it with a firmer faith, as the positive and sufficient guide of belief and behaviour. Confidence in it will grow as the vision of its exhaustless value and infinite range is cleansed and extended. Gaining God's thoughts in their purity and richness, we shall in larger measure become partakers of
the Divine Nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world and the church through lust of error.
Nothing will help thorough Biblical students in the acquisition of these fuller and more accurate ideas of Scripture than able and carefully prepared introductions or hand-books to the Old and New Testaments; and of these none will render more useful and acceptable assistance, or in a more attractive and interesting manner than the books by Keil and Bleek. A Handbook or Introduction to the Bible is intended, first, to put us as nearly as possible in the position of the earliest reader of the documents, so that we may see what he saw, and feel what he felt and next, to inform us of the history of the Sacred Text itself, both in its written and printed forms, since the day it was spoken by "holy men' of old to the present hour. It tells us who wrote the letter or history, the prophecy or psalm, and what were his character and condition, feelings and aims at the time. It describes those who heard or read the inspired word, their needs and hopes, and aspirations, and so sets before us more vividly than
* Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction to the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament. By Karl Friedrich Keil, Doctor and Professor of Theology. Translated from the Second Edition. With Supplemeniary Notes from Bleek and others. By G. C. M. Douglas, B.A., D.D. Vol. II.
An Introduction to the New Testament. By Friedrich Bleek. Edited by Johannes Friedrich Bleek. Translated from the Second Edition. By the Rev. W. Urwick, M.A. Vol. II. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark.
in panoramic scenes, the natural moving life of the time. Seeing Paul in his miserable wooden cabin, chained by the wrist to a Roman soldier, snatching from his abundant occupations as a teacher of the gospel any favourable moments for writing advices to his joyful children at Phillippi, or an appeal for the converted slave, Onesimus-how the words clothe themselves with his own tenderness and heroism, and multiply a hundredfold their power upon us! Is not the "Revelation" to John deeper in meaning, more seraphic in devotion, and yet more human and approachable, when we look at every vision as given to the disciple, whose full-hearted love drew from Christ the largest messages of grace, but who was now banished to the desolate island of Patmos, for his maintenance of the faith of Jesus? Not more brilliantly does electric light irradiate the gloom of cathedral crypt or dark dungeon, than those "saints in Cæsar's household" are made more conspicuous in fortitude and patience by the brutal and unstinted cruelty of Nero, the worst Cæsar that ever wore the imperial purple. The five motives for perseverance in the concluding part of the letter to the Hebrews move us to greater steadfastness and patient running of the race that is set before us, when we conceive, as in a picture, the condition of the disciples who first felt their persuasive power. Is not the healing of the paralytic (Luke v. 17) a scene of surpassing excitement, when we recognize its place in the ministry of our Lord, and behold the "Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem,' for the purpose of giving judgment upon the claims of Christ? How fascinating is the twenty-third Psalm, when viewed as the shepherd youth's outlook on life as he tends his father's sheep on the hill sides of Bethlehem? Indeed, the more fully we become acquainted with the human side of Scripture, is its divinity felt; and its inspiration passes from a cold and formal theory into a living experience and a present joy.
Lacking the knowledge these "Introductions" afford, honest and sincere men make great mistakes, both in constructing theological systems and in practically applying the truths of
God's word. They are like judges interpreting the acts and statutes of the reign of the Tudors, e.g., of the eighth Henry, and of Elizabeth, by the present conditions and circumstances of English life. Within the last few
years a living writer has founded his exposition of the Atonement of Christ upon a hortatory passage in a letter to the Corinthians, which is far from being specially doctrinal, instead of appealing to the Galatians and Romans, which were manifestly intended by the writer to be, in the main, precise and definite statements of theological truth. Good handbooks to the Bible will go a long way to cast out many deadly errors that have rooted themselves in misunderstood passages of Scripture. Ultra-Calvinism cannot stand before "Introductions," faithfully narrating the condition of writer and readers, &c., any more than darkness before the dawn. We need to be led into the wide fields of revealed truth by such guides, or we lose our way, and get into forbidden paths.
The books mentioned above discuss, in an exhaustive and satisfactory manner, all such questions of criticism and research as require to be decided before you can be perfectly sure that you have obtained the whole meaning of the document whose words may be verbally and grammatically understood. The second volume by Keil completes the examination of the separate Books of the Old Testament. The contents and object, historical or prophetical features, author, date of composition of Daniel, Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, are given, and where objections exist to any conclusion, they are fully stated and authorities quoted, so that the reader may form his own judgment in the most satisfactory way. But the Hebrew writings form a portion of the literature of the world, and have a history of thrilling interest. The separate treatises and pamphlets were collected together with wonderful care, preserved before, during and after the Jewish exile in Babylon, with exemplary assiduity, and finally settled into an authentic body of divine truth, with such thorough unanimity as to command the respectful attention of all sincere minds. No chapter in the history of books is so full of fascination as the story of the transmission of these "Words of the Lord,"
from the earliest periods, on through those in which the Hebrew language passed away from among living speech, up to the present time. The industry of the Jews in perpetuating a knowledge of Hebrew through all the vicissitudes of national life is a phenomenon of special significance. God has scarcely a more faithful witness to His care for men than the story of these manuscripts from which we get the Old Testament of to-day. But Keil has done more than this. He has traced the Bible of Ezra through its various versions and translations, described the treatment it has received from writers and printers, from Synods and Councils, and completes his charming record by telling how different sects of Jews have interpreted its different portions, and in what way the Church, ancient and modern, Protestant and Catholic, has set forth the meaning of the documents, which from the be ginning have been accepted as facts of
divine revelation and testimonies for God to the world.
As a portion of literature, the New Testament is not of inferior interest to the Old, nor is it treated with less skill by Bleek. His conclusions, and the reasonings intended to support them, are on the whole somewhat less satisfactory to us than those of Keil; but the thoroughness with which he treats every question, and the carefulness with which he gives the evidence opposed to his opinions, together with the fulness of his information, render his book invaluable to students of the New Testament.
We are heartily glad that Messrs. Clark have increased the obligation under which they had previously laid the Christian public generally, and the Christian ministry in particular, by the issue of these volumes, and we fervently wish that a large circulation may reward their endeavour. J. CLIFFORD.
GENERAL BAPTIST HISTORY.
THE General Baptists possessed no magazine or periodical of any kind during the greater part of the last century. Hence it is, that many worthy persons belonging to them have no regular outline of biography recorded, and are utterly unknown as our religious forefathers. Amongst these is John Payne, whose personal history lies scattered over a wide surface. The first notice of him is as a bookseller in Paternoster Row; this was about 1758. At this time he is said to have been an intimate friend and disciple of Dr. James Foster; we may therefore conclude he was a member of the General Baptist Church in Paul's Alley, Barbican.
In the preface to the 16th volume of the "British Essayist," edited by Alex. Chalmers, it is said that he befriended Dr. Samuel Johnson, and by his timely assistance "The Rambler" was brought out in weekly numbers. Chalmers says that this patronage was sufficient to entitle him to the grateful thanks of posterity." A most affecting incident of
Payne's meeting with Johnson, and dining with him just before the doctor's death, is recorded by Boswell. But it is not as the friend and patron of Dr. Johnson that Payne is best known. In 1763 he gave to the English public a translation of that remarkable book, "The Imitation of Christ," by Thomas a Kempis. It is said that there are more editions of this book than any other, the Bible excepted. There are thirty different versions in French alone. A General Baptist bookseller produced the standard one for the English people. A Dean of the English Church had published one in the beginning of the century, but it is far inferior to our author's. Payne's translation is included in Wesley's Christian Library, and a new edition being called for, it was included in "Collins's Select Christian Authors," and a preface prefixed, written by Dr. Thomas Chalmers. It was also made the basis of a most sumptuous edition, published a few years ago by the late Dr. Dibden. In the preface the doctor gives his