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MEMOIR OF JOHN ROGERS.1
THE author of this Memoir is traditionally a descendant of John Rogers. In his investigations to establish the genuineness of his claim, he was satisfied that neither he nor the thousands in New England who claim connection with the martyr of Smithfield have any grounds on which to establish such a relationship. The researches, however, in the line of genealogies, convinced the author that History had not done justice to the subject of the Memoir. "He soon discovered that the only original account concerning him, which has been received as authentic for nearly three centuries, was full of the widest discrepancies and grossest errors." This volume has there fore been prepared to redeem his character from the oblivion which has gathered about it; and to show from the important labors he performed, and from his fearless and unwavering firmness in the various crises of his life. that he was even a greater and nobler man than he has heretofore been accounted."3
The work claims that John Rogers was the compiler of the first authorized English Bible. Tyndale, who had previously published a translation of the New Testament, had translated a considerable part of the Old. In this he had been assisted by John Frith, who suffered martyrdom before the arrest of Tyndale. Tyndale was at Antwerp, and was preacher to English merchants; and Rogers had gone there in a similar capacity about the time of Frith's death. It is reasonable to suppose that he at once became acquainted with Tyndale's labors in translating the Bible, if indeed he did not assist him. But Tyndale was soon after arrested and imprisoned, and at length died at the stake, and his manuscripts, just as he had left them, without any explanation, - as he was suddenly seized, — passed into the hands of Rogers, who made such use of them as he could in the further translation and preparation of the Bible. To what extent the labors of Frith and Tyndale had extended before Rogers assumed the work, cannot be determined; but so far as the literary preparation is concerned, "the world is indebted to Rogers alone for the production of the first authorized and recognized English translation of the Bible, the basis of every subsequent one, even that now in use." Although the title-page of this Bible says: "truly and purely translated into English by Thomas Matthew," there is reason to suppose that this is a pseudonyme, under which it was thought best that the book should make its appearance. Hence this is called the Matthew Bible. It has been conjectured by some that Thomas Matthew was the name of an English merchant at Antwerp; but no proof of this has yet been found.
John Rogers prepared and published the first English Commentary on the
'John Rogers: the Compiler of the First Authorized English Bible; the Pioneer of the English Reformation; and its first Martyr. Embracing a genealogical account of his family, biographical sketches of some of his principal descendants, his own writings, etc. etc. By Samuel Lemuel Chester. 8vo. pp. ix and 452. London: Longman, Green, and Co.
Bible, which led to the preparation of other similar works; also, " A Table of the principal Matters contained in the Bible, in which the Reader may find and practise many Common Places." Hence he is the author of the first English Commentary on the Bible and of the first English Concordance.
Ordered to preach at Paul's Cross on the first sabbath after the arrival of queen Mary in London, though he knew that the appointment was made with a view of finding charges against him in what he uttered, and though he saw the stake before him, he never wavered. He uttered fearlessly the truths which he believed. This was his last sermon. There was no position in the whole history of the Reformation more critical than this. Had he shrunk from the responsibility which rested on him, what would have been the consequences? He did not shrink; and for his heroic adherence to the truth, and for the firmness which his example imparted to others, he may well be called the Pioneer of the Reformation, as well as its first Martyr.
These are the claims which the writer has advanced, and in support of which he has adduced weighty and cogent considerations. The whole work shows careful research and fairness.
Eleven children attended the martyr at the stake, the youngest of which he had never seen before. This puts to rest the long unsettled question as to the number of his children.
REDEEMER AND REDEEMED.1
THIS book is evidently a collection of sermons, published for two purposes: first, in self-justification, in order that it may be known what the writer holds and teaches; and secondly, that the larger audience of the reading public may receive new light upon the subject of the atonement. The first object is fully accomplished. None can rise from a perusal of the book without a clear perception of the author's peculiarities of belief, or without a tenderness of feeling toward one who can write with such clearness and beauty, and with such fervor of Christian feeling, that which the deliberate judgment must reject as visionary and unscriptural. We do not deny that here there is a presentation of some truths which the church is in danger of losing sight of, such as the existence and works of Satan; but, to say the least, we see no benefit that can arise from the acceptance of this new theory of the atonement. We cannot willingly comply with Mr. Beecher when he asks us to give up the doctrine of the atonement as generally held, for his, when at the outset he tells us that the doctrine of preexistence, on which it rest, is as susceptible of proof by evidence as cogent as that which establishes the doctrine " of the immortality of the soul, the inspiration of the Bible, or any of the great doctrines of the Bible."
The book takes it for granted that the church is in perishing need of a new adjustment of its views of the character of God (page 216): “The church, in all its branches, publicly professes that the Divine dealings with
1 An Investigation of the Atonement and of Eternal Judgment. By Charles Beecher, Georgetown, Mass. pp. xii and 347. Boston: Lee and Shepard. 1864. VOL. XXI. No. 82.
the human race are incapable of rational explanation and defence." Here, then, is the Copernican theory to be substituted for the cumbrous Ptolemaic; yet it is so full of complicities in comparison with the old, that to believe it would require such a surrender of reason as few, if any, who calmly read the scriptures could be guilty of, and a blind credulity such as none could give but those who, like the author, have a firm belief in the capacity of the human intellect to solve all questions that may present themselves, and who, like him, are prone to build up arguments on figures of speech, and to take rhetorical expressions as logical statements. There is a great show of logical fairness, but at times a startling conclusion is reached, which was not in the premise, having been slipped in by some verbal legerdemain. We doubt if the various writers cited in the abstracts of the dif ferent theories of the atonement, would recognize their own views after the manipulation they have received. If they should acknowledge the words, we think they would disclaim the meaning put upon them.
This book, we have no doubt, was conscientiously written in the interest of Christianity. No evangelical doctrine is denied, but all are held in a way peculiar to itself. The fierce polemic statements in the beginning and middle of the chapters, are nullified by the warmth and glow of Christian exhortation with which they close. A sceptic might find satisfaction in very much that is written. A Christian might read passages with an awakened devotion. This very combination, it seems to us, will effectually prevent any injury it might otherwise occasion to the cause of Christianity, while it will completely destroy its power as a work in defence of the faith.
A PRACTICAL treatise, based on the scriptural doctrine of the personality of Satan, and his agency in seducing men into error and sin. The author shows that, while Satan's object is to pervert the action of the human will, he "must fit his measures to the laws of the mind he seeks to control by them," lodging in the soul the most pernicious delusions, warping the judg ment and conscience through the feelings, exaggerating difficulties in the way of duty, painting the pleasures of sin in false colors, and especially misleading men in every way in respect to the precise work of faith required of them in the gospel; his first and great object being to make and keep a separation between the soul and Christ. He shows also how the especial work of the Christian, most of all the Christian minister, is to guide the tempted and bewildered soul, through all these cunning devices, directly to the Redeemer, in whose presence and grace alone is deliverance from "the prince of the power of the air." We regard the work as particularly timely in this age, when so much scepticism prevails in respect to "the devil and his angels."
1 Satan's Devices and the Believer's Victory. By Rev. William L. Parsons, A.M., Pastor of the Congregational Church, Mattapoisett, Mass. 12mo. pp. 312. Boston: Published by the Author. 1864.
DALETH; OR THE HOMESTEAD OF THE NATIONS.1
THE name of this book is significant of the relation of Egypt to other countries. Daleth, a Hebrew letter, signifies a "door." Through Egypt, as a gateway, there have passed out to other lands, her arts, sciences, rites of religion, and civilization. Egypt was the homestead, the cradle of the nations. Her most famous cities were in their pride centuries before Troy was built, and before the rich cities of Phoenicia had a name. Her temples, in all that is grand and imposing, have never been surpassed; the results of her arts and sciences still excite our wonder, and her schools of philosophy attracted the Grecian Plato.
It is into the door this old and mysterious land that the author invites his readers to enter, while he shows them what it was in the past, and what it is in the present.
The author has visited the most celebrated places of this country with the eye of a keen observer; he has studied their past history, institutions, learning, arts, refinement, their religious customs and private life. With these he has made himself fully acquainted. He seems to move among the scenes of the past as if they were present; and the pictures which have grown up in his own mind, he faithfully daguerrotypes for his readers. His efforts and success in this feature of his book remind us of what Becker has done in his "Charicles" and "Gallus" to illustrate and reproduce Grecian and Roman private life. With these pictures of the past he mingles graphic sketches of the present, giving customs, costumes, scenes of interest among the ruins of magnificent temples, at the pyramids, on the Nile, and in the Desert. His personal experiences and adventures are gracefully interwoven with the whole. He writes with an earnestness which shows a hearty love for his subject. The work is popular in its form; it does not deal with the dry details of measurements or dates; it is not intended to be a contribution to Egyptology, nor a guide-book for travellers. But it is a better popular view of Egypt than any we have seen. Those who shrink from scientific treatises will read this with unabated interest and with profit. While the style and arrangement are generally clear, we occasionally detect a vagueness of statement, which, in a severe review, the author will no doubt correct.
The book is fully and richly illustrated, and in the beauty and neatness of its whole appearance is scarcely equalled by anything published in the country.
DANA'S TEXt-Book of GEOLOGY2
FOLLOWS the general plan of his Manual of Geology, which we highly commended in a previous Number of our Review. The Text-book does
1 Daleth; or the Homestead of the Nations. Egypt illustrated. By Edward L. Clark. 8vo. pp. 289. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1864.
* A Text-Book of Geology; designed for Schools and Academies. By James D. Dana, LL.D. Illustrated by 375 wood-cuts. 12mo. pp. 354. Philadelphia: Theodore Bliss and Co. 1864.
not consist of extracts merely from the Manual; it has been wholly rewritten and adapted to the class of students for which it was designed. It covers the same ground as the larger work, but the principles and facts are given with less fulness and in a more simple style.
The work embodies the results of the latest studies and investigations in Geology, and in all its parts gives evidence of eminent scientific attainments. It is happily adapted to introduce the study of this important science into our schools and academies.
THE POEMS OF JEANE INGELOW1
HAVE the stamp of genuine poetry. They are not the product of imitation, but of genius. Rich in variety, sweet, vigorous, pathetic, and cheerful, objective rather than subjective, picturing the beauties of external nature more than inward feelings, they find an answering chord in every breast. It is long since a new poet of so much promise and merit has claimed attention. The clergyman who reads "Brothers and a Sermon" cannot fail the better to reach the hearts of his hearers.
RECENT GERMAN THEOLOGICAL LITERATURE.
BY PROF. W. F. WARREN OF BREMEN.
We open our quarterly report on recent German theological publications by warmly recommending a new monograph on the Freedom of the Will in its relation to Grace. Die Lehre vom freien Willne und seinem Verhältniss zur Gnade in ihre geschichtlichen Entwicklung dargestellt. Von Chr. Ernst Luthart. 8vo. pp. 480. Leipzig: 1863. Dr. Luthardt is a Leipsic professor, not yet old, who has acquired an enviable reputation by various exegetical writings, a work on Eschatology, etc. The work before us is an admirable contribution to the literature of Doctrine-History, the most extensive and thorough survey of the opinions, controversies, and philosophizings which have centered about Free-will and its relation to Divine Grace, which we as yet possess. It embraces the whole sweep of Christian history, from apostolic times to the present year of grace. But more than history is presented: in a second exegetical part a new and fresh investigation of the scripture doctrine is attempted, and then follows a concluding section setting forth the author's own views. After a philosophical Introduction of twelve pages, the chapter-headings of the historical part are as follows: I. The Greek Church; II. The Latin Church; III. The Romish Church; IV. The Doctrine of Luther (pp. 87 148); V. Melanchthon's Doctrine (pp. 149 - 261); VI. The Struggle of
1 Poems by Jeane Ingelow. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1864.