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We have already had occasion to point out what we regard as the primary use of miracles; to establish, that is to say, not the general truths of Christianity, but its authority as a revelátion from God. Mr. Furness, however, objects to the idea. that God should be represented as "bringing any thing to pass merely to prove somewhat." Now, not to insist on the unquestionable fact, that God is ofter represented in the Scriptures as performing works of power and grace before the Israelites that they might know that he was the Lord," we remark, that it seems to us an erroneous theory to regard the whole course of things, not as a process, in which part is made ancillary to part, one event the means to another, and introduced for the sake of another, but as a mere series of separate and independent facts, each existing for itself, and introduced for the sake of its own intrinsic excellence and importance. This theory, we think, derives no support from the word or the works of God. How many objects do we see in nature, the beauty of which is not absolute but relative! The world is full of them. So in all the works of human skill. In complicated machinery, for example, we seldom think of dwelling on individual parts. Our sense of beauty, or admiration, is addressed and affected by the perception of design and harmony pervading the whole. We feel that single parts have little beauty in themselves, that they are not there on their own account, that they were not regarded by their maker, and are not to be by us, as ultimate, but intermediate, not as ends, but as means. Thus, too, in the works of God. The spirit of beauty is indeed every where diffused. It seems to delight in pouring itself forth with even a prodigal profuseness on all objects, the great and the small, in general and in detail. Because the infinite Father would manifest himself in every thing, and speak to our hearts everywhere and at all times.
Still the difference is not in kind so much as in degree. The analogy is broad and palpable. The same law regulates our apprehension of both, we cannot avoid contemplating them with kindred emotions. And this law it is that lies at the bottom of all true principles in art. The parts are regarded as relative, subsidiary, not as ends but as means, and deriving their fitness and beauty from this very relation. Is the shading in a picture introduced for its own sake? And in the great moral picture of the universe, are the shades of sin and suffering there on account of their own intrinsic beauty and loveliness, are they ends, or means alone?
There is no impropriety, we conceive, in representing God as carrying on a process, the various steps of which have reference one to another, and all to the final result. For to finite apprehension such is the fact. We cannot perceive that there is any unfitness in representing God as having brought something to pass merely · so far as this event was concerned prove something to our reason. Why should there be? not truth the great agent in moral regeneration, in the advancement and purification at once of the individual, and of society? And does not or may not truth require to be proved? And if it does, is it unworthy of God to institute means to effect this proof? Suppose the miracles of the Gospel were a fitting, or necessary proof of any, or all, the truths of Christianity. Would it be unworthy of God to qualify a messenger to perform such miracles for this specific purpose? We think not. And yet on this supposition, it would be perfectly correct to say, that the miracles were wrought merely for this purpose. In effecting this single object their mission would be accomplished. But we do not restrict the miracles of Jesus to this single object. We have stated already that we think they have other aspects. We regard them as striking manifestations of his spirit and character, parts of his moral mission no less than credentials of his official authority. And we agree with Mr. Furness that this aspect of these works has been too much overlooked. He was intended, in these as in other respects, to be to us the symbol of the infinite Father,"the image of the invisible God."
M. L. H.
NOTICES AND INTELLIGENCE.
A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, by EDWARD ROBINSON, D. D., late Professor Extraordinary of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary, Andover. Boston: Crocker & Brewster. New York: Leavitt, Lord, & Co. 1836. 8vo. pp. xii. and 920. — Under the above title we have another valuable work from the indefatigable pen of Dr. Robinson. The lovers of sacred literature have been largely indebted to his labors heretofore, and now they are called upon to return him their thanks for this new favor.
* We need only mention his "Translation of Buttmann's Greek Grammar," a popular edition of "Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible," and the four volumes of" The Biblical Repository."
In the year 1825, Dr. Robinson published a translation of the first edition of Wahl's "Clavis Philologica," with improvements of his own. The whole edition of fifteen hundred copies was speedily disposed of, a fact which shows the urgent demand of some work of this kind. Eight years later, after his return from Germany, where he had been prosecuting his biblical and philological studies with singular ardor, he applied himself to the task of preparing a Lexicon, in which he should call no man master upon earth, but should rely on his own judgment, while he made use of the copious materials collected by his predecessors in this work. Improvements had been made in the subsequent editions of Wahl and Bretschneider. Passow and Winer had extended their profound researches, and published the results of their labors, so that Greek lexicography had, in a good degree, changed its aspect during this brief period. This was the result of that new impulse given to the study of philology in Germany, by inquiries into the origin of languages, and their various modifications.
Possessed of various and accurate knowledge in this department of learning, availing himself of the latest discoveries of the Germans, recurring at all times to original authorities, and above all, animated by a noble enthusiasm in the cause of sacred letters, the author has manifold advantages over most, if not all, his predecessors.
His object in the present work is not to give a complete Dictionary of the Greek language, but, simply, as its title indicates, a Lexicon of the New Testament; although he uniformly gives first the primary meaning of each word in classic Greek, even if it does not bear this signification in the New Testament. The sources whence he has drawn information are the same which all modern lexicographers have frequented, with various tastes, to wit, the Greek Version of the LXX., the Apocryphal writings of the Old and New Testament, the works of Philo and Josephus, and writers of classic Greek in all the three stages of its existence.
In this work he has aimed to give the etymology of all the words, so far as it pertains to the Greek and Hebrew, and, sometimes, to the Latin. A general denotation of the affinities of the Greek with other tongues belongs to a general lexicon of the language, and is therefore wisely omitted. This etymology is uniformly placed at the beginning of the article, enclosed in brackets, and is not put at random, at the beginning, middle, or end, as is done in Schneider's Lexicon. After assigning to each word its primary meaning, he puts down all the other significations which it bears in the New Testament in logical order, thus making each article a sort of logical history of the word which is defined. The construction of verbs, &c., with their adjuncts, is noted at large; difficult constructions are dwelt upon and explained by reference to the usage of other writers, grammatical rules, &c. The frequent
reference to other writers is of great utility. A Lexicon is no place to discuss constructions, etymologies, &c., but it is convenient to the student, if the Lexicon point out to him the works wherein the discussion may be found. References to Buttmann, Matthiæ, Winer, Tittmann, &c. are very frequent in these pages. Irregular forms of words are, in general, fully explained. The peculiar usage of the writers of the New Testament is fully illustrated by reference to Hebrew and Greek authorities, both classic and Hellenistic. The peculiar use of prepositions and particles is well explained, many examples are given, and difficult passages illustrated in this manner. We might cite the words "Iva and siά, as well as many others, in proof of this assertion; but examples of this character are too numerous.
Difficult passages are sometimes illustrated, but in this respect perhaps the work will not be found so satisfactory as some others, to those who expect a Lexicon of the New Testament to be a perpetual commentary upon it. Schleusner, no doubt, carried this too much into detail: this rendered his work cumbrous, and the matter one sought for, like Mercutio's wit, something difficult to find, and possibly not always worth the search when one was successful. Still there was a certain completeness in this regard, in his work, for almost all difficult places received a sort of explanation, but the explications in the present work strike us as somewhat short, and occasionally unsatisfactory. But this charge applies to the work as a commentary upon Scripture, not as a Lexicon, strictly speaking.
A scholar will usually look with eyes more or less affected by sectarian prepossessions upon all passages he attempts to explain, and this gives a certain sectarian character to the work. This character will no doubt display itself if only the definition of words is given, but it will be more apparent when whole verses are explained. Each Lexicon then becomes, to a greater or less extent, the mouth-piece of the party to which the author belongs.
Notwithstanding all the learning and candor of Dr. Robinson, we fear that he sometimes looks with partial eyes upon certain words and passages. Under the word cós we find an illustration of what we mean. After defining the word to mean the Supreme Divinity, he says further, it is "spoken of Christ, the Logos," and cites the following passages as containing the declaration, that Christ and ɛós are identical. John i. 1; xx. 28. Rom. ix. 5. Phil. ii. 6. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Heb. i. 8. 1 John v. 20. Rev. xix. 17, coll. vs. 7; xxii. 6, &c. We were not prepared to expect this. Compare the remarks of Bretschneider upon the same word, who more cautiously says, "de filio Dei, óyo, qui, an Deus appelletur, et quo sensu, judicandum est ex locis, Jo. i. 1," and the others adduced by Dr. Robinson. But these are minor blemishes
which are to be expected in every human work, and do not essentially impair its usefulness.
This work has another advantage; for, as the author tells us in the Preface, each article, as far as practicable, contains a reference to every passage of the New Testament where it is used. Thus in seven eighths of the cases the Lexicon is a complete concordance of the New Testament, and when it is not, the student is notified of the fact. All the references, so far as we have examined them, are correct, and this cannot be said of its predecessors. In Schleusner, e. g., particularly in the English edition, notwithstanding the boast in the Preface, the references are frequently inaccurate.
We trust that this work will be extensively circulated amongst us, and that its use will not be confined to the sect of its author. We do not, however, wish it to supersede the works of Schleusner, or Bretschneider, for each of them has likewise great merits. In respect to the typographical execution of both Professor Robinson's Lexicons, they possess a decided superiority over all others which we have ever seen. The page even of Bretschneider is ungrateful to the eye, on account of the dinginess of the paper, and, still more, from the disorderly arrangement of the paragraphs. In Schleusner this defect is worse a thousand fold. It is absolutely painful to use his work, on account of the difficulty in finding what you seek. Paragraphs “are huddled and lumped," not "sundered and individual." But these pages are agreeable to the eye, and convenient for use, a sufficient interval being left between each paragraph and its fellow.
New Views of Christianity, Society, and the Church. By O. A. BROWNSON. Boston: James Munroe & Company. 1836. 12mo. pp. 116. — The first impression of most persons would probably be that "New Views" of any subject are more likely to be sought after and read because they are new. But this is not the case. What nine out of ten most desire is, to be confirmed in their present views, and this too not so much by new arguments as by new illustrations, which will enable them the better to see and feelthe force of the old arguments. The reasons, on a moment's reflection, are obvious. Original speculations, when the topics are interesting and momentous, are apt painfully to unsettle the mind; they turn the thoughts out of the track in which they are accustomed to move, and have learned to move easily, into one in which they move with difficulty; our deepest sympathies and time-hallowed associations are disturbed; and then it is an offence to our pride to be told virtually that we have need that one should teach us again "which be the first principles of the oracles of God." Accordingly it is found that the popular writers, as they are called,