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NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
Discourses on the Nature of Religion; and on · Commerce and
Business; with some Occasional Discourses. By Orville Dewey, D. D., Pastor of the Church of the Messiah, in New York. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 388.
This volume completes the new edition of Dr. Dewey's works. It is composed chiefly of practical discourses, and is thus a continuation of the volume last noticed. We know not where to point to a series of moral and religious writings superior in compass and power to those contained in these three duodecimos. A happy unity connects all the constituent parts. The principles so clearly stated in the first volume are carried out to their practical results in the discourses and orations that fill the second and third volumes.
If we were to state the peculiar charm of Dr. Dewey's style, we should say that it lies in the remarkable combination of colloquial ease with depth of thought, and frequent pathos and solemnity. He is never on stilts, but always perfectly at ease. The last time we listened to him, by one of those associations of ideas that sometimes force themselves upon the mind, his discourse made us think constantly of a majestic forest-tree, its trunk deeply rooted in the earth, its branches spreading a deep and solemn shade, whilst its boughs are swayed gently by the winds, and their leaves play with the breeze.
The volume before us presents specimens of three departments of composition, - sermons upon personal religion, discourses upon business morality, and addresses on various literary and ethical topics. We must confess our preference for the first department. Admirable as the other portions of the volume are, important in their subject and forcible in execution, we could part with them more easily than with the nine sermons that in. troduce the volume. Dr. Dewey is powerful in all that he does ; but his greatness is chiefly in his power as a preacher. When he appeals to the soul before God in the name of Christ, with the sanctions of the Gospel, he takes hold of the heart as few, if any, others now do. Yet we have no disposition to disparage his favorite idea of treating the common secular topics in their moral and religious bearings. The discourses on trade and politics, and the orations on genius, industry, and art, are matchless in their own line, and must live with the permanent literature of the 1847.]
Notices of Recent Publications.
land. We are not sorry to see that he has modified some of his early views upon the moral law of contracts. We cannot but wish that he had omitted the last paragraph of the discourse on slavery. To educate and free the slaves of the South in order to send them to California is, to say the least, a visionary and un. wise scheme. The South needs her agricultural laborers, and Christian humanity requires that all American citizens should have legal rights, and liberty to choose their residence, unless this liberty is forfeited by crime. A moral movement strong enough to educate the slaves for California would be strong enough to secure their safe emancipation at home. May such a movement come!
No respectable American library can be without Dr. Dewey's volumes. Wherever his views are peculiarly his own, they are stated with a force and candor that must win the respect alike of theologian and reformer.
Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, with Remarks on the
Commentaries of Dr. McKnight, Professor Moses Stuart, and Professor Tholuck. By ROBERT HALDANE, Esq. From the fifth Edinburgh Edition. New York: R. Carter. 8vo.
This work, from its having gone through five editions in Scotland, and been thought worth reprinting in this country, appears to have met an existing demand. The author is a believer in plenary verbal inspiration. “We should never forget,” he says, “ that, when we are explaining any expression of Scripture, we are treating of what are the very words of the Holy Ghost, as much as if they had been spoken to us by a voice from heaven. The profane rashness of many critics is much emboldened by the circumstance that men have been employed as the instruments of the Almighty in communicating his revelation. A sort of modi. fied inspiration only is granted to the Scriptures, and they are often treated as the words merely of those who were employed as penmen.” He regards the Epistle to the Romans, not as a friendly letter addressed to a particular body of men, primarily designed to answer a local and temporary purpose, and treating the great topics on which it touches in a popular manner, and in their relations to the object the writer had immediately in view, but as a well-digested system of Christian theology.
c. It is the only part of Scripture which contains a detailed and systematic exhibition of the doctrines of Christianity. The great truths which are embodied and inculcated in every other part of the Bible are here brought together in a condensed and comprehensive form.” He is an old-fashioned Calvinist; and writes partly to counteract the alarming heresies of Professor Stuart. And, finally, he is a “grammar and dictionary” interpreter of the Chalmers school. He thinks that reason must not attempt to modify what is called the plain meaning of the word of God; that is, the meaning which any man's ignorance or prejudice makes plain to him; and so deeply is he convinced of the absolute truth of his own belief, that he is probably unconscious of the slightest exercise of carnal reason in adapting his interpretations to his creed, though he is keenly sensitive and fiercely intolerant of the same act in others. From these elements it is easy to calculate a Commentary on the Romans; and, so far as we have observed his course at several points, he has not been drawn from the path thus indicated by any disturbing forces. The Apostle's eloquent description of the prevalent corruption of the Gentile and the Jewish world, he interprets with as much strictness as if it were a legal document. "The awful blindness and obstinacy of Arians and Socinians, in their explanations, or rather perversions, of the word of God," as exemplified in their interpretations of chap. ix., ver. 5,-“Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever,” — meet with due animadversion. So uncompromising is his adherence to the Calvinistic doctrine of Election, that the whole of the ninth chapter is to him as clear as daylight. He observes, with great simplicity, that “ there are few commentators who have not wavered in their ex. planation of this passage"; but he shows himself entirely superior to such amiable weakness. He makes no attempt to veil or soften the harsh and repulsive features of his theological system. On the contrary, he seems to delight in exhibiting them in all their naked deformity, and calls the adoption, without question, of his interpretation, submission to the word of God. "It is better," he says,
to submit to the word of God on this and every other subject, taking it in its obvious import, than to be deterred from doing so on account of consequences, from the admission of which we may shrink back.”
And for such theology as this there is yet a market. Increasing liberality among the Calvinistic denominations has produced a reaction upon a minority who desire to return to the original form and spirit of their faith. To those who occupy this wing of the Orthodox host, the book before us will afford much comfort ; and we cannot but hope that with some it may operate as a homeopathic remedy. We do not, of course, allude to its quantity, but to the more recondite principle of that system of medicine, that the drug which produces the disease in a healthy constitution is its proper antidote after it has become 1847.]
Notices of Recent Publications.
seated. We should suppose that so bald an exposition of a high Calvinistic belief would be enough to make some of its professors pause.
Free Thoughts on Protestant Matters. In One Volume. By the
Rev. T. D. GREGG, M. A., Chaplain of St. Nicholas Within, Dublin. Second Edition. Dublin. 1847. 12mo. and 452.
These thoughts are free indeed, - far enough from any doc- . trinal latitudinarianism, - but in a style quite beyond the limits of clerical decorum, to say nothing of Christian temper. Mr. Gregg is full of Irish valor, and shakes his pen at every opponent, as if it were a shillelah, and treads the theological arena as if it were Donnybrook Fair. He calls Peel traitor and apostate, Welling. ton a mere upper-servant, a chief man-butcher of the state, Macaulay a blockhead, and Whately a learned curmudgeon. His good opinion of himself is in proportion to his contempt for all who cross his path. He modestly says, " At the head of all false religions stands Popery. I show how to eradicate it.” He says, “I have completely revolutionized the mode of conducting the Roman Catholic controversy."
The book is written to remove from Ireland the one great evil by one sovereign remedy. Popery is the evil, and the Church of England is the remedy.
The author's position is somewhat peculiar. Although he dedi. cates his book to the younger D'Israeli, he is no Puseyite, but a Low-Churchman. He regards Joseph Mede as “ the profoundest of divines and wisest of men,” looks upon the Book of Revelation as the great arsenal of anti-Papal artillery, and finds the Pope of Rome in every ugly beast in the prophecies. He thinks much of Episcopal government, but values it chiefly as a safeguard of doctrinal orthodoxy, and ridicules the Tractarian notion of magical grace transmitted through an official succession. He looks upon the emancipation of the Catholics as the worst of mis. takes, as even a heinous sin, and regards the Maynooth grant as a like abomination. He claims for the Protestant Episcopal Church dominion over Ireland, and denounces Papacy as a foul infringement upon the faith and polity which St. Patrick brought to the green isle. Yet, stickler as he is for the English system of united church and state, he expresses much sympathy for the Independent party, quotes Milton with honor, and thinks “ that Cromwell should have a statue.”
His remedial policy for Ireland would probably set very ill upon the stomach of the nation. He says, as he goes on to state his six measures of relief,- · Again, then, I cry, Hurrah for radical reform!” His measures are a board of commissioners for regulating and improving the condition of the working classes, another board for colonizing waste lands, the repeal of the poor law, a special board of commissioners for promoting Christian knowledge and discouraging vice, another for the regulation of factory labor, another for the religious instruction of the Irish in their native language. All these measures are to be carried out upon the great idea of the development of the Anglican principle of a united church and state, so far as practicable without resorting to physical force to make proselytes.
With the author of this book we can have very little sympathy, although we are glad to see here and there traces of true humanity through his rough and bullying style. His bark is evidently worse than his bite. We have to thank him for an original, en. tertaining, and somewhat instructive book. But, alas! poor Ireland needs far other physicians. Simple justice and humanity in her rulers and land-owners would do more than any change of ecclesiastical policy. Let the nominal Christians who control Ireland make more account of the Christ of the New Testament, and less of their creeds and ceremonies, and the good work would be done. A little of the tendency which Mr. Gregg brands as Unitarian sadduceeism would not be amiss among English and Irish lords and prelates. He says,
“ Unitarians of all shades, within and without the Church, are eloquent and zealous as 10 the vast importance of keeping the commandments of God, of studying the chapter on the Mount, and the book of Proverbs.” Such Unitarianism never ruined any nation, and never can.
Conversations in Rome: between an Artist, a Catholic, and a
Critic. By William ELLERY CHANNING. Boston : Crosby
& Nichols. 12mo. 1847. A Year of Consolation. By Mrs. Butler, late Fanny Kem
New York : Wiley & Putnam. 1847. 2 vols. 12mo.
Pp. 136, 171.
MR. CHANNING's book is a lively, spirited sketch, as it were a line-engraving, of Rome, — Rome as it appears in the world of the imagination and to the eye of thought, as its antique treasures of building and art impress a rich fancy, and the on-goings in its streets strike a keen observation. It is done with as neat a skill to the reader's mind, as to the bodily vision could be the painter's drawings, from different sides, of the "eternal city." There is good judgment shown in our author's taking this threefold po