Imagini ale paginilor

should be blended a capacity to write a plain, perspicuous, and pointed style, together with a talent for familiar illustration, the whole being under the direction of a cultivated taste and sober judgment. These are high qualifications, but without them we have little hope of seeing the demand, which now exists for "family expositions," suitably supplied. In our own church there are pastors, whom we know to be diligent and successful students, not only of the English Bible, but of the original. To such men the necessities of Christian families must needs be known; and how could they turn their studies to better account, than by the careful preparation of such works as would tend at once to elevate the standard of scriptural knowledge, and to promote the pratical utility of domestic worship as a means of grace? The difficulty of the task should be no obstacle, not only because our best performances are mere approximations to an ideal standard of perfection, but because experiments of this kind, once made, would exceedingly facilitate all subsequent attempts. A book prepared expressly for the use of families, would soon be introduced into a multitude of houses, and its fitness for its purpose brought to the severe test of experiment, the result of which, by means of a little correspondence and inquiry, might assist the author in correcting errors and supplying chasms, of which he had been wholly unaware. In this way the excellence of such works might be easily increased at every new edition, till they reached a height of relative perfection, quite as great as we have any present right or reason to anticipate.

We know not whether in the foregoing remarks, it is sufficiently implied, that expositions even of the most familiar kind, and those intended most exclusively for practical effect, can only be successful so far as they rest upon the basis of correct and thorough exegesis. Nothing can be more unfavourable to the successful preparation of such works, than the idea that critical and popular, or learned and familiar exposition, must be carried on apart from one another. What is the use of philological interpretation but to pave the way for practical improvement? The effects of a mere literary exegesis may be seen in Germany; those of a mere superficial pious one in England. Let America combine the


*It is scarcely necessary to qualify this general remark by any allusion to the brilliant exceptions which undoubtedly exist, and which appear to be growing still more numerous. It is a fact however, that in England biblical learning has for many years, been in a state far below what might have been expắcted from the degree of perfection to which classical learning has attained.

two, by pressing erudition into the service of practical religion. Let our works of biblical learning all be seen to have a bearing upon popular improvement. Let our popular works all exhibit a profound acquaintance with the choicest fruits of critical investigation. This will save us from the opposite extremes of illiterate piety and learned irreligion.

We have now said enough, we think, to show that the four books, which we have grouped together as the subject of this article, however unlike they may be, and they could hardly have been more so, are all interesting, even in relation to the same great object. With respect to each, the most important question is, what does it contribute, directly or indirectly, to the great end of making men in general acquainted with the truth of God? So far as the intention of the authors is concerned, it is instructive to observe the very different plans on which the books are written. Mr. Blunt aims exclusively at practical edification. Dr. Turner, while he estimates the value of this object, we have no doubt, just as highly, expressly disavows any reference to it in the work before us. Dr. Tuch not only leaves religious improvement out of view, but shows that he has no more sense of its importance or correct apprehension of its nature, than the most benighted heathen. Calvin alone appears to have been led, by the combined force of his reason and his feelings, to unite the highest intellectual and spiritual operations in the same performance. We are not finding fault with Mr. Blunt or Dr. Turner for not; doing likewise. There are obvious advantages in giving prominence to one of the great objects aimed at, even to the exclusion of the other. That is to say, there is an obvious convenience in devoting some books to the preliminary work of philological intrepretation; and occupying others with the application of this process to its great design of practical improvement. But the fact which strikes us, and to which we ask attention, is that Calvin could not do this. The Reformers generally could not do it. They had no idea of intrepreting the Bible first, and then making use of the interpretation afterwards, for purposes of practical improvement. The two ends were too intimately blended in their view, to be practically separated. This gives a character of moral elevation to the writings of that age and school, which cannot be attained by any possible amount of mere ability or learning. The peculiarity of which we speak, was not the result of a

certain method, but of a certain character and spirit. It was not because Calvin had resolved to blend profound interpretation with devotional improvement, that his commentaries wear their present aspect; but because the operations of his mind and the affections of his heart, on sacred subjects, were coincident. He did not think without feeling, as some now do; nor think first and feel afterwards as others do; he thought and felt at once, as if by one spontaneous movement. And we venture to suggest, that when the same cause operates, in the same degree, the same effects may follow. The devotional element will not then be excluded from our books of exposition for the want of room, because the same space will be large enough to hold the product of the head and of the heart, when both are held in vital union by the action of an intellect baptised with fire and the Holy Ghost. In the mean time we confess that we revert with pleasure and increasing admiration from the most successful efforts of mere intellect in our day, to these incomparable relics of an age possessed of far more learning than the present, in its ignorance, is pleased to give it credit for, and blessed with an experimental knowledge of the truth, which strikes the balance vastly in its favour. The habit of depreciating such a man as Calvin, by applauding his moral qualities at the expense of his intellect and learning, has been carried far enough. We are prone not only to exaggerate the advances which have been made in philological interpretation, but, at the same time, to forget, that in strength and perspicacity of intellect, the modern philologists are very often as far inferior to the best of the old writers, as they are in faith and holiness. A man may make a grammar or a lexicon or scholia on the sacred text, with great skill, who has very little logic, and still less judgment in his composition. It is therefore a great fallacy to take for granted that the best philologists are the best interpreters; and that a writer, who is very accurate in sifting words and phrases, but has little conception of his author's drift and no sympathy with his spirit, is, on the whole, a better guide than one who, although less exact in verbal criticism, apprehends correctly the design, the general import, and the leading sentiments of that which he interprets. Even leaving out of view the vital difference between a higher degree of pious feeling and the total want of it, and looking only at the intellectual character of both, we have no hesitation in asserting, that a far more profound

and exact knowledge of Isaiah, for example, as a whole, may be derived from Calvin's antiquated commentary than from the vaunted writings of Gesenius. Between mere learning on the one hand and vast intellectual strength upon the other, the match is an unequal one at best; but how much more when to the latter you have added the advantage of a sound faith and a Christian spirit. Let the German improvements in philology, so far as they are real, be diligently used for the defence of truth and the advancement of religion. But let us not confound superiority in grammar with superiority in intellect, or allow a rage for foreign innovations to impair our reverence, not merely for the piety, but for the mental power and achievements of such men as Martin Luther and John Calvin.

In closing this notice of the latest works on Genesis, we must not fail to mention that the new edition of Professor Bush's Notes, which we reviewed three years ago,* is now complete, and that Hengstenberg's important work on the Authenticity of the Pentateuch,t has been continued, but is still unfinished.

ART. III.-Address delivered in Easton, Pennsylvania, August 18th, 1841, on the occasion of the Author's Inauguration as President of Lafayette College. By John W. Yeomans. 8vo. pp. 32. Easton. 1841.

We have some assurance of finding our way to the old and true path in education, when, amidst the meteors and wandering stars of the literary firmament, we see pointing towards that path, a light so fixed and luminous as that which shines in this Inaugural Address. True, it contains nothing about the modern divisions of education into the Mental, the Moral, and the Physical; and as little about the greatness of our nation, the peculiarity of our institutions, the vastness of the great valley of the Mississippi, or the developement of mind. It takes for granted that if one thing in education be well done it includes all others; and the author taking also for granted that professors and mas

Bib. Rep. 1838, p. 542.

• Bib. Rep. 1839, p. 271. VOL. XIV. NO. II.


ters are competent, or if not, that they should be, obtrudes no twaddle about the art of teaching, for, indeed, almost all pretended guide-books to that art are an impertinence if handed to such as need them not, and a folly if handed to such as do.

The sole thing necessary in education is the disciplining of the mind itself: the end is, to fit us for the service of our Creator. If this one thing be properly done under competent instructors, and this end be kept steadily in view, the education is complete; and every advantage both to the individual himself, and all others to whom he is in any way related is fully secured.

Taking these leading thoughts of the Address, as our text, we shall, before proceeding to the consideration of the nature of true discipline and the best instruments of its exercise, advert to the selfish spirit of the age: for it is this, which neglecting the true end of all elementary education, viz. fitness for the service of God, has done so much to bring into disuse the best means of intellectual discipline. The service of God requires mainly a well ordered mind, sagacious to discern right from wrong, prompt to choose, strong to do, patient to endure, animated by the love of goodness, not insensible to rewards in this life, but with an eye rather to the future "recompense of reward:" and hence an elementary education adapted to promote such, and similar qualities of the soul, must be in its nature different from any designed by selfishness to answer subordinate ends. In proportion to the elevation and difficulty of such ends, will, indeed, be the elevation and difficulty of the means: but if the ends be, as is very commonly the case with selfish ends, low and easy, and often base and contemptible, so will be the elementary preparation.

The cui bono is in these times the prime test; and not only is it applied to plans of education, but even to the institution and erection of school houses, academies and colleges. Such often obtain no favour with the public until it is clearly shown that their existence increases the value of property in the neighbourhood. Of mere logic and metaphysics, and their kindred subjects, with many abstruse topics, needed in true discipline, the multitude say, as Falstaff said of honour-" Can honour set a leg? No. Therefore I'll none of it."

This selfish spirit glories in separating the practical from the abstract, as if the latter were not the parent of the for

« ÎnapoiContinuă »