Gambar halaman

fore consists in his perfection and the happiness incident thereto. This implies a law by which all pleasures and their sources may be estimated and which imposes obligation to seek the true good which is perfection. Virtue is a person's character conformed to the law and realizing, or intended to realize, the perfection which is the true good. The work is divided into three books, which treat in succession the three subjects just named: The Good; Duty or Law; and Virtue. Merit and Demerit he defines as not representing the relation of the moral agent to reward or punishment, but as expressing the increase or diminution of the internal worth of the moral agent by the action of his will--the increase of worth being attested by the agent's moral satisfaction and the esteem of men, its diminution by the contrary. Well-being or beatitude is not the reward of virtue, it is virtue itself. “The future life should not be considered as a recompense, but as the peaceable enjoyment of the only thing which has any worthperfection.”

It is the design of the author to give real content to the ethics of Kant, which recognizes only the formal principle of the law, without losing its grand truth in the recognition of imperative law; and, on the other hand, by recognizing the law by which we estimate the value or worth of enjoyment and its sources, to elevate into a rational and spiritual ethics the gross utilitarianism of Bentham without losing its recognition of happiness as an element in the good. He has succeeded in doing this. We think, however, he would have presented the result with more power, and would have escaped a considerable number of the difficulties which he recognizes and tries to remove, if, instead of beginning with natural good, he had begun with the Absolute Reason, the Eternal Spirit, that is the ultimate ground of the universe, and in whom all truths, laws, ideals of perfection, and all norms or standards of good are eternal and archetypal, and of whom man, as endowed with Reason and free-will, is the image. These archetypal truths, laws, ideals, and good are thus the constitution of the universe and make sure that the good of man must be in the perfection of his being, its harmony with the constitution of things which are his environment, and the happiness involved therein. Starting as he does with natural good, he finds a difficulty in accepting the fundamental ethical fact that personal beings are always and in themselves ends or objects of service, and may never rightly be used as means to good. Hence he speaks of virtue as the love of good or the love of order.” But Cbrist presents as the object of love required in the law, not order, nor good, nor truth, nor right, nor duty, nor any abstraction, but personal beings; thou shalt love God and thy neighbor

The work is well worth translating. It is rich in bistorical notices of the course of ethical thought; it is suggestive and stimulating to thought; it is written in a lively and attractive style; and, whatever may be the criticism of the order and method of his development of the subject, the result which he reaches and the tone of the discussion are morally healthy and bracing.

CERTITUDE, PROVIDENCE, AND PRAYER.*_ This is the title of the fourth number: of Dr. McCosh's Philosophical Series, already widely and favorably known. It treats in successive sections the following topics: “Realism and Certainty ; Evolution and Certitude; Evolution and Morality; Providence; Prayer; What is our World ?” He states clearly the doctrines as to Certitude, Providence, and Prayer, and answers recent objections against God's Providence and his answer to prayer, founded on the law of Continuity or the Uniformity of Nature, as now understood in the light of Evolution. His treatment of the subject is clear and incisive, and sustains the reputation of its distinguished author.

He relates in a note the following interesting incident: “Some years ago I had a call at my house in Ireland by a young nobleman with whom I was at that time intimate, and who has since risen to eminence as a statesman (I mean Earl Dufferin), who introduced to me his friend Lord Ashburton. The nobleman introduced took me aside and said : “You know that I have lately lost my dear wife, who was a great friend of Mr. Carlyle's, and I have applied to Mr. Carlyle to tell me what I should do to have peace, and make me what I should be. On my making this request he simply bade me read Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. I did so, and did not find anything there fitted to improve me. I went back to Mr. Carlyle and asked him what precise lesson he meant me to gather from the book, and he said: Read Wilhelm Meister a second time. I have done so earnestly, but I confess I am utterly unable to find anything there to meet my anxiety, and I wish you, if you can, to explain what Mr. Carlyle could mean.' I told him that I was not the man to explain Carlyle's meaning, if indeed he had any definite meaning, I told him plainly that neither Goethe nor. Carlyle, though men of eminent literary genius, could supply the balm which his spirit needed; and I remarked that Goethe's work contained not a little that was sensual. I did my best to point to a better way, and to the deliverance promised and secured in the gospel. I do not know the issue, but I got an eager listener.”

* Philosophical SeriesNo. IV.: Certitude, Providence, and Prayer. By JAMES MCCOSH, D.D., LL.D., D.L., President of Princeton College, author of " Method of Divine Government," " Intuitions," Laws of Discursive Thought," " Emotions," etc. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1883. 46 pages. Price 50 cents.

THE PARABLES OF Christ. *_The author divides the parables into three divisions: Theoretic Parables, uttered as a teacher for the instruction of his disciples; The Parables of Grace, uttered as a preacher of the glad tidings of redemption to the people; and the Parables of Judgment, of which those of the wicked husbandmen and the ten virgins are examples. Thirty-three parables are examined and eight“parable-germs;" of the latter the new patch on the old garment and the wise and foolish builders are examples. The treatment is not exegetical in form, but is a genial and practical exposition of the didactic significance of these beautiful sayings of our Lord. The exposition, however, is scholarly and critical, and is careful to present the exact meaning of our Lord. The author does not draw from the patristic interpretations so richly as Trench bas done; but be avails himself of the results of the most recent scholarship and notices the current skeptical criticism. There is no work on the Parables better fitted for the use both of the clergy and the laity at the present time.

BIBLICAL STUDY. -The author has published in reviews and other periodicals articles on some of the topies treated in this volume. These he has freely used in treating of the same subjects in this volume. But the whole matter has been worked over anew, additional subjects have been examined, and the whole is here presented in systematic form. The work thus gives a concise but full and systematic treatment of the different departments of Biblical study. Under each topic we have brief notices of the history of Jewish and Christian thought in that department of Biblical study, and an exposition of the principles and methods which in the progress of thought must now be accepted as true and applicable. The work is thus an introduction to Biblical study. For this purpose it is of great value alike to professional students and to intelligent laymen who are beginning the thorough study of the Bible.

* The Parabolic Teaching of Christ: A Systematic and Critical Study of the Parables of our Lord. By ALEXANDER BALMAIN Bruce, D.D., Professor of Apologetics and New Testament Exegesis, Free Church College, Glasgow. New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 714 Broadway. 1883. xii. and 515 pages.

| Biblical Study: Its Principles, Methods, and History; together with a Catalogue of Books of Reference. By CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, D.D., Davenport Professor of Hebrew and the cognate languages in the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1883. xv. and 506 pages. Price $2.50,

The topics discussed are the following: Advantages of Biblical Study; Exegetical Theology; The Languages of the Bible; Criticism; The Canon; The Text; The Higher Criticism; Literary Study of the Bible; Hebrew Poetry; The Interpretation of Scripture; Biblical Theology; The Bible a Means of Grace. Appended are a catalogue of books of reference for biblical study, filling sixty pages, an index of texts, an index of topics, and an index of books and authors.

PREACHING TO SPIRITS IN Prison.*_The aim of the author is to ascertain the true meaning of Christ's preaching to the Spirits in prison and of the preaching of the gospel to the dead, spoken of in the texts from the first epistle of Peter, cited on the title page. His explanation is, in general, that Hades and Sheol denoted the abode of the Spirits of the dead; that it was separated into two parts, the inferior paradise, so called to distinguish it from heaven, which is also called Paradise, and Gehenna, or the Pit; that the servants of God under the Old Testament dispensation were not received at death to heaven, but went to the inferior Paradise, while the wicked went to Gehenna; that since Christ's resurrection, believers in Him are received at death immediately to heaven, that Christ between his death and resurrection went to the inferior paradise and proclaimed the consummation of his work of atonement to the saints of the old dispensation who had been dwelling in that intermediate abode, and at his ascension took them all with him to heaven; that those who were once disobedient in Noah's day were persons who repented before the flood destroyed them and therefore were received into the inferior paradise, and were among those to whom Christ there preached.

* Christ preaching to Spirits in Prison : or Christ's preaching to the dead er. plained by the change from the inferior to the celestial Paradise. I. Pet. iii. 19, 20, and iv. 6. By WILLIAM DeLoss Love, South Hadley, Mass. Boston: Published for the author by Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society, Congregational House, Beacon Street. 1883. 167 pages.

The work is the result of patient and faithful study, and probably presents as strong an argument for the positions taken as can be made.

DR. Wm. M. Taylor's SERMONS.*-A modern poet complains, that

“ The Word of Life, is well nigh preached to death." And before he ends his strain he describes the preaching that seems desirable

* We want the Book Translated into life, not the mere look

Of Life embalmed and shrouded in the Book." If the poet is still in search of such preaching, here are some good sermons for him. He may miss the “inbreathed spirit” of the preacher's utterance in the volume; but here are some admirable maps of thought, by one who handles the “Word of Life” according to the poet's mind.

We are glad to meet, in this permanent form, a few discourses, the fame of which "we have heard with our ears,” notably the sermon on “Christ before Pilate: Pilate before Christ,” and the one on “ What is the Chaff to the Wheat?” The excellent address upon the “Inductive Study of the Scriptures,” delivered to the theological students at Yale, Princeton, and Rochester, is also deserving of the place it holds in this handsome volume.

Issued as the book is,-at the request of its publishers, and because of the bearing of the sermons upon “ topics of great present importance; and because of many testimonies to their helpfulness,"—we give it great praise in saying that its readers are likely to find its contents justifying its preface. The Sermons are what they profess to be, “helpful,” —they are neither startling nor learned, neither novel nor critical, not even theological, nor are they meant to be ;-they are what all sermons ought to be, good for food, sermons to be desired because they make men wise unto salvation.

Contrary Winds and Other Sermons. By Wm. M. TAYLOR, D.D., LL.D., Pastor of the Broadway Tabernacle, New York. New York: A. C. Armstrong & Sons, 714 Broadway. 1883.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »