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The following extracts from a speech delivered at Rochdale, gives Mr. Bright's own account of how he was led, by his friend Mr. Cobden, more fully into the work of the Anti-Corn-Law League. It of interest to all who are aware of the fine blending of a high morality with a deep sympathy in all the distinguished orator's efforts :
"In the year 1841 I was at Leamington, and spent several months there. It was near the middle of September, there fell upon me one of the heaviest blows that can visit any man. I found myself there with none living of my house but a motherless child. Mr. Cobden called upon me the day after that event, so terrible to me, and so prostrating. He said, after some conversation, 'Don't allow this grief, great as it is, to weigh you down too much; there are at this moment in thousands of homes in this country wives and children who are dying of hunger, of hunger made by the law. If you will come along with me we will never rest till we have got rid of the Corn Law.' We saw the colossal injustice which cast its shadow over every part of the nation, and we thought we saw the true remedy and the relief, and that if we united our efforts, as you know we did, with the efforts of hundreds and thousands of good men in various parts of the country, we should be able to bring that remedy home, and to afford that relief to the starving people of this country.”—Page 108.
There is a fine piece of political rhetoric, worthy the study of those who would move men by effective speech, on page 562 of this volume, It shows that the profoundest wisdom may be made popular by noble men bent on noble ends. After showing that the man who warns the dwellers on the slope of an Etna or a Vesuvius is not responsible for the eruption which the smoke and lava betoken, the orator says:
"I merely warn men of their danger. It is not I who am stimulating men to the violent pursuit of their acknowledged constitutional rights. We are merely about our lawful business; and you are the citizens of a country that calls itself free, yet you are citizens to whom is denied the greatest and the first blessing of the constitution under which you live. If the truth must be told, the Tory party is the turbulent party of this nation."
The general teaching of John Bright's life is that, in the best sense, the wise reformer is the true conservative; and for this one lesson this book is to be welcomed.
MEYER'S COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.* _ The circulation of Meyer's Commentaries among ministers and
* Critical and Exegetical Hand. Book to the Epistle to the Romans. By H. A. W. MEYER. Translated from the 5th edition by Rev. J. C. Moore and Rev. E. Johnson. The translation revised and edited by Rev. W. P. Dickson, D.D. With a preface and supplementary notes to the American edition, by Timothy Dwight, Professor, etc., in Yale College. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. 1884. VOL. VII.
theological students is an event of happy augury. His grammatical thoroughness is a great relief from the slipshod style of interpretation which confounds text with inference, and makes an Apostle say what it is conceived that he might have said with profit to the reader or pleasure to the sect to which the commentator belongs. Meyer's independence of traditional doginas relative to Biblical impeccability is of the more value, as regards his influence, from his sincere and firm faith in the doctrines of the evangelical system. No one can ascribe his deviation from old views of the harmonists and dogmatists, out of a desire to get rid of unwelcome doctrines. In the volume before us we have the new suggestions of Meyer's German editor, Professor Weiss, whose eminence in this department has been fairly earned, and whose peculiar merits make his editorial additions of great interest. Weiss does not surpass Meyer in philological skill and accuracy; but he has some qualities in which he is not excelled, even if he is equalled, by his predecessors. The American edition of the Commentary on the Romans is greatly enriched by the additional notes of Professor Dwight. These are subjoined to each chapter. They refer to points of special inportance, and, generally, of special difficulty. Professor Dwight brings to his task the mature judgment which has been reached by many years of diligent study of the New Testament. He has had the inestimable advantage of conducting the studies of inquisitive classes of pupils, and of thus looking at the points of difficulty from all sides. Like Meyer and Weiss, he thinks and writes in a truly scientific spirit which aims to ascertain what the Apostle really intended to say,-be the doctrinal corollaries what they may. The combination of scholarship and common sense in Professor Dwight's expositions renders them both lucid and trustworthy. There is no hesitation in expressing opinions, and there is the courage to differ from other commentators where there appear to be reasons for dissent. As an example of the style of these comments of Professor Dwight, we subjoin an extract from his remarks on the aorist in Rom. v. 12—“for that all sinned:"_“The view adopted by Hodge himself [Dr. Charles Hodge], with others of similar theological opinions, gives to the verb the meaning 'were accounted as sinners;' that is, all men were regarded and treated as sinners on account of Adam's offence, although they, in no actual sense, participated in it. He was their representative, and they are subjected to penal evils because their representative sinned. This explanation is not only exposed to the objection that it contravenes our ordinary ideas of justice—an objection which, if not absolutely fatal, at least throws a strong presumption against it, and impels us to search for some more reasonable account of the meaning—but is also inconsistent with the universal sense of the verb [Gen. xliii. 9, xliv. 32; I. Kings i. 21, the only passages which are even claimed as exceptions, not being properly applicable to the case in hand], and is directly contradicted by what is said in vv. 18, 19. Dr. Shedd who favors the view of actual participation, says of this mode of interpreting the words : The clause is introduced to justify the infliction of death upon all men. But it makes an infliction more inexplicable, rather than less so, to say that it is visited upon
those who did not commit the sin that caused the death, but were fictitiously and gratuitously regarded as if they had.' (Com, on Rom., p. 125.)
The reader may be referred to the commentaries of these two writers, opposing each other, for a satisfactory refutation of the views of both. We are led, accordingly, by the failure of the literal explanation to ask for another. And here we notice that Paul repeatedly uses the aorist tense in a seini-figurative or figurative sense, in cases analogous to the present. In the next chapter, vv. 4, 6, 8, he says that he and his Christian readers were buried with Christ, that their old man was crucified with Him, that they died with him. Gal. ii. 20, he declares that he had been crucified with Christ. In passages like these he does not mean that the Roman believer, who became a Christian, perhaps many years after the death of Jesus, was actually put on the cross with Him and participated in His dying. He means, simply, that by reason of his becoming a believer, and whenever he does so, any person is, ipso facto, so closely united with Jesus that it is as if he had been actually placed on His cross.
In a similar sense,
the posterity of Adam sinned in his sin."
PROFESSOR H. B. Smith's SysTEM OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY.* - Professor Karr has done a good work in preparing for the press, from manuscripts unfinished and, in part, fragmentary, very valuable writings of one of the foremost of American philosophers and theologians. The small volumes which he has * System of Christian Theology. By HENRY B. SMITH, D.D., LL.D. Edited by S. KARR, D.D., Professor, etc. New York: A. C. Armstrong & Co.
previously issued were stored with important thoughts, expressed in the terse and compact style for which Professor Smith was distinguished. The present, more copious work, is the edifice to which those volumes formed the vestibule. If the larger structure, from one point of view, is in a degree disappointing, it is
, owing to the imperfection of the materials, or their imperfect condition. The reader cannot avoid the regret that the honored author did not live to elaborate and complete, with his own hand, the building upon which he bad expended so much thought and time. We are thankful, however, for the work as it stands, —a work which is indebted for its issue to the industry and skill of the editor. Professor Smith's theme is Redemption. This he rightly makes the subject of Christian Theology. In the First Division, he considers “the Antecedents of Redemption,”-God and the Trinity ; Cosmology, or Creation, Decrees, Providence, and the Theodicy ; Anthropology, the doctrine of Man and of Sin. The Second Division relates to the Person and the Work of Christ. In the Third Division, the Kingdom of Redemption, are comprised Justification, Regeneration, etc., together with Eschatology. Everywhere we find quickening suggestions and acute discussions. The ample learning of the author is used for the service of the reader and not for ornament. Occasionally we meet with passages which, we are sure, Professor Smith would not have left in their present form. For example, after arguing against Dr. N. W. Taylor's position respecting the non-prevention of sin, he proceeds to positive statements of his own; and (p. 155) he says: “If God should prevent sin by omnipotence or exclude it wholly, this might diminish the capabilities of boliness (and of course of happiness also) in the system.” This is precisely Dr. Taylor's doctrine and proposition. If Dr. Taylor, therefore, is opposed on this topic it must be through a misconception. On one subject, we are somewhat surprised at a remark by the editor in a foot-note. He says (p. 317) of Professor Smith: “ It is a question whether he did not intend to make some final statements which would bring out more distinctly the proper federal headship of Adam on the basis of the natural headship.” We always understood Professor Smith to be a strenuous opposer of the theory which is here referred to. Federal headship on the basis of natural headship is the view of the Princeton theologians. This view Professor Smith never manifested, as far as we have known, any disposition to favor.
CLARKE's “THE IDEAS OF THE APOSTLE Paul.”—This volume has many claims to attention and respect. Its author is a man of ripe experience as a minister. He is religious in his tone and spirit. He is a scholar of excellent attainments. He is well acquainted with the theological literature of the day. He is a careful student of the New Testament. Scattered along its pages are many thoughts which are adapted to interest and to profit readers of theological opinions diverse from his own. Illustrations of religious truth, gathered from wide reading, are unostentatiously introduced. It is an honest book. Nor are we disposed to magnify the differences of interpretation between the writer and those who are commonly termed orthodox. Yet these differences are important. Ideas are attributed to Paul which we do not think that he cherished. That the Apostle held and asserted the preëxistence of Christ and his divinity, we hold to be the inevitable conclusion of a sound and fair exegesis. So, the “reconciliation ” of which the Apostle speaks is a change in the relation of God to men. Dr. Clarke's interpretation of the pertinent passages is contrary to the judgment of such exegetes as Meyer and Weiss, and contrary, in our judgment, to the real tenor and intent of the Apostle's argument.
PLOETZ'S EPITOME OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY.* --Dr. Ploetz's work consists of full, methodized notes extending over the whole field of history. After a statement of the principal divisions of universal history, there follow compendious accounts both of the eastern and the western peoples wbich figure in the ancient period. Mediæval history, beginning with the emigration of the northern tribes and extending to the discovery of America by Columbus, is next in order. Modern bistory embraces four sections, the first terminating at the peace of Westphalia in 1648; the second covering the second half of the 17th century and the 18th century to the French Revolution ; the third including the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars; the fourth comprising the interval from 1815 to the present. The American editor has introduced important improvements,-principally in the history of England and America, which has been entirely rewritten. The pages are besprinkled with dates; the notes are well stored with valuable references to authorities. In its contents the work
Epitome of Ancient, Mediæval and Modern History. By Carl PLOETZ. Translated with extensive additions by WILLIAM TILLINGHAST. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1884.