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It is hence much more readable; its meaning is much more readily apprehended.
If asked whether it will satisfy thoroughly the wants of critical scholars, we may, perhaps, be obliged to answer in the negative; but we might add, by way of apology, that it was not prepared for the purpose of meeting these wants. It appeared to the Speaker of the English House of Commons, by whom the idea of this work was first suggested, "that there was a want of some commentary in which the latest iuformation might be made accessible to men of ordinary culture." This purpose it answers as well, in our judgment, as any other work of the kind.
We have been at the pains of examining, with a good deal of care, what is said in this work in regard to several matters, which have of late been warmly discussed. As already hinted, we do not find any exhaustive treatment of such points; yet we do find, on the whole, a sufficiently fair presentation of them, with such an account of the arguments on opposite sides, as to enable the judicious reader to form a safe and correct conclusion. In the Introduction, for instance, considerable space is taken up with a discussion of the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch; and while we think the point conclusively proved, a good deal is said which does not add anything to the strength of the argument. The argument would be much more forcible, if condensed into a shorter space.
The Commentary deals with scientific points in a candid and liberal spirit. It makes concessions sufficiently large, and yet nothing is advanced that conflicts with just theories of inspiration. It is admitted that the phrase "In the beginning," in Gen. i. may cover a period of time of indefinite length; that the word "day," in the same chapter, is not to be taken in its ordinary meaning, and thus the earth might have been brought into its present form without the operations of any other than natural causes. The flood is represented as having been sent for the purpose of effecting the destruction of the human race, and there is hence no necessity for supposing it to have extended beyond those portions of the earth's surface which were inhabited by men. We give these as illustrations of the manner in which certain difficult questions are dealt with in this work. Without aiming at the highest excellences of biblical commentary, this work, we repeat, will accomplish a very good purpose. It is one which ministers and intelligent laymen can consult with much profit.
BIBLICAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS. By Franz Delitzsch, D.D., Professor of Old and New Testament Exegesis, Leipsic. Translated from the German (from the Second Edition, Revised throughout) by the Rev. Francis Bolton, B.A., Prizeman in Hebrew and New Testament Greek in the University of London. Vols. I. and II. 8vo. pp.. 428 and 420. Edinburgh T. and T. Clark. 1871. The reading of this work will awaken in some minds a grave doubt as
to the desirableness of its having been published in its present form. They may raise no question as to the general correctness of the opinions which it sets forth, or the eminent qualifications of Dr. Delitzsch as a biblical scholar; yet they will ask, whether it would not have been as well to let his Commentary remain untranslated. There are, or ought to be, ministers enough by whom it could be read in the original; and the many things it contains which ought to be known, would in this way soon be promulgated. We must admit that few readers will have the patience to give this work anything like a thorough perusal. Its style, though the words are English, is still so thoroughly German; it costs so much effort, in many cases, to find out the meaning intended to be conveyed, that the work may by even a plurality of readers be laid down in despair. Perhaps it would have been better to attempt a transfusion rather than a translation of the work, to put Dr. Delitzsch's thoughts into a purely English form, and so make the work more attractive to the many, and less repulsive to even the superficial.
Nothing we have said has been meant to intimate any doubt as to the substantial merits of Dr. Delitzsch's Commentary. The Commentary proper is preceded by an Introduction of considerable length, giving, among other matters a valuable history of the exposition of the Psalms, and laying down also certain theological considerations by which an interpreter of the Psalms should be guided. The whole spirit of the work is decidedly evangelical and in this respect superior to the great work of Hupfeld. More prominence is given to the Messianic idea running through the Psalms than is usual; far more than in such commentaries as that of Professor Addison Alexander. Its views of sin, as developed, among other places, in the notes on the fifty-first Psalm, are deep and scriptural. The translations of the Psalms strike us as on the whole very happy. They altogether excel those of the American commentator just named. We cannot see, indeed, any adequate reason why in these translations the words Elohim and Jahve (Jehovah) should be used in the place of their ordinary English equivalents. In what respects, we ask, is the following rendering of Ps. lxxx. 5:
"Jahve Elohim Tsebaôth,
How long wilt thou be angry when thy people pray.”
preferable to the ordinary version? Is the meaning of the verse made any clearer or more impressive?
A KEY TO THe Pentateuch, explanatory of the Text and the Grammatical Forms. By Solomon Deutsch, A.M., Ph. D.; Author of “A New Practical Hebrew Grammar." Part I. Genesis. New York: Holt and Williams. 1871.
Deutsch's "Practical Hebrew Grammar" has been favorably known to the public since 1868. The present work is intended to aid beginners in
Hebrew who, having acquired some knowledge of the grammatical principles of the language, wish to pass to the reading of the Bible. The Key is designed to serve the office of a Lexicon, every word that occurs for the first time in any particular conjugation being translated in the form in which it appears, and referred to its ground form, as far as the necessity of the case requires. The grammatical analysis is aided by references to the appropriate sections of the Grammar; and explanatory notes are also added, where this is made necessary by any peculiarity in the form or syntactical connection of a word. A valuable collection of Paradigms is added. The work is well adapted to the end proposed by the author; and will be particularly serviceable to students who are not able to command the help of a teacher. The present part contains the book of Genesis, to be followed by two more parts devoted to the remainder of the Pentateuch.
THE TRAINING OF THE TWELVE; or, Passages out of the Gospels. Exhibiting the Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ under Discipline for the Apostleship. By the Rev. Alexander Balmain Bruce, Broughty Ferry. 8vo. pp. 548. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark; New York: Charles Scribner and Co. 1871.
This volume is divided into thirty-one chapters, each of which was probably an expository sermon, as each indicates the aim of a preacher, rather than a mere essayist. The chapters contain many good specimens of the pulpit expository style; particularly the chapters on Current Opinion and Eternal Truth; The Transfiguration; The Anointing in Bethany; O Jerusalem, Jerusalem; The Master serving; In Memoriam. They are written in a clear style and enriched with classical quotations; although sometimes they are too intensely figurative, as on pp. 329, 330. They betray the writer's familiarity with the German expositors, particularly with Hoffmann.' The various scenes in our Lord's life are depicted graphically, as far as they illustrate the education of the apostles. The writer glides easily from narrative to doctrinal statements. Thus, on pp. 308, 309, he describes Mary's waste of the ointment, and represents Jesus as defending himself while defending her, and "answering by anticipation such questions as these: To what purpose weep over doomed Jerusalem? Why sorrow for souls that are after all to perish? Why trouble himself about men not elected to salvation? Why command his gospel to be preached to every creature, with an emphasis which seems to say he wishes every one to be saved, when he knows only a definite number will believe the report? Why not confine his sympathies and his solicitudes to those who shall be effectually benefited by them? Why not restrict his love to the channel of the covenant? Why allow it to overflow the embankments, like a river in full flood?" The author then proceeds to make such statements as are commonly made by the advocates
of the general atonement. Throughout the work a liberal and catholic spirit is manifested. It is just such a work as needs a good index, which it has not.
THE REVELATION OF JOHN; with Notes, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical. Designed for both Pastors and People. By Rev. Henry Cowles, D.D. 12mo. pp. 254. New York: D. Appleton and Co.
The reader of Professor Cowles's Commentaries is favorably impressed, first, by their good sense; secondly, by their modesty of expression; thirdly, by the perspicuousness with which recondite theories are stated; fourthly, by the Christian spirit pervading the exegesis. His Commentary on the Apocalypse, like his other Commentaries, is the result of much learning, but makes no display of it. He does wisely in introducing few references to other commentators; for the majority of readers for whom his work is designed would be simply confused by such references. We think, indeed, that exegetes, like Alford, are often themselves bewildered by their own abundant references. Dr. Cowles's remarks on the first resurrection (Rev. xx. 5, 6) are eminently sensible. His dissertation (pp. 247-254) on the "day-for-a-year theory" is also sound. In fact, we do not know where "both pastors and people" can find so much of judicious comment on the Apocalypse within so brief a space as they can find in this volume.
THE CONSERVATIVE REFORMATION AND ITS THEOLOGY: as represented in the Augsburg Confession, and in the History and Literature of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. By Charles P. Krauth, D.D., Norton Professor of Theology in the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary, and Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy in the University of Pennsylvania. 8vo. pp. 840. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co. 1871.
We suppose that Dr. Krauth is of German descent. His present work betrays characteristics of a German and an American. It exhibits the German patience and strength, as well as the American energy and enterprise. The institutions, the national air, the very climate of our country, have an influence on the intellectual character. The volume of Dr. Krauth is written in a vigorous and animated style, and with an enthusiasm for the Lutheran theology and church. His acquaintance with the literature of Lutheranism is extensive. His quotations from Lutheran writers are very numerous. We do not know any work in the English language which gives so full and clear a view of Lutheranism, especially in its ancient form.
The title, the design, and also the spirit of Dr. Krauth's volume are illustrated in the following paragraph: "The object of this book is not to
delineate the spirit and doctrines of the Reformation as a general movement over against the doctrinal and practical errors of the Roman church, but to state and vindicate the faith and spirit of that part of the movement which was conservative, as over against the part which was radical. It is the Lutheran Reformation in those features which distinguish it from the Zwinglian and Calvinistic Reformation, which forms the topic of this book. Wherever Calvin abandoned Zwinglianism he approximated Lutheranism. Hence, on important points, this book in defending Lutheranism over against Zwinglianism, defends Calvinism over against Zwinglianism also. It even defends Zwinglianism, so far as, in contrast with Anabaptism, it was relatively conservative. The Pelagianism of the Zwinglian theology was corrected by Calvin, who is the true father of the Reformed church, as distinguished from the Lutheran. The theoretical tendencies of Zwingle developed into Arminianism and Rationalism; his practical tendencies into the superstitious anti-ritualism of ultra-Puritanism: and both the theoretical and practical found their harmony and consummation in Unitarianism" (p. xii).
We have been particularly interested in Dr. Krauth's account of Luther, Melancthon, Erasmus, and Zwingle. He says: "Zwingli was a patriot, and as such we admire him; but he was, as compared with Oecolampadius, not to mention Calvin, an exceedingly poor theologian" (p. 448). We should have preferred to say that Zwingle was inferior to Oecolampadius and Calvin. In many instances the style of the volume is too intense for a sober and staid history. Our readers will be interested in Dr. Krauth's representation of the Lutheran doctrine concerning original sin. He says: "We argue that original sin is truly sin: 1. Because it has the relations and connections of sin: 2. It has the name and synonymes of sin: 3. It has the essence of sin: 4. It has the attributes of sin: 5. It does the acts of sin: 6. It incurs the penalties of sin: 7. It needs the remedies of sin: 8. Consequently, and finally, it is conformed to a true definition of sin" (pp. 398, 399). On page 429 he says: "It is not the doctrine of our confession that any human creature has ever been, or ever will be, lost purely on account of original sin. For while it supposes that original sin if unarrested, would bring death, it supposes it to be arrested, certainly and ordinarily by the Holy Spirit, through the divine means rightly received, and throws no obstacle in the way of our hearty faith that, in the case of infants dying without the means, the Holy Ghost, in his own blessed way, directly and extraordinarily, may make the change that delivers the child from the power of indwelling sin. Luther in his marginal note on John xv. 22, says: 'Denn durch Christum ist die Erbsünde auffgehaben, und verdamnet nach Christus zukunfft niemand. On wer sie nicht lassen, das ist, wer nicht gleuben wil? Through Christ original sin is annulled, and condemneth no man since Christ's coming, unless he will not forsake it (original sin), that is, will not believe." "