Page images
PDF
EPUB

the time or the patience to read Edwards through, or the ability to understand him, they will find this an important, if not an indispensable aid.

12.- The Doctrine of the Will, applied to Moral Agency and

Responsibility. By Henry P. Tappan. New-York:

Wiley & Putnam. 1841. pp. 356. It is less than two years since the first of Professor Tappan's volumes on the Will made its appearance, entitled A Review of Edwards' Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will." In our notice of it, (Bib. Repos. July, 1839,] we hailed its appearance as ominous of good." A spirit of inquiry was abroad, and the time seemed to have arrived when an examination of the doctrines of Edwards, so long revered and extensively embraced, seemed to be called for. The great mass of our theologians and metaphysicians, who stand substantially on the ground of Edwards, were neither fully aware of the strength of their position, nor the difficulties they might be called to encounter; while those who were inclined to dissent from some of these views had perfected no system of doctrines which they were prepared to substitute for these. The uncommitted inquirer was thus left without any recent and thorough investigation of the great and ever-varying arguments on liberty, necessity, moral responsibility, etc.

In the result of these discussions, thus far, we have not been disappointed. Several articles have appeared in our own work on topics connected with this general subject, in which the pen of Dr. Woods has largely shared, and the work of President Day, which we have noticed above, has doubtless been called forth by the perceived wakefulness, and, to some extent the unsettled state of the public mind in respect to the cardinal positions which it elucidates and defends. In the mean time Professor Tappan, having awakened attention to the subject by his first volume, has diligently employed his temporary release from professional engagements in the prosecution of his inquiries. His second volume, entitled The Doctrine of the Will determined by an Appeal to Consciousness, was noticed in our No. for July, 1810, where we enumerated the leading topics embraced in the whole series. The third and last volume is that announced at the head of this notice.

The Doctrine of the Will, as proved and illustrated in the two previous volumes, is here viewed in connexion with Moral Agency and Responsibility, and also in connexion with the Truths and Precepts of the Bible. The author treats of the

mind under a threefold division, the Reason, the Sensibility, and the Will, and having, as he thinks, refuted the celebrated argument of Edwards against a self-determining will, viz., that of the infinite series, and contingency as implying no cause, he finds in the human mind two elements of necessity and one of freedom. The reason and the sensitivity are related to their phenomena, as substance to attribute. The will is related to its phenomena, as cause to effect. All causality is thus resolvable into will; the will being free and self-determined. This view of the will, our author urges in support of the great doctrines of morality and religion. The leading topics of this volume are the necessity and immutability of moral distinctions,---moral agency and responsibility,-extent of responsibility, --conscience,-pantheism,--evil, natural and mcral,—the Divine government,—the doctrines of Scripture on these subjects.

We need add nothing to what we have said in former no. tices of the style and spirit of Prof. Tappan's discussions. Among the chapters of the volume before us, that on the Di. vine government is particularly fine, and will be attractive to such as adopt the author's philosophical views. The Divine government, he maintains, is constituted of law and power, and is universal, extending to all created things and all created minds. The fulfilment of law is absolute and necessary in respect to all physical phenomena, but is contingent where a power is committed to an intelligent being to obey or disobey. In this case the law is moral, and the subject of it is responsible for his power of obedience; and if he disobey, the wisdom and power of God are sufficient to control the results ; 80 that here the ends of government are as secure and certain as in the physical world. In accordance with these views, the decrees are absolute and causative in respect to all physical events. Here the decree necessitates the event. But in his moral government, though God infallibly secures certain developments of moral character and conduct, yet the certainty of their occurrence is not founded upon necessity, but upon a perfect knowledge of all the circumstances of moral action. Between the decree and the working out of the great moral end there lie innumerable volitions of moral agents, and a vast number of these are exercised in violation of the moral law. These are not decreed as God decrees his own acts, and natural events. Thus to decree transgression would make God the author of sin, which our author maintains has its origin solely in the free will of man. These prinSECOND SERIES, VOL. V. NO. II.

22

ciples he applies to the decree of election to eternal life, and makes the certainty of its result not a necessary but a moral certainty, as above explained, but just as infallible as if it were necessary. Regeneration is represented as a change of the governing purpose of the mind, in accordance with the above principles. The Agent in regeneration is the Holy Spirit, but the subject of his supernatural influences is free and active, and his will is self-determined in all its purposes of good.

As to the correctness of these views, we announce, editorially, no decision. We speak as to wise men, who will read and judge for themselves. We have every disposition to encourage a free and candid examination of the conflicting philosophical systems, defended by Dr. Day and Mr. Tappan in the works we have here noticed, and doubt not that the refu. tation of error and the establishment of truth will be the result. 14.Religion and Liberty. A Discourse delivered Dec. 17,

1840; the Day appointed for public Thanksgiving by the Governor of New-York. By Thomas H. Skinner. New

York: Wiley & Putnam. 1841. pp. 77. This discourse is worthy of the attractive form in which it appears in the neat little volume before us. The leading topics announced for discussion, as causes of thanksgiving, are "our civil institutions—the existing relations between these and religion-and the care which Providence hath extended to this country, both as to its temporal and spiritual well-being." Assuming that there is, in all respects, a close connection between the civil institutions of a people and their happiness, the author contrasts our own republican government with the monarchies of Europe, and claims for it immense advantages, particularly in the relation existing, in this country, between the civil government and religion. In the course of his discussion, and in several notes appended, he sharply resists the doctrines of the “Oxford Divines" in respect to the authority of the church, and rebukes, with deserved severity, the spirit and sentiments of an article in the former series of the Biblical Repository, January, 1835, entitled “ Law suited to Man."

15.-God's Hand in America. By the Rev. George B. Cheever.

With an Essay, by the Rev. Dr. Skinner. New-York :

M. W, Dodd. London: Wiley & Putnam. 1841. pp. 168. The Essay by Dr. Skinner is introductory and commendatory, and the remainder of this little volume is composed

principally of the substance of two discourses by Mr. Chee. ver, delivered, the first on the day of public thanksgiving, and the other on the first Sabbath in the year. It embraces two parts, which are divided into ten chapters. It is rich in the variety of its thoughts and suggestions, rendered attractive by a style of expression at once striking and chaste. The current of thought is, from a general view of the grounds of national responsibility and retributive Providence, to a more particular consideration of the opportunities and responsibilities of this country for its own and the world's evangelization. The author's illustrations from foreign sources show that he has not been an idle observer of the condition and tendencies of the institutions of the old world, while his genius makes the events of history and Providence speak in glowing and impress sive language to the new.

16.-Sketches of Conspicuous Living Characters of France.

Translated by Ř. M. Walsh. Philadelphia: Lea and

Blanchard. 1841. pp. 312. These sketches first appeared in Paris in weekly livraisons and were exceedingly popular. They were regarded authentic in respect to their statements of facts, and as impartial in their delineations as could reasonably be expected. The author's name is unknown; he styles himself homme de rien, Himself unseen, he has drawn a picture of the leading men of France, who are now upon the stage --Thiers, Guizot, Lafitte, Soult, Lamartine, Châteaubriand, Berryer, Dupin, etc. Each is sketched with a bold and vigorous hand. It is impossible, of course, at this distance from the originals, to form a confident estimate of the fidelity of this gallery of portraits. The character of the translator, however, is a sufficient guaranty of their general accuracy. Assuming their correctness, they are a most valuable help to the just appreciation of the men, who are exerting such a mighty influence on the destinies of France. The translation is admirable.

Additional Notices.

We are obliged to condense our notices of the following books for want of room.

Patchidork. By Capt. Basil Hall, R. N., F.R S.; in two volumes. Philad.

1

remarks frequently extend to other countries which he has visited. We have a great variety of information, presented in a very easy, sprightly style. The things described are not new, but we often see them from new and interesting positions.

The Philosophy of Rhetoric. By George Campbell, D. D., Principal of the Marischal College. Aberdeen. New Edition, with the author's last additions and corrections. New-York: Harper and Brothers. 1941. pp. 396.

This is a work of undisputed excellence. The treatises on Rhetoric, which have appeared more recently, have not superseded it. Those, who would write well or speak well, should read it and study it.

Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Gospels, By Albert Barnes. In two volumes. Revised and corrected, with an index, Chronological table etc. New-York: Harper and Brothers. 1841.

Sixteen editions of these notes-2000 copies each- have been sold, a con. clusive proof of their value. This edition is a decided improvement; it is both revised and enlarged. Numerous illustrations and 'wood cuts bave been introduced; and a valuable map of Jerusalem, by Catherwood, bas been added. The chronological lable is the fruit of much labor. It would be superfluous lo commend ihese volumes.

Religion in its Relation to the Present Life. In a series of Lectures delivered before the Young Men's Association of Utica. By A. B. Johnson. Published at their request. New-York: Harper and Brothers. 1841. pp. 180.

Contents:-Every department of nature obeys determinate laws; The conduct which results injuriously; The conduct which results beneficially; The art of controlling others; The art of self-control. The book abounds with valuable thoughts and striking illustrations. It may be read with profil by all ages.

The Backslider. By Andrew Fuller, with an Introduction by Rev. John Angell James. New-York: John S. Taylor. 1841. pp. 122.

Fuller was among the first of modern Theologians. One of his best practical treatises was this on Backsliding. “ li is faithful, searching, iender and discriminating: The author handles his patient with a kind genileness, yet probes the disease to the bottom, and with vigilant assiduity labors to restore bim to sound healıb."

Popular Exposition of the Gospels ; for the use of Families, Bible Classes and Sunday Schools. By John G. Morris and Charles A. Smith, Vol. I. Matthew, Mark. Baltimore: Publication Rooms. 1840. pp. 346.

The plan of this book was suggested by several German works, particularly those of Starke and Brandi; who, iogether with Doddridge, Henry, Scott, Clarke, Rosenmuller, and Olshausen, furnished the principal ma.

terials

The authors

hondenorod to nocant a gimnlo

planation of

« PreviousContinue »