Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

It is only he who, from lack of original ability, or of patience, or of skillful guidance, has failed to gain even the lowest plateau, whose climbing must be considered as having been, from the beginning, a mistake.

Let us watch a party of mountain climbers, and seek to learn a lesson from their progress. One hurries up the first part of the ascent, looks little to his footing, slips frequently in consequence, and though, at the outset, he few past all the rest, is probably obliged, long before the summit is in sight, to desist altogether from the ascent. Of such impatient climbers there will be, indeed, some who, owing to great natural strength, may even gain the summit, but then they sink down, stiff and sore, too weary to enjoy wbat it has cost them such effort to gain.

There are, however, others who from natural wisdom, or, as is more probable, aided by the counsel and companionship of experienced mountaineers, set out with great slowness, walking along the gradual slopes at the base of the mountain, and, since their strength and attention are not fully occupied by their easy progress, acquiring a fund of useful information about the mountain, and what is to be found at its summit, and, as their curiosity is active and their memory is keen, acquiring it readily and holding it firmly. As the declivity becomes more abrupt, they may be observed looking carefully to their footing, never sbifting the weight from one foot to the other until a firm support has been secured, and making in this way slow, but encouraging, progress. If they are wise climbers they will not allow themselves to sit down, but, if they pause occasionally for a moment, they will remain standing, lest they lose the positions and aptitudes to which their limbs are becoming accustomed.

Each step, so carefully made, accompanied always with a positive gain, and taken constantly with greater freedom, gives actual pleasure. Progressing to higher altitudes. these fortunate, wisely directed climbers, find that their exertions have brought them new vigor instead of fatigue, and they enjoy the occasional glimpses backward over the way they have passed and forward towards the summit before them. There are occasional places of special difficulty in their route; steep, almost perpendicular rocks, and miry, slippery soil ; yet, as their strength is trained by their previous experience, and has not been wasted by ill-directed exertion, they confidently approach each new obstacle and find an excitement in overcoming it which is, itself, a pleasure. The higher regions into which classical culture introduces those who secure it, abound in what may be compared to the meadow-lands on the summit of Mt. Rigi in Switzerland. When these are gained, the recollection of the hard climbing below gives zest to the easy progress: the foot passes lightly over the springy mountain sod; pure, clear air invigorates every fiber of the frame; an ever-changing prospect and an ever-widening horizon so enrich and so enlarge the mind and heart of the beholder, that he not only seems to himself to be, but he has in fact become, an en. tirely different person from what he was before.

ARTICLE IX.-NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.

THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS.

a

TOWARD THE STRAIT GATE.* -Dr. Burr's foregoing works, “Ecce Cælum," Puter Mundi," and " Ad Fidem," prepared the way for a wide appreciation of whatever might follow from his pen. It was well that he first designated his authorship as from "a Connecticut Pastor," and we should have liked to see not only his office, but the name of his parish, Lyme, associated with those of his works on the title-page of this volume, as suggestive of the literary work that may be done in a rural parish, and as due to the interest his

a people take in his reputation. We are more than willing to see the series of Latin titles here giving way to the English. The author's present work is moreover of a character for which he is the better fitted by his pastoral experience, as meant for guidance in the matter of personal religion. The writer describes is, in the preface, as “the natural successor to Ad Fidem.He properly distinguishes two ways of dealing with an inquirer of ordinary intelligence; the one assuming him to be wholly ignorant on the subject, and setting forth the appropriate Bible truths in a system, reserving the application of each till all have their place, while the other, taking advantage of the truths already known and admitted, employs and urges each as it is brought to view in its order; and of these he as properly adopts the latter. The same discrimination and method belong to ordinary preaching, which should deal with the bearers not as beginners, which they are not, but as traditionally knowing enough of Christianity to be used as an argument and persuasion for learning and doing more. The book comprises thirtythree chapters, or brief discourses, (as they may have been and should be) addressed to one who is so far an inquirer as to be ready to listen, with a view to his conversion. It is marked by the clear statement, vigorous thought, happy illustration, and vivacity of expression, for which the author is already so favorably known. There is also the same fidelity to revealed truths. His most judicious admirers will be the better satisfied if the rhetoric is here less florid, as we hastily judge, than in some of his earlier works. We

a

* Toward the Strait Gate; or Parish Christianity for the Unconverted. By Rev. E. F. BURR, D.D. Boston: Lockwood, Brooks, & Co. pp. 535. 1875.

cannot forbear taking exception to the word “featy” on p. 238. The purpose and quality of the book, together with its neat mechanical appearance, make it a fit gift for the thoughtful from Christian friends, and should introduce it into parish and Sunday School libraries.

BELFAST LECTURES ON SCIENCE AND REVELATION.*_This volume comprises nine lectures called forth by Prof. Tyndall's address before the British Association in Belfast, in 1874, and delivered in that city during the winter following. They are by eminent Professors and clergymen of Belfast and vicinity, and treat severally the following subjects: Science and Revelation; Design in the Structure and Fertilization of Plants; H. Spencer's Biological Hypothesis; the Doctrine of an Impersonal God in its effects on Morality and Religion; Miracles and Prophecy; Prayer in relation to Natural Law; Man's Responsibility for his Belief; the Life and Character of Christ an Evidence of the Truth of Christianity; The achievements of the Bible a proof of its divine origin. The series of lectures was adapted to its purpose. The publisher has simply bound the pamphlets together, without even taking trouble to give the volume a continuous paging.

a

a

[ocr errors]

The CHURCH AND HER CHILDREN.—The oneness and perpetuity of the Church of God, Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian,-its charter in the Abrahamic Covenant,-its qualification for membership, faith in Messiah,-its basis in the family rather than the individual,-its sign and seal, first circumcision, then baptism,the membership and relations of baptized children,—these are the topics of this work, argued from the Scriptures, and from the early Christian fathers. The “introductory note" gives as the author's reason for undertaking it, that while the several topics are ably treated here and there, they are not elsewhere brought together in their mutual relations as he thinks they should be.

The argument is careful and clear, and as a whole the work seems to us well suited to diffuse comprehensive and profitable views, both of the Church in the larger sense) and of infant baptism. Perhaps too large a part of the space is devoted to historical matter, yet this branch of the argument is handled with unusual interest and skill. The Congregational Publishing Society have done good service in issuing such a work.

* Science and Revelation ; a Series of Lectures in reply to the Theories of Tyndall, Huxley, Darwin, Spencer, etc. Belfast: William Mullan. New York: Scribner, Welford & Armstrong. 1875. Price $2.00.

+ The Church and her Children. By WILLIAM BARROWS, D.D. Boston: Congregational Publishing Society. 12mo, pp. 348.

LEWES' PROBLEMS OF LIFE AND MIND, Vol. II.*—The first volume of this work has been before the public for a considerable time. It contains an introduction treating “The Method of Science and its application to Metaphysics,” and “The Rules of Philosophizing,” and a statement of “ Psychological Principles." It also treats the first problem, “The Limitations of Knowledge."

The second volume treats five other problems : “The Principles of Certitude," "From the Known to the Unknown,” “Matter and Force,”

,” “Force and Cause," “ The Absolute in the Correlations of Feeling and Motion."

These two volumes are an expansion of what the author appears to have begun as an introductory chapter. Together, under the common title “ The Foundations of a Creed,” they constitute an introduction to what was originally projected as the main work, and which is yet to appear.

It bas often been demonstrated that any theory of knowledge, which limits it to phenomena perceived by sense, logically issues in universal skepticism. The history of thought has confirmed this demonstration by showing in repeated instances, not merely that philosophy and theology are impossible, but also that empirical science itself cannot be constituted within the limits of this theory. Mr. Lewes attempts to escape this difficulty by teaching that it is not true that “experience only means Sensation.” It includes "a sensible experience or its rational equivalent;" it includes knowledge of “the Sensible and the Extrasensible; excluding altogether whatever is supra-sensible.” “Every explanation is a classification of facts by means of ideas which originally were observations, and is a true classification in proportion to the extent of the observations and the accura

uracy with which the ideas represent them. An explanation to be valid must be expressed in terms of phenomena already observed ; that is, either drawn directly from the observation, or indirectly from a comparison of inferences with sensations." “The law of inverse squares-that

[ocr errors]

* Problems of Life and Mind. By GEORGE HENRY LEWES. First Series, the Foundations of a Creed. Vol. II. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. 1875. Crown 8vo, pp. 487. Price $3.00.

« AnteriorContinuar »