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THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD.*_The author, in his preface, says: “This book is not a treatise on Homiletics. Neither is it a ministerial biography. But it is an attempt to give to my younger brethren in the pulpit, and to those who are preparing for the ministry, some practical hints which I should have been thankful to have received twenty years ago." Homiletics as a science is certainly not philosophically treated of in these pages, but the book consists of stirring and able addresses upon the work of the ministry. The portion in which the preparation for the “ministry of the word” is dealt with is particularly excellent. The fundamental principle of self-renunciation, and the duty of hard work are strongly emphasized. The author says to young preachers: "The great majority of those who have become eminent in the pulpit, have grown into their greatness. They have, under God, made themselves for their position, by watchful self-discipline, and steady perseverance. Now, you cannot reach the end at which they have arrived, without using means similar to those which they employed. At first they were, as you are now, inexperienced, and, perhaps, also somewhat censorious, more skillful in criticising the sermons of others than in sermonizing for themselves. But at length, inspired by love to Christ and to the souls of men, they have been led so to train themselves for their work, that they have become truly great."
These lectures were heard with great pleasure and profit by the students of Yale Seminary, and we are glad that they now find a larger audience. Without the originality and brilliancy of Mr. Beecher's course, or, perhaps the impressive, evangelical simplicity of Dr. Hall's, they are vigorous, humorsome, instructive, and strike the middle key of good practical common sense, and at times exhibit that fervid eloquence for which the author is distinguished as a preacher.
THE SILENT HOUSE.-There is something very attractive and almost dainty about this little volume. It is one of those books whose value is in an inverse proportion to its size. Its author is himself an earnest preacher and faithful pastor, and into this book he has condensed the experience as well as the study of a laborious life. The impressive title very well indicates the subject, and foreshadows its quaint and sometimes imaginative treatment. The “silent house” is the grave, and the book is a series of meditations upon the most solemn aspects of our common mortality, and the thoughts and motives which should most urgently press upon our minds in view of it. This material is disposed in five chapters, entitled Building in the Dust-Near Home-The Dark Days—Searching for the Light-The Light; but these brief captions only point toward the line of thought, they do not of themselves disclose the wealth and exuberance of the author's resources in developing it. The first chapter sets forth a great variety of sentiments and facts to show that death is universal, impartial, inevitable, always near, and often sudden. The second urges the brevity of life, and gathers a vast and weighty column of the metaphors and analogies by which scripture, poetry, science and philosophy compete with each other in endeavoring to arouse the mind to its danger and its duty. In the third there is an accumulation of facts which go to show how and why the last days of the wicked are “dark days;" days of terror at the remembrance of unforgiven sin, days of defenseless agony at the approach of a destroyer whom neither riches will bribe, nor pleasure, power, fame, or unbelief will be able to repel. The fourth chapter treats carefully, and we think very judiciously, the whole question of death-bed repentance. This is in our view the most directly practical and forcible thinking in the whole book. It is of itself alone of sufficient worth to make this little volume a valuable hand-book to all pastors, and indeed to all Christians who have occasion to minister to the sick and dying. The fifth chapter shows the soul prepared for death and triumphant over it.
* The Ministry of the Word. By Wm. M. TAYLOR, D.D., Minister of the Broadway Tabernacle, New York City. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 900 Broadway, corner 20th Street. 1876.
+ The Silent House. By E. P. TENNEY. Boston: Congregational Publishing Society
All these topics are enriched with the fruits of a very wide and varied reading. The author has not only examined all the literature of the subject, but has brought to converge upon it also the light from an immense range of other studies. The thought is sometimes overloaded with the wealth of its golden burden. Some readers will feel a little impatient perhaps at the breathless rapidity with which they are hurried from one fact or quotation to another; and yet this very plethora of what Ruskin calls “ talkative facts,” though it would seem at first to mar the symmetry and simplicity of the style, adds very much to the value of a book like this, since it makes it a sort of thesaurus of all the best thoughts and most telling motives which can be gathered on the subject. We have never seen a book which contained such a mine of suggestion and illustration to aid the preacher in urging a Christian life as the best preparation for a Christian death, and to help the visitor in ministering to the spiritual wants of the sick. It will be found equally useful to the private Christian also, in guiding his meditations upon the great questions of life and death. It is worthy of a wide circulation among our churches ; and seems to us one of the most useful and valuable books to be found on the list of the works published by the Society whose imprint it bears, and as another token of the good judgment and cultivated taste which preside over the issues of that press.
THE DOCTRINE OF RETRIBUTION.*_This volume contains the Bampton Lectures for 1875. The subject is treated solely with reference to the philosophy of natural religion. And in this relation the author confines himself to a single line of thought, aiming to establish the doctrine by demonstrating the existence, and sovereignty of the moral intuitions and sentiments in the constitution of man. In establishing the position, that the facts of our moral nature distinctly point to a finality of Retribution, proof is incidentally presented of the reasonable truth of these religious beliefs, which transcend man's present existence and constitute a Natural Religion. In the course of the discussion the author traverses the various current forms of skepticism and false philosophy bearing on the subject. The work is able and instructive. It is cast, however, into the form of oral address rather than of philosophical disquisition ; and the abundance and brilliancy of the rhetoric necessitate close attention to trace the thread of the argument and define and estimate its successive points.
HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL.
General HistorY OF GREECE.-Mr. Cox seems to have exhausted the Mythology of Greece, and to be rapidly using up
* The Doctrine of Retribution. Eight lectures preached before the University of Oxford in the year 1875, on the foundation of the late John Bampton, M.A. By WILLIAM JACKSON, M.A., F.S.A., author of the Philosophy of Natural Theology," “Positivism," " Right and Wrong," &c. New York: A. D. F. Randolph, 770 Broadway. 1876. 8vo, pp. xii, and 355. Price $3.00.
+ General History of Greece. By GEORGE W. Cox, M.A. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1876.
the History. This is his second venture in the latter region, and he explains it as an attempt to put his previous work into "a form which may interest readers of all classes as well as the scholar and the critic.” The book seems by no means well suited to be the standard brief history of Greece, for it contains too much discussion of disputed points for the general reader, and in his opinions the writer stands too far apart in many respects from the views of others to be accepted and recommended as a representative of modern conclusions. We should be sorry to have any one form his ideas of Greek history and the Greek people from this book. The author seems to have had two main objects in view in writing. One of these is to show how superior he is to the weak credulity of most of his predecessors, in that they accepted as authoritative what he dismisses without hesitation as fiction. Especially is this true in his treatment of Herodotus, so that, as an English reviewer remarks, Mr. Cox seems to find no firm ground at all for bistory before the close of the Persian wars. This tendency leads him continually into what must seem to most students of Greek history unwarrantable skepticism. The other object in our author's mind seems to be to show how inferior in all elements of morality the ancient Greek was to the modern Englishman, “The quiet happiness of well-ordered English homes had never dawned upon the Hellenic mind.” We forbear to ask how long it is since it dawned upon England, or how good evidence the absence of mention of it (granting for the moment such absence) from the pages of Aristophanes and Thucydides is of the want of the thing itself. The constant recurrence of such comparisons and the unmeasured abuse of the Greek character in a moral point of view seem to us great defects in this book. The author seems unable to understand an age and a civilization different from his own. It is dreadful to think what a book he would write about this country if he should chance to travel here. The one merit of the book is the theory of the place in Greek history of the Peloponnesian war, but that, we fear, would hardly be appreciated or even noticed by the general reader.
HEFELE'S HISTORY OF THE COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH. VOL. II.*—The present volume of Bishop Hefele's great work traverses the period of the Arian controversies. Beginning with the first Synod after the Council of Nicæa, it includes the contests of the parties, and, incidentally, the fortunes of Athanasius until the Second General Council at Constantinople, in 381. The interval between the Second and the Third General Councils, which einbraces the Synods which dealt with Pelagianism, is then described. Dr. Hefele's thorougbness and exhaustive researches are generally admitted. It is his purpose to be candid, although it is not difficult to discern that his attachment to the Roman Catholic Church creates an involuntary bias of questions which affect the claims of that Communion. The work is one which scholars in ecclesiastical history will highly prize, and welcome in the English translation. It forms one of Clark's series, and may be obtained of Scribner & Co.
* A History of the Councils of the Church, from the original documents. By the Rt. Rev. C. J. HEFELE, D.D., Bishop of Rottenbury, &c., &c. Vol. II. A.D. 326 to A.D. 429. Translated from the German, with the author's approbation, and edited by Henry N. Oxenham, M.A. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. 1876. [New York: Scribner, Welford & Armstrong; price $6.00.)
GERMAN POLITICAL LEADERS. *This is the fourth volume of the series of “Brief Biographies of European Public men" which Geo. P. Putnam's Sons are now publishing. It supplies, in nineteen biographical sketches, much information, which it would be difficult to obtain elsewhere, respecting the men who are at this moment especially prominent in political life in Germany, and who may be taken as the leaders of the different parties into which the German people are divided. The first twenty-one pages are devoted to the Chancellor, Prince Bismarck. Of course, within these limits it is impossible to present more than an outline of the leading events in his career. But the writer, Mr. Tuttle, has succeeded in giving a clear impression of the policy which this extraordinary man has always proposed to himself. He says: “ The case of Bismarck has sometimes been cited against the value of professional training for politicians. He appeared so suddenly on the field of European events, and assumed at once such a commanding position, that many have treated him as a prodigy in whom inspiration might almost be assumed. The premises here are as false as the inference from them is pernicious. It is true that no amount of study will wholly supply the place of natural genius or talent, but it is true also that simple genius without training and discipline, is often credited with achievements that it never performs. Otto vou Bismarck is one of the most distinct results of thorough political education. IIis whole career previ
* German Political Leaders. By HERBERT TUTTLE. New York: Geo. P. Putnam's Sons. 1876. 16mo, pp. 261.