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touched in them. Here are the wail of sorrow, the earnestness of prayer, the glow of hope, the swell of gratitude, the exulting rapture of faith, the confidence and joy of love; confessions for our sins, lamentations for our weakness, high revelations for knowledge, blessed promises for hope, and noble resolutions of personal and household piety. It is the guide-book of God to His own presence; and the pilgrim to the Zion that is above cannot too frequently consult it.” This book abounds with admirable thoughts bearing on experimental religion, expressed by many striking illustrations and much forceful language.
MISSIONS, APOSTOLIC AND MODERN. By FREDERIC W. BRIGGS. London :
Hamilton, Adams, & Co. This volume is an exposition, with a practical intent, of the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles ; which the author regards as a history, complete in itself, of missionary labors. “No part,” says he, "of the important Book is of greater value to the Church, view ed as a missionary agency. It is, in fact, a most impressive exhibition of missionary principles, in the order of their rapid manifestation, so that an exposition of this single history must be an exposition of all the great principles of missionary action.” The purpose of the book is admirable, the exegesis is generally satisfactory, indicating critical acumen, honest research, and considerable reading. We can as cordially and for the same reasons commend this work to our readers, as we did his work on the Pentecost and the Founding of the Church.”
New CRITICAL SCHOOL, AND JESUS CHRIST. By EDMUND DE PRESSENSÉ.
(A reply to M. Renan’s “Life of Jesus.") Translated by L. CORKRAN.
London : Elliot Stock. We had hoped that M. Renan's “Life of Jesus” would have been allowed, with all its blasphemies, to have sunk into forgetfulness, so that its influence for evil might have been of the most limited character; but, as in the case of Colenso, scores of fifth-rate religious writers, desirous of distinguishing themselves in some way, seized it, brought out its errors before their readers, without the power, on their part, of giving such a view of Divine things as would throw the errors into the last degree of contempt. This little work of De Pressensé is, for many reasons, worth more than all we have seen as a refutation of this arch-heretic. De Pressensé is more than a match for Renan: his soul in every respect out-measures his. There is more penetration in his eye, more breadth in his span, more philosophy in his intellect, more poetry in his soul, more godliness in his being, more genius in his pen. Such are the men to deal with heretics.
QUIET RESTING-PLACES, AND OTHER SERMONB. By ALEXANDER RALEIGH,
Canonbury. Edinburgh : Adam & Charles Black. This volume contains twenty-one discourses. The author's reputation as a preacher is so high that we are not sure that these sermons will tend anything to its elevation. The presence, the voice, the action, give to the sermons of some preachers a power which can never be transferred
“ Their elastic and obedient words,” to use the language of the author, “ are cooled and hardened on the printed page." It is true that in cases where the preacher has an unpleasant voice, an unfluent tongue, an awkward action, and an ugly appearance, his sermons would be better as written productions than as oral utterances. Such, however, is not the case with the author in these discourses. His sermons gain neither beauty nor power by print. Albeit, in print they must take their place amongst the peers, if not amongst the princes, in sermonic literature.
THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN IN NATURE, REVELATION, RELIGION, AND
LIFE. By THOMAS HUGHES. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co. MR. HUGHES is becoming a voluminous writer; but as his writings belong not to the Smith and to the Winslow class, we feel no repugnance to his frequent appearance on the stage of literature. Far otherwise; he is one of those thinking men whose words have always significance. This volume contains seven discourses, each of which is fraught with much original thought and eloquent phrase.
THE HOLY BIBLE ; containing the Old and New Testaments literally and
idiomatically translated out of the Original Languages. By ROBERT
YOUNG. London and Edinburgh : A. Fullerton & Co. This work, we are informed, “in its present form,” is not to be considered as intended to come into competition with the ordinary use of the commonly received English Version of the Holy Scriptures, but simply as a strictly "literal and idiomatic” rendering of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. For about twenty years, fully half his lifetime, the translator has had a desire to execute such a work, and has been engaged in Biblical pursuits tending to this end more or less exclusively; and now at last, in the good Providence of God, the desire has been accomplished.” Amongst Biblical scholars there can, we think, be but one opinion as to the remarkable ability with which Mr. Young has fulfilled his task. А translation more faithful to the original, we think, has never appeared, and the advantage of such a work as this to the Biblical student is truly inestimable.
A HOMIL Y
Man's Cry for a Solution of the Felt
Distance of his Maker.
“Why standest thou afar off, 0 Lord?”—Psalm x. 1.
'AVING noticed in our last two discourses in
this series, “Man's Cry for Fellowship with God," and "his Cry for a Knowledge of the
Supreme Law of Life,” we proceed now to notice the “his Cry for a solution of the felt Distance between him and his Maker.” The passage I have read expresses the consciousness of such a distance. There are many other passages to the same effect. Thus, in Jeremiah we have these words :—“0, the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turnest aside to tarry for a night?” The state of mind indicated in such language is more or less common to men in all ages and in all lands. What are all the sacrifices and rites of heathendom but an attempt to bridge the yawning chasm which the soul feels to lie between her and her Maker ? There are seasons when this feeling becomes terribly strong and stirring in the soul. In the hour when affliction presses heavily on the heart, when darger looms darkly on the eye ; when conviction stings the conscience, and the spirit trembles at the futurethe
cry is ever heard in some form or other, “Why standest thou afar off, O Lord ?” This cryFirst : Implies the belief that the distance is unnatural. VOL. XIV.
Why? It is not the original state of the soul. It is not as it once was, not as it ought to be, Deep in the moral nature of man there is the feeling—that tender closeness, and intimate fellowship with his Great Father, is his normal state. He feels that to live evermore in His presence and in His love is his rightful destiny. Hence the “Why ?” when the distance is felt. Why, O my Father, art Thou so far from Thy child, who feels that his position is only right and safe in close alliance with Thee.
Secondly : It implies the belief that the distance is undesirable. The cry means—We would not have Thee so far off. Distance from Thee we deprecate as an evil. It is a state of darkness and danger. Fellowship with Thee is happiness. Thy presence is the sunshine, the heaven of the soul. In it there is “fulness of joy.”
Now the question is, How can this felt distance be explained? Whence can we gain a solution of this spiritual phenomenon in human nature ? There are three and only three sources which we can look to for light on the subject. There is
I. HUMAN PHILOSOPHY. Speculation may theorize thus as to the cause of the felt distance
First : It may say that God is too great to allow man a close connexion with Him; that it is derogatory to the infinite majesty of Him to whom the universe is as nothing, to suppose that He would permit individual souls an intimate alliance with Him. This old Epicurean idea has still a place in the brain of many a would-be sage. But no true thinker can accept the dogma as a truth, and therefore it cannot be received as an explanation.
Or speculation may say
Secondly: That the cause of the felt distance is God's method of agency. That method, it is said, is mediatory and uniform. It is said that God does not deal directly with man, but indirectly. That He works behind the scene of secondary causes, and does not appear on the open platform directly to
of His creatures. That He gives, sustains, restores, and withdraws life, not immediately, but through the intervention of a system of means, so that men cannot see Him. He stands concealed behind the machinery of the universe. It must of course be admitted that the Eternal acts mediatorially, but this is no satisfactory explanation of this felt distance. He acts mediatorially in heaven ; and all there feel His presence, and, like Enoch, walk with Him.
The uniformity of His operations may also be pleaded. Nature proceeds on her course with an unbroken harmony, her wheels run in a rut from which they swerve not from century to century. In this scene of unchangeable order, man, too, is left to act out the spontaneous impulses of his nature, He chooses this, rejects that, pursues this course, and avoids that, goes hither and thither, feels no coercion, is not conscious of any restraining or constraining force. Because God does not occasionally break through this set order of things, and consciously interfere with the free activities of man's being, this felt distance, it may be said, exists. It is true that nature is wondrously uniform, and man is consciously free, but this explains not the phenomenon; for nature in heaven is uniform, and spirits there are free, yet all there feel their nearness to God.
Another source to which we may look for an answer to this question is-
II. SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY. The explanation which human theology has given is this : That man, through his sins, has so offended God, that He has withdrawn from him in indignation; that the Infinite is so angry with His creature man, that He keeps aloof from him, turns His back upon him, and will not return to him till His wrath is appeased by sacrifice. This explanation is not satisfactory for two reasons.
First : Because it is inconsistent with the immutability of the Divine character. To ascribe changeableness to God is to undeify Him. Unalterableness is the essential attribute of Deity. He cannot, therefore, pass from love to anger, and from anger back to love. He cannot pass from the VOL. XIV.