« 上一頁繼續 »
A FAMILIAR EPISTLE TO ROBERT J. WALKER. From an Old Acquaintance.
London : Saunders, Otley, & Co. Also :-THE NEGRO'S PLACE IN
London : Trübner & Co. Such works as the above do not properly fall within our province to notice; yet, as the publishers have sent them to us, and they are on our table, a word calling attention to them may keep the conscience of the critic clear. The former refers to the American War. At the outset, we, in these pages, pronounced our judgment upon this terrible catastrophe, and advocated separation. We profess sympathy with neither of the combatants; but, on the ground of humanity and the religion of Christ, we deprecate the unprecedented outrages which are involved in every hour's continuation of this inhuman struggle. How ministers of the Gospel, can like Ward Beecher, on any ground, sanction its continuation, is to us an astounding marvel. But that gentleman who has recently, unsuccessfully, according to his own confession, endeavored to wake up sympathy in this country for his party, is, in the former publication reported to have said, that “when the war is over, the best blood of England must flow for the outrage England has perpetrated upon America.” The blood, therefore, now deluging his own country, will not satiate him. The second publication is a learned disquisition, the purpose of which is to prove the negro's unfitness for civilization. As we understand it, we are not at present prepared to accept such a conclusion.
EXPOSITIONS OF GREAT PICTURES. By RICHARD HENRY SMITH, JUN.
Illustrated by photographs. London : James Nisbet & Co. THOSE who procured the author's “Exposition of the Cartoons of Raphael,” will be glad to possess themselves of this work which is intended to be its companion. The great pictures here photographed are :-La Madonna Della Seggiola—The Transfiguration, by RaphaelThe Resurrection of Lazarus, by Michael Angelo and Sebastian del Piombo-The Last Supper, by Leonardo de Vinci-Christ presented to Pilate, by Correggio—The Descent from the Cross, by Rubens--and, The Burial of our Lord, by Raphael. Mr. Smith's artistic criticisms are for the most part intelligent and honest, and his spirits in reverent sympathy with the great subjects of the paintings.
THE LAST SUPPER. Painted by LEONARDO DE VINCI, for the Dominican
Convent of Santa Madonna della Grazzia, at Milan. Engraved on
Steel“ in pure line.” G. F. Bacon. London: William Tegg. RUBENS has left on record his opinion of this chef d'auvre of the most profound and versatile genius the world has ever seen, in these words :
“The best of the examples that Leonardo has left us is The Last Supper, in which he has represented the Apostles in places suited to them ; but our Saviour is in the midst, being most honorable, having no figure near enough to press on or incommode him. His attitude is grave, his arms are in a loose, free posture, to show the greater grandeur, while the Apostles appear in agitation by their vehement desire to know which of them shall betray him.” We deem it right to state that the framing size of this engraving is 24 inches by 17 inches, and the price of prints 6s. on Indian paper 12s.
This sublime subject is the noblest that could occupy the profoundly speculative intellect and commanding genius of the painter; the picture is said to have occupied Leonardo three years, and to have been completed in 1492. Our readers who are lovers of sacred art of the highest class will do well to procure this beautiful engraving.
THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD. By Rev. Ashton OXENDEN. London:
William Macintosh. This is a very sensible, well-written, and thoroughly practical exposition of the Parables of our Lord. It is just the book for Sunday School Teachers and Sunday School Libraries. The most illiterate n.ay understand the author's meaning, and the most learned may be instructed by his teaching. ENGLISH SACRED POETRY OF THE OLDEN TIME. Collected and arranged
by Rev. L. B. WHITE, M.A. London : Religious Tract Society. This is, in every sense, an exquisite production. The poetry is radiant with consecrated genius, the illustrations are chefs d'ouvre of art, the typography, the paper, and the binding scarcely admit of improvement. The editor has done his work with great judgment and taste, and the book as a whole is a fit companion for the best that now adorn the tables of our English drawing-rooms.
THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE. By ALFRED BOWEN Evans, D.D. London: William Sheffington. This work contains four discourses, the subjects of which are :—The Orders of the Saved—The Saved NationsThe Binding of Satan-and, The Judgment Books—all of which are founded on passages selected from the 20th and 21st chapters of Revelation. There are many golden thoughts strikingly expressed in these lectures. PARADISE, OR THE PRESENT HOME OF THE HOLY DEAD. A Discourse delivered on the occasion of the Death of the Most Rev. Richard Whately, D.D. By Rev. WILLIAM CROOK. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. This is a very able discourse on an all-important subject delivered on a most interesting occasion. THE LOST MINISTRY. By Rev. W. H. WYLIE. London: Elliot Stock & Co. This also is an able sermon on a subject much neglected, but which demands earnest attention.
A HOMIL Y
The Unjust Steward.
“And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou ? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscure. And the lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much : and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches ? Aud if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammun.”—Luke xvi. 1-13.
RE have here a parable concluded by a clear
and weighty moral, “ Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” But although the moral is
clearly expressed, and its truth abundantly evident, there has been no little difficulty experienced by commentators in tracing the connexion of the parable with
the moral, and seeing how it is enforced by it. This is the more remarkable, when we reflect that the parable must have been given to elucidate and enforce the moral, and not to obscure it; and, further, that so far as the context shows, those who heard it delivered seem to have experienced no such difficulty in appreciating its scope and power. And yet it is just possible that this may be one of the instances in in which we, who have before us only the written record whereby to form our judgment on the meaning of our Lord's sayings, must miss the expressiveness of tone and manner in the living speaker to aid our apprehension of His meaning.
The interpretations that have been offered of this parable are almost as numerous as the interpreters, everyone having a variation of his own on some point or other. In their main features, however, they might be reduced to two or three primary views; and, indeed, nearly all proceed upon the same fundamental idea regarding the lesson of the parable. This basis we conceive to be the source of all the variations, and the cause of all the difficulty ; and we would endeavor in the first place to examine this basis, and show its errornot entering into all the details--but only so far considering it as may be sufficient to establish a true basis of interpretation.
That common basis to which we refer is—That the parable is intended to give a lesson on Christian prudence,-that because the steward showed a wisdom in earthly matters, which was commended, so should Christians exercise commendable wisdom in heavenly matters. The objections we would urge against this view are
First : The Divine Teacher, in carrying out and impressing the lesson of the parable, speaks not of prudence, but of faithfulness and justice. “Faithful in the least, faithful in much ;
” “Unjust in the least, unjust in much;" are the Saviour's observations in applying it. And although it has been stated in support of this view that these observations are to remind us that Christian prudence is faithfulness to God--and although such is in a sense true-and it is undeniable that the most clear-sighted prudence and the most
conscientious faithfulness perfectly harmonize, so that faithfulness is true prudence; yet these two virtues are so different in their character--the cautious prudence that looks to one's own interest, and the conscientious faithfulness that respects the rights of others—are so different, that nothing but confusion can arise by giving an example of the one as an illustration of the other. That the parable may show that unfaithfulness is imprudent, and was intended to show that, We believe, but not by confounding prudence and faithfulness.
Secondly : On the supposition that prudence is the lesson of the parable, there is not merely a purposelessness, but a positive unfitness, in the choice of the characters to illustrate the lesson. In all the other parables of our Lord, we find a peculiar fitness in the choice of characters to illustrate their lesson. A shepherd illustrates watchful care ; a father, tender love and forgiveness ; a king, authority; and so on. But there seems no such fitness in making a steward an example of prudence. “Of a steward it is required that a man be found faithful,” says the apostle, speaking the common-sense of mankind; and therefore his relation to his master is well fitted to illustrate faithfulness, but very badly fitted to illustrate prudence. And this difficulty those who support such a view feel strongly; for in order to give an appearance of consistency to their view, they must represent the rich man, not as a master confiding in a servant, but as a mere sharper playing a game of knavery with his steward, and commending his superior cleverness. And they find it necessary to give a caution against the supposition that the unfaithfulness of the steward is commended, evidently feeling that there is an incongruous element introduced into the parable by the relation of master and steward.
Thirdly: That there is any circumstance recorded in the parable that may furnish an example of prudence is more than questionable--for what is the test of prudence ? Not mere show of cleverness, but success (Matt. vii. 24-27; house on sand, house on rock)—and there is no such success mentioned. The steward calculated that by getting others to VOL. XIV.