ePub 版

who are acquainted with the author's productions, will expect to find in this volume living and life-giving thoughts, true to Scripture and to souls; nor will they be disappointed.


THERE is a tendency in some quarters to disparage such works as these. In those portions of the so-called religious press which are under the management of ministers, the tendency shows itself whenever an opportunity occurs. Even the "Evangelical Magazine " cannot notice works of this kind without gratifying this propensity. A month or two ago we saw an instance of it in the notice it gave of a work of the Rev. George Brooks. It is a sad fact that many of the ministers that thus deal with such books stand most in need of pulpit help, and most slavishly use them. Amongst many instances of the kind with which we are acquainted, we are here vividly reminded of one which came in painful contact with our own experience a few months ago. It will be remembered by our readers that, some two years since, there appeared in the pages of the "Baptist Magazine" two articles on the "Homilist," whose egregious dishonesty in quotation and representation were severely condemned, even by the Newspaper Press, and whose manifest object was to degrade and injure our labors. A few months ago we were informed as to the author of those articles. As the person named was a Baptist minister who had been known to make a more slavish use of the "Homilist" than, perhaps, any man living, and had personally expressed to us the highest encomiums upon the work, we did not believe it until we wrote to him on the subject, when, alas, we found it so. Such conduct is too bad for comment. Beware of preachers who disparage pulpit helps.

THOMAS RAFFLES, D.D., LL.D. A Sketch. By JAMES BALDWIN BROWN, B.A. London: Jackson, Walford, & Hodder.

THIS work opens with many striking thoughts of death that stir and soothe the soul at the same time, and then proceeds to sketch the history of one of the noblest men, and most eminent ministers of this age,— Dr. Raffles, whose sunny looks and right manly life helped not a little to reveal that Gospel, to whose exhibition from the pulpit he consecrated the powers of his being. We need scarcely recommend this book. The reputation of the gifted author, and his church-famed hero, will secure for it a large circulation.

SCENES IN THE LIFE OF ST. PETER. BY JAMES SPENCE, M.A., D.D. London: Religious Tract Society.

THE idea of this book is good. A systematic sketch of St. Peter's life was needed. The execution of the plan is creditable to the author's

intellect and heart. The author, however, we think, lacks that profundity of warm impulsiveness in his nature which alone could enable him fully to expound the life of such a man as Peter. A man can only reveal what he has within him. A man must be a philosopher, to expound a philosopher; a poet, to expound a poet; an enthusiast, to expound an enthusiast. Peter was an enthusiast of the highest type; the author is not. Albeit we gratefully accept this work until a man of St. Peter's make shall come to write his life. The getting up of the work is truly elegant.


This little book, which we learn from the title page, is in its second edition, is far more worthy of that literary distinction than many that attain to it. The introducing "Chapter on Thoughts," is a good specimen, a sort of first-fruits of the succeeding chapters. The eight succeeding sections expatiate on those qualities of head and heart that cannot fail to make a man truly great, and which, as the historic names prove, and which our author has made to sparkle on almost every page, will generally ensure success. Whilst it ought ever to be an axiom, that success is no synonym with greatness, we think such a little work is likely to be very useful. A free distribution of "How young men may become great men," can scarcely fail to inspire and fasten the best ambitions of youthhood.

ROBERT GEMMELL. Glasgow: Hutcheson Campbell.


THESE Occasional thoughts, expressed sometimes ir prose and sometimes in verse, on a great variety of subjects, display a soul deep in life's experiences, strong in intellect, affluent in fancy. Scrappy and unpretending as the little work is, it abounds with noble ideas, and assures us that the author could do something of a higher kind in the field of literature.

POPERY UNMASKED. By HENRY WOODCOCK. London: Richard Davis. This is a popular and telling exposure of Popery. The author has truly brought the monster into the sunlight of truth, unmasked it, and its hideousness is revolting to all who truly look at it. SERMONS. By the REV. JAMES PITT EDGAR. Edinburgh W. P. Nimmo. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. Five plain useful discourses. SEARCHING OF SCRIPTURE, AND ITS TEACHINGS. By A LAYMAN. London: James Nisbet. A useful guide to Biblical study. TRUTH FRAE 'MANG THE HEATHER; OR, IS THE BIBLE TRUE? BY WILLIAM M'CAN. London: S. W. Partridge. We see nothing in the thoughts of this book to require publication. They might as well have slept in manuscript.



Man's Cry for a Knowledge of the Supreme Law.

"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"—Acts ix. 6.

AN'S cry for fellowship with God, which is deep as the profoundest instincts of the heart, and wide as the race, has engaged our attention in the previous discourse. This cry, we have seen, can only, in the nature of the case, be satisfactorily met by the manifestation of a God, personal, benevolent, and propitiable; and such a manifestation is found nowhere but in the Bible. In this grand Old Book we find exactly that Living God which the deep heart of humanity cries out for.

The cry we now proceed to notice is for a knowledge of the Supreme Law. We take Saul of Tarsus, in his present attitude, as a representative of the race, asking for that which the conscience of humanity cries after-a knowledge of the Divine Will. This cry is as universal as the other; it is the breath of conscience. As it is the law of intellect to seek after wisdom, and the law of the heart to seek after beauty, it is the law of conscience to seek after the rule of duty. A deference to the Supreme Will is the law of its existence. That this cry is universal, is evident from the fact that all



generations in all ages and lands have some rules of duty, and that those rules of duty are supposed to be in harmony with the Will of their God. This cry implies three things:

First: That the Supreme has a Will concerning us. A natural desire for a thing, implies a belief in the existence of that thing. The feeling that God has a Will concerning us, seems to me to be independent of all reasoning, and to spring spontaneously out of our sentiment of a God. Reason supports this involuntary sentiment. The very fact that we are the creatures of an intelligent Being, conducts us irresistibly to the conclusion that He has a Will concerning our conduct. All analogy, moreover, will deepen the conviction. There is not an object, however vast or minute, brought within our observation, that does not express the Will or purpose of the Supreme Being. His Will is the regulative force of all the movements of the universe. Has He a Will concerning the movements of an atom and the activities of an insect, and no Will concerning man? I feel that He has a Will concerning me, and this feeling is beyond all argument. I defy all logic to remove the impression.

This universal cry for a knowledge of the Divine Will implies

Secondly: An impression that we are bound to act in harmony with that Will. Man has the feeling of obligation, a feeling which he cannot shake off. No infidel reasoning, however specious and cogent, has been able to satisfy man that it is a matter of no moment to him, whether he shall act according to the Divine Will or not. Carnality, worldliness, and crime, may render the feeling dormant for a time, but they cannot destroy it. Men feel that there is a supreme authority to which they are amenable for their conduct, and by which they should regulate their lives. Every pang of remorse, every sigh of contrition, every tear of moral regret, are the effects and evidences of the fact that man feels his obligation to obey the Will of God.

This universal cry implies—

Thirdly: An ignorance of what that Will really is. If it

were known, there would be no need to cry for a knowledge of it. Such an ignorance marks the history of all ages. The varied and opposing theories of morality that have been propounded by the thinking men of all ages, show the prevailing ignorance on this point. Even the most eminent of the ancient sages confessed their inability to find it out. Socrates said, "We must of necessity wait till some one from him who careth for us shall come and instruct us how we ought to behave ourselves towards God and man; and Plato said, that "It is necessary a lawgiver should be sent from heaven in order to instruct us."


Now the question is: Where is this knowledge to be obtained? This is the question to which we specially call attention now. Where is the knowledge of the Divine rule of life to be obtained? I do not see how we could ascertain this unless we had some understanding as to what that Will must be; unless I had some criteria by which to determine, how could I know that that which is revealed to me as a Divine Will is really so or not? Are there any such criteria? There are three I think, at least, by which to ascertain whether any regulative principle for human conduct is really the Will of God or not.

First: No regulative principle can be the Will of God that does not insure the harmonious development of our nature. Analogy urges this. Material nature is harmonious. Earthquakes, volcanos, and tempests, which are but occasional events, are only a few strong notes to make the harmony of the whole more striking. But the workings of material nature are, as we have seen, the developments of the Divine Will. Every student of nature feels that "order is Heaven's first law." Our instincts urge this; we naturally loathe disorder, we have deep native longings for unity of life and harmony of action. Any law, therefore, submitted to us as a rule of life, which tends not to promote harmony through all the powers of our souls, could not be received by us as the expression of the Divine Will.

The Divine rule of life must insure the harmonious progress VOL. XIV.

F 2

« 上一頁繼續 »