Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

While not a few critics are content to rest in the theory just stated as the best that can be attained, others seek to combine with it that which supposes the three evangelists to have made use of each other. To this number belong De Wette, Olshausen, and Meyer. By this combination the advantages of both suppositions are thought to be secured. How much should be referred to tradition, and how much to mutual use of each other by the evangelists, will depend in every case upon the views of the Biblical scholar. The reader will very probably feel that none of the above conjectures are satisfactory; if, however, their presentation shall lead to a closer scrutiny of the evangelists in question, our object will have been attained.

It gives us pleasure to refer to the work whose title stands at the head of this article, as an evidence of the deep interest prevalent among us in Biblical studies. It is the more acceptable as coming from a layman, proving that the zeal requisite for such pursuits is not confined to the ministry alone. We do not hesitate to say that Strong's Harmony has distinctive features, which make it for popular use superior to any ever before issued.

At the same time, its execution is thorough and scholar-like. No difficulty is evaded; no pains, no labour is spared. The general arrrangement of the matter is the same as that of Bishop Newcome and Dr. Robin

The work is so constructed as to serve the two-fold purpose of a Harmony and an Exposition. In accomplishing the former object, Mr. Strong has hit upon the happy idea of making a complete text out of the very words of the evangelists-taking now one and now another as the leading narrator, and weaving in the additional statements of the others in a smaller type. Along with this, the parallel arrangement of Newcome is retained, so that the reader has before him at once the separate texts of the inspired writers, and a combined text made out of them all. By running his eye across the page he can see whence the added elements have been derived, and so perform his task of comparing Scripture with Scripture with readiness and ease. Harmonies have usually been repulsive to general readers, and not very inviting to students. The labour of passing over column after column of parallel matter, and the effort necessary to hold fast in the mind the features of resemblance and difference, suffice to deter from such studies all but the most indefatigable investigators of Scripture truth. Mr. Strong's arrangement removes these difficulties at once, and brings the Harmony of the Gospels within the sphere of popular appreciation, making it available for family reading, for Bible-classes, and for Sabbathschools. To the latter we commend it as a valuable addition to their apparatus for the instruction of the young.

son.

The execution of the other part of the aim proposed—the Exposition-has been achieved by giving a free version of the sacred text in current modern phrase. Here, likewise, a twofold object was to be secured—one, the bringing out the logical connexion of the thoughts and language of the evangelic record, in which many commentators fail; the other, the exhibition of the substance of the Gospels in terms not familiar, and which have not, therefore, lost much of their significance by an unthinking repetition. In tracing out the sequence of ideas we think that Mr. Strong has succeeded eminently well; in making a free version of the Gospels, we are inclined to think that no man has succeeded well. Our old English translation has become sacred in the estimation of the millions to whom the language is vernacular. The excellent treasure has sanctified the vessel that carries it. It strikes us, too, that in seeking substitutes for the simple terms of the received version, Mr. Strong has sometimes gone to the opposite extreme. Yet withal his Exposition is terse, vigorous, and eminently suggestive. No one can read it without being set to thinking upon the depth of meaning there is in those precious words which we are too apt to let fall carelessly from our tongues. In the translation and exposition of John especially, Mr. Strong's habits of thorough, profound thinking, appear to great advantage.

The carefully prepared Appendices greatly enhance the value of the work. The first contains a table of weights, measures, &c., an elaborate discussion of the time of Christ's birth, and a comparative table of different Harmonies. This latter, which includes, among others, the names of Lightfoot, Newcome, Robinson, and Tischendorf, is of great interest and importance to the student. Appendix second comprises a thorough and acute discussion of the topography of ancient Jerusalem, with maps of the ancient and modern localities; and Appendix third gives an Index and Analysis (covering seventy-eight pages) of the Gospel history. Every page of the book gives evidence of unsparing labour, while the beautiful letter-press and finished lithographs make it a gem of typography.

We are pleased to learn that Mr. Strong is preparing, upon the same plan, a Greek Harmony, with the various readings. We have no doubt that it will be cordially welcomed by scholars throughout our country.

ART. III.-DANIEL BOONE.

Life of Daniel Boone, the Pioneer of Kentucky. By JOHN M. Peck. Library

of American Biography, conducted by Jared Sparks. Second Series, vol. viii. Boston: Little & Brown.

The life of Boone might have been given to the world earlier. A quarter of a century after the death of a man so little affected by partisan prejudices, so little liable to undue admiration for any peculiar brilliancy of talent or achievements, was late enough to commence the task of collecting and arranging materials for a proper exhibit of his career and character. In all that constitutes a "Life"-those acts and words, those qualities of head and heart, that go to make up the social man-there is as powerful a tendency to dissolution as in the physical system. The social life-principle, like corporeal vitality, aggregates to itself the materials of manhood, fills up the stature according to its original type, modified merely by the accidents of growth, and maintains the equilibrium of waste and supply, until death subjects the whole, the hidden soul alone excepted, to the great laws of elemental decomposition. Then, not more rapidly does the body decay in the grave than does the social character dissipate and dissolve “into thin air,” unless some artificial means be made use of for its preservation. Biography, written or traditional, is the crystal sarcophagus, in which the social man may be exhibited to after ages.

Memory must not postpone too long the process of embalming. Let a few years elapse after the death of an individual, of whatever notoriety, and it is difficult to gather up from the scattered relics of his social character, fragments enough to construct even a frail raft, with which to keep his name for a brief hour above the waters of oblivion. In a few centuries, fragmentary annals and snatches of biographical delineation, touching the early days of the American continent, will be as precious and venerable as Roman relics. Skulls, skeletons, thigh bones, and vertebræ, will not be demanded; a few.hairs, a few tears, a few blood-drops, a joint of a finger, or even the teeth and toe-nails of departed greatness, will be precious in the eyes of posterity. As America was the first nation in the world to commence existence with a written constitution, so it is the first to commence its being with written annals. No clouds of traditionary speculations rest upon her origin; no long series of traditionary fables conduct to her true history. In the beginning the historic muse said, “Let there be light," and fable fled with the dark. ness that rolled like a scroll from the face of the new continent.

The obligation of the present generation to collect and embody the recollections of the men and times that have just preceded us, is a trite theme. Far better is it that they be gathered by virulent partisans, than left to perish forever. Masses of facts, incidents, and anecdotes, whether the philosophy be false or entirely wanting, like the observations of ship-captains, from which Newton, in his arm-chair, deduced the doctrine and calculated the amount of the earth's oblateness, will one day be the clew to the great laws of national character and progress.

The timely services of President Sparks, in rescuing from forgetfulness the names and acts of good and great men, have been so often and so generally acknowledged, both at home and abroad, that the attempt to praise him or his labours would be like crying up the utility of light. Doctor Sparks is a fortunate editor, as well as a successful author. This is one of the peculiarities of the lucky times upon which he has fallen. In the early days of the typographic art, the only parties known to each other were the author and his publisher. The invention of those singular vehicles of communication, newspapers, created that singular nucleus of responsibility and labours, denominated EDITOR. From the supervision of those transient leaves of history, those single pages from the records of intelligence, those single views of the shifting panorama of social existence, men have risen to be editors of the more permanent results of reflection and wisdom, embodied in magazines, quarterlies, Bridgewater Treatises, and encyclopædias. The indefatigable editor of the Writings of Washington is no putterer with the blank pages of index rerums—he is the conductor of a LIBRARY! Ages since, whole tomes emanated from a single brain. The sanctity of the author's study was rarely invaded during his life-time. It was not until his death that the editor ventured into his dusty retreat, and feasted his eyes on the piles of yellow manuscript to be converted into volumes of formidable size and weight, and sufficiently numerous of themselves to constitute a library. The modern author, on the contrary, makes his reader the companion of his labours so soon as he has completed a few chapters of his work, and stands, like Apelles, behind his own canvass, where he can listen to the comments of the multitude before he gives the final touches to his performance. Those old writers knew not the convenience of having their works "edited” during the period of their own lives. Plutarch might have performed his work more satisfactorily to himself, perhaps more correctly, and, forsooth, more acceptably to posterity, had he simply edited his Lives, instead of taxing his own

hand and brain to exhibit such a variety of circumstance and character. With characters enough before him, and unlimited command of the resources of division of labour, we cannot but reiterate the often-expressed hope, that Mr. Sparks will not terminate his library with the second or third series; but that when, in the course of nature or events, it becomes impossible for him to conduct it longer, it will pass by regular succession into the hands of some equally competent manager, to become a series as interminable as the destinies of the American people.

At the head of the Life of Boone, as its responsible author, stands the name of John M. Peck. With those acquainted with this gentleman, or familiar with his historic labours, there will arise no question as to his competency to prepare a work of this description, or of his fitness to rank as a biographer in the illustrious names that grace the literary character of other portions of the series. He is an indefatigable antiquarian, an historical sceptic, an untiring inquisitor in names and dates and facts, philosophic and fluent, both with pen and tongue, in the display of the results of his labours and research. To this we may add his thirty years' residence in the vicinity of the incidents he unfolds, and his personal acquaintance with his subject and his numerous posterity. It is pleasing to see with what an unsparing hand he sweeps away the fictions of the Timothy Flint school of writers, that have found their way, with singular facility, into histories and memoirs of soberer characters. Biography often partakes as much of the character of its author as of its subject. Were it not for the writers, we opine that the names of several individuals might be missing from the series before us Achilles is naught without his Homer. The biographer of Boone has succeeded in keeping himself out of his work to as great an extent as seems desirable. A captious critic might discern, in the opinions uniformly ascribed to Boone with regard to lawyers, luxuries, and fashions, a touch of the agrarian democracy of the author; and might perhaps discover, from the note at the bottom of pages 171, 172, in the expressions of the Catholic commandant at St. Louis, that Baptists were the pioneers in Missouri, and that the writer intended a hit, more waggish than malicious, at the harmless rite of infant baptism. The author adds to proximity of time and place, and the requisite mental qualifications, the advantage of having been himself a pioneer in missionary labour, in editorship, in education, and moral enterprise, in the vast valley where he has located his romantic residence, and where he still wields an enviable influence. In common with editor Sparks, the editor of the Illinois Gazette deserves the acknowledgments of the present and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »