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(9.) “ The Bourbon Prince: the History of the Royal Dauphin," (New-York: Harper & Brothers; 1853; 18mo., pp. 202,) is translated and condensed from De Beauchesne's recent elaborate work—“ Louis XVII., sa Vie, son Agonie, sa Mort.” It contains all that portion of the French work which bears directly upon the personal history of the Dauphin, and gives the tragic story in a form sufficiently extended for ordinary readers. The proof of the Dauphin's death is not perfect—at least as it is offered in this volume.
(10.) « Ellen Linn,” (New-York: Harper & Brothers; 18mo., pp. 215; 1853,) is one of Mr. Abbott's “ Franconia Stories” which are so fascinating for young persons. In point of moral tone, the volumes of this series are unexceptionable; in point of style, they are very nearly so.
(11.) “ Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, by Agnes STRICKLAND,” (Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea; 1853; 12mo., pp. 583,) is a volume detached from Miss Strickland's “ Lives of the Queens of England,” and deservedly published in this separate form, on account both of the intrinsic interest of the subject, and of the way in which it is handled. In spite of the habitual tendency of the author to whitewash Romanism, and in spite, especially, of her blind patronage of Mary, Queen of Scots, this biography of Elizabeth is, taken as a whole, the best extant. But that is not saying a great deal.
(12.) “ Letters to School Girls, by Rev. R. M. MATTHEWS.” (Cincinnati: Swormstedt & Poe; 1853; 18mo., pp. 247.) This volume grew out of a series of lectures read by the author to his pupils in the Oakland Female Seminary in 1848 and 1849. It embodies a great deal of practical wisdom on study, manners, morals, &c., and deserves to be widely made known to “ school girls,”—which designation, by the way, is an illustration of Mr. Matthews' good sense. We had almost begun to believe that “school girls” were an obsolete race, and that their place was supplied by a young ladies" and " students” at “Female Colleges.”
(13.) Messrs. R. Carter & Brothers have reprinted Dr. Wardlaw's Essay "On Miracles,” (New-York, 1853; 12mo., pp. 295,) which contains the substance of seven lectures delivered by the veteran to his congregation during the winter of 1851–52. They have been, however, very wisely recast-Dr. Wardlaw having discovered, as he says, that“pulpit discourses are not a particularly favourite or attractive article"—and now appear under the form of a treatise, or essay, divided into eight chapters. The first or introductory chapter sets forth the importance of the subject, and also gives the author's definition of a miracle; in which he adheres, judiciously, to the old formula, viz., that “
miracle is a suspension of the known laws of nature.” Several modern writers (e. g. Trench, Beard, Neander,) have put themselves and their argument upon slippery ground by needless refinements on this point, and especially by denying that miracles can be violations or suspensions of natural law. The second chapter treats of the possibility and probability of miracles, and opens the argument on their certainty; i. e., on the question whether we, at this distance of time from the period at which the New Testament miracles are said to have been wrought, have sufficient proof on which to rest our faith of their having been performed. This is the gist of the whole matter; in other words, it is the question of the credibility of miracles. Accordingly, Dr. Wardlaw finds it necessary to examine Mr. Hume's celebrated objection, which he does very thoroughly in his third chapter. In the fourth, he concentrates the principles of the argument on the one great miracle of the resurrection of Christ; and in the fifth, he applies them to the New Testament miracles generally. The sixth and seventh chapters treat of the miracles said to have been wrought in support of falsehood, and of Rationalism, Spiritualism, Mythism, and Romanism. The concluding chapter sets forth the nature of Christ's miracles, and their appropriateness to the design of his mission : showing also the importance of that design and of our duly appreciating it. In spite of a certain narrowness of view, especially with regard to German writers, arising from Dr. Wardlaw's insufficient acquaintance with any literature but that of his own island, the work is a most valuable and timely one.
(14.) “ The Mother and her Offspring, by STEPHEN TRACY, M. D.,” (NewYork: Harper & Brothers; 1853; 12mo., pp. 361,) is, so far as we are capable of judging, a very sensible treatise on the subjects indicated by its title, free from all indelicacy and quackery.
(15.) MINUTE local history and topography are not only very pleasant, but very profitable objects of study. Books treating of such subjects have always been popular, and have deserved to be. The materials for such a book about the city of New-York exist in abundance; but they are scattered through many large volumes and bulky records. Certainly a popular history of the city has long been a desideratum. The want is now supplied by “ New-York: a Historical Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Metropolitan City of America.” (New-York: Carlton & Phillips ; 1853; 12mo., pp. 339.) The aim of the writer is, in the "historical portion, to collect and detail the principal events of the local history of the city down to the beginning of the present century, omitting, as far as possible, all matters of general history in which the city was not directly and individually concerned.” A brief and general history of the last half-century is also appended. In the descriptive part he has endeavoured to select, out of the vast number of objects of interest offered by the great city, those of most general attractiveness and importance, and to group them in such a way as to present as lively a picture of the town as possible, even for those who have never seen it. In these aims he has fully succeeded, and the book is just what it ought to be, in point both of comprehen-. siveness and condensation.
(16.) “Positive Theology: being a Series of Dissertations on the Fundamental Doctrines of the Bible, by Rev. Asbury LOWRY, A. M.” (Cincinnati : 1853; 12mo., pp. 333.) The design of this work is to furnish (for the use of the laity and of beginners in theology) a treatise setting forth dogmatically, but in plain and untechnical language, the leading doctrines of Christianity. We have examined it with some care, and find in it a sensible and judicious exposition of the main features of Christian doctrine, free from the forms or the hard words of theological controversy. It will not serve the purpose of a systematic manual of theology for the use of students; but for lay readers we think it a book every way worthy of commendation.
(17.) HENRY Rogers has been, of late years, one of the best contributors to the Edinburgh Review; and indeed, for twenty years no better writer has occupied the pages of that journal, except Macaulay and Sir James Stephen.
The “Eclipse of Faith” has made Rogers's name widely known in this country, and has prepared the way for a favourable reception to a volume of his contribations to the Edinburgh just collected, under the title of “ Reason and Faith, and other Miscellanies.” (Boston: Crosby, Nichols & Co.; 1852; 12m0., pp. 458.) The volume contains articles on Fuller, Marvell, Luther, and Pascal; besides Essays on Sacred Eloquence, The Vanity and Glory of Literature, The Right of Private Judgment, and Reason and Faith—their Claims and Conflicts. While all these are excellent, the fourth, fifth, and eighth are preëminently so. The volume is, emphatically, a book for the times.
(18.) Our judgment of M'Crie’s translation of “ The Provincial Letters," (New-York: Carter & Brothers; 1853; 12mo., pp. 392,) was given some time ago, in an article on “ Recent Editions and Translations of Pascal.”* The amount of it was, that Dr. M'Crie's version, though by no means faultless, is the best extant in the English tongue.
(19.) “Ministerial Education in the Methodist Episcopal Church, by Rev. STEPHEN M. VAIL, A. M.” (Boston: J. P. Magee; 1853; 12mo., pp. 238.) The object of this volume is to maintain that the Methodist Episcopal Church should superadd theological schools to her present system for the training of candidates for the ministry. It is preceded by a very lucid introduction by Dr. Tefft, (in which the question is treated with as much clear good sense as we have ever seen applied to it,) the sum of which is, “ that no man
April, 1852, Art. iv.
has a right to preach who has not been called; that the call does not necessarily qualify the subject of it, excepting as to the authoritativeness of his holy mission, and the unction it brings with it, for the daily duties of the profession; that, like all good things here below, spiritual as well as temporal, the needful qualifications have to be acquired by the personal efforts of the individual ; that, though there is no a priori reason, or principle per se, to decide whether these efforts ought to be made in a seminary, or out of it, analogy, experience, and common-sense concur in determining the question, in most cases, on the side of the positive and well-directed discipline of a ministerial school; but that the advantages of these schools should be used only as a help at the beginning of the minister's studious career, leaving him, when they are past, a lifetime of still more diligent and constantly growing zeal in studying into the deep things that a teacher of the 'mysteries of the kingdom' ought to know." A large part of Mr. Vail's treatise originally appeared in the columns of the Northern Christian Advocate. His argument is almost entirely historical; aiming to show that, under the old dispensation, the Levites and the prophets were trained in special schools for the sacred office; and that, in the opening of the Christian dispensation, the apostles and disciples were specially trained by our Lord himself for their great work. He thinks it certain, also, that Paul superintended the ministerial education of Timothy and Titus, and probably of many others. He believes, also, that there was something approaching to a system of theological training in the apostolic times—schools for ministerial instruction, the nature of which is thus summed up: “They were private companies of men, whom a living faith in our Lord Jesus Christ had banded together, first under our Lord himself, and afterward under the apostles and elders of the Church. Their studies and lectures were on the great subjects of the Messiah's kingdom—its doctrines, duties, and relations, as presented in the Holy Scriptures. In this age of the Church, we have no evidence that there were any buildings erected for these schools, or that any books were used, save the Holy Scriptures. The place of meeting was the synagogue, the church, or the private apartment. There were no endowments; but the elders and teachers were supported by the contributions of the benevolent, and of those taught. Gal. vi, 6." These topics occupy the first six chapters of the book; the seventh and eighth set forth the origin and history of the ancient School of Theology at Alexandria. The decay of Biblical study and of ministerial education in the ages following Constantine, and their revival in the British Islands, are exhibited in the ninth chapter. The object of this historical sketch, and of that of the state of the Church in the middle ages, given in the tenth chapter, is to show that the “purest ages of the Church have always produced Biblical schools; while the ages of superstition, corruption, and ignorance have destroyed them.” The great lights of the ReformationLuther, Melancthon, Calvin, and Beza-were all lecturers on Biblical Theology; so was Arminius, whose theological views, modified by John Wesley, have so profoundly penetrated the Church. The eleventh chapter treats of the measures adopted by the Wesleyan Methodists to secure the training of their ministers, and the remaining nine chapters treat specifically of the question of theological education in the M. E. Church.
Mr. Vail uses a plain but perspicuous style, and writes like a man in earnest. His book will, we trust, receive a calm and serious consideration throughout the Church. We hope to be able to give our own views of the subject at length in a future number.
(20.) We have received the third and fourth volumes of “ The Life and Works of Robert Burns, edited by Robert CHAMBERS,” (New-York: Harper & Brothers, 1852; 4 vols., 12mo.,) which are prepared in the same careful and thorough way as the former volumes. The plan of the work, it will be remembered, is peculiar—incorporating the poems in their proper chronological places in the narrative, and thus making them, what in fact they are, part of the biography of the poet. No other edition of Burns can compete with this in fulness and accuracy.
History of the State of New-York, by John ROMEYN BRODHEAD." (New-York: Harper & Brothers, 1853; 8vo., pp. 801.) This is the first instalment of a work which, if carried on as it has been begun, will be an honour not merely to the author, but to the country. Mr. Brodhead divides the history of New-York into four periods: the first, from its discovery by the Dutch in 1609 to its seizure by the English in 1664; the second extends from 1664 down to the cession of Canada to England in 1763; the third, from 1763 to the inauguration of President Washington in 1789; and the fourth embraces the annals of the state from the organization of the Federal Government onward. The volume before us is occupied with the history of the first of these periods-embracing the settlement and the Dutch history proper—a field congenial to Mr. Brodhead, and which he has treated most admirably. He has a clear and simple style, free in the main from the rhetorical ambitiousness, which is the vice of Bancroft, and, in fact, of American writers of history in general; his sense of truth is strong and prevailing; his selection and grouping of points are artistical and effective; and the work, moreover, has a tone of life and earnestness which carries the reader fully with it. We regret that our space will not allow us to present illustrative passages; but we hope at a future day, with further volumes of the work before us, to give it an extended review. In the mean time, we commend the work to our readers as indispensable to every well-furnished library.
(22.) “ The Preacher and the King ; or, Bourdaloue in the Court of Louis XIV., translated from the French of L. Bungerer; with an Introduction by Rev. S. Potts, D. D.” (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1853; 12mo., pp. 338.) The title of this book conveys no adequate idea of its deeply interesting and attractive contents. In form it is a story, or rather dialogue, introducing Fénélon, Arnauld, Claude, Bourdaloue, and other distinguished preachers of the age of Louis XIV., with glances at the splendid court of the “Great