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Brief Literary Notices.
295 only, but all of these improbable facts concur to deceive us or Jesus Christ did appear in the world, and bear the character which He claimed of Mediator between God and man ;-did suffer the penalty due to human transgression ;--and doeg redeem from that penalty as many as “receive Him," and commit themselves to His care.
* It must always be borne in mind, that this is the assertion made throughout the Gospel. Jesus is either the Redeemer of the world, or He is nothing. That He professed to be. That His supernatural birth, His miraculous power, His peculiar death, His predicted resurrection, were designed to prove Him. Unless, then, He is that, His professions are untrue, and the whole authority of His religion falls to the ground. We cannot distinguish between His doctrines and His precepts. We cannot deny His mysterious divinity, and retain His moral supremacy. The precepts and the doctrines are connected together, and depend upon one another. Why should we practise sobriety ? why enforce purity, or humility, or any other characteristic of Christianity, because it is recommended by Jesus of Nazareth, unless Jesus of Nazareth were indeed the Son of God, and requires those qualities as a preparation for that future kingdom which He came to reveal, and offers to His followers ?
'What, therefore, the preceding evidence proves, if it prove any thing, is, that the Gospel is a message of reconciliation from God to man, proposed by Christ in the character of their Redeemer. And what those reject who are not living as the disciples of Christ by a vital and practical faith, is the offered means of restoration to the favour of their Creator.'
Throughout his book, the author's clear thoughts are so aptly expressed in plain words, that the reader may, at once understand the sense and catch the force of every argument. Very few will peruse it without learning much ; every one may study it with profit. They who have been accustomed to accept Christianity, as well as those who are hesitating to do so, may read it greatly to the advantage of their convictions. The conductors of Bible-classes for young men would find it an excellent text-book for this winter's course; and the mastery and digestion of its contents would prove far more profitable than the disquisitions on dark and doubtful matters which we know have sometimes occupied valuable evenings.
The Genealogy of Creation. By Henry F. A. Pratt, M.D,
London: John Churchill. 1861. We shall come right at last. Geology has set us all astir to find spectacles that will see in the first chapter of Genesis what Lyell and Murchison see in the earth's crust. What if our want is supplied ? The amiable and ingenious author of the book before us believes he has discovered them; and assuredly he has, if a deeply modest and reverent spirit are an infallible test of scientific truth. Our difficulty, according to Dr. Pratt, is the effect of a very simple cause. We have altogether misread and misunderstood the Mosaic Hebrew. The
authors of the Septuagint did the same before us. So did the writers of the Peshito-Syriac and other ancient versions. For more than twenty centuries the meaning of very much of the Old Testament Scriptures has been utterly overlooked and 'mistaken. The fact is, there are two Hebrew languages. There is the one which commonly passes by the name, the historic, traditional, pointed, 'Masoretic Hebrew. This, however, is only a derived and, in great measure, an artificial tongue, which owes its existence partly to changes occasioned bý time and accident, partly to the influence of the Greek of the Seventy. There is another and older Hebrew, which is the original and true one. It is the pure text of our Bibles, disengaged from
the orthographical envelopments and modifications of the Masoretes, and interpreted in accordance with the mystical and prophetic character which properly belongs to the language, and with certain grammatical and lexicographical principles, which our author indicates. Dr, Pratt believes, that if the key, which his views furnish for the elucidation of the Old Testament, be duly applied, not only will the cosmogony of Moses be completely reconciled with the revelations of cosmogony of Mosest minute details ; '-this, he assures us, it has already done ;- but the great truths of Christianity as a whole will be brought out in such a forcible manner, that none but the wilfully blind will be able to reject them.' Meanwhile he gives us a few selected readings for the purpose of illustrating his system, and showing
the power of the ancient Hebrew tongue.' Of these the first, as might be expected, is the opening paragraph of the Pentateuch; and we quote some portions of it for the encouragement of those who may wish to pursue the line of inquiry which Dr. Pratt has opened.
With deliberation God created the heavens and the earth; and the heaving mass; and a mighty wind was rushing over the surface earth was crude and unorganized, and inert às te of the waters. And God said, " Let there be volcanic action, and there was volcanic action, and God saw the volcanic action that it was good ; ảnd God distinguished between the volcanic action and between the inertia, and God called the volcánic action " the Active Condition," and the inertia He called " the Passive Condition.” And it was redistributive, and it was developmental, the first formation.' This is the beginning of the paragraph. It ends thus. 'And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And it was redistributive, and it was developmental, the sixth formation. Thus were completed the heavens and the earth, and all their development; for God' had accomplished in the seventh formation His purpose which he had formed; so he rested in the seventh formation from His whole plan which He had made; and God blessed the seventh formation and hallowed it; for in it He who had created--the God of the formations-rested from all His design. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth during their creation ; by a succession of formations God created heaven and earth.' Now altogether apart from the philology of the case, we put it to Dr. Pratt, whether he really supposes that the inspired author of Brief Literary Notices.
297 Genesis ever wrote anything like this, for the benefit of the people whom he led through the wilderness ; or whether he imagines that, if he had done so; one soul in a thousand of them would have had the smallest conception of his meaning To say nothing of those to whom the Pentateuch was first addressed; what sort of harmony is there, we would ask, between this philosophical jargon, and the sim ple, popular style which the Scriptures invariably adopt in speaking of the phenomena of nature ? Surely, if the writer is not so mystified by his theory as to be past seeing what every one else will see, he must perceive that his Hebrew is the child of his geology, and that there is no manner of reason why the first of Genesis, on his principles of interpretation, should not mean precisely what any one wishes it to do. We will undertake, by Dr. Pratt's method, to prove to demonstration from the Old Testament Hebrew as many absurdities in religion, ethics, history, and science, as he chooses to name. With regard to the linguistic argument in which the writer has netted bimself, we can only say, that it is a series of fallacies and illusions from end to end. It is a mere hypothesis, that the Hebrew at any stage of its history had the typical and symbolical meaning which Dr. Pratt
such changes of vocabular hatever, that the language to have passed through: on the contrary, nothing is more certain than that, with few exceptions, the Hebrew of Malachi is that of Moses. Scripture and science too are both emphatic in their teaching, that the languages of Assyria, Aram, and Arabia are not lineal descendants of the Old Testament Hebrew. If chronology and ethnology did not forbid the supposition, the structure of these languages is an unanswerable objection to this part of Dr. Pratt's theory: and we have great difficulty in understanding how any one, who has the smallest acquaintance with them, could hazard such an opinion. History, tradition, analogy, and, we are bound to add, common sense, are all clean in the teeth of the reasoning of this strange book. It will be a kindness to the author not to go into detail. We sincerely respect the motives which led him to the studies out of which his work has sprung. There is not a word in the whole volumes which betokens conceit or moral littleness of any kind. It contains much which the scholar, the natural philosopher, and the student of Revelation may turn to good account. But as a contribution to philology and Biblical criticism it has no value whatever. It is one of those curious day-dreams, in which good and gifted men are sometimes led to indulge, and of which it is hard to say whether the simplicity or the ingenuity that gave them birth is the more astonishing
Havelock's March and other Poems, By Gerald Massey.
London: Trubner and Co. 1861. We welcome a new volume of poems from Mr. Massey for two reasons : first, because it is a token that he is yet alive, and has not
suceumbed beneath the cold scorn of Dame Fortune; and, secondly, because we expect to find in it fresh marks of that genius which met with early and wide recognition. And here we cannot but regret that no one of our poet's admirers—and they are neither few nor weak-has exerted the pressure requisite to obtain for him some place (Government has plenty such at its disposal) which, with light work and wages, would raise the poet's spirit above the depressing ills of poverty, and leave him daily a few hours of leisure for the cultivation of those talents which have already afforded his contemporaries so much wholesome gratification. We feel the more strongly on this point, because, though Mr. Massey possesses special qualifications for erotic composition, he has always circled his lyrics of love within the sacred enclosure of home and family life, and has not stooped to be a follower of Moore or Byron, both of whom he could easily have surpassed in breadth of outline and warmth of colouring. To himi, indeed, we owe the sweetest songs of courtship, the merriest marriage-ditties, and the most touching lays of child-life, that have ever been given to the world. It would then, be a lasting disgrace to his many friends, and to the age itself, if such a man were always to live as if in a fair way to share the fate of Otway. It is not uncommon for people to laugh at what they think the absurdity of our forefathers in making a poet an exciseman: but there was much truer wisdom in bestowing on Burns a gaugership, and setting Wordsworth tô distribute stamps, than is shown by those who can encourage able méti to devote their lives to literature, can let them starve or work themselves to death, and can finally acknowledge their merit by a scanty pittance doled out to theit children. We would fain believe that the public (or its chief servant, the premier) only needs to be reminded of its duty to a struggling son of genius, and we heartily hope that--though Mr. Massey may not be thought mediocre enough for a line on the Pension List-he may speedily be presented with such a post as will enable him, still young as he is, to sing more freely and cheerily, than he could while beating his wings against the bars of misfortune: We make no apology for thus alluding to his struggles, because they are well known to his brethren of the press, -and he has their deep sympathy,—and because they form an observable ingredient in much of his poetry, and cannot but catch the eye of all his readers. Though he never whines over his misfortunes, or makes them into a mendicity ditty, they give a tinge of sadness to many of hisi poetis, and fairly constitute a public debt, which the nation should creditably wipe out by timely generosity.
In the volume before us there is much that is good, from which we would willingly extract, if we had space. Mr. Massey breaks new ground successfully in 'The Norseman, Old King Hake,' &c. His Poem Dedicatory to Lady Marian Alford' is a richly coloured composition ; Havelock's March' contains some vigorous description and sound sentiment; and the poems in memory of the poet's little daughter are very sweet and touching. But we prefer to take this volume as an earnest of what its author will yet do, should health
and leisure and better fortune be granted him ; feeling confident that yet richer wine than this (sparkling as it is) will hereafter brim over from the poet's chaplet-crowned goblet.
Horæ Subsecivæ. By John Brown, M.D. Edinb. Second
Series. Edmonstone. 1861. PLEASED as we were with the first series of these Hore, we are still more pleased with the second. The public generally would doubtless think the selection of subjects less interesting; but the personal reminiscences, and sketches of character, which occupy 80 large a part of the new volume, are altogether to our taste. Nothing can be more beautiful than the style of some parts of it,. The letter to Dr. Cairns, containing additional memorials of that remarkable divine and expositor, the writer's father, together with a variety of free and appropriate sketches of some of his compeers, like himself departed, is a perfect model of what that kind of writing should be. From it we shall make a few extracts, which however will give but a faint impression of the grace and humour and wholesome tone of the entire volume.
After all that has been written and read about Dr. Chalmers, the following notices of him are fresh and well worth reading.
•We remember well our first hearing Dr. Chalmers. We were in a moorland district in Tweeddale, rejoicing in the country, after nine months of the High School. We heard that a famous preacher was to be at a neighbouring parish church, and off we set, a cartful of irrepressible youngsters. Calm was all nature as a resting wheel.” The crows, instead of making wing, were impudent, and sat still; the cart-borses were standing, kuowing the day, at the field-gates, gossipping and gazing, idle and happy; the moor. was stretching away in the pale sunlight, vast, dim, melancholy, like a sea ; everywhere were to be seen the gathering people, " sprinklings of blithe company; " the country side seemed moving to one centre. As we entered the kirk, we saw a notorious character, a drover, who had much of the brutal look of what he worked in, with the knowing eve of a man of the city, a sort of big Peter Bell,
“ He had a bardness in his eye,
He had a hardness in his cheek.” He was our terror, and we not only wondered, but were afraid, when we saw him going in. The kirk was as full as it could hold. How different in looks to a brisk town congregation! There was a fine leisureliness and vague stare; all the dignity and vacancy of animals; eyebrows raised and mouths open, as is the habit with those who speak little, and look much, and at far off objects. The minister comes in, homely in his dress and gait, but having a great look with him, like a mountain among hills. The High School boys thought him like a "big one of ourselves." He looks vaguely round upon his audience, as if he saw in it one great object, not many. We shall never forget his smile, its general benignity; how he let the light of his countenance fall on us. He read a few verses quietly; and then