« VorigeDoorgaan »
France is the great central point from which he contemplates the fact of European civilization. From this point he looks abroad on the States of Europe, and gathers up the elementary principles of which the present social system has been constructed.' He shows us what it derived from the Roman Empire, what was brought into it by the barbarians, by the feudal aristocracy, by the Church, by free cities and communities, and by royalty ; what was the influence of the Crusades, the Reformation, the English Revolution, etc. etc. In all this, his manner is original, grand, and philosophical.
On some of the topics here discussed, we are accustomed to entertain different views from those expressed by our author ; and with our republican and protestant prepossessions, we must still beg leave to differ from him on these points. Yet we admire the candor, as well as the philosophical accuracy, with which he has, in general, pre. sented the combined elements and causes of the existing state of civilization in Europe.
We will only add, in the words of the English translator, that this work of M. Guizot “must be considered as a boon to mankind." We welcome the American edition of it, as a voice from the history of the past, well suited to instruct both our civil and ecclesiastical leaders in regard to the means best adapted to promote the welfare and happiness of our own country, the development of society, the expansion of human intelligence, and the triumph of virtue. 11.—Letters on Theron and Aspasio. Addressed to the Author
by Robert Sandeman. From the fourth Edinburgh edition. New York: John S. Taylor.-Boston: Weeks, Jordan & Co.
1838. pp. 500. Robert Sandeman was a native of Scotland, born in 1723. He pursued his studies at Edinburgh preparatory to the clerical profession, but having adopted the sentiments of John Glass, the leader of the Glassites in Scotland, he abandoned the ministry. Though dependent on a secular employment for support, he early distinguished himself as an author, and his followers in England and in this country constituted the sect which are denominated, after his name, Sandemanians.
The Dialogues of Theron and Aspasio were the work of the distinguished James Flervey of England, author of “ Meditations,” etc., and have been regarded as among the very best efforts of his genius. His views of the nature of faith, and some other points, called forth the Letters of Sandeman, whose title is given above. They were first published in 1757. They attack Hervey's notion of appropriating faith with uncommon acuteness and no little effect. Sandeman strenuously insists that justifying faith is nothing more nor less than the “bare belief of the bare iruth,” witnessed or testified concerning the person and work of Christ. His style is caustic and se
vere. He treats what he calls “the popular preachers," as corrupters of the gospel, and consequently as misleading their hearers in the all-important concerns of another world. As such he does not
The practices of the Sandemanians which may find countenance in this book are their weekly administration of the Lord's supper, their love-feasts, which consist in their dining at each other's houses in the interval between services on the Sabbath, the kiss of charity, etc. etc.
The notion of faith for which the members of this sect contend may be gathered from the following words of Sandeman, who speaking of his Letters, says: " The motto of the title page of this work is, One thing is needful ;' which he calls the sole requisite to justification or acceptance with God. By the sole requisite he understands the work finished by Christ in his death, proved by his resurrection to be all-sufficient to justify the guilty ;—that the whole benefit of the event is conveyed to men only by the apostolic report concerning it; that every one who undersiands this report to be true, or is persuaded that the event actually took place, as testified by the apostles, is justified and finds relief to his guilty conscience; that he is relieved not by finding any favorable symptom about his own heart, but by finding their report to be true ; that the event itself, which is reported, becomes his relief, so soon as it stands true in his mind, and accordingly becomes his faith ; that all the divine power which operates on the minds of men, either to give the first relief to their consciences, or to influence them in every part of their obedience, is persuasive power, or the forcible conviction of truth.”
They have a plurality of elders, pastors or bishops in each church, who are chosen from among
the laity. In discipline they are strict and severe, separating from the communion and worship of all such religious societies as do not profess the simple truth as their only ground of hope, and walk in obedience thereto. They are not governed by majorities in their discipline, but esteem unanimity as absolutely necessary. If a member differs from the rest, he must give up the point or be excluded; and with the excommunicated they hold it unlawful to eat or to drink.
Mr. Sandeman, being invited by some persons in America who had become interested in his writings, came to this country in 1764, and after collecting a few small societies, closed his life in Danbury, Conn. 1771.
The present condition of this sect in Danbury, strikingly exhibits the legitimate results of at least two of the principles maintained by Sandeman. The first is the belief that “ the cause of the disallowed Messiah will never prevail in this mortal state, but will remain as a bruised reed and smoking flax,” though its enemies will never be VOL. XII. No. 32.
able utterly to break or extinguish it. This belief is suited to extinguish all zeal for the propagation of the gospel, and renders the sect indifferent to its own increase. The second is the principle, named above, requiring absolute agreement or unanimity among the members, both in doctrine and practice. This leaves the sect with but little to do but to agree. To maintain the truth against opposers and to secure the unanimity of their own body by excommunicating all who disagree, is the sum of their direct responsibilities. Thus the Society in Danbury, which, at the death of Sandeman, was numerous, has maintained its unanimity at the expense of its numbers, for more than sixty years, until it has become reduced to only six or eight members, who will probably continue to agree until what they believe to be wisdom shall die with them.
On the whole, we do not believe that much good will be accomplished by the re-publication of Sandeman's Letters. The anonymous editor of this edition acknowledges that “the name of its au. thor has long been under reproach, and will probably so continue to be, while the memory of these letters shall endure." His sole object in bringing this work again before the public, he says, “ lies in the deliberate conviction which the editor entertains, of its being a far more faithful exhibition of gospel truth than any other work which has ever come to his knowledge.” In this conviction we have no doubt of his sincerity. But we differ from him in opinion, as he seems to anticipate, in the above quoted sentences, that most Christians will. We do not mean to condemn Sandemanianism in the gross. There are many things in the system which are worthy of serious attention. It contains much important truth, yet so blended with error as greatly to endanger its salutary efficacy. Andrew Fuller remarks, in his masterly “ Strictures on Sandemanianism,” that “Sandeman has expunged from Christianity a great deal of false religion ; but whether he has exhibited that of Christ and his apostles is another question.” 12.- The Biblical Analysis ; or a Topical Arrangement of the In
structions of the Holy Scriptures. Adapted to the use of Ministers, Sabbath School and Bible Class Teachers, Family Worship and private meditation. Compiled by J. U. Par.
Boston: Whipple and Damrell, 1837. pp. 311. Though this work has been more than a year before the public, we have not until recently given it a careful examination. Prepared, as we now are, to appreciate its merits, we could not be easily persuaded to part with it. Its design is similar to that of " Gaston's Collections,” or “ Concordance," so extensively used by clergymen in this country for the last thirty years. Its plan, however, is a de. cided improvement upon that of Gaston, and appears to us to have been executed with more discrimination and better judgment.
The work consists of an arrangement of the numerous topics of Scripture instruction and a collection of pertinent texts under each. It has been prepared, as the compiler informs us, without much aid from the concordance, or any similar work, but from a consecutive reading of the Bible. It does not profess to be a digest of religious truth and duty, but an attempt to present divine truth in its due proportions, by giving to the passages arranged under each leading topic about the comparative space which they occupy in the Scriptures. The student of the Bible, with the help of this Analysis and arrangement, will be surprised at the comparative fulness exhibited in the symmetry in which the several topics come from the mind of the Spirit.
We are happy to learn that another edition of this work is contemplated. It is well adapted to the several classes of readers named in its title page, and needs only to be known to be appreciated.
13.-Fragments from the Study of a Pastor. By Gardiner Spring,
Pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York. Vol. I.
New York: John S. Taylor, 1838. pp. 160. • This little volume is in Dr. Spring's best style, and is adapted at once to please and instruct. The fragments embraced in it are presented in seven Numbers, with the following titles ;—The Church in the wilderness, Reflections on the new year,—The Inquiring Meeting, Letter to a Young Clergyman, — The Panorama, — Moral Graduation,-The Useful Christian.
The announcement of this as Vol. I, indicates that the author intends it as the beginning of a series. Those who read the first will be solicitous to see his subsequent volumes. 14.-Introduction to the German Language, comprising a German
Grammar, with an Appendix of important Tables and other
Newman, 1838. pp. 270. 12mo. We have had considerable experience in the use of German grammars, and we have never found any one exactly to our mind. The reason we suppose to be that they were all made by native Germans. The authors did not understand the wants of English students. Familiar with the tongue from their infant days, they imagined that foreign students would experience as little difficulty. They expended their principal labor on points important only to the advanced student. Noehden's grammar
is the best which we have seen. The author was a sensible man, considerably familiar with teaching the language to Englishmen, and himself pretty well acquainted with the English idioms; yet this grammar is not, in all respects, a proper one for beginners. It discusses too much the less important points—such as would be interesting to an experienced reader, or even to such men as Adelung and Grimm. The arrangement, too, is not the most perfect. The prominent points, which are to be committed to memory, are not kept sufliciently distinct from matters of inferior interest. The novice is bewildered. Besides, there are some things wanting which ought to be found in the Appendix—things perfectly familiar to a native, but which a poor English scholar must search volume after volume before he can find. We refer to abbreviations, etc.
We have not yet made ourselves particularly acquainted with Mr. Fosdick's grammar named at the head of this article. From an examination, however, of some part of it in manuscript, we have no doubt but that it will meet the wants of the youthful student in German. Mr. Fosdick has been, for many years, engaged in the study of this language in circumstances well adapted to qualify him for his task. If he has not made a better school grammar than either of his predecessors, he will certainly be much in fault, as he had the advantage of all the previous light and darkness on the subject.
Those who have read his translations of Hug's Introduction to the New Testament, and of De Sacy's Principles of General Grammar, will have a right to expect in the present undertaking a clear, wellarranged, and accurate manual. We
presume they will not be dis. appointed. One hundred and eight pages are occupied with the grammar. In an Appendix of about fifty pages, there are lists of irregular verbs, compound verbs, different classes of nouns, prepositions, German versification, abbreviations, etc. Then succeed selections from the writings of Lessing, Krumacher, Gessner, Herder, Engel, Richter, Goethe, Novalis, Schiller, Gleim, Willamov, Nicolai, Klopstock, Körner, Bürger, Haller, A. W. Schlegel, etc. The remainder of the volume is occupied with a vocabulary. We may notice the work more at length hereafter.
LITERARY AND MISCELLANEOUS INTELLIGENCE.
United States. The Van Ess LIBRARY.—We announced in the July No. of the Repository that the New York Theological Seminary had purchased the valuable Library of the Rev. Dr. Leander Van Ess of Bavaria in Germany. We since learn by a letter from the agent for the purchase, Mr. Wolf of Erlan