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those of Barnes, Ripley, and Livermore, which it resembles in its general plan, were for the denominations to which the authors respectively belong. This, on the whole, we consider matter of congratulation, as the results of biblical criticism will thus become more extensively diffused, since multitudes will read a Commentary coming from a member of their own denomination, when otherwise they would read none, and there is not one of those just alluded to, which may not afford great help to the practical study of the New Testament. The volume by Mr. Paige, just published, was evidently prepared with much thought and in a very serious spirit, and discovers a love of truth and deep reverence for the Scriptures. It is abundantly learned for a popular commentary, and several of the more difficult passages are treated with no little copiousness; the opinions of different writers, often eminent critics of other sects, are quoted, and the author expresses his own views without intolerance or dogmatism. From a passage in the preface we feared that the writer was starting with a theory, but we do not find any such offensively thrust into view in the course of the work, which as a whole, we think, is a performance highly creditable to the author, and to the denomination from the bosom of which it issues.
Life of Godfrey William Von Leibnitz.
On the basis of the By JOHN M. MACKIE. 1845. 12mo. pp. 288.
THE preface to this volume very briefly states the writer's object, which is to give the best account of the father of German philosophy, that can be derived from the most recent German sources, and to give it in a form suited to English readers. The best biography that has appeared has been taken as the basis, and out of it a very faithful work has been framed.
Leibnitz lived in a momentous age, his life extending from 1546 to 1616. He lived on terms of intercourse with the leading men of his time. He had been at the courts of France, Sweden and Russia under the brilliant reigns of Louis XIV., Charles XII., and Peter the Great. The Elector of Mentz, the Duke of Hanover, and the royal houses of Austria and Prussia, cherished him as a familiar friend. He visited Spinoza, and had correspondence with Newton and Locke. He was eminent as a jurist, philologist, historian, mathematician, natural philosopher, mechanician, metaphysician, politician, and theologian. Besides, he was something of a poet. But notwithstanding the versatility of his genius, one quality marks all his works. It is the passion for universality, the disposition to remove all antag
onism, reconcile all conflicting ideas, and bring all things into obvious harmony. This tendency appears alike in his greatness and in his folly, in his grand abstractions as shown in his doctrine of the calculus, (which, as is clearly proved in the volume before us, he did not borrow from Newton,) and his studies in language, as well as in his quixotic attempts to blend all religions into one by uniting Calvinists and Lutherans first with one another and then with Roman Catholics, and by forcing Mahometans into the grand union by the aid of the armies of France and Austria. Such religious schemes he appears to have pursued without having any strong love for any Church or caring much about the offices of worship. He studied the conflicting theologies as he would study language or botany, with the view of making the most comprehensive classifications.
As an intellectual philosopher, he is to be regarded as the leader of the German mind. He lived at a time, when the negative movement in the Protestant Reformation had almost spent its force, and thinking men were desirous of some deeper foundation of faith than the formulas of the Reformed Churches or the assumptions of Popery. Descartes in France and Spinoza in Holland had tried to meet this want in their own way, and find some absolute ground of faith. Germany was yearning for something better than the Church creeds, and not unwilling to find some relief in the warm pietism of Spener from the bondage of formal dogmatism. Leibnitz did much to meet this want, at least so far as the intellect is concerned. His theory of the universe is the parent of those modern systems that have so occupied his countrymen, and so charmed and mystified the world. He follows Descartes in starting from the facts of consciousness, and shuns the errors of Spinoza by carefully guarding against pantheism, although, in spite of his disclaimer, to some his doctrine of optimism may seem pantheistic. — In some points Leibnitz reminds us of Pascal. In early development, mathematical genius, and theological study, he was like the wonderful Frenchman; but unlike him in general pursuits and religious temper and opinion. Leibnitz was yet more like Swedenborg, and he needed only a little more mysticism and magnetic reverie, to transform his system of nature into the opened heaven and hell of the Swedish philosopher and theologian.
We only wish that Mr. Mackie had been a little more adventurous in his undertaking, appealed more freely to his own mind, and thus given his work a life and coloring, that would make it far more stirring and attractive to an American public. But in these days of rash assertion and crude speculation we may well rejoice, whenever we find, as in the present instance, careful statement in pure and precise language.
The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D. D., late Head Master of Rugby School, and Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford. By ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, M. A., Fellow and Tutor of University College, Oxford. First American from the third English edition. New York: Appleton & Co. 1845. 12mo. pp. 509.
In a short article on Dr. Arnold in our January number for 1844,—the first, so far as we are aware, which appeared in any of our American journals, we said something of his peculiar characteristics as a preacher, and gave a few extracts from the notes to one of his volumes relating especially to Pusyism, which he abhorred. The present volume, embracing his life and a multitude of his letters, more fully developes his opinions on this subject, and exhibits his views on many other topics of general interest, as history, literature, tradition for which he had no respect, the Church which he would have identified with the State, the London University, and education generally, especially the moral and religious influences which may be, and by him were preeminently, brought to bear on the minds of the young. The contents of the volume are various and rich. Dr. Arnold had a vigorous and active mind, and he always thought for himself, feeling very little respect for mere conventionalism. He was a man of stern principle, and occasionally of stern manner, a little pugnacious, yet essentially kind and warm-hearted, and an ardent lover of truth. He was sometimes an eloquent, though never a polished and graceful writer. The style particularly of his sermons, which were frequently written between the morning and evening services, is sometimes simple to baldness. In the multitude of his writings, most of which were thrown off with great rapidity in the midst of a life almost wholly occupied in teaching, it would have been strange if his fervor of temperament had never betrayed him into the expression of opinions which appear crude and extravagant. But he is a writer who always puts one to thinking, which is a great merit. The American publishers deserve the thanks of the community for this, as well as for several other reprints of valuable works, which have recently issued, or are now issuing, from their press.
The Library of American Biography. Conducted by JARED SPARKS. Second Series. Vols. IV. and V. Boston: Little & Brown. 1845. 16mo. pp. 446 and 411.
THE first of these volumes begins with a well arranged and agreeably written biography of Roger Williams, the founder of
Providence, by Professor Gammell of Brown University. The warmth of coloring betrays a friendly hand, and the narrative does full justice to the memory of one, the story of whose wrongs, though often told, seems never to grow trite. We are not quite sure, however, that sufficient allowance is made by the writer for the position of the Puritans of Massachusetts. We then have the Life of President Dwight, by Rev. Dr. Sprague of Albany, which seems to us a somewhat meagre performance. - The volume closes with the Life of Count Pulaski, by Mr. Sparks himself. This memoir, though brief, possesses in some parts quite a romantic interest, and has all the merit of Mr. Sparks's best narratives.
The fifth volume opens with a life of Count Rumford, (Benjamin Thompson,) by Professor Renwick, whose name is a sufficient pledge for its faithful execution. Count Rumford was a benefactor to his country, to science and to humanity, and well deserves the space here allotted him, which is a little more than half the volume.We have then a well digested narrative of the stirring and eventful life of General Pike, by Henry Whiting.
And the volume closes with a biography of Samuel Gorton, famous in the early annals of the Massachusetts Colony, by John M. Mackie. This is somewhat apologetic in its tone, though it does not appear from it, nor is it easy to ascertain precisely, what Gorton's peculiar opinions were, and the biographer in describing his character is not, we think, always quite consistent with himself.
Proverbs, arranged in Alphabetical Order. In two Parts. Adapted to all Ages and Classes of People, but especially designed for the Young, and the use of Schools. By WILLIAM H. PORTER. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1845. 16mo. pp. 280.
PROVERBS have been called "the flower of popular wit and the treasures of popular wisdom." The use of them is getting to be somewhat unfashionable in these days, yet a good proverb embodies much truth in a condensed form, or rather may we not say, it is a sort of truth crystallized, which, viewed in different lights, still shines and sparkles? The proverbs of a nation illustrate its modes of thinking and its manners, and hence collections of them, if faithfully made, form a subject of pleasing and useful study. Mr. Porter's volume does not profess to be a collection of national proverbs, nor indeed a complete collection of any sort. His aim is instruction, and under each proverb, whether common or Scriptural, for he has both, he gives an explanation and a few practical observations, all marked by plain good sense.
-4TH S. VOL. III. NO. III.
The Christian in his Closet: or Prayers for Individuals, adapted to the various ages, conditions and circumstances of Life. By CHARLES BROOKS. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1845. 12mo. pp. 144.
MR. BROOKS informs us in the Preface to this volume, that it contains "the 'Prayers for Individuals,' which have made part of his larger work; with the addition of such new matter as seems needed at this time." The larger volume has had a wide circulation, and we believe this will be found by many persons a help in their private devotions.
Manual of Parliamentary Practice.
Rules of Proceeding and By LUTHER S. CUSHING. 12mo. pp. 173.
A VERY useful book; a familiar acquaintance with which in the presiding officers of meetings for business, whether clerical or lay, as well as of legislative assemblies, would prevent much confusion and waste of time.
Olympic Games. A Gift for the Holidays. By the AUTHOR of "Theory of Teaching," "Edward's first Lessons in Grammar," etc. Boston Ticknor & Co. 16mo. pp. 142.
THESE are not the celebrated games of this name in Greece. The book consists mainly of an explanation of the old fables, and a description, according to philosophical ideas, of the old mythological personages. Its professed object, however, is not to impart information, so much as to furnish materials for conducting certain games of a rational character, in which the elder members of a family may join with the younger. The work is inviting from its mechanical execution, and bears marks of careful thought and refined taste in the writer.
The Morton Family. By a YOUNG LADY. Boston. J. Munroe & Co. 1845. 12mo. pp. 71.
THE author of this story is no longer on earth. We do not wish therefore to speak of it with severity. Yet we can only commend the religious tone of mind which it discovers. As a tale for young persons, we cannot think it judiciously written.