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(No. LXXXV.) DILIGENCE AND DIGNITY.
FULNESS AND SEVERITY. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shali be under tribute.”—Prov. xli. 24. EXPRESSIONS parallel to the text have already frequently occurred, and will occur again as we proceed; our notice, therefore, should be brief. Here is
I. DILIGENCE AND DIGNITY. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule." All men desire rule, and some kind of rule every man may obtain.
Social, civil, and what are higher still-mental and spiritual. Rule
over men's thoughts and hearts. these dominions diligence can achieve. Diligence in study may get a knowledge that may sway an age. Diligence in business may obtain wealth that shall govern commerce. Diligence in goodness may achieve an excellence before which the soul of nations shall kneel. Here is
II. SLOTHFULNESS VILITY. “But the slothful shall be under tribute." An indolent man will never become royal in anything. He will be the mere tool of society, the mere servile attendant upon others. Men will use him, make him a rung in the ladder of their ascent. The slothful man neither gets knowledge, wealth, nor goodness. He never reaches an imperial altitude. He shall be under tribute. That which he hath is ultimately taken from him; and he falls into the outer darkness of obscurity.
“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop.” There is a soulcrushing sadness here. Millions of hearts are “stooping" under the weight of sorrow. There is, First : Personal affliction " that maketh the heart stoop.” Sufferings of the body, mind, conscience, estate.
Secondly : There is social afliction" that maketh the heart stoop." The unfaithfulness of friends, the malice of enemies, the bereavements of death-what a load of sorrow rests on human souls !
II. THE SUCCOURING IN LIFE. “A good word maketh it glad." First : What are good words ?" (1.) “Good words" must be true words. False words may be pleasant for a time, but ultimately they will increase the suffering by terminating in disappointment. Good words must be true, true to reason, conscience, character, God. (2.) “Good words" must be kind words—words originating in a loving heart, and instinct with a loving spirit. (3.) “Good words" must be suitable words, suitable to the particular state of the sufferer--must be fitted exactly to his condition. Secondly: Where are good words? Where is the good word to be found that will make the “stooping heart glad ?" The Gospel is that word. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath appointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to pro.. claim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort all that mourn." Here is a word about Providence, to make the man whose heart stoops under the weight of worldly cares "glad." Here is a word about pardon to make the man whose heart stoops under the sense of guilt “glad." Here is
SUCCOLRING. "Heariness in the heart of man maketh it stoop : but a good word maketh it glad."-Prov. xii. 25.
G IN LIFE.
a word about the resurrection to
U. R. T.
(No. LXXXVII.) THE EXCELLING OF PIETY. “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them." - Prov. xii. 26.
I. THE RIGHTEOT'S MAN EXCELS OTHERS IN HIS RESOURCES. The word "excellent'' here stands for abundance. The righteous is more abundant than his neighbour. He is richer, seldom in material wealth, but always in
spiritual and moral. First: H. has richer themes for thought. Secondly: Nobler principles of action. Thirdly: Sublimer objects, of hope. Fourthly: Diviner motives of action. He is richer. He has an “inheritance incorruptible," &c.; he has God Himself for his portion.
II. THE RIGHTEOUS MAN EXCELS IN HIS CONDUCT. “The way of the wicked seduceth him." This stands in contrast with the implied way of the righteous. The way of the wicked is illusory; he fancies it a beautiful, pleasant, safe way, while it leads to ruin, it cheats him. “He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand ?” (Isa. xliv. 32.) But the way of the righteous may be hard and rough, but is, notwithstanding, safe, its end is everlasting life.
Literary Notices. .
(We hold it to be the duty of an Editor either to give an early notice of the books sent to him for remark, or to return them at once to the Publisher. It is unjust to praise worthless books; it is robbery to retain unnoticed ones.)
THE REVIEWER'S CANON.
How to STUDY THE New TestAMENT: THE GOSPELS AND THE ACTS
OF THE APOSTLEs. By HENRY ALFORD, D.D., Dean of Canter
bury. Alexander Strahan, 56, Ludgate-hill. 1867, 2nd Edition. Few, if any, writers of the present age have rendered more valuable contributions in Biblical science than the author of this book, and few of his many books are more valuable than the one before us. In it the learned author brings into comparison those passages in the several Gospels which seem, more or less, to be contradictory to each other.
By a proper interpretation of each, and an explanation of the circumstances under which they were written, discrepancies are obviated, and a beautiful harmony is made manifest. The work also contains many important corrections of the text of the English version of the Scripture. It is a very unfortunate circumstance, that in some cases --and those not altogether unimportant—the authorized version of Holy Writ is not true to the original. Dean Alford, we are glad to find, is a strenuous advocate for a revision of the present version. He asks, “ That as a nation, that as churches, are we making a right use of the Holy Gospels, or of the rest of God's Revealed Word, until the rest of these blemishes are removed ?” We think, with him, that it is full time the work was attempted, and entertain the belief that there is in this age biblical scholarship and theological freedom quite equal to the task. We heartily recommend this volume.
ANTE-NICENE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY: TRANSLATIONS OF THE WRITINGS
OF THE FATHERS. Vols. I. and II. Edited by the Rev. ALEX-
street. For many obvious reasons the writings of the early Christians are invested with peculiar interest and importance. Hitherto they have been so buried in the ancient languages, that only a few even of the ministers of Christendom know much about them:-and the few who are acquainted with them are generally so elated with their superior attainments, as to treat with unmistakable disdain the ignorance of their less enlightened brethren. We have heard some of the less scholarly and more pedantic of these favoured ones express themselves, as if there were something so wonderful shut up in the writings of these ancients, that there could be no true appreciation of Christianity without an understanding of them. Messrs. Clark, the celebrated and enterprising publishers of Edinburgh, will strip these men of their glory, will take from under their feet all ground of vaunting, by putting the antiquated works into the hands of all Christians in the language which they can understand. They are putting into the hands of the people, the Epistles of Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, Barnabas, Polycarp, Diognetus,—the works of Justin Martyr, Tertian, Athenagoras, Theolipius, Hermias, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Julias Africanus, Hypolitus, Dionysius, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, Novatian, Victorinus, and others. In fact, they intend to include in this series every Christian writing and document produced before the Nicene Council
, whether in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, or in any other language. The whole work will form about sixteen or eighteen
volumes, of a size similar to the publishers' FOREIGN THEOLOGICAL LIBRARY, and will be issued at the remarkably low price of one guinea for four volumes. We heartily rejoice in this enterprise. It will give to all ministers an intellectual platform, hitherto occupied only by a few, and thus promote á spirit of ministerial equality. It will also put all in possession of those sources from which much of the historic evidence in favour of Christianity is derived. There are, we venture to hope, but few of the clergy of any denomination who will not strive to make themselves possessors of the Ante-Nicene Christian Library, and thus bless themselves and encourage the publishers in this magnificent undertaking. THE CLERGY AND THE PULPIT IN their RELATIONS TO THE PEOPLE.
By M. L'ABBE IBIDORE MULLOIS, Chaplain to the Emperor Napoleon III., and Missionary Apostolic. Translated by GEORGE PERCY BADGER, late Chaplain in the Diocese of Bombay, author of “The Nestorians and their Rituals," &c., &c. London: Smith,
Elder, and Co., 65, Cornhill. The series of ideas set forth in this volume, we are told, is for the guidance of the clergy in their pastoral ministrations, especially in the pulpit. The author's object is to direct the attention of his brethren in the ministry to “the lower orders," whose apathy for religion he attributes to the estrangement which took place between the clergy and the nation at the period of the great Revolution—“Our age,” he says, "is a great prodigal son, let us help it to repent, and return to the paternal home." As the people of England as well as France are indifferent to religion, and stand aloof from pulpit ministrations, many, though not all, of the suggestions contained in this treatise are worthy of the adoption of the clergy of England. The author thinks that the preacher who is to meet the exigencies of his age should not only have the ordinary clerical education, but should have that spirit of love that would vitally identify him with the sorrows and joys of the people. He should be deeply read in the science of the heart, capable of appreciating all the springs which set society in motion, and diverting them from those channels where they only serve to fertilise the soil of vice, to the fields ! where virtue grows. This book is valuable; it breathes a noble spirit. It records many striking incidents. It is fraught with excellent counsels, and it has many striking philosophical remarks and specimens of pulpit eloquence. It has much in it to challenge remark, but our space is too limited to attempt an encounter. We may recur to it again. The author's advice concerning the brevity of sermons is worth the notice of those prosy brothers under whose somnific influence congregations sleep. The length of a sermon, our author says, should be from five to ten minutes. “Believe me and I speak from experience the more you say the less will the hearers re
tain, the less you say the more they will profit; by dint of burdening their memory you will overwhelm it, just as a lamp is extinguished by feeding it with too much oil, and plants are choked by immoderate irrigation. When a sermon is too long, the end erases the middle from the memory, and the middle the beginning."
THE NATIONAL ENCYCLOPÆDIA. Volumes V. to VIII. inclusive.
London and Glasgow : Mackenzie. In a recent number of the HOMILIST we directed attention to the many attractions and to the solid worth of this Encyclopædia. We especially noticed the ability and accuracy of its articles, the clearness of its illustrations and designs, and the wide range of subjects it included, as amongst its many claims to a hearty appreciation. We added our hope that the volumes which we then noticed would be followed by others as good. We have now the satisfaction of being able to say that our hope, which we knew to be well founded, has been entirely realized. The four volumes now before us, which commence with Cot, and include Met, are in every way worthy their predecessors. This is bestowing on them high praise, for it will be remembered that we indicated that they left nothing to be desired but the money wherewith to purchase them. Butler has said that “there is a kind of physiognomy in the titles of books no less than in the faces of men, by which a skilful observer will as well know what to expect from the one as from the other.” The title of this Encyclopædia illustrates forcibly the truth of this remark. We can tell at once, and truly, what it is. It is veritably a “National Encyclopædia"-—not only worthy of, but a credit to, the name. To say that a work is popular is not always to praise it, because the word has come to convey : meaning with which intellectual power is not necessarily associated. When, therefore, we say that this undertaking is essentially a popular one, we must be understood to use that term in the sense in which Coleridge used it when he defined it to refer to one “which adapted the results of studious meditation, or scientific research, to the capacity of the people." It is a dictionary of information, and in its circle it embraces every subject. It is arranged on the simple alphabetical principle, and we certainly prefer this to the more logical plan of the “Encyclopædia Metropolitana.” Chiefly for this reason, that of all the methods which have been adopted, since Spensippus, the disciple of Plato, originated the first work of this genus, this is the plan which experience has proved to be better adapted than any other for quick and easy reference. An encyclopædia should combine learning, accuracy, and skill, with perspicuity of language, and an arrangement of its matter in a form which makes consultation easy, plain, and rapid. In these days of pressing engagements and new books, the last is of