Page images
PDF
EPUB

believe except so far as they fully comprehend. We accept in full the forcible words of Dr. Huntington, that " we live amidst mysteries, keep house with them, walk over them, lie down and rise up with them, are folded in by them, are born out of them, breathe them, and die into them.” p. 376. But in the application of these concessions to theological doctrine, an important distinction holds, which both of these authors overlook. To accept a mystery because we can not help it, because it is forced upon us by the necessities of our intellectual being, because it inheres in the limitations of thought—this is one thing. To accept a mystery voluntarily, to go out of our way in order to accept it, to allow a seeming contradiction to be forced upon us by external testimony, and this too in view of our standing concession as Protestants, that in our most careful interpretation of external testimony we are liable to errthis is a very different thing. Whatever difficulty inheres in our conception of the Divine personality, comes under the former head—we can not, as religious beings, but accept it; the difficulty inhering in any notion of the trinity comes under the latter—it is not forced upon us by the laws of thought; we voluntarily accept it. No Protestant can deny the reality of the distinction we here point out. Mr. Mansel says we must receive or reject the trinity purely at the dictation of Scripture. This is a concession that if Scripture so permits, we can reject the doctrine—that is to say, no law, limitation, or necessity of thought compels us to accept the doctrine. But he will not say that we can conceive of the Divine existence without investing this existence with personality, even if (what indeed is not the case) Scripture permitted us to do so. The trinity, in a certain contingency, can be rejected ; the Divine personality cannot be rejected in any contingency. With such a radical distinction between the two ideas, to apply in full to the idea of the trinity the same reasoning that we are forced to apply to the idea of the Divine personality is plainly invalid and gratuitous. If we are right in what we have now offered on the point before us, Dr. Huntington gains nothing whatever in behalf of the doctrine he defends, by showing that another doctrine, resting upon a totally different basis involves equal difficulty. The subject immediately before us, is in itself, worthy of

VOL. XVII. 18

no lawie doctrine existen if (what The Divine porno

extended discussion ; but considered in its bearing upon our general subject, we do not feel that anything farther can be demanded of us. Let Dr. Huntington prove, that for the same reason that we can not conceive of God at all, except as we conceive of him under the form of personality, so we cannot conceive of him at all except under the form of the trinity, and his argument will be to the point: but not till he has done this. He has not attempted to make out such a point. We venture the prediction that he never will make such an attempt.

In taking leave of Dr. Huntington, we find pleasure in acknowledging the ability and scholarly attainments, which, with occasional exceptions, he has brought to the defence of a difficult theory. Perhaps it had been as well had the general tone of his argument not been marred with any allusion to the “mental proportions ” of persons, who from any point, either of apprehension or misapprehension, take a different view of the subject from the one he has been led to proffer. Controversalists who commence their labor by invoking “ the tender spirit” of the parting scene between Master and his disciples, and who express a desire “to keep humility” with charity, cannot too carefully guard against disparaging allusions to the intellectual claims of the humblest of their opponents. We now close by simply expressing the hope, that the commendable interest which Dr. Huntington has heretofore shown in the great practical problems which are, in this generation, engaging the attention of earnest men, will receive neither check nor chill from his new ecclesiastical connection. The Episcopalian body has been lamentably indifferent as respects these vital problems. It remains to be seen whether this body will conquer the reformatory spirit of its new convert, or whether it will receive a salutary incitement by contact with him. Should the latter be the result, the world, at least, will derive good from the distinguished theological change which has given us our present theme.

G. H. E.

Art. XVI.

Literary Notices.

1. A Dictionary of the English Language. By Joseph E. Wor cester, LL. D. Boston: Hickling, Swan, and Brewer. 1860.

It has been said of a late distinguished historian,-and said by one who knew him intimately,—that he was wholly indifferent to either the praise or censure of critics, except as it came from a select few. He assumed that but a very small number of persons could have a knowledge of matters pertaining to his speciality at all approaching his own ; and hence most of the criticism expended upon his labors must be superficial. The leading American lexicographers - Webster, Goodrich, and Worcester-have a similar reason for looking with indifference upon a large majority of their critics. The general scholar, even if high in the average of his attainments, cannot assume to be any where near as profound in his knowledge of the essentials of a correct dictionary of the English language as those who have made it the business of life to search out the history, etymology, and meaning of words. Those, indeed, who are engaged in the responsible task of teaching, and persons whom leisure and taste have led to give the subject extra attention, may be presumed to speak authoritatively on questions in dispute ; but even this class of critics can not be comparatively very numerous. Without doubt our lexicographers have as often been amazed at the criticisms of friends as of foes.

In another connection, our readers will find a criticism, chiefly orthoëpical, upon Worcester's new Dictionary, by one whose many years of zealous devotion to the special subject entitle him to much consideration. We shall not, in this instance, attempt to imitate his example by selecting as occasion either for censure or approval, any of the special points which more properly belong to those who may claim professional familiarity with them. We select the humbler task; and will say a brief word of the new dictionary without regard to the claims of any rival work.

We learn from the preface that Worcester's new dictionary contains about 104,000 words ; and that for most of these authorities are given-especially for such as are“ technical, obsolete, antiquated, rare, provincial, local, colloquial, of recent introduction, or of doubtful propriety.” Avoiding discussion as much as possible, the derivation of words is briefly indicated; and pains have been taken to indicate the sources, whether Teutonic, Latin, or Greek, of most of the words. A large number of technical terms relating to theology, law, medicine, and the arts and sciences generally, are given_terms in common use being selected to the exclusion of such as are rarely seen ; and the definitions of these words, we are assured, have been prepared by persons professionally and practically connected with the several departments to which the words belong. About five thousand synonymes have been given, with necessarily brief notices ; free use being made of the works of “ Crabb, Taylor, Platts, Graham, and Whately.".

The work contains discussions on the principles of pronuncia tion, orthography, English grammar ; and gives a treatise on the origin, formation, and etymology of the language. We not only have the pronunciation of Greek, Latin, Scripture, and Modern Geographical names, but in addition to these, the pronunciation of names of Distinguished Men of modern timesrevised and authenticated by distinguished scholars, thus leaving no ground for doubt as to their accuracy,-a most capital feature. We also have a collection of words, phrases, and quotations from the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish languages. Those who write for the press will have frequent occasion to refer to the very thorough table of signs used in writing and printing. A large number of the definitions speak directly to the eye through handsomely engraved illustrations. Many terms which no definition in words can explain will now be intelligible at a glance.

In the definition of Theological and Scripture terms we will give Dr. Worcester credit for improvement upon his predecessors. His definitions are not exclusively Calvinistic, but are framed with some regard to the usage among writers not techni. cally called evangelical. His dictionary we must confess to be less sectarian than any other we have examined.

Remembering that the work contains 1854 royal quarto threecolumn pages, and that it contains about everything practicable pertaining to the language, whether theoretically or practically considered, it will be understood that any notice of its contents must be very meagre. We can do nothing more than hint the general contents.

The mechanical execution of such a work, however excellent, must be its least important feature. Yet, in the present instance, it is truly remarkable. Type and paper and press have never given the world a handsomer page. We are unable to see that anything has been left for improvement. Those who purchase books for ornament rather than use, will have in the new

dictionary everything they can ask. We trust the publishers will meet with sufficient pecuniary returns to reward them for their heavy investment of capital and labor. One fact is obvi. ous,-every purchaser of this work will get the worth of his money.

2. Annual of Scientific Discovery: or Year-Book of Facts in Science and Art for 1860. Exhibiting the most important Discoveries and Improvements in Mechanics, Useful Arts, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Meteorology: Geography, Antiquities, etc. Together with Notes on the Progress of Science during the year 1859; a list of recent Scientific Publications, Obituaries of Eminent Scientific Men, etc. Edited by David A. Wells, A. M. Boston: Gould and Lincoln. 1860. pp. 430.

The title-page, which we give without abridgement, is so complete a statement of the general character and contents of the book, that anything more by way of notice can hardly be necessary. It will be seen that the book attempts to compress into small compass, the substance of a vast and varied number of pamphlets, journals, reports, narratives, and kindred documents, which the industry of the past year has added to the literature of science and art. The established reputation of the editor is sufficient guarantee that the work is well done. The continued publication of the Annual proves that the public appreciate its worth.

3. Twelve Years of a Soldier's Life in India : being extracts from the letters of Major W. S. R. Hodson, B. A. Trinity College, Cambridge, First Bengal European Fusileers, Commandant of Hodson's Hurse. Including a Personal Narrative of the Siege of Delhi, and Capture of the King and Princess. Edited by his Brother, the Rev. George H. Hodson, M. A. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1860. 12mo. pp. 444.

The more elaborate and comprehensive octavos of the future historian of the war in India will give a larger number of details and a more exact statement of the causes, the progress, and the results of that terrible mutiny. But no where else will the reader get so clear a view of the immediate motives and actors in the most bloody campaign of modern times. The book will convince every reader that Major Hodson was the greatest of the heroes who put down the Indian rebellion-greatest in courage, in capacity, in physical endurance, and in that disinterestedness of purpose which is the ruling ingredient in every heroic character. He will also be convinced that the rebellion was but the just reaction of British misrule and oppression—that the native populalation were stung to deeds of madness by insolence and wrongs

« PreviousContinue »