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“ The Holy Place," with its appurtenances, offers nothing new, unless it be that the veil concealing the Holy of Holies is so contrived as to be lifted up, when it discloses the Ark of the Covenant, the Cherubim, and the Shekinah, with the High Priest in adoration before the Mercy Seat. We have much to say touching the Cherubim, would space permit, and had we not discussed that subject at considerable length in our volume for 1834, page 98 et seq. Dr. Kitto, with his vast wealth of means appears to have done little towards rectifying the conventional ideas prevailing on the subject of these mysterious creatures ; and has fallen in with the popular notion which represents them as human or angelic forms with wings unnaturally bent over their shoulders. We think had their general form been such as usually represented, some stress would have been laid by the sacred writer upon the circumstance, whereas all that he says on the subject is that they had wings and faces. Nor should we overlook the fact that by comparing the descriptions given in the first and tenth chapters of Ezekiel, it will be found that what is in one place called the face of a bull, is in the other described as that of a cherub. We do not pretend to know what was actually the form of these symbols, though we have long been of opinion that the winged discs of ancient Egypt and Persia might furnish some useful hints towards their elucidation. In the mean while, we must profess ourselves disciples of good John Bunyan, and content ourselves with describing them by their only-ascertained features. In a passage of exquisite pathos descriptive of the Heavenly Jerusalem, he says“ There were also of THEM THAT HAD WINGS, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord! And after that they shut up the gates: which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.” .
The Domestic Worshipper, by the Rev. Samuel Green,* is welcome if only as a concession from an unexpected quarter, that forms of prayer are in any case allowable. “Those who are accustomed to the Book of Common Prayer,"” says the author, “will find whole collects or fragments of collects wrought into these forms of domestic prayer as appeared con
* London, B. L. Green.
venient. Language more full, devout, and evangelical than they contain can scarcely be found."
We think the worthy Editor makes out a case—if not for the actual need, certainly for the desirableness, of a cheap and complete work of the kind before us. It contains prayers, references to selected portions of Scripture, and hymns for morning and evening, with prayers for special occasions simple, earnest, and evangelical.
Such books we are always glad to meet with. They whisper of happy hours, of high privileges, of peaceful hearths. May thousands receive spiritual strength and solace from them, and may the volume more immediately under notice return a hundred-fold into its author's bosom “ good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over.”
The Postal Changes have been sensibly discussed in a penny pamphlet by James Gilbert, in which all the nonsense that has been written against the recent law is very fully exposed. Without at all sympathising in the hasty, and injudicious, and false views taken by many of its promoters, we have never seen or read a single sound argument in favor of a return to the old system, and have indeed felt grieved at the very low tone of morality pervading all the newspaper correspondence on the subject. The commission recently appointed, has however decided otherwise.
Mr. G. W. Conder comes forward to prove in a Lecture delivered in the Bazaar, Leeds, that “ Christianity” is “ The World-fact.” The affectation of this title is possibly the worst thing about his Lecture, which is not destitute of talent, though strange and stilted occasionally in its style. We always suspect a man who goes a roundabout way to state homely truths, and appears to think more of his words and phrases than of his ideas. Some faults of this kind we detect in the little work before us, as when our author talks of " a flash-in-the-pan of the great blunderbuss of modern sham-and-superstition-denouncers," or of “ pretty little model-universes, reared in the dreamings of blind Samsons ;” or descants on Christianity as a “wonderful thing," "a remarkable thing,” a “Divine thing," and not “ a thing to be done, and then done with.” These trickeries remind
us of Cecil's story of the “wriggles” he exaggerated so greatly in his first and last attempt at ploughing; they are the littlenesses of great men, too often copied by those of their imitators who can come up to them in nothing else.
We fear after all that Mr. Conder has done very little towards establishing his position that Christianity is the Worldfact. We should like to have seen some statistics on the subject-to have learned the actual number of nominal Christians at present in the world, and then to have come as nearly as possible to an estimate of those really “holding the truth in love"-to have had some account of their doings in the cause, and such other particulars as would have enabled us to take the measure of this great movement for ourselves. We think it is by no means the “ World-fact" in its present stage; nor can we agree with Mr. Conder that the mere reference to it on our coinage has much to do with the real question.
- The home of Christianity," says he, “is not simply in a book written at one particular point of time. It has an existence not merely in a nation, but even beyond the limits of a continent: is rapidly spreading itself in all the zones; and if we may measure its future, by its past success, it must be allowed to give indications of the fulfilment of its own boast, that it will overspread the world. Further, that existence so wide-spread, through divers peoples, of diverse tongues, and equally various tempers, is not merely a tolerated thing, allowed to spring up, and remain among the people as a harmless thing. It is paramount: it is sovereign. It has pervaded and modified their whole life. So that in some states the very coins that are current, bear some reference to it: and sovereigns, as they step up to the august throne of the greatest peoples of the world, to it make solemn reference. It can point to its monuments as among the grandest of the land. It can, moreover, trace its existence through eighteen centuries : not without vicissitudes and reverses; but on the whole a splendid and remarkable course."
There is, to our minds, an evident confounding of the spurious, persecuting, and superstitious Church of Rome with the vital Christianity of the Bible in the following passage :
“Imbibing the worldly spirit, it took the worldly sword, the
most suicidal act a religion can ever do, and still it lived and triumphed. In a later, and a martyr age, it was associated with all the ugliest exhibitions of bigotry and intolerance of the horridest superstition of the world. It lived on. It produced then some of its noblest fruits. It put forth buds which have since developed into its most sinewy and fruitful arms. It gave birth then to sons whose progeny have been its greatest earthly glory. It has seemed at times a monster, devouring its own offspring, tossing its loveliest children to the flames. It has bathed its sword in its heart's best blood; but all that it has ever done by this, has been to purify it of its evils; it seems as if it could not die.”
Of “ Youthful Christianity, by Samuel Martin," the title and the author's name, are sufficient recommendations. Westminster Chapel is a spot dear to our rising generation, of which we may with truth say, “ This and that youth were born there.” In another part of this volume will be found a short extract; but the little volume must be bought to know its whole merits.
Gray's Outlines of Sunday Schoool Addresses we do not much admire. They are scarcely seminal and suggestive, nor would they, if worked out, furnish such discourses as Crawshaw's Lectures to Children, or many of those issued by the same publisher.
“ Charles Hamilton," and " Hubert Lee,” are pretty stories worthy of their predecessors in Green's “ Juvenile Library."
The Botany of the Bible is scarcely what it assumes to be, though dated from the “Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh;" since the author says, “Botanists are not agreed as to the identity of some of the plants of Scripture, with those now known by the same names. For instance, they suppose the Lily of the Valley to be quite a different plant; but I have chosen our own sweet flower of that name which you all know." If this be the principle followed throughout the work it will be found less useful, perhaps, than interesting.
Mrs. Henderson's “Scripture Lessons' t appears to us to be somewhat deficient in originality and information. It is little more than the Bible text itself, broken up into question and answer. We do not like, moreover, the very frequent references to this lady's Questions on St. Matthew. It seems hardly fair to tantalize a reader by proposing a question, and then telling him it is only to be answered by purchasing a former work. As thus" What is an Apostle ? (See Question, Matt. viii. 14.) Who is the Holy Ghost ? (See Question, Matt. i. 18.) What is Baptism? (See Question, Matt. iii. 6.) What is a Witness ? (See Question, Matt. xi. 9.) What was Jerusalem ? (See Question, Matt. ii. 1.) What was Judea ? (See Question, Matt. ii. 1.) What was Samaria ? (See Question, Matt. ii. 1.)
We are not acquainted with this much-quoted work ; but if the answers contained in it lie as near the surface as those in the present volume, we should be little disposed to purchase it. A “Bible class” in the present day ought, we think, to have stronger meat than is here furnished. In most cases the answer is assumed from the text itself, and not derived from extraneous or independent sources as we think it should be. For example: “Who was Theophilus? A person of some note, for whom Luke had a great respect !!” “What does the phrase, i lifting up the heel' denote? Acting a very treacherous part." “What is meant by some great one? A person of extraordinary powers."
Such questions as these deserve more careful answers, and admit of illustrations drawn from ancient customs, confirmatory in its minutest details and allusions of Holy Writ.
NOT MAN BUT GOD. Reverence the writings of holy men, but lodge not thy faith upon them, because but men. They are good pooles, but no fountaines. Build on Paul himself no longer than he builds on Christ. If Peter renounce his master, renounce Peter. The word of man may convince reason, but the word of God can compell conscience.- Quarles.
+ Scripture Lessons, or the History of the Acts of the Apostles in Question and Answer. London, B. L. Green. 1850.