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The Scientific and Literary Treasury; a New and Popular Encyclo pædia of the Belles Lettres. By Samuel Maunder, author of The Treasury of Knowledge,' Biographical Treasury, &c. London: Longman and Co.
Mr. Maunder has carried his most useful labors into another wide and popular department of literature; and with the same success which crowned his previous efforts. We doubt not that he will meet with the same encouragement. Though the title affixes a definite character to the work, it not only includes the belles lettres, but so much of the kindred sciences from which they either derive or impart assistance, as is necessary for their elucidation. Those who know Mr. Maunder as an able instructor, and who have studied his former volumes, must cordially welcome the present. It has been several months on our study table as a book of reference; we have consulted it on every subject the exact knowledge of which we wished to revive, or concerning which we required immediate information, and we have been more than satisfied. His modest avowal in the preface he has fully sustained. “My great object,' he says, ' has been to produce a book that should meet the wants and wishes of a very large and most respectable class of readers, whose opportunities of studying the ponderous tomes of science are as unfrequent as their aspirations after knowledge are ardent.' Again, in conclusion, he tells us, and we can avouch for the truth of the assertion,' Although I have studiously avoided the introduction of any matter foreign to the immediate subject under consideration, I have not been unmindful of the connexion that exists between the natural and the moral world, nor have I neglected any suitable opportunity of enforcing sound principles in ethics, and that willing obedience to the laws, without which science is acquired in vain, and learning often proves a curse.' In every lounging room, and on every library table, Mr. Maunder's Scientific and Literary Treasury may be placed with the certainty of well employing a leisure half hour in the one case--and of saving a great deal of circuitous labor in the other.
The Hope of the World, and other Poems. By Charles Mackay. Lon
In the noblest acceptation of the term, the world has had few poets. Yet of the secondary and descending classes, poets have abounded, and they have been true poets. For they have refined and exalted sentiment—they have kindled glowing emotions in the soul, and have peopled the regions of imagination with realities all their own. The Minstrel, the Marmion, and the Lady of the Lake of Scott, are inhabitants of these regions as truly as the Midsummer Night fairies, and the Ariel and Caliban of Shakspere ; and so are the sylphs and
gnomes of Pope, and the undying creations of the modern drama the lon of Talfourd and the Hunchback of Sheridan Knowles. There
range far below these, who possess talent rather than genius, and in reading whose productions, we are sometimes induced to wish that they had written better or not so well. Millman and Barry Cornwall rank just above these. Dale and Croly, perhaps, are fair specimens of the class. The author of the present volume takes his place somewhere among them. He has just sufficient power to command respectful attention, without that degree of superiority which can lay any claim to admiration. He reminds us of Pope, Campbell, and Rogers, and not always to his own disadvantage.
The principal poem in this collection, Christianity the Hope of the World,' breathes noble moral and religious sentiments ; but it is deficient in scope and power. The marble is perfectly chiselled, and looks like life, but it wants the Promethean fire. We should like to impart to our readers the impression which the entire volume after perusal left upon our minds. In the first place, we read the work through at a sitting; we were conscious of only pleasurable excitement from the commencement to the close, but it was of the quiet kind. There was beauty, but it did not captivate; pathos, but we did not weep; and an occasional approach to sublimity, but the spirit within us was neither stirred to its depth, nor carried for a moment beyond this diurnal sphere--we scarcely ever lost sight of this working-day world. Yet there are passages, and entire pieces, which we shall read over again ; though probably there is not one that we shall ever be tempted to quote. We wish to be just, for we only know the author through his book; and we can add with truth that there several moderns who have obtained celebrity without a tithe of his merit.
Anti-Popery; or Popery Unreasonable, Unscriptural, and Novel. By
John Rogers. A new edition altered and amended. London:
This work is strangely attractive. Though it contains so much that sets all criticism at defiance, we were compelled to read it through in the first edition ; and we scarcely think it improved in the second. It has, to be sure, some unity of design, and there are not so many digressions from the main object. The argument is strengthened by being condensed; but it is not the wild, savage, Hercules kind of thing it
In the first edition the title-page was enough to frighten the pope and all his cardinals : it reminded us of the lines :
And last of all an admiral came,
Nobody can speak and nobody can spell.'
be said of the title, the book itself was no joke ; and for the sake of the public we hail the appearance of, to them, a more
readable and useful work. We have already expressed our opinion of this remarkable performance, which we now strongly recommend in its present form, as a work that relates to popery, the whole of popery, and nothing but popery; and which, to use the author's own figure, has not left popery - an intellectual or scriptural leg to stand upon.'
Agrippa : or the Nominal Christian invited to Consideration and Decision. By John Jefferson, Abney Chapel, Stoke Newington. London: Snow.
We have only one objection to this little volume, and that is to its title. We dislike the affectation of naming books after this fashionMammon, Jethro, and Bacchus, carry no idea to the reader of the nature of the work which each is employed to designate. Agrippa is exceptionable on another account- Agrippa was not a nominal Christian, nor a Christian in any sense of the term. He is therefore totally out of place in Mr. Jefferson's title-page. The Agrippa of Scripture, as exhibited in the Acts of the Apostles, would form a fine subject of itself, and we wonder that some eloquent pen has not been employed to delineate his character, and especially to press home the evidences and the claims of Christianity upon many sceptics and unbelievers, who, like Agrippa, are often almost persuaded to be Christians. The topics discussed in Mr. Jefferson's hortatory treatise are both pertinent and seasonable in this day of so much religious profession, and, as we fear, of so little productive religion. It is calculated to be useful, and we hope that its wide circulation will ensure its success.
Pulpit Recollections ; or Miscellaneous Sermons, preached in the Parish
Church of Stoke upon Trent, Staffordshire. By the Rev. Sir William Dunbar, Bart., s. C. L., late Curate of the above Parish. London: Smith, Elder and Co.
These are plain practical discourses. As compositions they are of the average merit of such things. Volumes of sermons, though the press teems with them, add little to our stock of theology, and it is in very rare instances that they enrich our literature. They may be useful as memorials of pastoral zeal and affection among the congregations to whom they were addressed from the pulpit, but beyond the circle of friendship they are seldom circulated with any beneficial effect.
In a volume of modern sermons by a clergyman, it is refreshing to meet with a paragraph like the following--and we are pleased to observe, that the same spirit breathes through the work,— There is a system of opinions reviving, which goes far in attempting to alienate from communion with Christ's family the conscientious nonconformist to the National Church; to such opinions I cannot, nor I trust can you assent, whatever may be the relative advantages and superior claims to veneration we may judge our form of government and mode of worship to have above other modes of worship and discipline; the
circumstance of others not thinking as we may think on such points, ought not to banish them from the privileged association, nor occasion their being denied the appellation of fellow, or brother christians; for an entire coincidence of opinion on these points is not essential to holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.' That there are some particulars in which we cannot co-operate with them is cer.. tain; but that there are others in which we can unite, hand and heart, is equally true.
We maintain that it is important to examine the acknowledged difference of opinion on the subject of church government, and of a ministry duly ordained; and we approve of an adherence to that which conviction dictates; still, whether the result of that examination be an agreement or a continued difference in opinion, assuredly brotherly love among those who hold the faith of Christ crucified as the sole foundation of the sinner's hope, ought not upon any pretence to be invaded. With open or insidious perverters of the truth we can hold no communion in the character of christians; yet I speak not of these, but of such as take the holy Scriptures, and the holy Scriptures alone, as their guide and direction.-pp. 16, 17. We add with pleasure, that these sermons are purely evangelical ; and judging from these Pulpit Recollections, we doubt not that Sir William Dunbar is a most acceptable and useful preacher.
An Introduction to the Evidences of the Divine Origin of the Christian
Religion, in Question and Answer, for the use of Schools and Young Persons. London: Nisbet and Co.
Such a work as the present has long been felt as a desideratum by parents and the official instructors of youth; and it must prove highly acceptable to those who are engaged in the business of education. We think with the author, that beyond every other study, that of the evidences of the divine origin of Christianity is of most importance to the young ;'-—and we congratulate him on having furnished a work which, by a copious selection of the main arguments, by a plain and concise manner of stating them, and by a simple arrangement, preserves a middle course between the diffuse comprehensiveness of some of the popular treatises, and the limited range of discussion in others. The catechetical mode which he has adopted, though, in some respects objectionable, may perhaps render his treatise more convenient for use in those schools where the system of mutual instruction is followed.
The Principles of Nonconformity, a Lecture, delivered at Abingdon,
Berks, Sept. 16, 1840, at the Ordination of the Reo. E. S. Pryce, A. B. By J. P. Mursell. Published by request. London: Ward and Co.
We can readily enter into the feelings of those at whose request this admirable Lecture has been published. It is every way worthy of the high reputation of the author, and of the momentous theme which it discusses. Containing an able exposition and defence of the great
principles of nonconformity, it rightfully asserts the supremacy of Scripture, and the spirituality of that organization which infinite Wisdom has devised for the preservation and extension of religious truth. We respectfully suggest to the author the reprinting of his Lecture, in a form more favorable to extensive circulation than its present price will permit: a useful service would thus be rendered to a large class of readers, who must otherwise be deprived of any share in the benefit of his labors.
A Sketch for a Pronaos, as it were, to the Temple of Wisdom. Cork:
We do not know, as it were, what the author of these rambling pages, on all sorts of subjects strangely jumbled together, would be at. The chapters into which the book is divided have no connexion, nor has each chapter any definite object, at least that we can discern. This sketcher is neither artist nor architect, for his sketch is without proportion, order, or object—it is only as it were ;' it may be a porch, à hawk, a buzzard-anything or nothing ; it certainly has no relation to the Temple of Wisdom.' The author's head is, as it were, stuffed with all incongruous things. Geology—its coal formations—sin. stricken man—and England's glory, are all oddly combined in the following paragraph, which we quote as a specimen of the 362 pages through which, we suspect, none but the author, the compositor, and the reviewer, has ever passed — -or ever will pass. "Just here at this ne plus ultra point it is, that holy writ steps in, arrayed with all its own sublimity,—yet simplicity, telling us of things past man's finding out, and from which statement we may argue down through the past touching things seen, but relative to which we have no written statement. St. Paul countenances something of this kind of argument, where he says, 'The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.'*
• It is pride, the chief besetting sin of man, that will not let him acknowledge a period of time previous to his existence upon earth, saying, forsooth, that the world was created for him, who is . but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow'+ to angelic contemplation. Which would afford most pleasure, the primeval state of this earth, teeming with a happy population of animal life, revelling in the bliss of existence, sporting amid a world clothed in the luxuriant vegetation of a tropical clime, or a world like ours, at present a scene of vice and misery consequent upon sin ?
• During these halcyon days, the Lord, ever kind and good, had a providential look out and care for the present wants of sin-stricken man, gathering up in the then forming strata (of our now coal measures) the surplus vegetation of those days, providing for our comfort, on whom the ends of the earth are come, thus contributing to favored England's glory, and 0 may her queen be a nursing mother to those