« PreviousContinue »
translator of modern times, could do less than prefix to his book the candid sentence of the Ecclesiastes at the opening of his own golden lines : Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time before us.
As men go into an ancient forest, and hew down from the vast variety of trees such as are needful for the endless application of nature to art, by land and sea, there have been those of late who have done the same work amongst the productions of the older scholars. Many a tall cedar has fallen, and the fir trees also which have done nothing but afford the stork a house, have yielded their stately pride, and are no longer the admiration of the ignorant, nor nestling places for the sequestered enjoyment of antiquarians. All kinds of implements of knowledge are hewn out of their solid contents, such as Bible Dictionaries, Golden Treasuries, Pleasing Expositors, Teachers' Guides, Helps to Religious Improvement, and, in a word, Bible Class and Sunday School Libraries. It is seldom that a month passes without the announcement of a 6 New Work :
Abridged, and adapted to the use of families, or the older classes in the Sabbath School ;"— with the disinterested counsel from the Editor that no teacher or head of a family should neglect to avail himself of the wonderful assistance afforded by this new and improved edition !
But, as Haman said of his prosperity, when we have looked at such a show of helps,' we have often cried, All this availeth us nothing so long as old Calmet sitteth in the unavailable form of four quarto volumes, and marked after a bookseller's black art, “cde," or " asking price, $25.” The title of the book prefixed to this article, enables us to say to the old Father with great exultation, " The hewer is come up against thee !"
Indeed we have often wondered why some oriental scholar did not undertake such an enterprize. Calmet's great Dictionary of the Bible is a compend, or (to use a larger word for such a “great book) an Encyclopædia of Bible illustration and history.
We never consulted it without finding some clue to the explanation of a difficult passage. One grand excellency of Calmet is, his inexhaustible fund of pleasantry, (the real French naiveté) by which he enlivens the dryest details, and the most prolonged investigation. He is very keen at times upon previous and cotemporary writers whom he happens to find 'tripping'; but then he generally makes up with them by telling them a story, or confessing that he is himself a man.
In one respect he affords a complete illustration of the character of the French : -We mean, in his credulous love of the wonderful; for some of
his narratives are hardly exceeded, either in their unaccountable or interesting nature, by the Arabian Nights' Entertainment. Hence it requires judgment, formed upon a good acquaintance wiih oriental literature, manners and customs, to decide how far some of his stories are worthy of credit. Those who are qualified to judge have said that his authority in matters where great accuracy is concerned, should be received with
But this, even if it be true, is only a verification of the declaration of the Poet, - Non omnia possumus omnes,' or, in prose, We must not expect perfection in any man.' Had Calmet been an accurate, dry chronologer, disposed by the cast of his mind to minuteness of investigation rather than to general research, he would not have fulfilled the great purpose for which he was employed, viz. to supply the mechanics of the spiritual temple with ' cedar trees, and fir trees, and algum trees out of Lebanon. But now, his work is an immense collection of material, and those whose talents are of a more analytical turn, can reject all that is superfluous, and still retain every thing in him which is essential.
A sufficient testimony to the excellency of this great Dictionary of the Bible is, that it has been translated into the Latin, Dutch, Italian and Spanish languages. But while it has remained in such a cumbersome and expensive shape, its usefulness has been greatly limited. We have not seen proposals for any work with such gratification, as those for the publication of Calmet abridged,' and, which was equally gratifying, by Prof. Robinson. His extensive knowledge has enabled him to correct many of the mistakes, and his good judgment, to prune the redundancies of the original work. But it was very singular, after being accustoined to the old Father's tales, and wit, and repartee to perceive how entirely his character had changed under the American editor, from that of a lively, entertaining Frenchman, to that of a staid, matter-of-fact New England
In the present edition, he comes before us like a volatile man in Court, whose spirits are curbed, and his countenance sobered by the impression that now he must speak the uth and nothing but the truth. Some will undoubtedly wish that more of the original peculiarity of the author had been preserved. We say then, lei them pay for it, in the price of the whole great work; but for ourselves we are quite content to find nothing in this new edition which does not bear directly upon the illustration of the several topics. To have retained much that was diverting, would have been inconsistent with the object of the publishers, viz. to furnish families, teachers, and private Christians with a cheap, compendious, yet comprehensive assistant in the study of the Bible. This object has been fully accomplished so far as the character of the work is concerned; and we now recommend it, without qualification, to all who are engaged in studying the Bible. Without entering into a minute description of the excellencies of this edition, it will be enough to say that having taken a copy of the work to examine, we found every thing in it that was necessary to assist in preparing for the Bible class, without referring to the larger edition ;--and this, without our further examination would have satisfied us that our high expectations on seeing the proposals and the name of the editor, were entirely fulfilled.
This book is one which, to those who are studying the Bible, it will be expensive not to purchase. We all know how many books of Manners and Customs, Geography, Travels, and Maps, have in times past been necessary in this sacred and delightful study. These are to a great extent superseded by this edition of Calmet, containing, as it does in very convenient form and arrangement, most if not all which is necessary for the common reader of the Bible. Indeed, there is only one thing wanting to make it all which we could desire, viz. An Index of the passages of Scripture illustrated in the book. Such an index would make it a Commentary on the Bible, directing the reader to the explication of hard texts, of which there are but few, in the Old Testament, at least, which are not directly or indirectly illustrated by Calmet. We should be glad to see such an improvement made in the next edition, which, if we are not mistaken, will soon be called for by the present rapid sale of the work.
• 1. The Believer Victorious : .9 Sermon occasioned by the death of the Red. Samuel Judson, late pastor of the first Ecclesiastical Society in Urbridge, Mass. and preached in the meeting house of that Society, on Nov. 18, the Sibbaih after his inter inent. By David A. GROSVENOR, Pastor of the Evangelical Congregational Society in Uxbridge. Boston : Peirce & Parker. 1833. pp. 22.
The text on which this sermon is founded is just such an one as any person acquainted with Mr. Judson would naturally suppose the preacher might select for the occasion-2 Tim. iv : 6,7. “ For I am now ready to be offer. ed, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight;
I have finished my course ; I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.”
Our readers might be interested with an outline of the discourse, but ing them in general of its propriety and excellence, we think it more impor. tant to preserve the biography it contains of the respected and beloved min. ister of Christ whose death occasioned its delivery.
6 Mr. Judson was born of pious and respectable parents, in the town of Woodbury, Conn. in the year 1767. He was graduated, at Yale College, in the [year] 1790, and settled over this people in the ministry, in the year 1792. His history and character, from the period of his settlement in this place, are too well known to this community, to require remark.
“ You are all acquainted with those amiable traits of characte-, which he possessed, and which secured him so large a share of esteem in the domestie circle, and in the pastoral relation. Mr. Judson was especially endeared to the members of his own family. He possessed a kind disposition and a benevolent heart. They eminently qualified him, for those assiduous atten. tions, which he showed, in sickness and in health. Although possessed of uninterrupted health himself, till the last year of his life, he was ever forward to sympathize with others. He ministered to their wants as one experimentally taught. His value in the bosom of his own family, can be duly estimated, by those only, who were privileged to share his devotedness to their interests. His unceasing solicitude for their welfare, has embalmed his memory in their hearts, as a most devoted husband and father.
" It was forty years the 18th of last month, since the beloved man was ordained over this church and people. The peace and tranquillity which the church and society enjoyed, under his ministrations, and the degre. of es. teem in which he was held among you, evince his faithfulness, as a shepherd and bishop of souls. With his manner of life and walk, you are famil. iar. Yon know his deep and continued solicitude for this dear flock, over which he was set. Impressed with the reality of the great truths of revelation, it was his unceasing concern, that those, to whom he ministered,' might feel them too.' He may be strictly said, I apprehend, w have sought, “ not yours but you"
“ Next to his own household and the flock over which he was constituted pastor, the deceased was strongly attached to the cause of benevolence. To the various important branches of benevolent effort that exist in the coun. try, he contributed liberalv, pithout predilection for any one in particular. The cause of learniny anu education received his decided support. He loyed the cause of missions, and was forvard to sympathize with such as had literally left all for the perishing he then. Mr. Judson, for some time previous to his death, was an hon rail [ho tary :] memler, of the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and also of the Board of the American Edution Society.
“ The disease, which carried im, from perfect health to the grave, commenced about a year since, but did not show itself in its distinctive character, until much later. Its progress, during its last stages, was regular and rapid. While it under!n'ned and prostrated his vigorous constitution, it did. not imprir the intellectual faculties. nor deprive him of the consolations of religion. On the contrry, his faith ind hope seemed to be invigorated with the decay of health. Some weeks previous to his decease, he resigned all hope of returning health, and commenced a more particular preparation for his departure. And with what con.posure he did it, those most intimate with him can best testify.
“ A few days before his death, when he had already entered upon the last week of his life, he said to a friend : “ Though I feel the body sinking, the soul is sustained.”
God is my supporter and my hope
" In Christ, is an infinite fulness. I trust he is my portion, and I want no other. He is the rock of ages. On him, is my hope founded. • Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, whose hope the Lord is, when flesh and heart shall fail, he shall be the strength of my hope and my portion forever.'”
" To a member of the church he said: “Christ is all and in all : here is my rest. He has finished the work of Redemption-made atonement for transgression, and sends down his Spirit to carry on the work of grace." In reply to an assurance of the prayers and affection of the church he said: "I feel a strong attachment to all the disciples of Christ. Love is the grand principle of the Gospel-good will to all beings, and complacence in God and Christians. It is this that unites the hearts of all good men on the earth, and will unite them, forever, in Heaven. And now I have finished my course.' I have done with the world; Christ is my foundation and head. My joy,-my confidence-my hope. I find in him all that I need, as a poor, perishing sinner."
"On mentioning to him, the evening previous to his death, that we thought he had but little time to remain with us, he cheerfully replied; “ Very little ;" and that he would soon be with Paul and Peter, of whom we had just been conversing, he said : “ Very soon I shall," and then repeated a hymn commencing,
What sinners value I resign.' " I then said to him, I regretted that he could bear no better report to his Lord and Master, of us who were likely to remain,-to which he replied : " Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord and you have nothing to fear." When about to unite in prayer for the last time, in which he intelligently joined with others, he was asked, as usual, if he had any particular petition to urge. After a moment's pause, leaving himself entirely out of view, he replied: "Pray that my death may be sanctified to yourselves--to the church
naming a particular friend for whom he had felt a deep solicitude.
• Early the next morning, after a restless night, it was evident that an unseen hand was conducting him down the dark valley. From that time, he gradually and peacefully sunk away to rest, until a quarter before 12 o'clock, on the morning of the Sabbath, when he literally and we trust spiritually fell asleep in Jesus, and ascended on high.
“Throughout all his decline, there was a meekness of spirit, and a patience in suffering, that were truly amiable :-a calmness that was unruffled :-a steady contemplation of divine things, and a sustained spirit that spring only from God.
* Thus has terminated the life and labors of one, in whom we all had an interest, and with whom, we must soon stand in the judgment. He has gone to the world of spirits, and his works do follow him. His record is on high, and his praise is in the churches. Farewell, shade of the blest.”
“ We ask no flowers to deck thy tomb,
2. Address of the Trustees of the New-England Institution for the Education of the Blind to the Public. Boston ; Carter, Hendee and Co. 1833. pp. 20.
We have been much interested in this address, on account both of the nature of the subject and the number and variety of the facts it contains.
Till of late, the education of the blind has not, in this country, awakened much attention. As it was with the deaf mutes, before the establishment of