« AnteriorContinuar »
such as, the founding of the "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor" and "The Parliament of Religions," Dr. Bacon has been evidently impressed with the strivings after church unity. Again and again he seeks to read the lesson when denominations have wrongly attempted to aggrandize themselves. He says, "Fifteen centuries of church history have not been wasted if thereby the Christian people have learned that the pursuit of Christian unity through administrative or corporative or diplomatic union is following the wrong road, and that the one Holy Catholic Church is not the corporation of saints but their communion" (p. 35).
In concluding this review we would repeat what we have said as to the spirit of fairness that breathes from almost every line. The denominationalist will of course want the history of his own communion. But whether he spells his church with a big C or a little c, we commend to him a perusal of this history of American Christianity. In reading it he cannot fail to learn one lesson-that the interests of the Kingdom of Christ are paramount to those of any denomination, no matter what its lineage may be nor how noble its record for service in the past.
It would have greatly added to the usefulness of the history, if the books referred to in the footnotes had been united into a bibliography at the beginning of the volume. We regret that the publishers have not printed it upon better paper. ALLEN D. Severance.
WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY.
A HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES IN THE UNITED STATES. (The American Church History Series.) By ROBERT ELLIS THOMPSON, D.D. Pp. 424. New York: Christian Literature Co. $2.50. This volume will be read with especially keen interest, because of current controversies. In the light of these it is interesting to review the dissensions culminating in the Excision of 1837, which is here treated with great fairness. As to the sentence on Professor Briggs, it does not pass judgment on the main point, but, while condemning some of his utterances, points out that the decision departed as widely as Professor Briggs from the Westminster Standards as to the present accuracy of the Greek and Hebrew texts, and also that, in the degree of weight which it attaches to its own utterances, a degree which he shows to be too great (p. 277), there is danger that it may find itself on Professor Briggs's own ground of regarding the church as an independent source of authority.
THE GREAT POETS AND THEIR THEOLOGY. BY AUGUSTUS H. STRONG, D.D., LL.D. Pp. 549. Svo. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society. $2.50.
Dr. Strong describes these essays as "summer recreations," but they are the recreations of one who is at once a profound philosopher, a sound theologian, an extensive reader, and a delightful writer. The recreations
of such a man are likely to furnish the best products of his mind. If this is not literally true in the present case, it is certainly true that the present volume is a book of a very high order of interest and value. Selecting Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe, Wordsworth, Browning, and Tennyson, he treats each subject with sufficient fullness to give a fair idea of the poet's literary characteristics and theological affiliation. Poets of this rank are the truest representatives of the thought of their age, and their writings serve the double purpose both of reflecting and forming the character of the periods to which they belong. With one exception, these great names are allied with the same conceptions of God and human nature which have been the moving force in the Christian religion. That exception is Goethe, whom Dr. Strong calls "the poet of pantheism." His final characterization of Goethe is worthy of emphasis and reproduction: "How vast a power the greatest writer of a nation can exert, was never more strikingly illustrated than in the case of Goethe. Sad to say, he has not used that power, as Shakespeare did, to depict the actual facts of human nature—he has used it rather to set before us a humanity devoid of conscience and freedom, and the helpless prey to whatever demoniac impulse may rise within. He has not used that power, as Milton did, to impress upon men's minds the central truths of the Christian scheme, man's willful abuse of freedom, his fall into sin and guilt and misery, his recovery by the reaching down of infinite divine grace-he has used it rather to weaken human faith in divine revelation and in the one and only means of man's restoration.
"To bring a whole nation, and to some extent a whole world, into the toils and under the bonds of a pantheistic philosophy that knows no personal God, no freedom of will, no real responsibility for sin, no way of pardon and renewal, no certain hope of immortal life, is to be the agent of a moral and spiritual enslavement worse by far than any enslavement that is merely physical or political, because it is an enslavement of the soul to falsehood and wickedness, and sure in due time to bring physical and political enslavement in its train" (pp. 330-331).
THE INVESTMENT OF INFLUENCE: A Study of Social Sympathy and Service. By NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS. Pp. 300. 16mo. New York, Chicago, Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Co. $1.25.
A more popular subjective thinker than Dr. Hillis has not arisen in this country. In fact he may be called the "New Apostle of Subjectivism." Emerson was not nearer to nature's heart, nor more epigrammatic in style, nor a more devoted student of the problems of the individual soul, than this latest frequenter of the walks of literature, Dr. Hillis. A profusion of similes and metaphors rush upon one from the pages of this book; a wealth of reading and of fine discrimination is revealed throughout, while the illustrations from history, philosophy, and fiction come with an ease and extravagance that suggest a storehouse of VOL. LV. NO. 218.
unlimited resources and supply. Dr. Hillis calls into his service the charms of rhetoric, not florid or sensational, much less tawdry or sentimental, and it becomes his willing servant to do his bidding, and help in the task which he essays. He speaks, and art, philosophy, literature all join hands to help draw his chariot, and bid the reader awaken to the new conqueror that is coming through the triumphal arch.
Hence his books enjoy enormous sales. "A Man's Value to Society" has gone to its seventh edition, and the present volume is the fourth edition within a few weeks. If the cultivating of one's own powers and faculties is to be abandoned when socialism comes to rule in the sphere of economics and ethics, politics and religion, because all eyes will be centered on the state, not on the individual, on the mass, not on the unit; the sale of Dr. Hillis's books and the popularity of his writings would place the advent of such a socialism a long way off. The American people yet believe that no duty so imperative confronts the individual soul as a proper conception of his own worth and importance in the sight of God. Such a self-culture is the first duty of man, and in the light of it no social duty or social obligation can compare in importance. The subordination of the individual to the state, which Rome held as absolutely as Greece, found its fruitage in those civilizations, and it was half-orbed truth. Dr. Hillis is the product of a New England culture and civilization; born from Western Reserve spirit and stock, and therefore the earnest defender and advocate of full-orbed truth-the absolute supremacy of the individual in his independence of all human authority, and the necessity of his becoming a willing part of a social compact.
Hence we have the "Man's Value to Society," now completed by "The Investment of Influence," and after the development of the individual comes the social uses of such a culture. A book of sayings worthy almost of being called proverbs could be culled from Dr. Hillis's writings, but our space is too limited to quote.
2. S. H.
SOCIAL FACTS AND FORCES. BY WASHINGTON GLADDEN. Pp. 225. 12mo. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. $1.25.
No clergyman in this country has taken a deeper interest in social questions, written more sanely and wisely, and exerted a wider influence in favor of beneficent social reforms, than Dr. Gladden. In this book he treats of the factory, the labor union, the corporation, the railway, the city, and the church. It was a series of lectures given in Chicago in the Ryder Course and repeated before the students of Iowa College. The essay on the Corporation was first given in Oberlin at the Summer School of Sociology in 1895, and printed in the BIBLIOTHECA SACRA for October of that year.
Dr. Gladden has not attempted an abstract analysis of the subjective forces that find outward expression in the factory, the city, etc., but simply takes the objective facts concretely, and writes of them in a plain
and sensible way, with a fair mind and free pen. He agrees quite fully with Carroll D. Wright in his views of the factory, and this means that he has little sympathy with that view that makes the factory a place where man goes backward instead of forward in development, and that makes machinery a misfortune instead of a blessing, in the economic world. Dr. Gladden has done much to redeem the pulpit from the charge of preaching sentimental economics. Business men are usually as averse to an economic pulpit as they would be to a factory that teaches religion or English grammar. They do not object to ethics in any place. His deep interest in social questions; his sense of justice and his good-will; his profound respect for facts; his judicial spirit and his democratic attitude toward all men, make him one of the most sane and sensible leaders in social reform. This book is an expression of the man, and a safe guide on the subjects it assumes to treat.
Z. S. H.
THE SOCIAL TEACHING OF JESUS: An Essay in Christian Sociology. By SHAILER MATHEWS, A.M. Pp. 235. 12mo. New York: The Mac
millan Company. $1.50.
It is a pleasure to read a book so full of truth and wisdom as this work of Professor Mathews. It is an admirable illustration of what scholarly exegesis can do in the sphere of Christian Sociology, for in the New Testament is the Ideal Unit of society set forth in simple language. Jesus is portrayed by Professor Mathews as he was, not as some one imagines he ought to have been. It is the New Testament Jesus viewed upon his intellectual side as a teacher of social ethics; not the creation of some social reformer's fancies or whims, nor the product of an uneducated mind. It is history, not fiction; fact, not fancy. A collection of the different intellectual portraits of Jesus that we have in this day would make a gallery unique and interesting. We should have the anarchist, the socialist, the sentimentalist, all represented. The pseudo-Christs that have come in his name are many and have deceived many.
What a rest to come back again to the Jesus of the New Testament, so full of truth and wisdom, so artless and yet so profound, the social Man! We have here a portrait that is true to life, not painted from an incomplete or imperfect interpretation gathered from isolated sayings.
When Professor Mathews leaves exegesis, and enters the spheres of ethics and economics, he is not always quite as clear as one would wish. He says (p. 180): "It goes without saying that Jesus does not base his hopes of a new society upon an 'enlightened self-interest' or any other hedonist philosophy." And yet again Professor Mathews says (p. 192): "A man thus inspired is no longer living for his individual, his atomistic self, but for his social, his altruistic self." What is this living for the altruistic self but enlightened self-interest, as Herbert Spencer termed it. It is the very ground upon which Jesus bases his hopes for a new society, this supremacy of the higher self over the lower self. Was Gladstone
wrong when he said: "It is self-help which makes the man, and manmaking is the aim which the Almighty has everywhere impressed upon creation"? In seeking an answer to the question, "Was Jesus a Socialist?" (pp. 150-154) there seems to be no distinction made between socialism and communism. The terms are used almost synonomously.
Z. S. H.
THE REGICIDES: A Tale of Early Colonial Times. By FREDERICK HULL COGSWELL. Pp. 363. 121110. New York: The Baker and Taylor Co.
A most fascinating historical novel, founded largely on facts and connected with the early colonial history, is here before us. Two members of the high court of justice constituted by Parliament for the trial of Charles I., by which he was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death in 1649, escaped to the colonies. They were hunted by the emissaries of Charles II., after his accession to the throne and the death of Cromwell, and were traced to the New Haven Colony, where they were successfully concealed by the staunch old Puritan clergyman and others. The picture of early colonial life is drawn with a skillful pen and by a student of history. There were giants in those days, and the rugged characters portrayed in these pages loom up before the eye like the great elms of New Haven. The student of early New England history will not lay this book down until he has finished it; and when he does, it will be with a feeling of reverence for the heroism, the courage, the self-denial, the faith in God, of the men who founded the New Haven Colony and Yale College.
Z. S. H.
THE WORKERS. By WALTER A. WYCKOFF. Pp. 270. 12mo.
This is a true story of the experiences of an educated man of means who realized that he belongs to that half of the world that does not know how the other half lives. So he took heroic and novel means of finding out by experience how the day-laborer and the tramp fares in this world. Without capital or influence, he starts out in shabby attire with his pack on his back, and works his way from town to town by sleeping in barns and doing drudgery. In old Squeers' school, after the boy had spelled "horse" he was told by Squeers to go and look after the horse and rub him down well, or he would get rubbed down himself. Mr. Wyckoff's plan was the reverse of Squeers'; he rubbed the horse down first. He found out, of course, that muscular force is a drug in the market, and the effort to obtain a livelihood by means of it, a precarious thing.
It never was, and perhaps never will be, easy to earn a livelihood with a maximum of muscle and a minimum of brains. The competition is sharp, because it is with the horse and the mule and the machine. The delicate girl in the engraving-room earns more by five times than the burly drayman, and the stenographer can support the janitor.