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a doctrine different from that of S. Cyprian and S. Augustine, and inconsistent with the practice of saints without number. This volume should be read either along with, or (still better) after a course in, our own Fr. Puller's great book, "The Primitive Saints and the See of Rome." Lucius Waterman.
The social teachings of the prophets and Jesus by Charles Foster Kent. New York: Scribners, 1917. $1.50 net.
This is one of the best books on the Bible published this year. It is built on sound pedagogical lines and although the author is not carried away by brilliant but evanescent theories, Dr. Kent rightly treats here the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha as a unit. The Old Testament without the New ends with a question mark. The New Testament without the Old (and the Apocrypha) begins with asterisks. There is a deep harmony between the teaching of the prophets and that of Christ and his disciples. They all had to grapple with great social problems and their teaching was inspired by a similar sense of the nearness and the holiness of God and of the value of faith as the great psychic factor in the growth of society. Many readers of Dr. Kent's book will be surprised to see how complex and baffling were the social problems confronting Moses, Gideon, Saul and David. They will see how Solomon's theory of government was a social apostasy because it was inspired by Canaanite and Egyptian practice; how the prophets were indeed champions of ancient ideals ("the ancient paths" Jer. vi. 16): they stood for popular rights against dynasties saturated with despotic ideas of government. Dr. Kent truly says (p. 25), Not Ancient Hellas but Palestine was the original home of true democracy." He calls attention to the unsocial character of sin, already evident in the [prophetic] story of the fall. Modern methods of dealing with criminals are no new thing, but they go back to the long-forgotten treatment of Cain by an all-wise God. The doctrine of the survivial of the fittest, hard perhaps but true, is exemplified by the story of the flood. Abraham was justified because he had a highly developed social consciousness. The story of Jacob shows the evolution of an unsocial being coming to himself, finding himself as a social value. We might go on page after page showing how Kent's treatment of Bible stories gives them a new meaning, intensely interesting and true. Dr. Kent emphasizes, as in the case of Moses, the preeminent importance of a great personalty. He has avoided the pit
fall in which many sociologists have fallen, disregarding the value of the individual.
Dr. Kent has given us a safe book so far as anything can be described as safe in Biblical criticism. His selected bibliography contains all the good books in English on the subject. The subjects for discussion and investigation will be found most useful for advanced students. Church people may appreciate the abiding value of this book more than others because it does not neglect the Apocrypha. Some will be somewhat shocked to see the teaching of our divine Redeemer treated as if He had been a man among men. A teacher using Dr. Kent's book would have to remind constantly his class that Dr. Kent's teaching (and that of many others) has to be supplemented. The Church emphasizes what Dr. Kent had to leave in the shade, a very important element of Hebrew religion, namely the deep feeling of the nearness of the Almighty. All is not teaching and doctrine in the words of the prophets and apostles, there is also the sense of the mysterious, the elusive but very real touch of the Invisible, the mystical vision of the Presence (of the Face) of God.
This is not the place to criticize details in such a helpful and timely book. We should only ask the teacher or student- using it to remember two rather important facts. First, at the time of the Exodus, Israel was a small community, five or six thousand men perhaps. The cities of Canaan were mere villages. Secondly, Wisdom Literature is not a post-exilic product in Israel. Wisdom stories and aphorisms were common but unwritten both in Israel and in other Semitic civilizations. They were committed to writing at a very early date in Babylonia.
John A. Maynard.
The Creed of a Churchman. By the Bishop of Peterborough and others. New York: Longmans. 1916. 60 cents net.
This manual of one hundred pages, by five joint authors, is a good sample of the many admirable little books on Christian Faith and Practice by men in the English Church keenly alive to the present-day need for short, definite, and practical presentations of the Faith. Especially to be noted is the excellent treatment of "faith and the Faith" in terms of corporate experience; the secret of the Christian life," the Living Person of Christ; " the exposition of prayer as cooperation with God rather than the attempt to "persuade God." The essentially sacramental note of Christianity too receives clear and helpful explanation.
A real defect in the book is its "moderate Anglicanism with its characteristic timidity and overcautious statement of truths vital for our time, for which men are increasingly realizing their need. Do not men want us to be more bold to-day, for example, than to speak of sacramental confession as an occasional privilege," an 66 emergency measure;" or to say of prayers for the dead, that "we cannot enjoin them neither can we forbid them?" And should such statements as this go unchallenged, "fasting communion though an ancient custom is in no sense a rule of the English Church?"
On the whole, however, this little book is fresh and stimulating and should be of real help to many today seeking after a more vital Christian life.
The Christian Nurture Series of the General Board of Religious Education:
How to Introduce the Christian Nurture Series, By the Rev. B. T. Kemerer:
Organizing the Smaller Sunday Schools, By the Rev. Dr. Bradner. Milwaukee: The Young Churchman Co.
We have before us a number of the publications of the First Series of the Christian Nurture Courses together with the cognate books of Mr. Kemerer and of Dr. Bradner above indicated.
The underlying idea of the Christian Nurture Series is to put into effect the Standard Curriculum published by the G. B. R. E. in 1912. Of the abundant material provided both for the teacher and for the pupil we cannot now speak particularly, except to say that it is difficult to imagine any courses more careful and thorough than these put forth by the General Board, but we think that the practical working of the Series remains yet to be tested by experience. Assuredly the Christian Nurture Series is not a device to make the task of a church school teacher easy, but requires for its success consecrated work on the part of rectors, teachers and parents. All churchmen engaged in religious education will desire to investigate the Series, and will do well to avail themselves of the offer of the Young Churchman Company to send for $2.00 descriptive samples of courses 3 and 8 for examination. This includes Mr. Kemerer's booklet. Dr. Bradner's book will be found useful in the case of smaller schools which will probably always be more common. W. H. B.
A Vision Realized, A Life Story of Rev. J. A. Oertel, Artist, Priest, Missionary. By J. F. Oertel, Milwaukee: Young Churchman Company.
This a record almost autobiographic because largely compiled from his own writings and those of his wife, relating the vicissitudes and changes with many failures and disappointments during a long and singularly laborious life of one who imbued with a religious enthusiasm through his art to preach Christ and tell the story of salvation to the world always kept his eye on the goal he was striving to win, and in whose artistic career there was no variation of purpose. Art of a teaching and religious character does not appeal to the popular mind in a materialistic and sensuous age, and we are not surprised to learn that the genius of this versatile and gifted man received but tardy public recognition. The book contains some twenty-two sample illustrations of Dr. Oertel's paintings and sculptures, notably the very beautiful "Figure of Christ" painted for Christ Church, Dayton, Ohio, a Reredos and Altar in the Church of the Incarnation, Washington, D. C., carpenter work, carving and painting all done by the same master hand, and the design of the Reredos for the Quincy Cathedral. Few, perhaps, know that the familiar picture the Rock of Ages," which has been described as the most popular American religious painting, was done by Dr. Oertel, he, by the way, being done out of the copyright through a legal technicality. In a letter from Mrs. Oertel, written to her husband in 1886, we find an apt conclusion: "This is the way the dear man has gone through the world, giving on all sides, his ministry a voluntary one, only accepting a small remuneration now and then where absolute necessity made it imperative. . His is a curious life of self sacrificing endeavor which is not often told."
W. H. B.
A Magazine of comment, criticism and review dealing
Variations on an Old Theme
URPLE iris flaunted its imperial splendor against the vivid green of the box border. Purple lilacs, their heads just moving in the light breeze, shut in the garden and almost hid the grey walls where the little ferns were clinging with difficulty to the scant earth in the crannies of the stone. On the trellis purple wisteria hung in luxuriant masses. In the distance stood the mysterious purple hills. The sky repeated the color-note when a purple cloud, edged with crimson, hid the departing sun. The fountain, whose falling spray hardly broke the silence, reflected the brakes that grew upon its edge their shadows curiously cut from moment to moment by the golden flash of the fish that swam endlessly around it. Peace, the peace of coming twilight, calm and deep, lay upon all the world: and then was abruptly shattered. From the cottage came the faint cry of a child, a baby in pain. It threw a discord athwart the purple harmony, a keen note of interrogation, into a mind just lulled to satisfied acceptance of the world. The purple notes were already changing to black when again the child's wail came to me mingled with the soothing tones of a mother's voice. Thine arrows are very sharp, I murmured.