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SUMMARY OF THE REVIEWS AND MAGAZINES.
THE recently published letters of Robert Louis Stevenson give a valuable portrayal of his charming personality. For those who do not possess the two volumes—and they are probably many, since the books are of English publication—the review of these works published in the January number of the London Quarterly (London, England) will be of special attraction. Of Stevenson's cheeriness of life the reviewer writes : “Ennui was unknown to him. Each new face he saw, each new place he visited set interest and curiosity agog. He walked the world on tip-toe, straining that he might miss by the way no single sight that could afford food for his eager and insatiate appetite. He preached, and better still practiced, the gospel of cheerfulness as one of the first of human duties.” Concerning the style of Stevenson the writer says : “Not many lovers of art or of literature will have the heart to urge any fault against the most lovable personality of our time; but, if any fault can be urged against Stevenson, it is that he is too subjective and self-conscious—that he cannot succeed in ‘jumping off his own shadow.' He has himself told us that as a lad he endeavored to form a style' by laboriously imitating the work of this or that master. It was an unfortunate confession, and one that is responsible for much affected and stilted writing on the part of some of Stevenson's imitators, who were foolishly counseled to go and do likewise." Stevenson's fight with ill health and his “constant realization of the neighborhood of death” receive frequent allusion by the reviewer of these volumes. Death, in the novelist's estimate, was a “ beneficent donor.” Though a “superb lust of life” ever “surged in his veins," yet he recognized that “human life, human love, human friendship would be infinitely less beautiful but for him at whose touch beauty is supposed to wither." So that he once wrote, under the influence of this double sentiment, “I vote for old age and eighty years of retrospect. Yet, after all, I dare say a short shift and a new green grave are about as desirable.” Andnot to prolong quotation overmuch upon this disposition of Stevenson to speak of death—he writes to a correspondent upon the departure of the latter's father, within a few weeks of his own dying, as follows : “He is another of the landmarks gone. When it comes my own turn to lay my weapons down, I shall do so with thankfulness and fatigue; and, whatever be my destiny afterward, I shall be glad to lie down with my fathers in honor. It is human at least, if not divine. And these deaths make me think of it with an even greater readiness. Strange that you should be beginning a new life, when I, who am a little your junior, am thinking of the end of mine. But I have had hard lines; I have been so long waiting for death, I have unwrapped my thoughts from about life so long that I have not a filament left to hold by. I have done my fiddling so long under Vesuvius that I have almost forgotten to play, and can only wait for the eruption and think it long of coming. Literally, no man has more wholly outlived life than I. And still it's good fun.” So run these letters, with many charming glimpses of Stevenson's individuality. In fact, their chief value, in the estimate of the reviewer, is the light which they throw upon the man himself. "There are many memorable and beautiful passages; but, taken as a whole, their literary value is, in comparison with his published work, not great." Their larger worth is rather in their “revelations of the real Stevenson,” whom the article elsewhere terms “the most lovable personality of our time."
AFTER pointing out the defects of some phases of modern theology, in the Bibliotheca Sacra (Oberlin, 0.) for January, Professor H. M. Scott, D.D., concludes that “in the domain of theology the doctrine of the divine Christ and devotion to him seems to be the 'article of a standing or a falling Church;'” and likewise that “in the field of obedience and life the doctrine of missions at home and abroad appears to be the mark of a living or dying Church.” The article is entitled “Modern Theol. ogy in its Relation to Personal Piety and Christian Work.” The writer of the next paper is Professor T. W. Hunt, Ph.D., and his theme, “Edmund Spenser and the English Reformation." “As Wiclif and Caxton were reformers before the Reformation,” he affirms, "Spenser was a reformer at the Reformation, and, next to the clergy and religious writers of the time, did a work second to no other toward the advancement of English Protestantism and Christian truth.” The third article, by P. S. Moxom, D.D., discusses “Personal Righteousness.” This, the author holds, involves“ faith in God as the perfectly good and holy One;" “the recognition of man as the child of God, and as having, therefore, his proper ideal of character and conduct in God;” and “love to God and love to man.” In “The Drama of Job,” the Rev. C. H. Dickinson makes a literary study of this Old Testament book. His critique “starts from the conviction that the book is purely a drama, containing nothing which detracts from dramatic quality or weakens dramatic power; that its author, though thinker and seer, is a dramatic genius of the first order, both in intensity of passion and artistic skill; that this drama is, therefore, not a treatise in the form of a dialogue, nor an attempt at a speculative theodicy; and that the speculative elements of the book are introduced solely for their dramatic value." “My Time at Rugby (1869–1874),” by Henry Hayman, D.D., is the second paper upon this subject, and is a long narration of difficulties in the management of that institution. Why a tale so thoroughly personal is published in this weighty periodical is not apparent. In the sixth article W. C. Cochran treats of “Labor Legislation,” and argues for the value of “general laws which bear the test of constitutional analysis." The final article, by Washington Gladden, D.D., treats of “The Cure of Penury.” By “penury” the author neither means “poverty," nor “pauperism,” but "the poverty that is abject and effortless and apparently chronic; the poverty that is occasioned by, or that consists with, a spirit of dependence, with a willingness to live upon public or private charity.” Severity, the author holds, is sometimes necessary, or-in his own phrase“the surgeon's knife.” This, however, should be the last resort. Kind ministration should be first tried—“to awaken the dormant self-respect, to spur the flagging purpose, to bring back the blush of shame to the cheek that has not for long worn that shade of crimson, to stir within the soul some expectation of a better life.”
LITTLE relating to the great movements of the world seems omitted from the Review of Reviews (New York) for February. Besides its outline of current events it contains as illustrated articles, “Dwight L. Moody-A Character Sketch,” by G. P. Morris; “A French View of the German Empire," by Pierre de Coubertin; “General Henry W. Lawton-A Sketch of his Long Service," by General 0. 0. Howard; and “Field Marshal Lord Roberts." In addition, W. T. Stead writes on “The Perilous Position of England,” and C. A. Conant on “The Treasury and the Money Market.” On the election of United States senators by the direct vote of the people the Review editorially says, “The Constitution of the United States ought to be amended, either to prescribe election of senators by direct vote, or else to make it permissible for the several States to adopt the popular method if they should so wish.”
In the Methodist Renier of the Church South (Nashville, Tenn.) for January are found: 1. “The Struggles of Sidney Lanier,” by Professor J. S. Bassett, Ph.D.; 2. “The Scientific Value of the Miracles of Christ," by James Campbell, D.D.; 3. “The Personal Life of Calhoun,” by W. L. Miller; 4. “Romans VIII, 29," by Professor W. G. Williams, LL.D.; 5. “Heinrich Heine,” by Professor E. W. Bowen, Ph.D.; 6. "The Preacher With or without the Manuscript,” by Rev. Robert Wilson, Ph.D.; 7. “ The Bible and the Poets,” by James Mudge, D.D.; 8. “Ethics—The Science of Duty,” by J. J. Tigert, LL.D. The comprehensive editorial departments add to the attractions of this issue.
The February number of the Missionary Review of the World is replete with articles of value. Its illustrated articles are “Dwight L. Moody, the Evangelist,” by Dr. A. T. Pierson; “Chinese Turkestan and Its Inhabitants," by L. E. Högberg; “ The Greenland Mission,” by Rev. Paul de Schweinitz; and “Shosaburo Aoyama, Japanese, Christian, Gentleman,” by R. E. Speer.
RELIGION, THEOLOGY, AND BIBLICAL LITERATURE. The Foundations of the Christian Faith. By Rev. CHARLES W. RISHELL, Ph.D.
STO, pp. 616. New York: Eaton & Mains. Cincinnati: Curts & Jennings. Price, cloth, $3.50.
This is volume ix of the Library of Biblical and Theological Literature projected years ago by Dr. George R. Crooks and Bishop Hurst, the previous volumes of that library being Harman's Introduction, Terry's Hermeneutics, Crooks and Hurst's Theological Encyclopædia and Methodology, Bennett's Christian Archæology, revised by Dr. Patton, Miley's Systematic Theology, and Hurst's History of the Christian Church. In the nine successive volumes the pledges made at the outset when this library was projected and announced have been faithfully kept. In each treatise the latest literature is recognized, searched, and its results embodied or discussed. Members of all evangelical denominations have regarded the undertaking with interest, and its successive issues with much favor. The series is to be further continued. This volume, by Professor Rishell of the School of Theology in Boston University, takes its place worthily in line with its predecessors. One of the striking features of the book is its union of comprehensiveness and brevity. It omits no important aspect of the assault upon Christianity, dealing in turn with the difficulties raised by philosophy, natural science, historical criticism, ethics, and modern attempts to establish a new religion. While it meets these objections it also deals adequately with the great positive facts of Christianity concerning man, God, and revelation. All these are topics in the treatment of which men are accustomed to write stout volumes, while here we find them brought together in one volume. This compression results in part from the terseness of statement which rigidly excludes all irrelevant matter and redundancy of words. But chiefly is it the consequence of the method employed in the development of the argument. This is characteristic in three ways: First, in beginning with that form of unbelief which is most distant from Christian faith and working its way through each succeeding form as it approaches nearer and nearer to Christianity, until, by the time the last form of unbelief has been refuted, the main points of the Christian position have been indirectly established, thus making a briefer treatment of the positive or direct evidences possible. Second, the separate topics discussed are so treated as to make each independent, and yet supplementary to each other. Third, the method of connecting each form of objection to Christianity with some able representative of the same, and of allowing him to state his own case in his own words, undoubtedly results in a great saving of space. From the
method results what all readers of the book have noticed, namely, its lucidity. The book is a whole and should be read from beginning to end in order to get the full force of the argument.
Still the exact distribution of the matter under appropriate heads renders the study of special topics easy, especially if the index of topics is utilized. Again, the book is frank, modern, and moderate. There is no attempt to depy or hide the unpleasant truths which unbelievers employ against us; though in every case it is made clear that they do not touch the foundations of the faith, On the whole, the modern view of the Bible and of physical science is defended or at least allowed. Yet the golden mean is preserved between the extremes of concession and denial. The reader will find all foundational principles defended, though many points not fundamental are granted for argument's sake. One specific feature of the book is the place it gives to Jesus Christ. He is made the unimpeachable witness to the reality of miracle, without belief in which there can be no vital religion. He is the one Revealer, compared with whom all who went before or who have followed after are feeble lights, except as they became the mediums through whom his light is conveyed to us. He is found by experience to be the Saviour from sin and thus the demonstrator of the truth of his own teachings. His religious provisions perfectly satisfy the religious needs of men everywhere, and thus make it clear that he will forever lead the religious forces of the world. Professor Rishell is a scholarly definer and cautious defender of the faith. He walks about Zion to tell her towers, mark her bulwarks, and consider her palaces, with firm confidence and loyal devotion, unafraid of anything her enemies have done or can do, not fearing that any weapon formed against her can prosper. The book is a valuable addition to our “Library of Biblical and Theological Literature."
Christian Ethics. By WILLIAM L. DAVIDSON, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Logic
and Metaphysics in the University of Aberdeen. 12mo, pp. 146. New York, Chicago, and Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company. Price, cloth, 75 cents.
This is a plain and compact treatise from the author of The Logic of Definition and Theism and Human Nature. The preface speaks of the difficulty of compressing Christian Ethics into a few pages, and of the pitfalls of treatment that have proved disastrous to the unwary, two of which the author says he has especially tried to avoid, namely, (1) swamping Christian Ethics in Christian Theology, and (2) separating the two provinces so absolutely as to convey the impression that they have no relation to each other. In the topics handled he has also endeavored to respect the sense and law of proportion. The first general division is entitled “The Subject Defined,” and discusses the meaning and originality of Christian Ethics, and Ethics and Religion. The second section, entitled "The Highest Good,” treats of Happiness, the Strictness of Christian Morality, Consequences, and Rewards. The third section, on “Character and Its Development,” speaks of Inward