Page images
PDF
EPUB

has illustrated the excellences and glories of the image originally impressed on the soul of man. By the eternity which it unveils, by the stupendous redemption which it reveals, it invests the life of man with an importance and value, of which the imagination in its highest flights can form no adequate conception. Hence, he who wantonly takes the life of his fellow-man, and thereby puts an end to his probation, is guilty of a crime which words were not invented to express, nor finite minds formed to grasp. No penalty is too great, no penalty bears the least appearance or shadow of severity, provided it be adapted to protect human life against the perpetration of such a crime. Why, then, should we lay an exclusive stress upon the life of the murderer, as if he were the only candidate on earth for the mercy of God? Shall the life of man cease to be protected by the most awful penalty known to the law, because the murderer may choose to incur it, by the perpetration of the most appalling crime that has ever stained the earth or outraged Heaven?

To conclude. The murderer deserves to die. This is the dictate of his own conscience. Hence, to punish him with death is not unjust. The good of society requires the penalty of death to be attached to the crime of murder; and hence the penalty is hu

The universal sentiment of mankind has declared this to be the most just, the most fitting, and the most efficacious punishment for the crime of murder; and hence it has stood till the present day. The Word of God has sanctioned it, and that, too, for reasons which have obtained in all ages and nations of the world; and therefore it is wise, and just, and good. These are the grounds on which the cause of capital punishment is founded. Though it has been assailed by the misguided philanthropy, by the incoherent and jarring sophisms, by the warm and impassioned declamation, of a thousand adversaries, we do not perceive that its foundations have been shaken.

B.

тапе.

ART. VIII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.

1. A Companion for the Afflicted : designed for the Benefit of all who

are distressed, whether in Mind, Body, or Estate. By Thomas H. WALKER. New-York : Lane & Tippett. 1846.

The sufferings incident to mortality are numerous and pressing. To know how to endure them, and how to improve them, is an important point of wisdom. The afflicted constitute a numerous class ; and whatever our prosperity to-day, to-morrow we may be of the number of those who suffer “chastisement.” In a multitude of instances, those who are made to drink deeply of the cup of sorrow are deprived of the public means of grace, and even of the blessings of private religious instruction and intercourse. How important is it, under such circumstances, to have at hand a good book suited to the condition and wants of such, that they may not, in their despondency, forget that they “suffer according to the will of God," and that their afflictions may work for them “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” We have met with no merely human composition better calculated to instruct, to soothe, and to comfort the afflicted than the present work. We, therefore, earnestly recommend it to the church at large. Those who do not especially need its advices and consolations now, may need them but too soon. Let every Christian family, then, immediately procure a copy. May God give this precious book his blessing!

2. Glimpses of the Dark Ages;

or Sketches of the Social Condition of Europe from the Fifth to the Twelfth Century. Edited by D. P. KidDER. New-York: Lane & Tippett. 1846.

This is the second volume of our Monthly Series. It is sold in neat paper covers at the low price of 20 cts., and rarely has an equal amount of so valuable reading been offered to the public for that sum.

Its contents should be read and understood by all who would fully comprehend the history of the church or of the world.

The author has confined himself to one branch of the history of the middle ages. He attempts nothing more than a glance at the social condition of Europe, from the fifth to the twelfth century; political affairs, military transactions, the rise and fall of dynasties, the relation of European states to each other, and the lives and deeds of the heroes of those days do not come within the range of his plan. He has marked out the first six centuries of the middle ages for separate consideration, because in the twelfth century a new epoch commenced.

Much of what is true of the former period is not true of the latter. New social elements were then formed, and old ones received new life -it was the dawn of modern civilization. It is difficult to draw a well-defined line between the two ages, but it may be placed somewhere about the twelfth century. Events and institutions which arose then, and which seem to belong to the latter period of social progress in Europe, have, therefore, received no notice in the work.

The author appears to have been careful in consulting authorities, though he has abstained from loading his pages with references.

3. A Dictionary of the English Language, containing the Pronunciation,

Etymology, and Explanation of all Words authorized by Eminent Writers. To which are added a Vocabulary of the Roots of English Words, and an Accented List of Greek, Latin, and Scripture Proper Names. By ALEXANDER REID, A. M., Rector of the Circus-Place School, Edinburgh, and Author of “Rudiments of English Composition,” &c. With an Introduction by Henry Reid, Prof. of English Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. 12mo., pp. 564. NewYork: D. Appleton & Co. 1845.

The very full title-page of this work precludes the necessity of a further description of its plan and design. So far as we are able to judge, it is the best dictionary of the English language, for its size, yet published in this country. For the use of schools it is, doubtless, unrivaled. The vocabulary is full without redundancy, and good use is made the standard. We most heartily wish this excellent dictionary a wide circulation.

4. The Farmer's Dictionary: a Vocabulary of Technical Terms recently

introduced into Agriculture and Horticulture, from Various Sciences ; and also a Companion of Practical Farming, fc. Edited by D. P. GARDNER, M. D. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

We regard this volume as timely, and of peculiar value: it is evidently the fruit of much industrious research, comprising a large amount of useful information for the farmer and agriculturist. Scientific farming has, of late, made great progress in our country; and as an aid to its still wider increase, the present volume of Dr. Gardner has been prepared. To those who desire plain, practical instruction on this important branch of human industry, this volume will prove a most welcome boon; and indeed it can scarcely fail of becoming a very useful book of reference to the general reader. The publishers have produced the work in excellent style, embellished by a large number of wellexecuted illustrations.

5. A Grammar of the Latin Language, by C. G. Zump, Ph. D. From

the Ninth Edition of the Original, adapted to the Use of English Students, by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph. D. Corrected and enlarged by CHARLES Anthon, LL. D. New-York: Harper & Brothers.

The high repute which this celebrated grammar of the Latin tongue has attained among scholars in the old world has at length begun to be re-echoed this side the Atlantic. The indorsement of Dr. Anthon is emphatic. He says : -" The high excellence of the present work is

acknowledged by all European scholars, and now that it has received the last touches from the hand of its learned author, we may regard it as the best work on the subject of Latin grammar in the English language. The syntax, in particular, will be found exceedingly valuable, and this part of the volume alone would be sufficient to render the work an invaluable aid to the young scholar; it may be, therefore, confidently recommended as far superior to any grammar of the Latin language at present used in this country.” The work is handsomely and strongly bound, price $1 00; and we are happy to find it has already gained access to most of the leading colleges of the land.

[ocr errors]

6. The Pictorial History of England: being a History of the People, as

well as a History of the Kingdom down to the Reign of George III. Profusely illustrated with many hundred Engravings on Wood. In Parts. Harper & Brothers.

As a popular History of Great Britain, we know of no work at all to compare with this: it is essentially one of the most attractive and entertaining, as well as the most competent and reliable, extant. Issued under the immediate sanction and auspices of the “Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,” it comes to us indorsed by good authority; and we understand that a number of eminent writers were employed on the several departments of the work, so that little is left us to desire in the way of completeness. As to the numerous pictorial embellishments, we can unhesitatingly pronounce them all that even a fastidious taste could desire. The Messrs. Harper have indeed rendered no mean service to the reading public in thus producing so elegant and cheap a reprint of this valuable work. It is to be completed in about forty numbers, price 25 cts. each, forming four large octavo volumes.

7. Thoughts of Blaise Paschal. Translated from the French. Preceded

by a Sketch of his Life. 12mo., pp. 384. Andover: Allen, Morrill & Wardwell. New-York : M. H. Newman. 1846.

This work contains the “ Thoughts” of one of the most extraordinary characters of his age. The early history of Paschal was marked by developments of genius of the highest order, and his controversy with the Jesuits has given immortality to his name. The “ Provincial Letters," as specimens of logical reasoning, pleasant irony, and withering sarcasm, remain unrivaled. The work before us is composed of fragments which remained among the writer's papers, and have by various hands been collected and arranged. They are full of wisdom and instruction.

8. A System of Intellectual Philosophy. By Rev. Asa Mahan, Presi

dent and Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy in the Oberlin Collegiate Institute. 12mo., pp. 330. New-York: Saxton & Miles. 1845.

We are likely to have a sufficient number of books upon the philosophy of the human mind, though all those who have an eye to this branch of literature are scarcely likely to believe, quite yet, that the right book has made its appearance. The work before us will probably take a respectable position among works of the class, but how far it will supersede, in the schools, its predecessors, we will not attempt to predict. The author is not remarkable for originality of mind, but culls from his predecessors whatever he conceives valuable in their investigations and discoveries. Coleridge, Kant, and Cousin, are his principal authorities. To that class who prefer these great masters to Locke, Bird, Dugald Stewart, Brown, Payne, &c., President Mahan's book will, doubtless, be considered as superior to most of those in use in the country.

9. Lives of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. By D. Francis Bacon. New

York: Baker & Scribner, 1846. We have here a large and labored volume. The theme is noble and inspiring to a Christian, and of course gives ample scope for the critical and historical knowledge of the author. As a literary production, the book has its faults ; but those who are disposed not to mark them with severity, may gather from every page much instruction. So important a position did the original apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ occupy, that every scrap of authentic history which we have of their lives and labors is exceedingly precious. It happens, however, that we know very little of them, with any degree of certainty, excepting what we find in the New Testament. All besides is based upon uncertain tradition. We are often tempted to wish God had seen proper to give to the church in all succeeding ages a particular history of the lives and labors of all the twelve apostles and their coadjutors. But how little do we know as to what would have been best in this respect! God knows when to speak, and when to keep silence.

« PreviousContinue »