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work on Isaiah ;* and shows most conclusively, that their author is not himself uniformly governed by those “ definite principles of interpretation,” which his theory assumes. That theory is, that “the future prosperity and glory of the Jews, when restored to a state of Church relation to Jehovah,” is the main topic of the last seven chapters, and to support it, he does not hesitate to explain literally such passages as lx, 7, “I will glorify the house of my glory," or as Alexander translates it,
My house of beauty I will beautify,” and also verse 13, “The glory of Lebanon shall come to thee,” &c.
On the form of these texts, we shall do no more at present, than quote the concluding remarks of the Professor, without a word of comment.
“Grotius supposes this prediction to have been literally verified in Herod's temple. Gesenius and the other Germans easily dispose of it as a fanatical anticipation. It is much more embarrassing to those who make the passage a prediction of the future restoration of the Jews, and the future splendor of the literal Jerusalem. Some of the most intrepid writers of this class consistently apply their fundamental principle of literal interpretation, and believe that the Mosaic ritual, or something like it, is to be restored. But such interpreters as J. D. Michaelis and Henderson, who can not go to this length, are obliged to own that spiritual services are here represented under forms and titles borrowed from the old dispensations. Whatever the descendants of those oriental tribes may possess shall be cheerfully placed at the disposal of the restored Jews. There shall be no want of any thing that is required for the full restoration of divine worship, when the Mosque of Omar shall give place to a new temple to be erected for the celebration of the services of that ministration which exceedeth in glory. 'I This is the literal interpretation of a school which will not allow Israel to mean the Church or chosen people, as such considered, but insists upon its meaning the nation of the Jews! The picture which this interpretation makes the prophet draw, may well be called a mixed one, consisting of a literal Jerusalem, literal cara. vans and camels, but a figurative altar, figurative victims, and a material temple to be built upon the site of the old one, for a spiritual worship, exclusive of the very rites which it is here predicted shall be solemnly performed there. Of such a figment upon such a subject, we may say, with more than ordinary emphasis, credat Judæus Appella! On the other hand, the prophecy explains itself to those who believe that the ancient Israel is still in existence, and that the Jews as a nation form no part of it,” (pp. 378, 379.)
On the other passage, our author says: "Even Grotius, as Vitringa has observed, was ashamed to rest in the material sense of this description, and has made it so far tropical as to denote the conquest of many parts of Syria by the Jews. But Henderson goes back to ground which even Grotius could not occupy, and understands the verse not only of material trees, but of material timber. A literal temple or house of worship being intended, the language MUST BE literally understood. From all that appears to be the state of Palestine in regard to wood, supplies from Lebanon will be as necessary as they were when the ancient temple was constructed.""* The weakness of such a literal exposition needs no expo
* The Book of the Prophet Isaiah translated from the original Hebrew, with a Commentary, &c. By the Rev. E. Henderson, D. Ph., &c. Lond. 8vo. 1840. + Page 415.
1 Henderson, p. 419.
The Professor remarks, that it may be worthily compared with the use of the same text to justify the dressing of Churches' at the festival of Christmas." Certainly, if any are simple enough to rest the justification of such a practice, solely on this text. But we had always thought that its justification lay in our natural feelings, which show their joyous emotion by some external correspondent act. Indeed, we may say, that it is the same sentiment which leads to “ the dressing of Churches at the festival of Christmas," that prompts the inspired prophet to represent vegetable nature in its most beautiful forms, as contributing to show forth those feelings of joy, which the glorious occasion that he predicts would naturally elicit. While we knew that the text had been accommodated to illustrate the usage, we never dreamed that any had been weak enough to suppose it necessary to employ this text in order to justify a practice, so natural, beautiful, and expressive. We suspect that our excellent author is somewhat under the influence of what we before alluded to. (See p. 41.)
The readers of Professor Alexander's work will see, that he has not altered the form of our English translation of Isaiah, but has retained the usual divisions into chapters. He observes, that the “perpetual recurrence of the same great themes in various combinations, makes the mere divisions of the chapters a comparatively unimportant matter," and that they are merely “arbitrary, though convenient breaks in a continued composition, not materially differing from the paragraphs now used in every modern book. The true course is, to make use of the common divisions as convenient pauses, but to read and expound the text as one continuous discourse." (pp. 197, 198.) But, inasmuch as the one discourse does undoubtedly treat of distinct subjects, some of its prophecies relating to Israel and Judah, others to Assyria, others to Babylon, others to Egypt, and others again to the Church in various aspects and conditions, and therefore some division becomes absolutely necessary; it does appear to us that it would have been better to divide the book according to a judicious view of those topics, and not to have followed implicitly our English chapters, which often dissever what is in reality closely connected, and join together what has no continuity of thought or subject. Where the English “paragraphs” are injudicious, such improvement as may serve to put the sense in a clearer light, is certainly desirable.
* Henderson, p. 420.
We are also inclined to think, as we have already intimated, that the intrinsic value of the work would not be diminished if the accomplished author had omitted much of the unfounded and fanciful exposition which he has introduced, and given at once the true grammatical meaning of the text. It is proper, we are aware, to exhibit some matter of this sort as history of the interpretation, and also as development of other views than those which an expositor may himself prefer. Still, however, it is well to give them moderately, lest the reader's mind become confused, not to say disgusted, at the exhibition of pitiable extravagance. We should be glad to see, in a small volume, a translation of Isaiah, divided according to the sense, and accompanied by notes necessary simply to explain the prophet, and to put the reader in possession of such leading views, as have in their intrinsic worth a claim on his consideration.
Our attention has been so greatly absorbed by the matter of the commentary, that we have paid but little attention to the style and manner. In several places we like the phraseology of our old English translation better than that substituted by the professor, who occasionally employs words not sanctioned by good authority. “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings,” is certainly preferable to " bringer of good news, Zion, bringer of good news, Jerusalem”! (p. 8 ;) and “them that sit in darkness," to “the dwellers in darkness," (p. 57.) “I am JEHOVAH, whose waiters shall not be ashamed,” is somewhat ludicrous, even with the help of the parenthesis, (“or hopers, i. e., those who trust in him;" p. 196.) A similar objection lies against such language as “thy strivers,” (p. 196,) and “saith thy pitier, JEHOVAH,” (p. 286.) We select these instances as among the most remarkable.
In conclusion, we earnestly recommend this work to the younger Clergy and to students of theology. The only durable foundation of a true system of divinity is laid in the Holy Scriptures, and, therefore, they must be studied in the original, by the aid of all those exegetical and other helps which divine Providence hath furnished. We shall cherish the hope, that this “first contribution to the stores of sacred learning,"* made by the author, may meet with so welcome a reception, as to encourage him to devote his time and talents to the illustration of other books of the sacred volume.
POETRY AND THE CHURCH.
Art. III. Christian Ballads. 12mo.
12mo. Hartford, Henry S. Parsons ; New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1847.
This is a new edition of an old favorite, with sundry additions in the shape of fresh Ballads, which, considered as a whole, are fully equal, and in some respects superior to the original collection. Since their first publication in 1839, the Christian Ballads have been attracting a growing circle of readers, who have written many of them on their hearts, there to abide in company with certain choice words of good men departed, and of others still living, but associated in idea with the dead. Their reputation has thus passed, in some measure beyond the power of the Reviewer, and will be little affected by any thing we shall say in praise or blame. But the publication of a new and enlarged edition, affords an opportunity, which we will not allow to pass without saying a few words concerning the principles involved in Mr. Coxe's productions, and his capacity for realizing his ideal to a far greater extent than he has yet done. In doing this, we shall be compelled to cast a hasty glance at the past history and future prospects of poetry, and its bearings on the Church and society. The train of thought we shall pursue, though familiar to the mind imbued with Catholic principles, is nevertheless slow in gaining the acceptance of the literary world.
Himself a trophy of the triumphant progress of Catholicism, and of its power over the earnest and truth-seeking mind of youth, our author, from the first moment of his comprehending the Christian Faith in its fullness, seems to have devoted to that Faith, the fervor of a warm and affectionate heart, and all the powers of a strong and discriminating intellect, which had been now ushered into the presence, and brought into the possession of that which can most enthrall the heart and rouse the energies of the mind. It is a blessing few can duly estimate, to have been born under the maternal shelter of the Church, and to have known no other teaching; yet one might almost envy the rush of feeling and devotion which quickens the pulse of the hereditary errorist, when God first enables him to cry, Eureka, I have found thee, City of the soul! Something akin to this we all know, when the film drops from the eye, and we find ourselves standing upon holy ground, beside the ever-burning, unconsuming bush. The volume before us seems evidently the product of this feeling. The composition of the Ballads, is, indeed, ascribed by the