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THE “Laws” OF NATURE.
THE Rev. Charles Kingsley, a man of very broad and “liberal” views, wrote to a friend:
“You are a sanguine man, my dear sir, who ask me to solve for you the riddle of existence, since the days of Job and Solomon, since the days of Socrates and Buddha; the especial riddle too, of our time, with its increased knowledge of physical science. But what I seem to know I will tell you. Knowing and believing a great deal of the advanced physical science of Darwin's school, I still can say I do not believe in the existence of law. Laws of nature,' 'laws impressed,' or 'properties impressed on matter,' are to me, after careful analysis of their meaning, mere jargon. Nothing exists but Will. All physical laws and phenomena are but the manifestations of that Will—one orderly, utterly wise, utterly benevolent. In Him, the Father,' I can trust, in spite of the horrible things I see, in spite of the fact that my own prayers are not answered. I believe that He makes all things work together for the good of the human race, and of me among the rest, as long as I obey His will. I believe that He will answer my prayer, not according to the letter, but according to the spirit of it; that if I desire good I shall find good, though not the good that I longed for. And law' and 'necessity' I look on as phantoms of my own imagination, always ready to appear, but always certain, likewise, to vanish again before one sound blow of careful logic or of practical life.”
On The Sun STANDING STILL.
OBSERVATIONS OF AN EMINENT SCIENTIST. “ Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of all Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon, until all the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is it not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before or after it, that Jehovah hearkened unto the voice of a man. -JOSHUA X. 12–14. One of the most successful scientific men of the day has the following remarks on the above passage of Scripture : “ There are many imperfect comprehensions of science as well as of religion. Joshua commanding the sun to stand still is a beautiful subject, and suggests rich points of scientific interest. My opinion is that this particular incident, which has been ridiculed by cavillers of the lowest type, will soon be one of the brightest evidences of the Divine authenticity of this part of Scripture. It (that is, the miracle) could be effected by moderating the speed of the diurnal motion of the earth. A celebrated astronomer tells us, that when a gentleman raises his hat in the street on passing a lady whom he knows, he travels thirty miles bareheaded. This is owing to the enormous speed at which the earth moves in space. Now reduce the diurnal motion of the globe one-half, and the effect will be that the length of the day would
be doubled, that is, extended to forty-eight instead of twenty-four hours. But the period of time mentioned by Joshua requires only a reduction of one-eighth. It would, in effect, be like an express train moderating the speed whilst passing through a station.
"As to the cause of the reduced motion, wise men will not say a word till they know how the motion is produced : but we can illustrate it. We often see in the windows of the makers of mathematical instruments in London a tiny apparatus with four fans, which turns round with con. siderable speed when the sun shines upon it. If we merely raise our hand to intercept the chemical action of the actinism in the rays of light, we immediately reduce the velocity of this apparatus by about one-half." How much more easily could the Divine Being slacken the speed of the earth’s motion, and produce the lengthening of the day, as recorded n the Book of Joshua.
OLD YEAR AND THE New.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
PSALM Xc. 12.
'Mid earthly scenes of toil and strife;
His love and mercy, day by day,
Protected by His unseen arm,
Succoured, supported, cheered, and blest,
Father and God! be with us still
We may to Thy bright courts ascend.
Notices of New Books. The Pulpit Commentary. Edited by the Rev. Canon H. D. M. SPENCE, M.A., and by the Rev. JOSEPH S. EXELL, M.A. St. Mark : Exposition by the Very Rev. E. Bickersteth, D.D., Dean of Lichfield ; Homiletts by Rev. Prof. J. B. Thompson, M.A., and Homilies by various authors-Rev. A. R. Rowland, B.A., LL.B., Rev. A. F. Muir, M.A., Rev. Prof. J. J. Given, Rev. Prof. E. Johnson, M.A., and Rev. B. Green. Vols, 1 and 2. London: Kegan Paul,
Trench & Co. Our readers will see from the list of names on the title-page that this work is the conjoint production of nine distinguished ministers; and as the Commentary on Mark forms only a part of the whole Commentary, so these nine names represent only a small part of the theologians whose gifts and learning are employed in this great work. The five books of Moses, and most of the historical books of the Old Testament are already published; the Psalms, Proverbs, the Prophets, &c., are to follow. In like manner, the Gospel of Mark, which contains two large volumes closely printed, will be followed by comments on the other New Testament writings, to be prepared by a number of learned and eminent theologians.
So far as we had time to examine this voluminous work, it is a most excellent and useful production, distinguished alike by adequate scholarship, sound exegesis, evangelical sentiment, and faithful practical application. If the work, already far advanced, be continued and completed with the same ability, it will be a noble monument of the learning and piety of the Church of England in the nineteenth century; and it will be as useful as it is excellenta benefit and a blessing to the ministry and the laity. We doubt not that many pious dissenters will show their appreciation of this learned, voluminous, and useful work by making it their own. Simon Jasper. By Mark GUY PEARCE. London: T. Woolmer. We do not know any Christian man more fitted than Mr. Pearce to describe humble life, adorned by the virtues of the Christian character, and illustrating the special providence of God. His “Homely Talks,” and “Daniel Quorm," and “Mister Horn" and the “Old Miller,” have won for him a world-wide reputation in this line of authorship; and the present beautiful illustrations of humble piety will add to his fame, and, what is far better, to his usefulness. Life of Alfred the Great. By JACOB ABBOTT. London: T. Woolmer. Full of
instructive incident, Greatness ennobled by goodness; patriotism exemplified by courage, toil, and Christian virtues. The Mother's Friend. Hodder and Stoughton. The fourteenth volume of a monthly serial devoted to the assistance of mothers in their important, influential, and responsible position in the training of their children in virtue and religion. The Great Army of London Poor. Sketches of Life and Character in a Thames.
side district. By the River-side Visitor. London: T. Woolmer. A VERY graphic description, derived from personal observation, well worthy the study of the pious and philanthropic of every grade. Leaders of Men. A Book of Biographies, specially written for Youth. By H. A
Page. Third Edition. London: T. Fisher Unwin. A BOOK for young men, showing what develops the youth into a virtuous, useful, and honourable manhood ; therefore well adapted to restrain from vice, and excite to industry, frugality, temperance, and religion. Equally Yoked; And Sketches from the Portfolio of a Lady Class-leader. By Mrs
S. J. FITZGERALD. London: T. Woolmer. ENCOURAGING, and showing graphically the blessedness of true religion in the family, its consolations in adversity and affliction, and its triumph in death. Admonitory, showing the misery of unholy alliances. A book very suitable for the young. Wesley's Designated Successor. The Life, Letters, and Literary Labours of the
Rev. John William Fletcher, Vicar of Madely. By the Rev. LUKE TYERMAN.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, Paternoster-row. THE Rev. Luke Tyerman has conferred an invaluable boon on Methodism, and on the Church of Christ at large, by his excellent Biographies of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Samuel Wesley (their venerable father), and the Oxford Methodists, comprised in five large volumes; and he has since then enhanced the value of his work as an author by the publication of the present volume, containing the life, letters, and labours of the sainted Fletcher.
John William Fletcher, vicar of Madely, has been pronounced by competent judges, who had no Methodistic proclivities, to have been “a saint--as unearthly a being as could tread the earth at all.” Such, indeed, he was, and the odour of his memory will never, never perish, but descend through all future ages down to the end of time, and for ever. Mr. Tyerman has done well in sending forth this noble volume, which far surpasses all other biographies of Fletcher, by the variety, the correctness, and fulness of its matter, showing the man in full-length portraiture as a Christian, a minister, a philanthropist, and a controversialist, in all of which he stands pre-eminent as an Enoch in the eighteenth century, walking with God. We anticipate for this work an extensive circulation, for such it richly deserves. Experience : a Quarterly Journal, designed to revive the testimony of England's
chief Evangelists, and to promote Mission Work. Vol. I., 1881-2. Published for the proprietor, the Rev. ALEXANDER M'AULAY, at 2, Castle
street, City-road, and 66, Paternoster-row, E.C. This important work was originated by a pure desire to revive vital, earnest, and experimental religion in the Churches, and to spread it through the land. In promoting this, the editor quotes largely from the experience of the early Methodists and their holy contemporaries, showing their deep and fervent piety, their intense spirituality, their zealous and self-sacrificing labours, and the rapid and wide diffusion of the Gospel through their consecrated lives. He argues for the necessity of the same sanctity, the same spirituality, and deep devotedness now, as there was in the best days of Methodism. Hence the author sets his face as Alint in opposition to the vanity, the pride, the worldliness, the secular amusements, indolence, and selfishness of many professing Christians. He cannot understand why persons on becoming wealthy should become apathetic, and cease to meet in class, neglect the prayer-meeting, and leave the week-night serpices and the spiritual means of grace to be attended only by the poor. He pleads, indeed, for genuine primitive, practical Christianity, and labours to promote it with all his might. To this end he has given hundreds of copies of this work to ministers and others, and declines to receive any profit from this publication.
We are free to say that, having read the publication with much spiritual edification and profit, we earnestly recommend it to our readers generally, and wish for it abundant success.
Modern Missions : Their Trials and their Triumphs. By ROBERT YOUNG. With
Introduction by Rev. JAMES H. WILSON, D.D. London: Fisher Unwin.
We heartily welcome this book on Modern Missions, which, while affording valuable information on the spread of the Gospel in heathen countries, tends to enflame the zeal and increase the liberality of the Christian Church in the great work of promoting the conversion of the world. The scenes opened out in this volume are India, Burmah, China, Japan, South Africa, Central Africa, Madagascar, Eastern Polynesia, Central Polynesia, and Melanesia, where a great and glorious work has been already accomplished, with encouraging indications of yet more wonderful results in the future. There is much yet to be done, but the energies of the Churches are excited to holy enterprise, and the promises and predications of the Holy Word assure us of complete and universal victory. We do not find our own important and successful Mission in China is even noticed, but the author contemplates a second volume, and we cherish the hope he will supply this defect, either in the second volume or in the next edition of this one.
The Sea Waif. By Silas K. HOCKING, F.R.H.S. With Original Illustrations.
London : Frederick Warne & Co. WHETHER this work is to be regarded as a true biographical sketch or a romance, it is difficult to determine; perhaps it combines both, containing facts as the basis and imagination as the embellishment. The incidents, if real, are most striking, and if not real, they display a very fertile invention. The principles, however, of both morality and religion are decidedly good, vice is shown to be odious, and virtue and piety, though sorely tried, are rewarded, and the providence of God is displayed. The work is well written, and the interest so exciting as to draw the reader onward to the end.
The Messiah King. By JAMES WITHERS. London: S. W. Partridge. OUR limited space will not allow us to do more than name the subjects on which the respected author treats : The Divine government-The change to human government-Promises of a future Divine King, the birth of the King of the Jews-His youth and maturity-Public career of the Messiah King-The principles of the King's government-Proofs that Jesus was God with us--Proclamation of the King of the Jews—The King is despised, rejected, and executed
-Paul's Mission to expand the Kingdom-Modern Christianity-The second coming of Christ–The conclusion. The work is beautifully got up, is written with great modesty and piety, and contains many excellent practical remarks.
We have received a number of books, but at a period too late in the month for special and extended notice in the present number of our magazine, and among them are the following: The Evidences of Natural Religion, and the Truths established thereby. By CHARLES M'ARTHUR. Hodder and Stoughton. The Good Luck of the Maitlands—a Family Chronicle. By Mrs. ROBERT A. Watson. London: T. Woolmer, City-road. Auriel, and other Stories. By RUTH ELLIOTT. London: T. Woolmer. The Young Bankrupt, and other Stories. By JOHN COLWELL: London: T. Woolmer. Orations on Temperance. By John A. Gough. London : National Temperance Society.