20 SEPTEMBER 1873, Page 19

An Expositor's Note-Book; or, Brief Essays on Obscure or Misread

Scriptures. By Samuel Cox. (Hodder and Stoughton.)—Mr. Cox deals with the difficulties which he selects for exposition with a success which, as might be expected, varies according to the nature of his subjects. Where an accurate rendering of the original, or a careful study of the text and of all that may help to illustrate it, are sufficient to supply what is needed, nothing can be better than his "essays." Two sermons (we may call the essays sermons as they are eminently didactic in tone) on Joseph—" Joseph's Coat" and "Joseph in Prison "—are excellent

specimens of intelligent and careful exposition. So, in a different style, is the essay which clears up in a most satisfactory manner, to our thinking, St. Paul's mystical statement that the woman should "have power on her head because of the angels." The treatment of the moral kind of difficulty is naturally somewhat less satisfactory. With these no man can hope to grapple on the explanatory method. But here also Mr. Cox contributes some valuable suggestions. The concluding section of his account of "The Parable of the Sower" is a very able attempt to throw light on a very dark and perplexing sub- ject. He takes the words of our Lord as to his use of parables to be fully reported by St. Matthew alone, and to mean that the spiritual blindness spoken of by Isaiah had come upon the people whom He was endeavouring to teach ; that because they were so chill of sight and hard of hearing, He taught them by methods which they could appre- ciate, reserving for those who were capable of receiving it the express spiritual instruction which would only have offended the others. "Malchas " is an admirable specimen of the art, which those who have to furnish the weekly tale of sermons will certainly not despise, of making a very interesting and edifying discourse out of materials apparently very scanty. Altogether, Mr. Cox's volume is a valuable one, especially to those who wish to do what we are sure the author would not object to—appropriate in an intelligent way for audiences of their own the substance of his thought and learning.