12 DECEMBER 1885, Page 17

The editor of the Scottish Church speaks very hopefully, in

giving the seventh number of his magazine to the public, of its prospects ; and the fact that the institution which he and it defend is now on its defence will convert hope into assurance. The magazine has still, and perhaps inevitably, a combative, General.Election look, which it will perhaps be freer of in the beginning of next year. The more con- troversial articles are, however, well written ; and there are two papers in the December number on "Ecclesiastical Assessments" and "The S.P.C.K." which deserve, or rather require, looking into by Dissenters. Mrs. Oliphant's story, "The Story of a Young Life," which is in her quietest vein, is now at its bast. Effie and Fred will be popular additions to the portrait-gallery of this most refined and subtle of artists in fiction. A new story, " Penniweem Manse," which promises to be full of sprightly comedy, is commenced in the December number. From among the other papers we single out for commendation "A Son of the Manse." It is an excellent biography of the distinguished Scotch painter, Sir David Wilkie.