« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
There are, undoubtedly, many things alleged in the following treatise, which will prove unpalatable in no common degree. And though the writer of this notice is thoroughly persuaded of their truth, and anxious to gain for them currency, he feels that they would have little chance of being examined or weighed, were they put forth by any author of the day. Perhaps they may fare better when thus brought, so to speak, from the grave, and published in the name of one long withdrawn from this scene of contention and trial.”'-Pp. x. xi.
The following remarks, excellent in themselves, and eloquently expressed, ought to fall with double weight from one whose popular oratory has, more than that of any other preacher of the day, unintentionally tempted many to the commission of the fault he condemns.
But it is not the Disscnter alone who will find unpalatable truths in the following Discourse. The Churchman will meet with much that is opposed to popular opinion and practice.
They who would shrink from being schismatics in the aggravated sense of separating from Church-communion, think nothing, for the most part, of being schismatics in a lesser, but an actual sense that of separation from parochial communion. This matter is treated with great delicacy and faithfulness in Part II. ch. i, of Sherlock's Discourse ; and the temper of the times renders it specially needful that attention should be directed towards it. If a minister wish now-a-days to advance “ a hard saying," one which will excite a more than common outcry, let him tell the multitude, which is running hither and thither after preachers, that it is their duty, and would be vastly for their benefit, to be content with the instruction provided for each by his own parochial ministers. Yet, if there be a truth, this, we believe, is one. The whole ordinance of an Established Church appears set at nought, if every man is to choose his own teachers, though teachers have been assigned to him by competent authority. The distribution of instructors cannot be regarded as a mere thing of chance by any one who acknowledges in Christ the Head and “ Minister of the Sanctuary.” Rather must it be considered that Christ has to do with the assignment to every parish of its spiritual pastors, either appointing such as will be faithful to their calling, or permitting the appointment of others, because, designing to overrule for good their failings and faults. And if it be said that there is no sufficient evidence of the excellence of the parochial economy, as thus understood and asserted, let it be answered that there is no sufficient trial; every man looks out for his own instructor, tries church after church till he has found one to his taste, and then settles himself for just so long as he may relish the provided instruction,
Can this be a wholesome, a right state of things—a state in which the ordinance of God is virtually superseded, and the sheep wander to and fro in quest of a shepherd, not because no shepherd has been given them, but because they wish to meet with one who shall be better than their own? Indeed we all know what answer will be made. Our own shepherd does not lead us to green pastures; he teaches errorare we to listen to error, when elsewhere we may find truth? This is a melancholy answer; for it is too often based upon fact. We may not deny-would to God we could! that, the statements of the Gospel heard in our churches are occasionally crude and imperfect. But there is no sufficient reason in this for abandoning the parochial ministrations. It must be an extreme case which justifies separation, whether from the Church to which we belong, or from the portion of ihat Church in which we are parochially placed. The prayers and the sacrainents remain in their beauty and energy, when the sermons may be defective. And it were well if men would more bear in mind, that it ought not to be for the preaching alone, nor even chiefly, that they go up to God's house: that house is “ a house of prayer," though, alas! it is deserted almost as a matter of course, whensoever it is opened for nothing but prayer.
Besides, even so far as the preaching is concerned, a man is immeasurably more likely to be benefited by meekly submitting himself to an ordinance, though imperfectly administered, than by constituting himself judge of the inode of administration, and refusing to attend unless his own standard be reached. The temper in which a sermon is heard has commonly more to do with its profitableness to the soul than the doctrine on which it insists. God may be expected to bless those most who use with most simplicity the appointed means of grace, and therefore are the ministrations of the parochial clergy, if attended by the parishioners on the principle that these men are their authorized teachers, far more likely to promote growth in knowledge and grace than those of any other clergy, however more eminent in learning, eloquence, or piety.- Pp. xii-xv.
We hope Mr. Melvill's recommendation may induce many to read and weigh well this valuable treatise.
The Cooperation of Religion and Law, an Assize Sermon, preached at St. Mary's,
Stafford, July 29, 1840, before Her Majesty's Justices of Assize, by the Rev.
Robert Taylor, M.A. Rector of Clifton Campville, Stafford. This sermon well deserves a notice at our hands from the importance of the subject it discusses. Preached before the Judges of Assize-a solemn and interesting occasion--it appropriately urges the importance of preparing the soil of the youthful mind for the good seed, and of eradicating early those weeds which, if suffered to grow, may endanger the fairest productions of social life, and require all the power of the law to subdue. It sets forth the difficulty there is in educating the poor from the early age at which children are withdrawn from school.
Attempts are being made everywhere to extend this instruction. It is very true such attempts are being made, but with what difficulties? It is like Pharaoh's commands to his servants to exact the tale of bricks, but to withhold the straw. Schools are being built, teachers are being provided, funds are being collected,—but where are the children? The manufacturer's workman begins early in life, and early in the morning, and he is fatigued at night. The child of the agriculturist is taken as soon as his voice is loud enough to frighten the rook, and when he is strong enough to tend swine or to drive the plough-team. The daily schools are filled with infants, or with such very young children, that education hardly can be begun beyond the discipline of the mind, and then comes in the employer and demands his labourer, and the parent who needs his earning.- Pp. 15, 16.
Here, indeed, is a difficulty which cannot easily be overcome, for we doubt whether the legislature could successfully interfere in such a matter. But the evil of losing instruction is not the only one which attends early labour and early gaing. The power of gaining a livelihood too often fosters into luxuriant growth that accursed product of the natural heart-pride. Hence it proves a strong incentive to trample under foot the fifth commandment; a main barrier, we are persuaded, against recklessness of living. Yes, it is a truth, parents stand in awe of their children, lest they should lose the fruits of their precocious labour! Children, rather than submit to lawful authority, leave their parents' house to enjoy their independence, but doomed, unless repentance comes, to live under the goading of an evil conscience, which too often drives them into courses whence they are never recovered. Here, then, is an evil, the extent and certainty of which it is appalling to contemplate.
A Practical and Doctrinal Exposition of the Church Catechism ; chiefly compiled from the Writings of the most approved Divines, and established by Proofs from Holy Scripture. Principally designed for the Use of Diocesan Training Schools and Private Families. By a MEMBER of St. John's College,
Cambridge. London : Burns. 1840. Pp. 139. We cannot better characterize this book than by giving one or two extracts :
As the only means of safety from the flood of water was afforded to those few individuals who took refuge in the ark, so it is only whilst in that spiritual vessel, the Church, (of which the former was a type,) that I can enjoy any sure and certain hope of obtaining a safe passage for my soul through that overwhelming flood of fire which is coming on the earth, and to escape the terrors of that infernal "lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."-P. 36. That body does not belong to “Christ's church," in which there are not both bishops, priests, and deacona.-P. 42. VOL. XXII. NO. XII.
The writer does not draw the inference.
Q. What is the fourth sin forbidden by the fifth commandment? (The other three are withholding from the Clergy their tithes and offerings, the spoliation of the Clergy, and contempt of the persons of the Clergy and their office.)
A. Resistance to ecclesiastical authority, of which, as it has no external force to abet it, or avenge disobedience to its laws, men commonly stand but little in awe, and are insensible of their obligation to obey it. Whereas, in truth, this want of visible power is so far from proving the authority of our spiritual governors to be weak and precarious, that it renders our obligation much greater, and their authority the more dreadful. For since God has commanded us to obey them, without assigning visible forces to constrain or chastise, it is plain that he has reserved the vindication of their authority to his own hand, which, therefore, will be infallibly certain and terribly severe ; for the sentence that is upon earth pronounced by his ministers on contumacious offenders, he has declared himself ready to ratify in heaven; and, therefore, most assuredly will execute it. For, in truth, what punishment is so dreadful as " delivery to Satan ?"'-to the being confined in those bands, of which it is said, “ Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven," and which engage the soul in a guilt never to be loosed, except by sore contrition and serious repentance. What are any axes to that “ sword of the Spirit" which cuttech off a member from Christ? What are any faggots and torches to that unquenchable “ fire and brimstone" of the infernal lake? What, in short, does any condemnation here signify, to that horrible curse which devotes an incorrigible soul to the bottomless pit? &c.—Pp. 88, 89.
This, viz. the water of baptism, is that “living" (or life-giving) " water," of which whoso drinks need not drink of it again : for “ it shall be in him a well of water springing up to life eternal.”—P. 118.
We cannot help considering these as, to say the least, unqualified statements, although they are unquestionably built on a substratum of most important truth; and, unless the work were very carefully revised, we could not honestly recommend it as desirable to form part of the instruction of “ Diocesan Training Schools and Private Families.”
A Dissertation on the Vow of Jephthah. By J. S. KEDDELL, Surgeon.
London: Painter. Pp. 90. 12mo. 1840. This well-written tract comprises a critical examination of the Hebrew Text and of the authorized version of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Judges, in which Jephthah's rash vow is recorded; together with a consideration of the various arguments for and against the sacrificial nature of that vow, which hare been urged by various commentators. The result of the author's researches is, that Jephthah did not immolate his daughter. As the contribution of a layman, to the elucidation of a difficult passage of Scripture, Mr. Keddell's tract is well worthy of an attentive perusal.
An Index of Prohibited Buoks, by command of the present Pope, Gregory XVI.,
1835; being the latest specimen of the Literary Policy of the Church of Rome. By the Rev. Joseph MendhaM, M.A. London : Duncan and Malcolm.
Pp. xxxv. 140. 12.o. 1840. This volume may, to a limited extent, be termed a review of the latest Prohibitory Index issued by the Church and court of Rome, of whose "literary policy" it is intended to exhibit “ the latest specimen." Indexes of this class, however lightly the Romish clergy in Protestant countries may affect to speak of them, have been regularly published ever since the middle of the sixteenth century, and under the highest possible sanction, that of successive Bishops of Rome. Mr. Mendham's Notice of the Index, published by command of Gregory XVI., is intended not merely to point out, and to animadvert upon, the additions made to his edition, but also to bring before English readers the curious withdrawals of the names of authors whose writings were formerly prohibited. The most remarkable of these is the omission of the name of Galileo Galilei, and also of his works; as well as those of Copernicus, which taught and demonstrated the motion of the earth, and the immoveability of the sun. The removal of these once proscribed names must be gratifying to every cultivator of true philosophy.
A very rare catalogue of Prohibited Books, printed at Venice in 1554, has also been reprinted by Mr. Mendham ; who has taken occasion from it to introduce some very interesting remarks upon the publications of Pietro Paulo Vergerio, and his collisions with Giovanni della Casa, archbishop of Benevento.
Mr. Mendham's volume closes with some important and well-timed instances of the strict attention paid by English Papists to the “ Rules of the Index,” and of their fear (in some cases) to look at, or read, or possess prohibited volumes. British Protestants would do well to consider some of these instances, and thus acquire (all they can acquire in England) some faint idea of the distinguished privileges with which they are favoured, in being members of the "pure and apostolical branch" of the Catholic Church, established in these realms, and in living under a protestant government. Who, we may ask, is aware of the utter proscription of all literature, but what suits Rome and her projects? Who is aware that, in countries where popery is dominant, persons have been imprisoned for the heinous crime of circulating protestant tracts ? Very few, comparatively. The great majority of British Protestants, we fear, know very little (perhaps we should rather say nothing) of Romish jealousy, or their own liberty on literary ground. In those countries where popery reigns supreme, no dissent is permitted, nor any variation from the unscriptural and anti-scriptural dogmas propounded and enforced by Rome, as articles of faith, necessary to be believed in order to salvation.
We cannot dismiss Mr. Mendham's very curious and interesting volume without remarking, that the absence of the epithets which he has bestowed upon popery and its adherents, would have enhanced its value in our estimation.
Plain Parochial Sermons, preached in the Parish Church, Bolton-le-Moors. By
the Rev. JOHN SLADE, M.A., Vicar of Bolton, and Prebendary of Chester.
Vol. IV. London: Rivingtons. 1840. pp. 439. MR. Slade's sermons are already well known and appreciated, and this volume deserves an equal share of public favour. Sound in doctrine and plain in expression, there is a liveliness and fervour in these discourses which makes them well calculated to arrest the attention and fasten on the memory. They do not treat of the much-debated questions which are agitating our church, and may not, therefore, be interesting to controversial readers; but their subjects are the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; and those who read for instruction and edification, will not, we think, be disappointed.
Olney Lectures, delivered on Particular Occasions to the Congregation assembled in
the Parish Church of Olney, Bucks. By the Rev. D. B. LANGLEY, D.C.L. of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Vicar of Olney. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co.; Simpkin and Marshall ; Nisbet. W. Dearden, Nottingham. 1840. pp. 237. It has often been a cause of great complaint that so few poor young women, after leaving their customary schools, are well qualified to go out as domestic servants, in consequence of their ignorance of household work, especially in districts where the female population are confined so long at their lace pillows.' To attempt a remedy for this evil, it is proposed to establish a Servants' School for the parish of Olney, in which religious and moral instruction will be daily combined with all kinds of household duties. The plan appears a good one, and worthy of consideration in other country parishes. The volume before us is published in aid of this scheme, and though we do not profess to agree entirely with all its contents, those who may be disposed to help a plan, interesting at least as an experiment, will find much in the sermons which may be perused and remembered with profit.
The Edification of the Church. A Sermon preached in the Archiepiscopal
Chapel of Lambeth, on Sunday, Sept. 30, 1840, on occasion of the Consecration of the Right Rev. Philip Nicholas, Lord Bishop of Chichester. By the Rev. A. GRANT, LL. B. Vicar of Romford, Essex; and late Fellow of New
College, Oxford. London: Burns. Pp. 23. 1840. Tais is a Sermon of more than ordinary ability, vigorous at once in thought and excution. We select the following passage as a specimen, not as the best, but as admitting more readily of separation from the chain of reasoning.
Thus, spiritual edification refers either to the body or to the individual; which idea is expressed in other places by the same apostle, when he speaks of each Christian, and of the whole society, under the figure of the temple of God." It is well to distinguish between the two; first, because they are, each of them, brought prominently forward by the inspired writers as objects of every Christian's attentive concern; secondly, because the means supplied for the benefit and improvement of each are different; and, thirdly, because error, and injury to the cause of Christ, and the welfare of souls, have arisen from unconcern either to the one or the other.
For according to one system, it has been made to appear as if the enlargement and aggrandizement of the body at large, was the main object to be attained on earth ; and in pursuance of this idea, individual benefit has been made entirely subservient to it. IIence private edification has been sacrificed to this supposed general good,.the souls of men have been defrauded of some of the means of grace, and held in bondage to an arbitrary and iron rule. Too often have its upholders been content to gain mere subjects to its sway, neglecting the conversion of the heart to “ the holy faith and purifying hopes of the Gospel ;" and the result of this has been seen in the lapsing of the same nominal converts," having no root in themselves," back to their former heathenism, as soon as the external control was renewed.
And, on the other band, later ages have seen the other extreme, viz. that of many, who, throwing off a yoke too grievous to be borne, bave rejected with it all allegiance or obligation to the visible body of Christ. Private and individual edification is held to be the first and only object of attainment: the real benefit of any ordinance is tested by this; and of the means most likely to advance it, each individual is the judge in his own case. Any apparent injury to the peace and unity of Christians, any violation of order is justified by this plea ; and so far is the edification of the body at large from being held in pious regard, that the very existence of it, as an institution of God, is scarcely, if at all, recognised.
But certainly the word of God would teach us, that neither the one or the other is to be disregarded, or made anything but the object of the devout Christian's sincere prayer and interest. And any system is defective, in which either is sacrificed ; in which the spiritual growth of the individual is neglected, or the edification of the whole body, for which Christ gave himself, is left unprovided for. Certainly, the kingdom of the Redeemer, the great remedial scheme for the recovery of that which was lost, was founded and endowed with the ever-blessed Spirit, that, one by one, the souls of men might be regenerated, built up, and purified ; and yet, at the same time, the fulness of the blessings to be received by individuals in that kingdom, depends, in a measure, on its being at peace and at unity; and each part suffers by the disintegration of the whole. They are both to grow together, each to conduce to the excellence of the other : the perfection of the member being found in its union with the body,—the perfection of the body consisting in the life and beauty of its many members."--Pp. 6-8.
The edification of the body is the subject treated in the remainder of the discourse, and the manner in which a standing ministry containing different orders conduces to that end, is vigorously and forcibly discussed. Christian Consolations ; Faith, Hope, the Holy Spirit, Prayer, the Sacraments.
By John Hacket, D.D., Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. A New Edition.
London : Burns. 1840. Pp. 96. The name of Bishop Hacket must be quite sufficient to recommend this to every sound Churchman; and the editor has done good service in reprinting, in so convenient a form, what is calculated to be so truly consolatory to the christian mourner. We onght to add, that a very interesting and well-written notice of Bishop Hacket is prefixed.