Notices of Books

[British Critic, April 1840.]

{473} BISHOP MANT has added to his unwearied services in behalf of the Established Church of the sister country, by publishing an elaborate "History of the Church of Ireland, from the Reformation to the Revolution" (Parker). It is a work of much research, and its venerable author's principles are too well known to need any account here of the ecclesiastical views upon which its materials are disposed.

A third edition of Dr. Wordsworth's "Ecclesiastical Biography" (Rivingtons), has appeared with important alterations. The life of Philip Henry has been omitted, partly in deference to the feeling that its value does not compensate for its length, and that its character and subject are unsuitable to the leading design of the work. "The new lives adopted are only two. The first a short account of Dean Colet, founder of St. Paul's School, consisting of extracts, brought together from sundry letters of Colet's friend, Erasmus: and the other is an interesting narrative by himself, of the troubles of Thomas Mountain, a London clergyman, published by Strype, from Fox's papers." A two-fold introduction has been added, containing a history of the corruptions of popery, derived from Dr. Job Inett's Church History, and from Dr. Richard Bentley's Fifth of November Sermon. This new appendage is designed to show, that while we are theoretically bound to admire, we are in a practical point of view equally bound not to imitate "the early champions of respiring freedom and truth." This important collection is undoubtedly more consistent in its new shape; and the great number of notes added will proportionably increase its value as a book of reference. We are not sure, however, but that the venerated author has somewhat narrowed his ground, at least in appearance, for in reality the alteration is not so considerable. He has excluded a good many pages of Non-conformity, and supplied their places with quuntum sufficit of the more sober, more discreet, and better favored, but perhaps, on the whole, less interesting material of Protestantism.

Archdeacon Hale has selected and edited some of Bishop Hall's Epistles (Rivingtons) on subjects especially adapted for seasons of affliction. He has printed them in a large type, for the use of the aged and the sick.

Mr. Todd's "Lectures on the Prophecies relating to Antichrist" (Dublin, University Press), are too valuable and important to admit of any notice here, except that of their publication, which has been anxiously expected for some months.

We are glad to announce the publication of several of the series called "The Englishman's Library" (Burns), edited by Mr. Churton and Mr. Gresley, viz. Dean Howard's Scripture History; Bishop Patrick's Parable of the Pilgrim, edited by Mr. Chamberlain; Mr. Gresley's Clement Walton; Mr. Chamberlain's Help to Knowledge; and Mr. Palmer's history of the Church. The last of {474} these is an especial boon to Churchmen at this time. It consists of a series of beautiful sketches of holy men in every age of Christianity; and thus it supplies a desideratum which has long been felt in our religious literature, of a history of the Church, pious and interesting like Milner's, yet on deeper and truer theological views. Like Milner, the author holds himself at liberty to drop such parts of characters or facts as he considers not to conduce to edification.

We rejoice to see a reprint of "Bishop Ken's Practice of Divine Love, or Exposition of the Church Catechism" (Burns). Such a book requires no recommendation from us.

Also a new edition has appeared (Parker, Oxford) of "Bishop Ken's Prayers for Winchester Scholars," signed and dated "G. M. Winchester."

A new number of the "Tracts for the Times," No. 87, is on the point of making its appearance, being a second Tract upon Reserve. This will be an advance towards completing the fifth volume, and from its subject cannot fail to attract attention.

The papers which appeared in the British Magazine, under the title of "The Church of the Fathers," have been published in a duodecimo volume (Rivingtons), with some additions. The writer almost confines his sketches to the fourth century.

Mr. Merewether, of Cole Orton, has published "Strictures on Mr. Benson's Sermons on Tradition and Episcopacy" (Rivingtons). They are learned, courteous, and convincing.

The celebrity of the Reverend R. I. Wilberforce's "Second Letter to Lord Lansdowne" (Hatchards) has outstripped a quarterly publication like this. It is already well known, from the large extracts which have been made from it in newspapers. It is written with great spirit and effectiveness. We wish he had not called the Roman system "the great imposture;" though of course those who accuse others of excessive language respecting Rome, should be sure they have never at any time used it themselves, which few indeed can boast at this day.

An admirable letter in the best tone has been addressed to the Bishops of Exeter and Salisbury, by Mr. A. Acland, on the present state of religious societies, and the mode of obtaining contributions in aid of Christian objects. Mr. Acland suggests the revival of the practice of inviting the alms of the congregation, whether at the offertory, or by collections at the church-door, on every Sunday. And he lays down the principle that "the Church is the appointed channel of public Christian charity. Our alms and oblations belong to the Church, and are through the Church to be offered to God." The pamphlet has come to a second edition; other writers, some of name, have lately been advocating the same views; and the American Church is setting us the example. There is promise in all this.

We are very glad to notice an interesting tract on "Restitution to the Church a sacred Duty" (Burns), as it shows the higher and juster views on ecclesiastical subjects which are coming into light. The writer would have the Parliament, as entrusted with the revenues of the crown, restore to the Church all the crown plunder; and he hopes that, if private impropriators showed a spirit {475} of restitution, Parliament might be induced to interfere, and award them compensation, as in the case of the West India slaveholders.

We are very sorry to have to notice a work of Mr. Steven, with an unobjectionable title, indeed, "The Spirit of the Church of Rome" (Hastings), but a most objectionable vignette in the title-page—a crucifix, a mitre, a bible, crosier, a whip, a chain, and a pair of hand-cuffs. We fear, however, it is a compliment to call this a fair specimen of the work itself.

A very remarkable volume of Sermons has been published, the writing of the late Mr. Vaughan of Leicester. We do not pretend to have studied every part of it, nor to assent to or approve every word that it contains; but wherever we have read it, we have been struck by evidences of original thought, and a startling anticipation of statements made on one side of certain controversies now pending among us.

"The Irish Pulpit" (Curry and Co.) contains as much eloquence and affectionateness as most importations from that quarter, and rather more soundness and discretion.

Mr. Melville's "Sermons preached at Cambridge, in November, 1839," are composed with his usual fertility of thought and expression. But with all due respect for his talents, we are constrained to say, that we lament the publication of his Sermon, preached at Brighton, on "Angels rejoicing in the Gospel" (Rivingtons). What a pity that a mind so rich and brilliant has not been submitted to the chastening and refining discipline of St. Basil and St. Gregory!

Mr. H. Wilberforce has published, by request, a beautiful Sermon (Rivingtons), on occasion of the rebuilding of the ancient Church of St. Laurence, in Southampton.

Mr. Kynaston's Sermon on "Church Extension," preached at Lichfield, is in many respects worthy of the high reputation with which its author left the University. If Mr. Kynaston takes care always to attend to the meaning of what he says, he will not only be a very fluent, but a really eloquent, writer. For instance, how can the Dissenters be like St. John the Baptist, or the Apostles, in any stage of their ministry? Does Mr. Kynaston mean to maintain that they are not only divinely permitted, but commissioned?

A Sermon of much promise has been published at Launceston (Rivingtons), by command of the Bishop of Exeter, before whom it was preached by Mr. Gibbons. It is full of excellent doctrine, put forth with much animation.

Rev. H. Townsend Powell, of Stretton, has been engaged in an active controversy with the Roman Catholics, the fruits of which are given to the public in "A Letter and Historical Table" (Hamilton and Adams), got up with great care, and likely to be very useful to minds of a certain character. His excellent and important object is to show that the Church of England had not "its origin in the Reformation," nor "her ministers derive their authority from the king." On the Table is drawn out the progress of our Reformation from the 20th of Henry VIII. to the 11th of Elizabeth, with the contemporaneous line of reformed and unreformed Bishops. {476}

Rev. Kirby Trimmer's "Curate's Manual" (Rivingtons) begins with a translation of Mr. Stearne's Latin work on the Visitation of the Sick, a useful work for those who need such a help. The offices for Private Baptism and Sick Communion follow, and extracts from Stonehouse's "Sick Man's Friend," which we do not very much like. The greater part of the volume, however, seems to be original. We hope it may do all the good which the pious writer desires from it.

Some well written and useful weekly tracts and tales have been put out at Leeds, under the sanction of the Bishop of Ripon (Burns).

A very pretty book for children has been published by a Clergyman, under the name of "Agathos and other Sunday Stories" (Seeley and Burnside). It is written with a wise object and on unexceptionable principles. We are not satisfied with the Greek names from "Agathos" down to "Edone."

"The Liturgy of the Church of England catechetically explained by Mrs. S. Maddock" (Nisbett), is a useful and well-principled little book, which those who need such a work will be thankful to have heard of. Mrs. Cuthbert's "Practical Exposition of the Church Catechism" (Rivingtons), is a work of similar excellence.

"The Ecclesiastical Almanac for 1840" (Leslie) has many improvements upon that of the former year. Rules are given for fasting and abstinence, as revived in the great body of Western Christendom; and biographical notices of the Saints who are named in the calendar. We do not altogether subscribe to some things in these accounts, particularly the cold and unfair mention which is made of King Charles, under January 30. But on the whole this small publication will be welcome to all ritualists; and as such we have noticed it in an early place in the number.

A Prayer Book for private use or for a family has been published (Graham, Oxford) under the title of "Christian Catholic Prayers." It is compiled on the truest and best model of devotion, that of the Breviary and Church Prayer Book.

Mr. H. W. Acland, of Christ Church, being obliged to voyage for his health, has profitably employed his time in preparing a most striking panoramic drawing of the Plains of Troy, taken on the spot, and a map constructed after the latest survey. Classical students will thank us for the information.

As far as a superficial survey will allow us to judge, Dr. Giles' new Greek Lexicon (Longman) appears to be, in some respects, an improvement on our old school manuals. A good deal of useless matter has been got rid of in the Greek-English part; and room thus made for an English-Greek Lexicon much fuller than usual, a great help of course in the first steps to Greek composition. The substitution of English for Latin is a questionable advantage, which we have not here space to observe upon.

J. T. Smith's "Comparative View of Ancient History" (Souter, Fleet Street) brings into a few pages a good deal of space and time. In the course of his chronological observations occur some curious notes on the elective character of the crown of England. One passage we will quote: "So much was this the case, that the chronicler of Henry II., alluding to the length of time between {477} Stephen's death and Henry's recognition, says, ‘England was therefore without a king for six weeks.'"

The "New General Biographical Dictionary" (Fellowes) has advanced to the Fourth Part with the same spirit and variety as at the first. The work does not seem likely to exceed the compass originally intended.

"The Glossary of Architecture" (Parker, Oxford), which so rapidly passed through two editions a year or two ago, has now appeared in a third. It has grown into two volumes, the second of which consists of plates. It is beautifully illustrated, and contains as many as 700 woodcuts. Articles are added on domestic architecture, stained glass (under the title "Window"), &c.

A classical and elegant writer, under the title of "Vigornensis," has published an "Historical Review of the Nature and Result of Vaccination" (Rivingtons), which we recommend to all persons who wish at once entertainment and instruction on that important subject. We wish, however, he had not put the discovery of vaccination above "the gold of Ophir, the precious onyx, and the sapphire stone."—p. 95.

The "Chapters on the Modern History of British India," by Edward Thornton, Esq. (Allen), present as exclusively a story of war as Csar's Commentaries. They forcibly remind us of the one fatal condition on which we have obtained and now hold that vast empire, viz. the denial before men of the name of Christ.

The "Travels in South-Eastern Asia," by Mr. Malcom, an American Baptist missionary (Tilt), contain so much curious matter as to deserve a larger notice than we have room for. They give an incredibly discouraging account of the prospects of Christianity in the East, and the unchristian policy and practice of the Europeans. Is it possible that our government has, as he states, appointed a Unitarian preacher "to visit various parts of India, and to report on the state of education?"

Dr. Wolff is a person whose merits will be better appreciated when time has softened the effect of his eccentricities, and placed him beyond the reach of vacillation or change. The censures which his "Journal" has drawn on him from the enemies of right Church principles, supersede the necessity of commendation from us. That very interesting, though desultory, book, fully establishes and accounts for the fact, that the present state of the writer's views is the result of his own experience.

"The Oriental Annual for 1840" (Tilt) is a most splendid drawing-room ornament. The beautiful engravings impress us more strongly than ever with the affinity of the Indian or Mahomeddan architecture to the Gothic or Catholic, as though they had diverged from the common stock of the Roman.

Mr. Plumpton Wilson's "Christian Services" (Murray) vies with the last-mentioned publication in external magnificence. The author can hardly expect many to acquiesce in his plan, which is to make the book of Genesis the historical framework of a weekly course of devotions.

The "Poems by Eliza Cook" (Tilt), possess great sweetness and spirit; but the subjects are not always well chosen, and the religion, with an indication here and there of something better, is in general that of Pope's Universal Prayer. {478}

Mr. Riddle has published (Parker, Strand) "A Manual of Christian Antiquities," professedly on the plan of those well-known school books, the Antiquities of Greece and Rome, treating the ceremonies and institutions of the primitive Church, "not only independent of polemics, but apart from the general materials of Church history." The utility of this plan appears to us very questionable, being likely to give a mere antiquarian, low, and superficial knowledge of a most important subject. Yet Mr. Riddle has intruded into polemical questions, and in the following tone: "We may reasonably believe that episcopacy is a Divine institution; but we have no right to contend that it is the only system to which that honour is attached." Again, of the Athanasian Creed, "Indeed, if our Church should resolve upon altogether expunging the clauses commonly called condemnatory, it is possible that the cause of truth would suffer no detriment."

"Extracts from Holy Writ and various Authors, for Soldiers and Seamen, by Captain Sir W. Willoughby," is a pious and well-intentioned compilation from a very heterogeneous set of authors, Sturm, Tillotson, Jay, Bogatzky, Hawker, Kempis, H. More, Newton, Watts, Mason, the Prayer Book, Horne, Locke, Hall, and Stillingfleet.

Mr. Wackerbath has drawn attention, partly in his own words, partly in those of a friend, to Dr. Croly's Visitation Sermon, in a pamphlet called "The alleged Connection between the Church of England and Lutheranism examined" (J. W. Parker). We must confess we were quite astounded, though not wishing to use great words, at Dr. Croly's view, which if held consistently (which doubtless it is not by him), differs little or nothing in it fundamental principle from Mahometanism, Neologianism, or St. Simonianism. He conceives that Protestantism is a new interposition upon Christianity, as Christianity upon Judaism. "It is true," as says one of the writers before us, "Dr. Croly affirms that he does not intend to assert that there have been three revelations, but in spite of this, the whole scope and tenor of the sermon leans to such a conclusion. ‘Such,' he says, ‘are the tremendous cycles by which Omnipotence rounds its career. The concurrence, the similitude, the almost identity of the originating circumstances of Judaism, Christianity, and Protestantism, is beyond all question.'" Dr. Croly then contrasts, we still extract from the pamphlet, the second and third interpretation thus: Second, "In Christianity, the Son of Man came as an obscure Israelite, wholly unconnected with the public excitement of the times, and a priest of the order of Melchizedek. His religion was subsequently transmitted into the hands of the first Christian emperor, and it was embodied in the Established Church of the empire." Third, "The German Reformation commenced with the agency of Luther, a priest, a monk of the Augustinian order. On him the new delivery of the Gospel devolved; its protection on a British sovereign; its duties on the Church of England, the chief among the Churches of Protestantism." What portentous language is this? What does it omen? What is coming on us? And this in St. Paul's Cathedral. And the Sermon has reached a fourth edition.

William Smith, Esq. author of "A Discourse on Ethics of the School of {479} Paley" (Pickering), says "The only immutable morality is this, that the happiness of all be protected and cultivated,"

"Questions and Answers for Young People of the Church of England, to guard them against its Enemies. By a Layman. 6th edit. 1st edition, 1838, one year before ‘the Glory departed from Israel'" (Rooke and Varty), is, as the title would dispose one to consider, bold and zealous, with some oddities. The proposition to baptize or confirm all foreign princes and princesses (not episcopalian) into the Reformed Catholic Church of England, before marrying into our royal family, besides its questionableness in a theological point of view, would, we fear, lead to frequent profanations of the sacrament.

"John Brown, D. D. Minister of the United Associate Congregation, Broughton Place, Edinburgh, and Professor of Exegetical Theology to the United Secession Church," to judge from his pleonastic and at the same time self-contradictory titles, must by this time be quite au fait at all questions of submission and resistance. His "Supplementary Notes to The Law of Christ respecting Civil Obedience, especially the Payment of Tribute," is a collection of some hundred passages from all sorts of authors strung together, like prisoners of war tied to their captors on a march. By way of a frontispiece, Hooker is introduced, handcuffed to Hoadley: then come in Pope, Wickliffe, Herodotus, Jeremy Taylor, Hume, Hammond, T. Cartwright, Bishop Butler, Priestley, Holy Scriptures, T. B. Macauley, Froude, Gibbon, &c. &c. Mr. Gladstone's book appears to be the spark which has exploded this miscellaneous magazine of combustibles.

Mr. Edward Swaine considers that "Dissent wears no sword," and "the principle of Dissent is its shield;" and therefore he has composed a book called "The Shield of Dissent," with strictures on Dr. Brown's work on Tribute (Snow), but without "ambitious and general championship." This, if put into our language, would be that Dissent is a negative principle, which creates nothing, simply undoes, like discontent or lukewarmness. In the author's language it seems to come to this, that while a man keeps to the dissenting principle, he cannot be forced to advance forward to Church practice. "Under shelter of its principle," he says, "it is prepared for all attacks that argument may deal with." The drift of the work then is to show that the said principle is not open to certain objections which has been urged against it.

We find that in the frontispiece to Mr. Saunders's account of the Protestant exiles of Zillerthal, noticed in our last number, it is intended to represent them, not as Protestant exiles, but as Catholic inhabitants of the country.

It is a great relief; that Professor Lee's Hebrew Lexicon has at length appeared, and all will sympathize with him in the afflictions and attendant ill-health which delayed it. For the beginner it is of especial value, as giving him the advantages of the modern German Lexica (in the comparison of the cognate dialects), without the neology which more or less is found in them, and with which we should be sorry that a young mind should be familiarized, even while rejecting it. Professor Lee's name is, moreover, a guarantie of a sounder and more thorough acquaintance with Arabic, than is possessed even {480} by Gesenius. We hope, however, that Professor Lee's health will permit him to make this the basis of a larger work, which may bear the same relation to this as Gesenius' Thesaurus to his Lexicon. Even for this lexicon we should have desired a different arrangement (the old way of classifying derivatives under their roots was much more beneficial even to the learner than the strictly alphabetical method, which Gesenius introduced into his manuals, while for more advanced study it may be said to be indispensable); but chiefly we should have desired to have had from Professor Lee a fuller illustration from the cognate dialects than the nature of a manual admits; and we should have been glad also of a fuller notice of common words in passages where their meaning is doubtful. (To explain our meaning by cases which occur at the moment, [Note] (Eccl. v. 7), which we doubt not refers to Almighty God; the meaning of [Note] (Eccl. v. 8); whether [Note] (Eccl.) signify "uprightness," or only (as Professor Lee gives it) "prosperity, profit;" the meaning of [Note] (Eccl. xiii. 11), which some have explained as in apposition to the "nails," "firmly joining;" others "authors of collections;" the English version, "masters of the assemblies;" which we should adopt, only with a different construction. "The masters of the assemblies have been given by One Shepherd," i.e. the teachers set over the Church, though many, have been given by the One Shepherd of Israel, and, though many, speak one voice. Professor Lee has only "collections, i.e. of stores or money, or, as some think, storehouses." The Latin Vulgate, "a council or assembly of persons.") Professor Lee, we infer from the preface, made the Concordance the basis of his labours, referring continually to the Biblical text (which is manifestly the only way); we only wish that he would, in a larger work, pursue this plan more fully; enter more into discussion than was admissible in a manual; explain more fully the meaning of ordinary words (to us the space assigned to words of natural history or antiquities, which are the least important, seems rather disproportioned); insert the proper names, which often throw light on other words; give summaries, at least, of statements, where he now simply refers to his Commentary on Job, or his Sermons; and lastly, give us more of his treasures of Arabic knowledge. We could not but think that his Commentary on Job contained much which was more suited to a lexicon, and which we should have liked to have seen transferred thither. There are also some few things, which we need not specify here, which we should be glad to see omitted; nor do we think the continual correction of Gesenius necessary; it takes much space, and is an unpleasant way of giving information: it is better to teach truth positively than negatively; error often finds its way into the unsound mind by means of the refutation. However, whether Professor Lee be willing or be enabled to undertake this larger work, we are much indebted to him for one which we can put safely into the hands of students, and from which the more advanced may learn.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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