Notices of Books

[British Critic, January 1839.]

{249} DR. CRAMER has given to the theological world a new Catena on the Acts of the Apostles from MSS. Existing in Oxford and Paris. Chrysostom is the principle author used in it; after him, Cyril, Didymus, Ammonius, and Severus.

Jewell's celebrated "Apologia Ecclesiĉ Anglicanĉ" has been republished, (Rivingtons); as has also, Bertram's or Ratramn's Book "de Corpore et Sanguine Domini," with a translation, and Ĉlfric's "Homily," (Parker, Oxford.) This book, it is scarcely necessary to say, is a remarkable historical confutation of the Roman doctrine of Transubstantiation, though, as being controversial, it is of course cauté legendum.

Dr. Neander's "Life of St. Chrysostom," translated by Rev. J. C. Stapleton (Seeley & Burnside,) is the very learned work of an eclectic Christian. The English reader will profit by his learning without being induced probably to embrace his peculiarities.

The publication of the original of St. Cyril's "Catechetical Lectures" is, we we understand, delayed under the hope of obtaining some important collations of the text from Rome as well as Oxford. It is in contemplation to collect sums with a view of defraying the expenses of foreign collations.

It is with pleasure we announce the republication of Dr. Brett's Work on "the Ancient and other Liturgies," (Rivingtons,) which may be recommended to all who need information on the sacred subject of which it treats. Another useful little work of the same author has been published at Oxford (Talboys,) "The Honour of the Christian Priesthood."

Mr. Manning has published an Appendix to his Sermon on the Rule of Faith, in which he goes more into the details of objections urged against the Catholic view of it, than any one who has taken part in the controversy. It is a work of considerable research, much independence of thought, and great promise of usefulness.

Dr. Hawkins has published two admirable Sermons, (Fellowes,) on very distinct subjects; the one is an almost parochial sermon preached in aid of the two Societies; the other was preached before the University of Oxford, and on "The Duty of Private Judgment."

Dr. Pusey has published two Sermons in aid of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, (Rivingtons,) called "The Church, the Converter of the Heathen." Dr. Pusey cannot touch any subject without exhausting it. The present contain a vast mass of information on this subject, and doubtless have been, and will be, much consulted by clergymen who, in obedience to the Queen's letter, have to bring it at this time before their parishioners.

Mr. Oakeley has published a Sermon on the same subject. (Parker: Oxford) Why does a writer, whose style is so attractive, and matter so sound, stint us with single sermons?

A Funeral Sermon preached at Calcutta, by Krishna Mohana Banerjee, an Anglican clergyman, on Baboo Mohesh Chunder Ghose, a superintendent of the Church Missionary Schools, in the same place, (Rivingtons, Seeley, and Nisbet,) gives rise to a number of pleasurable and serious reflections. The {250} unity of that faith and temper which the One Lord vouchsafes through the One Church, is what most obviously suggests itself. We are surprised too to find a Sermon of a recently converted native so free from even the phraseology of Ultra-Protestantism. How is it? do converted heathens bring with them a more healthy taste and robuster appetite which refuses to feed upon air?

We have a satisfaction in noticing two Sermons on the death of the late Bishop of Moray, (a name which will be long remembered, in the Scottish Church especially,) by the Rev. W. C. A. Maclaurin, M.A., and the Rev. Charles Pressley, A.M.

Sermons by the Rev. T. T. Haverfield, B.D., 2 vols., (Straker,) have a good practical aim, and contain right views on the Sacraments. Some of the doctrinal ones however are scarcely clear.

Mr. Hutchinson's "Plain Discourses (adapted for family reading) on the Catechism and Book of Common Prayer," (Hayward and Moore,) are sound, unpretending sermons. They give right views of the Church and Sacraments, and are evidently the productions of a serious mind.

Mr. Cameron's "Parochial Sermons," (Seeley & Burnside,) contain views superior to those of most modern preachers; but still have some of the defects of our popular theology.

Mr. Kilvert's Sermons (Taylor and Walton,) are written in a pleasing easy style, which strikingly contrasts with that which preachers commonly think they must adopt, in order to prove themselves what preachers should be.

Mr. Bramston's excellent Sermon on "the Church and Ministry" (Hatchards,) is calculated to instruct and raise the views of persons who are in doubt or ignorance about the subject. We wish he was somewhat more definite in his language about the Sacraments: but it is evident that his meaning is right, even when his words are not well chosen.

"Condensed Discourses, or Pulpit Helps" (Hodson,) are written by "a Minister," but whether of, what the Author calls "the Establishment," or of Dissent, is more than we can say. We must be content to know that he has been "prompted by motives as pure as" many others, and determined by "sudden, unexpected and disastrous circumstances," "to seek repose and relief in revising for the press some of these discourses which it had been his delight and privilege to deliver from the pulpit," and which "were not heard in vain." Can self-complacency go further?

"A Treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as displayed in the Animal Creation," by C M. Burnett, Esq. (Burns,) contains a great deal of information respecting the different physical theories of the day; together with the author's own views and decisions on them. Mr. Burnett reasons well and soundly, and we are glad to add reverentially. On the subject of geology, e.g. he is opposed to that rude handling of the sacred text, which is so common amongst us. Our men of science evidently like bringing their views into collision with Scripture. They like putting themselves in the attitude of unbelief; though at the same time they will have us think that they are not opposing Scripture; Scripture not having been written with a view to science. Mr. Burnett, on the contrary, is of opinion, that many physical subjects "have {251} too close a connexion with God's moral government, to admit of being discussed with a freedom wholly regardless of revelation." This observation, we think, would apply in an especial way to the Mosaic account of the common origin of mankind, which some have ventured to set aside. If it be true that we are to consider the natural world typical of the revealed, nothing evidently can be more hazardous than this meddling with the Scripture account of the former.

"Historical Sketch of the Reformation in Poland," by Count Valerian Krasinski, (Murray,) is a work of considerable pains, and its author states facts sometimes against the Polish Reformers. But as a whole it has all the common faults of Protestant histories of the Reformation.

An Enquiry has been published respecting "Love, as one of the Divine Attributes. By Thomas Gisborne, M.A." (Cadell.) We are really sorry to find this writer taking up such a subject. With respect to the book itself, the best we can say of it is, that though there are some good parts, it makes but an unsound and indifferent whole. The author evidently avoids acknowledging the justice of God, as an independent attribute co-existing with Love; and this leads him to some unjustifiable statements, towards the end of the work, on a very sacred doctrine.

"Portrait of an English Churchman," by the Rev. W. Gresley, M.A. (Rivingtons,) is a spiritedly written book, and reads pleasantly, and we hope will be read a good deal, as it is calculated to promote sound views on Church subjects. Mr. Gresley very properly distinguishes between Churchmen and Conservatives; and makes his hero a union of the two. We wish he did not lean so much to Establishmentism.

"Lives of Sacred Poets," by Robert Aris Willmott, Esq. (J. W. Parker,) are nicely written volumes, and contain a good deal of general information on literature and poetry; which is sometimes indeed introduced out of place, and so as to interfere with the particular life in hand. The author has evidently good views, but is rather afraid of bringing them into collision with the subjects of his biographies.

"Cornelius, the Centurion." From the German of F. A. Krummacher, D.D. This book has far too much of the character of a certain German school in it to please us. We feel afraid when we see imaginative and sentimental views of religion brought out, without any intermixture of severity. But this is too large a subject to enter into here.

Mr. Pauli's "Analecta Hebraica: with Critical Notes and Tables of Paradigms of the Conjugations of the Regular and Irregular Verbs," (Parker, Oxford,) is calculated to be very useful in progressively impressing upon learners the several portions of Hebrew Grammar. The grammatical observations are intended as a critical correction and supplement to the Grammars of Philipps, Lee, and Stuart; they appear to contain much useful matter of fact, with some unsound theory. The Rabbinical criticism, &c., which is plentifully interspersed appears generally of a sound and interesting character, though belonging (we think) to a higher order of students than those who commonly use Analecta: it adds however to the value of the whole;—which is further increased by a set  of verbal tables, which really appears the most comprehensive we have seen, and will no doubt be of great use to Hebraists in general. {252}

"Nordheimer's Hebrew Grammar," (Wiley and Putnam,) contains a good deal of curious philological matter.

The author of the Cathedral has published another Volume of Poems, called "Thoughts in Past Years." (Parker, Oxford.) Those who enjoy the wild and spontaneous in poetry may even prefer parts in the present volume to any of the author's former Poems; we would mention particularly "Spring and Autumn," p. 279, and the lines which begin "O Vanity," p. 289, though it is not fair to particularize whereon two readers will pitch upon the same instances.

"Passages from the Poets," (Cowie,) is a selection made from their works with great diligence, great taste, and great success. It is a pleasant contrast to undertakings of the same kind commonly met with, which are conducted no governing principles, and mistake extravagance for variety, and want of nature for refinement.

Mr. Boone's pamphlet on "The Educational Economy of England, Part I," (J. W. Parker), pleases us a good deal betterwhere he attacks the plans of others than where he proposes his own. Chapters 3 and 4 on the Provénce of the State, contain some good arguments, forcibly, nay newly put against the State and centralizing Systems of Education. "If the State," he says, "should teach the whole population, its system, —it seems strange, but is true, to say, —would of necessity be narrow and confined. The narrowness of the plan in one way must bear a direct proportion to its extent in the other. It cannot include both all recipients and all studies. If it would be universal as to those whom it teaches, it must be partial as to that which is taught. And "this unphilosophical narrowness of instruction," he proves will not be confined to religion only, but extend to education in general. "The very essence of teaching and training is to implant certain notions and dispositions, and to preclude the implantation or effect the extirpation of others. So far, therefore, as the State teaches and trains, it tends to fix the national sentiments in one particular mould." We quite agree with Mr. Boone in these remarks; but when he proposes "the plan of the State affording assistance to all parties and denominations, in a certain determinate proportion," as a measure for the Church, under present circumstances, to "acquiesce" in, we can do, and need do, no more than express our dissent from him. We regard the question as one of principle, on which the Church cannot "acquiesce" in any thing which she thinks really and in itself objectionable.

"The Rev. G. A. Jacob's Letter to Sir Robert Peel, upon National Education on a Christian basis," recommends a system which should be "in its teaching conformed to the formularies of the Established Church—in its tenets and regulations, opposed to no sect or party." We have hardly a clear idea of what Mr. Jacob means. The Dean of Norwich has published a sound sermon on the same subject.

The Bishop of Exeter's Speech on the Church Discipline Bill has been published. (Painter.) It contains the following memorable passage: "Over the clergyman's civil state he had no power, but he had power over him in a spiritual point of view; and (said the Right Reverend Prelate) before his Master and my Master, I will remind this erring clergyman of his folly or his vice. I will reprimand him for it. If he will not obey the remonstrance, I shall proceed to that {253} sentence, which this bill tells me I shall not pass: I shall proceed to excommunicate him. Then if this be done, your lordships in parliament may pass a bill of pains and penalties against me—you may deprive me of the seat which I now hold (but of which I shall never make myself unworthy) —you may rob me of my see—you may take from me my robes—but my integrity to heaven I shall maintain inviolate."—pp. 7, 8.

"A Letter to George Palmer, Esq., M.P., on the dangerous Principles and Tendency of the Tithe Act," (Rivingtons,) takes the double ground, first of common justice and expediency, and secondly of religion. The author is not ashamed to argue for the divine right of tithes; but first he ably exposes the defects of the present bill, considering it only as a political measure. It is a very interesting and well-written pamphlet, both in point of matter and of style.

"The Voice of the Church," (Newcastle,) is a clever overthrow of a pamphlet almost too freethinking and profane to deserve it.

"A Clergyman of South Wilts," has written anonymously a "Dissection of the Queries" of Lord John Russsell, on the amount of Religious Instruction and Education, (Rivingtons,) with so much cutting force and such felicity of exposure, that it is a thousand pities he has not operated on a more public stage.

All that need be said of "Millenarianism Unscriptural," (Crofts,) is that the arguments are based on the author's own views of certain passages of Scripture: which is the only mode of arguing, he thinks, which can be applied to the subject.

Mr. Perceval has published a useful Tract, entitled "The Plain English Churchman guarded against the Priests of Rome," (Rivingtons.)

A short but pithy and convincing Tract has been published, (Burns,) having for its title "Is Baptismal Regeneration a Doctrine of the Church of England?" and enjoining the affirmative from our services.

Mr. Todd's "Authentic account of our Authorized Translation of the Bible," contains interesting facts on that subject.

"Examination Questions and Answers selected from Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History," (J. W. Parker,) appear to put prominently forward the most objectionable points in Mosheim.

The same may be said of the "Questions on Burnet's Articles."

Mr. Crawford's "Questions on Butler's Analogy," (J. W. Parker,) will be useful to students in divinity.

"Questions and Answers for Young People of the Church of England," (Roake and Varty,) have a good Church tendency.

"The Daily Service of the Anglo-Catholic Church, adapted to Family or Private Worship, by a Priest," (J. H. Parker and Rivingtons,) is a little tract which aims at supplying what we very much want under present circumstances. The directions in it are clearly and carefully given.

"Horĉ Sacrĉ, a Manual of Prayers, &c." (Burns,) is one of those selections of really Christian devotions, now happily so much more frequent than of late years. The prayers are taken from Bishop Andrews, Taylor, Patrick, Ken, Cosin, and Hickes, Kettlewell, Nelson, &c.

We have to acknowledge the receipt of very interesting collections of ecclesiastical pamphlets from New York and New Jersey. {254}

We are truly pleased to be able to state that the SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE has returned to its old rule concerning its monthly meetings, in order to pay that due reverence to the Holydays of the Church which its members who wished to attend from a distance have hitherto been unable to show. The rule now stands as follows; the addition made to it is put in italics: "That a general meeting be holden at the Society's house on the first Tuesday in every month, except when such Tuesday shall fall upon a Holyday of the Church, for which on Epistle and Gospel are appointed in the Book of Common Prayer; and then upon the first Tuesday not such a Holyday; and except the months of August and September, at one o'clock." The resolution embodying this provision, which Mr. Goldsmid moved, and the Reverend J. Jennings seconded, was carried without a division.

A memorable decision has been given by Sir Herbert Jenner, Judge of the Court of Arches, on occasion of an action instituted by a Clergyman in the Isle of Wight against a parishioner who set up a tombstone with an inscription from the 2d book of Maccabees, "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead," with the addition of the words "Pray for the soul of Joseph Woolfrey." It is to the effect that whereas prayers of the dead were a usage of the primitive Church before the Roman tenet of purgatory was heard of, they were (on certain grounds) discouraged by the Church of England at the Reformation, but are not prohibited. Besides the intrinsic importance of this judgment, it is valuable on another and temporary ground. Certain doctrines and opinions lately avowed in our Church after a season of oblivion, have been accused of being contrary to the Creed of the Church, and demands have been made on their upholders to give them up or the Church. Now it is not often possible to procure an independent unbiassed judgment on the matter of fact, viz. the Church's view of the subject, as the history of past centuries discloses it. With this we have now accidentally been furnished from as high an authority and public an officer as an Ecclesiastical Judge; and as regards a tenet which no one can say has been prominently put forward by the parties who have shown a leaning in its favour. If the usage of prayers for the dead turns out not to be prohibited by our Church, what would be the result of a judicial investigation into the matter of fact as regards her view of Catholic consent or episcopal succession?

We are glad to report that the Church is beginning to take a lead in the EDUCATION of the People; it is not merely opposing bad schemes, but executing good ones; and this, not by making a compromise with the novelties of the day, but by building upon the solid foundation of the National Schools of thirty years, the Grammar Schools of three Centuries, and the Cathedrals, which are coeval with the National Church itself. In different parts of the country the Chapters are calling to their aid the principal Laity and Clergy of their neighbourhood, with a view to organize Diocesan and Local Boards, "under the authority of the Bishop of each Diocese, and in connection with the NATIONAL SOCIETY;" that is, with the collective Episcopate incorporated by the Crown for the purpose of directing Popular Education.

The subject has been brought before their Clergy by the Bishops of London, Gloucester, and Bristol, Oxford and Chester; public meetings have been held {255} in the dioceses of Canterbury, Norwich, and Bath and Wells, for the purpose of taking active measures to further the plans which emanate from a Committee of the National Society; and Diocesan Boards have been formed upon the principles suggested by it for the Dioceses of Canterbury, Norwich, Bath and Wells, Exeter, Lichfield, Salisbury, and are in progress of formation in Lincoln, Gloucester and Bristol, Winchester, Chester, Chichester, Ely, and Ripon. Archidiaconal and Local Boards, in subordination to that of the diocese, have already been organized at Doncaster, in Aylesbury, and other places.

The objects of these Boards are, 1. to educate young men to be afterwards trained as Schoolmasters; 2. to improve the tone of Education of Farmers and Tradesmen; and, 3. to secure generally the efficiency and integrity of Church Education, by connecting it with the Collegiate and Diocesan Institutions united under the Primate, who presides, not only nominally but really, over the counsels of the National Society.

To judge from some Reports drawn up by members of these Boards, and privately circulated, there is reason to expect much good from the manly good sense and sound principle which have been locally brought to bear on the subject.

Two results are showing themselves already; 1. We shall have accurate returns of what the Church is doing, and of what it is capable of doing, for the complete instruction of the people; 2. Men of different parties are acting heartily together, each one in his appointed sphere, and on acknowledged principles. In one quarter only, where party spirit always runs high, have we heard of any prospect of disunion. It seems to have arisen from a misunderstanding of what was aimed at, and to have soon yielded to a mutual good feeling, and to a deference to authority. In the case we allude to, the enemies of the Church were looking forward with glee to a public collision, and consequent failure; but they were disappointed. In such cases one is thankful that the Church is enabled to shed her maternal influence over the hearts of those within her pale, who in theory do not acknowledge the privileges which they enjoy.

The fact that the above-named Dioceses are working on the same plan, with the active concurrence of their several Bishops, is surely an answer to those who would fain have passed by the National Society, in vain hopes of uniting all in some new plan of their own. Meanwhile we understand that the National Society itself is taking most active steps in London, and that we may hope, ere long, to see an Institution for educating Schoolmasters established at Westminster, on a scale worthy of the Church of England. Already the Metropolitan Commercial Institution, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the joint presidency of the Bishops of London and Winchester, is in active operation The two plans must materially assist each other; there are obvious advantages in their being distinct as regards London; while it is essential that every where else they should be worked by one machinery. We who wish to see Chapters, and not their money, made efficient, would fain see St. Paul's at the head of the Metropolitan plan; and Westminster a Royal Peculiar, at the head of that which is National. {256}

We hear, and with much regret, a rumour that the SOCIETY FOR THE BUILDING AND ENLARGEMENT OF CHURCHES AND CHAPELS, has it in contemplation to alter one of its fundamental rules. At present, as our readers are well aware, no grant is made by the Society, but upon the condition that one half of the new sittings shall be made free and unappropriated for ever. And what we have heard is this, that as to some considerable portion of these sittings, it is to be, in future, in the power of the bishop of the diocese to direct, that instead of being thus free, they shall be let at very low, or what are called pepper-corn rents; not, as is admitted, for the sake of the money which would accrue from this source, but, as is avowed, for the sake of fostering, in the minds of the humbler classes, the notion that their places in the house of God are their own; that they have a right to them because they have paid for them. Such, we say, is the rumour, but we should be reluctant, indeed, to give it credence, for we do not hesitate to say, that in adopting such a motive of action as this, the excellent Society in question would be adopting a principle irreconcileably opposed to the general principles and system, we will not say of the Church of England alone, but of the Church Christian and Catholic throughout the world. The teaching of that Church has ever been, as it was bound to be, that the sinner comes by favour, not by right, into the more immediate presence of his God, in the fellowship of the faithful. Here in England, she permits him not to join in aught beyond the confession of his sins before her minister has given sanction to his further devotions by pronouncing her absolution, in that very act reminding him that he is where he is by sufferance, and that, on fitting cause, her sentence of excommunication might banish him from her walls. If this is more generally thought of than it is, the fact is, in all probability, owing to that very system of pews, and of a right to them in their occupants, which, as we hear, it is now sought to extend. That system, such as it is, has hitherto been borne with by our ecclesiastical authorities, not approved, has been viewed as a matter of necessity, not as a theme for gratulation. And the adoption, by the Society before us, of the change in question, would be the first act by which, in appearance, the Church's voice would be raised in favour of the renting of seats as of a practice good and desirable in the abstract. Such renting, for renting's sake, is, we know, approved of by Dissenters; it is too much akin to that ungodly spirit of independence in which dissent originated, not to be so. Such renting, we know too, aids them to fill their chapels, nor do we doubt that if the Church would follow their example in this respect, many of those who are willing to join in worship as by right, though not as by favour, would be drawn from their shrines to hers. But it would be as Israelites of old might have been drawn from their unhallowed high places by the idols painted on the sacred walls of the Temple. Now it is true, the "fishers of men" are to draw into their net all classes of mankind, but not, surely, by all manner of means. The Church is not, assuredly, to draw men from her unauthorized rivals, by proffering to them within her sacred pale, that pabulum to the correct passions of their nature, which they had been accustomed to seek and find in the world without her. We must, therefore, express our confident hope that this unpleasing rumour will prove unfounded.

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