Notices of Books

[British Critic, January 1840.]

{242} THE Dean of Christ Church has published (University Press) an edition of Theodoret's Gręcarum Affectionum Curatio, with collations of Oxford and Paris MSS. Students in divinity are deeply indebted to this celebrated scholar for thus directing his labours to their benefit.

Mr. Dowling has published a valuable account of the various Collections of Ecclesiastical Treatises which have appeared since 1700 (Oxford, University Press).

Mr. Parkinson's Hulsean Lectures for 1838 (J. W. Parker) are on the following important subjects: the Authority and Inspiration of Scripture; Creeds; Articles of Religion; Liturgies and Rituals; Church Authority for restraining Error and propagating the Truth. It is, as this list of subjects shows, one of the most systematic works which have appeared of late years, and is well calculated to raise the tone of opinion in our theological schools.

Mr. Vaughan Thomas's Address delivered at the Birmingham Royal School of Medicine and Surgery (Parker, Oxford), is an erudite and luminous argument upon the connection of medical studies with revealed truth. It is intended as a "specification of the intentions of Dr. Warneford," in endowing an annual prize essay in this institution.

Dr. Hook's Sermon, "The Gospel, and the Gospel only, the Basis of Education" (Rivingtons), is written with that author's usual strength and clearness. The words of his title are proposed as a substitute for that ill-timed and unfortunate watchword, "The Bible and the Bible only," into which many well-intentioned Church people have been betrayed, and now find to their cost that "the ministers of the crown have taken them at their word," and they have all the time been playing into the hands of the Socinians.

The same Author's Sermon on the "Novelties of Romanism" (Rivingtons), is not only a clear argumentative composition (perhaps the best of his publications), but written from the heart, with the power which earnestness gives. There is no one to whom the cause, of what are sometimes called High Church principles, is more indebted at this moment than Dr. Hook. Not to speak of the services of years past, he is now in the front of the battle, bearing the odium of others, and suffering for views and sentiments which inflict on them little inconvenience. As to the present Sermon, we recommend it for distribution. {243}

Mr. Norris's deeply interesting and affecting Sermon on the death of Archdeacon Watson (Rivingtons) will humble many a reader at his own inferiority to the picture drawn in it, and lift up his mind in humble thankfulness that our Church is not yet given over by her Divine Master. The Archdeacon's Charge, delivered in 1816, on "The Divine Commission with Perpetuity of the Christian Priesthood," has been reprinted, as being seasonable at this time.

Dr. Pusey has published a Sermon, preached at Brighton, on the Last Judgment (Rivingtons), which will be read, as every thing which comes from him, without notice from us.

Sermons have also been published by Bishop Russell on "The Historical Evidence for the Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy," (Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd). By Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel College, on "Church Extension," (Fellows). By Sir G. Prevost, on "Corruption and Schism hindering the free Course of the Gospel," (Rivingtons). By Chancellor Raikes, on "The Man of God," (Hatchard). By Precentor Lowe on "The Divine Commission and Authority of the Christian Priesthood," (Exeter, Spreat). By Mr. Medley, on "The Union of the Members in Christ's Body," (Exeter Hanneford). And by Mr. Moore on the "Church and Holy Scriptures," (Rivingtons).

We warmly recommend to notice Mr. Oakeley's Sermon on "Christ manifested to the Faithful through his Church" (Rivingtons), and Principal Le Bas's Sermon at Harlow (Rivingtons), on "The Uses of the Offering," with its introduction.

"The Church, a Gift of the Saviour" (Burns), a' Sermon preached at Salford by Mr. A. Watson, shows much zeal for the truth and the whole truth.

"The System of the Church, and the consequent Obligations of her Ministers" (Rivingtons), a Visitation Sermon preached at Kendal by the Rev. R. P. Graves, sets forth the Church as a divine, harmonious, and a living system, only requiring to be acted upon; "a city that is at unity in itself." Perhaps we should say that the excellent writer approaches too near to the spirit of the last century in a certain contemplative admiration of the "Ordinances and Formularies" of the Church.

"The Unity and Holiness of the Church" has been treated in a somewhat warmer and more practical style, by Mr. William Dodd, at the visitation of the Archdeacon of Northumberland. We beg; by the way, to commend one passage to the notice of those who at once profess the creeds and decry all reserve: "The same Creed which declares that Jesus Christ was ‘crucified for us,' teaches also that there is ‘one Catholic and Apostolic Church,' and ‘one baptism for the remission of sins.' We must preach the first doctrine; but we may not, as faithful and consistent Pastors, practise Reserve in regard to the others."

Two more Parts of the Oxford translations of the Fathers have lately made {244} their appearance, containing St. Chrysostom's Comment on 1 Corinthians. The translators are Rev. H. K. Cornish, late Fellow of Exeter College, and Rev. John Medley, Vicar of St. Thomas's in the city of Exeter.

Dr. Byrth has published an Essay to prove that "The Fathers have no Authority to determine Articles of Faith." (Talboys). Who in the world, beyond the walls of Bethlem or St. Luke's, ever dreamed of maintaining that divines, who have been in their graves many centuries, could in this day determine anything! We suppose he means "no authority in our determining," a very different and a very paradoxical proposition.

Two more Volumes have been published of Mr. Froude's Remains; containing the compositions published by himself, or intended for publication. They are written in a grave, calm style, and appear to be mainly directed to the elucidation of one or two theological points—principally the nature of the Church of Christ, and its relation to the civil power.

Mr. Parker's (Oxford) Series of Theological and Religious Works, has been lately enriched by several considerable additions; Bishop Sparrow's "Rationale," edited by Rev. G. Berkeley, of Pembroke College; Sutton's "Disce Vivere;" Wells' "Rich Man's Duty to contribute to Church Building &c.," and "Archbishop Laud's Autobiography," an interesting volume, carefully compiled from his Diary, history of his Chancellorship, and History of his Troubles and Trials. No other service is needed for this singleminded man's fame, than to exhibit him to the world in his own private thoughts and letters. These small volumes are beautifully "got-up," and some of them embellished in the headings and vacant spaces with small woodcuts, of great elegance both in design and execution.

We have to thank Mr. Paget for his republication of Bishop Patrick's "Treatise on Repenting and Fasting," (Parker, Oxford). It is a small volume, with a striking preface and well adapted for general use, where the important subject which it discusses has been forgotten.

"Presbyterian Rights Asserted" (Burns) is a defence from the pen of a vigorous writer, of the rights of the presbyterate, and deserves the serious consideration of all Churchmen. He draws attention to plain defects in our present Ecclesiastical system; whether he has gone to the bottom of the question we have not a clear view. If a Bishop is distant towards his Presbyters, as he complains, to the neglect of their spiritual rights, is not this because the latter have legal rights, which sometimes they are not slow to insist on, viz. that their benefice is their freehold &c. &c.? It is the law which creates jealousy and disunion between the orders of the hierarchy. If a Bishop treats his clergy as "his subjects," is not this because the clergy have not taught the laity that they, the laity, are his subjects, nor brought them forward on public occasions for his instruction and his blessing? Certainly the Bishop is a ruler, and if the clergy will turn the ruled into arbiters, judges, and patrons, they {245} must become the ruled instead. Let them cease to rely on great men, or many men, but on their Bishop, and their Bishop will be strengthened to rule the great and the many, not them. There are some admirable remarks at the end of the pamphlet on the inconsiderate interference which is sometimes exercised in high quarters with the concerns and flocks of the parochial clergy.

The attack upon the Tracts for the Times, begun by Dr. Faussett, Margaret Professor, and continued by the Sun and Standard Newspapers, seems gently drawing to its end. It has travelled eastward. The controversy is at present in the hands of Sir Peter Laurie, who has addressed a letter to Mr. Cator on the subject of "Puseyism."

Mr. R. W. Evans has published a Series of Tales from the history of the Ancient British Church, (Rivingtons). They are written with his usual beauty. There are marks, however, of Lutheranism in them. Mr. Evans speaks as if the need of forgiveness were the one idea which haunted a spiritual mind ignorant of the Gospel. Why of forgiveness alone? Why not forgiveness and holiness? Surely unaided man is as destitute, and the awakened mind is as desirous, of one as of the other. Why separate what Scripture and our conscience join together? Nor can we go along with the views of this respected author about Augustine and his monks.

Mrs. Philps's "Short Reflections on the Gospels for every Sunday in the year; for the use of young People, and Sunday and all other Schools"' (Rivingtons), is a very pleasing little work, addressed to children in a simple and affectionate manner, and at the same time with a well-weighed discretion in the practical advice, and a soundness and distinctness in the doctrine, not usually to be met with in such works.

"Delineations of Scripture Characters" (Nisbet), by Mrs. Frederick Montgomerie, presents the veriest contrast imaginable to the last-mentioned work. So far from being what its title pretends, it is, what Mr. Beamish has the candour to explain in the preface, a series of attacks on Catholic doctrines and usages, in the most petulant tone of feminine controversy.

"An Arrangement and Classification of the Psalms, by W. N. Darnell, B.D." (Rivingtons), is made with a view to render them more intelligible and easy as a manual for private devotion. Accordingly Mr. Darnell divides them into Prayers, Thanksgivings, Praises, Instructions, Prophecies, and Histories. Many persons will feel the benefit of such a disposition of them, and will thank him for having made it.

Rev. E. Ramsay's "Catechism for St. John the Evangelist's, Edinburg" (Grants), is a careful, orthodox, and serviceable expansion of the Church Catechism, admirable on some points of doctrine, but not so definite on others as we could desire from a clergyman of Mr. Ramsay's reputation. {246}

A reprint has appeared of "The Service for November 5, as revised and passed in Convocation, April 26, 1662, being the only form authorized by the Church or recognized by the State." (Oxford, Parker.)

The "Protestant Exiles of Zillerthal," translated from the German by John B. Saunders (Hatchards) are drawn in a frontispiece, sitting on a bench as if to be looked at, and bearing themselves independent and magnanimous accordingly. Thus we wrote when we opened at the title-page; but the most strange thing was to find, when we got as far as p. 4, that this attitude, if we understand the author rightly, is intended to represent them at their prayers. And sure enough their hands are clasped. We intend nothing unkind against these poor people themselves, about whom a book like this does not enable us to judge, but it is miserable to find them used for a party purpose, as if to impart some positive shape and substance to negative principles.

Mr. Robert Anderson has written a few pages in a calm and pleasing strain of reflection, with the title, "The Book of Common Prayer, a Manual of Christian Fellowship." (Hatchard). He explains its design to be to circulate in a popular and inviting form, the substance of Bishop Jebb's remarks on the truly Catholic spirit of our Church. We are, however, tempted to ask why he begins with quoting an observation of the able Mr. Taylor, in his Physical Theory of Another Life? The words quoted are, we will venture to say, the least useful and intelligible in the whole book: and are after all, when understood, what nobody in his senses ever doubted; and certainly the name of this writer looks rather out of place in pages which quote Bramhall, A. Knox, the Collect For All Saints day, the Prayer for the Church militant, the Burial Service, Vincentius, and Mr. Manning on the Rule of Faith.

"The Popery of Methodism" (Burns) is a well intentioned but not a discrete and sober publication. The author or compiler, who makes use of Bishop Lavington, implies blame of Mr. Whitfield for fasting twice a week, and Mr. Wesley for sleeping on the floor; and St. Francis for eating bitter herbs without oil. And he compares St. Philip Neri to Thomas Kitchens, a tinner. There is subjoined an excellent and striking selection of "reasons" against separating from the English Church, in Mr. Wesley's words.

Mr. H. Fox Talbot's "Antiquity of the Book of Genesis" (Longman), is written in an excellent spirit, and contains curious matter, though we do not quite like the plan of appealing to collateral evidence in proof of the divine authority of the Pentateuch, instead of resting it on our Lord's Word.

Mr. Baylee's "Institutions of the Church of England" (Dublin, Curry,) is the work of a quick and apprehensive mind, brought up in Dissent but now a clergyman connected with the "Missionary Settlement at Achil," and conceiving, perhaps rashly, that though, or (as he would say) since he once was wrong now he is certainly right. His volume is mainly directed against such {247} Dissenters as denounce the Church of England "as Babylon," "parallelize her ministers with Apostate Rome;" state as their "deliberate conviction that the notion of a clergyman is the sin against the Holy Ghost;" and that at the Reformation the king did but "take the place of the Pope." We have come across one passage in his Appendix which astonished us, from a writer apparently so serious. "Barnabus and Clement are made honourable mention of in the New Testament." The author goes on to say, that their works prove that piety is no safe-guard against error." This of St. Barnabas the Apostle! We had rather belong to the Church which he is so eager to repudiate, than write such a sentence.

Mr. R. C. Sewell's "Viindicię Ecclesiasticę" (Longman), is a legal and historical argument, conducted with great learning, against the abolition of Bishops' Courts. No common man has the reading on the subject treated of, to venture a judgment on a work such as this. All we can say is, that it abounds with instruction for those who wish information on its important subject.

The Church Pastoral Aid Society is developing its episcopal functions, as the following magnificent circular will show: —

"Temple Chambers, Falcon Court, Fleet Street,
September, 1839.

"Rev. Sir,
"The committee of the Church Pastoral Aid Society having anxiously reviewed its resources and operations, with reference to the various and accumulating claims upon its funds, are convinced of the necessity of more effort to make known its important designs and operations in order to obtain the support of the members of the Church of England, and have resolved that the clergy, aided by the society, be informed that it is thought reasonable that wherever the Society's assistance is extended, there, at least, should its claims be stated and a sermon be annually" (annually scored in the original) "preached in its behalf.

"We are accordingly desired most respectfully and urgently to solicit of you this proof of your appreciation of the great objects of this society, and of the aid it has extended to your parish. If you are among those who have already taken the course suggested, the committee beg you will accept their grateful acknowledgments; but if not, they trust the present year will not pass without your affording to your parishioners an opportunity of uniting in the good work which this society is instrumental in carrying forward to the glory of God and the welfare of our country.

"Although collections after sermons on Sundays are generally most productive, the committee will be content and thankful if any other day most convenient and desirable in your judgment be adopted, and whatever be the amount of collection, they will feel grateful, receiving it as of Him ‘from whom all good things do come.' Their single anxiety is that the means be used, and the issue they humbly leave to God.

"In regard to the advocacy of the society's cause, the committee will, if required, {248} render every help in their power; but they would very much prefer that each incumbent aided, should in his own pulpit state its claims.

"If the society's papers (as enclosed) be put into the pews on a Sunday, with notice given that on the ensuing Sunday or other day a collection will be made, a simple appeal to the hearts of the people for the sake of Christ and for their country's weal, will, under the divine blessing, be productive of cheerful contributions towards carrying on tile beneficial designs and operations of this society.

"Another important result may be traced to sermons on behalf of this society. Its papers and operations convey information to the people on the condition of their country, the inadequacy of the means of the clergy, and the necessity of a better provision for carrying out efficiently the objects of the Established Church, and while its aid tends to forward the designs of every kindred institution, it directly influences the public mind to seek at the hands of the legislature due national provision for Church extension, commensurate with the wants of our population.

"We are, Rev. Sir,
Very faithfully Your's,
Hon. Secs."

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