Notices of Books

[British Critic, January 1841.]

{240} ARCHDEACON Lyall's "Propædia Prophetica" (Rivingtons) is an original, deep and powerful argument on the grounds on which Christian evidence rests. We do not profess to follow him at every step, but it is most encouraging to find such views from one so high in the Church both in rank and name.

Mr. Tyler's "Primitive Christian Worship, or the Evidence concerning the Invocation of Saints and Angels, and the B. M. V." (Rivingtons) is dedicated to "the One holy Catholic and Apostolic Church," and fully answers to its motto of "Speaking the Truth in Love." It is impossible to open the volume without meeting proofs of its brotherly tone; and on the other hand it is a book of facts,—at this time the most useful book of all. It is a professed attempt to win over members of the Church of Rome to Anglicanism, by showing that their own communion is not infallible.

Mr. Gladstone has published a second volume, on "Church Principles considered in their Results" (Murray).

We have to thank Mr. Jebb for his "Divine Economy of the Church (Duncan and Malcolm).—It is a thoughtful, perspicuous, and beautiful comment on the articles of "the Holy Catholic Church" and "the Communion of Saints."

We are not going here to enter into the question of "Mehemet Ali, Lord Palmerston, Russia, and France," by W. Cargill, Esq. (Reid), but we will take occasion of this pamphlet, to express our surprise at two things, for which, however, Mr. C. is not responsible; first, that persons should have thought that the success of Mehemet could in any case compromise the prophecies about Egypt, after the dynasty of the Ptolemies, as if each were not a foreign power; and next, that a correspondent, favourably introduced into a well-known religious publication by its editor, should have advocated the settlement of the Jews in Palestine and building for them their Temple. So Julian, it seems, is at the bottom of these pseudo-evangelical principles.

"Israel's Return, or Palestine Regained," by Joseph Elisha Freeman, (Ward) shows that the last statement is no mistake. He quotes Mr. Frey as "justly inquiring" thus—"And now dear reader, why should it be thought strange that my dear people, who have for nearly 1800 years most conscientiously observed all the religious rites which God gave to our fathers, … would, when they are brought back by the wonderful goodness of God to the land which God gave to our fathers, build again a temple for the worship of God, {241} erect an altar unto the Lord, and offer up their sacrifices, and observe all other ceremonies which they observed before their dispersion by the Romans?—p. 227. Yet in his preface the author says, "So far as concerns the general outline of his subject," in which the point in question surely ought to be included, 'the author feels unbounded confidence (sic), and were he, from a feeling of false, humility, to speak in language less strong, he would be affecting doubt, diffidence, and uncertainty, where (whether right or wrong) he is not in the slightest degree (sic) conscious of possessing them."

Very different is the unaffected and temperate tone, and the perspicuous method in which is conducted "An inquiry respecting the Destiny of the Ten Tribes, by a Layman," (Rivingtons) though we do not concur in the conclusion, which is, that the present population of Europe is descended from the ten tribes.

Mr. Atkinson's "Principles of Political Economy" (Whittaker) are devoted to the excellent object of showing that the only real mode of relieving the physical wants of the productive classes, is by subjecting their exertions to a moral law;—that love, not self-interest, is the true social bond, and that labour is efficient according as it is directed by justice. He attempts to treat this practically. We are rejoiced to see such symptoms of an improved philosophy in the important department of science which Mr. Atkinson has undertaken.

Mr. Bowden has begun a new line of history in his "Life of Gregory the Seventh," 2 vols. (Rivingtons), unless the recent Becket Letters may be said to have anticipated him. It is very learned, and, if possible, still more interesting. The history is quite dramatic, and reads like a romance.

Count Valerian Krasinski's "Historical Sketch of the Reformation in Poland" (Murray) is written with remarkable ease and idiomatic propriety for a foreigner, and in a temperate and amiable tone. Much information will be derived from it on its subject, but of course we cannot be expected to approve the views of a continental Protestant.

Mr. Lathbury in his "Guy Fawkes" (Parker, London) gives a sketch of the two events commemorated in the 5th of November service, and endeavours to prove that rebellion on religious grounds against the sovereign is wrong in Papists and right in Protestants.

Dr. Biber's "Standard of Catholicity" (J. W. Parker) contains much thought and some great truths. We have taken some pains not to misunderstand him, and we are sure he cannot hold what yet he seems to us to say, viz. that there is no Christianity without union with the visible Church, and no heterodoxy in those who sincerely seek divine communion in it. Hence, that orthodoxy is neither necessary for those who belong to it, nor available for those who do not. How this holds with maintaining the Athanasian creed does not appear; nay, according to Dr. Biber, "creeds or articles," p. 194, must be incumbrances, or rather stumbling blocks and snares. Surely a member of the English Church may fairly ask for a solution of these preliminary difficulties before he throws his mind into Dr. Biber's reasonings.

"The Protestant's Armory" (Seeley and Burnside) is a collection of authorities {242} to make it certain that the Church of Rome is apostate, idolatrous, and anti-christian. The writers selected are Keith, Newton, Faber, Burkitt, Jewell, Ussher, M'Ghee, Whitby, Doddridge, &c, &c.

As to Mr. Scott's careful work on the "Suppression of the Reformation in France," (Seeley and Burnside) considering what is meant by the French Reformation, we can only say that, unlike the author, we are well satisfied that it was suppressed.

The three volumes of the Edinburgh Cabinet Library on "British America" appear to be a useful compendium for those who want information on colonial affairs. The chapter on the social state of Canada gives an interesting account of the French habitans, and a sad contrast in the manners of the mixed multitude of later emigrants. Amongst much which it is painful to read, we find—"Sir John Colborne expressly says, that the established clergy have not effected any Indian conversions." Can this be true?

"Ecclesiastical Colloquies," by L. J. Hobson, (Roake and Varty) were first published in 1816, and are one out of many witnesses to the continuity of apostolical principles among us even in the least satisfactory times.

The "Book of the Universal Kirke, Re-opened by a Presbyter," (Whittaker) does not do itself justice in its composition. It is a book of excellent views (bating some unchristianisms against Rome, into which right-principled persons are beginning to fall, and which will be sure to have an uncomfortable re-action,) delivered continuously without break or table of contents. It is a thoughtful, practical, and convincing argument upon Church unity.

"The School Girl in 'France" (Seeley and Burnside), a caution against "the Snares, Pitfalls, and innumerable Perils of a Popish School," will find an energetic second in M. Thiers and the Marseillaise. There are other snares and pitfalls from which the volume does not secure us; for instance, that of young girls thinking uncertainty of their personal salvation awful and appalling, and triumphant assurance an ordinary privilege.

"The Duty of the Members of the Church of England to adhere to Her Doctrine and Discipline," by Rev. F. R. Nixon (Wix), is a Visitation Sermon, written with much earnest feeling and sound principle. He mentions, as from an influential member of the Wesleyan body, that "the Oxford Tracts were getting into circulation amongst the Methodist preachers, and that many of them were 'decided Oxford tract men,' (his own expression,) and held the doctrine of the 'power of the keys' as fully as any Romish priest could do."—p. 47.

Mr. Beaven's "Calm Exposure," in answer to the Fifth Part of "Ancient Christianity" (Rivingtons), is, like his former pamphlets, written in a style remarkably temperate, sensible, and persuasive. It gives the authors of the "Tracts for the Times" their due, but distinctly draws the line at which they ought to have stopped in the development of their opinions,—what they should have said,—and what they should not. We anticipate that in no long time he will carry with him the bulk of English Churchmen. Our solitary misgiving about the view to which we allude is, lest it should turn out like the cry of the pieman, "Banbury cakes, all jam and no crust."

The learning and excellent principles of Rev. W. Blunt's "Dissenters' {243} Baptism and Church Burials" (Rivingtons) made us feel that it is wrong to despair of the Church, in spite of the captivity to which decisions such as Sir John Nicholl's, and her own conduct before and after it, have reduced her.

The "Letter to the Clergy on the Bishop of Norwich's Speech" (Rivingtons) is on so painful a subject, that, excellent as the letter is, we had rather the Church should speak before us.

"The Life of the late Bishop Burgess," by J. S. Harford, Esq. (Longman and Co.) is written in the clear, simple, unaffected style which becomes biography, and is interesting at once from its subject and from the various letters and anecdotes it contains of his literary and ecclesiastical contemporaries.

Dr. James's "Proper Lessons, with a short Commentary" (Rivingtons), is intended "to aid the worshipper to understand their application to his own condition." It will be found useful for that purpose:—the tone of doctrine is not so boldly and distinctly Catholic as we could desire, though it is more than enough so to offend ordinary Protestants.

The grave, wise, and learned Bishop Sanderson's "Sermons, two volumes," (Arnold) are preceded by an Introductory Essay, by the Rev. R. Montgomery, who accordingly "acknowledges in all honest truth that the renovating doctrines of the cross, the riches of that everlasting covenant of love where the heart of the Trinity is revealed as interested with the miracles of salvation, and the profound mystery of sanctification, as effected by the energizing work of the Spirit, occupy by no means that position in these Sermons which might be desired."—p. xiv.

Rainbow's "Sermon on the Death of the Countess of Pembroke" (Nichols) is a fair specimen of the mode of composition usual in the seventeenth century.

Mr. Harness's "Four Sermons on Christian Education" (Rivingtons) are impressive and practical discourses introduced with a graceful dedication.

We are obliged to Mr. Bennett for his second volume of Sermons, (Cleaver) which we feel sure will do good wherever it is known.

Mr. Slade's "Plain Parochial Sermons," vol. iv. (Rivingtons) are not only so, but sound, affectionate, and instructive.

Mr. Merewether's "Strictures on Mr. Benson's Sermons" (Rivingtons) are written in the amiable temper and with the clearness of argument, which characterize his former publications.

"Faith, Hope, and Charity," by Mr. P. Hall (Norman) is the substance of sermons preached on "three Sabbath mornings" to the united congregations of the episcopal chapels in Broad Court and Long Acre during the renovation of the former; with a long index of the texts, quoted to prove, we presume, the scriptural character of the sermons.

Harte's "Practical Sermons" (Rivingtons) are in a thoughtful and serious style, and show a strong sense of the difficulties which lie in the way of a consistent course of religion.

"The Cloud of Witnesses" is a series of eloquent discourses by Mr. James Anderson, (Rivingtons) written with the design of inviting Christians to glorify God by the commemoration and imitation of the saints of the Old Testament. {244}

Excellent sermons have been published, on "Christian Goodness," by the Dean of Chichester, preached on a very trying occasion—the death of the much-beloved Bishop of Chichester; "The whole Counsel of God declared by the S. P. C. K.," by Rev. F. Kilvert (Riviere, Bath); "The Office of this Generation in the Church of Christ," by Rev. F. W. Faber (Rivingtons); "Christ All and in All," by Rev. B. Addison (Hamilton and Adams); "The Church the Guide to Truth and Unity," preached before the University of Cambridge by the Rev. F. W. Collison (Rivingtons); "How are the Mighty Fallen," by Rev. J. Medley (Rivingtons), with a learned and interesting Appendix; "The Edification of the Church," preached at Bishop Shuttleworth's consecration by Rev. A. Grant (Burns); "The Duty and Blessing of Church Membership," by Rev. G. Sherard (Huntingdon); "A Thanksgiving Sermon on the Queen's Escape from Assassination," by Rev. F. Stone (Burns); "The City of God," by Rev. J. F. Russell (Burns).

"Forms of Bidding Prayer, with an Introduction and Notes," (Rivingtons) is a curious and interesting little volume.

"The Order of Confirmation," by Rev. H. Hopwood, (Burns) is a collection of beautiful meditations, prayers, &c. before and after the rite, from the Fathers and standard modern divines. It is calculated to give sound views and serious thoughts to those who are candidates for it.

Mr. Keddell's "Dissertation on the Vow of Jephthah" (Painter) brings together some strong arguments for concluding that his daughter was not put to death, but makes the question of more importance than seems to us suitable.

"The Christian Gentleman's Daily Walk," by Sir A. Edmonstone, Bart. (Burns) is a beautiful composition, written much upon the model of "Herbert's Country Parson." We wish he had not repeated the exploded interpretation of the text—"Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, &c." as if it meant that they should nurse the Church, whereas it declares that they should be nurses, for and under her, of her children.

Bishop Hacket's "Christian Consolations" (Burns) are sufficiently praised by saying that Bishop Heber has attributed the book to Jeremy Taylor, and included it in his edition of his works.

"A Table of Psalms and Lessons for the Seven Services through the Week, and for Festivals, &c. from the Breviary" (Burns) will be acceptable to those who think that the influence of Romanism is best neutralized by taking from it its excellences, and leaving it the remainder.

"Texts for Meditation, before and at intervals in Divine Service and at the Holy Communion," are printed on cards, and are to be had of Mr. Burns.

"The brief Account of every Sect professing the Christian Religion" (Brittain and Reid) appears a useful little summary. Nothing can be more impartial. We have tried in vain to discover to what sect the author belongs, or whether to any.

"Sabbath Musings and Every Day Scenes," (Seeley) and "The Miracles of our Lord explained in a Correspondence between a Mother and her Daughter," (Seeley) exhibit a patchy and desultory sort of piety. The writer {245} of the former betrays a very extensive acquaintance with Irish, English, and German watering-places. Religion "not at home" would have been a more appropriate title.

"Gospel Extracts for Young Children" (Rivingtons) are what the title signifies, simply passages from the Gospels, and will, as the preface hopes, "prove acceptable to many parents."

"An Introduction to the Evidences," for schools (Nisbet), is a condensation of much matter in a small space, carefully done, well calculated to sharpen the minds of young persons,—whether to make them religious is another matter. The following sentence seems to us to contain the essence of scepticism. "One of the greatest principles of wisdom man can arrive at in this world, is to let the degree of his belief bear an exact proportion to the degrees of evidence."—p. 10. e.g. to believe the doctrine of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, far less firmly, we suppose, than the Divinity of our Lord.

The "Voice of the Church, or Selections from Divines of all Ages" (Burns) has now reached a second volume. It contains extracts from S. Irenæus, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, &c., Archbishop Cranmer, Fuller, Chillingworth, Dean Stanley, Bishop Jolly, Bishop Patrick, Dr. Comber, &c., and a life of Bishop Ridley. This assemblage of names is dear to the Anglican Churchman, and will tend to build up others on his foundation.

Of the series called "The Englishman's Library" (Burns) we have to notice "The Five Empires, an Outline of Ancient History," by Rev. R. J. Wilberforce, a work of much learning in an unpretending form; and "The Tales of the Village," by Rev. F. E. Paget, a beautiful and instructive volume.

Archdeacon Wilberforce's "Stories" make the nearest approach to John Bunyan which we have in our Church. We feel much obliged to him for his "Rocky Island, and other Parables," (Burns) which are intended for the young, and we sincerely hope he will continue his labours.

A tale of very great ability and excellent principle, though with a title which does not do it justice, has just been published, called "The Fairy Bower" (Burns). It is in form a child's tale, but is better adapted for grown people. We are sure that no one will repent having had it thus recommended to their notice. There cannot be a greater praise paid it than to say that its principal fault is a profusion of characters.

Of little books for schools and young people, we recommend Burn's "Lessons for the Days of the Week;" "Little Mary," a picture of children with a great deal of beauty and naturalness, but with no plot; "Dialogues on the Te Deum " Mr. Chamberlain's "Godfather's Gift," which is full of instructive remarks; and two, which we should praise very highly, were there not a danger of our taking sympathy as a warrant for admiration; "Conversations with Cousin Rachel;" and "Practical Exposition of the Creed;"—yet one should think they would be admired even by those who did not agree with them.

Burn's "Tracts on Christian Doctrine and Practice" will be found to answer to their title, and are much to be recommended. Of these, that on "Evangelical Truth and Apostolical Order" explains the true sense of words in {246} themselves somewhat ambiguous. In Mr. Pridden's "Richard Morton," strange to say, Sunday is apparently called "the seventh day."

Among U. S. publications we notice an impressive address of Bishop Ives to the General Theological Seminary of the "Protestant Episcopal" (meaning the Catholic Apostolic) "Church in the U. S.;" a "Sermon on Isaiah's Prospects of the Church," by Bishop Doane; a "Pastoral Letter," by the same; "The Journal of the 57th Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey;" "Oxford Theology," an article from the New York Review, which must be very gratifying to the parties of whom it speaks; "The Proceedings of the Board of Missions at the first Triennial Meeting," which are very interesting, and contain valuable information about the Eastern Churches; and "A Sermon," by Dr. Jarvis, on Christian Unity, preached on that occasion, in which we are concerned to say that the excellent author defends the Nestorians and Eutychians, though of course upholding the third and fourth General Councils.

It is encouraging indeed to meet with such pamphlets as Mr. Markland's on "Sepulchral Memorials of Past and Present Times" (Rivingtons). It is dedicated to the President and Members of the Oxford Architecture Society, an institution from which we expect much.

We desire particularly to recommend "Church Music, or a selection of Chants, Sanctuses, and Responses, together with the Litany and Versicles as used in the Church Service; also Psalm Tunes adapted to the authorized Metrical Versions, (Burns) by R. Readhead, Organist at Margaret Chapel, St. Marylebone."

There is a good deal of ability and even strength in "The Lord's Prayer contemplated as the Expression of the Primary Elements of Devotion," by Mr. Griffith (Burns), but the language is often more declamatory or discussional than suits the gravity of the subject.

"Every Day Duties, in Letters to a Young Lady," by M. A. Stodart," (Seeley and Burnside) is a little book of which the tone and spirit are much better than the creed. It is a curious instance of the gradual encroachments which the light of Catholic truth is making at this moment on doctrinal ignorance. Men are seen as trees walking.

"A Letter to T. Phillips, Esq. on the Connection between Religion and the Fine Arts," by H. Drummond, Esq. (Fraser) is a pamphlet which will repay a careful perusal.

The excellent object of Mr. Littlehales's "Letter on Education" (Stratford-on-Avon) is to promote the growing feeling of the necessity of doing something of a sound and permanent character for the education of the middle classes.

Mr. Buddicom's "Few Words for the Five Church Societies" (Rivingtons) well answers its main object of being useful for "distribution in country parishes."

We are glad to see proposals issued for collecting and printing rare or unpublished works or documents, illustrative of the "history and Antiquities of Ireland." Specimens of works still extant in manuscript, to which attention might be turned, are "The Annals of Kilronan;" "The Liber Hymnorum," {247} supposed to belong to the Abbey of Lona; "The Registrum nigrum and Repertorium viride of Archbishop Alan;" and "The Registrum Cœnobii omnium Sanctorum juxta Dublin." Names may be sent to Messrs. Hodges and Smith, 21, College Green, Dublin.

Mr. La Trobe's "Scripture Illustrations" (Seeley) is a most splendid book, All the more remarkable places of sacred history, from Ararat to the Seven Churches, are illustrated with copious extracts from Scripture and travellers of every age, and with what is now deemed almost as indispensable, striking engravings.

"The Rhine; Legends, Traditions, History, from Cologne to Mainz," by Joseph Snow, Esq., is a very elegant, and, to those who have a taste for diablerie and such matters, a very amusing work. This peculiar sort of interest, however, is kept up at a great sacrifice of all kinds of religious feeling.

"Popular Errors explained and Illustrated," by John Timbs, parts 1 and 2, (Tilt and Bogue) is a book to take up in a leisure hour, and get information from on the "economy of man," his properties, food, and domestic arts and manufactures.

"Recollections of the Lakes," by the author of "The Moral of Flowers," (Tilt and Bogue) is an elegant volume of poems on natural and religious subjects.

Sir J. Doyle's "Miscellaneous Verses" (Saunders and Otley) are vigorous, graceful, harmonious, touching poems,—now and then extravagating beyond the bounds of reverence, and somewhat wanting in severity both of thought and composition.

"Ragg's Poems" (Longman) are interesting, as being the writing of one who has raised himself from the situation of a working mechanic to a respectable literary position. They display considerable poetical talent, developed upon not very good models; for instance, the titles of some of his former works, "Incarnation," "Deity," revive a dream of profaneness some time passed away, and uncongenial to Mr. Ragg's nice feelings and natural good taste.

"The Redeemer," by W. Howorth," (Tilt) is a poem of which our limits preclude perhaps as large a notice as it deserves. We have read considerable portions of it with a prejudice against it on account of its length, and feeling the want of that peculiar interest which an artificial plot alone can sustain. But we are forced to acknowledge that it contains much true poetry, and is full of good versification and deep religious feeling.

The "Glossary of Provincial Words used in Herefordshire and some of the adjoining counties," (Murray) is a curious and interesting little book. It does not however discriminate enough between native old expressions, and modern corruptions and vulgarisms.

We should notice with reference to the article in our last number on "New Churches," that the late alterations in St. Mary's, Nottingham, to which we briefly alluded, are on a very excellent design, and with a decidedly primitive aim. This was of course to be expected from Archdeacon Wilkins's well-known {248} zeal and judgment in church building. What struck us as inconsistencies were entailed by the absolute necessity of accommodating an old church to modern worship. Snenton Church appears also not so entirely destitute of a fourth, or chancel arm, as we had been given to understand. Our informant had overlooked an octagonal apsis extending eastward from the central tower. We are glad to be able to give Mr. Pugin's own account of the word "Cathedral" in the title appended to his engraving of his "Church" at Derby: "Before I left London for the continent, when I was engraving the views of the church, I left the directions for the letter-engraver on a slip of paper, and wrote 'Cath. Church, Derby,' abbreviating the word 'Catholic.' What was my astonishment and annoyance to find on my return a few weeks after, that he had engraved 'Cathedral Church' instead of 'Catholic.' I immediately had the error rectified as well as I could." It seems, too, Mr. Pugin used his best endeavours to prevent the bearings being from north to south. As for the position of the edifice, with respect to the old English church close to it, we merely meant that, however accidentally and unwillingly, ("There is a divinity that shapes our words, rough hew them how we will,") the Romanists had in fact stumbled upon a situation and attitude which were emblematical of their ecclesiastical position. The new Church of Holy Trinity at Blackheath has not two tiers of galleries, we are glad to learn, but an organ loft above the west end gallery. We will add, that when we spoke of "the rough work of a vestry going on just behind the altar," we were thinking of the ordinary conversation, and half-secular business, such as parish affairs, often carried on there; not to speak of the lumber, parts of the warming, lighting, or cleaning apparatus, &c., sometimes there kept or thrown aside. We have just received notice that the tower of Lee Church, which is in course of building by Mr. Brown, has been erected according to a plan different from that which was at first proposed and to which we alluded, and, as the architect informs us, avoiding the errors which we pointed out.

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