Notices of Books

[British Critic, October 1840.]

{523} Dr. Hawkings's "Inquiry into the connected Uses of the principal means of attaining Christian Truth," forms the Bampton Lecture for 1840, and is treated in  a way for which the public is well prepared, by the sound and convincing statements of his Dissertation on Unauthoritative Tradition. His intention, he tells us, in this new publication, is, to continue his former work, and that with a view of relieving it of certain exaggerated conclusions which have been drawn from it. He has no wish to enter the lists of debate; but this does not deprive us of his valuable judgment on a number of points of detail, but indirectly connected with his subject, relative to the opinions, writings, and proceedings of other parties, at present in controversy.

Dr. Pusey has published a fourth edition of his Letter to the Bishop of Oxford, to which he has prefixed a Preface, chiefly on the subject of Justification.

We are much gratified by Mr. Holden's work on Justification (Rivingtons). Its general view of the subject is as satisfactory as its mode of treating it is perspicuous. One passage we are tempted to quote. "Allowing," he says, "such a necessary connexion between justification and sanctification, it is unreasonable to wrangle about their being two distinct things. Supposing them to have separate marks and characters, and supposing, moreover, the one to be in the order of grace successive to the other, yet if they are invariably united, they may be properly considered as one work. The act of justification by the Deity may be divisible into parts, in their nature and in the order of causality distinguishable; all that is contended for is, that they are never disunited; that they invariably appertain to the same person; that infused sanctification is ever present with those who are justified; and therefore that it truly belongs to the act of grace, which we denominate justification," p. 39. This view must prevail in the end, except amongst Antinomians.

It is with great satisfaction and gratitude to the author, that we notice Mr. Sewell's "Christian Morals" (Burns). Of course we do not mean to state our {524} agreement with every sentiment of a work full of matter and ardent in expression, but we do really trust good must come to the Church from an ethical creed so deep and attractive as that which this volume sets before us.

Mr. Poole's volume on the Life and Times of St. Cyprian (Parker, Oxford), is sufficiently described by its title. It aims, according to the author's profession in his preface, "to recommend that tone of religion—calm, reverential, implicit, self-sacrificing, and objective—which is well and commonly called Catholic," a tone, which, great as are its merits, it does not always succeed in exemplifying itself. It is besides a carefully executed defence of Anglicanism against the Church of Rome.

Mr. Beaven's sound and sensible remarks "On the Intercourse between the Church of England and the Churches in the East" (Rivingtons), are very seasonable at this juncture, and will doubtless have a wide circulation.

Mr. Beaven has also published two pamphlets on "The Doctrine of Holy Scripture, and of the Primitive Church on the subject of religious Celibacy" (Rivingtons), in answer to the author of Ancient Christianity, which are a remarkable proof how much the efforts of enemies are tending to advance the cause of Catholic truth. What may not be expected for that cause in our Church, when a writer so free from what is called crotchetiness as Mr. B. uses the language which we find in these publications?

Mr. King, of Trinity College, Dublin, has published (Grant and Bolton, Dublin) "The Psalter of the B. M. V." commonly ascribed to St. Bonaventura, with an analysis of the authorities on which its genuineness or spuriousness depends. From this it appears, 1st, that Alban Butler or his editor denies its genuineness, appealing to Fabricius, Bellarmine, Labbe, and Natalis Alexander, of whom no one expresses any doubt concerning it, while Waddingston, to whom some of them refer, affirms it 2. That Sbaralea, Perron, Oudin, and Chemnitz doubt it, from its internal characters. 3. That Manning asserts, though without appearance of reason, that it was placed on an index of prohibited books; and 4. that a papal bull has stamped all St. B.'s works, it inclusive, with approbation.

A new monthly publication has made its appearance in Dublin, called the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal. It aims at "promoting unity among the members of the Church;" its "proprietors are determined to know no party whatever in the Church; they design neither to put down one party nor to exalt another," but "to promote truth, to defend the doctrine, discipline, and constitution of the United Church, and to make known and uphold the principles of the English Reformation." To a work conducted with such views and feelings {525} we cordially wish success, and we think it will attain it. Some learned articles have already appeased in it. By the bye, what is meant by the "principles of the English Reformation?"

There is much good matter in Dr. Stonard's "Six Sermons on the Church and her Ministry" (Rivingtons), but we cannot follow him in saying that "binding and loosing" means "forbidding and permitting," p. 38; that the Christian clergy do not offer sacrifice, p. 73; or that "the pope and the papal monarchy" are "typified by St. Paul's man of sin, as well as by the beast and harlot, and by the man the number of whose name is 666," p. 166.

Accordingly we cannot agree with his "Dissertation on the Discourse of our Lord, Matt xxiv. &c." (Rivingtons), in which he makes the Pope and Mahomed rival "agents of the Prince of Darkness," and considers the Reformation "the sign of the son of man in heaven."

Dr. Smith's "Digest of Hooker's Treatise on the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" (Rivingtons), is one out of many proofs of the increased attention which is being paid to this great author, and to theology generally. There is much to like and commend in this volume—it is careful, clear, and succinct; but we wish that, in the Dedication, Lord Lyndhurst and Hooker were not said to be "kindred minds."

"Narrative of a Tour through Armenia, Kurdistan, Persia, and Mesopotamia, by the Rev. H. Southgate" (Tilt and Bogue), is the work of a clergyman of the United States, travelling under the direction of the Board of Missions. He appears to be a well-principled and well-judging person, and is full of interesting and important information.

Dr. Sale's "True Catholic and Apostolic Faith," re-published by the Rev. J. Allford (Whittaker), is curious, from the circumstance of the author, who lived in the reign of Charles the Second, being a converted Jesuit, a remarkable phenomenon.

Sermons by Thirty-nine living Divines of the Church of England (Rivingtons), are published with the excellent object of aiding in the liquidation of "the debt on the Sunday school in connexion with St. Andrew's Church, Ancoats, Manchester;" and, if matter abundant yet not luxuriant, and doctrine various but not distinctive, will secure the sale of a volume, this is likely to be successful. What may not be expected of a volume which unites the respected names of the Bishop of Chester and Dr. Hook, Mr. Buddicom and Mr. Churton, Mr. Prebendary Townsend and Mr. Dodsworth? {526}

We have seen a book, printed at Leeds, on "Scriptural Principles, as applicable to Religious Societies," which will serve well to direct persons who are perplexed in the matter. It lays down first, that a society, to be supported by the Churchman, should consist of Churchmen; second, that it should have the Diocesan's sanction; thirdly, that it should be according to Church principles.

We have also seen a specimen of a new series of Tracts called "Leeds Tracts." "A Church Dictionary," the first number of which lies before us, is in its idea one of the cleverest and most seasonable publications of the day.

A Leeds Magazine has also started, with the best prospect of success. All this is cheering.

Of "An Outline of the History of the British Church, by Philecclesia" (Burns), we would speak with respect, since it certainly is "necessary for these times;" still it seems to us unreal, both in its general theory, which is to prove we are originally independent of Rome, and in various of its phrases. What, for instance, does the author mean by Henry the Second's "jurisdiction over the clergy," "independence of Englishmen," "Morning star of the Reformation," "Spiritual Protestantism," "Protestant Church of England," and "venerable Cranmer?"

"The Churchman's Brief Manual of Baptism," by the Rev. C. Kennaway (Nisbet), is written "with the view of correcting the error strongly held, and industriously circulated in the author's parish" by the Baptists. It is written in a very pleasing spirit, and evidences thought and research; and, though we cannot follow it in all points, is well calculated to raise the views of the multitude of persons who are more or less infected with the lax notions of the day on the subject of baptism.

A new edition of Bishop Bull's Sermons and Discourses in one volume (Parker, Oxford), will be acceptable to the theological student.

Mr. S. H. Parker's (Oxford) Series has been augmented by Bishop Patrick's Discourses on Prayer, edited by Mr. Paget; Bishop Wilson's Parochialia, Bishop Patrick's "Book for Beginners," being a help to young communicants; Bishop Bull's Vindication of the Church of England; Scandret's "Divine Service;" and Saravia's "Christian Priesthood."

Mr. Gresley's Tale, called "The Siege of Lichfield," (Burns), illustrative of the Great Rebellion, we hope will soon cease to be, what it is at present, the last of the author's entertaining and very useful publications. There is a great deal that is beautiful in it, always excepting the love scenes. "Sobbing girl," "Henry's arms," "brief embrace," "dreams of happiness," are unworthy Mr. G.'s intellectual powers. {527}

Mr. Fulford has published a second volume of Sermons, on the Church and her Gifts (Rivingtons), containing well-written, sensible, and forcible statements on the subjects treated. We have met with few volumes so well calculated to approve themselves, and to be useful, to the general reader.

The principle of Mr. Ashe's "Old Religion" (Curry, Dublin), or an inquiry into the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, is Catholic and admirable; his conclusions are Calvinian, nay, almost Zuinglian.

Lessons for the Days of the Week (Burns), are short texts, doxologies, hymns, and collects, arranged, or (as may be said) harmonized, for each of the seven days, according to the great events which have happened on them respectively. It is well suited for private or social prayer. We are very glad to see such continual proofs, as now reach us, that Christians are changing their long, languid, pompous, and cumbrous pharisaical or puritanical exercises of devotion for more healthy and Catholic forms.

"A Practical and Doctrinal Exposition of the Church Catechism" (Burns), will be found a valuable assistant to those who are engaged in catechetica1 instruction. It is a small work with a great deal in it, and that sound and useful. Mr. Henderson's "Catechist" (Rivingtons) is a small work of the same kind, with an analytical table of the Church Catechism, and a list of difficult words.

The English Mother, and Early Lessons on the Church of England, by a Lady, promises a great deal of information for young people, and is adapted to raise the tone of thought in members of our Church, and to give them more of a Catholic and ecclesiastical temper than was common with the last generation.

Some writers have lately broken ground on a very important field of religious literature, which we have long wished to see worked by true Catholic implements, in the publication of tracts and little books for the young and poor. Among these we have to notice some admirable tales and conversations published by Burns, "James Ford," "Children of Hazlewood School," "Little Mary's Trouble," &c. We hear of others on a similar plan in course of publication.

"A Dialogue between John Thoroughgood and Thomas Simple" (Langbridge, Birmingham), is a naturally and forcibly-written Tract, well adapted to distribution where there is danger of Chartism or Socialism. {528}

We do not like such anomalies as "A Dissenter's Apology for an Established Church, in a Letter to his Minister" (Hatchards). This is like "His Majesty's opposition." Non tali auxilio, &c, He has first to look at home and apologize for himself.

Among sermons lately published, we are glad to notice "The Church her own Revivalist," by the Rev. F. M. Knollis, at the visitation of the Bishop of Peterborough (Rivingtons). "The Case of St. Paul and the Necessity of Appointment to the Ministerial Office," by the Rev. T. Farley, at the visitation of the Archdeacon of Oxford. "The Christian planted together with Christ," by the Rev. R. Anderson, on a very sacred occasion (Hatchards). "The Affairs of this World all ordered with a reference to the Welfare of the Church," by the Rev. T. Stone (Burns).

We recommend to notice a little work called Ancient Models, by C. Anderson, Esq. (Burns), written in an excellent spirit, and containing much useful information on the subject of Church Building.

Mr. Lewis has published the first part of his "Illustrations and Description of Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire" (Smith and Elder). They have been some time expected, and will not at all disappoint the high anticipations which have been formed respecting them.

Great exertions are apparently being made to obtain attention to a pamphlet, entitled "Observations on the Prohibition of Marriage in certain cases of Relationship by Affinity. Second Edition." In the circular accompanying its distribution, it is stated to be by a Clergyman: and that, although it embraces two other cases, the object of those who circulate it is to obtain "the repeal of the existing law which prohibits marriage with a deceased wife's sister." The circular is signed by some respectable solicitors, acting "at the request of a number of gentlemen interested in that repeal." This organization, in such a cause, is somewhat formidable, as well as very revolting. The pamphlet itself states that the petition in behalf of the repeal "has already been signed by upwards of eighty parochial clergymen in the diocese of Norwich alone," and that "two of the ablest prelates of the Church, his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Lord Bishop of Llandaff, have promised their active support." It is then earnestly to be desired that the Church may not be taken by surprise by an exparte statement. It is admitted in the pamphlet, that the marriage pleaded for has been forbidden by all the canons of the church, from the Apostolic (which, on the authority of Daillé, are summarily set down as subsequent to A.D. 450,) downwards; and that commentators, until Michaelis, &c. have {529} supposed it to be included in the prohibition to marry a husband's brother; it contends, however, that it is not necessarily so included, since it is not in the letter of Holy Scripture; and, because in Lev. xviii. 18, marriage with a wife's sister is prohibited "during her lifetime," it infers that it was permitted during her death. The writer speaks strongly against the inference prohibitory of such a marriage, on the ground that it is an inference, although supported (which is remarkable) by the Karaites, (the literalists of their day, who received only what was in the letter of Scripture), by individual commentators, and by the Church, which founded her canons upon it; and he rests the whole weight of the scripturalness of the marriage upon another inference. He argues against drawing any inference, when Scripture does speak upon a case, the same in principle, (that of the "brother's wife," Lev. xviii. 16), and he himself founds the lawfulness of a marriage, whose principle is thus condemned in Scripture, upon an inference, where Scripture does not speak. "In this way," says St. Basil, who had to speak on this very case, (Ep. 160, ad Diodor.), "whoever would dare such a deed, might take the sister even during the wife's lifetime. For the same sophism will fit this case also. For it is written, he will say, 'Thou shalt not take, to vex her;' so then he hath not prohibited taking her, where there is no 'vexing.' Whoso then pleadeth for passion, will decide that the tempers of the sisters hath nothing 'vexing' in it. The reason then being done away, for which he prohibits his living with both at once, what is to hinder his taking both sisters?"

We cannot bring ourselves to contemplate such an union being legalized; it were much to be deprecated, even on the ground that it would countenance the notion that purity in the one sex is different from that of the other, that an union which would be incest in a woman, is lawful in a man. It would also do much to destroy the oneness of the married state, which gives it so high a dignity, as a symbol of things spiritual; for this law presupposes that the husband and wife are so one, that the relations of the one become the very same relations to the other; as St. Basil says, l.c. "Those words, 'None of you shall approach to any, near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness,' embrace also this sort of kin. For what can be more akin to a man, than his own wife, yea rather, than his own flesh? for 'they are no longer twain, but one flesh.' So that, through the wife, the sister passeth into the kin of the husband. For as he would not take the mother of his wife, nor the daughter of his wife, because neither would he his own mother, nor his own daughter, so neither the sister of his wife, because neither would he his own sister. And conversely, neither may the wife be joined to the kin of her husband. For the rights of kin are common to both." But, chiefly we should much dread the punishment of such impiety, if the state were to sanction a mixture, condemned by nature itself, which it would confound, making the offspring (as St Basil argues) brothers and sisters, and cousins at once; contrary to the spirit of the Word of God, as it has ever been understood by the Church. "First in order," says St. Basil, l.c. "which is of the greatest moment in these things, is the custom with {530} us, having the force of law, because these ordinances have been handed down to us by holy men. And the custom is this: if any one, mastered even by an impure passion, shall have fallen into the lawless union with two sisters, neither to account this a marriage, nor to receive such into the body of the Church, So then, even had we nothing else to say, custom had sufficed as a safeguard of what is right." We trust then that the two bishops, whose names have been brought forward, if they have in any degree at first sight countenanced such a plan, will yet withdraw from supporting what the Church in St. Basil's time counted "profanation" ([agos]); which he could not believe a bishop could advocate, but thought the plea must be "a forgery;" that few English clergy will be found to petition for, what St. Basil thought, whoso heard, must "shudder at the very question being asked." It is, we hope, only one of those unhappy cases, in which persons, by following their own notions in interpreting Holy Scripture, involve themselves unknowingly in grievous errors of faith and practice; but that the better sort even of those who have fallen into it, will shrink even from the risk of advocating, upon a precarious inference, what they must feel it may have been the purpose of God to condemn. They will feel, we trust, this to be the only safe side. At the same time, we must say that there is something unspeakably disgusting in forming a combination for such an end!

Top | Contents | Works | Home

Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
Copyright © 2007 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. All rights reserved.