« AnteriorContinuar »
the dark, the key being removed, word or tone we hear, mingles a fading spectre of the key will with our being and modifies it. be visible. Let this paper be put There are cases on record of aside for many months where ignorant women, in states of nothing can disturb it, and then insanity uttering Greek and in darkness be laid on a plate of Hebrew phrases, which in past hot metal — the spectre of the years they have heard their key will again appear.
In the masters utter, without, of course, of bodies more highly comprehending them. These phosphorescent than paper, the tones had long been forgotten ; spectres of many different ob- the traces were so faint that, jects which may have been laid under ordinary conditions, they on it in succession, will on warm- were invisible ; but these traces ing, emerge in their proper order. remained there, and in the intense This is equally true of our bodies light of cerebral excitement, they and our minds. We are involved started into prominence, just as in the universal metamorphosis. the spectral image of the key Nothing leaves us wholly as it started into sight on the applicafound us. Every man we meet,
tion of heat It is thus with every book we read, every pic- all the influences to which we are ture or landscape we see, every subjected. Cornhill Magazine.
[We hold it to be the duty of an Editor either to give an early notice of the books sent to him for remark, or to return them at once to the Publisher. It is unjust to praise worthless books; it is robbery to retain unnoticed ones.)
The CREEDS OF THE CHURCH, IN THEIR RELATIONS TO THE WORD
OF GOD AND TO THE CONSCIENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN. The
THE AUTHORITY OF THE New TESTAMENT; THE CONVICTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ;
THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION. Three Series of Lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge in 1848 and 1858. By C. A. SWAINSON, M.A., Prebendary of Chichester. Macmillan and Co.
PREBENDARY SWAinson belongs to the best class of living Church of England divines. Fully estimating his own ecclesiastical privileges, he is as far from superstition and unpriestly intolerance as from latitudinarianism; and, whilst perpetually exampling the most enlarged and liberal thought, he has no kindred with rationalism, but is reverently mindful of the limits of human reason.
His books are equally powerful against spurious orthodoxy and against crude neologism. Disciplined by logical, mathematical, and philosophical studies, and well furnished with learning, he consecrates his powers to the defence of the sound doctrine which is according to godliness." Based on the rock of faith, though amid the waves, he rises superior, like a wholesome tower of strength, and sheds the serene light of catholic verity to guide the weary mariner homeward.
As these volumes have an organic connexion, we counsel that they be read in order. The former vindicates the Creeds as “not relics of the dead past but institutions of the living present,” as not developments of doctrine in the sense of J. H. Newman, but results of the inductive tracing of New Testament facts and doctrines to their principles, the spoils of past polemical conflict, the hard won patrimony which has descended from the sainted of the past, as bulwarks of the faith and landmarks of truth for which the modern Christian should be thankful—not using them with blind submission but with intelli. gent appreciation, as suggestions to be tested by Scripture not as infallible oracles.
The latter volume contains three series of Lectures ;-on the Authority of the New Testament, on Sin and Atonement, and on the Unity of the Church. The author shows with convincing ability that a theory of inspiration is unessential to faith, that we do not believe in the New Testament because it is inspired, but that we hold it inspired because it is the production of apostolic men. When a meg. sage claims to come from God, our business is not with any preconceived theory of our own about the mode :- we have simply to investigate the claim.
The second course of Lectures expounds doctrines that may be termed moderately Augustinian. Prebendary Swainson honors the Bishop of Hippo as the first by whom the difficulty relating to “ the principle that lay at the basis of the language used in Scripture of man’s condition, man's hopes, man's needs,” was solved. Like Bishop Butler, but unlike a recent critic of Baldwin Brown, he considers any attempt to explain the Atonement to involve a transgression of the proper limits of Christian theology, and that what Scripture has left in mystery should be left unessayed by the divine. He vindicates Anselm however from the imputation of holding the hard legal theory of Atonement which by many in the present day is identified with the Gospel, and of which the mediæval Archbishop is regarded as the standard expounder. Possibly, however, a principle which lies at the basis of Scripture language may yet be uncovered here likewise, and
so the difficulty be solved by a theory not widely different from Anselm's.
The concluding series should be carefully studied both by Churchmen and Dissenters. On the Church-principles involved we pronounce no opinion, but only say that we have seldom, if ever, seen a defence of them in any modern author so remarkably combining moderation with firmness, filial duty to the Church, with charity for all her children.
There is little in these volumes to which we could not heartily consent, as one with the interpretation of Scripture proposed by the best divines of all ages, as standard doctrine which would almost bear the test of Vincentius, but felicitously set forth in modern modes of thought and expression ; and we trust that their gifted author may long aid his brethren “ to press onward in the knowledge of the Divine, unravel more of the mystery which God has made known to us, and catch thereby some further glimpse of the designs of our great Creator and Redeemer.”
SERMONS. By the Rev. J. H. SMITH, M.A. In two Vols. London :
Hatchard and Co.
RECANTATION though somewhat mortifying to vanity is a relief to conscience. The Pulpit literature, which almost every post places on our table, tempts us now to repudiate opinions concerning the Episcopalian Pulpit of this country which we once held and even avowed. We once thought that it was not equal either in the quality of its thinking, or the independency of its utterance, to that of the nonconformist bodies. Some of the discourses that have recently appeared from the Church of England far surpass in our judgment any of the modern sermons of Dissenters. The reputation of non-conformity in this respect has been seriously injured during the last few years by the rhodomontadism, in the form of sermons, it sends forth periodically, insulting the reason of humanity and libelling the Gospel of God. We will not suppose that such compounds of jargon, bigotry, claptrap, and distorted Calvinism will continue to find an extensive sale. With our great dramatist we believe that:
“ An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he, that buildeth on the vulgar heart." Nor do we find that we can any longer hold the opinion that there is more independent utterance in the non-conformist than in the established pulpit. Were a Maurice to appear amongst the Baptists what “protests” there would be against him by all the smaller men; or were a Robertson to come amongst the Independents what hooting there would be from some quarters. We are expressing no opinion of the orthodoxy of the reverend and illustrious thinkers we have named ; we only say, that the establishment allows greater freedom and independency of pulpit utterance than any of the sects would easily tolerate. Dissent talks much about liberty of judgment and teaching and is too weak to act it out; the Church talks much of uniformity, and yet nobly tolerates the greatest diversity. All honor to it for this ! We do not believe in Puseyism, nor Bickerstethism, nor even in Mauriceism, but we respect that part of an Ecclesiastical system which admits of such a diversity of manifestations.
These remarks are suggested by the volumes heading this article.
Mr. Smith's sermons remind us of some of the best discourses of Melville. There is the same habit of seizing upon some one truth in the text, bringing it out into new and interesting combinations, throwing the discussion into an argumentative mould, and ringing out the idea in the music of lofty language. These sermons have life in them, and they will live and generate living thoughts in thoughtful readers. There is no mawkish evangelism, no screaming rhapsodies, no ecclesiastical narrowness, no pulpiteering tricks here: every sermon bespeaks independency of research, vigor of intellect, and a reverent, catholic, manly, Christianity.
WESTMINSTER CHAPEL PULPIT. REPORTS OF SERMONS by the Rev.
SAMUEL IN. Third Edition. George Hill, Westminster
Many years ago, when at college, we read some religious discourses of a transtalantic divine, and their power over us was of the most imperial order. The author, whom we had never seen, we invested with attributes of perfection of every kind. Our imagination gave him a majestic form, a "face divine," a voice of music, an elocution perfect, and an eloquence of the most royal type. Years rolled on, and the time came that we actually saw him in the pulpit and heard him, and our idol fell at once from its pedestal. There was a coarseness in the manner, a dogmatism in the spirit, a nasalness in the voice, which produced a kind of revulsion. His books are little or nothing to us now. This is weak you will say, but we cannot help it, and we are sorry for it. The fact is the man was made to influence by writing not by speaking The very opposite of all this is the case with Mr. Martin ; as a speaker he is mighty, as a writer he is not so strong.