Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

as

6

Epistles to the Corinthians as the index of his power. Exegesis is not Mr. Brooks' taste, so it is not likely to be his forte. To him the Bible is a book of mottoes : a text is a thing to be talked about, in as ethical, interesting, able and generally pleasing and profitable a manner as possible. He usually shows an utter indifference to the context, and does not much trouble himself with correlating the saying of the sacred writer which he has chosen as the basis or starting point of his remarks with the other utterances of the same inspired writer. The frequent result of this is that some secondary truth is thrust into the foreground, whilst the primary teaching of the passage is either cast into the shade or lost sight of altogether. This is glaringly the case in his otherwise very edifying and, of course, very striking Good Friday Ser: mon on : Then were there two thieves crucified with Him,' and 'I am crucified with Christ.' In treating of the latter text, the truths which were uppermost in St. Paul's own mind, at the time when he first spoke and then wrote those words (as is clear from the immediately preceding verses); the spiritual facts which were always uppermost and most influential, as proved from the whole tenor of his writings -namely, the substitutionary si crifice of Christ and justification by faithia Himthese are conspicuous by their absence. Now it must be seen at once that this is gravely wrong: In the first place, it is, from a merely literary and critical point of view, leaving out of sight the authoritative inspiration of St. Paul, an altogether indefensible misrepresentation of St. Paul's real views and sentiments. Mr. Brooks professes to be giving St. Paul's views and sentiments ; in reality and in effect, he is paring down both the teaching and the experience of St. Paul to make it fit into the mental preferences and moral esthetics of the Rev. Phillips Brooks and his Boston audience. Moreover, this is a most griev. ous practical mistake for a sincere and earnest Preacher to be betrayed into by intellectual self-indulgence-a man with an obvious and intense desire to be really helpful to his hearers in striving to be and do what they ought to be and do. The simple and robust believer cannot but feel how much more powerful, how much more real, all this fine Christian sentiment would be, if it were vitally connected with the revealed verities with which it was associ. ated in the mind and the personal experi. ence of St. Paul. A diluted Gospel is an enfeebled Gospel. If Divine truth be first maimed and then crutched by a speculative, self-evolved, self-pleasing dogmatism or doubtingness, it is, perforce, crippled, both on the march and in the field of fight.

Hence the silver trumpet which Mr. Brooks pats to his muscular and skilful lips toe often gives "an uncertain sound,' which cannot but bewilder the man who is summoned to prepare himself to the battle' with evil, error, denial, and doubt. The evil spirit will not heed the most exquisite minstrelsy, if incertitude makes 'a rift in the lute,' so that neither the patient, in his paroxysm, nor the fiend in his fury, can * know what is piped or harped.' Mr. Brooks-athlete he is-sometimes, happily not often, so fights 'as one that beateth the air' ; strikes blindly and confusedly right and left, as if he could not clearly make out whether the form before were a friend or a foe. Aggressive, dog. matizing doubt seems to him to come in

such a questionable shape,' that he must challenge it with the demand, · Be'st thon a spirit of health, or goblin damned ?'

Our readers must not for a moment suppose that these strictures apply to all, or even to most, of these remarkable discourses. More than one-third of the book is read before the slightest misgiving is aroused as to the completeness or the firmness of the Preacher's faith in the Scrip tures, or the absoluteness of his deference to them. The first apprehension is a woke by a faintly-hinted, airily-syllabled oniversalism. This finds less indistinct articulation in the antepenultimate sermon, that from: 'Brethren, the time is short,' where the indefinite prolongation of life as a term of probation and a season of salvation after bodily death, is regarded as quite an open question in Christian theology. The obvious fact that this, to say the least, greatly enfeebles both the argu. ment and the appeal of the Apostle, does not disconcert Mr. Brooks at all, but we wonder he does not feel its weakening effect even on his own reasonings and admonitions. How nebulous in his theological system, if he have a theological system at all, are some of the grand, stupendous, basal truths of Christianity is shown in his sermon for Trinity Sunday, where, after stating his views of the doctrine of the Trinity, he adds: “To other worlds of other needs, and so of other understandings (for our needs are always the avenues for our intelligence), other sides of the personal force of the Divine life must have issued,' If this do not mean that other Persons in the Trinity besides the Son and the Spirit, or instead of the Son and the Spirit, * must have issued 'to other worlds, we cannot make out its relevancy or its signification in this como nection.

The first two sermons-on The Purpose and Use of Comfort ; and on The Withheld Completions of Life-are very touching

[graphic]

and consolatory; the third-on The Con- make strictures on a writer to whom we queror from Edom-is grandly dramatic. are indebted for so much consolation, ad. But the best sermon in this volume is the monition and edification. fourth, on Keeping the Faith. We wish this could be separately printed and circu- The Connexional Economy of Wesleyanlated by thousands. Strangely enough, Methodismin its Ecclesiastical and Spirithe weakest discourse is that on The tual Aspects. By James H. Rigg, D.D., Present and Future Faith. One could Author of Modern Anglican Theology,' hardly believe the two to have been written etc. London : Published for the Author, by the same man, in however different at the Wesleyan Conference Office.-As moods. Alas for the Church and the World the General Preface states, 'This volume if the Future Faith is to be the result of is mainly a republication’; and very

useful the cession as debatable ground-the not and timely it is. The first tractate : Conkeeping—50 many integral portions of gregational Independency and Wesleyan Divine Revelation! The sermons on The Connexionalism Contrasted-must ever Man with

hold a high rank in the Library of from the World, are very useful.

Apologetics. Its Mr. Brooks' sermons are the opposite of acter is due, not in any wise to the taste or commonplace. Indeed, they sometimes seem temper or habitudes of the author, but to to manifest an avoidance of the ordinary, the memorable, we might say historic, natural, straightforward mode of treating occasion of its first appearance. During a text. The talent they exhibit fully the terrible paroxysm of 1849, some emiaccounts for and justifies the high reputa- nent Congregationalists seized the opportion of their author, who is, we under- tunity to attack the basal principles of stand, recognized as the ablest Preacher in Methodism in the most resolute, sometimes the American Episcopal Church. On this in the most virulent manner. One of the account we the more regret the defects most distinguished Congregationalist Minwhich we have felt bound to point out. isters, at a great meeting in the West There is a tinge of Emersonian transcen- Riding of Yorkshire, declared with exultadentalism here and there which does not tion, The Church of England is tottering render more vivid the presentation of the to its fall; Methodism is already in ruins, truth. How recklessly loose, to speak and there will soon be an open field for mildly, is such a statement as this from Congregationalism. the pen of an eminent Christian teacher: The voice is Richard, Duke of Glouces'Shelley, who tried so hard to be heathen, ter's voice, in view of the death of his two and would still be Christian in his own brothers : despite'! We assume that all Mr. Brooks

Clarence hath not another day to live: means by this startling sentence is that,

Which done, God take King Edward to rabid blasphemer and fanatical God-hater

His mercy, as Shelley took good care that all the

And leave the world for me to bustle world should know him to be, he yet could

in.' not help occasionally giving utterance to a sentiment much more befitting a Christian We will not name the men who, Edom-like, than a heathen. But what an unwar- took advantage of our troubles : rantable and misleading mode of saying this! If the best mode of treating fas

• Their pens are rust, tidious intellectualism is to humour it,

Their bones are dust, then Mr. Brooks has hit apon the right

Their souls are with the saints, we trust.' way of dealing with it.

We recall the unwelcome recollection only Moreover, the Preacher protrudes the to account for and vindicate the severity Incarnation to the displacement of the

with which our author exposes the unatoning Sacrifice of Christ, and insists on scripturalness of the Independent theory His life to the obscuring of His death. of Church Government, and the weakMr. Brooks has published a very attractive

ness and unprofitableness thereof for all and suggestive volume on Preaching, in

the highest purposes of a Church. To which he rightly makes Truth the first re- call this exposure trenchant were to quirement in preaching. But, what is the use a very tame expression; it is terrible. practical use of this axiom unless we are Yet the moderation and candour of the sure of the source and standard of Truth? book are equal to its fearlessness and If an eloquent Preacher-and if one, then force, As Dr. Rigg nought extenuof course every such Preacher—be compe- ates, so he sets down nought in malice, tent to modify or supersede the doctrines But the discomfiture he inflicts is utter. of Scripture, then Trath becomes as mul- He smites Independency hip and thigh ; tiform, ananthoritative and uncertain as finds out every vulnerable point,and pounds error. We are sorry to be obliged to the whole fabric into fragments. But if

polemics are forced upon a peaceable people, first Representative Conference—most apthe more vigorous, thorough, resolute, the propriately introduced-add great value to better. It is of no use going to war. in the work. The chapter on the Test of kid gloves.' We do not commit ourselves Membership is of special force and valae. to the Doctor's precise view of every text on which he comments. We think he Priestcraft and Progress ; being Ser. yields too much to Dr. Wardlaw, as to the mons and Lectures, By Stewart D. radical meaning of the word Ecclesia. We Headlam, B.A., late Curate of Bethnal cannot, again, see how our Lord's direc Green. London : John Hodges. The tions with regard to him who will not hear title of this book would lead one to expect the Church, could refer originally’ to an attack upon Priestcraft as a hindrance the Jewish synagogue, since that was clearly to Progress. We find instead a defence of not gathered together in Christ's name. Priestcraft as the legitimate pioneer of Nor does the Doctor, as it seems to us, Progress ! But by Priestcraft Mr. Headlam allow sufficient weight to the fact that the means the craft, or work, which a Priest exclusion of the immoral Corinthian was ought to follow, and refuses to admit into by St. Paul required to be done by the the word any admixture of ecclesiastical Church in a formal and regular 'manner. craftiness. It is not quite so clear what

Dr. Rigg demonstrates that Congrega he means by Progress. The direction he tional Independency can only secure mutual thinks Progress should take is towards help and united action amongst its isolated Secularism I but he does not indicate either 'independent' Churches by forsaking its the exact route or the exact goal. The fundamental principles in favour of the peculiarity of the book is its attempt to Connexional principle. Happily, this is ally Ritualism and Secularism. We have being done to a gradually increasing extent. as little sympathy with, or faith in, the one Independency is connexionalizing itself as in the other; and the two together -paradoxical and self-contradictory as the make a strange compound. Yet the pro very phrase may be-and that with the cess by which they have come to lie side best results. Clusters of dependent Causes by side in Mr. Headlam's mind is very or interests' gather round the strong, rich plain. The writer of these sermons and Churches. Committees, to all intents lectures believes the doctrines of Ritualism. and purposes, Connexional Committees Being thrown amongst the poverty-stricken are being formed. Departments, practi population of the East-end of London, cally Connexional, are invested with exten he has learnt to compassionate their sive powers of general administration. woes, and has grown indignant with SoThe formation of dual-Churches in the ciety that quietly permits them. He bas same town, with a co-pastorate and regular had free intercourse with working met exchange of ministrations, has been who have adopted socialistic or semi-socialattempted, in one case at least with success, istic opinions, and sympathy with their though in another with failure. All this miseries has developed into sympathy with we note not twittingly, but thankfully. We their tenets. To win them from dark confidently hoped that mutaal oversight as infidelity he has tried to accommodate to Christian doctrine had been initiated by religion to their prejudices. So he teacher the Congregational Union, so that its the baldest possible Universalism ; adro *Doctrinal Basis’ should not be altogether cates the reading of secular books & dead letter. The exclusion from the Sunday-schools, that the Bible may gain Union of some very able Preachers who no unfair advantage over them, but may attack that doctrinal basis, and in fact stand upon its own merits ; surrenders the preach downright unbelief, seemed to inspiration of the Scriptures, except in the indicate as much, if the significance of the same sense as, though to a higher degree act could be inferred from the course of than, Plato and Shakespeare may claim te the discussion ; but we are sorry to find be inspired. Preaching on Sunday evening The Congregationalist earnestly, repadi from: Walk in the Spirit, and

ye ating this idea, and maintaining stoutly not fulfil the lust of the flesh,' he thinks be that the disbelieving Ministers were shut expresses St. Paul's meaning when he urge out on a mere technicality.

his congregation to attend science and a Dr. Rigg's volume is much more than a classes. Yet all the while he propounds es defence : it is also a lucid exposition of ceedingly • high' doctrine as to the priest the principles on which Methodism is hood and the sacraments, or rather that based, or rather out of which it grew, the Lord's Supper. He never wearies o which every one who wishes to understand telling his audience that it is Christ, not th Methodism would do well to study. The Bible, he recommends, though he does no additional paragraphs, the chapters on the show how, when he has thrown overboat Class-Meeting, etc., and Dr. Rigg's Presi. the New Testament, he can establish the dential speech at the first sitting of the existence and display the teaching of the

Christ Whom he acknowledges to be the teaches. The study of Mr. Wesley's Son of God. He calls the doctrine of writings on Christian Perfection would be 'substitution' immoral, and yet he claims of great service to Mr. Morgan's theology. that Christ's death was a sacrifice, and the

The doctrine of the third sermon is even · Holy Communion' a re-presentation of more dangerous than that of the first. that sacrifice ! Nevertheless, Mr. Headlam After the cases of Lot, David, Solomon, seems an earnest and a lovable man, with Peter, and others have been quoted, we strong sympathies for his fellows and a are assured : 'You have scarcely a reproof yearning desire to do them good. To read recorded, though you have the sin, not bis pointed, warm-hearted addresses is to because it was not a sin, but because it was respect his benevolence; and whilst we de- the sin of a child that feared, and that nounce his crade and extravagant doctrines, fell under sudden temptation in the hour we cannot but confess to a kindly feeling for of his weakness, but arose again weeping himself. We wish we could persuade him to the tears of a genuine repentance, yea, and ponder the question whether mutilation and because “Like as a father pitieth his unwarrantable manipulation of the Gospel is children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear the best mode of bringing it to bear on the Him." Could any reproof' be more spiritual wants and intellectual convictions terrible than that which David received, of the working men who ignorantly or first from the lips of Nathan, and then wilfully have cast it from them with con- from the retributive Providence of God. tempt. Alas ! for the working men of That sin in a child of God is less sinful, England if the leverage which is to raise or less displeasing to God, than sin in an them be an amalgam of Priestcraft and unbeliever, is a doctrine perilous in the Secularism, even though attempted to be extreme, leading straight to antinomiWelded together in the glow of philanthropy. anism.

By Little and Little, and other Ser. The Evangelistic Baptism. By the mons. By tho Reo. D. Parker Morgan, Rev. James Gall. London: Gall and M.A., Vicar of Aberdorey. These ser- Inglis.-A man who has had fifty years' mons may have an attraction for the people experience in eminently successful Missionto whom they were preached, but the work onght to have learnt by experience general public will scarcely care much for something worth telling for the benefit of them. They are written in a plain, homely other workers. Mr. Gall, in this volume, style, such as a country Clergyman might enunciates the principles on which his be expected to use in addressing a rustic celebrated Carrubber's Close Mission in congregation. Two or three reach, or even Edinburgh has been carried on with such sarpass, the standard of mediocrity, but marvellous results, principles which, he for the most part the attempts at eloquence believes, constitute the only bases for are limping. There are occasionally inele- a plan of action that can reasonably be gant transitions in the same paragraph expected to effect the conversion of the from the use of the second person singular world. He maintains that the Promise to the second person plural.

of the Father,' as distinct from the To the doctrine of the first and third Spirit of the Son, is exclusively the Spirit Sermons, exception may justly be taken. of power for evangelistic work. He Their tendency is to reconcile the sinner to admits, of course, that the Holy Ghost is the necessity of sinning. The principle of one.' Occasionally confused and overthe first sermon is, that while justification strained in expression, he produces no is the work of a moment, sanctification is adequate Scripture warrant for the sharp the work of a life-time.'

The truth,

that distinction drawn between the indwelling the blood of Jesns Christ, God’s' Son, Spirit of the Son and

the Spirit of the cleanseth from all sin,' is not Father. The Evangelistic Baptismthe named. We are told that, though we Baptism for evangelistic work - the might wish to become perfect and pare at author rightly concludes is the privilege once, our Gol-has, in infinite wisdom and of every believer, as much as the indwelundonbted love, decreed that we should ling Spirit ; that the Church has for only attain to that blissful state " by little centuries been labouring under a fatal and little."")

We may secure to ourselves, mistake in relegating evangelistic work by the act of exercising faith in Christ, almost exclusively to a few Church officers, the right to enter heaven,' but ‘meetness instead of at once finding work for every for heaven is a work requiring years of convert. Mr. Gall mentions, but does not stern struggling with spiritual enemies.' take sufficient notice of the fact, that many Alas I then, for the believer who dies soon Churches are now waking up to the vast after receiving justification, if there be no amount of working power at their comother way of obtaining 'meetness for mand, outside the ranks of the stated beaven' than that which Mr. Morgan

Ministry. It is the glory of Methodism

even

that she sets every member to work; but of the Gospel among the Jews. It contains even Methodists might learn much from not only most cheering details of Missionthese glowing pages. Our author strongly work for the Jews in all lands, but a objects to paid Evangelists, though he number of sensible, well-written papers on admits the reasonableness of paying Bible-teaching with respect to the future Pastors. We wonder he does not see the of Israel and kindred subjects. The cover imperativeness of some men being set which has been recently adopted, with its apart to the former office. And while mottoes and symbolic pictures, gives the there exists the awkward necessity that paper a very attractive appearance. All every man must eat, the Church ought to interested in God's ancient people and provide bread for those whom she exclu- what Christian would like to confess he is sively employs, whether in evangelistic or not?—should read the Herald, and support, pastoral work.

as far as possible, the noble work for which We heartily endorse the author's vehe- it pleads. ment deprecations of the system of substituting money contributions for personal The Evangelist and Pastor. Being the labour. Christians,' he says, 'instead of Autobiography and Reminiscences of letting loose upon the world the whole the Rev. Joseph Whitehead, Wesleyan membership of the body of Christ, think Minister. London : Elliot Stock. The that the victory may be secured by telling life-story of one who has had a protracted off a mere fraction of their number to and prosperous term of service amid the bear the brunt of the battle, supported by shifting scenes of a Methodist Minister's a voluntary assessment imposed upon those life, cannot fail to possess many points of who stay behind. If they give of their interest The volume is enlivened by substance to the spread of the Gospel, they reminiscences of some well-known and may give their time and their talents to some less-known worthies with whom the the business, the politics, and the amuse- author has become acquainted in the course ments of a present world. The evil lies, of his travels. Mr. Whitehead has however, not in the 'voluntary assessment,' evidently gone through the world with his but in neglecting the weightier matters of eyes open; and this record may be taken as personal service. There are some wonder- à fair sample of many a thoronghly fully wise remarks on the spirit and man- earnest, wide-awake Preacher's life. ner in which Christians should devote their money to God. The chapter on Corban Scriptural Marks of a True Believer, is especially good.

By the Rev. F. A. C. Lillingstone. It is impossible in our limited space to London : William Hunt and Co.do adequate justice to the whole of this This is a pungent and vigorous book. The remarkable book. In spite of some sweep- chapters on Jesus Precious and Doing the ing assertions, which he generally con- Will of God, are very noteworthy. The tradicts in the next breath, and a few of author's tone and spirit remind us of the extravagances which it is so difficult, Fletcher of Madeley, though there is no for any one who feels intensely, to avoid, reason to suppose any special acquaintance this is a most practically sensible, as well with his works. as stimulating treatise, which we earnestly recommend to all Christians and Christian Stories that come True. By Prudentia. workers, deploring with Mr. Gall that London : Strahan and Co.-We suppose the terms are not synonymous. The value these are called Stories that come true of the book is greatly enhanced by three because they will help to make their little very striking addresses, given in the readers true and good themselves. They appendix : on The Bible the Chief Instru- are written in a remarkably original and ment of Evangelism ; Youth the Ther- charmingly interesting style. Some are mopylæ of Missions ; and The Whole very lively, others really pathetic ; bat all Church brought into Action. These teach, in a simple, pleasant manner, somo have appeared in a separate form, and they great practical truth. deserve to be circulated by thonsands. We have not space for a thorough examination Randon Sketches. By the Rev. Arthur of the peculiar theological hypothesis of Mursell. the book.

A Guilty Conscience. By Emilie Searchfield.

F. E. Longley's Fireside The Jewish Herald and Record of Chris. Series. These are lively and attractive tian Work among the Jews. London: The little volumes, inside and out, and belong Society's Office, Great Russell Street.- to the right class of cheap literature for This excellent little magazine is the organ

the million, of the British Society for the Propagation

« AnteriorContinuar »