Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

upon popular waters, to sink or swim as it may. Feelings of religious obligation, habits of generosity and self-denial, are not learned in a day; but, as sooner or later the plunge must be made, it is well to look it fully in the face, and by gradual familiarity to prepare for it. Something has been already done; hundreds of district Churches, are as absolutely dependent upon their congregations for the maintenance of their ministry and worship as Congregational Churches and are among the best sustained of Episcopal places. And, although we have written thus concerning the past and future of Free Church principles, we do not suppose that the English Establishment will come to an end to-day, or to-morrow. The conflict of years is, probably, before us; and for the sake of all parties, we venture to say we hope it is; for much has to be done yet to prepare the Episcopal Church for its change; and nothing is so salutary, its incidental evils notwithstanding, as the educational influences of debate and conflict. It must be remembered that in one form or another the support of their religious institution does ultimately devolve upon the people themselves ; it is a mere question of mode and distribution, of the more or the less direct support and responsibility. Shall the whole nation maintain the institution, or only a section of it, Free Churchmen at the same time maintaining their own as well; or shall each Church be committed to the sympathy and support of its own members? That the effect of Establishment is to paralyze and not to stimulate the activity and generosity of those who are the subjects of it, is abundantly clear. And it is equally clear that only some inherent stimulus to both energy and self-sacrifice could have enabled the Free Churches of Britain to have achieved the position they have gained.

One word more. High above all Church organizations, and all the emulations and strifes of sects, are the Divine and spiritual things of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ; to which all forms and services of visible Churches are subordinate; but which also these greatly affect. Our material and transitory forms pass, in manifold and subtle ways, into spiritual and eternal realities. Upon what we are, and do, in our little Churches and sects, the glory and greatness, the efficiency and honour of the whole family in heaven and earth” depend. Beholding us, therefore, our perils, our emulations, our strifes, the Great Intercessor kneels and prays to his Father. High above the clamour of our selfish passions, the bitter words of our ecclesiastical jealousies, the vituperations of our narrow intolerance, His holy, earnest, and solemn words are beard, “That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

And we, our divisions notwithstanding, have so far a sense of

[ocr errors]

eommon brotherhood, and of the great spiritual ends upon which His heart is set, that we kneel down behind Him, sometimes side by side, and re-echo His prayer; that we may “be one,” not in mere organizations and forms, but in the holy sympathies and charities of a common spiritual relationship, that every cause of offence may be removed, every root of bitterness be rooted up, every feeling of jealousy extinguished. But, hearing us thus pray, will not He turn round and look upon us, and beholding us grieve for the insincerity and hardness of our hearts ?For will He not see “ Judah vexing Ephraim, and Ephraim envying Judah”? one brother insisting upon putting his yoke upon the neck of another, and demanding that he himself be endowed with high prerogative among his brethren, that every Church beside his own be disallowed, or made to contribute to his aggrandisement, that the aves of all his brethren bow down to his sheaf; and deeming himself a model of Christian Catholicity and condescension, because he has gone so far as thus to kneel by his brother's side, and offer this prayer for unity; although when his prayer is ended he will carefully go his different way, and as far as possible refuse all other recognition. Yea, even while he thus prays, he refuses to surrender one of his invidious claims, or to consent to any arrangement that shall put his brother and himself upon a common Christian level; although he expects his brother to manifest a magnanimity and self-sacrifice that will waive all abjection to such supremacy; a charity which will resent no wrong; a patience that will never complain ; a Christian affection that feels no bitterness; and a passive submission that neither by word nor deed will do anything to disquiet him in the enjoyment of his prerogative. Beholding this, must not He “whose eyes are as a flaming fire,” and whose“ ways are equal,” rebuke the insincerity of his prayer;" bid him “pluck the beam from out his own eye;" “ leave his gift before the altar, and first be reconciled to his brother;" sacrifice every selfish claim, every invidious distinction that may either hinder or grieve perfect brotherhood; and remember the great law of His kingdom, “One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren ?"--British Quarterly Review.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

191

BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.

Daily Draughts from Horeb's Rock ; merits, make us bold in asking our

or, Musings on Holy Things for readers to make it their own by purEvery Day in the Year. Consti- chase and mental appropriation. We tuting a complete Epitome of Doc- have spoken of the writing, but we trinal, Practical and Experimental wish further to say that it is in Mr. Christianity. By JOHN SIMPSON, Simpson's best manner. There is an minister of the Gospel, and author ease, a perspicuity, and fulness about of “Here and Hereafter," "Smiles it, that the reader is lured on through and Tears," &c., &c. London: W. the "green pastures” of Gospel truth. Lister; and F.H. Hurd, Fleet-street. We hope to see it taking the place of Leeds: J. Parrot, Fleet-street, the inferior, and often unworthy, books Briggate.

we have spoken of in the libraries of

our people. Books of this description have been

[This notice, intended for our Feb. No, in great request, and we believe are much read by large numbers of

unhappily got mislaid.—Ed.] spiritually-minded persons. Among the few books possessed by

Safe Steps in Perilous Times ; or, the very multitudes of Christian people we

Churches of our Country, How have generally found works of this

and Why_they should be United. class; the choice lying between the

By the Rev. T. WHITTINGTON. old book of Bogatzky's and the many

Hamilton and Adams. 1868. works of Smith, the Cheltenham WE have read this volume with the Baptist Minister. Mr. Simpson ob- utmost satisfaction, and know not serving this resolved to employ his whether most to admire its spirit or fruitful pen in furnishing Methodists its literary ability. The discussion in with a work of the kind written in Convocation relative to the Reception harmony with Methodist doctrine and of the Wesleyan Body into the Church, experience. This design has our and the vain attempts to suppress hearty commendation. In dipping heresy in itself, led the author to uninto such books, as we have found dertake this work. His original purthem on the shelves of our friends, pose was only to write a pamphlet, we have often been annoyed at their but the work grew in his hands, and maudling sentiment, empty twaddle, this handsome volume was the result. and emasculated, not to say perverted, The anomalous condition of the estabtheology. The reading has been lishment is painted with great logical frequently insufferable. We have a force, as well as the impossibility of favourable contrast to all this in the union with her as she is. The bigotry, work before us.

We have here some lordly airs, and priestly assumptions of of the profoundest questions that the clergy are exposed with a friendly, emerge in theological speculation yet faithful spirit. A good argument treated in a popular manner, and made is constructed for the validity of interesting to persons of ordinary Methodist orders. We have also a capacities and reading; while the statement of the attitude of Wesleyanthinkings are vigorous, and the style ism towards the Church, and an expose is healthy and strong. For the most of some parts of Methodist polity. The part, practical and experimental best parts of this book are those which questions are dwelt upon. There is a treat of the union desiderated for the unity in the work. It is not detached Churches, a union not of absorption pieces, but is one, and in this respect or amalgamation, but rather a united is an artistic production. The sound- assertion of the great vital truths ness of its theology, as well as other impinged upon by Popery on the one 192

side, and avowed unbelief on the other, and the coming together on a platform common to all, that by mutual prayer and counsel they might invigorate each other in contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. We trust that this book will be extensively read, and that its catholic spirit will more and more animate the Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.

feels as if larger and more elaborate works might be dispensed with. The author has the happy art of saying much in little, of condensing in small compass a large amount of well-digested information, and of presenting the pith and marrow of all that has been previously written on the institutions of Christianity, in a clear and forcible manner.

In this volume the teachings of orthodoxy are vindicated against theological latitudinarianism on the one hand, and sacerdotal exclusiveness and presumption on the other, and we are bound to say the vindication is masterly and conclusive. We congratulate the venerable author on his being able, after more than sixty years' active service in the ministry, to present this valuable contribution to Christian literature.

A History of the Primitive Methodists.

By THOMAS CHURCH. Third edition.
With Introduction by HORACE
MANN. London: Bemrose & Sons,

21, Paternoster-row. It does not often fall to our lot to read 80 large a mass of valuable information in eighty pages as we have in this little work, and presented in an attractive and elegant form. Those who want details must go to Petty's History. The two venerable and illustrious men, denominated in popular parlance the founders of the Connexion, are here dealt with in the facts of their lives and the attributes of their characters. And while the writer cherishes an ardent admiration of both, it is an intelligent and discriminating admiration. Let our readers buy it as a necessary addition to, and a valuable companion work of, Petty's History. Of Mr. H. Mann's historic resume our words of commendation can hardly be too loud.

The Tongue of Fire. A Lecture to

Professing Christians. By the Rev.

HENRY LEECH. London: W.Lister. So far from this Lecture being, as might be surmised, a copy or echo of Arthur's book bearing the same name, it for the most part occupies entirely different ground, and does not even seem to recognise the existence of its illustrious predecessor. In its own line it is a capital little tractate, origi, nal in its turn of thought, apt and forcible in its Scripture quotations, and strongly practical in its general bearings.

A Night on the Deep: _a Story of Peril

and Escape. By Rev. G. SHAW. Fifth Thousand. London: Hamil

ton, Adams, and Co. This is an affecting story, well told.

The Institutions of Christianity ex

hibited in their Scriptural Character and Practical bearing. By THOMAS JACKSON. London: Wesleyan Con

ference Office. To such persons as are wishful to become informed respecting the institutions of Christianity, but who have not means or leisure for the perusal of elaborate works on those subjects, this volume will prove an invaluable acquisition. In fact, after reading what is here written respecting the Sabbath, the Christian Ministry, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, oné

Commentary on the New Testament.

By JAMES MORISON, D.D. Part V.

London : Hamilton, Adams, & Co. This great work proceeds slowly but satisfactorily. The present part is equal in all respects to the parts previously issued.

THE

CHRISTIAN AMBASSADOR.

ART. I.--REPRESENTATIVE THEOLOGIANS

OF THE AGE.*

:

WF
E do not propose to go over the theological map, for the

purpose of pointing out the attitude of the representative men in the different branches of the science, and to show how they fall into their different departments. We take them as representatives of the various schools of theological thought and speculation. It is not believed that one paper can adequately deal with all these schools and their living representatives; and the instances selected can only be treated with great brevity.

Turning first, as by courtesy bound, as well as by the eminence of the men, to the Church as by Law established, there are here three great schools or parties in Theology: Low, High, and Broad Church. For centuries the Low Church was the prominent, one might almost say the only party in the church. They inherit a noble past, and have an illustrious ancestry; their party is positive and admits of no degrees of comparison. In the other parties there are degrees: High, Higher, Highest, as there are Broad, Broader, and we may even say—Broadest. A survey of the Evangelical party does not give many men of eminence, as representative theologians. There are men highly respectable, but not representative; for example, we have Mr. Birks, of Cambridge (but his Universalist opinions recently published have made his party discard him); Mr. Garbett, a late Bampton Lecturer; Dean Boyd, of Exeter, the first preacher of the party ; Mr. Ryle, an extensive author of tracts, pamphlets, and sermons: and Dr. McNeile, Dean of Ripon. Narrowness, exclusiveness, and dogmatism characterize them as a party. Their leading journals abound in unreason and uncharitableness. Let us take Mr. Ryle and Dr. McNeile as the

* An Essay, read at the twentieth Annual Meeting of the Ministerial Association, held at Sunderland, May, 1869, and published according to desire. Vol. VII.-NEW SERIES.

O

« AnteriorContinuar »