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We are much pleased with the author's concluding exhortation to his younger brethren, wherein he calls upon them to love and cherish their national Establishment:-“It is," says
“the only church that knows no distinction between rich and poor, --- be its members high or low, she takes them from the cradle as her cherished offspring; meets them in all the great events of their lives with suitable religious services; trains them by every rule of holy discipline; and when the silver cord begins to loosen, and the wheel to break at the cistern, she cheers their dying moments with the most hallowed petitions to the God of all mercies; and, at last, commits them to the grave, to wait the final resurrection, with the most solemn, sublime, and impressive service that the imagination of man can conceive. Let, then, no plausible theories, or speculative doctrines shake your alliance with its members: having known that it is founded on truth, on reason, and on holy writ, firmly abide thereby.”
The Triumphs of a Practical Faith, set forth in a series of
Twelve Discourses on the Eleventh Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews : preached at Cheltenham. By the Rev. W. SPENCER PHILLIPS, B.D. Perpetual Curate of St. John's Church; Vicar of Devynock, Breconshire, and Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. London: Rivingtons. 1837.
We have derived very great pleasure from these sermons, and can confidently recommend them. The truths which they contain are powerfully and eloquently stated, ably enforced, and admirably adapted to promote the object of their amiable author. The congregation before whom they were delivered, will find in them a valuable treasure. “The Triumphs of a Practical Faith" is an exceedingly orthodox title, and gave us a strong prejudice in favour of the work, which was greatly increased when we examined its pages.
Parochial Sermons. By the Rev. WILLIAM HARNESS, M. A.
Minister of Regent-square Parochial Chapel, St. Pancras. London : Rivingtons. 1837.
There are two reasons which induce us to recommend this volume to our readers. The one, because it is published for the benefit of the Regent-square Infant and National Schools; and the other, because the sermons which it contains are excellent, and well adapted for family reading. We have no hesitation in pronouncing Mr. Harness to be a sound divine. All that he advances is in perfect accordance with Scripture; and the truths are enforced with that christian spirit, which inevitably must increase the popularity he has already attained.
The Eucharist, its History, Doctrine, and Practice; with Medi
tations and Prayers suitable to that Holy Sacrament. In Two Parts. By W. J. E. Bennett, M. A. London: Cleaver, 80, Baker-street. 1837.
This work gives an account of the Roman-catholic and Protestant doctrine of the Sacraments; discusses the silence of St. John, which may be explained by the object of his Gospel being to supply omissions in the other three, not to recapitulate commemorated particulars,—which with respect to the Eucharist, which had long become a sacrament in the christian church, would have been peculiarly unnecessary; it also enters into a comparison between it and the passover.
After this proemium Mr. Bennett proceeds to the history of the institution, classifying it under centuries. — In the first century his authorities are exclusively scriptural. In the second he cites Ignatius, and produces the authorities of Justin Martyr, Irenæus, and Clemens Alexandrinus. In the third, Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian yield their testimonies. In the fourth, when Christianity had become the religion of the state, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Eusebius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Ambrose are examined. In the fifth, image worship, and the vices of the clergy; in the sixth, the temporal power of the pope, and the canon of the mass are respectively discussed. In this manner, Mr. Bennet proceeds through centuries to the time of the Reformers, and recapitulates things too well known to require our notice.
From the history he proceeds to a detail of the present form of observance; in which the Altar, the Cloths, the Chalice, the Offertory, the Confession, the Absolution, the Trisagion, the Consecration, the Gloria in Excelsis, and the Benediction successively come under review. Three chapters, one on Errors and Objections, another on Motives, another on Requisites close this part of the work, to which succeeds the second part, which consists of meditations and practical matter. It is calculated to be very useful to the theological student, and will certainly be highly esteemed by the public: it reflects very great credit on Mr. Bennett, not only on account of its valuable matter, but of the spirit in which it is written; not only on account of the judgment, which he has every where displayed, but more so on account of the practical manner, in which he has applied his observations.
The principal objections against the Doctrine of the Trinity, and
a Portion of the Evidence on which that Doctrine is received by the Catholic Church, reviewed in Eight Sermons preached before the University of Oxford, in the Year 1837, at the Lecture founded by the Rev. John Bampton, M. A. Canon of Salisbury. By the Rev. Thomas S. L. VOGAN, M. A. of St. Edmund Hall, Vicar of Potter Heigham, &c. Oxford: Parker. 1837.
In these deeply argumentative sermons the doctrine of the Trinity is established on grounds which cannot be subverted, and is elucidated with a perspicuity which has seldom been equalled. The persons in the Trinity are defined to be three individaal, intelligent agents, existing separately from all other beings; yet not separately, but distinctly from each other. The second sermon most powerfully, proves, that there never was such a thing as natural in opposition to revealed religion; that those passages of Scripture which have been cited against this position, contrariwise verify it; and that the appearances and instructions of the Deity to our first parents and the patriarchs, are conclusive against such an hypothesis. The source of natural religion lies therefore in revelation. The third sermon shows the defects of natural religion, and enters into critical evidences of the Trinity, for the purpose of demonstrating that this doctrine is not opposed to the first principles of natural and revealed religion. The fourth is devoted to the positive and scriptural evidence, which is exhibited in a most incontrovertible and able manner; that furnished by the Old Testament appropriately preceding that supplied by the New. It is indeed impossible to imagine a series of criticisms better arranged or more cogently applied than those with which this sermon abounds. Equally conclusive are the arguments from the New Testament in the fifth sermon: texts, with which every one is acquainted, are placed in a new light, and inferences are drawn from the reasoning process to which they are subjected, which none but a caviller can deny. We, however, differ from the preacher's explanation of Mark xiii. 32, which reduces him to the admission of ignorance in Christ, and to an attempt to demonstrate, with respect to his two natures, the possibility of the coexistence of ignorance and omniscience; and we unhesitatingly assent to Jerome, that oudè ó viòc in this verse is an interpolation, because he declares that the words were not found in the older MSS.-because in the parallel passage in Matt. xxiv. 36, these words are actually omitted, -and still more so, because, however ingenious may be the arguments woven together in their defence, they clearly detract from the divinity of the Son, and are contradicted by the Jewish tradition, to which Christ seems to have referred, viz. that the knowledge of the time of the day of judgment was entrusted to the Messiah, but not to the angels. Mr. Vogan's explanation of ó parhp Mov móvoc in the verse of St. Matthew is very
clear. The divinity and hypostasis of Christ he further proves in the sixth sermon, from the titles ascribed to him in the New Testament, saying, “ Let those who object to this conclusion .... make the most ample allowance .... for eastern hyperbole ... let them join all together, and they will find an honour so high and universal, a splendour so glorious, a majesty so awful yet abiding on the throne of Jesus, as is meet only for Him, who is the Most Highest over all.” The title of God's only begotten Son is shown to be exclusive, not to have had respect to his miraculous conception, nor yet to his Messiahship, but solely to the truly divine nature which was inherent in him: and Christ's assertion of this title, his exclusive vindication of it to himself, is proved to have been so understood by the Jews of his day; of which we need no stronger evidence, than that it formed the plea for his condemnation to the cross. The seventh sermon passes to a discussion of the personality and godhead of the Holy Ghost: and the eighth is devoted to the purpose of bringing together the several conclusions from the whole.
This sermon contains many quotations from Dr. Burton's “Ante-Nicene Testimonies” and Faber's “ Apostolicity of Trinitarianism;" and gives a short but splendid review of many of the ancient heresies. This compendious account is sufficient to enable our readers to form their own judgment of the work.
The Errors of the Romish Church. By the Rev. J. Rudge, D.D.
Hawkesworth, Dorset. 1835. The date of this sermon is October 4th, 1835,--the day on which, three centuries past, the people of England received the power of searching the Scriptures in their vernacular tongue. This circumstance led Dr. Rudge into an historical detail of the rise and progress of the Reformation, and, by consequence, into an exposition of the errors of Popery. Although, in controverting the notions of tradition, the supremacy of the pope, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, adoration of images, and the invocation of saints, the arguments are those which have been commonly used, and have already occurred in our work, the manner in which they have been concentrated on his point, the vivid picture which he has drawn of the baleful effects of Romanism, both in its ecclesiastical and political operations, and the forcible light in which he has placed the scriptural contradictions of papistical pretensions, are recommendations by which his sermon can authoritatively lay claim to public regard, and to every one's deep attention.
In discussing Matt. xvi. 18, on which the supremacy of the pope is principally founded, the Doctor recapitulates evidences from the sacred page, that Peter was disqualified from being the rock of the Christian church,—that Christ alone was that rock, according to the predictions of the ancient Scriptures,—and that the words in the Evangelist referred not personally to him, but applied to the doctrine which he had just uttered. What man of sober mind can read the context without drawing the same conclusion ? It suits the Romanists in this, as in many other cases, to detach passages from their connexion, and in this severed state to make them the basis of most incredible doctrines; and those who are thus deluded have only to blame themselves for not searching the word of God, and bringing the strange things proposed to them to its unerring test. To persons conversant with the paronomasia of the Jews no other interpretation can suggest itself: in most other instances the article is prefixed to Peter's name, and its absence in this play on πέτρος and πέτρα is fatal to the Roman exposition of the passage :--it is omitted purposely, that the words, which our Lord spoke in Hebræo-Syriac, might, with the utmost fidelity, be translated into the Greek.
By this omission, the paronomasia in both is obtained.
In the part which relates to the assumption of infallibility, Dr. Rudge has made a very sensible remark.—" Is it in good taste, and with perfect consistency, that you should rebuke the Reformers of the sixteenth century,--you who, to a man, are now reformers in the nineteenth century, and who, together with your representatives in parliament, are in league and combination, expressed or implied, with those, who at their political unions, and in their public documents, have professed that their object is to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down all state religions and ecclesiastical establishments ?" Has not, indeed, a church, which can promulgate the monstrous dogma, that it has power to create a God at each communion, by its impiety and perversion of Scripture (as Dr. Rudge urges), lost all claim to infallibility?
In like manner, notwithstanding the express and implicit prohibition of image-worship, on which point the Divine Mind is more sensitive than another, which, in fact, has no essential difference from the act of idolatry, for which the pagan world is censured ;-notwithstanding the Divine denunciations against the practice in the second commandment, in the whole body of the Mosaic law, and in the prophetic oracles, the Romanists in this respect arrogate to themselves a right to infringe these sacred institutes. That there should be representations of Him whom
hath seen, and therefore no hand can carve, --whether they be pictures of the Godhead embodied in the Mediator of man, or images of the mother of the incarnate God, once the instrument of marvellous agency, but never to be worshipped ; or portraitures of saints, relics of martyrs, and the like, -is as surprising, as the superstition and idolatry connected with them is revolting. Not only profanation of the religion of the one true God and his Messiah, but the canonization of the dead, to whom invocation is made, and intercession is offered, with