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BURGH, M.A., &c. London: Rivingtons. Glasgow: Ogle. Dublin McGlashan.
THE little volume before us contains a series of expository discourses on all the chief events of our Lord's life on earth, including all those which the Church commemorates in her fasts and festivals. We have been much struck by the great familiarity with the Holy Scriptures evidenced in every page of these Sermons; and we have been much gratified with all that we have perused of the volume. Mr. De Burgh appears to take a firm and consistent course, avoiding extremes on either side; and his spirit as a Churchman is most reverential. In point of style, we should say, that his sentences are sometimes rather too long, which have the effect of rendering the meaning less easily discernible than might be wished.
XXXVIII.-1. Original Letters relative to the English Reformation, &c. Edited for the Parker Society. By the Rev. HASTINGS ROBINSON, D.D., &c. Cambridge: Pitt Press.
2. The Zurich Letters, &c. Edited for the Parker Society. By the Rev. H. ROBINSON, D.D. Cambridge: Pitt Press.
THESE volumes, comprising as they do a great mass of correspondence from persons of all classes of society in the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, all bearing on the Reformation of the English Church, are, of course, a valuable contribution to Ecclesiastical history, many of them having never been published before. To the general reader, they will, as a body, be not peculiarly attractive; but to all who are interested in the history of the English Reformation, and tolerably acquainted with its main facts, they will be very interesting. We cannot pretend to have perused the whole of this correspondence, but we have seen enough to convince us that it is valuable. As an illustration of the kind of thing which may be found in these volumes, we must extract the following graphic account by a foreigner of a visit to the Palace at Salisbury in the time of Bishop Jewell:—
"Although the whole of the city belongs to the Bishop, his domestic arrangements delighted me more than any thing else. His palace, in the first place, is so spacious and magnificent, that even sovereigns may, and are wont to be suitably entertained there, whenever they come into these parts. Next, there is a most extensive garden, kept up with especial care, so that in the levelling, laying-out, and variety, nothing seems to have been overlooked. A most limpid stream runs through the midst of it, which, though agreeable in itself, is rendered much more
pleasant and delightful by the swans swimming in it, and the abundance of fish, which (the Bishop) is now causing to be enclosed in an iron lattice-work. After having most courteously saluted me on the following day, he turned to his attendants, and let the horses,' he said, 'be saddled and bridled, and take this guest of mine a hunting.' Accordingly, having taken our dogs with us, when we arrived at the place where the game was wont to hide, we pursued two deer which we had discovered, both of which, before they were worn out with running, the dog with incredible swiftness quickly came up with, and easily caught, and brought them to the ground. * * * The Bishop, indeed, I perceive, does not take much delight in this kind of amusement."
"On the 21st of July we rode into the country with a large retinue, as the bishop said he would show me something that would astonish me. When I saw the cavalcade in the middle of the plain, 'Why,' said I, ‘is not Josiah Simler a witness of this? or Bullinger? or indeed any Zuricher? For as to Peter Martyr, he is well acquainted with all your circumstances.' 'I wish,' he replied, all these worthy men were here.' 'But what do you think they are now doing?''Perhaps,' he said, ' they have finished their dinner, and I fancy that I see Martyr in his elbow chair.' When we had gone on a little further, he very kindly pointed out to me the whole character and bearing of the neighbourhood. There,' says he, stretching out his arm,' was formerly Old Sarum; there are the mounds which you can distinguish even now, and there the ramparts. And there, in another place, there was a camp of the ancient Romans, of which there are the vestiges before us.' At length we arrived at the place which Jewell had particularly wished me to visit, and respecting which I should hesitate to write what I have seen, unless I could confirm it by most approved witnesses **** I beheld, in a very extensive plain, at a great distance from the sea, in a soil which appeared to have nothing in common with the nature of [the] stones or rocks, I beheld, I say, stones of immense size, almost every one of which, if you should weigh them, would be heavier than your whole house. The stones are not heaped one upon another, nor even laid together, but are placed upright, in such a way that two of them support a third.”Zurich Letters, pp. 150-153.
Dr. Robinson appears to have taken very great care in editing this curious collection of Letters.
XXXIX.-The Life and Times of King Alfred the Great. By the Rev. J. A. GILES, D.C.L., &c. London: Bell.
To some readers the principle on which Dr. Giles proceeds in this work, viz., that of making the contemporary historians relate the events in their own language, will be unsatisfactory. It will appear to them that such a mode of writing affords less prospect of a generally accurate view of history, than a careful induction
from the facts supplied by all ancient writers on the subject; and possibly there may be some truth in this. Yet we confess that we think there is a great feeling of satisfaction in perusing the very expressions of contemporary writers. There seems more of reality in it; and less exercise for an inventive imagination. The Life of Alfred before us is a very readable book, and Dr. Giles has evidently taken much pains with it.
XL.-Poetry, Past and Present.
A Collection for Every-day
Reading and Amusement. By the Editor of Church Poetry, &c. London: Mozley.
WE have been charmed by every page of this Collection that we have read. Its Editor is thoroughly familiar with the writings of all our poets; and has, in these pages, woven from them a garland of the richest flowers. We especially recommend the volume to young persons.
XLI.-Thoughts on the Character and History of Nehemiah. By the Rev. HENRY WOODWARD, M.A., formerly of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Rector of Fethard. London: Hatchard. THE venerable author of this little work is already so well known as an eloquent, thoughtful, and practical writer, that any recommendation of ours must be unnecessary in order to draw attention to his work. The volume before us bears the impress of the author's mind very distinctly. It connects a series of practical and spiritual reflections with the events of Nehemiah's history. There are some very interesting remarks on the subject of "shyness "a subject rarely treated of; and the remarks on "extempore prayer" seem extremely judicious and sound.
XLII.-The Christian Doctrine of Sanctification Considered, in Eight Sermons, preached before the University of Oxford, as the Bampton Lecture for the year 1848. By EDWARD GARRARD MARSH, M.A., Canon of Southwell, Vicar of Aylesford, and formerly Fellow of Oriel College. London: Seeleys.
THIS interesting and valuable work might well furnish subjectmatter for a long and deliberate examination of the theological views propounded in it; with a considerable part of which, speaking generally, we have no hesitation in expressing our concurrence. There are, however, indications herein, some merely external, and some of a more vital character, of a certain tendency, at least, to undervalue those elements of the Church's life, which constitute
her the visible pillar of the faith. We trust, however, that this tendency in Mr. Marsh's Theology is rather apparent than real. He is obviously possessed with an excessive dread of so-called High-Churchmanship; a dread which manifests itself, for instance, in the invariable writing of "our Lord," with a small "1"-"lord," &c., and in an apparent unwillingness to recognise the real spiritual efficacy of the appointed means of grace, holy sacraments, and the ministrations of the Catholic Church. It is true that Mr. Marsh does aver (p. 196)—" the aid of the Church is necessary and indispensable in the process of our sanctification; and of that aid the administration of the sacraments forms an essential, and a principal part." Afterwards, he says, that, to believers, "as baptism is, to them, a baptism of the Holy Ghost, so also is the Lord's Supper, to them, a communion of his most blessed body and blood." He does not, however, seem to apprehend perfectly the nature of Baptism for, on page 152, we find him say, "How often have we known the mere act of baptism relied upon, as a sufficient test of discipleship, without due regard to that work of the Holy Spirit which alone constitutes a true Christian," &c. Now here it seems implied that baptism need not be the work of the Holy Spirit, We have no hesitation in declaring, that it either is that work, in the case of infants, or else a mere carnal form, one of those ordinances, concerning which St. Paul wrote, "Touch not, taste not, handle not." Of course, in the case of adults, the real grace of baptism cannot be conveyed, unless the baptized person believes with the heart to righteousness; but in the case of children, it is obvious, that unless baptism be a mere legal form equivalent to Jewish circumcision, grace must be conveyed. Mr. Marsh adds a note on this objectionable passage, which rather tends to darken the matter than otherwise; for he says, intricate questions, arising out of the practice of infant baptism, do not fall within the compass of the present inquiry:" strange language, surely, and moreover at variance with the text; for adult baptism, at least in Christian countries, is now so rare, that those condemned for making the mere "act of baptism a test of discipleship can surely not be held to have referred to any thing but "infant baptism." There can be no doubt, that baptism is the broadest and most liberal of all tests of Churchdiscipleship, and it is rather difficult to understand what Mr. Marsh intends by his censure. If he means to say, that all who have received grace as children in baptism have not kept it; that many, from subsequent fallings away, do not in a true sense pertain to the Church of God, we are of course ready to re-echo his conviction. His language with regard to the other sacrament, too (p. 152), seems studiously obscure: he censures those who attach
a literal signification to our Lord's declaration, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man," &c. ; but he leaves us in doubt whether he condemns those who would prove Transubstantiation by this text, or those who would apply it in any but a figurative sense to the Lord's Supper. Of all such ambiguities we are bound to express our disapproval; but, having done thus much, we have great pleasure in being able to state, that the Bampton Lecture before us confers no little honour upon its author. His views of Justification and Sanctification are essentially sound and correct. Thus he says (p. 171), "Let us look to the Bible itself, that we may discern what is the plan devised by Almighty wisdom for bringing back a sinner to God, and training him gradually up to that perfection, from which he has fallen, and to which he is invited to return! That plan consists of two parts: and it is in disjoining these parts that all the errors of Christians on this vital question essentially originate, and by which they are sustained. Those two parts are, first, reconciliation; secondly, sanctification. When these two works are fully accomplished, and have produced their true effect, then, and not before, is attained the great end of all, which is perfect salvation. The reconciliation to God, which is the first and greatest need of a sinner, was once for all effected by our blessed Redeemer upon the cross. It was effected, but not applied." Mr. Marsh goes on to show, how justifying faith alone, that is, a faith which works by love, of which perfect trust and humility are the main characteristics, can apply this reconciliation to ourselves. He says (p. 177), "In the humble and confiding state of mind in which he (the Christian) applies for justification, and obtains it, his sanctification also is begun; for that state of mind is essentially a holy state, the work of the Holy Spirit upon his heart;" and then he goes on to show, that sanctification is a gradual progress towards perfection, which however can never be attained. On this subject he says (p. 205), "The purest saint on earth may be purer still; the holiest, holier; the best love may be improved; the liveliest devotion invigorated."
We must confess, however, that while we consider Mr. Marsh's statements to be in the main orthodox, and assert with him the priority of Justification to Sanctification, we think he has missed the whole truth from his inattention to the great question of Infant Baptism. We hold, that the faith of Christ's Church in bringing the child to the font, together with the passive receptivity of the child, represent and virtually constitute that justifying faith, which reconciles the recipient of baptismal grace to God, and makes him or her, verily and indeed, a member of Christ, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. We do not think, that this justification, or seal of God's pardon and reconciliation,