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accomplishment of the design, if we have read aright the signs of the times, is fast ripening. Her matemal arms [to wit, Rome) are ever open to receive back repentant children ; and as when the prodigal son returned to his father's house, the fatted calf was killed, and a great feast of joy made, even so will the whole of Christendom rejoice greatly, when so bright a body of learned and pious men as the authors of the Tracts of the Times' shall have made the ONE STEP necessary to place them again within that sanctuary.” What language for that antichristian church, drunk with the blood of saints and reformers, to use to the doctors and preachers of a reformed church! Still, as the Church of England acts in some instances as if that of Rome were her mother, there is nothing strange in such language, especially as the first movement towards conciliation originated with the daughter stretching forth her hand to lay hold on the hem of her mother's garment. So then the fatted calf is ready to be killed in Rome at the return of the prodigal Church of England, and the Pope is ready to die of joy at the prospect of making England, by means of “the bulwark of the Reformation,” popish.
But, to leave the two churches and to return to the nonconformist divine. Dr. Bennett divides his work into two books. The first book gives an exposition of the doctrine, the second, presents the defence of it. In expounding the doctrine, he treats of the scriptural distinction between justification and sanctification ; defines the two parts of justification, pardon, and title to heaven ; considers the mode and time of justification ; describes the faith and righteousness which justifies ; explains the relation of sanctification to justification ; discusses the doctrine of justification by works; and then concludes with a most masterly dissertation on the sacraments as connected with justification. Having given a lucid explanation of what he means by justification by faith, Dr. Bennett proceeds in his second book to defend it, by testimony from the sacred Scriptures, by inductions from experimental theology, and by citations from ecclesiastical authorities.
Dr. Bennett has succeeded in putting his subject in a strong light, but not in a glare. He is an admirably clear thinker, and one of the most lucid and cogent of reasoners. To read his book is like walking in warm daylight. In the course of perusing it we have often thought of an anecdote related of Sir Walter Scott. He was asked how he could paint a Scottish landscape so true to nature, he replied, “I see it first, and then I describe it.” As a Christian and a theologian Dr. Bennett has seen first what justification is, and then with the pencil of a first-rate master he describes it.
We had intended to make several citations from this able work, but our limits forbid us; and we sometimes doubt, whether a review presenting a series of scrap-book selections is really the best way of promoting the circulation of a book, especially in argumentative theology. Probably the work of a new or a young writer might need some selection of this kind in order to supply the public with some samples of the ability, learning, and taste of the writer. But the public requires nothing of this kind in reference to Dr. Bennett. “All his works praise him in the gate ;” and they are deservedly admired for profound research, clear thought, and close reasoning, while his accuracy in criticism, acquaintance with all knowledge, and mighty eloquence in discussion, place his name high and brilliant among the first theologians of his denomination and his age.
It is difficult to select one chapter which would deserve a closer reading than another. We would, however, press on all who wish to understand the subject, to read very attentively chapters the first and fifth, on the scriptural distinction between justification and sanctification, and the relation of sanctification to justification. Much of the popish confusion has arisen from seeing these two subjects “as trees walking.” This confusion teaches the importance of taking the advice of our Lord when he said, “I counsel thee to anoint thy eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see ;" that we may perceive things that differ, in a manner distinct, and well-defined. The fourth chapter on the faith and the righteousness which justifies, we would recommend as one indispensably necessary to the understanding of justification by faith, and we do this as the author has brought all the light within, and all the light which he has successfully gathered from without, to bear upon this stupendous doctrine. Were we requested to select one chapter which would form a plain and able tract, instar omnium, as a caveat against popery and Puseyism, it would be most unhesitatingly the seventh chapter “on the sacraments as connected with justification.” The author has in this chapter, by his perfect familiarity with the Aramean dialects, by his nice perception of the relations of the forms of language to the laws of thought, and by his complete mastery of doctrinal theology, brought the language of symbols and metaphors, types and customs, down to the level and within the reach of every man's habits of conception. We cordially congratulate Dr. Bennett on the success with which he has attained the height of this great argument, and wish him health and life, long continued, to enrich yet farther our theological literature.
The two works before us, as being on the same subject, supply us with pretty accurate specimens of Church of England and of Dissenting theology. Mr. Faber has learning, piety, and fame enough to excuse us for preferring Dr. Bennett's method of conducting this theological inquiry. In the works before us Mr. Faber's learning is patristical, Dr. Bennett's is biblical. Mr. Faber treats of justification as an affair between two churches, Dr. Bennett discusses it as a subject between the God of heaven and a world in sin. Mr. Faber wishes to deliver the Church of England from popery, Dr. Bennett aims at saving the nations of the globe from condemnation. Mr. Faber has written his work as if it were a large “tract for the times.” Dr. Bennett has com
posed his, as adapted to all sinners, in all lands, and through all generations. Both are sound, both are evangelical—both are learned, both are argumentative—both are on the side of the lawgiver of Israel, and both deserve a wide and a long circulation.
An Analytical and Comparative View of all Religions now extant among
Mankind; with their internal diversities of Creed and Profession.
By Josiah Conder. 8vo. pp. 698. Jackson and Walford. If delay of justice be denial of justice, then is our judicial chair, in the instance of the work before us, chargeable with serious failure in the administration of its high functions. Mr. Conder's book justly claimed an early, as well as a warm, testimonial of our critical commendation. It is a very able work—the most able production of its gifted author. It displays extensive and accurate knowledge, candid and discriminating judgment, great research for authentic materials, and equal skill and fidelity in the use of them. The work is not at all to be classed with the manuals in popular use, which profess to define, in brief, dictionary forms, the tenets and usages of all religions; but takes a rank far above them. It almost reaches the dignity of a history of human opinions on the great subjects of religion ; and as it is, in fact, too elaborate and extended for a popular, elementary view of the subject, it will hardly supersede the necessity and use of some more simple manual for this purpose ; though it must be owned that there is not extant a book of this nature deserving of much confidence or commendation. But holding the place which the book before us must and will do, as the most able, lucid, and complete view of all religions, exhibited in a like compass, we would advise the anthor, when a new edition is called for, not to compress or simplify his work, with a view to render it merely elementary, but rather to add some explanatory discussions, and to fill up various points, which were probably left incomplete, to avoid rendering the work too extensive for a popular manual. It cannot be so cut down and simplified as to assume this form ; and is, in its present state, far too important and valuable a work to be so dealt with. We are, therefore, anxious to see it extended, and its interest increased, by an additional clothing of discussion, narrative, and illustration, thrown over the very complete, distinct, frame-work of justly-stated facts presented to view. Particularly we should be gratified to see pretty copious illustrations of the influence of national peculiarities and institutions in originating, forming, and fixing the numerous modifications of religious belief and observance prevalent among mankind. The work might thus be made not only an analytical view, but an analytical history of all religions.
There is no process to which human knowledge can be more usefully subjected than analysis ; no department of inquiry in which that process can be more necessary than the divers ified religious opinions and
practices of mankind. Analysis is akin to inductive reasoning. Both processes consist in a patient, careful use of multitudinous particulars, to arrive, the one at conclusions, the other at principles. In truth, the tree of knowledge presents invariably to our view its ramified, interlaced extremities. It is only by the patient toil of separating all the twigs that belong to one branch from those of others with which they may be intertwined, and of tracing them back to their insertion in a larger stem, and that back to the main arm, where it grows out of the parent trunk, that we can distinguish and classify what, apart from such a process, is a labyrinth of inextricable confusion. This labour Mr. Conder has skilfully performed upon the seeming babel of the present religious diversities of the human race. Apparently innumerable, they are found to be few. Seemingly in the most hostile, irreconcileable repulsion, they are often found to possess unexpected affinities. Circumstantial differences are found to be many—those vital, and affecting principles, comparatively few. In this view, the differences in the religions of the human family, resemble the differences in their languages, which appearing at first sight innumerable, their dissimilarity total, their common origin impossible--are found, by analytical research, capable of being grouped into few families, and all connected with a common parent stock.
We can greatly commend the execution of Mr. Conder's well-conceived design. The opening definitions of the first chapter are sagacious, precise, and clear. The comparison between the Eastern and Western churches is well drawn. The account of the Eastern church is throughout eminently successful: nor do we know where, within a similar brief compass, so candid and just an account of the Western, or Papal church, can be found. There is a masterly view given of the continental Protestant churches, and the distinctions prevailing between the Lutheran and Reformed communions, are traced with great accuracy and skill. Shall we say, that our author is impartial in the view he presents of the controversies and denominations of our own country? Perhaps on this subject, we ourselves are not impartial. But in this department of the work, so full of interest, the information is accurate and complete ; the opinions candid, though not those of one who has no sentiments of his own, and to whom those of other men are, if not equally true or false, yet equally indifferent. Here are disclosed what were never meant to be concealed—the manly, decided convictions of the writer. The work is, however, eminently interesting and important, and the well-selected statistical statements by which it is illustrated, are of great value ; not so much to gratify curiosity, as to illustrate principles and tendencies—to enable us to ascertain how different opinions have hitherto operated ; and to conjecture, at least, on some not inadequate data, how they are likely hereafter to operate.
We have not room for extended extracts. The work is, however,
enriched with many passages equally just in thought, sound in feeling, and eloquent in expression. It could not indeed be possible that a thoughtful Christian mind should traverse the wide regions, and review the eventful history of man's religion, or rather, too often, irreligion, without many a pause for pensive reflection. Yet the scene is not all gloom. The purposes of God, and the destinies of man, unfold themselves but slowly. The forces of evil have already, it is probable, greatly spent themselves. The springs of error are drying up. Many delusions are already detected and exposed. Human society is moulding itself into institutions and circumstances favourable for truth. The light of the gospel will work its slow but sure way to high noon. The long night of human error and folly is probably drawing nearer to its close than many imagine. The longer day of gospel light and glory is at hand. Then there will not be in the world many religions, nor many very dissimilar forms of the one and only true religion, but “ Jehovah will be one, and his name one.”
The following passage from the preface so well and so truly expresses the spirit and the results of the writer's researches, that we cannot better give a just view of his work than by its insertion.
u The most difficult, or at least, the most delicate, part of my task, has been, to preserve that impartiality which may reasonably be looked for in an account of religious opinions, without affecting an irreligious neutrality, or compromising my own most sacred convictions of truth. To conceal my opinions would have been fruitless hypocrisy; and I can only hope that I have not suffered them to betray me into any defect of candour, or violation of charity. I have not attempted to treat of the Roman Catholic tenets in the character of a Romanist; or of Mahommadanism in that of a Mussulman: nor have I scrupled to speak of sects, as sects; or of heresies as heresies. The Searcher of hearts knows, however, that my earnest desire, and steady aim have been, to vindicate the catholicity of Christ's church-to harmonise the creed of its true members, rather than to exasperate our mutual dissensions, to show that the religious differences among Christians chiefly arise from causes extrinsic to the common rule and supreme arbiter of faith, and to lead to the practical conclusion, that as Christianity is demonstrably the only true religion, so no one needs despair, with the Bible in his hand, of ascertaining for himself, under its various disguises, the genuine lineaments of true Christianity.”—PREFACE, p. vii.
A Brief History of the Rise and Progress of the Lancashire Congregational Union; and of the Blackburn Independent Academy. By R. Slate. 8vo. pp. 148. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co.
It has been frequently urged against the polity of the Independent churches, that it cannot be founded on the apostolic model, because it does not provide the means of its own extention. Were this objection true, we own it would be fatal, as we firmly believe that no church can be regarded as apostolical, that is not missionary and diffusive. While the early Independent churches enjoyed liberty, they however
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