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London : 1825.) The same spirit is in the abridgment as in the original. Rev. John Scott continued the original work in quite a full and very valuable history of the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland, (in three volumes, London : 1828– 1831.) The same has been done by Rev. Henry Stebbing, independently of Mr. Scott, (three volumes, London : 1839-1842.) Both of these writers enter with full sympathy into the history of the Reformation, though one differs somewhat from the other in the position from which he views questions that have arisen since the times of the Reformer.
A more recent work written in English, on Church History in general, is that of Dean Waddington. This was prepared for the “Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.” It is written in a lively style, which makes the reading of it agreeable. The author has studied the sources of history for himself, and has given us a work from which we may draw a large amount of valuable information. But it is by no means a complete history of the Church. Some important branches are almost wholly omitted, such as the history of doctrines and of Christian life and manners. There is in the work a want of sympathy with the condition of mankind as to the need which the Gospel is intended to supply, and as to the blessedness of its provisions for that need. The foundation-stone of the Church and the Church itself as built thereon, the author does not keep always in view. He seems at times to have satisfaction in bringing to view the carnal policy, and the deep moral corruptions of men distinguished in ecclesiastical annals, and had we no other means than this work gives us of ascertaining what Christianity is, and the benefits it has conferred on the world, we might be doubtful as to its divine origin and the transcendent nature of it as the revelation of God's grace.
Later still than Dean Waddington's history, appeared that of Dean Milman. He published first a “History of Christianity from the birth of Christ to the abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire." (Republished under the editorship of Rev. James Murdock, D.D., by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1844.) The author's plan has excluded some matters of great moment in proper Church History. He evidently does not aim
to exhibit the Church in its proper progress as the kingdom of God on earth, but rather as the grand instrument of the world's improvement. Himself says: “Our attention will be chiefly directed to the effects of Christianity on the social, and even political condition of man." Or as he says again: “To exhibit the reciprocal influence of civilization on Christianity and of Christianity on civilization.” A goodly portion of the work is given to the life of our Saviour. In this part especially ap. pear the most objectionable features of the book. The author deals with the miraculous events in the gospel history, as, in his History of the Jews, he does with those of the Old Testament, that is, in a way which the simple Christian must abhorrently reprobate, because it virtually upsets the foundation of our faith, and which makes the very starting-point of Church History hardly better than a fable. He does profess to see the Divine in Christianity, and to hold the Godhead of the Saviour. But on his principles of interpretation, of what value is the faith beyond what in fact he avows it as his purpose to exhibit it in history, that is, as the means of “social and political” improvement ? Even this, however, it never would have been, apart from its proper miracles. Not only was Christianity introduced into the world by the miraculous birth and proper incarnation of the Son of God, and propagated by miracles, but it is in itself in its whole peculiarity miraculous. It doctrines, transcendent mysteries, never entered into human heart to conceive, and the presence of the Holy Ghost, sent by the Lord Jesus, who was exalted “by his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension” to the glory of the eternal God, must ever be supernaturally with the Church in order to its proper growth and proper fruits on earth. A History of Christianity on Dean Milman's plan and proceeding in his spirit may be profitable as a history of the great events in the social progress of our race, but for all the purposes of a proper ecclesiastical history it ought not to have the title. His style is singulary rich, abounding in wealth of imagination, and throwing out before us the pictures of a gorgeous poetry. But it is sometimes cumbrous from that very richness, and it has, too, the fault at times of obscurity,“ dazzling," it may be, "from excess of light.”
Some years after the appearance of this History of Christianity, Dean Milman published (Vol. I. in 1854) a "continuation" under the title of a “ History of Latin Christianity, including that of the Popes to the Pontificate of Nicolas V.” This is extended through six volumes, beautifully printed in London. The whole is an important contribution of its kind to the library of ecclesiastical history. The cumbrous richness of the author's style appears throughout the work, and, though not so directly as in the first portion of his History of Christianity, yet indirectly, in the general spirit of it, his mode of viewing the grand features of the Gospel as the inspired message of salvation. The work itself, as that of a scholar, who has examined authorities for himself and bronght out the fruits of his studies impartially and with splendor of vehicle in his style, is one of great interest and value. Of value, we mean it is, as Hume's or Gibbon's history, being the fruits of careful investigation and of accomplishments in authorship. But it is not properly Church History. It opens the course of human policy as lying throngh the history of the Church, exhibits the wisdom or the folly of men on the theatre of ecclesiastical power, sets forth (as Guizot would, or Hallam) the progress of civilization, including literature, and the arts under the influence of Christianity, and brings to view the corruptions (on the unquestionable authority of the odious book” of Damani) which marred the Church especially in the times of Hildebrand. But through all we see little of the Church proper. We obtain a vast amount of information, and that of value, too, but it is not information respecting the progress of the kingdom of righteousness. If we could know nothing of Christianity but what we learn from the whole of these vol. umes, what would be our notions of it? Certainly not, either as to doctrine or life, what our Lord himself sets forth in Ilis own word. True it is, that Christianity in its first purity does not appear in the Church long after the age of the Apostles. The temper of “science falsely so called," soon corrupted the simplicity of the faith of many, and the seductions of wealth and power fascinated many more, and led them into ungodli
ness of living. But the Gospel itself, though going to sea in dark and stormy weather, never was lost. The helm was never out of the hands of the Head of the Church, nor was the true course ever for a moment lost. Through all the disasters of the voyage, there has been no essential departure froin that course which is to end in the haven where the Church would be. But how little of the proper course of the Church is to be traced in such a history as Dr. Milman's!
Still later than his work, that of James Craigie Robertson, named at the head of this article, appeared in England. Two large octavo volumes have been published, bringing the history of the Church to A.D. 1122. We regard this as a very valuable publication, which, though without the erudition and the poetical style of Milman, is conceived and executed with a higher and more gospel spirit. Mr. Robertson is calm and impartial. Though he has read the original sources for himself, yet he is much indebted to Neander and to Milman too, We hope his work will be continued. Much as we find to commend in it, it is lacking in some things of importance. It gives us but little of the history of the doctrines of Christianity as developed in the controversies which disturbed while they quickened the Church, and still less of the power of the divine faith of Christians in their private or public relations. We wish to see the Church, not only in its political and secular relation, nor merely in its territorial advance through the toils of faithful missionaries, but the purity and divine efficacy of the faith. Amidst corruptions which ordinary histories bring sufficiently to view, there were ever to be found those who had not bowed the knee to Baal. They were for the most part out of the range of the eye of general history. Christianity does indeed show power over the social and civil institutions of the nations, and does to some extent influence the policy, even of those in high places of authority, who yet do not wholly bow to its demands, but its own sphere where it spreads its richest treasures of light and purity and peace, is in private and domestic life.
In some volumes of the new edition, in crown octavo, of the Encyclopedia Metropolitana, (published in London, not yet complete, by Richard Griffin and Company,) are works on
Church History by English writers. The first of these volumes is that by Bishop Hinds, on “ Early Christianity,” another on the “ History of the Christian Church in the Second and Third Centuries,” by Professor Jeremie; a third continuing the history from the fourth to the twelfth century, by Rev. I. M. Guilding, Rev. I. B. Carwither and others, and a final one, bringing it down to 1858, by Rev. Alfred Lyall, Bishop Hampden, Rev. I. E. Riddle, and others. The authors represent different types of Churchmanship, from that of Archbishop Whately, seen in his familiar friend, Bishop Hinds, to that of the extreme Oxford one of Rev. Henry John Rose. Of course the coat woven by such hands has more than one color. Bishop Hinds' volume is the largest in proportion to the ground he goes over, and presents very important questions as to the Primitive Church, with some views to which we can not subscribe. Professor Jeremie's volume is small, and runs over too much ground to be satisfactory. The last of the volumes condenses a great amount of information, and is generally written with impartiality and candor, a commendation which does not so properly belong to the latter portion, which touches on recent and yet existing controversies.
Besides the Church Histories already mentioned, as coming from the pens of English Churchmen, there are smaller works from the same class of writers, among which is Mr. Palmer's very small compend in which the author views important questions from the position of the Tracts for the Times. The most noticeable is that of Mr. Hardwick, (now Christian Advocate in the University of Cambridge. His volumes profess to be only “manuals.” They are written carefully, and demonstrate the author's acquaintance with the best sources of information. But, of course, being small crown octavo volumes, they can be only outlines of history. The volume on the Reformation, is, we think, the least valuable of the two which are before us. The author does not enter very heartily into the questions on which the Reformation turned, and for that reason, even in regard to the great event as it affected his own national Church, lacks warmth or fervor in his narrative of the upheaving events and contests which overthrew the