it is not real. It is the deep reality of the theme that secures the success of the preaching: but this reality can form no part of a sham religion. A mass-priest may indeed go through a round of ceremonies, with genuflexions, osculations, and ablutions; he may make (as indeed the systems of Ritualists and Romanists do make) these things to be of the very essence of religion; but the “preacher of righteousness,” the “minister Dei verbi," is commissioned for a higher and nobler purpose; to preach the Word of God,” to proclaim and attest those immutable truths whose vital power and divine efficacy have changed the face of the world. For such a man the one indispensable necessity is earnestness,-the earnestness which is born of sincerity and sustained by conviction. With Paul, he knows in whom he has believed; with Peter, he cannot but speak the things which he has seen and heard. It is, therefore, no wonder that, like George Herbert's Parson, “when he preacheth” he should be remarkable for his “ earnestness of speech;" or that it should be said of him as it was of one of old, Vivida in eo omnia fuerunt; vivida vox, vividi oculi, vividi manas, gestus omnes vividi.” Garrick's famous dictum-appli. cable to the histrionics of the altar, not less than to those of the stage-might be pondered with advantage by many a modern preacher: “You deliver your truths as if they were fictions, while we deliver our fictions as if they were true.”

And this brings us to the point at which we have been aiming. The fatal poison which threatens to paralyze the vitality of Christian life operates not from without, but from within. The ranks of scepticism, swollen by recruits who have been disgusted with the inanities of superstition practised in the name of religion; and the craven spirits who resort to the incantations of Romish superstition as a charm against the plague of scepticism; widely as they seem to stand apart, have much in common. Extremes meet; too far east is west; and the credulity which can reverence the fables of the Aurea Legenda is but another variety of that other credulity, equally lofty in its pretensions, which can prefer the paradoxes of unbelief to the credibility of faith. Both ranks are equally hostile to the beleaguered garrison which holds the citadel of truth. They assault it indeed from opposite sides, and in different modes, but with a common battle-cry, “Down with it, down with it, even to the ground !” Yet the danger to that beleaguered garrison comes not from without, but from within. The truth, which has never been conquered, has often been betrayed ; and Christianity, which has never been stormed by the fury of its assailants, has more than once been sacrificed by the treachery of those who have professed allegiance to its standards. For that little garrison of Christian soldiers, the great need is-not more believers, but more belief. Christianity finds its trophies, not in the number of its converts, but in the character of their conversion. The power of its creed is to be estimated, not by the number of its nominal adherents, but by the depth to which it penetrates their convictions and permeates their lives.

It is on this account that we hail with special satisfaction the little volume which we have placed at the head of this article. The four sermons of which it consists, present, in a more than ordinary degree, the traits of that excellence which marks the other productions of the same pen. The second, third, and fourth of these discourses treat respectively of “Indolence,” “Irreverence," and “Inconsistency;" but it is in the first, on “ Unreality," that we find the key-note of the whole. Commencing with a reference to the communion of saints, as including both the dead and the living; and pointing to “that moral resemblance which made them patterns of all good to their home, their place, their age;" the preacher adds, “ It is not moral resemblance which makes them one communion : it is a single allegiance, a separate devotion, an individual dedication, to one Person, who has taken them severally for His own, and in whom they all meet and centre, and are at one." He then observes that this characteristic feature, this family tie, this “one blood” which determines the membership of the mystic communion, is designated in Scripture by a name, and that name is FAITH. “It is Faith which makes Enoch brother to Paul, and David to John, and Daniel to Cephas; it is Faith which overleaps the chasm of time, and brings together those who could only yearn after Christ in anxious longings, with those who sat at His feet, or walked in His steps, or saw Him risen: it is Faith, which knits into one, races and dispositions, and circumstances and cultures the most diverse and dis· similar.” But then, too, it is to be observed, that Faith, this characteristic feature of all the saints, does not stand alone. “Faith is not guessing. Faith is the apprehension by the whole man of something which God has told concerning Himself. Faith is the sight of the unseen : but that unseen thing is unveiled first by the All-seeing. Faith is not the discovery by man of mysteries lying hid from the race: it is the grasping, by the firm hand of the soul, of something which God stretches out to it from behind the veil of the Incomprehensible and the Infinite.” “Faith is the sight of the unseen: the faith is the revelation of the unseen. Faith is the eye which sees : the faith is the light which makes visible. Faith is the apprehension by the man of that which the faith communicates to the race."

Having thus defined faith, as distinguished from the faith, and designated “a spirit of UNREALITY” as one of its most formidable enemies, he adds :

“Unreality is in one sense the exact opposite of faith. If faith is the substance (or confidence) of things hoped for, the evidence (that which convinces) of things not seen, unreality is the exact opposite of this. It is the not being assured, the not being convinced, in the secret of the heart, of things spiritual, of things unseen.”

He then proceeds to illustrate, from the withering satire of Isaiah (Is. xlvi. 1, 2), the mischiefs wrought by this spirit of unreality as an opponent of Christian faith.

“• Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth': the images which could not save Babylon, loaden upon the weary cattle, are themselves going into captivity. Such is idolatry. Gold lavished out of the bagsilver weighed in the balance-a goldsmith hired--a god mademade, and then worshipped, carried to his pedestal, set there—just able to stand, impotent to stir one step in aid of his worshipperwith no voice to answer, and no hand to save; such is the thing which one greater even than Isaiah, the Apostle Paul, briefly calls a nonentity, a non-existence : an existence, indeed, as God made it; a block of wood or stone ; so far, a part, though a humble part, of the universe which God called good, but no existence in its new, its man-made character, as a person, a being, still less a deity :-even such is that thing which I wish to describe to you; an essence, a truth, a reality, therefore, in itself, but no being, no existence, no entity for you, because you have not seen it with the eye of the soul, nor grasped and handled it with the manipulation of the spirit.” (pp. 13, 14.)

Proceeding to exemplify his theme in relation (1st) to doctrine, and (2nd) to worship, he selects two articles of the Creed, “I believe in the Holy Ghost," and,“ I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

“You have carried them, and set them in their place-you would be shocked, you would be indignant, if any one doubted them: you yourself woald be alarmed, would be displeased with yourself, if you thought it possible that you could deny or expunge one of them. Yet when, in your hour of distress—when, in your moments of just self-reproach-when, in the agony of a temptation or a sin—when, in sickness or by the open grave, you call in one of these first elements of Revelation to your succour or your consolation, do you find—ask yourself-do you find that you have hold of it? Does it help, does it comfort, does it answer you? .... Then how is it, that one, believing this, should yet walk in darkness and have no light ? should find himself, day by day, too indolent for duty, too weak for resistance, too dull for worship, too cold for love? Is it not plain that these things come from that spirit of Unreality, which holds for doctrines a thousand things which it never grasps and never lives by ; believes in a Divine Helper and Advocate and Comforter whom it never calls in, and idly talks of a grace which it has neither will nor faith to stir up ?.

In accounting for the state thus described, we have first a reprehension of that habit of the mind in which much stress is

laid upon the mysteriousness, the unfathomable depth of each particular doctrine, in which it is made almost a higher attainment to bend the knee of the soul to an incomprehensible and unexplored formula of doctrine, than to enter, no matter how humbly and reverently, into the examination and handling of the thing itself veiled under it; in which the spirit of unreality wears the guise of a spirit of submission and humility. Directly opposed to this is a temper of mind but too common, in which men feel a general misgiving as to the certainty of Divine truth.

“Men say to us, It is all doubtful,-nothing can be proved,--the supernatural must be indemonstrable,-once admit miracle,-and what else is revelation ?-and you are in the land of dreams, in which the closed eye is the first condition of being. Thus, even the Christian, even the man of serious convictions and earnest aspirations, finds himself insensibly acquiring a habit of timidity, almost of cowardly skulking, in reference to his own most anxiously cherished doctrine; he becomes afraid to look anything in the face ; he clings to his faith as a drowning man to a frail worn rope, without daring to try its strength, and with but a faint expectation of its ever really lifting him into the vessel of an everlasting salvation.” (p. 21.)

Passing from these unrealities in the matter of faith to simi. lar and corresponding unrealities in the matter of worship, we come upon a passage of special importance in these days :-)

“How shall I counsel you ? Shall I say, Multiply forms, until at last you shall be constrained into devotion? Shall Î say, What you want is a ritual more perfect, more persuasive to the sense, more attractive to the idea ? Alas! I fear that in such multiplications of the external, the spirit may be overborne, may be smothered altogether. Rather would I recommend, as the present medicine for a state such as I have described, a ritual so bare and hungry, that the soul may be put under compulsion to say whether or no it is engaged in God's worship. . . . For if indeed the form is nothing--nothing in the sight of Him who is Spirit, and whom they who worship must worship in spirit and in truth, surely nothing can be more fatal to the reality of worship than such a cumbering of service with form, that the question is never forced upon the soul, Art thou present ? such an overlaying of the spiritual with the sensible, that a man can scarcely ever say whether the spirit is asleep or waking, as though it were possible for the eye and the ear to capture the soul, and carry it, by a sort of physical violence, into the Divine Presence."

Here, however, we must pause. Our limits forbid further quotation; and the other topics treated in this suggestive and seasonable little volume are too important to be dismissed with a cursory notice at the close of an article. We must therefore defer the consideration of them to another, though, as we hope, an early opportunity.

DR. WATERLAND ON THE EUCHARIST. A Review of the Doctrine of the Eucharist : with Four Charges

connected with the same subject. By David Waterland, D.D. With a Preface by the Lord Bishop of Lincoln. Oxford. 1868.

We do not propose to review a book dated in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, any more than we would review " Baxter's Saints' Rest,” or Taylor's Holy Living and Dying." But there are some circumstances connected with this reprint which make its appearance a fact of some moment.

It is edited, and placed before the public, by Dr. Jackson, the bishop of Lincoln, who is, while we write, going through the process of removal to the great See of London. And he tells us in his Preface, that it is issued “at the request of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, with a view of placing within the reach of those who may not be able to procure the collected works of Dr. Waterland, and especially of candidates for holy orders, a treatise which was once considered almost as the text-book of the Church of England on the subject of the Eucharist, but which is now far less known than it deserves." Evidently, such a republication as this is not a common or every day one; and it is our duty to give some account of it.

No one will call Dr. Waterland a “Low Churchman," or will venture to speak of him as an incompetent or unlearned divine. And hence we understand, without any difficulty, why the Ritualists of the present day should have taken this republication very much to heart. It opposed to them an author against whom sneers were of no avail; of whose learning and churchmanship there was no doubt; but whose deliberate judgment was utterly opposed to their whole sacramental system. Yet, while we admit the importance of this republication at the present moment, we must warn our readers not to expect from it what it does not offer. It is levelled, not against Messrs. Pusey, Bennett, or Mackonochie of 1868, but against Mr. Johnson and Dr. Brett of 1738. And, just as a refutation of Socinus would not be a refutation of Priestley or of Belsham, so we do not find in Dr. Waterland a direct and explicit exposure of the errors of the present day.

The great subject of the volume is, the true nature of the “Sacrifice", said by some to be offered up in the Eucharist. The Romanizers of the last century, like those of our own day, dwelt chiefly on these two points—that the bread and wine, by the consecration of a priest, were made the very body and blood of Christ; and that, being so made, they were offered up, as a

« ElőzőTovább »