« ElőzőTovább »
ordinary family circles. One of our preachers of the last century used to confess that he was accustomed to test the practical fitness of his sermons, by reading them on the previous Saturday to an old servant. We do not think that either of the excellent authors of these two volumes of Family Prayers has submitted his book to such a trial. Most families include some servants, old and young, and some children. If these are compelled to listen to long sentences the meaning of which they cannot understand, a positive harm is done. Remembering this, what shall we say of such utterances as these :
“Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and so uncloak the empty vanity of all earthly things, that no conformity may bespatter us with mire. Utterly transform us by the renewing of our minds. May our lips be as well tuned cymbals, sweetly sounding Thy praise. May a halo of heavenly-mindedness sparkle around us. We are invited to precious delights. The banqueting-house of Thy Word is widely open. The voice of the heavenly spouse calls us : Eat, О friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. Eat ye that which is good, and let your souls delight themselves in fatness. Quicken us to arise and come apart, and regale ourselves amid the rich refreshment of gospel-promises.” (pp. 50, 51.)
"Our best doing is but a filthy rag. Our worst, how hateful it must be to Thee, in whose sight the very heavens are not clean. In shame we now hide ourselves in our great Redeemer's wounds. Clinging to His cross we supplicate forgiveness of every committed sin and of every omitted duty." (pp. 54, 55.)
“Roll away the reproach from pulpits that insipidity and ignorance are sometimes found, where zeal should burn and knowledge should abound. As the message of Christ exceeds all other themes, so may it be uttered in eloquence thrilling from enlightened hearts. Let not the enticing words of man's wisdom be sought, but let the Spirit's power give dignity and success.” (p. 62.)
“Our little barks are now entering on the troublous waves of the restless world. Grant that Thy Holy Spirit may sit at the helm and steer us safely. Suffer no adverse current to divert our heavenward course. Amid storms and shoals, if such imperil us, let not our faith be wrecked, or our souls' concerns take any damage. Bring us to its close with garments unspotted, consciences unwounded, and no grace bedimmed.” (p. 217.)
But while we cannot regard this sort of phraseology as well adapted to children and servants, we feel bound to say (though it is really not necessary) that every word in these two volumes is thoroughly sound and scriptural, and really devotional. The prayers are all of them such as would be most suitable in a Christian circle of educated men and women. Of the two volumes, we must give the preference to Mr. Reeves's, as couched in the simplest and plainest language of the two. The above specimens are not taken from his volume. And, after all, having some knowledge of the score of good books of this class which have long been current among us, we still feel that the book which is wanted has not yet been seen in a printed form.
A Plea for the Received Greek Text, and for the Authorised Version of the New Testament. By the Rev. S. C. Malan, M.A.
London : Hatchards. 1869.- We are not sorry for any opposition or hindrance raised up in arrestation of Dean Alford's reforming zeal. Among the many perils of the present day, one of the chief is that reckless contempt for all the past, which is exhibited in such language as this :
“ Lachmann's great merit, and the real service he rendered to the cause of sacred criticism, has been the bold and uncompromising demolition of that unworthy and pedantic reverence for the Received Text, which stood in the way of all chance of discovering the genuine Word of God."*
What can our rising youth think, when they hear a scholar like the Dean of Canterbury talk of the “chance of discovering the genuine Word of God”? If the Word of God is still undiscovered, upon what have our fathers and forefathers being living for the last three hundred years ?
In the same spirit does the Dean deal with the narrative in Matt. ii. of the “ Star in the East," assuring us that
“No part of the text respecting the star, asserts, or even implies, a miracle, and that the very slight apparent inconsistencies with the above explanation are no more than the report of the Magi themselves, and the general belief of the age, would render unavoidable.”
Now, certainly, if the miraculous element can be thrust out of Matt. ii. 2, we should expect to see the same legerdemain succeed in excluding it from every other chapter in the four Gospels; and a history of Christ's life, denuded of miracles, would be something which a Voltaire would have delighted in. Remembering how far, how fearfully far, Dr. Davidson has fallen, we note the course which Dr. Alford is taking, with deep and painful interest.
The Great Prophecy. Abridged from the “ Foræ Apocalyptice.” By the Rev. W. T. H. Eales. London : Seeleys. 1869.-This is a very compact and lucid sketch of Mr. Elliott's great work. It gives, in between two and three hundred pages of small octavo, a very accu. rate and intelligible view of the whole system and ground-plan of “Horæ Apocalypticæ.” Those who have not yet read the original, and who still shrink from encountering the labour of studying three thousand octavo pages, may find in this portable volume the means of becoming acquainted with the grand outline of Mr. Elliott's plan of interpretation. It seems not improbable that the events of the year which has just commenced," may compel many who have hitherto held aloof, to try to gain such light as Scripture gives, touching "the things now coming on the earth.”
Thoughts on Preaching ; specially in Relation to the Requirements of the Age. By Daniel Moore, M.A. London ; Hatchards. 1869.We thank Mr. Moore for reminding us of some searching and most important warnings, from the lips and pen of so competent a critic as Bishop Wilberforce :
“In a charge, delivered a few years ago, we find him speaking in the following words :-One dark spot there is, amid much that is bright, in regard to this subject. The number of men endowed with the highest
* Proleg. to Alford's Greek Test. p. 76.
gifts of intellect, who give themselves to the Christian ministry, appears to me to be smaller than it was fifteen years ago.' And in another part he complains that men are found entering the pulpit with little prepara. tion, and uttering from it, with a perilous facility of language, empty, vapid, and pointless generalities. Whilst, in a volume of addresses to his candidates for orders, we have the following remarks :-'I press this the more, because no one can listen carefully to the majority of sermons preached in our churches-few, alas! can closely scrutinise their own,without deep sorrow, shame, and dejection of heart. .... How many sermons seem to be composed with no better idea than that they must occupy a certain time prescribed by custom, and that they must be filled with the religious phrases current in this or that school of theological opinion. Hence we find in them prefaces of inordinate length, porches larger than the buildings to which they lead ; truisms repeated with a calm perseverance of dull repetition which is almost marvellous; vague generalities about the fall and about redemption, as if these mysteries were empty words, and not living, burning verities. We hear, perhaps, one sermon wandering languidly over the whole scheme of theology, containing in itself a prophecy of its perpetual repetition, with an altered text, and sentences interchanged in collocation through all succeeding Sundays. .... And, my brethren, can we wonder if, under such preaching, men slumber on unawakened : if conversions are few, if edification is scanty, if sinners abound, if saints are rare, if, though the prophet prophesy, all be still as it was of old; if there be no noise nor shaking, nor coming together of the bones, bone to his bone ?
Mr. Moore furnishes us with many counsels, cautions, and instructions, of great value. His work ought to be read by every candidate for the ministry, whether in or out of the Church. The only deficiency we feel in it, is the single one, of no slight moment,—of forgetfulness of, or silence upon, the necessity for Divine influence. The 37th of Ezekiel ought never to be out of our minds. The command is, not, “Prophesy unto these bones, and say unto them, Stand upon your feet, and live;"—it is, “ Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (ver. 9, 10.) So saith the Scripture, and we can never depart from it, even one hair's breadth, without peril.
We trust that there is now a reasonable prospect of the long pending disputes between this country and America being amicably settled. So far as depends upon the two Governments the thing is done, as a treaty has been agreed to by which all differences are to be referred to arbitration, each nation under
requisite majoriseen whether thered that shall be me
taking to be bound by the award that shall be made. It yet remains to be seen whether the treaty will be ratified by the requisite majority of the American Senate, as the consent of two-thirds of that body is necessary to give force to the treaty.
To those who remember for what trifles nations have been willing to incur the miseries necessarily attendant upon war, the conduct of the two Governments will be most gratifying. The disputes were of a nature especially calculated to excite strong feelings, and every year that they remained unsettled seemed to add to the bitterness with whiwu they were discussed. The American Minister in the first instance proposed an arbitration; but his proposal was almost scornfully rejected by Lord Russell, who maintained that it was inconsistent with the honour of England to allow arbitrators to determine upon the propriety of the course pursued by her Government. Happily, wiser counsels have since prevailed, and Lord Stanley rightly thought that the real honour of this country was best opheld by manifesting a perfect readiness to submit the matter to an impartial tribunal, and if it should be determined that wrong had been done, at once to make reparation.
The wisdom of this course will scarcely be questioned. The amount in dispute would not equal in value one-tenth part of a single year's war expenditure; and yet, while each nation honestly believed itself to be in the right, its Government could not from dread of war make the concessions which would have been necessary to prevent its occurrence. There will be no loss of dignity in acting upon the decision of an impartial arbitrator, mutually agreed upon; and we cannot help rejoicing that these two great Protestant nations have adopted this truly Christian mode of settling their differences.
Spain has made another step towards a settled Government. The elections are over, and the Cortes will shortly assemble. The rising at Cadiz was followed by a still more formidable insurrection at Malaga, which was not suppressed without difficulty and a considerable loss of life. The elections, however, have shown that the feeling of the people is at present strongly monarchical, as it is not believed that more than seventy of the members elected will vote in favour of a Republic. A few members, probably not more than twenty in number, from Navarre and the Basque Provinces, are supposed to be Carlists. The remaining members are thought to be favourable to the respective claims of the Duke of Montpensier, and the second son of the king of Italy.
We expressed in our last number a hope that, by a judicions interference of the great European powers, war between Turkey and Greece might be prevented. With this view, the representatives of the principal European states have met in Paris.
By what appears to us a somewhat unfortunate decision, the representative of Greece was not allowed to take his seat at the Conference on the same terms as the representative of Turkey. In consequence of this decision, he at once withdrew, and the proceedings were conducted in the absence of the party whose conduct was impugned.
Under these circumstances, the members of the Conference were obliged to confine themselves to a declaration of general principles of International Law, about which there can be little dispute. It is not likely that Greece will admit that these principles have been knowingly violated by her responsible ministers. It is, however, hoped that the communication of this declaration to Greece, proceeding, as it does, from all the European powers, may be regarded as an indication that she will not have assistance from any of them, and that she may not be disposed to enter upon a contest in which, without such support, she could scarcely, at present, hope for success. The “Eastern question, however, is still as far from settled as ever, and we cannot help thinking that the days of the Ottoman Empire as a European Power are numbered.
The decision of the Privy Council on the Ritual dispute has stirred up the bitter opposition of the Ritualists. Large meetings have been held to make a futile protest against it. Some of the most prominent of the party have declared their determination to break the law. The wiser part submit, in the hope of devising other symbols than those which the Privy Council has interdicted for teaching, through Church services, sacerdotal and sacrificial theories: a teaching which, for 300 years, our Church has carefully repudiated. It is abundantly clear that the divisions of our Church will not be healed without many such collisions, and without some more exact declaration of the law of the Rubric: without also, we must add, a prompt and inexpensive remedy on the part of aggrieved parishioners against the clergy who introduce novelties, or otherwise palpably violate the Church's uniformity.