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We are the more pleased at find ing the learned prelate urge this important subject, because, in our review of the first edition of his Apostolical Preaching (see Christian Observer, 1816, p. 313), we understood him to say that the inspired Epistles furnish the best models for preaching in this, among other respects, that they address churches as if consisting chiefly of true believers, sincere Christian converts, persons needing not so much exhortations to repentance, and turning to God, as to improve ment and proficiency. But the primitive church was in circumstances very different to the churches of modern Christendom; persecution had thinned its numbers, and purified those who were left; whereas, under circumstances of outward prosperity, the tares grow up far more luxuriantly than the wheat; and defective indeed would be the spiritual husbandry that is not grounded on a recognition of this fact. We contended, both in that
review and in numerous other places, for precisely what the Right Reverend author of the Charge before us so explicitly states, that "there are clear and wide distinctions in every congregation between those who believe, or believe not;" distinctions not to be softened down or forgotten, but to be made-we mean not controversially, yet effectively-the basis upon which every practical pastoral address is founded. We have alluded to the subject, in order that if any of our readers, from our review of "Apostolical Preaching " should have concluded that the Bishop of Chester countenances the sentiment once common among our clergy, that the vast majority of all who have not systematically renounced their baptism, are already intitled to the character of true believers, and need only to be urged on to perfection, they may be aware either that we mistook the complexion of the author's argument, or that such is not at least his lordship's matured opinion. The question has been much discussed of late years; and Paley's dictum, that modern clergymen have nothing to do with preaching conversion, is, we are persuaded, well nigh banished from most seriously reflecting minds.
Conversion- from heathenism to professed Christianity, they of course need not preach; but a spiritual renovation, call it by what term we will, they may and must preach, and no term is more scriptural or intelligible than that of "conversion." This is now admitted in some modified use by theologians of every school. Bishop Mant, for example, in his Bampton Lectures, follows up his discourse upon regeneration, with another on conversion; viewing the former as applicable exclusively to baptismal initiation into Christ's fold, latter as pointing out that religious change of character which he considers necessary, partially at least, where the grace of baptism, according to the system in question, has
not been duly improved, but has lapsed, or been frustrated by evil habits. We can never think that this notion of the subject meets either the strong language of Scripture, or the spiritual exigencies of our fallen and sinful nature. The present Bishop of Salisbury took, we presume, a far different view of it when he expressly offered premiums, open to all members of the church, lay or clerical, for three essays; first, on the question, what is conversion; secondly, whether a clergyman can be an unconverted person; and thirdly, what are the signs of conversion in a clergyman. Whether a clergyman can be ignorant, or immoral, or even infidel, admits of no question; the learned and venerable prelate, therefore, must, we presume, have meant more than this. We believe that practically little good is done in a parish till a clergyman distinctly divides bis auditors into two classes-those that serve God, and those that serve him not; so that there may be no mistake in men's minds upon so momentous a subject. We are not contentious for particular words, only let the matter be really understood; let there be a clear distinction made between light and darkness, nature and grace, the world and God, or, in our author's words, "those that believe, and those that believe not." There is, indeed, an important use to be made of baptismal privileges, and of the creed and profession as well as the actual practice of those who "call them, selves Christians;" and much vantage ground may have been lost, as Mr. Budd has shewn in his work on Baptism, by preaching to nominal Christians as mere heathens; but still the doctrine of the need of the conversion of the heart to God stands palpably distinct in Scripture, and is of infinite importance to be fully understood by every minister of Christ, were it only for the due classification of the otherwise inextricably intricate varieties of human character.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 337.
From preaching, the bishop proceeds to his second point, the pastoral care. He strongly urges
catechising; in fact, a complete system of initiatory parochial instruction. The nature and value of such a course of Christian instruction his lordship explicates as follows.
"For this sort of edification Scripture is the only groundwork. And Scripture affords a large variety of subjects which may be most usefully turned to the purpose. The scheme of Redemption may be traced from the Fall, and the first promises, through the line of history and prophecy, to the advent, the ministry, the death, and the resurrection of the Messiah, and the subsequent establishment of the expected kingdom. The historical parts of the Old Testament may be explained in succession. The principal characters which are detailed in the Bible may be developed always a most interesting method of inculcating religious duty. Any of the Gospels, and several of the Epistles and the hearers from time to time exmay be continuously read and illustrated; amined in them. By patient and discriminate instruction of this kind the most illiterate persons are gradually enabled to acquire a degree of knowledge which wonderfully displays the power of the testimony of the Lord,' converting the soul; and because it converts the soul, giving wisdom unto the simple.'" p. 17.
But the question arises, supposing the clergy inclined thus to act, who is, even physically, "sufficient for these things ?". The Apostles had assistance from devout women well as devout men; and why not adopt the same practice now?
"The Apostles have left us an example. Let the minister of a populous distriet, using careful discrimination of character, select such as are worthy,' and ' of good report,' and assign them their several employments under his direction : they may lessen his own labour by visiting and examining the schools, by reading and praying with the infirm and aged, by their affliction, and pursuing the many consoling the fatherless and widows in nameless ways by which it is in the power of one Christian to benefit and relieve another." pp. 23, 24.
"Numerous parishes, of different degrees of population, have been brought under such discipline with more or less success. And I feel convinced that whoever is anxious to promote the glory of God, to assist the most important interests of his fellow-creatures, to confirm the security of his country, or maintain H
the stability of his church, can ensure widely acted upon, and that he none of those great objects more effec-, himself will be long spared by the tively than by means like these. Without them, in some of our crowded districts of Supreme Head of the church, to dense and extended population, the church witness the blessings resulting from is lost sight of, parochial distinctions are his truly episcopal labours. obliterated, and the reciprocal charities and duties of the pastor and the flock are forgotten by the people, because it is physically impossible that they should be satisfactorily discharged." pp. 25, 26.
Our zealous prelate, both in his text and notes, enforces these important considerations with much practical wisdom as well as piety, particularly recommending the wellconstructed machinery of visiting societies, such as those in action in London, Bristol, Brighton, Sheffield, and other large towns, combining not only lay agency, but female agency, in carrying on their benevolent operations, under the presiding influence of the clergyman of the parish or district. The suggestion comes with the greater weight, from the well-tried, prudent, and judicious character of the adviser. For a detail of the plans of such societies, our readers may consult an interesting paper appended to our Number for last March; but our clerical readers in particular we would urge to refer to the facts and persuasions in the document now before us. It is objected that the plan is dangerous; dangerous at least to the Established Church; but what scheme of good that is really operative is not open to a surmise of contingent danger? Bibles, missions, schools, soups, blankets, penitentiaries, have all been pronounced dangerous in their day; but the prophecy of danger is forgotten, and the benefit remains. In nine cases out of ten, "troublesome" or expensive" would better express the secret feeling of the objector. However, the Right Reverend champion has "out of this nettle danger plucked the flower safety." He views the extension of true piety in the Established Church as the sheet anchor of the country, and such efforts as powerfully conducive to the promotion of piety. Earnestly do we trust that his lordship's important suggestions will be
There is also another measure, which, like that of visiting societies, it required some moral courage to recommend in an Episcopal Charge -we mean that of a clergyman's regularly assembling a certain number of his parishioners, residing contiguously, for scriptural instruction. For here again the fear of danger has not been wanting; but, if prudence and propriety be adhered to, without any cause. The only thing endangered is the empire of Satan, who ever loves to keep his goods in peace. Even in small parishes we would not say that the social stimulus, the mental and spiritual development, nay, often the communion of saints, attendant on such pastoral and fraternal meetings, may not frequently render them desirable: but in large ones they are indispensable; for if a clergyman has twenty times as many parishioners as he can instruct in detail, he must contrive to make one hour do the work of twenty, by taking them in masses: he must invent moral machinery and power looms equal to his own want of time and strength; and we are rejoiced to find a Right Reverend prelate forcibly enunciating this important conclusion, and urging his elergy, as they tender their own safety, and the souls of their people, to be, in this as well as other things, "stedfast, immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as they know that their labour is not in vain in the Lord."
With earnest hope and inexpressible joy we peruse instructions like these before us, issuing from our episcopal chairs, followed up by similar doctrines and exhortations in visitation sermons, and carried into practice in the ministry and pastoral labours of so many of our clergy. We do not, we will not, despair of our church or our country,
amidst the gladdening revival of the scriptural doctrines of our Reformers, and the desire, so widely diffused among both clergy and laity, to render our Established Church communion a truly efficient spiritual instrument for the glory of God, and the eternal welfare of mankind. True, there are abuses; there is enough of sloth, of ignorance, of false doctrine, and of pravity of life, to bring down the severe displeasure of God upon our natural Zion; all which we see and lament as keenly as those who would take advantage of our sins to uproot the wheat also with the tares. But it is not true, as some allege, that matters are growing worse: they are growing better; not, we admit, so extensively and rapidly as every Christian must desire, but still by the blessing of God hopefully and progressively. They, therefore, are not to be listened to who would persuade us that we inhabit so dilapidated an edifice, that repair is impracticable, and that the only feasible plan is to pull it down, and leave time and chance to erect another in its place. Only let every parish be regulated upon the admirable principles laid down in this faithful and spiritual Charge, and we cannot doubt that our be. loved communion will become more and more a praise in the earth. To the great Head of his church be all the glory; while, subordinately, we fail not to cherish deep affection and gratitude to those who are raised up by him as instruments to promote this glorious result.
"Beware, lest any Man spoil you through Philosophy and vain Deceit." 1 vol. 8vo. 14s. London.
We should not notice this strange production, were it not lest some of our readers might be led by its singular title to imagine that it contains some useful scriptural ca
It is, however, characterized
by such a spirit of modesty and humility, that, though it is throughout palpable nonsense, we cannot lay it down with any feeling of unkindness to the writer. Would that all authors who have more money to print books than wit to write them would take an example from the spirit of this writer, who says, again and again,
"I request of you to bear always in mind that I am an ignorant man, one from whom, on account of his inferiority and liability to be deceived, you cannot expect truth in its highest degree,-truth itself; and whose opinions respecting the Bible you ought to consider as very doubtful, differing so much as they do from those that have been generally received about it. I wish even that you will look upon them as being dangerous; because I hope it will make you the more cautious against
adopting them." p. 1.
"When you will meet with the words -Thus saith the Lord,' I request that you will always remember that what will follow is only the way that I understand this or that passage. I cannot presume and pretend to say that the Lord saith what is not in the Scripture-God forbid that I should!" p. 146.
We have of late met with sundry speculations on Scripture; some of them, to our minds, scarcely less preposterous than those of the book before us; but written in how dif ferent a spirit! Modest absurdity is refreshing in the comparison. Would that printing-presses were more rare, and cupping and low diet more plentiful. There is a moral as well as an intellectual obliquity; the latter is only pitiable, the former ought to be coerced. If a man cherishes an absurd theological opinion with honesty and meekness, we should desire to reason and pray over the matter with him in a spirit kindred to his own; but if he begins to rail at all those who differ from him as infidels and scoffers, and affixes "thus saith the Lord" to his own absurdities, we see not that much deference is due to his exclamations.
The object of the book before us is, to allegorise the whole of Scripture, after a new and curious fashion. Nothing is literal; man, woman, earth, sky, water, Jew, Gentile,
are all hieroglyphical. We cannot load our pages with these absurdities: one brief specimen may suffice, and save our readers a winter evening's reading, and fourteen shillings to boot. The following is part of the paraphrase of Genesis vi.-Water, it should be premised, means "knowledge;" the soul means-but let the passage speak for itself.
"Verse 3. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with the soul, for that she also is human: yet her knowledges shall be equal to one hundred and twenty philosophical knowledges in the degree years....9. These are the rations of Noah's soul: the soul Noah was just and perfect in her generations, and she walked in the commandments of God, or assisted by the Spirit of God....13. And the Spirit of God (within Noah's soul) said unto him, the end of, or the spirit that shall put an end to, all the human knowledges, is come before me; for the human mind is filled with violence
through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the opinion of one's self.-14. Make thee a religious system in simplicity of heart: different degrees shalt thou make in it, and shalt secure it with proper knowledge, within and without, (against the intrusion of strange opinions.)-16. Thou shalt make to the religious system a clear knowledge, or an opening by which it may receive light from above; and a knowledge by which souls may enter into it; in three different degrees shalt thou divide the pious system; (that all that is to come into it, may be set in its proper class or order.)-17. And, behold, İ, even I, do bring a flood of opinions or of instructions upon the human system, to destroy every mind wherein prevails the spirit of the philosophical life." pp. 238
It is afflicting to see the sacred word thus caricatured. Truly that book must be Divine which has survived all the irrational speculations of its professed friends, as well as the less dangerous attacks of its
cation has been widely circulated; but, not having hitherto noticed it in our pages, we take the opportunity of an enlarged edition, in which the author's name is for the first time given, to recommend it for the use of those who have not time to read, or money to purchase, the volumes of Mosheim, Milner, and other church historians. With a view to exhibit a picture of genuine primitive Christianity to the members of corrupt churches, to Mohammedans, and even to heathens, portions of the work have been published, in modern Greek and in Italian, under the superintendence of the Rev. Mr. Jowett and the late Dr. Milne, of the Anglo-Chinese College, Malacca, had proposed translating parts of it into Chinese. It might usefully find its way into Germany, France, and Spanish America, in the languages of those countries. Every Protestant child and young person, even in humble life, should be generally acquainted with the outline of the history of the church of Christ, from the day of Pentecost to the present era; and for this purpose, we cannot recommend a better manual than that before us.
A Scripture Gazetteer and Geogra phical and Historical Dictionary. By J. S. MANSFORD; with maps. 1 vol. 8vo. 18s. London. 1829.
AN elaborate and valuable work, though containing some doubtful hypotheses, which the reader may pass over. Its alphabetical arrangement renders it very convenient for prompt reference. Clergymen might often enrich their sermons by a few facts or illustrations connected with places mentioned in their text or discourse, which may be readily gleaned at the moment as wanted from Mr. Mansford's pages. Young persons, also, will feel interested in turning to the names which occur in reading the Scriptures in the THIS cheap and useful little publi- family circle. The illustrations from
Christian Records, or a Short and