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admitted at the Council of Jerusalem, the Church of Christ grew, not only in
And if we may apply this principle even to the capital articles of the faith as embodied in formula, much less need we fear it in regard to such a doctrine as that of justification by faith, which, important though it be in its place, (and deeply sensible we are of that importance,) cannot take rank with them. Its very designation marks its externality, and therefore its subordination, to the Creed to which it points. To believe in Christ rightly is of more moment than to believe rightly in the justifying power of such faith. And while we may meet the imputation of novelty in this matter by boldly appealing to the pages of St. Paul; we may frankly admit that the formal statement to which we now adhere was not frequently made, till a prevalent error on the opposite side rendered it necessary.
The answer is, that they
The considerations on which we have been dwelling have a further value, as tending to rescue the Fathers from aspersions which we believe have sometimes been cast upon them on the score of what is called the confusion of their statements in this matter. were not, like us, obliged, by a prevalent error, to adhere to formal accuracy; and though they do not present us with a precise doctrine of justification, we may boldly say that they implicitly held our own, that they acted on the principle of it, and approached God only through the one Mediator.
The fourth Sermon, on the "Power of Faith in Man's Natural Life," is, to our minds, the most valuable of the series. Its commencement, perhaps, hardly affords the reader an earnest of the good things to come; its first four or five pages are not, it may be, worthy first-fruits of so But we will not stop to carp and goodly and abundant a harvest. criticise, it being much more to the purpose that we should earnestly recommend to our readers a discourse, the very merits of which hinder For though it is any thing but barren in our making extracts from it. striking and eloquent passages, we remember none that will endure transplanting-none to which gross injustice is not done by severing it
Is this a case in point? Surely their admission must be regarded as resulting from additional revelation? while Archdeacon Hare is justifying an increase of explicit statements in post-apostolic times, without an increase of revelation in the peculiar sense of the term.
from its place and context. The author's aim is to show that the province and power of faith in the spiritual world are in strict analogy with its province and power in the natural; that if it be true that the just man lives unto life eternal only by faith, it is no less true that the natural man lives unto life intelligent, social, and civilized, only by faith. Our whole education is, or ought to be, an appeal to, and an exercise of, the principle of faith within us. "A child's soul," Archdeacon Hare beautifully observes, "lies in faith, as in a nest ;" and to cultivate this habit of faith, so mighty in us during infancy, he conceives may be the reason why that period occupies so large, and, to the natural eye, so disproportionate a share of our earthly course. Inattention to this great
aim of education he views as the root of divers prevalent fallacies relating thereto, on which he makes many most weighty remarks, well worthy the perusal and attentive consideration of all who are engaged in any way in that most solemn and difficult work.
Sermon V., on the "Power of Faith among the Heathens and the Jews," contains a passage affording so marked a specimen of our author's best manner, that we must needs extract a part of it. Alluding to his former position, that a man's whole intelligent and active life, even in earthly things, is one of faith, he proceeds to show that this is quite compatible with an inability to create spiritual faith within ourselves, and was proved to be so in the case of the heathen; for, in those earthly matters, so far from being alone and unaided, faith has a large proportion of our nature, and of the world around us, to back its decisions, and to urge obedience to its behests.
But when it (faith) set itself to control and quell man's evil appetites and passions, by enforcing the laws of reason and conscience, the whole might of the visible world fought against it. The senses confederated to deny its authority; the web, which, from our earliest infancy, they are daily spinning around our heart and mind, and which we find so soft and easy, so congenial to our spiritual sloth, held it down. Then it became plain that, though men have eyes, yet they cannot see; that though they have ears, yet they cannot hear any thing beyond the roar of the wheel of Time, and the spray that flashes off from it. Then was it seen how the light of earthly day sweeps all the stars out of heaven. In vain did Faith cry to the Will to arouse itself, and shake off the bondage of the senses. The Will would not shake it off; nay, was their voluntary servant; nay, by its own act and deed, pulled down their yoke upon its neck, and rivetted their chains still faster. In vain did Faith preach to the Will that it ought to shake off its bondage. The Will said, Aye, and fell back into its lethargy again. Faith looked round for something to support it; but there was nothing,-no creature would uphold it. The visible things, instead of being regarded as the signs and witnesses of the invisible, became their masks, and hid them from the view.-P. 138.
The whole sermon is a valuable one, especially the part which treats of the spiritual state of the Jews.
Sermon VI. is, we need hardly say, a good one; though scarcely worthy, we think-seeing that, as treating of christian faith, it is the main work-of so ample and interesting an exordium as is constituted by the first five. It contains one passage, which we do beg and entreat may be cut out from a second edition. Most readers, we can assure Archdeacon Hare, will recoil from "a cloud of witnesses," in imitation of the apostle's, in Heb. xi.; and we fear, that, should many chance to
open the book for the first time at this most unfortunate passage, its stores of wisdom and eloquence will exist for them in vain.
We have not left ourselves space enough to bestow on the remaining sermons the notice they deserve. In regard to that entitled "The Children of Light," such notice is not very necessary, inasmuch as it has, for many years, been in print in a separate form, and is, probably, well known to many of our readers. To those to whom it may not be so, we earnestly recommend it. It is full of deep and noble wisdom, of high and generous thought, and is exactly in the spirit wherein their seniors should address the more intellectual and romantic of the young. As a work of art, it is, in parts, clumsy and undigested; yet its beauties so greatly preponderate, that its faults are little worth mentioning. The fancy of the author, which, as we have already said, is one of his leading powers, appears to great advantage here, leading him in the spirit of the wise men of old to see more than chance coincidence between God's ways in the world of nature, and his ways in the world of grace. Our readers must peruse the following enforcement of this principle.
You have often been advised to study the Mosaic law for the types of Christ contained in it. You have often been recommended to examine the history of the Jews for the matters typical of Christ contained in it. Let me exhort you to search also for like types in another book-a book framed by the same hand which guided the inspired penman of the Bible,—the book of God's creation. So will you learn to look at nature as you ought to look,to discern something more than the ever-changing colours and ever-waving folds of her garments,-to catch sight of those capital features in which her spirit is most vividly expressed,-nay, to pierce through her body to her soul, or rather to behold the workings of her soul in all the movements of her body. So will you learn to discover something more than the mere properties of space and time, lines, and numbers, in her laws. So will you learn to breathe life into the dry bones of your natural philosophy. To the godly, holding converse with nature is holding converse with God. It is to them as another and a prior Bible, which, when man's secondary writing has been rubbed off, and when the original characters are brought out and deciphered and rightly interpreted, as, with the help of the other they may be, unites from all its regions and spheres in declaring the glory of God and showing his handiwork. By such a course of study alone shall we be enabled to dive, at least some way, into the meaning of that mysterious declaration, when, on the eve of the heavenly Sabbath, God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good; or to apprehend how all this too has fallen away from original goodness, how the earth was involved in the original curse, and how the whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. To what end indeed have we been endowed with the creative faculty of the imagination, which, glancing from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, vivifies what to the eye seems lifeless, animates what to the eye seems torpid, combines and harmonizes what to the eye seems broken and disjointed, and infuses a soul with thought and feeling, with determinate purpose, and submissive beneficence, into the multitudinous fleeting fantasmagoria of the senses? To what end, I ask, have we been so richly endowed, unless, as the prime object and appointed task of the reason is, to detect and apprehend the laws by which the Almighty Lawgiver upholds and rules the world he has created, it be, in like manner, the province and duty of the imagination to be diligent in reading and studying the symbolical characters wherewith God has engraven the revelations of his goodness on the interminable scroll of the visible universe.-Pp. 222, 223.
Take the following exemplifications of the qualities we have mentioned. Comparing the force of the text, "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord," at the commencement of the Gospel, with that which they possess applied to us, our author says:
The transition in our days cannot be so manifest, or so broadly marked. We are too well off for it to be so. Yet it may be, that this our vantage ground may, in many cases, turn out to be a dangerous precipice. It may be, that the twilight around us, whereby the gloom of our condition is less palpable and oppressive, may often rather check than animate our desire for something brighter and better: so that, being born in a state of comparative light, we may be the more readily contented to abide in a state of comparative darkness: and then, as twilight is never stationary, but ever either waxing into day, or waning into night, our inward light from our want of diligence in tending it, will become fainter and fainter, till at length it goes out unperceived.Pp. 218, 219.
The sermon ends with a practical enforcement of the deportment suitable to the children of light, of which the last and chief feature is "Love," with which the eloquent preacher concludes in a strain so solemn, so elevating, so serenely great, that we must needs extract it.
No part of your duty is more godlike. They who attempted to become like God in knowledge, fell in the garden of Eden. They who strove to become like God in power, were confounded on the plain of Shinar. They who endeavour to become like God in love, will feel his approving smile, and his helping arm. Every effort they make will bring them nearer to his presence; and they will find his renewed image grow more and more vivid within them, until the time comes when they too shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.-P. 240.
The next is on "The Law of Self-sacrifice," and was preached more than ten years ago, at the annual commemoration of benefactors, in the Chapel of Trinity College. It is an admirable refutation of the earthly and degrading creed of the Utilitarian-a creed against which, as is most powerfully shown by our author, the whole universe protests. We have only room for one passage, not more beautifully written, than justly thought. It is on the necessity of self-sacrifice to produce any thing truly great in literature.
Look, for example, at Poetry. The might of the imagination is manifested by its launching forth from the petty creek, where the accidents of birth moored it, into the wide ocean of Being, by its going abroad into the world around, passing into whatever it meets with, animating it, and becoming one with it. This complete union and identification of the poet with his poem; this suppression of his own individual insulated consciousness, with its narrownesses of thought and prettinesses of feeling; is what we admire in the great masters of that which for this reason we justly call classical poetry, as representing that which is symbolical and universal, not that which is merely occasional and peculiar. This gives them that majestic calmness, which still breathes upon us from the statues of their gods; this invests their works with that lucid transparent atmosphere wherein every form stands out in perfect definiteness and distinctness, only beautified by the distance which idealizes it. This has delivered those works from the casualties of time and space, and has lifted them up like stars into the pure firmament of thought, so that they do not shine on one spot alone, or fade like earthly flowers, but journey on from clime to clime, shedding the light of beauty on generation after generation. The same quality, amounting to a total extinction of his own selfish being, so that
his spirit became a mighty organ through which Nature gave utterance to the 'full diapason of her notes, is what we wonder at in our own great dramatist, and is the groundwork of all his other powers; for it is only when purged of selfishness that the intellect becomes fitted for receiving the inspirations of genius."-Pp. 277, 278.
The remaining sermons might supply us with extracts equal to those we have already made, but we think we have done enough to show our readers what manner of man our author is. He advances now and then opinions which strike us as questionable, and pronounces one or two, we think, very hasty judgments; but, on the whole, we welcome his volume as a new instrument in the cause of truth-we heartily thank him for it, and take leave of him for the present, with expressing our hopes that life and strength may be granted him, so as to enable him to furnish us with more in a similar strain, and in furtherance of those great and immortal ends to which he consecrates his powers.
ART. IV.-A Practical Exposition of the General Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, in the form of Lectures, intended to assist the Practice of Domestic Instruction and Devotion. By JOHN BIRD SUMNER, D.D. Lord Bishop of Chester. London: Hatchard and Son. Pp. xi. 501. 8vo. 1840.
THERE is one feature which pervades the character of the Bishop of Chester, and gives to his writings as well as to his doings, to his labours as an author as well as to those labours which belong to his official situation, a particular tone; and that is, practical usefulness. There are qualities in his mind, moral and intellectual tendencies, which might have been thought incompatible with this, or at least not conducive to it. Mild in manners, and retiring in behaviour, to all appearance physically unfitted for the rough and stormy scenes of life, he seems more peculiarly adapted for the contemplative and abstracted course; naturally formed to be the guide and the companion and the comforter of those gentler spirits which shrink from the world, and delight to live that life which is hid with Christ in God. Among such as these we might have supposed that the Bishop would have found the circle most congenial to his own taste, and most resembling his own character, and would have been contented to have them alone as his readers and admirers. It is well for the world that his literary career has been directed and regulated by other principles; and that, instead of addressing himself to those to whom it might have been most agreeable to speak, he has addressed himself to those to whom it was most necessary to speak; that he has exercised control over his own inclinations, and has discarded every other object in writing, except that of doing good. The extent of the sacrifice that has thus been made, the daily and hourly self-denial that may have been required and exerted in the adaptation of his tastes to his duties, can only be appreciated by those who consider the character of his writings in this respect. The Bishop is an excellent and refined scholar, but the world has never seen him wandering among the bowers of literature, or yielding to the curiosity which gives an interest to the difficulties of study. He is gifted with a mind