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that scholars like Dr. Maltby are alone able to arrive at the true interpretation, we beg leave to remark, that the evangelical doctrines, as held by the vulgar pious, the illiterate but devout believer, on the faith of the obvious import of the inspired writings,
the doctrines which Dr. Maltby rejects and opposes,—have been firmly held and ably defended by men as learned as Grotius, Le Clerc, and himself. The clear meaning of the sacred text has been established by the soundest criticism, so that, were the Scriptures never so obscure, the immense mass of expository religious instruction which is in the hands of the common people, would supply ample means of arriving at a competent knowledge of their meaning. We detest, as well as Dr. Maltby, the 'contemptuous dogmatism that is too often the fruit of scanty 'information and superficial views '; but there is such a thing as a man's being learned in the Scriptures without scholarship, profound in the doctrines of Christ without philosophy, bold and decided in his views without dogmatism; and there is such a thing, on the other hand, as what the apostle calls' carnal wisdom and learned ignorance.
Nothing can be more repugnant to our feelings, than to join in a cry of heresy against any public character, more especially when that cry has obviously been raised by political feeling. It would have been highly agreeable to us, to be able to report favourably of these Sermons as establishing the orthodoxy of the learned Whig Bishop. Far be it from us to impute to Dr. Maltby any opinions which he does not specifically maintain or avow. We must, however, frankly confess that, were his views of Christianity consonant with Revelation, the Deity of the Saviour would be reduced to an abstract question of so little practical importance, that the controversy with the Socinian would be scarcely worth keeping up.
Where the theology is false, the morality is never right; and therefore it will excite no surprise, that the learned Preacher should be found cautioning the lawyers of Lincoln's Inn against being righteous over much', (Ser. X.) that is, 'carrying re‘ligious feeling to an unwise extreme',~undue zeal in making
proselytes ', -'a demeanour bordering on sanctimonious ',-as well as against thinking too ill of their spiritual condition, and giving way to religious despondency, or denying themselves innocent amusements (Ser. XII. and III.); - instead of addressing to them such hard sayings as, “Be ye holy, for I am holy'.
This will excite no astonishment; although the evil tendency must be obvious, of cautioning a class of persons against evils and errors which they are in no danger of falling into, from which their very prejudices would tend to preserve them, without warning them of the opposite precipice on the brink of which they are standing. When the standard of Christian morals within the circle of professional society is considered, the want of discretion or of fidelity exhibited in this line of exhortation, must appear still more deplorable than the Preacher's theological deficiencies.
That we may not be charged with exaggerating those deficiencies, we shall close this article with an extract containing the clearest statement we have met with of the Author's religious belief.
By religion then, I do not mean merely a system of thinking, but a habit of acting ; not merely correct opinions, but a virtuous and useful life. Religion, properly understood, implies unfeigned belief in Almighty God, as revealed to us in the Bible; reverence for His perfections, with an ardent desire to imitate them ; implicit reliance upon His promises, with an unceasing endeavour to deserve them. Religion also implies faith in the Son of God, with a grateful sense of all we owe to Him, in that He descended from the bosom of His Father, quitted the glories of heaven, and took upon Him our flesh, to save us from the dreadful effects of sin, even from everlasting death. It implies a disavowal of all claim from our own merit to the happiness of eternity, but a profession of dependence on the effectual atonement of the Saviour; it implies also a hearty reliance upon the proffered aid of God's Holy Spirit, to strengthen our feeble resolutions, to elevate our devout affections, to guide us to every good word and work. If these notions of religion be duly planted in our minds and deeply rooted in our hearts, they cannot fail to bring forth the goodly fruits of a pious and temperate, an industrious and charitable, life. “If these things be in you and abound,” said St. Peter to those of his own time, “they make you that ye shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Wherefore ”, he rightly concludes his exhortation, “the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”'. pp. 323–4.
This passage may, perhaps, be admitted as proof that Dr. Maltby's notions, though far enough from evangelical, are as passably orthodox as those of many of his Tory brethren.
Art. VII. An Humble Attempt to answer the important Question,
“ What think ye of Christ, or, Twelve Lectures on the Person of Christ, and his Mission into the World. By Nun Morgan Harry,
12mo. pp. 224. Banbury, 1832. The importance of acquiring correct views of the person of Jesus Christ cannot be doubted by any intelligent Christian. Without this knowledge, we are not only exposed to the seductions of error, but
VOL. VIII. N.S.
cannot enjoy that confidence which is necessary to console and support the mind; we can neither repose entire affiance in his atonement, nor honour him as we honour the Father. The great reason that many have embraced an erroneous creed, and others have betrayed a sad want of stability in their religious character, is, their not having possessed sound scriptural knowledge relative to the Redeemer's person. In this respect, the work before us is calculated to render valuable assistance to the class of readers for whom it is intended. The Discourses which it contains are methodical, sound in doctrine, and more particularly adapted to be useful for domestic and village reading. In the Preface it is stated, that the sole reason why they are published is, that the sale might assist in the liquidation of a debt incurred by the erection of a new place of worship where there had been previously little Christian instruction. This consideration, we hope, will induce many benevolent persons to purchase this small volume. As a specimen of the Preacher's style, we cite the following passage.
· Had he not been God, he could never have made an atonement, • For none can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” A crime committed against an infinite Being, could not have been expiated without an infinite atonement. Far be it from me to lose sight of the importance of God's appointment of Christ to the mediatorial office, as a sacrifice for sin ; but I cannot for a moment conceive, that its chief merit consisted in that appointment:-there must have been an infinite suitableness in Christ as the person appointed. And here we see it; he had a body to bleed and die ; and this body, united to the Divine nature, rendered all his sufferings of infinite value, and of infinite merit:-hence the Apostle says, “ God purchased the church with his own blood.”
• He was promised as a sacrifice in Eden,-typified as an atonement, by the sacrifices under the law,- predicted by the prophets as atoning for sin,- and he himself revealed the design of his humiliation and death : “ The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” The effects of his atonement have been felt by the guilty and unclean on earth ; and millions of glorified spirits, around the throne in heaven, praise the efficacy of his redeeming blood. And what is the voice of these things? They establish the doctrine of the atonement—they shew the immutability of the promise—they interpret the meaning of Jewish sacrifices-they confirm the truth of prophecy—they explain the doctrine taught in the New Testament -and they manifest the infinite virtue of his blood to cleanse from every sin.' p. 163.
Art. VIII. ]. Sacred History in the form of Letters, addressed to the
Pupils of the Edinburgh Sessional School. By the Author of the Account of that Institution, &c. Parts I. to IV. 18mo. Edinburgh,
1830-1832. 2. Bible Letters for Children. By Lucy Barton. With Introductory
Verses by Bernard Barton. 18mo. “Price 2s. London, 1831.
3. Scripture Prints, with Explanations in the Form of Familiar Dia
logues. By Mrs. Sherwood. 12mo. London, 1831. 4. Scripture Illustrations : for the Young. 12mo. London, 1831. 5. The Journeys of the Children of Israel ; and their Settlement in
the promised Land. 2mo. London, 1832. 6. The Child's Commentator on the Holy Scriptures. By Ingram Cob-,
bin, A.M. Vol. IV. 12mo. London, 183]. NEVER did the press teem with so many nice little books for children. Too often we have to complain, however, of their not being sufficiently simple in their diction. In a volume of the Edinburgh “ Sacred History”, we happened to open upon the following sentence. The abso
lute necessity of that exterminating policy which had been prescribed 'to Israel by Jehovah, soon displayed itself in the disastrous conse• quences arising from the opposite line of conduct, which they adopted
in contravention of His express commands. To the pupils of the Sessional School, this language may be intelligible ; but it is certainly a pitch too high for very young persons or the imperfectly educated in this southern part of the kingdom. In Mrs. Sherwood's Explanations of - Scripture Prints", we meet with the following strange question, and stranger answer: “Are camels types, grand-mamma ? ' All - four-footed beasts are types or emblems of kings or kingdoms, as we
find in Dan. vii. 17. And no doubt when we understand these things better, each different species of animal will be discovered to be typi'cal of some individual order or description of men. This is childish enough; but is it instruction for children ? Again, the children are told, that a rainbow is a type of the blessed Trinity, united in the • great work of man's salvation: the rainbow iş formed of light and
mist, acting on each other and imbodied in a visible form: the light • of which this bow is formed, is the emblem of God the Father,' &c. This is very sad, and the more so as coming from a writer of Mrs. Sherwood's deservedly high reputation. It is otherwise an attractive and interesting volume. Lucy Barton's “ Bible Letters ” are written in a very simple, pleasing style; and brief explanatory notes are given of the hard words. They comprise a brief Scripture history from the Creation to the building of the Second Temple. We must give a short specimen of this nice little book.
The story of Naaman's cure should teach us a lesson of humility and patient obedience: we all stand in need of a great cure to take place in our hearts, which are very sinful, and need washing with the blood of Christ before they can become clean in the sight of God; we must think seriously in our hearts, and pray to our Heavenly Father to make known to us, as the prophet did to Naaman, what we shall do to be clean: and if we listen to the still small voice within us, we shall not, perhaps, find that we are called upon to perform any very great action which may bring us the praise of all our friends; but simply to follow the path of our duty wherever it may lead us, to do what our conscience tells us is right, whether we are seen by others or not, re
membering that there is an eye upon us which never sleeps; to practise daily, meekness and gentleness; to keep a constant watch over our thoughts, words, and actions; to govern our tempers; to think little of ourselves; and yield our own opinion to the wishes of others. These are duties which ought to be practised every day: we may know a tree by its fruit; a good tree will produce good fruit, and a bad tree will produce bad fruit; and it may be known, by your daily conduct, whether your hearts are right in the sight of God: if you are careless and inattentive, cross and always wishing to have your own way, it will be plain that, like Naaman when he was angry with the prophet, your hearts are too proud to perform these daily duties, that they have not yet been washed from the stain of sin. But on the other hand, if we see your cheerful obedience in all things, your meekness, patience, and kindness to others, we shall feel assured that, like the Syrian, you have been made clean by the power of God; that your hearts have been humbled in his sight: and you will feel greater content and peace of mind in the daily performance of these quiet duties, than would ever be your lot were you to neglect them and follow your own inclinations. Thus Naaman would have washed in his own rivers, Abana or Pharpar; he might have done so, but he would not have been healed, and he would not have felt that happy change which took place in him when he gave up his own will, followed the advice of Elisha, and dipped himself in the Jordan.
We must not forget the little captive maid who had been the cause of this change in her master. I would have you particularly remember, that these events were brought about by a little girl, who, although a captive in a strange land, and among a people who worshipped strange gods, yet she did not forget the God of her fathers, nor the works of his faithful prophet; and by this she was made useful to her master, spread very far the fame of Elisha, and above all, was the humble means of causing the name of her God to be made known in another land, and of bringing at least one more convert to the only true God. Although you may not have it in your power thus publicly to serve Him, yet you should remember, that however lowly may be your rank in life, or however small your circle of friends, yet there will be some who may be led by your example: and your companions, when they see your kindness and gentleness, will be led to inquire how you have gained this command over yourselves; and when they find that you do not act according to your own wills, but follow the commands of Him who said, “ by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another," they may, perhaps, be induced to make Him the rule of their lives; and thus, you will, like this little maiden of Israel, become useful to those around you, and be the happy means of spreading peace and good will among your companions.'
pp. 180—185. The Religious Tract Society have put forth an admirable little work under the title of Scripture Illustrations for the Young,' with neat wood cuts of a really illustrative kind. A short specimen will give the best notion of its contents.