Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

which is not more edifying to the printed. The Greek portion of the private Christian, than it is instructive Lexicon has been most carefully reto the scholar and the critic. Piety vised by Mr. Negris, a native of Greece, and learning were in an eminent de- and one of the most learned Hellenists gree combined in the person of John of the present day, who has distinAlbert Bengel, whose admirable criti- guished himself by his very accurate cal edition of the New Testament is editions of the works of Herodotus found in every large library, as his and Pindar, and of portions of the writexcellent Gnomon Novi Testamenti is ings of Demosthenes, Eschines, and in the libraries of most private biblical Xenophon. And the revision of the scholars. Numerous as were bis ori- Hebrew part of Dr. Robinson's Lexicon ginal publications, (which his biogra- has been undertaken by the Rev. Jolan pher estimates at about thirty, besides Duncan, who has made many addinew

editions of various ancient tions, whichi (as in the previous London authors,) Bengel never wrote or pub- edition) are printed between brackets. lished any treatise, which was not British students are deeply indebted required by the duties of the various to both English and Scottish editors, and important official situations which for their indefatigable exertions to be held at different times. He was of present Dr. R.'s valuable work to them opinion that "every book ought to in a form which unites reasonableness contain something original, and who- of price with correctness and beauty soever has nothing to impart, ought of typographical execution. not to write;" and that “ we ought to be very careful about composing new books,” for that “every book ought to add something to the reader's information, or at least to the improvement

The Justice and Equity of Assessing of the reader's heart.

But how many

the Net Profits of the Land for the do neither !" (Pp. 213, 214.) Most

Relief of the Poor, maintained, in a devoutly do we agree in these senti

Letter to the Poor-Law Commisments, and wish that some inodern sioners : with some Remarks on the authors would ponder them well. The Celebrated Case of Rex v. Jodrell. editors of literary journals would not,

By a Norfolk Clergyman. Lonin that case, be compelled to peruse

don: Roake and Varty. 1838. 8vo. so many indifferent publications.

When we announce this very important pamphlet, as the production of the

Norfolk Clergyman, to whose very useA Greek and English Lexicon to the

ful tracts in behalf of the temporal and New Testament, By EDWARD

spiritual welfare of the poor, our pages ROBINSON, D.D. A new and im

have borne willing testimony during proved Edition, revised by ALEX

the last three or four years, we are ANDER NEgris, and by ihe Rev.

sure that we have said quite enough to John DUNCAN, A.M. Edinburgh:

recommend this “ Letter to the PoorClark. London: Hamilton and

Law Commissioners” to the special Co. 1838. Pp. x. 874.

notice of our clerical readers. Every

incumbent, who is concerned in the Having already borne testimony to commutation of tithes, ought to prothe value of Dr. Robinson's biblical

cure a copy without delay. Notwithlabours, in our notice of Dr. Bloom- standing the Court of King's Bench field's London Edition of his Lexicon had laid down the law most clearly to the New Testament,* we have now and specifically-and, we must add, only to announce the Edinburgh re- most equitably—that the whole proprint of it ; which, in justice to the fits of land ought to be rated to the editors and publisher, we must state,

relief of the poor, the poor-law comis as beautifully as it is correctly

missioners have thought proper to

See Chistian REMEMBANCER, 1837 p. 676.

upon this point. Nor is there any difference from the difference of denomination : the practical ill consequences are alike, whether the parties call themselves Methodists or Baptists. But we refer the reader to the volume itself, which will amply repay a perusal. We must at the same time remark that, as a general rule, it is well for an authoress to avoid the controversial; and this rule is for the most part well observed in the volume before us.

assert, that “ the law remains in the same obscure state!"

In order to expose the fallacy of this assertion, the author of the present most seasonable publication has satisfactorily considered some objections, which have been alleged against the decision of the Court of King's Bench. He has further given much valuable information upon the subject of tithe commutation : and as the Clergy are now, pretty generally, commuting tithes in their respective parishes, it is important that they should be aware of the very serious diminution of income, which they must sustain if the unauthorized assertion of the poor-law commissioners should be deemed law, in opposition to the equitable principle determined by the Court of King's Bench, in the case of “Rex v. Jodrell." The author has corroborated his statements by various calculations, which are evidently the result of much careful thought and labour. We do sincerely bope that this cheap and valuable pamphlet will meet with the circulation which its importance demands and deserves.

[blocks in formation]

Scenes in the Hop Gardens. London:

Swith, Elder, and Co., 1838.

Pp. 232. This little volume is pleasingly and sensibly written. It purports to be a narration of facts illustrative of rural life. We hope that it will not be the last series of sketches which the authoress will provide at once for the gratification of the public, and for the exercise of her own best feelings. It is interesting throughout, and abounds with important lessons. It is also valuable as the testimony of a mind impressed with true practical religion, upon the real influence of dissent in our villages. We have witnessed for ourselves very many scenes of a similar complexion with some that bear

We take shame to ourselves, in not having noticed the previous numbers of this most instructive and pleasing history. Like its predecessors, and almost necessary companions, on Fishes and on Quadrupeds, this work is beautifully executed, and deserves to be in every drawing-room in the kingdom.

A SERMON

ON THE OBSERVANCE OF THE FESTIVALS AND FASTS, PARTICULARLY

GOOD FRIDAY.

Rom. xiv. 5.

One man estecmeth one day above another : another esteemeth every day

alike : let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. If this and some other connected passages of Scripture had been duly considered and properly understood, it is scarcely possible that the christian world could have witnessed the frequent bickerings and unhappy mistakes which have occurred amongst men who, professing one common faith, one Lord and one God and Father of all, ought naturally to have been bound and cemented together, in one common confession, by the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. It is a singular testimony, if any were indeed wanted, to the natural weakness of the human mind, and the natural perverseness of the human heart, that upon those subjects which might have been supposed to have united men more firmly than any other topics of reflection or discussion, the history of the world, whether sacred or profane, secular or religious, exhibits the most striking examples of the greatest possible differences, and the most extreme varieties of virulence and animosity.

Men, who agree on all points connected with merely human institutions,—who band together, in spite of all the opposition of private feeling or public principle, for the furtherance of some absorbing question of political or national importance,—are yet found doing violence to their own consistency, and arraying themselves in hostile bearing and illiberal argument against each other, when the things of God are the theme of discussion, and the interests of the soul the object of pursuit.

Reason could, perhaps, discover a solution of this enigma in some one of the various motives and influences which appear to direct the conduct and opinions of the mass of mankind; and might, also, not injudiciously or untruly point to the want of sincerity towards God, or rather to the want of christian charity, as the best and truest solution of an apparently incomprehensible problem.

Why is it, that they whose faith is indubitable, who believe and receive Christ as the author and finisher of their salvation--whose hope is firm and unshaken, and who are anchored and grounded upon the Rock of Ages—do yet so marvellously injure their way of proving this faith, and vindicating this hope, by the illiberal and unchristian sentiments which so often disgrace the members of our christian communities, upon subjects in themselves not of essential dignity? The Apostle has hinted at the cause in that expressive sentence" And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three : but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor. xiii. 13.) And it is for this reason, that we have the admonition of the text ; "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

A Sermon on the Observance of the Festivals and Fasts, fc. 209

We are not to suppose that this failing is of any particular age or locality; for it obtained in the first ages of the christian church-nay, even in the times anterior to Christ ; and it has been especially developed in these latter periods of the church's establishment. It is in the hope not only of vindicating some, but of convincing other classes of Christians, in respect of particular observances, that I have deemed it my duty, in reference to the approaching memorial of our Saviour's crucifixion, to consider, first, the general bearing of the text; and, secondly, the application of the principle upon which the Apostle's reasoning, in that portion of the epistle whence the text is taken, is founded ; illustrating the argument by historical references, and endeavouring to urge upon my hearers the observance of a day, hallowed and honoured by the services of devotion, and set apart, not less by private piety than by public authority, for the contemplation of the great mystery of redemption,-Emmanuel suffering in the person of man, to atone for man to the offended justice and majesty of God.

Numerous have been the objections advanced against the Church of England by those who dissent from her Liturgy and worship, in consequence of her adherence to the custom that has prevailed for many ages, of setting apart particular days as festivals, in honour of the saints and martyrs of the Church at large, and especially of the events connected with the birth, death, and ministry of the Saviour.

It is certain, that these objections have been frequently offered, not only in ignorance of the origin of the derided festivals, but also in total forgetfulness of the royal law of charity, and in utter misconception disregard of the liberal statements of St. Paul in the chapter before us.

The Church of England is often taunted by her opponents with charges of superstition and absurdity, and accused of Popery, because the festivals she celebrates are also celebrated by the Church of Rome. No one can, however, say, that the Church of England is the friend of the Church of Rome. And if the simple fact, that each church observes certain similar ceremonies, be sufficient to justify assertions, that the Church of England has fallen away from her high profession of separation from that of Rome, with equal propriety might we taunt dissenters with heathenism, because neither heathens nor dissenters acknowledge the authority of Bishops. Such arguments as these are merely deserving of notice on account of their uncharitableness, and prove only that the Apostle's advice is necessary, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

This allusion to the state of the case at present, will fitly introduce us to a notice of the general bearing of the Apostle's advice.

The whole scope and tenor of the reasoning in the 14th chapter to the Romans, when applied to ourselves, is to inculcate christian views and christian sentiments respecting those things in which Christians differ ; to point out that Christ has delegated to no man, and to no class of men whatever, a power over the consciences of their neighbours ; and that,—as there is one Master, in whose sight all men are in life, and at whose bar of judgment all will be judged after death (ver. 10), " to whom we all stand or fall” (ver. 4), and who regardeth motive and not formality,—that rash condemnation of our brother,

VOL. XX. NO, IV

E E

because he does or does not abstain from particular actions connected with religion, and does or does not observe certain ceremonies, savours not of that charity which the Gospel inculcates, but of that tyranny, which, however asserted, or by whomsoever assumed, is totally opposed to “ the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”

A careful perusal of this chapter will show that such was the intention of the Apostle ; for, though the discussion into which he enters, arose in reference to the practice of the Jewish converts in observing, and that of the Gentile Christians in neglecting, the Jewish custom of keeping holy-days, and the difference between clean and unclean food, the principle of his reasoning is applicable to the christian church at all ages of the world; since christian charity is commensurate with eternity, and as long as the world lasts, there will ever be in the multitude of minds a diversity of sentiments.

The converts from Judaism, knowing that God had established certain festivals in the law, and had put a distinction between certain animals, imagined that they were still bound by the obligation of the law in these respects; and, therefore, they condemned the converts from the Gentiles, who, considering every day alike, and to be kept holy to God, and that all creatures were to be eaten alike, in their turn condemned the converts from Judaism, as guilty of superstition and falling from the faith. The Apostle, therefore, pointed out to them, that all this was in direct contradiction to the spirit of that new religion which both had embraced ; the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile having been broken down, and the distinction of common and unclean having been done away; and that such mutual condemnation and recrimination were a usurpation of the province and authority of Christ himself, before whom both Jew and Gentile would eventually be judged. “But why dost thou judge thy brother ? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother ? for we shall all stand before the judgmentseat of Christ. Let us not, therefore, judge one another any more.” (Ver. 10.)

Now the question between the Church of England and dissenters, respecting her holy-days and fasts, is precisely of this nature in its tendency, though not, perhaps, its altogether parallel.

The general bearing of the text is this, that “one man esteemeth one day above another, and another esteemeth every day alike," under the influence and impression of pious and devout feelings of obedience to the supposed will of God; and that, therefore, every man is to “be fully persuaded in his own mind,” as to his conduct, i. e. is to act upon his convictions, as to his persuasions of what the will of God is in these respects.

The next verse leads us to this conclusion: He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord : and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks : and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not and giveth God thanks” (ver. 6): and in thus acting, each doeth well, because his motive is a right one, and conceived according to his persuasion of the will of the Redeemer. Wherefore the Apostle justly remarked above ; “One believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak (in faith), eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth,

« ПредишнаНапред »