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Art. II.—The Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, as it has been
stated in some recent Tracts, weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary; in Three Dialogues. By the Rev. Thomas BIDDULPH, M.A., Minister of St. James's, Bristol. London: Seeley. 1837. Pp. 140.
This little work has been lying on our table for notice a very considerable time, from the great reluctance we felt to undertake the task of saying anything about it. It is the mere reduction into a smaller compass, and a different form, of what the author published in the year 1816, under the title of "Remarks” on a tract then recently placed on the list of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge; and the " recent tracts" named in the title, and which have excited the zeal of Mr. Biddulph to this doughty undertaking, are the Oxford “ Tracts for the Times."
We remember that some years ago a lively indignation was excited against Mr. Biddulph, among all candid and reflecting persons, by the exposure of his conduct in a work “On the Operations of the Holy Spirit." A writer in one of the principal periodicals (see Quarterly Review, 1821), in a series of most able and powerful proofs, showed the literary dishonesty, the gross plagiarisms, and the extreme want of candour and fairness towards his clerical brethren, which distinguished (malo sensu) that publication; and that he had borrowed at second hand from the rambling work of Knox on “Christian Philosophy," which was some thirty years ago much in the hands of serious persons, not only the greater part of the book without acknowledgment, but some gross misrepresentations concerning Warburton as well, who was represented as saying, that "Socrates preaching moral virtue to the Athenians, was made unto them wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” Now it so happened that Warburton certainly did use the words, but it was only to condemn them as a mere paganized Christianity; but our plagiarist of the better part of the "Christian Philosophy," unluckily for his own reputation, took this unfortunate article also, which was the more immediate cause of his detection; but it seemed in his eyes too good a peg on which to hang a charge of preaching mere morality against his brethren among the clergy, who did not exactly see with his own eyes, and unfortunately for himself, he acted accordingly.
Far be it from us, even under cases of great provocation, to revive the memory of bygone faults, but there are occasions when silence would not be merely harmless ; that silence we would assuredly have obs ed, had the former exposure and merited chastisement of Mr. Biddulph taught him caution, or had age brought wisdom, declining years mellowed his opinions, and charity softened down the roughness
and asperities of his prejudice. But since that time, the author has not only not learned anything, but unhappily seems to have forgotten nothing. The present work abounds with the same mistakes as his former publications, and displays throughout the same misrepresentations of those whom he opposes. Surely, if Mr. Biddulph finds it impossible to come over to the opinions of the great body of the clergy, still he might in twenty years have learned what those opinions are, instead of imputing to them doctrines which they do not maintain, inferences which they utterly disclaim, and a mode of preaching which they would shrink from as much as the writer himself. Reasoning or arguing with one so cased in prejudice, is quite out of the question ; all that we shall do is to assure him, though we hardly suppose he will believe us, that he has utterly mistaken the whole doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, as held by those whom he opposes; and that the doctrine as stated by himself, is the mere coinage of his own brain ! Indeed, the whole book goes on the supposition that with the maintainers of Baptismal Regeneration, every thing is attributed to the water only, and nothing to the word of God, and the power of the Holy Ghost; and that the clergy do hardly anything else than preach that the mere external application of water is all that is necessary to get people to heaven. We may also observe, that there are many parts of the book which seem to us quite inconsistent with the practice of Infant Baptism, a point on which we invariably find there is a very great uncertainty and difficulty in the system of those who oppose inward and spiritual grace" of Baptism.
On this subject we shall dilate at large in our next number, when we purpose noticing Archbishop Lawrence's splendid Bampton Lecture on this head.
Art. III.-A Sermon. By EDWARD, LORD BISHOP OP Norwich,
preached at his Installation, on Thursday, August the 17th, 1837. Sixth Edition. Norwich : Fletcher.
As his lordship makes it a subject of complaint (in p. 16,) that his sentiments on the principal topic of this Discourse have been misunderstood, it may not be out of place to state that, after perusing his Sermon, and the reports which were given of it in those public journals which are most favourable to his lordship's views,—views which in this sermon he identifies with those of the late Bishop Bathurst,—it has occurred to us that his lordship has suffered more from the commendations and representations of friends, than from any misapprehension on the part of those who dissent from him.
From the tone of the public journals, it is evident that his lordship was understood to maintain, that a man's creed was a matter all but unimportant, a matter of indifference, about which to feel earnestly was to incur the sins of bigotry and schism.
We regard the language of this Discourse as, after all, perhaps too vague, (if we may use such a word without any wish to be offensive,) to sanction such extravagance and irreligion as his lordship’s political friends would ignorantly charge upon him; we say ignorantly, for as not a few of them perhaps have no decided principles, either in religion or politics (it being now so very general a thing not to adhere to any principles as principles,) they have inflicted a wound upon his lordship’s reputation, without intending to do so.
The Bishop is indeed sufficiently liberal, as the word is now applied, to gain the unqualified applause of all who bear the christian name, whether Unitarians, or Arians, Quakers, or speakers of the unknown tongues. He does not presume to deny but that amongst all these may be found "a portion of that community in which all churches, sects, and parties, unite under the designation of the Church of Christ.” (P. 10.) If then, according to the Bishop, they have the love of God at heart, however they may reject him who was called “God with us,” they may be good Christians. A christian bishop should not appear to encourage such a supposition as this, that men can truly love God, and deny him at the same time.
Whether his lordship's charity was so forgetful of the interests of truth in its universal embrace of his recently entrusted fold, we will not take upon us to determine. It may be that he did not in his own mind conceive of men truly loving God, and yet refusing worship to the Saviour of the world—the Word made flesh. But of one thing we are certain, that if any of the Unitarian congregation of the city in which he preached, were present, they would not fail to understand the words in the sense we have supposed them capable of bearing ; for far be it from us to believe that a christian prelate could design so to honour and flatter such as deny the Lord that bought them.
In the preceding page his lordship had brought before his hearers the example of our Saviour, who extended his mercy equally to the worshipper at Jerusalem, and the Samaritan separatist who worshipped in the mountain. It could not but be fresh in his recollection that our Lord, in a spirit the reverse of what in our days is called liberal, candid, and enlightened, said to the Samaritan woman, "Ye worship ye know not what." We trust that his lordship is too steadfastly determined to follow our Chief Bishop's perfect pattern, to decline from warning with the same faithfulness, all who trouble the fold of Christ with needless divisions and with dangerous and false doctrines. We desire no more. But we cannot help conceiving that it would not have been unbecoming in the right reverend preacher to have given to his
clergy a more decided pledge than he has given in this Sermon, that he, for his part, would " banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine, contrary to God's word; and both privately and openly call upon and encourage others to the same." This was his lordship's promise to God and to the Church, when he stood forth as a candidate for his high office, and was about to be consecrated to his holy function. We trust that he will not be found amongst those who sanction an extension of public patronage for the promotion of education in the hands either of the Romanist or of the sceptic.
Both of these are indeed looking for his support. But his vows are upon him ;
and therefore would hope that both will be disappointed. He indeed in a note (p. 16,) asserts, that it is his conviction that "the independence and integrity of this country, and its respectability in the estimation of the nations of Europe, depend mainly, if not entirely, on a sound, judicious, and general education associated with christian principles.” We therefore look for his cooperation with that very able advocate of sound education, the Bishop of Exeter, in opposing the system so hostile to true Christianity which is now propagated in Ireland, as the National System, to the great discouragement of true religion, and of that Church of which Dr. Stanley is so distinguished a member.
But upon this subject, again, his lordship appears to entertain ideas which in themselves are somewhat undefined. He denies that any process, any influx of improvement, can fail to enlarge and thereby benefit individuals, by raising them in the scale of being, by exalting them above sensual and profligate habits.” Has his lordship’s experience shown him that education, let it be of what kind it will,—" any process, any influx of improvement,”—has changed men from voluptuaries to being men of business ; from intemperate to temperate; from living upon others, to becoming profitable to their country? Are there not many, and those in high stations too, who do not exemplify these effects of any influx of improvement ?
His lordship, toward the conclusion of his Sermon, expressed a desire that education should be carried on by the union of Churchmen and Dissenters, so that on no occasion that union should be wanting. The occasion in his view was that afforded the people of Norwich, to further the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,-a Society based upon the principles of the Church of England ;--a Society that not only does not recognise the principles of Dissent, but upholds the diametrically opposite principles of the Church of England. We cannot but look upon his lordship’s invitation of the Dissenters to support this Society, as being either a mockery to their feelings, or tacit satire upon the Society itself. Would his lordship so change the tone of the Society's publications, as that the Unitarian and the Arian should lend their dissenting aid to those methods of instruction and improvement which
VOL. XX. NO. 1X.
have been established in connexion with a Church, founded not on human reasonings, speculations, and errors, but on the pure word of God ?
Lastly, we deprecate the intrusion of the Reform Bill and the Municipal Reform Bill into the pulpit of the cathedral of Norwich, This is indeed an effervescence of truly sectarian zeal. If words are symbols, and convey, or at least should convey, some fixed ideas to the mind of the hearer, what ideas, we ask, would the following words convey to the congregation that heard them ? “I appear before you as the advocate of education-education, that fulcrum on which the well-wishers of the human race may rest securely; that moral lever, whereby the character of our rising generations may be rendered not only worthy of those immunities and privileges which have been the spontaneous growth of the times we live in, but whereby a more important benefit," &c.—P. 15.
We trust that ere long the Church will at least be herself consulted, before her interests and government are placed in the hands of those who, whatever conscientiousness they may be said to possess, do not give also substantial evidence of discrimination and judgment, and a clear perception of the principles upon which the Church herself is based.
We take this opportunity of recommending to his lordship a brighter example, (we speak it, we hope, not invidiously) than that of his immediate predecessor. It may be, that if he study still more the faith and piety of Bishop Hall, he shall gain more honour to his own memory, and to the Church of which he is a pastor, thap by endeavouring to give a fresh impulse to the false candour and vague liberality, under which the principles of this unquiet age are lurking in dark disguise. The many
editions of this Sermon, which are even now continued, render it an important duty to point out to the public the real bearing of the question at issue between the Bishop of Norwich and the ortho dox Established Church. And we have, therefore, at this late period, resolved to publish a few remarks, written some time since, in order that our silence may not be interpreted as favourable to the views laid down, ex cathedra, by Dr. Stanley,
Art. IV.-1. Poems. By the late Rev. EDWARD SMEDLEY, A.M.; with
a Selection from his Correspondence, and a Memoir of his Life..
London: Baldwin and Cradock. 1837. 2. The Tribute; a Collection of miscellaneous Unpublished Poems. By
various Authors. Edited by LORD NORTHAMPTON. London: Murray;
Lindsell. 1837. True to the analogies of nature, a high and lasting renown is commonly of slow growth. Some, indeed, have achieved it during life; but it is