« PreviousContinue »
It comprehends a great amount of learning and weighty argument on a variety of important questions. It is the result of a lengthened and laborious investigation on the part of the author, to satisfy his own mind as to the truth of Christianity. The questions discussed by him are the Being and Attributes of God-the Immortality of the Soul, and the Rewards and Retributions of a Future State -Natural Religion-False, Pagan, and Gentile Religion-the Inspiration and Authority of the Scriptures-the Patriarchal and Mosaic Systems of Religion-Christianity-the Corruption of Christianity-the Reformation of Religion and the Church of England. In the examination of these important topics, Evelyn has evinced himself to have been a learned, laborious, sincere, and devout-minded man. Having witnessed what he deemed utter fanaticism and hypocrisy during the Commonwealth, and the most revolting forms of immorality, irreligion, and profaneness during the reign of that opprobrium of the human race, the second Charles, he felt himself urged to examine, in a spirit of earnest and solemn inquiry, the great fundamental questions of religion. And this he has done in a manner which, notwithstanding the defects to which we have adverted, reflects the highest credit on his memory, and gives us some instructive insight into the spirit, questions, and modes of thinking of the age in which he lived.
These volumes slumbered peacefully for nearly two centuries, in the original manuscript, in the Wotton Library, and are now brought to light by the patient and zealous labours of Mr. Evanson, assisted by an experienced amanuensis.
A New and Popular HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By ROBERT FERGUSON, LL.D. In four volumes.
London: John Cassell, 1850.
type, we have a consecutive narrative of all our national events, from the landing of Julius Cæsar on our shores, to the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne of these realms. Judiciously compressing the earlier periods of our history, and starting from the Norman Conquest as the more important epoch, our author has furnished us with one of the most delightful narratives we have recently perused. His style is clear and easy, graceful, and often eloquent; and much of the pleasure we have felt in the study of the work is derived from its racy, Anglo-Saxon phraseology, which will make it popular with the working classes of Great Britain. Dr. Ferguson is the first Nonconformist who has written our entire history; for the task has been hitherto quietly resigned to churchmen, papists, and infidels. It is important to the interests of truth and liberty that the great events which have passed over this land, should be viewed from all sides, and in all lights, and the quiet, but firm, nonconforming stand-point he has assumed, must shed some additional light on many of the most interesting incidents in British history. It is, moreover, written on truly Christian principles, in harmony with a sentiment adopted from that great and good, but much calumniated man, Oliver Cromwell, who says, "What are all our histories and other traditions of actions in former times, but God manifesting himself that he hath shaken, and tumbled down, and trampled upon everything that He hath not planted?" We have no hesitation in giving the warmest commendation to this "New History," and doubt not but it will earn for itself the right to wear its other assumed title of "Popular." The limited size of the work would justify all omissions of references to authorities in foot-notes; but it would have been well if the Author had given a general statement of the sources of his information, and the history would have been more valu
instead of four, and if an Index had been added to the last. This may be done in future editions; many of which, we trust, will be called for, to remunerate the enterprising publisher, and to gratify the gifted writer by the conviction that his labours are duly appreciated.
THIS work, as its title indicates, is written for the people; and is well adapted to instructable, if it had been paged as two volumes, multitudes of our reading fellow-countrymen in the humbler walks of life, who, notwithstanding their growing intelligence, are anything but well read in our national history. A book of this kind, cheap and popular, concise and comprehensive, was much needed, and we hope it will obtain the widest possible circulation. The author is well known to many of our readers as a minister of the gospel, as a man of scholarly habits and attainments, and as a writer of considerable power and attractiveness. This publication cannot fail to increase his celebrity and usefulness, and is destined, we think, speedily to take an honourable place in our standard literature. Of large, philosophical, and costly histories of England there was no previous lack; but such a history as the one before us, was to be greatly desired. In about six hundred pages of close
THE BATH FABLES; or, Morals, Manners, and Faith, with Illustrative Prose, from many writers of celebrity. By SHERIDAN WILSON, F. S. A., Vice-President of the African Institute, Author of "Sixteen Years in Malta and Greece," and of "Agnes Moreville." Second edition, pp. 478.
Longman and Co.
THERE is a vein of wit and humour, and grave moral in these fables, and illustrative prose which entitles them to rank with the
better specimens of the class to which they belong. Of the Fifty-three fables contained in the volume, there are many of them of admirable tendency, displaying a large amount of delicate and well-aimed satire, calculated to aid the cause of religion and morals. The articles against Popery and Puseyism are written with great spirit, and are calculated to do good service to the cause of truth at the present moment. The paper, "What is Puseyism ?" we shall give in a future number of the Magazine. The literary character of the work is creditable to the author.
THE HEAVENLY SUPREMACY; or, The Position and Duty, at the Present Crisis, of those who hold that Christ is the only Head of the Church. A Discourse by the Rev. THOMAS STRATTEN.
THIS able discourse is founded on Eph. i. 22, 23-" And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church," &c.
Mr. Stratten distributes the subject on which he enters, into three parts:-I. The central place or seat of government to the church. He shows that "Christ is not merely Head of the Church now on earth, but also of that infinitely larger and more glorious body already gathered into heaven.-II. The mode in which the heavenly government gives laws, and so rules on earth. Mr. Stratten clearly shows that, "with the closing of the canon of inspiration, authoritative legislation for the church has been completed and for ever terminated. There are no rightful thrones in the church, but those which the apostles still occupy with ever-living and unchanging authority. The work of subordinate rulers in the Christian ministry is, not to give law to the conscience, but to expound and secure obedience to the law of Christ already given in his Word.-III. The exclusive nature of the heavenly supremacy-Christ, the only Head of the church.
The proof of this is reasoned out by the author with great power of scriptural argumentation, under several distinct heads. In
a note on a passage forcibly expressed, Mr. Stratten says: "If any reader should think this language too strong, let him peruse and ponder the following assertion of the Romish canon law- Both the spiritual and the temporal swords are in the power of the church: the one is in the hands of the priesthood, the other in the hands of kings and soldiers; but the latter is to be exercised only at the beck and command of the former. One sword must be under the other-the temporal under the spiritual power. And, moreover, we pronounce, decree, and declare, that it is of the necessity of faith, that every living creature is subordinated to the power and jurisdiction of the holy See of Rome.""
An Appendix to the sermon concludes with a powerful and animated appeal to Protestant Dissenters, to unite with their fellow-Christians in protesting against the Papal Bull, so that "their voice may swell the one demand of the whole Protestant army."
We strongly recommend this powerful and eloquent discourse, which is sold at a very low price, as worthy of general perusal and distribution.
WE WON'T GIVE UP THE BIBLE; arranged
W. F. Ramsay, 20, Paternoster Row, and
WE recommend all parents and instructors of youth to procure this very pretty little production. Everything having a tendency to endear the Book of books to our children should be hailed with delight.
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH,
AND THAT OF THE LAMENTATIONS, translated from the Original Hebrew; with a Commentary, Critical, Philological, and Exegetical. By E. HENDERSON, D.D. 8vo., rp
Hamilton, Adams, and Co.
WE rejoice to announce the publication of this additional translation from the pen of Dr. Henderson. A review next month.
THE REV. ALGERNON WELLS.
ON Lord's-day evening, the 29th of December, after a protracted season of suffering and debility, borne with Christian cheerfulness and magnanimity, the Rey. Algernon Wells, of Clapton, entered into rest. The complaint by which his strength was wasted,
and his vital powers were at last exhausted, defied all medical skill, and left but little to hope, even in its earlier stages, though the beloved sufferer himself, full of mental power, and unquenched almost to the last, anticipated, at times, a return to his muchcherished labours. Through the whole of his
affliction, Mr. W. maintained the calm exercise of a vigorous faith, and conversed freely with his family and friends upon all the topics most essentially interwoven with Christian joy and hope. His sick chamber was a scene well befitting the "good minister of Jesus Christ," who had so long and so successfully proclaimed the gospel to others, and who had so signally illustrated and adorned its spirit and precepts in all the walks of private life, and in his more public intercourses with his brethren and the Christian church. All who were favoured to converse with him, during the period of his lengthened sickness, found, to their great joy and refreshment, that there was an unction and a savour in his communications, which made them feel sensibly that they had been with " a man of God," on the very verge of heaven. Cheerfulness, serenity, and spirituality, combined with "brotherly love," were the delightful elements which shone forth, in the evening hours of this devoted servant of Christ. He retained his consciousness almost to the close of his protracted sufferings.
On Saturday, January 4th, the mortal remains of our beloved friend were conducted to Abney Park Cemetery, by a large circle of devout men, who made great lamentation for their deceased brother. The Rev. Dr. Burder delivered the funeral address, in a most appropriate and pathetic manner, well depicting the mental and moral habits of the deceased; and the Rev. Thos. Binney offered up devout prayer at the grave. The attendance was large, and the feeling produced solemn and sanctifying. But we hope to give a fuller account next month, when we have seen Mr. Binney's funeral sermon, which was preached at Dr. Burder's chapel, Hackney, on Lord's-day morning, the 12th of January, to a crowded and deeply penetrated auditory.
We regard the death of Mr. Wells as a great public loss. His denomination, and the Christian church at large, could but ill spare such a champion, "Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth."
MEMOIR OF WILLIAM STANCLIFFE, ESQ., OF
THE memory of the just is blessed. Such characters cannot be forgotten. The wise and the good will cherish the memory of such men in perpetuity. The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. This is a wise provision in the providence of God, for the edification of the church in every age. The holy sayings and doings of those who are gathered to their people in heaven, must not sink into oblivion.
The following detail was delivered at the close of a funeral sermon, preached in Hopton Chapel, July 7th, 1850, by the Rev. James
Scott, of Clerkheaton. The text on which was founded the funeral discourse, was Phil. i. 21, selected by Mr. Stancliffe, some time before his death.
After the preacher had concluded his sermon, he proceeded thus:-" In this short discourse I have said little about the character of my departed Christian brother; but I shall now, as briefly as I can, exhibit him to your view. My design is the eternal advantage of you the living, not the eulogy of the dead. I know nothing more out of place, nothing more offensive, than, in a funeral sermon, to aim only at praising the departed. Dear Mr. Stancliffe well knew, and was always ready to confess, that for all he was as a Christian he was indebted to infinite grace. He had his imperfections, of which he was fully conscious, and for which he was deeply humbled.
"It may be here asked, Why was not the Rev. C. H. Bateman, the pastor of my departed friend, requested to improve this mournful event, rather than the man to whom you are now so seriously listening? My answer is, No man that I know, is a more proper person for the solemn services of this day than my beloved ministerial brother, Mr. Bateman. But Mr. Stancliffe and I have been acquainted nearly forty years. I had the pleasure of first knowing him in the year 1815. And there was one circumstance in our first acquaintance, which made on my heart an indelible impression of endeared attachment to him, which no length of time, and no change of events, will ever be able to efface.
"A missionary meeting was held in the old Hopton Chapel, in the spring of 1815, and Mr. Stancliffe read the report of the doings of the generous people here, in behalf of the London Missionary Society. He was then like the youthful stripling David, when he vanquished Goliah, the Philistine champion. His almost boyish appearance, the fine soft tones of his tremulous voice, as he read the report, and especially the heroic sentiment to which he gave utterance in the last sentences he read, united my heart to him in a bond which death itself cannot dissolve. Referring to the hold which the missionary cause had on his best affections, he said-' If I forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.' A better pledge could not have been given to this godlike cause; and, surely, never did any man more fully redeem his pledge than did our departed friend.
"He was admitted a member of the church, of which the venerable Josiah Torothel was pastor, in the year 1813 (July 1st), so that he lived to the close of the thirty-seventh year of his church fellowship with this people.
During the greater part of this time he was a deacon of the church, and he used the office of a deacon well. To the venerable pastor he was his right arm. To Mr. Torothel he was like John to Jesus Christ; he was the disciple whom his pastor loved. He adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. He was an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.'
"The precious document which he read, detailing his religious experience, on his admission to the church, has been preserved. I have read it carefully over, and I must only now take time to remark upon it, that it does equal honour to his head and his heart as a young disciple of Jesus Christ.
"Mr. Stancliffe was very remarkable for the meekness of his spirit and his retiring modesty. He was in all his movements in the church the same unpretending man. Easy of access to those moving in the most humble walks of life, he made all happy in his presence, however great the contrast as to his temporal estate. All who knew but little of him, were constrained to love him; but he was so clothed with humility, that the greater part of his finest excellencies was concealed, excepting from those who had daily and most intimate intercourse with him. His Christian zeal was finely tempered with humility, but it glowed with a pure and lofty ardour. This was seen in two objects which lay near his heart; the instruction of the rising generation in the Sunday-school, and the cause of Christian missions to the benighted heathen. You who regularly attend the worship of God here, know how untiring were his efforts in the Sunday-school belonging to this place. But the full extent of good he did in this department of Christian labour, will never be known in the present world. When the judgment shall be set and the books shall be opened, a goodly group, won to love the Saviour by his instrumentality, will press around my friend while he stands with honour on the right hand of the Judge, and meekly looking up, will say, 'Lo, here am I and the children thou hast given me.'
"As to devoted attachment to Christian missions, I would not say that he stands alone, an honourable exception. But how few decided Christians are like him. Retirement was the favourite habit of his life. This was partly from deliberate choice, and partly from the general delicacy of his health. Indeed, retirement appears to have been the best adapted to preserve him so long in those walks of usefulness in which he delighted to tread. But there was one object which fairly called him out upon the public field of usefulness. Here he appeared in the foremost ranks of those who pray most devoutly for the universal triumphs of the kingdom of God among men, and who give most liberally
according as God has prospered them. Formerly he was little known in the Christian world, excepting by a discerning few. But when the chair of the treasurer of the West Riding Auxiliary Missionary Society became empty, these few fixed their eye on Mr. Stancliffe, as a most suitable man to fill that responsible office. They did themselves honour in his election. No treasurer we ever had did greater honour to that office than did our departed friend. Though drawn from the favourite privacies of life, and knowing him to be naturally timid, I have been surprised in hearing with what fluency, zeal, and ease, he could address the vast assemblies which were collected together at our annual meetings. But here we beheld how enlightened Christian zeal makes the timid brave. His declining health, however, compelled him to resign the office he so honourably filled, to the deep regret of many who best knew his real worth. Yet he maintained his ardent attachment to this hallowed cause to his dying hour.
"Mr. Stancliffe was a man of sound judgment. His religion was the result of conviction. The light which guided his mind in this most important of all subjects, he took directly from the Bible. Whatever conflicting opinions others embraced, and whatever internal conflicts he might feel on the commencement of his Christian course, he could deliberately say of the blessed Bible
"This is the Judge that ends the strife,
Through all this gloomy vale.' By the light he derived from searching the Holy Scriptures, and in answer to daily and devout prayer, he was deliberately of opinion that the church polity adopted by the Dissenters of this country, is clearly taught by the inspired writings. The doctrine of salvation by grace (by grace leading to holy living) he most cordially embraced. If the slightest merit on his part had been required in order to his salvation, he would have felt compelled to relinquish all hope of entering heaven. The sentiment of the poet as to the way to heaven, was deeply engraven on his heart:
"While Jews on their own law rely,
I love the incarnate mystery,
"He was a Dissenter on principle, as firmly as any man I ever knew. He took his system from the Bible. No one could move him from this ground; because he believed from his heart that, as a Dissenter, he stood on holy ground. But his truly catholic and amiable spirit led him to love all the true disciples of Christ. He could agree to differ from those who did not see as he saw in the
minor points of religion. Whatever might be the section of the church to which others belonged, if he could see in their spirit and character a decided resemblance to Jesus Christ, these were his brethren and sisters in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ: to such he would give the right hand of fellowship, and in giving them his hand, he gave them his heart. He believed that they would arrive in heaven, and his fixed purpose was to meet them there, and unite with them in the song of perfect harmony in honour of the Lamb that was slain. Oh! if all professors of religion had such clear views of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible, and had drunk as deeply into the spirit of Christian love as did our departed friend, there would soon become one lovely brotherhood pervading the universal church. The thorny hedges, which now unhappily divide the faithful, would be torn up by the roots, and carried away into the land of oblivion, and cease to be remembered for ever. The millennial sun would be seen rising on our world in a cloudless sky. The Saviour would appear seated in his triumphal car riding forth among the nations, conquering and to conquer; and a willingly subjugated world, prostrated at his feet, as with one voice would exultingly crown him Lord of all. The Christian's harp would then be struck, and would give forth louder and sweeter sounds than that of David, when the ancient church harmoniously sung, 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments: As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.'
his health would allow, whether by night or by day-what a helper to the devoted minister of Christ!
"It is now about sixteen years since my only daughter lay dying. But as we were five miles distant from Hopton, I could not expect a visit from Mr. Stancliffe. But he heard of my distress, and this called forth his most kindly sympathies. Oh how he entered into our case, and tasted another's woe! His counsels and prayers on that occasion will be cherished while life remains. In this feature of his character, what a resemblance he bore to Jesus Christ!
"We might here remind you how highly he valued the blessed Sabbath. How constantly he attended the house of God. what devotion he joined in acts of solemn public worship; with what attention he listened to the preaching of the gospel. With his clear and comprehensive views of religion he was well qualified to hear the preacher critically. Yet he came not to criticise, but to be fed with the sincere milk of the word, that he might grow thereby. Whoever was the preacher, if he breathed the spirit of the sacred office, and exhibited Christ as the way to the Father, though there might be nothing in the sermon to fascinate, Mr. Stancliffe could hear to edification.
"His nice discrimination as to truth, integrity, fidelity, and forbearance, when needed, in all his temporal transactions, formed a most interesting feature in his character.
"I do not remember ever to have said as much in a funeral sermon respecting departed worth on any former occasion; but in this case I could not refrain; and I am sure you have heard me with deep interest, and I suppose you will retire from the house of God and say not one-half has been told us.
"But query, how did Mr. Stancliffe die? Is it necessary that I should tell you? I know you will feel interested in hearing his last peaceful moments described; because, like myself, you will wish to die as he died.
"A few weeks before he died some coloured drawings of flowers from the Holy Land were shown him; he examined them minutely, and was evidently much pleased with them, and remarked, These seem to join one to the most favoured land under heaven. I have sometimes wished to visit the Holy Land, and see for myself the beautiful flowers which formed a part of the imagery of Scripture. I have often meditated on them with profit and delight. And here I seem to see them. How beautiful they are! yet such flowers wither and die. I shall soon see a land where the flowers never wither and never die.'
"There everlasting spring abides, And never fading flowers.' "One day he said, 'There are many things for which I feel thankful to God, but for two