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biographies, even the best, is exaggeration. They are not true. They give a one-sided view of their subjects. As Dr. Johnson says, “ they shew their favorite decorated and magnified like the ancient actors in their tragic dress, and endeavor to hide the man that they may produce a hero.” This is one of the fruits of that opinion which we are combatting, that the best success in study and literature may be reached without moral culture, without rigid principles of self-government, without reverence for conscience, without devotion to truth and justice,-a notion as dangerous and pernicious as it is false.
Few histories, whether general or particular, civil or personal, have yet been written by men “rightly and well ” qualified. The splendid work of Gibbon, for example, though the fruit of transcendant talents and great learning, is vitiated by its loose principles, its gross indecencies, its malicious sneers at Christianity, so that it cannot safely be put into the hands of a youth of unformed character without a solemn caution. And is that a successful work which is justly subject to such censure? We might cite other examples to the same purpose, but refrain from doing it, our object being rather to vindicate a principle than to submit a criticism. We rejoice, however, in the full faith of better things to come in this field of literary labor. Our own age, we believe, is ready to disown all historians of this description and will not give them a name to live. It will have men whom it can trust to do this great work for posterity. It will not consent that coming generations shall be imposed upon by distorted representations of facts, or by a fraudulent development and exposition of principles. It will demand that the writers of history whose works it shall transmit with its seal upon them be men of strictest integrity, of unsuspected purity, who feel the obligations of morality and religion, who have hearts as well as heads — eyes as well as spectacles. Let him who is conscious of deficiency in these respects betake himself to some other vocation. He cannot succeed in this. He will assuredly fail; and all the more signally, as his intellectual endowments and literary culture are eminent and remarkable. It is gratifying to remark the union of these qualities in some of our own countrymen, whose labors in the department of History have been attended with great and deserved success.
We have not room to pursue these remarks on a subject to us of great importance. We say of great importance; for to us it has an importance not measurable by any scale of degrees employed in the common matters of life, but one which ranges on a level with the immortal interests of man. “ It is of the greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth," as Milton says, “ to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves; for books are not dead things, but contain a progeny of life in them, to be as active as the soul was whose progeny they are.” It is of the greatest concernment to the present and the future, that our authors be held to a rigid accountability. It ought to be the universal voice of Christian civilization, that without a love of truth and respect for the principles of virtue they not only cannot succeed by reason of their own deficiencies, but shall not by reason of the public will. They should understand, that they are to be tried now and hereafter not only by the educated mind, but also by the educated conscience and purified heart of the sons of God; and that if they fail of sustaining themselves at the latter tribunal, no verdict from the former can save them alive. There are still authors fattening upon the mischief they do; in whose productions sin is made to appear interesting and attractive, and modest virtue so tame and stupid as to excite only contempt; who put into the hands of the arch-enemy polished and beautiful weapons, and make him obtain, with the dexterity and grace of a knight-errant, an easy victory over his less active and vigilant rival. For the sake of a temporary, groundling popularity and a rapid sale, they seem willing to unsettle and overturn the moral principles of society, and to instal the fiercest passions and the lowest in their place. Upon such authors let “ sharpest justice” be done. Let them be branded with the moral censure of the whole Christian community. They are worse than thieves and robbers, and deserve a worse fate. Let them die and not live, and let their names perish with their works.
J. W. r.hydi
It may at first seem strange that the Unitarians of England should feel a lively interest iu the condition of the Established Church, or in the course which theological opinion may take within its walls. Not only shut out from all participation in its privileges, but made the objects of its most bitter scorn, receiving from every true Churchman a double measure of condemnation as Dissenters and as Unitarians, they might be expected to care little for the affairs of a body to which they hold such relations. But, besides the attention which every intelligent observer must be disposed to give to the history of religious opinion as it passes under his eye, there are two reasons why Liberal Dissenters in England must regard with eager curiosity the present tendencies of the Establishment. Keenly feeling the injustice of the position in which they are placed by the legalized institutions of the land, they cannot but watch every movement which offers the least promise of a change in the character of those institutions. And this interest must both be sharpened, and be raised into a nobler feeling than that of selfish anxiety, by the nature of the developments which have of late startled the whole Christian world. The questions that now agitate the English Church are of the deepest importance. They go to the foundations of liberty and responsibleness. They are not questions of discipline or faith, so much as questions that lie back of these, - questions respecting the rights of the soul. The principles so adroitly pushed into notice by the “ Tractarian" writers, under cover of reverence for antiquity and a desire to give the religious sentiment greater force, are directly opposed to the principles of Protestantism, of Dissent, and of Unitarianism, — the contrariety becoming more manifest at each step in this enumeration. If "Puseyism” be true, free inquiry is a sin, individual judgment a fatal delusion. Whether its disciples will return into the bosom of the Romish Church, is of comparatively little moment; they have set forth the worst, because
Lectures on Certain High-Church Principles commonly designated by the term Puseyism. By Thomas MADGE. London. 1844. 8vo.
the rudimental, errors of that Church in writings professedly Protestant; and who should be prompt to expose and refute those errors, if not they who have been foremost in laboring and in suffering for liberty of thought and speech, the descendants, or successors of the old English Presbyterians, who in their day were the champions of religious freedom?
Mr. Madge, the minister of the chapel in which Lindsey and Belsham preached, has therefore performed an appropriate service in laying open to public view the pretensions of the new party in the National Church. He did right in giving his people the instruction which these Lectures afford, and he has done right in giving to all who will read, the opportunity of seeing, through his clear statements, supported by a conclusive array of proofs, the real principles and purposes of a movement which already includes “a very large proportion of the younger clergy” of the Establishment. He has not confined himself, however, to an exposition of the errors which mark the new school, but has presented a lucid and able vindication of the principles which these errors would subvert. The book has therefore a value much beyond that which belongs to it as a demolition of Puseyism. It offers, in a condensed form, the great argument which underlies all religion and all progress. We have read the volume with much satisfaction, and if any one would understand the true character of the Oxford theology — its actual developments, its unquestionable tendencies, and its real foundations - we advise him to give these Lectures a careful perusal. They are written in the style which best became the subject and the occasion of their delivery. They avoid rhetorical embellishment and magnificent perorations, but exhibit throughout a correct and graceful diction, such as proves a nice taste and a practised hand. Occasional diffuseness and abundant amplification afford no ground of censure in discourses intended to be read before a promiscuous audience. Although prepared in the course of each successive week previous to their delivery, and without the slightest view to publication,” the author — more just to the public than some who offer this apology for printing their slovenly compositions — has by a diligent revision removed whatever marks of haste may have originally impaired their worth ; vol. XXXIX. -4TH S. vol. II. NO. 1.
though Mr. Madge, we have reason to know, might well be imitated by many other preachers in the care he bestows upon his weekly discourses. The Lectures do not, indeed, seem to us to be all of equal merit. That on " Apostolic Succession" we should pronounce the best, though the one by which it is followed on “ Catholic Tradition and the Authority of the Fathers,” we are inclined to believe, cost the writer the most pains. The last two Lectures were written, we should judge, more rapidly than the others. The volume discovers a calm and candid spirit. The severity which marks a few passages, is felt by the reader to be just. There is no intemperate abuse, and no idle declamation. Mr. Madge is earnest, but honest. He detests ecclesiastical arrogance and superstitious pedantry, but never loses his temper amidst the great provocation of such follies.
We cannot attempt to analyse the several lectures ; yet in this way alone could we give a fair view of their contents. We will rather quote the titles, from which our readers may form some idea of the value of the book, and will make one or two extracts as specimens of the author's manner. The first Lecture treats generally of “the principles, spirit, and tendency of Anglo-Catholicism or Puseysim.” The second discusses the original constitution of " the Christian Church,” and shows the weakness of the Episcopalian argument on this subject. The third Lecture is a conclusive exposure of the false doctrine of “Apostolic succession.” The fourth is on “Catholic tradition and the authority of the Fathers," whose claims to respect are handled without fear. The fifth maintains the 66 sufficiency of Scripture and the right of private judgment." The sixth considers “the Church of England in connexion with the State.” The seventh presents “the essential principles of a Christian Catholic Church.” And the eighth is “a recapitulation of the preceding lectures."
Mr. Madge introduces his sixth Lecture with the following statement of “the high ground of authority on which the Tractarian divines place that branch of the Catholic Church denominated the Church of England."
“ According to them it is divine in its origin, episcopal in its form, descends to us in direct succession from the apostles, and is the appointed judge in religious controversies. Its rulers are