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and explicit answer, Mr. Brown says:
“ The question must be fully considered by every thoughtful mind which seeks to attain to an intelligent creed, whether we are to fix our thoughts on the sufferings of Christ as so much mere suffering, and as offering, because it is suffering, a satisfaction to Divine justice, abstracting this from the choir of attributes amidst which it shines ; or whether we are to regard the loving obedience of Christ, of which, in a body of sinful flesh, intense suffering was a necessary condition and illustration, as offering an altogether higher satisfaction to the Father than mere suffering could afford. I content myself with the broad fact,
patent on every page of the New Testament, that the work of Christ, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, did offer that before the Father on which, as on a substantial rock, the edifice of redemption could be built; and did bring out the whole harmony of the Divine nature in the forgiveness of the guilt of the world.” We do believe that the life of Christ was just as redeeming as His death ; but we do not believe, nor is it the belief of the catholic Church, that mere suffering, because it is suffering, constituted the Atonement. Patent as the broad fact may be on every page of the New Testament, that Christ did offer it before the Father on which the edifice of redemption could be built, it is just as patent that he offered himself to God, and that on this offering rests the whole scheme of remedial mercy. Mr. Brown concedes, that “man, strange and incredible as it may seem, is jealous of the honour of the Divine law;" that, "in vain had the Gospel -God forgives—been preached, if man had not been able to see that it is righteous and godlike in God to forgive;" and that “the awful expenditure of the agony of Christ was needed to give effect to the simple sentence, God forgives the sins of the world;" we go farther, and say, needed as a basis on which to
rest that simple sentence ; but, letting that pass, it is granted that "the honour of the Divine law" must be maintained and vindicated, to make even man see that it is righteous in God to forgive. For nothing more than this, so far as we know, does the most orthodox disciple of the most orthodox school contend. It gives us all that we can desire or ask on this vital and momentous point.
But we think we see where Mr. Brown differs from the generally received opinion. The great
object of his work is to bring out the fatherhood of God in all its prominence and completeness, and it is on the fact of God's fatherhood that he rests the idea of God's sovereignty. We must first have the existence of a creation, before we can set up the machinery of administration ; then we are to colceive that out of his paternity flows his authority—that his love is the foundation of his rule. But his fatherly love is abused, and the law which is based on that love is broken, and now what course is to be adopted! Is the Ruler to come out in the future conduct of the Father? Or is the Father to be revealed in the conduct of the Ruler ? Mr. Brown believes the former view ; we unhesitatingly adopt the latter, not because it is more in harmony with general consent, but because it is in stricter accordance with the teachings of the Christian volume. When it is said that “God hath set forth his son to be a propitiation through faith in his blood," it is not even hinted by the Apostle that this was done to express the exuberance of Divine love, or the riches of God's mercy, though these are involved in the fact, but to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" and as if the Apostle wished to give emphasis to the truth of his assertion, he adds, “to declare, I say, his RIGHTEOUSNESS ; that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." Here His righteousness is made the medium through
which to reveal the riches of His grace. So again in the words, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound ; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord ;” the fact stands out with Divine distinctness, that the grace has revealed itself through the righteousness, and not the righteousness through the grace. In other words, it is because all the requirements of unbending righteousness have been fully met, that grace is so freely dispensed. The claims of righteousness being neither sacrificed nor modified, justice can lay no restriction on the exercise and the distributions of Divine mercy ; it is upon the secure foundation thus established that mercy erects her throne, and scatters far and wide the blessings of a full and everlasting forgiveness. Before the fall, the righteousness of God revealed itself in and through His fatherhood ; but now the fatherhood reveals itself in and through His righteousness — “ He hath made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Through him we have access by one spirit unto the Father. He is the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by him. We have received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear ; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.”
We have written this in candid criticism of Mr. Brown's sermons, because we are convinced that Mr. Brown has looked at the subject of Atonement from a mistaken point of view, and because we believe the setting forth of this great central truth in its full integrity constitutes the life and power of the Christian Pulpit in our day—as it has done in the past, and will do through all time. But whatever may be the grave exceptions we are compelled to take to solne statements in Mr. Brown's volume, it would seem like exaggeration to those who have not read it, if
we fully expressed our idea of the ability, earnestness, and high-minded sincerity of its author.
Whether we consider its mental grasps, its hearty utterance, its rich and varied illustrations, its full sympathy with the sorrows and sicknesses of humanity, its depth of truth, and withal the originality and vigour both of its conceptions and style, this volume of sermons is a production of rare merit, which will command the attention and quicken the best feelings of every reader. To some minor defects, however, we must refer. The style, we have said, is remarkably good-vivid and affluent, almost classical in its accuracy and refinement, but it is a little too feverish and uniform in its emphasis, and is occasionally disfigured by an awkward Latinism and Helleneeism. We have also been offended by a slight infusion of conventional phraseology in the somewhat frequent recurrence of such phrases as "the echoes of the ages,” * the wisdom of the ages,” &c., which smack strongly of that odious modern
'Carlylese," which a writer of pure English will jealously avoid. Then, there is a sort of chevalesque Quixotism ; indeed, a certain cliquishness in Mr. Brown's exclusive reference to living men, which is open to censure. The dedication of his volume to J. A. Scott, his commendation of Mr. M'Leod Campbell's dubious book on the Atonement, his unqualified and invidious eulogy of Mr. Maurice, are the only references in the book by which we can gather Mr. Brown's relation to living thinkers, or to any existing section of the Church of Christ. Now, we regret this, because it either shows a narrowness of theological reading and sympathy, which we will not impute to Mr. Brown, or it arises from an unwise charity, that seeks especially to exalt and eulogize these men because he thinks they have been peculiarly. disparaged in his own denomination. As to the dedication, and the commendation of Mr. M'Leod Campbell's work, we have little right to speak, save to
declare that we cannot endorse the latter ; but in Mr. Brown's reference to Mr. Maurice he has given us cause to demand a retraction or fuller explanation of the terms in which he speaks of that voluminous writer. He implicates and identifies his ministerial brethren with himself in the lofty eulogium, and the expression of profound indebtedness, he tenders to ħim. We do not know what ground Mr. Brown may have for speaking in the name of his brethren, but it is a serious matter to commit a whole denomination to such an exaggerated and, we believe, erroneous estimate of Mr. Maurice. We believe Mr. Brown has spoken out of the fulness of his own heart, and has imagined it impossible that others should not coincide with his judgment of a man for whom he has so great reverence; but we know they do not ; and we trust that in the new edition of his volume about to be published, the unguarded phrase to which we allude will be erased, for we speak of our personal connections and in the name of many men of Mr. Brown's age and position in his denomination, that we regard Mr. Maurice's theological teaching to be throughout unreasoned, crude, and mystical; while his expositions of cardinal articles of Christian doctrine, such as Inspiration and Atonement, are allied to, and borrowed from, the Socinian theology, and are alike unscriptural and irrational, as they are opposed to the "communis sensus” of the catholic Christian church.
The sermons of Mr. Gamble give less scope for criticism. They are altogether of a different order from Mr. Brown's, but they have a charm and potency of their own which give them a distinguished place among the many pulpit contributions to literature made recently. Mr. Gamble has chosen to exhibit the inner experimental truths of religion ; consequently there is a quiet grace, a thoughtful repose in the sentiment and style of his sermons, which is appropriate to such an aim, and which
contrasts strikingly but pleasantly with the rapid energy and force of Mr. Brown's. These are pastorals. With lucid, even lustrous language, Mr. Gamble descants upon his theme, throwing about it the warm-tempered light of a healthful, fruitful day. His thoughts have a murmurous, meditative chime in their flow; they are clear as running streams, and as re freshing. Few sermons read have won us more by the simplicity and beauty of their style, and the pastoral freshness of their name rous expositions of and illustrations of Scripture.
In Mr. Paxton Hood we have much that is strong and stirring, but his discourses are better adapted for public delivery than for private reading. In him we have a different type from either Mr. Brown or Mr. Gamble, and he should not be brought into comparison with either. He is, in some respects, sui generis; and of his productions we must judge accordingly. There is in his writing much that we like ; but these published discourses give us no true idea of the man. In their publication he has not done himself justice, and the public will demand something different from what we have here, when he next takes up his pen for this species of composition. He is fully equal to something of another order, and, therefore, we accept the present volume only as an instalment.
The “Congregational Pulpit," of which this is the eighth volume, is the outgrowth of many minds, and as a volume of not entirely homogeneous materials, it scarcely is subject to the laws of ordinary criticism. It has, however, high pretensions, and merits its claims. These we freely admit; and within the range of the volume there is much that is entitled to the highest commendation.
Having read these volumes, with some others,* which have been re
* Two volumes we reserve for special and fuller notice next month, namely, Central Truths," by Rev. C. Stanford, and The Cavendish Pulpit," by Rev.J. Parker.
cently published, we feel warranted in making the assertion, that the Nonconformist pulpit of this nineteenth century is equal to the pulpit of any preceding age. With a few not very notable exceptions, there is a tone of health and vigour in it which is truly promising and prophetic.
Everywhere, and in everything, men are in earnest; and in earnestness the preacher should exceed all others. Christianity supplies not only the highest verities for his theme, but a language of matchless compass and power in which to clothe them. The preacher's aim should be not so much to be great as to be true. As in painting, so in preaching; one man speaks to the imagination or the taste, another appeals to the heart, and the heart is touched. The preacher should deal with the conscience rather than with the intellect—with the affections much more than with the imagination. There must be no corrupting of truth ; no deceitful handling of the Word of God ; no reserve and no concealment; no attempt to depreciate any fact or any doctrine ; no effort to lower the tones and the teaching of inspiration. The Gospel must be preached in its simplicity and its fulness; the man throwing heart and soul into his every utterance, and proving by his every look, and tone, and gesture, that he is absorbed in his work, and then the pulpit of England will be felt and acknowledged to be a power second to none in its influence and its sway over the heart and the life of her people.
gradually diffusing itself through the highest and the lowest classes of society. Happily the middle classes are as yet sound in their Protestantism. By a facile descent numbers of educated men every year glide from the Anglo-Catholicism of Oxford to Romanism. The time accordingly may not be distant when we must grapple with the hydra-headed, as the first Reformers did. rate information, clear and authoritative, is required upon the actual tenets and practices of the Romish Church, and such information is supplied in this volume. Catholicism no longer skulks in dark corners, she vaunts herself, and seeks the high places of the earth. We are glad of this. She challenges by this bravery inspection and controversy which will lead to her hurt. Mr. Pryce has not merely stated with great precision and fairness the dogmas of Romanism, but he calmly argues them, and exhibits in contrast the Protestant faith and the grounds on which it is held. The subjects treated include all the fundamental differences between Romanism and Protestantism. Are the Holy Scriptures the only rule of faith and practice? The right of private judgment. The doctrine of the Church. Justification by administration of sacraments or by personal faith? The supremacy of the pope. Transubstantiation. Mass. Purgatory and indulgences. The idolatry of Romanism. On each subject a compendious view of the arguments advanced by either party is given with great impartiality. Though Mr. Pryce is a Protestant, and gives plainly enough the reasons why, he is scrupulous to state the utmost that can be said by Romanists, and takes no unfair advantage. We feel confident that by this simple handbook, Mr. Pryce has done more to enlighten and thus to warn his countrymen as to the specious errors of Rome, than if his book had been bulky in volume and rabid in tone, than if he fulminated Pope-like anathemas against Catholics, or weighted his book with useless
Is it NOT WRITTEN ? Being the Testimony
of Scripture against Romanism. By Edward S. Pryce, A.B. London: Smith,
Elder, & Co., Cornhill. We have read no book so concise, argumentative, and complete as this on the Romish controversy, and we are grateful for having read it. Many, we believe, will share our gratitude. Now-a-days we see the Romish faith
and the glowing, misty mass, when so condensed, shows but a miserable driblet of not the purest water. We thank Mr. Mellor for his most timely and able tractate. The teaching of Scripture is rigorously expounded in it, and the philosophy of the Atonement, i.e., in its adaptation to haman consciousness and relation to the Divine Government, is lucidly stated. It is small in size and cheap in price in order to a wide circulation. We most earnestly commend it, especially to young men who wish a manna) for a clear and masterly exposition and defence of the doctrine of Atonement.
learning, which would have blunted his arguments and repelled purchasers.
THE ATONEMENT; Its Relation to Pardon:
shadow seemed, For each seemed either. But through some of these clouds Mr. Mellor has flashed an electric stream, which has precipitated their watery contents, and reduced them to some sort of tangible expression;
DISCOURSES. By William Anderson,
LL.D. Second Series. Glasgow: J.
Bertram. The announcement of a new volume of sermons by Dr. Anderson created high expectations. The public know well his oratorical power, his fervour, his manliness, his passionate love of free dom, his thorough detestation of all conventional shams, and his eikono. clastic attitude towards many of those idols which society delights to worship. His style is vivid and trenchant ; lightning precedes his thunder. His love of argument is great, but his logic is neither dull nor formal, for he reasons straight to the point, and as he moves along he strews his path with clusters of beautiful images and illustration. You never weary under him. As your attention begins to flag, out flashes some sarcastic allusion or some brief and pointed analogy starts into statuesque distinctness, or you are suddenly appealed to in a tone which vibrates with tenderness. Dr. Anderson does not move in common places, his thoughts are his own, rich, racy, picturesque, and original. Perhaps in his printed discourses these qualities are rather conspicuous, and one is tempted now and then to imagine that while they are often spontaneous, they are sometimes courted and consciously thrown into bold relief.