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It (the Eucharist) is the appointed method of celebrating the most important fact in the Gospel history, the most vital doctrine in the Gospel scheme; the atonement made for the sins of the world by the death of Jesus Christ. But it is more than this: it is more than a simple tribute of respect and gratitude to our greatest benefactor—although even in that light it assumes a sacredness of obligation beyond all common acts of devotion—it is the solemn renewal of that covenant of grace and pardon, which was sealed with the blood of Christ. It is indeed a commemorative feast; it is a symbolical celebration of the wonders of redeeming love; but it is something, as far as man is concerned, more sacred, more affecting, more beneficial than all this. It is the means of joining the faithful communicant to Christ in that intimate and mysterious union, which is indispensable to the perfectness of the Christian character, and to the availableness of Gospel privileges.-Pp. 9, 10.
Having shewn that the Eucharist is to the faithful recipient the channel and conduit of an inward grace, from John vi. 53, 54, 56:and having insisted, moreover, upon the necessity of the influence of the Holy Spirit to bless the means of grace to our edification, “ in answer to our importunate entreaties;"-having demonstrated that he, who is most sensible of his own defects of faith and holiness, is especially bound to have recourse to the methods ordained by God, in compassion to human weakness, for the revival and enlargement of Christian graces and desires ; and that this solemn ordinance, at all times grateful and salutary to the believer's soul, is more peculiarly “ medicinal and restorative,” when our affections towards God have become cold, and our piety has become languid ;—the Preacher states, with his usual wisdom and peculiar emphasis, that “there is no diversity of religious character, which can render unnecessary a sacramental communion with Him who is the light and the life of the world.”
It is alike indispensable for growth in grace, and for confirmation in godliness; for him who is but just awakened to the great interests of his soul, and for him, who walks in the meridian light of Christian knowledge, and in the matured strength of Christian motives and hopes.-P. 17.
If this spiritual ordinance be necessary for “all sorts” of Christians, so is it indispensable for all “ conditions of men. A constant application to the source of spiritual wisdom, through the appointed means of access, and especially through the communion of the body, and of the blood of Christ, is equally necessary for every man, be his external circumstances what they may. The king upon his throne, and the peasant in his cot, are alike pensioners upon the bounty of heaven, and must be alike strengthened by aid from above, to enable them to think and to do such things as be rightful. This solemn truth is most appropriately enforced upon his royal auditor by the Bishop of London. We are sure of pleasing our readers by a copious extract touching this very point.
If the poor and humble members of the family of Christ desire the help of the Spirit, to enlighten, and sanctify, and console them, in order that, amidst all the discouragements of their hard condition, they may turn to good account the single talent entrusted to their care ; surely the rich, and the mighty, and
preparing children for the solemniza- ing of Providence, may be enlarged tion of it; and urges upon those, who in proportion to his desire and his partake of the rite, the paramount ability to do good. obligation of performing their part of the Christian covenant, for which, ratified in their own persons, they receive the assistance of divine grace
The Layman's T'est of the true Minister by the imposition of hands. To the of the Church of England. London: treatise itself, the author has sub
Cadell. 1830. 12mo. pp. vii. 56. joined four discourses applicable to
True it is, that one part of the the state of those who have been confirmed. They are written in a plain,
Clergy, professing to adhere to the unaffected and persuasive style; and
doctrine and discipline of the Church
of England, adopt an interpretation of contain much that is useful for the
the Scriptures diametrically opposite serious reflection of the Christian in
to that which is followed by another ; every stage of his journey through life. We would direct the especial
and it is equally true, that one of these
modes of interpretation must be wrong. attention of our youthful readers to that on the “ Necessity of Early
The struggle between the Calvinist
and the orthodox Churchman, as they Piety.”
are respectively designated, is not a
mere strife of words; and as both lay Twelve Sermons, brief and explanatory.
equal claim to the title of ministers of By the Rev. E.S. APPLEYARD, B. A.
the Church of England, it becomes a late of Caius College, Cambridge.
question of some importance, to decide London: Hatchard. 1830. 12mo.
between the contending claimants.
Now a minister of the Church of pp. xii. 190. Price 4s.
England is obliged, by law, to subAny attempt to be profitable to our scribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, and generation is unquestionably praise the Liturgy; and the severest penalworthy; and, even though it fail in its ties are annexed to the violation of object, must be a source of inward the oaths administered at ordination. satisfaction to the mind. The Ser- By these Articles, therefore, and the mons before us are the production of Liturgical forms and offices, the true a Clergyman, who is prevented by minister must stand or fall; and for ill-health from undertaking the more this purpose, our Layman ” has laborious duties of his profession; and selected the test of regeneration, as he has published them in the hope connected with the sacrament of Bapof being enabled to do at least some tism, in order to shew that Calvinists good to his fellow-creatures. He
are, in point of fact, neither ministers, invites criticism with a view to im- nor members of the Church of Engprovement; and we are happy to be land. From an induction of passages able to award a favourable judgment from the Church Catechism, the Bapof his publication. We do not say that tismal Service, and the Collects, in he is free from faults; but they seem which Baptismal Regeneration is to be the faults of a young writer, recognized and enforced, several inwhich a little more practice and closer ferences are deduced, (p. 34.) which, study will speedily correct. There is together with a note annexed, insomewhat of affectation in bis manner, volve the train of argument of his and his theological inquiries have not admirable treatise. been very deep; but withal his ex- Both laity and Clergy will be inhortations are energetic, and his appeals terested and instructed by the “ Layforcible, and occasionally pathetic. man's Test;" and we recommend a We wish him better health with un- candid application of it to all who feigned sincerity, and trust that his profess to belong to the venerable and sphere of usefulness, under the bless- Apostolical Communion.
feeling, which is manifestly produced by the genuine influence of the gospel on the heart. It is sufficiently easy to trace the origin of this characteristic difference, if its prevalence is a proof, that in these days also, no less than in the early ages of Christianity, its truths are sometimes hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes. Profound research and vast literary acquirements, accompanied with an ostentatious desire of displaying them in support of novel opinions, have given rise to a variety of speculative theories among the professed Theologians of the continent, into the merits of which the humbler Clergy have little inclination, and less ability, to inquire. The German pastors are, for the most part, men of primitive habits, devoting themselves exclusively to the discharge of their parochial duties, and taking the Bible in its plain and simple sense, as their guide in the performance of them. Hence a class of works exists to some extent in the country, calculated to assist devotional reflection, and cha. racterized by a spirit of the most heartfelt piety. Many of them, indeed, are liable to exception on some important points of Christian doctrine, and are more unguarded in expression than sound judgment would always warrant; but, in other respects, they are so well adapted to assist the mind in the essential duties of religious reflection and self-examination, that any attempt to introduce them to the English reader, in a translation divested of those sentiments which are open to objection, cannot be otherwise than beneficial.
Among the books of this class, that, of which a partial translation is before us, has been pre-eminently and deservedly successful abroad, and will meet, we trust, with a proportionate attention among ourselves. It was originally published in weekly sheets, through a period of eight years; and the papers have been since collected, and remodelled for the use of families, and the furtherance of private meditation. In this form it has passed through twelve editions; and the subjects of which it treats are admirably calculated to dispose the mind to serious and salutary meditation. They are given in the form of contemplations; and bear in many respects a strong resemblance to a work which has long been popular in our language, and entitled, “ Reflections on the Works of God,” &c. Many, indeed, of the topics which come under discussion, rank higher in importance than those in the work of Sturm; and, neither in matter nor in manner, are they at all inferior to the treatises in that publication. Taken as a whole, they form a valuable compendium of Christian duty, wherein young and old, rich and poor, the joyous, the suffering, the healthful and the sick, will be enabled to elevate and sanctify their minds, by devotional exercise and Christian meditation.
That self-examination, and the constant habit of meditation on the past, and preparation for the future, is a duty of paramount import
ance to the Christian, no serious person will venture to deny; many sound and judicious aids to direct the thoughts into a proper channel, have been recommended for this purpose. From the subjoined Table of Contents it will readily appear that the topics proposed for reflection comprehend a varied field of instruction; and though they may not equally suit the particular situation or disposition of each individual, they contain much that will be useful to every Christian, and will serve as a guide under circumstances for which these may not specifically apply. It is not so much in the contemplations here digested to the hand, as in the habit which they are calculated to induce, that their true value will be found to consist.
1. Reflections on the New Year. 2. Family Devotion. 3. On Public Worship. 4. Domestic Peace. 5. Contentment with our Condition. 6. The Power of Prayer. 7. Faith and Works. 8. Works and Faith. 9. In one Virtue all Virtues. 10. Lukewarmness. 11. The Divine Name. 12. The Omission of Good. 13. Appearance and Reality. 14. The Conflict of Duties. 15. Man and his Actions. 16. Who is my Neighbour?. 17. Detraction. 18. The Ill-tempered Man. 19. Discretion in Speech. 20. Conscientious
21. The Young Man. 22. The Young Woman. 23. Inward Good, outward Grace. 24. The Danger of Social Pleasures. 25. On Increase of Knowledge. 26. Steps in Creation. 27. The Starry Heavens. 28. The Comet. 29. The Speech of Men. 30. The Greatness of God in small things. 31. Is a Lingering or a Sudden Death to be preferred? Part I. 32. Is a Lingering or a Sudden Death to be preferred? Part II. 33. On Apparitions of the Dead. 34. The Sick Man. 35. Immortality. 36. The Appearance of Jesus on Earth. 37. The Destruction of Jerusalem. 38. The Persecutions of Christianity. 39. The First Churches. 40. The World and Solitude.
The reflections introduced into these treatises bespeak no ordinary mind; and the resolutions, or rather instructions, built upon them, are such as in practice would evince the real Christian. To these reflections and instructions a prayer, in unison with the truths and duties inculcated, is usually annexed, dictated by a heart which must have been warmed with the liveliest devotional feelings. Where all is equally good, selection is difficult; we shall, therefore, make a few random extracts, and recommend the entire work, as an invaluable appendage to the closet of the Christian. The reflections on the New Year, with which the volume opens, are singularly beautiful.
There is something unusually solemn in the beginning of each New YEAR. It is, as it were, the festival which we dedicate to our silent hopes, our most secret wishes. Here the joyous early ringing of the bells announces the commencement of the period; there clarions, and trumpets, and sacred songs, greet the first morning of the year. The sprightly host of youths, rejoicing, hail the dawn; friends and acquaintance, in mutual love, wish each other happiness. Dutiful children pray more devoutly for the health of their parents,—the suffering, for their benefactors,—the people, in the temple, for their rulers.
To all the boundary between two years is most important; to the king upon his throne, as well as the beggar under his roof of straw; to the industrious father of a family amidst his workmen, as well as to the anxious mother beside her children; to the grey-headed veteran in his easy chair, as well as to the youngster, who, full of buoyant expectation, longs to launch forth into a stormy world.
Our past life appears, behind us, like a lengthened dream; the remainder of our days, before us, hangs like an impenetrable cloud over an unseen land. More fearful cares torment the melancholy man; brighter hopes swarm round the cheerful one. Each one directs his view towards the lot which the ensuing days and months shall probably bring forth. Each one would guess something of his own destiny, which yet lies hidden in a dark futurity; as the corn at present in the wintry closed-up lap of the earth, continues still to germinate.
With uncertain expectation and fresh solicitude, each one returns to his occupations, and draws out his designs and plans. The Christian also resumes his course. Fear and hope play around him also. But with what disposition does he set forward, at the beginning of the new year, to meet the obscure future, and his unknown fate?
He for a while seeks solitude, in which his soul may obtain self-possession. He lifts up his spirit to his Almighty Father, and contemplates the infinite love of God. His mouth gives utterance to the gratitude of his heart. He says, “ I am not worthy of aŭ the mercy, love, and faithfulness, which Thou hast shown me. For, that I am, and what I have, must be ascribed to Thee! Thou hast preserved me through a thousand dangers, which I did not even know. Thou wast present when my need and difficulties were the greatest. Thou didst watch over me and my family when we erred. Whatever befell me in past days, I am sensible it happened for my advantage; and what I as yet do not understand, that it also was for the best, I shall learn in the sequel to comprehend. For the inviolable order in which Thou rulest the world is wise and wonderful, and conducive to that higher state of blessedness which Thou hast been pleased to appoint to man.
?-Pp. 1–3. Willingly would we proceed with this extract, which our limits warn us to break off. It is followed by a prayer of humble, yet fervent devotion, and self-exhortation to a due regulation of the hopes and fears which a Christian should cherish in his heart. The conclusion we cannot withhold from our readers.
Fear nothing, if you have no cause to fear yourself. Labour to extricate yourself with a manly Christian spirit, from the present distressing, circumstances, which perhaps lie heavy on you. Reflect seriously on the whole state of your affairs : consider of the best means to help yourself. Take courage to use them with vigour and prudence; and, if at last your strength be not sufficient, what you cannot effect, that will God perform.
that Thou wilt do, Divine Father! Thou who dost preserve and regard the little worm which crawls in the dust beneath us. Full of confidence will I give myself up to Thee; and whatever happens to me in the coming year, nothing shall tempt me to abandon my faith, and the holy word of Jesus Christ, thy Son. How can futurity have terrors for me, if I find Thee therein? What loss can discourage me, if I lose not Thee?
More pious, more virtuous, more circumspect, than during the past year, will I walk before Thee; and with a new year begin a new life. Whatever trouble, whatever effort it may cost me, I will endeavour to put away my faults, and to subdue those vicious inclinations which secretly corrupt me.
And should I not survive this year, should it be the year of my death! Ah, then, when the tears of my friends shall be shed around my grave, may a good conscience bear me witness of thy favour, and of my acceptance with Thee! I will prepare myself for it. If this be the year of my death, it shall also be the year of my birth for a better world. With a peaceful smile, and blessed in Thee, my God, may I depart hence, when my hour arrives; and with a joyful smile, enter upon that Eternity, in which awaits me unknown beatitude-thy wonderful and endless gift.-Pp. 13-15.