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CRITICISMS ON BOOKS.
1. The Greek Liturgy of St. James.
37. M‘Farlane on the Mountains of the Bible.
English Establishment. 52. Burder on the Prophecies of the Apo
calypse. 53. Tribute of Affectionate Respect to the
Memory of the Fathers and Founders
of the London Missionary Society. 54. Christ the Spirit of Christianity. 55. The Principles and Position of the Con
gregational Churches. 56. The German Language in One Volume. 57. It is I ;' or, the Voice of Jesus in the
Storm. 58. Introductory Lessons on the History of
Religious Worship, &c.
CORRESPONDENCE. 1. Mr. Herbert's Picture and the Inde
and Mr. Weld.
I. The Greek Liturgy of St. James, edited, with un English Introduction
and Notes, together with a Latin Version of the Syriac Copy, and the Greek Text restored to its original purity, and accompanied by a Literal English Translation. By the Rev. W. TROLLOPE, M.A. Edinburgh:
T. & T. Clark. 1848. The work of Mr. Trollope is one of the productions of that class of men who, having no faith in the living and life-giving power of the Spirit of God, nor in the presence of Christ with his disciples to the end of the world, desire us to return to the remote ages of earliest Christianity as the source from whence we must derive our religious views, our modes of thoughts, our forms of worship, our everything ; men who would fain set up the authority of the fathers against that of the Holy Scriptures, and establish the Church, with all her pretensions and her priestly power, in opposition to true Christianity, and again shroud the pure and simple doctrines of Christ and his apostles in that mysterious veil which so many of the fathers were anxious to cast over them. They are the men who alone would stand still while the whole world advances ; men who seem to be unable to distinguish between matter and form ; truth, and the dress in which it is presented; men who have forgotten that our Saviour himself did not borrow his phraseology from the ancient Jewish writings, but chose language adapted to the mind of the age, and that each of his apostles, while proclaiming the same truths, had a style of his own; men who would make it an imperative duty upon the churches of the living God, to use the language of the reformers and the fathers in public worship, no less than in private. The sentiments of Mr. Trollope are clearly set forth in what he says respecting the Lord's Supper :
In speaking of the sacraments and of the mystical doctrines of their religion, the brethren were extremely tenacious of exposing them to the contempt of unbelievers or the ribaldry of the profane. As our Lord spake in parables to the multitude, and had commanded his disciples to give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither to cast their pearls before swine, they scrupulously concealed (!) the nature and import of the Holy Eucharist from those who were likely to misapprehend or revile it; and as the apostles alone were present at its institution, so it was not until the catechumens had passed their probationary state that they were, at their own request, baptized, and forthwith admitted to partake of that holy rite, so reverentially regarded as the distinctive characteristic of the Christian profession.'— Pp. 14, 15.
Surely such language might grace the pages of a Roman-catholic divine, but it is difficult to conceive how a Protestant author could write thus in the nineteenth century. But apart from the sentiments which pervade Mr. Trollope's introduction, he has exposed himself to severe censure by the specious, but utterly fallacious, mode of argumentation used throughout that part of his work. It is a lamentable truth that theologians of almost all denominations are guilty of adopting modes of reasoning which would not be suffered in any other branch of science; of substituting hypotheses for facts, or drawing inferences from suppositions, and of bringing forward only one part of the evidence instead of the whole. But we do not think that any writer could well go farther in this respect than Mr. Trollope has done. In reference to the view which he presurnes the brethren took of the Holy Eucharist," he informs us, that 'the apostles themselves appear to have been actuated by * similar feelings. St. Paul, indeed, when it was necessary to correct the • abuses which prevailed at Corinth, was constrained to speak more at large of * the nature of the institution than he probably would have done otherwise; but
St. Jerome observes that, in writing to the Hebrews, he purposely omitted to draw the parallel between the offering of Melchizedec and the Eucharistic oblation, in order that he might not discover the sacraments to such as were not yet fully confirmed in the faith.' What Mr. Trollope translates— in order that he might not discover,' &c., runs in the original thus, 'Hebræis enim, id est Judæis, persuadebat, non jam fidelibus, quibus sacramentum passim proderet.' Mr. Trollope then proceeds: ‘Justin, also, and the fathers * in general, when speaking of the Eucharist, enter as little as possible into • detail, and simply mention what is necessary to refute calumnies, without
describing the rites and ceremonies attending its celebration. Yet in the very next passage (p. 16) he speaks of the accuracy with which Justin, Tertullian, and others described the holy communion. The avowed object of the introduction to Mr. Trollope's work is to prove, that the so-called Greek Liturgy of St. James was founded upon a form of prayer drawn up by that apostle himself, and now restored to its uninterpolated simplicity by our author. He begins by attempting to show that the primitive church used preconceived forms of prayer, but the arguments which he uses are so weak and shallow, that if the Anglican church has none other to rest upon, it is high time that she should
abandon the scriptural ground altogether. Because the disciples of Christ are said to have prayed together, (Acts, i. 14,) it follows, according to Mr. Trollope, that at all events, they used a form with which all present were alike acquainted.' Mr. Trollope undoubtedly lays claim to a superior education. Did he not blush when he wrote as above? Has he never heard of people praying together without using the common prayer? Does he really mean to maintain that to be the sense of the phrase employed by Luke, or does he, as his language seems to imply, really believe that the Greek term, duo Suuadòv, ever signifies a set form of prayer? 'Doubtless, also,' Mr. Trollope continues, "the short supplication which was offered up at the election of Matthias, had been drawn up previously by them all in common.' Apply the same mode of reasoning to Acts, i. 6; ii. 7-11; iv. 19; v. 29, and numerous other places, and it will appear in all its absurdity and fallacy. Surely the sacred penmen have little cause for gratitude to those modern writers who, under the pretence of deep reverence, represent them as writing one thing while they mean another, and as employing language which would not be allowed in books composed by men of common sense. After having adduced one or two more instances of a similar nature, Mr. Trollope concludes by saying, “This view of the case, which is the only one fairly deducible from the indications of apostolical practice incidentally observable in the writings of the New Testament, ' is proved also to be the true one, by the concurrent testimony of the primi
tive church.' And yet, among all the quotations from the fathers adduced by Mr. Trollope, there is, with the exception of perhaps one, none from which any further inference can be legitimately drawn than that the Christians used to pray in common; but whether that must necessarily mean that there were preconceived forms of prayer, we leave the conscientious reader himself to decide. Neander, in speaking of the celebration of the Lord's Supper, cites two passages from Cyprian and Commodian, and adds—Thus we find already
the first traces of the liturgy which we become acquainted with in the fourth century. (American translation, i. p. 329.) There exist no liturgies of an earlier date than the fourth century; most of them were composed during the fifth century. All these liturgies are, in the opinion of Mr. Trollope, derived from four independent forms, and though it must be admitted that there are manifold interpolations and corruptions introduced in after times, and every church possessed the liberty of ordaining and revising its services, yet there * is an agreement so plain and positive, that while it clearly indicates a common original, can scarcely be explained otherwise than by referring that original
to the apostles themselves. Our author admits that there is no positive evidence for the authorship of the apostles. Such authorship cannot rise higher than conjecture or the barest probability.
The honesty guiding this whole class of writers is strikingly displayed in the following extract from Mr. Trollope's work : • Thus it has been already shown that the liturgy of the apostolical constitutions was fathered upon Clement, the fellow-labourer of St. Paul; and there are liturgies still extant under the sacred name of the Saviour himself, and that of the Virgin 'Mary. It is highly probable that in this there was no intentional deceit, but that an honorary dedication, rather than a pious fraud, muy have been designed.' Conduct that would be amenable to civil punishments is thus allowed in things concerning God, when certain ends may be gained thereby. The liturgy of St. James did not make its appearance before the middle of the fifth century; Mr. Trollope, however, traces it through the writings of earlier fathers -wherever he meets with corresponding terms—to the most primitive times ; and as later writers assume the authorship of St. James without hesitation, we are told that there is every reason to believe that the liturgy in question has the high authority of apostolical usage. Whoever has made himself in the
slightest degree acquainted with the writings of the fathers, needs not be reminded of the great caution with which we must receive their statements. Of the so-called liturgy of St. James itself we shall say nothing; those who attach more than an antiquarian importance to the remains of Christian antiquity may hail its publication as a new era.' We would respect the opinions of every man, though he may be our opponent, as long as we can believe him to be sincere. The primitive liturgy of St. James, restored to the uninter
polated form, in which it seems to have been originally drawn up for the church of Jerusalem,' contained in Appendix II., is, of course, nothing but a fiction of Mr. Trollope. As such only can it have value.
II. The Seventh Vial : being an Exposition of the Apocalypse, and in parabout. Both France and Italy are now fully committed to the revolutionary movement. The pope is not less so; and as by far the most sagacious and crafty of its chiefs, he is likely to continue at its head,' &c. &c. And so unmindful of Mr. Hatley Frere's predictions on the same subject and their miserable issue, he goes on just in his vein, to tell us nothing is more pro'bable than that the pope and his allies will be brought into collision with the serried strength of the east of Europe and Asia, including Turkey and Egypt,' &c. &c. When will men have prudence, and discover that prophecy is not given to make the readers of it prophets ? III. Sunrise in Italy, fc. Reveries. By HENRY MORLEY. Pp. 162.
ticular of the pouring out of the Seventh Vial, with special reference to
the present revolutions in Europe. London, 1848. The title page of this volume sufficiently indicates its occasion as well as its design. It is another of the very numerous books which stirring times have always produced, as exponents of the hopes and fears, political and religious, of those who have lived in them. The human mind is far too prone to be captivated, by the perpetually recurring correspondences of prophecy and providence, into the belief that the apocalypse is at length not only all unsealed, but all deciphered. Thus the true lessons which those correspondences supply, the illustration and enforcement of the great principles on which God governs the world, are lost, or at best but very partially received, because men's minds are turned away from the profitable to the marvellous. A good man wrote a book in the beginning of the last century, which gave the year 1848 as that in which the papacy would be shattered. It happened that strange things did take place at Rome that year; and so for a time we were perpetually hearing of Fleming's prediction. The wonder would be abated if the wondering did but know that this was just one out of a large number of calculations, or rather guesses, (for most of them are little better,) which have named almost every year in succession as the time of this catastrophe. Is it marvellous that one of them at last presents some tokens of coincidence ? Fleming's book, however, is in many respects a valuable one, though principally because, like his father's better known. Fulfilling of the Scripture, the practical uses both of providence and prophecy are judiciously and powerfully enforced. And the present work is not without some merit
, though of a different kind, one of its chief recommendations consisting in the running commentary it furnishes of Mr. Elliott's Horæ A pocalypticæ, which it corrects in some important particulars-e. g., the interpretation of the measuring of the temple,' Rev. xi. : see pp. 80–96. The author fails, however, like all his predecessors, when he attempts to square the hints of prophecy with passing events. When, for instance, he says, p. 388, “When we contrast our own 'tranquillity with the alarm, turmoil, and convulsion into which the Popish earth has been thrown, whose inhabitants have literally no rest day nor night, the majestic repose of Britain has all the moral effect of a noble hymn sung 'to God,' &c. - what a strange delusion is before us! For (not to insist on the fact that Protestant Germany is nearly, if not quite, as convulsed as Popish Germany) Holland, where Romanisin is established, though not exclusively, and Belgium, where Popery, full blown, is both established and dominant, are as undisturbed as Britain-nay, far less disturbed than the
British empire with its colonial wars and late Irish disaffection. In page 376 the author says: “And he [the Antichrist] shall enter also into the glorious land. • Till a few months ago such a movement as that here indicated was altogether improbable; but now it is not difficult to perceive how it might be brought
Chapman. This is an elegant little volume, containing a larger proportion of sterling thought than is very frequently found within those publications whose delicate exterior indicates the drawing-room table as their destination. The principal poem celebrates the social reforms introduced by Pius IX. The effects of the amnesty, and the establishment of schools, are described with much skill and feeling: Old and young Italy are represented in the persons of an aged monk and a high-spirited youth. The general remarks on education, subsequently introduced, contain no little sound truth, beautifully expressed. Mr. Morley hails with enthusiasm the prospects opened by the recent commotions in Europe. He regards evil as the adversary appointed to educate mankind by hardship. It is the thorn in their side to quicken their activities into development. One law of love will at last everywhere prevail. It is now working among us. This regeneration of society cannot be realized, however, apart from Christianity. We cannot fully unite with our author in his anticipations. Good must, at last, result, but at present there is no less to deplore than to hope. In Prussia, the triumph over legitimacy is a triumph over religion. Mr. Morley is right in maintaining that by thought we learn to love. He
• Thought is the root
Whose fruit God shall accept.' But the censure he pronounces on creeds and systems is too indiscriminate. We abhor bigotry as much as he. But the man without a fixed belief is commonly a fiercer bigot than the man with one. The Hegelian and the Communist would equal at their auto da fé the ecclesiastics of Philip II. Mr. Morley has fallen into the common error of imagining that in denying the fall and the doctrine of human depravity every difficulty is removed, as though it were only dogmas, and not facts, which prevent us from believing that this is the best of all possible worlds. A more profound study of the subject would have shown him that disbelief in this respect merely removes the problem farther back instead of solving it. The fact of our fallen state, with its many unanswerable questions, must be admitted, or we have to choose our alternative ; either to suppose that God introduces evil that good may come, to bring all men, bon gré, mal gré, by a longer or a shorter route through sin to perfectness ;-or else to revive in some modern disguise that effete assumption, so fraught with contradictions—a Gnostic Dualism. His plea for religious toleration contains many brilliant and powerful passages. The general characteristic of his style is that of grace and finish rather than of strength. These reveries are no mere profusion fancies scattered at random, without aim or connexion. His subject does not master him. He does not mistake every casual thought for inspiration. There is selection and compression.