Images de page

the sacred books had been weeded What a jejune exposition is this, to out in the lump, and the purifying say the least, of those solemn words, process had been vigorously applied “It is easier for a camel to go to the remainder, the volume would through the eye of a needle than be so thin and meagre that it might for a rich man to enterinto the kingbe readily bound up with a Socinian dom of God!” It is as frigid as if one comment; and thus with the bane were to take some fearful denunciawould go forth the antidote; and tion of Holy Writ, or of the primiHomilies, Articles, and all other fana- tive Fathers, or the writers of our ticism, perish in their strongest holds. own Church, against unfaithful or

But perhaps our readers might heretical or worldly-minded bishops, like to see a sample of those passages and to say that it did not mean that in the Gospels which “ have no rela- their souls would be in danger of lation whatsoever to the opinions or hell-fire, but only that their mitre the practice of Christians at the pre- might chance to be stolen, or their sent day.” Dr. Maltby's fifth ser- carriage break down in Palace Yard. mon is dedicated to the illustration But even if we were to admit this of one of these passages.

Among jejune comment, the matter would these,” he says,

may be remarked come virtually to the same issue, that the words of the text”-namely, the love of riches often prevented Matt. xix. 23, 24, where our Lord persons embracing the Gospel; and pointed out to his disciples how dif- as this was the only way to the kingficult it was for a rich man to enter dom of God, in the higher acceptathe kingdom of heaven. Against tion of that expression, it follows, this passage Dr. Maltby has a double that riches thus abused were a bar to complaint: not only that it ranks in final salvation, that general class of passages above But supposing, says Dr. Maltby, mentioned, which have no relation that the passage relates to final salwhatever to the opinions or the vation, still it was limited to the practice of the present day, but Apostolic age. that it is in the worst section of that “ We are fully justified, I trust, in class : for whereas some such pas- maintaining, that the expressions of the sages, though obsolete, are ' easy

text apply to the circumstances of the to be understood and distinguished,

Gospel at that particular period; and that

no conclusion can be drawn from them, others “may and have occasioned unfavourable to any order or condition of mistakes, and those of a serious men in the present age.”p. 100. kind;" and this is one of this unfor- “ When the new religion had not been tunate category:

And as he has generally received, and when it forbade a double complaint against the pas- prevailed among the Jews, it must have

those indulgencies and that pride, which sage, so he has also a double limita- been more difficult for a rich man to tion of its meaning: for, first, he is perform the conditions upon which future not sure that the salvation spoken lappiness is promised, than in a better of refers to a future state, but only the Gospel were more clearly understood

state of things, when the doctrines of to the supposed secular advantages and its authority more generally admitted. which the Jews believed would be A Jew, or a Gentile, had weaker restraints bestowed under a temporal Messiah. upon his passions, fewer incitements to

humility and benevolence, than every man Our Lord, if we rightly understand

must now have, if he adopts and reveres Dr. Maltby's argument, did not Christianity as a rule of life. And, theremean that it was spiritually difficult fore, a rich man has now more ample for a rich man to arrive at everlast

means for future blessedness, and stronger ing blessedness; but only that he the Jews, by whom Christ was rejected;

preservatives against future misery, than was not likely to forego his present or the Gentiles, to whom he was unacquisitions for a mere chance of known.” pp. 97, 98. political “salvation” from the Ro

« Entire devotion to the service of

Jesus Christ at that time (Dr. Maltby's man yoke, and a splendid lot in the

own Italics] demanded not less than a earthly kingdom of the Messiah. renunciation of the world, its possessions Christ. OBSERV. No. 357.


[ocr errors]


and its pleasures; and the perfection for the better ; so that, says our of Christ's followers exacted the per, author, “ the language which our formance of duties, whose hardships and whose disrepute could only be character- Lord held about his rich contempoized by the office, which was imposed raries must not be literally applied upon the meanest and most flagitious to the case of rich believers in suc. criminals ; namely, to bear their own ceeding times.” Oh no ; let them cross to the place of punishment.” p. 92.

not be alarmed by such rigid notions Who will say, that, after this, Dr. -- mention not hell to ears polite-tell Maltby ought not to lift his mitred them that the prayer of Agur is sufront in courts and parliaments ? It perseded, just like the story of the is not his to harrow up the minds of young man whose case gave rise to polished auditors, like that plebeian Dr. Maltby's remarks, as it was preacher Massillon, who was always only written for those who had declaiming on the danger of worldly “ weaker restraints upon their pashonours. No; be it his to soothe sions, and fewer incitements to huthe sensitive bosom, by shewing what mility and benevolence,” than rich a lack of good criticism is shewn in men in the nineteenth century. We the ten thousand discourses which are not exaggerating; for Dr. Maltby have been preached on the snares does literally quote such passages as of riches and the difficulty of self- Luke vi. 24, 25, and James v. 1, to denial; and how utterly preposterous shew that they apply not to the case it must be to sign either infants or of rich men now; and that such an adults with the sign of the cross, application of them arises from “the since nothing of the kind applies to error of making an allusion or adany body now-a-days; since monition general, which in reality nunciation of the world,” with its is particular ; and of applying, to pomps and vanities, was only a tem- all persons and to all ages, remarks, porary obligation; and taking up which were called forth by the conour cross and following Christ an duct of individuals and the circumobsolete notion, derived from some stances of that one age.” Such an custom which existed at that time," application, says our author, “ to the time of the early church, but the case of the rich man in every connected with no point, either of age would be unsuitable to the faith or practice, that applies to us goodness of God, and highly injuwho live in these halcyon days of rious to our fellow-creatures. But modern Christianity. It is true, ad- why so? Is it not Scriptural, and mits Dr. Maltby, that when the we might add rational, doctrine, new religion had not been generally that to whom much is given of them received, and when it forbade those much will be required, and their indulgences and that pride which stewardship thus become the more prevailed among the Jews," there responsible; that riches bring with might have been some difficulty them“ temptation and a snare

re;" “ in performing the conditions upon and that, though the kingdom of which future happiness is promised:” heaven is not shut to one class of men but this was only a temporary impe- more than to another, there is still diment; there is little or no danger especial need to “ charge them that of “ indulgence” or “ pride” in are rich in this world that they be this enlightened age; the kingdom not high-minded, nor trust in unof heaven no longer requires vio- certain riches, but in the living God?" lence; the strait gate and narrow The whole spirit of the passage on way are now conveniently widened; which Dr. Maltby remarks, as well we live “ under a better state of as of the other passages which he things;” temptations are fewer, and alludes to, especially those which the seeds of virtue more prolific; relate to self-denial and “ taking up the case of the great ones of the our cross,” is as much applicable earth, in particular, is greatly altered. now as it was when they were first uttered. This, however, our author their members have by the grace of denies. Thus, for example, in his God been led to devote themselves, twenty-second sermon, preached as “pilgrims and strangers upon before the University of Cambridge, earth (another exploded text), to on our Lord's declaration, “ who the glory of Him who redeemed soever doth not bear his cross, and them by his blood? If he does not, come after me, cannot be my dis- we could tell him of many such : ciple,” he plainly tells us that in we could tell him of some in which the present happy age there is no the persecuting parties themselves cross to bear.

have at length, being won by the “ Since it is no longer discreditable to meekness and exemplary conduct of profess our faith in Christ, we cannot the objects of their unjust displeasure, incur the hazard of opposing or offending been led themselves to embrace the our nearest and dearest connexions. A man no longer encounters foes among his faith which once they sought to deown household; he not obliged to re- stroy; and of others, in which the nounce the regard and affection of his loss of worldly fortune and expulfamily, because he believes in Christ; sion from a beloved roof have been and therefore the warning, which our Lord found it necessary to give in those days, threatened, and the threat executed, and in that country, has no meaning, if because the sufferers durst not break applied literally to our own.” pp. 456, 457. the plain letter and spirit of their

Now, we rejoice, and feel grateful baptismal vows, and live the slaves to God, that legal persecution for the of a sinful world, instead of being name of Christ has long ceased; but the servants of God. We see nomost incorrect is it to say that there. thing in the facts which daily press fore the text (Luke xiv. 25—27) and around us to lead us to believe, with all similar passages are obsolete, and Dr. Maltby, that the declaration that that there is never any danger of “ all that will live godly in Christ “ opposing or offending our nearest Jesus shall suffer persecution,” was and dearest connexions” by such confined to the primitive age. Christ, an honest profession of our faith in and all who desire to be the true Christ as we are pledged to in our disciples of Christ, are persecuted, baptismal covenant. Dr. Maltby, so far as the laws and usages of notwithstanding his respectable rank society allow, as much now as they and station in the Christian church, were in the days of Diocletian. Look can have had little practical ac- at our marts of business, our walks quaintance with the details of pas- of literature, our houses of parliatoral advising, if he has not met with ment, and even our academical many cases which directly oppose his bowers, and say in which of them assertion. Instances are frequent, the humbling doctrines of the Goswe could ourselves adduce many— pel, and the holy life and heavenlyof young persons, often young mindedness which it enjoins, are women, who have been reduced to the popular themes of favour. How the very difficulty which Dr. Malthy many of our daily and weekly newsthinks now unknown, of choosing papers, and monthly and quarterly between Christ on the one hand, periodical publications, and other and their dearest earthly relation- popular works, evince that we are a ships on the other. Numerous pa- nation among whom “ to know nopers have appeared in ourown volumes thing but Jesus Christ, and him cruon the line of conduct due in such cified,” is the general acclamation ? extremely painful and perplexing cir- Has persecution ceased, when relicumstances. Does Dr. Maltby know gious persons in both our houses of no families in which persecution is parliament tell us they dare not urge carried to the utmost extent of every a scriptural motive, or go beyond a legal domestic infliction of displea- distant frigid allusion to sacred tosure, reproach, and injury, for no pics, on subjects of the most serious greater crime than because some of national interest, without the most unequivocal marks of distaste, and devoted ? Being neither "morality," scarcely suppressed contempt ? Has nor“ evidences,” nor“ criticism,” persecution ceased, when a prelate, nor“ history," the only heads which whose learning and powerful intel. they can be referred to are the “ aslect, and straight-forward manly con- perities of polemics," "scholastic duct, and exemplary devotion to the jargon,” and “ metaphysical subduties of his high office, we might tlety." And is this the way in have supposed would have protected which a divine of the Church of him from gratuitous reproach, can. England, and who, the newspapers not stand up as becomes a Christian say, may some time be a bishop, and a bishop, in a matter involving speaks of that glorious code of Dithe dearest interests of his country vine truth which God has revealed and the honour of God, without for the salvation of a fallen world? being sneered at as a favourer of Is it thus that Dr. Maltby ventures sanctimonious cant and puritanical to blot out from his definition of precision ? If Dr. Maltby finds his theology,” the fall and guilt of pastoral experience at Buckden cor- man, the atonement and Divinity of roborate his views, we rejoice at his Christ, the Godhead and operations living in such a Goshen ; from which of the Holy Ghost, and all the other may he never be torn by “ adverse articles of belief which are properly fate,” for we cannot promise him included in that term? If he does such another village from Cornwall not mean to blot them out, then to Berwick-upon-Tweed. In all they must come under the opproothers, the old-fashioned descrip- brious epithets above stated; an altertions and denunciations of Scrip- native that does not mend the matter. ture still apply, and our puritanical But it may be said that we are Prayer-book is still apposite. captious ; that it cannot be that the

We were curious to discover what Reverend author could mean what is really Dr. Maltby's view of Chris- the passage nakedly considered imtian theology; and we found it de- plies. Now we have sought through fined as follows, in another of his the whole volume for any one senCambridge University sermons.- tence that presents such an unequi

" When I speak of theology, suppose vocal elucidation of his meaning as not that I mean to recommend only the would justify us in retracting what jejuneness of morality, or the asperities

we have written. The commenceof polemics; the dulness of scholastic jargon, or the refinements of metaphysical ment of the following passage, in the subtlety. I recommend that enlightened sixteenth sermon, struck us as an exobject of an ingenious mind, a research ception ; but observe how adroitly into the evidences of natural and revealed it glances off towards the conclusion. Religion,-a deep and critical insight into the history and import of the sacred text neglect the doctrines contained in St.

“ What then, it may be said, are we to -an acquaintance with Jewish and Christian antiquities, as well as the regular the inestimable truths of redemption; and

Paul's Epistles ? Are we to overlook series of Ecclesiastical History. these pursuits the student, whether his seek only to extract from him maxims of inclination be directed to fact or, argu- the pages even of an heathen philosopher ?

morality, such as may be gathered from ment; to poetry or criticism; will not only gain a general knowledge of what it is By no means; we reply. "Whatsoever indispensably necessary for him to know; clearly [Dr. Maltby's own italics) disco

doctrines connected with revelation, are but he will also find ample employment verable in the writings of St. Paul, we in that course of reading to which his receive with reverence and with faith as mind has been more peculiarly directed.”

the will of God. But let us beware how pp. 116, 117. Now we would ask, in all fairness, whose meaning, from so many causes,

we misunderstand the meaning of a writer, in which part of this classed cata- may be misunderstood. Let us discrimilogue Dr. Maltby places the doctrines nate, when he is addressing his adversaries of Christianity; say, for example,

as a logician, and when he unequivocally those doctrines to which the larger Let us consider that the time in which

expresses his own personal conviction. part of the Thirty-nine Articles are

he lived, rendered some questions even of vital importance, which cease to be any of these teachers at Cambridge ; and longer so, except as matters of record.

among others the venerable Mr. And let us distinguish as accurately as we can, between what relates to these, Simeon and Professor Farish, against and what comes more evidently home to whom, doubtless, it seriously behoved our own feelings and bosoms.” pp. 310, Dr. Maltby to warn his younger au311.

ditors. But it is somewhat perplexNow we did think, as we began ing that these all-faith-and-no-works to read this passage, that for once people should be such exemplary

the inestimable truths of redemp- doers, and that doctrines not praction” were about to find an advo- tical should lead to such excellent cate in the Reverend author ; but is practices. Yet so it is; and being it so ? Is not the whole scope of righteous over-much is the current the passage to shew that these in. reproach of those who surely ought, estimable truths" are not clearly in consistency, to be righteous not discoverable in the writings of St. at all. The same charge was made Paul ;” that we misunderstand his in Hooker's days, as it had been meaning in deriving such dogmata long before in St. Paul's; and from his Epistles; that he often Hooker, following that Apostle--not speaks “ as a logician,” not as an knowing that his Epistles were obhonest man expressing his own

solete—could give no better reply conviction ?” And, if none of these than that he acknowledged " the solutions will suffice to get over the dutiful necessity” of good works, “ clearness of a sturdy text, why while their “ meritorious dignity,” then, once more the old single string, of which Dr. Maltby says so much, the subject is obsolete ! some he “utterly renounced.” Our author questions even of vital importance may think Hooker's solution no —including, it would seem, the better than that of the Article which inestimable truths of redemption” teaches that good works

cease to be any longer so, ex- rily ” spring out of true faith ; so cept as matters of record !” And

that in preaching that faith is requithus ends the whole matter. It site to justification, and that good cannot be, that any cabinet, Whig works have no part in our justificaor Tory, could ever think of making tion,“ practical” holiness—or, to use. the writer of these passages a bishop. our author's word, “virtue”-is seWoe to the diocese, woe to the cured not less, indeed infinitely church and the country, in which better, than if we were to be saved such doctrine should find favour— by making ourselves “ worthy” of should not be repelled, with the God's favour. Worthy of God's honest warmth of Christian repro- favour! We tremble as we write bation !

the words; for who, then, shall be Dr. Maltby tells us, a few pages saved? As to the charge which Dr. further on, in the same academical Maltby urges, that " attempts are sermon (p. 317), that " attempts continually making to depreciate the are continually making to lessen importance or the necessity of good considerably, if not altogether to works,” we meet it with a direct depreciate, the importance or the negative. What some solitary wild necessity of good works.” The Antinomian may happen to say or author is alluding to certain teachers do, we know not; but in the only who draw off the attention from mat- aspect which could render the reters of practical necessity "to tenets mark relevant in St. Mary's, Camdestitute of that prime virtue—such, bridge, we deny the fact. Is it to we presume, as those above specified, detract from the importance or neincluding the mass of doctrines cessity of good works, that the miwhich together constitute “the in- nister of Christ endeavours to place estimable truths of redemption." faith and works in their Scriptural poWe have heard that there are many sitions; the one as the tree, the other



« PrécédentContinuer »