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side of the Atlantic. The author, however, has not confined himself to a simple narrative of the proceedings on the interesting occasion, but has embraced the opportunity thus given him to traverse a much wider field. Accordingly, after an appropriate introduction, he presents, in the first chapter, “A condensed view of the nature of Covenanting;” in the second chapter he discusses “The doctrine of Covenant-obligation;" in the third chapter he takes up “The history, contents, and uses of the British Covenants ;” and in the next three chapters he treats of the “Continued obligation and renewal of the Covenants”—their “Renovation by the R. P. Church," and in particular by the Synod in Ireland—and “The effects of Covenantrenovation, and the special duties incumbent on Covenanters.” Then follow the “Confession of Sins," the “Bond of Covenanting,” and a “ Lecture on the Solemn League and Covenant.” The idea of issuing such a “Memorial ” was a very happy one, and the form it has taken imparts to it a permanent value and importance which a bare narrative would not have possessed.
We observe with pleasure the warm acknowledgment made by Dr. Houston of the valuable works of some of the more recent fathers of our Church on the subject of Covenant-obligation. “Such truly eminent men,
," he remarks, “as John Brown of Haddington, Dr. M‘Crie, the historian of Knox and Melville, and Stevenson and Paxton, have emitted vindications of the doctrine of continued federal engagement, which opponents have never been able to answer, and they themselves willingly endured privations in maintaining this important doctrine." Side by side with such vindications we rejoice to see placed the admirable work of Dr. Houston; and it is much to be desired that they were all more widely known and candidly studied. If all who are really concerned for the highest well-being of our country in these perilous times could only be brought to consider calmly, seriously, and without prejudice, the questions of Covenant-obligation and Covenant-renovation in the light so fully shed upon them by these unanswered and unanswerable writings, might we not cherish the hope—the conviction—that the friends of Britain's Covenanted Reformation would not long remain so few.
The first half of Vol. IV. is entitled “Spiritual Consolation," and consists of, first, a brief, interesting sketch of the Life, Testimony, and Martyrdom of James Renwick, the last and not the least illustrious of the noble army of Scottish martyrs; and second, a collection of Renwick's “ Letters," which we need hardly say are full of “strong consolation " to sufferers for Christ's sake and the gospel's. The Letters are sixty in number, and are addressed chiefly to Sir Robert Hamilton. Dr. Houston informs us that "the only edition of them that has hitherto been published was edited by the Rev. John MMillan of Pentland, son of the Rev. John M‘Millan of Balmaghie, and was issued at Edinburgh in 1764—more than a century ago.” In his preface, M Millan writes of them in the following terms, which the present editor cordially endorses, as will all who peruse them :“ As these 'Letters' need not human commendation, so neither will the detraction of any who are so disposed blast their reputationthey are above the one and despise the other. They will recommend themselves to all who have their senses exercised to discern good and evil, and who can savour the things that are of God. Whoever have any acquaintance with the sweet breathings of the Spirit of God, and bave placed their satisfaction so entirely in the light of his countenance, lifted up upon their souls, that they cannot enjoy themselves when they do not enjoy God in Christ, will here find exemplified in an eminent manner, what a heaven the saints sometimes have, or may have on this side of glory.” We had marked one or two passages for quotation, which reminded us much of Rutherford, but we find we have not room for them.
“Spiritual Consolation” is followed by a condensed account of the life of the Rev. John Livingstone, to which is prefixed a very interesting historical introduction. And the volume ends with a seasonable and ably-written essay entitled " The Races,” in which the deplorable evils connected with the demoralising amusement of horse-racing are fully exposed and unsparingly denounced. It is truly lamentable to think that this debasing practice is not only patronised by multitudes of the highest in the land, as well as by the scum of society, but that it is largely supported by annual grants out of the national treasury. " If the whole amount of the money that is yearly expended in various ways on races in these countries were stated, it is believed it would far exceed all that is raised in the same period for supporting the ministry, building churches, for disseminating the Scriptures, and extending Christian missions over the world. The sums appropriated out of the national treasury for Queen's cups, and the contributions and subscriptions for prizes of other kinds at the races, form a large amount, which, if applied to some really useful purpose, would do incalculable good. As it is, this money is clearly a talent mis-spent and abused. It is applied to injure society in many ways, to promote wasteful and extravagant habits, and to destroy the property, morals, and happiness of vast numbers,—the victims of folly and vice.” Here is a matter for those reformers who are bent on schemes of disestablishment and disendowment! It might be as well if some of their zealous efforts were directed towards disestablishing and disendowing the race-course, and other vicious institutions hurtful to
morality, before they try their hands further upon our national protestantism.
We prize very highly these excellent works, and would rejoice to know of their being extensively circulated. And while sincerely congratulating their venerable author on the successful completion of his undertaking, we would express the hope that he may be spared for many years to carry on his important labours in the Church, and that he may be cheered and rewarded by receiving frequent testimony to the good that is being done by his valuable writings.
"In the Days of thy Youth”: Sermons on Practical Subjects, preached at
Marlborough College, from 1871 to 1876. By F. W. Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., Canon of Westminster, and late Master of Marlborough College. London:
Macmillan and Co., 1877. It has become customary for the Head-master of an English school to publish to the world some of the sermons delivered from Sabbath to Sabbath to the boys under his care. Now that he has resigned the mastership of Marlborough College, Canon Farrar has followed in this matter the precedent set him by such men as Dr. Vaughan and Bishop Cotton. He gives us, under the appropriate title of “ In the Days of thy Youth," a volume of the discourses addressed by him to the pupils of Marlborough. The book is one which will enhance the high reputation of its author. The sermons it contains are full of a hearty sympathy with the feelings and aspirations of boys—a sympathy which is mingled all through with a genuine and deeplyfelt concern for their best welfare. Dr. Farrar's acquaintance with boys is intimate and long-continued. In 1855, when he was still very young, he was appointed assistant-master in Harrow, and since then -in Harrow first of all, and then during the five years he was master of Marlborough-he has had ample opportunity of becoming conversant with their minds and thoughts. Some of our younger readers may be acquainted with one or other of his descriptions of school—“ Eric, or Little by Little," and "St. Winifred's, or the World of School." We know of no pictures of School-life, with its hopes and dangers, better fitted than these to fill the mind of a boy with high and ennobling thoughts, with a love of what is good and a batred of all that is wicked and base. In this volume of sermons, written in that beautiful diction with which many have become familiar through the author's “ Life of Christ,” there is much to admire, much that will do good to all into whose hands the volume may fall. As evidence of the variety and the appropriateness of the subjects from which Dr. Farrar addressed his boy audience, we give one or two of the titles of the
His first discourse after his inauguration as head-master is entitled “Standing before God” (Deut. xxix. 10). Then follow sermons on such themes as “Hungering and thirsting after righteousness," "the right use of speech," "the omnipotence of prayer,' "how to keep good resolutions,” excuses to man and to God," “not far from the kingdom of heaven,” “how to resist the devil,” “ the objects of school life," and many other topics of equal importance. He tells his hearers plainly of their great spiritual needs, of the special temptations to which they are exposed as boys at school, of the necessity of a living faith in the Saviour, of the degradation and punishment of sin, of the beauties of holiness, and the blessedness of him whose iniquity is forgiven and whose sin is covered. Many extracts might be made from these sermons. Take the following, descriptive of the Epistle of James :
"It is, then, a noble protest against laxity of morals, a protest against imagining ourselves to hold the truths of the Gospel while we neglect its principles and violate its laws. The apostle speaks with all the uncompromising plainness of an honest nature, and all the passionate force of a kindling indignation against the sins which were in his days a blot on the character of those who professed the faith. Then, as now, there was a greed of gain, a yielding to the narrow fascinations of avarice, which made men forget that the life was more than meat, and which, by robbing their characters of all ardour, of all generosity, of all nobleness, tended to give all their labours to the caterpillar. Then, as now, was prevalent the sin and folly of the unbridled tongue, and so far from 'speaking with an accent of heroic verity,' men fawned, and Nattered, and bit, and devoured, and wished other people dead. Then, as now, men deceived themselves into the fancy that a state of sin was a state of grace, that they could do without God, that formalism would be accepted in lieu of fruit ; or if not, that God was a Being of such boundless facility that though he had written alike in nature, and in conscience, and in Scripture, wrath against unrepentant sin, He meant not wrath but mercy.
But all such beliefs St. James denounces as foolish alike and false, and therefore his Epistle, so far from being, as Luther said, plane straminea is vere aurea. So far from finding it valueless, it seems to me so pregnant in rich truths that even in the few verses of it read to-day there is far more than could be treated of in a single sermon ; nor, with all apparent simplicity, does it offer any exception to the saying of Augustine, ‘Marvellous, O God, is the depth of thy utterances ; like a great sea their smiling surface breaks into refreshing ripples at the feet of our little ones, but into its unfathomable depth the wisest may gaze with the shudder of amazement and the thrill of love.'”
The following extract will show Dr. Farrar's anxious solicitude for the spiritual welfare of those committed to his charge. It is from one of the last of his discourses :
“I have spoken to you, my brethren, solemn words. In these last addresses on sin, and righteousness and judgment--on the fall, and ruin, and repentance of the prodigal—I have striven as it were, to finish and summarise my witness to the great truths of God--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-as they deal with human souls. And I have kept you too long, and I must end. Yet I feel that there are some hearts among you in which my words may suggest some very serious and awful questions, which now is not the time, nor is this the place, to answer. This only I would say, I have but a week more here as your master, and then I depart, and my place will know me no more. And for six years you know that my house and my study have always been open-open to the very youngest boy, who, if he wished, might come to me at all times unannounced, and, however pressingly I might be occupied, you know that you were never sent away. And if I could think that the words of sympathy and advice, then once for all spoken, have been to some of you a blessing and a help to smooth your path in life,-if they have taught you always, in every difficulty, to go straight to God, and not to man—that thought would make me more happy by far than any other can. And if there be but one of you who has aught to ask me about these, or about other truths that you have heard, one week remains before I part from you, and I should hold it, as I have always done, a blessing and a privilege to help you for the last time with that help which experience and years may bring, and which may perhaps save you hereafter an erring path or an aching heart."
Surely Marlborough was fortunate in having such a master ! It may seem hypercriticism to point out any fault or error where there is so much that is worthy of all commendation. Once or twice, however, Canon Farrar's liberality seems to us to carry him too far. It does so, certainly, when he places Ignatius Loyola by the side of Augustine and John Bunyan ; and other instances, not indeed so startling, but of the same tendency, might be cited. It may be that, in the opinion of many, this is one of those failings which lean to virtue's side ; but it is, in our estimation, the main fault of an essentially good book, and we are sorry to encounter even one “blot on the 'scutcheon," where otherwise there is nothing but what is excellent and irreproachable.
Glimpses of the Inner Life of our Lord. By W. G. Blaikie, D.D. London :
Hodder & Stoughton, 1876. This neat little volume, which exhibits in a variety of striking aspects the prominent features of the Saviour's life on earth, is eminently devotional and practical. By the frequent use of it, in the way of self-examination and prayer, those who seek conformity to the “mind that was in Christ,” may obtain important aid to advancement in holiness, and in spiritual comfort. While, in late years, a considerable number of works, more or less valuable, on the Life of Christ in its external aspects and relations, have been issued, few or none have discussed professedly the inner principles that animated His spirit and conduct, and that constitute Him as the Son of man, the perfect model to which His people are destined to be conformed. This defect, the esteemed author of the present volume has aimed, in some measure, to supply; and he has accomplished his task in a highly creditable manner, so as to fix the attention, excite serious thought and reflection, and to minister solemn ard weighty instruction. The contents of the different chapters, which are brief, present the grand