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The volume of the Congregational Lecture for the present yearon the “Priesthood,"—is, we consider, one of the best of the series. The lecturer, Dr. Mellor, occupies, deservedly, a high place in the Congregational body in England, as an eloquent preacher, and a learned and able divine. The subjects—the Christian ministry regarded as a Priesthood, and the errors and Ritualistic practices connected with the priestly theory—are at the present time, worthy of the gravest consideration, when the Papacy is putting forth the most vigorous efforts for the spread of idolatry, superstition, and antichristian error; and large and increasing numbers in the Protestant churches are in no little danger of being seduced by the outward attractions of an unscriptural and sensuous worship.
The Lectures, in this volume, which are eight in number, form a full and eminently satisfactory discussion of the subject. In the first, entitled, “ The Priesthood not an ordinance in the New Testament,” the author states the object of the discussion—and the method which he prescribes to himself—to restrict the field of evidence to the New Testament, and especially to the Acts of the Apostles, and the apostolic epistles; and he shows that Patristic authority is, on various grounds, of no real value in deciding the question. With approval, he quotes the words of Augustine in writing to Jerome:
“I confess that I only owe to those books of Scripture which are now called canonical, that reverence and honour to believe steadfastly that none of their authors ever committed any error in writing the same. But as for all other writers, how eminent they are, either for sancity or learning, I do not so read them as to think that anything is true, because they have so thought, but because they have persuaded me that it is taught by those canonical writers, or by probable reason."
The Question—"What says the New Testament touching the existence of an official priesthood in the Christian Church," is answered at length in the First and Second Lectures, by the author establishing-as he does, by able and convincing reasoning, the following positions--1, " There is no such priesthood acknowledged in name in the New Testament;" 2, “No such priesthood is acknowledged in office;" 3, “ Nor in specific qualifications;" 4, “Such priesthood is precluded by the whole genius of the Christian dispensation.” These positions are maintained and elucidated with apposite and cogent proofs from Scripture, and in chaste and polished diction. In showing that the priesthood in the Church is precluded by the genius of Christianity, the Lecturer quotes an extract of a letter of the late Dr. Arnold of Rugby :
“Every part of the New Testament gives a picture of Christianity, or of some one great feature in it; and every part negatively confutes the priestcraft heresy,
because it is to be found nowhere, insomuch that no man ever yet fell or could fall into that heresy by studying the Scriptures, that are a bar to it altogether, and it is only when they are undermined by traditions, and the rudiments of men, that the heresy begins to make its way. It is making its way fearfully, but it will not take the form that Newman wishes, but the far more consistent form of pure Popery." Justice Coleridge likewise says—“The Priest is either Christ or Anti-christ; he is either our Mediator, or he is like the man of sin in God's temple. The Church system is either our gospel, and St. John's and St. Paul's gospel is superseded by it, or it is a system of blasphemous falsehood, such as St. Paul foretold was to come, such as St. John knew to be already in the world."
Lecture third treats of the “Christian Priesthood—its alleged orders and lineage." In this the author exposes clearly the pretensions and discusses the claims of Diocesan Episcopacy, showing by a number of considerations, the absolute identity of the two offices of Presbyter and Bishop, in the New Testament, and proving the utter impossibility of tracing the line of descent from the Apostles of present Protestant Bishops. By an apt quotation from Archdeacon Hare's work on the “ Mission of the Comforter," there are strikingly exhibited the pride, intolerance, and uncharitable and unchristian presumption of the advocates of Apostolical succession within the pale of the English Establishment. In Lectures iv. v. and vi. the Priesthood in its functions at the altar and in the Lord's Supper, is discussed with much fulness and in a highly satisfactory manner. The gross perversions of the Sacrament of the Supper into a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead, are pointed out; and the errors of Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, and the New Catholic theory of the “ Objective Presence” of Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist, are clearly stated and ably refuted. Dr. Mellor most convincingly shows, by various quotations from some of the leading Anglican and Ritualistic writers and theologians, that the Anglican theory is essentially the Popish doctrine of the Real Presence, with slight modifications and various disguises. This Archdeacon Wilberforce, in his work on the “Eucharist,” and Dr. Pusey, virtually admit; while others of the same school declare in the plainest manner, that the doctrine of the churches of Rome and England on the Lord's Supper are identical. One of these says,—The Eucharistic sacrifice is Christ Himself, supernaturally present in the Sacrament;—the Victim slain once for all upon the Cross, but continually offered before God in memory of that death by His own natural presence in Heaven, and by His supernatural presence in the Sacrament here on earth.”. And another declares,—“The Church of England holds precisely the same view of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper as the Church of Rome.” These three Lectures are replete with lucid statements of
the doctrines of Popery on the Eucharist, and contain an admirable exposure and refutation of Puseyite and Ritualistic perversions of the Lord's Supper. They deserve, and will amply repay a frequent and attentive persual.
The two last Lectures, which treat of the Priest and the Confessional, exhibit the totally unscriptural nature, as well as the immoral character of private Confession to a priest, and of Absolution as taught by the Papacy, and in the formularies of the English national Church. The Conclusion presents counsels of solemn warning and instruction, tersely and forcibly expressed.
“There is not one Sacrament of the Church of Rome which is not deliberately vindicated and approved, and so far as public sentiment or law will permit, quietly introduced into the pale of the Church of England. The single point of the Papal Supremacy is now declared by many to be the only essential feature which separates the two communions; and it is difficult to say, after the rapid approximation which has been made on other matters of difference, how long even this will be allowed to stand in the way. By many who hold office in the Church, which, in the ceremony of the Queen's Coronation, is formally designated, “The Protestant Reformed religion established by law,' the very name Protestant is insalted, vilified, and indignantly renounced, and the leaders of the Reformation pelted with epithets of infamy from which even Danton, Robespierre, and Marat, are indulgently protected. This Romanizing net is assuredly spread in the sight of the whole nation; whether in vain or not, it remains for the people to determine, and that too with all possible promptitude and energy."
Again-“The nation requires instruction, and it must be our aim, as God may help us, to diffuse, by all forms of teaching and influence, that knowledge of the truth which is in Jesus,' before which superstition and unbelief shall vanish, as fabled spectres flee before the light of the rising sun. Amid all the conflicts of these times—so full of distraction and sadness—the one conviction which abides in us unshaken is that, through all the tumult, the world is seeking and will surely find its way to rest in Christ, as the Prophet in whose words is eternal life; the Priest whose sufficient sacrifice has reconciled all things to God, whether they be things on earth, or things in heaven; and the King before whose sceptre of right and mercy all nations shall render the homage of their obedience, and their reverent and adoring praise."
We willingly give our most cordial recommendation to these admirable Lectures-expressing the hope that their wide circulation will prove, through the Divine blessing, a means of arresting the progress of destructive error, and of promoting the cause of Scriptural truth, which the esteemed Lecturer has so ably and eloquently advocated.
The Life of Faith, as illustrated by the example of the Apostle Paul ; with a
brief notice of one of the Grounds of Faith. By John Thomson, D.D. Foolscap
8vo. pp. 216. Johnstone and Hunter, Edinburgh. 1876. The main object of this neat and interesting volume, is the instruction of the youth of the Church, especially young men, on subjects that
relate to the formation of character, and practical devotedness. The different topics discussed were first handled in a course of instruction given to the youth of the author's congregation, and the substance of them appeared afterwards in a series of papers in the Christian Treasury. They are now presented in a more permanent form, and appropriately designated, " The Life of Faith," as throughout, the grand fundamental principle of the duties inculcated, is faith in the divine promise, and assured confidence in Christ, the Rock of salvation. The supplementary part of the volume, which treats of one branch of Christian Apologetics, is the substance of a series of articles which first appeared in the Christian Evidence Journal. The author, in the first and principal part of the work, has happily selected the life of the Apostle Paul as the basis of his instructions to the young. He is exhibited in his many-sided symmetrical character, as an example of living faith, animating and sustaining him in arduous labours, and producing a consistent and noble life. The portrait of the great Apostle, presented in a number of consecutive chapters, which are skilfully arranged, and sketched with a master-hand, is at once vivid, truthful, and attractive_held forth with clearness and felicity of diction, and so as to elevate the mind, and impress the heart and conscience.
The Apostle's life of faith is considered in the Introduction, in his Christian fidelity, patience, and personal piety. Then it is presented in the combination of the graces of humility and moral dignity; and furthermore in his large-heartedness and tender-heartedness. Here various pathetic expressions in the Pauline Epistles are adduced in illustration. The Apostle's unselfishness, conscientiousness, Christian courage, and habitual prayerfulness are again held out as eminently deserving the imitation of the youth of the Church, and as forming essential elements of character in all who would live the life of faith, and be blessings to the Church, and benefactors to the world. Growth in grace, and Hope and Victory in death, furnish farther themes of weighty instruction, which find most suitable illustrations in the life and death of the Apostle of the Gentiles. The “inner source of the life of faith”-as being found in life from Christ-life by Christand life for Christ,--and then the power of faith and its practical results form the appropriate conclusion of the first part of this useful and excellent volume.
The supplementary part treats of miracles—their possibility, probability, and value, as a proof of doctrine ; and after a refutation of infidel objections, the reality of the miracles of Moses is shown in a lucid manner, from a variety of considerations.
We regard this little work as admirably adapted to effect the object aimed at
in its preparation--that of training the rising youth of the Church in the way of true godliness, and for eminent usefulness. Instead of giving extracts, as we had designed, we commend it strongly, believing as we do that its frequent and careful perusal, under the Divine blessing, will be of benefit to persons of all classes in the Church, to lead them to realize the life of faith and to enjoy its blessed fruits.
The Shadow on the Cross: the Present Crisis of the Turkish Question. By
Edward Jenkins, M.P. 8vo. pp. 39. Robert Mullan, London. This Pamphlet on “the Turkish Question," by the author of “Ginx's Baby” and the “ Devil's Chain ”—fully sustains the high reputation of the author, for vivid pourtraying of events and characters, and for a singularly impressive and effective exhibition of his subject. At the present crisis of the European Political System, its appearance is most seasonable ; and the sketches which it gives of the causes and issues of the Crimean War—of the principles, and enormous incurable evils of Turkish rule,-and of what many regard as 'the mischievous policy of British statesmen, and especially of the present Government, merit attentive consideration; as they cannot fail to be useful for guiding public opinion on questions of no ordinary importance. While many proposals have been offered for settling the Turkish question, we rejoice in the prospect that this infamous power is rapidly approaching its complete subversion. Statesmen who leave out of their plans the establishment of the Mediator's kingdom, may employ all the appliances of astute diplomacy-and lay stress on military skill, and vast natural resources—but all these will prove unavailing when the command goes forth to destroy them that have cursed and destroyed the earth. The wide-spread feelings that have been excited throughout these nations against Turkish atrocities, and in favour of oppressed Christians throughout Turkey, will we trust prove powerful enough to prevent any, the least aid, from England being rendered to Turkish power, to enable it to continue the enslavement and utter degradation of millions of Christians. The concluding paragraphs of this able pamphlet, which is throughout aglow with noble impulses and generous sentiment, points to the only course that can be rightly taken by the nation and its rulers in the present emergency.
“We must be prepared to take our part, and to make our sacrifices in this great movement. We must not shrink, if it is necessary, to spend some of our money in redeeming ourselves from the disgrace which attaches to us for having been contributing to the existing intolerable state of things ; either that, or, as I contend, we are bound simply to step aside, and to allow some other nation, whether animated by selfish ambition or stimulated by fraternal sympathy, to step