SERMOSS.—On Some Points in the Religious Office of the Universities.
By Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D. (Macmillan.)—Professor Westcott has collected in this volume some sermons and papers, preached before the University of Cambridge or read at Church Congresses in the course of the last few years. A certain connection of thought unites them. They are the utterances of a man who, occupying a high place in the University, looks at all its work and life from the stand-point of an earnest religious belief. The most interesting of the series is a sermon dealing with the subject of "The Universities in Relation to Missionary Work." Some readers may see a certain enthusiasm in the expectations which it sets forth, and may feel unable to believe that the Universities, which might seem to be in process of secularisation, can become the centres of a strong and healthy religious movement which shall advance the borders of Christendom as they have not been advanced for centuries. But Dr. Westcott is a man of no little insight and judgment, and we are ready, as, of course we are glad, to believe with him, the more so as we have always hoped that secularisation, in the sinister sense of the word, would not follow on the removal of religious tests and restrictions. But however this may be, Professor Westcott's views of missionary work are profoundly interesting. We have erred, he thinks, in seeking to introduce into the East, where the great field of missionary work in this century is to he found, the Western type of Christianity ; in making our missionary teaching too individual, proclaiming a creed rather than a kingdom " ; and in making that teaching a denationalising influence. His remarks on these points are of striking value. We must quote a few sentences under the last head :—
" It is very difficult for us to appreciate the overpowering effect of a dominant class in enforcing tlieir own beliefs. It is even more difficult to apprehend the relative shape which these beliefs assume in the
midst of alien races If we are to proclaim in its fullness a Gos- pel which is universal, and not Western, we must keep ourselves and our modes of thought studiously in the background. We must aim at something far greater than collecting scattered congregations round English clergy, who may reflect to our eye faint and imperfect images of ourselves. Wo must watch carefully lest Christianity should be re-
garded simply as the religion of the stronger or the wiser. Wo must take to heart the lesson of the first age, lost we unconsciously repeat the fatal mistake of the early Judaisers, and offer as permanent that which is accidental and transitory. We must adopt every mode of influence which can be hallowed to the service of the faith—the asceti- cism—the endurance—the learning which are indigenous to the country. We must follow the religious instincts and satisfy the religious wants of Hindu and Mohammedan through the experience of men from among themselves. We can in some degree, as the Spirit help; teach the teachers, but wo cannot teach the people."
The papers on the general training of the clergy are also very valuable and interesting.—The Young Life Equipping Itself for God's Service. By C. J. Vaughan, D.D. (H. S. King.) Here, too, wo have sermons preached before the University of Cambridge. "Preparation," "Prayer," "Illumination," and " The Perpetual Presence " are the subjects of the four discourses which the volume contains. They seem to us more than usually eloquent and thoughtful, oven when compared with the high standard of Dr. Vaughan's previous works. If we are to single out ono, we should say that the one in which the preacher speaks of prayer is the best, but only, perhaps, because it deals with a subject to which recent controversies have given a peculiar interest. But all are excellent, full of a belief which is liberal, without ceasing to be earnest and devout. One sentence wo must quote which controversialists, fond of quotations from patristic authorities, would do well to lay to heart :— "Phrases and figures, half-devotional, half-rhetorical, harmless in days when Christianity was suffering, may become dangerous to truth, be- cause dangerous to spirituality, when they are stereotyped, in an ago or a world of promiscuous profession, into formulas of doctrine and defi- nitions of theology."—The Kingdom of Christ. By Rev. A. N. Symonds, M.A. (Hamilton, Adams, and Co.) Mr. Symonds preaches very plainly and forcibly the doctrines which are commonly called 'Universalist.' The alternative theory—the extinction of the wicked— in which some thinkers find refuge, lie is not willing to accept, holding it to be " wholly irreconcileablo with the character, and design, and predicted issue of Christ's Kingdom." Ho deals fairly enough with those passages of Scripture which seem to set forth a differ- ent doctrine. He would not, we imagine, claim to have completely dis- posed of them. That the "death and destruction "of which, for instance, St. Paul speaks in writing to the Thessalonians, were intended by tho Apostle to signify a corrective punishment, can scarcely be maintained. The fact is, that wo must interpret them or modify them by the light of other passages, by our understanding and conception of the whole charac- ter and purposes of God, as it is revealed to us in Christ, and by the growing illumination of the human conscience, which makes dogmas that are unhesitatingly accepted by one generation intolerable to the next. Some of Mr. Symonds' discourses in particular are marked by con- siderable ability. We may mention the eleventh, in which ho makes out the parable of the Shoop and Goats to signify the judgment of rion- Christian nations, noting especially the bearing of the test by which the evil are distinguished from the good. "In nothing," he says, "is the natural conscience more outraged than by refusing food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger. By no standard, there- fore, could the heathen be more equitably judged than by that hero laid down."—Sermons at a New School. By the Rev. Arthur Faber, Head Master of Malvern College. (Macmillan.) These are sermons of an ordinary type, representing, with a fair amount of ability, such as we might expect from the accomplished author, the popular theology, but not rising above or going beyond it, and not bearing that character which would fit them, in our judgment at least, to the schoolboy audi- ence, so difficult to impress, to which they were delivered. One or two definite complaints we have to make against the volume. Where does he find among the recorded words of Christ, " Fear not those who can kill the body, but fear rather God, who can kill body and soul." There are some who judge this being who "can kill both body and soul in bell" to be far other than God. And in the last sermon, "The End of a School Life," we find him saying :—".Speaking to you last Sunday I gave what seemed the best advice one could offer in general, in view of the novelties and the temptations that lie before you : it urns to make the safely of your omen individual souls the chief object of the next few years." (The
italics are ours.) We hold that this is not the teaching that will help to send out brave, duty-doing men into the world.—Sermons on a Part of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. By the Rev. Thomas Hancock. (J. T. Hayes.) Mr. Hancock calls himself " Assistant- Priest of S. Stephen's, Lewisham," and wo did not at once discover that he was a minister of the Anglican Communion. But wo have been much pleased, nevertheless, with reading these discourses. They are full of thought ; they indicate a generous and liberal mind ; and above all, they are based upon a truly wide theology, especially upon a conception of the Fatherhood of God and of the Headship of Christ which are not unworthy of Mr. Maurice himself. "The Son of God," we read in the fourth sermon, "the origin and root of all sonship and childhood, must be in us, if we are the children of God. The Resurrection and the Life must be in us, if we, who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, can arise and live. St. Paul says, as the explication of his own coming to himself, ' It pleased God to reveal His
Son in me.' Ho describes his coming to himself, his interior journey from madness to sanity, as the tearing-away of the veil which was hiding from him the true Life and Centre of his own being." If Mr. Hancock preaches this doctrine, wo do not much object to his demanding, as he does on the next page, "to keep the right of singing the Athanasian Hymn."—We have great pleasure in recommending to our readers an excellent series of lectures, entitled The Resurrection of the Dead, by William Hanna, D.D. (Edmonston and Douglas.) The volume contains an exposition of 1 Cor. xv., and deals with that passage, a passage at once very clear as to its general purport, and very obscure in some of its details, in a very able manner. Dr. Hanna's views of the Resurrection bear in some respects a strong re- semblance to those which were hold by Mr. Maurice. He is as strongly opposed as was that great teacher to the notion that the body of the re- surrection will be identical with the body of death. His argument on this point is admirably clear and cogent.—Sermonettes. By the Rev. T. Moore. (Hodges.) Mr. Moore's " Sermonettes "—surely a some- what affected or jocose name—possess the merit, which is indeed essential to their being, of brevity, never exceeding three small octavo pages. But what is short ought to be very good. Mr. Moore hopes that they may " serve as seeds ' or ' germ-thoughts' for sermons." We cannot think that there is enough in them to make them fit for this use. Expanded they would certainly be liable to the charge, from which their brevity now scarcely saves them, of tediousness.—We have to notice the appearance of a third volume of Sermons on Eccle- siastical Subjects, by Archbishop Manning (Burns and Oaths), observing only the introduction, in which his Grace expresses himself about affairs in England, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere with a vehemence which is scarcely characteristic of a confident faith. One wonders what the Archbishop and his friends think about Italy. Their Church has had that place, anyhow, in its own hands, to make it what it should be. And yet there is no nation which, by their account, has behaved worse. It is a note of the Church to be hated by the world. But then is it not the Church's business to subdue the world ? What should we think if all the nations acquainted with Christianity hated it as the Italians hate the Roman system ? Or, take this case. Sup- pose the Church of England to be allowed unlimited control over some town, to establish in it a most elaborate organisation, to supply a minister for every hundred of its population, and then, having had ample time for tho experiment, to be found to have made the majority of the inhabitants furiously hostile to it. Should we judge it to have succeeded, or to have failed ?—The Prophet of Carmel. By the Rev. Charles B. Garside, M.A. (Burns and Oaths.) This is not pro- fessedly a volume of sermons, but it may probably be ranked with them. Anyhow, these "practical considerations," as Mr. Garside calls them, would make very good sermons. They are thoughtful and sensible discourses, though sometimes of course setting forth opinions with which we cannot agree.—The Reign of Law, and other Sermons. By G. Salmon, D.D. (Macmillan.) These sermons are well considered, learned, and powerful discourses, befitting the preacher's position as Regius Professor of Divinity, and the place, the Chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, in which they were delivered. On some points indeed we feel constrained to declare our dissent from Dr. Salmon's teaching. Preaching, for instance, on " The Fixing of the Spiritual State," he seems to commit himself to very dangerous statements. That the spiritual state is fixed universally at death he seems to regard as beyond a question, though he can give no Scripture authority for his belief (we will not do a Professor of Divinity the wrong of supposing that he mean§ to allege as a serious proof the text to which he alludes when
he says, "Where the tree has fallen, there it mustlie"). But ho goes on to affirm that it may be as irrevocably fixed before death. Possibly the one belief is not sensibly more objectionable than the other, but it goes more against the current of Christian feeling. Dr. Salmon should remember the story of Tannhauser and the Pope. Surely there must. be something grievously wrong in a theology which has to take refuge in such statements as the following:—
" As long therefore as both parties hold to the doctrine of the 17th Article, that the decrees of God's election are secret to us, the question whether or no grace may fail in the elect, is less a practical one than may have been supposed. A man may hear the Word gladly, and do. many things because of it, and give what seem to be evidences of the work of God's grace in his heart, yet we cannot predict with certainty that he must abide to the end. Only if he fall away we conclude that he was not one of the elect. The result, then, if stated as a theoretical dogma, seems to be a fall from a certain kind of grace is possible; but it is impossible to fall away from that particular kind of grace from which final fall is impossible. And the result will prove what kind of grace any man has received."
So God, it seems, gives to one man a grace that only helps him to damn_ him deeper, and to his neighbour a grace that saves him I "It is im- possible to fall away from that grace from which final fall is impossible."' "An archdeacon performs archidiaconal functions." It would be ludi crous, if it were not so horrible. But Dr. Salmon's sermons on such subjects as "The Evidential Value of the Eucharist," "Unsuccessful Prayer," " Old Testament Moral Difficulties," are of considerable value,. and speak in a tone which generally commands our sympathy. The discourse entitled, " Secnrus Judicat Orbis Terrarum," is a very able- argument against the controversial use of the argument by Rome. Dr.. Salmon argues with much force that Christianity itself stands con- demned by it.—Mr. Voysey publishes a sixth volume of The Sling and the Stone, (Triibner and Co.) There is a painful interest in watch ing- how these successive volumes mark Mr. Voysey's movement. He now distinctly disclaims the name of Christianity, having attained to what is,. in his judgment, "a belief immeasurably higher." Does he still think, we wonder, that he was wrongly deprived of the place and title of a. Christian minister?