The Sling and the Stone, IX. By the Rev. Charles
Voysey. (Williams and Norgate.)—It is years since we last noticed a volume of The Sling and the Stone. We cannot compliment the author on any improvement in the capacity of seeing both sides of a question, or in modesty. He is as sure as ever, as capable, in his own judgment, of setting the world right. Christ's words, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret," "practically condemn alike family prayer and public prayer." Surely they condemn only the habit of an ostentatious performance of personal devotion. "We read, it is true, frequently of his entering into the Temple and the synagogues, but it was only to read or teach ; we never hear of his going there to pray." Was there ever a more preposterous gloss ? What occasion was there for mentioning his prayers ? He followed the practice of other devout Jews. But it is useless to follow Mr. Voysey through his vagaries. His conceit is almost sublime. Let any one note, for instance, his com- parison, in chap. vi., of the Prayer-Book and his own liturgy. But this is nothing to the comparison, which runs more or less through the whole volume, of his theism with the teaching of Christ. Years ago we remember his finding a want of feeling in the words addressed by Christ from the cross to his Mother and St. John, words which every one else has felt to be full of tenderness. This is the temper of mind in which Mr. Voysey habitually regards the Gospels. He does not, indeed, fail to find some admirable things in them, but a mind more curiously devoid of reverence was never exhibited to the world. It is a small but not insignificant instance of this temper of mind, that he sees in the dress of Sisters of Mercy a parade "of their self-abnegation of the lawful pleasures of human life." Could he not have the charity to remember that it is a pro- tection? Theism is not made lovely by Mr. Voysey's presentment of it.