CANON STANLEY'S SERMONS.*
THE modern party connexion suggested in the title of this vo- lume between "evangelical and apostolical teaching" is not supported by the sermons themselves. It is not "evangelical teaching " m the sense of " low church" and methodism, that Canon Stanley had in his mind when conceiving the series, but Christ's teaching as recorded by the Evangelists, and its con- tinuation by the Apostles. This theme is wide, even in a limited sense of the words ; the preacher enlarges it, not merely by ex- pounding the essential principles of Christ's teaching, but by an argument in support of his divine nature, drawn from the nature of the teaching itself. The main drift of the reasoning touching the Apostles is to show their sequential connexion and "unity " with the Evangelists ; but there is a practical and living argument underlying even these great subjects. Dr. Stanley belongs to that school of modern divines of whom Arnold was the head and founder, Robertson of Brighton, perhaps the most popular as a preacher, and Maurice and Kingsley, two of the most distin- guished living members. These men may differ among them- selves in minor matters and questions of doctrine, but their lead- ing spirit, as it seems to us, is that Christianity was, so to speak, made for Christians and not for Churches ; that if we read the New Testament in a right Catholic spirit, doctrines and forms are not only of no account compared with actual duties, but that forms are frequently a subject of scriptural censure as diverting the minds of men from the important to the trivial, and leading them to place a reliance on the external. No doubt, as we have more than once remarked, dogmas are necessary to the iden- tification of church membership, and without them doctrines or substitutes are apt to run into vagueness. Such perhaps is the case with Maurice and Kingsley ; the " love " which is at the bottom of their creed passes into a species of mysticism. Canon Stanley is more free from this generality, but equally opposed to formalism, good works being, in his estimation, the main end of " Evangelical and Apostolical Teaching." Me looks to the great parables and texts that enforce our duties towards one another, and draws from the great Apostle, upon whom Calvin and others rely in support of predestination and justification, argu- ments in favour of the " filthy rag of works," and a disregard of forms and ceremonies, days and seasons. This spirit pervades the whole of the discourses; but it is elaborately handled in three ser- mons on texts from the 'Galatians and Corinthians touching cir- enmcision. Here is a picture of the " new creature" which the Christian must become ; very different to many enthusiastic de- liPeations of the effects of grace. • " The forms and characters of the new creation are as various as those of . the-old : the ways of grace are as manifold as the ways of nature. By Christian parentage, by Christian sacraments,by Christian education, by i Christian example, by Christian study, by the influence of a Christian home and of Christian friends, by prayer, by the Bible, by sorrow, by joy by all together, are we to grow up to the stature of the fulness of Christ. 'Yet one way especially, and one sign especially, there is of the new creature, which is expressly put before us in Scripture. It is set before us in two plain, manly, homely words. Let us not fear to use them : We are His work- manship,' says the Apostle, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.' Even so ; again and again in the Epistle which has just been read to us, he re- minds us that for this very purpose Christ came, as at this time 'to redeem us from all iniquity, a peculiar people—zealous of good works.' These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." Good works.' Take both of these words in their true Scriptural sense, and we shall see how much they teach usi as to what the fruits of the New Creation should be. Good,' that is, beautiful, honest, noble works,—not mere ceremonies, not mere pre- tences, not mere outward mechanical acts, that have no connexion with the inner life, but the fruits of a 'good and honest heart' filled with the Spirit of • The Unity of _Evangelical and Apostolical Teaching. Sermons preached mostly in Canterbury Cathedral. By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D.D., Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford, &c., &c. Published by Murray. Him who is the fountain of all goodness." Works ' that ia, not mere good intentions, or good resolutions, or good prayers, or iood thoughts ; i
works, good deeds, good acts. God knows there are few enough of these in the world or in ourselves ; we cannot spare any of them : yet without them the new creature can hardly be said to live within us ; without these it is still- born, it is dead, it is useless, it gives no sign of motion or action. Up and be doing,' is the word that comes from God to each of us. Leave some good work' behind you that shall not be wholly lost when you have passed away. Do something worth living for, worth dying for ; do something to show that you have a mind and a heart and a soul within you. Ask your- selves, each one as you leave this place, Is there no good deed which you can do to remind yourself, to remind others, that you are a Christian ? Is there no want, no suffering, no sorrow that you can relieve ? Is there no act of tardy justice, no deed of cheerful kindness, no long-forgotten duty that you can perform ? Is there no reconciliation of some ancient quarrel, no payment of some long outstanding debt, no courtesy, or love, or honour to be rendered to those to whom it has long been due ; no charitable, humble, kind, useful deed by which you can promote the glory of God, or good will among men, or peace upon earth ? If there be any such, in God's name, in Christ's name, go home and do it."
This extract will give an idea of the style of the sermons. It is close, weighty, and vigorous, with a warmth rather of earnest- ness than of sentiment, and without the slightest approach to mere rhetoric. Enforcement, as we have said, of the practical duties of life is the chief subject of the sermons, with the excep- tion of the argument in favour of Christianity, drawn from the teaching and character of Christ. The matter is weighty, like the style, and varied, the fruits of a wide range of study, and of travel, especially in the Holy Land. But all this is rather felt than displayed ; matter, illustration, composition, are peed to forward an end, not as ends in themselves.