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"Congregational Church is the poorest church in the world to get along without piety." Other denominations can look to the strength of their system to maintain them when the life within is thin and cold. We have no such sustaining system. The revival of righteousness that is called for so loudly throughout the land, appeals therefore with peculiar earnestness to us. It has been the glory of our Congregational Churches in the past that in them membership in the body of Christ meant substantial likeness to Christ in character and life. I believe that despite the terrible pressure of the past few years, a pressure that has broken down some honorable names, and carried grief into many hearts, the standard has not been lowered, but that even now our churches are giving signs of a more strenuous and a more earnest vitality.
It has of late been anxiously asked, to what may we look to maintain the spirit of self-sacrifice and consecration in the churches, now that the age of martyrdom is so long past, and the missionary career, through the easy inter-communication of the nations and the spread of civilized surroundings, ceases in a measure to demand life offerings that are heroic? The answer may be in the demand for heroism at home, in withstanding the blandishments of worldliness, and resisting the powerful compulsion of custom. It is not too much to hope that the "impassioned uprightness" which, according to Montalembert, is the explanation of the great success of the early Caledonian missionaries, may re-appear, and in a measure distinguish a new race of believers, to whom God has given a new world to subdue. Certain it is that in the cycle of the centuries the church is swinging back to its earliest experiences. We remember, not without something of elation, that in its earliest days, "it won its best victories, chiefly because then the intensity of its moral heat was greatest." When its forms of worship were the simplest-prayer and praise, and the breaking of bread in the upper chamber or in the catacomb or the lecture hall-with no ceremonial, no priesthood, and no patronage, with small literature, and no systematic theology, it vanquished paganism, and overcame the empire, by force of this moral earnestness, this impassioned uprightness.* It conquered because it taught men by living example how to live righteous lives.
*See Paul at Athens, by Charles Shakspeare.
The church of Christ is to be kept pure. It may have again and again, as in the past, to grow weak and suffer and seem to perish, that it may be purified and live. But live it will through righteousness and nothing else, the power of Christ dwelling in it. We have reason for gratitude, if, in the least degree, it is possible for us to contribute our small part toward its purity and its strength. Whatever may be our disadvantages and our defects, there is joy in the thought that the Lord has assigned to us the task that is properly ours. Of any contributions that may be made to the religion of the future, I believe that that which will transcend in value all others, come from what source it may, is the Christ-like spirit, revealing itself uninterruptedly in the Christ-like life.
ARTICLE VII.-NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
REV. PHILLIPS BROOKS' BOHLEN LECTURES.*-Two or three
years ago, spending a Sunday in Boston, we had the pleasure of hearing Rev. Dr. Lorrimer preach in the morning in Tremont Temple, to a congregation that packed the spacious edifice, and in the afternoon Rev. Phillips Brooks, in another hall also well filled, to a less numerous but evidently more cultivated" audience; and we could not but think of the great diversity of gifts among able, faithful, and effective ministers. Without being rash enough then to decide which of these two very different men was on the whole most useful or could be least dispensed with in the service of their common Master, and not now prosecuting the comparison further, we only utter the common verdict when we acknowledge the latter as not inferior to any other preacher of our time and country in attraction and power for educated people--we would say people of "culture" if that word had not grown wearisome, and this too, whether in the pulpit or through the press, though the impetuous earnestness of his utterance has an effect of its own. Nor is it at all difficult to find "the secret" of his influence as long as fresh and refined thought, fervor of sentiment, flashes of imagery that stimulate without tiring, and numberless felicities of expression, are fitted to move the hearer or reader; and he is especially remarkable in this, that his personality shines and throbs through every sentence, certainly not in the way of egotism but the reverse, impressing us that he is uttering his own convictions and feelings, in contrast to conventional ways, and also to everything like dogmatism or didactic assumption, as appears in the frequent recurrence of such phrases as "I think" and "It seems to me," so that instead of exciting antagonism he gently wins attention and solicits sympathy from hearers of diverse views. As a brilliant preacher, if he were commended as a model to young men, one might take exception to his treatment of a subject as sometimes too subtile, in a sense too "fine," for the best practical effect, but too much
*The Bohlen Lectures, 1879: The Influence of Jesus. By the Rev. PHILLIPS BROOKS, Rector of Trinity Church, Boston. Delivered in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, in February, 1879. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. 1879. pp. 274.
praise cannot be given to the simplicity and almost conversational ease of his style. The lectures before us are of the same literary character with his other published sermons so called, but belong together by a doctrinal unity. They propose to "study the question" and it is characteristic of the author to speak of studying rather than of answering the question,-" What is the power of Christianity over man-its source, its character, its issue ?" He treats of it "not as a system of doctrine, but as a personal force," which "is the nature of Jesus, full of humanity, full of divinity, and powerful with a love for man which combines in itself every element which enters into love of the completest kind;" and the "one great inspiring idea" which lies in it and behind it and which it impresses upon the life of man "is the fatherhood of God, and the childhood of every man to Him." Jesus was fully conscious of this sonship, and it was and is his special mission to make men conscious of their sonship, by his example and lessons and whatever methods he used "in the few years of which the gospels tell," to which history the author looks "in order to find the types of what it is His perpetual effort and wish to do." The subject being "man in his various life, touched and influenced and shaped and led by the Fatherhood of God, revealed and renewed to him by Jesus," the first lecture treats of "man's moral life," the second of "the child of God in all his social existence," the next of "his relation to enjoyment and suffering," or "the emotional life," and the last of the "life of the intellect." The development of this "inspiring idea" through these discourses is certainly suggestive and beautiful, and brings before us a great deal of wholesome truth in a fascinating manner. We must be permitted to doubt however whether the author has not exaggerated it in comparison with other truths, in making it too comprehensive, too absorbing, so to speak, in saying, "This is the sum of the work of the Incarnation: a hundred other statements regarding it, are true, but all statements concerning Him hold their truth within this truth" (p. 12). Moreover, he does not give due place, if any, to the difference between Christ's sonship and that of other men, except in degree, nor make sufficient account of that sense is which believers are in the Scriptures designated as the children of God as other men are not. We cannot admit that the sonship of the regenerate lics only in the consciousness of that which was theirs before. "As many as received him, to them gave He power (prerogative or privilege) to
become the sons of God." Our Lord's divinity is unquestionably acknowledged, but not so clearly the received doctrine of the Trinity. The same may be said of our Lord's vicarious sacrifice and priestly intercession, though He is called "the Saviour by suffering," and also of the office and work of the Holy Spirit, or in general of any supernatural grace, over and above the truth, in man's renovation. Not that these doctrines are denied or questioned; we make no doubt the author holds them for substance, though not addicted to traditional statements; but that if not wholly omitted they have no such place here as in the common faith of Christendom, and that "the one inspiring idea" is sometimes so set forth as seemingly to leave no room for them, while if it be said they do not fall within "the limits" indicated in the introduction, we may answer that, if held at all, they are fairly comprehended under "the influence of Jesus." A treatment which omits them may be called "broad" but should seem narrow. We wish the gifted preacher, while here speaking of Christianity "not as a system of doctrine but as a personal force," had at least more distinctly acknowledged these things as belonging to "the work of the Incarnation," however some of his admirers might be pleased to see them not merely omitted but repudiated. The pleasure we have found in hearing and reading him makes us the more desire that his preaching should fully expound the creeds and liturgical offices of the church which he adorns.
COMMENTARIES ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.*" And further, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end." "Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest." The truthfulness of these two passages from the Old Testament and the New is strikingly illustrated in connection with the Epistle to the Romans. No portion of the Scriptures, certainly, and we may almost say no subject of human thought, has given more imme* A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. By JOSEPH Agar Beet. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 1877. 12mo, pp. 325.
A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. By WILLIAM G. T. SHEDD, D.D., Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology in Union Theological Seminary, New York. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1879. 8vo, pp. 439.